Scottish Shellfish Farm Production Survey 2020

This report is based on the returns of an annual survey questionnaire sent to all active authorised shellfish farming businesses in Scotland. Statistics on employment, production and value of shellfish from Scottish shellfish farms are presented.

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Spat settlement

Following anecdotal industry reports of poor spat settlement and mortality in 2010, Marine Scotland Science developed a questionnaire which was sent to all authorised aquaculture production businesses farming mussels. The results of this 2011 investigation indicated that poor spat settlement and mortality were not widespread in Scottish waters, although they had major impacts on certain individual producers. The causes were associated with environmental variables, guiding the industry to consider focused spat fall monitoring. As a result of talks between the Association of Scottish Shellfish Growers, Marine Scotland policy and Marine Scotland scientists, to determine the focus of possible research and development, a spat collection question was introduced to the 2013 survey. This question focused on mussel spat collection and was presented in two parts: is this a spat collection site; if yes, was spat settlement sufficient for production purposes?

Responses were received from 225 (100%) of the sites authorised for mussel production in 2020. One hundred and twenty three (55%) of these were spat collection sites, 48 (39%) of which reported that they had sufficient spat settlement for production purposes. Insufficient spat settlement on sites may require movement of mussels to that site which increases the risk of introduction or spread of diseases.

Table 7 - Spat settlement responses 2013-2020.
Year Number mussel production sites surveyed Number of responder sites Number of sites classed as spat collection sites Number of sites with spat settlement sufficient for production purposes
2013 246 176 97 42
2014 259 218 105 60
2015 249 249 111 77
2016 248 248 108 68
2017 234 234 104 77
2018 232 232 136 55
2019 235 235 128 41
2020 227 227 123 48



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