NAFC director seeks stronger links with local industries – Fishupdate.com

NAFC director seeks stronger links with local industries Published:  27 May, 2008

THE new director of the Shetland-based NAFC Marine Centre says it will continue to develop its relationship with the local fisheries sector.

Tony Hawkins welcomed industry members, Shetland Islands Council representatives, Alistair Carmichael MP and Tavish Scott MSP to the Centre last Friday, many of whom he was meeting for the first time.

Introducing himself to the assembled guests, Tony Hawkins said: “My main task is to work towards achieving the success that the Centre deserves.

“I’ve only been here six weeks, but I’m already tremendously impressed with the breadth of the programme at the Centre, the quality of the staff and the excellent facilities here. Shetland Islands Council showed great foresight when it set up the Centre.”

He continued by giving a brief overview of the services provided by the marine centre.

“Our main purpose is providing education and training facilities for fishermen, fish and shellfish farmers, and Merchant Navy cadets. We also provide all the engineering training for Shetland. The Centre is really important in supporting training for the maritime industries which underpin the Shetland economy.

“We also act as mentors and advisers to fishermen. We are currently helping Shetland vessels gain accreditation under the Responsible Fishing Scheme which helps to promote more sustainable fishing.

“We play an important role in raising the quality of fish from Shetland. Shetland Seafood Quality Control Ltd – the independent quality assurance arm of the Centre – provides a wide range of services to the industry, including hydrographic and seabed surveys, microbiological testing and chemical analyses.

“Our strong scientific programme includes studies of various species of fish and shellfish. We have established very good links with a range of research establishments throughout the UK, and our work is recognised at an international level.”

And to the future, Professor Hawkins said: “We want to continue to liaise with the fishing and fish farming industries to find out exactly what they need in terms of information and resources.

“We have to work in partnership with the maritime industries to offer them the appropriate support.

“We are also keen to cement our relationship with Shetland Islands Council and work closely with the Development department to help secure a sound economy for the islands.

“The local community is extremely important to us and, through the second year of our ‘Seas Around Us’ project, we hope to enable young people to engage with marine life and potentially spark interest in future careers in the maritime industries.

“Our overall aim is to be a one stop shop for everything concerning the sea and we want to work in partnership with industry, Shetland Islands Council and the people of Shetland to be an integral part of the local economy.”

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