Minister to open Aquaculture UK conference

Mairi Gougeon, Minister for Rural Affairs, at Aquaculture UK 2022

Scotland’s Rural Affairs Minister, Mairi Gougeon, will head an exciting line-up of speakers at Aquaculture UK, which gets underway in Aviemore in two months’ time. 

The keynote theatre programme, now published, runs alongside the two-day exhibition from May 14-15 and is free to attend.

The Minister (pictured, at Aquaculture UK 2022) will update delegates on progress in regulatory reform following Professor Russel Griggs’s independent review of aquaculture consenting, published two years ago.

And she will outline ongoing work to support innovation in the sector as part of the Scottish Government’s ambitions for the industry, as highlighted in the Vision for Sustainable Aquaculture to 2045.

The Minister will also address a WiSA (Women in Scottish Aquaculture) networking session, which will focus on professional training and improving communication skills.

Other conference keynote speakers include Kevin Quillien of Glasgow based space tech firm Krucial who, along with risk management consultant and aquaculture veteran Jason Scott, will explore how digitisation can help mitigate the risks of fish farming.

And making their first appearance in Aviemore, US data experts Scoot Science will lead a panel of farm and health managers from Scotland and Canada, including Scottish Sea Farms’ Innes Weir and Bakkafrost Scotland’s Kimberley McKinnell, to discuss new environmental challenges and how technology can improve fish survival.

The Sustainable Aquaculture Innovation Centre (SAIC) celebrates its tenth anniversary this year and will mark the milestone with presentations from project partners covering a decade of impactful R&D.

There will also be an update on how SAIC, under new funding arrangements, will continue to drive research to meet key sector problems.

Kevin Quillien, Krucial and Alan Tinch, CAT

From Chile, innovative enterprises – from nanobubble pioneers to biotechnology frontrunners – will examine technology trends in Chilean aquaculture, with representatives of the country’s cutting-edge suppliers both at the conference and exhibiting in the Chile pavilion.

Canadian expertise has its own platform, with the return to this year’s conference of the Centre for Aquaculture Technologies (CAT), delving into the possibilities that gene editing (GE) brings to improved productivity and environmental sustainability in aquaculture.

CAT speakers Alan Tinch and Alejandro Gutierrez will focus on the development of resilient species and will also look at the current regulatory landscape for GE in aquaculture, particularly in the UK and Europe.

The adoption of alternative feed ingredients by salmon farmers is a hot topic sector-wide and will be in Aviemore too, when Ian Carr, Global Business Development Director of algal oil innovator Veramaris, chairs a panel of novel feed advocates and asks: “What will it take to drive the use of alternative ingredients in Scotland?”

And some of the most familiar challenges in land-based aquaculture will be tackled by Xylem Water Solutions engineer Asbjørn Husby and Business Development Director Ronny Haugland, who are spearheading advances in semi-closed and closed containment, RAS and optimal energy consumption.

Cheri Arvonio, Event Director at show organiser Diversified Communications, said: “We are delighted to announce details of our keynote programme at Aquaculture UK and look forward to welcoming a wide range of aquaculture experts over the two days.

“With Scotland’s Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and Islands, Mairi Gougeon, opening the conference, we expect full houses to hear about all the developments in the sector since we last met here two years ago.”

Aquaculture UK, which is free to attend, will be held at the Macdonald Resort in Aviemore, Scotland, over 14-15 May, 2024. Show opening times are Tuesday 14 May, 9.30am-6pm (including social event); Wednesday 15 May, 9.30am – 4pm. For the full conference programme visit the Aquaculture UK website.

Kimberley McKinnell, Head of Health, Bakkafrost Scotland

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