Ley-Wilson joins SAIC as Riddle steps down

Fish farming expert Ed Ley-Wilson is joining the Sustainable Aquaculture Innovation Centre (SAIC) in the newly created role of Director of Innovation and Business Development.

Meanwhile, SAIC’s Director of Innovation and Engagement, Sarah Riddle, is leaving after three years with the organisation, to focus on her family business, Northern Light Consulting.

Ley-Wilson was most recently Head of Aquaculture at Aquascot, a supplier of Scottish salmon products. In May last year he left to start a year’s sabbatical. He has 16 years’ experience in salmon farming, food processing, and retailer engagement, including four years with Ardvar Salmon in the 1990s.

He has worked with universities, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), the aquaculture supply chain, regulators, and industry leadership groups and has particular expertise in innovation around fish welfare and feed alternatives, as well as sustainability and community impact.

During Sarah Riddle’s time with SAIC, the innovation centre has seen its membership consortium exceed 340 organisations, reached the milestone of 100 funded R&D projects, and drawn £4.67 of third-party funding for every £1 of its own investment.

She had continued as a director in Northern Light, alongside her part-time role at SAIC, after joining the innovation centre in May 2020.

Heather Jones, CEO of SAIC, said: “In 2020, we decided to redefine SAIC’s role and mission to achieve specific goals. Sarah joined us to help with that process and has been a huge part of successfully delivering on the aims we set out at that point. While we are sorry to see her go, Sarah has achieved everything we had hoped for and more, and we wish her all the best with her future endeavours.

“Ed will be an excellent addition to the SAIC team, providing a great deal of continuity with his breadth and depth of experience. He also brings with him the background and skills we need as we prepare to enter a new phase for the innovation centre with a new focus and plans to further develop our services.”

Sarah Riddle commented: “I have thoroughly enjoyed my time with SAIC, but it was proving increasingly difficult to combine it with the success of Northern Light, which requires more of my energy to continue to grow. Having completed what I set out to at SAIC, the time felt right to take on the next challenge. I will no doubt continue to work with the SAIC team and look forward to seeing the innovation centre develop in the years ahead.”

Ed Ley-Wilson added: “It is a very exciting time to join SAIC. The need for innovation has never been stronger, with the aquaculture sector poised for sustainable growth. Carbon mitigation, fish health and welfare, farming technologies, and feed sustainability are just some of the areas of focus I look forward to working on, building on the great work Sarah and her team have been delivering.”



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