New project to boost Scottish shellfish production
Scotland could be in line for its first commercial mussel hatchery after it was announced that a GBP 1.9 million (EUR 2.7 million; USD 2.9 million) research project aimed at ramping up the country’s shellfish productivity was underway.
Launched by the Scottish Aquaculture Innovation Centre (SAIC) and Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE), the 30-month project has the backing of the Scottish Government, the University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI) and the Scottish Shellfish Marketing Group (SSMG).
Scotland’s mussel production reached its highest-ever level of 7,600 metric tons (MT) in 2014, with Shetland accounting for almost 80 percent of the total.
Because the islands’ mussel production has historically been reliant on the natural availability of spat, the establishment of a commercial hatchery would help to provide stability in supply. The new project will therefore locate a trial hatchery at the NAFC Marine Centre (formerly the North Atlantic Fisheries College) in Scalloway and it’s anticipated that its first spat could be produced as early as next summer.