Dougie Hunter, technical director and managing director of Mowi-owned cleaner fish producer Ocean Matters. Photo: Mowi.

Looking back, thinking ahead: Dougie Hunter

Fish Farming Expert has asked well-known figures in the Scottish salmon farming industry about their high and low points of 2019, and what they hope for in 2020.Today we feature Dougie Hunter, technical director and MD managing director of Mowi-owned cleaner fish producer Ocean Matters.

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What was your best moment / occasion of 2019?

I think there are two stand-out moments for me regarding cleaner fish. For Ballan wrasse it was closing the loop in the breeding cycle with the first farmed broodstock. This has been a culmination of many years of hard work from our staff our Machrihanish hatchery with scientific support from Stirling University. With lumpfish, the acquisition of Ocean Matters by Mowi I think demonstrates the company’s commitment to the use of cleaner fish as a sustainable part of sea lice control. The hatchery is a great facility with lots of opportunity for future expansion

And what was the worst?

The environmental conditions in 2019 all over Scotland have seen some challenging times at a few of our sea sites. The seawater temperature was the second highest recorded in the last decade and this has been an issue for both the salmon and cleaner fish, especially lumpfish. As farmers we are always striving for the best welfare for our stock and we need to take the learnings from 2019 to help improve things in 2020 and beyond.

What’s the one thing you’d most like to see happen to benefit salmon farming in 2020?

I would to see more open dialogue across the sector with all the stakeholders involved in the industry. We have a great opportunity to steer our sustainable development over the next decade and I believe eventually sourcing all cleaner fish from farmed supply should be the ultimate aim.

Our Looking Back, Thinking Ahead series concludes tomorrow with Simon Maguire, interim managing director of salmon farmer Loch Duart.