Commissioned by the Scottish Aquaculture Innovation Centre (SAIC), with support from the Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Imani Development has delivered a roadmap for innovation-led growth in the Scottish Aquaculture Sector, entitled “Scottish Aquaculture: A view to 2030”. The publication follows a six-month scoping study involving desk research, two datasets from the SAIC biennial event in 2015 and Aquaculture UK 2016, and targeted interviews with industry leaders and regulators. This information was collectively used to inform and structure a Market Systems Approach (MSA) to describe the industry and rank priorities to 2030.
The report sets out and ranks the sector’s innovation requirements based on an evaluation of their need, urgency, and holistic impact, and recommends a set of intervention channels and activities for action through to 2030. “(The Report) captures the current state of the industry, supports the strategic priorities to 2030 (set out in “Aquaculture Growth to 2030”), and outlines how to achieve them through innovative R&D”, said Stewart Graham – Managing Director of Gael Force Group and co-chair of the Aquaculture Industry Leadership Group (AILG) – at the launch.
The report recommends eight urgent, high-impact priority areas for innovation and intervention (see figure alongside), including areas of disease management, feed, licensing, regulation and spat availability – serving to corroborate previous research by SAIC in the sector. The roadmap also reflects the complex relationship between industry functions, rules and strategic cross-cutting functions. Heather Jones, CEO of SAIC, highlighted the critical importance of collaboration between SAIC and their existing and new partners in helping the industry to realise its growth ambitions and potential.
The launch of the Scottish Aquaculture roadmap coincided with the inaugural sitting of the AILG and its members. Demonstrating the potential of the roadmap as a catalyst of collaboration, AILG members discussed a number of pressing considerations in the industry, including opportunities to sustain growth – with particular focus on rural and coastal areas, to boost long-term employment in the sector, and to foster the growth of industry linkages.
The major output of the work – the roadmap itself – is both industry and innovation led. While the innovation component comprises the practical and strategic means to the envisioned end, the report acknowledges that it is in the hands of industry actors to drive the mechanics of the process, and to collaboratively plan the way forward and adapt the roadmap over time.