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INDEX Aquaculture Magazine Volume 40 Number 4 August - September 2014


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Yellowtail kingfish – a quest for new aquaculture species in Chile. Cover picture courtesy of Dr. Sagiv Kolkovski


FEATURE ARTICLE The Centennial of the Smith-Lever Act and Aquaculture Extension.


report Cage Aquaculture in Lake Chapala, Mexico.


research report US-Farmed Catfish and the Asian Origin of its Virulent Disease Epidemics.


FEATURE ARTICLE Bioactive compounds from marine mussels and their effects on human health.


NEWS STORY The Kenneth K. Chew Center for Shellfish Research and Restoration.


report Climate Change: Implications for Fisheries & Aquaculture.


report AquaVision 2014.





Regarding the International Conference AquaSur 2014.

Breeding the Asian Catfishes Pangasius bocourti and Pangasius hypophthalmus.



BAADER and Norway Seafoods - a successful co-operation.


BAADER 588 Whitefish Filleting.


Seminar: Safe Food & Listeria Free Processing.

ASIAN report


Vietnam Honour.


EMS Forum Cancelled.

Columns Feed Report ..............................................................................54 Offshore Aquaculture .............................................................................56 Latin AmericaN Report ...................................................................................60 Health Highlights ...............................................................................62 SALMONIDS ...............................................................................64 Aquaculture Economics, Management, and Marketing ....................66 Hatchery Technology and Management ..................................................68 TILAPIA ...............................................................................70 THE FISMONGER ..............................................................................74 Upcoming events advertisers Index

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Volume 40 Number 4 August - September 2014 Editor and Publisher Salvador Meza / Editor in Chief Greg Lutz / Managing Editor Mina Coronado / Editorial Design Francisco Cibrián / Designer Perla E. Neri Orozco / International Sales and Marketing Steve Reynolds / Business Operation Manager Adriana Zayas Subscriptions: Design Publications International Inc. 203 S. St. Mary’s St. Ste. 160 San Antonio, TX 78205, USA Office: +210 229-9036 Office in Mexico: (+52) (33) 3632 2355 Aquaculture Magazine (ISSN 0199-1388) is published bimontly, by Design Publications International Inc. All rights reserved. Follow us:



By C. Greg Lutz


ike it or not, we are all in this together. That phrase is more appropriate than ever in the global aquaculture sector. Each day we are reminded that our world is increasingly interconnected. A recent example involves Asian strains of Aeromonas currently causing serious losses for U.S. catfish producers. As shown repeatedly in this issue, aquaculture practices in one region can result in innovations… or problems… in many other places. Although aquaculture involves many seemingly unrelated industries, species, countries and production methods, as the old saying goes “one bad apple can spoil the whole barrel.” Public perception of the aquaculture industry must be addressed as a whole and on a species by species basis, as pointed out by our tilapia columnist Mike Picchietti. In this day and age of 24 hour news cycles and on-line social media, any bit of “information” regarding our industry or the products we produce – no matter how slanted – can become conven-

tional wisdom in the course of a few weeks. And just as tilapia has expanded and become a recognizable commodity in many parts of the world where it was virtually unknown just 20 years ago, marine species will become increasingly important – and not just along the coasts. A perfect example is the yellowtail, which seems to be emerging as an adaptable fish with markets throughout the world. One day in the future when consumers see farmed yellowtail in the marketplace or on a restaurant menu, their perceptions of aquaculture in general will have significant influence over their purchasing decisions. Another factor that will eventually impact all of aquaculture involves climate change. Some will be winners, and many will be losers. Although this is not an immediate problem for most segments of the industry, policy makers and commercial interests should take note of future opportunities and threats. In the meantime, managing an aquaculture business re-

quires sound information on a day to day basis – and the historical framework for technology transfer of such information in U.S. aquaculture is reviewed with interesting insight by our shellfish columnist Dr. Michael Rice. We are also doing our part to transfer some important management recommendations, as you will notice in our regular columns. Our columnists never cease to impress me with the valuable insights they share here. And, with one final thought regarding that philosophy “we are all in this together,” the Fishmonger poses some interesting questions for our industry as a whole as we relate to wild fisheries. As always, thanks for sharing these pages with us. Let us know if you have suggestions – we always welcome your input. Dr. C. Greg Lutz has a B.A. in Biology and Spanish by the Earlham College at Richmond, Indiana, a M.S. in Fisheries and a Ph.D. in Wildlife and Fisheries Science by the Louisiana State University. His interests include recirculating system technology and population dynamics, quantitative genetics and multivariate analyses and the use of web based technology for result-demonstration methods.




The Centennial of the SmithLever Act

and Aquaculture Extension Last May 8th there was a ceremony at the United States By Michael A. Rice*


his event was to commemorate the centennial of the landmark Smith-Lever Act of 1914 signed into law by U.S. President Woodrow Wilson creating the Cooperative Extension Service as a partnership between the USDA and the Land Grant Universities nationwide. Extension Directors from Land Grant Universities across America along with other dignitaries were in attendance at these ceremonies in celebration of the successes of the last century and hopes for

Department of Agriculture offices in Washington, D.C. the next century for this program of practical education, outreach, and cooperative research primarily with extramural farm and conservation communities. The creation of the Cooperative Extension Service set into place the “third pillar” of the Land Grant mission of extramural engagement in addition to the previously recognized mission activities of intramural teaching, scientific research and other scholarship. Thus the Land Grant Universities were expected to

A historical marker tablet at the Memorial Union of the University of Rhode Island commemorating the United States Senate hearings on the Sea Grant College and Program Act of 1966. Photo courtesy of Michael A. Rice.

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seek out cooperators and engage beyond the ‘ivory towered walls’ of the academy in this new model for higher education in America. The development of aquaculture is an example of a vibrant sector within America’s farm economy that has been aided greatly through extension services enabled through the Smith-Lever legislation.

Seaman A. Knapp Extension programming as part of the Land Grant University system began shortly after the 1862 Morrill Act that created the Land Grant Colleges with a primary focus on agricultural education. The Iowa Agricultural College (IAC, now Iowa State University) begun in 1859 was an early contributor to the Cooperative Extension movement in 1869 by dispatching faculty from the college to conduct courses for farmers at the invitation of government officials in Iowa’s Black Hawk County. That same year, an early proponent of extension programming, Seaman A. Knapp (Fig. 1), a graduate of Union College in New York, was appointed as superintendent of the Iowa School for the Blind, in Vinton and engaged in his passion for agricultural research on his own farm nearby. Within four years he had organized the Iowa Im-

Extension programming as part of the Land Grant University system began shortly after the 1862 Morrill Act that created the Land Grant Colleges with a primary focus on agricultural education.

Extension training in shrimp harvesting Ohio State University.

proved Stock Breeders Association in a move to organize the livestock breeders and to apply scientific principles to cattle breeding and by 1876, he began publishing the Western Stock Journal and Farmer as an outlet to disseminate results of scientific research to farmers. Knapp’s reputation in Iowa resulted in his hire to the faculty of the IAC in 1879, and by 1883 he had assumed the presidency of the college where he set up the college’s agricultural research farm. While at IAC, Knapp then drafted what was later known as the 1887 Hatch Act

that provided federal government aid for the establishment of the Agricultural Experiment Stations at all of the Land Grant Colleges nationwide. The latent extension movement at America’s Land Grant Colleges was given a boost because implicit within the Hatch Act of 1887 was an expectation that practical research at these newly created Agricultural Experiment Stations would be disseminated among America’s farmers. In the late 1880s and 1890s Knapp resided in Lake Charles, Louisiana developing the rice farming industry there after

Fig. 1. Seaman Asahel Knapp (1833-1911), the father of Cooperative Extension programming. Public domain image from: The Demonstration Work: Dr. Seaman A. Knapp’s Contribution to Civilization by Oscar Baker Martin, published by The Stratford Company, Boston. 1921.

Fig. 2. Kenyon Leech Butterfield (1868-1936), a major contributor to the drafting of the 1914 SmithLever Act. Photo courtesy of the University of Rhode Island Special Collections, Kingston, Rhode Island.

bio-prospecting of rice varieties in Asia. Knapp’s greatest achievement was most probably the establishment cooperative farm-based research effort in 1903 with cotton farmer Walter C. Porter of Kaufman County, Texas that led to development of farm management techniques to mitigate the damage of the boll weevil that was devastating the cotton crops of the South. In this effort, Knapp in 1906 developed the system of county agricultural agents to work with farmers, and by 1910 Knapp had conceived of boys’ and girls’ cotton and corn growing clubs that served as the forerunner of today’s 4-H Clubs to engage the farm youth, build excitement for agricultural education, and build the ‘pipeline’ into the professions of scientific agriculture.

Fig. 3. Athelstan Frederick Spilhaus (1911-1998) the father of the Sea Grant College Program. Photo courtesy of Smithsonian Institution Archives, Washington, D.C.




Kenyon L. Butterfield By the time of Knapp’s death in 1911, the seeds of Cooperative Extension programming were sown, but the formal institutionalization of the program into the Land Grant colleges was largely taken up by Kenyon L. Butterfield (Fig. 2) who became the President of the Rhode Island College of Agriculture and Mechanical Arts (RICA&M, now the University of Rhode Island) in 1903. In an atmosphere of considerable political action by Rhode Island’s farmers at that time, Butterfield in April, 1904 was able to secure a USD$4,000 appropriation from the Rhode Island General Assembly to institute an extension department at the college and hire dedicated extension faculty to cooperate with the experiment station researchers and work with Rhode Island’s farmers. The administrative organization of RICA&M worked so well that only two years later in 1906, Butterfield was hired as president of the Massachusetts Agricultural College in Amherst (MAC, now University of Massachusetts) to replicate the work

Extension Aquaculture Field Visit 2006.

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In 1964 Athelstan Spilhaus patterned the Sea Grant Program after the successful Land Grant Colleges and the Smith-Lever Act.

that he had done in Rhode Island to set up the college’s Extension Department. It was while serving as president of MAC that Butterfield drafted the Agricultural Extension Act introduced by Senators M. Hoke Smith of Georgia and Asbury F. Lever of South Carolina and signed into law by President Wilson on May 8, 1914.

Athelstan F. Spilhaus For America’s aquaculture community, particularly those engaged in mariculture, a major part of the extension programming is carried out by extension professionals associated with the nation’s Sea Grant Colleges. The National Sea Grant Program and College Act of 1966 was initially conceived by Athelstan F. Spilhaus (Fig. 3), an oceanographer and geophysicist at Woods Hole Oceanographic

Institution and the University of Minnesota who introduced the idea at the 1963 annual meeting of the American Fisheries Society. In his September 4th, 1964 essay “Man in the Sea” in Science, Spilhaus explicitly patterned the Sea Grant Program after the successful Land Grant Colleges and the Smith-Lever Act that he described as “one of the best investments this nation ever made. The same kind of imagination and foresight should be applied to the exploration of the sea.”

The Sea Grant Act The first hearings in support of the passage of the Sea Grant Act were held on May 2nd, 1966 by its primary sponsor, Senator Claiborne de B. Pell, the then junior senator from Rhode Island. Assisting Pell and his staff in the hearings and drafting of the bill were John A. Knauss, the then dean of oceanography at the University of Rhode Island who later served as Undersecretary of Oceans and Atmosphere in the Department of Commerce, and Lewis M. Alexander, a professor of Geography and Marine Affairs at URI who later served as the Geographer for the United States Department of State. The Sea Grant Act was signed into law October 17th, 1966 by President Lyndon B. Johnson, creating the Sea Grant Program and its associated Marine Extension Service at Sea Grant Universities nationwide. Two decades later, in September 1983, the first comprehensive National Aquaculture Development Plan for the United States was published by the Joint Subcommittee on Aquaculture of the Federal Coordinating Council on Science, Engineering and Technology, with Land Grant and Sea

Grant Extension capabilities identified as a key component of the plan. On the heels of this national plan in 1987, the U.S. Congress appropriated USD$3 million to the budget of the Department of Agriculture to fund five Regional Aquaculture Centers (RACs) that were previously authorized under the Food Security Act of 1985. The formation of the RACs allowed Extension professionals from both the Land Grant and Sea Grant College Programs to actively cooperate nationwide in aquaculture extension programming. One major effort of the RACs has been the sponsorship of a series of National Aquaculture Extension Conferences held about every five years. The first of these conferences was primarily organized by Nathan Stone of the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff in 1992, bringing together the national network of aquaculture extension professionals to meet at the Arkansas Cooperative Extension Center in Ferndale, Arkansas. This successful joint conference of Land Grant and Sea Grant extension professionals set the pattern for subsequent RAC extension networking and programming efforts, which is expected to continue well into the future.

The relationship between the government and Academia This year’s Centennial of the 1914 Smith-Lever Act in America provides

There is frequently an arms-length relationship between the universities and governmental regulatory authorities responsible for industry oversight.

Extension Aquaculture Zanzibar.

a good opportunity to remember the accomplishments of Extension over the last century and to reflect upon the elements that make extension programming effective. The foresight of Knapp, Butterfield and Spilhaus in creating the extension services has greatly benefited America’s aquaculture industry largely due to its tight relationship with the research and instructional capabilities of the Land Grant and Sea Grant colleges. University-based extension programming is also advantageous in building trust and cooperation between and among aquaculture industry members, researchers and extension professionals, much as Knapp initially conceived. Although there is governmental funding of Extension programming at American universities, there is frequently an arms-length relationship between the universities and governmental regulatory authorities responsible for industry oversight. Elsewhere in the world, extension programs have often developed differently. For instance, in some other countries, extension services may be based upon programming by non-

governmental organizations that may have the arms length between them and governmental regulators, but they may might not have such a tight relationship with the research community and most up to date and relevant scientific information. Conversely in some other places, extension professionals may be based directly in national, provincial governmental offices and have ties to excellent research from national agricultural or marine science laboratories, but their efforts may be hampered by the too-close relationship with important regulatory authorities often in their same agency. The ingenuity of the Extension system built by Knapp, Butterfield, Spilhaus and all the others is the assurance that the best science and scholarship is brought to bear on the most difficult problems facing industry, while simultaneously building cooperation and trust among all the stakeholders. *Michael Rice is a Professor of Fisheries, Animal and Veterinary Science at the University of Rhode Island. He’s published in the areas of physiological ecology of mollusks, shellfishery management and aquaculture in international development, among many other topics.




Cage Aquaculture in

Lake Chapala, Mexico The Cage Aquaculture Pilot Project, established in November 2011, next to Mezcala Island in Lake Chapala, Jalisco, Mexico, approaches its third year of operations, and with it, has successfully raised three batches of fish.

By Domingo Ausin*


ake Chapala is located 42 km south of the metropolitan area of Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico, between 20° 07´ North latitude and 102°40´45” / 103°25´30” West longitude. The project has discredited many dogmas, lacking social trust in its sustainability, and has provided vital zoo-technical and financial information necessary to replicate cage aquaculture complexes in Lake Chapala and other water bodies in Latin America. The goal of this project has been to create an innovative, sustainable alternative to fishermen in the largest natural lake in Mexico and the third largest in Latin America. The 114,659 ha lake, supports over 3,000 families of registered fishermen. Historically, the lake has suffered tremendously from overexploitation of it´s fisheries through non-sustainable fishing methods, stocking nonnative species such as carp (Cyprinus carpio), tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus) and Black Bass (Micropterus spp). This ecological risk, accompanied by poor vigilance and environmental oversight, has tremendously decreased the populations of native fish. Most of these are endemic to the Chapala 8 »

basin and were previously found in abundance: the emblematic “White Fish” (Chirostoma sphyraena), “Charal” (Chirostoma spp.), several catfish species like the “Lerma Catfish” (Ictalurus dugesii) and the “Chapala Catfish” (Ictalurus ochoterenai). By way of comparison, 30 years ago a fisherman would catch 50-100 kg of fish/day; nowadays 5-10 kg of nonnative species is an excellent daily catch consisting of mainly tilapia and carp. Many villagers barely catch enough fish to feed their families, minimizing any possibilities of external commerce. Nonetheless, the local and regional demand for catfish for regional culinary plates is quite high, prices ranging from MXN$60-110/kg (USD$4.6-8.5) of live catfish. Luz de Malla is a non-profit organization supported by the National Fishery Commission (CONAPESCA). In conjunction with an ample North American retired expatriot community at lakeside, they have developed a model to complement traditional wild-caught fishing with fish farming in floating cages within Lake Chapala, providing a sustainable alternative for lakeside fishermen.

Materials and Methods An ideal low wind site was selected in Lake Chapala, west of Mezcala Island, with good water quality, excellent water exchange and adequate depth (5.5 m). Fish cage design was developed to withstand the wind forces, the short period waves and the underwater currents in the lake. Mechanisms for connecting cages and anchoring groups of cages to the lake bottom were also created. Extensive testing of lake water was conducted to assure that it was suitable for raising fish and for establishing a base from which to monitor possible environmental changes of the water quality. The pilot project cage complex consists of six circular cages made of High Density Polyethylene (HDPE)

pipes. Each cage is 6 m in diameter, has a rail and two flotation rings made up 6” pipes. The depth of the net is 2 m and has a 0.9 m jump net. The total volume for each cage is 56 m3. The cage complex is anchored on two points 100 m apart, parallel to the dominant winds which run East to West. Each anchor point consists of twenty mortar and rock anchors weighing 250 kg each, totaling 5 tons on each anchor point. Each individual anchor is tied to two 0.5” polypropylene ropes attached to a 0.5” metal ring. A 0.75” chain secures the 20 rings and connects the mooring system which consists of two 1” nylon ropes tied to a buoy made up of a 200 l metal barrel reinforced with 0.5”iron rebar. The buoy works as a shock absorber, providing the cage

complex flexibility during storms and rough weather. On the other end of the buoy, two pairs of 0.75” nylon ropes are secured to the ring of the buoy and one pair is tied to each end of the spreader bar to spread the forces between the two ends. The bar is positioned perpendicular to the main mooring lines. The 8 m stabilizing bar has two 200 l barrels attached, one on each end to provide floatability. Two 0.75” nylon ropes secure the stabilizing bar to the cage complex. The cages are arranged in two rows of three cages, with 0.50 m between cages. The project initially was planned for tilapia, and it was only stocked two cycles, with high quality Orechromis niloticus fingerlings, 83% the first cycle and 50% the second cycle. The first cycle lasted 7 months and five cages were stocked with SPRING tilapia. The second cycle lasted 10 months and only three cages were stocked, with a different genetic line, Aquamol, hoping it would prove to be more resistant to the different environmental aspects and provide more encouraging results. During the first cycle the stocking densities tested with SPRING tilapia, were: 9 organisms/m3, 18 org/m3, 27 org/m3, 35 org/m3, 45 org/m3. The fingerlings stocked weighed 30 g average. One cage was stocked with catfish at 9 org/m3, as a control group, which provided surprising results. During the second cycle, the Aquamol fingerlings introduced weighed

The idea of the Cage Aquaculture Pilot Project of Mezcala Island is to gradually transform the traditional capture methods into more sustainable fishery through aquaculture in floating cages. Net maintenance.




only 0.3 g due to logistics implied in the transportation of the fingerlings to the cage complex. They had to be stocked in nursery nets until achieving an aproximate weight of 12 g each. Then they were relocated into different growout cages. The cycle was 3 months loner than the previous one. 8-10 months were necessary to achieve the comercial size of fish, due to the size of the fingerlings stocked. Stocking densities tested were: 35 org/m3, 45 org/m3 and 54 org/m3. In the remaining three cages, 4” channel catfish fingerlings averaging 6 g in weight, were stocked at the following stocking densities: 54 org/ m3, 63 org/m3 and 71.5 org/m3. Both fish species were harvested at 400 g weight average.

Results The husbandry achieved by Luz de Malla during the first two productive

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Salt immersion baths as preventive medicine for fungus and parasites.

cycles produced a great wealth of zootechnical, physicochemical, financial, social and engineering information for further analysis. The Center for Research and Assistance in Technology and Design of the State of Jalisco (CIATEJ) collaborated with Luz de Malla on this project to monitor water quality and the bioaccumulation of the following heavy metals: Lead, Chromium, Arsenic, Cadmium and Mercury. During a period of six months the concentrations of these heavy metals were monitored in both fish species stocked in the cages. Different tissues - muscle, gill and liver - were analyzed every two weeks. The impact and presence of metals was evaluated on commercial species in Lake Chapala using catfish and tilapia as active bio monitors, demonstrating that the presence of the five heavy metals tested in the fish cultivated in the cages is below international norms and is directly related to the feed administered. The aquaculture health and safety committee of Jalisco (CESAJ) also participates in the project with regular dissections of random fish and provides technical assistance visits in case of contingencies to help with the diagnosis of diseases in stocks. A conclusion drawn from the project is that tilapia stocked in the cages, regardless of the genetic line, presented different challenges adapt-

ing to various ecological aspects of Lake Chapala, some of these being the 5°C daily temperature change at the surface between day and night, the high pH ranging from 8.2-9.2 throughout the year, varying water quality and low overall temperature varying from 16.8°C in winter (December-February) to 29.2°C in summer (May-June) The main challenges of the tilapia husbandry were a slow growth and various pathological aspects which caused a high mortality rate (25-50%). Tilapias were in a constant state of stress and presented torpid behavior, even though the amount of dissolved oxygen present at site was excellent, ranging from 5.3 mg/l to 8.2 mg/l throughout the year, day and night. The tilapia stock received preventive medicine on a regular basis, ranging from salt immersion baths to natural additives in the feed (ground garlic, homeopathy, moringa leaf powder and oregano extract.) In some extreme cases, during the rainy season (June-September) corrective medicine was applied to the tilapia culture, consisting of antibiotics (Chloramphenicol/Oxitetracycline) and Metronidazole as an amoebicide and antiprotozoal. Finally, in addition to previous difficulties encountered, were the low sale value of the tilapia production, which ranged from MXN$25-$30/

kg (USD$1.9-2.3), and a high cost of production of over MXN$22/kg (USD$1.7). On the upside, the channel catfish husbandry during the first cycle stocked with 30 g organisms in the control cage, presented a mortality rate of 3% even though the organisms did not receive any preventive or corrective care throughout the seven month cycle. The price per kg reached MXN$80/kg (USD$6.15). During the second cycle, the 6 g fingerlings stocked in three cages were more susceptible to environmental factors because of their smaller size and the average mortality rate was 12%. The cycle was also prolonged to 10-12 months by the smaller sized fingerlings. After the findings from the first and second cycles, the team decided to stock only catfish in the cages. The stocking density that proved best results was 90 organisms/m3. Fish were treated with garlic and oregano extracts in the feed every two months to assure optimal growth and excellent sanitary conditions in the stock. The local market requires 350 g fish in the neighboring villages at a retail price of MXN$80/kg (USD$6.15). The quality and quantity of the catfish produced by the pilot project is recognized by the lakeside communities as the preferred source of live catfish, as customers are accustomed to acquiring fresh product to the extreme - if the fish doesn’t move, then they are not willing to procure it -. One of the many advantages of the husbandry of catfish in floating cages, is that orders can be kept alive to assure the customer the freshest product, similar of what their ancestors have been procuring for generations. Each 6 m cage is able to produce 1.5 ton per 10-12 month cycle, totaling of 9 tons for the 6 cages, providing a gross income of about MXN$720,000 (USD$55,385) per cycle. The cage complex is currently operated by five trained fishermen from the indigenous community of Mez-

Catfish is the main species cultivated in the cages because of its excellent adaptation to the lake’s ecological and environmental conditions, and due to the high regional demand for live catfish. cala who have participated since the project’s inception in 2011. They have restocked the 6 cages with 30,000 4” fingerlings in October, 2013 with a startup loan from Luz de Malla. As of June, 2014 they have started harvesting their catfish. They work cooperatively in the various tasks of catfish husbandry in floating cages that include cage, mooring, net supervision and maintenance duties, feeding, guarding the cages from thieves, keeping parameter logs and biological data, marketing the product, etc.

Conclusion The experiences acquired and lessons learned during the operation of the Cage Aquaculture Pilot Project has provided key information to replicate cage aquaculture complexes in Lake Chapala. Based on the Mezcala Island model, where over 90% of each cage complex consists of open water so as to protect the environment, it will be possible to provide a sustainable alternative for lakeside fishermen. If

only 1% of the lake’s surface area is dedicated to this new model, complementing traditional wild-caught fishing with fish farming in floating cages, this sustainable alternative to fishermen in the largest natural lake in Mexico will contribute to the support of over 3,000 families of fishermen and the recovery of the wild fish populations. Catfish has been selected as the premier species to cultivate in the cages because of its excellent adaptation to the lake’s ecological and environmental conditions, and due to the high regional demand for live catfish. Some groups of local fishermen have started to adopt fish farming in their cooperatives and have participated in training sessions offered in the pilot project.

*Biologist Domingo Ausin collaborates with Luz de Malla, AC, and is in charge of the Mezcala Island Project. For more information regarding this model, visit (, or contact Domingo:

Live Catfish for Sale.

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research report

US-Farmed Catfish

and the Asian Origin of its Virulent Disease Epidemics By Mohammad J. Hossaina, Dawei Sunb, Donald J. McGareyc, Shannon Wrenna, Laura M. Alexandera, Maria Elena Martinod, Ye Xinge, Jeffery S. Terhuneb, and Mark R. Lilesaa


eromonas hydrophila is typically an opportunistic bacterial pathogen that is ubiquitous in freshwater environments and is responsible for diseases in different species, including amphibians, reptiles, fish, and mammals. Motile Aeromonas septicemia (MAS) caused by mesophilic A. hydrophila affects a wide variety of primarily freshwater fish species, including carp, tilapia, perch, catfish, and salmon. Epidemic disease outbreaks in fish caused by A. hydrophila, resulting in millions of dollars of lost revenue, have been reported worldwide but have not occurred in the United States until recently. In the summer of 2009, an outbreak of MAS in commercially raised catfish caused by highly virulent A. hydrophila (VAh) began in western Alabama. Since the initial outbreak 12 Âť

The present study used whole-genome sequencing and comparative genomics to find out whether bacterial isolates from diseases fish in China are similar to the ones found in US catfish. during the summer of 2009, this has spread to other, adjacent states, including Mississippi and Arkansas. To date, this epidemic of MAS outbreaks is responsible for an estimated loss of more than USD$12 million in catfish aquaculture operations in the southeastern United States. Comparative and functional genomic analyses have demonstrated that A. hydrophila isolates from recent epidemic outbreaks in the U.S. are highly clonal but genomically distinct from A. hydrophila historical isolates from diseased catfish in the country, and these epidemic isolates contain a large number of genomic regions predicted to be acquired through lateral genetic transfer. Several episodes of epidemic outbreaks caused by A. hydrophila beginning in the late 1980s and within the

last 10 years have been reported in farmed carp in China. There are striking similarities between the U.S. catfish and Chinese carp epidemics caused by A. hydrophila, including the timing of the epidemics, which primarily occurred during the summer; the extensive mortality observed in seemingly healthy fish; and the highly clonal nature of the epidemic isolates. Non-native species can endanger the native or endemic species by disturbing the trophic levels of the native fish community and pose a potential threat of the emergence of infectious diseases. Because of the globalization of the aquaculture and ornamental fish trade industries, fish transport provides a gateway for the introduction of exotic species that could introduce new pathogens that can devastate populations of indigenous species.

Results show that the For instance, spring viremia of carp (SVC), a viral disease historically affecting fish in Europe, the Middle East, and Russia, has been found in carp in the United States since first being reported in 2002. The Chinese origin of the SVC viral isolates in the U.S. was thought to be mediated through importation of ornamental fish. The emergence of several other viral diseases of fish and shrimp reported worldwide has been attributed to the dissemination of infected fish or eggs as a carrier of non-indigenous pathogens. Over the past several decades, Asian carp have been imported into the United States, including grass carp (Ctenopharyngodon idella), bighead carp (Hypophthalmichthys nobilis), silver carp (Hypophthalmichthys molitrix), and black carp (Mylopharyngodon piceus), as well as countless species of live ornamental fish sold in the U.S. Grass carp were imported to the United States from eastern Asia beginning in 1963 by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and have been extensively used in polyculture of catfish and in reservoirs for aquatic weed control. As a result of the Great Flood of 1993, silver carp were released in large numbers into the Mississippi River drainage system and currently threaten the ecological balance of the U.S. Great Lakes region. The origin of the clonal A. hydrophila isolates responsible for the ongoing epidemic MAS outbreak in United States-farmed channel catfish is unknown. This study used a phylogenomic approach to study the mo-

lecular epidemiology of the bacterial isolates responsible for this epidemic outbreak. The study clearly demonstrates that the U.S. catfish and Chinese carp isolates have a recent common ancestor.

Current study To determine the evolutionary relationships of the recent virulent A. hydrophila (VAh) isolates, a gyrB-based phylogenetic analysis was conducted using a total of 264 Aeromonas strains downloaded from the Aeromonas multilocus sequence typing (MLST) database and including other strains of U.S. and non-U.S. origin. The A. hydrophila phylogenetic analysis revealed a coherent and well-supported clade that included all VAh strains. The only strain retrieved from the GenBank database that was affiliated with VAh strains was A. hydrophila strain ZC1, which was isolated from a diseased grass carp in Guangdong Province, China, from ponds that had experienced an epidemic outbreak of hemorrhagic septicemia. In order to identify any other isolates that were affiliated with epidemic strains, researchers screened A. hydrophila strain collections available in the United States that were isolated from fish and other hosts and identified one additional A. hydrophila strain, S04690, which was affiliated with VAh strains and strain ZC1. Strain S04-690 was isolated in 2004 from a diseased catfish obtained from a commercial aquaculture pond located in Washington County, Mississippi, which experienced a single event of MAS

Chinese carp and U.S. catfish isolates cluster together as a clonal group and share identical alleles of all 10 housekeeping genes. outbreak that killed thousands of catfish but importantly did not result in a widespread epidemic outbreak in the surrounding regions or subsequent outbreaks in following years within the affected farm. Since the gyrB-based phylogeny suggests that Chinese carp isolate ZC1 is highly similar to VAh isolates and a 2004 Mississippi isolate of catfish origin, the evolutionary relationships of additional Chinese carp isolates of epidemic origin in Hubei Province, China were evaluated. The gyrB phylogeny constructed using the neighbor joining method revealed that all of the Chinese carp epidemic isolates, including isolate ZC1, consistently group together as a single clade along with the recent U.S. epidemic isolates of catfish origin that included Mississippi isolate S04-690. In contrast, it was found that A. hydrophila isolates of non-epidemic origin are widely spread through different clades. The gyrB sequences of the epidemic Aeromonas isolates (from Chinese carp or U.S. catfish) formed a monophyletic clade with 100% sequence identities and with 100% bootstrap support for the VAh associated lineage. This suggests that a clonal A. Âť 13

research report

hydrophila complex descended from a common ancestor responsible for epidemic outbreaks of fish disease in China and the United States.

Results and Discussion To provide a more refined phylogenetic placement of the U.S. A. hydrophila isolates, researchers used a multilocus sequence-based phylogeny that included 3,751 base pairs (bp) of concatenated nucleotide sequences from six housekeeping genes: gyrase subunits A and B (gyrA and gyrB), RNA polymerase sigma factor (rpoD), bacterial DNA recombination protein (recA), heat shock protein (dnaJ), and DNA polymerase III tau and gamma subunits (dnaX) (Table 1). Analysis included A. hydrophila VAh catfish iso14 Âť

lates, Mississippi catfish isolate S04690, Chinese carp isolate ZC1 (19), and non-epidemic Aeromonas isolates of U.S. origin, yielding a phylogenetic tree with strong bootstrap support for the terminal nodes (Fig. 1). This multilocus phylogeny demonstrated that the Chinese carp isolate ZC1 clustered together with the Alabama and Mississippi catfish isolates as a monophyletic clade; in contrast, the non-epidemic A. hydrophila isolates are highly divergent. In addition to this multilocus sequence-based phylogeny, the Aeromonas PubMLST database ( aeromonas) was searched using gyrB, groL, gltA, metG, ppsA, and recA gene-specific sequences of isolates ML09-119, S04-690, and ZC1, and

it was found that these three isolates belong to sequence type (ST) ST251, which until this study contained only Aeromonas hydrophila isolate XS914-1. Interestingly, this highly virulent Chinese isolate, Aeromonas hydrophila XS91-4-1, was obtained from a diseased silver loweye carp from an epidemic outbreak in 1991. Taken together, these findings demonstrate that Chinese carp isolates XS91-4-1 and ZC1 along with U.S. catfish isolates ML09-119 and S04-690 are clonal. A phylogenetic tree using the neighbor-joining method that demonstrates that U.S. catfish isolates ML09-119 and S04-690 and Chinese carp isolates XS91-4-1 and ZC1 cluster together in a monophyletic clade was also constructed.

Findings suggest a stepwise emergence of the U.S. epidemic isolates from Asia with the Mississippi catfish isolate as a representative intermediate in this evolutionary model. The multilocus phylogeny based on two different sets of housekeeping genes as well as MLST typing is concordant with the gyrB-based phylogeny that demonstrated that the Chinese carp and U.S. catfish isolates cluster together as a clonal group and share identical alleles of all 10 housekeeping genes. Therefore, these findings strongly support the hypothesis that the recent A. hydrophila isolates responsible for catfish epidemics in the United States emerged due to the rapid spread of a clonal group of pathogenic isolates that share an ancestor with A. hydrophila isolates identified from diseased carp from Asia. These data, while supporting the close phylogenetic affiliation of U.S. catfish and Asian carp isolates, do not provide any indication of the relative timing of the evolutionary changes that have occurred in these A. hydrophila populations, nor did these analyses indicate the relative virulence of these strains within carp or catfish. Channel catfish and grass carp were experimentally challenged to compare the virulence of strains ML09119, ZC1, and AL06-06, with survival rates ranging from 0.02 Âą0.04 to 0.98 Âą0.04. A. hydrophila isolate AL06-06 was included in the challenge experiment in this study as a reference strain that is typical of A. hydrophila strains that have been historically isolated from stressed fish prior to the advent of the MAS epidemic and has shown reduced mortality (20%) in channel catfish relative to that observed from ML09-119. In this study, isolate ML09-119 was proven to be significantly more virulent than either ZC1 or AL06-06 and that ZC1 was more virulent than AL06-06 (P<0.0001) (Fig. 2) in both channel catfish and grass carp. Addi-

tionally, overall comparisons between fish species show that channel catfish were more susceptible to A. hydrophila than were grass carp (P=0.0126); however, this observation occurred only for VAh strain ML09-119. No interaction effect of the independent variables was observed (P=0.1002). These data suggest that ML09-119 has evolved increased virulence and that channel catfish appear to be more susceptible. One of the phenotypic traits common among all VAh strains is the ability to utilize myo-inositol as a sole carbon source. Therefore the Chinese carp isolate ZC1 and the Mississippi catfish isolate S04-690 were tested for this phenotype and it was found that these strains could also utilize myoinositol as a sole carbon source and

had growth curves similar to those observed for VAh strains, whereas isolate AL06-06, used as a negative control, did not utilize myo-inositol as a sole carbon source. The comparison of the 17.5-kb myo-inositol utilization cluster of VAh isolates with that of Chinese carp isolate ZC1 (accession no. KF724901) and Mississippi catfish isolate S04690 (accession no. KF724900) demonstrated that they share identical nucleotide sequences with identical synteny. Previously, a consistent correlation between the presence of an epidemic-specific genetic marker and myo-inositol utilization capacity of all tested VAh strains was observed. The utilization of myo-inositol as a sole carbon source has not been reported for any other A. hydrophila isolates obtained from diseased fish or any other environmental or clinical origin in the United States. However, myo-inositolutilizing Aeromonas isolates are prevalent in East and Southeast Asia. This is further evidence in support of an Asian origin for the epidemic A. hydrophila strains in the United States.

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research report

The clonal nature of the Asian carp and U.S. catfish isolates made it impossible to differentiate them based on housekeeping gene divergence. To systematically investigate the emergence of the recent VAh isolates, researchers sequenced the genomes of the Chinese carp isolate ZC1 and the Mississippi catfish isolate S04-690. The genomic comparison of both of these isolates with the highly virulent recent VAh isolates and other non-epidemic disease isolates was conducted to understand the genomic changes among these strains and provide finer resolution for the phylogenetic relationships among these strains. Reference mappings of the Illumina sequence reads from the genomes of Chinese carp isolate ZC1 and Mississippi catfish isolate S04-690 were conducted against the 55 genomic regions unique among VAh strains, demonstrating that the genomes of Chinese carp isolate ZC1 and Missis-

16 Âť

sippi catfish isolate S04-690 share 53 and 54 of these 55 epidemic-associated regions, respectively. These 55 epidemic-associated genomic regions (336,469 bp in total), present within the genome of all sequenced VAh isolates, are comprised of prophage elements, pathogenicity islands, metabolic islands, fitness islands, and genes of unknown functions. These epidemic-associated unique regions are considered horizontally acquired regions of the A. hydrophila genome since they were obtained by excluding core genomes of the 11 A. hydrophila isolates described previously. Though it has not been demonstrated experimentally, the analysis of the open reading frames (ORFs) present within these unique regions suggests their potential roles in pathogenesis. The C18R2 (11,731 bp) and C26R1 (20,780 bp) epidemic-associated unique regions of a recent VAh isolate are absent in Chinese isolate ZC1.

The C26R1 region, the same region absent in ZC1, is the only epidemicassociated unique region of a recent VAh isolate absent in the genome of Mississippi isolate S04-690. In a previous study, it was reported that epidemic-associated unique regions C18R2 and C26R1 contained two different genomic islands (GIs), namely, GI6 and GI12, respectively, which suggested their possible acquisition through horizontal gene transfer. The comparison of genomic islands present within the genomes of Chinese carp and U.S. catfish isolates demonstrated that most of the genomic islands, except for GI5, GI6, and GI12, which are found consistently within the genomes of VAh isolates are also present within the genome of strainZC1. It was also observed that the majority of the genomic islands, except for GI12, were present in Mississippi isolate S04-690. These shared genomic islands with identical synteny and DNA sequences of high similarity are located in the same positions within the genomes of ZC1, S04-690, and ML09-119. No additional GIs were predicted within the genome of S04690, whereas 4 additional GIs were predicted within the genome of ZC1. Analysis of GI12, a VAh-specific GI absent within the genomes of ZC1 and S04-690, predicts the presence of a fitness island with a large number of ORFs involved in DNA modification functions. GI5 and GI6 are observed in VAh isolates but absent in ZC1 and are predicted to encode 15 and 8 proteins of unknown functions, respectively. Since genomic islands of bacterial species are highly variable and frequently used to distinguish strains due to their acquisition through horizontal gene transfer, the sharing of a large number of identical genomic islands has led to the hypothesis that U.S. VAh isolates originated from Asia and that the Mississippi isolate S04690 represents an intermediate strain between the Asian carp and Alabama catfish isolates. The commonality of a large number of genomic islands

The study concludes that Chinese carp and U.S. catfish VAh and Mississippi isolates are a monophyletic group with a coherent genome and a discriminatory phenotype that are distinct from A. hydrophila isolates previously described in the U.S. also indicates that the horizontal acquisition of those genomic islands occurred in their common ancestor prior to the diversification of the Chinese carp isolate ZC1, Mississippi catfish isolate S04-690, and Alabama catfish VAh isolates. Although the MLST-based phylogeny demonstrated that U.S. catfish and Chinese carp isolates have a common ancestor, this analysis did not provide sufficient phylogenetic resolution to differentiate between these isolates. To further refine the evolutionary relationships of the U.S. catfish and Chinese carp isolates, a phylogenetic tree based on the 303,863 bp of concatenated sequences from epidemic-specific regions shared among VAh isolates, ZC1, and S04-690 was constructed, and it was observed that VAh epidemic isolates form a distinct monophyletic clade that is divergent from the S04-690 strain. The evolutionary history inferred from this phylogenetic tree suggests a common ancestor between all of these strains, with S04-690 being most closely related to VAh isolates. These findings strongly suggest a stepwise emergence of the U.S. epidemic isolates from Asia with the Mississippi catfish isolate as a representative intermediate in this evolutionary model. Finally, a pairwise comparison of the proteomes of 14 A. hydrophila isolates was conducted using a BLASTp matrix, in order to determine the similarity among proteomes based

on the number of conserved gene families. Similarly to previous findings, these results demonstrated that the VAh strain proteomes are highly clonal and that the proteome of Mississippi catfish isolate S04-690 shows a high degree of similarity to that of VAh strains, with 99.5% similarity to the representative strain ML09119. In contrast, the proteome of the Chinese carp isolate ZC1 shows 97.7% and 97.5% similarity to those of ML09-119 and S04-690, respectively. These findings are concordant with the phylogenomic analysis that suggests that S04-690 is an example of an intermediate strain in the evolutionary emergence of VAh. It was observed that the genomes of S04690, ZC1, and all of the VAh isolates share >97% similarities among themselves. In contrast, none of the genomes of non-epidemic U.S. isolates showed >74% similarity to that of VAh isolates.

Conclusion These findings further support the conclusion that the Chinese carp and U.S. catfish VAh and Mississippi isolates are a monophyletic group with a coherent genome and a discriminatory phenotype (i.e., myo-inositol utilization) that clearly differentiate them as clonal, pathogenic strains that are distinct from A. hydrophila isolates that have been previously described in the United States. This study provides multiple lines of evidence that suggest that highly virulent A. hydrophila isolates responsible for epidemic outbreaks of MAS in catfish in the southeastern United States have an Asian origin. At this point, the exact means of introduction of these virulent isolates in the United States is not clear. There are several possible ways in which Asian isolates might have been introduced in the U.S.: A) The introduction of Asian carp into the country and their extensive use as biological control agents may have introduced an Asian variant of A. hydrophila that served as a precur-

sor for the emergence of highly virulent catfish isolates; B) Transport and distribution of imported ornamental fish from Asia may have introduced the isolates; or C) Import of contaminated processed seafood products may have introduced Asian isolates into the United States, since imported seafood is frequently contaminated with A. hydrophila. Given the widespread occurrence of this A. hydrophila lineage within different regions of China (Guangdong, Hubei, Jiangsu, and Zhejiang provinces) and the report of myoinositol-utilizing A. hydrophila strains in eastern and southeastern Asia in the years prior to the U.S. epidemic, the most likely scenario is that this pathogenic A. hydrophila lineage was introduced into the United States from fish imported from Asia. Additionally, highly virulent disease episodes have been documented since the late 1980s in China with A. hydrophila of this genotype and no disease episodes like those observed on commercial catfish farms in the U.S. occurred until 2004, with the onset of epidemic outbreaks occurring in 2009. One hypothesis is that a virulence factor(s) encoded within genomic islands of the epidemic catfish isolates may contribute to the enhanced pathogenicity and/or host specificity of the VAh isolates in catfish. Further studies of the role and mechanisms of this virulence factor(s) in A. hydrophila pathogenesis in catfish and carp will increase the scientific understanding of the emergence of highly virulent bacterial pathogens and the contribution of geographically introduced nonnative species in the pandemic spread of pathogens facilitated by human activities. *Original article: Hossain, Mohammad J.1, An Asian Origin of Virulent Aeromonas hydrophila Responsible for Disease Epidemics in United StatesFarmed Catfish. mBio, journal from the American Society for Microbiology. June 3rd, 2014. 1 Department of Biological Sciences, Auburn University, Alabama, USA.

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Bioactive compounds

from marine mussels and their effects on human health By Ulrike Grienke, Joe Silke, and Deniz Tasdemir*

The present article shows the bioactive potential of mussel compounds found in Mytilus and Perna genera and their use in the field of human health.


he Bivalvia, a large class with around 20,000 species within Mollusca, includes some of the best known invertebrates such as clams, oysters, scallops, and mussels. Large human populations have relied on these animals for a substantial portion of their diet. These species are harvested commercially and are of considerable relevance for aquaculture industries worldwide, as they are popular in human diet, provide high levels of proteins omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), iodine, and carbohydrates. Bioactive mussel components have proven to play a vital role for the development of functional foods; their properties have been investigated and several dietary supplements, containing mussel extracts, have been brought to the market. Hence, the importance of marine mussels as source for bioactive substances, such as antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, 18 Âť

as well as anti-cancer agents, is increasing rapidly. In this review article, researchers focus on mussel primary metabolites comprising peptides, lipids, and carbohydrates considering their bioactive properties, as well as different classes of shellfish toxins and their impact on human health.

Morphology, geographical distribution, and habitat Marketed worldwide as live, frozen or processed seafood, marine mussels are native to both northern and southern hemispheres. In their natural environment mussels have to adapt to parameters such as salinity, wave exposure, substrate, zone, height, temperature, and water quality. Most species tolerate a wide range of salinity. However, at very low salinities the mussel growth is limited. Commercially most relevant marine mussel species belong to the two genera of Mytilus and Perna. Mytilus

species occur in temperate waters of Europe, Asia, and America, whereas Perna species are cultured in warmer waters such as Thailand, the Philippines, China, and New Zealand. Within the genus Mytilus, the marine mollusk M. edulis is commonly known as blue or black mussel (Fig. 1A and B) (up to 100 mm). It is mostly cultured in Canada, USA, Europe, and Africa. Another common edible mussel, M. galloprovincialis, originates from the Mediterranean Sea. Concerning the genus Perna, major aquaculture mussel species include P. viridis, the Asian green mussel, and P. canaliculus, the green-lipped mussel (Fig. 1C and D).

Bioactive potential of musselsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; metabolites Mussels contain a large portion of muscle tissue with considerably high content of protein. One of the rare examples for bioactive proteinaceous macromolecules is pernin (60 kDa), found in the cell-free haemolymph

(plasma) of P. canaliculus. It is a selfaggregating glycosylated protein, consisting of 497 amino acids, resembling a weak anti-thrombin peptide. To exert significant bioactivity, complex protein macromolecules usually need to be split into shorter chains of amino acids (peptides) either by processing techniques such as fermentation or by gastrointestinal digestion. Fermentation has been used as a method for food preservation, by controlling the growth and multiplication of a number of pathogens. During fermentation, bioactive peptides or amino acids are enzymatically produced from large precursor or parent proteins which usually show only weak or no bioactivity. The underlying biochemical process of fermentation, which depends on the temperature, pH, and time, is called hydrolysis or proteolysis, respectively. Although favored as a low cost option, the use of endogenous proteases which are already present in food matrices, such as shellfish meat, has the disadvantage of long time periods required to obtain desired bioactive peptides. To gain insights into the putative health effects of proteinaceous metabolites, these are either investigated in the form of hydrolyzate mixtures from fresh, homogenized mussels or as isolated and purified amino acids, proteins, or peptides. Besides desired bioactive peptides or amino acids, generated hydrolyzates also contain non-proteinaceous components or inactive protein macromolecules. Methods of choice to purify hydrolyzate mixtures and to obtain specific peptide classes, according to their molecular weight, include centrifugation or ultrafiltration using appropriate membranes. To achieve further separation these procedures are followed by gel and ion exchange chromatography techniques, as well as RP-HPLC. However, separation is not always beneficial in respect to bioactivity. In some cases, mixtures of peptides, amino acids, and sugars show higher bioactivity (e.g. antioxidant activity) than single purified peptides.

Some peptides, such as antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) are naturally available in the mussel and there is no need for processes to break down larger proteins to obtain them. Peptide extraction and purification protocols for AMPs generally include the suspension of homogenized mussel meat, blood or haemolymph in acidic aqueous solutions. In further bioactivity-guided steps the mixture is usually centrifuged and the supernatant is subjected to solid phase extraction followed by RP and gel permeation HPLC.

Potential health benefits of proteinaceous metabolites In general, bioactive peptides derived from marine mussels contain 5â&#x20AC;&#x201C;40 amino acid residues. Depending on the amino acid sequence and structural properties, major biological effects of mussel peptides include antimicrobial, antihypertensive, and anticoagulant activities. An overview on bioactive mussel proteins/peptides/amino acids is given in Table 1. Antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) In the field of molecular cell biology, AMPs comprise the most studied group of peptides from marine mussels. Only recently, AMPs have attract-

Research focuses mainly on the effects of mussel-based nutritional supplements on osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, asthma and cancer. ed the attention of medicinal chemists for exploitation as novel drug candidates in the treatment of infectious diseases in humans. As mentioned above, AMPs are natural peptides (non-enzymatically hydrolyzed), which are expressed by the mussel itself as part of its haemolymph. AMPs might be the reason why mussels seem to be less affected by diseases, compared to other bivalve mollusks. AMPs show antifungal, antibacterial, or antiviral effects and act via binding to microorganisms, by means of electrostatic interaction with cell wall or membrane residues, promoting their elimination through different mechanisms. However, apart from the disruption of membrane permeability causing cytoplasmic membrane lysis, a detailed mode of action of isolated mussel

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Another part of the mussel which has already been intensively investigated in the direction of applied research is its byssus. The adhesive power of mussels has been the subject of numerous studies trying to synthetically mimic these characteristics in polymers used for surgical applications, technology, and industry.

peptides has not been reported yet. Among different species of marine mussels, AMPs have primarily been identified in two species of the Mytilus genus and one species of the Perna genus. AMPs have been mostly characterized by environmental biologists to evaluate the mussel’s physiological functions. Since the emergence of resistance developed by microorganisms against state-of-the-art treatment options, AMPs from marine mussels might also be considered as a valuable source for therapeutics. In aquaculture, AMPs have been proposed as natural antimicrobial agents for the treatment of infectious diseases in marine species. Moreover, AMPs show a great potential as a natural antimicrobial food additive for human consumption. However, further target-oriented research is needed to overcome negative aspects, such as bitter taste, possible interactions with other food components, or allergies.

Antioxidant and antihypertensive peptides Major effects of derived peptides include antihypertensive and antioxidant activity, as well as radical scavenging capacity. For example, Korean researchers identified an antihyperten20 »

sive and two antioxidant peptides from the sauce of fermented M. edulis. One of these purified peptides (6.5 kDa; N-terminal amino acid sequence EVMAGNLYPG; Table 1) exhibits angiotensin I converting enzyme (ACE) inhibition with an IC50 value of 19.34 µg/ ml (= 2.98 µM) in a spectrophotometric assay. ACE converts angiotensin I into angiotensin II. Since the latter is known to constrict blood vessels to cause an increased blood pressure, blocking ACE is considered as a valuable strategy in hypertension. Besides AMPs, antioxidant and antihypertensive peptides, mussels provide a source for further bioactive proteinaceous compounds. For example, an oligopeptide with a potent dose-dependent anticoagulant activity has been isolated from M. edulis. This oligopeptide, named M. edulis anticoagulant peptide (MEAP), is characterized by a molecular weight of 2.5 kDa. MEAP is able to prolong the blood clotting time (thrombin time as well as the activated partial thromboplastin time) and interacts with key blood coagulation factors. Furthermore, a recent publication reports anti-inflammatory properties for extracts from M. galloprovincialis containing fifteen essential and non-essential amino acids quantified by GC–MS.

Bioactive lipids and non-polar components Among the three major groups of mussel primary metabolites, lipids have so far shown the highest potential for the commercial development of health beneficial functional foods or dietary supplements. Mussel lipid extracts and fractions can be obtained by solvent extraction and are purified by chromatographic separation. Analyses mostly focus on the characterization of lipid extracts or fractions rather than pure compounds. Mussel lipid extracts are usually obtained by extraction of fresh or freeze-dried mussel meat. By means of enzymatic or chemical hydrolysis, complex lipids are cleaved to obtain single fatty acids. In general, normal phase column chromatography is subsequently used to fractionate the crude extracts into major lipid classes. In some cases, purification and structural analysis is also pursued and achieved by chromatographic techniques such as preparative TLC. Bioactive marine oils from P. canaliculus Several anti-inflammatory and antiarthritic dietary supplements, which contain mussel lipids, are available commercially. The development of some of them was inspired by the observation of the New Zealand Maori population living in coastal areas that consume a high amount of greenlipped mussels (P. canaliculus) in their diet. These people develop osteoarthritis (OA) to a much lesser extent than inland Maoris. In 1976, the first commercially available anti-arthritic green-lipped mussel product was launched. The formulation method

was improved and in 1998, a second generation of products was brought to the market. Lipid classes present in mussel oil comprise sterol esters, triglycerides, free fatty acids (saturated and unsaturated), carotenoids, sterols and polar lipids. Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) are found as major ingredients. Omega-6 PUFAs are found mainly in plants and are contained in vegetable oils, whereas omega-3 PUFAs are found in fish and shellfish and occur to a lesser extent in plants. In terms of bioactivity, the omega-3 PUFAs originating from fish and shellfish sources are considered to be more efficient in their biological activity than those found in plants. The anti-inflammatory mode of action of the green-lipped mussel oil has been linked to its ability to inhibit the production of inflammatory mediators by affecting key enzymes in the arachidonic acid (AA) cascade. AA is metabolized via well characterized pathways including cyclooxygenase (COX) and lipoxygenase (LO) enzymes. As opposed to conventional therapeutic treatment options such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), the use of mussel oil products, as natural remedies against arthritis, causes very few side effects. Green-lipped mussel preparations demonstrate in vivo gastro-protective effects. P. canaliculus lipid extracts are mainly suitable for the treatment of chronic inflammation. Besides, since their launch in 1976, effects of nutritional green-lipped mussel supplement products on osteoarthritis (OA), rheumatoid arthritis (RA), asthma, and cancer have been studied in various clinical trials and discussed in numerous review papers. Within its main field of application, outcomes of most studies have proven a reduced amount of pain and stiffness related to the intake of mussel preparations. Apart from orally applied capsules, topical preparations, such as skin cream containing mussel lipids, also seem to be effective against OA and RA. However, no

comparative study has been conducted to evaluate the efficacy of orally versus topically applied mussel lipids.

Bioactive marine oils from Mytilus species In contrast to lipids from Perna species, the amount of information available on mussel lipids from Mytilus species is comparably small. In general, Mytilus oils are known to contain similar major long chain omega-3 PUFAs (EA, EPA and DHA) as Perna oils, however, in considerably lower yields. Anti-inflammatory effects were found for both non-hydrolyzed M. edulis crude lipid extracts and hydrolyzed triglyceride fractions. Especially after saponification of the crude extracts, containing EPA and DHA at a percentage of 37% of total fatty acids, inhibition of leukotriene production was observed in a neutrophil 5-LO assay in vitro and in an AIA rat model. Combined with the 5-LO inhibition the total free fatty acid fractions show a selective in vitro inhibition of COXII. Moreover, since there were no negative side effects observed in animal models, findings suggest the potential of M. edulis lipid extracts or fractions as anti-inflammatory agents. Further Mytilus species reported to contain bioactive lipids comprise the Korean mussel, M. coruscus and the Mediterranean mussel, M. galloprovincialis. Different M. coruscus lipid extracts obtained by suspension in organic solvents were analyzed for their potential to induce apoptosis of several cancer cells including human prostate, breast, lung, and liver cancer cell lines. As a result, the hexane extract was found to possess the highest in vitro anti-tumor effects by inducing apoptosis of human prostate cancer cells. Interestingly, the most active fraction of the hexane extract of this Korean mussel was found to contain a remarkably high amount of EPA (33.4%).

The beneficial effects of mussel peptides could be antimicrobial, antihypertensive or anticoagulant, depending on the sequence of amino acids and their structural properties. tions rather than pure compounds. This might be due to the increasing instability of fatty acids during isolation processes. In a very recent study, researchers detected unstable anti-inflammatory and antioxidant furan fatty acids in P. canaliculus. After semisynthetic stabilization, one of the furan fatty acid ethyl esters showed an even higher anti-inflammatory potential than EPA ethyl ester in an in vivo model of AIA. Another rare example for an isolated single lipid compound is lysolecithin. This hydrophilic phospholipid belongs to the class of phosphatidylcholines and was identified as the anti-histaminic and anti-inflammatory component in P. canaliculus lipid fractions in the mid â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;80s. However, no further studies have been undertaken to pursue these results.

Bioactive carbohydrates from marine mussels The group of mussel carbohydrates is primarily represented by polysaccharides. In some cases, sugar components are covalently linked to polypeptide side chains of cell wall proteins. In general, carbohydrates can be extracted from the mussel, by using different organic solvents. In most cases, they are obtained by hot-water extraction, followed by further purification steps, including anion-exchange and gel permeation chromatography. Techniques, such as dialysis and Isolated single lipid components lyophilization, allow a coarse fractionation of the sugar components. from marine mussels Bioactivity studies on marine lipids are Isolation and purification is usually usually carried out on extracts or frac- achieved by the use of molecular-sieve Âť 21


or affinity chromatography. An array of different techniques such as complete hydrolysis, periodate oxidation, methylation analysis, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), and NMR, are applied in a final step to elucidate the structure of the carbohydrate of interest. Among the three major bioactive primary metabolite classes from mussels, the least attention has been paid to the group of carbohydrates, hence only very few research articles are available.

Miscellaneous bioactive compounds from marine mussels Literature surveys suggest that the most bioactive marine mussel compounds can be classified as typical primary metabolites. However, MytiLec, a sugar-binding protein (lectin) isolated from the mussel M. galloprovincialis, is discussed here under miscellaneous compounds, due to its carbohydratebinding properties.

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Biotoxins affecting marine mussels Besides the beneficial effects and bioactives that mussel components may yield, it is vital to also consider potential harmful biotoxins that may be present in mussels. They selectively choose filtered particles based on size and eject non-edible particles as pseudo-feces before they enter the digestive tract. A large component of the ingested particles comprise of nutrient rich eukaryotic microalgae, mostly diatoms and dinoflagellates. In marine environments there are small but significant groups of microalgae referred to as harmful algal bloom (HAB) species that cause injuries to human health or socioeconomic interests, or to components of aquatic ecosystems. Mussels are fairly non-discriminatory towards the species of microalgae that they ingest. Their target feed can include a number of different HAB species that contain various compounds that are toxic to humans, and

filter feeding shellfish including mussels are a significant source by which these toxins find a pathway through the food chain at concentrations that can cause human illness. HAB toxins have typically been classified based on the illness that they produce in human consumers; amnesic shellfish poisoning (ASP), ciguatera fish poisoning (CFP), diarrheic shellfish poisoning (DSP), neurotoxic shellfish poisoning (NSP), paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP), and azaspiracid shellfish poisoning (AZP). In addition, there are other toxins that have yet to demonstrate adverse effects (acute or chronic) in humans including the Cyclic Imines Group, Pectenotoxins (PTX) Group and Yessotoxins (YTX) Group. The majority of human diseases associated with HAB toxins appear to be acute phenomena, although some can cause prolonged chronic disease. There is also evidence of transfer of HABs by anthropogenic and non-anthropogen-

ic vectors and this can result in toxins appearing in previously toxin free areas so the potential of toxic HAB species is to be regarded as potentially worldwide. The classification of toxins, based on symptomology, has been greatly advanced with the introduction of high-resolution analytical separation and detection technologies including HPLC combined with MS and NMR technologies. At present, there are no practical solutions to removing these toxins from shellfish other than allowing them to naturally depurate by metabolic processes within the shellfish growing area. This can take between several weeks to several months depending on the level of toxin and environmental parameters. The primary preventive tool for intoxications with natural toxins is the monitoring of toxin levels in algae in the harvesting areas. Based on the presence of toxins, restrictions can be placed and harvesting of shellfish forbidden if levels of toxin are too high.

Conclusion Within the past decades, marine mussels, in particular species of the genera Mytilus and Perna have attracted research interest for their primary metabolites. In addition, monitoring the mussel for possible contaminations with harmful biotoxins is emerging as a subject of great importance for public health and product development. Research has been mainly directed towards the bioactive potential of proteins, lipids, and carbohydrates. As opposed to natural product drug discovery programs, the investigation of bioactive primary metabolites is a research area scattered over several scientific disciplines. To overcome issues it might be of relevance to cross frontiers between chemistry and food industry in order to successfully use the gained knowledge about bioactives from marine mussels. Considering prospering aquaculture businesses producing large volumes of mussel waste materials, the generation of bioactive proteinaceous

metabolites helps to exploit waste materials and offers sources for the development of functional foods or nutraceuticals. However, challenges such as stability, bitter taste and the development of suitable food-grade formulation methods require interdisciplinary expertise. Primary metabolites from marine mussels of the genus Mytilus and Perna have shown promising results and represent invaluable sources for the development of functional foods, food ingredients, or pharmaceuticals. Further advances in processing and analytical technologies, as well as a more interdisciplinary research focus, are expected to promote a straightforward and targeted development of health beneficial products in the near future. *Original article: Grienke, Ulrike1, Bioactive compounds from marine mussels and their effects on human health. Food Chemistry, vol. 142, January 2014. 1 School of Chemistry, National University of Ireland, Ireland.

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The Kenneth K. Chew

Center for Shellfish Research and Restoration The new shellfish hatchery was opened to help restore shellfish Contributed by NOAA and the Puget Sound Restoration Fund staff.


ative oyster populations in Puget Sound are at less than 4% of historic levels. This significant decline affects the region’s ecology, as well as the cultural tradition of tribes who harvest shellfish for a living. In response, The National Oceanic and

Dr. ​Kenneth K. Chew. P​ hoto courtesy of ​the University of Washington Office of News and Information.

24 »

nationwide. Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the Puget Sound Restoration Fund are working with state, tribal and industry partners in Washington State on a 10-year plan to rebuild populations of native Olympia oysters in Puget Sound and restore 100 acres of oyster habitat by 2020. Located along the shores of Washington state’s Kitsap Peninsula, NOAA’s Manchester Research Station is perfectly situated to culture native shellfish. This research station has been at the forefront of aquaculture since the 1970s, and with the completion of a modern shellfish hatchery onsite, scientists, research and restoration partners are better equipped to improve the conservation of native shellfish. Working with their partner, the Puget Sound Restoration Fund, they will provide the scientific expertise and specialized facilities to support the research and production of native oysters and other Pacific Northwest living marine resources.

• Expand the ability to restore native shellfish habitat in the Pacific Northwest; • Advance the technology and practices of the shellfish aquaculture industry; • Understand the impacts of ocean acidification on shellfish and other marine life; • Improve monitoring to better predict changes in seawater chemistry that may affect shellfish hatchery operations. Future research will focus on the culture of other marine life in Puget Sound, including rock scallops, Pinto abalone, and macroalgae.

By the numbers • 1,400 square-foot shellfish hatchery will provide restoration-grade Olympia oyster larvae and seed to the restoration community throughout Washington State. • 630 square-foot greenhouse nursery for growing shellfish and microalgae. • 600 square-foot outdoor tank farm for setting oysters on “spat-on-shell”. Collaborative research goals • 150 gallons of filtered seawater per With the new shellfish hatchery, the minute will be supplied from adjacent near-term collaborative research goals Clam Bay. are to: • A 20’ x 8’ floating upwelling sys• Culture genetically-diverse native oys- tem (FLUPSY) for oyster grow-out ters and preserve local populations; (singles).

pollution, agriculture impacts and climate change. The new hatchery also supports the goals of the President’s National Ocean Policy, which include expanding domestic aquaculture to spur our ocean economy and improve ocean health. The new shellfish hatchery is located at NOAA’s Manchester Research Station on the Kitsap Peninsula, WA, USA

• Will have the capacity to produce up to 6 million “spat-on-shell” oysters and up to 2 million oyster “singles” annually.

Partnership NOAA has signed a formal agreement with the Puget Sound Restoration Fund (PSRF), a Washingtonbased nonprofit organization, to collaboratively conduct and manage research and restoration activities at the native shellfish hatchery. Founded in 1997, PSRF restores marine habitat, water quality and native species in Puget Sound in collaboration with industry, tribes, government agencies, private landowners and community groups. About the National Shellfish Initiative and Washington State Initiative In June 2011, NOAA launched a National Aquaculture Policy that included a National Shellfish Initiative to increase shellfish aquaculture for commercial and restoration purposes, stimulating coastal economies and improving ecosystem health. Guided by the national effort, Washington State launched a new Shellfish Initiative in December 2011 to expand shellfish aquaculture and increase the availability of locally-produced seafood, jobs in coastal communities, and improved habitat and water quality. In the Pacific Northwest, the shellfish industry adds an estimated USD$270 million a year into the region’s economy, bringing jobs to

more than 3,200 people, primarily in coastal communities. For over 150 years, Washington State’s tidelands have served as productive farm beds for nutritious oysters, clams and mussels. The Washington Shellfish Initiative brings together local governments, tribes and the shellfish industry to promote and expand aquaculture, increase opportunities for recreational shellfish harvesting, protect water quality, and restore native shellfish habitat and populations – including the native Olympia oyster and pinto abalone. The initiative invests state and federal funding to address environmental factors that stand in the way of shellfish aquaculture and restoration efforts, including

About Dr. Kenneth K. Chew The new facility will be named the Kenneth K. Chew Center for Shellfish Research and Restoration in recognition of Professor Chew’s longstanding contributions to shellfish research and aquaculture, the contribution of his many students who continue to advance this work, and the importance of NOAA’s efforts to restore shellfish in Puget Sound. Ken Chew was a contributor to Aquaculture Magazine for many years, as the Shellfish columnist and also in other capacities. AQM is very pleased to see this recognition for such a special person and great contributor to aquaculture both in the Pacific Northwest and throughout the world (Editor’s Note). For more information regarding this and future projects on shellfish culture, visit:

Olympia oysters.

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Climate Change: Implications for

Fisheries & Aquaculture By Nicki Holmyard*

This text presents key findings from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Fifth Assessment Report.


ceans are vital for production of food from fisheries and aquaculture, but their ability to provide this service is sensitive to climate change and ocean acidification. Worldwide, fisheries provide three billion people with around 20% of their average intake of animal protein, and 400 million depend critically on fish for their food. Climate change affects the physical and chemical properties of the ocean, and these in turn affect the biological properties of marine organisms. In particular, fish and shellfish are affected directly by changes in temperature and oxygen levels, which impact on migration, spawning and feeding patterns, distribution and abundance. The increasingly acidic ocean is affecting the growth of corals and putting the survival of reefs at risk. It is also resulting in a range of im26 Âť

pacts on fish, and shell thinning in mollusks. A large number of coastal species are at increased risk of extinction in the coming decades due to climate change, especially where it coincides with pressures such as habitat modification, overexploitation and pollution. Adaptation is possible in some cases, but very difficult in others. The estimated total cost of adaptation for fisheries globally from 2010 to 2050 is up to USD$30 billion per year. As a dynamic system, the oceans will continue to respond to past and current changes in global climate. Ocean-wide changes in ecosystems are already occurring and are projected to accelerate from 2050 onwards. Such changes have implications for fisheries management, sustainability, food security, and income generation, particularly in low latitude and small island nations.

Physical and chemical changes to the ocean Rising levels of atmospheric CO2 result in more CO2 being taken up by the ocean. This is lowering the pH of the water and causing ocean acidification. Bivalve mollusks such as mussels and oysters, along with corals and plankton that form shells from calcium carbonate, are all at risk. Ocean acidification may also have direct effects on fish behavior and physiology. Changes to the distribution of fish populations are affecting the composition of catches. In the North Pacific and North Atlantic, range limits of many intertidal species have shifted by up to 50 km per decade. These rates are generally faster than for species on land, and carry the risk that food webs will be seriously disrupted â&#x20AC;&#x201C; for example, predators moving away from prey. Rising temperatures reduce the oxygen-carrying capacity of the ocean,

which limits the maximum body size that large fish can achieve. As a result, catches of smaller fish are predicted for the future. In the North Atlantic, the oceanic Oxygen Minimum Zone (OMZ) is thought to be growing, due to increased stratification (a consequence of warming water). This reduces the volume of water able to support large, predatory fish such as marlin. Further growth of OMZs is projected.

Changes in the level of seafood production As waters continue to warm, scientists are virtually certain that the productivity of many fisheries will change. Spatial shifts of marine species due to projected warming will cause high-latitude invasions and high local extinction rates in the tropics and semi-enclosed seas relative to 2005 levels and based on a global 2°C warming scenario. Species richness and fisheries catch potential are projected to increase, on average, at mid and high latitudes and decrease at tropical latitudes. Not all fish will be able to adapt, and some stocks will potentially die out. Such changes are very likely to increase the vulnerability of people such as artisanal fishers in tropical developing countries, who depend directly on fisheries for food and income, and who are unable to target other stocks or to extend the range

Fig. 1. Oxygen minimum zones in the Ocean.

of their activity due to financial or technical limitations. Migration of fish stocks will also present issues for governments and fisheries regulators when attempting to agree fishing opportunities. Changes in temperature, oxygen levels and food availability in the ocean are likely to alter the distribution and abundance of top predator species such as tuna in the Pacific and Indian Oceans, with stocks in both oceans predicted to shift eastwards. Such changes have the potential to affect the economies of many island and developing countries, where small-scale fisheries account for 56% of the catch and 91% of people working in fisheries.

Coastal fisheries and aquaculture Climate change effects on the abundance of pelagic stocks such as anchoveta, which is used for fishmeal production, could affect farmed species such as salmon. For example, lower catches of anchoveta in South America in 2012 resulted in a decline in fishmeal and fish oil production, with consequent increases in the price of these commodities. On the north-western US coast, where upwelling water is naturally more acidic than the average, a decrease in pH has resulted in levels that directly affect shellfish farming. In some economically important

If emissions continue to rise at the current rate, impacts by the end of this century are projected to include a global average temperature 2.6– 4.8°C higher than present, and sea levels 0.45–0.82 m higher than present. coastal regions, such as the northern Gulf of Mexico, acidity is projected to increase at twice the global average rate. Brackish and freshwater aquaculture operations based on pond and lagoon production are particularly at risk in low-lying coastal areas in the tropics. The risks include river basin flooding from increased rainfall, storm surges, and inundation by seawater from rising sea levels. Fish raised in freshwater aquaculture are at risk from an increased frequency of disease exacerbated by stress due to increased temperatures and lower oxygen levels, uncertainties over future water supply, and sea-level rise overcoming coastal defenses.

Resilience A number of measures are available to help fisheries and aquaculture adapt to the effects of climate change. Some are already in existence; for example, shellfish farmers in the northwestern US have adapted to changes in the acidity of seawater by blocking the intake when pH levels fall below a certain threshold, or moving their hatcheries to Hawaii. From a technical perspective, a number of measures already familiar to fishers and fish farmers could be deployed in the context of adaptation to climate change, ocean acidification and hypoxia. Above all, both the seafood industry and governments could decide to accelerate the expansion of aquaculture in order to compensate on a national, regional or global basis » 27


for the anticipated fall in wild-caught fish and shellfish. Adaptation will become progressively more difficult as climate change progresses, and increasingly there are likely to be situations in which it is impossible.

Mitigation Potential Opportunities for the fishing, aquaculture and seafood industries to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are, in general, not specific to the sector. However, policies aimed at reducing GHG emissions across the wider economy could be relevant to this industry among many. The seafood industry is generally dependent on fossil fuels for transport. For domestic and export transport, options for reducing GHG emissions include improving energy efficiency of vehicles; switching to less carbon-intensive fuels such as biofuels; changing to electric vehicles; and reducing the overall number of journeys. In principle, similar policy measures could be applied to fishing and aquaculture. For the fishing and aquaculture industry, it is also meaningful to consider ways of mitigating other impacts on the ecosystem, thereby building resilience to climate impacts and ocean

Impacts of Climate Change • Physical and chemical changes to the ocean leading to a loss of marine biodiversity; • Changes in the level of seafood production, with initial decreases at low latitudes and increases at high latitudes; • Increased incidences of harmful algal blooms which threaten ecosystems and fisheries; • Flood risk to aquaculture in low lying coastal areas in the tropics; • Etc.

acidification. These include some options noted in the previous section. Other options include undertaking vulnerability assessments of fisheries and aquaculture operations and reducing aquaculture dependence on fishmeal to help preserve small pelagic stocks.

Conclusion Rapid changes in the physical, chemical and biological state of the oceans are having a direct impact on fisheries and aquaculture production, as well as making this sector more vulnerable to non-climate change stressors such as pollution and over-fishing.

As a result, there are risks to both current and future production levels, to food security, and to employment in fisheries. There is also potential for increased food insecurity and increased incidences of illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing. A certain level of impacts is inevitable, due to the effect of GHGs already in the atmosphere. However, the further and faster that climate change is allowed to progress, the greater the cumulative impacts will be on the fisheries and aquaculture industries. Adaptation to some climate impacts may be possible in the short term, through improved policies and management and better monitoring systems. Reducing non-climate change-related stressors may help to reduce impacts. Relocating fishing effort and modifying or relocating aquaculture production may offer some opportunity to adapt to changes. Mitigation options are limited, but policies aimed at reducing fossil fuel use across economies would affect the seafood industry.

* Nicki Holmyard has written about the seafood industry for the past 25 years. She currently writes for a number of international journals and newspapers and has contributed to several books on sustainable seafood sourcing. She’s a director of Offshore Shellfish Ltd. For more information regarding the Fifth Assessment Report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, e-mail:, or visit:

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NAA to Offer Workshop on Using the Internet for Aquaculture Growers


he National Aquaculture Association (NAA) and the United Soybean Board are offering an intensive four hour workshop: Using the Internet to Grow Aquaculture Sales. The workshop will provide fish and shellfish producers with the knowledge and skills to use electronic media to showcase their products more successfully, grow their businesses, and help shape the public perception of aquaculture. An Internet presence is important for all sectors of the aquaculture industry including food fish and shellfish, baitfish, feed producers, sportfish, aquatic plants, and equipment suppliers. The major portion of the workshop will be devoted to the development of individual websites. A website is one way to reach new buyers at either minimal or no cost. Producers will be asked to preregister for the program, will need to complete a pre-workshop form that will provide the information for inclusion on their websites, and bring a laptop computer to the workshop. The NAA will provide some boiler plate information that can be added such as recipes, safe handling, etc. Experts will be on hand to help growers in easy to understand click by click construction. Other social media tools such as Twitter, Linkedin, and Facebook will be explored. Times are changing and there are new strategies. Facebook

The Internet is becoming increasingly important as an inexpensive marketing tool, but many U.S. fish farmers are hesitant to use electronic media.

makes it easy to post new information photos and events. Twitter is a way to remind your customers and future customers about your products. Linkedin helps you grow your identity. Four workshops will be offered in 2014. Each workshop will be offered in conjunction with a local sponsor. The NAA urges Extension Agents, Sea Grant Specialists, State Aquaculture Coordinators, and producer organizations to consider sponsoring a workshop in their area. Workshops may be held in conjunction with other activities such as conferences and meetings provided they are presented in their entirety and in the

original format and sequencing. The local sponsor is responsible for securing a meeting room that has a good WI-FI connection, advertising and promoting the workshop, handling all registration tasks, providing any refreshments that may be served and providing a printed contact list for all participants. The National Aquaculture Association will provide speakers, all program materials, and assist in promoting the program.

For further information contact: 914-330-7678

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AquaVision 2014 For the 10th time the aquaculture conference AquaVision was By Øystein M. Falch*


he conference was arranged for the first time in 1996, and takes place every second year. This year 400 delegates from 45 countries participated. As for most conferences, the main reason to attend to AquaVision is a mixture of collecting new information and expanding professional networks. The organizer says their ambition is to provide information for inspiration, and they are successfully living up to this. As reflected in the name of the conference, delegates are provided with high level information about trends

Stavanger city, Norway. Photos courtesy of Øystein M. Falch.

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arranged in the city of Stavanger in Norway, from June 16th-18th, 2014.

and prospects for the aquaculture industry worldwide. Quite interestingly there are always also speakers from other industries presenting information that can inspire aquaculture professionals to think differently about their own business, such as this year’s presentation about innovation at the Danish toy producer LEGO. The conference successfully delivered information that delegates can use for developing visions and strategies for their own companies.

Highlights Make sure not to miss the networking events that are good and can

be as valuable, as the conference talks, if not more. The first conference event is the welcome reception starting at 8 pm the evening before the conference talks, and is the first opportunity to network. This year it was at the concert hall of the city of Stavanger. In combination with good wine and beer the venue created a good atmosphere for making new connections. During the two days of conference talks there is reserved appropriate time for coffee breaks and lunch to mingle with delegates and have informal or formal talks. Attendance to AquaVisionâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s major networking event should definitely not be missed, and that is the dinner in the evening of day one. This year it started with a boat ride of about 40 minutes in fast catamaran boats to the fjords of Stavanger. Arriving at the end of a fjord the delegates were seated at elegant round tables with white cloths inside a mountain cave and served an excellent buffet dinner.

Networking dinner in a mountain cave. Photo courtesy of Ă&#x2DC;ystein M. Falch

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Aquaculture Conference AquaVision 2014. Photos courtesy of Øystein M. Falch

The main organizer is the Dutch feed company Nutreco and its Norwegian fish feed subsidiary Skretting. Sponsors were the Norwegian corporate bank DnB and the Dutch feed ingredients and nutrition company DSM.

Attendees A large majority of the delegates was either working in the Nutreco system or with related business such as feed ingredients and nutrition. Going only one and two years back the delegate profiles were less homogenous. Depending on your interests the relatively homogenous feed oriented delegation is an advantage or disadvantage when it comes to networking. For the next event organizers should strive to achieve a more diverse profile of delegates preventing AquaVision from turning into a fish feed and nutrition conference. Talks Talks are really good. Speakers are great, their power point presentations are brilliant and the content, interesting and inspiring. The organizer makes a good job making sure there is minimal overlap and repetition of information between the talks. Each talk provides unique and high qual32 »

ity information and there’s plenty of opportunity to grab the most information possible as presentations are available to delegates online.

Diversification Salmon stands out as the species receiving most attention, but less this year than before, and most likely even less at the next AquaVision in

two years. This trend is reflected in the strategy of the organizer Nutreco. Its fish feed unit Skretting has developed along with the salmon aquaculture industry in Norway, but over the last four years the Nutreco group has been frequently announcing acquisitions worldwide, thus positioning the company to grow its fish feed business in other species.

400 delegates from 40 countries seated by round tables in the conference hall. Photo courtesy of Øystein M. Falch

In 2013 Nutreco’s revenues were about USD$7.08 billion and were divided between the two business divisions: animal nutrition (cattle, pig, poultry) and fish feed (fish and shrimp), by 62% and 38%, respectively. Skretting sold 1.8 million tons of fish feed produced in 16 countries in 2013, to more than 40 countries and to over 60 species of farmed fish and shrimp.

Stavanger city, Norway. Photos courtesy of Øystein M. Falch.

Total revenues from fish feed amounted over USD$2.72 billion. In volume, feed for salmonids makes up to 62%, leaving the rest to non-salmonids. Skretting is aiming at growing its non-salmonids volume share to 50% and points to shrimp, tilapia, Amazonian species (e.g. tambaqui/pacau, pirarucu), and Asian species (snake-

head, Asian bass). Geographical regions pointed out were Latin America, Africa and Asia. Future AquaVision events are expected to reflect the organizers market development, covering to an even greater extent non-salmonids species and markets such as those mentioned above.

*Øystein Michael Falch is a Senior Business Consultant at Inocap, Norway, and is a member of the Seafood Consultants Network. He specializes in Aquaculture and Aquatic Life Science. E-mail:

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Regarding the International

Conference AquaSur 2014

Exhibitors will address regulation, markets and health aspects of aquaculture.


n October 23rd, the International Conference AquaSur 2014 will be held at the Hotel Patagónico in Puerto Varas (Los Lagos Region). This event will address a series of exhibitions focused on regulation and legislation about the health aspects of aquaculture, its markets, projections and the human factor. At the same time, it will analyze the position of Chile in relation to its competitors. This important meeting organized by the Conference Department of Editec –a holding company responsible for the publication of specialized magazines such as AQUA, MINERIA CHILENA, ELECTRICIDAD and LIGNUM, along with cadasters and compendia–, is part of the eighth version of the International Fair

AquaSur which will take place on October 22th-25th in Puerto Montt (Los Lagos Region).

Highlights In this regard, the director of AQUA Magazine, Rodrigo Infante, who is responsible for defining the agenda of the international meeting, said about the conformation of the program that “among the highlights are the markets for aquaculture and its evolution, especially the position of Chile and Norway. Also, environmental and health regulations in Chile, along with its evolution and implications, will be addressed during the conference”. “The human factor aspects and the communication of the industry with the communities will also be discussed”, added Infante.

Lecturers According to the preliminary program, confirmed topics and exhibitors are: • “Aquaculture and agriculture, parallels and lessons to be learned from both sectors”, Fernando Bas, agronomist of the Catholic University of Chile (PUC). • “Bioeconomy applied to the salmon industry “, Marcelo Araneda, bioeconomist of Aquainnovo. • “Marketing systems in the future,” Arthur Clement, founder of SalmonEx. • “Health problems in the salmon industry: Updated”, Matias Medina, CEO of the Technological Institute of Salmon (Intesal). • “The Chilean aquaculture regulation and its comparison to the world”, José Miguel Burgos, head of the Aquaculture Division of the Undersecretary for Fisheries and Aquaculture of Chile (Subpesca). • “The human factor in the aquaculture industry”, Cristóbal García, executive director of ONG Canales, and Felipe Sandoval, president of the Association of the Chilean Salmon Industry AG (SalmonChile). • “Environmental regulation in Chile,” Jorge Troncoso, executive director of Environmental Assessment Service, Ministry of Environment. • “Aquaculture Diversification,” Carlos Wurmann, CEO Award Ltd. The International Conference AquaSur 2014 is patronaged by Subpesca, ProChile and SalmonChile, sponsored by the Technology Training Center of Chile, Billund Aquaculture and Pentair, and it counts with the collaboration of the Manufacturing Building Society of Chile (Sofofa). More information can be found on the website of the Conference:

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Yellowtail kingfish

– a quest for new aquaculture species in Chile Yellowtail kingfish (Seriola lalandi) are found in temperate waters of the Pacific and Indian oceans, off South Africa, Japan, Australia, Chile and the USA. This is one of several Seriola species currently cultured in By Sagiv Kolkovski and Juan Lacámara*


n Japan, there are three species cultured: S. lalandi (called hiramasa in Japanese), S. quinqueradiata (hamachi and buri for the young and adult stages, respectively) and S. dumerili (kanpachi). The species cultured in Australia and New Zealand is known as Seriola lalandi lalandi and it’s similar to the

Adult yellowtail kingfish.

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different development stages around the world. one found in Chilean waters. Another notable species of interest as an aquaculture candidate is the warm water species Seriola rivoliana that is currently grown in Mexico, Canary Islands and Hawaii. Japan is the largest producer of Seriola, with a total annual production of around 160,000 tons, mainly of S.

quinqueradiata, followed by S. dumerili. S. lalandi comprises of only a small percentage of the total production. However, market value is higher for S. dumerili and S. lalandi than S. quinqueradiata. In recent years, S. dumerili has gained significant interest in the Mediterranean. Spain, Greece, Italy, Croatia and Turkey currently have R&D programs to develop this species culture. Malta already has a small commercial production (estimated at 500 tons). Saudi Arabia’s National Prawn Company is currently developing the commercial production of this species and plans to produce about 30,000 tons a year.

ACUINOR Seriola lalandi can be found in waters of North Chile. This species is similar to the one found in Australia, as well as the Californian yellowtail. However, although the aquaculture industry in Chile is developed and is considered to be one of the largest in the world, not many attempts were made to culture this species.

ACUINOR hatchery.

In 2008, a new initiative was developed by a private company – Acuícola del Norte (ACUINOR). The company’s vision is very innovative since the Chilean marine fish aquaculture is solely concentrated on salmon and trout. The hatchery location was chosen in one of the driest and harshest environments in the world, the Atacama Desert, where the ocean water temperatures allow the rearing of Seriola. The hatchery is located near Caldera (900 km north of Santiago). While it’s quite isolated, this ensures complete biosecurity coupled with access to airports and major facilities. The company’s goal is to establish the yellowtail kingfish aquaculture in Chile through a vertical development, which includes hatchery, nursery, and growout in land-based recirculating systems. Initially, the hatchery including the larvae and juveniles tanks, live feed systems and the recirculating systems were built according to marine hatchery specifications. However, developers found that this standard design wasn’t optimal for yellowtail. Therefore, during the past four years, most of the systems have been modified in order to be as effective and efficient as possible for this demanding species. This was done with the help of the Corporation for the Development of Production (CORFO) and

in collaboration with Dr Sagiv Kolkovski from Nutrakol, Australia. Currently, ACUINOR is the only company in the world that can supply S. lalandi eggs, larvae, juveniles and market size fish year round, exporting most of these to Europe, Asia and USA.

Broodstock Seriola lalandi spawns naturally in tanks after conditioning under controlled photoperiod and/or temperature. Unlike many of the Seriola species (i.e. dumerili), broodstock are relatively easy to manipulate and don’t require any hormonal induction. Spawning may be triggered or inhibited by

temperature change. Spawning can be triggered by increasing the water temperature after a period of ‘winterizing’ (16-18ºC). Fish can reach maturation after 13 months but will reach full maturation after 2-3 years, and they need another two years to reach their maximum fecundity with good quality eggs. Like most Seriola species, for optimal spawning conditions, S. lalandi requires large volume tanks (60-150/ m3) with low biomass (<5 kg/m3). The need for large tanks and facilities prevents many companies and R&D centers from having more than one broodstock tank. Currently, ACUINOR is the only company in the world that can supply yellowtail kingfish eggs and larvae year round. The company has four independent broodstock rooms, each contains one 85/m3 tank and an independent recirculating system that hosts both wild and F1 fish. The room’s water temperature and photoperiod are designed to cover year round, so spawning season differs from room to room by 3 months. The egg and larvae quality in each room, regardless if it is the natural spawning season or the ‘off-season’, is similar, with average fertilization rates of 98% and 95% hatching. To achieve these results, a specific nutritional program was developed

Yellowtail kingfish juvenile.

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by Dr Kolkovski, combining fresh diets (pilchards and mackerels) and semi-moist diets that include premium fishmeal and oil. Nutritional additives developed specifically for S. lalandi (Nutrabrood, Nutrakol) are added to the feed at different levels according to the fish spawning program and include essential nutrients such as Highly unsaturated fatty acids (HUFA’s) at specific levels and ratios, vitamins, immunostimulants, carotenoids, etc. Herbal extracts*, which act as hormonal boosters and modulators, are also added before and during the spawning season to support and improve the gonadal development and quality. Eggs are collected and transferred to independent hatching rooms; they are incubated in specially designed hatching tanks with up-welling water current to ensure no eggs will sink to the bottom (Seriola sp. eggs tend to do so just before hatching). The hatched larvae are counted and transferred to the larvae tanks or packed and shipped to customers around the world. Newly hatched

Sagiv Kolkovski.

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Adult yellowtail kingfish.

larvae can be safely transferred over a period of 48 hours without any mortality.

Larvae rearing Seriola spp. larvae exhibit fast growth compared to other marine species grown in aquaculture. Hence the need for specific rearing protocols as well as different nutritional additives for live feeds in order to support their fast growth rate requirements. Eggs and first feeding larvae are relatively large at 1.1 mm diameter and 4.5 mm, respectively. The rearing protocol includes enriched rotifers Brachionus plicatilis (large strain) for first feeding (10-20 rotifers/ml-1) and enriched Artemia for days 12-25 after hatching (DAH). Weaning on to a microdiet can commence at 20 DAH and can be administered as early as 15 DAH. Assisted by CORFO, optimizing the larvae rearing protocols and the environment was the main focus of ACUINOR for the past four years. More recently, through a specific innovative support line entitled PROTOTIPOS DE INNOVACIÓN EMPRESARIAL (prototypes for business innovation) and with the collaboration of several research centers and universities in Chile (Universidad de Chile) and overseas (Nutrakol, Australia), major efforts were conducted to optimize the nutrition and pathogen resistance of larvae. Larvae nutrition It’s been demonstrated that Seriola sp. larvae has higher requirements and

different ratios for n-3 HUFA including DHA and EPA in the diet. DHA is accumulated into the central nervous system of the larvae, and it is essential not only for fish activity and quality but also for the development of schooling behavior in the juvenile stage. These fatty acids are added to live feeds such as rotifers and Artemia. As part of the CORFO project, ‘tailor-made’ live feed enrichments specifically made for S. lalandi were tested*. These enrichments support not only the nutritional requirements of the larvae, but also boost the im-

Juan Lacámara.

Yellowtail kingfish juveniles.

mune system through supplementing immune stimulants, promoting a better growth and survival of larvae during the live feed stages. Using these ‘tailor-made’ enrichments also increased the live feed cleanliness compared to other powdered commercial products. Researchers reported high mortalities during and after metamorphosis with Pacific yellowtail (S. lalandi formally known as S. mazatlana). It was found that yellowtail kingfish larvae are susceptible to bacterial infections, which, in many cases, are transferred through the live feed organisms. A new additive, based solely on herbal extracts and aimed at reducing the bacteria in live feeds while boosting and supporting the larvae immune system was also tested*; it’s now incorporated as a standard additive during the live feed phase. Aside from its bactericidal effect, the additive increases larval stress resistance; this is extremely important during the transition periods between feeds i.e. rotifers to Artemia and then weaning stages.

Environmental conditions Stabilized larvae tank environmental conditions received particular attention. At early stages Seriola larvae are phototaxis-positive and required relatively high light intensity (1,00010,000 Lux). However at ~20 DAH, larvae preference changed to a lower intensity (100 Lux). ACUINOR’s light and photoperiod protocols follow these patterns: during the morning, green algae are pumped to the tank

to create a ‘green water’ environment. Following that, lights are dimmed up, imitating sunrise and preventing light shock by sudden light. This is an essential procedure since Seriola larvae and juveniles are extremely sensitive to sudden bright light. Similar patterns are used during the evening, when light is turned off gradually. Fresh green algae (Tetraselmis and Nannochloropsis ssp) are grown in the hatchery and continuously pumped to the larvae tank during the day. Low rate continuous pumping was chosen over manually supplying to prevent any ‘chain-saw’ changes (ups and downs in algae concentration). The algae are pumped by using peristaltic pumps into the water inlet to the tank bottom, thus creating an optimal mixing in the tank.

System development In order to optimize the rearing environment, new larvae tanks and filtration systems were installed. The standard tanks (ranging between 3-20m3) generally used at ACUINOR and in any other hatchery around the world required a significant amount of time and manpower for maintenance. When using a brush siphon, it takes 30-45 minutes to vacuum 20m3. Moreover, siphoning the tank bottom also resulted in siphoning larvae which usually caused high mortalities due to stress. Therefore, Dr Kolkovski and Oceans Design (USA) developed a new tank design with automatic selfcleaning arms that rotate at low speed (1 round/hour). The larval tank design includes a flat bottom with a gutter from the tank wall to the center (radius). The cleaning arm is made of stainless-steel with a soft brush that moves around the tank collecting the debris and organic matter from the bottom. When crossing the gutter the waste is dropped into it, leaving the brush clean. A valve at the end of the gutter allows partial removal of the waste. Complete waste removal is done daily by siphoning the gutter, which takes 2-3 minutes. The self-cleaning tanks (NutraKol /Oceans Design) reduced the accumulation of

Self cleaning tank with arm and outlet filters.

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organic matter in the tank to almost nothing, which resulted in a significant reduction in bacterial counts. This in turn increases the larvae survival due to the yellowtail behavior (during the night, larvae sink to the bottom of the tank where they can find organic accumulations and bacteria. Having the bottom continuously cleaned significantly reduced the bottom bacteria infection. The cleaning arm motor is placed over the center of the tank on heavy-duty aluminum beams and is splash proof, thus eliminating any risk of electrocution. ACUINOR is the first hatchery in the world that uses these tanks. This reduced the labor requirements during the larvae culture. Currently, the company is running a full trial with self-cleaning tanks and regular tanks, comparing larvae survival and growth as well as environmental parameters.

Outlet filters One of the main issues with larvae tanks is the need to keep the water surface completely clean of debris and oil. This is extremely important during the early stages when larvae inflate their swim bladder. Oil increases the water surface tension, which prevents the larvae from ‘breaking’ the surface to gulp air. Debris on the surface also increases the bacterial infection when larvae are trying to inflate their swim bladder.

Outlet filter.

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Yellowtail kingfish are susceptible to these issues and in many cases swim bladder inflation rates can be low, resulting in high deformities (sometimes up to 40% of larvae batches). To prevent and/or reduce this issue, protein skimmers are usually installed to concentrate oils and debris. These devices require daily cleaning by soaking the oils with paper towels; besides, skimmers only remove oils partially and, in fact, they could create an area with high bacteria loads. To solve this problem, an outlet box filter was developed by Dr Kolkovski that eliminates the use of skimmer, keeping the water surface pristine at any time while making filter screens replacement a few-seconds job (compared to traditional outlet filters). The filter is made of ultralight plastic sheets and is shaped as an inverted trapezoid. An airline at the bottom of the filter box creates fine air bubbles. Since the screens are angled out, bubbles are forced to ‘brush’ the screen surface, cleaning it from debris and preventing any blockage. The screen is located in a specific slot and can be changed simply by inserting a new screen in the second slot and pulling the dirty screen out, thus preventing larvae from escaping. Due to the large surface area and the double-side screens, the filter box acts as a skimmer, removing the oil from the surface. Larvae tanks have an up-welling water inlet, which pumps the algae with the incoming water that enters the tank at the center already containing microalgae for green water.

Future R&D The survival rates of Seriola larvae are usually low at 10-15%. However, with the on-going improvements and optimization ACUINOR applied to the larvae rearing protocols and systems, the company is aiming at reaching a survival of 20% in the near future. Survival is only one of the factors the company looks at. Deformities are a major issue with all the Seriola

Screen changing in outlet filter.

sp. With the recent improvements in nutrition and systems, ACUINOR is aiming at reducing the deformities occurrence, which is already low, to less than 1%. Fully automated micro-diet feeders will be installed in the near future, which will optimize the feeding regime and the tank hygiene. There is a need to dedicate further research time to weaning diets and improvements in growout diets. Although there are several feed mills in Chile supplying feeds to the salmon aquaculture industry, no company is producing yellowtail kingfish growout diets (which are different than salmon diets). Therefore, collaboration between the company NutraKol (Australia), the University of Temuco and ACUINOR is currently discussed in order to develop and produce these diets. ACUINOR long term research includes genetic improvements to their broodstock. The first stage, done by the University of Chile, which looked at the current genetic health of the broodstock groups, concluded that the genetic pool is extremely wide. A genetic program is now being developed to further improve the future broodstock to keep optimal progeny.

Sagiv Kolkovski, PhD, has collaborated with several marine finfish projects all over the world. Currently he’s the R&D Manager of NutraKol, Australia. Juan Lacámara, MBA, is an entrepreneur and the Director of ACUINOR. * All products mentioned have been developed by Nutrakol. For more information, contact Dr. Kolkovski:

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Breeding the Asian Catfishes

Pangasius bocourti and Pangasius hypophthalmus Food security has become an important policy goal in many nations, By C. Greg Lutz*


n certain developing countries, such as the Philippines or Nigeria, roughly 8 out of 10 people depend primarily on fisheries products as a source of protein. Although many developing nations possess a long history of aquaculture expertise, most have very few species being cultured in freshwater habitats: primarily carps, tilapia, clariid catfishes, and occasionally milkfish. In many of these countries, there is a need to diversify and enhance op-

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especially those with low standards of living.

portunities for freshwater aquaculture using omnivorous species which can be cultured on available low-cost foodstuffs with minimal investment requirements. The pangasid catfishes, specifically Pangasius bocourti and P. hypophthalmus, offer substantial promise as candidate species for this approach to aquaculture, and some interesting work is taking place involving their genetics and breeding. Culture of pangasid catfishes has a long history in Southeast Asia, and

cage culture is well established in countries such as Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam. Cages are constructed of various materials, depending on availability and cost, including bamboo, wire mesh, lumber, metal and netting. In general, cage culture of pangasids has proved very profitable. As a result, however, localized concentrations of production have occasionally led to deterioration of water quality and competition for locally-available foodstuffs. In recent years, large volumes of two popular pangasid catfishes, Pangasius bocourti and P. hypophthalmus, have been produced in Vietnam for export markets. Seedstock of these two species have been available from commercial sources in Vietnam and/or Cambodia for a number of years. Locally-available low-cost plant and animal by-products have historically been used for pangasid culture. Studies from the 70s have discussed the preparation of on-farm feeds for P. bocourti production in Vietnam, focusing on locally available ingredients such as trash fish, fish meal, rice bran, broken rice, pumpkin and spinach. Increasing the protein content of prepared feeds from 10-12%

(typical preparation) to 20-22% reduced grow-out to market size from 10 months to only 8 months, and reduced body fat of harvested fish from 25% to 10% by weight. Others reported similar findings under practical conditions, indicating that the protein requirement for P. larnaudii should be around 20%. As do virtually all aquatic species, pangasid catfishes suffer occasionally from opportunistic pathogens under culture conditions. It is well documented that use of various common antibiotics and disinfectants improves survival of P. hypophthalmus fry with opportunistic bacterial infections under hatchery conditions. Early survival rates of this species are largely dependent on the initial quality of eggs and larvae. These characteristics, in turn, depend to a great extent on husbandry practices, broodstock nutrition and spawning practices. Spawning protocols for P. bocourti and P. hypophthalmus are not well-defined. Historically, culture of these species has relied on collection of wild seedstock from natural habitats rather than captive spawning, but great progress has been made in this area in recent years. Some researchers have reported on ovulation rates, latency and egg viability of P. hypophthalmus induced to spawn with either GnRH (Ovaprim) or hCG. Both hormonal treatments resulted in similar responses. Ovulation rates were 88% and 90% while hatching rates were 72+25% and 82+11%, respectively. Fecundity ranged from 171,000 + 73,000 to 128,000 + 60,000 eggs per kg female body weight. Compounds such as pituitary gland solutions and LHRH-a have also been used successfully in induced spawning of pangasid catfishes. Working with P. sutchi, researchers have documented ovulation rates of approximately 33% when using an initial injection of 20 mu g and a subsequent resolving dose of 30 mu g per kg body weight. The authors Âť 43


achieved 79-85% ovulation rates through the use of an initial dose of 1.0 units of HPE plus 10 mu g LHRH-a followed by a resolving dose of 1.5-2.0 units of HPE plus 20-30 mu g LHRH-a per kg body weight. While fecundity levels are much lower in P. bocourti (roughly 4,700 eggs per kg body weight) than in P. hypophthalmus (roughly 49,000 eggs per kg body weight) eggs and fry are much larger. This allows for a less complex nursery cycle, and the use of artificial diets. While eggs and fry of P. hypophthalmus are more susceptible to bacterial infections, particularly of Aeromonas, fingerlings can be produced in large numbers by stocking newly-hatched larvae in properly-fertilized nursery ponds rich in rotifers and other small zooplankton. In natural habitats in Southeast Asia, P. hypophthalmus typically spawns from May through July, while P. bocourti also spawns during this period and on into August to October. The stocking density prior to spawning should be about 1 fish/ m3. At such time as personnel determine the fish are eligible for induced spawning, potential breeders can be injected with pangasid pituitary extract, reproductive hormones

Pangasius fingerlings.

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(gonadotropin releasing hormone or LHRH-a), carp pituitary extract, and/or hCG. In general, the available literature suggests that priming injections should be given to females, with resolving injections (typically about one-quarter the dosage of the primary injection) following 12 h later, at which time single injections are given to the males. Females should be checked for ovulation hourly beginning roughly 3 hours after the resolving injections. However, other trials indicated that induction of maturation and ovulation in P. bocourti requires a progressive, two-step hormonal treatment with hCG. Researchers applied several doses of hCG at 500 IU per kg daily to females, followed by two successive injections of the same compound at 1,500 IU and, 8-10 hours later, at 2,500 IU / kg. Ovulation occurred, on average, 19 (+ 3 hours) after the 1,500 IU dose. Ovulation and hatching rates averaged 66% and 55%, respectively. Fecundity ranged from 400 to almost 17,000 ova per kg female body weight. Once ovulation is complete and hydration has occurred, the eggs should be stripped into a container and fertilized, dry, with a solution of milt from several males. There

is often sufficient milt production to allow male pangasid broodstock to be stripped with gentle pressure, avoiding the need for sacrificing and physically removing the testes as would be required in many other catfishes. No attempt should be made to remove the gelatinous portion of the egg masses, as is sometimes done with other catfish species. Egg masses should be transferred to natural or artificial â&#x20AC;&#x153;collectorsâ&#x20AC;?, such as bundles of grasses or fibers, small shrubs, clumps of netting, or plastic baskets. The collectors can then be placed in small hapas of muslin cloth for incubation. Incubation time is dependent on temperature, but is typically about 24 h. After the eggs hatch, the larvae should be released into tanks or ponds holding the hapas. The larvae will live off their egg-yolk resources for about 48 h, by which time they are ready to feed on small zooplanktonic organisms. P. bocourti fry are almost immediately able to consume nonliving food particles, and therefore, farmers in Vietnam and Cambodia prefer to raise them in containers rather than release them into nursery ponds, where predation is invariably high. They are provided with a continual daily diet of ground egg-yolk and planktonic organisms, followed by macerated liver and fish or meat. P. bocourti and P. hypophthalmus, are tropical riverine species, and would probably only become established in large river systems, although the pos-

sibility exists for their establishment in other freshwater habitats in tropical climates. In most other parts of the globe, there are no native species within watersheds that would be subject to hybridization and introgression from these pangasids. However, little information is available concerning potential adverse environmental impacts from these species. According to summary information developed through FishBase (www., P. hypophthalmus may have already become established in certain Philippine waters, but significant ecological interactions have

probably not resulted from its occurrence. None have been reported to date. There is tremendous potential for genetic improvement of pangasids through selection and/or hybridization. Production of selected or hybrid pangasids on a commercial scale will probably necessitate the use of artificial spawning, including extended or frozen semen. A trial in 2003 presented the results of an in-depth evaluation four cryoprotectants, three extenders, and two freezing procedures for P. hypophthalmus sperm. They obtained the best results (a fertilization rate of 41%) using a combination of 12% DMSO and 0.9% NaCl, with a freezing rate of 10 C reduction every minute. There are special concerns that the use of hybrid pangasids or highly altered or inbred hatchery stocks throughout Southeast Asia aquaculture could result in unintentional genetic pollution of native stocks through introgression. A trial in 2004 documented significant genetic differences among four hatchery populations of P. hypophthalmus in Thailand. Within the analysis (utilizing

nine presumptive loci), one hatchery stock appeared to have little, if any genetic variation left after being isolated for some period of time. Another research group reported on 27 microsatellite loci that could be useful in identifying hybrids among five species of migratory Asian catfish, including P. bocourti, and yet another one identified a number of morphometric and meristic characters that allowed discrimination between P. hypophthalmus and its hybrid with P. djambal.

Conclusion Pangasids possess a number of positive attributes when it comes to aquaculture. It seems likely that efforts to culture these hardy, fast-growing fishes will spread in the coming years from Southeast Asia to many other parts of the world. Domestication and genetic improvement will probably play a great role in the success or failure of these initiatives. *Greg Lutz has a PhD in Aquaculture and Quantitative Genetics by the Louisiana State University. He is Aquaculture Magazineâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Editor in Chief.

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BAADER and Norway Seafoods - a successful co-operation


AADER - as one of the leaders in developing the highest quality solutions for fish processing, and Norway Seafoods1 - as one of Europeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s largest providers of high quality whitefish solutions, are currently working together to realize a better and more efficient processing line for cod and other whitefish species. The aim of the new processing line is better


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BAADER and Norway Seafoods join forces in the new century of Whitefish Processing. quality, a more efficient work flow and better economics for fish processors.

Better fillet quality The recently developed filleting

machine BAADER 582 is the core product of the new solution. The quality of the fillet, especially in the high value loin area, is significantly improved as the new cutting process is not forcing stress on the fillet and the membrane in this area stays intact. This is particularly important for soft fish. The black belly skin is perfectly removed and the yield is improved compared to traditional filleting machines.

Higher yield at lower costs The BAADER 59 skinning machine follows the BAADER 582 in the processing line. The fillet is smooth after skin removal and even soft products are skinned gently. One of the special features of the BAADER 59 is that skinned, separated fillets leave the machine stretched out, ready for inspection and further processing. No manual straightening is necessary. In combination BAADER 582 and BAADER 59 produce filets with improved quality


for further processing and packing to consumer products which results in higher yield at lower cost.

Monitor and control - yield tracing Both BAADER and Norway Seafoods are aware that food processors are always searching to improve ways to monitor and control production. BAADER is handling this challenge with the company’s weighing equipment and B’Logic® software for easy access to production information for optimizing the raw material usage, the operator efficiency and the performance of the equipment. B’Logic® software interfaces all actors at the processing floor, the production office and the management. Real time management reporting is available to follow up the production with regards to yield, performance and throughput.

Robert Focke, Managing Director at BAADER, comments: “We are really pleased about the opportunities which arise through the combination of the strengths of the BAADER Group and Norway Seafoods. Both companies complement one another respectively to process technology, developing experience and practical knowledge. Both companies hold long traditions and we are both skilled and passionate about our profession and we always strive to improve. By focusing on total solutions we support a Safe Food Policy in everything we do - and “we do what we say”. Above all, we look forward to step into the new era of Whitefish Processing together with Norway Seafoods and to take our products to the next level.” Thomas Farstad, CEO Norway Seafoods, adds: “The co-operation

with BAADER Group has delivered a much needed improvement to the whitefish processing industry. Consumers will experience better products and processors, improved financial results. Additionally, this is an important step to create more knowledge based jobs in the processing industry. The knowledge and experience of BAADER matches the industrial needs of Norway Seafoods, and the companies have jointly identified and solved issues with respect to filleting and skinning of cod fillets. We are pleased with the results, and are committed to further technological development within this sector.” Norway Seafoods is one of Europe’s largest providers of whitefish solutions. At Norway Seafoods employees and partners aim to provide affordable quality products utilizing fish and other seafood in a sustainable way. For further information about Norway Seafoods please visit 1

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BAADER 588 Whitefish Filleting

This new Filleting Machine is ideal for small / medium Whitefish fresh and defrosted, even with soft fish.


AADER1 is proud to introduce the new Filleting Machine – the BAADER 588. This machine is designed in the same manner with respect to hygiene, food safety, maintenance, performance and fillet quality as our success story BAADER 581. Some of its features are:

High Throughput. It provides a stable run of the fish through the machine, which guarantees a higher throughput. High Speed. BAADER 588 is able to run about 40 fish/min. The speed is steeples adjustable. Best Fillet Quality. The fillet quality is extraordinary - even on soft

fish (e.g. Haddock, Hake). The surface is very smooth, no gaping occurs and there are no bloodspots. This is a result of less stress on the fillet because there are no stickle and scraper knives and due to the rotating flank knives. Best hygiene performance. The design of the machine is very open. All relevant parts can be opened or lifted for easy cleaning. Easy operation. BAADER 588 is very easy to operate. This machine is cam controlled - no electronics, no pneumatics needed. A small touch panel is available for intuitive operation. BAADER is a self-reliant, team oriented and group independent company whose corporate policy is to achieve highest efficiency and cost effectiveness with dependable, productive and reliable products and solutions. BAADER offers complete processing solutions to the industry – from gutting, heading, filleting, skinning, trimming, final inspection to sizing and grading. The BAADER group focuses development on solutions for modern fish processing with a commitment to quality in all phases of the process. Our mission is to assist our customers worldwide in providing safe food to all consumers in an efficient and responsible way. For further information about BAADER please visit 1

BAADER 588 Whitefish Filleting Machine.

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Seminar: Safe Food & Listeria Free Processing


s the food business sector develops so does the risk profile. The industry will need new equipment and technology that cope with the increasing focus on efficiency and economy. They will need new ingredients to meet the desire of new tastes, less salt, sugar and preservatives to meet the increasing focus on health and freshness. All of this will affect the entire food supply chain and the food safety risk. What are the risks, what challenges are the industry facing, and how can we overcome them? The entire food supply chain have to work together in order to face the challenges. Consumers will always be the driving force in the food industry. We have seen a shift in trends. Today consumers want affordable food that tastes and looks great, is easy to make and of course is safe, healthy and fresh. The seminar Safe Food & Listeria Free Processing is intended for managers and decision makers within production, technical, purchasing, quality and hygiene in the food industry. The seminar´s aim is to bring together engineers, industrial professionals and managers operating in the global market to exchange and share experiences related to the above questions.

Aquatic Concept Group, Aquatic Consult, Aquatic Hygiene Ltd and Marel are happy to invite readers to the seminar, taking place at Marel headquarters in Iceland, September 25th-26th, 2014.

Program Some of the topics the seminar will include are: - Trends and risks from a retailer’s perspective. - Product contamination of Listeria – Consequences and lessons learned. - Success factors preventing Listeria in our Ready to Eat factories – based on actual experiences. - Making Food Safety part of your business improvement program. - Supplier risk management – Make sure your have the equipment, materials, services and products to deliver. - How do we manage high risk in the food chain?; among others.

Tour de Marel This visit in Marel’s production plant will be an introduction to day two focusing on the importance of hygienic design. Participants will be divided into groups with a guide for each group. The number of participants is limited. Registration deadline is August 22. Marel is the leading global provider of advanced processing equipment and integrated systems to the fish, meat, and poultry industries. Marel has strong roots in the fish industry and is a pioneer in product development, creating innovative solutions that add value for seafood processors. Marel is a multinational company with over 4,000 employees worldwide and offices and subsidiaries in over 30 countries. For more information about this event, contact Stella Björg Kristinsdóttir, Marketing Manager for the Fish Industry:

» 49

ASIAN report


It is not very often that you hear of any country rewarding a foreigner with an award in recognition of efforts to promote trade, but


Vietnam has recently broken the mold.

orm Grant, Chairman of the Seafood Importers Association of Australia, was recently honored because of his efforts in working with Vietnam (government and industry) and engaging his members in promotional activities, both in Australia and in Vietnam. Whilst Australia is a large producer of food in the region (limited to certain foods types) and is a large continent, with a very long coastline, its fisheries resources are very poor. And unlike Asia, Australia does not have a large fish farming industry. In fact, even with Australia’s small population

Norm Grant with Mr. Dzung.

Norm Grant at Medal ceremony.

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of 23 million it still has a requirement for over one million tons of seafood every year. Hence Australia must look to nations like Vietnam for that trade. Vietnam is already Australia’s third biggest supplier mainly with fish such as Pangasius (known in Australia as Basa). Vietnam’s production of Pangasius in the Mekong River delta exceeds the combined total quantity of seafood harvested in Australia and New Zealand together – a fact not that well known. Norm has worked hard to make Vietnamese seafood more familiar, so that Australians have the confidence to buy. He has said: ‘The trade itself is sometimes very complex because there are many regulations about food safety. Lucky for us, Vietnam’s industry is now very modern and produces a very high standard. We also have special problems because Australia is an island, so we have strong quarantine regulations to stop aquatic diseases that affect the fish and shrimp from other regions, entering Austra-

Norm filming in Vietnam.

lia. This makes the trade even more complex. So our task is to work with the governments of both nations to meet these challenges and allow trade to continue smoothly.’ Norm has established strong relationships with the Vietnamese Trade Commission in Australia, and in Vietnam with various Ministries such as Trade and Industry, and Agriculture and Rural Development and has created a special relationship with the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Processors (VASEP). The vision is not just about trading seafood though as Norm says ‘There are all sorts of things we need to develop together - different trade – in investment and knowledge transfer. Another one of our tasks is to encourage Australian companies, and the Australian Government, to invest in helping Vietnam quickly and fully develop its fisheries and aquaculture sectors. We are well placed to do that because Australia has world-class education facilities and training, and there are already many Australian companies investing in Vietnam – such as ANZ Bank and Jetstar.’ Roy Palmer has been involved in the seafood industry since 1972. His experience includes working for the Asia Pacific Chapter of the World Aquaculture Society and the International Association of Seafood Professionals. He’s the current director of the World Aquaculture Society.

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ASIAN report



ony Emms, a business strategy consultant in Singapore, who has recently undertaken a major investment study on the ASEAN aquaculture industry commented “When I first heard about the EMS outbreak at GOAL 2012, I actually raised a question as to whether or not it was a plague because it seemed to be, when compared to terrestrial livestock disease outbreaks. I received a response from a shrimp industry expert that it was a plague, but most commentators advised that such outbreaks were a normal part of operational life in the shrimp industry - it has happened in the past with other significant disease outbreaks, e.g. past wipeouts in Taiwan.’ “This was a bit of shock’, Tony added, ‘Having been involved in work on the impacts of BSE and AI on terrestrial livestock businesses and industry, where outbreaks are stopped from spreading on a very rapid basis. We now have a clear indication of part of the financial impact of this disease, EMS or AHPNS, and it is huge. The losses reported and opportunity losses, when translated into the whole value chain will be truly spectacular. Even more so, when one brings in the whole industry and value chains in Vietnam, China and Malaysia, where trade sources and industry technicians still actively report that the EMS/AHPNS disease scenarios are bad with no end in sight. It now seems to be time for the regulators across the Asian region to stop and rethink their policies, operations and activities in the future, so such economic damage can be eliminated or reduced significantly, as it would be in an AI or FMD breakout 52 »

By Roy Palmer

Hardly a day goes by without a news item which involves the dreaded Acute Hepatopancreatic Necrosis Syndrome (AHPNS), more commonly known as Early Mortality Syndrome (EMS), a disease which is crippling aquaculture of shrimp.

Bangkok, Photo Courtesy of:

in the terrestrial livestock industry. It is apparent that one benchmark for this “stop and rethink” lies in how Chile dealt with its recent ISA disease crisis.” Based on financial reports of many publicly listed companies and the likely scale up from this to a whole industry and value chain picture, the overall impact that this disease now appears to have is immense, affecting both the supply and consumer end of the valuable seafood chain. The disease has not only found a way into some countries on the farm side, but it has crushed both large and small operations and created inflated prices which are now impacting jobs and menu planning. This is a crisis for the seafood industry of massive proportions in respect of money, jobs, trade and confidence and, whilst many are working on gaining more knowledge about the disease and how it may be beaten, there are many gaps in the commu-

nication about the disease, its impacts and on the processes through which it can be beaten. As a result there was a planned EMS Forum that was to take place at Bangkok on June 28-29th 2014 – see http://www. However, due to the current political situation in Thailand, The Forum was postponed. It needs to be noted that diseases like this can last a long time. The UK’s BSE was discovered in 1986 and this year has been the first since then that there have been no recorded BSE cases. In the BSE crisis over 180,000 cattle were confirmed with the disease and 164 people died, so we are fortunate that EMS is not something that passes onto humans. Roy Palmer has been involved in the seafood industry since 1972. His experience includes working for the Asia Pacific Chapter of the World Aquaculture Society and the International Association of Seafood Professionals. He’s the current director of the World Aquaculture Society.


Aquaculture Drug Updates from the AADAP


1. AQUAFLOR® Label Expansion erck Animal Health, known as MSD Animal Health outside of the United States and Canada, recently announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved two additional indications for AQUAFLOR® (florfenicol) Type A Medicated Article. The supplemental approval provides (1) for an increase in the maximum daily dosage for freshwater-reared finfish other than freshwater-reared warmwater finfish to provide a dosage range of 10 – 15 mg florfenicol/kg body weight/day and (2) changes the conditions of use to permit the use of florfenicol in recirculating aquaculture systems. AQUAFLOR® can now be used at a dosage of 10 – 15 mg florfenicol/ kg fish body weight/day administered in feed for 10 days to control mortality in: - Freshwater salmonids due to furunculosis associated with Aeromonas salmonicida and coldwater disease associated with Flavobacterium psychrophilum; - Freshwater-reared finfish due to columnaris disease associated with Flavobacterium columnare; - Catfish due to enteric septicemia associated with Edwardsiella ictaluri. AQUAFLOR® can also be used at a dosage of 15 mg florfenicol/kg fish body weight/day administered in feed for 10 days to control mortality in freshwater-reared warmwater finfish to control mortality due to streptococcal septicemia associated with Streptococcus iniae. More detailed information can be found at the AQUAFLOR® website:, including the latest product bulletin and the new VFD forms.

The Aquatic Animal Drug Approval Partnership Program approved an Expansion for a florfenicol label and announced the approval for another compound. 2. Halamid® Aqua (Chloramine-T) Approval Axcentive SARL (headquartered in France) announced in May 2014 that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration Center for Veterinary Medicine has awarded a New Animal Drug Application (NADA) approval for Halamid® Aqua (100% chloramine-T). This is a huge milestone for collaborative efforts between public and private-sector partners to obtain new FDA-approved drugs for use in aquatic species. Halamid® Aqua is the 2nd waterborne drug approved for disease claims for finfish in almost 30 years, and is the 3rd new aquaculture drug with an original approval covering multiple claims for use in a variety of finfish species. Halamid® Aqua can be used to control mortality in: - Freshwater-reared salmonids due to bacterial gill disease at a dosage of 12-20 mg chloramine-T/l administered for 60 min daily in a static or flow through bath on three consecutive or alternate days; - Walleye and all freshwater-reared warm water finfish due to external columnaris disease at a dosage of 20 mg chloramine-T/l administered for 60 min daily in a static or flow

through bath on three consecutive or alternate days. The approval of Halamid® Aqua is the result of coordinated efforts between Axcentive SARL and public sector partners, including the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, USFWS Aquatic Animal Drug Approval Partnership Program, USGS Upper Midwest Environmental Sciences Center, and the National NADA Coordinator (currently Roz Schnick Consulting, LLC). Halamid® Aqua will be distributed by Western Chemical, Inc. (Ferndale, Washington) and is available in 5 kg buckets or 25 kg drums. More detailed information can be found at the Axcentive website (www., the Western Chemical, Inc. website (www.wchemical. com), and the FDA webpage of approved aquaculture drugs (www.fda. gov/AnimalVeterinary/DevelopmentApprovalProcess/Aquaculture/ ucm132954). Mention of trade names or commercial products does not imply recommendations or endorsements by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) or the Aquatic Animal Drug Approval Partnership (AADAP) Program. Molly P. Bowman U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Aquatic Animal Drug Approval Partnership (AADAP) Program phone: 406-994-9916 fax: 406-582-0242

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Feed Report

Responsibility in fish feed production

The number of certification and standards bodies for the By Suzi Dominy*

aquaculture production chain seems to be ever growing.


nderstanding who they are, what they do and how much value to put on their processes and stamps of approval has become confusing, to say the least. We are pleased to see that three of the largest and most influential organizations, The Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC), Global Aquaculture Alliance (GAA) and GLOBALG.A.P., have been working together for the last year to help bring about environmentally and socially responsible aquaculture. When it comes to aquafeed, the three standards rely on external certifications covering feed ingredients and feed raw material suppliers (e.g.: the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), the Roundtable for Responsible Soy (RTRS) and the Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO)) and/or on compliance with the local legal requirements to verify that they meet the programs’ requirements. GLOBALG.A.P. has its own compound feed manufacturing (CFM) standard that covers all feed manufacturing processes. The scope of this CFM standard does not cover the feed ingredient suppliers and feed raw material production. Certified aquaculture farms and GLOBALG.A.P. compound feed manufacturing certified companies must have statements from their feed supplier(s) that their products meet specific requirements, ensuring sus54 »

tainability, traceability and transparency. These requirements include: traceability to the species and country of origin; no use of material sourced from endangered species based on IUCN´s red list; avoidance of fish sourced from illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing (IUU); and preference for feed manufacturers with publicly available evidence of responsible sourcing, such as sourcing of fishmeal and fish oil derived from third-party certified fisheries and aquaculture operations, including fishmeal and fish oil derived from fish by-products. The GAA’s Best Aquaculture Practices (BAP) feed mill standards address the environmental sustainability of reduction fisheries by requiring that by June 1st, 2015, a minimum of 50% of the fishmeal and fish oil derived from reduction fisheries or fishery by-products must originate from certified sources. ASC has similar criteria requiring seafood ingredients to be sourced from ISEAL compliant certified sources five years after publication of its standards.

Responsible Feed Dialogue In their work towards the mutual goal of achieving efficiencies across the programs to help accelerate progress, the partnership is working together to develop the ASC Feed Standard, including GLOBALG.A.P.’s long experience with its CFM standard. Last year, ASC started a major project to develop a standard for feed mills producing feed for aquaculture, which will be applicable to farms seeking or holding ASC certification and could also be used by other certification programs. Both GAA and GLOBALG.A.P. are actively involved in the development of this feed standard, along with feed manufacturers, retailers, farmers, IFFO and other commodity certifiers including MSC, RTRS, RSPO. The Steering Committee for the Feed Dialogue is currently finalizing the work plans of its technical working groups that will move detailed discussions forward around the key environmental and social issues identified. The ASC Feed Standard will enable aquaculture operations to source certified feed and will allow produc-

ers who can demonstrate their environmentally and socially responsible feed production methods to gain recognition for their efforts. The ASC Feed Standard should be finalized by the end of 2015.

Social Responsibility and the Thai fishing vessel scandal Although rumors and accusations by media and NGOs about conditions on commercial fishing vessels have been circulating for a while, a shocking report by the U.K. Guardian newspaper claiming Thai fishing vessels that enslave, brutalize and even kill workers are linked to the global shrimp supply chain, galvanized the industry. The newspaper pointed a finger directly at shrimp farming giant, Thailand-based Charoen Pokphand Foods, accusing the company of buying fishmeal for its shrimp feeds from some suppliers that own, operate or buy from fishing boats that are said to use slave labor. It also named supermarket chains that stock Thai shrimp, frightening some into switching suppliers. CPF, a subsidiary of Thailand’s largest agricultural conglomerate Charoen Pokphand Group, responded by saying the portion of fishmeal that may be involved in such practices is minimal since 72% of its suppliers are certified. Charoen Pokphand has five certified aquafeed mills in Thailand. It sources the fishmeal to make aquafeed from 55 independent fishmeal processing plants of which 40, are certified. It aims to source all its fishmeal from certified suppliers by 2015. It explained these independent plants process fishmeal from either by-product or by-catch. It also claims

to be the only manufacturer paying a premium for fully certified products. At the end of 2013, CPF paid an additional 48.2 million baht (USD$1.5 million) in premium payments, a local newspaper reported. CP said it is auditing its entire operation and will implement an independent spot check coordinated system to ensuring its supply chain is and continues to be slavery-free. The International Fishmeal and Fish Oil Organisation (IFFO) announced in July that CP has been awarded the IFFO RS Chain of Custody standard and is currently sourcing IFFO RS approved products from the Southeast Asian Packaging & Canning Ltd (SEAPAC) factory which is the first Asian factory to be audited and compliant against the RS standard for its fishmeal and fish oil derived from tuna by-products. IFFO said it hopes this will be the first of a number of factories which in future will be able to supply CP with RS approved feed ingredients. CP and IFFO are also working closely with a number of interested parties in Thailand, India and Vietnam to improve the management of the fisheries so that in future it might prove possible to use some of them as raw materials for further IFFO RS certified products. The work of ASC, GAA and GLOBALG.A.P. is focused on the environmentally and socially responsible production of the farmed product. So social rights are a fundamental aspect of all three of the programs’ farm standards, setting out requirements covering the rights of aquaculture farm workers and local communities. Requirements on the fishing vessels that supply to feed producers are beyond the scope of the pro-

grams’ standards, as the standards do not cover the certification of wild capture fisheries. Working conditions on those fishing vessels are however recognized as a very important issue. To start to address critical social issues like forced labor, the industry as a whole will have to work together along with specialists in the field, they say. This collaboration is essential to deliver the tools and links needed throughout the supply chain to provide the necessary assurances that purchasers need. It will take some time, but it is by working collaboratively that such abhorrent practices are eliminated. ASC and GLOBALG.A.P. will be joining the discussion on social justice aboard fishing vessels for reduction fisheries at GAA’s GOAL 2014 conference in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, from October 7th-10th. A daylong workshop specifically on feed is being held on October 7th. For the workshop, GAA is bringing together many of the world’s leading seafood non-governmental organizations and industry representatives to discuss solutions to this difficult issue.

Suzi Dominy is the founding editor and publisher of She brings 25 years of experience in professional feed industry journalism and publishing. Before starting this company, she was co-publisher of the agri-food division of a major UK-based company, and editor of their major international feed magazine for 13 years.

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Offshore Aquaculture

‘Talking Turkey’ about offshore mariculture… and maybe one day actually doing it!

We received a number of enthusiastic reports about the 2014 Offshore Mariculture Conference, which was held from 9-11 April, in Caserta, Naples, Italy.

By Neil Anthony Sims*


here were over 100 delegates from 18 different countries at the biennial event. These functions are always great opportunities for connecting and conviviality, and catching-up on latest advances in the field. The last OSM was held in Izmir, Tur-

Fish farm visit.

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key, in 2012. The Izmir conference was framed by the rapid expansion of seabass and sea bream production in Turkey. One of the largest Turkish companies was at that time predicting annual growth of 40% for the coming year. And, most notably, all of this expansion was to be in “offshore”

conditions – the Turkish government had mandated that new farm permits were only to be granted if they were sited at least 1 km offshore, in waters over 30 m deep, with some minimum current level. The best measure of the success of the Turkish expansion can perhaps

be seen in the recent retractions in the Greek seabass and sea bream industry, which has been beset by bankruptcy and restructuring. (Though, to be fair, there have also been other economic forces at play across Southern Europe). But Izmir did herald a greater realization by governments – or one government, at least - of the opportunities for industry expansion further offshore. We are not sure if this message has been taken to heart in Italy. The Naples conference included presentations on novel enabling technologies that will allow the industry to move further offshore, including new moorings, net pen designs, and netting materials. The legal and regulatory frameworks for open ocean mariculture – or rather, the lack thereof, in most instances - were discussed at some length, along with the various aspects of multi-use platforms and offshore IMTA. There was also a field trip to the Piscicoltura del Golfo di Gaeta (P2G) co-operative fish farm, which is situated about a mile off the coast. The P2G farm produces around 2,000 tons of seabass, sea bream and meagre per year, in 72 HDPE surface cages, 24 m to 28 m in diameter. P2G has built an impressive traceability program, with individual cohorts tracked throughout the whole production and distribution cycles, with real time information on batch number, quantity, feed, farming days, temperature etc. But these capabilities seem to have not been matched with any increase in capacity. Offshore production of seafood in Italy has been “stagnant, at best” reports one knowledgeable informant, “due to lack of investments and closure of smaller farms”. So we aren’t talking Turkey, here. Plans are already afoot for the next Offshore Mariculture Conference in 2015. I’m not sure how that fits the biennial tradition, but it is scheduled for Mexico in June, so they have won me over already. And Mexico – and Latin America more broadly – is a

country that “gets” the opportunity that open ocean aquaculture presents. At about the same time that OSM was meeting, the first meetings were also convened by conference call across the U.S. to discuss the most astonishing breakthrough in five years in the American offshore aquaculture industry – or rather, the aspiring American industry; there being no commercial culture of any seafood of any kind in U.S. Federal waters (i.e. over 3 miles offshore). After more than four years of deliberation (four years! It’s not as if we have an overabundance of seafood, and we don’t really need any aquaculture!), NOAA has finally moved forward a set of draft rules for implementation of the Gulf of Mexico Regional Fisheries Management Council’s Plan for Aquaculture; the first such plan in the USA. The way that Washington works (if that’s not too laughable a phrase, in this overly-politicized atmosphere) is that these rules now need to be reviewed by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), to ensure that they are effective and appropriate, and do not conflict with other Federal rules or regulations. To the uninitiated, this is a nervous-making process, where the procedures and practices – and the timeline to completion – are all somewhat plastic, and largely occluded from public view. So those who would like to see opportunity for aquaculture have been caucusing to review the rules, and to urge OMB to move forward, if not with alacrity, then at least with some sense of timeliness, and purpose. The U.S. soybean industry – most capably co-ordinated by Steve Hart – has leant their shoulder to the wheel, and has roused the usually diverse and disparate interests around a single banner: The Coalition for U.S. Seafood Production (CUSP: an apt acronym, as we feel as if we have been on the cusp for some time). CUSP and the Ocean Stewards Institute (the open ocean aquaculture trade association)

The P2G operation is located within the Gulf of Gaeta, about 1.5 NM from the coast. It consists of 72 floating cages moored in parallel rows of 6. In particular, there are 10 cages of 28 m in diameter, 34 of 22 m and 28 of 16 m. The latter are used for stocking of fry, which at the size of about 30 g are moved to a larger cage where they complete their production cycle. Cages have a depth of between 5 and 10 m, depending on the size of the cage and fish populations. The P2G routinely uses 6 boats; 2 for feed administration, 2 for the maintenance and replacement of nets and one each for harvesting and underwater inspection of nets and fish. The annual output is about 1980 tons, which guarantees a monthly harvest of about 165 tons of seabass and sea bream. Harvesting is typically done three days a week, providing customers with a product that is fresh and of high quality. The product is distributed to large supermarket chains organized under annual contracts. Feeding the fish is a scrupulous activity, being one of the most important phases of the production process. The feed formula used is purchased at most large animal feed suppliers in Europe. The annual consumption of feed is about 4,500 tons. The technical staff consists of 30 employees including technicians, supply officers, administrative and maintenance workers, and temporary personnel added exclusively during post-harvest packing operations.

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Offshore Aquaculture

Fig. 1: Small scale commercial fishermen, recreational fishermen and charter-boats trolling and deep-water fishing for tuna and other pelagic species around the feed barge (on the left hand side) of the open ocean aquaculture “Velella Project.”

have been reviewing the proposed rules, and – to our great pleasure – find them almost workable. Almost… There are some provisions that appear to be misplaced in rules purportedly designed to foster an industry, or to foster industry growth. Production by any one entity is limited to less than 6,000 tons per year. (It’s not as if we have an overabundance of seafood, and we only need a little bit of aquaculture!). That offers little in the way of scalability that might attract an investor, and let’s be real - no-one will be able to bootstrap an offshore operation; investors will be needed. There are lots of rules on fish genetics and landing times that appear to be founded in fears that unscrupulous fishermen will try to pass off wild-caught fish as aquacultured product, and so circumvent fishing regulations. There is also a mandatory exclusion of any fishing activity within aquaculture permit areas. (What a great way to poke a stick into the hornets’ nest, and ensure that every fisherman in the country is riled up and rabidly opposed to aquaculture!). The reality – as most readers are probably aware – is that offshore aquaculture 58 »

and fishing can have great synergies, with net pens in deep water acting as phenomenal Fish Aggregating Devices (FADs). Fig. 1, for example, shows our Kampachi Farms feed barge located 6 NM (10 km) offshore of the Kona Coast, in Hawaii, on a typical morning, with a plethora of commercial, recreational and charter boat fishing boats trolling and droplining for tuna, mahi and marlin. The draft regulations also categorically exclude all aquaculture from Marine Protected Areas (MPAs), yet if you wish to set up a fish refuge, then the above-referenced FAD effects would seem to be helpful, rather than a hindrance. Excluding aquaculture from MPAs also suggests that no-one from NOAA read the National Ocean Service’s report, which concluded that so long as they are sited in waters sufficiently deep, with some reasonable current (i.e. any and all offshore sites), then net pen culture of marine fish has no significant impact on water quality or substrate, beyond a 30 m radius around the pens, and often, no measureable impact whatsoever. So what, pray tell, is the problem with a net pen in a generic MPA?

There is also a silly prohibition against genetically modified organisms or products, which would appear to preclude most of the U.S. grown agricultural proteins and oils – soy, corn, etc - as substitute ingredients for forage fish products. (Weren’t we supposed to be alleviating pressure on forage fish, by connecting America’s heartland with her blue horizons?). There’s more minutiae to moan about, but let’s give credit where it’s due: it could’ve been a lot worse. This is, as I said, almost workable. And there now lies before us an opportunity to actually establish an offshore industry that could be a template for other regions in the U.S., and for other countries. (Well, those that aren’t already growing production offshore at an annual rate of 40%!). The future awaits us all! Onwards! More details about the Naples conference can be found at:

Neil Anthony Sims is co-Founder and CEO of Kampachi Farms, LLC, based in Kona, Hawaii, and in La Paz, Mexico. He’s also the founding President of the Ocean Stewards Institute, and sits on the Steering Committee for the Seriola-Cobia Aquaculture Dialogue and the Technical Advisory Group for the WWF-sponsored Aquaculture Stewardship Council.

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Latin AmericaN Report

Latin America Update

Peruvian experts have created a software package, called Aquasoft, which allows the user to plan trout production based on the number of production cycles per year.

By Nicolás Hurtado*


his software provides projected feeding schedules, mortality rates, and harvesting dates and yields. As a result, planning and production management should be improved. “Tracking production with this software gave satisfactory results by providing producers with information to determine feeding amounts without rationing, resulting in fish that reached commercial sizes at the desired dates, and to develop cost analyses and harvesting schedules,” stated Alexander Gamonal Ramirez, an Aquasoft representative. Design and development of the Aquasoft software was financed by the

Research and Development Fund for Competitiveness – Innovate Peru, by the Ministry of Production. The financing allowed for the project to be developed and applied in three trout farms in Huancavelica, a region with enormous potential for exports of this product. For these functions, the system software executes tracking and monitoring of the entire growout cycle, allowing a detailed understanding of final costs and profit margins for the whole farm. Actually special spreadsheets (Excel) are used for these tasks as well as the elaboration of various templates for management of this product.

The system, which is at the point of commercialization and hitting the market, permits producers to carry out the planning of a trout facility with standard data. During the monitoring phase the software incorporates other data obtained in the field and registered in a system hosted and uploaded on a web server. The software “registers data online from any fish farm in the country, processes the uploaded information, and obtains new results to allow for corrections or improve the technical performance of the production facility,” added Ramirez.

Nicolás Hurtado Totocayo has a degree in Aquaculture Engineering and a Master in Business Management from Federico Villarreal National University (Peru). He is a founding member of the Peruvian Association of Aquaculture Professionals (ASSPPPAC), and is its current President. He also works as an Aquaculture Consultant.

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» 61

Health Highlights

Keys to Success: what you need to achieve, protect and verify aquatic animal health on the farm

There are four areas that are ‘keys to success’ in achieving and By Kathleen H. Hartman*


n my first aquaculture course the first lecture was dedicated to definitions and requirements for successful fish rearing. The prime requirement was determined to be “a plentiful supply of suitable quality water” which was dependent on the species being cultured, culture method and type of facility. The lecture went on to describe additional ‘keys to success’ which boiled down to knowledge and skills in animal biology, water chemistry, engineering, economics, and business and personnel management. I think everyone would agree that all these factors continue to be true and all contribute to overall animal health and business success. I would like to tweak out four areas that are ‘keys to success’ in achieving and protecting aquatic animal health on the farm in the broad sense. These areas are 1) access to technical experts both on and off the farm with regards to health and husbandry issues, 2) biosecurity, 3) clear plans for detection, communication

Image Credit: Mike Marti and Janet Warg, USDA NVSL.

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protecting aquatic animal health on the aquatic farm. and response to health issues and 4) adequate record keeping.

Technical expertise to achieve aquatic animal health Any aquaculture business invested in the production of live animals should have a cadre of knowledgeable, reliable and trained professionals, veterinary and non-veterinary, working for or readily accessible both on and off the farm. Individuals working with the animals should receive regular training regarding biosecurity, signs of disease and pathogen recognition as well as appropriate husbandry practices and water chemistry parameters. To support these workers on the farm, the facility should also have equipment needed to conduct these activities. Items on the top of my list for an aquaculture farm are: 1) a quality water chemistry kit that is both precise and sensitive enough for parameters suitable to the species and operation, and 2) a quality compound light mi-

croscope with appropriate objectives (recommended powers for objective lens are 4x, 10x and 20x [usually must special order the 20x]). Both of these relatively expensive tools require the person using them to be sufficiently trained on how to use the equipment and then accurately interpret what information is gained from using it. Too often the upfront investment is made in the equipment which then never gets used or is used incorrectly. I have found that employees will not use equipment if they do not understand it, know how to work it or are afraid they will break it. Overcoming these issues simply requires training and regular use of the tools. Off the farm, the aquaculture business should have contacts with professionals, veterinary and non-veterinary, that can assist with husbandry, health (nutrition, disease diagnosis and treatment, vaccination etc.) and regulatory issues. Ideally, these individuals should have firsthand knowledge of the facility and procedures

and practices such that recommendations or changes are not made in isolation. The business should bring all these players together to ensure that the “team” is working together to achieve the business the goal of producing quality healthy animals.

Biosecurity to protect aquatic animal health The benefits of biosecurity are often intangible and unforeseen until it is too late. A colleague of mine has a presentation slide saying “If you cannot afford prevention, how will you afford disease?” showing a picture of a dump truck load of fish being dumped into a burial pit. The image is pretty effective. Farm biosecurity practices should be effective and meaningful for targeted pathogens. It is unreasonable to expect animals and/or a farm to be free of all disease-causing organisms all the time. But it is possible to mitigate the risks of specific pathogen introduction and/or spread with constant well planned effective strategies. Every facility will have different biosecurity risks but the top five areas to assess for most aquaculture facilities are the 1) animals, 2) water, 3) feed, 4) fomites (inanimate objects) and 5) vectors (a carrier, mechanical or biological, of a pathogen). These can conveniently be remembered on one hand! Biosecurity will be covered in more detail in a later column but in brief a biosecurity plan should be in writing and detail all the practices and procedures on the farm from animal movement to pest control to carcass disposal. The plan should be written after a thorough assessment of all the risks specific to the facility. It is no longer sufficient to say, “I have a footbath in the hatchery”; plans should detail why the footbath is there (what is it trying to keep out?), what disinfectant is being used (is it appropriate for the targeted pathogen?), and how often and who is responsible for cleaning and changing the solution? Biosecurity often gets a bad rap because money is

spent on expensive disinfectants and equipment that are inappropriately used and the benefit is completely lost. Biosecurity is an ever-changing goal and plans and practices should be regularly evaluated.

Plans for detection, communication and response to maintain aquatic animal health An aquaculture facility in conjunction with their technical expertise panel should have clear plans, devised as much as possible before a health problem occurs, for pathogen detection, communication of the detection and response to the causative problem(s). This begins with employees on the farm being trained and knowledgeable about the species being reared and recognizing when animals or systems are “ADR” (ain’t doin’ right). Ignoring early signs of a problem is simply diagnosed as “PMD” (poor management disease). Employees should know the early trigger points for when to start an investigation into a potential problem and when to call for help. Facilities may set morbidity or mortality set points that once exceeded, trigger, for example, a hold on the system, sample collection and testing, communication of the issue and then appropriate response whether that is a water change or chemotherapeutic treatment regimen. The professionals on and/or off-site may be used to help accurately diagnose a problem and plan a response. Furthermore, they can provide guidance on how to prevent reoccurrence of the problem. They may also be able to construct strategies for surveillance on the farm to better manage animal health or to meet standards for declarations of freedom from a disease on the farm. Records to verify aquatic animal health Maintaining adequate and appropriate records is not always as easy as it sounds. Questions often arise about what to record, how to record it and

then how long to keep it. Answers to these questions will vary depending on the business. A facility needs to devise a system that works for them which achieves compliance with recordkeeping without becoming onerous. From a veterinary perspective, water quality parameter data, morbidity and mortality numbers, feed consumption, diagnostic test results, treatment regimens are all important. And from a biosecurity approach, documentation of animal sources, animal movement, feed source, pest control, logs of footbath changes and the like are all critical to be able to verify integrity of the practices. More and more it is not sufficient to simply point to the footbath for proof of use, for example, but there must be written indication about why it is there and how it is managed over time. How the data is recorded and kept is largely up to the facility unless they are meeting some requirement for a program or trade. The length of record retention may vary depending on business needs and other requirements but for animal health a good rule of thumb is to retain records for at least 2-5 years after the animal(s) have left the facility (dead or sold). There are many keys to success and achieving, protecting and verifying aquatic animal health takes a team of people working together to ensure its success. Next column – Early Detection of Health Issues.

Kathleen Hartman, PhD, is the Aquaculture coordinator for USDA APHIES Veterinary Services at the Tropical Aquaculture Laboratory of the University of Florida, USA. She currently serves on the Professional Standards Committee of the American Fisheries Society-Fish Health Section and is a current member of the World Aquaculture Society (WAS).

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Rainbow trout

– the domestic animal among salmonids Due to this species’ unique adaptability to different conditions and By Asbjørn Bergheim*


ainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) farming is going on in many parts of the world outside the species’ native region in western North America, such as in South America, many European countries, Japan, Oceania, the Far East and Africa. Altogether, more than 60 countries are represented in the trout production statistics. Though the natural habitat of rainbow trout is freshwater with around 12ºC in summer, it tolerates from zero to 25ºC and the anadromous strain – steelhead trout – makes runs to the sea.

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climates it has been spread worldwide. There are two principal ways to raise trout in aquaculture: the freshwater based production in ponds/raceways with on-growing of 6 months to one year and harvest at 400 g – 1 kg (“small trout”), and on-growing in seawater cages to a harvest size of 3 – 5 kg (“large trout”). Trout transferred to seawater cages have faster growth rates and can reach more than 3 kg weight after 18 months from stocking as 70 g fingerlings. Steelhead trout has no smoltification process such as salmon and arctic char, but they are so-called euryhaline, i.e. they can adapt to seawater

by osmoregulation which controls the salt concentration in the blood. In a reported study, rainbow trout demonstrated higher growth performance in the high-saline Aegean Sea (36 ppt salinity) compared to in freshwater during on-growing from 200 to 600 g in winter. The high growth potential of this species is clearly demonstrated in a recent test performed at the Freshwater Institute in West Virginia, U.S., where an average weight of 5 kg was reached 22 months after hatching in freshwater tanks at 13ºC (Fig. 1) Thus, cohorts of trout may grow faster in freshwater under controlled conditions than steelhead trout with grow-out in seawater. The annual global production of O. mykiss amounts to around 600 thousand tons which is equally distributed between small and large trout. Chile and Norway are the biggest producers of large trout, while the freshwater production volume of smaller fish is dominated by Iran and several European countries such as Italy, France, Spain, Germany and Denmark. Idaho is the predominating producer in the U.S. In Canadian lakes, 7,000 tons are being produced every year in net pens. The fastest growing trout producer over the last 20 years is actually Iran which has increased its annual volume from less than 1,000 tons in 1993 to 91,500 tons in 2010. Not least, the impressive increase in

Onshore tanks for rainbow trout.

productivity from below 10 kg to 40 kg/m2 pond area during this period has contributed to this successful growth. Danish trout in sea cages is an all-female production method based on two products, roe for export and meat from the stripped fish (carcass with reduced quality). Such combined production is more profitable than traditional harvest before maturation. In order to intensify the production and to reduce environmental effects, such as reduced water usage and effluent, the traditional freshwater systems (dambrug) are increasingly being converted to RAS farms with recirculation of water and various water treatment technologies. According to Global Writes (www., the world’s largest trout farm is located in Snake River Canyon in Buhl, Idaho. This farm produces some 11,000 tons of trout every year and at any given time there are around 10 million fish in the nu-

merous raceways! This facility also runs a nearby processing plant. The water source is the enormous underground lake in this canyon supplying spring water at a constant temperature of 58 degrees F (14.5ºC). Some 20 million trout are stocked in Norwegian cages every year. Trout farms are mainly located in fjords with brackish water towards the surface. The number of escaped trout fluctuates a lot from one year to another; only 200 escapees were totally reported in 2013, while as much as 133,000 trout escaped the year before. Damage of cages and nets in stormy weather and other harmful episodes are decisive factors. However, the behavior of the trout makes it possible to recapture a high portion as they normally dwell around the farm for several months. The main negative effects of escaped trout are the risk of spreading diseases and parasites, and these rainbow trout rarely breed in the wild.

Rainbow trout in tank.

This species tolerates high density in aquaculture without reduced growth and lower welfare standards. Probably due to numerous generations of domestication and the species’ unique adaptability, trout density tests with up to 100 kg of juveniles/ m3 tank water – or around 1,000 individuals of 100 g size! – seem to be acceptable assuming optimal water quality. However, the commonly applied production rate in commercial farming is considerably lower. No doubt, farming of rainbow trout is facing a prosperous future with increasing production volume in several parts of the world.

Dr. AsbjØrn Bergheim is a senior researcher in the Dept. of Marine Environment at the International Research Institute of Stavanger. His fields of interest within aquaculture are primarily water quality vs. technology and management in tanks, cages and ponds, among others.

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Aquaculture Economics, Management, and Marketing

A Checklist of Financial Performance

for Aquaculture Businesses

The previous Aquaculture Economics, Management, and Marketing column discussed the three pillars of financial performance for aquaculture businesses: cash flow, financial position, and profitability.

By Carole R. Engle*


hile related, these categories of business performance are measured and interpreted differently. The problem for many aquaculture businessmen is that there are many different ways to measure and analyze financial performance. Textbooks present dozens of financial indicators, and it can be challenging for businessmen to know which is most important. This column presents a set of eight measures of financial performance that aquaculture businessmen should calculate and assess each year (Fig. 1).

An annual review should be done and specific goals set to improve the business’s performance for the upcoming year. The checklist to assess these measures is divided into rows under the headings of “Cash Flow,” “Financial Position,” and “Profitability.” After calculating the value for each from the appropriate financial statement, the owner/manager should check whether the business’s performance was “Good,” “Marginal,” or a “Problem.” The first measure is the ending cash balance, calculated from the cash flow budget. If cash balance at

Figure 1 Indicator


CASH FLOW (From the Cash Flow Budget) Ending cash balance. If higher than beginning, good; marginal if slightly lower than beginning; problem if a great deal lower than beginning. Outstanding operating loan If lower than beginning of year, good; balance, end of year. marginal if slightly higher than at beginning; problem if a great deal higher than beginning of year. Percent revenue can decline & still Good if greater than 25%; marginal at meet cash flow. 15%; problem if less than 15%. Percent operating expenses can Good if greater than 15%; marginal at 10 increase & still meet cash flow – 15%; problem if less than 10%. obligations. FINANCIAL POSITION (From the Balance Sheet) Current ratio. Good if greater than 1.5; marginal if 1-1.5; problem if less than 1.0. Debt-to-asset ratio. Good if less than 40%; marginal if 4065%; problem if 65% or more. Net worth. Good if positive & increasing from year to year; marginal if decreasing, or low, but still positive; problem if negative. FINANCIAL POSITION (From the Balance Sheet) Net farm income. Good if positive and high; marginal if positive, but low; problem if negative.

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the end of the year is higher than at the beginning, then the performance was “Good.” If the value is slightly lower than at the beginning, then the “marginal” box should be checked. If the ending cash balance is a great deal lower than at the beginning, the business has a problem that requires attention. Also under the Cash Flow heading is the balance outstanding on the operating loan. If lower than at the beginning of the year, the “Good” category should be checked. If the end-of-year balance is only slightly higher than at the beginning of the year, then the marginal category should be checked. If the balance on the operating loan is greater at the end of the year than at the beginning, then there is a problem that needs attention. The next two rows of the checklist measure cash flow risk. The first calculates the percent that revenue can decline with the business still able to cash flow. Generally if revenue can decline by more than 25% and still meet cash flow obligations, the business is in a good cash flow position. The cash flow position is moderate if the calculated value is 15%, but is a problem if the value is less than 15%. A second measure of cash flow risk is to calculate the percent that operating expenses can increase and still meet cash flow obligations. If the value calculated indicates that operating expenses can increase by more

than 15%, the overall cash position is good. If the calculated value is 10 to 15%, then the cash flow position is marginal, but if the value is less than 10%, there is a problem that merits attention. The next three rows of the checklist monitor financial position. A current ratio that is greater than 1.5 would be considered good. If the current ratio is between 1 and 1.5, then the business’s performance is judged to be moderate. A current ratio less than 1.0 indicates a liquidity problem the coming year and requires the owner/ manager to develop a comprehensive cash flow plan to avoid serious problems the next year. The debt-to-asset ratio calculated in the next row provides guidance on whether the debt load is excessive or whether the business can assume additional debt without an excessive increase in financial risk. If the debt-to-asset ratio is less than 40%, the business has low financial risk. If the debt-to-asset ratio is 40% to 65%,

then the financial risk is moderate. If the debt-to-asset ratio is greater than 65%, the business is at high financial risk and specific goals need to be set to reduce it the following year. The third indicator to calculate from the balance sheet is net worth. If net worth has increased compared to the previous year, then the performance was “good.” Net worth is marginal if decreasing or low, but still positive. However, if net worth is negative, then the business is insolvent and net worth is a problem. The final pillar of financial performance is that of profitability. The key indicator of profitability is net farm income, calculated from the income statement (also called profit and loss statement). Net farm income is good if positive and high. If positive, but low, then it is classified as marginal. Net farm income is a problem if it is negative. Once all indicators are calculated and classified as in Fig. 1, it is easy to identify the types of goals to be

prioritized the coming year. All rows classified as a problem require attention. Plans and specific goals for the degree of improvement should be established for each problem identified. The best pathway to success for an aquaculture business is to complete a financial analysis each year and set specific goals for the coming year to improve the weakest parts of the business.

Dr. Carole Engle is an Aquaculture Economist with more than 30 years of experience in the analysis of economics and marketing issues related to aquaculture businesses. She is the Editor-in-Chief of Aquaculture Economics and Management.

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Hatchery Technology and Management

White, black or green tanks, what do fish larvae like best?

The intensive production of fish larvae depends on several abiotic By Cecilia C. Vargas*

and biotic factors that must be optimized to ensure successful production.


mong abiotic factors, visual environment is of particular importance for prey detection and foraging, hence affecting larval growth and survival. The visual environment is the result of interactions especially between light intensity, tank color and particle load. In this edition, we will focus on the topic of tank colors used for fish larval rearing. When working at commercial fish hatcheries and/or research stations I

Artic cleanerfish as species: Lumpsucker.

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have always wondered why fish are reared either in green, black or white tanks. While it is possible to get a tank in any color, why not to choose yellow for instance, or any color of our preference? Is there any concrete recommendation regarding color when choosing rearing tanks? Literature about possible effects of tank color in fish performance is scarce and limited to larval stages probably because of the critical phase related to the onset of exogenous feeding and prey

vulnerability. Some of these experiments test the effect of tank color only while others test combined effects of tank color and light intensity, with variable results. Fish are generally considered to be visual feeder-hunters and most species present poorly developed vision at hatching. Their sensitivity to light may be species-specific and varies during ontogeny. As tank color is one of the physical parameters that affect fish larvae in detecting and catching their prey, it is therefore important to optimize their rearing conditions. Studies in some marine fish species have related tank color to neural and hormonal processes, behavior and feeding acceptance. For example, tank color can cause stress in species such as tiger puffer, common carp and tilapia with negative impacts like behavioral alterations, modifications to normal feeding and changes in swimming activity. Walling behavior (crowding against and swimming into tank walls) has been observed in Atlantic cod larvae when they were reared in tanks with white walls. Furthermore these â&#x20AC;&#x153;wallingâ&#x20AC;? larvae developed malformed jaws. On the other hand, fish larvae of several species reared in black tanks have shown enhanced larval growth and survival. The positive ef-

using green tanks compared to black tanks may be the ease in seeing dead larvae and uneaten feed resting on the bottom of the tanks which may facilitate cleaning during the daily tending activities.

Marine harvest labrus as - Øygarden species: Ballan Wrasse.

fects of using black tanks are probably related to the increased contrast between live prey and the tank’s background color. Contrarily, in haddock larvae, survival was better in larval groups reared in white tanks compared to those reared in black tanks. In addition, growth was impaired in larvae reared in black tanks at low light intensity. The low reflection and transmission of the light at low intensity

resulted in poor prey-to-background contrast and probably affected the prey catchability for the larvae in this treatment. Green tanks are commonly used for several marine species like Atlantic cod, wolf fish and lump sucker although light intensities may vary between these species and there is no report on higher survival and growth compared to tanks of different color. Probably, one of the advantages of

Sterling white halibut as - reipholmen species: Atlantic Halibut.

Some practical recommendations When using tanks of any color for fish larval rearing, one should register and monitor the light intensity and reflection and adjust these parameters based on larval behavior. Check larval fish’s gut filling as soon as exogenous feeding starts, observe swimming behavior, and try to avoid fish walling behavior. The addition of micro algae to rearing tanks has been recommended to increase the contrast between the live prey and the surrounding water environment in addition to other benefits. This is helpful in the case of using light colored tanks (white or green). However, avoid increasing the amount of microalgae to diminish the strong reflectance caused by the interaction of white colored tanks and high light intensity. This will only increase the bacterial load in the tanks. Instead, covering the light units with bakery paper of a light brown color may help to reduce the light intensity and even the light reflection.

Cecilia Campos Vargas is currently taking the 3rd and last PhD year at the University of Nordland in BodØ, Norway. She has many years of experience in production of aquatic species like rainbow trout, Atlantic salmon, Japanese species, cod and live feed production.

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Be careful

what you wish for With the rise of the social media phenomenon and the growth of blogs, websites and chat rooms, anybody with an idea, a cause and time By Mike Picchietti*


’m even making use of this right now in this article. This can be a good thing, to have a vehicle allowing these freedoms. However, along with these expressions of free speech, authors soon realize that it’s the negative that sells and the sensationalist headline-grabbing words that really attract attention. With regard to tilapia, we have noticed more and more attacks from health, nutrition, cooking, seafood and environmental blogs with sto-

Cages on Lake Taal.

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can gain an audience to express a point of view.

ries titled “Eating Tilapia Worse than Eating Bacon and Donuts,” “Farmed Tilapia Good for the Environment, Bad for You,” “Tilapia Eat Poop,” “Tilapia Raised on Feces Hits U.S. Tables” and “Tilapia—The Genetically Modified Fish.” It goes on and on, simply Google the word tilapia and a high percentage of the hits are sensationally titled and negative. But does this really matter? If we look at the tilapia industry overall (worldwide), it is growing at

phenomenal rates. Two thirds of our world’s seafood consumption is expected to come from aquaculture within the next 30 years. Global tilapia production is expected to almost double from 4.3 million tons to 7.3 million tons a year between 2010 and 2030, according to a FAO Report. But, American and European tilapia farming represent less than 0.5% of the current global production, even though U.S. consumption is estimated at 8% of global tilapia production on a whole weight basis. For all the noise created about tilapia in the so-called West, it doesn’t seem to correctly correspond to those creating or even eating the product. To consider perspective, much of this “yellow journalism” is coming from U.S. and EU internet sites, at times spilling over into mainstream media. Perhaps our culture, when it comes to food, is less diverse or versatile compared to most of the world, especially regarding seafood. Consider, slimy eel is a 300,000 MT/year industry hardly known in America. Seaweeds, sea urchins, fish head soup and even tilapia were little know foods until the 1990s. In America, the land of diversity, our seafood cuisine culture is still very narrow. Decisions are

impacted by sophisticated interests of production, distribution and remanufacturing of the raw products. Nowadays, the media is also in the food business. In blogs and on TV, professional chefs, nutritionists and health care specialists are telling us what to eat, what not to eat, what is good and what is bad. One season chicken eggs are considered bad and the next year eggs are great for you. In the old days, you could just ask Mom; she and Grandma knew everything you needed to know about the foods we ate. Ironically, cancer rates, heart attacks and obesity rates were all lower in those days. For all the food experts and information, why are we so unhealthy? Nowadays, television and internet based media have replaced the mother and grandmother in many aspects of the American kitchen. Whereas in most other places of the world, the mother and grandmother run the kitchen, get the food and prepare it. If there’s a choice to be made, they make it. When you want “the story” on this carrot, chicken or fish, the moms will tell you. The focus now in wealthier countries is becoming more about why socially, politically or environmentally responsible people should buy one product versus another. The foods coming into wealthier kitchens are a result of massive competition and aggressive fighting for your purchasing decisions, including promises that your purchase can contribute to a better world, too. The very act of eating or buying food can be a political statement. If that pushes your buy button, vendors will promote it. I think we’re all guilty to some degree of sensationalism when it comes to the products we produce versus our competition. I certainly was using guerilla marketing tactics when I was selling tilapia into the North American market. In the U.S. and EU, production of tilapia results in higher costs, compared to China—even Latin American costs are higher. These farmers have to get a

higher price for their fish, therefore these sensationalist, negative stories that keep appearing about tilapia are to some degree created and perpetuated by other tilapia farmers. In effect, guerilla marketing techniques are used to attack your competition; this keeps the stories alive year after year. I am guilty, and I’m sure I’m not alone! Creating points of distinction can be difficult in intensive, commodity animal farming. There’s only so much you can do differently on a large scale while maintaining animal wellbeing and still earning a profit. In the last few years the homegrown organic movement has been supplying local weekend markets and giving individual families a lot of satisfaction. Aquaponics is growing every year in the U.S. but is still not even a single-digit share of the market. Many local aquaponic producers are quick to attack how badly 99.9% of tilapia (in the market) is produced compared to their products. However, what gets lost in the comparison are the many techniques that are forced to change when you scale to levels allowing entrance into these mainstream markets. It’s not the same to compare producers of a few hundred or even a few thousand fish against farms supplying millions to a demanding market. It doesn’t seem fair or logical that small production farms should dictate the image of tilapia yet be totally incapable of supplying the demand. Once producers cross over to commercial volumes, it becomes a different story. Scale is so often attacked because it’s the scale that lowers costs and prices dominating markets, making it harder for new or smaller producers to compete. Smaller producers, resource poorer producers and producers in climates that aren’t suitable for tilapia have higher costs so they have to charge more to compete. They therefore must pitch that they have a superior product. Attacking bigger companies’ successful product and market domination through their techniques is a common reac-

Pig and tilapia.

tion in all competitive industries. But in achieving large scale production, one must suddenly adopt techniques that were formerly criticized. Such is life, we’re all guilty.

Let’s look at a few of the stories that keep circulating in the media: Tilapia eat poop Many producers, distributors and vendors of tilapia have been questioned by consumers asking if tilapia eat poop. From what I’ve seen over the years, the usual response by vendors and buyers of the lower cost tilapia is to avoid the answer. Many believe America’s Tilapia Alliance (ATA) should provide an explanation, rebuttal or defense of this and other controversial aquaculture techniques. My one-liner is, “No, tilapia are not bottom, poop-eating feeders, they are mid-level filter feeders of algae, while it’s shrimp and other shellfish like lobsters that eat poop and dead things off the bottom, where they live!” Just kidding, I don’t need to compete against lobsters, but the biological fact is solid. Is there an elegant way to explain nature’s waste recycling to the consumer? I doubt it, certainly not in a five-second sound bite. So how do we educate the consumer in a short course and not frighten them from our products? If the market wants

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cheaper tilapia, using manure to grow them will do the trick. Teaching basic facts around how food webs work on land can do much to explain how wild and farmed fish grow, but for some reason, using cow manure in the vegetable garden is normal and acceptable, while adding it into the water for fish is not. In many forms of land farming, recycling various agriculture-byproducts is a common practice. Waste products, i.e. manure, are added to soils, ponds or lakes to increase the fertility of the soils and waters to establish an organic environment. This results in creating toxic free animal and plant food webs in soil and water for animals and fish to graze upon. Again, it’s the same in water and for fish; the manure provides the nutrients to grow the natural foods. Fish, like cows, goats and sheep, graze from pastures created by nutrients from various waste recycling systems from the wilds of nature. Like a land farmer spreading animal manure on his fields for the cows to eat, fish use the same kinds of systems. In Asian cultures, this concept of recycling is evident in religious philosophies deep within the way people see the world (the Yin-yang connection for example). So it is

easier for these cultures (and markets) to accept the fact that Nature is always dying and re-nourishing the new to grow. The concept of waste recycling (fertilizing, manure, farm scraps) to provide nourishment to grow our food is understood and accepted without the Asian consumers needing additional education to understand and accept this concept when it comes to the foods they eat. Many of us in the so-called West have been fish farming only with

commercial feeds, fortunate not to have to go through the trouble of sourcing, collecting, transporting, storing and applying various manures or agriculture byproducts to grow fish on our farms. If your market can afford it, a complete floating feed provides a lot of control and prediction for economic and management coordination. But again, a lot of populations cannot afford tilapia at twice the cost of growing fish with these commercial pellets versus using manure and agriculture byproducts. Commercial feed allows for “scalability” in a more industrial model, which requires a high degree of financing to control the fish volumes necessary for profitability. It makes management easier and the Western consumer feels better knowing their fish dinner eats a nutritionally balanced, extruded pellet, just like the family dog, but it’s more about culture and economics, than health. Tilapia is worse than bacon and donuts because of omega-6 levels This story came as a shock to everyone; it attacked everyone and still gets a lot of play on blogs and various sites. When this Wake For-

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est study first came out 10 years ago, I think all of the largest fresh tilapia producers tested their fish for omegas. What was interesting was that nobody had omega-6 figures anywhere near as high as the Wake Forest study found. Thereafter, the argument regarding the relationship of omega-6 and omega-3 in a tilapia meal became irrelevant. I’ve never seen any follow-up study supporting or confirming the original study. I think most people feel the study does more harm than good, and to a rational person, the absurdity of eating bacon or donuts over tilapia can only be viewed as a joke. GMOs and Frankenfish Frankenfish seems to be our European comrades’ favorite subject, but I think GMOs are actually a key tool to addressing global hunger. This is the technology that holds the most potential for impact in securing our future food supply. Can you imagine when (not if) a gene can be included into tilapia that allows for phosphorus (in the feed) to be assimilated into the metabolism of the fish, rather than fish farmers paying for and wasting the majority of the phosphorus in the feed and discard-

ing 85% of this and other nutrients to pollute the environment? Imagine if instead of only 20% of the nutrients in feed being converted into fish flesh, GMO changes this to 85% assimilation. When one in eight people on the planet currently goes hungry, how can this be ignored? This is just one of the future benefits of the coming GMO reality. It is not a question of if but when these developments will happen. I doubt a growing and hungry planet is going to allow Europeans to be the gate keepers of these developments, after all their plates are full. A plethora of recent articles help explain the way GMO foods can help the growing struggle to provide enough food for hungry families. “GMO crops were planted on about 169 million acres (68 million ha) in the U.S. in 2013, about half the total land used for crops”. According to Monsanto, GMO crops have actually been utilized by millions of farmers in nearly 30 countries over the past 17 years, without any proven illness or harm to humans or animals. The American Medical Association has even been quoted as declaring that “there is no scientific justification for special labeling of

bioengineered foods.” In an October 2012 article in The Wall Street Journal, Alex Berezow noted that other organizations, including the National Academy of Sciences, World Health Organization, USDA and FDA have recognized the benefits of GMOs. Berezow went on to explain some of the nutritional benefits provided by new GMO organisms, such as a cow in New Zealand which was genetically modified to produce low-allergy milk, a strain of rice that produces more available vitamin A than spinach (with the potential to prevent blindness and subsequent death for hundreds of thousands of children each year), and banana plants with a gene from sweet peppers that provides resistance to a wilting disease that ruins crops in many developing nations in Africa. The struggle is perhaps best summed up by Richard Roberts: “I ask this: How many children must suffer before this anti-GMO propaganda is called out for being what it is — a crime against humanity?” Amen to that!

Mike Picchietti discovered tilapia farming while serving as a Peace Corps in Ghana and went on to become co-founder and President of Regal Springs Trading. With 33 years of experience, he is the owner of Aquasafra, Inc., America’s oldest and largest tilapia hatchery.

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Shoud we just have

Aquamongers? In our last column we raised the issue taking the long term view highlighting that we must work together to benefit from increased seafood consumption. But here is an interesting question for you.


hould we continue along the path of being ‘seafood’ (fisheries and aquaculture together) or should we split and simply concentrate all our efforts on just being aquaculture and let the fisheries go their own way?

Retail Market.

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It is clear that aquaculture would be the winner if they were treated separately but wild harvested product would not necessarily be the loser. There are pros and cons on both sides – we could be a massive force if we really worked hand in hand but

we are not achieving that as it stands right now. The issue cropped up on what we call the Seafood HACCP Alliance Seafood Listserve recently (a great resource for those that take an interest in food safety issues) when there

was a question regarding Ciguatera and their toxins. Ciguatera is a complicated issue and something that you would hope not to experience during your life. The consequences can be dire but generally people live through the issue and have to be wary for the rest of their lives. Is it worth the risk? If you only eat aquacultured products you would not have the issue. We decided to be brave and made a comment on the Listserve – “This makes you wonder why we do not isolate aquaculture species from wild harvest species: • Aquaculture species do not have the same issues as Wild harvested (e.g. - mercury, toxins, IUU, by-catch, etc.) • Wild harvested species do not have the same issues as Aquaculture (e.g. - antibiotics, feed, disease, etc.)

Whereas with seafood – they are all getting put in the one basket.” An immediate response was received – ‘You just hit the jackpot with your observation. In my opinion, in order to develop a HACCP Program with “sense” you must be knowledgeable of the hazards and their risks’…quite a simple concept. Not everyone, actually few people, has the knowledge and experience required to develop a HACCP Program identifying the hazards and their risks. Last night we were reviewing the Seafood HACCP Alliance’s Seafood HACCP Training presentation and there is a slide with the following statement: “It is recommended that experts who are knowledgeable in the food process should either participate in or verify the completeness of the hazard analysis and the HACCP plan.” How many people/organisations are doing that? Are you? The comments started to flow and even attracted food safety legend

Peter Howgate, many years retired but he still has his excellent regular input and say on the Listserve, who said ‘The point that HACCP plans should perhaps differentiate between farmed and wild-caught specimens of the same species, (we paraphrase), and the topic of mercury in farmed fish in particular has been mentioned. Now that more than half the fishery products consumed for human food, on a worldwide basis, are currently derived from aquaculture, it seems to me that HACCP plans for fishery products should, for some products anyway, bear in mind the raw material could have originated from aquaculture and the hazard and risk profiles should be modified accordingly.’ ‘Hazards originating during postharvest handling and processing would be the same for both aquacultured and wild-caught material, but the intrinsic hazards, that is, those existing in the fish at the time of harvesting and capture, might not be. Some intrinsic hazards are peculiar to aquaculture being related to the production process, the prime example being veterinarian drugs and other therapeutic agents. Their use is usually governed by regulations which typically will prescribe the use and the withdrawal period between use of a therapeutic agent and the release of the fish for sale.’ Food safety guru, Prof. Steve Otwell, simply highlighted that “Methyl-Hg is not an issue with aquaculture seafood due to feeding regimes and duration of growth.” A simple message but one that we have not sold to consumers and one which our ‘enemies’ still give enormous credence to. Many of the regulations relating to aquaculture were crafted from fisheries and not from farming so besides the health issues there are many other matters which get confused. Fishing is possibly the last hunter-gatherer activity in the world – they have failed badly in exploiting this.

We have always been believers in ‘seafood’ where we deal with both harvesting techniques under the one banner but maybe there are advantages in just concentrating on one. There are many advantages in aquaculture but maybe it is being held back because of the connection to fishing. Farming/farmers have strong lobby groups but seafood is generally weak politically and clearly we have, as an industry, been seen this way by ENGO’s and large retailers. They have been able to target our industry and are calling the shots. Possibly we could re-group and re-focus our efforts if we concentrated on aquaculture. Could we divide ourselves and conquer the world? What do you think??


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Aquaculture Magazine August / September Volume 40 Number 4  

Yellowtail kingfish – a quest for new aquaculture species in Chile

Aquaculture Magazine August / September Volume 40 Number 4  

Yellowtail kingfish – a quest for new aquaculture species in Chile