Aquaculture

Note: information on licensing requirements and Environment Agency responsibilities concerning freshwater fish are available from the efishbusiness website, in the "Forms and Guidance" section.


For new legislation that may affect you, please see the agricultural employment pages.

In England and Wales we currently have 518 registered fish and shellfish farms. Of these, 193 are coarse fish farms, the majority of which are located in Southern England, 197 trout and other fin fish farms and 128 shellfish farms. The number of registered coarse fish farms has increased by  56% since 1997.

The main finfish species farmed is rainbow trout (7,294 tonnes). There is also limited production of other species, such as brown trout (441 tonnes), carp (175 tonnes) Atlantic salmon (63 tonnes), turbot (63.5 tonnes), barramundi (45 tonnes), tilapia (33 tonnes), for a total fish farm production in England and Wales of 8,127 tonnes (2006 figures). Shellfish farm production totalled 15,449 tonnes in 2006, the main species cultivated being mussels (14,553 tonnes) and oysters (880 tonnes).

Several and regulating orders are used for shellfish management

Scotland is responsible for 80% of the UK aquaculture production. Data on the fish and shellfish aquaculture industry in Scotland are available on the Scottish Government website.

For information on the aquaculture industry in Northern Ireland, go to the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARDNI) fisheries web-pages.

Aquaculture and food security

Defra commissioned a strategic review of the potential for aquaculture to contribute to the future security of food and non-food products and services in the UK and specifically England. A final report (1.9 MB) is available.

Value of the Industry

The emphasis and interest of the aquaculture industry is generally on fish for food. However, England and Wales have also a coarse fish production industry which  restocks fisheries, generally for angling purposes.

In 2006, the farm gate value of fish farming in England and Wales was estimated to be £23 million, of which £13 million was salmonids, 0.5 million other food fish and £10 million coarse fish for re-stocking of fisheries and ornamental purposes. The value of shellfish farming is estimated to be around £20 million.

Employment figures for 2006 show that number of people employed by registered fish and shellfish farms were 916 and 414 respectively.

A report of a seminar Future strategies for the English farmed trout industry [PDF] (35 KB) held in 2000 is available.

Food hygiene

Responsibility for fish and shellfish hygiene issues falls under the remit of the Food Standards Agency (FSA).

For further information on licensing requirements and Environment Agency responsibilities concerning freshwater fish, see the efishbusiness website.

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Page last modified: 01 May 2010
Page published: 16 June 2003