Introduction content


Shell-volution is an industry-led initiative where shellfish producers have reached out to academics and the public sector to assist them in producing a research and development strategy that will enable the industry to evolve into its next-generation. This concept has been led by producers of blue mussels in Shetland along with Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) and the NAFC Marine Centre (NAFC).


Consultation with Shellfish Producers

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Consultation with Shellfish Producers

July 2020

Summary content


Shell-volution Report Cover

During 2018 there were some informal consultation with industry to help inform Themes for Shell-volution and this has been followed up with this consultation exercise in 2019 where industry was openly invited to take part in an online survey. The survey was funded through the UHI Aquaculture Industry Engagement Fund and the results of the survey are presented in this report.

During these consultation exercises, the sector confirmed their desire to become a more knowledge-based economy and reiterated their intention to become more resilient, to grasp market opportunities and to achieve sustainable growth as described in Aquaculture Vision 2030, where their target is described as enhancing current production to 21,000 tonnes by 2030.

The three revised themes of Shell-volution are (1) Spat, (2) Farm models and the Environment and (3) Shared Best Practice. The results from the survey have been organised to correspond with the three revised Themes:

Theme 1

1a) Wild Spat

  • Investigate and develop a feasible, industry-wide model for improving the security and reliability of wild spat recruitment, as a critical industry input.

1b) Hatchery Spat

  • Further develop the hatchery technologies and protocols used to produce spat reliably and cost-effectively; enabling improvements and efficiences to on-farm cultivation.

Theme 2

2a) Farm Modelling

2b) Environment

Identify and implement farm models for resilient, sustainable and transformational growth through:

  • Better informed spatial planning
  • Sustainable use of natural resources as farm assets
  • Efficient and productive use of farm resources
  • Reduction of waste/losses

Theme 3

3) Shared Best Practice

  • Apply research excellence to achieve economic growth potential through development of shared practice through Shellfish Monitor Farms.
  • Data collection and enhanced data handling/interpretation, benchmarking and training.

Ongoing Work

Work is underway to refine the Shell-volution themes and to begin populating the strategy with projects.

A steering group consortium has been formed to assist in these developments and to prioritise activities.

It is expected that further development and roll-out of the Shell-volution strategy will identify new sites for expansion, optimise existing sites for production capacity and layout, help provide more knowledge around predicted growth and seed collection opportunities, improve understanding of aquaculture-environment interactions and use applied science and technology to help producers achieve their stated ambitions and requirements.


This project was funded through the Aquaculture Industry Engagement Fund of the University of the Highlands and Islands.


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