New member of staff joins team at NAFC Marine Centre

The NAFC Marine Centre has recruited a new member of staff to undertake research in shellfish cultivation to help it support the development of the industry.

Shellfish cultivation research associate, Blažka Smiljanič will liaise closely with the Scottish Shellfish Marketing Group (SSMG) while undertaking two Scottish Aquaculture Innovation Centre (SAIC) projects.]

Blažka Smiljanič examines sample cultures at the NAFC Marine Centre.
Blažka Smiljanič examines sample cultures at the NAFC Marine Centre.

Ms Smiljanič, from •, and an MSc in Marine Biodiversity and Biotechnology from Heriot Watt University, Edinburgh. Her MSc thesis investigated thermo-tolerance in two species of mussels.

She said: “I’m pleased to be involved in projects that could significantly improve the productivity of mussel farming.

“It’s good to be here in Shetland at the NAFC Marine Centre UHI and working with people in industry on applied science.”

The two projects Ms Smiljanič will be involved with support a mussel hatchery stepping stone project funded by Highlands and Islands Enterprise, SAIC and the Scottish government. Ms Smiljanič’s appointment has been made possible thanks to funding and support from SAIC and SSMG.

In addition to the SSMG and other project staff at the NAFC Marine Centre UHI, Ms Smiljanič will collaborate with mussel researchers at Stirling University’s Institute of Aquaculture, the Scottish Association for Marine Science (UHI), Marine Scotland Science and XELECT Ltd (a research-focused SME providing genetic services).

Lesley McEvoy from the NAFC Marine Centre’s aquaculture section, said: “We are very pleased to have attracted someone of Blažka’s calibre to this post – with her keen research interest in mussels and her practical ‘can-do’ approach, she has already demonstrated she will be a great asset to our mussel project teams.”


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