Scottish Shellfish Farm Production Survey: 2012 Report

This report is based on the returns of an annual survey questionnaire sent to all active authorised shellfish farming businesses in Scotland.

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  • Mussel and Pacific oysters remain the main species produced in terms of both value and tonnage. Mussel production decreased by 10% and Pacific oyster production decreased by 14% during 2012;
  • Production of Pacific oysters for on-growing has significantly increased (128%) in 2012 as new markets, home and abroad, have been established;
  • There has been a reduction in queen scallop and scallop production, attributed to poor spat fall and severe weather conditions;
  • Native oyster production dropped from 350,000 to 317,000 shells. The sector continues to target a strong niche market;
  • Employment levels showed an increase of 4% from the previous year, with 358 full, part-time and casual staff being employed during 2012.
  • The Scottish shellfish farming industry is estimated to be worth £8.7 million at first sale value.
  • Surveillance for the shellfish diseases Bonamiasis and Marteiliasis was maintained in 2012, resulting in no new infected areas. Movement restrictions remain in place for the presence of Bonamia ostreae at Loch Sunart and West Loch Tarbet;
  • For shellfish health purposes, 118 out of 330 sites were inspected during 2012 as part of a risk based surveillance programme implemented under Council Directive 2006/88/ EC;
  • A surveillance programme targeting Pacific oyster farm sites continued in 2012, to detect any occurrence of OsHV-1 µvar, no evidence of infection was found from samples taken (see here for further details of UK OsHV-1 µvar disease-free status declaration). Immediate notification of increased mortality on farm sites must be reported to Marine Scotland Science, Fish Health Inspectorate (see Contact details).
  • The industry is dominated by small producers, although there was a continued and marked trend toward large businesses contributing to the annual production of all species.


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