Sustainable Aquaculture Innovation Centre celebrates 100th project

The Scottish Centre is hosting a summit debating the future of aquaculture, the same week it reaches its 100th funded project "milestone".
SAIC connects businesses and academics, supporting commercially relevant, collaborative research on aquaculture. Photo: SAIC.
SAIC connects businesses and academics, supporting commercially relevant, collaborative research on aquaculture. Photo: SAIC.

This is an important week for Scotland's Sustainable Aquaculture Innovation Centre (SAIC), which has reached the "milestone" of its 100th funded project – in addition to hosting the Sustainable Aquaculture Summit, taking place today and tomorrow in Glasgow.

In another stride toward sustainable aquaculture in Scotland and beyond, SAIC has announced its support for an additional six innovation projects, totaling £2.5 million in funding.

The Scotland-based centre funds collaborative research focused on reducing aquaculture's environmental footprint while increasing its economic impact. To date, SAIC has invested £9.3 million of funds in sector-critical research which has been valued at nearly £71 million.

Sustainable growth a key focus area of the funded projects

The six newly-funded projects contribute to SAIC's priority innovation areas, specifically focusing on enhancing the environmental impact of the aquaculture sector, improving fish health, and unlocking additional capacity in Scottish aquaculture. The research groups secured £580,000 from SAIC, and have received additional support from various businesses and organizations within the sector, including The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA).

Among the initiatives funded are two groundbreaking research projects aiming to drive sustainable growth. The first intends to assist farmers in managing the threat of seal predation while simultaneously safeguarding seals and other marine mammals. Meanwhile the second focuses on upcycling aquaculture co-products, aligning with the industry's commitment to achieving net-zero emissions and incorporating species from different trophic levels.

Research on algal blooms, gill health, salmonids and environmental impact all receive a boost

Four additional ongoing projects will be supported, investigating critical areas related to fish health and well-being, including the study of harmful algal blooms (HABs), gill health and performance, freshwater salmonid production, and the development of predictive models to assess fish farming's impact on the benthic environment.

Expressing her enthusiasm, Heather Jones, CEO of SAIC, stated, "Reaching the milestone of 100 projects highlights our unwavering dedication to establishing Scotland as a global leader in sustainable aquaculture innovation. The projects we have funded have yielded new products and processes, improved fish health and well-being, and supported the growth of new enterprises both in Scotland and beyond."

Jones emphasized the importance of continuing to support innovation projects that advance the role of aquaculture in the circular economy while minimizing its environmental footprint.

By fostering collaborations between universities and industry needs, SAIC aims to generate economic value for Scotland and ensure that aquaculture plays a pivotal role in achieving the nation's ambitious Net Zero targets.

Sustainable Aquaculture Summit in Glasgow this week

The Centre continues its work linking industry and research at this week's Sustainable Aquaculture Summit. Taking place during 16-17 May, the event features thought-provoking, challenging and novel panel sessions on "The Future of Aquaculture" with experts from industry, academia and the public sector.

This morning's keynote speakers were Emily de Sousa, the fisheries scientist and seafood digital strategy consultant, and Tonje Osmundson, aquaculture specialist and Research Director at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology. The summit was formally opened by Mairi Gougeon, Scotland's Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs, Land Reform and Islands.

About the Sustainable Aquaculture Innovation Centre

The Sustainable Aquaculture Innovation Centre (SAIC) works to reduce the environmental footprint and increase the economic impact of aquaculture. Connecting businesses and academics, it funds and supports commercially relevant, collaborative research. It also funds university places and runs tailored training programmes.

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