Shellfish producers, scientists and regulators are meeting at Bangor University today, 4 December, for the first workshop to develop a new Shellfish Centre. The centre will deliver the research and innovation needs of the industry and secure sustainable growth of this valuable Welsh sector.
This follows the announcement in August of EU funding of £2.8m for the new science and innovation hub to boost Wales’ shellfish industry.
Project Director Professor Lewis Le Vay of Marine Centre Wales at the University’s School of Ocean Sciences said: “This opening workshop brings together industry stakeholders, representatives of government, agencies and regulators and academic researchers to collectively identify opportunities and constraints for shellfish production across Wales.
“This will be the first in a series of stakeholder workshops running throughout the project, that will help maintain the focus on the needs of the sector.
“It is an also an opportunity for potential research partners to meet the project team, to hear what the project is about and what activity is underway or planned.
“All research activity undertaken by the Shellfish Centre will be conducted within a series of well-defined collaborative projects with industrial partners and the workshop is an ideal opportunity to identify and prioritise research needs and to develop new collaborations.”
James Wilson of Bangor Mussel Producers, a mussel producer who will be attending the first meeting commented: “I am really looking forward to the Shellfish Centre approach getting up and running. In the sector, we have long understood the potential within Welsh waters to improve upon and sustainably grow the production of shellfish with all of the commensurate economic and social benefits. However, we have only had a limited amount of evidence at hand to support this ambition We hope that the Shellfish Centre will be able to provide the missing pieces in the jigsaw and at last allow this potential to be realized.”
The Shellfish Centre RD&I operation is part-funded by the EU’s West Wales and the Valleys European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) Operational Programme through the Welsh Government.