Changing balance of fish production in Scotland

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Marine Policy, Vol. 23, No. 4}5, pp. 347}358, 1999( 1999 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reservedPrinted in Great Britain0308-597X/99 $*see front matterPII: S0308-597X(98)00048-7Changing balance offish production inScotlandJ R Coull1The last two decades have seen sub-stantial changes in fish production inScotland, with the rise of shell fish andfarmed salmon to be important produc-tion sectors beside the established sec-tors of demersal and pelagic fish. Inconventional fisheries conservationprogrammes based on scientific advicehave become a permanent part of theorganisation, while the expansion of fishfarming has been essentially founded onsystematic scientific investigation. Thechanging pattern and balance of produc-tion has been functionally related to de-velopments in processing, transportand marketing of fish. Central to thishas been the expansion of fish freezing,which maintains food value to the besteffect for the consumer. ( 1999 Else-vier Science Ltd. All rights reservedKeywordsNDemersal; Pelagic and shellfish; Farmed salmon; Conservation; FishfreezingDepartment of Geography, University ofAberdeen, Elphinstone Road, AberdeenAB24 2UF, UK. Tel.: 01 224 272328; fax:01224 27 2331.1In the preparation of this paper I wish toacknowledge the assistance given by Mr.Alistair Stewart, Director of Coastal Opera-tions, Scottish Fishery Protection Agency;Mr. Gordon Brown of the fish farming sec-tion of SOAEFD; Mr. William J.J. Crowe ofthe Scottish Salmon Growers Association;and Mr. Neil MacKellar of the Sea FishIndustry Authority.1. IntroductionThe last two decades have seen substantial changes in "sh production inScotland. Shell "sh and farmed salmon have risen from positions of limitedimportance to be substantial production sectors, and this has been drivenby rising demand for high-value sea food. In contrast output of demersaland pelagic species, while continuing important, have been limited by thesetting of national quotas under the conservation regulations of theCommon Fisheries Policy (CFP) of the European Union (EU). The e$-ciency of these regulations is limited by the problems of enforcement, andfor demersal species by the major problem of setting a minimum mesh sizefor a mixed-species "shery. The development of adequate conservationmeasures also continues to be inhibited by the problem of overcapacity incatching power within the EU, despite the multi-annual guidance pro-grammes that have now been running for 15 years to reduce it. Moreover,there has been a continuing problem of controlling over-quota landings of&&black "sh landed without o$cial sanction. Conservation regulations forshell "sh are substantially under UK control and are generally moresatisfactory. In order to address the modern problems, arrangements for"sheries administration in Scotland were revised with the establishment in1991 of the Scottish Fisheries Protection Agency, the main objective ofwhich is to enforce "sheries legislation and regulations in 185 000 squaremiles of sea around Scotland and in Scottish ports. The development ofsalmon farming has been rendered possible by domestication achieved inthe 1970s, and an important issue for the future is the extent to whichhusbandry techniques can be applied to other species. The regulatoryregime of salmon farming is completely under UK control, but it has notbeen exempt from controversy. The main issue here is that the CrownEstate Commissioners function both as landlord for the leasing of thesea-bed and as planning authority for "sh farms, and this embodies aninevitable con#ict of interest. Currently alternative regimes of organisation347are under discussion, and it appears that the Commissioners are likely tocontinue as landlords but may lose their planning function.For the future, the main impact of scienti"c advances is most likely to beseen in the "sh farming sector, where diversi"cation of production intoother species has been emphasised as desirable on both ecological andeconomic grounds; and improved means of disease and pest control couldalso be important. In conventional "sheries the basic freedom of move-ment and operation throughout the EU "sheries zone to the thousands ofEU vessels is a continuing di$culty in the way of e!ective enforcement ofconservation and quota arrangements. While there are moves towardsthe introduction of satellite tracking of "shing boats, these are still at theplanning stage and in any case stand to have limited impact in anopen-access "shery. There have, however, been recent improvements in theco-ordination of land-based, marine and aerial surveillance of "shing[1, p. 7]. With modern communications technology it is possible that portmarkets and auctions could be systematically linked and coordinated, andthis could even be extended to the European scale; however at present,such links appear to be a distant prospect. One "eld in which there is scopefor the fuller employment of applied science is in the maintaining of foodquality along the distribution chains by which "sh reach the consumerfrom the ports.Scotland now plays the leading part within Britain in conventional"shing in the catching of all three main categories of "sh (demersal, pelagicand shell); it also leads in "sh farming with the dominant position ofsalmon production. The most important single region for "sh landings inBritain is northeast Scotland, although the relative importance of thatregion has declined in recent years with the increased proportion of "shinge!ort now deployed on the West Coast. The Highlands and Islands regionhas gained in relative importance, although within this region it is only inthe Northern Isles (particularly Shetland) that catching power andmethods have made advances on a par with the northeast. The location oflandings in any case is partly misleading, as "shing on much of the WestCoast and in northern waters is dominated by vessels based in thenortheast.Main trends in productionIn recent times, while there has been no aggregate trend of expansion inScottish "sh production, there has been a sustained growth in its nominalvalue (Figure 1). To follow the trend now it is necessary to combine datafor catches from conventional "shing with data for "sh farming which arecompiled by di!erent bodies. Annual data on production of conventional"shing are regularly published by the Scottish Fisheries ProtectionAgency. In the recently established salmon farming, data come from theScottish Salmon Growers Association; and while estimates of productionare available from the start of the industry in the 1970s, estimates of valueof production on an organised basis date only from 1988. Farming of otherspecies makes minor contributions to the total, and complete data onvolume and value are not available.The trends in tonnage and value of "sh production since 1980 are shownin Figure 1; it is clear that the major change has been the increase insalmon production from a very minor position in 1980 to the point ofmaking a signi"cant contribution to total tonnage (15.1% in 1996) anda major contribution to total value (38.4% in 1996): it has in the 1990sFish production in Scotland: J R Coull348Figure 1. Fish production in Scotland 1980I1996.been vying with demersal as the leading "sh sector by value of produc-tion. The successful domestication of Atlantic salmon was a majorachievement made in Norway in the 1970s and quickly copied in Scotland.It was complicated by the fact that salmon spend di!erent parts of their lifecycle in fresh and salt water: the eggs are laid in rivers by adult salmonreturning from the sea, and the young stages up to smolting (normally attwo or three years) are in fresh water. At smolting the "sh enter the sea,and in the natural life-cycle migrate over thousands of miles of ocean tofeeding grounds in high latitudes, before returning two or three years laterto their native rivers to spawn. Although salmon hatcheries had been inuse from the 19th century, full domestication was to involve the feeding ofFish production in Scotland: J R Coull349the "sh in captivity through all their fresh water stages, and theseparate feeding of the post-smolt stages to marketable size in cages inthe sea. It has also involved extensive measures in the control ofdisease and of predators. The control of sea-lice has been the mainproblem in caged "sh populations, and to date it has proved impossible tocontrol them without the use of pesticides, which are toxic to other marinefauna: shell "sh are among the species at risk, and the concentration ofpesticides which have been sanctioned for use is strictly controlled for thisreason.In Scotland the great bulk of "sh landings come from the native Scottish#eet, although they do include some landings from vessels based elsewherein the UK, and to a limited extent from vessels of other Europeancountries. In the period 1980}1996, the peak tonnage in "sh productionwas actually in 1985 at 620 000 t, and since then it has #uctuated between500000 and 600 000 t. The sustained increase in value has meant by 1996an increase of ca. 350% over 1980 and has been due to a combination offactors, of which the most important has been the rising production offarmed salmon; but contributory factors have also been the rising produc-tion of shell "sh and the increase in unit value of demersal "sh; the latterrise has been largely due to relative scarcity. In all the total value of theconventional "sh catch has risen by 273%.Shell "sh in recent decades have greatly increased in importance in theScottish "sh catches [2, pp. 173}176]: the expansion and diversi"cationof this sector of the market has been accompanied by a greater proportionof "shing e!ort being devoted to shell "sh, along with the expansion offacilities for processing and marketing it. Over the period from 1980 therehas been a limited rise in tonnage; and while the value has increased fourand a half times, the proportion in the allover total has been substantiallyconstant at ca. 16%. In contrast, there has been a major readjustment inthe demersal sector, which was the very dominant one throughout thepost-war period until the last decade; over the period since 1980 produc-tion has #uctuated, and the demersal share of total tonnage has decreasedfrom almost 60 to 48.9%, while the share in value has gone down from 74.6to 41.3% of the allover total. Pelagic production has been limited byconservation regulations, and the unit value of pelagic species in themodern period has been markedly depressed; over most of the periodsince 1980 this sector has rivalled the demersal sector in production byvolume and from 1987 to 1995 exceeded it, but its value has beenminor and in 1995 was only 5.3% of overall value of productionalthough 43.7% of total volume. However, the actual catch of theScottish pelagic #eet has been higher than these "gures indicate, asthere are considerable landings in other countries (particularly Norway)which are in excess of foreign landings in Scotland. In the mostrecent years higher prices in Norway, which are related to market contactswith Japan, have resulted in a strong upsurge of Scottish landings there.The result has been that in 1996 (the latest year for which data areavailable) it was only a minority share of pelagic catches which werelanded in Scotland, while 55.0% by volume and 68.3% by value werelanded abroad.Although Scottish "sh farming is dominated by salmon production,there is also farmed production of rainbow trout and of bivalve shell "sh;and in 1997 the "rst farmed halibut reached the market. The raising ofrainbow trout began in the 1960s, but Scotland does not have theenvironmental advantages for that species that it has for salmon, and theFish production in Scotland: J R Coull350production is now fairly stable at around 4000 t annually, mainly for theScottish market. Although far behind salmon in importance, there hasbeen in the last decade a somewhat irregular expansion in the raising ofmussels, scallops and oysters; and since these are "lter feeders on plankton,they do not incur the substantial feed costs that are involved with thefarming of salmon and rainbow trout. In all of these, however, productionis still small-scale and much fragmented: in 1996 there was active produc-tion on 157 out of 293 registered sites, most with only one or two sta![3, p. 5]. It could well be for the future that halibut, a species of particularlyhigh market value, will be most important for the diversi"cation offarmed production.Research work on farming halibut has been proceeding for over 20years; Scotland is towards the southern limit of the halibuts natural range,which is an advantage for "sh farming with relatively high sea temper-atures. The technique of rearing has now been mastered, and the indica-tions are that it will also be economically viable, with the market price forhalibut currently being several times that of farmed salmon. AlthoughScotland is by far the most favoured part of the UK in number of suitablesites for marine "sh farms, a problem that now faces further developmentand diversi"cation is that there are few unused sites remaining. Conceiv-ably halibut could be produced in rotation with salmon to ecologicaladvantage.Development of the 6eetThere has been an obvious tension within the "shing industry in thedevelopment of the #eet. With a de"nite over-capacity within the EU, anessential component of the CFP is the restructuring (or more accuratelyreduction) of #eets to render catching capacity more in accord with theresource base. However, at the same time "shermen need to modernisetheir vessels within a competitive industry, and hydraulic and electronicequipment has been more extensively installed and help them maintainor enhance their shares of national quotas. To date they have e!ectivelyout#anked the programme that is designed to achieve contraction incatching capacity, despite increasing constraints on vessel replacementand on transfer of vessel licences (Figure 2). Reduction in the UK has alsobeen limited through government reluctance to fund decommissioningschemes on the scale of some of our European partners. Overcapitalisationhas got worse rather than better, despite the fact that the investment aidsavailable from national government and European agencies available formuch of the post-war period have now been phased out. The long-termdecrease in #eet numbers which had gone on for decades was reversed after1984, and from 1986 the trend can be more fully traced as a full breakdown of data for vessel numbers, tonnage and horsepower becomesavailable. In the 10 years from 1986 to 1996 there was an increase innumber in the #eet from 2183 to 2806 (or 25.5%). While prior to 1993 thiswas partly through investment in smaller boats not subject to restriction,it was complicated by a change in licensing requirements in that year toinclude boats of less than 10 m which brought &a signi"cant number ofvessels on to the register for the "rst time. This caused a jump of around400 in the #eet total, and increased the tonnage of the under 10-m sectionof the #eet by ca. 50%. Despite this complication it is clear that theprevious long-term decline in the small boat sector had ironically beenreversed as a result of the curbs on investment in bigger boats; but sinceFish production in Scotland: J R Coull351Figure 2. Scottish fleet structure 1986 and 1996.1993 the under 10-m section of the #eet has e!ectively stabilised. Outsidethe under 10-m section of the #eet, the long-term move to bigger boats hascontinued, with the result that the decrease in numbers has been concen-trated in the sections of the #eet between 10 and 25 m; and the sectionsabove 25 m have increased from 148 to 216 or by almost one-half(Figure 2).In any case trends in vessel numbers tell only part of the story in view ofthe general increase in #eet tonnage and horsepower which clearly showthat catching power has continued to expand fairly strongly. Over thedecade in question the aggregate #eet tonnage increased from 62425 to95 727 (over 53%) and its aggregate horsepower from 319 000 to 388 725(nearly 22%). In the over 25 m groups, as well as increasing innumber from 148 to 216, the tonnage almost trebled (from 22 663 to62 951 t) and the horsepower increased by 78% (from 97 765 to174003 hp). Tonnage and horsepower have, in fact, increased throughoutthe #eet: now among the smaller craft below 10 m beamier and morepowerful boats have substantial catching power that is deployed mainlyin the shell "sheries; in this sector tonnage has almost doubled andhorsepower increased almost threefold. Most spectacular have been thetrends at the opposite end of the scale where the vessels of over 35 mwhich are mainly deployed in the pelagic "sheries: here numbers havealmost doubled, tonnage has multiplied fourfold and horsepower hasincreased by 120%.In no sector so far would it be accurate to state that the catching powerhas actually declined, as with fuller use of modern equipment and "shingaids the general trend has been for the performance capability of theindividual vessel to rise, and this has e!ectively countered any apparentdecrease in any section of the #eet. However, there has been a de"nitechange in the balance of "shing e!ort between sectors, and the clearestavailable indicator of this is the data on the main method of "shingemployed by individual vessels. The long-term contraction of the pelagic#eet has actually slowed in recent years, although in the 10 years to 1996Fish production in Scotland: J R Coull352there was a 25% reduction in number in the section of this #eet sector(from 60 to 45 vessels). Although in immediate past years there has beenmore short-term switching between demersal and shell "shing than be-tween demersal and pelagic, there has also been a 13% reduction innumber in the section concentrating on demersal "sh (from 758 to 659vessels), and this has also prolonged an established downward trend. Incontrast this last decade has seen an acceleration of the pre-existing moveinto shell "shing with a 54% increase in number of vessels involved from1365 to 2102. Within this sector nephrops is well established as the mainspecies "shed, but the peak nephrops #eet was between 1989 and 1991 ataround 460 boats; with recent diversi"cation it fell to 299 in 1996, and overthe period from 1986 the number of boats concentrating on other shell-"shhas almost doubled to 1803.Within the total trends there have been signi"cant regionalvariations. On the great part of the East Coast #eets have been ageingas well as reducing in number, while the Northern Isles have beennotably more successful in modernising their #eets; and throughoutthe West Coast and Western Isles the increased emphasis on shell "sh hasseen growth in vessel numbers linked with a marked decline in vessel size[4, p. 3].A complication in the whole matter of reduction of catching capacityunder European guide lines is that it can o$cially be achieved by a combi-nation of reduction in "shing e!ort with reduction of tonnage and horse-power. Fishermen to date have been markedly reluctant to accept suchmeasures as reduction in time at sea, and with the irregularities of badweather this could be di$cult and involved to enforce. However, it nowappears likely that such restrictions will be accepted rather than heaviercuts in the #eet.The conservation problem, and allocation andadministration of 5sh quotasIn a situation in which catching opportunities are limited by regulation inthe interests of conservation it is inevitable that there should be consider-able controversy on appropriate conservation regulations, including thebest and fairest methods of allocating "sh quotas. In general, the mostsevere problems are in the conservation of demersal species, on which thegreatest part of Scottish catching power depends. Here a main issue foryears has been the appropriate minimum size of net mesh: scienti"copinion regularly advises enlargement of the mesh size, and there havebeen proposals for some time to enlarge it from 100 to 110 mm. to allowmore small and juvenile "sh to escape and improve the age structure of "shpopulations. The big fear of "shermen, especially those with smaller boatsworking nearer the coast, is that this would result in catches being reducedbelow economic levels.While conservation of pelagic species is now a simpler issue withrelatively few boats now involved in the "sheries, the catching power is stillformidable and recent cuts in quotas have given cause for concern.The system developed in Britain for dividing up national "sh quotas hashad a measure of international recognition and acclaim for the mannerin which it incorporates combined action by government agency and of"shermens organisations (&producers organisations or POs). The systemwas developed and re"ned from 1988, and is essentially based on the catchFish production in Scotland: J R Coull353performances of vessels over three previous years. In Scotland vessels havethe choice of getting their allocation directly from Scottish O$ce Agricul-ture, Environment and Fisheries Department (SOAEFD) or from theirown PO; in practice a big majority get their allocation from their PO. Thissystem by involving the "shermen directly in dividing up the quotase!ectively incorporates a measure of self-policing as well as saving publicexpenditure.There are various elements of #exibility which have been built into thesystem and extended, and it has become more complicated, involvesmounting bureaucracy, and has often proved di$cult to understand fully.There is now a proposal to introduce a simpler and more stable frameworkfor the system by establishing "xed vessel quota allocations, in which thePOs would continue to play the main part in managing quotas for theirmembers [5].Processing and marketingThe "gures for landings in Scotland do not give a clear picture of the "shavailable for processors, as signi"cant amounts are bought by agents ofcontinental merchants and exported direct, while there are big imports ofsome species to make good shortfalls in landings. In the case of farmedsalmon, preparation for market takes the form of slaughtering and pack-ing, and the only processing relates to the part of the production that issmoked. In the main pelagic species of herring and mackerel for more thantwo decades prices were very low with the domination of the market byklondyker ships, and it was estimated in 1989 that fully 75% were landedto them [4, p. 24]; however, contacts of Norwegian processors with theJapanese market in the last years have resulted in a welcome rise in price,and now this has become the main outlet for the Scottish pelagic #eet(see above). Various other species like monks and velvet crabs have a bigproportion exported, although the tonnage is limited. However for themain demersal species on the British market, those of cod and haddock,the modern scarcity in home-based landings has led to a strong growth ofimports: imports of cod now run at well over 100 000 t annually andhaddock at over 20 000 t [6]. Processors have to pay higher prices forthese imports, because of the European tari! wall that it is part of EUpolicy: this is in e!ect a measure that helps the "shermen at the expense ofthe processors. While there is some use of imports by Scottish processors,Scotland still has an excess of landings over imports, and Scottish landingsare transported to processors elsewhere in the UK, especially to theHumber. It was estimated in 1989 that of a total of ca. 284 700 t theoret-ically available to Scottish processors, ca. 210 000 t were actually pro-cessed because of transfers to England [4, p. 24].Functionally related to the changing pattern of "sh production havebeen developments in processing and marketing. In essence "sh processingand distribution for long lagged behind much of the food industry inmodernising and in achieving greater e$ciency and scale economies. The19th and early 20th century situation was that "sh was one of the cheapestanimal protein foods. However, in later decades "shing has been a relat-ively small industry with di$culties in maintaining consistent suppliesand quality to the consumer; it had a disproportionate number of smallmerchants, processors and retailers, and for decades lost market share.Especially in earlier post-war decades it su!ered adversely from competi-tion from other types of animal protein food like meat, poultry and eggs asFish production in Scotland: J R Coull354living standards rose and purchasing power increased; and in the last15 years a scarcity factor has contributed to the rise in real price of "shbeing greater than of all other categories of food [7, p. 10]. In contrast withthis has been the considerable fall in price of farmed salmon, through scaleeconomies with expanding production.The position in the last decade in Britain is that the aggregate size of theprocessing industry has been stable, but that this has masked a changingstructure in which the run-down of primary processing has been counter-balanced by the growth of secondary processing [7, p. 1]. Linked to thishas been a growth in the average size of "rm. The pattern and the trend isin fact rather more complicated, as there are di!erent varieties of "sh andof methods of preparing them for the market. The main market sector inBritain for long has been, and continues to be, white "sh. Pelagics (whichare essentially herring and mackerel) are now of limited consequence,while shell "sh and farmed salmon have been notably rising in importance.As well as fresh and frozen "sh, Britain is noteworthy for having anexceptional choice of smoked "sh available at remarkably low pricescompared with the rest of the European Union, and the supply of smoked"sh is dominated by Scottish producers; however it remains largely tradi-tional in its outlets, and has made little impact on the main modern sectorof frozen products [8, p. 5].For white "sh in the 1980s there was some recovery in the relativeimportance of their place in the market, although in the 1990s their marketshare has #uctuated. As well as the development of new product lines, theindustry has certainly become more streamlined and better organised touse modern retail outlets, while changing perceptions and fashions haveseen a check in the decline of consumption and even some increase. Inparticular, the move away from red meat has to a limited extent provedfavourable to "sh.As late as the 1980s icing of "sh at sea was uneven, although it wasbetter in Scotland than in most of Britain; temperature control at mostport auctions was poor; and in summer especially there were serious lossesin quality along the distribution chain [9, pp. 29}30; 10, pp. 1}3]. Whilethese problems have only been partly overcome, recent data suggest thatvolume of sales in the fresh and chilled retail sector has stabilised, whilewith steady expansion frozen outlets now handle fully two-thirds of totalvolume. Built into these changes have been developments in the structureof marketing, with sharply increasing proportions going to supermarketsand catering outlets in the decade between 1985 and 1995 [7, p. iv]. Inhousehold purchases, by 1996 in Britain multiple outlets supplied over halfof all "sh (including frozen as well as fresh, chilled and smoked) and theshare of "sh mongers was down to ca. 12% compared with over 30% atthe start of the 1980s. In the traditional non-frozen sector by 1996 mul-tiples had over 50% of market share, and the share of "sh mongers haddeclined from one-half to little over one-quarter. Bigger processing "rmsand catering outlets are increasingly moving to minimise uncertainty insupply by obtaining "sh on contract arrangements and by-passing auc-tions. Contract arrangements are general in shell "sh, where the greaterdanger of spoilage encourages minimal delays between quayside andprocessing plant.In recent times prominent has been the contraction of primary process-ing, which has had a big proportion of small companies; but there has beenconsiderable growth of secondary processing in which the general size of"rm is bigger and pro"t margins higher. In the decade to 1995 while in realFish production in Scotland: J R Coull355terms the value of "sh sales increased 1%, value added by processing roseby 7% [7, p. v]. The expansion of secondary processing has increased thevariety and quality of convenience foods for the modern market with itemslike "sh steaks and breaded "llets. Also, prominent has been the expansionof the frozen sector, which as well as maintaining food value to the beste!ect, is also more popular with the modern consumer partly throughbeing available with other foods in supermarkets. There have been im-provements in "sh quality, stimulated by market requirements andfostered by European regulations on grading and of standards of "shmerchants premises; and these have accelerated the decline of smallmerchants and processors who have found it more di$cult to comply withmore stringent regulations.There has been in Britain some dispersal from the older establishedmain ports of "sh processing, and part of this has been an increase in theHighlands and Islands, largely in dealing with shell "sh. However, themain concentration of employment in processing is still in the northeastwith around 60% of total employment. In addition to being supplied bylandings at northeast ports, supplies are brought in from other parts ofScotland, especially from ports in the northwest. With the greater propor-tion of "shing e!ort now deployed to the west and northwest of Scotland,the ports of Kinlochbervie, Lochinver and Scrabster have become impor-tant sources of supply. Outside the northeast there are a number of otherconcentrations of processors showing a degree of regional specialisation.In Shetland the main activity is the freezing of white "sh "llets, althoughthis is now supplemented by packing of salmon, as well as by freezing ofherring and mackerel "llets, and canning and freezing of shell "sh. Thelesser concentration in the Stornoway district is mainly associated with theprocessing of shell "sh, as is the bigger concentration in the Ayr district,which includes all southwest Scotland.While northeast Scotland is the leading area of the UK in primary "shprocessing (which mainly includes cutting and "lleting), this is the sectorwith narrowest pro"t margins and it has been declining. Secondary pro-cessing (which includes breading, pre-cooking, freezing, etc.) adds morevalue and is more pro"table, and the Humber is still the leading Britisharea in secondary processing, although it now depends heavily on importsfrom other parts of Britain and abroad rather than local port landings.There has been continued growth in the market for farmed salmon inEurope as well as in Britain, and the Scottish industry has the dominantshare in the home market, and has also been increasing its exports toEurope. In the 1980s the home market for fresh salmon was expanding at17% p.a., and in the same decade exports multiplied over 10 times[4, p. 21]. Marketing of farmed salmon is more stream-lined than that ofcaptured "sh and in fact goes through a separate and distinct chain; it alsohas the distinct advantage of greater regularity in supply. In farmedsalmon a quality assurance scheme has been operated since 1985: it hassince been enhanced and is now internationally recognised, which isimportant as about half of total production is exported. The fact that ca.90% of farmed salmon is handled through eight or nine sales points hasbeen recognised as a source of strength [4, p. 21]. None the less there hasbeen an important underlying problem in that in the most recent phasegrowth in production capacity has been exceeding market growth, andprices have been depressed and pro"t margins cut. Behind this is a trendtowards a lower equilibrium price: there was between 1988 and 1996 anirregular fall from @4166 to @2350 per tonne (i.e. 39.3%) in average price.Fish production in Scotland: J R Coull356An important consequence of this has been that it has become morecompetitive vis-a -vis other "sh: in price it is now of the same order as thetraditional staples of haddock and cod, and has a de"nite price advantageover species like halibut, lemon sole and monk. A complication, however,has been the persistent threat to the industry of competition and under-cutting by the bigger Norwegian industry, and in recent years the highvalue of the pound has been a disadvantage to the marketing of salmon inEurope, as it has to agricultural produce generally. A further complicationis the length of the salmon life cycle at "ve years, which gives growers anobvious problem in keeping production in step with demand, although inboth Norway and Scotland in recent years there have been agreements toput curbs on production in order to promote market stabilisation. Moreimportant, the reaching of a minimum price agreement between the EUand Norway in 1997 promises to give a tangible measure of stability. Inany event, restrictions on the scale of individual farming enterprises inNorway has helped divert Norwegian investment to Scotland, and a con-siderable part of the Scottish industry is now Norwegian-owned. This hasallowed Norwegian interests in signi"cant degree to circumvent EU im-port duties. In the production of salmon upwards of three quarters ismarketed fresh, although there is also a specialised smoking sector; andmore recently an increasing proportion has gone into ready meals. In 1988it was estimated that the total employment in aquaculture was ca. 7000;in addition to employment of 1335 full-time and 448 part-time jobs onsalmon farms, there were ca. 5000 &downstream jobs, which includedca. 1800 in processing [4, p. 19].Fish consumption in Scotland shows some signi"cant di!erences fromother parts of Britain. This is made fairly clear from modern marketsurveys, which in addition to allowing the analysis of distribution andconsumption in some detail for the whole of the UK, also has considerablebreak down by regions. In this context &Scotland/Borders constitute oneregion, the main e!ect of which is to bracket Cumbria with Scotland. Themost prominent di!erences are in the household consumption of fresh "sh,where from long custom a full 50% of the fresh consumption in theScotland/Borders region consists of haddock, compared with just over20% for the UK as a whole. On the other hand Scottish householdconsumption in the fresh state of the modern luxury items of salmon andshell "sh are only a fraction of UK levels: in the case of salmon it is littlemore than one-third, and in the case of shell "sh it is about one-half.Survey data suggest that the structure of the national market for frozen"sh is more uniform, although they are compiled on a di!erent datamatrix, and a direct comparison with the patterns of fresh consumption isnot possible. Market surveys here do not distinguish between species, butbetween di!erent product lines like "llets and steaks. The indications arethat there are limited variations in household consumption of batteredand breaded items, "sh "ngers, "sh cakes, and "sh meals. Only in the caseof frozen natural "llets is there a notable di!erence, with the consumptionlevel in the Scotland/Borders region being less than half that for the wholeUK; and this is related to the easier availability of the fresh article.ConclusionsThe modern changes in the production of "sh in Scotland re#ect the e!ortsto come to terms with the modern problems of resource development,management and conservation; they also illustrate the responses toFish production in Scotland: J R Coull357References[1] Scottish Fisheries ProtectionAgency (SFPA), Annual Report and Ac-counts, 1996}97, HMSO, Edinburgh,1997.[2] J R Coull, &Shell "sheries in Scot-land: a case of transition from lowto high value, Scotland GeographicalMagazine vol. 113, 1997, pp. 168}176.[3] Scottish Shell"sh Farms: AnnualProduction Survey, 1996, p. 5.[4] Commission of the EuropeanCommunities, Regional Socio-Eco-nomic Study in the Fisheries Sector:;nited Kingdom, Scotland, NorthernIreland (RSESFS), Brussels, 1992.[5] A Stewart, &Controller of coastaloperations, Scottish Fisheries Protec-tion Agency, personal communication.[6] Grampian Regional Council(GRC) (nd), An Examination of rends inthe Origin,