I am pleased to present our Vision for Sustainable Aquaculture, which sets out the Scottish Government’s long-term aspirations for the finfish, shellfish and seaweed farming sectors, and the wider aquaculture supply chain.
We are ambitious for the future of Scottish aquaculture. It is already a significant contributor to our economy through trade, employment and investment in infrastructure such as housing, broadband and harbour facilities. It produces the UK’s biggest food export – Scottish farmed salmon.
Aquaculture has a crucial role to play in contributing to our food security and meeting our commitment to becoming a Good Food Nation, producing healthy, nutritious food, with a greenhouse gas emissions profile that is lower than many other farmed sources of animal protein, , for people in Scotland and around the world.
The sector supports a wide range of highly skilled and well-paid jobs across farming operations, supply chain businesses, research institutes and new innovative enterprises. Many of these jobs are located in some of Scotland’s most fragile rural and island communities where they help to underpin valuable economic development. As a result of the growth of Scottish aquaculture and the development of the wider supply chain that serves it, aquaculture businesses can now be found across the whole of Scotland.
Aquaculture depends on Scotland’s natural capital and the communities within which the sector operates. It must operate within environmental limits, to ensure that our waters are clean and safe, supporting healthy and diverse flora and fauna. As we respond to the twin crises of climate change and nature loss, we envisage a sector that leads the world through the responsible and sustainable ways in which it operates, delivering significant and lasting socio-economic benefits for Scotland and for the communities that host aquaculture businesses.
The development of Scottish aquaculture has been driven by innovation, with advances across a wide range of disciplines including animal husbandry, nutrition, genetics and engineering, supporting the growth of the sector to this point. Innovation will be fundamental in ensuring aquaculture meets the challenges of a changing environment brought about by the climate crisis, as will a streamlined regulatory framework that ensures high environmental standards and is recognised as an asset to businesses and our communities.
Our Blue Economy Vision has already set out the approach that will allow us to live within environmental limits and maximise the benefits that our marine environment can deliver for Scotland, its people and future generations. Scotland’s aquaculture sector is key to helping realise this.
Our Vision for Sustainable Aquaculture sets out our overarching ambitions for the sector and details the key outcomes we want to see and achieve. I look forward to working with all of our partners and stakeholders to create a thriving aquaculture sector in Scotland that contributes to our Blue Economy and Net Zero ambitions and is globally recognised as innovative, productive, successful and sustainable.
Mairi Gougeon, Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs, Land Reform and Islands
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