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The Cornish Seaweed Company is a seaweed food producer and supplier which aims to develop a technologically advanced, sustainable land-based cultivation system to grow high demand edible seaweeds. Image: SIF.
The Cornish Seaweed Company is a seaweed food producer and supplier which aims to develop a technologically advanced, sustainable land-based cultivation system to grow high demand edible seaweeds. Image: SIF.

The UK Seafood Innovation Fund (SIF) has awarded £1.29 million to 28 new projects in its most recent round of funding, the UK government-funded body announced today.

The projects have been awarded between £13,600 and £50,000 to fund feasibility studies into ideas designed to improve the sustainability and resilience of the UK fishing, aquaculture, and seafood sectors.

Projects include Recycling Ocean Resources, which aims to use chitin - a substance extracted from the shells of certain shellfish - to create carbon for battery storage technology.

Another, The Cornish Seaweed Company, is developing a land-based cultivation system which could enable the expansion of the sustainable seaweed market, while a project led by Mimica Lab is adapting existing technology used to reduce waste in the meat industry for the seafood sector.

Heather Jones:
Heather Jones: "SIF has enabled all sorts of innovations."

Range of innovations

“SIF has enabled all sorts of innovations looking to boost the UK’s blue foods, from prawns to trout, seaweed to salmon,” said SIF Steering Group member Heather Jones, who is chief executive of Stirling-based Sustainable Aquaculture Innovation Centre (SAIC).

“The fund supports sustainable food production, with projects ranging from proving novel feed ingredients for farmed fish, to repurposing waste from shellfish production, to using renewable energy to run fish farms. I am excited to see what benefits are realised from the feasibility projects we have funded.”

Smaller stunner

Dundee-based aquaculture technology developer Ace Aquatec is among companies that have benefited from SIF.

“The SIF funding we have received has allowed us to further develop our Humane Stunner Universal technology,” said the company’s product coordinator Katie Patullo. With support from SIF, the company is now developing a compact humane stunner for small-scale aquaculture set-ups.

Patullo added: “The impact that this new product will have on welfare in smaller scale farms is immeasurable, and is the right step for a future of sustaining and growing aquaculture humanely and ethically.”

High-quality applications

Among the 28 funded studies, five focus on sustainability, eight on aquaculture, and seven on seafood processing and the supply chain.

“We were really pleased to receive such high-quality applications to our third funding call. It is great to be able to support a range of innovative projects through this Fund, aiming to improve the sustainability and future resilience of the UK fishing, aquaculture and seafood sectors,” said Fiona Lettice, pro-vice-chancellor research and innovation, University of East Anglia (UEA) and chair of the SIF Steering Group.