Cunningham was speaking at the opening of the Association of Scottish Shellfish Growers’ annual conference in Oban yesterday.
She pointed out that marketing of Scottish produce was invariably done on images of Scotland. “We are using our environment as a marketing tool so we have a responsibility to make sure it is grounded in reality,” said the minister.
Cunningham said aquaculture not only had to be sustainable, but also diverse and viable.
Access to foreshore
She said financial support was going to be crucial to developing businesses, adding that since 2016 the shellfish industry has had £35 million from the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund.
The minister also acknowledged concern among some shellfish farmers about difficulties maintaining access to the foreshore.
Day one of the conference heard from a variety of speakers including nutritionist Bauke de Roos from the Rowett Institute in Aberdeen, who highlighted the various health-benefitting properties of shellfish.
Today’s programme includes a talk on the role of Crown Estate Scotland and sessions on environment and stewardship and Scottish industry developments.