A new research centre to tackle challenges facing the UK’s seafood industry, marine wildlife and under-sea environment was officially launched yesterday by Environment Secretary Michael Gove.
Based at the University of Exeter, the new Collaborative Centre for Sustainable Aquaculture Futures will bring together world-leading scientists to try and address key threats facing the aquaculture industry both at home and internationally, in a bid to support international food security and sustainable ‘blue’ growth.
It forms part of an existing alliance between the university and government research laboratory the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Cefas).
Speaking at Cefas’ annual science conference at the launch of the new Centre yesterday, Gove said tackling the challenges facing the marine environment is vital to ensure a successful economic and environmental future for the UK’s marine industry.
“The new centre not only establishes our position as a world leader in marine science and sustainability, but will prove critical to the health of our fisheries and the economic vitality of our coastal areas – helping us in our continued drive to leave the environment in a better state for the next generation,” said Gove.
Key issues of focus for the Centre include providing scientific support to reduce the $6bn estimated annual losses due to aquaculture disease and ensuring sustainable development for the aquaculture industry.
Co-director of the Centre and Cefas pathologist Professor Grant Stentiford said applying science could help provide future generations with safe and sustainably farmed seafood as well keep the UK on track towards meeting national and international environmental commitments.
“For the first time, government and academic science related to aquaculture sustainability is coming together in support of development and consolidation of the global industry,” said Stentiford. “The Centre will co-design solutions in national, regional and global aquaculture sustainability and is uniquely positioned to support the rapidly expanding global aquaculture industry.”