Nathan Pyne-Carter at Ace Aquatec's Dundee headquarters, now home to a Queen’s Award for Enterprise Innovation. Photo: FFE.

Looking back, thinking ahead: Nathan Pyne-Carter

Fish Farming Expert has asked well-known figures in the Scottish salmon farming industry about their high and low points of 2018, and what they hope for in 2019.Today we feature Nathan Pyne-Carter, managing director of award-winning aquaculture supplier Ace Aquatec.

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What was your best moment / occasion of 2018?

For both me personally and for the profile of the business it was probably collecting the Queen’s Award for Enterprise Innovation at Buckingham Palace. We received the award for the significant positive impact our acoustic seal deterrents have made to the Scottish economy. Much of this past year was spent on the development of newer products like our electric stunner and 3D biomass camera, but this award for our earliest innovation was a touching recognition of how far we’ve come since Ace Aquatec’s co-founder John Ace Hopkins first saw potential in the idea almost 20 years ago.

And what was the worst?

We’ve had a busy, at many times hectic, year but I’m not sure anything stands out as a “worst” moment. There are always challenges you learn from, though, and things I’d do differently in future. We had a few head-scratching moments figuring out some new customs processes; almost lost a brand new photography drone at sea; and recently had 48 hours to find a storage space for a new product component the size of a car that was unexpectedly delivered to our office.  So, no worst moment, but if those issues don’t come up again next year I won’t complain!

What's the one thing you'd most like to see happen to benefit salmon farming in 2019?

The farmers we work with are all sharply focused on the welfare of the animals they interact with and the long-term sustainability of the wider industry.  My hope for 2019 is that we all – both farmers and suppliers – continue striving towards the most sustainable farming practices, and that the industry supports the media to help consumers see our strong environmental commitment. Food security is going to be one of the biggest global challenges over the next 30 years and aquaculture has such huge potential as a solution. Fostering the best possible public perception will give the industry the best chance to accelerate growth.

Tomorrow: Heather Jones, chief executive of the Scottish Aquaculture Innovation Centre.