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INDEX Aquaculture Magazine Volume 41 Number 2 April - May 2015


on the

22 cover

Does aquaculture add resilience to the global food system?


report Lessons from stakeholder dialogues on marine aquaculture in offshore wind farms: Perceived potentials, constraints and research gaps.


Research report Aquaculture insurance in Latin America:the production of aquatic organisms and the current scenario of aquaculture insurance in the región.


Report CAHPS Rolled Out at AA2015. Volume 41 Number 2 April - May 2015

Editor and Publisher Salvador Meza


Report Gyrodactylus, common parasites of tilapia – and other fishes!

Editor in Chief Greg Lutz Managing Editor Teresa Jasso Editorial Design Francisco Cibrián


news release New board member announced.

Designer Perla E. Neri Orozco Sales and Marketing Christian Criollos International Sales and Marketing Steve Reynolds


NOTE Aquaculture Without Frontiers Acknowledges Women in Aquaculture.

Business Operation Manager Adriana Zayas

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“Whole foods Market”: Aquaculture Quality Food Standards.

ASIAN report


Six Asia-Pacific Countries, FAO Meet to Develop Blue Growth Initiative.

columns europe report ..............................................................................40 Aquaculture Economics, Management, and Marketing ...............................................44 latin american report ..............................................................................46 Aquaculture Engineering ..............................................................................48 AQUAFEED ..............................................................................51 shrimp ..............................................................................54 Health Highlights ..............................................................................58 tilapia ..............................................................................64 the fishmonger ..............................................................................72

Upcoming events advertisers Index

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By C. Greg Lutz

What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun. (Ecclesiastes 1:9, New International Version).


e have all heard this message many times in one form or another. And many times this seems to be the prevailing reality in the business, science and practice of aquaculture. But in reality, there is much to celebrate in terms of innovation. New tools, new approaches, new perspectives, new accomplishments and, always, new faces. New tools can take many forms. Insurance instruments for use in commercial aquaculture are evolving, and their use is increasing daily. Although some types of production lend themselves to coverage more than others, as insurance companies gain experience in the aquaculture arena, their willingness to look at other forms of aquaculture should continue to grow. New tools are also being developed in terms of standards and practices. One example is the Commercial Aquaculture Health Program Standards (CAHPS) concept, which ultimately should help producers improve the health of their stocks and their balance sheets. New technical tools and scientific approaches are also improving the odds for success, especially when producers are faced with diagnosing and controlling diseases. 4 Âť

New approaches are apparent everywhere as the industry continues to grow and consumers and suppliers become more familiar with aquaculture. One interesting example involves evaluation of the incorporation of offshore aquaculture with wind farms in European waters. The incorporation of a multidisciplinary and stakeholder inclusive approach should eventually lead to an improved process in terms of policy development – ultimately benefiting producers, consumers and society as a whole. The wind farm – aquaculture synergy will ultimately spark technical innovations that have probably not yet occurred to anyone, but new technical approaches such as breeding breakthroughs and in-house microalgae cultivation are continuously improving opportunities for the industry to meet growing demand for aquacultured products. CAHPS is

also an example of something else that’s relatively new and very encouraging – a collaboration between USDA’s APHIS and the National Aquaculture Association. If you are an aquaculture producer, sometimes a “new approach” can be as simple as finding a new way to look at numbers you already have available to you. A great example involves determining whether a particular vaccination practice should pay for itself. For most of us, recognizing the longer-term, big picture realities of where and how markets will expand is another new approach to looking at this business. New perspectives are also constantly emerging with regard to aquaculture. Sometimes they emerge from within our own businesses, commodity organizations, or even supply chains. At other times, they are the result of interacting with profession-

als who have little or no experience with aquaculture. A great example is the summary of a recently published study on the role of our industry in terms of global food resiliency. The alternate views of how aquaculture can contribute, or complicate, food security should not be missed. And speaking of new perspectives, Aquaculture Without Frontiers recently took on a new board member who should bring new skills and expertise to that organization’s efforts. So… many things we address in this issue are new under the sun. Some things, however, never seem to change. There are many old “tools of the trade” that should not be ignored. Some are as simple as paying attention to marketing skills throughout the value chain. Others may be a bit more complex, such as management of nitrogen within production systems. And, old annoyances never seem to go away. What some regulators and policy makers view as “new approaches” or “beneficial standards and practices” are oftentimes destined to end up as counterproductive for producers, consumers and society as a whole. One producer’s experiences with this bureaucratic phenomenon are presented, and they are (unfortunately) something many of us industry veterans will be able to relate to. As long as our industry is viewed by policy makers as something unfamiliar (at best), and poorly understood or simply disliked by the very regulators overseeing it, in many ways “what has been done will be done again.” Please share your questions, comments and suggestions with us at – we 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.




Lessons from stakeholder dialogues on marine aquaculture in offshore wind farms:

Perceived potentials, constraints and research gaps By Lara Wevera, Gesche Krauseb,c, Bela H. Buck*

Drawing on a case study in Germany, this contribution explores the practical application of offshore aquaculture within offshore wind farms in view of the different stakeholders involved.


sing a trans-disciplinary research approach, an understanding of the rationalities and interests among the different involved stakeholder groups was explored. Offshore wind energy is high on the political agenda in Germany. Central focus was placed on academics and private as well as public stakeholders engaged in current research efforts of combining offshore wind farms and aquaculture in the German North Sea. The paper iden6 Âť

tifies the overall acceptance of such a multi-use scenario in society, opportunities and constraints as perceived by the stakeholders, and key research gaps. The results confirm the assumption that there is a clear need, and also willingness on behalf of the policy makers and the research community, to find sustainable, resourceand space-efficient solutions for combined ocean use. A number of projects are underway to test the feasibility of offshore farming in the Exclusive Economic

Zone (EEZ) of the German Bight, such as the ongoing project Offshore-Site-Selection (OSS). Here, wind farm planners as well as representatives of fisheries, economics and science are together suggesting future sites with best conditions for the cultivation of various aquaculture species. In its wake, the multi-disciplinary project “Open Ocean Multi-Use” (OOMU) funded by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety was initiated. This project was a follow-up project of a series of multi-use projects combining aquaculture with offshore wind farms. Central focus of the OOMUproject was to gain more insight in to the biological, socio-economic and technical aspects as well as to develop practical solutions for potential problems encountered by integrating aquaculture installations into offshore wind energy facilities. One of the key questions of the socio-economics sub-project was to identify the acceptance of such a multi-use scenario in society at large by addressing the various stakeholder groups simultaneously. By this it was hoped to detect hidden agendas, conflicts and allies, all of which directly and indirectly affect the reasoning of these groups in regard to multi- use of offshore areas. Thus, the approach used here is a transdisciplinary one, meaning that next to the interdisciplinary discourse among different strands of scientific disciplines, a range of different stakeholders from the private–public nexus are involved in the research effort. While previous projects studied potentials for mussel and algae farming in offshore wind farms, the OOMU project focused additionally on fish aquaculture in an Integrated Multi-Trophic Aquaculture concept. Many of the stakeholders have been part of the ongoing research process since its very beginnings and still remain to date. »



This paper primarily reflects on the outcomes of a stakeholder workshop that was conducted on September 7th, 2011 in Bremerhaven, Germany. The stakeholder workshop was part of a broader stakeholder analysis that was conducted within the OOMU-project to identify key stakeholders and their potential roles, attitudes, and concerns regarding an aquaculture/wind farm integration at the offshore location “Veja Mate”. The selection was done by a prior extensive stakeholder survey, in which the central stakeholders of each affected sector were identified. 8 »

The workshop was limited to 42 participants to allow a fruitful discussion and avoid an impersonal mass event. The participants were representatives from fisheries and the fish processing industry, wind farm operators, governmental agencies, research institutes and professional associations. Opportunities for discussion were used widely throughout the different sessions of the workshop. The first workshop session presented outcomes of the key research areas of the OOMU project: (1) biology including candidate species, their biology and culture conditions, (2)

aquaculture economics, (3) technology and system design, as well as (4) ICZM including socioeconomics and the legal frame work. In the subsequent session, the participants, depending on their central interests and knowledge, were asked to split up into four thematic working groups (1–4). Each of these working groups was hosted by a rapporteur who was also an active research member in this topic within the OOMU project. Following a brief summary on the central aspects of the OOMU project findings, the central issues, statements and views that emerged in the group discussions are detailed. As some of the issues were raised in several of the parallel working groups, the results are clustered into thematic issues and presented in a synthesized manner. The key issues are discussed in view of current literature, and gaps of knowledge and potential avenues of future research are formulated. The main results of the sub-project (1) “biology” was the identification of potential candidates to be cultivated at the offshore site Veja Mate with regard to an IMTA concept. The technical requirements to culture these species were defined and communicated to the other subproject coordinators. The sub-group (2) “economics” used these results to calculate the commercial potential at the site Veja Mate while also including the data of the technical sub-group. Main results were the identification of a submergible cage design to grow turbot connected to the tripile foundation of the BARD wind turbine. The sub-group (3) “techniques” calculated various cage system designs within the tripile foundation and in the vicinity of a turbine calculating potential drag forces, and by using the data of groups (1) and (2) suggested a spherical cage design. The sub-group (4) “ICZM, acceptance and co- management” conducted a desk-top study on the regulatory en-

vironment for offshore mariculture and combined uses in Germany, as well as a stakeholder analysis, the results of which form the back bone of this paper. Table 1 summarizes the key perceived opportunities and constraints as compiled by the four thematic working groups. In the course of analyzing the results from the individual workshop sessions, it became apparent that many of the topics were discussed in several of the working groups. The results were therefore synthesized to identify the central, the most critical, and controversial issues. The idea of combining fish farming and mussel production in a polyculture/IMTA approach provoked a very controversial discussion among some scientists and public agency representatives. As one public environmental agency representative provocatively put it: “If the nutrient input is as minimal as you want to make us believe–what would the mussels feed on?” It became apparent that there were quite different understandings of “favorable hydro-logical conditions”: while to some the North Sea conditions were relatively favourable (e. g. shorter water retention times than in fjords), others considered the North Sea as relatively susceptible to eutrophication.

The potential economic viability was heavily debated during the workshop, and the results of the economic studies of the OOMU project underpin the many uncertainties in this respect. As economic and biological studies focused on the selected species mentioned above, group discussions focused on potentials for those species.

The discussion above points to some key under lying questions: What is the target market of the technologies? Who would run an offshore mariculture installation, in what way (e. g. taxation, promotion of corporate social responsibility (CSR), etc.) and who would gain the economic returns?




These questions were also addressed in the socio-economics and legal frame works group. Some of the stakeholders raised their concerns that a large, possibly foreign investor would operate the farm without generating any or only marginal benefits for the coastal region and local work force. Additionally, the socio-economics and legal frame works group identified a number of legal uncertainties relating to marine aquaculture in offshore waters and combined uses. While the regulatory and policy frame work for offshore wind farms in Germany is generally perceived as comprehensive, well-structured and predictable, the legal frame work for marine aquaculture, let alone for combined uses, is weak and fragmented. At EU level, recent developments in marine and coastal policy indeed follow the paradigm of integrating and accommodating for multiple sus10 Âť

tainable uses of ocean space. While the EEZ until recently was a fairly unregulated space, a number of binding as well as non-binding regulations and policies have been implemented to regulate the uses of the EEZ. The workshop discussions and interviews with governmental agencies revealed divergent and to some extent conflicting views on how to apply and interpret current laws and regulations. Such major reforms pose immense challenges to the implementing agencies as they fundamentally alter legislative and administrative procedures, and roles and responsibilities of actors involved. At the same time, recent developments at EU as well as national policy level provide a window of opportunity for policy makers, researchers and entrepreneurs alike to show case examples of sustainable, combined uses of the ocean space. Within this comingling of interests, interpretations, and pol-

icy approaches, it is crucial to understand and acknowledge the different views and concerns within different layers of public administration. One of the key concerns of many of the representatives from federal and state environmental agencies – and also of environmental NGOs and parts of the research community – related to harmful impacts of fish farming on the marine environment. If not managed properly, aquaculture is an economic activity with potentially adverse impacts on the environment, and stakeholders in Germany as in other countries are alert to potentially polluting activities in coastal and marine areas. As the legal situation at the moment gives the wind sector the privilege of a single user right, the sector is, given the high investment costs involved, reluctant to considering additional uses of the same ocean space.

Aquaculture is not a dominant industry in Germany, and lack of human capital might be a key obstacle for operation. Interviews with representatives from fisheries associations revealed a low acceptance of marine aquaculture in general; this was also documented by studies. The romantic view that fishermen bereft of fishing grounds might turn to marine farming seems to be a misperception of reality. Since the combination of marine aquaculture and offshore wind energy is a novel and as yet untested idea in the North Sea context, assumptions of who would benefit from, and who

would lose under such a scenario are hypothetical. A clear message from the workshop – as well as from the stakeholder interviews – is that there are stakeholders on both the “winning” and the “losing” side. Interestingly, the majority of participants (and interviewees) supported in principle the multiple use approach as a pragmatic solution to ever increasing demands for ocean space. While the intensification of ocean use in itself is a cause of concern to many of the stakeholders, the need for finding sustainable ways of integrating new developments such as

marine aquaculture and wind farming was fairly undisputed. But it also became apparent that certain groups of stakeholders are felt left out (or “overrun”) in this run for ocean space. There also needs to be a clear distinction between short term benefits versus long-term losses. Only if the interests of the involved parties are truly understood, and the short as well as long term impacts are clearly linked to the multiple stakeholders engaged in the process, can the cumulated, variable effects to society and the environment be fully appreciated.

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In Conclusion Balancing the needs and interests of multiple stakeholders lies at the heart of policy-making; this holds especially true in areas where spatial claims clash with increasingly scarce resources and space, such as in coastal zones and increasingly also marine space. This makes the issue of how to tackle a multi-use approach for the offshore area so difficult, even more so, if one addresses sustainability and equity issues in its wake. A multitude of potential benefits as well as risks and uncertainties were articulated and discussed in the process. Some of the stakeholder concerns related to very specific open questions, such as economic viability, nutrient impacts, technological and operational risks, that may easily be resolved as research and technology development progresses; hence results and predictions become more reliable. Further research in particular in the proposed focus areas can play a

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key role to allow for more reliable predictions of technical, biological and economic feasibility, which are indispensable for offshore wind farm operators and mariculturists to support and actively engage in any further developments in this field. Other criticisms on the other hand were of a more principal nature. To some stakeholders the mere exploration of new uses imposes a threat; to them that favour a no-use of wind farm areas or fear to lose their own user rights it is not sufficient to prove (technological, economic, biological) feasibility of such a co-use. Appreciating their interests and finding solutions to their concerns is challenging yet critical for the success of a concerted offshore multi-use activity. This demands an insight in to the existing underlying ideas, interests and normative considerations of the various stakeholder groups to understand the complexity of perceived problems and to overcome misunderstandings.

The authors would like to thank all stakeholders involved in the longstanding, fruitful discourse on marine aquaculture–offshore wind energy co-use. This work was carried out as part of the project “Multiple Nutzung und Co-Management von OffshoreStrukturen: Marine Aquakultur und Offshore-Wind parks (Open Ocean Multi-Use (OOMU))” and financed by the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety, Project no: 0325206.

*Selected Excerpts from Marine Policy 51 (2015) 251–259. Lara Wever a,n, Gesche Krause b,c, Bela H. Buck b,d. a Institute for Marine Resources GmbH, Bussestrasse 27-29, 27570 Bremerhaven, Germany b Alfred Wegener Institute Helmholtz Center for Polar and Marine Research, Am Handelshafen 12, 27570 Bremerhaven, Germany c SeaKult, Sandfahrel 12, 27572 Bremerhaven, Germany d University of Applied Sciences Bremerhaven, Ander Karlstadt 8, 27568 Bremerhaven, Germany

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research report

Aquaculture insurance in Latin America:

the production of aquatic organisms and the current scenario of aquaculture insurance in the regiĂłn By: Isabel Camargo Ponce de LeĂłn*

Aquaculture insurance represents an important risk management tool, providing stability for the operations of aquaculture farmers, and it will advance in line with the development of the aquaculture industry. 14 Âť


lobally, fish represent around 17% of the average per capita animal protein intake, making global aquaculture an important industry in terms of both food provision and employment generation. Indiscriminate exploitation of natural fish stocks is a huge concern and is causing a widening gap between the supply and demand of aquatic organisms. Consequently, stimulating sustainable aquaculture production is important and necessary. However, in Latin America, as in other regions, we continue to face many challenges to the development of this activity, such as difficulty securing credit for investment and costing, inconsistent public policies, an inefficient logistics sector and inadequate infrastructure, among others. Aquaculture insurance represents an important risk management tool, providing stability for the operations of aquaculture farmers, and it will advance in line with the de-

velopment of the aquaculture industry. We’re still faced with a shortage of technically qualified professionals in the production chain, a lack of industry certification and guidance on local best practices and insufficient knowledge about the aquaculture insurance product, among other challenges. With this publication, Swiss Re hopes to contribute to providing a better understanding of aquaculture insurance and the main challenges to its development in Latin America.

The global significance of aquaculture Global aquaculture has become an important industry in the provision of high nutritional value food products, as well as a generator of employment and investment in certain countries. According to statistics produced by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), production is based on the capture or cultivation of different fish species (52%), crustaceans (5%), mollusks (18.6%) and aquatic plants (24.4%), using a variety of systems, ranging from simple, low-cost methods to highly complex processes. It involves three types of cultivation environments: marine, continental and freshwater/brackish water. Capture fishing and aquaculture farming accounted for the global supply of 148 million tons of fish in 2010, of which 128 million tons were used as a food source. With the sustainable growth of fish production and with improved distribution channels, the global food supply has undergone a drastic increase in recent decades with an average growth rate of 3.2% per year for the period 1961 to 2009. Nevertheless, indiscriminate exploitation of natural fish stocks has brought about a widening gap between supply and demand for aquatic organisms. Faced with the prospect of declining capture of these organisms, aquaculture is becoming a consolidated activity that’s able to

satisfy global fish demand, as shown in Figure 1. Historically, global aquaculture production demonstrated significant growth up until the 1990s. The main producing countries (in million of tons) are China (45.27), Indonesia (4.71), India (3.79), Vietnam (2.58), Philippines (2.74) and Thailand (1.39). The Asian continent is, without a doubt, the biggest global producer, with around 91% of total global aquaculture harvesting concentrated there. It’s followed by the American continent with 3.5%, Europe with 3.4%, Africa with 1.51% and Oceania with 0.2%.

Latin America leads aquaculture production in the American continent In recent years, Latin America has undergone strong and continuous growth in aquaculture production, driven, in particular, by Brazil and Peru. Figure 2 sets out the ten main producing countries in the Americas. According to statistics produced by Fishstat Plus, the FAO’s universal software program for statistical

data, aquaculture production in the Latin America and Caribbean region reached around 1.98 million tons, with an estimated value of USD 8.291 billion, indicating annual growth of 8.52% for the period 2000 to 2009. The main producers were Chile, Brazil, Ecuador and Mexico which accounted for 85% of production. It should be stressed that, although Latin America and the Caribbean are cultivating a large number of hydro-biological species, in order to diversify their aquaculture supply, up to now, only the salmon and trout, shrimp and tilapia species groups have reached stable and significant production levels. In recent years, there has also been an increase in the production of mollusks, mainly in Chile and Peru. Freshwater shrimp farming in Latin America began in the 1970s, and was implemented in several countries in South and Central America, including Mexico and the Caribbean. The technology used in this initial phase was, however, inadequate. Subsequently, in and around the 1990s, the segment underwent significant development. Currently, freshwater shrimp are cultivated » 15

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in Ecuador, Venezuela, Suriname, French Guyana, Panama, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Dominican Republic, Cuba, Guadeloupe, Jamaica, Martinique, Puerto Rico and Mexico. This market is still in a phase of development and expansion and positive aspects observed include the presence of cutting-edge technology in the production of certain crops, the availability of inputs and the existence of specific market niches. Among the negative aspects, the most significant are the limited access to larvae, insufficient technical assistance and the lack of a distribution system. Even so, due to the abundant availability of land and freshwater places, Latin America is in a privileged position for the development of this particular crop. The main producing countries of tilapia are China, followed by Egypt and Indonesia. In the Latin America and Caribbean region, the main producing country is Brazil, followed by Colombia, Ecuador, Costa Rica and Peru.

Vulnerability of the aquaculture industry Global aquaculture production is vulnerable to a wide range of socioeconomic, environmental and technological impacts. Regions such as Latin America have been taken aback by high crop mortality rates caused by outbreaks of disease in recent years, resulting in the partial loss, and in some cases, total loss, of production. From 1995 to 2005, the presence of the white-spot virus had a strong impact on crops on the Pacific coast of South America, Central America and Mexico, also causing lost production in Ecuador, Panama and Peru. Aquaculture insurance and its penetration in Latin America Aquaculture insurance offers cover for marine crops located in coastal waters or on the high seas, and for 16 Âť

the freshwater cultivation of fish, crustacean and mollusk crops. This type of insurance accounts for 2.9% of the total volume of rural insurance premiums in Latin America, and Mexico and Chile are the most representative countries. The global penetration of aquaculture insurance is equivalent to 350 000 tons of insured biomass, ie, 28% of total biomass (figure 3). Aquaculture insurance in Chile began in the mid-1990s, alongside growth in the salmon industry. At that time, the market that was led by medium-sized and large companies

with sizeable investments. Basically, insurance policies offer coverage against the risk of loss of facilities (cages, nets), damage to equipment and to fish stock. The main risks include storms, tidal waves, strong currents, red tides (algae), disease, predator attacks and theft. Half of the salmon production centers in the country don’t have insurance. In Mexico, insurance existed providing cover against the loss of biomass due to climatic and biological risks, as well as risks related to environmental contamination and chemical pollution, with 10 000 of the 70

000 hectares of production territory insured. Despite being an important producer of aquatic organisms in the region, Brazil doesn’t yet have aquaculture insurance. This is due to a variety of factors, such as lack of technical knowledge and experience in the segment, in addition to a lack of incentive on the part of public bodies.

Challenges for the insurance sector The insurance sector’s lack of experience and its reduced technical capability to underwrite the complex risks related to aquaculture are reflected in the low percentage rates of insured produce and the absence of an insurance culture in this field. One of the stages in the underwriting procedure involves the presence of a qualified professional to analyze information, and of loss adjusters who are normally designated by the reinsurers. These professionals have the knowledge and experience to provide technical training for under-

writers, perform surveys and evaluate major losses. If the local insurer doesn’t have such a professional, it’s likely that a specialist from another country will have to be consulted, requiring some investment. Other important considerations for the development of aquaculture and aquaculture insurance include strengthening biosecurity and food safety measures at all levels of production, establishing best practices on aquaculture farms, evaluating environmental aspects with traceability schemes, effluent treatment and safety certification, while focusing on the ecosystem related to the activity.

Structure of aquaculture insurance

Insured species The main species insured include fish (Atlantic salmon, coho salmon, rainbow trout, tuna, carp, tilapia and turbot, among others), mollusks, crustaceans and aquatic algae. Production systems The production systems typically in-

sured by the aquaculture insurance market can be divided into: - “on shore”: lines and tanks of brackish water, reservoirs, incubators, growth units and a recirculation system for salt and brackish waters; and - “off shore”: tanks, nets, lighters, systems for oyster and mussel cultivation close to the coastline. Most companies offer coverage for sea cage cultivation systems and crops produced in tanks, raceway channel systems and recirculation systems. In installations at sea, it’s important to take into account components such as nets, cages, stakes, deadweight, anchors and adjacent structures. The most common coverage is for damage caused by storms or the impact of ships and other elements. A producer with an installation at sea will also possess buildings on land for the storage of materials, an office as well as machinery for cleaning the nets and working craft adapted to this purpose. In land installations, the elements in question are » 17

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the equipment, machinery and other auxiliary items. The range of insurance options for this activity is very broad and includes transportation, vehicles, engineering, civil liability, employee life insurance, etc. Consequently, to meet the needs of this market with professionalism, it’s necessary to learn and fully understand the complexities involved. Covered risks Policies sold provide cover against named perils. Normally, all risk policies are not available, except for the subsidiaries of multinational companies where insurance policies are taken out at group level. Aquaculture production can encompass freshwater/brackish water species or seawater species, which may be grown on land, in tanks of differing shapes and materials, in

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artificial or natural areas or at sea, making use of cages or nets. Each insurance product must be adapted to the type of environment and system where the cultivation takes place, given that the risks are different.

Initially, the biomass present in the facilities and other related goods are evaluated. In breeding, the eggs, larvae and newly spawned fish are evaluated, depending on the fixed and variable costs of the farm. In fattening farms, besides the fixed and variable costs, the purchase cost of newly spawned fish is also evaluated. To obtain the insured value, which can vary significantly at different times of the year, the producer must report the number of fish and kilos of biomass expected for each month of the year, which is referred to as the breeding plan or the production plan. With a 12-month breeding plan, it’s possible to identify the month with the highest value, which will correspond to the insured sum (that is, the company’s máximum limit of liability), thereby enabling the calculation of an average value by taking the sum of the monthly values and dividing it by 12. The rate used to obtain the provisional premium is calculated on the basis of that average value, and the premium will be adjusted on conclusion of the insurance period based on monthly statements which will indicate the actual average risk premium. If the environment being evaluated is the sea, coverage must be related to the risks that might affect the biomass including weather, contamination, poisoning, impact of

ships or other objects, theft, malicious acts, anoxia due to high water temperature, benthic emergence or disease. If the culture environment is a river, as in the case of trout farming for example, other factors would be taken into consideration, such as the risks of contamination, flooding, poisoning, drought, theft, malicious acts, electrical or mechanical failure and disease, among others.

Outlook for the development of aquaculture insurance in Latin America The experience of other countries in this segment should be used as a reference for new markets and to establish an international awarenessraising program, develop capabilities in the field and promote aquaculture insurance. The specialists in this segment are responsible for gathering information on the facilities of production

units, certifying that high standards of operation are maintained on or in insured properties. These surveys are generally carried out by individuals who have been trained to perform aquaculture inspections or who have attended inspections performed by other professionals already working in the market. There are several experienced loss adjusters who can be used by the insurers to assess losses in different countries, when necessary. It’s important to improve the way information is gathered and analyzed in the aquaculture insurance market, as part of the risk management strategy to sustain global growth of the aquaculture industry. There are several countries with great potential in the aquaculture market from a geographical, logistical and commercial perspective, which may become a source of employment in depopulated coastal areas,

provided investments are made in technology and subject to improved mapping of coastlines with potential for use (Figure 4). However, it’s important to stress that the under-performance of growth relative to its potential is due to a range of factors, among them, the absence of far-reaching policies to foster aquaculture and the lack of a strategic development plan for this sector. The growing competitiveness of other countries also impacts negatively on aquaculture in Latin America, in addition to pressures exerted by activist groups and increasing regulatory requirements related to the environment, which are necessary for the sustainable development of this activity. Fish is a protein-rich food in growing demand; aquaculture is a significant alternative to extractivism in the face of the depletion of natural stocks. The sharing of information is extremely beneficial to the aquaculture industry, enabling the entry of new players in the market and shaping the development of the sector. Swiss Re operates in several countries where aquaculture insurance is already a reality. The exchange of information and experiences adapted to each country, the network of specialists and the availability of our team to train new professionals are just some of the ways Swiss Re can help to drive growth in this segment and encourage new players to enter the market.

* Title: Aquaculture insurance in Latin America: the production of aquatic organisms is the current scenario for aquaculture insurance in the region. Author: Isabel Camargo Ponce de León, Agriculture Underwriter, Swiss Re. Edited by: Sara Pizza, Communications Consultant, Swiss Re

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CAHPS Rolled Out at AA2015 Representatives from the National Aquaculture Association (NAA) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) Veterinary Services (VS) Aquaculture Program Team have been developing draft program standards to establish a voluntary, non-regulatory framework for the improvement and verification of the health of farmed aquatic animals produced in U.S. commercial aquaculture industry sectors.


he VS, in collaboration with the NAA, rolled out its joint concept for commercial aquaculture health program standards (CAHPS) at the recent Aquaculture America 2015 Conference in New Orleans, LA. The goal of CAHPS is to support various business objectives, including improved health management, protection and expansion of aquaculture business opportunities, and promotion and facilitation of trade, as well as improved resource protection and environmental sustainability. The five principles of CAHPS are Aquatic Animal Health Team; Risk Characterization and Management; Surveillance; Investigation and Reporting; and Response. Aquatic Animal Health Team – This principle requires that a commercial aquaculture facility engage aquatic animal health and aquaculture professionals to develop a sitespecific health plan (SSHP) and assist with activities that may impact animal health and the status of specific pathogens in the site population(s). 20 »

This team of experts may be composed of American Fisheries Society certified professionals, USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) accredited veterinarians, diagnostic laboratory representatives, and other knowledgeable subject matter experts. Risk Characterization and Management – The CAHPS participant will work with its aquatic animal health team to develop strategies and training for early disease detection and to establish site-specific thresholds that trigger a disease investigation. A written biosecurity plan will identify the risk pathways and mitigation practices for all participating facilities. The plan is a component of the SSHP. Surveillance - The sampling and surveillance strategies for specific pathogens will depend on the specific farm site and the susceptibility of the species being cultured. If a site cultures species that are susceptible to OIE-listed pathogens, then surveillance plans and analyses must address these pathogens. The plans are also components of the SSHP.

The five principles of CAHPS are Aquatic Animal Health Team; Risk Characterization and Management; Surveillance; Investigation and Reporting; and Response.

Investigation and Reporting When morbidity or mortality exceeds established thresholds for a CAHPS site, a disease investigation is initiated to determine the cause of the problem. Disease investigations will vary depending on the scope, pathogenicity, and specific pathogen suspected. If either an OIE-listed or emerging disease associated with an identified pathogen is diagnosed, then the CAHPS participant must ensure that it is reported to the appropriate authorities (State and/or APHIS). Regional level information sharing among partners also needs to be established for zone participants.

Response - Participating CAHPS sites must establish an aquatic animal health infrastructure (i.e., technical expertise, risk management) capable of identifying and responding to significant pathogen findings. Responses will depend on the pathogen identified and the impact of that pathogen.

A ten page document on CAHPS is posted on the APHIS VS Aquaculture webpage at http://www.aphis. There is also a list of FAQ’s related to the proposed program. Comments on the concept and framework may be emailed to -

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research report

Does aquaculture add resilience to the global food system? By Max Troell, Rosamond L. Naylor, Marc Metian, Malcolm Beveridge, Peter H. Tyedmers, Carl Folke, Kenneth J. Arrow, Scott Barrett, Anne-Sophie Crépin, Paul R. Ehrlich, Åsa Gren, Nils Kautsky, Simon A. Levin, Karine Nyborg, Henrik Österblom, Stephen Polasky, Marten Scheffer, Brian H. Walker, Tasos Xepapadeas, and Aart de Zeeuw* Selected Excerpts from Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 111(37):13257-13263. The entire article can be accessed at and we highly recommend it for anyone involved in aquaculture.

Aquaculture is the fastest growing food sector and continues to expand alongside terrestrial crop and livestock production.


sing portfolio theory as a conceptual framework, we explore how current interconnections between the aquaculture, crop, livestock, and fisheries sectors act as an impediment to, or an opportunity for, enhanced resilience in the global food system given increased resource scarcity and climate change. Aquaculture can potentially enhance resilience through improved resource use efficiencies and increased diversification of farmed species, locales of production, and feeding strategies. However, aquaculture’s reliance on terrestrial crops and wild fish for feeds, its dependence on freshwater and land for culture sites, and its broad array 22 »

of environmental impacts diminishes its ability to add resilience. Feeds for livestock and farmed fish that are fed rely largely on the same crops, although the fraction destined for aquaculture is presently small (~4%). As demand for high-value fed aquaculture products grows, competition for these crops will also rise, as will the demand for wild fish as feed inputs. Many of these crops and forage fish are also consumed directly by humans and provide essential nutrition for low-income households. Their rising use in aquafeeds has the potential to increase price levels and volatility, worsening food insecurity among the most vulnerable populations. Although the diversification of

global food production systems that includes aquaculture offers promise for enhanced resilience, such promise will not be realized if government policies fail to provide adequate incentives for resource efficiency, equity, and environmental protection.

Aquaculture’s Role in the Global Food System Freshwater fish comprise the majority of aquaculture production today. These fish are raised in ponds, lakes, canals, cages, and tanks and benefit from a wide range of inputs, technology, and management. Although increasing competition for land and freshwater is driving expansion of aquaculture into marine environments, this trend is not ubiquitous. In many regions, increased production costs and constraints on suitable inshore coastal sites (e.g., those sheltered from wind and wave exposure, aligned with existing environmental

regulations, and free of competition with housing and tourism) are resulting in continuous expansion of terrestrial aquaculture, primarily in existing agricultural areas. These pressures are also leading to the intensification of production methods, with greater use of comercial feeds. In other areas, shortages of agricultural land and saturation of sheltered inshore sites is forcing aquaculture further offshore. In Africa, where the need for aquaculture development is greatest due to falling per capita fish supplies, the lack of an enabling policy environment and weak value chain linkages have constrained sector growth despite suitable land and freshwater for expansion.

variation and trend in food production and prices, because prices reflect fluctuations in supply and demand. The degree of food price volatility is indicative of the global food system’s resilience to a wide range of stressors, such as pest and pathogen

outbreaks, extreme weather events (droughts, floods, temperature extremes), climate variability [e.g., El Nino-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) events], and other market shocks related to changes in the energy and financial sectors or in macroeconomic

A Portfolio Perspective In applying portfolio theory to developments in the global food system, one might think of the targeted return as the aggregate output of crops, livestock, and fish (wild capture and aquaculture) needed to meet human demands. Risks associated with food production systems involve not only temporary declines in productivity but also extensive or irreversible changes in the natural resource base that can undermine long-term productivity. The risk is captured by the Âť 23

research report

conditions. Over the longer run, price changes reflect the food system’s resilience to slower-moving variables, such as freshwater and soil depletion, changes in mean climate conditions arising from elevated greenhouse gas concentrations, and population growth. A pattern of higher and more variable prices over time would suggest deteriorating resilience in world food supplies, whereas a pattern of stable prices would indicate a more robust and resilient system. Volatility in aggregate food prices depends on variations in crop, livestock, and fish prices and on the correlations among these prices based on interactions in output and input (feed and fertilizer) markets. On the output side, crop, livestock, and fish systems are vulnerable to distinctive pest and pathogen stressors, and the sectors tend to be geographically dispersed. Although yields from individual sectors may be positively correlated in the face of climate change/ variation and volatility in energy prices, they are not perfectly so, and yield variation resulting from pest and pathogen outbreaks are not typically correlated between sectors. Product markets are also linked via consumer choice: a price increase in one commodity (e.g., meat) causes consumption of substitutes (e.g., fish) to rise. The correlates between food sectors are more complex when considering

Freshwater fish comprise the majority of aquaculture production today. These fish are raised in ponds, lakes, canals, cages, and tanks and benefit from a wide range of inputs, technology, and management.

24 »

feed inputs for livestock and aquaculture. Given that a large share of livestock and aquaculture systems rely on grain and oil crops for feeds, a jump in these crop prices will lead to a corresponding rise in the cost of cultured fish or meat products, albeit to differing degrees. What do the data in Fig. 2 suggest about the global food portfolio and the role of aquaculture in this portfolio? First, they show that aquaculture prices, on average, have been less variable than other food commodities and thus appear to add some degree of stability to the global food system. Second, the fact that prices of crops, livestock, and fish products move closely together indicates that the markets are highly integrated. The diversity and substitution among food products, as well as the reliance of the meat and fish

sectors on crop-based feeds and also fishmeal and fish oil, will fundamentally determine the risks and returns to the world’s food portfolio over the course of the century.

Diversity in Food Products At the global scale, increasing the diversity of food production activities by adding a robust aquaculture sector can improve the resilience of the world’s food system as long as it does not deplete resources or pollute the environment in ways that reduce yields in aquaculture or the productivity of other food sectors. A more diverse food system essentially increases the substitution possibilities in production and consumption, adding flexibility to the system that can help buffer Price volatility and improve resource use efficiency. Diversity can be measured at vary-

ing levels of disaggregation. For example, a more diverse mixture of products within any given food sector (grains, vegetable oils, meat, fish) will generally result in a more stable price index because fluctuations in the price of any single product (e.g., rice, soy, poultry, or salmon) will not be perfectly correlated with the prices of all other commodities in that sector. Moving one step down, diversity within a given species, comprising many thousands of varieties for some species such as rice or maize, can provide important functional diversity for ecological resilience, but may have little impact on price stability in the short run if individual varieties are not distinguished in the market. Over the long run, ongoing losses of species diversity are likely to challenge the future capacity of the global food system to adapt to changing climate, resource, and cultivation conditions and thus to meet human needs.

Dependence on Feeds The share of aquatic species raised on supplemental feed inputs continues to rise over time and accounted for almost 70% of total aquaculture production in 2012. Aquaculture’s dependence on feeds, derived from a wide variety of food-quality and human-inedible coproducts from crop, livestock, and fisheries sectors, has important implications for the resilience of the world’s food system and aquaculture’s contribution to it (fig. 3). Utilization of diverse feed resources—especially when they differ from those used in terrestrial animal farming or those consumed directly by humans for food—can increase the net returns to the global food system and provide stability by allowing substitution in feed ingredients when supplies and prices dictate. Individual aquaculture species differ in their demand for feed and feed ingredients. For example, mollusk species such as mussels and oysters, which account for ~23% of global farmed seafood » 25

research report

production, are not fed; instead, they use natural ecosystems for food (e.g., detritus, plankton) that otherwise are not directly exploitable by humans. These filter-feeding species also help to reduce eutrophication and other threats to coastal ecosystems caused by nutrient enhancement. By contrast, in 2010, up to two-thirds of the world’s farmed finfish and crustaceans were dependent on comercial pelleted diets. Because virtually all of farmed fish and shellfish species are cold blooded and physically supported by water, they are more efficient feed converters and have higher edible yields than most terrestrial animals. Overall, the aquaculture sector currently provides more opportunities for efficient transformation of agriculture and fisheries resources (including byproducts and coproducts) for human protein consumption than does much of the terrestrial livestock sector. Moreover, many of the most pressing challenges associated with typical high-input terrestrial animal production systems are less severe in their aquatic analogs, as measured per unit protein produced (e.g., contributions to greenhouse gas and eutrophying emissions). In some instances, comparable threats do not arise at all (e.g., emergence of novel human disease threats such as bird flu), or if such pressures do arise, they are distributed differently across the globe (e.g., habitat degradation and loss). As a result, substituting terrestrial animal production with selected aquaculture species and systems that use feed and other resources efficiently would increase resilience to the global food portfolio, as long as the latter minimizes environmental impacts and negative spillovers to other food systems. Substitution between meat and farmed fish would depend, however, on consumer tastes and preferences, and at present, the very rapid growth of meat demand (far in excess of population growth) constitutes a challenge. 26 

Overall, the aquaculture sector currently provides more opportunities for efficient transformation of agriculture and fisheries resources for human protein consumption than does much of the terrestrial livestock sector. Conclusions The present diversity of aquaculture systems— characterized by a wide range of cultured species, feed ingredients, and feed practices— contributes important elements of stability to the world’s food portfolio. Caution is warranted, however, in concluding that a more diverse food portfolio will enable the global food system to meet the rising demand for protein in the face of climate change, resource scarcity, and other economic and biophysical stresses. As the aquaculture sector develops and becomes more technologically sophisticated and potentially more reliant on fish/crop-based feeds, issues of social inequity are likely to develop in terms of income generation and access to fish/crops for food (vs. feed). In addition, the ability of aquaculture to add resilience to world food supplies will depend on how the sector develops in terms of species composition, feed inputs, and system design and operation and whether such development can offset the negative externalities associated with existing terrestrial crop and livestock systems (e.g., nutrient loss and greenhouse gas emissions) and capture fisheries (e.g., overfishing). If not designed and managed to minimize environmental damages and social injustices, aquaculture is likely to make the global food system less— not more—resilient. Nations encouraging aquaculture growth

should thus focus on building flexible and heterogeneous production systems that derive feeds from both food-grade and non–food-grade agricultural products as efficiently and equitably as possible. Such a strategy requires the development of a diversity of aquaculture species; the promotion of coproducts from the crop, livestock, and fisheries sectors for feeds; the design of infrastructure that uses renewable energy; and the implementation of management practices that minimize wastes and environmental impacts. At the national scale, appropriate policy incentives, proper institutions, and sound industry support will be needed for a flexible and resilient global food portfolio. If the aquaculture industry seeks to dominate the global market for animal protein, it should take a leading role in promoting this strategy of resilience.

*Max Troella,b, Rosamond L. Naylorc, Marc Metianb, Malcolm Beveridged, Peter H. Tyedmerse, Carl Folkea,b, Kenneth J. Arrowf, Scott Barrettg, Anne-Sophie Crépina, Paul R. Ehrlichh, Åsa Grena, Nils Kautskyi, Simon A. Levinj, Karine Nyborgk, Henrik Österblomb, Stephen Polaskyl, Marten Schefferm, Brian H. Walkern, Tasos Xepapadeaso, and Aart de Zeeuwp a) Beijer Institute of Ecological Economics, Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, SE-104 05 Stockholm, Sweden; b) Stockholm Resilience Centre, Stockholm University, SE106 91 Stockholm, Sweden; c) Center on Food Security and the Environment, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305; d) The Worldfish Center, Penang, Malaysia; e) School for Resource and Environmental Studies, Dalhousie University, Halifax, NS, Canada B3H 3J5; f) Economics Department, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305; g) Earth Institute and School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University, New York, NY 10027; h) Department of Biology, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305; i) Department of Ecology, Environment and Plant Sciences, Stockholm University, SE-106 91 Stockholm, Sweden; j) Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ 08544; k) Department of Economics, University of Oslo, Blindern, NO-0317 Oslo, Norway; l) Department of Applied Economics, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN 55108; m) Department of Environmental Sciences, Wageningen University, 6700 DD, Wageningen, The Netherlands; n) The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation Sustainable Ecosystems, Canberra, ACT 2601, Australia; o) Department of International and European Economic Studies, Athens University of Economics and Business, GR10434 Athens, Greece; and p) Center for Economic Research and Tilburg Sustainability Center, Tilburg University, 5000 LE, Tilburg, The Netherlands.

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Gyrodactylus, common parasites of tilapia – and other fishes!

Tilapia (Oreochromis spp.) were introduced worldwide starting in the 1940s. Currently, annual global production of cultured tilapia exceeds 3.5 million MT, making aquaculture production of these fishes second only to Miguel Rubio-Godoy* & Adriana GarcíaVásquez

that of the carps (i.e., common carp, grass carp, silver carp, bighead carp, and crucian carp) (FAO, 2012).


n Mexico, tilapia were first imported in 1945. From 2007 onwards, yearly aquaculture production of tilapia has exceeded 70,000 MT, with the state of Veracruz being historically the most productive entity, although in recent years both Michoacán and Chiapas have come close – and even surpassed Veracruz’ tilapia output (CONAPESCA, 2012).

Tilapia aquaculture The spectacular growth of worldwide tilapia aquaculture has been supported by several factors. Tilapia are freshwater fish that are extremely adaptable to different environmental conditions; some can even grow in seawater, following acclimation to salinity. The physiological versatility of tilapia enables their culture in various conditions, ranging from artisanal aquaculture in small, backyard earthen ponds to intensive production in highly technical farms. During the second half of the XXth century, continuous selection of tilapia varieties, as well as genetic improvement by means of hybridization and selection of advantageous traits gave rise to 28 »

Figure 1. Caudal fin of cultured Oreochromis niloticus L. fry, infected by Gyrodactylus cichlidarum, Paperna 1968.

very productive varieties. In parallel, research and innovation resulted in technologies that improved both the fish farms and the feeds used to adequately nourish the fish through their

developmental stages. Last, but certainly not least, consumers gradually developed an appreciation for tilapia and made this fish part of their diet: for instance, it is now the 2nd most

important finfish product in Mexico, and the 6th in the USA. This fortunate combination of developments enabled the marked growth of tilapia aquaculture in recent decades. However, FAO has warned that world aquaculture is vulnerable to diseases and environmental conditions – and in recent years, several examples of disease outbreaks and natural disasters have proved FAO right. Although we all can (and should!) contribute to reduce humankind’s ecological footprint and its effect on world climate and indirectly on extreme weather, one way to support the continued growth of aquaculture is the study of the organisms causing disease (pathogens) to farmed fishes. One such group of organisms includes flatworms of the genus Gyrodactylus, common parasites of tilapia and other fishes which we study in our lab.

Gyrodactylus Gyrodactylus are small external parasites (ectoparasites) of fish, belong into the flatworm (Platyhelminthes) class Monogenea. They have been studied extensively since the XIXth century for various reasons: for their remarkable “Russian-doll” reproductive biology, in which up to three viviparous generations can be found in a single organism – and conveniently studied in vivo, as the worms are quite transparent and can be neatly studied under a microscope; for the ease with which both small fish hosts (such as guppies) and parasites can be maintained in the lab, and infections carefully followed for epidemiological studies; and in recent years, for the devastating impact that the introduction of Gyrodactylus salaris had on the Norwegian salmon industry. Today, G. salaris remains the only worm in the “black list” of notifiable fish pathogens compiled by the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE). Currently, close to 500 species of Gyrodactylus are known, with most of these recorded to infect single, wild fish host species ( Transmission of Gyrodactylus between

hosts mainly takes place when individual fish touch each other, as parasites readily jump onto the new host. Being viviparous, freshly born worms can remain on the same host as their mothers, or, if it gets too crowded, “jump fish.” In the wild, it is rare to find heavily infected hosts, probably because most of them die quickly as a result of infection – and if infection does not kill them directly, heavy parasite burdens result in damaged fins and inability to swim properly and the corresponding enhanced risk of being eaten by predators, or –literally– being swept downriver during heavy rains, as shown for wild guppies in the Antilles. However, under aquaculture conditions, gyrodactylid populations can sometimes increase dramatically and overwhelm their fish hosts: viviparity means these worms can grow almost exponentially within hours if the conditions are right (for them; very bad for the fish!), and confined animals stocked at high densities have no place to hide from parasites that depend on contact to infect new hosts. Heavily parasitized fish suffer from infection in various, complementary ways. On the one hand, gyrodactylids feed on mucus and epithelial cells, and simply eat away the fish’s first line of defense, rendering them susceptible to opportunistic infections caused by other pathogens (viral, bacterial, fungal) ready to accept the “buffet” offered by immunocompromised hosts. On the other hand, Gyrodactylus attach to their hosts by means of an organ called a “haptor”, which can be compared to a powerful suction cup armed with a nasty collection of hooks: 2 big, central hooks called hamuli, and a row of 16 smaller marginal hooks securely fastening the edge of the structure to the fish – and in doing so, puncturing 18 holes into it with every step. Thus, heavy gyrodactylid infection results in innumerable holes on the fish skin, and in water and mineral balance (osmotic) problems that compromise host health and survival.

Figure 2. Light microscope photograph of Gyrodactylus cichlidarum Paperna, 1968, with an embryo in utero (arrowed) and the attachment hooks (dotted arrow).

Out of Africa When tilapia were exported worldwide for aquacultural purposes, several of their parasites went along for the ride; among them, the African monogeneans Cichlidogyrus sclerosus and Gyrodactylus cichlidarum, which have been recorded infecting tilapia in every continent except Antarctica. In Mexico, gill-infecting C. sclerosus has been documented to switch hosts, jumping from introduced tilapia onto native cichlid fishes. Gyrodactylus cichlidarum has been shown to be » 29


Figure 3. a) Tilapia cages, Regal Springs tilapia farm, Chiapas, Mexico. b) Hapa cages, Regal Springs tilapia farm located in Chiapas, Mexico. c) El Pucte tilapia farm, El Chablé, Tabasco, Mexico. d) Aquaplan farm, Tabasco, Mexico.

the dominant monogenean parasite infecting Nile tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus), as this species was recorded in 13 out of 15 countries sampled in a global study of gyrodactylids infecting farmed tilapia; this parasite has also been linked to severe mortalities of fish, particularly fry.

Gyrodactylus ID Taxomomic identification of Gyrodactylus is a tricky business, as these tiny, almost translucent worms do not possess obvious morphological features in their bodies that allow discerning between different species; the most informative characteristics are the shape and size of the hooks that they use to hold on to their slippery fish hosts, and these are minute – marginal hooks, the most useful 30 »

structures to tell gyrodactylid species apart, are around 25 micrometers in total length! So, armed with a steady hand, a microscope, and lots of patience, the hooks of individual worms are liberated from the tissue enclosing them, mounted on a microscope slide, photographed, measured and analyzed; after this laborious process, several species of Gyrodactylus can be correctly identified. Several, but not all species: so-called cryptic species have been recorded from tilapia, where different gyrodactylid species cannot easily be told apart based on their morphology, but are shown to be clearly separate entities when their genes are analyzed. So, to be absolutely sure what species of Gyrodactylus you’ve found on a given fish, you have to scrutinize it employing both

techniques, microscopic study of its morphological features plus molecular analysis of its genetic information, particularly ribosomal genes that have been shown to be useful to distinguish between species (ITS1, 5.8S and ITS2 region of the rDNA).

Gyrodactylus in Mexican tilapia With support from the Mexican National Council for Science and Technology (CONACYT grant CB168306), we have embarked on a nationwide survey of the gyrodactylids infecting tilapia, characterizing parasites both morphologically and molecularly. * For more information, please contact Dr. Miguel Rubio-Godoy. Instituto de Ecología, A.C. (INECOL), Xalapa, Veracruz, México. E-mail

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news release

NEW BOARD MEMBER ANNOUNCED By: Aquaculture without Frontiers*

Aquaculture without Frontiers Executive Director, Roy Palmer, announcing the new appointment said “We are very pleased that Mr. Gorjan Nikolik, Senior Aquaculture Analyst with Rabobank has agreed to join our Board of Directors.

Mr. Gorjan Nikolik, Senior Aquaculture Analyst with Rabobank.


is involvement will add enormous value to our aquaculture knowledge and experience. Understanding all of the intricacies of finance and investment is an essential area and we foresee excellent opportunities to assist the various groups we are working with in our aims to alleviate poverty and hunger through capability and capacity activities in sustainable aquaculture.” 32 »

Mr. Nikolik attended the AwF General Meeting and spoke in the AwF Session on Development, Welfare & Poverty Alleviation at Aquaculture America (AA15) in New Orleans. During these presentations he explained about Rabobank and the various organisations that they have and the roles that they play. Rabobank are the largest Agriculture Bank in the world and are in the top three banks which invest in aquaculture.

During the session, which included speakers from Kenya, Ghana, Bangladesh, Nigeria, Mexico, Netherlands and Australia covering a range of activities within the subject area, Palmer gave an update on all AwF recent activities and outlined the global plan which is evolving based on Aquaculture Learning Centres (ALC) and strong collaboration with local partners. Kevin Fitzsimmons, a champion of AwF since its inception in 2004, gave an update on projects which are being finalised through the University of Arizona/AwF arrangements in Myanmar, Nepal, Bangladesh, Kenya and Tanzania. During the AA15 Kevin met with Kenyan aquaculture farmers and NGO’s and academics from Kenya and we are in various stages of identifying volunteers with specific skills willing to go work with our various hosts of the projects. Antonio Garza d’Yta presented the information on the Mexican ALC and said that it was excellent to see how the dreams that they had for this project are slowly and surely starting to come to life and that the students at UTMarT are getting much better opportunities to learn and progress in their careers as a result of the collaboration with AwF. At the end of session Palmer highlighted a number of the new initiatives that are being discussed for AwF including activities with Korea, Mexico and USA and highlighted that the Networks relating to Women, Indigenous and Schools/Students were in various stages of planning and activity. He also advised that AwF will be presenting at University of New England (2 March) and Volunteers for Economic Growth Alliance members meeting (5 March) and will be holding its next session at World Aquaculture in Jeju, Korea on 30 May. Contact for AwF media is Roy D Palmer, Executive Director, Aquaculture without Frontiers Skype: seafoodhealth Tel: +61419528733 email:


Aquaculture Without Frontiers Acknowledges

Women in Aquaculture

Rural women produce half of the world’s food, but are some of the most disadvantaged people on the planet. The number of rural women living in poverty has doubled since the 1970s. Women produce 50% of By Roy D. Palmer*


ery few women are directly involved in traditional fisheries activities, either due to the physical strain and the long hours away from home and family, or because of social taboos, customs, and beliefs which prohibit them from boarding fishing vessels. Women are thus limited to land-based activities, such as fish handling, processing, distribution, marketing, and net-making/mending. By stark contrast, the role of women in aquaculture, particularly in small fish farms, has long been evident. Women are involved in all sectors of aquaculture and we are proud to have honored a few them to promote Aquaculture without Frontiers International Woman’s Day on 8 March.

the world’s food, but only own 1% of the land. Asia produces ninety per cent of the world’s aquaculture so it is important that we especially recognise the scope and magnitude of women’s participation in aquaculture production in the region. According to FAO China, Thailand, and the Philippines, boast of large pools of trained and skilled women fish farmers, technicians, extension workers, and professionals who are directly or indirectly involved in various capacities in fish production through aquaculture. In countries in South Asia (e.g., Bangladesh and India) where ninety per cent of rural women do not have the same education opportunities and where prevailing social and cultural values limit their access to training and de-

velopment assistance, women are necessarily confined to such domestic-based or auxiliary tasks as feed preparation, fish feeding, and even pond construction. We would like to especially thank Arlene Nietes Satapornvanit and the Network of Aquaculture Centres in Asia-Pacific for sharing with us this opportunity to highlight the enormous achievements of women in aquaculture. More information can be found at: 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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“Whole foods Market”:

Aquaculture Quality Food Standards

Farmed catfish. Farmed salmon. Farmed shrimp. Farmed oysters. These are all pervasive in the market, but what’s the difference between farm-raised seafood offer in Wholefoods Market and what’s available elsewhere?


e know exactly where our farmed seafood comes from. We know where it swam and we know what it was fed... and more importantly, what it wasn’t fed. We also know that we can trust our farmer partners because, like us, they’re committed to producing the most environmentally friendly farmed seafood. Together with scientists and environmentalists, they helped us to develop our strict Quality Standards for Aquaculture. And with our industry leading traceability requirements, we can track our farmed seafood from farm to store.

What’s so Great about Aquaculture? Farming seafood (aquaculture) can provide a consistent, high-quality, year-round supply of healthy and delicious protein. When it’s done right, aquaculture can be environmentally friendly and can be a crucial way to supplement wild-caught fish supplies. On the other hand, poor farming practices like the overuse of chemicals and antibiotics and those that cause water pollution and other negative impacts on the environment are bad news. Our strict Quality Standards and third-party verification process ensures that we only source farmed seafood from the world’s leaders in environmentally responsible aquaculture. 34 »

Our Quality Standards are This Big! Pardon our pride, but we really do have incredibly strong and thorough buying standards for farmed seafood — feel free to compare us to other markets! We are committed to only sourcing according to these high standards.

Highlights of Farm Standards for Mollusks These standards cover bivalve mollusks, specifically oysters, mussels, clams, and scallops. We require: • Monitoring sediments on the seafloor to evaluate the health of ecosystems under the farms (a.k.a. benthic impacts). • No pesticide use allowed. Highlights of Farm Standards for • No genetically modified or cloned Finfish and Shrimp seafood. These standards cover shrimp as • Protection of the coastal environwell as fish like salmon, trout, tilapia, ment. char, catfish and several other species • Rigorous water quality monitoring. of farmed finfish. We require: • Traceability from farm to store. • No use of antibiotics, added growth • Third-party audits. hormones and poultry and mammalian products in feed. Here are some specific standards • No genetically modified or cloned for popular farm-raised species seafood. you’ll find at Whole Foods • Minimizing the impacts of fish Market. farming on the environment by Farm-Raised Shrimp protecting sensitive habitats such Our standards prohibit conversion as mangrove forests and wetlands, of sensitive ecosystems such as manmonitoring water quality to prevent grove forests into shrimp farms, and pollution and sourcing feed ingredi- we track the shrimp from pond to ents responsibly. store to ensure the standards are met. • No added preservatives such as Shortly after harvest, they’re flash frosodium bisulfite, sodium tri-poly- zen to maintain that “good shrimp” phosphate (STP) and sodium meta- flavor and texture. And, unlike what bisulfite. you’ll often find at other markets, our • Traceability from farm to store. standards prohibit treating shrimp • Third-party audits. with preservatives.

Farm-Raised Salmon Our salmon are raised in carefully monitored, low-density pens and tanks without antibiotics, pesticides or added growth hormones. Detailed protocols prevent escape of the salmon into the wild, and harmful and lethal methods are never used on predator birds and marine mammals. And pigments used for colorant are from non-synthetic sources. Farm-Raised Rainbow Trout Our trout are raised in systems that mimic a rushing stream with no antibiotics and no land-animal products in the feed. Farm-Raised Tilapia Our tilapia is raised to our strict standards, which prohibit antibiotics and preservatives. Nor do we allow the industry-standard use of hormones for sex reversal. In addition, our tilapia feed contains fish processing trimmings instead of wild fish caught just for feed. Farm-Raised Arctic Char This cousin to salmon has a gorgeous reddish pink color and a very likable, full but not fishy flavor. Located among the black volcanic boulders of Iceland’s southwest coastline, » 35


our farmer partners raise Arctic char in cold-water, land-based tanks. This system offers excellent control over water quality, prevents escape of fish into the wild and helps protect the char from predators. Farm-Raised Catfish Our catfish are fed a mostly vegetarian diet with no antibiotics or hormones added. And synthetic herbicides are never used in their ponds. Our partner in North Carolina has been working with us for years to hone their process for the finest catfish farm in the U.S. To maintain high standards — theirs and ours — they own it all, the farm, and the feed and processing plants. Farm-Raised Mollusks In addition to prohibiting pesticide use and requiring water quality monitoring and protection of the coastal environment, our standards for farmed oysters, clams, mussels and scallops require evaluating the health of sediments on the seafloor to help protect bottom-dwelling animals and the ecosystem beneath the farms. Excessive organic loading can create sulfides, which are toxic to animals that live in the sediments — so we make sure our farm-raised mollusks are friendly to their downstairs neighbors.

What about Mercury? Fortunately, most farmed fish are low in mercury. They live for a relatively short time so they do not accumulate as much mercury as some species of wild fish. And if they are fed fish, it is usually types low in mercury.

Frequently Asked Questions about Aquaculture:

How did we create our Aquaculture (farmed seafood) standards? For each of our aquaculture categories — farmed finfish/shrimp and farmed mollusks — we spent two full years conducting extensive research on the aquaculture industry, including reviewing all the best available science, consulting with the top environmental organizations, and visiting the most innovative farms worldwide to learn and consult with the farmers. We analyzed the issues associated with farmed seafood production in great depth, including the use of marine resources in feed, impacts on predator populations and risks associated with escaped fish, pollution, and disease. From there, we used all this research and stakeholder input to create standards that only the very best farms can meet. How do we know that the standards are being met? Our supplier partners must pass in-

dependent third-party audits to ensure that our standards are being met. Only farms that pass their audits may sell their farmed seafood to Whole Foods Market. Why sell farmed salmon when we’ve heard about problems with salmon farms? Instead of ignoring the problems in the industry, we decided that we would work to create an incentive for improvement by developing an extensive set of strict standards for farmed salmon production and by providing a market for producers who work hard to meet them. All of our farmed salmon must meet our Quality Standards and carry the “Responsibly Farmed” logo in order to be sold in our stores. What does the Responsibly Farmed™ logo stand for? The Whole Foods Market® “Responsibly Farmed” logo means that the product meets our strict Whole Foods Market Quality Standards for finfish and shrimp. No other grocery store or fish market has standards like ours for keeping farmed seafood healthy and for protecting the environment. The logo also means that the farm has been third-party audited to verify that our standards are being met. Is our farm-raised seafood organic? In our U.S. stores we have chosen not to sell “organic” farmed fish until the United States establishes organic standards for aquaculture and there is a “USDA Organic” label in place for organic farmed fish. This is our way of maintaining the integrity of the organic label. We’ve contributed to the policy-setting process for national organic standards for farmraised seafood in an effort to encourage the strongest organic standards possible. *Whole Foods Market Newsroom

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ASIAN report

Six Asia-Pacific Countries,

FAO Meet to Develop Blue Growth Initiative Combined technological intensification needs to be sustainable and environmentally sound.

FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific


ix countries in the Asia-Pacific region, the world’s largest consumer of fish products, have come together to draft a work plan on the sustainable intensification of aquaculture for ‘blue growth,’ the Food and Agricul-

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ture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) announced. Representatives from the Governments of Bangladesh, Indonesia, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Timor-Leste and Viet Nam are working with FAO global and regional fishery and aqua-

culture experts in the development of an FAO regional initiative to enhance production of aquaculture in an environmentally sound and sustainable way – “blue growth.” “Rapid GDP growth and rapid urbanization in Asia and the Pacific

are resulting in a rapid change in dietary habits,” said Hiroyuki Konuma, FAO Assistant Director-General and Regional Representative for Asia and the Pacific. “This has resulted in a growing demand for high-value protein-rich foods like meat and fish.” FAO predicts that increase in demand will continue well into the foreseeable future as socio-economic changes and increased urbanization keep pace. Citing research by UNDP, Konuma indicated that the percentage of middle income earners in Asia-Pacific would triple by 2020 (from 2009) and would grow six-fold by 2030, exponentially increasing demand for fish consumption, “especially in China, India and Indonesia,” he added. In order to keep up, FAO predicts Asian aquaculture production will need to increase by more than 60 percent to meet the projected

consumption demand by 2030 – just to meet the demand in Asia. The region already accounts for 90 percent of global aquaculture production and 50 percent of present global consumption.

Aquaculture will increasingly provide fish to satisfy global demand Based on the past trends of aquaculture in different regions, Asia is expected to make a major contribution to meet such increased global demand for fish through further aquaculture growth. China and many other nations are increasing their investments in aquaculture to help meet this growing demand. The fastest growth in production will likely be species of tilapia, carp, and catfish – all of which are freshwater species in the Asia-Pacific region and produced in considerable

quantities. Global tilapia production is expected to almost double from 4.3 million tons to 7.3 million tons a year between 2010 and 2030. Aquaculture will provide close to two thirds of global food fish consumption by 2030 as catches from wild capture fisheries level off. “There is a clear need to intensify aquaculture but it must be sustainable, environmentally sound and socially acceptable,” said Konuma during opening remarks at this two-day inception workshop. “FAO is supporting each country with its own initiatives in blue growth strategies and workplans,” he said, adding that the aim of this workshop is to develop workplans and have them in place by March or April next year in advance of FAO’s biannual Conference in Rome, Italy in June 2015.

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Europe Report


role in Mediterranean Hatcheries Artificial feeds do not yet offer any real advantage over live food By Sara Leigo*


he main reasons are often the rapid deterioration of water quality due to disintegration of micropellets, and high mortality rates as a result of malnutrition or difficult digestion of diet compounds of feed. Therefore, larval stages of many marine species are still highly dependent on live food: phytoplankton and zooplankton. Phytoplankton or microalgae are the basis of most marine food chains. Consequently, microalgae play a crucial nutritional role as a food source and as a feed additive for marine animals. Microalgae are used in aquaculture hatcheries for fish, shrimp, and shellfish larviculture, especially to feed live-prey such as rotifers which, in turn, are used to rear the larvae of marine finfish. However, few microalgae species are suitable to use in aquaculture since microalgae must possess a number of key attributes to be useful for marine species rearing. They must have an appropriate size, an adequate biochemical profile and complete absence of toxins that may be transferred up the food chain. Seabass, seabream, turbot and more recently red porgy and yellowtail are the most important species cultured in the Mediterranean 40 Âť

organisms for rearing many species of marine fish larvae.

Sea. The successful development of commercial farms in the Mediterranean basin has been made possible by several improvements, especially in zootechnical progress in live-prey production. Nannochloropsis sp., Tetraselmis sp. and Isochrysis sp. are the most common microalgae species used in Mediterranean finfish hatcheries. These species present significant differences in size, shape and biochemical composition. In the hatcheries, the microalgae cultivation is usually carried out in transparent polyethylene bags and fibreglass cylinders, prevalently under artificial light. Production costs of microalgae can represent a problem in any hatchery as it is expensive and often unreliable. Hatchery managers try to stem the rising costs of production and find other alternatives. Mediterranean hatcheries are managed relying on the following strategies: 1) purchasing microalgae from external suppliers or 2) technology improvements for in-house microalgae production.

Purchasing microalgae from external suppliers Strategy 1 is evidenced by the increase on the commercialization of live concentrates, frozen pastes,

freeze-dried and spray-dried microalgae which results in the minimization of microalgae production within the hatcheries. Necton S.A. located at south of Portugal is an example of a compa-

Freeze-dried powder of Nannochloropsis, PhytoBloom Prof brand by Necton S.A. (

ny specialized in the cultivation and commercialization of microalgae for aquaculture. Victoria del Pino, Microalgae Business Manager, says that Necton S.A. launched its first microalgae concentrate for aquaculture in 2000, and since then they have developed a set of specialized microalgae concentrates which aim to solve hatcheries’ day-to-day problems. del Pino explained the microalgae culture process carried out at Necton S.A. This begins with a high quality inocula in the laboratory under controlled conditions, to avoid contamination and optimise biochemical composition of the microalgae. After growing the inocula indoors, a culture scale-up takes place in PBRs (closed systems) placed outdoors. Biomass is harvested through a controlled centrifugation process. Water used in the process is treated with mechanical (ultra-filtration) and chemical procedures to avoid bacterial and protozoan growth. Microalgae cultures are controlled daily for nutrients, growth parameters, contaminants and biochemical quality. According to Ms. del Pino, the concentrates are supplied as a liquid, as a frozen paste and as a powder, presenting the following features: high cell concentrations, suitable biochemical composition for several applications, long shelf-life, absence of preservatives and pathogens, and easy re-suspension in the water. Necton´s products are being sought by two kinds of Customers, hatcheries that are totally dependent on external microalgae supply and hatcheries which are acquiring microalgae when internal production is not enough. Aquaculture business has been increasing and Necton will soon be operating an enlarged production facility which will quadruple its actual production and will allow the company to meet the increasing market demand.

Technology improvement for microalgae production The second strategy mentioned

Microalgae Master Culture room at Akva-Tek Hatchery Company (Sara Leigo).

above is being particularly observed in Turkey, which is one of the leading countries in the Mediterranean aquaculture sector. Hatcheries operate with intensive systems, which makes it impossible to have a continuous supply of algae. They are betting on technology to produce microalgae as they strive to become entirely independent from external sources, which is still a challenging goal. Akva-Tek Hatchery Co., established in Izmir, is a successful example of this effort. Akva-Tek Hatchery produces 7 different species of sea fish (seabass, sea bream, meagre, dentex, common seabream, umbra and ocellaris clownfish). Its production capacity has reached more than 30 million fry per year. The hatchery has been using recirculating (RAS) technology since 2004 and continually conducting R&D studies in order

to improve fry cultivation, including the live food production. I had the opportunity to visit Akva-Tek and I was impressed when I visited the live food unit. This unit is dedicated to the production of microalgae, rotifers and Artemia nauplii in large quantities, to be used as live feed for fish larvae. RAS technology is being used in rotifer production. Akva-Tek’s microalgae stock room has several microalgae species which are carefully maintained and are used to inoculate higher volumes. They operate a sophisticated microalgae production system. Microalgae are grown in tubular photobioreactors, both outdoors and indoors. Dr. Yasar Durmaz, unit manager, explained that the weather in Turkey is very variable, being too hot during the summer season and too cold during winter. Having » 41

Europe Report

Microalgae cultivation in indoor tubular photobioreactors at Akva-Tek Hatchery Company (Dr. Yasar Durmaz).

outdoor and indoor reactors ensures microalgae supply during the entire fish production season, as they allow better culture control -which is greatly affected by environmental conditions. Though cultivating their own microalgae seems a reasonable option, I did not have access to CAPEX and OPEX costs of Akva-Tek facility. Several scientific papers reveal that 30 – 40 % of marine hatchery operating costs can be attributed to microalgae culture [Heasman, M. P., Sushames, T. M., Diemar, J. A., O’Connor, W. A., & Foulkes, L. A. (2001). Production of Micro-algal Concentrates for Aquaculture Part 2: Development and Evaluation of Harvesting, Preservation, Storage and Feeding Technology; among others]. 42 »

Both strategies for securing microalgae supplies strongly rely on managerial decisions which are highly dependent on local economic factors such as labour costs, among others. Procurement of good and reliable suppliers is also increasingly difficult. Victoria del Pino states that “A few years ago, Necton was one of the few players in the market. Prices were high as demand was higher than offer. Nowadays, more and more providers are entering the market resulting in a price decrease of 30%; therefore it is strongly advisable to check prices of microalgal biomass more often than was needed a few years ago. Purchasers of hatcheries now have a harder task, procure more suppliers and deeply check quality as new-comers can also offer low quality feed material”.

Sara Leigo has a degree in Marine Biology and Biotechnology and a Master in Aquaculture and Fisheries. She works at Necton, a Portuguese company specialised in the culture and commercialization of microalgae which is focused in several applications, mainly in specialty feeds for aquaculture (www. She has extensive experience in barramundi, Dover Sole and turbot production.

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Aquaculture Economics, Management, and Marketing

World and U.S. Demand and Supply Relationships for Seafood:Â Implications for Aquaculture Producers

The previous Aquaculture Economics, Management and Marketing columns discussed various aspects of aquaculture profitability. There are four main ways to increase profitability of aquaculture businesses: increase production, decrease cost, maintain or increase market price, and expand market demand for aquaculture products. This column discusses global supply and demand for seafood products, and *Madan M Dey


eafood (broadly defined as living aquatic resources, including finfish, mollusks and crustaceans) plays a major role in human nutrition in various parts of the world. Demand for seafood is likely to increase due to population and income growth, urbanization and dietary changes. According to two recent projections (OECDFAO, 2013; and World Bank, 2013), demand for seafood will expand substantially over the next two to three decades. Total global consumption of seafood is expected to increase from 111,697 thousand metric tons in 2006 to 151,771 thousand metric tons in 2030; an approximately 36% increase during this period (World Bank 2013). Among the various regions, seafood consumption is expected to grow rapidly in China, India, and other South Asian countries (Figure 1). Aside from the high population base, these regions will have highest projected income growth. Between 2010 and 2030, per-capita income in China and India is expected to almost triple and double, respectively. The 44 Âť

explores possible ways to expand markets for aquaculture products. seafood market in North America (United States of America and Canada), which represented around 7.3% of global fish consumption in 2006, is projected to grow by 34% during the 2010-2030 period. The increased demand for seafood will have to be met by increased aquaculture production. The increase in capture production is expected to be limited due to the overexploitation of numerous fish stocks. The global production from capture fisheries likely will be stable around 93 million metric tons during the 2010-2030 period, but aquaculture is projected to expand substantially. According to the World Bank (2013), the total fish supply is expected to increase from 154 million metric tons in 2011 to 186 million metric tons in 2030 and aquaculture will supply over 60% of fish destined for direct human consumption by 2030. Due to the rapid expansion of freshwater aquaculture, the most rapid expansion of supply is expected for tilapia, carp, pangasius, and other catfish. Production of tilapia is projected to more than dou-

ble between 2008 and 2030. Global supply of some high-value species (shrimp, salmon, and eel and sturgeon) is expected to grow by 50-60% over the period. The projected expansion of seafood production and consumption is not uniform across various countries and regions. International trade will continue to play a vital role in balancing the supply and demand for seafood in various countries. International seafood trade is expected to increase substantially over the years. According to the World Bank (2013), the total global seafood trade is likely to increase from 12,258 thousand metric tons in 2006 to 17,756 thousand metric tons in 2030, with a 40% increase during 2010-2030. China will increase its influence in the global seafood market, and is likely to account for 37% of total fish production and for 38% of global consumption of foodfish in 2030 (World Bank, 2013). A number of South and Southeast Asian countries have increased their aquaculture supply to meet internal consumption needs, as well as the

ed States of America has a relatively small aquaculture sector with only a few species being cultivated (catfish, Atlantic salmon, crawfish, oysters, clams, etc.), it is a leader in aquaculture research, especially in the areas of aqua-feed and farming technology. The U.S. aquaculture industry has many options to expand markets for its high quality aquaculture products both domestically and internationally. It is important to note that elasticity of demand for seafood is income elastic (that is, one percent increase in income leads to more than one percent increase in demand), and consumers in high income-growth countries (including China) are looking for quality seafood products. There are also many opportunities in niche markets for U.S. aquaculture products.

References OECD–FAO. 2013. OECD–FAO Agricultural Outlook 2013-2022. OECD Publishing and FAO. (also available at outlook-2013-en). World Bank. 2013. Fish to 2030: prospects for fisheries and aquaculture. Agriculture and environmental services discussion paper; no. 3. Washington DC; World Bank Group.

growing foodfish demand of China. North America, Europe and Central Asia, Japan, Sub-Saharan Africa, and Middle East and North Africa regions are expected to remain strong net importers of seafood. North America will likely increase net imports of seafood from 2,405 thousand metric tons in 2006 to 5,464 thousand metric tons in 2030; with about a 90% increase in net import during 2010 to 2030. World prices for all fish and fish products will increase during the next two decades or so. The growth rate of the price of captured fish is expected to be higher than that of cultured. In particular, higher price in-

creases are expected for species that are used for fishmeal and fish oil. According to World Bank (2013) projections, real prices of fishmeal and fish oil are expected to rise by 90% and 70%, respectively, during the 20102030 period. Due to rapidly expanding global fish demand and relatively stable capture fisheries, aquaculture will continue to fill the growing supply-demand gap, but at a growth rate less than its peak of 11% per annum during the 1980s. Therefore, appropriate technical progress and enabling policy environments are necessary for successful and sustainable development of global aquaculture. Though the Unit-

Madan M. Dey is a Professor at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff and formerly Regional Director and Senior Economist for the WorldFish Center. We are pleased to have him sitting in as a guest columnist for Dr. Carole Engle.

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Latin American Report

news release on Latin American By Yojaira Paternina Cordoba*

Center for Fisheries Technology Innovation (CFTI) Will Serve to Promote Peruvian Aquaculture Lima, Peru Jan. 28, 2015. The Peruvian government wants the CFTI to serve as an additional agency to promote aquaculture within the country, increasing sales, productivity and quality of aquacultured products, both domestically and in international markets. The Center will support technology transfer, training and technical assistance for businesses and producers in supply and value chains, with a special emphasis on aquaculture development. In this regard, Minister of Production Piero Ghezzi indicated that ‘With this CFTI we are looking to augment competitiveness, innovative capacity and productive development for participants in this supply chain, in order to generate more value in the transformation of aquatic products.’ One relevant objective for CFTI will be the coordination among universities, research centers and NGO’s of research and improved methodologies required by industry, through cooperation within the country and with international partners. The original news release can be seen at: nav/actualidad/noticias/noticia-detalle/El-Centro-de-Innovacin-Tecnolgica-Pesquera-CITE-servir-paraimpulsar-la-acuicultura-peruana/#. VMpqiWjF_gE 46 »

Imports Threaten Public Health and Shrimp Aquaculture in Mexico Mazatlan, Sinaloa Jan. 28, 2015. ‘A threat to aquaculture and public health’ is how the Vice President of CANAINPESCA, Humberto Becerra Batista, described the uncontrolled importation of shrimp from South America. Becerra Batista in-

dicated the urgent need to reinforce vigilance in the country’s borders in order to stop the illegal entry of products that could result in health risks to consumers, cause economic damage to local producers and potentially introduce new diseases such as EMS, which the Mexican shrimp farming industry is currently trying to recover from.

Huila, Colombia tilapia hatchery and cages. Photo courtesy of PezCo.

‘Lots of shrimp shows up without any documentation, arriving in a market where it provokes competition due to a lack of product loyalty,’ he said. He called on restaurants in particular to avoid buying shrimp without proper receipts, or traceability, due to the risk it could cause to diners. The original news release can be seen at: http://www.lineadirectapor php?noticia=229282

COEPRIES Asked to Corroborate or Retract Accusations Regarding Shrimp Culiacan, Sinaloa Feb. 27, 2015. The State Secretary of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries of Sinaloa, Juan Guerra Ochoa, requested that COEPRIES either corroborate or retract accusations that shrimp found to be contaminated with E. coli in the state of Baja California Sur originated in Sinaloa. Guerra Ochoa indicated that in Sinaloa funds are dedicated to establish a comprehensive strategy to reduce risks from contamination, which is being utilized by aquaculture producers who export shrimp with the highest standards for food safety and who, up until now, have had no incidences of such problems. He called for intervention by the State Commission for Sanitary Risks in Sinaloa to come up with detailed information, inasmuch as the ongoing accusations do not indicate any location, producer, date of harvest or packing information which would allow traceability of the supposedly contaminated shrimp, adding that without any corroboration these complaints could be perceived as a type of commercial protectionism against aquaculturists in Sinaloa. The original news release can be seen at: http://www.lineadirectapor php?noticia=234327

Fish Culturists in Huila on Alert Due to Falling River Water Levels

In the event of oxygen deficiencies, authorities recommend producers reduce stocking densities. Neiva, Huila, Colombia. 5 Feb., 2015. Aquaculture producers were warned by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and by the National Authority for Aquaculture and Fisheries not to lower their guard in preventing losses, and to apply recommended practices for responding to reduced water flows. These recommendations are especially directed at fish producers in the Betania Reservoir in Huila, based on information released by the Colombian Institute of Hydrology, Meteorology and Environmental Studies. Due to an extremely intense dry season, water levels are continuing to register at medium- to low elevations in the Magdalena River, especially in the middle stretch of the watershed. In general, reduced water flows can be expected to favor more intense algal blooms, reduced oxygen levels within cages, and localized increases in ammonia, nitrites and nitrates. Producers are encouraged to reduce stocking densities, conduct partial harvests, and generally reduce standing biomass. Reduced feeding rates are another strategy to mitigate low flow rates and limited oxygen levels. Whenever low oxygen levels become a problem, feeding should be limited to the hours between 9 am and 4 pm. Suggested practices to reduce losses based on oxygen levels include: D.O. > 4 ppm: feed 100% of the daily ration, depending on the appetite of the fish D.O. 3-4 ppm: feed 50% of the daily ration, spread out over the course of the day D.O. 1-2 ppm: feed only in the afternoon, based on the fish’s appetite D.O. < 1 ppm: do not feed

Producers are also encouraged to have emergency aeration available for critical situations, and to participate in an information network developed to allow data on oxygen levels and other water quality parameters to be shared within the industry. The original news release can be seen at: http://www.lanacion. item/247708-en-alerta-piscicultores-del-huila-por-descenso-enrios?highlight=WyJiZXRhbmlhIl0

Yojaira Paternina Cordoba has a degree in Animal Husbandry from the National University of Colombia. She currently manages production, technical and marketing activities at Piscicola del Valle, S.A., specializing in production of red tilapia (Oreochromis sp.) and the white cachama (Piaractus brachypomus).

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Aquaculture Engineering

The Nitrogen Game Part 2 â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Nitrate In part 1 of the Nitrogen Game, we covered the fact that when you add fish feed to an aquaculture system, part of that feed is excreted by the fish/shrimp/etc. as ammonia nitrogen that can be a highly toxic waste product.

By Dallas Weaver*


e then noted that if we want higher production per unit volume of water used we will either be storing that N in the form of protein in living biomass as bacteria in bioflocs or living plant cells in algae ponds or aquaponics, or use bacteria in biofilters to convert it to the less toxic NO3 (Nitrate). If we now want to further increase production without more water usage, we will get to the point where we have to deal with the buildup of Nitrate in the recycled water. Nitrate can be removed from water using bacteria to reduce the NO3 to N2 gas as the bacteria use nitrate instead of oxygen as an electron acceptor. Keeping in mind that bacteria can usually get more energy using oxygen than they can with NO3, these denitrification bacteria usually operate best under strongly hypoxic and fully anaerobic conditions without free oxygen being present for competitors. For energetic reasons bacteria prefer O2 over NO3 over SO4 as electron acceptors. 48 Âť

The other half of the denitrification reaction requires some reduced electron donor material that could range from carbohydrates, alcohols, volatile fatty acids (acetate), to el-

emental sulfur and H2S to ammonia. It is all about energy, and nature has figured out how to use almost any chemical energy combination one can imagine.

In the 1990’s, Philip Lee at the University of Texas Medical Brach faced a unique problem for most of aquaculture at that time. His squid didn’t like NO3, and he couldn’t let the levels build up, but he didn’t have a flow through water supply. His solution was a packed bed anaerobic bioreactor being fed methanol and system water to denitrify the water. He was using ORP based control systems to maintain proper anaerobic condition by controlling the methanol feed to the reactor. Being a salt water system, letting the ORP become too negative (feeding too much methanol) would allow the bacteria to use sulfate and produce H2S. Also in the 1990’s, I set up an anaerobic fluidized bed biofilter using sugar as the carbon source (no hazardous material nonsense with the city bureaucrats) using ORP and pH controllers on one of my production systems. The added sugar to the in-

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Aquaculture Engineering

let removed all the oxygen; then the bacteria started denitrifying. In the 2000’s, a lot of research was done using the solid waste from the fish as the carbon source for denitrification, eliminating both nitrate and some of the solid waste at the same time with the goal being zero discharge systems. The fecal material from fish/shrimp contains a mixture of compounds ranging from simple very biodegradable molecules to highly refractory complex organic polymers. If 3% of the initial feed becomes ammonia which is converted to nitrate N in the main RAS, you need 12% of the initial feed as biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) to use all the oxygen in the nitrate. As the amount of solid COD from the feed can be around 20% of the feed amount, and the fraction that is not rapidly biodegradable (COD – BOD5) can be > 50% (lots of insoluble fiber and ash), getting the suspended solids from the fish culture system to provide all the car50 »

bon demand for the denitrification depends upon the details of how the suspended solids are removed, stored and utilized. System designs with mature sludge (incline plate, etc.) will require letting the anaerobic sludge digest longer (longer SRT – sludge retention time) to convert more of that refractory “fiber” and other refractory compounds into better food sources for denitrifying bacteria. A lot of research has been done on just letting the solids fill a large anaerobic basin where anaerobic fermentation and mineralization produces volatile fatty acids, H2S and other compounds that are then used by denitrifying bacteria to reduce the nitrate to nitrogen gas. When “fresh” solids such as from a microscreen are used, the system seems fairly balanced between the conversion of the accumulating sludge into suitable energy sources for denitrifying bacteria and the input of fresh solids. These manure solids from the fish waste also contain some nitrogen compounds in the form of nitrogen-containing organic materials that become mineralized during this anaerobic decomposition and end up adding more ammonia. Under some conditions, it is possible to have anammox bacteria that obtain their energy from ammonia + nitrate to nitrogen gas eliminating both problems at the same time. When the nitrate is destroyed, the alkalinity that was lost when the nitrate was formed is regained. As a byproduct, it seems that many of these denitrification reaction conditions also result in phosphate concentrations being elevated in the remaining sludge. With denitrification, we are now approaching zero discharge RAS, which is truly sustainable on water and environmental issues but not on energy and feed issues.

Dallas Weaver, PhD, started designing and building closed aquaculture systems in 1973 and worked for several engineering/consulting companies in the fields of air pollution, liquid wastes, and solid wastes until 1980. Today, he’s the Owner/President of Scientific Hatcheries. e-mail:


Recent news from around the globe by

These are some of the highlights of the past few weeks at

By Suzi Dominy*

Investment in aquafeed production booming n response to the continuing rise in aquaculture production, the start of 2015 has been marked by substantial investment in new aquafeed plant and equipment. Most recently, Aller Aqua Group A/S, one of Europe’s largest fish feed producers, officially inaugurated its new Egyptian factory at the beginning of March, creating the country’s largest and most modern producer of environmentally friendly, extruded fish feed, Aller Aqua Egypt. Aller Aqua bought the majority of an Egyptian family company in 2011. Since then, the Danish company has risen to the challenges of working with a very different culture. “Since 2009, when we first travelled to Egypt, a great deal has happened


politically in the country. We experience daily challenges, which we wouldn’t even contemplate in Denmark. For the first year it could take up to three days to get fuel for the trucks transporting raw materials to the factory – great planning was essential for success!” Henrik Halken, Chairman of Aller Aqua Egypt said. “We have also had to accommodate all our employees at the factory during the most recent revolution, during which President Mursi was overthrown”. Cargill Mexico inaugurated a $7.8 million expansion of its feed mill in Tehuacán, Puebla in February. Gerardo Quintero, Managing Director of Cargill’s Feed & Nutrition business for Mexico and Central America said. The expansion consists of a new extrusion line that will produce feed for tilapia, trout and catfish.

This addition to Cargill’s productive infrastructure in Mexico is part of a $16 million investment plan to position the company’s animal nutrition solutions in the aquaculture markets of Mexico and Central America. Cargill said it intends to play a major role in aquaculture production as a key solution to fulfilling the growing demand for protein. In Indonesia, PT Central Proteina Prima Tbk. (CP Prima) has plans to invest more than US$30 million in the construction of a 40,000 tons aquafeed mill and a facility for the production of shrimp products in East Java. The aquafeed mill is scheduled for completion this year. CP Prima was badly hit by the IMNV virus that ravaged shrimp production throughout the region. However, the company said their discovery of a specially formulated

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feed that combats the deadly disease has had a positive impact, particularly on the company’s subsidiary, PT Central Pertiwi Bahari, reducing the number of infected shrimp from 85 percent to less than 1 percent. Since September 2014, the company’s net sales increased to Rp 6.77 trillion, from Rp 5.54 trillion over the same period the year before In India, an unnamed Vietnambased feed manufacturer is investing $25 to $28 million in a 100,000 tonne capacity aquafeed plant in Andhra Pradesh, according to media reports. According to sources plant is scheduled for completion by the end of 2016. 80 per cent of production capacity will be consumed by Andhra Pradesh and the balance will sold in West Bengal, Odisha and Gujarat states where demand for aquaculture feeds have increased, the source said. Half the output will be for shrimp feed and the other half for fish feed.

A consortium comprising the world’s biggest producer of farmed King salmon, New Zealand King Salmon, along with Seafood Innovations Ltd (SIL), Nelson’s Cawthron Institute, the Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology (NMIT) and Danish feed producer BioMar aims to develop a high-quality, speciesspecific feed that improves vastly on the generic products currently available.

chicken and freshwater fish eat today. Independent academic research has tested and proven the efficiency of this natural protein in a range of farmed animals. AgriProtein will start licensing its nutrient recycling technology worldwide in 2015. Within fifteen years the company said it will be considered as normal to recycle waste nutrients as paper, tin and glass is today, the company believes.

The latest buzz on fishmeal replacement Could flies be the answer to fishmeal substitution? A South African company, AgriProtein, is betting on it. The company has raised $11m to build two commercial farms. Each will house 8.5 billion flies - the first in a series of 40 such farms to be rolled out. The world’s first commercial fly farm will be in Cape Town and by headcount will be the largest farming operation on the planet. AgriProtein uses flies reared on Specialty Feed for King Salmon a very large scale to lay eggs that The nutritional requirements of are hatched into larvae on organic the King Salmon species Onco- waste material. The larvae are then rhynchus  tshawytscha  (also known as harvested and dried into Magmeal Chinook) – farmed predominantly in ™ a natural and sustainable feed New Zealand – differ considerably for fish. The company has received from the common Atlantic salm- product approval in South Africa on, trout and other salmon species and believes that larvae meal will farmed elsewhere in the world. Cur- achieve European acceptance as an rently only feed based on environ- animal feed within 24 months. It is mental and economic considerations after all what these animals would for the latter species is available. eat in the wild and what free range

Applied aquafeed R&D will be strongly represented at Aquafeed Horizons 2015 The 8th in the series of Aquafeed. com’s international conferences for aquafeed professionals, Aquafeed Horizons, returns to Cologne, Germany, with an outstanding program of talks by industry professionals and leading-edge practical researchers. The focus of this year’s conference will be the interplay of ingredients and processing, with a close look at new ingredients being introduced to aquafeed formulations. The very latest in applied aquafeed R&D will be strongly represented at this year’s meeting. Dr. Mari Moren is Director of Research at the food research institute, Nofima, responsible for Nutrition and Feed Technology. She will give a view of the future demands in salmon feed production and present possibilities from the viewpoint of a research institute working on R&D

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throughout the whole value chain in aquaculture. Dr. Olav Fjeld Kraugerud, leads the Centre for Feed Technology at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU), Norway. Dr. Kraugerud will look at novel ingredients and give examples of results from trials performed with krill meal, gluten and plant meals. He will present data on the viability of tai-

lor-made processing for feed recipes with a diversified protein portfolio - and promises to reveal an exciting new and innovative tool for feed production. Dr. Jorge Dias is a managing partner of SPAROS Lda, Portugal, a technology-driven SME. Dr. Diasâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s talk will be on results from the Advanced Research Initiatives for Nutrition & Aquaculture (ARRAINA)

project, a European FP7-funded Collaborative Project coordinated by INRA. Dr. Dias will focus on new knowledge generated on the fine tuning of the dietary supply of trace elements in larvae and juvenile feeds, relying on the use of innovative delivery vectors such as microencapsulated and nano-sized mineral forms and a closer look on the interactions among trace elements and other nutrients. Activities on the effect of vegetable ingredients on physical pellet criteria and fecal properties will be discussed. A predictive tool to compare the environmental impact (total, N and P waste) of different feed formulations developed for gilthead seabream will also be presented. Aquafeed Horizons 2015 will take place June 9, 2015 in the Koelnmesse, Cologne, Germany. Pre-registration is required for a guaranteed place in this popular conference and you are urged not to delay. Special rates are available for students and groups. Registration, presentation and speaker information at

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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Current status of

shrimp diseases in Asia Excerpt from Thirteenth Meeting of the Asia Regional Advisory Group on Aquatic Animal Health NETWORK OF AQUACULTURE CENTRES IN ASIA-PACIFIC By Timothy William Flegel*


ultivation of domesticated and genetically selected stocks of the American whiteleg shrimp Penaeus (Litopenaeus) vannamei remains the first choice in Asia with the black tiger shrimp P. monodon a far second. Importance of pathogens and levels of threat depend on the species of shrimp cultivated and on the geographical location of farms. For viral pathogens in Asia, white spot syndrome virus (WSSV) and yellow head virus type-1 (YHV-1) are still the most lethal for both species, although the latter has so far been confined to Thailand. However, a new, lethal variant (YHV-8) has been found in China, and it is recommended that a disease card for this, together with a specific detection method be posted at the NACA website. Also from China, another new virus called covert mortality nodavirus (CMNV) was recently reported [Zhang et al. 2014. A new nodavirus is associated with covert mortality disease of shrimp. J Gen Virol. in press]. We have found that it also occurs in at high prevalence 54 Âť

28 February 2015

(approximately 40%) in Thai shrimp farms and we have recently also received RT-PCR positive material from India. Its species range and impact on culture in the region have not yet been determined, but it is of urgent concern to do so. Again, it is recommended that a disease card, including the specific RT-PCR detection method be posted at the NACA website and that member countries work together to study the prevalence and impact of this virus. For P. vannamei only, the next most important viral threat is infectious myonecrosis virus (IMNV) (fortunately still confined to Indonesia) while Taura syndrome virus (TSV) and infectious hypodermal and hematopoietic necrosis virus (IHHNV) are not serious threats to the tolerant shrimp stocks being cultivated. P. vannamei sometimes exhibits abdominal segment deformity disease (ASDD), associated with a retrovirus-like agent [Sakaew et al. 2013. Discovery and partial characterization of a non-LTR retrotransposon that may be associated with abdominal segment deformity disease (ASDD) in the whiteleg shrimp Penaeus (Litopenaeus) vannamei. BMC Veterinary Research. 9, 189]. For P. monodon only, the next most important viral pathogen is Laem Singh virus (LSNV) and an integrasecontaining element (ICE) that are

The most important non-viral disease threat for both species since 2009 has been called (unadvisedly) early mortality syndrome (EMS)

together associated with monodon slow growth syndrome (MSGS), but so far, only in Thailand [Panphut et al. 2011. A novel integrase-containing element may interact with LaemSingh virus (LSNV) to cause slow growth in giant tiger shrimp. BMC Vet Res. 7, 18]. Less important are hepatopancreatic parvovirus (HPV) and monodon baculovirus (MBV), but only when captured P. monodon are used for postlarval production without implementation of proper preventative measures. The most important non-viral disease threat for both species since 2009 has been called (unadvisedly) early mortality syndrome (EMS). It is characterized by massive sloughing of hepatopancreatic epithelial cells followed by death, and it is called acute hepatopancreatic necrosis disease (AHPND). The causative agent

comprises unique isolates of Vibrio parahaemolyticus that carry an approximately 69 kbp plasmid that contains two toxin genes capable of acting together to kill shrimp. They pose no threat to human health. AHPND began in China around 2009 and spread to Vietnam in 2010, Malaysia in 2011, Thailand in 2012 and Mexico in 2013. Two interim PCR detection methods (AP1 and AP2) were introduced at the NACA website in December 2012 based on detection of the 69 kbp plasmid, and AP2 turned out to be the best with about 3% false positive results. Despite this weakness, the method was used successfully to reveal a high prevalence of AHPND bacteria in living broodstock feeds (e.g., polychaetes and bivalves), in broodstock and in post larvae used to stock rearing ponds. One of the 2 toxins Âť 55


(approximately 13 kDa) resembling the Pir binary insect toxins, located on the 69 kbp plasmid and found to act together to cause AHPND was used to develop a new PCR method (AP3). This was released at the NACA website in June 2014. It gave no false positive or false negative results with 104 bacterial isolates tested. It is recommended that the AP3 method be used to identify sources of AHPND bacteria and that positive shrimp or other materials be excluded from shrimp production facilities. It is also recommended that the practice of feeding living marine animals to broodstock shrimp be strongly discouraged unless they have been proven free of AHPND bacteria and other pathogens. Possible preventative measures against pathogen entry with such feed materials would require treatment that would result in their death and it would include (in declining order of desirability) gamma irradiation (sterilization) of frozen material, pasteurization or freezing. The last of these methods (freezing) was the standard practice for polychaetes fed to shrimp broodstock, and it is still the practice in North and South America. However, the widespread habit of feeding live polychaetes has apparently arisen based on associated increases in nauplii production, at the complete sacrifice of all biosecurity concerns. In my opinion, it would be better to accept decreased nauplius yields in order to insure the integrity of SPF broodstock. This is especially important for the risk of exposure to previously unknown pathogens. Another approach to solve the problem of disease transmission from living polychaetes has been to produce SPF animals in closed culture facilities. Three other phenomena in the HP have become prominent together with AHPND since 2009. These include high prevalence of the microsporidian Enterocytozoon hepatope56 Âť

Possible preventative measures against pathogen entry with such feed materials would require treatment that would result in their death and it would include (in declining order of desirability) gamma irradiation (sterilization) of frozen material, pasteurization or freezing.

naei in both broodstock and cultivated shrimp [Tangprasittipap et al. 2013. The microsporidian Enterocytozoon hepatopenaei is not the cause of white feces syndrome in whiteleg shrimp P. vannamei. BMC Veterinary Research. 9], of vermiform, aggregated transformed microvilli (ATM) (sometimes mistaken for gregarines) (Sriurairatana et al. 2014. White feces syndrome of shrimp arises from transformation, sloughing and aggregation of hepatopancreatic microvilli into vermiform bodies su-

perficially resembling gregarines. PLos ONE. 9, e99170] and of distorted hepatopancreatic tubules. It is possible that the latter two phenomena may result either from low levels of the toxins that cause AHPND or from separate causes. However, the rapid regional spread of AHPND and the simultaneous increase in prevalence of infections by the distinctly different, endemic pathogen E. hepatopenaei, suggests that the current situation in Asia may have resulted from an industry-

lence of ponds affected by AHPND was in the range of 24% while prevalence for the microsporidian Enterocytozoon hepatopenaei (EHP) was 49% and that for vermiform, aggregated transformed microvilli (ATM) (sometimes mistaken for gregarines) was over 80%. The cause of the latter and its impact on production is still unknown, while EHP is associated with severe growth retardation rather than mortality. EHP is an endemic pathogen, generally not present in imported SPF stocks, so contamination occurs in Thailand. Its prevalence in other countries is not yet known. For all the pathogens described above, the most effective control measures for reducing the risk of disease are to use post larvae derived from domesticated SPF shrimp stocks (with a pathogen exclusion list that includes all major viruses and parasites including E. hepatopenaei), cultivated in biosecure settings under management practices aimed at optimum (not maximum) production.

wide decrease in rigor of biosecurity measures in shrimp hatcheries and rearing ponds. This could have arisen due to the dramatic reduction in disease outbreaks in cultivated shrimp since the widespread adoption of specific pathogen free (SPF) P. vannamei in Asia since 2001. Even with production based on use of SPF stocks, any decline in biosecurity measures would have left the industry vulnerable to the emergence of any new pathogen. Although the cause of ATM is unknown and its impact on shrimp production has not been assessed, retarded growth in P. vannamei caused by endemic EHP is rapidly increasing in prevalence in China, Vietnam, Thailand and Malaysia. PCR meth-

ods are available for EHP detection [(Tangprasittipap et al. 2013 above) and a LAMP method (Suebsing et al. 2013. Loop-mediated isothermal amplification combined with colorimetric nanogold for detection of the microsporidian Enterocytozoon hepatopenaei in penaeid shrimp. J Appl Microbiol)], and EHP should be added to the list of required pathogens for exclusion from SPF stocks of both P. monodon and P. vannamei. An advisory on the threat from EHP and measures for control has been posted at the NACA website and an accompanying disease card is being prepared. From 150 ponds in an ongoing Thai study of 200 ponds randomly selected before stocking, the preva-

Dr. Timothy Flegel works in the Department of Biotechnology at Mahidol University in Bangkok Thailand, and heads the Center of Excellence for Shrimp Molecular Biology and Biotechnology. We are pleased to have him contributing as a guest columnist, recommended by Dr. Hui Gong.

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Health Highlights

Preventative Medicine Strategies:

Vaccination By Hugh Mitchell, MS, DVM (Guest Columnist)*

When the topic of vaccinating fish comes up, invariably the question from the fish farmer is: “Yes, but does it work?”


he answer isn’t simple. Trying to explain what vaccines are and why they work (or don’t) can come across as evasive or “wishy-washy”, with the result being the rejection of what is an important tool for a fish culturist. This is not new to fish vaccines. In the classic veterinary text book: “Herd Health: Food Animal Production Medicine” (2nd edition), Radostits et al. state: “The veterinary practitioner is often asked for advice about the use of vaccines for the control of infectious diseases of food producing animals. There is probably more controversy and uncertainty about the efficacy of these vaccines than about almost any other topic in livestock production”.

How do vaccines work? There doesn’t seem to be the same ambiguity afforded to antibiotics or other fish health chemotherapeutics, so why vaccines? Vaccines are older than germ theory and have revolu58 »

tionized medicine (since 1796!), so it isn’t as if they are new technologies that have to be embraced. There are several factors involved in why vaccines are met with confusion, and therefore prevented from more widespread use in fish culture, versus terrestrial livestock. Of course, one of these is the fact that vaccines are preventative and the action you should see if they work is a passive one: if they work, the fish don’t get sick (or as sick). Important concepts to understanding vaccines include: 1.The mode is indirect and not like a chemical which works directly on a bacteria or parasite. Vaccines work on the immune system, which in turns works on the bacteria or virus. The interaction of the immune system with foreign material is extremely complex and we don’t completely understand it in human medicine, let alone in fish. The immune system reacts to what it considers foreign, while a pathogen (bacteria,

virus, parasite, etc.) tries to not appear foreign. It is a “cat and mouse” game in which the immune system, unfortunately, often over- or underreacts (e.g.: allergies or cancer). The reaction of the immune system is also markedly modified by the environment acting on the fish and the fish’s physiology. So, the same stress that is often instrumental in bringing on a disease situation can also inhibit a vaccine-prepared immune system to optimally function, despite the vaccine being an effective one. 2.Vaccines can provide some measure of worthwhile protection, but this may be overshadowed and undetectable if one or more of the other 4 important areas are way “off-kilter”. Related to mode of action, is that – especially with mature fish culture facilities - diseases are not always easily solved with “silver-bullet” cure all answers. Solutions require integrated

Injection vaccination of tilapia. An experienced team with the right set up can inject 2500 to 3000 fish/person/hour.

and multi-factorial approaches. Figure 1 depicts the fundamental areas that need to be addressed in order to keep fish healthy on a farm, as bricks in a “disease dam”. The relative importance (“size of each brick”) varies depending on the disease and the situation (1 a, b &c). 3. A vaccine working on an individual is different than one working on a population. We are accustomed to thinking that if you vaccinate, the animal (or human) won’t get the disease. Generally, this is what we experience (except maybe with the flu vaccine). However, on a population level (e.g.: group of fish) there are always non-responders (even with the best vaccines) and the proportion of these can vary based on the vaccine, the factors mentioned previously and pos-

sibly individual genetics. In fact, a vaccine may not protect an individual in an at-risk situation, but may protect a group of fish from an outbreak. This is part of what is called the “herd effect”, where the immunity of the herd actually will protect non-responders by inhibiting the pathogen load from getting in and building up to cause disease. Furthermore, a vaccine may not necessarily control a disease entirely in the population, but just down to a level that is economically acceptable for the farmer. 4.Added to this complex picture, there IS a difference between how well different vaccines work depending on the mode of application, and specifics about the vaccine itself, including but not limited to: how it was grown (or how an iden-

There are many instances of successful wetlab vaccines taken to a production environment where they fail miserably.

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Health Highlights




Figure 1. a, b, c. Vaccines role in disease control in relation to other important areas expressed as a “disease dam”. A) Represents control through highly efficacious vaccine (other areas still critical). B) Represents lesseffective vaccine and failure. C) Represents success with less effective vaccine as a result of shoring up other areas.

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tified immunogen is propagated), killed, processed, assembled, and what was the nature and amount of any adjuvant that was included, as well as other constituents. This is as much of an art as it is a science and vaccine technology is mostly unpatented with closely guarded knowhow from a relatively short history of use in fish. So, given two similar vaccines, there can be a difference in how much one can contribute to the disease dam (“size of brick”) of Figure 1. The disease organism itself can be responsible for a large degree of the inherent efficacy. Some bacterins are impressive in how they work with simple “grow and kill” recipes (e.g.: Typical Yersinia ruckeri or Vibrio spp.) -almost approaching a “silver bullet” status. Others, such as Aeromonas salmonicida (associated with Furunculosis) take a little more in terms of growth methodologies, downstream processing, strain selection, etc., and even then efficacy is not near what the previous examples are, with injection often being the only method that provides an adequate measure of protection versus immersion. Some bacteria and viruses continue to elude efforts to develop an adequate cost-effective solution (IHN in trout; Aeromonas hydrophila). Some may need multiple applications (“boosters”) in order to show any effect.

Should a farm try a vaccine option? So, how is a farmer to wade through all of the above complexity and decide whether to try a vaccine strategy for a particular disease? First of all, most vaccines and iterative vaccine formulation improvements are the products of work done in “wetlabs”, where vaccinated and non-vaccinated fish are challenged with the disease organism. Although useful as a baseline, farmers need to understand that wetlab efficacy data does not necessarily translate to the “real

world”. There are many instances of successful wetlab vaccines taken to a production environment where they fail miserably. Most of the reasons for this center round the above discussion regarding the immune system and its interaction with the pathogen and the environment, including all the other factors discussed in Figure 1, which are difficult to duplicate in an in vitro wetlab setting. Despite the technology employed, the mode of application or the regulatory status, the best approach is to KEEP IT SIMPLE and remember what that means: Will the cost of the vaccine and what it takes to administer likely provide a payback, or at least pay for itself ? With today’s “on-the-hip” technology (smart phones, tablets, etc.) and the widespread use of spreadsheets, it is relatively easy to do a cost-effectiveness scenario in order to help in the decision-making process. Figure 2 from Lillehaug’s 1989 paper (Aquaculture 83: 227-236) provides an excellent starting point with a formula for costs and savings that can be put into a spreadsheet and modified to suit a particular circumstance. The power of this approach is that a farmer can put in various vaccine efficacy scenarios in order to see how a vaccine would have to work in order to pay for itself, and what level of protection it

would have to reach to provide an acceptable payback (which can vary between roughly 1:2 or 1:10 in dollars spent:gained). The author has often used this approach with clients who would like to try to incorporate vaccines, but are having trouble determining whether it is worth it. For example, the savings:cost formula for one farm and one disease was even ($0) if the RPS (Relative Percent Survival) level was 10% (relative number of vaccinated fish that would have otherwise died to the disease). At the 50% RPS scenario, the farmer would save/gain $500,000, and at the 90% RPS scenario, the farmer would save/gain $1,500,000. The obvious question is how does a farmer decide what might be a reasonable RPS to expect from a vaccine, in order to plug in to the formula to help in the decision-making process of whether to try or not?

There are no hard and fast rules, but if the RPS needs to be extremely high (>75%) in order to achieve break-even with an unknown vaccine (costs=savings), then expecting a satisfactory result might be a bit of a stretch. A good rule of thumb would be to consider trying a vaccine if the breakeven of the costsavings spreadsheet is 20% or less (this figure will vary with what the farmer is comfortable with, financial status, risk aversion, etc.). This could be interpreted that the vaccine only has to perform 20% or better at your facility versus not vaccinating in order to pay for itself. That isn’t too much of a stretch. If the cost-savings breakeven is 5%, that is almost an easy decision (why not try?), or if it is something like 95% (too much to expect, not much payback headroom and probably not worth it).

Of course if there is evidence that a particular vaccine is a particular long-shot (hasn’t been done before despite numerous efforts) or if there is trusted evidence of solid protection in the wetlab, and even some positive production performance from other situations, then this “action” RPS level might be adjusted up and down accordingly.

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Health Highlights

Of course if there is evidence that a particular vaccine is a particular long-shot (hasn’t been done before despite numerous efforts) or if there is trusted evidence of solid protection in the wetlab, and even some positive production performance from other situations, then this “action” RPS level might be adjusted up and down accordingly.

Which vaccine option to try? As for which vaccines to choose from, this will vary with respect to what country you are from (regulations), or method which is feasible for you to employ (oral, immersion, injectable). From a regulatory point of view (depending on your country), types of vaccines that you can access fall into several categories, in approximate order of the flexibility of their formula these are: fully-licensed;

The major mode of application is the other important consideration (oral, immersion or injection). Although every farmer prefers the oral route, as it is the least effort and stress on the fish, these are usually the least efficacious and gives the shortest duration of protection.

conditionally licensed; experimental; autogenous; and non-licensed (regulatory exempt). 1. Fully-licensed vaccines are generally only available for the major species and major established diseases because of the cost to develop and manufacturer in a licensed facility, with mandatory batch safety and potency tests. These measures assure consistency (safety and potency), but

Injection vaccination of salmon. An experienced team with the right set up can inject 2500 to 3000 fish/person/hour.

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may not translate to field efficacy particularly if there are geographic strain differences of the pathogen(s). Farmers are well aware of licensed vaccines with questionable field performance. However, for those established diseases in large industries (eg: salmon), licensed vaccines have excellent track records. They have been instrumental in driving current fish vaccine technology.

2. Experimental and conditional vaccines are produced under the similar standards, but efficacy and sometimes safety in the field, aren’t known. They are used by farmers with the understanding that they are “on their way” to being licensed. There usually have been several successful wetlab studies that has brought a vaccine to this point of development. Paperwork is often required as these are pre-licensing studies. 3. Autogenous-licensed vaccines were created realizing the dynamic nature of disease and how licensed products couldn’t be changed quickly enough or cost-effectively to keep up. They must be produced in an autogenous-licensed facility and must be tested for short-term safety but not any kind of potency or efficacy (that is up to the farmer to assess). For fish – a minor species, even the autogenous regulations required for production limits their usefulness as a cost-effective option. 4. Regulatory-exempt vaccines (US). These can only be made by animal owners for their own animals, or by licensed veterinarians for their clients. The advantage is maximum flexibility and customization for a situation and facility, with the disadvantage of being: limited quantities

From a regulatory point of view (depending on your country), types of vaccines that you can access fall into several categories, in approximate order of the flexibility of their formula.

and varying quality. They are more of a medical approach between the veterinarian and farmer, who together come up with a solution that works and is safe on the particular farm. Also, unless a veterinarian (whose license is on the line) or animal owner (whose livelihood is on the line) has any familiarly or expertise with vaccines, experimentation may not be a prudent choice. This avenue is an important mechanism that recognizes the inherent safety of most vaccines, and provides a mechanism for initial field use, which may lead to registered products. These cannot be made in licensed facilities under the US Code of Federal Regulations pertaining to animal vaccines. The major mode of application is the other important consideration (oral, immersion or injection). Although every farmer prefers the oral route, as it is the least effort and stress on the fish, these are usually the least efficacious and gives the shortest duration of protection. In fact, for most vaccines to date, a gross generalization (there are exceptions!) might be that the ease (and expense) of application (oral > immersion > injection) goes hand in hand with the least to best duration and efficacy (injection: best). This does enter into the cost-savings formulation discussed previously and can influence whether it is worth considering vaccination. In summary, vaccination is an important, yet underutilized tool in fish culture. It is a complex product, with equally complex interactions with the host, environment, and disease organism. With this understanding and using cost-savings metrics to help in the decision-making process, farmers should be encouraged to not ignore this important weapon that may be of substantial help in disease control and reducing overall aqua-business risk.

Hugh Mitchell, MS, DVM is an aquaculture veterinarian with more than 25 years of experience, who provides services and fish health tools to fish farmers across the US and Canada. His practice is AquaTactics Fish Health, out of Kirkland, Washington, specializing in bringing a comprehensive professional service/product package to aquaculture, including: vaccine solutions, immune stimulants, sedatives, antimicrobials and parasiticides. website:; contact:

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Leave Me Alone By Michael Joseph Picchietti*


hen it comes to the seafood and aquaculture industries, the realities of our dwindling natural resources are constantly in our faces, in the media and in our laws. After all, our medium is water and we are dealing with limited natural resources that are in demand by more and more people. It’s not only population fueling demand but growing wealth in the developing


“The more laws, the less justice.” Marcus Tullius Cicero (106 BC)

world demanding more and better food. It’s clear that regulatory pressures are continuing to build like a giant tsunami. Nature, by its very nature, is in limited supply, resulting in the wild capture seafood industry shrinking, while the aquaculture industry is trying to grow to keep up with demand amid a regulatory blitz. I can’t think of a better market for regulatory products and services than the seafood and aquaculture

industries. However, consumers are less and less confident their governments are capable of protecting the food supply—especially after the mad cow, bird flu and deadly bacterial outbreaks. Proof of this lack of governmental trust is evident in the creation and growth of the non-governmental organizations (NGO’s) like ASC, Aquaculture Stewardship Council, which is working to provide confidence in the aquaculture sector.

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Clearly for the seafood industry (wild capture) regulatory controls via quotas are the main market controlling mechanism in determining the volume of catches for Pollock, Cod, Salmon, lobster, whales, etc. and at what price they end up in the market. In effect, these regulators also determine who is going to make money (or not) within this regulated supply. Regulatory control over supply in a demand-rich environment regulates the price and margin, as well as who is going to supply it. There is no profitability in the wild catch seafood business other than through regulatory control or quotas. The money is in the quota, that’s the business. There comes a point when all these “regs” can work against that which they are trying to regulate and by nature of their mandate they become the limiting factor of the supply. The same actors that had been involved in the ocean-based wild fisheries regulations are expanding into the aquaculture industry. While there are similarities in wild capture and aquaculture, there are also significant differences. The conservationist atti-

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tudes and actions of regulators imposed on wild harvest quotas are being imposed onto aquaculture-based issues. Many of the scientists working for conservation NGO’s have no experience and little knowledge of how aquaculture really works. Their knowledge, attitudes and lens into the industryis are grounded in oceanbased wild capture fisheries knowledge and battles over those issues. If the educated scientists coming out of fisheries colleges don’t understand aquaculture, how can we expect the consumer to understand it? It doesn’t take much searching to find misinformation on the internet about salmon, shrimp and tilapia being worse than bacon or donuts and living in water with excrement. It’s going to take some careful strategic thought from those trying to produce aquaculture seafood to address these differences and educate those that are going to make a career in regulating the industry for this all to work out. The big debate over more or less regulations has morphed into our platforms of political parties, tea party and the enlightened left. It’s be-

The conservationist attitudes and actions of regulators imposed on wild harvest quotas are being imposed onto aquaculturebased issues.

come a polarizing factor in our body politic. The risk of over regulation, ill constructed regulations, or burdensome regulations for producers who try to live by a code of fairness and ethics can easily result in the honest ones leaving the industry because of the burden of various rules and regulations. I know I personally spend a considerable amount of my time dealing with rules and regulations in

one form or another compared to actually farming fish. If we look at the growth of the number of employees directly and indirectly making their livings in the rules and regulation industries, I think it’s a growth sector being born. It’s therefore logical that they are going to keep creating regulatory products and services to justify their incomes. In the end, for the producer of products, there must exist a sense of right and wrong, a sense of responsibility to society and the consumer for our food supply to establish confidence. If not, rules and regulations imposed by others are not going to work. Over two hundred years ago Edmund Burke said, “It is not what a lawyer tells me I may do; but what humanity, reason, and justice tell me I ought to do.” In aquaculture there are many examples both past and present of the regulatory burden and its impact on production. Dr. Carol Engle outlines this very well in her publication,

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“Competitiveness of U.S. Aquaculture within the current U.S. Regulatory Framework.” (Carole Engle & Nathan Stone, 2013) Interestingly, in the paper there are references to 1,300 various regulations U.S. aquaculturists must deal with. AA2012/AA2012_0223.pdf Tilapia regulations in the late 70’s and early 80’s in Florida determined, and undermined, any profitable tilapia culture. At first private farmers had a hard time even getting permits for tilapia. In the early 80’s, growers were required to install bird netting over outdoor ponds and facilities. Of course, for the volume and space needed for grow out this was a complete deal breaker. In my opinion, this had an intended consequence of forcing investor farmers to use unprofitable RAS techniques, which appeared more environmentally friendly to conservationists but have been largely unprofitable to investors, especially with early 1980’s technology. In this unworkable regulatory environment of the 1980’s, I left Florida and worked in tilapia aquaculture outside the U.S. for many years. Many countries, especially developing tropical ones with younger, poorer populations, had a more pragmatic view of aquaculture production methods to feed their growing populations. I eventually returned to Florida in the late 90’s. By that time, Florida Fish and Game had scrapped the foolish

bird net regulations, finally allowed T. nilotica to be cultured and reluctantly allowed outdoor pond culture. I designed and operated an outdoor pond farm in Central Florida using 12 1-acre ponds to test the economics of outdoor ponds. We proved we could get through the winters pump-

Tilapia regulations in the late 70’s and early 80’s in Florida determined, and undermined, any profitable tilapia culture. A at first private farmers had a hard time even getting permits for tilapia. In the early 80’s, growers were required to install bird netting over outdoor ponds and facilities. Of course, for the volume and space needed for grow out this was a complete deal breaker.

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ing 75°F well water during cold spells and grow less expensive tilapia in ponds than using the RAS system. We were supplying the live market in New York City in the late 90’s from Florida earthen ponds. With a good cement purge system, we could harvest, reduce handling stress and control temperatures—it worked. However, certain individuals in the Florida Fish and Game Commission were never happy about the possibility of an outdoor tilapia pond industry developing in Florida. One sunny day, a Fish and Game team raided the farm while I was pumping out a fingerling pond onto a cow pasture to harvest the fish. They had been filming my activities in a stakeout over some time. They arrested me, charging me with discharging exotic tilapia into

the “waters of the state.” Of course I argued how can a 300 acre dry cow pasture become a water of the state, as it’s full of cows eating grass? It so happened that 100 years ago the pasture was underwater and remained therefore in the 100 year flood plain, so this was not permitted. Plus these were the dangerous T. nilotica species. So they arrested me. When I went before the judge with all the other criminals in orange jump suits, my lawyer explained to the judge the charges and the judge burst out laughing saying, “This is the crime of the F#@%&*g century” and let me off. So I was arrested but not convicted. It was shortly after that I realized a large tilapia industry was not going to happen in the U.S., and once again I looked offshore becoming a co-

founder with Regal Springs Tilapia in Indonesia and Honduras. I kept my Florida hatchery going during that time through the good efforts of Jim Riggin, my partner in Aquasafra,Inc. It still supplies many U.S. tilapia farmers with their babies. I’m not using earthen ponds anymore, as Johnny Cash sang it, “I crossed the Man and the Man won!” “People crushed by laws, have no hope but to evade power. If the laws are their enemies, they will be enemies to the law; and those who have most to hope and nothing to lose will always be dangerous.” Edmund Burke An epilogue to this saga: A few years ago (2012) I had a conversation with a State Fisheries regulator about the genetic makeup of the wild tila-

pia in Florida public water bodies. I’m referring to the so-called T. aurea that the Florida Fish and Game released in the 70’s into the wild to eat algae. They said these were Tilapia aurea and they were expected to be pure line Tilapia aurea, obtained from Auburn University. Since the T. aurea were all over the state within 20 years, the Fish and Game reduced the burden of citizens requiring a permit for the species, but nobody wanted to grow T. aurea as a pure line. T. nilotica is the workhorse species for tilapia farming, but T. nilotica was still much feared by Florida regulators and required significant permitting. However, from the genetic testing study conducted on the wild tilapia in the various lakes in central Florida, it was discovered that the wild Tilapia aurea also had T. nilotica genes as well. They are hybrids. Due to the huge statistical number, the regulator concluded the “pure T. aurea” must have been a mixed species from day one. In effect, all this time the wild tilapia are hybrids of T. nilotica and T. aurea. I was excited and expected this study would also free T. nilotica from so much regulation. Clearly, extensive permitting isn’t needed anymore since T. nilotica genes as well were widely established throughout Florida. However, you don’t hear about this study and the regulations still stand, regulating T. nilotica as an exotic rather than an established species. Inspections and restrictions continue, even though every major public lake and river from Central Florida to the Keys has hybrids with T. nilotica. A similar story is going on in California, banning T. nilotica and only allowing T. mossambica. But California is special, so I won’t go there with this article. We need a tilapia anti-discrimination movement to fit these litigious times we live. It took another 30 years before the Florida tilapia farming industry and its other aquaculture industries were able to achieve some sanity in » 69


commercial production. Pioneers like Craig Watson of IFAS fighting for the rights of the tropical fish farmers and Paul Zajicek leading from the Florida Department of Aquaculture were key to bringing sanity to Florida Aquaculture. After studying regulations in other jurisdictions and finally settling on the ike the Norway model, Zajicek was able to streamline the permitting process and put it under one agency rather than five. The concept and model for the Fish and Game Commissions came from 1600’s England, during the time when regulators protected the King’s game. Everyone remembers stories of Robin Hood and the Sheriff of Nottingham in Sherwood Forest; the sheriff was a game warden! 70 »

Long before my experiences in Florida, I realized Florida and most of the U.S. did not want aquaculture. Florida real estate, and its water, was going to the established highest bidders: tourism, housing for Northern baby boomer retirees and agriculture concentrated on products of citrus, cattle and tomatoes. So we buy 90 percent of our farmed aquaculture products from foreign producers. When these producers succeed at farming aquaculture products to export to the U.S., the few U.S. producers attempt to install some regulations to block these producers and to increase the value of their own production. For instance, the catfish industry’s socalled Farm Bill is trying for the

The impact and effects from rules and regulations on aquaculture producers is all encompassing. They are negatively impacting society and the consumers they are trying to protect.

eighth time to regulate catfish from Vietnam out of the U.S. markets. One of the world’s more successful industry leaders Charles Koch from Koch Industries is quoted as saying, “When a company is not being guided by the products they make and what the customers need, but by how they can manipulate the system—get regulations on their competitors, or mandates on using their products, or eliminating foreign competition—it just lowers the overall standard of living and hurts the disadvantaged the most.” The impact and effects from rules and regulations on aquaculture producers is all encompassing. They are negatively impacting society and the consumers they are trying to protect. They determine so many of our choices, actions, reactions, efforts and behavior. They determine almost all of our economic activity, the foods we eat and the foods we cannot eat. In the seafood and aquaculture business, regulations are determining who can produce, what to produce, who can import, what, and even how much.. Most of all, creating rules and regulations has spawned an industry of workers (regulators) that get paid

directly and indirectly to create and regulate these so-called laws. The world is getting larger, but the wealth is not being created or keeping up with demand, instead quality of life is worsening. There is an inverse relationship between the volume of regulations and the creation of wealth. More regulations, less growth, less wealth from production of goods and services. The laws, rules and regulations have so many unintended consequences that they must be reviewed and removed constantly. These “laws” are hampering our creative abilities to develop solutions and products the world needs to survive.owadays, that without first discovering the rules we cannot move forward to know the action or solution. In fact, we cannot even create solutions in over-regulated environments “Life, liberty, and property do not exist because men have made laws. On the contrary, it was the fact that life, liberty, and property existed beforehand that caused men to make laws in the first place.” Frederic Bastiat Rules and regulations therefore determine who we are, what we can do and everything about our state of

living from consumption to dealing with waste. It is the power of powers with a historical timeline, coming from almost no rules and regulations in our early history to 2015 with regulations expanding exponentially into every aspect of our lives. Regulations are determining the outcome of our efforts, they are the governing principles behind the law of unintended consequences. They create the platforms for political parties. What is it about rules and regulations that bothers individuals so much or bothers certain individuals more than others? These questions certainly seem to be one of the main issues that impacts individuals, societies and industries. In the seafood business (aquaculture included), it’s about resources, mostly natural resources. There are too many people chasing a diminishing amount of resources. So it seems natural there has to be regulations that regulate these resources. Is this possible? Is there a way to equitably and fairly regulate food or the resources required to produce food? A 200-year-old Frenchman was right when he said, “Laws are spider webs through which the big flies pass and the little ones get caught.” Honore de Balzac.

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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FLAT W SALES – WHAT WE NEED TO DO There are many factors that play roles in trends of flat seafood consumption. From a consumer’s perspective these range from how easy it is to purchase (availability), to value for money (price), to convenience of preparation/cooking and overall satisfaction of the taste (quality).

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hen you come to think of it how many industry meetings have there been discussing all these issues where the whole chain gets to talk about their issues and where the whole industry focuses on ensuring the end users’ needs/wants are being met? That would be very few but many large organisations would be trying to get all their departments cohesively solving such issues. There are very few fully integrated companies in the world of seafood that harvest product and are responsible for the whole chain through to the global end user and we are reliant in many cases on smaller players in the chain. How seriously they treat their role is therefore imperative.

In the US we know a much larger market exists for seafood than we have now because we know that most Americans consume seafood BUT in inadequate amounts to meet federal dietary guidance, especially when evaluated based upon energy needs. This was recently confirmed in a report ‘Intake of Seafood in the US Varies by Age, Income, and Education Level but Not by RaceEthnicity’ by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), Department of Food Science and Nutrition and Centre for Exercise, Nutrition, and Health Sciences. Knowing how important seafood is to women’s health it is an indictment on us all to see that among seafood consumers, women and individuals of lower age and education levels consumed less seafood and approximately 80%–90% of seafood consumers did not meet seafood recommendations when needs were estimated by energy requirements. The continual confusion over advisories on mercury issues is still playing a big role in this and is fuelled by scare-mongering tactics on the internet and in the media.

Information is available to everyone so we do not need more money wasted on studies and the evidence is overwhelming that the benefits of eating seafood far outweigh any risks. If you do want to ‘hang your hat’ on a study look at ‘Fish Consumption and Prenatal Methylmercury Exposure: Cognitive and Behavioral Outcomes in the Main Cohort at 17 Years from the Seychelles Child Development Study’. The Seychellois consume ocean fish daily and do not consume sea mammals or fresh water fish. In addition, ocean fish in the Seychelles has a Mercury (MeHg) content similar to commercially available fish in most parts of the world. The aver-

age consumption in the Seychelles is over eight times the amount of seafood an average American consumes. We need a ‘call to action’ on two major fronts: negative publicity and empowering our industry supply chain through training. In order to tackle the major problems head on industry and government must collaborate and this needs to happen sooner rather than later. Negative publicity is a cancer that has been allowed to happen and we must stop it and eliminate the problem once and for all. This is not about covering up any clandestine industry activity but simply about getting out the truth about the importance of seafood in the diet. It

Our businesses are only as good as the people we have working in them, and they are an amazing asset if looked after.

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can be only done with a consumer who has confidence. At the moment the consumer is more suspicious of seafood than they have previously been. For far too long there has been a fog created about mercury in seafood. There has not been any evidence of any American citizen dying from mercury poisoning from just being a regular seafood eater. The risk factor is heavily weighed the other way – by not eating seafood you are doing yourself harm! Where is that in the mainstream media? Every year since the 1930’s over 30,000 people have died on American roads through motor vehicle accidents which equates to about 2.5 million people and the current daily average is around 90 people per day. Has it diminished the demand to drive a motor vehicle? Of course there are rules and regulations and the motor vehicle industry is continually trying to improve its safety record with new innovation and technology. In that same time ZERO people have been reported dying from eating too much seafood and suffering mercury poisoning. It is time for every one of us to make our feelings known when the media or NGO’s raise the mercury issue. Once the lies and innuendo are out there the

We need a ‘call to action’ on two major fronts: negative publicity and empowering our industry supply chain through training.

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information just continues to flow like molten lava taking all before it. We must put those who are promoting the lies to the test of ensuring they show the evidence of harm or promoting their apology with correct information educating people with the truth. Any one of you engaging in social media will know that the psyche of the majority of people is that they will long remember the negative before the positive. That has become the nature of politics and media as they know how easy it is to spread a negative message compared to a positive one. Life, of course, is not always about what your enemy is doing. What you are doing is also impor-

tant and for too long our industry has done very little. To understand the need of having trained staff we need to challenge ourselves and experience what the consumer receives as service. It is doubtful that we would be happy with what we see. At the end user part of the business, where the consumer connects with our industry it is all about service and generally speaking we are at the low end of the spectrum being a nil entry employer (no training required…). When times get tough, training budgets are usually one of the first areas that get slashed. This is an unfortunate phenomenon considering the impact it has on an organization’s recruitment, retention and employee

ees to remain positive and contribute to the vision of the organization more than this. • Employee Contributions - employees who are engaged in education outside of your business often bring back what they learn to the organization and apply learned concepts to the job. This offers value to the organization and provides for real life application for the staff member. It is a win-win for both. • Employee Retention – staff typically stay with an organization that is footing the bill for their education. Some organizations require students to stay with the organization for a period of time after graduation to be eligible for tuition reimbursement. Your policies in this area should be considered carefully as you do not want people staying who are resentful of being ‘trapped’ in a program. Here is another good tip for you – if staff do not want to engage in training then do you need them? People who are not prepared to engage and learn are anchors to your business and you would be better to know that, part company and move on. Happy Fishmongering…. morale. Our businesses are only as good as the people we have working in them, and they are an amazing asset if looked after.

Here are some of the benefits of training your staff: • Staffing - prospective employees assess job opportunities to determine the fit and they look at the employee benefit package. Tuition reimbursement as a benefit is attractive to employees who endeavor to continue their education but lack the resources to do so. This can be a determining factor in an employee accepting a job offer. • Company Advantage - the world does not stand still and businesses need to keep their employee skills

current in order to be competitive. Massive competitive advantages can be obtained in software programs, technology changes, and improved seafood knowledge, customer service skills and/or leadership trends. All are excellent examples of a well trained work force. • Employee Morale – happy positive well trained employees equals good business. Let us face it, most employees stay satisfied in a job for a period of time and then look for growth opportunities. Employees who continually develop their professional skills or pursue higher education need your support as they are your potential future leaders but will be looking for career advancement opportunities in their future. Nothing drives employ-


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Middle East Aquaculture Forum 2015 Apr. 5 - Apr. 7 DWTC - Dubai World Trade Centre, 2nd Zaabel Road (D 73 Rd),Alsaada Dubai, United Arab Emirates. T:+32 9233 4912 Seafood Lima Apr. 16 - Apr. 18 Lima, Peru. T:+511 201-7820 European Tuna Conference Apr. 20 Sheraton Brussels Hotel

Brussels, Belgium T:+31 162 714044 F :+31 162 430525 Seafood Processing Global Apr. 21 - Apr. 23 Brussels, Belgium. T:+1 207.842.5504 F :+1 207-842-5505 MAY 2015 Sial China May. 6 - May. 8 Shanghai, China. VIV Rusia May. 19 - May. 21 International Crocus Exhibition Center Moscow, Russia. T:+31 (0)30 295 2302

F :+31 (0)30 295 2809 World Aquaculture 2015 May. 26 - May. 30 Jeju Exhibition & Convention Center Jeju Island, Korea. T:+32 9-233 4912 WA15 AquaForum May. 27 - May. 29 Jeju Exhibition & Convention Center Jeju Island, Korea. T:+32 9-233 4912 Skipper Expo Int. May. 30 AECC, Aberdeen, United Kingdom T:+353 (0) 74 954 8037 F :+ 353 (0) 74 9548940

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Please note the following corrections: With regard to the article on the use of periphytic natural food in production of organic tilapia (in volume 40-5), the co-authors A. Barki and S. Harpaz do indeed work for the Agricultural Research Organization, but they are stationed in Bet Dagan, Israel. The original overview was published in the open access Transylvanian Review of Systematical and Ecological Research – The Wetlands Diversity, volume 15.1, in 2013, and this recognition was inadvertently omitted. We wish to recognize the Editor in Chief of that journal, Dr. Angela Bãnãduc from Lucian Blaga University of Sibiu, Faculty of Sciences, Department of Environmental Sciences, Romania, for her kind permission to share this study, and for her work as Editor at the Review, which consistently presents many articles that will be of interest to aquatic ecologists and aquaculturists. With regard to the article on the NAA’s Dietician/Nutritionist study in our last issue (41-1), the NAA has clarified that authorship should be attributed to Linda O’Dierno. Any questions on the nutrition survey should be directed to Linda at the NAA office: 850.216.2400.

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Aquaculture Magazine April / May 2015 Volume 41 Number 2  
Aquaculture Magazine April / May 2015 Volume 41 Number 2  

Does aquaculture add resilience to the global food system?