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The former MD of Marine Harvest Scotland is currently seeking feedback from the industry.
The former MD of Marine Harvest Scotland is currently seeking feedback from the industry.

Alan Sutherland, who recently left Marine Harvest after 9 years at the helm, is relishing the relative freedom of a freelance career, having been employed in full time jobs in aquaculture since 1982.  

“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.