Plans progressing for cluster-boosting National Aquaculture Centre in Grimsby

By Grimsby Telegraph | Posted: 12 Mar 2018

PLANS to bring a National Aquaculture Centre to Grimsby, adding an exciting new dimension to the UK’s largest seafood cluster, are to be presented to industry, as the team behind the ambitious proposal moves in to a new phase.

Since the vision was brought forward nearly two years ago, much of the work has surrounded the technical requirements and academic support for what would represent a significant venture.

Now, after travelling the globe to learn from international operations, attention is turning to domestic demand – and the added impetus Brexit could bring.

Clifford Spencer, chief executive of the Global Biotechnology Transfer Foundation, pictured left, is bringing his distinguished background in agriculture to the town’s biggest export.

He said: “The next move will be to start discussions with local industry to get their feedback. We have been getting the technical side set up and with it being such a small world, that has required international co-ordination. Now with Brexit emerging as we have decided to do this, we are still trying to work out what the effects of that might be. With Brexit in particular, domestic production may be a more sound idea.”

The hundreds of thousands of tonnes of salmon handled in the town are predominantly farmed, with other species ripe for capitalising on too, as it not just eases supply, but helps feed a growing global population. And with ministerial backing and national media attention – it featured in a BBC World Service report over the weekend – momentum is building.

Mr Spencer said: “We are now in the process of moving in to more practical operations. We are going to be exhibiting at University of Hull, we will be talking to young students and getting people interested. We are exploring opportunities, talking with both producers and importers.

“We have now got the infrastructure in place. We are starting from a very, very low base. Unlike the Scottish salmon industry, the UK aquaculture industry hasn’t been developed to any size.”

Read more: Fundraiser from fish counter to UK home of seafood

He believes the contrast between hunter gatherer mentality and controlled environments for food production may have been part of it, 

“We have also been encouraged by the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, George Eustice, who said the future for it looks good.

“We have this fantastic processing industry in Grimsby, so much going on, and this is the potential, and we are now going forward. It will take a long time, but we are here for the long run.”

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