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Council Leader to Open Association of Scottish Shellfish Growers Conference

SCOTLAND, UK - The leader of Argyll & Bute Council, Roddy McCuish, is to open the Association of Scottish Shellfish Growers (ASSG) two day conference at the Corran Halls, Oban, Argyll, on 24 October, welcoming international speakers and delegates to the annual event.

The shellfish industry is incredibly important in Argyll and Bute and many other parts of Scotland where communities depend on the employment and revenue it provides. There are around 60 shellfish companies in this area alone which produce roughly 80 per cent of Scotlands pacific oysters and 11 per cent of Scotlands blue mussels. The industry is crucial to the economic base and social fabric of the communities in Argyll and Bute and I look forward to hearing more at the conference, about some of the exciting things that are happening, he said.

Courtney Hough, General Secretary of the Federation of European Aquaculture Producers and the European Aquaculture Technology and Innovation Platform, will give the keynote speech and offer an expert guide to the opportunities and challenges for the aquaculture industry under the new Common Fisheries Policy.

New for this year is a research forum, in which four top scientists will present the latest findings from their work on different aspects of mussel and oyster culture, including management of algal toxins and improving methods for live transportation. The BEADS, Mussels Alive, OysterRecover and BivaLife projects are all represented.

Ormer farming in Jersey is the subject of Tony Leggs presentation, which also looks at Scottish applications for the growing system he has developed in conjunction with Fusion Marine. Delegates are invited to view the system at Fusion Marines yard at Barcaldine after the conference.

A pictorial representation of mussel and pearl farming around the world is on offer from Joe Franklin Jnr of the Quality Equipment Group in New Zealand, and Nicki Holmyard, manager of the Seafood in Schools project, explains how she is encouraging more youngsters to enjoy shellfish!

Back for the fourth time is the popular competition to find Scotlands best Mussels, Pacific and Native Oysters, with a live cooking and sampling session taking place at 1230 on the first day of the conference. This event is open to all Scottish farmers and is a hotly contested event.

The second day starts with Keith Davidson of SAMS examining the abundance of mussel spat in Scottish waters and asking if it is changing, whilst Angus Garret of Seafish looks at CO2 emissions in shellfish and Andy Fitzgerald of Aquaprova talks about ways in which sewage effluent can be managed better to take shellfish farming into consideration. David Attwood of Loch Fyne Oysters will give a short presentation on managing the risks posed by oyster herpes virus.

The way forward for shellfish water quality is discussed by Joyce Carr from the Environmental Quality Division of Scottish Government, and the conference ends on a high note with Stephen Cameron of SSMG talking about the promotion of cultivated molluscs in Europe.

A pre-conference workshop is being hosted by Plymouth Marine Laboratory, to examine what ocean acidification could mean in the future for the farmed shellfish industry. Of interest to all, this event is at the Scottish Association for Marine Science in Dunstaffnage, from 1830 200 on 23rd October and must be pre-booked on the ASSG website.

A workshop on oyster testing is being hosted at the conference by Neogen at lunchtime on the first day, and a host of trade stands offer products, services and expert advice throughout the conference.

Walter Speirs, Chairman of the ASSG, explained that the conference has something of interest to everyone connected with the shellfish industry. We have an exciting programme that caters for shellfish farmers, regulators and personnel from ancillary industries, as well as providing an excellent networking opportunity, and I look forward to meeting old and new faces at the event, he said.

Lucy Towers

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