Aquaculture — [Sir David Amess in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 4:00 pm on 17th July 2019.

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Photo of Stephen Kerr Stephen Kerr Conservative, Stirling 4:00 pm, 17th July 2019

I beg to move,

That this House
has considered the contribution of aquaculture to the UK economy.

It is a great pleasure to serve under your chairmanship, Sir David. I am very grateful to have secured this debate on a subject that is so important in my constituency. Figures from 2017 show that the value of farmed Scottish salmon alone is higher than the value of all species landed in UK ports, principally due to the high value of Scottish farmed salmon, which was worth just over £1 billion to the UK economy in 2017. It is our single highest earning food-type export and ranks second only to whisky in UK exports in the food and drink sector. Aquaculture as a whole is worth £1.1 billion to the UK economy, and 96% of that is based in Scotland.

Let us look at the broader picture for Scottish salmon. It is an industry that employs 2,300 people, who have an average salary of £34,000, and it generates well over 10,000 additional supply chain jobs and £216 million in tax. When it comes to carbon emissions per tonne of edible protein, aquaculture produces up to 9.8 tonnes of carbon dioxide per tonne of edible protein, compared with 46.34 for chicken, 56.4 for pork, and 337.2 for beef. That is understood globally: the global tonnage of captured fish has plateaued at 90-93 million tonnes per year, but aquaculture continues to grow. In 2016, it produced some 170 tonnes.

The sector is fast becoming one of the key ways of producing protein for human consumption. It is a matter of global food security, tackling hunger and sustainability.