Bright future for aquaculture

A MAJOR aquaculture conference will be held for the first time in Scotland next year to herald a new age for the industry, the government said on Wednesday.

New measures to control disease on salmon farms and a technical standard for fish farm equipment are also being brought in, should recommendations from the recently formed aquaculture ministerial working group be followed up.


The group has proposed consulting next summer on creating a Scottish standard for fish farm gear, including moorings, cages and nets to minimise fish escapes.

They also want synchronised production and treatments to strengthen the industry’s approach to sea lice and disease control.

There should also be an agreed practice of dealing with planning applications for aquaculture projects.

And an international aquaculture conference next summer has been mooted to reinforce Scotland’s standing on the industry’s world stage and provide business opportunities by attracting the biggest companies in the business worldwide.


Environment minister Roseanna Cunningham said aquaculture is a £400 million a year industry that accounts for 40 per cent of Scotland’s total food exports.

In the next five years it could grow by a further £150 million and create 400 new jobs, she said.

Mussel production grew by 22 per cent to 6,000 tonnes in 2007/8, with a further 1,400 tonnes on the cards.

“We will host an international aquaculture conference next summer which will reinforce our international standing and provide our companies with business opportunities by attracting the major players in world aquaculture to Scotland. This will benefit our producers directly by addressing topics of direct relevance to them,” Ms Cunningham said.

More information on the group’s recommendations can be found at http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics/marine/Fish-Shellfish/mingroup