Kelsey Thompson

MMO Appointee – Aquaculture

I started working in aquaculture in 1982 employed by a Kent based company to farm juvenile oysters in saline-lagoons on Walney Island.  I became a company director after around 10 years and became the main point of contact for selling worldwide close to 100 million seed oysters/annum and large quantities of half[grown oysters from the beach operation in Morecambe Bay.

In 2000 I formed a new company called Seasalter (Walney) Ltd. to buy the northern operations from the Kent based owners by which time we had also built a hatchery adjoining the nursery.

The hatchery/nursery site forms part of South Walney Nature Reserve so I work closely with Cumbria Wildlife Trust.  Since I started farming oysters both the hatchery site and the farm in Morecambe Bay have been ensconced in conservation zones and our working practices are all undertaken with the consent of Natural England with whom I work closely to draw up site management plans etc, also I was one of the stakeholders involved in the two year process of selecting Irish Sea pMCZs.

Since 2013 Morecambe Bay Oysters (our trading name) has been partly owned by Loch Fyne Oysters.  I remain as Managing Director, however instead of producing half-grown oysters we now supply Loch Fyne with fully grown ones.  The Loch Fyne group also farms salmon, mussels, seaweed and scallops, some of those species are farmed in Integrated Mutli-Trophic Aquaculture Sites and by partner growers all over Scotland.

I was one of the original supporters of the Morecambe Bay Partnership sponsoring their work for many years and I am a member of the Shellfish Association of Great Britain and attend their Mollusc Committee meetings and their Technology and Training meetings.  I am also an active member of the Association of Scottish Shellfish Growers.