A research project aimed at growing Welsh businesses in the aquaculture sector has been given a £1.4m EU funding boost, Finance Secretary Mark Drakeford announced.
The £2m Smartaqua project will see scientists from Swansea University’s Centre for Sustainable Aquatic Research (CSAR) work with Welsh businesses to use advanced technology and develop ground-breaking new products and services for the specialised aquaculture market.
Professor Drakeford said:
“This scheme will drive forward scientific research to help businesses further develop aquaculture industry in Wales.
“This is a specialised sector with the potential to provide significant economic opportunities, particularly in rural areas.”
Over the next 4 years, the project will focus on methods for cleaner fish production, fish for biomedical research and the aquarium trade and develop locally-sourced and more environmentally-friendly aquafeeds and nutraceuticals.
The project aims to register new patents, help businesses to create jobs and expand the industry in Wales. Businesses in North Wales, South West Wales and the South Wales Valleys are set to benefit.
Professor Carlos Garcia de Leaniz, from CSAR, said:
“We are delighted to receive EU funding for this exciting venture, which will enable us to work with industry to develop existing and new products and technologies; bring them to market, and in turn, generate much-needed employment opportunities, particularly for businesses in rural communities.”
CSAR is Wales’ only centre of excellence for sustainable aquaculture and is the UK’s leading centre on recirculation technology and non-food aquaculture. It was established in 2003 with backing from the Welsh Government, EU funds and Swansea University.