Support Organisations

Help is at hand for both new entrants and the existing aquaculture industry. This support is available through a wide variety of organisations that can help from setting out in this sector, to targeted industry related research through to welfare organisations that can support workers in the sector. If in any doubt about who to contact, then the Dorset Coast Forum are always available to point you in the right direction.

Industry Bodies

Sea Fish Industry Authority (Seafish) Seafish logo

Seafish is a Non-Departmental Public Body set up to support the £10 billion UK seafood industry. Amongst the services it provides is support to the aquaculture sector in the UK. Included in this support are their Aquaculture Profiles web tool which gives an overview of the main farmed species.

Seafish also has a dedicated Aquaculture Manager, Lee Cocker, who is available to support the industry. The Aquaculture Manager’s role is aimed at providing relevant resources and support to UK aquaculture and sectoral growth. Duties include close liaison and collaboration with key organisations (from government and regulators, to producers) as well as supporting strategic national and international aquaculture initiatives.  Lee Cocker can be contacted as follows

Shellfish Association of Great Britain (SAGB)

Shellfish Association of Great Britain (SAGB)

The SAGB’s aim is to assist and promote the sustainable development of the Shellfish Industry in the United Kingdom. Shellfish contribute nearly 50% of the total value of seafood landed into the UK vessels into the UK. Cultivated shellfish contribute an additional £38 million, from nearly 30,000 tonnes. Despite this, the industry is often overlooked in discussions and decisions that can have huge impacts.

The SAGB represents the views of shellfisheries, both wild-caught and cultivated, in debates with the Government, other users of the sea and environmental organisations. The SAGB are striving to ensure a more viable and sustainable future for UK shellfish operations. With the increasing legislation and financial constraints facing the industry, the SAGB’s role is more vital than ever.

Alongside their lobbying activities, the SAGB also promotes the sustainability of UK operations, the health benefits of eating shellfish, brings together buyers and sellers of shellfish and sells the story of this magnificent industry to the public.

Dorset Coast ForumDorset Coast Forum

The Dorset Coast Forum is a strategic coastal partnership, which looks at the long term issues facing the Dorset coast and its inshore waters. The forum enables investors to discuss issues, gain access to the latest data and information, access support for the design and delivery of innovative projects, and network with key industry stakeholders.

Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP)Dorset LEP Logo

Dorset LEP offers tailored soft landing packages for new investors including relocation support, commercial property searches (introduction to land and real estate agents), local economic intelligence provision and introductions to local sector networking groups. A wide range of funding and finance options for your investment are available.

South West Agritech

World-class technology supporting efficiency and innovation in celebrated West Country livestock farming, fishing and food industries.

South West Aquaculture Network (SWAN)

Building on the Dorset, “High Potential Opportunity” and part of Maritime UK South West, the SWAN network exists to promote and develop aquaculture in the region.

Plymouth University – The Marine Innovation CentrePlymouth University Logo

Organises workshops, networking events and face-to-face meetings to help businesses unlock the value of R&D, solve technical challenges, improve products and processes and capitalise on new market opportunities.

Portsmouth University – Institute of Marine SciencesUniversity of Portsmouth Logo

An internationally known marine station providing high quality marine research and teaching. They have developed the sites, facilities, equipment and the expertise that leading businesses want. This includes the Aquatic Research Centre that houses a state-of-the-art aquarium and sea-water system, and the Shallow water research and testing platform in Langstone harbour.

Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authorities

Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authorities

Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authorities lead, champion and manage a sustainable marine environment and inshore fisheries, by successfully securing the right balance between social, environmental and economic benefits to ensure healthy seas, sustainable fisheries and a viable industry.

Southern IFCASouthern IFCA logo

Southern IFCA covers the inshore waters of Hampshire, Dorset and the Isle of Wight out to 6 nautical miles; working both on land and at sea to balance sustainable fisheries with a sustainable environment.  The District contains a diverse range of habitats and species within European Marine Sites and Marine Conservation Zones and IFCA evidence collection ranges from impact surveys to habitat mapping and underwater video footage.

Devon and Severn IFCADevon & Severn IFCA Logo

The D&S IFCA is the largest of the ten separate IFCA districts and has two separate coastlines. The area of the District is 4522km² and is defined in the Statutory Instrument (2010 No. 2212). The D&S IFCA District includes the areas of Devon, Torbay, Somerset, Gloucestershire County Councils; Bristol City and Plymouth City Councils; North Somerset and South Gloucestershire Councils and all adjacent waters out to six nautical miles offshore or the median line with Wales.

Research Providers

The Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Cefas)Cefas logo

Lowestoft and Weymouth

Recognised leader in aquaculture science. Cefas has extensive experience of the regulation of all aquaculture systems and deploy innovative, cutting edge technologies alongside complementary and cost-effective data sources.

Cefas has links with a diverse range of stakeholders and creates significant opportunities to partner in research and development of new technologies and processes. For example, regulatory testing and modelling for risk is done at the Weymouth Laboratory.

The Cefas regulatory toolbox ensures aquaculture supply chain companies have all the information required to set up successfully, through a single portal. Ref: HPO

Sustainable Aquaculture Futures – Exeter University and CefasExeter University Logo

Draws upon research strengths to undertake interdisciplinary activity associated with:

  • Aquatic disease – diagnosis, therapeutics and mitigation
  • Anti-microbial resistance
  • Genomes and host pathogen interactions
  • Aquatic disease modelling and epidemiology
  • Environment and animal health
  • Aquatic food safety Ref: HPO


The Aquaculture Research Collaborative Hub UK is an academia-led network developing a UK aquaculture community. Through events and online platforms ARCH UK:

  • sign-posts aquaculture research to research councils (UKRI)
  • creates opportunities for skills development
  • transfers the latest knowledge, technology, techniques and scientific insight
  • promotes mobility and collaboration between universities and industry

ARCH-UK is made up of eight aquaculture working groups, which include a wide range of aquaculture stakeholders from academia, industry and policy.

The Natural Environment Research Council (NERC)Natural Environment Research Council Logo

NERC is the UK’s largest funder of independent environmental science, training and innovation, delivered through universities and research centres. Their business partnerships deliver knowledge, skills and technology that meet the UK’s innovation needs and support economic growth with responsible environmental management. Their innovation funding brings researchers together with research users, to harness the best people, skills and information to address business and societal needs.  NERC invest public money in world-leading science, designed to help us sustain and benefit from our natural resources, predict and respond to natural hazards and understand environmental change. Much of this investment is targeted towards the large research infrastructure, (equipment and skills that keep the UK at the cutting edge of environmental science), supporting long-term science, and enabling emergence response. NERC also funds postgraduate training – sustaining the flow of talent and skills for UK science, business and government. NERC works closely with policymakers and industry to make sure the knowledge capital in the UK can support sustainable economic growth and wellbeing. They are supported mainly by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), but all their activities and funding decisions are independent of government. Their funding is based around key themes and calls, which are only open for a limited amount of time. A recent central theme within NERC has been Sustainable Aquaculture.  NERC are likely to work very closely with other Research Councils in order to ensure there are no gaps in funding. Much funding for aquaculture work may be delivered in partnership, for example, with the BBSRC (Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council).

Welfare Bodies

The Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority (GLAA)Gangmaster & Labour Abuse Authority Logo

The Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority works in partnership to protect vulnerable and exploited workers. The GLAA is a Non Departmental Public Body (NDPB) governed by an independent Board made up of a chair and six members, who were recruited for their respective knowledge, experience and skills.

The GLAA’s role is to protect vulnerable and exploited workers. Through the intelligence they receive from inspections, the public, industry and other government departments, the GLAA investigate reports of worker exploitation and illegal activity such as human trafficking, forced labour and illegal labour provision, as well as offences under the National Minimum Wage and Employment Agencies Acts.

The GLAA investigate all aspects of labour exploitation in England and Wales but also work with partner organisations such as the police, the National Crime Agency and other government law enforcement agencies to target, dismantle and disrupt serious and organised crime across the UK.

The GLAA licensing scheme regulates businesses who provide workers to the fresh produce supply chain and horticulture industry, to make sure they meet the employment standards required by law.  Employment agencies, labour providers or gangmasters who provide workers to the sectors listed below, will need a GLAA licence:

  • Agriculture
  • Horticulture
  • Shellfish gathering
  • Any associated processing and packaging

The Fishermen’s MissionFishermen's Mission Logo

The Fishermen’s Mission is the only fishermen’s charity that provides emergency support alongside practical, financial, spiritual and emotional care. They help all fishermen, active or retired, and their families. More recently, this support has also been extended to those who work at sea in aquaculture.

Seafarers UKSeafarers Logo

Seafarers UK is a charity that has been helping people in the maritime community for over 100 years, by providing vital support to seafarers in need and their families. They do this by giving grants to organisations and projects that make a real difference to people’s lives, across the Merchant Navy, Fishing Fleets, Royal Navy and Royal Marines.

Accreditation and Certification

The FAO report that at present there are at least 30 certification schemes and eight key international agreements relevant to aquaculture certification. The Seafish Aquaculture Profile Tool contains a useful overview of the relevant certification schemes at the end of each Aquaculture Profile.

Other Support Organisations


Intellectual Property

Aquaculture businesses that develop novel and innovative systems or techniques should consider protecting these as intellectual property (IP), along with any branding that is unique to the business.  In addition to securing their own IP protection, businesses should also be mindful that there may be pre-existing IP rights owned by third parties that could present them with unexpected obstacles.  Having an IP strategy in place that defines how the business will protect its innovations and brands, and considers how to deal with the potential risk posed by third party IP, can help companies safeguard their ideas and protect the value of their business, and can also support funding applications and investment opportunities.

Gill Jennings and Every LLP (GJE), a leading firm of UK and European patent and trade mark attorneys, have extensive experience supporting British start-ups and SMEs with a particular interest in the marine and agriculture sectors.  Repeatedly ranked first place amongst its UK and European competitors by the Financial Times, GJE provide comprehensive patent, trade mark and design services.  Free initial consultations are available, and more information about GJE and their services can be found on their website.

To arrange a free initial consultation to discuss your IP needs and how GJE might support your business, please contact

Last updated: 23 September 2021