Minister visits Centre for Sustainable Aquatic Research

Alun Davies, Welsh Government Deputy Minister for Agriculture Food, Fisheries and European Programmes accompanied by Mr Gary Hagatty Head of Agriculture, Fisheries and Rural Strategy visited the Centre for Sustainable Aquatic Research (CSAR) at Swansea University last week.

The visit, which took place on Friday 21 September at 2pm included a guided tour of the research laboratories containing live fish, shellfish and algae.


CSAR was founded in 2005, to develop sustainable technologies for aquatic food production in Wales and internationally.  Since then it has grown rapidly and diversified its research to span fundamental questions of aquatic ecology and physiology, alongside applied technology development work.

The centre is home to a modern suite of controlled environment laboratories in which a diverse range of freshwater and marine organisms such as fish, algae, shellfish and other invertebrates are grown under optimal conditions and are allied to comprehensive facilities for field sampling and laboratory analysis.

The research centre operates on behalf of commercial aquaculturists and fishers, technology providers and research councils.  The centre also advises governmental institutions, in the UK and internationally – and has drafted the aquaculture section of the Wales Fisheries Strategy (2008).

Deputy Minister for Agriculture, Food and Fisheries, Alun Davies, said:

 “The Centre for Sustainable Aquatic Research in Swansea remains at the leading edge of research into new and sustainable mechanisms for aquaculture and it was a pleasure to see the Centre for myself.’’

“As the world’s demand for fish grows, I am keen that aquaculture plays a leading role in helping to meet this demand and the challenge is to do this in a sustainable way. This is not just my aim but it is also a fundamental part of the European Commission’s plans for a reformed Common Fisheries Policy.  I am pleased that we have such a wealth of academic resource in Wales that will continue to have an important role to play in helping to shape these important opportunities.”

“The Welsh Government will continue to work closely with CSAR through these changing times to develop key strategic opportunities for Wales.”     

Dr Robin Shields Head of CSAR said: ‘‘It was great to be able to introduce the Deputy Minister to our activities supporting fisheries and aquaculture in Wales and to our international research collaborations in this arena.”

Current research themes include:

  • Development of innovative aquaculture technologies, including new feeds and water treatment technologies;
  • Understanding and reducing the environmental impacts of marine engineering on commercial fisheries, sea birds and mammals;
  • Conservation of endangered aquatic species, incorporating modern molecular genetics approaches;
  • Cultivation and use of algae (seaweeds and microalgae) as a method to remove pollutants and also as a source of biomass for food, feeds and biofuels;
  • Modelling of biological processes in the ocean and how these are affected by climate change, including effects on commercial fisheries;
  • Understanding the human impact on the behaviours and migration patterns of key aquatic animals.

Further information about CSAR can be found at:

Picture (L-R): Andrew Davies, Gary Hagatty, Craig Pooley, Professor Robin Shields, Alun Davies