Aquatic food production has transformed from being primarily based on capture of wild fish to culture of over 500 farmed species globally. Given the strong likelihood that seafood landings will remain constant in capture fisheries, aquaculture will continue to bridge the gap between seafood supply and demand, whilst reducing pressure on wild fisheries.

World aquaculture production recorded an all-time high of 110 million tonnes (live weight) in 2016, with a total estimated first-sale value of US$243 billion. Often the single or majority source of species such as Atlantic salmon, sea bass, or warm water prawns available to UK seafood buyers and consumers is from aquaculture.

Through aquaculture, our oceans, seas, and increasingly inland waters, hold the potential to contribute significantly to food security for a growing human population. To provide seafood to meet projected global demand it has been estimated that aquaculture will need to more than double by mid-century.

It is important to acknowledge that in comparison to farming terrestrial livestock, aquaculture is one of the most resource-efficient ways to produce protein. Farmed seafood generally converts more of the food it consumes into body mass, and thus harvestable protein, for us to eat. 

Like any other human activity, all forms of aquaculture have an impact on the environment. The nature and scale of impacts vary with the type of farming and the species involved, and as with other types of farming, the industry is reliant upon good stewardship and a respect for the environment for its existence and sustainable future.

To support UK industry we have the Domestic Aquaculture Strategy Programme through which we aim to identify viable, sustainable and effective opportunities to address key issues and constraints; helping to fulfil our high-level objectives to inform decisions through readily available data, enhance industry reputation, and promote seafood consumption.

We also provide market and regulation information, support organisations and groups who work with the sector, and have a small team of aquaculture experts on hand to answer specific enquiries. We also run the Seafish Domestic Aquaculture Advisory Committee and the Aquaculture Common Issues Group.  

Download the Seafish Guide to Aquaculture here.


We have a small team of experts on hand to answer specific enquiries.

  • For help with domestic aquaculture strategy contact Lee Cocker.
  • For advice on training courses, qualifications and guidance contact Lee Cooper.
  • For help with advice on offshore training contact Kevin Franklin.
  • For help with fact sheets and industry guidance notes contact Karen Green.
  • For help with enquiries on finfish aquaculture in Scotland and shellfish cultivation contact Craig Burton.
  • For enquiries on regulation contact Fiona Wright.

Further resources

For further information on the aquaculture sector, please see:


Membership organisations:

Devolved administrations and Government bodies:

EU contacts:

Aquaculture groups

Seafish is involved in a number of external aquaculture-related groups and initiatives, and we facilitate two major aquaculture forums - all helping to support aquaculture activities in the UK.

Aquaculture Profiles - Web Tool

Aquaculture now provides half of all fish for human consumption, and is one of the most resource-efficient ways to produce protein us to eat. There is a strong emphasis within the industry to continue reducing its impacts and secure itself as a sustainable source of seafood for generations to come.

UK Domestic Aquaculture - Reports

The Seafish Domestic Aquaculture Strategy Programme offers aquaculture reports and guides, produced to help increase understanding of the importance, diversity and potential of UK aquaculture.

Aquaculture-related Strategic Investment Programme Projects

The Seafish Strategic Investment Programme (SIP) was set up as a part of our Corporate Plan 2015/2018. It allowed us to fund additional, strategically important work that was consistent with the Corporate Plan's objectives.

Aquaculture Regulatory Toolbox for England

England's aquaculture industry is currently made up of a diverse range of enterprises that have mostly remained fairly small scale and close to local markets.

Aquaculture Funding Guides

Seafish's Aquaculture Funding Guidance sheets are a series of datasheets which have been produced to provide information and help the aquaculture industry in finding potential aquaculture funding streams, both European and national.

Careers and Training in Aquaculture

Those involved in fish and shellfish farming are known as aquaculturists - they breed, rear and harvest various fish and shellfish species for consumption and commercial sale in the UK or for export.

Bivalve Shellfish Purification Systems: Operating Manuals

While operators are at liberty to develop their own systems for purifying bivalves, it is likely that such 'DIY' systems will require much more testing before they are able to be successfully challenge tested by the licensing authorities.

Aquaculture support

EU aquaculture production was 1.28 million tonnes in 2014, with an almost equal split between finfish and shellfish production. EU aquaculture accounts for nearly 20% of fish production and directly employs some 85,000 people. The UK aquaculture sector is worth some £800 million.

Species and sites

Choosing the correct species and sites are some of the most crucial decisions a culturist must make.