The recent Scottish Fish Farm Production Survey 2021, published by the Scottish Government late last month, shows just how much the aquaculture industry in this country is thriving.
The survey, based on data from fish farmers, revealed that production of Atlantic salmon across the country were at the highest level ever recorded in Scotland.
A total of 205,393 tonnes were produced across the country, an impressive 7% increase on the 2020 production total.
There was a small decrease in farming staff numbers, reflecting Covid and post-Brexit labour market challenges, but the total number of workers in the sector remains consistent at around 2,500 – with an additional 10,000 indirect jobs through the supply chain.
The figures demonstrate what we all know – that this sector is hugely important for employment and exports.
And we firmly believe Hunterston PARC can play its part in hosting the next generation tech for fish farming, as well as other blue economy initiatives.
We are home to one of Scotland’s largest brownfield sites (320 acres) and its largest deep-water port, and we believe its combination of marine access, transport connectivity, scale and facilities, mean the opportunities in aquaculture are endless.
Last year we announced a 15-year-lease with seafood specialist Cumbrae Oysters Ltd to doubles its three-acre facility at Hunterston PARC, as it continues to export its products worldwide, including to the Far East and China.
We also work closely with the Sustainable Aquaculture Innovation Centre, which helps the industry meet the rising domestic and global demand for farmed fish and shellfish.
Its CEO Heather Jones made her points clear recently about how she believed we had the infrastructure in place to help Scotland’s fish farming sector.
Our long-term ambition is to create a centre for innovation to support both the blue and circular economy, including research and development facilities.
We believe our port will continue to play an ever-increasing role to enable continued growth of this sector, and look forward to seeing the industry continue to prosper in the coming years.