Stirling hooks cod fish money-spinner

Stirling University could safeguard the future of cod and chips with a new company, opened this week by Princess Anne, devoted to cod farming.

Stirling, whose internationally known institute of aquaculture has been involved in commercial fish farming for more than 20 years, has joined forces with Lakeland Smolts Ltd, to set up a cod hatchery that can produce up to 3 million codling a year.

Once codling reach a weight of about 100g, they will be shipped to farm cages on the west coast, Orkney, Shetland, and Ireland.

Derek Robertson, the institute's director of external facilities and chief executive of Machrihanish Marine Farm Ltd, said: "This is the start of a new industry for Scotland." The technology behind cod farming had been around for at least a century, he said, but until the current leap in the price of cod, commercial rearing had not been financially viable.

"Cod is now a very valuable fish," he said. Stirling and Lakeland had been working on developing the company since 2001, with financial support from the European Union and the local development agency.

The company is sited next to the university's marine environmental research laboratory in Argyll.

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