ENVIRONMENT MINISTER OPENS OBAN SHELLFISH CONFERENCE – Fishfarmer Magazine

ENVIRONMENT MINISTER OPENS OBAN SHELLFISH CONFERENCE04 October, 2011 –

Scottish Environment Minister Stewart Stevenson has opened the annual conference of the Association of Scottish Shellfish Growers (ASSG) in Oban, Argyll.

Held at the Corran Halls, the conference features an international panel of speakers and an eagerly contested competition to find ‘Scotland’s Best Mussels, Gigas and Native Oysters’.  The competition is open to all mussel and oyster farmers in Scotland and has been won for the past two years by Colonsay Oysters and Inverlussa Shellfish.

Over two days, speakers will explore farming techniques, processing and marketing, and legislation. They will look at shellfish monitoring programmes, marine protected areas, and the protection of shellfish water quality; at the health benefits of eating shellfish and at European and consumer issues; and at developments in production methods and the environmental impacts of shellfish farming.

Mr Stevenson said:  “Scotland’s clean waters offer fantastic conditions for shellfish cultivation, while the industry provides important employment opportunities in some remote parts of the country. Therefore, I look forward to addressing this year’s ASSG conference, finding out about new developments and meeting people working in the industry.

“Mussel farming in Scotland has gone from strength to strength, with production up year-on-year over the past four years. In 2010 some 7,200 tonnes were produced, worth £6.7 million. Over the coming years, if we all work together so that the right promotion, technological developments and legislation are in place, I believe Scottish shellfish farming can continue to grow and thrive.”

Walter Speirs, Chairman of ASSG said:  “Our industry is vital to the economy of small coastal communities and our members are delighted that Stewart Stevenson is joining us to learn about the latest developments.  He is highly supportive of the Scottish shellfish industry and we look forward to hearing his opening speech.”