A new two-phase scoping study, initiated by the Scottish Aquaculture Innovation Centre (SAIC) in partnership with Highlands and Island Enterprise (HIE), will launch later this week at Aquaculture UK, canvassing industry opinion on a proposed Centre of Excellence.
As lead sponsors of Aquaculture UK 2016, SAIC will launch phase one of the scoping study via live polling on Wednesday 25 May, followed by a dedicated interactive session on Thursday 26 May – part of ‘The aquavation sessions.’
Comments SAIC’s Aquaculture Innovation Director Jason Cleaversmith: “Aquaculture is a hugely important industry, both for Scotland’s economy and its communities. It’s also a highly ambitious industry, with producers keen to increase production to meet growing global demand for protein sources. A national Centre of Excellence would help fulfil those growth ambitions, whether it be a single facility or a node that links to existing facilities around the country. We’re not going into this with any preconceived ideas – we want to find out what the industry needs in order to grow towards 2030 and beyond.”
Phase two of the scoping study will see independent consultant and former MD of Marine Harvest Scotland Alan Sutherland meet with, and seek the opinion of, a cross-section of the Scottish aquaculture industry: from producers, processors and equipment suppliers, to government agencies, academia and other relevant stakeholders.
“Everyone involved in Scottish aquaculture wants to see the sector produce more, export more, employ more people, generate more revenue and be an even greater success – something that a dedicated Centre of Excellence for aquaculture can help bring about,” says Alan. “Early feedback suggests there’s a lot of support for the concept and I’m confident that this scoping study will reinforce that.”
The full findings of the scoping study will be summarised in a formal report, to be shared with the sector, along with recommendations on the best way forward.
Complementing the Centre of Excellence scoping study, SAIC and HIE are also working with independent consultants Imani Development on a foresighting exercise to map Scottish aquaculture priorities through to 2030. Says Jason: “Key growth opportunities, emerging technologies, gaps and constraints – these are just some of the issues we are seeking industry opinion on in order to identify the critical success factors required for smart, sustainable growth through to 2030 and highlight the priorities for innovation and investment.”