Key Sector Organisations

There are many organisation involved throughout the key sectors active in the Moray Firth as well as varied interest groups representing all aspects of life around the Firth. These include environmental, social and industry bodies as well as the public bodies. The Partnership involves and works closely with many of these to promote a more integrated approach.

To find out more about the organisation involved with Managing the Firth please see the Moray Firth Directory. For more information on the key sectors themselves please follow the links below to the Active and Productive section of the web site.

Ports and Shipping
The Firth has around 25 historic ports and harbours scattered the length of the coastline. It is the northern outlet of the Caledonian Canal system. The majority of these are fishing ports but some, especially in the inner Firths, have been very important for trade and military purposes.

Business and Industry
The Moray Firth is has long been a centre for economic activity in the north of Scotland. Its fine harbours and fertile soils have enabled a wide variety of productive activities. In the past, trade across the North Sea gave the area an international prominence, which has declined more recently. Its strategic location and deep water has given it a military significance. 

Oil and Gas
Exploitable oil reserves were discovered in the North Sea in the late 1960's and since then the extraction and processing of oil has boosted the economy of the whole of the north east of Scotland.

Renewable Energy
The Moray Firth has a key opportunity to contribute to the renewables future for the UK as a whole and Scotland in particular. Scotland is uniquely positioned to exploit the opportunity presented by the global commitment to renewable energy and low carbon technology, and has around a quarter of Europe's potential offshore wind resources. Our strong offshore winds provide the ideal conditions for technology which can harness this powerful resource.

Fishing is one of the oldest industries in the Moray Firth, dating from as far back as 8,000 years ago when hunter-gatherers followed the coast in search of food, surviving primarily on fish and shellfish. Many of the region's coastal towns grew as the fishing industry grew and their fortunes continue to be closely linked to the industry.

Aquaculture and Shellfish
Aquaculture currently has a low profile in the Moray Firth. There are no active licensed finfish farms located within the Inner Moray Firth or SAC. The last operational fish farm was situated in the bay at Avoch in the Inverness Firth and closed in 2002. There is only one shellfish farm but it is currently not operational. There is a classified shellfish harvesting area and exploited natural mussel beds in the Dornoch Firth. The Scottish Government's Locational Guidelines for Marine Fish Farming make a general presumption against further development of finfish farms off the east coast of mainland Scotland.  £22million worth of shellfish is landed annually from the Moray Firth, much of which is exported. Norway Lobster (Nephrops) is now the most important commercial fishing in the Firth.

Agriculture and Forestry
The coastal plain of the Moray Firth is fertile and contains some of the best agricultural areas in Scotland. The area is famous for the production of barley for malting and seed potatoes for export. The Moray Firth has many forests which are important to the economy, the environment and for recreation.