Food and drink

Delegates gather for aquaculture summit

Around 90 delegates from Scotland’s aquaculture industry gather at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre today (Thursday 25 April) to debate how to accelerate the sector’s growth.

The aquaculture supply chain summit has been organised by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) in partnerships with Scottish Government, Marine Scotland and the Scottish Aquaculture Innovation Centre (SAIC).

It brings together producer companies, a range of supply chain businesses active in the sector and public agencies.

Also attending is Fergus Ewing, Cabinet Secretary for the Rural Economy and member of the Aquaculture Industry Leadership Group. 

Delegates will discuss how the supply chain can keep abreast of growth opportunities and overcome constraints. They will explore commercial collaboration as a model for maximising resources and accelerating growth, while safeguarding each company’s own competitive advantage.

Industry delegates have fed into the agenda, which links in to the Aquaculture 2030 strategy and the Farmed Fish Health Framework. They will focus on opportunities and challenges in developing production and supply chain excellence, as well as increasing export activity and product and service innovation through strategic collaboration.

A motivational speaker Virginia Sumsion addressed delegates over a pre-summit dinner last night (Wednesday) to stimulate ideas on competitor collaboration and encourage dialogue between delegates. Professional firm, Facilitate This!, will support industry led discussion throughout today’s summit.

The ‘Value of Aquaculture to Scotland’ research found that 12,022 jobs across Scotland were dependent on the aquaculture industry, generating £620 million in gross value added and providing wages worth £314 million.   For every job in primary production there are five jobs in the supply businesses, which demonstrates the importance of the whole value chain.

Fisheries Secretary Fergus Ewing said:

“I am delighted that we have managed to encourage so many influential people to attend the summit today. The continuing uncertainty around Brexit means that it’s more important than ever for those involved in the aquaculture supply chain to use opportunities like this to meet and share concerns, and agree on how we can work together to protect and enhance this important sector. I’m certain that by working collaboratively, we can continue to ensure a sustainable future for aquaculture in Scotland.’

David Oxley, director of business and sector development at HIE, said:

“Scotland’s geography, and specifically that of the Highlands and Islands, creates a natural advantage for aquaculture production.  The industry provides good quality employment opportunities in some of our most rural communities and makes a range of wider impacts in areas where business activities are located. We look forward to the outcomes from this summit, and to continuing to work with the aquaculture sector to stimulate and accelerate new business growth both at home and overseas.”

Heather Jones, chief executive at SAIC, said:

“Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) play an absolutely critical role in the aquaculture supply chain. We believe they will also be integral in delivering the tremendous potential for sustainable growth in the industry during the years to come. Although more than half of our consortium members are SMEs and we have dedicated support for these kinds of companies, we’re keen to get even more of them involved in our co-funded innovation projects. We look forward to meeting and working with many SME representatives at the aquaculture supply chain summit.” 

Photo caption: 

L-R is: Amanda Stott, Facilitate This!, Jason Cleaversmith, AKVA; Julie Hesketh-Laird, SSPO; Mike Forbes, Ace Aquatec; David Gregory, SAIC; Alban Denton, Loch Durat; Fergus Ewing, Scottish Government; Elaine Jamieson, HIE; Stewart Graham, Gael Force; Jim Gallagher, Scottish Sea Farms; Alistair Ferguson, Ferguson Transport; John Marshall, Benchmark Holdings PLC.  

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