Scientists make salmon run

July 9, 2004

Glasgow University researchers are promoting the benefits of a regular fitness regime - by developing aqua-aerobics for fish.

Studies of fish in tanks suggest that if currents are increased to boost their swimming speed, they are less stressed, grow up to 40 per cent bigger, are leaner and feed more efficiently - all of which bring potential benefits for the farmed fish industry.

Sunil Kadri, of Glasgow's division of environmental and evolutionary biology, said it was difficult to manipulate currents to keep fish swimming at particular rates in fish-farm cages.

But his team won some £200,000 from this year's £4.6 million Proof of Concept fund for a "novel non-mechanical device" that will encourage farmed salmon to swim at different speeds.

Dr Kadri said: "I can't tell you how it works because we have to file patents. But it could save the Scottish fish-farming industry £22 million in food costs alone."

The Proof of Concept fund, backed by Scottish Enterprise and the Scottish Executive, helps academics develop research ideas to the stage where they can attract commercial backing.

The other 25 projects to win support include Aberdeen University's plans for a portable scanner to detect skin cancer and research by Napier University into combining Sitka spruce with other materials to make stronger, lighter, cheaper and more environmentally friendly beams for the construction industry.

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