Affirms the importance of the seafood sector and sets out how we are supporting industry to contribute to achieving our blue economy aspirations.
Our Blue Economy Vision, which we published on 31 March 2022, recognises that Scotland's seas and waters have a key role to play in contributing to the nation's future prosperity, especially in remote coastal, rural and island communities – and that a healthy marine environment is essential to supporting this ambition.
The seafood industry is a key component of this vision, which sets an ambition for Scotland to be a global leader in providing healthy, high-quality and sustainably produced and harvested "blue foods" for consumption at home and abroad.
I am pleased to present our Strategy for Seafood, which affirms the importance of the seafood sector and sets out how we are supporting industry to contribute to achieving our blue economy aspirations.
The seafood sector provides employment, is an integral part of the way of life in many coastal towns and villages and will be an essential part of our green recovery as we move towards our vision of a wellbeing economy as laid out in our National Strategy for Economic Transformation.
We have a vision for Scotland as a world class fishing nation, delivering responsible and sustainable sea fisheries management, as outlined in our Future Fisheries Management Strategy. We will also deliver a vision for an economically, socially and environmentally sustainable future for the aquaculture sector later this year, supporting the continued success of the UK's number one food export – farmed salmon – whilst making progress to increase production of shellfish and seaweed.
Our marine environment can contribute significantly to our commitment to being a Good Food Nation, with seafood from Scotland renowned globally for its quality, and it can play a role in increasing our food security. As we operate against the backdrop of the twin crises of biodiversity loss and global warming, it is important we consider the role our fishing, aquaculture and processing communities can play in helping us achieve Scotland's net zero targets, while the Bute House Agreement laid out a range of measures to improve existing ecosystems, encourage sustainability and protect our natural capital.
The last few years have been exceptionally challenging for the seafood sector, with Brexit, the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) and more recently the impact of the illegal Russian invasion of Ukraine. The sector has shown incredible resilience. Now, in the new post-Brexit era, we have to accelerate this recovery and the development of a sustainable seafood economy.
I look forward to working with the sector towards a sustainable future for seafood in Scotland.
Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and Islands
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