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Fergus Ewing, pictured speaking at the Seafood Expo Global in Brussels, will open Aquaculture UK 2018. Photo: FFE
Fergus Ewing, pictured speaking at the Seafood Expo Global in Brussels, will open Aquaculture UK 2018. Photo: FFE

Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing will open the Aquaculture UK 2018 event in Aviemore later this month, it has been announced.

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Ewing is a keen supporter of Scottish salmon farming, and recently attended the Seafood Expo Global in Brussels where he gave a speech in which he said: “Our farmed salmon is worth a staggering £600 million and we fully support the plans for sustainable growth that the Industry Leadership Group have said to double production by 2030.”

He added: “I’d like to thank all of you who are here from companies in the farmed salmon sector.

“You are a real credit to Scotland and I, for one, am absolutely determined that the success of yesterday is going to be redoubled tomorrow as you continue to provide farmed salmon of the top quality all over the world.”

On Wednesday this week Ewing gave evidence to the Scottish Parliament’s Rural Economy and Connectivity committee, which has been conducting an inquiry into the best way forward for salmon farming, and reiterated his support for the sector and for sustainable growth.

Flying visit

Aquaculture UK is the biggest aquaculture event in the British Isles, and Ewing will open the two-day event on the morning of May 23.

Susan Tinch, who is managing the event, said Ewing was making the journey to Aviemore specifically to open the trade show.

“We’re delighted that Mr Ewing is making the effort to open the show,” said Tinch.

“It highlights the importance that the industry has at such a senior level of government. It’s a flying visit: he’s coming for an hour then he has to get back to Holyrood.”

Tinch said the number of people who had registered for Aquaculture UK had now passed 1,800, and there are 190 exhibitors, including some from as far afield as Australia and China.

“Mr Ewing’s visit highlights the UK as a centre of excellence for aquaculture,” said event director Matt Colvan. “It’s encouraging to see how much the Aquaculture UK event has grown in just a couple of years and leaves us even greater scope for Aquaculture UK 2020.”