Impacts of climate change on aquaculture

Aquaculture is a key UK food production sector, and it is particularly economically important to rural coastal communities, and in the deprived urban areas where processing takes place (Alexander et al., 2014; UK MNMP, 2015). UK production value exceeds £590 million (Black and Hughes 2017), with £1.8bn turnover and 8800 jobs supported (Alexander et al., 2014), of this £1.4bn turnover and 8000 jobs are in Scotland, making aquaculture particularly relevant there. There is significant potential for aquaculture to develop further throughout the UK (Black and Hughes, 2017).

UK marine finfish aquaculture is dominated by the production off the west coast and islands of Scotland of Atlantic salmon, Salmo salar (156,025 tonnes in 2018; Munro, 2019), and a very small production from Northern Ireland. Freshwater salmon smolt production, for marine on-growing, is more widely distributed. Scottish marine production also includes rainbow trout (Onchorhyncus mykiss), sea (brown) trout (Salmo trutta) and halibut (Hippoglossus hippoglossus). In the past, cod (Gadus morhua) in Scotland, and sea bass (Dicentrarchus labrax) in Wales, were farmed. Recently, a major growth in production of lumpfish (Cyclopterus lumpus) and wrasse (various Labridae species) has occurred in Scotland (Munro, 2019), Wales (Anon, 2018) and England, for use as ‘cleaner fish’ to control sea lice on farmed salmon. The majority of marine salmonid aquaculture takes place in open-sea cages; 86% of freshwater salmonid smolts for marine on-growing are also produced in cages and so can be vulnerable to environmental conditions (Munro, 2019). Other smolts are produced in Recirculating Aquaculture Systems (RAS) that are protected against the environment, RAS are also used for production of other species such as lumpfish.

Bivalve-shellfish farming produces mussels (Mytilus edulis), oysters (Crassostrea gigas (Pacific) and Ostrea edulis (native), scallops (Pecten maximus, Chlamys opercularis) and clams (Ruditapes sp.). Mussels are the main farmed seafood product of Wales, Northern Ireland and England, and, for shellfish, Scotland. Pacific oyster is the second most-farmed shellfish, with minor production of the other bivalves. On-growing or ranching of prawn, lobster and crab and macroalgal farming remain small-scale (Capuzzo and McKie, 2016).

Collins C., Bresnan E., Brown L., Falconer L., Guilder J., Jones L., Kennerley A., Malham S., Murray A. & Stanley M., 2020. Impacts of climate change on aquaculture. Marine Climate Change Impacts Partnership Science Review 2020 pp 482-520. Article.

  • Reset


OA-ICC Highlights

%d bloggers like this: