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A workshop looking into sustainable feeds was deemed to be such a success by its organiser, the Scottish Aquaculture Innovation Centre (SAIC), that a follow-up “series” is already being planned to take place in 2016.

SAIC’s Jason Cleaver-Smith explained to Fish Farming Expert that the event, co-sponsored by SRUC, and taking place at the Roslin Institute (outside Edinburgh) last week, had been heavily oversubscribed, was full to capacity and attracted delegates from across most of Scotland’s supply chain; including Marine Harvest, The Scottish Salmon Company, Scottish Sea Farms and Loch Duart; feed producers Ewos and BioMar; the genetics specialist Landcatch; and even representatives from top UK retailers M&S, Morrisons and Sainsbury’s.

It received good feedback from the fish farming sector too: “Gareth Butterfield, from Marine Harvest, spoke to me after the event and was very enthusiastic about the associated opportunities,” Jason said.

The event was largely a comparison of the aquaculture, pig and poultry industries – a way of making the salmon sector aware of the research areas being undertaken in these other intensive production systems.

“Everyone – be they in the aqua, pig or poultry sectors – has a lot to learn,” Jason observed, “but although we all have common challenges, there are a number of areas – such as the link between genetics, nutrition and the gut microbiome, for example – where the pig and poultry industries are undoubtedly further ahead.

“On the other hand, our FCRs are the best in the market place, so both sides can learn from each other,” he continued.

“It was the start of a dialogue that’s going to continue from here,” Jason reflected, “and although lice remain SAIC’s number one priority we would hope to help fund at least a couple of transformational feed projects in 2016.”