Collins C, Bresnan E, Brown L, Falconer L, Guilder J, Jones L, Kennerley A, Malham S, Murray A & Stanley M (2020) Impacts of climate change on aquaculture. In: MCCIP Science Review 2020. Lowestoft: Marine Climate Change Impacts, p. 482–520. http://archive.mccip.org.uk/media/2031/21_aquaculture_2020.pdf; https://doi.org/10.14465/2020.arc21.aqu
Aquaculture is a significant industry in UK coastal waters, with annual turnover valued at more than £1.8bn. It particularly important in western and northern Scotland.
• Aquaculture is sensitive to the marine environment and changes therein.
• The dominant contribution of a single species (Atlantic salmon) to production tonnage and value potentially increases vulnerability to climate change.
• Temperature increase is expected to increase growth rates for most species farmed.
• Increased problems associated with some diseases and parasites, notably sea lice and gill disease (which has emerged as a serious problem), are likely to increase in the short term and to get worse in the longer term. Impacts may be synergistic.
• Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs) and jellyfish swarms/invasions may also get worse, however complex ecosystem interactions make responses uncertain.
• The situation for shellfish is similar to finfish, although they are additionally at risk of accumulation of toxins from HABs, and recruitment failure, and, in the longer term, to sea-level rises and ocean acidification.
• Technical and management changes in the rapidly evolving aquaculture industry make long-term impacts of climate change difficult to forecast.