Scotland calls the tune at Aqua Nor

Norwegian bagpiper draws attention to Scottish Pavilion as minister says: We’re here to make an impact

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Scotland loudly announced its presence at the world’s biggest fish farming trade fair, Aqua Nor, today with the help of a Norwegian bagpiper.

Øvind Luckow began playing in the reception area of the event’s Trondheim venue and led the way through one of the main exhibition areas to the Scottish Pavilion, where 16 small and medium sized businesses and institutions are promoting their products and services.

Scotland’s Rural Affairs Secretary Mairi Gougeon, whose ministerial brief includes aquaculture, gave the speech to declare the Pavilion open.

£85,000 funding

“The Pavilion is the result of partnership working between the public sector with private enterprise, and I am absolutely delighted to be here today to support the Scottish SMEs who are looking for those new trade opportunities.

“The Pavilion is supported by £85,000 of funding from the Marine Fund Scotland, allowing Scottish businesses to locate together to show off our innovation and science capabilities, and really try to make an impact.”

The minister added: “By working to together to really deliver our shared ambitions for Scotland’s supply chain, we’ve delivered a programme of events which would have been impossible to deliver as individual organisations. As you can tell from our entrance (with the piper) we want to spread the word, we want to make an impact, and that’s why we want to invite you all to engage with Team Scotland over the coming days.”

Mairi Gougeon gave the speech opening the Scottish Pavilion.

Innovation Nation

The programme includes presentations by exhibitors at the Scottish Pavilion, plus an Innovation Nation session tomorrow, which will explore the delivery of research and development technology and the role R&D can play.

“I can’t think of a more appropriate platform than Aqua Nor to highlight the importance of collaboration to advance technology, research, and innovation, because Aqua Nor brings these key elements together under one roof and creates new opportunities for working effectively together to really try to grow a thriving, sustainable aquaculture sector delivering solutions to address the nature and climate crises while also providing a healthy, responsibly sourced food.

“Many of the opportunities and challenges are, of course, shared. Aqua Nor provides us with that unique opportunity to harness the power of the public sector and private enterprise working together to encourage international collaboration.”

Gougeon said aquaculture was a hugely important sector for Scotland and underpins a bustling and growing supply chain, 76% of which in purchased within Scotland.

“We’re making progress on sustainable growth. There is of course always more to do, but I’m really encouraged that Scotland achieved record production of Scottish Atlantic salmon in 2021 of just over 205,000 tonnes.

Important sector

“Everyone here recognises how hugely important aquaculture is to Scotland’s economy, and that’s why the Scottish Government will continue to support the sustainable growth of this vital industry.”

Gougeon said that as well as the farming sector, the entrepreneurial and innovative supply sector also shines in its own light and is taking huge strides forward.

“Many valuable and skilled jobs are created in delivering the technologies of the future, the integration of machine learning and AI in production, for example, and many of the companies participating in Aqua Nor are at the forefront of transferring skills and knowledge between sectors,” added the minister.

“The innovation taking place across aquaculture’s supply chain is something I personally try to raise awareness of. Each of us to overcome challenges and to really build on the strengths of public, private and enterprise collaborative working.”

Inward investment

Gougeon said she was really excited by some of the technology on show at the Scottish Pavilion.

“Our ambition for Scotland is to be a leading destination for inward investment, recognising the value that it brings to our economy and the benefits that it can bring to businesses in terms of access to global technology, markets, talent, and finance.

“Equally, we’re aiming to substantially grow Scotland’s export performance through delivery of our trading nation plan. Aquaculture and its supply chain are uniquely placed to contribute to both, playing to our strengths and with an understanding of where those opportunities lie.”