Report – the value of aquaculture to England, Wales and Northern Ireland

Seafish has published a report which analyses the economic contribution and value of the major aquaculture sub-sectors, and the most important farmed species in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

In addition to the growing aquaculture and aquaculture-related information available on the Seafish website, the report was commissioned by the Seafish Domestic Aquaculture Strategy Programme which strives to identify key issues and opportunities to support the UK aquaculture industry. The creation of the report was also supported by the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).

As seafood is the most popular food commodity traded in the world, and aquaculture is the fastest growing food-producing sector, it is vital to understand the key economic drivers impacting aquaculture, and identify what the sector can control, what Government can influence, and the key externalities that impact up on it. The socio-economic importance of aquaculture to Scotland is well-known, but this is the first time a spotlight has been shone on the industry in the other three nations, and their diverse sub-sectors.

The contribution of aquaculture to the economies of England Wales and Northern Ireland is currently modest; total benefit to the economy as a whole is around £100 million in revenue and it creates some 1,700 full time jobs, although challenges in developing and growing English, Welsh and Northern Irish aquaculture remain.

However, this diverse industry is spread widely across all three countries, is closely associated with quality seafood and the aquatic products are important to the image of particular regions and locally important in rural areas. English, Welsh and Northern Irish aquaculture produces healthy seafood and presents opportunities for growth that do not exist in capture fisheries. The farming of aquatic species across the three nations also makes a substantial contribution to healthy recreation and leisure for millions of people through countryside visits, angling and ornamentals.

Lee Cocker, Aquaculture Manager at Seafish said: “This latest Seafish report on aquaculture is an important document – diverse in its content whilst holistic in scope. It will complement existing reports in Scotland and contribute greatly to the understanding of UK aquaculture across a wide range of stakeholders. In highlighting opportunities, constraints and comparative advantages for the major aquaculture sub-sectors, and by offering recommendations to industry and Government, support is provided to assist the industry’s future growth.”

The full report is available for download from the Seafish website – /industry-support/aquaculture/uk-domestic-aquaculture-reports. For more information on the report, or on the work of the Seafish Domestic Aquaculture Strategy Programme, please contact Lee Cocker