Review of the environmental impacts of salmon farming in Scotland

Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned report

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Original languageEnglish
Commissioning bodyEnvironment, Climate Change and Land Reform (ECCLR) Committee, The Scottish Parliament
Number of pages196
StatePublished - 5 Mar 2018


The lochs, voes and sheltered coastal waters of the Scottish west coast and Western and Northern islands provide ideal conditions for growing salmon in floating cages. The aquaculture industry creates jobs not only on farms but also in upstream and downstream activities such as producing fish feed, in logistical support, and in processing the fish.
Nevertheless, its growth during recent decades has encountered economic, societal and environmental challenges, which are likely to increase as the industry expands from 163,000 tonnes in 2016 to about 200,000 tonnes in 2020, with the intention to produce up to 300,000 tonnes in 2030.
In 2018 the Rural Economy and Connectivity Committee will be conducting an inquiry into salmon farming in Scotland. To feed into that inquiry the Environmental Climate Change and Land Reform Committee will be considering the current report. Briefing by Scottish Parliament Information Centre (SPICe) on salmon farming in Scotland will also inform both Committees work.
This report specifically reviews the scientific evidence relating to the environmental effects of salmon farming. Where the evidence suggests that there are concerns about harm to marine ecosystems or protected species and habitats, possible mitigation measures are suggested.

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