Thursday, March 1, 2018

01/03/2018: The National Aquaculture Centre

by Clifford Spencer, Chairman, AwF

A key asset of Aquaculture without Frontiers is the carefully established UK National Aquaculture Centre (NAC) of which the AwF charitable incorporated organisation (CIO) is co-owner

The National Aquaculture Centre is based at the Humber Seafood Institute (HSI) building at Grimsby’s Europarc which is a six million pound building specifically created with the idea of promoting seafood.

The HSI has three class, three bio laboratories, a conference centre, restaurant and advanced IT and display facilities, advanced kitchens and filming facilities together with purpose designed equipment development capacity. A manned reception is available five days a week and a large fish processing industry (the largest in the UK, employing some 5,000 people), sits on its door step.

As well as having the benefit of being able to use and benefit from all the HSI facilities AwF has established an aquaculture library there named after the overall AwF founder and our UK patron, Michael New O.B.E. Further the NAC has a contract with the African Union/New Partnership for Africa’s Development agency to research and assist the development of African aquaculture in all 55 African countries. The UK’s Seafish Authority is also based at the HSI and this organisation oversees and reports on all UK activity in this area and we have a close working relationship with Seafish’s aquaculture lead.

Most importantly Hull University is the NAC’s official academic partner and is working closely with it under the auspices of Professor Philip Leigh on all global research and development matters concerning aquaculture development. The involvement of the city of Hull and town of Grimsby with the NAC is very appropriate as these fishing ports once were the centre of all major fishing activity in the UK and in 1970 Grimsby was the base for a trawler fleet of 400 boats, the largest in the world.

Overfishing and territorial disputes has since decimated the UK fishing industry but the major processing centre survived and prospered – what better place to stimulate the research and development of aquaculture! Also the NAC is closely connected with the Eden Project in the South of the UK and an island in the Shetlands in the north of the UK which will act as national outreach centres. The Shetland Island has its own airstrip and its previous aquaculture facilities will be upgraded.

The background to the formation of the NAC is the UK Chief Medical Officer says that every person should eat two portions of fish and seafood a week, which amounts to 280g each. However, local production, imports and aquaculture currently provides just 179g per person or just 64 percent of the recommended level. The serious cardiovascular and brain health implications of this shortfall significantly contribute to soaring healthcare costs in the UK’s National Health Service.

Read the full article, HERE.

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