Subsea sector can unlock growth in burgeoning aquaculture sector

Source: press release, 2 November 2020

Subsea UK chief executive Neil Gordon
Subsea UK chief executive Neil Gordon (photo: Subsea UK)

Advice and information on how the subsea sector can benefit from opportunities in Scotland’s fast-growing aquaculture industry will be the focus of a webinar organised by Subsea UK this week.

The aquaculture industry has seen huge growth on a global level, creating a highly competitive fast-moving market with increasing demand for new and existing subsea technologies across a range of sectors. The very clear message that will come from the webinar is that it will be crucial for companies to engage with the industry now if they want to be part of that market.

On a world scale, aquaculture now accounts for more than 180 million tonnes of production, around double the tonnage produced by the catching sector. It contributes GBP 1.8 billion to the UK economy, GBP 885 million to the wider Scottish economy every year, supporting around 12,000 Scottish jobs.

Ambitious plans for the sustainable growth of the industry have set a target of doubling the current production value to GBP 3.6 billion by 2030 alongside a major drive to catalyse innovation in the supply chain.

The webinar, which is being run in conjunction with the Scottish Aquaculture Innovation Centre (SAIC), will give an overview of the industry and provide advice to subsea businesses interested in collaborating and doing business in this fast-growing sector.

Sarah Riddle, director of business engagement, and funding manager, Sam Houston, will talk about the work SAIC is doing to transform Scottish aquaculture by unlocking sustainable growth through innovation excellence as part of the blue economy. The blue economy covers a wide range of sectors including commercial fishing, ports & harbours and tourism & beaches, but the presentations will focus purely on where aquaculture relates to subsea expertise such as in energy, marine science and defence.

Subsea technologies currently in use in the market include ROVs, divers, environmental assessment and modelling, imagery and sensors and moorings across sectors including offshore and subsea farming, engineering, data management and renewables.

The webinar, on November 4, is the first of a series of webinars Subsea UK is organising following results of a member survey earlier this year which identified that SMEs, in particular, were looking for more market intelligence on diversification opportunities. The webinars will provide practical advice on the support available and initiatives being proposed by government and other organisations in key areas such as overseas opportunities, R&D funding, and export control as well as aquaculture.

“The aquaculture sector opens up a wealth of opportunities for companies in the subsea industry that want to diversify and grow their presence in this fast-moving market,” says Neil Gordon, chief executive Subsea UK.

SAIC and Subsea UK have formed a strategic partnership and are working together to highlight the scale of the opportunity and the potential for subsea companies as well as the aquaculture sector.

“This first webinar is an introduction to the aquaculture industry, giving an overview of how the work which SAIC does can benefit our members. This webinar, and others which will follow, will be very action-focused, providing sound advice on how participants can engage with the sector, what steps they need to take and what support and funding sources are available to them,” Gordon adds.

He continues, “This is part of our on-going partnership approach with other agencies to identify initiatives which will stimulate and sustain activity across the subsea supply chain. The blue economy has huge potential and Subsea UK is committed to ensuring the subsea supply chain is well-positioned to be at the epicentre of its growth.”

SAIC’s Sarah Riddle says, “The aquaculture sector has ambitious plans for sustainable growth over the next decade, and the development and adoption of new technologies will play a crucial role in achieving that aim. Subsea companies have a real opportunity to support a thriving part of the Scottish economy and this webinar is a great way to gain an understanding of the sector and its dynamics.”

“SAIC has a deep connection with both businesses and academics in aquaculture and we are actively looking to support their adoption of new ideas and ways of working from other sectors. We’re excited to see what future connections and partnerships can be made between subsea and aquaculture,” adds Riddle.

The webinar, which takes place from 10.30 am –11.30 am is free to attend. For information on how to register, visit www.subseauk.com.