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Subsea Engineering Opportunity: International Market Insights Report series - aquaculture


This report is part of a series of reports considering the opportunities for the Scottish oil and gas (O&G) subsea supply chain in other subsea and related markets. It looks at aquaculture, and mariculture in particular – which is the controlled production of aquatic organisms in the marine environment or in ponds, dams or raceways filled with seawater. The report provides an overview of the sector, including its growth trends, utilisation, trade, challenges and sustainability. It considers the current international activity of the sector, and identifies where there is potential for activity based on published targets, and available resource and opportunities. It looks at the synergies between the aquaculture sector and that of the subsea O&G supply chain.


The research involved a desk review of existing evidence.


The research reports that the Aquaculture sector as a whole was worth almost £125bn globally in 2015. The sector has seen rapid growth with an increase from 3 million tonnes in the 1970s to almost 77 million tonnes in 2015. Indeed, it is estimated that aquaculture will provide almost two-thirds of global food fish consumption by 2030. This is due to both an increase in demand and a levelling off of wild capture fish production. As part of this expected growth there is a need for innovation and improved efficiencies in current aquaculture practices to allow for this growth. Currently growth is limited by barriers such as environmental concerns around concentrations of nutrients, waste and pathogen treatment residues (such as sealice treatments); scale of projects in sheltered coastal waters and availability of sites in these sheltered locations. This could present opportunities for the subsea O&G engineering sector to share technology solutions, knowledge and expertise as well as prospects for innovation. It is likely that technology development in aquaculture will be led in areas that are farming species that reach a premium price point such as Atlantic salmon. The key challenges in the development of aquaculture that have the potential for subsea engineering supply chain crossover are: the movement of aquaculture operations further offshore; improvements to anchors and moorings; preventing the predation of fish; the movement of fish for grading and treatment; increased automation; and reducing environmental impact.


The report does not make any specific recommendations.

Author Scottish Enterprise
Published Year 2018
Report Type Research
  • Business infrastructure
    Supporting key sectors
  • Sectors
    Energy, Food and drink
  • Internationalisation
    Internationalisation of Scottish businesses