Photo credit: Mr William Leschen (University of Stirling)

Photo credit: Mr William Leschen (University of Stirling)

WG6: Markets, Economics, Social Science and technology development

Lead BY:
Prof David Little (university of Stirling)
Prof Lars Johanning (university of Exeter)

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Aquaculture is a significant economic activity which varies around the UK.  It is also a major direct and indirect employer (processing, transportation, engineering, services) in remote areas that lack other alternative economic opportunities. Much of the engineering and technology used in the aquaculture sector has been developed by the industry as a result of innovation, largely within SMEs. Although some novel aquaculture driven innovation has occurred, the industry has begun to draw from technologies and materials developed in other sectors. This is likely to continue, but as the scale of the industry increases together with the expectation that it should operate in more challenging environments and potentially in more contained systems at sea or on land, the demand for more bespoke and innovative technological solutions will be required.

Key areas for this WG to explore:

a)    Availability and training of a suitably skilled workforce.

b)    Opportunities to add value to products and to reduce production costs.

c)     How consumer preferences change and vary between and within domestic and export markets.

d)    Integration of new technologies with the aquaculture sector.

e)    Investment in the sector, financial incentives and barriers especially in relation to SMEs.

f)      Review of the technology development & societal issues required to continue our ability to operate within the biological scope of the species cultivated as well as meeting the societal and physical engineering challenges such as advanced technology, welfare, ‘eco-labelling’ and socio-economic issues and the rural economy.

g)    Assess the capacity to monitor, manage and conduct operations and husbandry remotely.

h)    Review how exports of high quality, and in many cases, live shellfish from the UK to continental Europe, and beyond. This will require innovative solutions to ensure animal welfare and condition.

i)       Review potential solutions for the recycling of waste products from the fish and shellfish sector.