Kit Davies
Wales has the potential to lead the world in developing a sustainable approach to the fishing industry, according to Welsh economic development minister Andrew Davies.
The claim was made during the launch of AqWa ­ Aquaculture Wales ­ a £3m project to drive fish farming in Wales, a sector with huge potential and a growing market.
The first phase of AqWa will create 80 jobs and lead to the creation of up to 50 farm-based production systems
Each 500 tonne added value production unit would, in its lifetime, add more than £80m to the Welsh economy, according to the Welsh Development Agency.
Davies said: "The project aims to exploit and develop new processes for the growth of a fish farming industry in Wales. This is an unprecedented opportunity for Wales to take the lead in setting new standards for this sector."
The first phase of the project, which is sponsored by the WDA with support from the University of Wales Swansea, will establish cutting edge research and development. The aim is to create a centre of excellence and innovation, focusing on the use of environmentally safe technologies. Wales already leads the UK in the cultivation of marine fish species using water recirculation technologies and is home to Bluewater Flat Fish Farms on Anglesey.
"The R&D centre will develop new technologies, collaborate with industry, undertake joint research internationally, work with commercial producers and help develop this new sector," said Davies.
"The building blocks are in place to position Wales at the forefront of global developments to create an industry that is economically, ecologically and environmentally sustainable."
The £3m project is funded equally through Objective One and Pathways to Prosperity, and is supported by major marine fish farms in north Wales, international fish feed and pharmaceutical companies and universities in Europe and Asia.