Scottish fish farming at the forefront of innovation

The success of Scotland’s food and drink industry is well known. However one sector has been making something of a splash in recent months.

The Scottish fish-farming industry has been vocal of late celebrating its success.

A recent report published by the Scottish Salmon Producers Organisation, (SSPO) showed employment in the Scottish salmon farming industry is up by 13 per cent, with more than £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.

However, the fish-farming industry faces a number of challenges – weather, disease and parasites all have an impact on fish health and the quality of the product for sale.

Sea lice alone are thought to cost the Scottish salmon farming industry in the region of £30million a year.

However these issues are also driving the country’s academics and producers to find new and innovative solutions to fight back.

With Scotland’s natural resources, fish farming is an important industry at which the nation has excelled and we are now at the forefront of solving the problems faced by the industry.

Scottish food brands have a worldwide reputation which depends on having a quality product, whether that is Scottish smoked salmon or any other Scottish fare. Producers have to maintain that reputation and invest in the innovation to protect it and those standards.

What all of this has meant is that Scotland has become an absolute hub for innovation and research. Scottish solutions and technologies are already being exported to fish-farming countries across the globe.

As a firm we are dealing with more aquaculture patents than ever before.

As fish farming and aquaculture become more complex, the innovative solutions to the problems the industries face – and the IP which protects those solutions – become all the more important.

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. Our experts represent almost every discipline. It is a buoyant industry, and intellectual property is prevalent throughout.

By Richard Gibbs, Patent Attorney, Marks & Clerk

Intellectual Property specialist Marks & Clerk was a lead sponsor and exhibitor at our conference A vision for Life Sciences in Scotland: Accelerating growth, driving innovation that took place yesterday.