Twenty businesses to join university shellfish projects

Image source, Portland Press Herald
Image caption,
The £2.8m funding will support scientific research at the university shellfish centre

Around 20 Welsh businesses are to join projects aimed at growing the shellfish industry over the next five years.

It is part of plans for Bangor University's new £2.8m research centre, Finance Secretary Mark Drakeford announced on Monday.

Based at the Marine Centre Wales, the university shellfish centre will support research and technology.

The EU-funded science and innovation hub will target coastal water quality, among other industry aims.

The majority of businesses involved farm shellfish, such as oysters or mussels.

Together with Bangor University researchers, they will focus on increasing production, expanding into more areas and farming different species.

James Wilson, of Bangor Mussel Producers, said: "Our ability to withstand the impact of Brexit will, in part, depend on having the highest-quality scientific understanding of resources and the marine environment. This investment in the shellfish centre should very much help deliver that."

The centre will also support the adoption of new technology, production methods and expansion into new markets.

Prof Lewis Le Vay, from Bangor University, said the long-term aim is for the centre to be a "sustainable and growing shellfish production and processing sector".

He added: "Supported by a science and innovation partnership, this initiative will help place Welsh shellfish producers in a leading position in the UK and internationally."

Mr Drakeford said: "EU-funded research is playing a vital role in maximising the expertise within our universities so Welsh businesses are at the forefront of science and technology.

"This investment will drive business competitiveness leading to the development of a strong and sustainable shellfish industry in Wales."

The EU funding will be spread out over three years and will not be affected by Brexit.