Scottish fish farming at the forefront of innovation
Scotland is at the forefront of a boom in innovation in a bid to tackle issues faced by the aquaculture industry, according to leading intellectual property (IP) specialists.
The sector fights a constant battle to maintain the health and quality of farmed produce. The control of sea lice alone is thought to cost the salmon farming industry in the region of £30million a year.
However IP experts Marks & Clerk said the issues are driving the country’s academics and producers to find new and innovative solutions to fight back.
Patent Attorney in the firm’s Glasgow office, Richard Gibbs, said he is now dealing with more aquaculture patents than ever before.
He explained: “As fish farming and aquaculture evolve, the technology employed to overcome problems – and the IP which protects that technology– becomes all the more innovative and important.
“Scotland’s natural resources and farming expertise ensure that Scotland excels in this industry and we are now at the forefront of those innovations which are providing solutions to major problems.
“Scottish food brands have a worldwide reputation which depends on quality. Whether we are exporting Scottish salmon or whisky, the nation’s producers have to maintain that reputation and invest in the innovation necessary to protect it and those standards. It was only a matter of time before an industry built up around that.”
A report published this month by the Scottish Salmon Producers Organisation, (SSPO) showed employment in the Scottish salmon farming industry is up by 13 per cent.
Capital investment is sitting at a healthy £63million with over £390million being spent last year in the Scottish supply chain.
The boost is being particularly felt in the Highlands and Islands – where the SSPO said £164million was spent with local businesses, while wages increased by five per cent to a total of almost £75million.
It was also recently announced that a consortium led by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) is conducting a science and innovation audit to look at the potential of the region to become a major player in the UK marine economy
Richard said Scottish solutions and technologies are already being exported to fish-farming countries across the globe.
He said: “Scotland is an absolute hub for innovation and research.
“Solutions developed here are being pushed out to famers all over the world – to South America, Asia and Scandinavia.
“We have expertise in aquaculture, vaccines, anti-parasitic compounds and hatcheries. As a firm we represent almost every discipline. It is a buoyant industry, and Intellectual Property is prevalent throughout.”