The Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS) formed SAMS Ardtoe Ltd in November 2003 to take over management and operations of the Ardtoe research facility following the decision of the former owners, the Sea Fish Industry Authority, to close the site.
In the intervening 17 months, SAMS Ardtoe Ltd has been engaged in a process of revitalisation, changing the focus of the site from one that concentrated on applied aquaculture only, to harnessing the potential of the unique facilities for experimental marine ecosystem and aquaculture science.
These developments in coastal marine science, widely acknowledged to be of key importance to the economy and environment of Scotland, were to form the foundation for eventual long-term core grant funding from the national Research Assessment Exercise in 2008.
The Board of SAMS Ardtoe Ltd have announced their decision to close the Ardtoe facility as a research laboratory. SAMS fully understands that this decision is inevitable given the financial position and the lack of strategic support for the site.
SAMS very much regrets that this decision has had to be taken, particularly at a time when the sustainability of human activities in the marine environment is becoming recognised as being of critical importance, both to the integrity of the natural environment and to the economic activities, and communities that depend on it.
SAMS also regrets the loss of the largest facility for experimental marine research in the UK academic sector, and the blow that this represents to marine science in Scotland. Nevertheless, SAMS remains committed to improvements in the marine science infrastructure and expertise in Scotland and the delivery of high quality science that will contribute to the sustainable use of the marine environment. SAMS operations at the Dunstaffnage Marine Laboratory near Oban are unaffected by the closure of the Ardtoe facility and stakeholders can be assured that SAMS continues to be able to pursue its scientific and other objectives.