Media release: ‘A Meeting of Minds 2’ to celebrate innovation in Scotland’s aquaculture sector


LOCHABER Chamber of Commerce, in collaboration with the Sustainable Aquaculture Innovation Centre, is pleased to announce the second in their series of free online events to celebrate and explore the innovation and potential of Scotland’s aquaculture sector.

Building on the success of their first event in November 2020, ‘A Meeting of Minds 2’ will take place on Zoom on Thursday 29 April 2021 from 10.00 to 11.30 –

Where the first event looked at the potential for growth in different areas of aquaculture, A Meeting of Minds 2’ will take a closer look at innovation in the industry and explore the potential of technology to drive innovation and sustainability.

‘A Meeting of Minds 2’ will bring together leading businesses and organisations involved in Scotland’s aquaculture industry.

The packed session will include presentations from Sarah Riddle, the Sustainable Aquaculture Innovation Centre’s director of Business Engagement, John MacLellan from the Fort William Underwater Trials Centre, Carol-Ann Adams, Business Engagement executive for Interface in the Highland and Islands, John Jones and Grant Leslie of SEM World, Scott Nolan, MOWI’s processing director, and Hamish Macdonell, head of Strategic Engagement for The Scottish Salmon Producers Organisation.

They will share ideas, inspiration and insights into key areas for driving innovation and sustainability in the sector.

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 scallops, to the harvesting of seaweed. The sectors estimated to contribute £1.8bn annually to the Scottish economy and employs over 8,800 people, many in rural communities.

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.

Frazer Coupland, CEO of Lochaber Chamber of Commerce, is excited about the event.

He said: “There is so much great innovation happening in the aquaculture industry – from investment in robotics for fish processing, to new ways of utilising subsea vehicles and rethinking processes to contribute to a sustainable circular economy. These are exciting times for the industry, and we’re delighted to present this event with SAIC to highlight innovation and opportunities across this vital sector.”

To book your free place on A Meeting of Minds 2 on Thursday 29 April 2021 at 10:00, please go to or search for ‘A Meeting of Minds 2’ on


Media contact:

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


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Notes for editors:

‘A Meeting of Minds 2’ programme speakers include:

  • Sarah Riddle, SAIC’s director of Business Engagement, will outline SAIC’s key activities and discusses opportunities for driving innovation, investment and leadership in Scottish aquaculture. She will also provide details of the forthcoming International Ballan Wrasse Conference.
  • John MacLellan from the Fort William Underwater Trials Centre will give a short presentation on the use of technology beneath the sea, from the early days of mort recovery, to inspection, monitoring and the potential autonomous vehicles, central control and where the industry may go.
  • Carol-Ann Adams, Business Engagement executive for Interface in the Highland and Islands, will showcase the possibilities of support from Interface, and share some brief examples of projects they’ve helped in the sector.
  • John Jones and Grant Leslie of SEM World will share their vision of a waste-free, circular economy in the future, how their innovation can help secure our planet’s health and wealth for generations to come.
  • Scott Nolan, MOWI’s processing director, will give an insight into the planned investment in Fort William and the robotic innovations and use of technology in fish processing.
  • Hamish Macdonell, head of Strategic Engagement for the Scottish Salmon Producers Organisation will consider the idea of tourism and aquaculture, and potential for the future.

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 currently recognised as 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).

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 eco-system objectives.

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 3,500+ 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.

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Contact: Paddy Cuthbert