This sector includes the farming, harvesting and processing of fish, shellfish and seaweed and is an increasingly important contributor to global food security.

Industry overview

The growing global importance of aquaculture has resulted in increasing employment opportunities. In Scotland alone this is expected to rise from 3,400 (2019) to 9,000 jobs by 2030 in production, with an estimated 18,000 jobs supported by the sector such as processing and the wider supply chain.


In 2019 farmed fish production was almost 234,000 tonnes, with Salmon being a significant proportion of this as the UK’s largest food export. Whilst its global contribution is relatively small, UK aquaculture is known for the high quality of its products, research and environmental standards. 

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A very varied sector, aquaculture supports 453 enterprises across the UK, which provide a wide range of jobs which include: farming (finfish, shellfish and sea vegetables); restoring threatened and endangered populations of organisms; habitat restoration; looking after aquariums; developing new, sustainable feeds; and enhancing ways in which livestock health and welfare can be sustainably maintained.


Aquaculture has one of the lowest carbon footprints of any major form of animal protein production and its importance to global food security and minimising climate change will only grow in the future. The need for training which meets the employment needs of the sector is highlighted by the diversity of jobs in aquaculture, from farming to research and development, coupled with the projected expansion to 2030.  

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