Aquaculture UK attracted more than 2,600 visitors over three days. Photo: Diversified Communications UK.

Visitor numbers up by 9% at Aquaculture UK

Trade show Aquaculture UK, which took place in Aviemore this week, attracted more than 2,600 visitors – 9% more than when the event was last held in 2018, organiser Diversified Communications UK said today.

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It was the first time Diversified had run the show and event director Cheri Arvonio said it had exceeded the company’s highest expectations.

“There was a real buzz about this unique event and the feedback we have had so far from exhibitors and visitors has been incredible,” said Arvonio.

Building on success

“Aquaculture UK certainly lived up to its reputation as the UK’s number one exhibition for the aquaculture community and we are already looking forward to building on this year’s success as we plan for the next gathering in 2024.”

Diversified was due to stage its first Aquaculture UK in 2020 after buying the event from owner Benchmark Holdings, but that event was first postponed and then cancelled because of Covid-19.

Mairi Gougeon cuts the ribbon to open Aquaculture UK. Photo: FFE.

Regulatory reform

This year’s show was opened by Scotland’s Rural Affairs Secretary, Mairi Gougeon, on Tuesday. The minister than took the opportunity to announce the Scottish Government’s response to an industry review that will reform regulation for salmon farmers.

Gougeon pledged “rapid progress” on streamlining the current regulatory system and will personally oversee a new strategy forum, a move welcomed by the salmon farming and supply chain body, Salmon Scotland.

“The strong message coming from Aviemore is that we must all work together to deliver this vision,” said Salmon Scotland chief executive Tavish Scott.

New voices

Salmon Scotland held its annual general meeting in Aviemore during the three-day show, and elected two new members to its board from the supply chain. Ben Wilson, managing director of Inverlussa Marine Services, and Jarl van den Berg, general manager of Hendrix Genetics, will represent suppliers as Salmon Scotland expands its membership to reflect the expected growth of the sector over the coming years.

Another supplier, Gael Force Group, unveiled plans to develop a semi-closed containment prototype for post-smolt or full grow-out.

From left: Fjord Maritime chief commercial officer Oyvind Bakke, sales and marketing manager Torstein Nygaard and chief executive Vidar Rabben at the Gael Force stand at Aquaculture UK. Photo: FFE.

Hybrid barges

And hybrid power specialist Fjord Maritime, which supplied the battery technology for Gael Force’s first hybrid feed barge, confirmed it was opening an office in Scotland to meet expected demand for hybrid units.

Devon-based Coastal Workboats also revealed plans to move its fish farm vessel building operations to Scotland, with the creation of 50 jobs. The boatbuilder’s Brian Pogson told Fish Farming Expert that it expected to build four workboats a year at Malin Group’s new site on the Clyde.

Blue Impact

As in previous years, Aquaculture UK provided a platform for product launches, and BioMar made the most of the big turnout on Wednesday to showcase its first salmon feed under the Blue Impact brand. BioMar Salmon Division vice-president Paddy Campbell said the company would develop and select lower impact ingredients for its most sustainable feed to date.

And Scottish company R3-IoT launched Connected Seafarm, its end-to-end data services solution for the aquaculture sector, which offers automatic, continuous data collection.

Alongside the exhibition, business was also brisk inside the conference tent, with speakers and expert panels drawn from across the sector to discuss everything from certification standards, to blood sampling disease diagnostics, to breeding cleaner fish with bolder personalities.