Shetland UHI plays a significant role in enabling and developing the vibrant aquaculture sector in Shetland.
The Shetland community relies on marine based industries and aquaculture contributes more than half of the Shetland seafood economy, which is worth around £400m/year.
Approximately 25% of Scottish salmon and 80% of Scottish mussels are produced in the Isles and this activity simultaneously promotes economic growth and community prosperity.
The innovative and successful aquaculture sector is coupled closely with environmental sustainability and each of these areas benefits from the partnerships with Shetland UHI. Shetland UHI are committed to supporting the aquaculture sector through research, development, training, services, and consultancies. Our recent knowledge exchange activities include delivery of innovation projects, outreach and training programs that support sustainability, enterprise, and optimisation of production.
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The aquaculture team at Shetland UHI have a broad-ranging expertise and hands-on experience with cultivating numerous aquatic species.
We have a long track record of aquaculture science projects and have delivered a wide range of research, innovation, consultancy, and knowledge exchange activities, gaining capabilities in several aquaculture disciplines. Our previous aquaculture activities include development of broodstock and larviculture of various cold water marine finfish species (including; Atlantic halibut, Atlantic cod, haddock, wolffish, wrasse and lumpfish) and shellfish species (including; mussels, scallops, sea urchins, European lobsters, and brown crabs), management and control of sea lice (including; cleanerfish and development of novel therapeutics), trialling seaweed cultivation and development of end-products, fish and shellfish diet and nutrition, stock health and welfare, live prey cultivation (including; microalgae, copepods, rotifers and Artemia), growth modelling and quality monitoring.
In addition, most of us have significant direct experience of working in aquaculture businesses, which helps us to deliver a wide range of relevant aquaculture vocational training and CPD courses.
The aquaculture staff at Shetland UHI are connected to the UHI Aquaculture HUB, which is a network of aquaculture-active researchers and knowledge exchange practitioners across the university network. Through the Aquaculture Hub we have access to additional specialisms and some funding to support knowledge exchange activities with aquaculture-related businesses.
The specialist aquaculture infrastructure at Shetland UHI are our two production resources – the marine farm ‘Lea of Trondra’ and our onshore tank facility ‘Marine Hatchery’. Over the last twenty years these have proven to be an excellent platform for aquaculture knowledge exchange and innovation projects as well as serving needs of other disciplines including life sciences and engineering applications. Both locations are licenced for the cultivation of various finfish, shellfish, microalgal and macroalgal species.
The Marine Hatchery has a variety of seawater cultivation systems and options for replicated trials units that are suitable for investigations of proof-of-concept through to full research programmes. Cultivation facilities at the Marine Hatchery include microalgae production (batch and continuous), zooplankton production, broodstock husbandry and spawning, larviculture and on-growing. Tankage includes 6 x 21 m3 and 16 x 3 m3, 4 x 10 m3 outdoor tanks and tank rooms with wet areas reconfigurable to suit various needs. The cultivation facilities are backed up with engineering systems for seawater filtration, disinfection and temperature control and trials can be scaled from small replicated up to semi-commercial levels.
These two aquaculture-specific facilities are supported further by office and teaching facilities in the John Goodlad Centre, along with research laboratory facilities there including microbiology, microscopy, and histology. The department also has access to environmental survey and monitoring equipment such as CTD, side scan sonar and an Imaging Flow CytoBot.
The aquaculture team at Shetland UHI have been proud to work recently with aquaculture producers and supply-chain companies that are active in Shetland. These companies include Grieg Seafood Shetland Ltd., Scottish Sea Farms Ltd., Cooke Aquaculture Ltd., Seafood Shetland, Shetland Mussels Ltd., Li6 Ltd., East Voe Shellfish Ltd., Ocean Kinetics Ltd., AquaShip Ltd., etc. We also work collaboratively with national and international partners.