Fish and shellfish farming now contributes £620 million to the Scottish national economy every year, according to according to a new study commissioned by the Scottish Government and Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE).
The industry now supports more than 12,000 jobs — and Scottish aquaculture production has increased by a third in the ten years to 2015, from 142,000 to 188,000 tonnes.
Atlantic salmon production accounts for 90% of all economic impact, supporting 10,340 full-time equivalent jobs and generating £540 million in gross value added (GVA).
The contribution of other fish and shellfish species like trout, mussels and oysters was also considered as part of the study.
Charlotte Wright, chief executive at HIE, said: “HIE has supported the aquaculture industry since its inception and we are pleased to have led on this research along with Marine Scotland.
“This vitally important industry, including the supply chain, provides much needed job opportunities across Scotland.
“The report underlines how important these jobs are for rural communities and it also shows that the benefits are felt right across Scotland.”
Stewart Graham, co-chair of the Aquaculture Industry Leadership Group said: “The report also confirms that the opportunities which need to be grasped and the challenges which need to be overcome as set out in our 2030 industry strategy have been clearly identified and I am confident that with full stakeholder alignment and collaboration we will deliver on our ambitious growth targets.”