UHI Shetland launches new research centre

Aerial view of net-cage fishfarm

Today sees the launch in Shetland of a new research centre that aims to help the seafood industry become more sustainable.

The Centre for Sustainable Seafood will be based at the UHI (University of the Highlands and Islands) Shetland Scalloway Campus. UHI Shetland says its aim is to become an international leader in innovation and sustainability.

Professor Ray Hilborn (pictured), of the School of Aquatic and Fisheries Sciences at the University of Washington, will officially open the Centre today. Professor Hilborn is the author of several books and over 200 peer-reviewed articles on the topic of how to manage fisheries to provide sustainable benefits to human society. He is noted for his expertise in understanding global fish stocks and in 2016 received the International Fisheries Science Prize.

UHI Shetland is seeking to advance the understanding of what sustainability means in the context of seafood through the launch of the new Centre for Sustainable Seafood, in partnership with industry and other key stakeholders.

Professor Ray Hilborn of the School of Aquatic and Fisheries Sciences at the University of Washington,

The university says The Centre for Sustainable Seafood will draw on strong relationships and collaboration with a range of key stakeholders who work in the marine environment and their communities. Utilising the knowledge and expertise of these partners to co-create research, staff will gather data and inform policy that is grounded in real-world knowledge and experience. The Centre will also work with industry and stakeholders to develop new educational courses and tools to encourage a wider interest in the seafood sector and address gaps in skills and knowledge.

UHI Shetland Principal and CEO Professor Jane Lewis said: “The Centre for Sustainable Seafood will be a unique centre that will provide credible, robust, and targeted science, education, and training to meet the needs of a sustainable seafood sector”.

Tavish Scott, Chief Executive of Salmon Scotland commented: “Food security, growing the economy and sustainable sources of protein with low carbon impacts have never been more important. That is why this initiative is so significant. Sustainable Seafood is the blue economy and salmon from Shetland and Scotland is both the UK’s no 1 food export and the most popular fish with domestic consumers. The new Centre needs to articulate why sustainable seafood is so important using facts, evidence and data. The sooner the Centre is up and running the better.”

Mike Cohen from the National Federation of Fishermen’s Organisations said: “The NFFO is delighted to support the opening of the Centre for Sustainable Seafood. UHI’s well-deserved reputation for intellectual independence and academic rigour will be a welcome addition the often-clouded field of seafood sustainability. Surely, too, there could be nowhere better for this endeavour than Shetland. This is a place central to the UK’s seafood story: both steeped in fishing heritage and proudly possessing a vital, modern fleet and a thriving aquaculture sector. I hope that it will inspire the work of this new centre for many years to come.”



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