“After 34 years in harness,” he tells Fish Farming Expert, “it’s a new experience.”
Alan began his aquaculture career in trout before moving on to salmon, including four years in North America with Pan Fish Canada, and is now operating as a freelance aquaculture consultant.
His current project, which is being launched today, is sounding out the Scottish industry about their desire to establish a Centre of Excellence for aquaculture – a project he’s undertaking on behalf of the Scottish Aquaculture Innovation Centre (SAIC).
A founding director of SAIC, Alan believes that such a centre could help to speed up the growth of Scottish aquaculture.
“We felt it was a good time to take a sounding from all 4 aquaculture sectors – salmon, trout, shellfish and other species – to find out whether they might be willing to contribute financially in some way and help to develop a business plan to help grow the industry.
“If you look at other aquaculture countries they all have centralised R&D back-up, while it’s all a bit fragmented here.”
The exact nature of the centre, should it be established, is still unknown but, as Alan reflects: “It could either be a physical building or a network of existing institutions.”
Alan is keen to point out that the centre is by no means a fait accompli, but he has heard encouraging noises from his extensive industry contacts do date.
“I’ve not got 4-6 weeks and will be using all my existing contacts from within the industry and the entire value chain will be consulted before I produce a report.”
As for his plans for the future?
“I’ll be open to other aquaculture opportunities – both in Scotland and abroad,” he reflects.