A £1.9 MILLION trial to set up Scotland’s first commercial mussel hatchery in Shetland is now underway.
The hatchery, part of a two-year research and innovation project, is based at the NAFC Marine Centre in Scalloway.
It aims to test the commercial feasibility of producing spat (baby mussels) in a controlled environment.
Over the last few months, algal culture and water treatment facilities were installed at the college, as well as tank room resources for spawning, larvae incubation and grow-out.
If the trial is a success, it could pave the way for a national hatchery to be created in Scotland, or series of regional hatcheries.
The project brings together a number of partners and agencies, with Scottish Shellfish Marketing Group (SSMG), University of the Highlands and Islands and Highlands and Islands Enterprise primarily involved.
Co-funding is also coming from from the Scottish Aquaculture Innovation Centre and the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund.
Chairman of the SSMG Michael Tait said it is both “empowering and daunting” to reach this stage in the process.
“We will be working with methodologies that have proven successful in Tasmania and New Zealand as our starting point, and exploring how and where they can be adapted to the specific mussel species and marine conditions found here in Scotland in order to produce spat on a commercial scale,” he said.
Aquaculture manager at the NAFC Marine Centre, Gregg Arthur, added that he was “hugely grateful” for the support that has been given to the project so far.
Over 7,000 tonnes of mussels are produced in Scotland each year, with Shetland accounting for almost 80 per cent.
It is said that commercial hatcheries would make for “higher and more reliable yields”.
Become a supporter of Shetland News
Shetland News is asking its many readers to consider start paying for their dose of the latest local news delivered straight to their PC, tablet or mobile phone.
Journalism comes at a price and because that price is not being paid in today’s rapidly changing media world, most publishers - national and local - struggle financially despite very healthy audience figures.
Most online publishers have started charging for access to their websites, others have chosen a different route. Shetland News currently has over 530 supporters who are all making small voluntary financial contributions. All funds go towards covering our cost and improving the service further.
Your contribution will ensure Shetland News can: -
- Bring you the headlines as they happen;
- Stay editorially independent;
- Give a voice to the community;
- Grow site traffic further;
- Research and publish more in-depth news, including more Shetland Lives features.
If you appreciate what we do and feel strongly about impartial local journalism, then please become a supporter of Shetland News by either making a single payment or monthly subscription.
Support us from as little as £3 per month – it only takes a minute to sign up. Thank you.Support Shetland News