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New Appointments at NAFC Marine Centre

UK - The NAFC Marine Centre has this week welcomed two new staff members to fill the posts of Aquaculture Research Scientist and Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) Research Associate.


Dr Clive Talbot and Noelia Rodriguez.

Both positions join the Aquaculture Research section in the Centre’s Marine Science and Technology department and will fulfil specific roles to achieve real impact from highly applied marine science.

Dr Clive Talbot, aged 56, began in post on 1 June as Aquaculture Research Scientist. He is in the process of moving to Shetland from Fort William where he worked for almost three years as a self employed consultant for Aquaculture Research Services.

He has an international reputation, both in academia and in the aquaculture industry as an authority on fish biology and fish farming operations, including competence in nutrition, husbandry and environmental issues.

After being awarded his PhD in 1980 by the University of Aberdeen, Dr Talbot worked for 12 years at Freshwater Fisheries Laboratory in Pitlochry before joining Nutreco Aquaculture Research Centre in Stavanger, Norway as senior researcher. In 2001, he joined the Marine Harvest Technical Centre, also in Stavanger, as technical manager where he worked for six years.

“I think my academic background within fish nutrition, physiology and biology, combined with my industry research experience definitely helped me secure this role,” said Dr Talbot.

“Over the years, I've published many papers, supervised many PhD students and been involved at many levels in the aquaculture industry.

“I see this as a great opportunity to develop teaching and R&D activities for the aquaculture sector. I hope to bring in and manage research projects, as well as developing and teaching sector specific courses. Throughout my past career I've undertaken much applied R&D and worked with industry to establish best practice. I've also run training courses and workshops. All of this has been directed towards aquaculture development and applied R&D.”

Expanding on what attracted him to the post, he added: “It has always been a personal ambition to take my collected experience of academia, and pure industry research, and put something back into industry through working in a higher education institution or government policy/advisory role. This post was an ideal opportunity for me to help support the aquaculture industry in general and Shetland in particular. This role also gives me the chance to pass on some of the knowledge and experience I've gained over the years to the new generation of students and workers coming into the industry.”

As Aquaculture Research Scientist, Dr Talbot will help develop and deliver a variety of applied aquaculture research projects, contribute to a variety of aquaculture-related training and education courses, and assist in the smooth operation of the Centre's aquaculture infrastructure.

Dr Talbot continued: “There are tremendous facilities at the NAFC Marine Centre. Nowhere else in Scotland has a research farm with sea cages. Added to that is the analytical and teaching labs, sea cages and tanks with temperature-controlled water.

“I see this as a place for post graduate students to do practical work, for equipment manufacturers to test products, and for feed and vaccine companies to do trials. There is a huge infrastructure in Scotland seeking somewhere to run a variety of projects, and I believe we can tap into this market, as well as look at the international arena. People at university obtaining research funding need access to facilities, and we also have the capacity to develop MSc and SVQ courses. I also hope to develop my own R&D portfolio to address local issues for Shetland’s aquaculture industry.

“I see great potential for developing the NAFC as a centre of excellence in aquaculture research.”

Dr Talbot is joined in the Aquaculture Development section by 27 yar old Noelia Rodriguez as Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) Research Associate. Originally from Spain, Noelia worked as a fish monitor and sampler of tuna at the Spanish Institute of Oceanography for three years before moving to Shetland in 2008. She has since worked as a laboratory technician and benthic trainee taxonomist with Shetland Seafood Quality Control (SSQC) before taking up the new post. She has also been studying towards a degree in biology at the University of Oviedo in Spain.

When asked what the post entails, Noelia Rodriguez said: “Over the next two years I will investigate and develop the practical aspects of the use of Ballan wrasse as cleaner fish for the biological control of sea lice on farmed salmon. Sea lice are acknowledged as one of the major concerns industry currently faces in these financially challenging times.

“Economic and environmental benefits may be achieved through the use of wrasse, and this is reliant on me developing management and husbandry protocols for the fish, as well as ensuring their welfare.

“This applied research project will involve monitoring sea lice abundance on actual commercial salmon housed with 'cleaner fish' within a sea-based trials site in Shetland. As well as producing progress reports, I'll also be facilitating industry training workshops, which will provide the main route of knowledge transfer to Shetland Aquaculture and its members.”

Commenting on the new additions to his team, head of Marine Science and Technology, Dr Martin Robinson, said: “I'm delighted that Dr Talbot and Noelia Rodriguez have joined us at such an exciting stage in the department's development. Our aim within Marine Science and Technology is to design, develop and deliver work programmes that provide answers to gaps in current knowledge, technology or best practice. We acknowledge that the sea provides many resources which society can continue to benefit from; our objective is to ensure that these benefits are maximised to a level that can be maintained.

“Value for money and impact from investment in R&D through knowledge transfer is increasingly important in a competitive Europe. We put priority on regional and national impact derived from our activities and this is reflected in our highly applied outputs and close collaboration with industry.”

The partnership received financial support from the Knowledge Transfer Partnerships programme (KTP). KTP aims to help businesses to improve their competitiveness and productivity through the better use of knowledge, technology and skills the reside within the UK Knowledge Base. KTP is funded by the Technology Strategy Board along with the other government funding organisations.

the Fish Site Editor

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