The group consists of salmon and mussel producers and their representatives, politicians, equipment and service providers, researchers and fish processors.
The group will produce a strategy document, called the Scottish Aquaculture 2030 Vision for Growth, later this year. The document will back an ambitious vision for sustainable growth with practical recommendations, which the group intends to be time-bound for implementation. The strategy will cover the entire supply chain, including farming, equipment supply, infrastructure, processing, research & innovation, the role of the public sector, and marketing.
The report will feed into Scotland Food and Drink’s overall industry strategy for 2017-2030.
Co-chairing the group are Stewart Graham, MD of Gael Force Group, and Dennis Overton, Chair of Aquascot. Other members are Stuart Black, Highland Council; Gilpin Bradley, Wester Ross Salmon; Alasdair Ferguson, Ferguson Transport & Shipping; Heather Jones, Scottish Aquaculture Innovation Centre (SAIC); Anne MacColl, Scottish Salmon Producers Organisation (SSPO); Michael Tait, Shetland Mussels & Scottish Shellfish Marketing Group; and James Withers, Scotland Food & Drink.
Commenting on the initiative, Heather Jones – CEO of SAIC – told Fish Farming Expert: "SAIC is delighted to collaborate with industry as a member of the Aquaculture 2030 Vision for Growth group. Like Government, we recognise that innovation can drive productivity growth. As one of eight crucially important industries in the Scottish economy with a dedicated Innovation Centre, aquaculture can be an engine of growth, investment and employment in the Highlands and Islands. We want to foster – and fund – innovative, industry-led collaborations with our universities through to 2030 and beyond.”
Stewart Graham added: “There’s an opportunity for Scotland’s aquaculture sector to generate up to double its existing annual contribution to the Scottish economy. And it can do so in a way that continues to be sustainable socially, economically and environmentally.
“With industry and public-sector leadership on this, the gains can be significant, long-term and wide-reaching – benefitting all of the wider stakeholder group including local communities and young people, as well as Scotland plc.”
Over the coming months, the group will gather evidence and recommendations from a wide range of stakeholders in Scottish aquaculture. It proposes to produce an ambitious strategy report which seeks to identify the specific actions required to capture the full value opportunity in the autumn of 2016.
According to Dennis Overton: “We intend this report to inspire ambition and follow-up from multiple stakeholders in Scottish aquaculture – among them, SMEs, multinationals, industry organisations, government, public bodies and investors. All these stakeholders have a part to play in generating substantial growth to 2030, and the report will provide them with the vision, the map and the tools to do so.”