Around 90 delegates will meet at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre today to discuss how to accelerate growth of the Scottish aquaculture sector. Photo: MJ Richardson / Edinburgh International Conference Centre.

Summit seeks aquaculture growth by collaboration

Around 90 delegates from Scotland’s aquaculture industry were due to meet behind closed doors at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre today to debate how to accelerate the sector’s growth.

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Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing, a member of the industry’s Aquaculture Industry Leadership Group, is also attending the event, which is not open to the press.

The aquaculture supply chain summit brings together producers, supply chain businesses and public agencies.

Overcoming constraints

According to a press release, delegates discuss how the supply chain can keep abreast of growth opportunities and overcome constraints. It will explore commercial collaboration as a model for maximising resources and accelerating growth, while safeguarding each company’s own competitive advantage.

Industry delegates have contributed to the agenda, which links in to the Aquaculture 2030 strategy – which aims to double the value of Scottish aquaculture by that date - and the Farmed Fish Health Framework.

Fergus Ewing is attending the event, which brings together producers and the supply chain.

The delegates will focus on opportunities and challenges in developing production and supply chain excellence, as well as increasing export activity and product and service innovation through strategic collaboration.

21,022 jobs

A professional firm, Facilitate This!, will support industry-led discussion throughout the summit.

Research commissioned by the Scottish Government and Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) in 2017 found that 12,022 jobs across Scotland were dependent on the aquaculture industry, generating £620 million in gross value added and providing wages worth £314m. For every job in primary production there are five jobs in the supply businesses.

Today’s summit has been organised by HIE in partnership with the Scottish Government, Marine Scotland and the Scottish Aquaculture Innovation Centre (SAIC).

Ewing said: “The continuing uncertainty around Brexit means that it’s more important than ever for those involved in the aquaculture supply chain to use opportunities like this to meet and share concerns, and agree on how we can work together to protect and enhance this important sector. I’m certain that by working collaboratively, we can continue to ensure a sustainable future for aquaculture in Scotland.”

Heather Jones: SMEs play a critical role in the supply chain.

Integral to growth

SAIC chief executive Heather Jones said: “Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) play an absolutely critical role in the aquaculture supply chain. We believe they will also be integral in delivering the tremendous potential for sustainable growth in the industry during the years to come.

“Although more than half of our consortium members are SMEs and we have dedicated support for these kinds of companies, we’re keen to get even more of them involved in our co-funded innovation projects. We look forward to meeting and working with many SME representatives at the aquaculture supply chain summit.”