Vision for sustainable aquaculture

The Vision for sustainable aquaculture describes the Scottish Government’s long-term aspirations to 2045 for the finfish, shellfish and seaweed farming sectors, and the wider aquaculture supply chain.

4 Guiding Principles

The Scottish Government’s commitment to sustainable development is reflected in the continuing support for the five guiding principles set out in Scotland’s National Marine Plan:

‘Achieving a sustainable economy, promoting good governance and using sound science responsibly are essential to the creation and maintenance of a strong, healthy and just society capable of living within environmental limits.’

Aquaculture is a key component of Scotland’s Blue Economy. In 2022 the Scottish Government published our Blue Economy Vision which sets the vision and outcomes to guide policy development and adoption of this approach in Scotland’s marine environment. Through collaborative effort to realise the Vision for Sustainable Aquaculture, we will deliver across all six of the outcomes identified within the Blue Economy Vision:


  • Scotland’s marine ecosystems are healthy and functioning, with nature protected and activities managed using an ecosystem-based approach to ensure negative impacts on marine ecosystems are minimised and, where possible, reversed.
  • Scotland’s blue economy is resilient to climate change, contributing to climate mitigation and adaptation, with marine sectors decarbonised, resource efficient and supporting Scotland’s Net Zero and Nature Positive commitments.


  • Established and emerging marine sectors are innovative, entrepreneurial, productive and internationally competitive.
  • Scotland is a global leader in healthy, quality, sustainably harvested and farmed Blue Foods, for our own population and beyond


  • Thriving, resilient, regenerated, healthy communities have more equal access to the benefits that ocean resources provide.
  • Scotland is an ocean literate and aware nation.

Annex A details how the outcomes identified in the Vision for Sustainable Aquaculture align with relevant Blue Economy Enablers described in Scottish Government’s Delivering Scotland's Blue Economy approach publication.

Clarity on the links between the Vision for Sustainable Aquaculture themes and the Blue Economy enablers ensures the development of an aquaculture sector that has a focus on shared stewardship of natural capital and promotes sustainability, prosperity, innovation, resilience and inclusion. This clarity will assist the aquaculture sector to maximise the contribution to Scotland’s National Performance Framework Outcomes and the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

The Vision for Sustainable Aquaculture has been developed before the duty on Ministers to have due regard to the five guiding principles on the environment has come into force[3]. In developing this Vision, we have reflected the intent of the principles, and the duty will apply to future development of policies under the Vision for Sustainable Aquaculture for managing aquaculture in a way that protects the environment and promotes sustainable development. The five guiding principles on the environment are the:

  • principle that protecting the environment should be integrated into the making of policies
  • precautionary principle as it relates to the environment
  • principle that preventative action should be taken to avert environmental damage
  • principle that environmental damage should as a priority be rectified at source; and
  • principle that the polluter should pay.



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