Obit­u­ary - Guy Mace

1950 – 2015

The Oban Times - - Sport -

GUY MACE, a hugely ad­mired, pi­o­neer­ing leader in the aqua­cul­ture in­dus­try, died peace­fully at the home he shared with his wife Les­ley at Kil­con­quhar in Fife on Novem­ber 16.. Guy Whit­more Mace, one of three broth­ers, was born in 1950 in Lon­don and spent his early years around Lam­bourn where his fa­ther, John Mace, was a part­ner in a ve­teri­nary prac­tice. In mid-ca­reer his fa­ther de­cided to study fish diseases in the USA be­fore re­turn­ing ini­tially to join the White Fish Author­ity (which later be­came the Seafish In­dus­try Author­ity) and then to food and su­per­mar­ket group Fitch Lovell, where he formed a fish farming sub­sidiary called Golden Sea Pro­duce (GSP). Mean­time Guy had left Kings School, Bruton to study Botany and Zo­ol­ogy at Lon­don Univer­sity (1969-72), fol­lowed by an aqua­cul­ture MSc at Stir­ling Univer­sity. Guy needed no per­sua­sion to join his fa­ther at GSP and started by build­ing a hatch­ery at Ard­taraig (Ar­gyll), where in the win­ter of 1973 the first batch of wild salmon eggs were hatched and reared to pro­duce salmon smolts, which were trans­ferred to es­tab­lish a salmon farm on Loch Striven. Sadly in 1978 Guy’s fa­ther died and Guy (aged 28) took over to run GSP. Fol­low­ing on from this, GSP’s fo­cus moved fur­ther north with more hatch­eries and seafarms be­ing es­tab­lished on the Scot­tish west coast, cre­at­ing much-needed em­ploy­ment in re­mote ru­ral High­land and is­land com­mu­ni­ties. Guy’s am­bi­tions did not stop at salmon pro­duc­tion and un­der his lead­er­ship Fitch Lovell bought Scot­land’s first and only shell­fish hatch­ery, Scot­tish Sea Farms at South Shian, near Oban. The hatch­ery was also used to rear lar­vae for an in­no­va­tive marine fish farm at Hun­ter­ston, which he de­vel­oped us­ing warm wa­ter from the adjacent nu­clear power sta­tion, suc­cess­fully rear­ing four species (tur­bot, Dover sole, hal­ibut and sea bass). In 1983, Fitch Lovell de­cided to sell GSP to the Nor­we­gian con­glom­er­ate, Norsk Hy­dro, who in­vested heav­ily in the busi­ness, with Guy con­tin­u­ing as MD un­til 2000. Many new salmon sea­wa­ter and fresh­wa­ter farms were set up, and sites ac­quired, so that un­der its new name Hy­dro GSP was the sec­ond largest salmon farming com­pany af­ter Marine Har­vest. Guy also de­cided to in­ter­na­tion­alise their tur­bot hatch­ery ex­per­tise, re­sult­ing in a joint ven­ture (Prode­mar) be­tween Norsk Hy­dro and the Bank of Bil­bao, in or­der to rear tur­bot in shore-based tanks in Gali­cia, north west Spain (un­for­tu­nately the first tur­bot crop were part-al­bino, which proved a lit­tle ahead of their time when it came to the Span­ish mar­ket, but this ven­ture is now the largest of its kind in the world al­beit un­der dif­fer­ent Nor­we­gian own­ers). As if that was not enough, Guy Mace with his fa­ther and brother was in­stru­men­tal in set­ting up the first Seal­ife Cen­tre aquar­ium close to the hol­i­day town of Oban. The Seal­ife Cen­tre was a suc­cess­ful tourist busi­ness, but didn’t fit with Norsk Hy­dro’s plans for aqua­cul­ture, and was sold in 1987, - it is still go­ing strong and to­day ‘Sea Life’ is the world’s largest aquar­ium chain. In 1999 Guy and Les­ley ac­quired the Sea Life Cen­tre in St An­drews and re-opened as an in­de­pen­dent aquar­ium which is known as St An­drew’s Aquar­ium and man­aged by Guy’s el­dest son John. In 2004 Guy took over as MD of BioMar in Grange­mouth, the UK sub­sidiary of the Dan­ish-owned fish feed com­pany BioMar, and he con­sol­i­dated its strong po­si­tion sup­ply­ing feed to Scot­tish salmon farms. Guy re­tired as MD in June 2015 while stay­ing on as a BioMar board mem­ber; he had been suf­fer­ing from in­creas­ingly poor health over the past two years and it’s a tragedy that he did not live to enjoy a richly de­served re­tire­ment. As well as his un­ri­valled prac­ti­cal ex­pe­ri­ence and vi­sion in de­vel­op­ing the Scot­tish aqua­cul­ture in­dus­try, Guy Mace will be fondly re­mem­bered for his en­ergy, en­thu­si­asm and good hu­mour. He was a nat­u­ral leader and a pop­u­lar friend and men­tor to so many young fish farm­ers and col­leagues. In ad­di­tion Guy was a pas­sion­ate sailor, who sailed many oceans and along the way he ad­mired the wildlife which he so adored. Our thoughts are very much with Guy’s de­voted wife Les­ley and their grown-up chil­dren, John, James and Clare, and the grand­chil­dren, Lilly and Hugo. LM

HIGHLY RE­SPECTED: Guy Mace, pi­o­neer­ing leader in the

aqua­cul­ture in­dus­try.

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