Media release: ‘A Meeting of Minds’ – an online event to celebrate Scotland’s aquaculture sector


LOCHABER Chamber of Commerce, in collaboration with the Scottish Aquaculture Innovation Centre (SAIC), is pleased to announce an online event to celebrate and explore the huge growth potential of Scotland’s aquaculture sector. ‘A Meeting of Minds’ will be staged on Zoom on Thursday 26 November 2020 from 10:30 to 12:00.

At such an exciting time for the industry, ‘A Meeting of Minds’ will bring together leading businesses and organisations involved in Scottish aquaculture for insights into key areas of development for the sector.

Speakers from MOWI, Scottish Sea Farms, Scale AQ, the Scottish Salmon Producers Organisation, the Scottish Aquaculture Innovation Centre, Lantra and Northern Light Consultants will share ideas and inspiration for the future.

Topics covered will include sustainability, business development and growth opportunities, innovations, career paths and skills training.

Frazer Coupland, CEO of Lochaber Chamber of Commerce, said: “We’re delighted to be hosting this event that brings people from across aquaculture together. It’s a hugely important sector for the west highlands with fantastic potential for the future.”

Aquaculture in Scotland is diverse, from the farming of Atlantic salmon and other marine and freshwater finfish species, to the production of mussels, oysters and the harvesting of seaweed. It is an industry that sustains the economic and social fabric of the Highlands and Islands and is an anchor industry that keeps communities and career prospects alive in remote and rural areas.

The sector contributes an estimated £1.8bn annually to the Scottish economy and employs over 8,800 people, many in rural communities.

The potential contribution of farming Scotland’s seas is even greater – research shows that through sustainable growth, the sector has the potential to double its annual contribution to the economy from £1.8bn to£3.6bn or more by 2030.The number of jobs supported could reach 18,000.

Heather Jones, CEO at SAIC, said: “Aquaculture is an incredibly important part of the economic fabric of Scotland’s rural communities. The sector, directly and indirectly, supports thousands of highly skilled jobs across the country, with more likely to be created as it sustainably grows in the years to come. I look forward to discussing the many opportunities that lie ahead at ‘A Meeting of Minds’, as well as how businesses in Lochaber and beyond can support and help unlock the sector’s ambitions.”

Tavish Scott, CEO of the Scottish Salmon Producers Organisation, who will speak at the event, commented: “I am pleased to join this event from Lochaber Chamber and SAIC in highlighting the importance of aquaculture and introducing Scottish Salmon’s new Sustainable Charter which reflects the importance of our sector being close to local people in the decisions we make that affect them.”

To book your free place on A Meeting of Minds on Thursday 26 November 2020, please go to or search for ‘A Meeting of Minds’ on

Media contact:

Paddy Cuthbert | Littlehouse Media | E:| M: 07913 951717

Notes for editors:

Lochaber Chamber of Commerce is a fully-affiliated member of the Scottish Chambers of Commerce network, which together represents more than 12,000 businesses throughout Scotland.

Lochaber Chamber represents more than 200 businesses in Lochaber collectively employing 3500+ people across all sectors [c60 per cent 15-64 age working population in Lochaber]. They work locally, nationally and internationally to support business from sole traders to international organisations.

Ultimately, Lochaber Ideas Week is a catalyst to stimulate fresh initiatives and ventures, creating new connections and points of collaboration designed to enhance Fort William and Lochaber, the ‘Outdoor Capital of the UK’, as a fantastic place in which to live, work and visit.

Lochaber Chamber of Commerce website:

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Scotland’s Aquaculture

Aquaculture is a growing and increasingly important food production industry to Scotland. It helps to underpin sustainable economic growth in rural and coastal communities particularly in the Highlands and Islands with many depending on the employment and revenue it provides.

Scottish aquaculture is dominated by Atlantic salmon. Scotland is recognised as currently the largest producer in the EU and the third largest globally producing 162,817 tonnes in 2016. Scottish-farmed salmon is Scotland’s top food export – fresh salmon is exported to over 50 countries. Rainbow trout (8,096 tonnes), brown trout (41 tonnes) and halibut (67 tonnes) are also produced. For details, see the Scottish Fish Farm Production Survey 2016 (external link).

Scottish shellfish production was dominated by farmed blue mussel production at 8,232 tonnes in 2017. Pacific oyster (5,034,000 shells), native oyster (200,000 shells), scallop (47,000 shells) and queen scallop (273,000 shells) were also grown in 2017.

As part of its policy to increase sustainable economic growth, the Scottish Government has identified the food and drink sector as a key economic area for development. Scotland’s National Marine Plan (NMP) was adopted on 25 March 2015 and laid before Parliament on 27 March 2015. It sets out a national strategy, ensuring sustainable economic growth of marine industries while taking into account environmental protection, and sets out policies with economic, social and marine ecosystem objectives. It includes specific industry targets – to grow marine finfish sustainably to 210,000 T (whole, wet fish) and shellfish sustainably to 13,000 T.

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Contact: Paddy Cuthbert