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Aquaculture veterinary training initiative launched in Scotland

February 27, 2023  By Colin Ley

New courses will improve the skills and knowledge of people working in the seafood sector (Photo: Scottish Sea Farms)

Scottish researchers and one of the country’s major fish farming companies are to work together on a £39,000 skills training programme in a bid to boost the flow of seafood technicians and veterinary professionals into the industry.

Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) and Scottish Sea Farms have announced a combined effort to create three new types of skills courses, including technician training piloted with SSF and professional development (CPD) courses offered to vets which will include topics such as higher-level data skills, fish health and gill health.

“The health of our fish, and the development of the people who care for them, are central to everything we do,” Ronnie Soutar, head of Veterinary Services at Scottish Sea Farms, told Hatchery International. “This new collaboration with SRUC will support both these aims by providing current and emerging generations with opportunities to gain practical experience and, in turn, grow their skills and understanding of the sector.”

Growing vet numbers

“The number of vets coming into salmon farming continues to grow,” he added, “aided by a concerted drive to increase understanding of what we do, why we do it, and the positive difference vets can make to all aspects of fish welfare: from genetics, broodstock and freshwater stages, right through to marine farming and humane harvesting. It’s hugely important, however, that we work equally hard to ensure that, once in the sector, vets have ready access to the training, development and support they need and want.”


Dr. Mary Thomson, vice principal of Skills and Lifelong Learning at SRUC, commented: “This is a fantastic opportunity to support the aquaculture sector with upskilling which can improve business productivity. It will also expand SRUC’s existing CPD provision, and learners will benefit from improved understanding of the sector and career pathways available.”

Funding for the new collaboration has been provided by the £100 million UK Seafood Fund which aims to support the long-term future and sustainability of the UK fisheries and seafood sector.

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