The MP for Stirling, Stephen Kerr, has called for a change of approach by the UK Government that would deliver greater direct investment to support the Scottish Aquaculture Sector. In a Westminster Hall debate called by the MP on Aquaculture, he delivered a powerful speech that demonstrated just how important the industry is to Scotland and the UK.
Scottish Farmed Salmon is worth over £1 billion to the UK economy with its value being more than the entire value of all species landed in the UK. Additionally 96% of UK Aquaculture is based in Scotland.
The aquaculture industry is especially pertinent to Stirling. The University of Stirling is home to the world-renowned Institute of Aquaculture and the Scottish Aquaculture Innovation Centre, making Stirling a centre for Aquaculture excellence and research in the United Kingdom.
During the debate, Stephen welcomed the creation of the new UK Seafood Innovation Fund but has called on the Minister for Aquaculture, Fisheries & Food, Robert Goodwill, to ensure a proportionate amount of the Fund is spent in Stirling.
Making the case for more direct investment, the MP went on to discuss the importance of the industry in achieving sustainable global food security. Aquaculture provides extremely low emissions per tonne of edible protein compared to other farmed sources, making it a good choice for shoppers looking for the more environmentally friendly option.
Wider UK Government activity needs to reflect this, and the MP also called for a shared strategy between UK and Scottish Government departments to support investment in Research & Development.
Stephen Kerr said: -
It was important to call this debate. There needs to be more focus on Aquaculture and we need to be much more vocal in Scotland in support of it. I am proud that Stirling is home to two world renowned facilities that are doing such crucial work, as well as several fish farms. There can and should be more direct UK investment in Scottish Aquaculture and most of that should be in Stirling where we already have the capacity and expertise to make sure it is well spent.
Watch the debate here: