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Published: February 16, 2020 | Updated: February 18, 2020

County set to make a splash with launch of #DorsetAquaBites showcasing aquaculture

Brown trout at Hooke Springs Trout Farm at Beaminster.
By Andrew Diprose, editor

A new campaign – #DorsetAquaBites – has been launched showcasing Dorset aquaculture.

The aim is to make the county a leader in the field and attract further investment to the region.

Aquaculture is the breeding, rearing, and harvesting of marine algae, seaweed, fish and molluscs in all types of water environments.

The industry currently generates more than £1.4bn for the UK economy.

By 2022, the global aquaculture market is projected to exceed £174bn and by 2030 is forecast to be the prime source of seafood.

#DorsetAquaBites has been launched by Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP).

Jim Stewart, Dorset LEP Chair and Chief Executive of Poole Harbour Commissioners, pictured right, said: “This campaign is a chance to show off our fantastic local companies who are benefitting from a great location for business.

“Dorset is ready to step up its aquaculture sector as conditions are perfect.”

Throughout the #DorsetAquaBites campaign, attention will turn to the Dorset LEP social channels where there will be conversation on the main areas of aquaculture in Dorset, highlighting innovative local businesses.

Local businesses have told Dorset LEP why they love Dorset and how excited they are by future aquaculture opportunities.

Mark Firth, from Hooke Springs Trout Farm, pictured left, which produces brown and rainbow trout in Beaminster, said: “Our consistent water quality and quantity supply to this farm is second to none.

“If you offered me any other part of England to go to I would say no thank you.”

Sarah Pinder, from Dorset Seaweeds, a Portland based business which turns wild seaweed into biostimulent, said: “I think aquaculture in Dorset is a really exciting opportunity.

“There’s a great potential here, it could create a lot of jobs. If we could potentially get our seaweed from seaweed farms in the future that would be fantastic.”

The #DorsetAquaBites campaign sets sail in the lead up to the ‘OH20: Aquaculture Expo’ event on Wednesday March 4.

‘OH20: Aquaculture Expo – Commercial Solutions to Global Problems’ is the UK’s first expo in which aquaculture will be discussed in the context of the One Health concept.

It will showcase sustainable commercial UK aquaculture businesses.

Those attending include buyers, investors, government support agencies and universities.

The event is designed to encourage businesses and investors to capitalise on Dorset’s position as a great place to run and grow an aquaculture business while addressing One Health problems such as food supply and environmental protection.

Fully-funded and hosted by Dorset LEP, it takes place at Kingston Maurward College, Dorchester.

You can book via Eventbrite or the Dorset LEP website.

Last year, Dorset LEP worked with local organisations to submit a commercial proposition to the Department for International Trade (DIT) so that aquaculture in Dorset could be identified within the first round of the High Potential Opportunity (HPO) Programme.

The government programme aims to identify specific inward investment opportunities across the UK which can be promoted by DIT on a global stage.

Luke Rake, Principal of Kingston Maurward College, said: “KMC is proud to be hosting this event, and to play its part in developing the High Potential Opportunity for Dorset.

“We are launching a new aquaculture programme this autumn to support the industry which will allow both the college and the sector to further develop.”