Chris Hyde, chief technology officer for OTAQ, has joined the board of the Sustainable Aquaculture Innovation Centre. Photo: OTAQ.

Hyde adds SME experience to innovation centre board

The Sustainable Aquaculture Innovation Centre (SAIC) has appointed Chris Hyde, chief technology officer of marine technology specialist OTAQ, to its board of directors.

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Stirling-based SAIC said the move will strengthen links and foster relationships between the aquaculture sector and Scottish SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises), drawing on Hyde’s experience in tech companies and start-ups. He currently heads up engineering and new product development for OTAQ across its aquaculture and offshore energy markets.

Hyde brings more than 25 years of aquaculture industry experience to SAIC’s board. He previously held roles at aquaculture technology specialist Mohn Aqua Group (now part of Gael Force) and subsea energy systems specialist Bennex Group (now part of Siemens Energy) before becoming part of the founding team at OTAQ, which has offices in Aberdeen, Lancaster and in Puerto Montt, Chile.

Core focus

Working with SMEs in aquaculture and neighbouring sectors is a core focus for SAIC, with innovation and new technology supporting sustainable development that can help to secure the future of the sector.

Hyde said: “Working closely with fish farmers over my whole career, I have learned a great deal about aquaculture – both in terms of how the sector operates around the world and the challenges it faces. I have led and operated within SMEs throughout my working life and look forward to bringing this experience to the SAIC board.”

SAIC chair David Gregory said: “Chris is a great addition to the strategic knowledge and extensive sector connections available on the SAIC board, bringing a wealth of experience in terms of running SMEs, as well as expertise in aquaculture and subsea energy.

“Chris shares SAIC’s passion for aquaculture and the role it plays in feeding the world, with technology and innovation central to increasing the sector’s economic impact while reducing its environmental footprint.”

Plankton analysis

OTAQ is best known in aquaculture for its SealFence predator deterrent, and is also developing a live plankton analysis system in partnership with Blue Lion Labs Inc.

It also has a multi-year contract to supply sonar equipment to US start-up Minnowtech LLC, which provides a non-invasive technology for managing shrimp farming. The companies have jointly developed a proprietary shrimp biomass solution using OTAQ’s sonar hardware.