Volume 14, Number 4 July/August 2018 MCI (P) 011/10/2017 ISBN 1793 -056

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Marine Fish Culture Some of these efforts included the application of RAS technology for intensive fry production, the genetic improvement of the Asian seabass, captive breeding of new species, and the development of closed containment systems for coastal fish farms. Some breakthroughs achieved include the solution to overcome big-belly disease, a novel disease in seabass culture. This disease affects fry (18-30 days old) to fish of 20g size. Survival rates of disease affected fry can be improved from 10% to 90% by reducing the salinity in the RAS from 30 ppt to 10 ppt, MAC has also designed a compact RAS with a footprint of 1m2 which can support a production of 120,000 seabass fry with a total culture area of 9m2. MAC is also working on the selective breeding of seabass, with a target to produce F2 super seabass with a 30% increase in growth rate.

Identifying species, markets and standards Troy Keast, Director of Aquaculture and Sustainability, Phillips Foods in Indonesia said that selecting the right species, the right finished products and the right certification program/s are all crucial to the success of an aquaculture operation. “These processes are made easier when they are driven by an existing marketing plan.” He added that the key elements such as quality seed, species specific feed and health management programs are supplementary to the ever evolving marketing strategies that drive production. “The selection of what species to culture should be market driven for existing species or a ’leap of faith‘ for new species or products. Suitable candidates should have the following attributes: quality and biosecure seed or fingerlings, specialised feeds and the presence of an existing or developing health management program. ” All too often failures are due to weak marketing strategies, naivety or the total absence of a structured plan leaving an operation open to the brutal markets. It is important to determine what physical markets and which market sectors to target: fresh or frozen, food service, value added, retail, and ready meals/kits. Once the permutations have been investigated the market plan should then be used to configure the integrated operation. Working back from finished product specifications and volume, we can now calculate hatchery capacity, grow-out footprint and cage configuration, production facility capacity and requirements.”

Cobia from traditional farms in Asia. Picture courtsey of Hsiang-Pin Lan, Asia Marine Aquaculture U.S. Soybean Export Council.

However, added Keast, with markets, supply chains and processing technology in a state of constant flux, the marketing plan needs to be continuously evolving. Diversification into other markets can reduce exposure and provide a level of safety for the operation. With regards to sustainability, first and foremost, there is economic sustainability which must be met prior to production at scale. Pivotal to determining economic feasibility is the sales end of the equation as production costs are relatively easy to calculate. It is crucial to have a marketing plan to determine what to produce, how much can be marketed and at what price. Sustainability standard selection should be market driven and requirements of customers must be taken into consideration. Multiple markets will necessitate multiple standards. “Your customers shall provide the answers on what they need. Pushing redundant standards on them is a huge waste of resources,” added Keast. Next issue: Offshore cage technology and maximising efficiency of operations.

“The selection of what species to culture should be market driven for existing species or a ’leap of faith‘ for new species or products,” said Troy Keast, pictured here at his farm. See related article: From Bali to global markets in issue November/December 2017 Aqua Culture Asia Pacific, pp20-22.

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July/August 2018 AQUA Culture Asia Pacific Magazine