Developing the Blue Economy, sustaining coastal communities.

Marine Photo

  • Developing Regional Marine Plans
  • A new, world-leading approach to management of our sea fisheries
  • Continued to support the sustainable growth of the aquaculture sector

Innovation, Technology and Skills

The Highlands and Islands of Scotland are uniquely placed to take advantage of the considerable growth potential in the marine economy. The region has extremely valuable natural assets, including 61% of the UK coastline, combined with innovative businesses, outstanding research capability, a skilled workforce and an international reputation and market reach. The potential of the marine economy has already been demonstrated within the wave and tidal energy sector by the world-leading The European Marine Energy Centre in Orkney, and there is now a significant opportunity to build on this through an increased focus on aquaculture and marine biotechnology.

Building on Highlands and Islands Enterprise’s “MAXiMAR” Science and Innovation audit, HIE will seek to maximise the region’s marine innovation, technology and skills, not only for the benefit of the Highlands and Islands, but for the whole of the UK.

Regional Marine Plans

We are developing Regional Marine Plans which are delegated to partnerships at a local level leading to increased local transparency. The Regional Marine Plans can focus on the specific rural issues in their region.

Offshore Wind

We will continue to support the expansion of offshore wind through providing new guidance to industry on licensing and decommissioning, as well as providing a further £2 million this year to support innovation and help reduce costs.


We are developing a new approach to fisheries management in partnership with the fishing industry and other stakeholders, establishing a world leading, sustainable fisheries management strategy, with inclusive economic growth at its heart. We also continue to support the sustainable growth of the aquaculture sector through joint work with the Aquaculture Industry Leadership Group, collaboration with other key regulators such as SEPA, SNH and local planning authorities to improve regulatory processes, development of the farmed fish health framework and through support for the Scottish Aquaculture Innovation Centre.

We have supported maritime business and coastal communities through the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund, with £54m having been awarded since January 2016.

Key resources:

Scottish Government: Marine Planning

The European Marine Energy Centre

Aquaculture Scotland

Scottish Aquaculture

Offshore wind, wave and tidal energy applications: consenting and licensing manual