SAIC innovation and engagement director Sarah Riddle will give a talk on funding as part of a busy conference programme at Aviemore.

Array of experts lined up for Aquaculture UK conference

The organiser of Aquaculture UK has published details of the conference programme running parallel to the sold-out trade show in Aviemore in May.

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Diversified Communications said the conference speakers reflect not just the scope of the industry but its capacity to adapt, and the focus in the conference tent will be on the advances that have been driving change since the last in-person Aquaculture UK event, held in 2018.

Innovation and sustainability are the key themes of the conference opening session on Tuesday, May 3, featuring presentations from the ASC (Aquaculture Stewardship Council), Stirling’s Institute of Aquaculture, and SAIC (Sustainable Aquaculture Innovation Centre).

Ally Dingwall will outline changes at the ASC.

Sustainable aquaculture

Alastair Dingwall, formerly Sainsbury’s head of seafood, will outline changes over the past two years at the ASC, where he is senior director of technical operations. Dingwall, who began his career in salmon farming at Marine Harvest (now Mowi), has long been an advocate of sustainable aquaculture and will discuss the ASC’s role in ensuring responsible farming.

The Institute of Aquaculture’s new head, Professor Simon MacKenzie, will talk about research supporting the industry’s sustainable growth. MacKenzie will also provide an update on the creation of the National Aquaculture Technology and Innovation Hub in Stirling.

SAIC chief executive Heather Jones and innovation and engagement director Sarah Riddle will address the conference on, respectively, the impact of innovation and the funding structure.

SAIC is also hosting a Women in Scottish Aquaculture (WiSA) breakfast, with Teresa Garzon - WiSA chair and manager at fish health consultancy PatoGen - leading the networking event to promote diversity in the workplace.

Ian Carr will speak about alternative ingredients.

Algal oil

The conference’s opening session is sponsored by Dutch science-led company DSM and omega-3-rich algal oil producer Veramaris, a joint venture of DSM and German chemical giant Evonik.

Veramaris’ global business development director Ian Carr, and DSM’s global aqua marketing director Louise Buttle will introduce a session on how alternative ingredients – such as algal oil – can contribute to the sustainable growth of aquaculture.

From Swansea University, Sara Barrento will showcase the practical tools that can be deployed to improve the welfare of lumpfish, one of the cleaner fish species used as biological pest control on farms.

Portuguese feed specialist Sparos will offer further insights into how fish can be fed more sustainably during their session on Wednesday afternoon.

Alan Tinch will speak about the future of gene editing in aquaculture.

Gene editing

Meanwhile, the future of gene editing in aquaculture is the subject of a talk by Alan Tinch, vice-president of genetics at the Centre for Aquaculture Technologies (CAT) and former technical services director for salmon ova producer Benchmark Genetics Ltd. As well as looking at the advantages of targeted gene editing in emerging farmed aquatic species, Tinch will explain how genetic science can develop improved strains with better disease resistance.

Also from CAT, director of fish health Mark Braceland will consider the benefits and limitations of in-tank fish health and nutrition.

The importance of biosecurity measures and how to implement them will be tackled by Asbjørn Husby, senior engineer at water treatment specialist Xylem, with an overview of recent research on the sensitivity of salmon pathogens to ultraviolet (UV) light.

Chilean innovators

And, in a special session, the Chilean Embassy will present contributions from five of the country’s top aquaculture innovators, sharing their technological expertise in the sector, their experience working with domestic and international markets, and their view of the Scottish industry.

The Aquaculture UK exhibition and conference, both free to attend, will be held at the Macdonald Resort in Aviemore, Scotland, from Tuesday, May 3 to Thursday, May 5, 2022. Show opening times: Tuesday, 12pm - 5pm; Wednesday, 9am – 5pm; Thursday, 9am – 3pm. To find out more about Aquaculture UK visit