Interview with Lynsey Muir

Lynsey is an Aquaculture Innovation Officer at SAIC, and part time MSc student at Heriot Watt University. Her background is in project management and events organisation in the agricultural and forestry sectors. Lynsey is currently living in Edinburgh, after moving there to study in 2001.

What inspired you to become involved in aquaculture? 

I became aware of aquaculture through a previous role working with Lantra Scotland. It was our role to try and promote skills, training and qualifications within the land based and aquaculture sector, and I was very interested in what the sector had to offer and the variety of jobs within.  When the job at SAIC came up, I felt I’d learned enough through my time at Lantra, to know that it would be a great industry to get involved in. 

Briefly describe your aquaculture career 

It’s been fairly short to be honest.  I began working at SAIC in 2018, after learning a little about aquaculture prior to this, at Lantra.  I came into SAIC as Project Support Officer, to give finance and admin support to the Innovation team and support the projects.  During this time I got to know more about the projects and the issues that face the industry, as well as meet many industry representatives trying to tackle those issues.  As my experience grew, I applied for promotion to Aquaculture Innovation Officer role, to expand my knowledge and be more at the innovation coal-face, and have been in this role for over a year.  In my “spare time”, I have also been working through an MSc in International Marine Science, to gain a broader perspective of the marine environment, and have been piecing together how aquaculture fits into the larger marine landscape. 

Which individuals or organisations in aquaculture have you found particularly inspirational? 

It’s the small guys who think big who I find particularly inspiring.  Not naming names, as there are too many to mention, but there are a  wealth of amazing SMEs within aquaculture who work so hard to tackle problems they are facing within their particular area and come up with solutions that can be commercialised to help the wider sector. Especially those SMEs who band together, to form collaborative partnerships, recognising they are in a shared environment and the only way out is to help each other for the greater good – a problem shared is a problem halved. 

How important has networking been to your career? 

As an introvert, two phrases give me chills: “team building” and “networking opportunity”. However, having said that, being made to feel welcome and comfortable and having the opportunity to ask the daft questions in a safe space, has always been appreciated. And its probably why I am where I am today. 

During your career, have you noticed inequalities in the sector, be it in policies or culture? If yes, what actions do you think would best address those issues? 

I am very aware than in certain sectors, inequality exists, but I cant say that I’ve witnessed or experienced anything of this within aquaculture.  I am a big advocate for inclusivity and equality, but I believe there is a fine line between demanding equality and fairness for one group, without becoming totally exclusive of another group – becoming the thing you are fighting against.  

What is your proudest aquaculture-related achievement to date? 

Its not really an achievement, but being welcomed into the industry without an aquaculture background has been fantastic. 

What advice would you give to someone (man or woman) looking to start a career in the aquaculture sector, or progress their existing career? 

Go for it, challenge yourself as you never know where it might take you. 

What do you think will be the key drivers/areas for innovation for Scottish aquaculture in the next decade? 

Climate change requires action and the industry needs to adapt to it.  There will be so many changes that we cant see, so predictive tools for the imminent challenges will be key.  The people in the industry need to adapt too, and without the introduction of new talent and the generation of innovative solutions, the industry will stagnate. 

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