The farming of marine finfish species such as cod and halibut is playing an important role in helping plug the gap between supply and demand, the annual conference of the British Marine Finfish Association heard in Shetland.

BMFA secretary Richard Slaski told delegates that consumer demand for fish was continuing to rise and aquaculture held the key in making up the shortfall from wild capture fisheries.

Recent figures from the UNFAO showed that nearly half the fish consumed as food worldwide are now raised on fish farms.

"The health benefits of eating fish combined with its taste make it one of the most sought after foods," Slaski said. "Aquaculture is playing an increasingly important role in helping meet demand and this growth is set to continue."

He praised Shetland-based Johnson Seafarms for its pioneering work in cod farming and said it provided a perfect example of how outside capital investment in fish farming can help the sector to grow.