Personal engagement with Scottish and international businesses is critical to making sure we’re ready to accelerate growth and investment in our region.

It helps to refresh our understanding of the particular aspirations and challenges of individual companies, and to realise important economic and environmental opportunities. 

For us, that’s what Aqua Nor is all about. It’s the biggest aquaculture technology exhibition on earth and I’m here in Trondheim, Norway, this week with colleagues from HIE, the Scottish Aquaculture Innovation Centre and Scottish Government.

We’re joined by 18 of Scotland’s aquaculture supply chain businesses, who are showcasing some of the advanced technology, innovation and knowledge that’s helping the sector thrive. The collective presence of these SMEs and academic organisations is a powerful representation of capabilities and ambition in Scotland.  

On Tuesday I welcomed Mairi Gougeon, Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs, Land Reform and Islands, to formally open our busy pavilion.  This was immediately followed by a spotlight on the Scottish pavilion exhibitors and a tremendous buzz as people started to tour the pods.

The Team Scotland collaboration behind the pavilion is a strong demonstration of our shared committed to:

  • supporting the sustainable growth of Scottish aquaculture;
  • supporting entrepreneurial and innovative businesses; and
  • supporting international trade and welcoming inward investment.   

The Innovation Nation panel on Wednesday was an opportunity for us all to discuss with international peers how we can fund, adopt and commercialise innovation to drive forward sustainable growth. 

I chaired a lively discussion between representatives from UK, Canada and Faroe. This explored priorities for aquaculture science, technology and innovation collaboration and how to identify shared opportunities and challenges.

I look forward to working with businesses and international partners in developing some of the opportunities identified this week.   

With the HIE Strategy 2023-28 being launched next week, Aqua Nor is also proving a timely opportunity to remind businesses of our priorities and the support available from Scotland’s enterprise agencies. 


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