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The Ministerial Group for Sustainable Aquaculture (MGSA)

Building on the framework outlined in the Strategic Framework for Scottish Aquaculture, the Ministerial Group for Sustainable Aquaculture (MGSA) was established to support Scotland’s aquaculture industry to achieve sustainable growth targets, with due regard to the marine environment, by 2020:

  • to increase marine finfish production sustainably to 210,000 tonnes (165,256 tonnes in 2013) and;
  • to increase shellfish production (especially mussels) to 13,000 tonnes (7,980 tonnes in 2014)
  • chaired by the Minister of Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform with representation from industry, wild fish interests, environment NGOs, Local Authority Planners, the enterprise network, Crown Estate and regulatory bodies; and progressed through time-limited project-based working groups

Key outputs:

  • Interactions workstreams established with initial focus on improving dialogue at local level, farm & wild. Interactions Working Group
  • Capacity, barriers to sustainable growth, streamlining regulation & consenting, interactive map of infrastructure produced. Capacity Working Group

Key findings of report:

  • Direct production alone contributed a turnover of at least £550 million to the Scottish economy and 2,800 jobs in 2012. Taking into account the catalytic or multiplier effect of that added income across the economy, it is estimated to contribute as much as £1.4 billion turnover per annum and 8,000 jobs to Scotland; and £1.8 billion turnover per annum and 8,800 jobs to the whole of the UK.
  • Should the industry achieve its 2020 sustainable growth targets, full benefit of Scottish aquaculture to Scotland, including growth stimulated in the wider economy, could be worth around £2 billion and provide over 10,000 jobs.
  • The economic benefits from the industry are wide-ranging and are felt across Scotland including areas that are not traditionally associated with it such as the central belt. Aquaculture has a positive effect on social, financial, human and physical capital and highlights the importance of the sector in employment and income which in turn help to maintain community structures, from schools to ferry services, to youth employment.
  • Significant improvements have been made to the environmental effect of the industry and it compares well with other animal production industries.

Historical Working Groups

  • Archive information about the Strategic Framework and its Working Groups is available online.
  • The Aquaculture Planning Taskforce (APT), which was responsible for monitoring overall delivery of Delivering Planning Reform for Aquaculture. The APT stakeholder completed its work in 2011.
  • The Location/Relocation Working Group (LRWG) was established to prepare criteria to assess whether or not any finfish aquaculture site was poorly located and assessed the likely benefits and effectiveness of relocation of those farms which were sited close to rivers important for migratory fish. The original location/relocation stakeholder completed its work in 2006.
  • An Expert Working Group on Aquaculture Siting (EWGS) was set up in 2008 with a remit to examine how sites were  used (especially "inactive" sites) and make recommendations on a strategic approach to the siting of farms to help expand the aquaculture industry in a sustainable way. The Group made its recommendations to the Ministerial Working Group on Aquaculture in October 2008 and has now completed its work.
  • The Improved System for Licensing Aquaculture Development (ISLAD) Working Group was created to ensure that opportunities existed for expansion of the industry in the right places, with streamlined and proportionate regulations and procedures to ensure faster decisions and to minimise adverse consequences for other users of the marine and freshwater environments. ISLAD completed its work in 2011.