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Aquaculture Environment

Aquaculture is defined as the rearing of aquatic animals or the cultivation of aquatic plants in both seawater and freshwater for food and can take many forms.

In Scotland, aquaculture is dominated by the production of fish – predominantly salmon, trout, cod and halibut, and shellfish such as mussels, oysters and scallops – but there are other important sectors as well.

Aquaculture contributes to the economic development of Scotland, particularly in rural areas.

As part of its policy to increase sustainable economic growth, the Scottish Government has identified aquaculture’s role within the food and drink sector as a key economic area for development as detailed in the Scottish Government’s consultation document on Scotland's National Marine Plan.

However, aquaculture can have an adverse effect on the environment and, to negate this, we promote compliance with legislation and sustainability through the application of the Water Environment (Controlled Activities) (Scotland) Regulations 2011 (CAR)and their amendments, which licence and monitor aquaculture activities.

In addition, we protect the environment by providing operators with a variety of tools to help ensure they comply with environmental standards and legislation, including computer modelling tools and technical guidance.

For more information, our online resource, Scotland’s Aquaculture (developed in partnership with a number of organisations including the Marine Directorate, the Crown Estate and the Food Standards Agency), provides a comprehensive range of facts and figures on aquaculture in Scotland.