Selecting a species

Choosing which species of fish or shellfish to rear is a difficult decision for any culturist.

We have prepared guidance notes and electronic encyclopaedias about a range of bivalves and finfish in order to assist culturists in making this important choice. Below is a list of seafood species with biological information and resources for each - simply click on the name of the species you would like to read more about.

Bivalve Molluscs

Bivalve molluscs are a popular species with culturists, and we have produced a live bivalves workbook which contains good manufacturing practice guidelines and advice.

  • Oysters are common in the UK in both pacific and native species. Oyster production techniques depend on factors including seed supply, environment and region, and can be either entirely sea-based or rely on hatcheries for seed supply.
  • Mussels can be harvested from either wild or cultivated stocks. They can be grown either on the seabed or on ropes.Mussels grown in different environments will have different characteristics in terms of meat content, shell strength, shelf life etc
  • Clams have so far had limited success as a cultivated species. Only a very small number of Manila clams are grown in the UK.
  • Scallops are cultivated widely across the UK, particularly in king and queen varieties.

Bivalve harvesting and purification

Species profile: Oysters

Species profile: seabed mussels

Species profile: clams

Species profile: scallops


  • Lobsters and Crabs, The most widely available edible crab species is the brown crab, Cancer pagurus, which is one of the UK's most valuable seafood products. Two closely-related lobster species are available in the UK - the European lobster, Homarus gammarus, and the imported American lobster, Homarus americanus.

Species profile: lobsters and crabs


For more about rearing finfish, please see our finfish guidance notes.

  • Salmon, a very popular species of fish with UK consumers, is supported by the SSPO - Scottish Salmon Producers' Organisation.
  • The UK trout farm industry  is represented by the British Trout Association, who offer research, promotional materials and legislative information about trout in the UK.
  • Turbot and Halibut are cultivated in the UK in a similar way to salmon. More information can be found from the British Marine Finfish Association.
  • Cod cultivation is in its infancy in the UK. The cost of producing cod in farms is greater than that of catching cod in the wild, and this limits the scope for farming presently. However, there is a niche market for sustainable farmed cod.

Species profile: turbot and halibut

Species profile: cod