Scottish Sea Farms, an industry partner of both the Scottish Aquaculture Innovation Centre (SAIC) and the University of Stirling’s Institute of Aquaculture, has been crowned winner of the Scottish Food & Drink Excellence Award for Innovation for its pioneering sea lice control project.
Involving the co-habitation of farmed salmon with commercially-farmed wrasse that eat sea lice, the £4.05m project is a collaboration between Scottish Sea Farms, Marine Harvest Scotland, the Institute of Aquaculture and feed manufacturer BioMar, and was the very first project to be co-funded by SAIC.
Instrumental in initiating the collaboration, Scottish Sea Farms was praised by judges for improving the quality of its own products while at the same time creating a new commercial opportunity for the whole industry.
The company also went on to win the Business of the Year, known as the ‘champion of champion’ award for results above and beyond those recognised in the individual categories.
Commenting on the award wins, Jim Gallagher, Managing Director of Scottish Sea Farms and SAIC Board member, said: “Producing exceptionally nutritious salmon whilst maintaining best environmental practice is at the heart of everything we do at Scottish Sea Farms: from our expert husbandry and premium feeds, to our use of cleaner fish to help keep stocks in optimum health.
“To be recognised by an awards scheme as highly regarded as the Scottish Food & Drink Excellence Awards for both our commitment to commercial innovation drawing on the best of Scottish research know-how, and as Business of the Year from across the entire food and drink industry, is a huge honour. It also serves as further encouragement to all of us working in the sector to continue innovating in order to grow the profitability of Scottish salmon, creating and sustaining jobs around Scotland’s coastline.”
Joining Scottish Sea Farms at the awards ceremony were representatives from both SAIC and the University of Stirling. Professor Gerry McCormac, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Stirling said: “Having witnessed first-hand the exceptionally high level of entries, it was fantastic to see the work of Scottish Sea Farms – and by association, the different partners involved – be crowned outright winner. The event also provided a valuable opportunity to hear direct from industry collaborators the benefits that SAIC and the Institute of Aquaculture bring to the sector.”
Added SAIC CEO, Heather Jones: “The award win gives a strong flavour as to why Scottish Sea Farms is one of Scotland’s most successful seafood businesses. The company has a long-term commitment to innovation and a broad vision to grow the industry. It is a leading light in the sector, driving novel approaches and positive change.
“Working with the team on the cleaner fish project is an immensely insightful and rewarding experience, creating shared learning between academic researchers and industry practitioners. This project is already delivering value to Scottish Sea Farms and other companies in Scotland, and the benefits will extend to supporting the growth of Scottish aquaculture as a whole.”
Also successful on the night was SAIC consortium member company Loch Fyne Oysters which won the Investing in People Award.