The world's biggest aquaculture trade show, Aqua Nor, in Trondheim was a highlight of 2019 for SAIC CEO Heather Jones. Photo: FFE.

Looking back, thinking ahead: Heather Jones

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 Heather Jones, chief executive of the Scottish Aquaculture Innovation Centre (SAIC).

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What was your best moment / occasion of 2019?

The Aqua Nor event in Trondheim last August has to be one of the highlights of the year. The Team Scotland presence included lots of Scottish companies being recognised for their innovation at a global level, a lively and collaborative SAIC stand, and a Scotland is Now seminar on the capabilities and ambition of the Scottish aquaculture supply chain. Also, I am continually pleased to see the Scottish Government showing a high level of interest in aquaculture flourishing and contributing to Scotland’s coastal communities.

And what was the worst?

I was saddened to read about the newly elected Government of Canada wanting to ban net-pen salmon farming in British Columbia. I fear that this decision is based on extremely flimsy evidence, and that it has been made in what many feel is an ill-advised response to aggressively anti-salmon farming lobby groups.

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

I would like to see significant amounts of investment in innovation, combining the creativity of people working in Scotland’s aquaculture industry (as well as those in sectors such as big data, sensors, robotics, subsea and marine engineering technologies) with an influx of UK funding for industrial innovation. And I would like SAIC to continue being a go-to partner of choice in bringing groups together to innovate.

Tomorrow: Claes Jonermark, Mowi Scotland’s operations director – feed, who is in charge of the company’s Kyleakin feed plant.