INDEX Aquaculture Magazine Volume 42 Number 1 February - March 2016
cover 6 Genetic effects influencing salinity tolerance in tilapia (Oreochromis).
The extent and causes of loss during on-growing of salmon and trout in cages along the Norwegian coast.
Trading Guns for Nets.
Ocean Stewards Applaud Final Clearance of NOAA Rule for Aquaculture in the Gulf of Mexico.
ASC’S journey to 200 certified farms shows global commitment to responsible aquaculture. Volume 42 Number 1 February - March 2016
Waterbirds, Rice and Crawfish in Louisiana, A Conservation Success Story with a Dark Side.
Editor and Publisher Salvador Meza email@example.com Editor in Chief Greg Lutz firstname.lastname@example.org Managing Editor Teresa Jasso email@example.com
Book Publishing in Aquaculture, Fisheries and Fish Biology. Part I.
Editorial Design Francisco Cibrián Designer Perla Neri firstname.lastname@example.org Marketing and Communications Manager Alex Meza email@example.com
£2M grant to reduce major aquaculture diseases.
International Sales and Marketing Steve Reynolds firstname.lastname@example.org
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USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service Catfish Program Now Underway.
2015 Final report on shrimp farms in northwestern Mexico. The cycle that strengthens the recovery phase.
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Vietnam Pangasius Industry Still Facing Difficult Times.
Latin America Report
IFC Approves Loan to Omarsa for Promote Export Sector in Ecuador.
Hatchery Technology and Management ..............................................................................52 Offshore Aquaculture
The Shellfish Corner
THE LONG VIEW
comments By C. Greg Lutz
e often hear about how regulations stand in the way of progress for aquaculture production – especially in the US. NOAA’s recent decision to move forward with implementing the Rule for the Fisheries Management Plan for aquaculture in the Gulf of Mexico is an interesting example. For those of us who have tried to wade through all the details, the question inevitably emerges: is this about perseverance or pipe-dreams? Sure, there is FINALLY a path to follow for anyone wanting to attempt offshore production in Gulf waters, but what lies along the way? This path to progress has a number of built-in check points where you can arbitrarily be detained. As our columnist Neil Anthony Sims explains, the NOAA permit (when or 4 »
if you get one- supplies are limited so call now before time runs out!) only allows you to “grow the fish.” This permit process is a bureaucratic regulatory civil servant’s wildest fantasy. NOAA is just a part of the puzzle. The Army Corps of Engineers and the Coast Guard may or may not allow you to deploy your cages and all the hardware that goes with them. And the Corps can consider “input” from any other Federal agencies, even if it comes from some paper pushing career obstructionist with a bone to pick. Your fish, for their part, will need the Environmental Protection Agency’s permission to relieve themselves in the open sea. Oil and gas interests can express any concerns to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management. And you’ll have to find a way to make nice with the locals to avoid any
resentment from the fact that fishing won’t be allowed near your cages and to convince one and all that you are not in conflict with the local Coastal Zone Management Plan. If by some miracle the stars and planets align and you get your permit… it’s only good for 10 years at which point a vague, ill-defined renewal process must be endured. And that’s just the broad brush summary… In the case of Pangasius (tra, swai, or basa) producers in Vietnam, new regulations in the US and in their own country will have tremendous impacts over the next several years. In terms of within-country regulations, there is considerable distress among farmers over requirements outlined in a recent government decree and the perceived potential for the processing sector to damage the indus-
try’s export markets through quality issues such as added water weight and glazing. A bigger problem for the industry, however, may be the development and imposition of a new food safety system that will ultimately be evaluated by the US FSIS. If a rigorous government inspection and enforcement system covering farms, plants, laboratories and other critical quality control points along the value chain cannot be implemented to the FSIS’ satisfaction, the industry as a whole could face serious sanctions, and loss of its primary export market. Additionally… if internal corruption undermines the effectiveness of such a system, the industry could suffer the same results. Government support for aquaculture always gets headlines, but very
few producers ever see any real financial assistance apart from a handful of politically connected operations. In Europe, the government agencies seem to put their money where their mouth is (or the public’s money, anyway…). And, the International Monetary Fund is putting someone’s money out there to further develop the shrimp farming industry in Ecuador. But for US aquaculture, direct assistance to the real industry, the producers, remains entirely out of the question in the foreseeable future. In the meantime, bankers have finally begun to reach out once more to producers in the US catfish industry. Certification continues to spread across the production sector, with producers, processors, retailers and consumers taking notice. However, in many cases the whole certification
exercise may result in little long-term improvement in sustainability. Drs. Claude Boyd and Aaron McNevin resume their discussion on this topic in The Long View, and make some convincing arguments that some tweaking is probably in order. Another argument for tweaking the status quo is presented by Dr. Michael Rice in our shellfish column. And who knows… things may change. Every so often, logic prevails.
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.
Genetic effects influencing salinity tolerance
in tilapia (Oreochromis) Most commercially utilized tilapia varieties around the globe are derived from the Nile tilapia, Oreochromis niloticus, or its hybrids with blue tilapia, Oreochromis aureus, and most exhibit limited salinity tolerance. In contrast, the Mozambique tilapia, Oreochromis mossambicus is widely recognized as among the most salinity-tolerant tilapia species. However, most strains of this fish exhibit commercially By Charles Gregory Lutz , Alvaro M Armas-Rosales2 & ArnoldMSaxton3 1
arly attempts to combine growth and conformation traits from other species with the orange-red coloration originally observed as a recessive trait in O. mossambicus resulted in red hybrids and synthetic varieties derived from them, and over time interest in their salinity tolerance has increased. Commercial tilapia varieties that combine salinity tolerance and superior growth can allow for economically feasible production in many coastal and desert regions, but an understanding of the genetic effects involved is a prerequisite for their development. The goal of this study was to examine the salinity tolerance of six varieties of Oreochromis exhibiting a broad range of salinity tolerance, and their reciprocal crosses, in a full diallel mating design and to develop appropriate statistical procedures to evaluate the influences of various ge6 Âť
unacceptable growth rates and small size at maturity.
netic effects on this trait. These varieties included a line of blue tilapia originally from Lake Manzala Egypt (hereafter referred to as BL), the synthetic variety Florida red tilapia (FL), another synthetic variety descended in large part from the Rocky Mountain White TilapiaÂŽ and referred to as Mississippi Commercial strain (MC), a line of O. mossambicus resulting from random mating between two South African strains (MO), O. niloticus descended from the Auburn-Egypt strain (NI), and O. niloticus F1 crossbreds of NI females with males from the Stirling red Nile line (RE). Over two consecutive summers, randomly selected fish from all parental varieties were used to produce diallel crosses, one each year, at the Louisiana State University Agricultural Centerâ€™s Aquaculture Research Station in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Males of each variety were stocked with females of each variety, such that thirty-six outdoor fiberglass tanks were stocked with 2-3 females per male, with eight to 12 fish per pool, depending on individual weights. Fish were allowed to spawn of their own volition and females incubated eggs and fry within the tanks. Beginning at approximately 45 d post-stocking, samples of fingerlings from each cross were collected at 15- to 30-day intervals. A total of five trials were conducted over 13 months to estimate salinity tolerances of juveniles from parental varieties and their reciprocal crosses. A recirculating system was used for salinity tolerance trials (see illustration). Mortality data were analyzed as interval sensitive. In the absence of significant year, trial or size (total length) effects, salinity tolerance data from the two diallels were pooled and each trial was considered a replicate. The genetic model for statistical analysis of offspring included line effects (li) defined as the average direct (transmitted) genetic effects of parental varieties, and maternal effects (mi) similarly defined as the average maternal
Cross heterosis tilapia salinity.
Direct heterosis tilapia salinity.
Salinity Trial Methods.
genetic influence of each variety, each with an expected sum of zero. Reciprocal effects (rij) were defined as differences between reciprocal crosses, while specific reciprocal effects (r**ij) represented reciprocal effects less average maternal differences between parental varieties. Heterosis in a cross between parental varieties (hij) was partitioned into overall heterosis contributed by the varieties included in the diallel ( ), plus the direct heterosis of each variety in the cross as a deviation from overall heterosis (hi or hj), and the specific heterosis [sij or specific combining ability (SCA)] of the variety combination in the cross. General combining ability (GCA) of any given variety, or the average performance of the variety in crosses with other varieties, was defined as the sum of one-half of the varietyâ€™s line effect and its direct heterosis, also with an expected sum of zero across all parental varieties. A total of 2,205 F1 juveniles were evaluated for salinity tolerance. MST ranged from 25.0 ppt (NI) to 48.7 ppt (FL) among parental varieties, and cumulative survival curves of parental varieties indicated three distinct survival patterns, with MO and FL grouped together, BL alone, and MC, NI and RE together. Results indicated FL and MO dams would generally produce offspring with mean salinity tolerances of 45 ppt or greater. Line effect estimates indicated that offspring of BL, FL or MO were significantly more salinity tolerant than those of MC, NI and RE, and GCA estimates indicated that FL would contribute to the most salinity tolerant combinations among parental varieties. Mean heterosis (h) for salinity tolerance was highly significant, and crosses between parental varieties were on average 4.46 ppt more tolerant than parental varieties. Ten of 15 variety combinations exhibited significant or highly significant hij estimates. Reciprocal effect estimates 8 Âť
GCAs tilapia salinity.
Line Effects tilapia salinity.
Maternal effects tilapia salinity.
Reciprocal Effects tilapia salinity.
highlighted probable differences in gene frequencies among varieties and specific reciprocal effects were almost equally influential. The FL variety used in this study tolerated up to 77 ppt, similar to previous reports for this synthetic line. Our MO variety tolerated up to 84 ppt, with an estimated MST of 46 ppt. In contrast with O. mossambicus and Florida Red tilapia, the poor salinity tolerance of O. niloticus is widely recognized. Among parental varieties, NI exhibited the lowest MST (25 ppt) in this study. Nonetheless, crossing NI males with FL females resulted in the highest MST estimate (52.5 + 3.14 ppt) for any cross in the study, highlighting the influence of dominance effects on this trait in certain crosses. For those wishing to develop their own salt-tolerant lines of tilapia, varieties with the highest GCAs would also be expected to exhibit the highest net crossing effects. Results suggest that maternal effects can also be utilized in development of salt tolerant stocks. Although NI and RE varieties (both O. niloticus) were virtually indistinguishable in terms of salinity tolerance and cumulative mortality, offspring from RE females were on average 7.7 ppt more salinity tolerant than those of NI, presumably due to heterotic maternal effects. Genetic sex ratios could also be an important consideration when evaluating tilapia stocks for salt water grow out. As a result of combined genetic effects the MO x BL cross was among the most salinity tolerant in these trials (MST of 51 ppt) and appeared to produce predominantly male juveniles, but this finding could not be considered conclusive. An aquaculture facility capable of conducting a simple 3 x 3 diallel design may obtain sufficient performance information to improve salinity tolerance based only on cross means. In the absence of software to statistically estimate genetic effects, cumulative mortality curves are also useful in identifying 10 Âť
Specific heterosis tilapia salinity.
Specific Reciprocal tilapia salinity.
Survival Curves Tilapia Varieties.
salt tolerant tilapia. The persistence of a significant portion of positive heterosis in the original hybrid cross could partially explain the superior salt tolerance of the Florida Red synthetic line. Evaluation of salinity tolerance in juveniles from diallel mating designs provided clear evidence of additive, dominance and maternal genetic effects influencing this trait in all crosses. All these influences must be taken into account in the development of breeding programs to combine salinity tolerance with superior production characteristics. MSTs.
potential heterosis and maternal effects within variety combinations. Since approximately 50% of heterosis is retained when individuals within a line mate at random in the
F1 and subsequent generations, heterosis for salt tolerance exhibited in many of the crosses in this study emphasizes its potential importance in the formation of synthetic strains of
Aquaculture Research Station, Louisiana State University Agricultural Center, Baton Rouge, LA, USA 2 Coastal Fisheries Institute, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA, USA 3 Department of Animal Science, University of Tennessee, Knoxville,TN, USA
The extent and causes of loss during on-growing of
salmon and trout in cages along the Norwegian coast In a comprehensive survey focusing on fish losses in commercial cage farms, three generations of Atlantic salmon and rainbow trout were subject to methodical studies.
By Asbjørn Bergheim1 and Aud Skrudland2
he survey included both ‘half-year smolt’ stocked in autumn and ‘one-year smolt’ stocked in late winter and spring. Approximately 80% of all smolt transferred to the sea cages along the coast of Norway during one year, autumn 2010 – autumn 2011, were involved. Altogether, the survey represented 307 million individuals from 139 smolt farms stocked at 318 cage sites. Salmon represented the majority of the fish groups included (93%). This project was managed by The Norwegian Food Safety Authority (Mattilsynet) and Dr. Hogne Bleie was project leader. Main project partners were the Norwegian University of Life Science and, not
Photo of Krista Holmes, NOAA.
least, the fish farms. The project was financed by Norwegian Seafood Research Fund. The main causes of losses were categorized into five different groups: - Miscellaneous, losses without specified causal connection. - Environmental, losses related to unfavorable environmental conditions, such as high temperature/ low dissolved oxygen concentration, jellyfish blooms, etc. - Mechanical, losses caused by mechanical damage (e.g. pump fault, transport loss of smolt and fish to the slaughterhouse). - Infections, losses caused by infectious diseases, such as IPN, PD, vintersår, but also including damage related to attacks of ectoparasites, such as sea lice and amoebic gill disease (AGD). - Smolt, mortality due to poor smolt quality, e.g. fluctuating smoltification rate, smolt subject to stress before transfer to sea. A part of the survey’s objectives was to indicate regional differences and the coastline was divided into three regions, Southwest (SW) Norway, Mid-Norway (Mid) and Northern Norway (N). On average, the total losses from stocking of smolt in the cages until harvest were between 15 and 18%. A notably increased loss rate was observed from south to north. However, the average losses fluctuated considerably between counties in the main regions – especially in Northern Norway where the two northernmost counties, Troms and Finnmark, reported losses of 23 – 25%, while the reports from the southern county in this region, Nordland, only indicated 10 – 11% lost fish. The loss figures from Nordland represented the lowest level of all nine salmon and trout producing coastal counties. A longer on-growing cycle due to lower temperature as well as increased transport distance from the smolt farm to the cages, especially in Finnmark, are
Figure 1. Distribution of cage farms along the coastline (The Norwegian Directorate of Fisheries, http://kart.fiskeridir.no/)
pointed out as contributing factors to the increased losses in the two northern counties. Almost one sixth of all smolt (16.4%) stocked in Norwegian cages were lost. The main reason was mortality losses due to ‘Infections’ representing 6 - 7% of the total smolt number (c. 20 million of 307 million individuals). Pancreas disease (PD) has been an endemic disease in the SW region for several years and hit the ‘half-year smolt’ generations strongly causing up to 12% losses. Another disease, infectious pancreas disease (IPN), was reported to be a notable cause of loss in about one third of all fish groups. In most cases, the IPN losses are highest during the first 3 months after stocking in the sea. Attacks of sea lice have become a significant problem at many cage farms, especially over the last years in generations of salmon stocked in cages after this reported survey. Fish
losses and extra costs during delousing are heavy burdens to many farmers. The average reported losses per generation from the survey due to delousing were between 0.4% and 0.6%. Amoebic gill disease (AGD) was not indicated at any farm in the survey. Infectious ulcer diseases, including winter ulcer, is generally no big problem in the southern part of Norway (SW) but the average losses are higher in the north (2 – 3% per generation) mainly due to outbreaks of winter ulcer at low water temperature.
Figure 2 Total average losses in sea cages along the coast distributed between main regions: southwestern Norway (SW), mid-Norway (Mid) and northern Norway (N). Regional overall losses. 20 19 18
17 16 15 14 13 12 11 10 SW
Unidentified causes of fish losses, ‘Miscellaneous,’ represented the second largest ‘cause’ of death and amounted to about one fourth of the total. At all large commercial fish farms some individuals will be lost without obvious reasons. Poor smolt quality is another identified major cause of mortality in the cages, especially during the first three months after stocking. In most cases, ‘half-year smolt’ transferred to sea in September – October represented a higher loss rate
compared to smolt stocked in spring. The percentage of losses during the first period at sea varied from 1% to 22% by connecting the entire losses to the specific smolt supplier, but this connection does not explain the causes of loss. Reported mortality caused by unfavorable conditions in the cages, such as oxygen deficit/low water exchange and algae blooms, was found to be low – on average less than 0.5% of the stocked smolt number. About one out of a hundred of salmon and
Figure 3 National average losses versus causal explanation. Overall losses vs. main causes. 18 16 14 12 10 8 6 4 2 0
trout is lost because of mechanical damage. Such damage may occur during transportation between cages, from handling of fish or it might be due to mechanical injury within the cage. The survey makes a reliable impression of the number of losses and the main reasons for mortalities of 1.5 generations of salmonids in sea cages. However, the situation in the farming industry is subject to rapid changes, and there is a need for an ongoing monitoring of the levels and reasons for mortalities as a tool for benchmarking and evaluation of needed actions. 2
A cage operated by a supply vessel.
1 Senior researcher, IRIS, Norway. Special inspector, Norwegian Food Safety Authority, Norway.
of virulence evolution in aquaculture The emergence of highly virulent pathogens has devastated many food production industries. In aquaculture, infectious disease is already a substantial cause of economic loss. Given the rapid growth and By David A. Kennedy, Gael Kurath, Ilana L. Brito, Maureen K. Purcell, Andrew F. Read, James R. Winton and Andrew R. Wargo
trong evidence, nevertheless, suggests that pathogen evolution, including evolution of virulence, is also playing a role in the emergence of some diseases in aquaculture. Continued pathogen emergence is unavoidable as aquaculture intensifies. Here, we consider how current management practices may make aquaculture vulnerable to the evolutionary emergence of high virulence pathogen strains. Our discussion is thus intended to provoke thought rather than provide definitive predictions. Our goal is to draw attention to situations where vigilance may allow for the detection of troublesome evolutionary trajectories before they result in overly problematic pathogens.
dynamic nature of aquaculture worldwide, it seems likely that even without evolution, epidemiological changes will lead to increases in the disease burden of aquaculture.
Practices related to intensive aquaculture operations
Rearing at high densities Stocking density is a critical consideration in aquaculture to maximize productivity within constraints of space, water availability, and operating costs. The relationship between total productivity and rearing density is typically hump- shaped, because at very high densities, growth and survival are reduced due to stress and disease. Nevertheless, rearing densities in aquaculture are almost always higher than in wild populations. The consistently high rearing densities of aquaculture are thus novel environments for pathogens that could facilitate evolution of increased pathogen virulence.
Compression of rearing cycles Evolution of virulence theory predicts that virulence levels depend on the natural lifespan of hosts, because virulence that results in a truncation of the infectious period of a host is more costly in long-lived hosts than short-lived hosts. Shortening the effective host lifespan, for example by compressing the rearing cycle duration, may thus favor evolution of increased pathogen virulence. Optimal harvest time is an important economic consideration in aquaculture, particularly in facilities where rearing can occur year round. To maximize profit, optimal cycle lengths are often intermediate values. However, tremendous improvements to aquaculture growth rates
can be achieved through selective breeding, and as growth rates increase, optimal cycle lengths are likely to decrease. Optimal cycle lengths are thus likely to decrease in the future, which may favor pathogen evolution toward increased virulence. Use of broodstock with limited host genetic diversity Pathogens that replicate quickly within their hosts, for example by evading detection by the immune system, are often assumed to be selectively favored, but high host genetic diversity is thought to mitigate this specialization. When host populations have high genetic diversity, chains of pathogen transmission are likely to involve a diverse set of hosts, and so specialization on any single host genotype is unlikely. Host diversity might therefore prevent specialization, in turn mitigating pathogen virulence. Nevertheless, pathogen strains that specialize on low diversity populations may have high virulence in those populations, and low virulence in more genetically diverse wild populations, because of tradeoffs between generalism and specialism. Aquaculture populations frequently have limited genetic diversity because of selective breeding, founder effects, and inbreeding in broodstock populations. Although
breeding for traits beneficial to aquaculture, such as enhanced growth, disease resistance, and feed conversion, has the potential to greatly improve aquaculture production, it may also result in a loss of heritable diversity. Similarly, during broodstock formation, substantial diversity is often lost due to population bottlenecks and the subsequent domestication process. Consequently, reduced genetic diversity has been observed across several aquaculture systems. Accepting endemic disease in cultured populations When endemic disease is maintained in a host population, pathogens have opportunities to adapt to the specifics of that situation. This might occur for example through specialization on a particular host species or lineage, on a particular host developmental stage, or on other factors such as water temperature. As pathogens become better adapted to replication in a particular setting, virulence in that setting will often increase for reasons similar to those described above relating to limited host genetic diversity. Within aquaculture there are many diseases for which the cost of eradication is prohibitively expensive or control options are unavailable. Pathogen exchange between
wild and cultured populations reared in close proximity can also make eradication of disease economically infeasible.
Practices specific to control of infectious disease Vaccination Vaccines that protect hosts from disease symptoms, but allow for some level of pathogen infection and onward transmission can lead to the evolution of increased virulence. This may result in a decline in vaccine efficacy and more severe disease in unvaccinated individuals for two reasons. First, for vaccines that prevent host death but do not prevent infection or transmission, the infectious periods of highly virulent strains tend to be extended because infected hosts live longer. Second, pathogen traits that often correlate with virulence, such as immune suppression or rapid replication, may enhance pathogen fitness in vaccinated hosts. Vaccination to control disease has been used successfully in finfish aquaculture for many decades, and vaccine use has increased substantially in recent years. Commercial vaccines are available for many of the major aquatic diseases of finfish. Vaccination-like strategies can also induce disease protection in crustaceans, and so development
article Figure 1
Mean duration of an infection
Illustration of a posited tradeoff between virulence and transmission. Virulence induced host mortality shortens the duration of an infection (top), while simultaneously increasing the instantaneous transmissibility of infection (middle). The tradeoff in these two components of pathogen fitness can generate situations where pathogen fitness is maximized at intermediate levels of virulence (bottom). Understanding how a management practice alters these curves is key to understanding how it might affect evolution of virulence, although other factors must also be considered. Mean infection duration above was calculated as the inverse of the sum of natural host mortality rate (μ), host recovery rate (γ), and virulence rate (ν). Instantaneous transmission rate was assumed to be ν/(1 + ν). New infections per susceptible host were calculated as the product of the mean infection duration and the instantaneous transmission rate. Above μ = 0.01 and γ = 0.1.
of vaccines for these systems is an active area of research. In addition to commercially available vaccines, autogenous vaccines, defined as vaccines developed using a locally derived pathogen strain for application within a specific location, are also used in aquaculture. Most aquaculture vaccine development is focused on preventing disease symptoms that slow host growth or induce mortality, as opposed to preventing infection and transmission. Many aquaculture vaccines are thus precisely those that are predicted to prompt the evolution of more virulent strains. This evolution can lead both to waning vaccine efficacy, and to more severe disease in spillover populations, such as wild populations, or populations on neighboring farms in which vaccination is not being used.
Instantaneous transmission rate
New infections per susceptible host
Virulence rate (ν)
Breeding for disease resistance When disease resistance exists without completely blocking the potential for infection and transmission, pathogen evolution can occur in disease resistant hosts. Theory predicts that evolution of pathogens in disease resistant hosts can lead to the evolution of increased virulence for the same reasons as listed above for vaccines. Indeed this pattern has been observed in plants, rabbits, and house finches. Breeding for disease resistance in aquaculture populations may thus have important consequences on the evolution of pathogen virulence. Selectively breeding for disease resistance has been used widely in aquaculture. In most cases, disease reduction has been the primary focus of these campaigns, with relatively less importance placed on whether selective breeding stops pathogen infection and onward transmission. Similar to the case of vaccination, the selective advantage of high virulence would likely be reduced if selective breeding programs were focused on preventing
Host diversity might
therefore prevent specialization, in turn mitigating pathogen virulence.
pathogen infection as opposed to reducing disease. Chemotherapy Chemotherapy, defined as the use of antibiotic drugs, might also select for the evolution of increased virulence if the mechanism that confers drug resistance is linked to virulence. While several examples of antibiotic resistance have been reported in aquaculture systems, to our knowledge, linkages between virulence and antibiotic resistance have yet to be identified in an aquaculture setting. Nevertheless, selection for increased virulence might also occur through a different route. In finfish aquaculture, the vast majority of chemotherapeutic drugs are administered orally as medicated feed. By definition, high virulence pathogen strains cause severe infection, and one could speculate that the most severely affected fish would be those least likely to feed. By feeding less, these fish would be unlikely to receive adequate doses of drug, and high virulence might thus be selectively favored. Chemotherapy is a valuable tool for the management of infectious diseases in aquaculture. Without eliminating use of chemotherapy, alternative ways to target antibiotics
toward only those fish with the most severe disease symptoms might mitigate the evolutionary consequences of chemotherapy. We can speculate that the advantages of a targeted approach might be twofold. First, the overall strength of selection for drug resistance would be reduced, thus reducing the strength of indirect selection for increased virulence. Second, by targeting high virulence pathogen strains, low virulence strains would be selectively favored, potentially reducing and possibly reversing the direct selection for increased virulence. The practicality of employing a targeted chemotherapy approach, however, is an open question. Reducing vertical transmission of pathogens Whether pathogens are transmitted vertically, meaning from parent to offspring, or horizontally, meaning between conspecifics, is predicted to have important effects on the evolution of virulence. This is because new infections from a strictly vertically transmitted pathogen can only occur during host reproduction, and so a vertically transmitted pathogen that kills its host before reproduction could not persist, whereas an equally virulent horizontally transmitted pathogen may be able to. Thus, evolution of high virulence is unlikely for vertically transmitted pathogens. Vertical transmission has been reduced in many types of aquaculture. For some pathogens, contamination on the surface of eggs can be reduced by submerging eggs in a chemical bath such as iodine for several minutes. Pathogen contamination within eggs for intra-ovum transmitted pathogens can sometimes be reduced by administration of antibiotics such as erythromycin treatment in broodstock during oogenesis, or by the selective culling of eggs from pathogen-positive broodstock. These methods are largely restricted to finfish rearing, but other
methods are available to reduce vertical transmission in other systems, such as PCR screening to verify absence of pathogen in broodstock in the aquaculture of shrimp. As a result of these efforts, vertical transmission of some important pathogens has been greatly reduced. Most aquaculture pathogens that are transmitted vertically are also transmitted horizontally under favorable conditions. By reducing vertical transmission, the relative importance of horizontal transmission increases. Theory predicts that this may lead to virulence increases.
Conclusions Mitigating infectious diseases is one of many challenges to aquaculture. We have identified several aquaculture practices that might drive evolution of virulence and thus alter future disease risk. This is particularly concerning because many wild and cultured populations co-exist in the same geographic areas, and the potential for transmission between them is high. Ultimately, more research is needed to make conclusive statements about virulence evolution in aquaculture diseases and its impacts on both wild and aquaculture populations. Our hope is that this synthesis of theoretical predictions and observations from the practice of aquaculture may stimulate consideration of these ideas, future investigation, and where appropriate, development of potential mitigation strategies.
*This is an Open Access publication: Kennedy, D. A., Kurath, G., Brito, I. L., Purcell, M. K., Read, A. F., Winton, J. R., & Wargo, A. R. (2016). Potential drivers of virulence evolution in aquaculture. Evolutionary Applications.
Trading Guns for Nets Texas Aquaculture Association returned to Fredericksburg, Texas for the 46th Annual Conference and Trade Show, on January 20-22, 2016.
t was a three day gathering of good old friends and new business opportunities complemented by an extensive program of conferences. Not to forget a Scholarship Golf Tournament, the Presidentâ€™s Reception and of course, the TAA Aquaculture Banquet that took place at the National Museum of the Pacific War with a raffle and silent auction. The highlights of the conference included discussions about Water Conservation and Invasive Species Regulations. Here are some brief summaries of the talks and speakers:
Peacock Bass and Other Considerations for a Texas Fish Farmer by Brett Rowley Brett shared why he chose peacock bass and other tropical species to work with, legal and biological ramifications associated with these species, potential markets and the alternative energy sources available for heat, pumping and electricity. Water Conservation in Pond Aquaculture by Dr. Craig Tucker Dr. Tucker talked about opportunities for conserving water, which are limited, and the few options available that can reduce water use per weight of fish produced. The primary consideration should always be to select facility sites on soils with low seepage rates, and he mentioned that one of the easiest conservation practices to implement is a plan to capture as much rainfall as possible to offset future seepage and evaporation losses. Dr. Tucker presented a climatological model for west Mississippi that showed that using all conservation measures in sync can reduce water use in catfish aquaculture to levels competitive with any major agricultural crop. 20 Âť
Zeigler Bros, Inc.
Micro-Blaze Microbial Products.
Potential Water Quality Challenges for Aquaculture by John Scarpa Currently, aquaculturists are being forced to utilize lower quality “nontraditional water” supplies, such as reclaimed water (i.e., treated wastewater effluent) or surface waters with effluent diluted. These waters contain trace levels of contaminants of emerging concern (CECs), such as pharmaceuticals, personal care products, flame retardants and plasticizers, that have not been well studied in regard to potential bioaccumulation in farmed fish. The presentation reviewed the background and objectives of a recently initiated study, which is intended to provide aquaculturists with knowledge to make proactive management decisions regarding water quality in the future. Testes Development and Sperm Quality in Blue Catfish by Dr. Brian Bosworth Dr. Bosworth described the effects of strain (D&B, Missouri River and Rio Grande), weight and time of year (mid-May vs. mid-June) on testes development and sperm quality of 5 year old male blue catfish, Ictalurus furcatus. Intensive Production of Catfish by Les Torrans Dr. Torrans discussed the increasingly intensive production of catfish over the past decade. Using the combination of hybrid catfish, smaller ponds, increased aeration, and some novel production systems, commercial farmers can now produce 15,000 – 20,000 lbs/acre with food conversions better than 2.0:1.
Trading Guns for Nets: New Opportunities for Sustainable Aquaculture in Texas by Dr. Ione Hunt von Herbing This presentation focused on the concept that we can produce a new generation of aquatic farmers by retraining veterans in conjunction with interested students. Veterans have now been employed in sustainable land farming for several years, but no path to increase the employment base for sustainable aquaculture yet exists in the US. Over 97% of ocean fisheries are exploited, over 88% of fish consumed in the US is imported, 60% of which is farmed in China it is time to grow US aquaculture, emphasized Dr. Hunt von Herbing. Networks are needed among educators, students and veterans, to work with fish farmers and businesses that support aquaculture, in establishing training cooperatives. Ideally, these training cooperatives will help grow a new generation of skilled workers in sustainable aquaculture, who want a better world for themselves and their children. Airlift Pumps for Aquaculture: Aquaponics and other Farm and Home Uses by Dr. Tetsuzan Benny Ron Benny outlined the concept of airlift pumps, a gas-lift pumps which are powered by compressed air. Airlifts are used in situations where light suction is needed, and are often used in nuclear power plants, wastewater treatment plants, marine archeology and deep wells where sand would quickly abrade the mechanical parts of water pumps. He has found that they are suitable for aquaculture and aquaponics where solid matter can be found suspended in the water. By all accounts, this 46th Conference was a resounding success. We thank the TAA for hosting this great event and look forward to seeing y’all at Aquaculture America 2017 in San Antonio, TX. » 21
Ocean Stewards Applaud Final Clearance of NOAA Rule for Aquaculture in the Gulf of Mexico
The Ocean Stewards assert that clean, safe open ocean aquaculture, or mariculture, can reduce pressure on wild fish stocks and provide more healthful, locally-grown seafood for American consumers.
Kailua-Kona, Hawaii (December 15, 2015) – The Ocean Stewards Institute today applauded the recent action by the Federal Office of Man-
Courtesy Kampachi Farms.
agement and Budget (OMB) that approved the NOAA rule for implementation of the Aquaculture Fisheries Management Plan in the Gulf of Mexico. “This is the culmination of over a decade’s diligent work by the Ocean Stewards, other industry partners, the Gulf of Mexico Fisheries Management Council and Federal agencies towards setting up a sustainable commercial aquaculture industry in U.S. Federal waters,” said Neil Anthony Sims, President of the Ocean Stewards Institute and Co-CEO of Kampachi Farms. “It is also an important
step in providing domestically grown seafood for U.S. consumers. We look forward to working with NOAA to now implement this plan,” said Sims. Michael Rubino, Director of Aquaculture at NOAA, has informed the Stewards that, “We are very pleased to be in the final stages of reviewing/clearing the rule and expect to roll it out soon.” The Ocean Stewards had earlier voiced concerns over a number of provisions in the plan that they considered were less ambitious than warranted – given the fully exploited nature of most of the world’s wild fish stocks, the burgeoning demand for high-end seafood, and the critical role that increased aquaculture can have in lowering the overall environmental impacts of food production systems. “There is increasing recognition of the value of aquaculture, which has a lower overall ecological footprint on energy use, fresh water, land use and greenhouse gas emissions compared to other traditional forms of animal production,” said Sims, “and open ocean aquaculture – in deeper water, further offshore – can further minimize potential fish culture impacts.” The Stewards had earlier voiced strong concerns over NOAA’s plan to limit permits to only 10 years, without any clearly defined process for permit renewal. This short duration was considered a disincentive to investors, and also ran counter to the fostering of a strong commitment to long-term stewardship of the oceans,
Courtesy Kampachi Farms.
Courtesy Kampachi Farms.
which is a key tenet of the Stewards’ policies and approach. However, the Stewards received verbal assurances from NOAA’s Office of Aquaculture that there will be a clearly defined rubric by which any permit renewal will be evaluated. The Stewards had therefore urged the OMB to approve the rule, stating that, “the critical, burning need now is to actually move these rules forward.” The Ocean Stewards assert that clean, safe open ocean aquaculture, or mariculture, can reduce pressure on wild fish stocks and provide more healthful, locally-grown seafood for American consumers. A domestic mariculture industry also can help maintain working waterfronts, and fits perfectly with President Obama’s vision of green jobs for America’s future.
The Ocean Stewards Institute is a trade association that provides leadership and reasoned advocacy for the best use and management of our open oceans. The Ocean Stewards assert that production of environmentally sound, healthful, high quality seafood from open ocean waters is an environmental, economic and public health imperative. This opportunity must be balanced by strong protection of the ocean’s fragile ecosystems. The Ocean Stewards recognize that they are operating within the public domain, and want to see this industry – and other uses of open ocean waters – develop in a way that meets the expectations of the community and the seafood consumer. For more information, visit their website at www.oceanstewards.org.
to 200 certified farms shows global commitment to responsible aquaculture
The number of ASC certified farms against all standards has grown exponentially each year. Between January 2015 and January 2016, 81 farms become certified, a 65 per cent increase over the number of farms participating in the programme over the twelve month period. Furthermore, ASC has good reason to anticipate another phase of strong growth as close to 100 additional farms are currently in assessment.
A growing global commitment to responsible aquaculture The growing engagement of farms in the ASC programme has been matched by significant commitments from influential seafood buyers and producers, including the Rio 2016 Olympic Games who have pledged to source seafood from ASC certified farms throughout the Olympic village for both athletes and spectators. The commitment of retailers and seafood brands has also been particIn a recent press release, The Aquaculture Stewardship Council ularly strong across the globe. •AEON, the largest retailer in (ASC) announced that more than 200 farms have achieved ASC Asia, has recently made ASC certicertification in 28 countries. Excerpts are presented here. fied farmed shrimp products available in each of their retail outlets throughout Japan. •Woolworths became the first hree bivalve farms belong“The certification of more than market to introduce ASC certified ing to Ria Austral South 200 farms is a significant benchmark tilapia products in South Africa in America in the Queilen, for the programme and a clear in- November. Pichicolu and Hudson dicator of the growing importance •Coles is the first major superChannel areas of Chile, simultane- of responsible aquaculture,” said market in Australia to introduce ASC ously achieved certification; pushing Chris Ninnes, CEO of ASC. “We certified salmon in their deli. the current number of ASC certified are thrilled that so many producers •In Belgium, Colruyt is offering a farms past the 200 mark. have made the choice to engage with broad range of certified product. The three scallop producers all the ASC and equally pleased that the •Lidl Germany published a very achieved certification against the pipeline of farms under assessment ambitious commitment to sell ASC ASC Bivalve Standard, an achieve- maintains this strong growth. Col- certified and labelled farmed fish in ment that includes both an environ- lectively this benefits the environ- its permanent selection from 2018. mental and social assessment by an ment, the farm workers and adjacent •Retailers in the Netherlands such independent auditor. communities.” as Albert Heijn, Jumbo, PLUS, Aldi
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and Lidl – who have all pledged to source only ASC certified seafood – are selling an increasing amount of ASC salmon. •The largest global commitment to date was announced in the autumn of 2015 when IKEA pledged to offer only ASC certified farmed seafood across all their stores in 47 countries. Currently, the top ASC certified species is salmon. The 84 salmon farms included in the official count are in line with the industry commitment to the Global Salmon Initiative. This is closely followed by shrimp, with 34 shrimp farms entering the programme in 2015.
ed total production volume (certified and under assessment) of more than one million tonnes in the three and a half years since the first farm entered ASC assessment in August of 2012. ASC certification meets the needs of the market by offering the world’s most credible, science-based standards for responsibly farmed seafood.
Reinforcing the environmental and social integrity of the product Research has shown that the ASC logo reassures consumers that the seafood they purchase is produced using methods of the highest environmental and social integrity, reinMeeting the need for forcing their trust in retailers. responsibly-sourced seafood With a growing selection of ASC Certification is available for the spe- certified seafood available, consumcies most in demand by retailers, ers across 54 countries can now food service providers and consum- choose from more than 4,462 proders. The programme has an estimat- ucts. As more new standards such
as seriola and cobia are introduced, and as a variety of initiatives including the soon to be launched Group Certification gain participants, this number is only set to increase. ASC standards require farm performance to be measured against both environmental and social requirements. Certification is through an independent third party process and (draft) reports are uploaded to the public ASC website.
Waterbirds, Rice and Crawfish in Louisiana, A Conservation Success Story with a Dark Side In 2014, 181,854 ha of rice and 91,376 ha of crawfish were cultivated in Louisiana. Most of the crawfish crop was cultivated in ricefields in By Huner, J. V., Romaire, R. R. and Musumeche, M. J.
rawfish have always been a part of the Louisiana’s rice landscape. Intentional cultivation of crawfish, Procambarus sp., dates back to the early 1950s. Prior to that time crawfish regularly perpetuated themselves in these artificial wetlands, burrowing in the ground as fields were dewatered for rice harvests. Later, fields were intentionally reflooded each fall following rice harvests and crawfish were harvested with baited traps during the cool season prior to spring planting of rice. Rice stubble and ratoon re-growth served as the basis for the food web that sustained crawfish harvests. In present-day rice/crawfish rotations, mature crawfish are stocked in
some rotation with rice. the spring after the rice crop is permanently flooded, and these subsequently burrow into levees where they reproduce several months later. Females with juveniles emerge from burrows in the fall following rice harvest as fields are refilled with water. Some farmers will raise rice and crawfish continuously each year. In that case, restocking of crawfish is often not necessary. Most farmers, however, do not follow crawfish with another rice crop. Rather, fields are fallowed or planted with a crop like soybeans or sorghum, largely as a management practice to mitigate rice diseases, pests, and red rice. Rice will be planted the following spring and crawfish restocked. This management practice is favored because crawfish densities tend to be
low enough to ensure growth to larger, more valuable size. According to Louisiana State University AgCenter specialists, crawfish production strategies based on forage management break down as follows: crawfish as the sole crop, no rice: 16%; crawfish as the sole crop, unharvested rice as forage: 15%; rice-crawfish-ricecrawfish: 14%; and rice-crawfish-fallow or rice-crawfish-other crop (soybean, etc.): 55%. Thus, roughly 84 % of farmed crawfish in Louisiana are cultivated with rice and 69% of that rice is harvested. Waterbirds have always been attracted to ricefields because the shallow-water/moist-soil habitat provides rice seeds, weed seeds, roots, corms, macro-invertebrates (including crawfish), and small vertebrates (especially amphibians and fishes). The addition of crawfish to the rice landscape ensured that this shallow-water/moistsoil habitat was available year round. The absolute amount of animal food resources available to waterbirds was dramatically increased because fields that would otherwise not hold water were kept full from fall into the following spring. Predaceous wading birds – herons, egrets, ibises, spoonbills and storks – benefitted greatly from this cornucopia of energy-rich animal prey.
Photo courtesy of: firefly1275.files.wordpress.com
Where crawfish are cultivated in monoculture, so-called “crawfish rice” is often planted in late July or August to reduce the severity of oxygen depletions that typically occur when rice straw is flooded in harvested rice fields. This management scenario provides moist-soil/shallow-water habitat for shorebirds that migrate through the area at that time, referred to by ornithologists as “fall” migration. Most rice cultivation and crawfish production is concentrated in southcentral and southwestern Louisiana. The southwestern Louisiana working rice-crawfish wetland region has been declared a continentally Important Bird Area by the National Audubon Society because it supports over 70 species of resident, seasonal, and migratory waterbirds, many of which are listed as “species of conservation concern.” These include waterfowl, wadingbirds, rails, coots, shorebirds, gulls and terns. In addition, numerous terrestrially-oriented bird species uti-
lize this landscape. Over 65% of the state’s 479 recorded bird species have been documented in the region. The dramatic loss of adjacent coastal wetlands over the past half century emphasizes the critical importance of the region’s working wetland landscape for waterbird conservation. For this reason, reduction in rice cultivation in the region over the past decade is especially disturbing. So, what’s wrong with this picture of a conservation success providing habitat for so many bird species? The predaceous and omnivorous birds eat crawfish and compete for the various macro-invertebrate species that the crawfish eat so they are director predators and indirect competitors. The omnivorous and herbivorous birds eat seeds, especially un-harvested rice, and dislodge emergent vegetation while foraging. Thus, they are indirect competitors for food. Furthermore, dislodging emergent vegetation is a problem. Emergent vegetation is especially important in providing access to the surface for crawfish during periods of low oxygen. It also reduces effective crawfish densities per unit area. The density issue is especially important because 1) crawfish population numbers cannot be easily controlled, 2) size is directly related to density and 3) larger crawfish bring higher prices. Crawfish farmers have long complained about birds in their ponds,
believing that they have a negative impact on crawfish production. Anecdotal observations and computer simulations support the position that the presence of large numbers of birds may have a negative impact on crawfish production. Unfortunately, efforts to secure funding to do the definitive research to determine what impact – positive, negative, or neutral – waterbirds have on crawfish production have failed. The political pressure that generated the research funds that permitted determination of the impact of predaceous waterbirds on the South’s catfish industry has never materialized. There are those who believe that reduction in crawfish numbers by predaceous birds in ponds with overpopulation issues should result in increased growth of survivors. While this seems logical, prior research on reducing crawfish densities through various strategies do not seem to support this view. Rice and crawfish are clearly good for waterbirds. On the whole, Louisiana’s crawfish aquaculture industry is a success story. However, the absolute impact of waterbirds on the industry remains to be elucidated. *Dr. Jay Huner and Dr. Robert Romaire are retired crawfish researchers from the University of Louisiana - Lafayette and the Louisiana State University, respectively. Dr. Michael Musumeche, certified ornithologist, is also retired from the University of Louisiana – Lafayette.
Book Publishing in Aquaculture, Fisheries and Fish Biology Part I I have often been asked by personnel working in the aquaculture industry and in academia: “How do I get a book on ‘X’ published?’’, “What are the stages from an idea through to publication?” or simply “How does it all work?”
By Nigel Balmforth
have been publishing books by and for those working in aquaculture, fisheries, fish biology and aquatic sciences for over 25 years now. I hope that the following will provide some insight for those who may be considering putting together a new book.
Where do ideas for new books come from? Ideas for new books arise in many ways. Many of my ideas come from talking with delegates and visitors at conferences and exhibitions, or during my visits to company personnel or academics. I also look at conference programmes and scan trade-press publications, news web sites and scientific journals in the aquaculture area to look at what 28 »
is receiving coverage, what is new, what is attracting increasing interest or investment. I’ll look at staff and research information on university, research establishment and industry web pages and I will look at what other publishers have published. Existing book and chapter authors and journal editors and editorial board members are often the source of new book ideas. In most cases a publisher will directly approach a potential book author to discuss whether they might be interested in putting together a new book.
Who are book authors in aquaculture and related areas? The use of the term ‘authors’ in this article loosely encompasses whole book authors and co-authors, and
editors of multi-contributor books. Book authors in the aquaculture area are a very diverse group and include fish farmers, heads of large companies and other company personnel, heads of university departments, presidents and past presidents of major societies, research team leaders, lecturers, post-doctoral researchers and so on.
Why would you want to put together a new book? A book for use by the aquaculture community should encompass information from a wide variety of sources and provide a definitive review for that point in time. The reasons for authors putting together new books are varied. Sometimes a course being taught,
for example by a university, does not have a suitable book for course use. In this case, those involved in delivering the course may seek to put together a book generated from course material. Sometimes courses can generate a range of books, each covering a particular course module. Aquaculture is a rapidly expanding and changing field and as new ways of doing things become tried and trusted, books often follow to
summarise and distil the most important aspects. New books, for example might cover techniques in the use of molecular biology and genetics applied to aquaculture, or developments of novel types of feed or equipment, or the use of species new to aquaculture and the systems needed to culture them successfully. Presentations given at conferences can sometimes be the starting point for a new book, either as a
straight conference proceedings, or to form the basis of a book â€˜generatedâ€™ from a conference. Research projects might have, as one of their outcomes, the dissemination of results, which can provide a starting point for compilation of a new book. A potential new book author may just decide that the time is right to put together a new book covering X, because the last comprehensive Âť 29
of collections of their books where the author’s book is included, and on the numbers of the book’s chapters downloaded. This percentage will vary between publishers. For an edited, multi-contributor book, the book’s editor will typically receive a smaller royalty than if they were writing the book themselves, but the publisher will sometimes also supply to contributing chapter authors, a free copy of the published book, or discounts on other of the publisher’s products and so on. Other benefits. These can be many, varied, unforeseen and sometimes extraordinary. I know authors whose books have directly contributed to their career or business development. Authors who have been invited to visit and lecture overseas at universities or at conferences because of their books. Authors whose books have made a genuine difference in helping those new to an industry sector, or have significantly helped students by enriching their learning experiences. Authors whose books have been bought in bulk by aid agencies and distributed with no or very low cost to the benefit of workers in developing nations. Authors moving into consultancy work who have found a ready client base made up from those who know and admire the authors’ books.
What does the Publisher need in order to evaluate a new book proposal? It is a good idea to discuss your idea for a new book at an early stage with What are the benefits to the the correct member of staff at the author of writing a book? publishing company, whose job title Financial benefits. Many book au- is likely to be Acquisitions Editor, thors will receive a percentage of Commissioning Editor, or Pubpublishers’ receipts (a royalty) from lisher. In aquaculture publishing in sale of the book in print and elec- my experience the vast majority of tronic form and, where the pub- authors do not approach publishlisher provides an online collection ers ‘out of the blue’ with completed of books, a percentage of income manuscripts without having had any generated by the publisher on sales previous discussions. book on this subject was published more than Y years ago and the subject area has expanded and moved on since then.
Most publishers provide to potential authors a tailored form or information sheet, which outlines the information required from a new book author. Basic requirements include: • A short synopsis ( a page or two) about what the book will contain and who the book is aimed at, why it is important and who will use and need it • A draft contents list of chapter titles including chapter subdivisions • An idea of the projected size of the book (numbers of words and illustrations) • Any ‘other’ material, including anything that might not be suitable to include in the printed book but could be considered for inclusion in the book’s electronic versions or on the publisher’s website (e.g. video, animation, extra color images) • Details of any books already published that could be classed as ’competition’, how your book will differ and why your book will be better • Your timescale for completion of the manuscript, (i.e. how long do you think it will be before it’s all written and ready to be sent to the publisher) • A short c.v. from book authors new to the publisher.
What is the difference between an ‘authored’ book and an ‘edited’ book? An authored book will typically be written from start to finish by one or two, or a few authors. For books with more than one author, each is likely to have had some input to many parts of the book and hence the book is co-authored. An edited book will typically have each chapter written by individual chapter author(s). The book has an overall editor(s) who may also write a chapter(s) in the book. Most chapter authors will write their own
Following satisfactory peer review, your contact at the publishing company will present details of the new project to a committee, at the publishing company, typically made up of management, editorial, sales and marketing colleagues, with a view to seek the committee’s approval to offer an agreement to you. In Part II, we will discuss contractual agreements, delivery, and production.
chapter(s) but will not routinely have input into other chapters written by other chapter authors. The book’s editor(s) will be responsible for coordinating each chapter author’s contribution, for checking through each author’s chapters, editing, suggesting amendments to chapter authors and so on. The final manuscript encompassing completed chapters from individual authors will be collated by the book’s editor(s) and supplied to the publisher.
What are the steps between submission of a proposal and agreement to proceed? Once your contact at the publisher has made an initial assessment of the likely suitability of the proposal, most publishers will have new book proposals peer reviewed by others, usually from academia or industry who are working in the subject area to be covered by the book. The peer review process provides a crucial quality check, and often provides important feedback to a proposal author, helping the author in structuring and fine tuning the content of the final manuscript. The peer review process is usually carried out through approaches by the publisher, by email, to potential reviewers of the proposal. The publisher will send the new proposal details together with a set of questions to ask the reviewer. Questions from the publisher to the reviewer will be themed on what the reviewer thinks of the overall idea, whether the proposed book’s contents cover the area well, whether material should be added or omitted, whether there is a need for the book and how it should compare with any ‘competing’ already-published books. Numbers of reviewers’ comments solicited will vary: from three or four up to possibly dozens on key textbooks.
*Nigel Balmforth has over 25 years’ experience building up publishing programs in fish biology, aquaculture, fisheries, aquatic sciences and related areas. Nigel has recently been appointed as Head of Publishing at 5m, part of Benchmark Holdings. Nigel can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org
to reduce major aquaculture diseases The Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science and the University of Exeter lead project to develop and apply new molecular biology techniques in aquaculture.
Carp harvest in Bangladesh, courtesy FAO.org
EFAS and the University of Exeter are leading a £1.97M Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council-Newton Fund project to develop and apply new molecular biology techniques to reduce the impact of major diseases in aquaculture for the improvement of the livelihood of small-scale farmers in India, Bangladesh and Malawi. Aquaculture contributes significantly to global food security and poverty reduction. In Bangladesh and India the shrimp fishing industry sustains the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of poor people. Fish farming too is fundamental to the lives of small scale farmers in India and in developing countries around the world. Disease is the biggest single factor limiting growth in aquaculture (with associated annual losses estimated at more than $6bn globally) and combating disease is critical for both the protection of the livelihoods of small scale farmers and for achieving national and global targets for aquaculture growth to help reduce poverty. In this project environmental DNA (eDNA) methods will be applied to help understand the microbiome (assemblages of microbes and pathogens) in fish and shellfish culture ponds and within the organisms themselves for developing early warning of diseases and for avoiding disease outbreaks in low income countries where food is scarce. A central theme in this project is the alignment of the efforts of farmers, health professionals, researchers and national authorities to help prevent disease outbreaks.
Professor Charles Tyler, of the University of Exeter, who will lead the work, said: “This grant provides a wonderful opportunity for us to combine our molecular skills in Biosciences at Exeter, with the expertise in disease diagnosis, pathology, and eDNA at CEFAS, to better understand how the micro-
Indian fish farmer, courtesy USSEC.
biology within culture ponds relates to health status and disease outbreaks in key crop species (shrimp and finfish) in India, Bangladesh and Malawi. We will use the data to develop models for predicting the drivers of disease outbreaks that can be applied to allow for measures to reduce or prevent crop losses for farmers.”
CEFAS lead Dr. David Bass said: “CEFAS are leaders in research and development seeking to safeguard global food security and thereby
support vulnerable communities. As part of this project we aim to develop simple and accurate early-warning molecular-based tools for use by farmers enabling them to pre-empt and avoid the impacts of disease events.” He added: “In this project we will engage and train farmers in accurate disease diagnostics and establish communication and training networks that will disseminate the outputs of the project as widely as possible. In order to achieve this we will use cutting edge microscopy and molecular tools to understand the microbiome of aquaculture ponds and how this relates to disease outbreaks.” This project is funded under the Global Research Partnership: BBSRC-Newton Fund Aquaculture Call. This project builds on a strategic alliance forged between the University of Exeter and CEFAS, led by Professor Tyler and Dr. Grant Stentiford, to develop a strong research partnership and facilitate knowledge
exchange and training between Exeter and CEFAS.
Professor Tyler said: ”We established an agreement with CEFAS five years ago which has jointly funded 10 PhD’s studentships and I am delighted to say that we are now extending this agreement for a further five years, with a joint commitment of £800,000 to fund an additional 10 PhD studentships.” Dr Stentiford said: “The new agreement will allow us to grow our expertise collectively to help make a difference particularly in areas such as disease diagnosis and prevention in aquaculture.” The Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science is a world leader in marine science and technology, providing innovative solutions for the aquatic environment, biodiversity and food security. For more information visit www.cefas. co.uk
is first Food Safety System Certification (FSSC) 22000-certified animal food ingredient in the United States FSSC 22000 is fully recognized by the Global Food Safety Initiative and provides a global approach to drive continual improvement in food safety management and provide confidence across the supply chain.
n early December Cargill announced it has obtained the Food Safety System Certification (FSSC) 22000 for the manufacturing process of its Empyreal animal food ingredient product at its Blair, Neb., and Dayton, Ohio, facilities. Empyreal 75 is a high-energy corn protein concentrate that provides aquatic feed manufacturers with a unique and consistent source of protein. It contains a minimum of 75 percent (82 percent dry basis) protein, produced through a patented process. As a result of its high methionine-tolysine ratio, Empyreal 75 serves as a 34 »
good source of essential amino acids, at a lower cost than other plant or animal proteins of comparable purity. Since animal proteins are naturally high in lysine, the use of Empyreal 75 can result in more balanced formulations. According to the company’s press release, the new certification validates that Cargill’s robust food safety management system meets the safety and quality requirements of major branded feed companies worldwide. “Achieving the Food Safety System Certification (FSSC) 22000 is extremely demanding as it closely examines every
process and procedure which impacts the manufacturing of the Empyreal product line,” said Eric Bell, Cargill assistant vice president. “The FSSC 22000 certification validates our commitment to being a leader in innovative, high quality, safe animal food ingredients which our customers can depend on to help them provide safe high quality products that meet the certification standards their customers expect from them. In order to receive the certification, Cargill’s facilities went through rigorous review in which a number of key areas were audited: management responsibility, planning and realization of safe products, pre-requisite programs, emergency response/preparedness planning, traceability, validation, verification and improvement. FSSC 22000 is a food safety management system that provides a framework for effectively managing an organization’s food safety responsibilities. FSSC 22000 is fully recognized by the Global Food Safety Initiative and provides a global approach to drive continual improvement in food safety management and provide confidence across the supply chain. Empyreal processing is the first in the United States to receive the FSSC 22000 certification by Lloyd’s Registry Quality Assurance. In addition to this certification, Empyreal production facilities are Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Voluntary Protection Programs (OSHA VPP) and International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 22000-certified. More information is available at http://www.empyreal75aquaculture. com/
MMO opens €243 million European
Maritime Fisheries Fund in England On 18 January 2016 the Marine Management Organisation (MMO) opened the European Maritime Fisheries Fund (EMFF) in England.
he scheme brings much needed benefits to the fisheries and aquaculture sectors as well as coastal communities. Key areas of focus for the funding are to help the fishing industry to adapt to the reformed Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) as well as supporting the competitiveness of the sector. Applications for funding are initially sought for: support with elements of CFP reform, improving health and safety on vessels, enhancing the quality or value of catch, investing in port and harbour infrastructure such as ports/auction halls/shelters, the processing of seafood and aquaculture products and general investments in aquaculture. The MMO are also commencing the process of selecting Fisheries Local Action Groups (FLAGs) for England to help fisheries communities adapt to the reformed CFP and to support sustainable economic growth. The scheme will open for other measures later this year but these initial areas cover over €33m of EMFF funding which is being made available.
Commenting on the opening of the EMFF scheme, CEO John Tuckett said: “The MMO are delighted to be able to open the EMFF scheme for applications in England. The scheme provides significant opportunities for hard working fishermen, associated businesses and the wider marine sector to gain much needed funding to assist and benefit their important work and activities.
The MMO have made significant efforts to ensure support is in place for scheme users including a new e-application system, redesigned website and dedicated customer helplines. I therefore urge everyone to visit our website, look at the funds and funding types available and submit an EMFF application at the earliest opportunity.”
USDA Food Safety and
Inspection Service Catfish Program Now Underway The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is amending its regulations to establish a mandatory inspection program for fish of the order Siluriformes and products derived from these fish.
hese final regulations implement the provisions of the 2008 and 2014 Farm Bills, which amended the Federal Meat Inspection Act, mandating FSIS inspection of Siluriformes (Catfishes). The following are excerpts from the FSIS announcement in the Federal Register in early December. The 2008 Farm Bill amended the Federal Meat Inspection Act (FMIA), to make “catfish’’ a species amenable to the FMIA and, therefore, subject to FSIS inspection. In addition, the 2008 Farm Bill gave FSIS the authority to define the term “catfish.’’ On February 24, 2011, FSIS published a proposed rule that outlined a mandatory catfish inspection program and presented two options for defining “catfish’’: One option was to define catfish narrowly as those fish belonging to the family Ictaluridae. The other option was a broader definition, all fish of the order Siluriformes (76 FR 10434). FSIS sought public comments on the scope of the definition in the proposed rule. The Agency proposed regulatory requirements for mandatory catfish inspection that were adapted from the meat inspection regulations. The 2014 Farm Bill, enacted on February 7, 2014, amended the FMIA to remove the term “catfish’’ and to 36 »
make “all fish of the order Siluriformes’’ subject to FSIS jurisdiction and inspection. As a result, FSIS inspection of Siluriformes is mandated by law. This final rule adopts all the regulatory requirements outlined in the February 2011 proposal, with the following changes: - The term “catfish’’ defined in proposed 9 CFR part 531 and used throughout the proposed regulatory text, is replaced in this final rule by the term “fish of the order Siluriformes,’’ “Siluriformes fish,’’ or simply “fish,’’ understood to mean, for purposes of the final regulations, any fish of the order Siluriformes. - The retail store exemption includes, as an exempt retail operation, the slaughter of fish at retail stores or restaurants for consumers who purchase the fish at those facilities, and in accordance with the consumers’ request. - Fish with unusual gross deformities caused by disease or chemical contamination (rather than merely with gross deformities) are not to be used for human food (9 CFR 539.1(d)). - The labeling regulations (9 CFR 541.7) permit the use of the term “catfish’’ only on labels of fish classified within the family Ictaluridae, consistent with provisions of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic (FD&C)
American channel catfish courtesy USDA ARS.
Act (21 U.S.C. 321d (a) and 343(t)). Fish of the order Siluriformes, from families other than Ictaluridae, must be labeled with an appropriate common or usual name. The labeling regulations (9 CFR 541.7) require packages of Siluriformes fish and fish products that are not ready-to-eat to bear safehandling instructions to include “fish’’ in the rationale statement, i.e., “This product was prepared from inspected and passed fish, ‘’and in the labeling statements, i.e., “Keep raw fish from other foods. Wash working surfaces (including cutting boards), utensils, and hands after touching raw fish.’’
Freezing US catfish fillets courtesy of Harvest Select.
formes fish and fish products to the United States. Foreign countries are also required to submit documentation showing that they currently have laws or other legal measures in place that provide authority to regulate the growing and processing of fish for human food and to assure compliance with the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) regulatory requirements in 21 CFR part 123, Fish and Fishery Products.
- The labeling regulations (9 CFR 541.7) to clarify that the labeling of fish covered commodities sold by a retailer bear country of origin and method of production information, in compliance with the requirements in 7 CFR part 60, subpart A, Country of Origin Labeling for Fish and Shellfish. - The preamble discussion explains that the net weight for ice-glazed fish is determined on a rigid-state basis, as provided in the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Handbook 133, “Checking the Net Contents of Packaged Goods.’’ - The annualized cost to the Siluriformes fish domestic industry is $326.55 thousand. This would be an additional annualized average net direct cost to this domestic fish industry of about $0.0008 per pound of processed Siluriformes fish and Siluriformes products. For comparison, the average price received by domestic processors for domestic catfish (of the order Siluriformes) products was considerably greater at $3.04 per pound, in 2013. Furthermore, the additional annualized average direct cost
to FSIS is $2,604.4 thousand. On the other hand, the decreased annualized average direct cost to FDA and to the U.S. Department of Commerce’s (USDC) National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)/ National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) is $1,490 thousand because of this final rule. The net difference of these annualized average direct costs to these three Federal government agencies is $1,114.40 thousand. Therefore, the annualized (at 7 percent) average net direct cost to the Siluriformes fish domestic industry and to the three affected Federal government agencies is $1,440.95 thousand.
Transitional Period (transition to complete implementation): Beginning on March 1, 2016 and continuing until September 1, 2017, FSIS will conduct inspection and exercise broad enforcement discretion in domestic establishments that slaughter or slaughter and process and distribute Siluriformes fish and fish products. Foreign countries seeking to continue to export Siluriformes fish and fish products to the United States after the transitional period has expired are required to submit to FSIS by September 1, 2017 adequate documentation showing the equivalence of their Siluriformes inspection systems with that of the United States. Foreign countries submitting such documentation by the deadline are permitted to continue exporting Siluriformes fish and fish products to the United States while FSIS undertakes an evaluation as to equivalency.
Date of Full Enforcement (September 1, 2017): FSIS will fully enforce these regulaEffective Date: March 1, 2016. tions in domestic Siluriformes fish On the effective date (March 1, 2016), products and fish processing estabSiluriformes fish and fish products lishments. Foreign countries seeking are under FSIS jurisdiction. By March to continue exporting Siluriformes 1, 2016, foreign countries seeking to fish and fish products to the United continue exporting Siluriformes fish States upon full enforcement are reand fish products to the United States quired to submit their documentation during the transitional period are re- showing equivalence by this date. quired to submit lists of establishAdditional information is available ments (with the establishment name in the Federal Register Volume 80, and number) that currently export Number 231, pages 75589-75630. and will continue to export Siluri» 37
2015 Final report on shrimp farms in northwestern Mexico The cycle that strengthens the recovery phase
Thanks to the efforts of farmers in this region in implementing good practices in the cultivation of Litopenaeus vannamei, production increased by over 90% in 2015.
fter several years of contingencies and drastic drops in crops of this crustacean, in northwestern Mexico, at the end of 2015 the shrimp farms reported a significant recovery. The Committee on Aquaculture Health of the State of Sonora (Cosaes) reported that research to improve larval quality and overcome challenges in future production cycles are ongoing today. Health and safety protocols, use of probiotics, prebiotics and bactericides where necessary, care in the origin and quality of raw materials and the latest updates on diseases in shrimp culture have been key factors 38 Âť
and activities contributing to the recovery of Sonoran shrimp farming production.
Regaining leadership In 2015, the state of Sonora, Mexico, showed a clear recovery in shrimp farming production, resuming its national leadership, with a very strong trend in increasing production of white shrimp (Litopenaeus vannamei) over the last three years:
12,874 t in 2013 32,000 t in 2014 60,000 t in 2015
After health crises in 2010, caused by the outbreak of the White Spot Syndrome Virus (WSSV) and in 2013 by the appearance of Early Mortality Syndrome (EMS), white shrimp crops in northeastern Mexico are recovering. During 2015, through the efforts of the producers of the region and the implementation of best practices in the cultivation of Litopenaeus vannamei, production increased by over 85%, from 32,000 tons in 2014 to 60,000 at the end of 2015.
Fluctuation and decline In 2009 the state of Sonora was positioned as a national leader in the
production of this crustacean, with a volume of over 81,000 tons of shrimp. Beginning in 2010 producers reported serious damage in intensive and semi-intensive crops due to the appearance, as mentioned, of WSSV. Three years later, without having yet achieved economic recovery, they were shaken by the EMS outbreak. Damages also impacted shrimp farmers in the states of Nayarit and Sinaloa, with crashes in production. In the case of Sonora, total production at the end of 2013 was 12,874 tons of whole shrimp, 60% less than the prior year. According to a study by the Uni-
versity of Arizona on the effects of these syndromes, in 2012 and 2013 one million tons were lost in Sonora, Sinaloa and Nayarit, affecting the generation of employment, which fell from 7000 jobs to only 2500, from one year to the next.
The recovery phase The national commissioner of Aquaculture and Fisheries, Mario Aguilar SĂĄnchez, said the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) acknowledged that in Mexico the producers, hand in hand with the government, managed in less than a year to reverse the impacts of early mortality syndrome and establish a
gradual recovery in the production beginning in 2014. And so, for shrimp producers in Sonora, the recovery phase began in 2014, through improvements in health and biosecurity measures to control WSSV and EMS. Initial moderate success led to raising production by 247% in 2013-2014. In 2014, the initial post-larvae stocking date was February 20 and pond stocking began March 15. A total of 3.15 billion post-larvae (PL) were seeded. Total operating area was 24,497 hectares for three production cycles. Of this total, 99.7% were managed as semi-intensive systems. Stocking densities averaged Âť 39
12.86 organisms/m2, and in intensive systems, 140.50 organisms /m2. Although atypical mortalities followed, the intensity of these problems was lower compared to 2013. In total, the season closed with production of 32,000 tons of white shrimp, which already indicated a clear improvement across the industry over 2013. For this cycle, an average yield in semi-intensive systems of 1.35 tons/hectare was calculated, and 24.03 tons/hectare in intensive systems, with a harvest size of 16.22 grams, on average.
2015 – The Cosaes Report At the end of December 2015, Cosaes published its final report for the cycle. Graphic reports of the results of the crop in the region were presented, with preliminary and final data issued by the Aquaculture Health Committees from producing states for this species. In the document, the Committee provides data on the technical and sanitary status of shrimp farms in the state of Sonora, through November 30, 2015. 2015 production cycle: - 141 producing operations with 23.2 hectares of water surface. - 36 nurseries seeded with a total of 1.397 million post larvae, with an average survival of 81% at the time of transfer to ponds. - Origins of post-larvae: Sonora 78.3%, Sinaloa 20.1% and Baja California Sur 1.5%
- Production: · 129 units totally harvested · 52,000 tons reported based on harvesting permit applications · Sizes: 11 to 35 gr, 20 gr average · 60,000 total tons produced at the end of the cycle · 87% more production than in 2014
Âˇ 427% more than in 2013 but still 26.3% lower than in 2009
Health Status: - Wild organisms tested positive for WSSV.
For this cycle, an average yield in semi-intensive systems of 1.35 tons/hectare was calculated, and 24.03 tons/ hectare in intensive systems, with a harvest size of 16.22 grams, on average.
- There were 94 reports of mortalities in production ponds in the first cycle and nine in the second. - Average mortality was 11%, but not necessarily in all the ponds. - A total of 10 nurseries were monitored, with detection and Infectious Hematopoietic Hypodermic Necrosis (IHHNV). - The result of laboratory diagnosis indicated a prevalence of 24% for IHHNV; 7% for NHP; 49% for Vibriosis (parahaemolyticus) and 3% for WSSV.
Safety: - 141 production units received technical assistance from the National Health Service for Food Safety and Quality (SENASICA) for the implementation of systems to reduce risk of contamination of the. - 57 won recognition granted by Senasica, valid for 2 years: 46 of these were shrimp producers. - 63% of the area stocked with shrimp obtained official recognition from Senasica. According to an analysis by the Center of Studies for Sustainable Rural Development and Food Sovereignty (CEDRSSA), during 20162017 the industry is expected to grow by 87,000 tons per year in Sonora and Sinaloa.
Vietnam Pangasius Industry Still Facing Difficult Times
After one year of implementation of “Decree 36,” most farmers have not escaped the vicious circle of market forces and Pangasius has yet to By Greg Lutz*
n an effort to improve conditions for the Pangasius farming industry, the Socialist Republic of Vietnam issued Decree No. 36/2014/ND-CP on April 29, 2014. Among other measures, the decree outlined a number of specific requirements for producers, processors and exporters. Two notable requirements for producers were that “The breeds, feeds, veterinary medicine, bioproducts, microorganisms and chemicals used must be conformable with law,” and “By December 31, 2015, every commercial pangasius farm must obtain the Certificate of Good Aquaculture Practice according to VietGap or an international certificate that is conformable with Vietnam’s law.” The Deputy Chair of Vietnam’s Association of Seafood Exporters recently stated that roughly 50% of farmers have attained compliance with certification requirements. Pangasius processors were informed under the decree that they would also have to comply with a
regain its previous competitive position.
number of formal requirements, including “Take necessary measures to trace the origins of processed pangasius products” as well as “Apply a quality control system, technical regulations and standards for food safety and hygiene during manufacture and sale of aquaculture products; obtain a certificate of food-safety facility issued by a competent authority” and “Ensure the announced quality of sold pangasius products; carry out inspections and take responsibility for the announced quality; label goods in accordance with law.” And, a number of formal quality requirements for processed Pangasius products included “The ice-glazing ratio (ratio of ice glaze to gross weight) of exported pangasius products must be conformable with regulations of importing countries. In other cases, the ice-glazing ratio must not exceed 10%” and “The amount of water must not exceed 83% of net weight (weight of pangasius fillets after removing the ice glazing).” Although the measures and re-
quirements outlined in Decree 36 (as it is referred to on the Vietnamese Pangasius Association’s webpage) were intended to turn around a number of problems the industry was facing, the sector has struggled to implement the proposed reforms and still faces a bleak situation for the time being. The Association’s webpage (vnpangasius.com.vn) discusses several viewpoints regarding the current outlook, portions of which are roughly translated here.
Farmers Depressed Mr. Nguyen Ngoc Hai, director of the cooperative An Thoi Famous Catfish in the O Mon district of Can Tho, when asked about the catfish industry, was depressed, stating “Do not want to say anymore.” He explained that there have not been any encouraging changes recently. His operatives enthusiastically welcomed many authorities from various sectors to plead their case, but “the result is almost nothing.” Prices are still low, and farmers are increasingly
suffering. “Recently, several meetings of the ministries and Parliament invited me to comment, I declined, because I am skeptical,” Hai sighed. Mr. Ho Huu Tri, a fish farmer in the province of Vinh Long, Ben Tre, Tien Giang recently sent a letter to the Prime Minister and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD). The letter expressed enthusiasm, but with worries about the effectiveness of Decree 36. According to him, Decree 36 was established to meet the expectations of those farmers who like him, are concerned with the quality of fish being raised, restoring the reputation of fish products, a national strategy for a product like Pangasius which deserves position in the marketplace.
On October 28, MARD had organized a meeting for comments to amend Decree 36, with suggestions to amend the provisions of quality and food safety for processed fish products. One specific concern cited in the letter was: “Regarding the fish, instead of applying on the date 01.01.2016 the requirement for glazing not more than 10%, and water content not exceeding 83%; this is amended to the glazing of 20% and 86% water content, indefinitely. The 86% water content means, for injecting water into the fish fillet (rotary water weight gain) of 40%. Glazing adds another 20%, for a total of 60% for the country’s exports. Thus, the fish exported is only 40%. This is a paradox, to the detriment of farmers like us.”
The letter asks: “MARD regulations for catfish state we must follow VietGAP to ensure quality but for now water added in fish processing makes worse quality fish. Having the water at 60% of export products is fraudulent for consumers… then it may be some time before anyone buys Vietnam catfish?”
Difficult Supply Chain In An Giang province, according to the National Agricultural Extension Center, the new implementation a vertically integrated supply chain Manufacturing Company Trading Services Thuan An (Tafishco). This is chain has 18 members, including processing plants, farmers, seed producers, food services and veterinary medicine. When establishing the
supply chain, Tafishco contracts with the members of the chain. Through implementation, incoming raw fish should be produced through the correct technical processes with no antibiotic residues, ensuring a higher market price. However, there are 8 new members joining, so the numbers are small. Besides, Tafishco admits: “Although there is a contract signed between the farmers with Tafishco it also appears that farmers seek to sell outside of the agreed traders and there is controversy during checks for antibiotic residues in fish products.” Mr. Nguyen Van Phu (Hoa Khanh hamlet, Vinh Thoi Lai Vung district, Dong Thap province) farms 2.8 hectares of tra and previously worked for the company culture, Hung Vuong, from 2010. According to him, the supply chain link has a benefit for farmers in that they need not worry about the capital, inputs, or outputs which relieves concerns over fish quality assurance standards. However, over the years associated with the business, he also saw that the contract terms are prone to pro44 »
tect the business, not seriously benefit farmers. Another problem for the sector involves implementation of the catfish inspection program by the USDA’s FSIS over the next several months. According to the lawyer Nguyen Hai (Mayer Brown JSM Company), in the transitional period of 18 months from 1-3-2016 to 30-8-2017, Vietnam can continue to export to the United States with two conditions: Vietnam needs to provide FSIS: (i) the list of establishments that are exporting and look forward to continued exports of fish to the United States and (ii) records showing that Vietnam has current regulations on production and processing of catfish for food. Appropriate records also showing that Vietnam must comply with FDA requirements including HACCP requirements. So, right now, businesses need to quickly coordinate with the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and the Vietnam Seafood Exporters Association (VASEP) to prepare records for submission to FSIS. After the end of the transition period, ie
from the date 1-9-2017, if they want to continue exporting to the United States, Vietnam must submit a complete dossier showing that Vietnam has a system for monitoring and inspection of Catfish equivalent to the FSIS system as applied in the US. FSIS will then assess the equivalence through verification documents in place as well as in Vietnam.
C. Greg Lutz, has a PhD in Wildlife and Fisheries Science from 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. email@example.com
Latin American Report
IFC Approves Loan to Omarsa to Promote Export Sector in Ecuador
The International Finance Corporation (IFC), the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, provided a loan of US$10 million to Operadora y Procesadora de Productos Marinos Omarsa S.A., one of the biggest By Yojaira Paternina Cordoba*
shrimp export businesses in Ecuador, to assist it with its expansion plans.
IFC has confidence on Omarsa because the company has a philosophy of sustainable production,” stated Sandro Coglitore, the General Manager of Omarsa, adding that “IFC’s investment in Omarsa will allow us to continue our expansion plans and will add to the economic growth of the country, creating 400 new jobs for Ecuadoreans in 2016.” Omarsa is the first shrimp producer in the world to receive Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) certification. In addition, Omarsa is implementing the good practices of the Aquaculture Certification Council (ACC) in its laboratories, on its farms, and in its processing plant. These were factors that helped prompt IFC to invest in this industry, after a long absence in this sector. Carlos Leiria Pinto, IFC Head of the Andean Region, stated that “this new project demonstrates the commitment of IFC to the sustainable development of Ecuador and seeks to encourage use of the global best practices in the environmental and 46 »
social areas.” Martin Spicer, IFC Regional Head of Industry for Manufacturing, Agribusiness, and Services in Latin America, underscored the fact that the long-term loan will “promote direct job creation in the country, particularly for women, and strengthen the relationship between Omarsa and local small and medium shrimp producers.” IFC’s support for the business will strengthen the export sector in Ecua-
dor, as shrimp exports represent the second biggest export category in the country after oil and derivatives, along with bananas. In 2014, the shrimp sector accounted for 10 percent of Ecuador’s total exports and 37 percent of the country’s non-oil exports. Omarsa will promote the sustainable growth of this industry. IFC’s strategy in Ecuador focuses on providing financing and technical assistance to companies that have
a strong and positive impact on the export sector while at the same time trying to support projects that cover climate change, create jobs, and benefit the most disadvantaged population groups. IFC support for Ecuador started when the country joined the institution in 1956. Since that time, IFC has invested roughly US$540 million in the county. IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in emerging markets. Working with more than 2,000 businesses worldwide, IFC uses its capi-
tal, expertise, and influence to create opportunity where it is needed most. In FY15, its long-term investments in developing countries totaled close to US$18 billion, allowing the private sector to play a key role in global efforts to end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity. For more information, visit www.ifc.org.
Honduran Shrimp industry in crisis due to 30% decrease in production The low price of shrimp in international markets has affected the volume of Honduran farmed shrimp
production, which fell between 20 and 30% over the past year according to officials of the National Aquaculture Association of Honduras (Andah). This has resulted in over US$50 million in losses, detailed ANDAH. One factor being blamed for the reduced production is the effect of climate change, with increased salinity levels which caused the death of aquaculture animals. “Last year was a somewhat atypical with little rain, causing increased salinity and temperatures and altering the natural habitat of the shrimp,” said Javier Amador, executive director of the association of shrimp producers. According to the most recent trade balance report of the Central Bank of Honduras (BCH) through September 2015, exports of this product decreased to $114.4 million, reflecting a sharp drop from $166.5 million during the same period in 2014. “The reduction is attributed to the fall in export volume (20.8%) and price (13.2%), following the outbreak of vibriosis bacteria causing mortality, in addition to the slow development of this seafood crop by the lack of rain in production areas,” the Central Bank report stated. The United Kingdom, Mexico and the United States were the main buyers of shrimp produced in the country. “We are sending to Taiwan, Hong Kong and Vietnam, achieving strengthened markets to continue exporting,” said Ricardo Gomez, president of Andah.
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).
Recent news from around the globe by Aquafeed.com
Investment in feed production If investment in aquafeed production is an indicator of the health of aquaculture, the industry is thriving. In the last weeks of 2015, we reported a number of developments, covering feed production in Europe, Asia Pacific and Africa.
By Suzi Dominy*
n Europe, salmon farming giant, Marine Harvest announced plans to build a second feed plant, this time in Scotland. Marine Harvest’s first feed mill in Bjugn, Norway, which opened during 2014, now supplies 80% of its
Salmon, courtesy of Kuterra.
Norwegian feed requirements. However, feed purchases remain a significant part of the cost of producing salmon in the company’s operations in Scotland, Ireland and the Faroe Islands, which are totally supplied by external feed manufacturers.
The factory is expected to have a total capacity of around 170,000 tons, with the potential for further expansion. The range of feed types will be broadened to include starter feed for freshwater and organic feed for the Irish operations. The specific
location is yet to be decided. Investment in the $121 million feedmill will be phased over the years 2016-2018, with approximately 95% of the capital expenditure falling within 2017-2018. The investment is subject to acquiring land and obtaining relevant permissions and consents. The construction phase is planned to commence in 2017 and completion of the feed plant is expected during the first half of 2018. All existing external feed supply contracts in Scotland, Ireland and the Faroe Island expire during the first half of 2018. Existing management within Marine Harvest Fish Feed will provide support to the build-up of the new operational management. Skretting, the aquafeed arm of Nutreco, demonstrated its commitment to growth in Egypt by investing in additional tilapia fish feed capacity with an extra line in its existing Egyptian plant, in the eastern part of the Nile Delta. This will allow Skretting to triple its tilapia fish feed capacity in Egypt to 150,000 tons and extend its market leadership. Egypt is the world’s second largest producer of tilapia. The growth of its aquaculture sector has been significant in recent years and production is expected to grow further from 1.3 million tons in 2014 to 2 million tonnes by 2020. Over 580,000 people are employed in aquaculture in Egypt, more than in the rest of Africa combined. Tilapia farmers are professionalizing at a rapid pace, which is increasing demand for extruded fish feed. Compared to pelleted feed, extruded fish feed has the benefit that more of the feed is actually digested by the fish. This results in more resource efficient tilapia production and less pollution. Harm de Wildt, Managing Director for Nutreco´s operations in Europe and the Middle East said the investment underscores the company’s commitment to the African market. “Through the investment in extruded fish feed capacity and regional R&D, we can support more customers in
increasing their efficiency and profitability. Equally important, it will accelerate the transfer of our knowledge acquired in other fish species to tilapia, thus contributing to the sustainable development of aquaculture in Egypt”, he said. Skretting has also entered into a five year R&D partnership to support sustainable aquaculture in Egypt and Africa with WorldFish, a research institute that focuses on reducing poverty and hunger by improving fisheries and aquaculture. The partnership will focus on tilapia nutrition and testing of new, local ingredients for fish feed. The construction of an advanced trial unit with a recirculation system is part of the partnership. More than half of the projected global population growth in the coming decades will take place in Africa. The continent will have added 1.3 billion people by 2050, roughly equivalent to the current population of China. The investment is a next step in Nutreco’s ambition to expand in Africa. Nutreco entered Africa in 2001 by acquiring a share of the Egyptian company Hendrix Misr, which came under full ownership in 2013 and was
renamed Skretting Egypt. Nutreco increased its presence in 2014 through a fish feed joint venture in Nigeria. Further investments are currently being explored. Meanwhile, another massive vertically integrated aquaculture group, Taiwan’s Grobest, has expanded into the Philippines with the commissioning of a $22-million plant in Gerona, Tarlac. The 150,000 tons per year feedmill will produce aquafeed for the local market. Grobest Philippines chairman, AnHung Chuang, said the Philippines’ high economic growth, government efficiency, reasonable financing rate and other favorable conditions will help the development of aquaculture. The availability of feed ingredients from Tarlac and neighboring provinces and huge market potential were major considerations in the selection of the site. The 14.2 hectare plant will operate under the name Grobest Feeds Philippines Inc. We also had confirmation that U.K. Benchmark Holdings plc., had reached agreement to acquire INVE Aquaculture Holding B.V. (INVE), a leading specialist manufacturer of pri» 49
mary stage technically advanced nutrition and health products for aquaculture, for a total consideration of $342 million. In 2014, INVE generated $89m in revenues with earnings of $25.4m. As INVE is a larger company than Benchmark, the deal is considered to be a reverse takeover and is subject to shareholder approval. Malcolm Pye, Chief Executive of Benchmark, noted the acquisition of INVE made Benchmark a global leader in the aquaculture technology market overnight. Philippe Léger, Chief Executive Officer of INVE said: “Benchmark’s toolbox of health and genetics solutions will complete INVE’s current offering in advanced nutritional and health products. Together we will become a unique knowledge and solutions platform that supports our customers in taking better care throughout the culture lifecycle. As a result we can more effectively than ever contribute to our clients’ sustainable growth and long-term success”.
Salmon in the growout tank by Brenda Jones.
Developments in feed In a recent trial carried out at BioMar’s test unit at Senja, phrases such as “unbelievable results” were used when the data were processed. It has become increasingly apparent that incorporating krill in salmon feed will enhance the quality of the fish at slaughter. In this trial, the test feed containing krill produced a 19 per cent reduction in dark melanin spots in fillets. These findings are contained in a new Nofima report in which 200 fish were examined by Turid Mørkøre and her team at Nofima. The feeding trial was conducted at BioMar’s trial license off Senja using salmon that were transferred to seawater in the spring of 2014. The test feed used in the trial was Qardio, which contains krill (QRILL produced by Aker BioMarine). Other trials have also shown that Qardio can reduce dark spots as well as enhancing fillet quality, reducing inflammation and boosting HSMI resistance.
“Significant attention is currently being devoted to the occurrence of dark spots in salmon fillets, both by the industry and by specialist institutions,” said Gunnar Molland, BioMar’s product manager for fish health. “The melanin discolorations are assumed to be the product of a permanent inflammation process and we have also found repeated indications that feed components which modulate inflammation help to reduce the development of spots. In addition to the role played by specific vitamins and minerals we have also seen the effects of the fatty acid balance. As a consequence, it did not come as any great surprise to find that Qardio, which was already known to reduce the harmful effects of virus infections on the heart, has now also been shown to reduce the occurrence of dark spots in the fillet. The discovery that the same virus (PRV) that causes HSMI is found in dark spots in fish fillets suggests that the virus may also play a role in this context.”
BioMar will apply the new knowledge generated in this work in the development of tools for the industry, and aims to launch a product designed to promote cost-effective prevention of fillet spots early next year. Operational stress appears to be a significant factor in the development of dark spots.
Suzi Dominy is the founding editor and publisher of aquafeed.com. 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. firstname.lastname@example.org
Hatchery Technology and Management
Water Supply, Distribution and Management Considerations in Freshwater Hatcheries Much of the popular literature on hatchery development and operation focuses on marine species and facilities, but in this column By C. Greg Lutz, Guest Columnist
he goal of hatchery design, development and operation is to foster and maximize survival and output of larvae, post-larvae, fry or fingerlings. To a great extent, the factors that determine hatchery success are based on
we will consider some key factors for freshwater hatcheries.
water quality and quantity, layout and design of facilities, and operational practices. Of these, only operational practices can be easily changed once a hatchery has been established. For this reason, site selection is more important for hatchery facilities than
in probably any other segment of commercial aquaculture. Ideally, both surface and ground waters will be available for the site in question. Additionally, while access to utilities and major transport routes is important, this proximity to development should
be balanced with a relatively undisturbed environment in the vicinity of the hatchery site. Proximity to suitable water sources is the single most important criterion when sighting a hatchery facility. Successful hatchery operations require water with appropriate chemical characteristics, sufficient levels of oxygen, and minimal concentrations of disease organisms. While surface waters usually are well-balanced for supporting aquatic life in terms of chemical characteristics, they may harbor pathogens or parasites, not to mention pollution from various industrial or agricultural sources. Well water is typically free of disease organisms, and pollutants, but it is often devoid of oxygen as well, and may contain excessive levels of toxic dissolved gases such as hydrogen sulfide and CO2. Most of the water supply considerations for seawater hatcheries apply equally well to freshwater facilities. Similar filtration and sterilization practices are usually required. Problems with using surface waters are similar, including not only uncertainties with regard to pollution, solids loads, and temperature, but
also seasonal changes in elevation and flow. Chemical characteristics are more variable in freshwater environments, both from water body to water body and also over time. Key characteristics of concern for freshwater hatchery use include dissolved oxygen levels, temperature, nitrogenous compounds (especially ammonia nitrogen), pH, hardness, alkalinity and chloride levels. Freshwater wells often present their own problems when used for hatchery purposes. In addition to being devoid of oxygen, they frequently have high levels of hydrogen sulfide, dissolved iron, and CO2. In some coastal areas, seasonal shifts in the depths of overlaying aquifers may result in the release of ammonia from certain types of underground mineral deposits. Taken together, these characteristics usually require vigorous aeration and, occasionally, sand filtration prior to further consideration for hatchery use. One solution is to run the inflow water through packed columns to drive off harmful gases, oxidize iron and add oxygen. Another is to pump directly into an open reservoir pond to allow natural processes to accomplish the same tasks,
and then supply the hatchery from the reservoir. In the face of increasing energy costs, not to mention biosecurity issues, water re-use is being investigated in many government and commercial hatcheries. Benefits of water re-use include conserving costs for heating or cooling water, reducing opportunities for pathogens to enter the facility through the water supply, and maintaining a more constant environment for eggs and early life stages. Successful implementation of water re-use requires a substantial investment in filtration systems and related equipment and infrastructure, but in many cases this approach may be economically justified. Any hatchery facility should be designed to achieve efficiency while maintaining options for flexible management. Work-flow patterns should be considered when designing the facility, including water supply and drain lines. Distribution lines for air and water should be laid out efficiently, but with sufficient redundancy to isolate and respond to problems such as broken or leaking fittings. Thought should be given to incorporation of reservoir tanks, either in a centralized Âť 53
Hatchery Technology and Management
location or throughout the hatchery. These tanks may be designed for gravity flow or for use with back-up pumps in the event of a temporary loss of the main water supply. Particular care must be taken to prevent any leaks on the suction side of water supply pumps, either in plumbing and fittings or in the pump itself. Small pin-hole leaks will allow air to be entrained and subsequently forced into solution under pressure. These gases in turn can result in gas-
bubble disease as they leave solution in incubation and rearing tanks. Similarly, leaking fittings or unions on the outlet side of a pump can act as venturis, allowing additional air to be sucked into the system. Most hatcheries find it necessary to raise or lower temperature of source water at various times of the year. Heating water in closed (pressurized) containment can also result in super-saturation of many gases and cause gas bubble disease. Many suitable devices with titanium surfaces are available for heating and cooling requirements, but they may be costprohibitive for some applications. If necessary, measures can be taken to install or construct heat-exchange
devices. Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) fittings and pipe, new fiberglass, new concrete, and many painted surfaces can all leach harmful chemicals which impact larval survival in many aquatic species. These components should be properly â€˜agedâ€™ prior to use by filling, rinsing, or steaming. And, once water supplies and distribution are in place, a number of alarm systems may be appropriate for a hatchery depending on the complexity of the system, manpower availability, and redundancy of key components. Alarms for water levels in tanks, reservoirs or even source waters can be installed, as can alarms to monitor failure or shut-down of key systems such as water pumps.
C. Greg Lutz, has a PhD in Wildlife and Fisheries Science from 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. email@example.com
Finally! A Final Rule.
So, is this is the End of the Beginning? There was little real fanfare – Kathleen Sullivan, the head of NOAA, held a press conference in New Orleans, and announced that NOAA was going to move forward with implementing the Rule for the Fisheries Management Plan (FMP) for aquaculture in the Gulf of Mexico (GoM). They’d be ready to start moving forward in February. Those stalwarts of seafood internet news services – Intrafish.com, Seafood Source.com, By Neil Anthony Sims*
and a few others – scattered the story out amongst the ether.
ome few of us around the country grinned, and maybe pumped our fists into the air, and exclaimed “Finally!” But the sun didn’t stop in its tracks. The tides still rolled back and forth. And folk from Key West to Brownsville kept plowing their way through grouper sandwiches, mahimahi fillets, jambalayas and blackened redfish entrees, oblivious to whatever winds of change may have blown across those waters. “So what?” they might have asked. Well, here’s what: there is now a permitting pathway in place for growing seafood in the Federal waters in the GoM. The Rule’s release and January 13 publication in the Federal Register is the culmination of more than a decade’s work on this issue by a bevy of industry partners, working with the GoM Offshore aquaculture, photo Courtesy NOAA.
FMC, NOAA, and other Federal agencies. Over a decade ago, the FMC had recognised that fisheries for wild stocks in the GoM were already being exploited at or beyond their capacities. Many fisheries were in decline. Waterfronts around the Gulf had the faint aroma of Detroit-dereliction, washed over by a wave of concrete and glass condos. Joe Hendrix, that unflagging stalwart, led an initiative on the Council to recognize the obvious: the only opportunity for growth lay in growing. And the Council – feeling the pressure from consumers, and seafood restaurants, and fish processing plants that were increasingly hungry for product – bought the bold concept. So began the process. The initial steps involved drafting an Environmental Impact Statement. Amongst all the handwringing and fear-mongering and anecdotal horror stories, the EIS asked, what might be the
actual expected impacts of putting fish into the water, rather than just taking them out? And if there are significant impacts, then how might these be mitigated? The EIS waded through these waters, and came to the conclusion that – so long as basic Best Management Practices are adhered to - the upshot of aquaculture is mainly up. Or, at least, the impacts of farming fish – using the waters as a medium to grow fish in their natural environment - are probably a lot less than the impacts that are already visited upon the Gulf by existing extractive activities, such as the oil and gas industry (say no more), and commercial and recreational fishing (which directly extract both fish and by-catch, and inflict other ecosystem impacts to varying degrees, depending on the fishing method used). A Rule for management of an aquaculture industry in Federal waters was then drafted by the Council, in concert
The FMC had recognised that fisheries for wild stocks in the GoM were already being exploited at or beyond their capacities. Many fisheries were in decline.
with NOAA, and adopted with alacrity by the Council. We all cheered. We were fools. That was 2009. All that was required, then – or so we believed - was for NOAA to accept and implement the Rule. Slam dunk, right? Bam! Done! Well, not quite… NOAA’s
Photo courtesy NOAA.
A Rule for management of an aquaculture industry in Federal waters was then drafted by the Council, in concert with NOAA, and adopted with alacrity by the Council.
approach to this gambit might be kindly described as an ‘abundance of caution.’ We have, in these pages past, berated NOAA for the achingly slow progress. It was progress so slow that it usually did not look like progress. Regress, more like. Digress, often. NOAA would happily share their reasons: everybody else was always badgering their in-house lawyers with law suits; there was no overarching Aquaculture Policy to guide and direct the administration (ignoring the 1980 Aquaculture Act, where Congress very clearly spelled
out the imperatives); NOAA felt the need to convene ‘listening sessions’ around the country to get input from everyone who might have an opinion; and “Oops! The Deepwater Horizon oil spill (refer to the ‘say no more’, above) might impact the original findings of the Aquaculture EIS, so let’s do a supplementary EIS.”… ad seemingly infinitum. The overarching sense was that NOAA was going to take its own sweet time, if indeed it would ever actually act. Those of us who watched and sweated and wept and
prayed, some of us started to grow cynical and bitter. Each step forward seemed to trigger an additional two sideways and two back. Acceptance by NOAA pushed it over to the Office of Management and Budget (an oversight agency that was reputedly a black box; described by some as where good regulations go to die). There ensued bureaucratic backand-forth, ping-ponging between OMB and NOAA (the Rule was moving; it just did not appear to be moving towards completion). Then once more it was back in NOAA’s
hands, and there were no more hurdles. All that remained to be done, was the announcement. And now it was. Has been. Done. So now, friends, we are at the end of this arduous process. We feel like we’ve won, but what does that mean? The Rule is certainly not perfect, and we have previously, in these pages, bemoaned much about it that appeared to us to be – at worst – purely bone-headed, or at best, way too timid. Permits are limited to 10 years’ duration, with a poorly defined permit renewal pro-
cess. Production is capped for the entire GoM at 29,000 tons per year, with a target of five farms. (Which is reminiscent of the early days of computers, when the most bullish proponents predicted that one day, far off in a techno-future, there would be a computer at every major university in America). All fishing is excluded from anywhere near the net pens. (Good luck, my friends, at your first public meeting with the fishing community! Wear your flak jacket and football helmet!). And the level of reporting to NOAA is over the top. (No, you don’t have to tell NOAA every time you use the bathroom, but you do have to tell them every time you are going to harvest fish, or land fish, or stock fish). There is also the daunting prospect of the other Hydra-heads of “cognizant” Federal agencies. A NOAA Aquaculture permit lets you grow the fish. But you also need an Army Corps of Engineers (ACOE) permit to deploy the net pens – and
GoM-regionmap Courtesy US IOOS.
There is also the daunting prospect of the other Hydra-heads of “cognizant” Federal agencies. A NOAA Aquaculture permit lets you grow the fish.
the attendant anchors, buoys, gridlines and feed barges. And ACOE will check around amongst all the other Federal agencies (Navy, Fish and Wildlife Service, NOAA – yes again – and any or all others) to ensure that they all have a chance to weigh in. You’ll need a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to allow your fish to add their nutrients (my euphemism for urine and faeces) to the effluent waters. You need to check with the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management to ensure that no-one in the oil and
gas industry has any claim or concern with your proposal. You need Coast Guard to approve the lighting on your operation, and to register it as a Private Aid to Navigation (PATON). And you will need to ensure that the operation is consistent with the adjacent coastal state Coastal Zone Management Plan. You work through all this… through the Scoping Meetings, the public meetings, the drafting of an Environmental Assessment and its review by agencies and the public (even with a Programmatic EIS for the entire Gulf, each permittee will still need to conduct their own EA to inform the ACOE permit and the NPDES process). And then, if you or NOAA aren’t sued by the fringe you might have your permit in hand. The time and money required to work through this process is unfathomable, but one wiser than I in such matters (in most matters, really) suggested that it might be two years, and $2 million. Or perhaps some young buck (or doe) fresh out of college might find the passion for pursing a permit, considering ‘sweat equity’ as if it were a cheaper, more practical education than a Masters in Marine Public Policy. (And it most certainly would be!) Good luck to us all, I say! Yes, the process is not perfect, but it’s a place to start. About 10 years ago, I was meeting with one of the Capitol Hill staffers, pressing for broader recognition of the need for open ocean aquaculture. “Sure,” she said. “I see it, Neil. But… where’s your constituency?
Where are your industry members?” I looked down at my shoes, and shuffled my feet in embarrassment. Well, we now have a chance to build an industry, and to build a broad constituency of supportive industry benefactors – the boat builders and ice houses and fish processors and restaurant wait staff and net makers and hatchery operators – and their friends and relations. Sure, there are numerous areas where the Rules might have been better drafted, but once we get farms out there, and fish in the water, then the flaws will become apparent to all, and one hopes that common sense will prevail. Many of the Rule provisions can be readily amended by the FMC, without the NOAA-OMB ping-ponging. This, then, is a time for optimism; for entertaining possibilities; for dreaming dreams. This is a significant accomplishment. The fu-
ture lies before us. It’s not so much the End of the Beginning. It’s the end of the Prelude. It’s a new Beginning. There’s good, honest work to be done. Let’s go grow some fish! Finally!
Neil Anthony Sims is co-Founder and CEO of Kampachi Farms, LLC, based in Kona, Hawaii, and in La Paz, Mexico. He’s also the founding President of the Ocean Stewards Institute, and sits on the Steering Committee for the Seriola-Cobia Aquaculture Dialogue and the Technical Advisory Group for the WWF-sponsored Aquaculture Stewardship Council.
THE Shellfish CORNER
Water Quality and the Culture
of Shellfish in Prohibited Waters In the United States, water quality standards for shellfishing and shellfish aquaculture waters have been governed since 1925 by the National Shellfish Sanitation Program (NSSP) first administered by the United States Public Health Service.
By Michael A. Rice*
n more recent decades the NSSP has been governed by the Interstate Shellfish Sanitation Commission (ISSC), a consortium of shellfish-producing states with coordination and oversight by the US Food & Drug Administration (FDA) [See:www.fda.g ov/downloads/ Food/GuidanceRegulation/FederalStateFoodPrograms/UCM415522. pdf] Enforcement of the provisions of the NSSP have largely been the responsibilities of each of the shellfishproducing states following the model ordinance that is part of the NSSP, with periodic review by the FDA. Compliance with NSSP requirements is assured by potential loss of interstate shellfish sales privileges as authorized by the Interstate Commerce Act. Any foreign nation state or their subsidiary governmental units (e.g. states or provinces) wanting to export and sell fresh, raw shucked, or raw frozen shellfish products into US markets is obliged to become a full voting member of the ISSC, and agree to be bound by the provisions of the NSSP, including submission to
periodic program inspection by US FDA officials for compliance. For nearly 70 years under the provisions of the water quality standards of the NSSP, harvest of shellfish in waters classified as prohibited for harvest (i.e. from areas most grossly contaminated by fecal contaminants, in the close vicinity of sewage outfalls, near sewage treatment plants, in boat harbors or at marinas) would be strictly off limits for harvest for human consumption. Enforcement of these NSSP prohibitions on shellfish harvests from prohibited waters have proven to be very effective in protecting public health in the US where shellfish are frequently consumed as fresh shucked product. Over time a number of issues have arisen about the shellfish behind pollution closure lines, sparking considerable discussion and debate about the desirability of tapping into their economic potential. Often times, due to lack of harvest shellfish in these closed, prohibited waters would reach a mature “old growth” population structure with unusually
Figure 1. Photograph of Robert B. Rheault of Rhode Island’s Moonstone Oyster Company taken in 1992 with a prototype floating dock FLUPSY at Billington Cove Marina, Wakefield, Rhode Island. Photo by Michael A. Rice.
high population densities of slow growing individuals. In several US states, relaying or transplanting shellfish out of these closed waters has been a proposed strategy for a number of reasons. In some cases, officers tasked with the enforcement of NSSP provisions have advocated for the near complete removal of shellfish from these areas to prevent the temptation of illegal harvest, while some shellfishery biologists have contended that these pollution closure areas constitute de facto spawning sanctuaries for shellfish and should be managed as such, often by culling the shellfish to allow for younger more vigorous individuals to grow. But if shellfish are to be removed from these closure areas and eventually enter markets for human consumption, can there be an assurance that they would be safe to eat given the wide range of potential contaminants? Chapter V of the current (2013) revision of the NSSP addresses issues of shellfish relay out of lesser contaminated waters classified as conditionally approved, conditionally restricted or restricted. However, shellfish harvested from most the most restrictive prohibited water classification may not enter market channels for human consumption under any circumstances. Regions at the head of estuaries where human population centers are located are also the very same areas where nutrient inputs are the greatest and there is the potential for abundant phytoplankton food resources for the shellfish seed. The technology for using upweller systems was under development several decades ago as a means for Âť 63
THE Shellfish CORNER
efficiently delivering phytoplanktonladen seawater in the nursery culture of shellfish seed in hatcheries [See for example: Manzi, J. et al., 1985. Journal of Shellfish Research 4(2):119124]. These early, land based upweller systems were quickly modified into floating upweller systems or FLUPSYs that could be placed directly into estuaries where nutrient and phytoplankton rich waters can support good shellfish growth [See: Flimlin, G. 2000. Nursery and Growout Methods for Aquacultured Shellfish. NRAC Publication 00-002]. One modification of the FLUPSY was to design it so that shellfish upweller bins are covered by large doors that when closed allow the entire unit to be alternatively used as a floating dock. Such units could be placed in small boat marinas where a shore-based source 64 Âť
of electrical power is readily available and there is usually good security of the site (Figure 1). So around 1989, issues arose about the extremely restrictive nature of the NSSP shellfish harvest out of prohibited waters with regard to the aquaculture of molluscan shellfish seed. It had been known at the time that in water temperatures in excess of 15ÂşC or so depending upon the species, most of the shellfish would be able to purge themselves of bacterial contaminants within a 48 hour period after being relayed into clean certified waters. However, viral pathogens might take a month or two longer. It had also been known from studies by several researchers in the 1960s and 1970s that the most persistent toxic heavy metals such as lead, cadmium and mercury would take several
months to depurate from molluscan shellfish soft tissues given proper temperature and salinity conditions. So by the early 1990s, the issue of culturing shellfish in prohibited waters began to be debated by the ISSC. Although all of the NSSP shellfish sanitation standards were based on coliform bacterial indices, and no metal-based standards were ever agreed upon, there was still concern that the largest threat to public health would be persistent metals or other chemical toxicants that might be picked up in the prohibited waters. As part of the data submitted to ISSC for evaluation of their shellfish aquaculture seed policy, Robert Rheault, then a graduate student at the University of Rhode Island, conducted some studies of growing seed oysters Crassostrea virginica, and quahogs Mercenaria mercenaria, in some
local marinas. He tested the seed for various heavy metals, including zinc, copper, iron, lead and chromium once they had reached field planting sizes. His data showed that the 30mm oyster seed and 15mm-long quahogs in general did not have any elevated levels of heavy metals in their tissues, except for some of the seed quahogs from one marina site that showed some slightly elevated iron and chromium in their soft tissues above environmental background (I recall musing that there might be a 1957 Chevy rusting away somewhere upstream). However, Robertâ€™s data showed that these shellfish that were being cultured off the bottom in areas without any active dumping of metal effluents nearby did not result in shellfish seed picking up metals to any great extent from the anti-corrosion zincs from
boats or copper anti-fouling paints known to be around marinas and boatyards. Another line of reasoning developed in the culture of shellfish seed in prohibited waters is that if the shellfish seed could be harvested and moved to certified growing waters for final growout to market size, the amount of new soft tissues added during the latter growout period would greatly dilute any metals that might be picked up during their time in the prohibited waters. This process of metal dilution by addition of new soft tissue would be in addition to any of the metal depuration losses demonstrated in the earlier studies. After considerable discussion by the ISSC, the 1995 version of the NSSP Manual of Operations included an entire new chapter (Chapter VI,
Aquaculture) that was added primarily to set apart shellfish hatcheries and aquaculture seed production from the regulated harvest of wild stocks from potentially contaminated waters. According to the most recent (2013) version of the NSSP Manual, the following activities are exempted from water quality classification requirements: 1) shellfish hatcheries; 2) shellfish seed that do not exceed ten percent of their final market weight; and 3) shellfish seed that require six months or more growing time from market size. Individual shellfish producing states may be more stringent in their requirements than the NSSP Model Ordinance, but never less stringent. With the greater popularity of aquacultured shellfish in the United States and the growth of market demand, seed availability is cited as one of the most pressing issues for the industry. The early recognition by ISSC of shellfish seed under certain conditions as being exempt from NSSP water quality classification requirements has already removed one of the largest regulatory barriers to expansion of seed production in waters that could well benefit from the ecosystem services that these little filter feeders might be providing. Waters formerly written off as useless and unproductive may well be the newest economic frontier as major nursery seed production areas for the growing American shellfish industry.
Michael A. Rice, PhD, is a Professor of Fisheries, Animal and Veterinary Science at the University of Rhode Island. He has published extensively in the areas of physiological ecology of mollusks, shellfishery management, molluscan aquaculture, and aquaculture in international development. firstname.lastname@example.org
Challenges and prospects for wild Atlantic salmon stocks
For many decades, there has been serious concern about the status of wild salmon stocks on both sides of the Atlantic.
By Asbjørn Bergheim*
ild stocks are in a weakened state and the rapidly growing farming of salmon is often blamed for this worrying situation. Undoubtedly, interactions between salmon aquaculture and wild salmon stocks are a part of the problem but the degree of impact from the industry is difficult to estimate. About 2,500 salmon rivers flow into the North Atlantic (www.nasco. int). The annual catches of salmon at sea peaked in the mid-1970s at about 12,000 tons, but the catches have declined markedly to about 1,500 tons in recent years. Part of the reason for reduced catches is due to the introduction of restrictive management measures in fisheries (www. nasco.int), while reduced abundance
of salmon is another obvious major reason. Also, monitoring of salmon stocks in rivers indicates that the marine survival has declined dramatically. The International Council for the Exploration of the Sea, or ICES (www.ices.dk) is the world’s leading scientific organization concerning marine ecosystems. The organization annually provides reliable estimates of the state of Atlantic salmon. Both in Canada and Europe, the returning number of salmon from sea to their home rivers has declined (Figure 2 a, b) concurrently with the reduced catches at sea. Not least, the falling percentage of large salmon returning after two or more winters at sea clearly indicates this reduced marine survival.
Figure 1. Migration zones of salmon at sea. Source: Atlantic Salmon Federation (www.asf.ca/about_salmon.php)
According to The Atlantic Salmon Trust (www.atlanticsalmontrust. org), the species is “in danger of extinction”, especially in its southern range: Portuguese rivers no longer have salmon and the river populations in NW Spain and in southern France are on the edge, despite heroic efforts by the fishery managers. On the other side of the Atlantic Ocean, the situation is unfortunately much the same where 40,000 annual salmon runs in the rivers of the Bay of Fundy in the 1970’s have declined to about 200 ascending salmon at present. However, the picture is a mixed one. In 2014, the rivers of Russia’s Kola Peninsula had notable high runs and catches of salmon and, for example, the Irish river Slaney had its best spring returns for thirty years. The estimated number of salmon caught by anglers in Norwegian rivers in 2015 was totally 132,000 individuals, up 10% compared with the average number over the last decade (www.kyst.no). River fishing in Norway is strictly regulated and subject to maximum catch quotas. All salmon angled in rivers that are not incorporated in the quota regulations have to be released. Some
Angling for salmon and charr in a North Icelandic watercourse (courtesy: Bjørn Olav Rosseland)
25,000 salmon or 19% of the total 2015 catch were reported released to contribute to maintaining the rivers’ strains. Norway’s salmon strains are considered vigorous despite the fact that eleven strains out of 110 are critically endangered or extinct (www.nina.no).
A main cause of the present high return rate of spawners in Norwegian rivers is supposed to be the low number of sea lice in the fjords during spring 2013 at the time of smolt migration (www.imr.no). The lice treatment attempts at the cage farms were successfully performed that year and the number of returning large salmon in 2016, representing this generation, will probably exceed the average number for these highly desired fish. ICES has classified the following factors that can affect the mortality of salmon at sea: Growth, food and competition; Salmon fisheries; Bycatches in pelagic fisheries; Freshwater influence; Marine environment and pollution; Marine parasites and diseases; and Marine predation. Salmon aquaculture is considered a potential threat to the wild stocks in the inshore zone. In an interna-
Figure 2 Annual catches at sea and return rate of Atlantic salmon in Canada and Northern European countries over the last forty years (modified from ICES Report, www.ices.dk)
Small Large % Large
tional symposium held ten years ago (Oct. 2005), representatives from the farming industry and experts on wild stocks stated that “the industry’s future success requires that the product is perceived to be safe and healthy, that it is not associated with degradation of the natural environment, and that the industry is perceived as open, transparent, and willing to focus on welfare issues and environmentally sustainable practices” (www.icesjms.oxfordjournals.org). Unlike other major salmon farming regions, Chile does not have native wild salmon populations. The species that are dominating the salmon industry, Atlantic salmon and coho, are introduced from their endemic regions and the disease and parasite problems affecting the industry thus represent no significant impact on wild fish populations.
1974 1976 1978 1980 1982 1984 1986 1988 1990 1992 1994 1996 1998 2000 2002 2004 2006 2008 2010 2012 2014
Number (1000) and %
Cathes of small and large salmon in Canada. 100 90 80 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0
River Etneelva i Southwestern Norway is famous for its large-sized salmon (courtesy: Bjørn Olav Rosseland)
Returning of grilse in European countries. 2500
1500 1000 500 0
1971 1973 1975 1977 1979 1981 1983 1985 1987 1989 1991 1993 1995 1997 1999 2001 2003 2005 2007 2009 2011 2013
Dr. AsbjØrn Bergheim is a senior researcher in the Dept. of Marine Environment at the International Research Institute of Stavanger. His fields of interest within aquaculture are primarily water quality vs. technology and management in tanks, cages and ponds, among others. email@example.com
The Long View
Shrimp Aquaculture Certification: The Way Forward Part 2 By Claude E. Boyd1, Aaron A. McNevin2
The World Wildlife Fund suggested seven indicators – land use, water use, feed conversion ratio (FCR), survival, wild fish inclusion in feeds, dissolved oxygen in receiving waters and energy use – as a means of assessing resource use and negative environmental impacts of aquaculture production facilities. Preliminary results from a survey of shrimp farms in Vietnam and Thailand reveal that these indicators can provide an objective accounting of resource use and negative environmental impacts – including acquisition of the information necessary for estimating embodied burdens. Our discussion from the previous issue continues here.
strong case for the paramount importance of FCR as an indicator of resource use and water quality impacts of feed-based aquaculture has been made (Boyd et al. 2007, 2015). By reducing FCR, there is a corresponding reduction in nutrient input, waste load, direct impacts of feed manufacturing, embodied resources and impacts for feed ingredient production, and production cost per unit of production (Boyd and McNevin 2015b). Certification programs consider FCR – either by specifying a maximum value or requiring it to be reported. Nevertheless, limitations on pH and concentrations or loads of nutrients, turbidity or suspended matter, and biological oxygen demand are common standards in certification. The fact that concentration limits are imposed may have value in preventing adverse condition in the mixing zone (the immediate area where effluents enter the receiving water body), but 68 »
they do not assure that the receiving water body will not be polluted, because the waste load may exceed the assimilative capacity of these water bodies. In some instances, shrimp farms may be located in the same area that receives wastewater discharge from a large city and drainage from agricultural areas. In such instances, certification of all the shrimp farms in the downstream area might not result in significant improvement in water quality. In the case of the shrimp farms depicted, certification of a few shrimp farms would not cause a significant decline in pollution load from the entire shrimp production in the area. There are situations where the major source of pollution to a water body is one or more certified shrimp farms. Nevertheless, compliance with the standards will not assure that eutrophication does not occur in the receiving waters. The assimilation capacity of the receiving water bodies will not be known, and
therefore, an estimate of permissible waste loads cannot be made. Determination of the assimilative capacity of receiving water bodies is far too complex to serve as a requirement for certification. Analyses of effluent samples for demonstrating compliance with standards usually is done by an independent, certified laboratory, but in some cases, the farm is allowed to make the analyses. Particular methods of analyses (or their equivalents) usually are specified. Recent investigations showed that different laboratories – including certified laboratories – may provide remarkably different results although using the same method for the same water sample (Le and Boyd 2013; Somridhivej and Boyd, in preparation). Moreover, different methods may provide different results for the same sample (Zhou and Boyd 2015), and several methods are available for analyzing most variables. Usually no clear indication is given as to which methods are equivalent to the method specified by the certification program. In summary, there is presently no effective quality control for the analyses of farm effluents necessary to show compliance with certification standards. The uncertainty with the benefits that can be realized by compliance with the standards and the likelihood of compliance being awarded based on erroneous analytical results, supports the Aquaculture Stewardship Council certification requirement to measure the diel fluctuation in dissolved oxygen concentration to ascertain the trophic status of the receiving water body before initial certification and to assess whether trophic status improves or declines later. This approach, especially if coupled with a FCR standard well below the typical FCR achieved for the culture species, would appear to be superior and less complicated than reliance upon effluent limitations for concentrations, loads, or both. The measurement of diel dissolved oxygen fluctuation also might be considered as a standard for excluding cer-
tified farms from certain areas. It would seem logical to exclude certified farms from discharging into oligotrophic water bodies with little fluctuation in diel dissolved oxygen concentration and from highly eutrophic water bodies with especially wide ranges in diel dissolved oxygen concentration. The logic for exclusion from oligotrophic waters is obvious. The reason for exclusion from areas with eutrophic waters lies in the fact that shrimp farms tend to use the same water body for water supply and effluent recipient. A location with an extremely wide diel dissolved oxygen fluctuation represents greatly impaired water quality. We feel, as did Clay (2004), that impaired sites usually made a disproportionately greater contribution to negative environmental impacts than do less impaired sites. Reduction in water pollution is a particularly critical aspect of responsible aquaculture as well as responsible production in general. Although it does not appear possible to drastically reduce impacts of food production on terrestrial biodiversity, there is a greater possibly for lessening the potential for negative impacts on aquatic biodiversity. This situation is the result of terrestrial biodiversity impacts occurring almost entirely on the farm site while the aquatic biodiversity impacts occur off-site as a result of water pollution. Of course, a reduction in water pollution by a shrimp farm at some locations would not necessarily assure improvement in water quality and aquatic biodiversity. Obviously,
certification cannot assure better water quality; it can just lessen pollution loads or exclude farms in compromised or in pristine environments.
Survival Greater survival of shrimp in a pond typically leads to higher production and lower FCR (Chumnanka et al. 2015). Aside from rigorous biosecurity to assure disease free ponds and postlarvae at the time of stocking, the greatest reason for mortality is disease. Although various drugs and antibiotics are used by shrimp producers in efforts to prevent or treat diseases, there is no convincing evidence that such treatment are effective. The major reason for most of the common diseases in shrimp pond, and in aquaculture facilities in general, is impaired water quality that stresses the animals and predispose them to disease. The survival rate in ponds tends to be an indicator of whether biosecurity and water quality management is effective. Certification programs tend to require farms to develop management plans for feeding, water quality maintenance, health management, etc. Proof that these plans have been made and are on file has no relationship to how well farms are managed. However, good survival and FCR are manifest evidence of effective feed, water quality, and health management – the plans may serve as guidelines, but their existence does not provide proof of implementation.
Maintenance of good water quality in feed-based shrimp ponds depends upon balancing the stocking and feeding rates with dissolved oxygen availability. It is seldom possible to have feeding rates above 30 kg/ha per day in un-aerated ponds and maintain acceptable water quality. Aeration should be applied at about 1 hp for each 10 kg/ha increment of daily feed input (Boyd and Tucker 2014). Adequate dissolved oxygen concentration is important for the respiration of shrimp and other aquaculture species and is necessary for oxidation of waste from feeding. To avoid stressing shrimp by low dissolved oxygen concentration and to lessen the possibility of ammonia, nitrite, and sulfide toxicity, the dissolved oxygen concentration should not fall below 3 mg/L in the early morning and be near saturation during the day (Boyd and Tucker 2014). A minimum dissolved oxygen concentration of 3 mg/L should be required as a certification standard.
Wild Fish Use Shrimp feeds usually contain between 15 and 20% fish meal. This makes it difficult for producers to achieve a fish in – fish out ratio of 1.0 or less. Because shrimp aquaculture consumes a large amount of fish meal – about 27% of total aquaculture use in 2006 (Tacon and Metain 2008) – reduction in fish meal use should be a major concern in certification. A great dilemma exists with respect to the amount of fish meal actually necessary in shrimp feed. A number of studies over the past decade have demonstrated that fish meal can be entirely replaced in shrimp feed with no reduction in FCR and production (Davis et al. 2008). However, to our knowledge, this research has basically been ignored by feed producers and farmers. An effort is needed to determine whether shrimp feeds containing no fish meal are equivalent to feeds with fish meal. If they are, it seems incumbent upon shrimp certification programs to require feeds with no fish meal or at least with a much lower » 69
The Long View
fish meal inclusion rate than presently found in most shrimp feeds.
Energy Use Energy is used directly for pumping water, aerating ponds, harvesting shrimp and several other purposes at the farm-level in shrimp aquaculture just as it is in most types of aquaculture. Energy also is embodied in aquaculture inputs – especially in feed. There is an urgent need to conserve energy, because fossil fuel, of which there is a finite supply, is the major energy source for most human endeavors, shrimp farming included. In addition, fossil fuel use is mainly responsible for the increasing carbon dioxide concentration of the atmosphere. Despite these realities, we believe that a new paradigm related to global energy sources is necessary (Boyd and McNevin 2015a), and in the meanwhile, it is acceptable to trade greater energy use for more efficient and less environmentally degrading shrimp production to meet the increasing demand for this product. Of course, shrimp farms should be required to conserve energy, but we do not see how it is possible to meet projected future demand for shrimp in a responsible way without using more energy. We would argue that shrimp are an unessential food item, and it likely makes sense to limit shrimp consumption. However, there is no precedent for regulating consumption of food or other agricultural products unless they represent health or societal risks perceived as extremely serious by an overwhelming majority of the populace. Conclusions Certification can lead to greater efficiency in use of most of the resources needed for shrimp aquaculture. It also can reduce negative environmental impacts at the farm-level. However, unless the majority of the shrimp production in an area becomes certified, the impacts of other farms may mask the benefits of certification. In some areas, certification of all shrimp farms would not result in positive environ70 »
mental change, because of the negative impacts of other activities. Major improvements in environmental quality in some shrimp farming areas would require drastic changes in governmental regulation and enforcement of all activities within the coastal zone. Nevertheless, certification can make farms more resource use efficient and environmentally responsible. They also can serve to demonstrate the benefits of better practices. Certification requires the producer to conduct various assessments, develop management plans, implement the certification program, monitor waste discharge, and contract with an accredited auditor to verify initial and continuing compliance. We suggest that all aspects of this complex and expensive procedure may have been desirable in the initial years of certification, but the requirements and standards of certification programs should be continually reviewed and revised in light of new findings, experiences, and technology. Those involved with requirements for certification hopefully understand that the purpose of these programs is to lessen negative environmental impacts. This is accomplished by implementing good practices and monitoring to demonstrate whether a farm is compliant with the standards. Thus, the standards should not be the requirement to display written plans related to major indicators, but to demonstrate that the farm is compliant with verifiable standards related to each indicator. For example, preparation of an acceptable feed management plan filed in an accessible place should not be a standard despite being nice and convenient. The standard should be that the farm is compliant with good feed management by having an FCR equal to or less than the certification program standard for FCR. The same logic applies to all such management plans. In a recent visit to a certified shrimp farm, we were required to check in, obtain and wear a visitor’s badge, fill out a personal data form, and answer
queries about recent contact with livestock or shrimp and our health status. The buildings were numbered and spotlessly neat. The grounds also were neat and everything was in its place. We were ushered into a conference room where an array of assessments and management plans were displayed. But in discussions with farm management, it was immediately apparent from their responses to our questions that they were clueless about how anything other than the accounting aspects of the certification were to be achieved. They had no idea about how to minimize negative impacts. The accounting aspects of certification programs are easy – just tedious and time consuming. These aspects should be minimized and emphasis placed on improving activities that have an environmental impact. We know that this statement should seem unnecessary, but all involved in certification should remember the purpose of the effort and not confuse appearance with effectiveness. We believe that it is time to seriously reexamine the requirements and standards for shrimp farm certification and revise them to focus on the critical issues. Shrimp farm certification will not yield its potential benefits unless it actually leads to environmental improvement and the majority of shrimp aquaculture becomes certified. Simplification of the standards with emphasis on those causing the major improvements would lessen the cost of certification and make it more appealing to producers.
1 School of Fisheries, Aquaculture and Aquatic Sciences. Auburn University, Auburn, Alabama, 36849 USA. 2
Director of Aquaculture World Wildlife Fund, Washington, D.C. 20037 USA
Can we really ever know
what customers want? The New Year commences and the media fills the vacant spaces with lots of predicted trends for the season ahead and people fill their minds with new hopes.
here is always new research hitting the headlines where issues such as buying local, sustainability, etc. are highlighted, however we must never forget that what drives the majority of consumers is perceived value. Perceived value can occur in many ways. It can be the actual selling price but it can also be based on the experience in buying at the store and whether consumers feel any appreciation. Everyone that you deal with will have their own set of values and there is no one size fits all. The real issue is that EVERY customer is different so what works for one probably will not work for another. In the area where I live we have three supermarkets (Coles, Woolworths and Aldi) and we are a 15 minute drive from Costco, plus we have 3 market shops (fishmongers) in the South Melbourne Market (open 4 days per week) and 3 fresh/cooked retail shops within a 5 minute drive. The seafood offering is strong and diverse. Only the major supermarket 72 »
groups advertise to any extent and a recent advertisement from one of those (shown here) gives some insights as to what they believe are the triggers for sales. From this advertisement what the supermarket believes sells products can be seen: • PRICE is the major highlight - bold and showing ‘discount’ • Certification - gets two mentions • Fish name - is correctly mentioned
• Country of Origin - not mentioned • How harvested – not mentioned • Supplier/Brand - not mentioned You can see and learn a lot from this. The necessity for thawed, especially with this product as it is produced ‘Frozen at Sea,’ is interesting. The lack of public education about frozen versus fresh is obvious and clearly more information is needed at the point of sale. More about that another day.
To the uninitiated, there is the thought from this advert that the producer might be a group called MSC as they receive an over generous promotion with two mentions. Alas the producer is not mentioned at all and it is the certification company that gets that glory, and yet by far the majority of people would have no clue as to what MSC actually means. As much as there is constant chatter about ‘sustainable’ seafood you rarely find any information about what this actually means in retail outlets. With organisations investing in various certification brands there
must be some disappointment that certification organisations are not promoting their activities directly with the consumers. Large retailers who also insist on specific certification should outline their strategies in promoting what the certification means including the benefits. Harris Poll Online has recently released some survey results which reportedly show Americans are possibly confused on the importance of choosing locally grown/sourced items. Firstly there is the term “local.” “Local” suggests a geographic re-
gion, but there’s no particular agreed definition, and results from the survey suggest that this perception can vary based on the product. When questioned on how far a product could come from and still be considered local, the answers varied for each food type with baked goods (77%), dairy (74%), produce (72%), and meat (68%) on the answer ‘must be within their state or closer’. Of course, with seafood, no matter how strong one’s desire might be for purchasing locally sourced or grown options, sometimes it’s just not possible. The main topics the survey highlighted as important considerations in Americans choosing one item over another were sugar content (69%), fat content (66%), sodium content (64%), and calorie count (64%). Wonder how many seafood retailers are promoting those issues regarding their seafood? The perceived importance of buying local seems to be similarly bracketed with whether items are antibi» 73
otic/hormone free (53%) or contain artificial colors/flavors (50%), and is well ahead of whether items are organic (34%). Just as well really, seeing as how the USA relies so heavily on seafood imports for its seafood consumption. Interestingly the survey shows that the perception of local food is higher quality (32%) and healthier (31%), whilst when asked if it’s better
for the environment and it’s safer the perception is somewhat lower (25% and 24%, respectively). While buying local is known for many things, it’s not always known for being cheap with only 20% saying that buying local costs less compared to non-local options. The bottom line, which of these factors actually make a difference at checkout? For the 81% of Americans
who ever shop for locally sourced/ grown food, supporting the local economy is the top reason for doing so (39%), followed by the food being fresher (34%) and supporting individual local businesses (32%). Not really that convincing. What is it that customers really want? You can over-think this if you are not too careful. Possibly the best advice is to stick to basics, do them well, and simply aim to continuously improve in all your activities. Make sure you speak with your customers and make them feel welcome and that they get the feeling, even if it is only a perception, that you value their business. If you give extra service, if you have trained staff that can give good advice re: fish choices and if you make people feel welcome you can definitely add value which consumers will acknowledge. Happy New Year… And Happy Fishmongering
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Genetic effects influencing salinity tolerance in tilapia (Oreochromis).