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Cta Man

Most exhibitors predict turnover increase

Published: 26/02/2024

Three-quarters (76%) of exhibitors saying they expect to see an increase in turnover over the next three years as a result of attending Aqua Nor 2023.

Three-quarters of Team Scotland cohort expect to see an increase in turnover after attending major conference.

A collaborative Team Scotland trade mission to Norway is expected to unlock new opportunities and increase turnover for the SMEs involved, according to the organisers of a shared Scottish pavilion at Aqua Nor 2023.  

As a result of the partnership involving Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE), the Sustainable Aquaculture Innovation Centre (SAIC), and the Scottish Government (Marine Directorate), a delegation of 18 of Scotland’s aquaculture supply chain businesses travelled to Trondheim, Norway, for the world’s largest aquaculture technology showcase in August. An estimated 25,000 people from 76 countries attended the three-day event.

The Scottish cohort included representatives from OTAQ, GenusWave, MiAlgae, Krucial, Moredun Scientific, Otter Ferry Seafish, Tritonia Scientific, Brimmond, SAMS Enterprise, I&C Process Solutions, KelpRing, Aqualife Services, Underwater Contracting, Veramaris, DSM-firmenich, Fish Farmer Magazine, Tritech and the University of Stirling’s Institute of Aquaculture.

The main aim of the Scottish pavilion was to showcase the ambition, capability and capacity of Scotland as an innovative technology, product, and service-providing nation. The stand – comprising 20 exhibitor pods, presentation spaces and collaboration areas – was officially opened by Mairi Gougeon, the Scottish Government’s Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs, Land Reform and Islands.

Feedback gathered so far by the organisers of the pavilion points towards its success with three-quarters (76%) of exhibitors saying they expect to see an increase in turnover over the next three years as a result of attending Aqua Nor. Almost all (94%) of the exhibitors said the event met or exceeded expectations and the delegation was left feeling optimistic about opportunities for new business contacts or leads (59%), opportunities with existing contacts (59%), potential new customers (59%), and potential new markets (55%).

Elaine Jamieson, head of food and drink and life sciences at HIE, said:

“Scotland’s significant presence at Aqua Nor was enabled by collaborative investment and commitment from several organisations. I am delighted that the businesses who participated are benefiting from the contacts and conversations they had at the show and HIE will continue to support enterprises from the region to realise opportunities. Whilst this post-event report is very positive, we know that commercial discussions are still developing, and the full trade and investment impacts of Aqua Nor 2023 will only be truly captured in a later business survey.”

Tom Murdoch, managing director at Brimmond and an exhibitor at the pavilion, said:

“Aqua Nor surpassed our expectations – the size and footfall of the show was greater than I had expected. We secured the rental of a large marine crane to one of the world's biggest aquaculture companies off the back of discussions we had at the show.”

Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs Islands and Land Reform, Mairi Gougeon, said:

“I was delighted to lead Scotland’s presence at Aqua Nor this year and to see first-hand the impact Scottish Government funding is making. Through the excellent Scottish Pavilion, delivered in partnership with Highlands and Islands Enterprise and Sustainable Aquaculture Innovation Centre, we were able to support Scottish businesses in the aquaculture sector to reach new audiences and potential customers, while promoting the innovation and quality of their products.

“The positive feedback from Scottish exhibitors highlights the importance of Scotland attending major international conferences such as these and I look forward to hearing more about the partnerships and opportunities created as a result.

“Following on from Aqua Nor’s success, I am now looking forward to continuing to promote Scotland’s innovative and ambitious aquaculture sector on the international stage at Aqua Sur in March. The event takes place in Chile, the world’s second largest producer of farmed salmon behind Norway, presenting opportunities to strengthen ties between our two nations. This includes increasing understanding of the Chilean aquaculture ecosystem, promoting our innovation and commitment to quality and high welfare standards, while also creating economic opportunities for Scotland.”

Heather Jones, CEO of SAIC, added:

“The feedback we have received so far on the Scottish pavilion is overwhelmingly positive, although it may be too early to measure the tangible economic impact. There was a steady stream of visitors over the course of the event, underpinning the message that Scotland is innovative and open for business. Pulling together as Team Scotland builds on SAIC’s role as a hub for connecting different areas of the sector and the academic community. It also lent a valuable helping hand to SMEs that may not otherwise have been able to attend.”