Feeding farmed fish to the world via Grimsby!

By Grimsby Telegraph | Posted: 28 Oct 2016

A LONG-TERM initiative to place Grimsby, the nation's leader in seafood processing, at the centre of developments in fish farming, is under way.

A National Aquaculture Centre could soon be established at Humber Seafood Institute, drawing together academic prowess, technical knowledge and supply chain expertise.

Early stage work is being headed by Clifford Spencer, chief executive of the Global Biotechnology Transfer Foundation, which is based at Brookenby, near Market Rasen. It is advancing agricultural learnings into allied sectors, helping developing nations.

A distinguished figure in land farming, he said: "Aquaculture is growing fast globally as a supplier of marine and freshwater seafood. This is due to the world's oceans and wild capture fisheries in general being currently fished at their sustainable limit. At the same time with the world's population continuing to grow the demand for sea food has been continually rising.

"The National Aquaculture Centre will be based at the Humber Seafood Institute and a start is just being made to assemble the facility. Hull University has agreed to be its official academic partner and meetings are currently taking place with the university's Institute of Estuarine and Coastal Studies and Hull International Fisheries Institute."

Mr Spencer, who has several UK crop yield records to his name, has served on a panel of the National Institute of Agricultural Botany and Processors and Growers Research Organisation and as a national judge for the Agricultural Trade Awards. He is also a former chairman of a regional farming group for the UK Sustainable Strategy in Farming and Food.

He is currently an honorary member of the Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs' Plant Varieties and Seeds Tribunal and previously was a DEFRA external project assessor.

He also works as a senior agriculture and bioenergy advisor to the United Nations Foundation and is also a member of an expert's panel for the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development.

He said: "Currently the UK population eats only half of the chief medical officer's recommended dietary intake of food for heart and brain health.

"Farming fish gives the prospect of supplying a larger range of fish and shellfish for public consumption.

"The formation team of the NAC has visited the European Aquaculture Show in Edinburgh recently and is visiting Vietnam and an Africa to view and discuss fish farming development.

"The team has commenced discussions with regional industry players but will be making significant efforts to canvass feedback and involvement of the local community in the build-up of the organisation," he added.

Humber Seafood Institute is already home to Seafish, the industry authority, and Seafox, which has taken over the secretariat of both the Grimsby Fish Merchants Association and Grimsby Fishing Vessel Owners Association.

Mr Spencer added: "The centre will be studying and promoting the entire value chain of fish and shellfish farming from breeding and physical production techniques to transport and marketing.

"Grimsby's leading place in the industry is regarded as crucial to the development of the centre."

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