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Breaking the ice


Ace Aquatec may not be an old company, but the Ross-shire-based manufacturer of aquaculture equipment is already making a big splash on the British fish farming market and raising standards in the humane farming of fish across the world.

Formed as a partnership in 2001 and becoming a limited company five years later, Ace Aquatec has developed a range of electrical stunning equipment which allows for the humane slaughter of mass-produced fish.

Having grown to supplying 30% of the British market, the company was looking to make new connections across Europe when it sought the support of the Enterprise Europe Network.

“We needed to make contact with potential partners in Europe who could help us with manufacturing in those regions as well as agents who could bring in sales,” explains Nathan Pyne-Carter, Ace Aquatec’s Managing Director. “That was where we found the support from the Enterprise Europe Network particularly useful.”

Through connections with the Network’s team at Highlands and Islands Enterprise, the company made contact with a potential agent – Michael Reynolds – who works as an independent consultant for fisheries in Italy.

Passionate about the equipment – the only stunners on the European market to electrically stun fish in the water and so keep them in their natural environment - Michael signed an exclusive agreement with Ace Aquatec in March 2013 and now acts as an agent for the company’s equipment across Italy.

Nathan believes that the increasingly tight regulations around fish farming in Europe could create further growth opportunities for the company.

“The regulations have just changed in Europe to ensure a humane slaughter process for fish so there is good potential for us to crack into that market,” he adds. “Once further development work has been done, we hope to be able to use the Network again to find more agents and progress sales in that region.

“We’re very grateful for the support we’ve received, which has helped us realise some of our ambitions for the company. It’s nice to know that there is advice and people on-hand who want us to succeed both as a Scottish company and as an international business.”

To find out more about how the Enterprise Europe Network could support your business, please contact Fiona Paton.