The initiative follows requests by industry representatives at behind-closed-doors aquaculture supply chain summit held in Edinburgh in April 2019.
It brought together 83 suppliers, producers and representatives of the public sector to identify how to accelerate sustainable inclusive growth across the industry and its supply chain.
Presentations, live polling and facilitated round-table discussions focused on generating new ideas, with competitors exploring opportunities to collaborate.
Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) has now commissioned contractors, Risk and Policy Analysts Ltd (RPA), to take forward the collaboration group project.
RPA will work with the industry to define the scope of the group, how it will create value and benefit for its planned membership and how it will have continuing purpose.
This could include creating new business opportunities and attracting investment, influencing and responding to national and global circumstances and dynamics, and long-term planning to support sustainable growth.
In the coming weeks RPA will be contacting aquaculture supply companies and industry bodies across Scotland. The RPA team includes Quercus, a Danish company with expertise in cluster formation, a particularly powerful format for business collaborations.
The aim is to secure an aquaculture supply chain cluster that will operate competitively and achieve success in growing the industry, at national and international levels.
Opportunity for growth
Rural economy secretary Fergus Ewing, who attended last year’s summit, said: “Aquaculture is crucial for Scotland’s economy and as we can see from this announcement, there is significant opportunity for further sustainable growth through collaboration and innovation. This project is an excellent initiative to help unlock that added value in the Scottish supply chain.
“Now more than ever, as we work to restart our economy sustainably after Covid-19, it’s crucial we do all we can to create new business opportunities and attract investment to help this sector reach its full potential.”
Speed and flexibility
David Oxley, HIE’s director of business growth, said aquaculture was a hugely important industry in Scotland, particularly the Highlands and Islands, and an extremely valuable source of skilled career opportunities, particularly for young people.
“Discussions at the summit last year highlighted a need for more speed, flexibility and adaptability, across the industry while maintaining high quality standards,” said Oxley.
“This project is about addressing those needs and boosting collaboration and innovation in a way that helps our aquaculture sector grow to its full potential.”