Scottish Aquaculture Innovation Centre commits £2 million to fund new innovation projects

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Will go to support delivery of Scottish Government’s 10-year Farmed Fish Health Framework.

In a press release today, the Scottish Aquaculture Innovation Centre writes that it will use a combined investment of more than GBP 2 million from industry and academia to explore tools and techniques that could be used across the Scottish aquaculture industry to improve fish health and wellbeing, along with the management of disease.

Proposals were submitted to SAIC in response to a special call for projects aligned with the Farmed Fish Health Framework. Published by the Scottish Government in 2018, this 10-year strategic framework includes measures to improve fish health, protect the marine environment, and ensure Scotland’s main food export grows sustainably. Key areas of activity include managing sea lice, better information flow and transparency, and tackling climate change issues.

Fergus Ewing. PHOTO: SAIC

Initiatives selected for funding include using novel technologies for sea lice control, finding quicker ways to diagnose disease, and looking at methods for minimising the risks from natural causes that lead to mortality in farmed fish at sea.

The SAIC committed to £743,000 to the fund, while 55% of the GBP 2m total project funding comes from industry and the rest from academia. Projects range from 12 to 24 months in duration.

Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing said: “Government and industry in Scotland are working to improve farmed fish health in Scotland and ensure the sustainable growth of Scotland’s most valuable food export. Innovation projects like these are vital to those ambitions, making the industry more streamlined, improving the environment and fish health, and helping to create and support jobs. It’s great to see projects like this, which directly align with the ambitions of Scotland’s 10-year Farmed Fish Health Framework, receiving funding.”

Heather Jones. PHOTO: SAIC

CEO SAIC Heather Jones added: “Committing to fund additional projects allows us to support collaboration between producers and academia. The valuable research should help the industry to find ways to better control sea lice and mitigate disease and climate change risks in future. Fish health is a priority and critical to the future of aquaculture.”