Intensive & Sustainable? Scotland's Salmon Aquaculture

Scotland is the largest producer of Atlantic salmon in the EU, and the third largest in the world. The importance of salmon aquaculture to Scotlands economy, particularly for coastal and rural communities is not insignificant.

No food production system can operate completely without environmental harm, however technological and operational improvements mean the reduction of inputs like space and feed, and outputs like greenhouse gas emissions or chemicals is possible – whilst still allowing for yield increases.

Achieving such “Sustainable intensification” is no easy task. Nevertheless a recently published paper lead by Dr Tim Ellis (CEFAS, UK) indicates Scotland’s Atlantic salmon aquaculture industry is moving in the right direction. Using annual Scottish fish farm production survey data dating back to 1979, covering both freshwater (ova to smolt) and seawater (smolt to harvest) production, the scientists were able to build an picture of how Scotland’s salmon aquaculture industry has developed over time.

This article was written for (and can be read in full at) The Fish Site.

Salmon farm (Chile). Credit Sam Beebe/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Salmon farm (Chile). Credit Sam Beebe/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)