Dawnfresh farming director Alison Hutchins brings 17 years of aquaculture experience to the SAIC board. Photo: SAIC.

Dawnfresh farming chief and Shetland Mussels MD join SAIC board

Alison Hutchins, the farming director of trout producer Dawnfresh, and Michael Tait, managing director of Shetland Mussels, have joined the board of the Scottish Aquaculture Innovation Centre (SAIC).

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In a press release, SAIC said that with Hutchins and Tait, who have a combined 35 years of experience in aquaculture, will enhance the board’s existing expertise. SAIC’s board consists of 10 members from industry-leading producers, academics, and observers from the Scottish Funding Council and Highlands and Islands Enterprise.

Based in Argyll, Hutchins has 17 years’ experience in aquaculture working across organisations such as the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA) and the Scottish Salmon Company. She has a strong understanding of regulatory processes, as well as developing strategies for site development and business growth.

Michael Tait: Believes his SME and shellfish experience will bring a fresh perspective to the board's thinking.

Experienced entrepreneur

Tait has been the chairman of the Scottish Shellfish Marketing Group since 2012 and built Shetland Mussels into the UK’s second largest producer of mussels. An experienced director and entrepreneur, he worked on behalf of the shellfish sector to contribute to Scottish aquaculture: a view towards 2030, the aquaculture industry’s growth strategy.

Hutchins said: “This is an exciting time to be involved in the aquaculture industry in Scotland. Over the years I have worked hard to attract funding, encourage innovation and ensure the kind of growth the industry in this country is capable of. Boosting diversity across all areas of Scottish aquaculture is one of the key areas of importance to me, and I look forward to contributing to this further on the board of SAIC.”

Broad skillsets

Tait commented: “Helping SAIC to tackle the challenges we face as an industry is an opportunity I am keen to grasp. I hope that we can continue to assist the industry in unlocking its full potential, especially in rural areas like Shetland, where I’m based. I’m sure my SME and shellfish-sector experience will enhance the board’s existing knowledge and bring a fresh perspective to its thinking.”

SAIC chairman David Gregory said: “Our aim is to bring the best individuals on board to support innovation projects and ultimately sustain and grow aquaculture in Scotland. Alison and Michael have broad skillsets and bring different backgrounds and experiences to the SAIC board, which will add hugely to its ongoing efforts. Aquaculture contributes an estimated £1.8 billion to the Scottish economy – it’s absolutely vital we have the skills and talent in place to grow that figure and maximise the industry’s potential.”