Workshop Tackled Aquaculture Challenges in Shetland

The University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI) recently concluded a workshop titled 'Addressing Aquaculture Challenges: Sharing Solutions'. The Workshop took place at the UHI Shetland Scalloway Campus and brought together leading academics from across Scotland with aquaculture stakeholders from Shetland. Mussel growers and salmon producers both attended the event along with their trade organisation Seafood Shetland.

The Workshop served as a platform to delve into the pressing challenges facing the aquaculture industry and to foster collaborative efforts in finding innovative solutions.

Ruth Henderson (CEO, Seafood Shetland), in her opening remarks, highlighted the character traits of people working in the sector and the vital role of seafood in Shetland’s economy and culture. This was followed by Gregg Arthur (Aquaculture Manager at UHI Shetland and Knowledge Exchange Officer for the UHI Aquaculture Hub), who introduced the UHI Aquaculture Hub and its objectives.

Distinguished speakers including David Brown (Cooke Aquaculture Scotland), Robbie Coutts (Scottish Sea Farms) and Michael Tait (Shetland Mussels) set the scene by sharing their insights into the “Trials and Triumphs” of salmon and mussel farming.

The workshop then transitioned into a series of focused discussions on various challenges. Helena Reinardy (Scottish Association for Marine Science UHI), Stuart Fitzsimmons (UHI Shetland), and others led discussions on societal challenges, exploring topics such as workforce recruitment and retention.

Following a networking lunch, sessions delved into business challenges, commercial challenges relating to environment and the health and welfare of aquatic stocks, as well as regulatory challenges. Experts leading these discussions included Mairi Cowan (SAMS UHI), Bernd Hӓnfling (Institute of Biodiversity and Freshwater Conservation UHI), Kim Last (SAMS UHI), Barbara Morrisey (IBFC UHI), Victoria Pritchard (IBFC UHI), and Tim Regan (Roslin Institute). Actionable strategies were identified through the day.

"We have been delighted to have facilitated this collaborative effort to address the challenges facing the aquaculture industry," said Gregg Arthur. "By bringing together academia and industry stakeholders, we have made significant strides in understanding their challenges and to drive towards innovation and solutions for this vital sector. It was great to see how inspired the visiting academics became when they were able to experience Shetland’s impressive aquaculture sector.”