English Aquaculture Strategy from Seafood 2040

Seafood 2040 has published a strategy for the sustainable development of the aquaculture sector in England over the next 20 years.
Cover of the English Aquaculture Strategy report by Seafood 2040

Download the strategy documents

Three documents have been published as part of the English Aquaculture Strategy:

  • A brief overview – with key strategic objectives and principles.
  • A summary document – which sets the scene, highlighting the opportunities and growth aspirations alongside a plan for delivery.
  • An in-depth report – which also includes a review of the English aquaculture landscape and current barriers to growth, along with the rationale and methodology behind the Strategy.

These documents are available to download from the links below:

The Strategy has been developed by Poseidon Aquatic Resource Management Ltd, working closely with Seafood 2040’s Aquaculture Leadership Group.

Overview of aquaculture in England

Aquaculture is the farming of fish, shellfish and aquatic plants. This sector makes up an important component of the wider English seafood industry. English aquaculture:

  • Has been dominated by inshore shellfish culture and trout in freshwater.
  • Is mainly comprised of small to medium-sized enterprises.
  • Offers important livelihoods in depressed economic areas with limited alternative opportunities.
  • Serves niche markets – such as for freshwater trout – which capture fisheries cannot meet.

Although current production levels in England are small there is potential to increase production through sustainable growth, especially over the long-term.

Aquaculture can bring environmental benefits through maintaining and increasing marine biodiversity and ecosystem health. It is also capable of producing warm-water or exotic species (such as shrimp) that are currently imported.

The need for an English aquaculture strategy

At present, a number of factors inhibit growth and new investment into the sector. These include:

  • Competition for space and resources in a densely populated country with mostly shallow, exposed and heavily used sea areas.
  • A sometimes negative public perception and understanding of larger-scale aquaculture development and farmed products.
  • An unclear and at times highly precautionary approach to aquaculture authorisations.
  • Current poor links between industry and research, despite a breadth and depth of experience and knowledge at UK or English universities.
  • Limited domestic consumer demand for traditionally farmed species.
  • The vulnerability of marine shellfish farming to poor water quality.

The development of an aquaculture strategy was one of the recommendations in the Seafood 2040 Strategic Framework for England. The Strategy aims to help the sector overcome ongoing challenges and take advantage of opportunities for sustainable growth. The hope is that this Strategy will be a first-step in moving towards a thriving English aquaculture sector.

The publication of the Strategy also brings England into alignment with the other devolved UK administrations, which have published aquaculture development plans.

The Strategy includes a delivery plan for the sustainable development of English aquaculture over the next 20 years. It will be implemented through a combination of national and regional actions. It will also capitalise on regional marine planning process and provincial aquaculture strategy initiatives.

Further information

Find out more about the Seafood 2040 Strategic Framework for England:

Find out more about Seafood 2040’s Aquaculture Leadership Group:


To find out more about the English Aquaculture Strategy contact:

Felix Amye
Regional Manager South East England