Skip to main content

Press release

New aquaculture facilities opened at Sparsholt College

Date issued: 12 February 2013
Reference: 01/13

Sparsholt College has officially opened its £500,000 Salmonid Rearing and Trials Centre, a teaching and research centre that aims to help bolster the UK's aquaculture industry. The centre will be used for education and research but will also give fishery students a chance to develop their commercial and entrepreneurial skills.

The European Fisheries Fund (EFF) is supporting the development of the aquaculture industry in England by investing in education and training facilities for its future workforce. An EFF grant of over £240,000 was awarded to the college to part fund the project.

Image of Robert Hughes of Skretting and Steve Brine MP officially opening the centre

Robert Hughes of Skretting (left) and Steve Brine MP officially opening the centre.
Image courtesy of Sparsholt College

Winchester and Chandler’s Ford MP Steve Brine and Robert Hughes from aquaculture feeds producer Skretting, who is also an ambassador and campaigner for the UK Trout industry, unveiled the plaque on Thursday 31 January 2013. During the opening the college also hosted the national launch of the Fish Husbandry and Fishery Management Apprenticeship, a brand new qualification.

The new centre will be used primarily as an educational facility but also has significant potential as a research facility as well as supporting some local fisheries’ re-stocking programmes. The new building incorporates a small aquaculture unit to produce table fish which will increase the students’ commercial and entrepreneurial experience and there is the potential to provide training for the aquaculture industry.

Caroline James, Learning Manager for Fishery Studies, said "We see this facility as an opportunity to educate and provide relevant employability skills as well as developing our research and trials basis. Progression into either employment or continuing in education will be enhanced for our students and we are proud that we provide education and training for all levels.

Image of students using the new facilities

Students using the new facilities.
Image courtesy of Sparsholt College

"The award from EFF towards the cost of the new Salmonid Rearing and Trials Centre has enabled the college to build a state of the art facility which includes a range of teaching and training resources alongside the research unit. Students and our industry partners are already making good use of the centre and without the financial support we received from the EFF the centre is likely to have been much more limited in the opportunities it is able to offer. The application process was quite straightforward and we received plenty of support when we had any queries, other businesses in the aquaculture industry should consider applying for this funding."

Through the EFF funding may be available towards aquaculture products for human consumption, particularly species which are not widely produced and those for which demand is currently exceeding supply. The grants may also support projects benefitting groups within the industry, such as towards creating producer organisations and improving management of fishing areas.

For more information on applying for EFF grants visit:

If you need advice on whether your application should be considered by the panel or for general advice on the application process please contact the EFF Team at the Marine Management Organisation on 0300 123 1032.

For further information regarding the new Fish Husbandry and Fishery Management Apprenticeship or any other Fishery courses offered at Sparsholt College please visit or call 01962 776 441.

Notes to editors

Sparsholt College Hampshire, incorporating Andover College, is one of the largest colleges in the South East offering hundreds of full and part-time courses as well as bespoke training for business.

The college was recognised (in January 2009) as an associate college of the University of Portsmouth which validates degree programmes at the Sparsholt College campus.

The European Fisheries Fund began in 2007. Around £38 million was made available through the scheme to help the fishing industry in England to become more sustainable and remain profitable. 2013 is the final year of the scheme.

Contact information

Marine Management Organisation
Lancaster House
Hampshire Court
Newcastle upon Tyne
Tel: 0191 376 2543
Email: media@

Rachel Forster
Tel: 0191 376 2543

Amy Wardlaw
Tel: 0191 376 2573