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20 August 2020

Dorset Mariculture Strategy Launches

Close up of a persons hand holding a fish

A new strategy that aims to provide a route for sustainable aquaculture development across Dorset has been launched this week. The Dorset Mariculture Strategy has been written by Dorset Coast Forum (DCF) following extensive consultation with stakeholders in the county.

Dorset already has a thriving aquaculture industry and Poole Harbour produces the largest volume of Pacific oysters in England, but it is hoped that a collective voice from the industry will help it reach its full potential.

Martin Sutcliffe, Fisheries and Aquaculture Development Officer for Dorset Coast Forum, working in partnership with Dorset Council and Kingston Maurward College said, “Last year, Dorset was awarded a High Potential Opportunity for sustainable aquaculture by the Department of International Trade and this strategy will build on that prestigious award. Aquaculture isn’t just fish in sea cages, many different species can be farmed from seaweeds to shellfish and shrimp, on land or in the sea. The strategy will give the sector a collective focus and drive and help develop a skilled workforce for the future.”

Finn Morgan, Business Engagement and Dorset Gateway Manager said: "The natural resources, evolving infrastructure across Dorset and the fast growing sector of sustainable aquaculture has the potential to provide a whole host of opportunities for UK and overseas businesses to set up in the county. This has already been recognised in Dorset's Local Industrial Strategy - a 10 year economic strategy for the region developed by Dorset LEP in partnership with a range of stakeholders - as well as Dorset Council's Economic Growth Strategy.

"People and businesses are at the peak of planning their recovery from the impact of COVID-19 as well as preparing for the end of the EU transition period. As such, they are seeking new opportunities and ways they can grow and adapt their operations whilst investors are looking for growth sectors to move into. The aquaculture industry, be it farming, supply chains or manufacturing, could provide some of these new opportunities, so the timing of the Dorset Mariculture Strategy launch couldn't be better.”

Dorset Council’s Economic Growth Strategy, and the Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership’s Local Industrial Strategy, highlight aquaculture as a sector that has high growth potential. Cllr Ray Bryan, portfolio holder for Highways, Travel and Environment, added: “Dorset Council’s ambitions to increase productivity across the county fit extremely well with the development of sustainable aquaculture. Aquaculture can provide skilled jobs for Dorset residents and help kick start the economy as we move forward following the COVID-19 pandemic. If done correctly aquaculture can contribute to food security and help regeneration of coastal towns.”

Alongside the strategy a new online website will also be launched www.dorsetaquaculture.co.uk. The website is a virtual hub which provides a one stop shop to help with applications for licenses and permissions, highlights some of the existing businesses already operating in Dorset and provides insight into the industry for the general public. Martin Sutcliffe said: “Navigating the licensing process can be time consuming and confusing, the website pulls together lots of helpful information in one place and we hope it can help lift some of that burden. I am also able to help signpost people with who to contact and when.”

The strategy is available now to download from the Dorset Coast Forum website https://www.dorsetcoast.com/projects/aquaculture/ and anyone who wants more information should contact Martin Sutcliffe on 01305 224766 or by e-mail at martin.sutcliffe@dorsetcouncil.gov.uk

Photos can be downloaded from this link https://we.tl/t-ZpcjCxyfjl

 

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