Aquaculture Magazine February-March 2021 Vol. 47 No. 1

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Aquaculture Magazine Volume 47 Number 1 February - March 2021





14 GREENHOUSES AND POND LINERS Fish Farming: advantages and threats.



The general benefits of Bioaqua® P (Yucca schidigera extract) on shrimp and fish farms.


Probiotics Modulate Tilapia Resistance and Immune Response against Tilapia Lake Virus Infection.


Are we making the same mistake again? The redclaw crayfish, a prominent aquaculture species introduced worldwide.


Sustainable growth for Canada’s blue economy: Ocean Supercluster announces new $27M project for integrated operations and real time analytics.







on the


Supporting Oyster Aquaculture and Restoration: A closer look at the efforts of The Nature Conservancy to provide COVID-relief for shellfish farmers.

46 Volume 47 Number 1 February - March 2021

Editor and Publisher Salvador Meza

Editorial Assistant Lucía Araiza

Marine Finfish Aquaculture Research and Development at the University of Miami. Editorial Design Francisco Cibrián

The area challenge in Norwegian salmon farming.

Resilience to Climate Change in Industrial Shrimp farming in Bangladesh. Assessing the Comparative Role of the Stakeholders.

66 LATIN AMERICA REPORT Recent News and Events.


Designer Perla Neri

Sales & Marketing Coordinator Juan Carlos Elizalde

Marketing & Corporate Sales Claudia Marín

Business Operations Manager Adriana Zayas

Subscriptions: Design Publications International Inc. 203 S. St. Mary’s St. Ste. 160 San Antonio, TX 78205, USA Office: +210 5043642 Office in Mexico: (+52) (33) 8000 0578 - Ext: 8578 Aquaculture Magazine (ISSN 0199-1388) is published bimontly, by Design Publications International Inc. All rights reserved.

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COLUMNS Cover photography: Deploying oysters in Great Bay, NH. ©2020 Jerry and Marcy Monkman/EcoPhotography.



Chinese Tales: The suspensions on shrimp exports from Ecuador and other stories. By: Salvador Meza *



Bringing experts together from around the globe to expand sustainable land-based US production of Atlantic salmon By: Catherine Frederick and Yonathan Zohar *





Putting the pressure on the supermarkets.

Recent news from around the globe by By Suzi Dominy


THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY What is the biggest challenge facing shrimp farming today?. By: Ph.D Stephen G. Newman*




Where are we a year away from the instauration of the new normality? By: Lucía Araiza, Editorial Coordination *


t has been a little over a year since the confinement began in the Chinese city of Wuhan, a butterfly effect event that has been changing everything around the planet. For this reason, we consider it essential to begin this edition of a new editorial year with this question: where are we right now? And I am not only talking about our physical or geographical location and the confinement measures that surely limit us in one way or another, practically in any country around the world. Instead, I refer to our current way of living, operating in our daily lives, consumption habits, and work and business processes. Has everything changed? No, but we have changed a lot in what we do; therefore, I share with you some highlights that various international media and consulting agencies have been analyzing within these first months of 2021, intending to forecast economic and social trends for this year: 1. Digital interaction and virtual platforms are spreading into all our areas of activity 2. Home is now the epicenter of our lives 3. Every business now has interest and attention on health These three reference points can serve as a starting point to consult the articles, columns, news, and analyses that this magazine includes because, explicitly or implicitly, practically all markets respond to these trends, in4 »

cluding the fish and shellfish production industries around the world. So invariably, world aquaculture begins to be influenced by these trends and public interests. And now, under this background, we present our edition 47-1 (February-March 2021). A new number of our publication that addresses pressing issues for our sector such as space planning for offshore aquaculture, climate change effects on shrimp farming, COVID-19 relief alterna-

tives for shellfish farmers, innovative research on marine finfish aquaculture, invasive species and biosecurity and many more exciting articles, as well as the first-hand experiences and ideas shared by our columnists. We hope our readers find valuable ideas and enjoy this issue from beginning to end.

* Correspondence email:






“Pandemic triggers ‘widespread upheaval’ in global aquaculture and fisheries”, says United Nations COVID-19 has caused “widespread upheaval” for the whole fishing and aquaculture industry around the world, the UN deputy agriculture chief said recently, launching a new report that assesses the toll the pandemic has taken on the sector. “Production has been disrupted, supply chains have been interrupted and consumer spending restricted by various lockdowns”, said Maria Helena Semedo, Deputy Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). And as containment restraints continue to affect supply and demand, further interference may impact the sector throughout the year, according to FAO’s The impact of COVID-19 on fisheries and aquaculture food systems report. While containment restrictions are expected to have pushed fish supply, consumption, and trade revenues for 2020 into decline, the report noted that global aquaculture production – the cultivation of all organisms including plants, and other saltwater or freshwater organisms – may also have recorded its first drop in years. “Containment measures have provoked far-reaching changes, many of which are likely to persist in the long term”, said Ms. Semedo. The report stressed every stage of the fisheries and aquaculture supply chain is susceptible to being disrupted or stopped by these restrictions. The Fish Price Index is down for most traded species and restaurant and hotel closures in many countries have prompted falling demand for fresh fish. “The impact has been significant in developing countries, especially those with large informal sectors, where small-scale and artisanal workers and communities depend on fisheries for their food security, livelihoods”, the deputy FAO chief said. “They have borne the brunt of restrictions”. 6 »

The FAO report indicated that unsold aquaculture products would increase live fish stocks, creating higher costs for feeding and more fish mortalities. And COVID19-related restrictions on crews along with market conditions have reduced fishing, leaving a slight decline in global wild catches last year. The coronavirus has also caused consumer preferences to shift as households stock up on non-perishable foods, replacing the demand for fresh fish with a preference for packaged and frozen products. Meanwhile, before the pandemic, the sector was trending upwards, with fish consumption growing significantly over the last decade to an average of more than 20 kilos per person. While FAO pressed for disruptive border restriction measures on food

production to be minimized for food security, the report called for sectorial and regional organizations to manage fisheries and aquaculture together during the pandemic. COVID-19’s impact on women – already vulnerable as food producers, processors, and vendors – should also be considered when governments decide on support levels. Amidst so much uncertainty, FAO reminded that the 34th session of the Committee on Fisheries (COFI 34), taking place this week, is celebrating the 25th Anniversary of the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries – the landmark instrument endorsed by FAO member States that has been guiding efforts towards sustainable fisheries and aquaculture around the world.






XpertSea taps financial services trailblazer Katie Sokalsky to expand its fast-growing shrimp marketplace and financial products Sokalsky brings banking and digital transformation experience to Canadian company changing the way seafood is grown and traded. XpertSea, a Canadian company transforming how seafood is farmed and traded, announced the expansion of its management team with the addition of financial industry veteran Katie Sokalsky as President and COO. Sokalsky joins XpertSea following the successful launch of its data-driven marketplace and financial services in Ecuador, with more than 10 million pounds of shrimp traded in less than 10 months, 50% month-over-month increase in new ponds registered on the trading platform, and 10x revenue growth from Q1 to Q4 2020. Previously the VP responsible for all new product and retail transformation at Scotiabank, one of Canada’s largest banks, Sokalsky will apply her experience to accelerate XpertSea’s rapid growth in Latin America and support the company’s expansion of its business model to Southeast Asia and India. “Katie’s experience in digital transformation, financial services, and traditional markets will help XpertSea grow our marketplace into new territories and develop new offerings,” said Valerie Robitaille, XpertSea’s CEO. “With her strategic and operational skills, she will be key to building on our current momentum and scaling for our next phase of growth in transforming the $30B shrimp marketplace.” “I was taken with XpertSea’s technology, the way they’re using it to change the lives of farmers, and the incredible results that has produced,” said Katie Sokalsky, XpertSea’s President and COO. “I’m excited to work with Valerie and her team to build a global seafood exchange that meets the growing demand for high quality, sustainable protein while delivering 8 »

positive environmental returns for our planet.” In 2020 XpertSea launched the first data-driven marketplace that seamlessly connects shrimp farmers with a network of vetted buyers for seamless transactions, complemented by financing services that eliminate damaging delays and guarantee sameday payment. “Our marketplace allows farmers to reach new buyers, while our fast payment service unlocks cash flow critical to their continuous operations,” said Robitaille, XpertSea’s CEO. “This streamlined experience in turn benefits processors and other buyers, and will improve transparency, efficiency, and profitability from farm to fork.” Sokalsky is a veteran of the banking and financial services industries who led the digital transformation for Scotiabank’s millions of retail cus-

tomers. Previously, she was CFO and Head of Operations at Goldmoney Inc., a Toronto-based fintech that operates the world’s largest 100%-reserved gold-based savings platform and payments network. In addition to managing strategic growth initiatives and partnerships, she scaled the company globally to 150 countries with over $2B on the trading platform, managed an acquisition, raised equity, and took the company public. Prior to Goldmoney, Sokalsky obtained extensive client experience at PwC where she specialized in banking and capital markets. She also founded ChefButler, a national food-based subscription box business. Sokalsky is a designated CPA and CA, and holds an Honours Bachelor of Commerce degree from Queen’s University. Further information available at FEBRUARY - MARCH 2021

Benchmark Genetics appoints new General Manager of its tilapia business Hideyoshi Segovia-Uno has been promoted to General Manager at Spring Genetics, Benchmark Genetics USA’s tilapia business, with effect from 12.02.21 With more than 15 years of experience in tilapia production, processing, and commercialization in Latin America and the USA, Hideyoshi joined Spring Genetics in 2012. Hideyoshi has been carrying out different key activities, focusing especially on technical and commercial operations for the company, business growth, and technical support to clients worldwide. Benchmark acquired the US-based genetic program for tilapia in 2015. An essential part of Hideyoshi SegoviaUno’s work has been to evaluate the program’s biological and genetic material and oversee the optimal growing and hatching conditions, internal processes for mating, egg collection, and hatching. He has also been responsible for tech-


nical training of Spring Genetics’ staff and supporting the Commercial Director on the commercial strategy. Segovia-Uno holds extensive experience in designing hatcheries, grow-out facilities, processing plants, and implementing production programs, HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point) programs, food safety programs, and Best Aquaculture Practices programs. This knowledge has been generously shared with the programs’ numerous customers across the Americas. He graduated as Biotechnology Aquaculture Engineer from Universidad Autonoma de Guadalajara, Mexico in 2004, and holds a Certificate in HACCP and GMP´s, and a Certificate in Finances from Universidad Centro Americana Jose Simeon Cañas in El Salvador. “I am fully committed and motivated to make the business grow and become a Global leader in Tilapia Genetics. I

thank the Directors for the opportunity and my team members for their constant support”, commented Hideyoshi. “We are very pleased that Hideyoshi has accepted this position”, says JanEmil Johannessen, Head of Benchmark Genetics “Due to his proven capacity, competence, and commitment I am convinced that he is the right person for this role”. Further information: https://www.




Orkney shellfish hatchery located in Scotland sees first lobster hatchings

Orkney Shellfish Hatchery, which forms part of the Cadman Capital Group’s Aquaculture portfolio, has announced the successful hatching of its first run of European clawed lobsters for 2021, a progression that has been achieved almost three months earlier than initially expected. The hatchery, which is located on the pristine waters of Orkney, Scotland, announced its plans to trial the on-land production of the species in late September of last year, with the expectation that its pilot run would complete around May 2021. Commenting on the accelerated rate at which the trial has progressed, Dr. Nik Sachlikidis, Managing Director of the Cadman Capital Group’s Aquaculture portfolio, said: “Operations at Orkney Shellfish Hatchery continue to amaze us, 10 »

consistently progressing at a far faster rate than anticipated. Having our lobster broodstock hatch larvae so early in the season allows the hatchery to culture juvenile lobsters from January through to November, an extension of four months when compared to the wild hatching season, which runs from March to September. This progression means that Orkney Shellfish Hatchery can now consistently produce far greater lobster numbers annually, substantially reducing capital overheads for the hatchery operation and providing much-needed clawed lobster product to restoration projects across Europe.” The hatchery is utilizing products from its sister company, Ocean On Land Technology, throughout the trial, including the ground-breaking Hatchery-in-a-Box concept – a con-

tainerized lobster hatchery system that can house and culture lobster from broodstock through to postlarvae. More than just a commercial shellfish production facility, Orkney Shellfish Hatchery is committed to the efficient and sustainable practice of cultivating shellfish on land, in order to replenish the UK’s seafood stocks, as well as support the global aquaculture industry. European clawed lobster is set to be the second species the hatchery will be producing on land in order to support restoration projects across Europe, as it continues to successfully produce and provide runs of premium native oyster spat. More information:


Ocean On Land Technology products to be used in Norwegian University crayfish trial

Ocean On Land Technology® has announced that its state-of-theart Aquahive® and hatchery products are to be used in a groundbreaking Red Claw Crayfish trial in Norway. The trial has been organised through a partnership between the University of Bergen and Pure Lobster, a Norwegian company dedicated to researching the potential for carrying out sustainable land-based farming systems for the Australian freshwater Red Claw Crayfish (Cherax quadricarinatus). If successful, the trial will be the first in Norway to rear the species on land, providing significant opportunity for hatcheries elsewhere to do the same and help to further enhance the commercial future of this shellfish species. FEBRUARY - MARCH 2021

Ocean On Land Technology’s proprietary Aquahive system, as well as a bespoke Ocean On Land Technology RAS system will be used in the trial. Nik Sachlikidis, Managing Director of the Cadman Capital Group’s Aquaculture Portfolio, of which Ocean On Land Technology forms part of, commented: “We are extremely proud to play a part in this trial, a trial that could transform the production of Red Claw Crayfish not only in Norway but in other geographies. This is exactly what our products are created for – to support the development of new and exciting ways to sustainably source shellfish on land, further securing the future of the aquaculture industry and the supply of seafood for years to come”.

Aslak Heining, CEO at Pure Lobster added: “The solution put forward by Ocean on Land Technology plays a crucial role in the trial itself and the development of the potential Red Claw Crayfish farming system. We would like to thank the team for their assistance in this project and we look forward to working together on the project and in the future.” Ocean On Land Technology’s products have been used in Norway since 2010, with the delivery of these new systems further solidifying its presence across Europe. Further information: https://

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World Seafood Shanghai 2020 in images As a global aquatic product trade event, World Seafood Shanghai closely follows the development trend of the aquatic product and catering market. Its international perspective and professional level have been widely recognized by the global seafood industry. On its 2020 edition the three-day event joined hands with the Aige Food Shanghai to gather 1,273 exhibitors from 14 countries and regions, with an exhibition area of 80,000 square meters, attracting 46,733 professional visitors from 33 countries and regions. World Seafood Shanghai 2021 (16th Shanghai International Fisheries and Seafood Exhibition) will be held at the Shanghai New International Expo Center from August 25 to 27, 2021.The exhibition will continue to maintain a consistent professional perspective with excellent quality, where organizers will join hands with domestic and overseas industry personnel to forge ahead, share opportunities, seek common development and win a win-win future. Further information on the upcoming edition of the event:

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Aquaculture Magazine

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Fish Farming: advantages and threats Fish farming involves raising fish in enclosures to be sold for food

consumption. Hailed as a solution to the overfishing problem, a few commonly farmed species include salmon, tuna, cod, trout, and halibut. Fish farms consist of mesh cages submerged in water. There are different types of fish farms that utilize different aquaculture methods.

Catfish farming Catfish are normally farmed in freshwater ponds and fed corn, rice, and soybeans. They are farmed in warmer climates. Because of their diets, they are often considered one of the more sustainable fishing species. Catfish are plentiful because of their health benefits and market demand. There are many catfish species but the most popular are the channel catfish, blue catfish, and flathead catfish.

Salmon raised on a farm are vaccinated to prevent outbreaks and generally do not require additional medication.

are considered one of the most invasive species.

Eel farming Eel fish farming is one of the most profitable forms of fish farming when it comes to export value. Eel farming is culture-specific and is largely driven by Asian markets with China, Taiwan, and Japan being the biggest producers. Eels are carnivorous live in freshwater when they are young but migrate to the sea for breeding. They spend between 8 to 30 years in freshwater before they migrate.

Tilapia farming Tilapia is the third most popular used in fish farming. They are popular because of their size, growth capabilities, and high protein content. Tilapia are farmed in warmer water and are known to reproduce rapidly. This leads to challenges for managing tilapia fish species. If they are not managed properly, tilapia will compete for Salmon farming Salmon is one of the most popu- food which results in stunted growth. lar fish species for fish farming and Tilapia fish is also known for being consumption. Atlantic salmon is the resistant to diseases and parasites. Tuna farming most popular followed by two other They require a cereal-based diet. Al- Tuna fish is important in the comPacific salmon-- Chinook and Coho. though they don’t eat other fish, they mercial farming industries. The dif14 »


ferent species of tuna include bluefin, yellowfin, and albacore. Because of overfishing, the bluefin tuna populations have dropped significantly. Most of the tuna that is farmed is caught in the wild and raised on a farm to increase weight gain.

Indoor fish farming Indoor fish farming is an alternative to outdoor fish cultivation. Technological advances have turned indoor fish farming into a very sophisticated process when using proper control production methods. In some cases, indoor fish farming allows for the automatic collection and processing of fish waste that turns into crop fertilizers. Here are advantages and disadvantages to indoor fish farming:

• Requires a significant amount of capital to set up and operate • Requires the capture of large amounts of other fish for their diet as fish raised indoors are carnivorous

Threats to Fish Farming Roughly 32% of world fish stocks are overexploited, depleted, or recovering and need to be urgently rebuilt, according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization. These farms can damage ecosystems by introducing pollutants, invasive species, and diseases.

One major issue is that fish farms often depend on species lower on the food chain to feed larger farmed species. This means that up to five pounds of smaller fish are needed to produce one pound of a fish such as sea bass. Overfishing of smaller fish has repercussions on the ocean ecosystem. A second issue is that the fish are often contained in crowded conditions with little room to move. The causes fish to suffer from fin damage, lesions, and other injuries. These overcrowded conditions lead to

Advantages • Fish are protected from various factors such as predators and weather changes • Temperature control, water quality, and feeding practices allow for faster fish production • Produces less waste and requires less water Disadvantages • Requires significant capital for electricity input FEBRUARY - MARCH 2021

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stress which then promotes diseases and outbreaks. Farmers treat these problems with pesticides or antibiotics which can create drug-resistant strains of diseases that harm wildlife. This can eventually have harmful effects on humans that eat the farmed fish. Fish that escape the farms introduce another threat to the environment by threatening the genetic diversity and survival of native species. In addition to this, overcrowding results

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in pollution from fish excrements and uneaten food. This leads to poor water quality and low oxygen. Outdoor fish farming can also attract predators such as sea birds or sea lions. Sometimes farmers shoot or poison these predators which threaten the ecosystem as well.

Conclusion Fish farming is a solid solution to overfishing. Fish farming allows for reduced environmental hazard and

steady growth patterns. There are many types of fish farms including salmon, eel, and tuna farming. Despite its advantages, there are various threats that occur when farming for fish. Despite this, fish farming is a viable option for fish production.

For further information, please visit:



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The general benefits of Bioaqua® P (Yucca schidigera extract) on shrimp and fish farms Over the past decade, producers have acknowledged that in order to have

sustainable aquaculture, they need to open up to green technology; phytogenic feed ingredients are the new solution to produce animal protein on a large scale and in a friendly manner to the environment.


vhe shrimp farming industry is a relevant activity with great economic importance in many countries around the world. One of the most critical factors in shrimp and fish farms to consider is the water quality in ponds. This matter requires vigilant observation over the parameters that affect the shrimp and fish development, such as ammonia, temperature, dissolved oxygen, acidity, salinity, suspended solids, and other toxic substances such as heavy metals.

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When a culture system develops an imbalance, the plankton population collapses, causing ammonia to rise to toxic levels. Dissolved oxygen dissolved falls to subsystem levels. Feed intake and growth are depressed, and mortality rates sharply increase during such crises. Immediate attention must focus on correcting environmental conditions, especially decreasing ammonia and increasing dissolved oxygen. These are the most critical factors threatening survival.

Yucca schidigera is a plant endemic to North America that can only be harvested in Baja California, Mexico, under a strict sustainable use program. Today, this plant extract is used as a phytogenic feed ingredient in aquaculture feed, used to bind, neutralize and control ammonia, hydrogen sulfide, nitrites, and other toxic gases in shrimp and fish water ponds. Aquaculture producers worldwide know that these chemical compounds adversely affect shrimp and fish’s health and performance, causFEBRUARY - MARCH 2021

ing economic losses due to mortality, changes in feed intake and feed conversion, lengthened fattening periods, and increased fixed operating costs. BIOAQUA® P is made of 100% natural extract of the Yucca schidigera plant. The fundamental natural ac-


tive ingredients in BIOAQUA® P are steroidal saponins and glycocomponents. Saponins’ surfactant properties help increase the permeability of the intestinal wall’s cell membrane and allow a better absorption of nutrients. Glycocomponents are highly thermo

stable molecular structures that can bind ammonia molecules, neutralize its toxic effects, and improve environmental conditions in the ponds. BIOAQUA® P is added in the premix of shrimp and fish feed; this greatly enhances the animal’s health, dramatically reducing the ammonia in the water and other compounds detrimental to the development of the shrimp and fish. Additional benefits of including BIOAQUA® P in the feed include increased weight gain due to better feed conversion and a lower mortality rate. As a direct result of these improvements, increased productivity per individual shrimp and the fish pond was achieved. BIOAQUA® P binds the ammonia molecules and other toxic gases, transforming them into non-toxic nitrogen compounds that do not harm the shrimp and fish and are utilized by the zooplankton and phytoplankton in the ponds as a nitrogen source for its development, creating a cleaner environment in the water, due to » 19


the acceleration of the degradation of organic matter from animal waste. Over the past decade, producers have acknowledged that in order to have sustainable aquaculture, they need to open up to green technology; phytogenic feed ingredients are the new solution to produce animal protein on a large scale and in a friendly manner to the environment.

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Including BIOAQUA® P in the feed as a phytogenic ingredient will greatly enhance aquaculture species’ health and reduce pollution caused by toxic gases in water ponds. Baja Agro International is a Mexican company located in Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico. Since 1983 it has been dedicated to the harvesting and commercialization of the Yucca

schidigera plant. As a trusted source, Baja Agro International is committed to harvesting under federal standards of sustainable use, set by Mexican environmental authorities, respect natural resources, and treat nature as an ally to maintain a balance in the ecosystem For further information, please visit:



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Probiotics Modulate Tilapia Resistance and Immune Response against Tilapia Lake Virus Infection

By: Pitchaporn Waiyamitra, Mehmet Arif Zoral, Aksorn Saengtienchai, Amorn Luengnaruemitchai, Olivier Decamp, Bartolomeo Gorgoglione and Win Surachetpong *


ilapia are the most economically important farmed fish species produced in aquaculture systems worldwide. In 2018, global tilapia production was estimated at 6.8 million tonnes, accounting for an economic value of

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Tilapia lake virus (TiLV) causes an emerging viral disease associated with high mortality and economic damage in tilapia farming around the world. The use of probiotics in aquaculture has been suggested as an alternative to antibiotics and drugs to reduce the negative impact of bacterial and viral infections. In this study developed by researchers at the Kasetsart University and the Michigan State University the effect of probiotic Bacillus spp. supplementation on mortality, viral load, and expression of immune-related genes in red hybrid tilapia (Oreochromis spp.) are investigated upon TiLV infection. This is a summarized version of the article which highlights some of the results obtained. USD 11 billion. Although tilapia can adapt, and tolerates variable farming conditions, recent outbreaks of emerging bacterial and viral diseases pose severe threats to the global tilapia aquaculture production. Recently, the outbreak of a new viral

disease, caused by tilapia lake virus (TiLV), has drawn attention due to the rapidity of it spreading between farms and countries. TiLV was identified as a singlestranded, negative-sense RNA virus sharing some characteristics with FEBRUARY - MARCH 2021


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Mass mortality of tilapia associated with TiLV is reported in many countries, such as North America, South America, Asia, and Africa. All stages of tilapia farming including fry, juveniles, adults, and broodstocks are susceptible to TiLV infection, with a wide range of morbidity and mortality ranging from 5 to 90%.

other viruses in the family Orthomyxoviridae. Later, the virus was classified as a new species, Tilapia tilapinevirus, under the genus Tilapinevirus, but in the family Amnoonviridae. Mass mortality of tilapia associated with TiLV is reported in many countries, such as North America, South America, Asia, and Africa. All stages of tilapia farming including fry, juveniles, adults, and broodstocks are susceptible to TiLV infection, with a wide range of morbidity and mortality ranging from 5 to 90%. As there is no specific treatment against TiLV infections, preventing or reducing the infection risk is an important control measure to minimize the negative impact of this infection once the virus is expected to enter a production system. The application of probiotics to reduce bacterial and viral infections in fish is seen as an alternative strategy to improve farmed fish health. Multiple bacterial species have been used to formulate probiotics for aquaculture, including a wide range of Gram-positive, Gram-negative bacteria, or yeasts, such as Bacillus, 24 »

Figure 1 Cumulative mortality of red hybrid tilapia fed with the standard control diet, or with diets supplemented with 0.5% or 1% of a commercial mixture of Bacillus spp. Fish were challenged by cohabitation with tilapia lake virus-infected fish. Each group has 3 replicates with 40 fish/tank. All treatment groups were compared to the control diet group with significant differences shown as: * p < 0.05.

Table 1 Growth performance of red hybrid tilapia (n = 25) fed with a control diet and 0.5% and 1% mixtures of Bacillus spp. probiotics-supplemented diet for 21 days.


Carnobacterium, Enterococcus, LactoBacillus , Vibrio, Pseudomonas, and Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Among these, bacteria of the genus Bacillus are commonly applied as feed additives due to their potential benefits for improving growth, promoting disease resistance and boosting the host immune response. In tilapia, Bacillus extracts probiotics were shown to improve resistance against Streptococcus agalactiae and Aeromonas hydrophila, two common and important bacteria that pose health issues to the global tilapia aquaculture. Although probiotics have been commonly used in aquaculture to control bacterial infections, previous studies also indicated the benefits of probiotic supplementation in farmed fish diets to improve growth performance and resistance to virus infections. For example, olive flounder (Paralichthys olivaceus) fed with Lactobacil and Sporolac (Inter Care, India) probiotics showed higher survival against lymphocystic disease virus (LCDV). Similarly, orange-spotted grouper (Epinephelus coioides) fed a probioticssupplemented diet for 28 days had FEBRUARY - MARCH 2021

over 50% survival during grouper iridovirus (GIV) infection than fish fed the control diet. Currently, there are no control measures or vaccines available against TiLV infection in tilapia. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of Bacillus spp. probiotics supplementation to improve the survival of tilapia during TiLV infection. The results reveal that such dietary supplementation could improve fish survival and strengthen the antiviral response upon TiLV infection. Therefore, the administration of Bacillus spp. probiotics could provide a suitable alternative strategy to mitigate the losses caused to tilapia farming by this emerging viral threat.

Results Bacillus spp. probiotics improve tilapia survival against TiLV infection During the infection challenge study, TiLV infection was obtained upon cohabitation of TiLV-IP injected red tilapia with fish fed control or probiotic diets. At 3 days post infec-

tion-challenge (dpc), the IP-injected fish started to develop typical TiLV infection symptoms, including lethargy (lying at the bottom of the tanks), and hemorrhaging along the body side and at the base of the fins. As the pathogenesis progressed, the mortality of IP-injected fish started at 5 dpc, reaching a cumulative mortality of 96.57% (84.62%–100%) (experiment terminated at 28 dpc). All probiotics and control diets fed red tilapia that cohabitate with IPinjected fish showed similar clinical signs of TiLV infection, starting at 7 dpc. Furthermore, mortality in the cohabitated groups started at 9 dpc, and persisted until 20 dpc (Figure 1). The cumulative mortality reached in the control group was 32%, while in groups preventively fed with 0.5% and 1% probiotics-supplemented diets, was, respectively, of 25 and 24%. Both probiotics treatments significantly improved the survival of red tilapia over TiLV infection (p < 0.05) (Figure 1). No mortality or clinical signs were observed in the shamchallenged group during the entire study. The growth performance parameters assessed, including weight gain, average daily gain, feed conversion ratio, and feed efficiency were not significantly changed in all experimental groups (Table 1). How-

As there is no specific treatment against TiLV infections, preventing or reducing the infection risk is an important control measure to minimize the negative impact of this infection once the virus is expected to enter a production system.

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ARTICLE Figure 2 Viral load in liver (A), spleen (B) and head kidney (C) of red hybrid tilapia (n = 5) fed control or Bacillus spp. probiotics-supplemented diets for 21 days and thereafter infected with TiLV. Data were collected from five fish at 5, 6, 9, 12 and 19 dpc. All treatment groups were compared to the control diet group with significant differences shown as: * p < 0.05

Figure 3 Transcription modulation of il-8 (CXCL8) in liver (A), spleen (B), and head kidney (C) of fish in the control diet and 0.5% and 1% mixtures of Bacillus spp. probioticssupplemented diet for 21 days before TiLV infection. Samples were collected from five fish (n = 5) at 5, 6, 9, 12 and 19 dpc. All treatment groups were compared to the control diet group with significant differences shown as: * p < 0.05

ever, although the 1% Bacillus spp.supplemented diet group showed the greatest weight gain and feed conversion ratio by the end of the experiment, there was no statistical significance of these values between the control and probiotics supplementation groups

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Differential Viral Load Assessment Although TiLV clinical signs were still not apparent in the cohabitation group when the first IP-injected fish died, at 5 dpc, the viral RNA was detected in liver, spleen, and head kidney from all cohabitated fish.

The viral load peaked at 9 dpc, with the highest load of 5.38, 5.19, and 5.09 log10 TiLV copy/_g of total TiLV RNA, respectively, in the liver, spleen and head kidney of fish from the control diet group; thereafter, viral loads gradually declined in all TiLV-challenged groups. These viral


loads from the control diet group at 9 dpc were significantly higher than those from the probiotics-supplemented groups, between which also a significant difference was observed.

ulation of il-8 (CXCL8), irf-3 and ify-y, please go to the original article, cited and linked at the end of this content.

Discussion TiLV is an important virus causing mass morbidities and mortalities to wild and farmed tilapia stocks Differential Modulation of worldwide. Therefore, there is an Antiviral Response Markers urgent need to prevent and conduring TiLV Infection During the TiLV experimental in- trol TiLV disease, especially where fection, the expression profile of tilapia are intensively cultured. An genes encoding for antiviral and effective therapy or vaccine is still pro-inflammatory cytokines was yet to be available to protect tilameasured in the liver, spleen, and pia from TiLV infection. Probiotics head kidney from the three dietaries have been widely used in human and farmed animals to promote general treatment groups. Taken together, results about the health, and successfully applied as transcription of pro-inflammatory alternatives to antibiotics. Even in and anti-viral markers indicate that fish, several reports have shown that the dietary supplementation of 1% the dietary administration of probiBacillus spp. probiotics significantly otics, including live bacteria and bacimproved the antiviral defense dur- teria extracts, could promote health. Probiotics may enhance fish growth ing the course of TiLV. Editor’s note: to see the full different performances, modulating digestive results obtained for the transcription mod- and antioxidant enzymes activity, FEBRUARY - MARCH 2021

and strengthen the innate immune response through the modulation of cytokines, innate immune cells, and the expression of genes encoding for innate defense effectors. In addition, probiotics may have antagonistic effects against pathogenic microorganisms in fish, as shown in using Pdp11 and 51M6 (Vibrionaceae) against Vibrio harveyi. Bacillus spp. showed antagonistic activity against V. vulnificus, V. campbelli, V. parahaemolyticus and V. alginolyticus promoting the growth of whiteleg shrimp (Litopenaeus vannamei). However, until recently, no research had demonstrated the application of probiotics to reduce the impact of TiLV infection in tilapia. To the best of the authors’ knowledge at the moment of this publication, this study is the first to evaluate the potential of Bacillus spp. as probiotics supplementation in fish diet and its beneficial features on tilapia health during TiLV infection. » 27


The application of probiotics

to reduce bacterial and viral infections in fish is seen as an alternative strategy to improve farmed fish health.

During the study in red hybrid tilapia, despite a positive finding on the weight gain, together with lower feed conversion ratio (FCR) in the 1% probiotics-supplemented group, statistical analysis showed no difference in dietary administration of Bacillus spp. towards the improvement of growth parameters. Similar findings suggested that Nile tilapia (O. niloticus) fed with probiotics had insignificant effects on FCR improvement and weight gain during feeding trials. In contrast, a positive effect of probiotics supplementation to promote growth performance in fish was reported. Both Lacto Bacillus acidophilus and Bacil28 »

lus subtilis-supplemented diets for 8 weeks promoted Nile tilapia growth, increased their final weight, and resulted in lower FCR. Moreover, the diet supplementation with B. cereus var. toyoi for 93 days was shown to improve the growth performance of farmed rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss). The application of 1 _ 105 and 1 _ 106 CFU/g B. licheniformis to feeding, improved growth parameters in grass carp (Ctenopharyngodon idella) after 56 days. Thus, we hypothesize that a better impact of Bacillus spp. probiotics on growth performances of red tilapia could have been demonstrated if supplementing probiotics for a longer time.

Interestingly, the dietary supplementation with Bacillus spp. significantly lowered TiLV viral load in the internal organs, including liver, spleen, and head kidney of red hybrid tilapia. This finding may be part of the explanation of the better survival of fish fed Bacillus spp. probiotics. In previous studies, Bacillus spp. had the ability to inhibit a range of pathogens, including V. vulnificus, V. alginolyticus, A. hydrophila. Dietary supplementation with a B. megeterium reduced viral load in shrimp during the white spot syndrome virus (WSSV) infection. Liu et al. demonstrated that strains of Bacillus spp. isolated from different aquatic FEBRUARY - MARCH 2021

Taken together, these findings indicate that dietary supplementation using Bacillus spp. probiotics may have beneficial effects to strengthen tilapia immunity and resistance against TiLV infections.

animals had strong inhibitory effects against V. parahaemolyticus. In this study, lower mortality during TiLV infection was found in tilapia fed 0.5% and 1% Bacillus spp.-supplemented diets, compared to the control diet group. To the extent of our knowledge, the present study is the first report of the effect of Bacillus spp. probiotic against TiLV infection.

Conclusions In summary, our study demonstrates that an oral administration of Bacillus spp. May have beneficial antiviral effects against TiLV infection in red hybrid tilapia. The preventive oral FEBRUARY - MARCH 2021

administration of probiotic diet increased the survival of tilapia upon TiLV infection. The host innate immune response was improved, as indicated by the consistently increased transcription of a pro-inflammatory chemokine and antiviral markers in probiotics-supplemented groups, and with a higher effect in the group supplement with 1% of Bacillus spp. probiotics. This pilot study will inform the adoption of prevention strategies aimed at the control of TiLV infections, opening to further studies on the health management using probiotics to strengthen the fish immunity against TiLV and other relevant infectious agents.

*This is a summarized version developed by the editorial team of Aquaculture Magazine of the article “Probiotics Modulate Tilapia Resistance and Immune Response against Tilapia Lake Virus Infection” by: Pitchaporn Waiyamitra, Mehmet Arif Zoral, Aksorn Saengtienchai, Amorn Luengnaruemitchai, Olivier Decamp, Bartolomeo Gorgoglione and Win Surachetpong. This article was originally published on November, 2020 in the Pathogens Journal of the MDPI Publishing platform. The full version of this article can be found at doi:10.3390/pathogens9110919 Correspondence email: References cited by the authors in the article are available under previous request to our editorial team.

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Are we making the same mistake again?

The redclaw crayfish, a prominent aquaculture species introduced worldwide By: Francisco J. Oficialdegui, Phillip J. Haubrock, and Antonín Kouba *

The redclaw is a parastacid crayfish endemic to the tropical and subtropical freshwater ecosystems of north-eastern Australia and southern New Guinea. Given its broad environmental tolerance, fast growth, early maturation, high fecundity, gregariousness, general non-burrowing behavior as well as a high yield of ‘tasty meat’, it has become a target species for the aquaculture industry and pet trade. There are many known cases of species that have been moved elsewhere and have subsequently caused environmental and socio-economic problems in introduced areas. This review developed by researchers from Spain, Germany and the Czech Republic addresses many of the aspects related to this prominent aquaculture species and its potential environmental and socio-economic impacts.


or centuries, humans have moved species from one place to another – far outside their native ranges. In the last decades, these translocations have been increased enormously due to globalization; this has led to the rise of the invasion biology discipline. Nowadays, there are many known cases of species that have been moved elsewhere and have subsequently caused environmental and socio-economic problems in introduced areas. In the particular case of translocated crayfish species, what happened with the signal crayfish Pacifastacus leniusculus, and the red swamp crayfish Procambarus clarkii (i.e., broadly translocated across the globe to substitute the demand of declining native crayfish populations, and being used for aquaculture purposes, stocks, or for their capture into the wild), should

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serve as an example and warning of the dire consequences (see Petrusek et al., 2017; Oficialdegui et al., 2020). However, the case of the redclaw continues and –perhaps goes even further. In our recent review (Haubrock et al., 2021), we addressed many of the aspects related to this prominent aquaculture species and its potential environmental and socio-economic impacts.

The redclaw, a prominent crayfish species The redclaw (also called red claw, red-claw, with or without the prefix ‘Australian’ or ‘Queensland’; redclaw yabby; tropical crayfish; tropical blue crayfish; and blue lobster) is a parastacid crayfish (Decapoda: Astacidea: Parastacidae) endemic to the tropical and subtropical freshwater ecosystems of north-eastern Australia and southern New Guinea (Figure 1).

In its native range, redclaw often inhabits a wide range of habitats such as running waters, slow-moving streams, ponds, lakes, and lagoons. With generalist feeding habits, this crayfish species can, under optimal conditions, reach a size of up to ~25 cm and a weight of over 600 g, albeit wild individuals often remaining smaller. It reaches sexual maturity around nine months and a weight of 150 g. Females can spawn 500 eggs on average, and their maximum life span is four to five years. Most individuals are blue to bluish-green or olive-green, but several color morphs exist in the aquarium trade (see exhaustive review in Haubrock et al., 2021). Given its broad environmental tolerance, fast growth, early maturation, high fecundity, gregariousness, general non-burrowing behavior as well as a high yield of ‘tasty meat’, not only make redclaw a keystone species within freshwater FEBRUARY - MARCH 2021

ecosystems (i.e., a species which has a large effect on the environment where it inhabits; Reynolds et al., 2013), but also a target species for the aquaculture industry and pet trade. Redclaw is a large-size and fast-growing crayfish species that, under optimal conditions (mainly temperature-dependent), can achieve a marketable size in a short time. Consequently, it is not uncommon that the aquaculture industry has appreciated this species for human consumption.

Introductions here, there, and everywhere This crayfish species has been reared and grown out in Queensland farms and outside of its native range in bordering Australian states since the mid-1980s. By having the appearance of a lobster and biological features described above, the redclaw in aquaculture was soon considered a niche sector of the aquaculture industry, producing low volumes for local markets with accompanied economic interests for small entrepreneurs. However, it did not live up to early expectations and predictions, and production remained relatively low (see FEBRUARY - MARCH 2021

Figure 1). Even so, the desire to make a large and rapid profit (reaching up to 18 USD/kg in the 1980s) from an ‘apparently’ suitable species caused the growth of the redclaw industry and its expansion within the native range in Australia and other non-native regions around the world. For instance, redclaw was translocated to diverse islands in Oceania (New Caledonia, Fiji, or Samoa) and moved to several African countries (South Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe, among others) for its use in aquaculture. It was even introduced in tropical and subtropical countries from the Americas (Mexico, Ecuador,

Cuba, Jamaica, Argentina, among others) and Asia (Israel, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, China, etc.) to perform experimental trials on its potential use in aquaculture (see Figure 2). Thus, accurate tracking of the global redclaw production is not trivial due to national agencies’ lack of data collection (see New, 2017). Countries on the continents mentioned above reached on average 150 tons per year for the last two decades, exceeding 400 tons in only a few years (see Figure 2). However, these data seem greatly underestimated since there are known aquaculture facilities and companies conducting wild animal captures in several countries with no apparent reporting to FAO (for more details, see Haubrock et al., 2021). Besides, this crayfish is also present in Europe,

The male of redclaw, Cherax quadricarinatus. Photo: 5snake5; source: Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 4.0).

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though mainly due to another introduction pathway – the pet trade. Today, redclaw is translocated to a total of 67 countries/territories, and established ‘wild’ populations exist in 22 countries (see Figure 2).

Consequences for ecosystem biodiversity As a result of escapes from farms, aquarium releases, bait buckets for recreational fishing, or deliberate stocking, this species has colonized and spread considerably. Suppose the biological characteristics mentioned on this species are taken into account (see above). In that case, these are suitable for aquaculture production, but also make this species a severe environmental and socio-economic problem in non-native ecosystems. These impacts have only been studied in a few invaded areas. Still, previous experience with other invasive crayfish and the characteristics exhibited by the redclaw make this species a significant potential hazard to native environments when escaping from aquaculture facilities (e.g., earthen ponds). There cannot be any doubt that the past mistakes cannot be repeated; we have already made enough of them, for example, with the red swamp crayfish and signal crayfish. It is therefore unavoidable that we pay attention to the use of potential invaders such as aquaculture species. Aquaculture producers must implement a holistic approach to conduct adequate risk assessments and sustainable breeding in closed facilities to prevent accidental escapes and to safeguard freshwater biodiversity, especially in biodiversity hotspots of tropics and subtropics. *Francisco J. Oficialdegui1, Phillip J. Haubrock2,3, Antonín Kouba2 1 Department of Wetland Ecology, Doñana Biological Station (EBD-CSIC), Seville, Spain 2 Faculty of Fisheries and Protection of Waters, South Bohemian Research Center of Aquaculture and Biodiversity of Hydrocenoses, University of South Bohemia in České Budějovice, Czech Republic 3 Department of River Ecology and Conservation, Senckenberg Research Institute and Natural History Museum Frankfurt, Gelnhausen, Germany * Corresponding Author: Editor’s note: references cited by the authors within the article are available under previous request to our editorial team.

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Figure 1 FAO production (aquaculture and capture) of the redclaw, Cherax quadricarinatus, in the five continents where has been introduced since 1980s. Note that production in Oceania almost exclusively depends on aquaculture in the State of Queensland, Australia; and no production is reported in Europe. The only country which has reported captures from the wild is Ecuador in the Americas. Black solid and dashed lines show the total value (USD millions) and mean price (USD/kg), respectively.

Figure 2 Countries where the redclaw has been introduced for diverse purposes (mainly aquaculture and pet trade) in ochre, while the native range of redclaw is shown in green. Note that redclaw has been also introduced into small islands such as Martinique, Fiji, Samoa, Mauritius, or La Réunion which are not visible at the global scale.

Earthen ponds dedicated to aquaculture redclaw crayfish and fish species in Lombok, Indonesia. Photo: Jiří Patoka. FEBRUARY - MARCH 2021


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Sustainable growth for Canada’s blue economy:

Ocean Supercluster announces new $27M project for integrated operations and real time analytics During a recent online event, together with project partners, Canada’s Ocean Supercluster announced the Integrated Operations and Real-Time Analytics Project. Led from Newfoundland and Labrador, and Nova Scotia, the almost $27 million project will bridge gaps between land, sea-based, and processing operations that exist in the aquaculture industry today by providing real-time information, analytics and environmental connectivity to improve overall operations. Through its development, the project will create 138 new jobs, including 20 at project implementation. Innovative Egg to Harvest Solution to Bring Transformative Benefits to Aquaculture The innovative system developed and commercialized through the Integrated Operations and Real-Time Analytics Project will provide technology that will enable global control over operations, from egg to harvest, including feeding fish and monitoring of fish, equipment and personnel. Through data exchange and collaboration between partners, the project will result in a suite of technologies that will enable game-changing capabilities in aquaculture and offshore marine operations as well as connectivity to the environment that is transformative for the region and its fishing and aquaculture industries. The Integrated Operations and Real-Time Analytics Project, led by Grieg Seafood Newfoundland with its partners Innovasea, SubC Imaging, AKVA Group, and High-Tech Communications, will enable companies to have complete control of operations in areas where this would not have been possible due to lack of connectivity. Canada’s Ocean Supercluster is contributing close to $12 34 »

Source: Innovasea.

million to the project with $14.8 million coming from industry. The project will benefit its partners, OSC members, industry, and customers by allowing for better planning and decision making through: • Enhanced containment monitoring; • Better fish health monitoring; • Advanced equipment monitoring;

• Broadened environmental monitoring; • Increased storm preparedness; • Improved crew safety, and • Innovative network capabilities and farm system software. The Integrated Operations and Real-Time Analytics Project will promote sustainable use of ocean and FEBRUARY - MARCH 2021

Source: Grieg Seafood.

freshwater ecosystems by developing and providing technology solutions for egg to harvest open ocean aquaculture and supporting the Ocean Supercluster’s focus on building Canada’s ocean economy in a digital, sustainable, and inclusive way. During a recent online event, Canada’s Ocean Supercluster announced this innovative project for the industry, while some guests commented on the importance and innovation this brings for the sustainable development of Canada’s blue economy. During his participation FrançoisPhilippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry commented that “As a country surrounded by three oceans, Canada has the potential to drive innovation and be a world leader in the ocean economy. Thanks to this project, participating aquaculture and fishing companies will have access to a wealth of information in real time, which will allow them to remotely feed and monitor fish, better prepare ahead of storms, and improve crew safety. This shows how Canada’s Ocean Supercluster truly is changing and modernizing how aquaculture is done.” The CEO of Canada’s Ocean Supercluster, Kendra MacDonald, highlighted how this project “is a real game-changer for the aquaculture industry and for the region, and we are excited to see not only the transformative benefits that it brings to operations but also from an environmental, safety, and economic perspective. This has been a challenging year for ocean sectors, but today’s project and the almost 50 others we have approved to date point to the incredible opportunity in ocean for economic recovery and long-term, sustainable growth.” The full live transmission of this announcement is now available on demand through the Canada’s Ocean Supercluster’s YouTube channel.

Further information about this new program can be found at:


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Marine Finfish Aquaculture Research and Development

at the University of Miami By: Daniel Benetti, John Stieglitz, Jorge Suarez, Ron Hoenig, Carlos Tudela, Zack Daugherty, Charles James McGuigan, Jia Geng, Shubham Mathur, Yole Buchalla, Julio Camperio, Luiz Anchieta* The University of Miami Aquaculture Program has been playing a major

role in spearheading advanced aquaculture technologies. Research and academic programs are centered on innovative approaches to ensure that seafood production is science-based, wholesome, environmentally sustainable and economically viable. We are engaged in collaborations around the world and are recognized for our contributions to the field – particularly for the development of challenging and high-value marine species, technology transfer activities and the education and training of top professionals at all levels.

Professor and Director of the University of Miami Aquaculture Program, Dr. Dan Benetti, with a red snapper broodfish.

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he academic program encompasses undergraduate and graduate level courses covering everything from basic concepts to science, environment, management, social and economic aspects of sustainable aquaculture, regulatory issues, business and production models, all the way to seafood market and marketing. At the graduate level, students have the opportunity to pursue Master of Professional Science (MPS), Master of Science (MS), or Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degrees. Undergraduate and graduate students are trained in state-of-the-art aquaculture techniques and technologies, as well as advanced research skills that prepare them for careers in the public and private sectors. The program thrives on innovative research and development concepts focusing on emerging technologies. The UM Aquaculture Program has graduated and trained over 150 professionals who are leading the field operating in all aspects of aquaculture –from academic, research, and government positions, with a majority working in the private sector. The UM Aquaculture Program consistently attracts highly-motivated and hardworking applicants, and the majority of our graduate students engage in paid internships with most being hired before or just after graduating. Job placement for our graduates has historically been nearly 100 percent. Our network extends literally the world over, and our talent pipeline is the program’s best asset. A central component of the Program is the renowned, Global GAP-certified, University of Miami Experimental Hatchery (UMEH), with dry and wet laboratory facilities, numerous broodstock maturation systems for conditioning fish to spawn volitionally, a number of larval rearing and nursery tanks of various volumes for experimental trials and commercial-scale fingerFEBRUARY - MARCH 2021


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Beyond research and academic activities, the UMEH is an

incubator of technology and oftentimes a production facility.

ling production, and a variety of replicated systems with tank volumes ranging in size from 50 L to 5,000 L for nutrition studies, nursery, and on-growing trials. Beyond research and academic activities, the UMEH is an incubator of technology and oftentimes a production facility. We work collaboratively with hatcheries and grow-out facilities around the world –including the US, Mexico, Panama, Costa Rica, Colombia, Ecuador, Chile, Brazil, Peru, the Bahamas, Turkey, Australia and multiple countries in Asia. These international connections are very important when it comes to developing, adapting, perfecting and implementing successful production technologies for the aquaculture sector. At the UMEH, we develop technologies for maturation, spawning, larval husbandry, live feeds, fingerling and juvenile production as well as grow-out trials of high-value marine species. Current and past species with which we have conducted research and development and technology transfer activities at various feasibility levels include: cobia Rachycentron canadum, mahi-mahi Coryphaena hippurus, red snapper Lutjanus campechunus, yellowtail snapper Ocyurus chrysurus, Nassau grouper 38 »

Larval rearing tanks used for research and development and production at UMEH.

Epinephelus striatus, hogfish Lachnolaimus maximus, almaco jack Seriola rivoliana, Florida pompano Trachinotus carolinus, blackfin tuna Thunnus atlanticus, olive flounder Paralichthys olivaceus, goggle-eye Selar crumenophthalmus, tripletail Lobotes surinamensis, red drum Sciaenops ocellatus, sea trout Cynoscion nebulosus, snook Centropomus undecimalis and stone crab Menippe mercenaria, among others. One of the primary goals of our program is to conduct research to develop and perfect technologies to explore the aquaculture feasibility of high-value species that are not yet commercially produced. The research program is science-based and centered on advanced hatchery, land-based (RAS and flow-through) and open-ocean grow-out technologies of marine fish. In this article,

we provide an update on some current activities being conducted with some of the selected species.

Broodstock Establishment, Maturation Systems and Breeding Programs The UMEH facility is located on Virginia Key, Florida, adjacent to Bear Cut, which connects the Atlantic Ocean to Biscayne Bay. This unique location allows for ready access to a variety of fish species that can be collected and delivered to the facility. The UM Aquaculture Program’s faculty and staff possess skills to utilize the University’s small-boat fleet to independently conduct collection operations whenever weather permits. For species that are not readily available in Miami waters, we work with profesFEBRUARY - MARCH 2021

sional charter boat captains to target those broodfish. Reliable, safe, and effective broodstock collection protocols have been established for the species at the UMEH over the years, and the UM Aquaculture Program has earned a reputation of being able to collect and maintain many challenging species. With virtually all species onsite, our main objective is closing the life cycle and achieving reliable, cost-effective production of high-quality fingerlings of the selected marine fish species. It all starts in the hatchery. The UMEH is currently equipped with six maturation systems ranging in size from 20 to 80 m3. Two flowthrough systems and four independent, partially recirculating aquaculture systems (RAS) are used for environmental conditioning of selected species of broodfish to induce volitional spawning activity. The RAS systems are fitted with typical water filtration equipment, including temperature control, and we have implemented dozens of such maturation systems for over 15 species the world over – and

Egg biopsy of a Nassau grouper female broodfish. FEBRUARY - MARCH 2021

they invariably achieve the desired results. The majority of species we work with (including cobia, mahimahi, red snapper, goggle-eye and olive flounder) spawn naturally yearround, on and off season, in our hatchery. Although some species on site have remaining reproductive challenges that must be overcome to achieve consistent spawning, in general the reliable spawning methods we have developed for species at the UMEH allow for consistent production throughout the year. A commonly overlooked yet critical factor in any successful marine finfish maturation program is having well-trained and reliable personnel, as well as excellent water quality. Other key factors we implement are improved nutrition, periodic prophylaxis, removal of aggressive or non-performing individuals and parasite control (a symbiotic “cleaning station” using cleaner fish such as neon gobies Gobiosoma oceanops is recommended for certain species). A veterinarian or fish health specialist on site or routinely visiting to assess overall fish welfare is also necessary. The University of Miami’s Division of Veterinary Resources provides that service for UMEH. Broodstock management is complex; it is as much of an art as it is a science. For some species, smaller fish may perform better than larger fish, and for other species, it is the opposite. Likewise, the best sex ratio varies from 2 females:1 male to 2-3 males:1 female. Finally, contrary to anecdotal and popular belief, it is recommended that broodfish be moved routinely to allow tanks to be cleaned to maintain superiorquality rearing environments and allow for close inspection of individual broodfish. At the UMEH, fish are moved, on average, every three months and over the years this regimen has proven to be extremely beneficial to the fish and to management. During such procedures, all fish are checked for parasites and » 39


A commonly overlooked yet critical factor in any successful marine finfish maturation program is having well-trained and reliable personnel, as well as excellent water quality. A veterinarian or fish health specialist on site or routinely visiting to assess overall fish welfare is also necessary.

diseases, undergo prophylaxis treatments, and are moved to a new tank to resume spawning. The basic breeding program utilized at the UMEH is aimed at domesticating the stock to create independence from natural stocks. In the case of cobia, we have third-generation (F3) offspring of selectively bred broodstock that have been identified as producers of high-quality offspring. Our cobia breeding program is funded by Open Blue Sea Farms. We are expanding this mutually beneficial agreement to conduct genotype analysis of cobia as well as other species of interest, such as the red snapper, to determine fish fitness, in collaboration with the Center for Aquaculture Technologies. These genotypes are used to select groups of fish with high grow-out performance and track them back to their origin. Genes are then identified that correspond to productive performance parameters such as growth rate, survival rate, disease resistance, feed conversion ratio and fillet yield. These concepts are being applied to cobia and will be used for the red snapper and other species we work with. 40 »

Late-stage cobia embryos.

Optimizing Aquaculture Production Technologies Through Physiological and Bioenergetics Research The development of hatchery technology for marine species is only part of the equation in developing viable commercial-scale aquaculture operations. University of Miami aquaculture researchers use advanced techniques and technologies to optimize production of marine fish. Through bioenergetics and physiological research it is possible to determine the optimal culture

conditions throughout the life cycle of each species. We have been conducting studies aimed at assessing the impacts of environmental conditions on metabolic endpoints in species across all life stages, including assessment of swimming metabolism, through the use of swim tunnel respirometry and energy partitioning. Such work has allowed for quantification of environmental and energetic requirements under site- and system-specific conditions, thereby allowing for optimization of system design, operation and FEBRUARY - MARCH 2021

crops at lower trophic levels that also have market value. Findings from this physiological and bioenergetics research, along with improved understanding of energy flows, are critical to optimize the production process while helping improve the overall efficiency, sustainability and profitability of marine finfish aquaculture.

Nutrition Research Aquaculture nutrition research at UM is driven by the needs of the commercial sector, which is also the primary source of funding for this research. In a commercial marine finfish operation, feeds can represent as much as 70 percent of the production costs, of which a majority is used on fish near harvest size. Hence, we work primarily with near harvest-size fish, aiming at finding solutions for the stages where 80-90 percent of all feeds consumed in a production cycle are used. There is a need and strong demand for the development of ecologically efficient, economically viable and nutritionally adequate diets for commercially important tropical and subtropical marine finfish species. Our nutrition program works closely with the commercial sector to conduct practical research, such as digestibility trials, to improve the ecological and economic efficiency of aquafeeds. Further, in addition to probiotics, we are studying and conducting research with bacteriophages, organic production management. One ex- acids, essential oils and trace minerample is a recent collaboration with als to improve fish health. Open Blue Sea Farms for studying Over the years, the UM Aquaenergetics and swimming speeds to culture Program has been conductunderstand the effect of offshore ing extensive nutrition trials with currents on metabolism and growth multiple marine fish species from of cobia for optimized production. juvenile through harvestable size. Research activities in this area Some of the species currently bealso allow for design and operation ing investigated are primarily coof production systems that offer bia, olive flounder, red snapper and improved sustainability, such as in- Florida pompano. Furthermore, the tegrated multi-trophic aquaculture UM Aquaculture Program has been (IMTA) systems that exploit waste working closely with industry leadproduction from higher trophic lev- ers such as Open Blue Sea Farms, el species for production of other Panama, and Martec S.A., Costa FEBRUARY - MARCH 2021

Through bioenergetics and physiological research it is possible to determine the optimal culture conditions throughout the life cycle of each species.

Rica, to improve feed efficiencies while maximizing fish performance. In addition to work with these groups, the United Soybean Board, the Illinois Soybean Association, and the US Soybean Export Council (USSEC) have been strong supporters of nutrition research at the UM over the years. These partnerships led to the development of nutritional requirements, apparent digestibility of different ingredients and the replacement of fishmeal and fish oil in diets for cobia. We are continuously seeking and routinely developing collaborations with feed companies in the US and abroad to conduct digestibility studies of the ingredients used in the formulation and manufacture of specialized diets for commercially important marine finfish species. Research and development collaborations have also been made with multiple partners (UJAT of Mexico and the US-based company Aquaculture Intelligence) to promote fish health through the use of probiotics, essential oils and organic acids. Through this collaboration, a repository of tropical fish enzymes of high commercial value has been set up to evaluate the enzymatic activ» 41


ity of commercial ingredients and diets. Additional nutrition research is underway to assess the nutritional profile and possible use of black soldier fly meal and oil for the manufacturing of commercial diets for marine fish and shrimp. Based on a preliminary review of studies, it appears that different meal and oil extraction methods will modulate the nutritional profile of the meal and oil. Additionally, black soldier fly meal seems to be comparable to plant-based meals rather than animal-based meals. Furthermore, proximate analysis of the meal can be altered depending on the food source of the fly larvae, usually reflecting the profile of the food source. In summary, nutrition is key at broodstock, larval, live feeds, fingerling, juvenile and grow-out stages. Performance studies are required for understanding the selected species’ nutritional requirements and digestibility of proteins, amino acids, lipids and energy of the various ingredients used for diets at all stages of the production cycle, while maximizing the use of high-quality ingredients and additives. These are crucial for aiding in the formulation of specific diets, reducing fishTesting feeds during nursery and grow-out of olive flounder.

There is a need and strong demand for the development of ecologically efficient, economically viable and nutritionally adequate diets for commercially important tropical and subtropical marine finfish species.

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in-fish-out ratios, reducing use of fishmeal and fish oil with alternative sources of animal and plant protein. Knowledge of the nutritional requirements and digestibility of nutrients of large fish is necessary to optimize growth and minimize waste in commercial marine finfish farms. This will be more rapidly attained with synergistic collaborations among all stakeholders in the productive chain, from suppliers of raw materials and aquafeed manufacturers to commercial farmers and research institutions. The overall goal it to improve the economic and ecological efficiency of farming operations and nutrition research by

the UM Aquaculture Program plays an important role in meeting this goal.

Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence In recent years, machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) has been introduced into commercial aquaculture. AI has the potential to play a role in critical processes of the aquaculture production cycle, from spawning to grow-out stages, to improve efficiency and decrease operational costs. The UM Aquaculture Program is engaged in research activities dedicated to innovative approaches to improve FEBRUARY - MARCH 2021

aquaculture hatchery technologies with state-of-the-art AI techniques. Current efforts focus on developing machine learning-based computer vision pipelines for autonomous rotifer (Brachionus sp.) culture system (ARCS). The procedure is to use a systematic combination of object detection, object tracking, convolutional neural networks and sequential neural networks to empower the machine vision to accurately detect, recognize and classify rotifers under the microscope and estimate rotifer motility and ciliate concentration. The AI-driven compute vision will unblock, simplify and optimize the critical obstacles toward a fully automatic rotifer culture system. If successful, this will improve the efficiency of commercial-scale rotifer culture and reduce human labor, thereby reducing the overall cost of the operation. As part of this research, we are also working on a publicly accessible rotifer culture image dataset designed for deep learning experiments and modeling packages. These resources will encourage both the aquaculture and the AI communities to participate in developing next-generation aquaculture hatchery technologies.

Interactions with the Seafood Industry and Marketing Efforts With aquaculture products representing over half of the seafood consumed by humans globally, it is critical that aquaculture research and development activities be conducted with the global seafood industry, markets and seafood marketing efforts in mind. The UM Aquaculture Program is involved in numerous initiatives aimed at improving the seafood industry through establishment of effective and sustainable seafood production technologies. New projects on yellowtail snapper and olive flounder are examples of research aimed at assisting working waterfronts and coastal communities through development of FEBRUARY - MARCH 2021

Aquaculture graduate students handling broodstock and conducting routine husbandry activities during research projects.

sustainable aquaculture technologies for these species. With support from NOAA and Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Council (ASMFC), such projects offer an opportunity to bridge the gap between wild and farmed seafood production, while offering resiliency for communities that have historically been reliant solely on wild-catch fisheries. Through research into not only the technological barriers of raising and marketing the fish, but also the social and economic challenges associated with such projects, these research efforts are expanding the impact of the UM Aquaculture Program in new and exciting directions in the seafood industry. Additionally, researchers of the UM Aquaculture Program are looking at improving the ecological, physiological and economic efficiencies of producing, marketing and consuming fish through promoting the value of whole, plate-

size fish for the North American market. This work has focused on the ecological and economic advantages of producing whole platesize fish and proposes a marketing strategy to develop and implement this widely successful worldwide concept in the US. The large North American seafood market is a vast field for implementing this concept because the composition of the American population has an important contribution from foreigners and immigrants of different origins, particularly from countries where plate-size whole fish are routinely consumed. The greater physiological and ecological efficiencies of harvesting fish just before they reach sexual maturity and begin reproducing is well known and documented. For several commercially important species such as snappers, groupers, pompanos and others, this generally occurs at 400-600 grams at 10-12 » 43


Knowledge of the nutritional requirements and digestibility

of nutrients of large fish is necessary to optimize growth and minimize waste in commercial marine finfish farms.

months of age, corresponding precisely to plate-size whole fish. Aquaculture is the most sustainable alternative to meet an increasing demand for plate-size whole fish, benefiting from greater business attractiveness and profitability, and helping miti-

gate environmental impacts of capture fisheries. A paradigm shift to this modality of product would lead to the expansion of the activity. The strategy must combine adequate sourcing, marketing and educational campaigns to literally put plate-size whole fish in the center of the plate. Plate-size whole fish is sustainable, easy to cook, tasteful, healthier and definitely a great product ideal for individual meals. To that end, we have been testing the market for red snapper, olive flounder and mahimahi. Trials with these species have been promising and work in this area is ongoing. Complementing the research into issues of direct relevance to the seafood industry is work aimed at improving traceability and quality of seafood inspected in the US. Recent research trials at the UM Aquaculture Program have utilized bio-

Aquaculture graduate students handling broodstock and conducting routine husbandry activities during research projects.

44 »

electrical impedance analysis (BIA) to examine hatchery-raised Nile tilapia Oreochromis niloticus and hatchery-raised olive flounder as case studies. Most (around 90 percent) of seafood consumed in the US is imported and only a small fraction of imports are inspected. Through collaboration with Seafood Analytics and use of their Certified Quality Reader (CQR), we are assisting in developing technology to combat this systemic problem and aid in the inspection of seafood and seafood products, especially those imported. The Seafood Analytics CQR is a handheld device that measures the resistance and reactance of a sample that determines the overall quality of the sample. By comparing fresh tilapia fillets to fillets that had been frozen and then defrosted, and examining the differences between the four distinct fillet portions that can be found on the olive flounder, changes in flesh quality as time elapses were measured. This type of research should aid in improving assessment and objectivity of quality control in the seafood industry in the future. Researchers at UM will be further examining the use of BIA in yellowtail snapper as part of an expansive research project centered around this high-value species. Seafood market analysis and marketing strategies are key to realizing the potential of any species being introduced. In this area, collaboration is critical in the industry and, in addition to the well-established Beaver Street Fisheries in Florida and Tropic Seafood in the Bahamas, we are collaborating on seafood market and marketing efforts with MarePesca LLC in Puerto Rico to commercialize farmed red snapper raised at UMEH as part of the NOAA-Sea Grant funded project. The red snapper is a species in great demand in North America and the Caribbean region, and Puerto Rico has a large latent market for this fish. Recent trials in Puerto Rico testing FEBRUARY - MARCH 2021

Operating the University of Miami Experimental Marine Fish Hatchery is a team effort, with many past and current collaborating partners

the market acceptance of this product indicated that plate-size farmed red snapper were very well received, scoring above snapper currently found in the market in all criteria, including overall impression, ease of preparation and taste. Furthermore, 93 percent of surveyed establishments expressed a strong desire to consume this product. With commitments from restaurants and distributors to purchase whole, platesize farmed red snapper, MarePesca LLC is enthusiastic about facilitating commercial farming operations in the region. This illustrates how research and development activities can translate to real-world benefits in commercial farming sectors. Upcoming market analysis and marketing trials with olive flounder in the Atlantic States region, as part of a FEBRUARY - MARCH 2021

research project centered around this species, will continue our work in this sector and will help establish effective strategies for development of economically viable aquaculture production of such species.

Collaborations – A Global Network The UM Aquaculture Program thrives on collaborations with a number of universities and research institutions, government agencies and the private sector. We have a long list of partners and collaborators from the private and public sector with a solid track record of success and aim to continue to directly address industry needs through advanced research and development activities. Our expertise and experience in the field has led to numer-

ous collaborations and consulting arrangements with private and public sector operations throughout the US, Latin America, Europe, Asia, Caribbean, Africa, Australia and the Middle East. As aquaculture continues to expand throughout the world, we will continue to assist in advancing technologies for marine finfish aquaculture globally.

* Corresponding author: Daniel Benetti, PhD, Professor and Director of Aquaculture, Author’s note: We have published over 200 scientific articles in aquaculture technology, production, reproduction, physiology, nutrition, environmental issues, toxicology and systems operation and management. References about most topics covered in this article are available upon request directly from the authors. Editor’s note: This is a summarized version of an article originally published on December 2020 in the volume 51 of the World Aquaculture Magazine of the World Aquaculture Society. This original publication can be accessed at:

» 45


Supporting Oyster Aquaculture and Restoration: A closer look at the efforts

of The Nature Conservancy to provide COVID-relief for shellfish farmers By: PhD. Boze Hancock *

A few months ago, The Nature Conservancy announced the purchase of 5 million oysters from farmers affected by COVID-19 to use them in reef restoration initiatives in the U.S. Now, in an exclusive follow up news article PhD. Boze Hancock, Senior Marine Habitat Restoration Scientist at The Nature Conservancy, shares with us details of the SOAR project which hopes to restore 27 acres of reef and, based on a reference economic modeling from restoration sites in MD, also produce over US $1.5 million per year in increased fisheries landings alone. Without considering the jobs saved, economic stimulus or the value of the other ecosystem services.

Imagining a COVID-relief fund for shellfish growers Soon after the pandemic hit the US in mid-March, with the massive impacts on restaurants and raw-bars, it was apparent that the shellfish growers had lost the majority of their market, pretty much overnight. In April Pew’s Aaron Kornbluth and I began discussing what COVID-relief for the shellfish growers might look 46 »

like. We have both been involved in restoring oyster reefs for the many benefits they provide. Oyster reefs produce huge amounts of extra fish and crabs for the commercial and recreational fisheries and improve water quality by filtering water and removing a good deal of the excess nitrogen that causes algal blooms and dead zones. Oysters in aquaculture gear have been shown to pro-

vide many of the same benefits, as well as providing thousands of jobs and taking pressure off the restored reefs by supplying the market with high quality oysters. So it was immediately obvious that purchasing the excess farm oysters to go onto reef restoration sites was going to benefit everyone involved. At that point we were not sure where the funding might come from, perhaps relief from Congress, perhaps private funding or a mix of both. We also needed the help of the aquaculture experts, Robert Jones of The Nature Conservancy (TNC), NOAA, the shellfish growers associations and state shellfish managers. The Pacific Coast Shellfish Growers Association and Oyster South, the Shellfish Growers Climate Coalition and particularly Bob Rheault of the East Coast Shellfish Growers Association have been very engaged from the start. FEBRUARY - MARCH 2021

Chesapeake Bay 350t Barge starting deployment reef base. Photo credit: Boze Hancock.

Reef restoration project development What was obvious was that any program to purchase oysters from growers to go onto restoration sites would need an assessment of where the growers are located, compared to the reef restoration projects. You can’t just move oysters anywhere. Any movement comes with the risk that some of the oysters may be carrying oyster diseases or introduced invasive species. These ‘Biosecurity’ threats are the first consideration and need to be taken very seriously. Fortunately we know a good deal about the diseases that affect oysters and the distribution of invasive species. State shellfish managers have been dealing with the problems caused by introduced diseases for years, as have the biologists concerned with invasive species. With this information in mind the first task was to map FEBRUARY - MARCH 2021

out where the restoration sites were that could accept oysters and which growers are close enough to be allowed to move oysters to those sites. Not all growers are close enough to a restoration site to be able to take part in the program but in states that have embraced oyster reef restoration, participation is available to all growers. During the process of mapping out the potential for this marriage between the excess product from growers and reef restoration we worked closely with other groups involved in similar work, NOAA Aquaculture, Sea Grant, the NRCS program and Fisheries Commissions. We feel very fortunate to have committed donors that are interested in providing COVID relief to oyster farmers and expanding marine restoration efforts that provided the philanthropic support to make this program possible.

SOAR Program There are seven states involved in the SOAR program: ME, NH, MA, NY, NJ, MD and WA. These states represent the intersection of grower needs that have not been addressed by other similar programs, donor interest, and restoration opportunity. These states have the highest need to build breeding populations to provide the larvae to maintain restored reefs. Establishing a reef restoration project can take time. Ensuring that the oysters will thrive at the chosen site and preparing the bottom so the oysters are up off the soft sediment or mobile sand is very important. As is engaging the whole community that has an interest in the area to be restored. To be able to get COVID-19 relief to the growers quickly, it has been important to identify restoration projects that have the necessary permits and are operational. The primary objective of the » 47


Oyster reefs produce huge amounts of extra fish and crabs for the commercial and recreational fisheries and improve water quality by filtering water and removing a good deal of the excess nitrogen that causes algal blooms and dead zones.

different restoration sites can vary but they generally include increased fish production, improved water quality, sediment stabilization and coastal protection. There are a number of restoration projects across the range of states involved. New Hampshire has several active projects and has tested the use of aquaculture oysters to increase the spawning potential of the reefs with good results. In 2019, TNC New Hampshire purchased mature oysters from several of the state’s growers with excellent survival to the 2020 spawning season. Maine doesn’t have an active restoration site, but New Hampshire has agreed to take product from areas of Maine that are not known disease areas and with testing for pathogens and invasive species. MA has a limited number of restoration sites in the Buzzards Bay area so the growers in that area have access to the program. The states further south have a better distribution of restoration sites with MD having a network of 51 sites in the state, including 5 tributaries with large restoration under the Chesapeake Bay Restoration Agreement. The SOAR program hopes to restore 27 acres of reef. Based on the economic modeling from restoration sites in MD, that area of reef would produce over $1.5Million per year in increased fisheries landings alone (Knoche, S., Ihde, T., Townsend, H. 48 »

Deploying oysters in Great Bay, NH. ©2020 Jerry and Marcy Monkman/EcoPhotography.

and Samonte, G., 2018). Without considering the jobs saved, economic stimulus or the value of the other ecosystem services. The logistics involved in harvesting 5 million oysters, establishing biosecurity protocols, transporting and deploying them to restoration sites involves considerable logistics. An operation that would not be possible without the support of the many groups from state regulators, univer-

sities, growers, conservationists well beyond just Pew and TNC, and many more. The good-will displayed to make the program a reality has been incredibly heartening.

Foreseeing shellfish production and continuity of SOAR With COVID-19 relief programs like SOAR, and similar programs such as those run by the Department of Agriculture’s NRCS program

Harvesting oysters for deployment to reef-GreatBay, NH. ©2020 Jerry and Marcy Monkman/EcoPhotography. FEBRUARY - MARCH 2021

Montauk, NY Farm-Red Vault Productions. ©2020 Jerry and Marcy Monkman/EcoPhotography.

in Rhode Island and Sea Grant in several states, we hope the growers survive the COVID-19 pandemic to the point where restaurants eventually re-open and the market recovers. The SOAR program has also set aside approximately $1Million to start a Shellfish Growers Resiliency Program. A portion of these funds will be set aside for a small grant program to fund developments in the industry that will help buffer it

from similar disruptions in the future. Though we hope that we don’t see a global pandemic again anytime soon! These could include diversified markets and product lines, payment for ecosystem services, or other ideas brought to the program. We will be working with NOAA, NRCS and industry to develop priorities for this part of the program which is due to release the first request for proposals by March 2021. The announcement

Oysters ready for deployment to restoration site. Little Bay, NH. ©2020 Jerry and Marcy Monkman/EcoPhotography. FEBRUARY - MARCH 2021

will be advertised on the program web-site at .

Alternatives for restaurants and consumers There are options for anyone to help with both the aquaculture and restoration of our scarce oyster reefs. Anyone who is missing our marine delicacies is encouraged to look online where oysters are available for direct delivery. Raising the awareness of the value of shellfish reefs by talking about the importance of shellfish reefs in our coastal ecosystems is a huge benefit to the restoration work. There are also volunteer opportunities with many of the coastal restoration projects, and when restaurants do re-open, look for those involved in recycling the oyster shells for restoration! *Boze is the Senior Marine Habitat Restoration Scientist for TNC’s Global Oceans Team, based at the University of Rhode Island’s Graduate School of Oceanography. Boze has over 30 years of experience in marine research, working on the ecology, fisheries, management and restoration of coastal marine resources and habitats. Habitats of particular interest include shellfish and coral reefs, salt marsh, seagrass and mangroves with a particular emphasis on the restoration of reef habitats (shellfish and coral). Boze provides technical support to project managers and teams within TNC and partner organizations. He also helps provide the science to support and scale up marine habitat restoration. Correspondence email: Editor’s note: references cited by the author in the article are available under previous request to our editorial team.

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The area challenge

in Norwegian salmon farming Norwegian salmon farming has grown tremendously over the last 50 years, and it now constitutes around 75% of the country’s total seafood export value. The growout phase typically takes place in coastal waters. There are ambitions for continued strong growth. This paper examines the current and future situation for area use, needs and availability, for salmon farming in Norway. The paper developed by Norwegian researchers from Nofima and NTNU considers several possible changes that can influence this, including the coastal zone planning system, new technologies

By: Bjørn Hersoug, Eirik Mikkelsen, and Tonje C. Osmundsen


ithin 50 years, Norwegian salmon farming has become an outstanding success. From a total production of less than 1000 tons in 1970, the current production is 1350,000 tons, of which 97% is for export. While Norway is only responsible for 2.5% of the global aquaculture production in volume, the share of total value is

50 »

for offshore, land-based and closed salmon farming, and new tax-schemes that affect the distribution of burdens and benefits from salmon farming.

11% (Garlock et al., 2020). At present, salmon farming constitutes 74% of total seafood export value from Norway, thus by far surpassing the traditional fisheries. On top of that, salmon farming takes place mainly in remote coastal communities, offering valuable employment in municipalities hard hit by the rationalization of the traditional fisheries and processing industry (Johnsen 2020).

By 2020, aquaculture seems destined to be one of the few industries that can offer an alternative, when the important petroleum industry will have to wind down some time in the future. The ambitions are high; the government has indicated a possible doubling of total production by 2030 and increasing the current production five times by 2050 (Meld. St.16, 2014-15). Taking into considFEBRUARY - MARCH 2021


» 51


eration that Norway has a coastline of 103,000 km (including inlets and islands) and an Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of nearly one million km, it may seem like a paradox that lack of coastal space for aquaculture is a major problem. However, lack of space was highlighted by a government appointed public commission already in 2011 (FKD 2011) and later reiterated in several white papers. When asked in 2014 about the greatest challenges in the industry, the large majority of salmon farmers maintained that lack of available space was the biggest problem (Hersoug et al., 2014). In fact, despite high prices and much political goodwill, the actual production has not increased significantly over the last seven years (Isaksen and Mikkelsen, 2012). In this article, we will try to explain the paradox, and consider possible solutions. It should be added that lack of appropriate space for aquaculture is not a particular Norwegian challenge. The same applies to a number of countries where food requirements for an increasing population are met by turning food production from land to sea (Froehlich et al., 2018). The article has two main research questions. 1) How is the aquaculture industry’s access to suitable production areas today? 2) How can access to sea areas develop in the future?

Framing the area challenge; theoretical and historical starting points Salmon farming in Norway started its tremendous growth when the first open net pens were constructed and placed in coastal waters around 1970. This is still the dominant form of salmon production in Norway. Alternative technologies are being developed and have started to be used, in both Norway and elsewhere. They include land-based farming, offshore farming and semi-closed or closed pens in coastal waters as well as production of large postsmolt. They may 52 »

all affect the future availability and need for sea-areas for salmon farming in the coastal zone in Norway. It is, however, not the sea area as such that is most interesting for the fish farmers, but the water body beneath. It must have suitable temperature and salinity, currents that remove faeces and spilled feed and supply water with oxygen - but not with so strong currents that the fish get exhausted from swimming. The net pens must also be sheltered from extreme waves and weather, both for the welfare of the fish, and for securing safety of gear and operators. To make the sea area into a governable object it must be represented in a way that reflect all these qualities, so that it can be a foundation for management (Johnsen et al., 2009; Johnsen 2014). This happens when components and processes in the ecosystem, including what humans do in it and to it, are translated and assembled with tech-

niques to measure, quantify and model them so they can be represented symbolically (Osmundsen et al., 2020a). For salmon farming in Norway, this includes defining maximum allowable biomass (MAB) and limits for salmon lice infestation for the salmon in the pens. This is also the type of rationale behind marine spatial planning, where the areas managed are governance objects representing abiotic and biotic conditions as well as patterns of use and stakeholder interests. Different measures and governance instruments are created to handle different aspects of the governance object (Johnsen et al., 2014). As concerns and contexts evolve, it may be necessary to adjust or invent new measures and instruments. What has been the main concern in salmon farming governance in Norway has varied over the years, but they have all related to the different dimensions of sustainability (Osmundsen et al., 2020b). FEBRUARY - MARCH 2021

By 2020, aquaculture seems

destined to be one of the few industries that can offer an alternative, when the important petroleum industry will have to wind down some time in the future.

In Norway, part of the opposition towards aquaculture can be explained as resulting from mistrust towards the authorities’ perceived ability to control the industry (Olsen and Osmundsen 2017; Osmundsen and Olsen 2017). Currently, also elements of the regulatory framework are questioned in public debate, e.g. how the regulatory framework fails to regulate dumping of delicing medications, and the use of ethoxyquin in fish feed. Achieving public regulations that are perceived as legitimate in controlling the aquaculture industry also has a bearing on how supportive the public is towards the industry and its future expansion. Governing area access to aquaculture In order to perform aquaculture in Norway you need a license consisting of two types of individual licenses. First, a production license. These licenses were first allocated for free, FEBRUARY - MARCH 2021

object to strict regulations pertaining to ownership (one license per owner) and volume of net pens, later to be sold at fixed prices and finally partly allocated by auction. Previously, licenses were allocated through irregular license rounds, based on certain political criteria (Hersoug et al., 2019). From 2017, the industry is regulated by the so-called “traffic light system”, where the coast is divided in 13 production zones, and where further growth is determined bi-annually by its environmental status, as measured by one single indicator; the frequency of salmon lice (Osmundsen et al., 2020a). In green zones, total production can increase by 6%, in yellow zones production must be stable, while in red zones production has to be reduced by 6%, all measured by maximum allowable biomass (MAB). The zones were created to reduce the amount of sea lice, but most importantly; to make the

farmers themselves responsible for the environmental situation in their respective zones. A standard license used to be 780 tons MAB, which is the maximum tonnage a company can hold at any time, while licenses in the extreme north were higher (945 tons MAB), due to lower temperatures and hence, slower growth rates. With the new traffic light system, licenses no longer have a standard size. At present (March 2020) there are altogether 950 commercial licenses. In addition, there are specific licenses for brood stock production, for research, educational and exhibition purposes, most often operated together with the commercial licenses. In addition to the production license, all operators need a locality license. These are allocated according to a complicated and intricate system, as illustrated in Fig. 1.

What is the area challenge? Even if most salmon farmers claim there is a shortage of coastal space available for aquaculture, it seems worthwhile to investigate this. A starting point could be the physical occupation of space. Why this claim of area shortage? First, because not all sea space is equally valuable. In modern aquaculture the companies look for “super localities”, that is, sheltered waters, with suitable depth (minimum 30 m), good currents and » 53


proximity to modern infrastructure (roads, electricity, and communities). Then the potential areas are considerably reduced. Second, aquaculture is only one out of many legitimate users of coastal sea space, so territory is shared with other productive activities such as: fishing, spawning areas, transportation, tourism and recreation, marine conservation, energy production, and military activities. Thus, the areas available for further expansion of aquaculture are strongly circumscribed. However, the most serious limitation to further access comes from the industry itself. This is due to the need to protect neighboring fish farms, as well as wild fish populations from being affected by salmon lice and diseases (based on a production model with open sea cages). The Norwegian Food Safety Authority has decided that each farm should have at least 2.5 km to the next farm and minimum 5 km distance to a 54 »

Figure 1 The governance of aquaculture space (localities). From Solås (2019).

processing plant. Local conditions do vary, regarding both land formations and water currents, the size of farms and local wild fish populations. Distance restrictions could be eased some places if there were more knowledge about the actual lo-

cal conditions, and how they affect the spread of diseases and parasites, but until a more detailed system is in place, the same regulations generally apply to the entire coast. For illustrative purposes, Andreassen et al. (2010) made a map where all 900 FEBRUARY - MARCH 2021

localities were shown with a sanitary 5 km zone. This implies an area occupation of 20% of the waters in the coastal zone, and this is, in other words, the most important restriction on further growth. So, what has been the response by the salmon farmers? First, to intensify production. In 1999, total production was 474,000 tons based on 1866 localities. In 2019, total production was 1350,000 tons, spread over 966 localities, of which 862 were in active use during the year. The industry had increased production threefold, while halving the number of localities. Hence, each locality is considerably larger, measured by Maximum Allowable Biomass (MAB). However, the intensification was not evenly spread out along the coast. Due to historical reasons, salmon farming started in earnest on the west coast, gradually moving north, where limitations on license allocation for a long time stunted growth (Hallenstvedt et al., FEBRUARY - MARCH 2021

1985). This partly explains why the potential for future expansion is largest in the north. The number of approved sea-localities for grow-out of salmon and trout varies across the Norwegian counties (Fiskeridirektoratet 2020c), depending on several factors, including the size of their coastal zones and the historical development of fish farming. In all counties, the average number of localities used (per month) and the number of unique localities used per year is less than the total number of approved localities. Further strengthening the future possibilities for expansion of salmon farming in the north, is the effect of global warming, which seems likely to affect the southernmost regions the most (Falconer et al., 2019). To what extent can the optimistic prognosis of doubling production by 2030 or increase it fivefold by 2050 be fulfilled? The simple answer is that doubling within ten years is impossible with the present regime. However, if existing localities are not permitted to expand further (a cap on MAB due to environmental constraints), this means that further expansion towards 2050 must take place within larger (and better) areas for aquaculture, given the existing production model.

Solutions “inside the box” In today’s governance system new aquaculture localities in the coastal zone must be placed in accordance with municipal area plans. Many aspects with coastal zone planning in Norway could however, be changed, as Table 2 indicates. Is it likely that some of the changes could increase the chances for salmon farming to get better access to sea areas than today? Many of the changes listed in the table will affect basic qualities of the planning system, including the degree of coordination, harmonization and equality between different types of stakeholders, interests and geographic areas. Furthermore, the legitimacy of the planning process and the final

When asked in 2014 about

the greatest challenges in the industry, the large majority of salmon farmers maintained that lack of available space was the biggest problem.

plans can be affected, as well as how resource-demanding and complex the planning process will be, and the degree of predictability and flexibility in the plans. Nevertheless, only three of the possible changes are likely to increase the areas set aside for aquaculture (Mikkelsen et al., 2019). If the typical planning area is made larger in geographical terms, it will be possible to find space for more types of interests than when the planning area is small (Table 2, Plan area #1). Two other alternatives are discussed more in detail by Mikkelsen et al. (2019). The first suggests to set aside some coastal sea areas for certain types of predefined activities, and then auction off the right to use those areas (blocks) (Table 2, Tradeoff method #7), a system similar to what has been indicated for an aquaculture offshore regime (NFD 2018). With the current profitability, salmon farmers would likely win many of those auctions. The area blocks would have to be assessed beforehand in terms of possible activities and regulatory conditions. The last change that might offer more space for aquaculture could be the establishment of “marine industrial parks” (Table 2, Plan design #8). This concept has some resemblance to the area blocks just described, but in the marine industrial parks commercial actors would themselves be allowed » 55


to coordinate, find and make space for as much value adding activities as possible. Through the coordination they would internalize what would otherwise be external effects and balance the impacts the activities might have on each other with measures and side payments to maximize the overall net benefits. What kind of activities that would be acceptable in such an industrial park, would have to be decided by public authorities. Editor’s note: to see a full range of other solutions identified by the authors as from “outside the box”, please read the original version of this article cited and linked at the end of this content.

Discussion: legitimacy as the key to greater access? The paradox raised in the introduction, of having area scarcity when the aquaculture industry is occupying only 0.5% of the coastal areas, can largely be explained by three factors. First, the strict sanitary regulations (minimum distance between farms), secondly by the fact that the industry is primarily interested in “super localities”, and finally by the fact that the coastal areas encompass a large number of competing interests, which may have exclusive rights to their sea areas. Consequently, only a part of the coastal areas within the base lines +1 nautical mile is available for aquaculture. Nevertheless, the answer to the first research question is mixed; the aquaculture farmers claim there is a scarcity of available sea areas, while our analysis strongly indicates that it is possible to produce considerably more than today within the Norwegian coastal zone, but some regions are clearly full. The current limitation is primarily on the number of production licenses and the strict regime established by the traffic light system, not on the available sea space as such. Currently, there are two solutions that may reduce the need for new areas, also in the short run. The first refers to the production of large post-smolt, which is due to reduce 56 »

Table 1 Possible changes to six major aspects of coastal zone planning in Norway.

the time at sea to reach market size and hence, reduce the problems with salmon lice. The second is the production based on closed containments, which will reduce environ-

mental problems and facilitate the use of localities formerly abandoned due to local contamination. However, business economics is uncertain, especially for the last concept FEBRUARY - MARCH 2021

(Bjørndal and Tusvik 2019). In conclusion, there is no quick fix to get access to larger areas for aquaculture purposes. While the aquaculture industry tries to frame the challenge as a question of national interest, where the best paying activity (measured as value added) should receive priority, other stakeholders support a planning system, whereby different issues have to be negotiated and a political compromise made in the end. As demonstrated above, new production models may solve some sustainability challenges, while leaving others undecided. In the end, it is also a political compromise how much each of the sustainability dimensions should weigh in. Fulfilling all three at FEBRUARY - MARCH 2021

the same time seems difficult, necessitating trade-offs and compromises. At present, economic sustainability is not a problem, but if land-based salmon farming becomes a success, producers closer to the market could lead to increased competition and falling prices. Currently, focus is on environmental sustainability, where the industry is struggling with several issues (salmon lice, escapes and discharges). So far, social sustainability has been partly neglected as an explicit concern but grown in importance during the latter years to a point where it can no longer be neglected. Reducing the environmental challenges and achieving social legitimacy is necessary for further growth

of the Norwegian salmon aquaculture industry. As demonstrated, both the industry and public authorities have key roles to play in achieving that.

*Bjørn Hersoug a, Eirik Mikkelsen a, Tonje C. Osmundsen b a Nofima, Tromsø, Norway b NTNU Samfunnsforskning, Norway Corresponding author. E-mail addresses: This is a summarized version developed by the editorial team at Aquaculture Magazine from the original article “What’s the clue; better planning, new technology or just more money? - The area challenge in Norwegian salmon farming” by Bjørn Hersoug, Eirik Mikkelsen, and Tonje C. Osmundsen that was originally published on October 2020 through the Ocean and Coastal Management journal of Elsevier via Science Direct and it can be found on its original version at ocecoaman.2020.105415 This is an open access article under the CC BY 4.0 license. References cited by the authors in the article are available under previous request to our editorial team.

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Resilience to Climate Change in Industrial Shrimp farming in Bangladesh Assessing the Comparative Role of the Stakeholders By: Shaikh Mohammad Kais and Md Saidul Islam *


ndustrial aquaculture in the tropical regions is particularly vulnerable to anthropogenic global warming. In recent decades, scientists have increasingly focused on the intersections between climate change impact, adaptation, and aquaculture. Climate change related threats to aquaculture arise largely from (i) stress due to increased temperature and oxygen demand and decreased pH, (ii) uncertain future water supply, (iii) extreme weather events, (iv) increased frequency of diseases and toxic events, (v) sea level rise and conflict of interest with coastal defenses, and (vi) an uncertain future supply of fishmeal and oils from capture fisheries. Predicted climate changes will cause physiological (growth, reproduction, disease etc.), ecological (organic and inorganic cycles, predation, ecosystem services etc.), and operational (species and site selection etc.) changes in global aquaculture. All these changes have direct impacts on aquaculture production and aquaculture dependent livelihoods and indirect influences on aquaculture through fishmeal and fish oil availability. Only after a thorough analysis of contextual factors affect58 »

Despite being a major contributor to GDP and export earnings of Bangladesh, the shrimp industry in this country is not yet fully developed. This important sector is often plagued by numerous environmental challenges including frequent climate disasters. To address local climate perturbations, the shrimping industry undertakes a wide range of individual, communal, and institutional level resilience activities. Drawing on primary data collected through ethnography and qualitative interviews in three shrimping communities, this paper DEVELOPED BY researchers from the University of Rajshahi in Bangladesh, and the Nanyang Technological University of Singapore examines the nature, effects, and efficacy of resilience strategies adopted by various stakeholders in the shrimp industry in coastal Bangladesh.

ing exposure, sensitivity, and adaptive capacity of aquaculture communities and stakeholders, realistic adaptation and resilience plans and actions can be devised for specific groups and communities. Developing adaptability and resilience to counteract the negative impacts of climate disruptions is the main challenge for the shrimping community now. Meeting this challenge needs investment in the building and safeguarding of protective infrastructures, development of climate proof production technologies, and strengthening coping capacity of

households and institutions. Previous studies have suggested several strategies for the techno–structural overhauling of the sector such as mixed prawn-shrimp culture, Integrated Multi-Trophic Aquaculture (IMTA), silvo-aquaculture or integrated mangrove-shrimp cultivation, social forestry, and Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation. The process of resilience to climate change, however, is not just a perfunctory adjustment to natural perturbation, but a more intense socio-cultural encounter with core causes of vulnerability. Resilience FEBRUARY - MARCH 2021

strategies should incorporate local actions taken by the affected people and communities themselves in response to shifting environmental and climate regimes supported by largerscale, and planned interventions by government or other institutions, which offer supports that are beyond the capacity of the local communities.

Materials and Methods The authors used a cross-sectional research design in conducting this qualitative study. In total, two specific methods, namely ethnography and in-depth interview, were employed in collecting primary data from three research sites in coastal Bangladesh— Mongla in Bagerhat, Koyra in Khulna, and Shyamnagar in Satkhira. Researhcers selected these sites purposively because of two pressing reasons. First, about 80% of shrimp in Bangladesh is cultivated in these three districts. Second, the coastal districts, compared to their inland counterparts, are more vulnerable to anthropogenic climate crisis. FEBRUARY - MARCH 2021

Adaptation to Climate Crisis The shrimp farming communities apply specific strategies to tackle immediate effects on shrimps and ghers (shrimp ponds). At the shrimp fry collection level, since the peak time for PL collection in the Sundarbans is the pre-monsoon months of April– June and since this is one of the two peak periods for cyclones hitting the Bangladesh coast, fry collectors often encounter, and have become accustomed (or, resilient) to this problem. As an adaptive response, they move out from the big rivers where they catch fry and take refuge in canals in the jungle during cyclones. Shrimpers perceive that there is an increasing trend in the number of hot summer days with intense heat in the region. At the shrimp farming level, one of the reasons behind the death of shrimps in summer months is the shallowness of shrimp farms. Although the optimum level of water depth in shrimp pond for bagda (brackish water shrimp) is 1.5 m, water depth in most of the shrimp ponds in coastal Bangladesh is as low

as 0.75 m. As a result, shrimps die frequently because of heat stress. A few farmers now increase the depth of their farms by making trenches at least at some corners of the shrimp pond so that shrimps can take shelter at that corner to avert heat stress during hot days. In addition, since shrimps may die because of oxygen shortage in shrimp pond water, which is caused by increased shrimp density within a lower amount of water due to climate change-induced extreme heat, some farmers have now become conscious enough to keep the stocking density of shrimp at a moderate level in order to avoid the above problem. This is an adaptive measure to the climate change perturbations in the shrimp economy. During storm surge floods and excessively heavy rainfall, dykes of shrimp ponds submerge and shrimps escape. Farmers address this problem by raising the height of the shrimp pond dykes. As a protective measure, a few farmers also put nets around their shrimp ponds to prevent shrimp escape. In addition, sell» 59

ARTICLE Figure 1 Interrelationships between climate change, community resilience and community capitals. Source: adapted from Kais and Islam (2018).

Industrial aquaculture in the tropical regions is particularly vulnerable to anthropogenic global warming. In recent decades, scientists have increasingly focused on the intersections between climate change impact, adaptation, and aquaculture.

ing out pre-mature shrimp before any devastating disaster like cyclones and storm surges is viewed as an option by a section of farmers. This is because, according to them, it is better to cash partially than to lose everything. They base this on the fact that cyclones Sidr (in 2007) and Aila (in 2009) completely washed away thousands of shrimp farms in the coastal areas, causing almost 100% losses to the shrimp farmers. As delineated in previous literature, a human community’s overall resilience is positively correlated with how rich it is in terms of various community capitals and how efficiently its members utilize those capitals. Figure 1 schematically presents this conceptual model. This study focused primarily on the role of four major community capitals—natural, physical, economic, and social—in building and activating resilience attributes in community members as well as in the community as a whole. In the shrimp-farming communities in Bangladesh, there are somewhat developed physical infrastructures by means of roads and buildings, etc. compared to those a few decades before; but the economic condition of the average people is not so much strong. Similarly, though 60 »


these communities have rich natural capital by means of forest and water resources, they lack strong social capital to fight collectively against any disaster. They have strong bonding capital (i.e., close ‘inward looking’ horizontal ties of social network that build cohesion within a community), but weak bridging capital (i.e., loose horizontal ties of ‘outward looking’ social networks across various social and ethnic groups) and very weak linking capital (i.e., vertical relationships across power or authority gradients). This fact leads to cooperation among close relatives and neighbors during a calamity but fails to erect a strong broader community based on cooperation and leading to self-reliance of the entire community. Moreover, there are only limited external institutional supports through governmental and non-governmental organizations. From which the authors draw the following conclusions on the role of community in building resilience in the commercial shrimp sector in Bangladesh. • If a shrimp farm is affected by weather shock or environmental and climate change, the responsibility of adaptation and recovery rests solely on the shrimp pond owner or cultivating farmer in charge. FEBRUARY - MARCH 2021

• The community as a whole does not take any measure to build resilience to climate perturbations in the sector in general. • The community has disaster management committees (DMCs) which take event specific measures only for extreme weather events. Their actions generally do not address the problems that shrimp farming might face during the disasters. • The capability of the community in addressing climate issues is very low. • The capability of the community has changed over time since various categories of community capital have changed (increased or decreased). • Whatever tangible and intangible resources the community has are not utilized properly for the benefit of the whole community. • Bonding social capital within primary groups is still effective in resilienceenhancing initiatives in the community. Although the sole responsibility of adaptation to and recovery from climate shocks and other calamities lies in individual farmers, the affected farmer often receives tangible and intangible supports from his close neighbors, relatives, or friends. Thus, authors mention that the community role in building resilience is moderate in some aspects and low in other aspects.

Governmental Interventions Given the enormous convolution and multiplicity of climate change hazards, and implications for lives and livelihoods of local communities, it is hard for the communities alone to face its manifold challenges. Although a resilience approach emphasizes the self-organization of the communities, by promoting the idea that resilience comes within them, it risks underestimating the challenges of creating this type of internal shift. Thus, outside interventions are essential to address the internal challenges and boost resilience of a community. In order to increase community resilience, it is important to enhance positive relationships within and among communities and, for the local government service providers, to capitalize on existing relational resources and encourage their further development. Synergy between the state and community social capital is significant in the sense that state–society linkages are important both for wider sustainable development and for the co-management of resources. State institutions such as the government and formal laws play a pivotal role in determining access to resources and defining the architecture of entitlements, which are based on material » 61

ARTICLE Figure 2 Resilience gradient in shrimp aquaculture in Bangladesh.

Since Bangladesh is at the

receiving end of global climate disasters, the only viable option for it is to devise adaptive measures in response to those disasters.

and social aspects of resource use. State authorities can augment sustainable and resilient resource management and boost coping capacity of the communities. Editor’s note: this is a summarized version of the original article, which covers a full review of national policies and local level interventions, we encourage our readers to check the original version to dig deeper in this topic, article has been cited and linked at the end of this content.

Comparative Role of the Stakeholders If we analyze the comparative roles of different stakeholders in building resilience to climate changes in the shrimp-farming communities, we find that through both anticipatory (proactive) and autonomous (reactive) adaptive measures, the shrimp households tend to adopt resilience enhancing initiatives, with more or less success. Through shrimp pond management and household management, the household-level actions focus on ‘high’ or ‘moderate’ level resilience strategies. As discussed, shrimp communities are rich in community capitals in various degrees: they are quite rich in natural and bonding social capital, moderate in built and bridging 62 »

social capital, and weak in financial and linking social capital. Community leadership does not take necessary resilience actions horizontally or vertically. In general, community people are not of much support for a given household (except close friends, neighbors, and relative) in building resilience to weather shocks and climate change, especially if we consider the number of tangible supports provided. Governmental and nongovernmental institutions and organizations have little interventions, which are mainly devised to address specific events. The governmental institutions have policies on climate change, capacity building and awareness raising programs, technical and inputs supports, and very limitedscale loan facility. However, the initiatives of the governmental institutions lack effective funding and support throughout the year. Even the fisheries officers from both national and local levels revealed this fact. Thus, if we consider the government’s role in building resilience of the shrimp industry in Bangladesh, we can term its role as ‘weak’ or ‘low’. In terms of building resilience to climate change in shrimp farming communities, NGOs have divergent roles. In the shrimp farming regions,

we can find three groups of NGOs considering the level of their support to shrimp culture: pro-shrimp, antishrimp, and neutral. An interesting fact is that the so-called pro-shrimp NGOs, who support shrimp cultivation in Bangladesh like ASA and BRAC, also do not have any project directly addressing shrimp aquaculture. As we found in the case study of a BRAC project, they provide support to shrimp-farming community in a very low degree. They just provide loan services under microfinance schemes, which is again a part of their profit-oriented business trade. The neutral NGOs, such as JJS and Rupantor, have no say to shrimp. They maintain distance from this sector and remain busy with other activities—their role in building resilience in the shrimp sector is zero. The anti-shrimp NGOs, like Islamic Relief Bangladesh (IR) and LEDARS, blatantly oppose the growth of industrial shrimp farming in their projects or campaigns. The manager of an IR project during the interview session fiercely opposed shrimp cultivation in the locality, mainly on the ground of perceived (rightly or wrongly) negative effects of shrimp on the environment and livelihoods. LEDARS also profoundly oppose FEBRUARY - MARCH 2021

the very existence of shrimp culture in the region. Considering the abovementioned diverse role of NGO interventions, we can dub them as ‘very low’, ‘zero’, or ‘negative’. Taken as a whole, we can present the comparative roles of shrimp farming households, communities, government agencies, and NGOs in building resilience to climate change in a resilience gradient (see Figure 2).

Conclusions and Recommendations It is obvious that since Bangladesh is at the receiving end of global climate disasters, the only viable option for it is to devise adaptive measures in response to those disasters. People living in coastal ecosystems have just three options for adaptive response to climate shocks and variability: protection, accommodation, and retreat. Since ‘protection’ through construction and maintenance of coastal infrastructure and ‘retreat’ through emigration from the whole area (at least 25 million people would need to


evacuate from the exposed coastal areas in Bangladesh) are neither within reach nor feasible for the local communities, the coastal shrimp farmers in Bangladesh have the only option to accommodate by reducing sensitivity and enhancing their own adaptive capacity in order to offset the negative impacts of climate change on the shrimp sector. Through effective resilience efforts at local and community levels, Bangladesh can minimize the loss from the brunt of global climate change. Shrimp farming communities in coastal Bangladesh have their own adaptive and resilience mechanisms through which they fight against and cope with environmental and climate hazards in order to have a sustainable shrimp industry. It is evident that the shrimp farming community in Bangladesh does not receive sufficient outside assistance in order to build communitylevel resilience. Now, since the sustainability and existence of shrimp are in question due to human-induced global warming, the local stakehold-

ers are devising their specific strategies with more or less success on trial-and error basis. It is likely that alternative development interventions can secure people’s resilience and promote a future generation that will be able to cope with climate change extremes and variability. This study is motivated by a concern for understanding how the use of community capitals and institutional interventions shape the actions that create and enhance resilience of the shrimp farming community to ongoing climate crisis. Resilience to climate change is an intricate subject that presents a number of challenges. This entails a process of viable adjustment in response to new and shifting environmental scenarios. Therefore, resilience of the shrimp industry cannot be treated as a standalone issue, and the future pathways should be directed by institutional and policy measures. This study recommends the following actions and strategies for the shrimp farming industry in Bangladesh:

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People living in coastal ecosystems have just

three options for adaptive response to climate shocks and variability: protection, accommodation, and retreat.

• Introduction of shrimp insurance: the whole shrimp industry needs to be brought under public and private insurance schemes so that the farmers can have financial compensations in case of damage or loss of production due to adverse climate conditions or hazards. • Increased technical assistance: the DoF should provide shrimp farmers with technical assistance including salinity and pH tests of soil and water, and diagnosis of disease in shrimps. Increased technical assistance could enhance the production of shrimp. • Aiding capacity enhancement: the UFOs should aid shrimp farmers and local traders with trainings and workshop sessions for capacity enhancement. The workshops and trainings should be on a variety of sustainable shrimp cultivation related topics such as enhancement of shrimp production, use of new technology and scientific methods, shrimp pond preparation, hatchery (or nursery) operation, disease control, shrimp pond management, harvesting and post-harvesting works, processing, etc. In addition, farmers and other local stakeholders should be trained on how to cope with and adapt to sudden weather shocks and gradual climate shifts. Currently, farmers do not receive any systematic training on climate hazards from public or nongovernmental organizations. 64 »

• Increased financial and inputs support: in order to enhance the economic capital of the farming people, public and private institutions should offer more financial and inputs support to the shrimp-farming communities. Financial supports could be in the form of direct sanctioning of loans, helping the farmers in receiving loans from banks, offering grants, and awards. Financial supports need to be provided at the start of the season and immediately after a sudden disaster. More inputs support in the form of feed, seeds, equipment, and fertilizer need to be provided. • Implementation of the national shrimp policy: although the Na-

tional Shrimp Policy 2014 adopts a top-down technical approach with substantial drawbacks and it puts little emphasis on enhancing community capacity to build resilience from within to weather shocks and climate change in the shrimp culture zone, full-fledged implementation of the Policy could support shrimp farming in a number of ways. • Integrated coastal management: the adaptation approach in the coastal saline zone should be embedded in an integrated coastal management framework that seeks out win–win situations. In order to avoid land-use conflicts between different sectors, including agriculture, aquaculture, FEBRUARY - MARCH 2021

Shrimp farming communities in coastal Bangladesh have their own adaptive and resilience mechanisms through which they fight against and cope with environmental and climate hazards in order to have a sustainable shrimp industry.

and forestry, and to enhance the ability of the coastal communities to respond to the impacts of environmental and climate stressors, the land zoning scheme proposed by the Ministry of Land in 2011 should be implemented. • Avoidance of maladaptation: in addressing large-scale coastal problems like salinity intrusion, cyclones, and storm surges in order to support shrimp and non-shrimp livelihoods, planned interventions from the Bangladesh Government is required However, policy makers, local-level implanting authorities, and members of society should be attentive about maladaptation, in which adaptation FEBRUARY - MARCH 2021

programs benefit one group or sector of the society at the expense of increasing the risk to another group or sector (see, Barnett and O’Neill). • Public funding in research and monitoring: A significant increase in public funding in research and monitoring the changing trends in climate in the country and in the region is required. • Increased positive role of NGOs: environmental NGOs should keep the local ecosystems context in mind and advocate for pro-shrimp campaigns in the brackish-water zone. • International collaboration in controlling global warming: in order to make Bangladesh less vulner-

able to anthropogenic climate crisis, the Bangladesh Government should take more initiatives for effective collaboration with countries with similar interests for jointly dealing with the climate change impacts and implement adaptation strategies. • International negotiations for binding emissions targets: the Bangladesh Government should support strong, binding GHG emissions reduction targets for developed countries so that the Bangladeshi people face a lesser amount of climate vulnerability. • Ensuring fair share for climate change adaptation for Bangladesh: since the current regime of anthropogenic climate change is mostly caused by the developed nations, the Bangladesh Government should strongly claim fair share of climate change adaptation costs from the emitters. In international negotiations Bangladesh can advocate for a ‘polluters pay principle’.

*This is a summarized version developed by the editorial staff of Aquaculture Magazine from the original article “Resilience to Climate Change in Industrial Shrimping in Bangladesh: Assessing the Comparative Role of the Stakeholders” by Shaikh Mohammad Kais and Md Saidul Islam that was published on December 2020 through the Sustianability Journal of MDPI under a license of Creative Commons 4.0 attribution and use. The original version can be found at: Authors’ correspondence emails:, All references and sources used by the authors in the development of this paper are available under previous request to our editorial department.

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Latin America Report: Recent News and Events By: Aquaculture Magazine Staff *

Earth Ocean Farms, located in La Paz, Mexico, receives the BAP certification Earth Ocean Farms is pleased to announce that they have achieved the comprehensive BAP Processing Plant standard for their modern plant in La Paz Mexico. This internationally recognized standard covers the full scope of seafood processing including food safety and quality for the plant which processes Totoaba and Pacific Red Snapper carefully grown in offshore submersible sea pens off the coast of Baja Sur in Mexico in a pristine natural environment. “We were really excited to work with the entire team at Earth Ocean Farms to get them into the BAP program, but that was just the starting point. Now we look forward to continuing to work with them to promote their commitment to responsible aquaculture to buyers and consumers in Mexico and North America,” said Bill Hoenig, Manager of Latin American Market Development with the Global Aquaculture Alliance. “This achievement provides an important step forward for all of our team”, says Pablo Konietzko, Director General of Earth Ocean Farms. “It is also an important signal for our many customers that we take seriously our responsibility to provide the freshest, highest quality fish backed by this quality assurance standard.” Earth Ocean Farms is a fully integrated company starting from their hatchery to the open ocean farm and their processing facility. They rear their own hatchery fingerlings from carefully selected broodstock. Once the fingerlings have reached the optimal size they are stocked at their well-situated farm in the open ocean where the deep 66 »


crystalline waters of the Sea of Cortez provide the ideal conditions for fish growth. “To provide the best and healthiest fish to feed current and future generations we care about the entire process monitoring the right temperature, light, and filtrated recirculated water where we raise our juvenile fish. The custom diet matters as it reflects our experience when it comes to superior taste and quality”. states Pablo Konietzko. As the world population grows, the demand for fish grows also. Wild capture fishing cannot meet the demand which is why aquaculture has become the fastest-growing food production system in the world. More than half of the fish consumed globally comes from aquaculture according to the FAO. As part of the Global Aquaculture Alliance, BAP ensures aquaculture is done responsibly through its thirdparty certification program. The full scope of the BAP Seafood Processing Standard includes: • Food Safety, • Social Responsibility • Environmental Management • Animal Welfare Requirements (Section 8) • Traceability Requirements • Effluent Management • Traceability • Third-Party Laboratory Sampling and Testing • Water Quality. For more information on Earth Ocean Farms, please visit: FEBRUARY - MARCH 2021

Brazilian soy suppliers answer the global call for change BioMar applauds Brazilian soy producers Caramuru, Selecta and Imcopas’ swift move to ensure a complete deforestation-free and conversionfree supply chain with 2020 as their cut-off date. While BioMar has long ensured that soy from deforested areas has not entered their supply chain, this announcement shows that through collaboration the aquaculture industry can lead sustainable change. “We see this voluntary sector-wide commitment as a benchmark to inspire other global animal protein sectors, as well as other markets linked to the soy supply chain. We celebrate together this relevant private sector led process for the protection of the

unique Brazilian Cerrado,” said Maurício Voivodic, Executive Director WWF Brazil. No soy grown on land deforested after this deadline will be traded. This bold and historic move sets a new benchmark for global sustainable supply chains and is in stark contrast to larger Brazilian soy traders, who continue to trade deforestation soy. As a result, most of the global farmed salmon industry, including the entire European salmon sector, will source soy from Brazilian suppliers whose soybean value chains are 100% deforestation and conversion free. “Today’s announcement is a testament to over a decade of collaboration and shows the result of establishing long-term commitments with Brazilian soy farmers. It also demonstrates the strength of the BioMar supplier approval program (SAAT) and how working together to find solutions can result i systemic change. We hope all supply chains will be inspired to move in this direction of transparency to ensure an open and traceable aquaculture industry”, stated Morten Holdorff Møjbæk, Global Sourcing Director, BioMar Group. This marks the first time an animal protein industry has set such a voluntary and sector wide benchmark. The participants and stakeholders involved in this initiative hope to inspire other global animal protein industries, such as beef, pork and poultry to follow suit.

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“The Brazilian soy suppliers and the Norwegian salmon industry show true leadership and sets the new bar for sustainable supply chains. This historic commitment by their Brazilian soy suppliers will be a game changer for the sustainability standard for global supply chains. Global pork, poultry and beef producers are lagging behind, by still allowing deforestation in their supply chain. To stop being complicit in deforestation, the meat industry must follow suit and require their suppliers to become fully deforestation-free”, Ida Breckan Claudi, Rainforest Foundation Norway, Senior Adviser. This is the very first time Brazilian soy suppliers make such a commitment. The decision is hailed by global environmental organizations, international retailers, salmon farmers, feed companies, salmon processers and investors, who are deeply concerned about the increasing deforestation and conversion rates in Brazil. “This is another good example of our industries ability to drive sustainable change above and beyond legislation for the good of the planet. Soy used in aquaculture feeds represents less than 0.5% of the total soy production. We hope this will inspire change beyond aquaculture to soy sourced in other animal feeds and for human consumption. At BioMar we believe our long-term commitment to working with Brazilian soy farmers was necessary to achieve our target of 100% certified soy by 2020 and we are on track to achieving this by the end of the year”, said Vidar Gundersen, Sustainability Director, BioMar Group.

Upcoming virtual event: LACQUA 20 online Latin American and Caribbean Aquaculture 2020 (LACQUA2020) organized by the Latin American and Caribbean Chapter of the World Aquaculture Society will be organized 68 »

online on March 23, 24, 25, 2021 – 2020 was a year that brought us new challenges and one of the biggest was that of events and congresses. We hope to see you again very soon and share information and knowledge as we have done for several years. We want to invite you all to participate in this event that will feature talks by great speakers with relevant and interesting presentations. The LACQUA20 Webinar will have one session in the morning and one in the afternoon, as well as a question and answer session with the experts. The sessions will revolve around topics such as economics and markets, health management and species such as shrimp, tilapia, mollusks and native species. All presentations and recorder Panel discussions will be online for 30 more days after the event. USSEC (US Soybean Export Council) is supporting this webinar as a session sponsor. For more sponsorship information please contact Mario Stael at To register for the LACQUA20 Webinar you must go to the page code/LACQUA20 and click on the pink button on the top right. This seminar is free for WAS members who are current on their subscription. For people who are not members, they can pay for their registration and they will get an INDIVIDUAL E-ACCESS (subscription) for $ US 45. All other LACQUA20 abstracts and posters will be postponed until World Aquaculture 2021, in Merida, Mexico, later that year. Abstracts are still open for the #AquacultureNow World Aquaculture 2021 event that will take place in the city of Mérida Mexico from November 15 to 19, 2021. Visit and click on the logo of the event. We hope to meet all of us at this virtual event in March that will be a prelude to WA2021.To all our faithful attendees, we can only thank all these years that have accompanied us. We will meet again soon! More information about LACQUA20 at or visit the website of the Latin America and Caribbean Chapter here: https://www. FEBRUARY - MARCH 2021


News update Special session at Aquaculture America 2021 AwF will be running a Special Session ‘Aquaculture Development, Welfare and Poverty Alleviation’ at AQUACULTURE AMERICA 2021 in San Antonio, Texas 11-14 August 2021. AwF Directors and Session CoChairs, Marty Riche and Angela Caporelli, welcome your participation and request that you submit your abstracts for this event. The Abstracts Deadline is 2nd April 2021. There are Oral and Poster opportunities. Poster sessions will be an integral part of the conference program. All abstracts must be in English - the official language of the conference. If you have any ideas or questions, please contact Marty through email Submit your Abstract to https:// Submit/AA2021 and cc Marty with your abstract so he can plan accordingly. Additionally, if you have presentations to make on Aquaculture Development, Welfare and Poverty Alleviation matters and cannot attend in person we will consider organizing a video online presentation to ensure that important issues and ideas can be shared. If interested, then please email comms.awf@gmail with ADWPA in heading with details of your idea/research/information/concept.

AQUACULTURE AMERICA 2021 returns to San Antonio following the successful event held in 2017. The U.S. Aquaculture Society (formerly U.S. Chapter of WAS) joins with National Aquaculture Association and the Aquaculture Suppliers Association to produce the annual Aquaculture America meetings. These sponsors are joined by the annual meetings of Aquacultural Engineering Society, US Trout Farmers Association and many more associations. Some 200 booths are expected at the Exhibition creating your opportunity to inspect the latest in products and services for the aquaculture industry. It is the place to visit current suppliers and make new contacts. The Conference will be held at San Antonio Marriott Rivercenter, 101 Bowie Street, San Antonio, TX 78205-3901, USA – special room rates have been allocated by WAS. See website ( for all the latest information. AwF are grateful to WAS in enabling this session opportunity and to Marty and Angela in making it happen. Your support is greatly appreciated.

AwF and WAS Aquaculture without Frontiers (AwF) has had affiliation with World Aquaculture Society (WAS) going back to 2004 so whilst there is nothing new in this new signed agreement except

that over the year’s personnel have changed and a new recommitment was the order of the day. Historically AwF was created through many WAS members involvement so it makes sense to all to recommit working together.

AwF and PwC Thanks to Ass Prof Dinesh Kaippilly, Aquaculture Without Frontiers (AwF) has formed an alliance with PwC. PwC are a powerful organization whose purpose is to build trust in society and solve important problems. They have a network of firms in 157 countries with over 276,000 people who are committed to delivering quality in advisory, assurance and tax services. Already we have projects in the pipeline in both S E Asia and South Pacific and are looking forward to building the relationship into the future. PwC have good experience of conducting value chain studies and investment opportunity identification and have a strong reputation in leading many projects and programs at a high level. AwF have volunteer personnel covering all aspects of seafood (fishing, aquaculture, and post-harvest) so the alliance is well placed to engage in relevant projects. Further information available at:


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Chinese Tales: The suspensions

on shrimp exports from Ecuador and other stories By: Salvador Meza *

The unilateral measures taken by the Chinese health authorities have aroused suspicion on the part of exporting countries of the veracity of the virus detection tests in packaged products that arrive at Chinese ports’ customs. A situation with prolonged restrictions on trade by the Chinese government could result in lower volumes and prices for food suppliers in Latin America, including shrimp producers in Ecuador.

Marco Polo When Marco Polo returned from his trip through South Asia and North Asia, in the 13th and 14th centuries, where he visited countries that are today: Armenia, Iraq, China, Mongolia, and Afghanistan, among others, he told his stories about the things he had discovered. He described the new animals he had seen, the differences between people in the countries he visited, the strange flowers he had met, and he wrote a travel journal in which he tried to keep in writing everything he had discovered. Marco Polo’s stories became popular in Europe when Marco Polo’s book was translated into various languages in the 16th century. However, the book told such strange and fantastic things that they were tough to believe. Many people thought it was a storybook, a book with made-up stories. Nobody could believe that such strange places, such odd animals, or that such different people could exist. The expression “Chinese tales” began to be used since most of Marco Polo’s stories in the book belonged to his trip to China. The Chinese tales China’s suspicions of COVID-19 contamination in food imports show no signs of abating, with the latest coronavirus case related to Brazilian beef and the suspension of shrimp imports from Ecuador after allegedly finding traces positives of the virus in the packages are a sample of it. As long as the coronavirus pandemic situation remains a threat to producing countries’ public health, the Chinese government is likely to maintain stricter testing requirements on its food imports. Health authorities in this country even reported finding traces of the virus on beef imported from New Zealand, a country that had eliminated the virus’s mainly local transmission. The unilateral measures taken by the Chinese health authorities have aroused suspicion on the part of exporting countries of the veracity of

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The political and economic weight that China has managed to have during the last decade in several of the economies of these exporting countries also influences decisions to block food exports, which in many cases are vital to their economy of the agro-industrial and aquaculture sector, and that can lead them to adopt a condescending situation in the face of Chinese demands on economic matters.

the virus detection tests in packaged products that arrive at Chinese ports’ customs. These measures have put tested the possibility of verifying that the contamination comes from the country of origin or if it occurred during the journey or even when inspecting the samples at the Chinese customs facilities.

However, it is not known why the Chinese authorities do not clearly show the evidence by which they have identified these contaminations with COVID-19, despite the manifest skepticism and the demand for scientific evidence from the international community.

Other stories According to studies by the National The suspensions on shrimp ex- Council for Scientific and Technical Research of Argentina, the probabilports from Ecuador A situation with prolonged restric- ity that a person will get sick through tions on trade by the Chinese govern- a virus found in imported food or its ment could result in lower volumes packaging is one in a billion, and the and prices for food suppliers in Latin proof of this is that no other major America, including shrimp producers importer has reported results similar in Ecuador and the countries with less to those of China. transmission of the coronavirus those which could interest Chinese geopolitics maybe could increase exports. The scientific evidence behind the detection of shrimp containers from Ecuador or beef from Brazil contaminated with COVID-19 by Chinese health authorities has been widely questioned by experts and foreign governments, with some suggesting that the accusations are part of a broader campaign to hide the origins of Covid-19. The chief epidemiologist of the Chinese Center for Control and Disease Prevention Wu Zunyou recently said that rather than have originated in Wuhan, the coronavirus might have entered China through imported packaging of seafood or meat. FEBRUARY - MARCH 2021

And the last story The geopolitical war between China and the United States can also have a framework of action in these suspensions, especially when we see how the blockades arrive when these countries lean towards North America and how everything flows when they turn towards the Orient. Marco Polo could be telling these new stories to a mouths open audience, comfortably sitting in his studio on the banks of the Batario River in Venice, and transmitting his conference through the framework of “The Davoz Agenda”, organized by the World Economic Forum, which was just held in January 2021, in its virtual version due to the coronavirus pandemic. Salvador Meza is Editor & Publisher of Aquaculture Magazine, and of the Spanish language industry magazine Panorama Acuicola.

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Bringing experts together from around the globe to expand sustainable land-based US production of Atlantic salmon By: Catherine Frederick and Yonathan Zohar *

In the United States, there is an annual consumption of 493,000 tons of Atlantic salmon. Conservative estimates indicate that over $2 billion of investment is currently committed or planned to develop and construct land-based Atlantic salmon operations in the US. It is clear that there is an urgent need, and an opportunity to promote domestic salmon aquaculture in the country. In response, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Sea Grant (NOAA-NSG) recently funded the Recirculating Aquaculture Salmon Network (RAS-N), a coordinated, national public-private-federal consortium of experts established to help build capacity for this booming industry.

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mericans LOVE salmon. In the United States, we consume 493,000 tons of Atlantic salmon annually. A record 96% of that consumption, 470,000 tons of Atlantic salmon, is imported annually into the US to meet our demands (US-DOC, 2018). These imports account for 20%, or $3.4 billion, of the national seafood trade deficit ($16.8 billion). It is clear that there is an urgent need, and an opportunity to reverse these statistics by promoting domestic salmon aquaculture development in the United States. Indeed, during the last five years, the US has witnessed a major surge of investments in land-based, domestically grown Atlantic salmon, using recirculating aquaculture systems (RAS) platforms. Conservative estimates indicate that over $2 billion of investment is currently committed or planned to develop and construct land-based Atlantic salmon operations in the US. Participating states include Florida, Maine, Wisconsin, Maryland, Washington, California, Indiana, Nevada, Texas, and Virginia. Hence, we are certainly experiencing an emergence of land-based Atlantic salmon aquaculture on a national level. Production outputs range from a few hundred tons in the initial stages followed by staggering increases of up to tens of thousands of tons. A few operations have already begun harvesting and selling fish. Driven by these trends, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Sea Grant (NOAA-NSG) funded the RecircuFEBRUARY - MARCH 2021

Conservative estimates indicate that over $2 billion of investment is currently committed or planned to develop and construct land-based Atlantic salmon operations in the US.

Figure 1. A demonstration of RAS-N’s collaborative nature: Atlantic salmon from the National Coldwater Marine Aquaculture Center (USDA-ARS) were transported to the Institute of Marine and Environmental Technology (IMET) for a collaborative study with a RAS-N industrial collaborator, AquaCon.

lating Aquaculture Salmon Network (RAS-N), a coordinated, national public-private-federal consortium of experts established to help build capacity for this booming industry. RAS-N is engaged in analyzing RAS technology’s status, addressing barriers to its development, and providing a clear national plan to ensure success. This effort’s overarching mission is to facilitate the growth of environmentally sustainable and economically feasible Atlantic salmon production in the US. This mission will move the US forward in providing food security and reducing the current trade deficit associated with salmon imports. A critical aspect of RAS-N is that activities and deliverables are stakeholder-driven. The network’s guiding principle is to intently listen to the industry regarding their gaps, impediments, and needs. Together, we brainstorm, formulate solutions, and develop strategies to address challenges in research, technology, economics, education, outreach, workforce development, and extension. FEBRUARY - MARCH 2021

The program’s final deliverable will be a national strategic plan (i.e., a Road Map) that will include an extensive analysis of the industry’s status, including projected growth, research needs and priorities, mechanisms to promote public-private partnerships, technology transfer, and community engagement. The Road Map’s goal is to help policymakers, federal and state agencies, and industry identify and responsibly allocate resources to promote this industry’s success. RAS-N has many partners, including the Maryland (Lead), Maine, and Wisconsin Sea Grant Programs. The network’s Lead PI is Dr. Yonathan Zohar, who has decades of experience conducting basic and applied research on Atlantic salmon and working with the Atlantic salmon industry nationally and globally. His roots with the Atlantic salmon industry began in Maine, where he worked closely with several of the early Atlantic salmon producers. He has witnessed the industry evolve through the years and opines: “Rapidly expanding the US Atlantic salm-

on aquaculture industry will only be possible through land-based RAS production, having near-zero interactions with the marine and coastal environment. This aquaculture platform is now ready for prime time.” Regarding the Sea Grant-funded project, the Director of Maryland Sea Grant, Dr. Fredrika Moser, states that “RAS-N is an exciting opportunity to take a nationwide look at how we might advance land-based, sustainable finfish aquaculture production for Atlantic salmon.” RAS-N recently launched a dedicated website to help share its mission, vision, and goals, in addition to current resources and information for industry, the public, students, investors and other interested parties. The website is a strong deliverable made possible by RAS-N’s project management team and web development team (led by Wisconsin Sea Grant), as well as input from an internal steering committee and the Sea Grant Leadership from Maine, Maryland and Wisconsin. Readers can visit the site at » 73


RAS-N recently launched a dedicated website to help share its mission, vision, and goals, in addition to current resources and information for industry, the public, students, investors and other interested parties.

Figure 2. RAS-N went virtual during the Covid-19 pandemic for the 2nd annual workshop, hosted by IMET in Baltimore and attended by 115 participants.

RAS-N also hosts an annual workshop that brings in national and global experts in RAS technologies and Atlantic salmon. The workshops are a tool for engagement with stakeholders to gain their input and guidance on matters of interest. Information gathered, which is posted on the RAS-N website, is being used to create a fluid White Paper and to inform the previously mentioned Road Map. The 1st annual workshop, hosted by the University of Wisconsin Stevens Point’s Northern Aquaculture Demonstration Facility (UWSPNADF, Bayfield, WI) in December 2019 and coordinated by Greg Fischer and Emma Wiermaa, successfully set the stage for RAS-N activities in 2020. The 2nd annual workshop was recently hosted by the University of Maryland’s Institute of Marine and Environmental Technology (IMET) in Baltimore, Maryland, on the 8th and 9th of October 2020. Travel restrictions and safety concerns surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic mandated a change from the 3-day in-person format of the 1st annual workshop (in Wisconsin) to a 2-day 74 »

virtual workshop. The event was coordinated by RAS-N’s Lead PI, Dr. Yonathan Zohar of IMET and the University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC), Project Coordinator John Stubblefield of IMET and UMBC, and RAS-N Extension Agent Dr. Catherine (Cat) Frederick of University of Maryland’s Sea Grant Extension Program and IMET. A total of 115 people from a range of backgrounds attended the conference, including participants from industry (51%), academia (21%), and federal organizations (13%). Other notable attendees included Sea Grant representatives, non-profit organizations, and state organizations. Both days of the workshop began with a plenary speaker, each of whom shared their perspectives, insight, and knowledge on a topic of interest to the US industry. The first plenary speaker was Dr. Carole Engle, an expert in the economics of aquaculture businesses and owner of Engle-Stone Aquatic$. She provided her thoughts on RAS economics, stating that “The challenge today is, of course, how to make them [RAS operations] eco-

nomically viable.” Following her talk, a group of panelists answered questions related to the economic needs and status of the industry. Panelists included Chris Hlubb (Salmo, MD), Kevin Tait (Whole Oceans, ME), David Noyes (Nordic Aquafarms, ME), Ole C. Norvik (AquaCon, MD), and plenary speaker Carole Engle (VA). Dr. Alejandro Rojas, COO of AquaBounty Technologies, was the plenary speaker on Day 2. He emphasized the need for workforce development in land-based salmon aquaculture, stating “Industry is thinking of producing 400,000 tons in the next five years. Going from zero [no production] to 400,000 tons. The question is: where are we going to find the people to sustain so many systems?” Another group of panelists answered more questions aimed at defining qualities and skills needed by the industry’s future workforce. Panelists included Michael Thompson (Whole Oceans, ME), Sarah Cook (Skretting, New Brunswick, Canada), Greg Fischer (UWSP-NADF, WI), Mary S. Tudor (University of Maine, ME), and plenary speaker Alejandro Rojas (IN). FEBRUARY - MARCH 2021

Attendees also heard from Danielle Blacklock, Director of NOAA’s Office of Aquaculture, Dr. Fredrika Moser, Director of Maryland Sea Grant, Dr. Bill Hubbard, Extension Leader of University of Maryland Sea Grant Extension Programs, Dr.

Gayle Zydlewski, Director of Maine Sea Grant and Dr. Jim Hurley, Director of Wisconsin Sea Grant, each of whom provided their perspective on RAS-N and the workshop sessions. Danielle Blacklock commented that “These efforts are providing a valu-

Figure 3. The Conservation Fund’s Freshwater Institute provided a virtual tour of their RAS facilities, highlighting ongoing projects. FEBRUARY - MARCH 2021

able mechanism to build capacity and foster collaboration in support of this exciting sector of US aquaculture. The NOAA Aquaculture Program looks forward to further supporting the RAS-N efforts and the continued development of sustainable landbased aquaculture production.” The workshop wasn’t all business and no play. IMET and the Conservation Fund’s Freshwater Institute (West Virginia) creatively ‘transported’ attendees to the MD-WV region for a virtual tour of their respective facilities. Both institutes showcased unique qualities of their facilities and ongoing research/projects. These tours and other content from the workshop will be accessible through the RAS-N website (https://ras-n. org/). RAS-N is the first of its kind public-private collaborative network and a hub of multidisciplinary expertise in land-based aquaculture and salmon technologies. Through strong industry and stakeholder support, RAS-N will continue to facilitate the growth of environmentally sustainable and economically feasible Atlantic salmon production in the US.

*Catherine Fredericka and Yonathan Zoharb a Dr. Catherine Frederick is a RAS-N Extension Agent, affiliated through the Institute of Marine and Environmental Technology at the University of Maryland, Sea Grant College Extension Program. Correspondence email: cfrederi@umd.eduInstitute b Institute of Marine and Environmental Technology, Department of Marine Biotechnology, University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC). Further information available at:

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Putting the pressure on the supermarkets By: The fishmonger *

The Fishmonger often wonders why NGO’s have not focused their efforts on products and services that supermarkets are engaged in, like guns, alcohol, tobacco, and gambling – known as “sin stocks”. Let us face it even soft drinks are bad for your health yet seem to come under so little scrutiny compared to seafood. How can a product like seafood which brings so many health benefits to those that consume it be treated so poorly by the supermarkets? Ask the question, demand improvement!

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The evidence is now unambiguous. Including fish/seafood each week in your diet is an excellent advantage to health and longevity”. This should be the main marketing/selling aspect for the seafood industry. It is plain and simple and it’s global. Yet this basic message has been made so much more complicated. The Fishmonger believes the lack of a global seafood organisation has left a gap for enemies of seafood to attack along all lines and weak links are easily exposed. Many Non-Governmental Organisations (NGO’s) have led the charge against seafood, with several of them spreading misinformation in their campaigns out of self-interest and to obtain important funds. Comparatively speaking there is more funding made available to anti-seafood sentiments compared with promotions of the benefits. No one knows how many people are employed and how much money has been sucked out of the global


Supermarkets promote some

certifications over others and there is seemingly no one size that fits all thus leaving the industry having to follow a myriad of processes and audits.

system by NGO’s in this regard and it has become a heavy anchor for the industry to compete against. One of the major long-term NGO’s has on its website “As consumers, our choices matter—especially for the health of our oceans and the workers who bring seafood to our plates.” With such an opening sentence one could be fooled into thinking they really care about our industry, but they continue “The U.S. is one of the world’s largest consumers of seafood, and the largest market for canned tuna. This means our supermarkets—where we buy about half of our seafood—are one of the strongest connections to our oceans.” From that point onwards they spread their propaganda. There can be no doubts whatsoever that such organisations have pressurised Supermarket chains widely to impose certification systems onto the industry. Whilst there are pros and cons for the certification it is costly and very few, if any, of the firms involved promote the benefits to the consumers. SME operators struggle in this process and are at a major disadvantage. Additionally, there is a lack of information to the industry on the costs/benefits of the schemes. So why there is a call for transparency on the industry the certification orFEBRUARY - MARCH 2021

ganisations and supermarkets avoid that process. As this column has pointed out previously a certification industry has been created as another cost centre. Supermarkets promote some certifications over others and there is seemingly no one size that fits all thus leaving the industry having to follow a myriad of processes and audits. In trying to get a clearer picture we need to look at the evolution of the supermarket. The emphasis of original supermarkets was on volume, merchandise was sold out of packing cartons and little attention was paid to décor. Supermarkets were initially a phenomenon of independents and small, regional chains. Eventually, the large chains caught on, and they refined the concept, adding a level of sophistication that had been lacking from the Spartan stores of the early 1930s. Many began consolidating their thousands of small service stores into larger supermarkets, often replacing as many as five or six stores with one large, new one. Similar transformations occurred among all the “majors”; in fact, most national chains of the time saw their store counts peak around 1935 and then decline sharply through consolidation. Most chains operated both supermarkets

and some old-style stores simultaneously for the next decade or so, either under the same name (like Safeway, A&P, and Kroger), or under different banners (such as the Big Star stores operated by the David Pender Grocery Company). The market segmentation we see today in Supermarkets grew out of the discounting movement which intensified in the 1980s. The middle range began to disappear, albeit slowly, as mainline stores went more “upscale” and low-end stores moved more toward a warehouse model, evocative of the early supermarkets of the 1930s. Many chains operated at both ends of the spectrum, often under different names (Edwards and Finast was an example, as were the many A&P brands, from Futurestore to Sav-a-Center to Food Basics). In Canada, Loblaws pioneered with its No Frills franchises, often housed in former Loblaws locations, and the Oshawa Group opened Price Chopper warehouse stores in many of the Safeway locations it had purchased. Others eliminated one end of the market completely, like Harris Teeter in North Carolina, which abandoned discounting entirely. The re-emergence of superstores, featuring general merchandise and groceries under one roof accelerated » 77


How can a product like seafood

which brings so many health benefits to those that consume it be treated so poorly by the supermarkets?

this trend. Only a few survived, Fred Meyer in Oregon being a noteworthy example, and “one stop shopping” seemed a relatively new and fresh idea when Kmart and Walmart tried it again, with considerably more success, starting around 1990. The other big trend during this time was toward mergers and leveraged buyouts. This affected almost all the major chains. A&P was sold to German interests. Safeway took itself private in 1987 to avoid a hostile takeover and lost half its geographical reach in the process. Kroger slimmed down somewhat in 1988 for the same reasons, while Lucky was acquired by American Stores the same year. Another round of mergers in the 1990s placed American Stores in the hands of Albertsons, reunited Safeway with much of its former territory, and greatly increased the west coast presence of Kroger, making these three chains the dominant players in the industry, along with Walmart. New groups were formed that saw points of differences that they perceived consumers wanted in a supermarket. One such example of this is Whole Foods Market, Inc., an American multinational supermarket chain headquartered in Austin, Texas, which sells products free from hydrogenated fats and artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives. A USDA Certified Organic grocer the chain is 78 »

popularly known for its organic selections. Whole Foods has over 500 stores in North America and a small number in the United Kingdom and in August 2017, was acquired by Amazon. You can see where this is heading! Supermarkets listen to NGO’s then they preach the sermon to the seafood industry that highlights that certification is essential and this funnels back to funding more NGO people and processes. It is a bad cycle which the industry has found itself. The Fishmonger often wonders why NGO’s have not focused their efforts on products and services that supermarkets are engaged in, like guns, alcohol, tobacco, and gambling – known as “sin stocks”. Let us face it even soft drinks are bad for your health yet seem to come under so little scrutiny compared to seafood. On gambling, Woolworths, one of Australia’s largest supermarket chains, is the biggest operator of pokies in the country. They control over ten thousand machines through its majority stake in the Australian Lei-

sure and Hospitality Group, (ALH) a large company that encompasses bars, restaurants and wagering. It has been reported that the Australian Federal MP Andrew Wilkie published multiple interviews with whistle-blowers and they alleged that staff in pubs owned by Woolworths were secretly recording and sharing detailed personal information - such as gambling habits or even favourite football teams - about high-turnover gamblers to encourage them to stay in the venues longer and increase their losses. The data being shared among all 400 pubs in Woolworths’ network across the country in a bid to increase the chain’s poker machine revenue. The staff members were rewarded with gift vouchers when betting targets are reached or broken, and notes were taken by staff to record what actions they took to encourage gamblers to stay on site.

Has such behaviour impacted their bottom line you ask? Well, just recently they have reported their half-year results and they re-


ported strong sales growth across all the group’s businesses. Overall sales increased 10.6 per cent to $35.8 billion. Australian Food saw total first half sales growth of 10.6 per cent, moderated gradually over the half with Q2 sales growth of 8.3 per cent. Earnings before interest and taxes (EBITS) grew by 13 per cent despite incremental COVID costs of $168 million in the half. Metro Food Stores continued to be materially impacted by reduced foot traffic in city and transit locations, with sales declining by 6.7 per cent to $456 million. In supermarkets, sales (excluding ecommerce) increased by 7.2 per cent, with customers continuing to shop less frequently with larger baskets. During the half, 13 new stores were opened including eight supermarkets and five Metro Food Stores, with 35 renewals completed. At the end of the quarter, there were 994 supermarkets and 70 Metro Food Stores, with a total fleet of 1,064 stores. Woolworths, on their website, indicate why sustainable seafood is important to them and state, “The importance of seafood on a global scale from an economic, social and environmental perspective is clear. Fisheries and aquaculture contribute $US100 billion per year and about 260 million jobs to the global economy. Seafood is one of the most imFEBRUARY - MARCH 2021

portant sources of animal protein globally, accounting for about 17% of protein at the global level and exceeding It is not that long ago that Walmart were in the news about selling guns and ammunition. They decided to take those products off the shelf in response to concerns about “isolated civil unrest”, then quickly reversed the decision. It was reported that the country’s largest retailer had asked all its stores to move firearms and ammunition and to secure them in a backroom area of the store out of “an abundance of caution”. Then when the change was made a Walmart spokesperson told NBC News in an email “as the current incidents have remained geographically isolated, we have made the decision to begin returning these products to the sales floor today.” The Fishmonger noted a research project recently reported - Do ‘environmental bads’ such as alcohol, fast food, tobacco, and gambling outlets cluster and co-locate in more deprived areas in Glasgow City, Scotland? This study examined the socio-spatial patterning of outlets selling potentially health-damaging goods/services, such as alcohol, fast food, tobacco, and gambling, within Glasgow City, Scotland. For all categories of outlets combined, numbers of clusters increased linearly from the least to the most income deprived

areas. Co-location of individual types of outlets (alcohol, fast food, tobacco, and gambling) within similar geographical areas was also evident. The aim of the research is to influence interventions to tackle the cooccurrence of unhealthy behaviours and contribute to policies tackling higher numbers of ‘environmental bads’ within deprived areas. They concluded that a greater number of clusters of ‘environmental bad’ outlets (alcohol, fast food, tobacco, and gambling outlets combined) were located within more deprived areas. Additionally, when analysed individually alcohol outlets, tobacco outlets, fast food outlets and gambling outlets were clustered within deprived areas. Furthermore, they found a greater number of overlapping clusters in more deprived neighbourhoods showing evidence of colocation. Supermarkets, despite the spin they create, are not necessarily the best judges. The Fishmonger recalls a position in Mexico when the largest supermarket chain was not keen to engage on seafood promotion and then they found that customers responded to the general promotion activities and their seafood sales soared (despite them!). This resulted in them changing their seafood counters to meet demand and engaging in the promotion process. How can a product like seafood which brings so many health benefits to those that consume it be treated so poorly by the supermarkets? Ask the question, demand improvement! Please remember this and promote it widely: “The evidence is now unambiguous. Including fish/seafood each week in your diet is an excellent advantage to health and longevity”.

References and sources consulted by the author on the elaboration of this article are available under previous request to our editorial staff.

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Recent news from around the globe by By Suzi Dominy*

Have alternative proteins and oils begun to cross the chasm? In his iconic book, “Crossing the Chasm”, Geoffrey Moore identifies the stages of product acceptance as: innovators; early adopters; early majority; late majority and laggards. The model holds true in most sectors, including aquafeed. It looked for a while as though alternative proteins and oils for aquafeeds were pretty much stuck in the innovators stage, as developers struggled to scale up to commercial volumes, while the feed industry was, by and large, hesitant to take a risk on an unknown product.

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As we enter 2021, however, there are signs that there are more early adopters – and if the first F3 (Fish-Free Feed) webinar on insects in aquafeeds that was held in February is anything to go by, there is certainly no lack of interest. More than 21,000 people joined the live stream in China and from the Chinese website, FishFirst. Beyhan de Jong, senior analyst – Animal Protein at Rabobank, confirmed this assessment, saying in a recent report the insect industry is on a path to increase scale, backed by investments and partnerships. Efficiency gains due to increasing tech-

nology, automation, improvements in genetics and legislative changes will help bring down costs. “We believe 500,000 metric tons by 2030 will represent a turning point for the insect industry. After reaching half a million metric tons, it will get easier for the industry to expand supply,” said De Jong. From that point on, it will take much less time to double or even quadruple production volume and exceed one million metric tons. The pace of acceleration would depend on R&D, legislation changes, capital inflow to the sector and marketing. As de Jong stated, partnerships between protein and oil developers, investors, researchers and feed companies have proved key in the jump from innovators to early adopters, as readers of this column will know. Now one of the largest agrifood conglomerates, Charoen Pokphand Foods PCL (CP Foods) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Chiang Mai University to develop insect-based protein from black soldier fly (Hermetia illucens). Under this MoU, CP Foods will fund the project and jointly develop the first smart farm for black soldier fly in Thailand.



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Recent promising product developments include a project, in which BioMar Hellenic is participating, involving a mix of the microalgae species Schizochytrium sp. and Nannochloropsis sp. to fully replace fish oils in seabream feed. A trial on a diet with complete replacement of fish oil with the microalgae mix conducted over 84 days showed that the microalgae mixture can successfully replace fish oil in feed, slightly improving the specific growth rate (SGR) and the feed conversion rate (FCR) in seabream. At the same time, the EPA and DHA content in fillets from seabream fed exclusively on lipids from microalgae was similar to that of fish fed exclusively on fish oil. Cost is a major factor in the viability of alternative protein and oil development, with soybean meal held up as the benchmark price point. Although soybean prices as of January were running at levels not seen June 2014, with the potential to rise even further if demand strengthens as customers return to normal dining habits put on hold during the pandemic. With cost in mind, a team of U.S. researchers has been studying cot-

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tonseed meal as a fishmeal replacement in shrimp diets. Cotton is considerably lower in price than soybean meal and fishmeal. The researchers analyzed the extrusion processing potential of glandless cottonseed meal (GCSM) in extruded shrimp feed. Results were positive, showing GCSM to be an excellent source of essential fatty acids that might meet

the requirements for shrimp diets on linoleic and linolenic acids as well as highly unsaturated fatty acids. Overall results demonstrate that using GCSM as a fishmeal substitute in extruded shrimp feed might be a feasible alternative to reduce feeding costs while showing high protein, minerals, essential fatty acids and amino acids content.


The push to develop alternatives to fishmeal and oil, the natural and perfect protein and lipid for fish and shrimp, is due to the finite nature of the resource and the quest for improved environmental sustainability. In 2020 however, total cumulative fishmeal production (including salmon-based meal) increased by 11% and fish oil production by 12% on the previous year, in all regions bar USA and India, IFFO reports. India’s landings have however continued to rebound since the imposition of a COVID-19-related lockdown in the first part of the year, reporting yearon-year improvements in all months since then.

Aquafeed company briefs • Are feed companies looking upstream? While Skretting’s parent company, Nutreco, has invested in Norwegian land-based fish farming company, Proximar, to build a largescale, land-based RAS farm for Atlantic salmon in Japan, Cargill’s CEO, Dave MacLennan said in an interview with Bloomberg, the company also wants to further integrate into the seafood supply chain and was scouting for opportunities. Cargill, the world’s largest agricultural commodity trader, has 38 aquafeed mills in 20 countries and currently focus on three core species in 12 leading markets: salmon in Norway, Chile, Scotland and North America; tilapia in China, Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam; and shrimp in China, Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, Ecuador, India and Mexico. FEBRUARY - MARCH 2021

• Skretting and Proteon Pharmaceuticals are jointly looking at functional solutions to tackle health challenges in the aquaculture industry. The companies will co-develop products using bacteriophage technology to support farmers as part of a holistic health strategy. The companies predict that the technology will become a valuable component of integrated management strategies on-farm with both feed and water applications under investigation. • Soja de Portugal is in talks with the Russian Ministry of Agriculture to open a fish feed factory in Karelia after the coronavirus restrictions are lifted. The Minister of Agriculture of the Republic, Vladimir Labinov, announced at a government meeting on the socio-economic development of the Kondopoga region. Labinov said that the Portuguese company was about to start the project last year, but the closure of the borders due to the COVID-19 pandemic put the project on hold. According to the minister, Soja de Portugal will produce fishmeal from fish processing waste and is included in the register of feed suppliers in the Russian Federation. • Vitapro and the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) has signed a memorandum of understanding

(MoU) to work together to encourage responsible practices in the Latin American shrimp farming industry. The agreement sets out how Vitapro and ASC will collaborate to help regional producers make improvements that benefit them, their workers and the environment. Vitapro is aiming to promote the adoption of the ASC standards in all the territories where its Nicovita aquafeed brand is present.

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

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What is the biggest challenge facing shrimp farming today?

While shrimp farming has experienced an overall drop in production, it

is less than many pundits believed it would be. When all the numbers are in for 2020, total production may have dropped less than 10% with some areas actually increasing or at least staying close to levels produced in 2019. Despite the rosy picture that many are painting, shrimp farming for the most part, as it is currently practiced in large, is By: Ph.D Stephen G. Newman*

not sustainable.


OVID-19 has had a broadreaching impact on most human endeavors. Interestingly enough, it appears to have actually increased the demand for some types of seafood. More than likely, this stems from the shift from retail, i.e., the closure and limits placed on restaurants, to home-prepared meals. Many are discovering that they can prepare tasty and healthy meals with seafood. While shrimp farming has experienced an overall drop in production, it is less than many pundits believed it would be. When all the numbers are in for 2020, total production may have dropped less than 10% with some areas actually increasing or at least staying close to levels produced in 2019. Despite the rosy picture that many are painting, shrimp farming, for the most part, as it is currently practiced in large, is not sustainable. There are several reasons why I have this opinion. 1. Large-scale failure to understand what elements of biosecurity are required for sustainability. Broodstock are a major source of pathogens entering production systems. PCR is not suited for the 84 »


elimination of pathogens from populations that are not also held in a manner that ensures that no pathogens can enter the production system. Two-way properly designed and run nucleus breeding centers (NBCs) that bring in animals from the field that are not individually held (quarantined), stressed, and screened for all known, not just OIE certifiable pathogens, are not truly biosecure. NBCs that are one-way (animals leave and new animals never enter) are biosecure. 2. The branding of many animals as SPF and the confusion among farmers as to what this actually means. SPF stocks can be carrying pathogens and, in many cases, may be. As soon as an SPF stock leaves the confines of the facility that generated them and are held in nonbiosecure conditions, they are at risk.


This is unfortunately quite common in some of the largest producing nations. Unless each animal is tested individually, the risks remain. 3. Excessive reliance on PCR for screening animals on a population basis. PCR is a statistical tool that by itself cannot be used to declare that a given population is free of a specific pathogen. The best one can achieve is a 98% chance of a given pathogen not being present. This 2% has destroyed many farmers’ crops and will all too easily spread new pathogens. 4. The perpetuation of the myth that shrimp farming is an activity that anybody can engage in. Globally the vast majority of shrimp farmers are poor and do not have either the resources or the education to understand the nuances involved. They cannot afford to do things right and are readily victimized by slick salesmen selling them a plethora of solutions that are more snake oil than science. The continued production of farmed shrimp in this manner ensures that sustainability will remain elusive. 5. Continued environmental degradation. From the improper construction of ponds and the discharge of raw effluent directly into the same water sources, in many areas, used to fill the ponds in the first place. Regulating corporations directly or indirectly is much easier than trying to oversee many tens of thousands of individual farmers who, even if they knew what they were required to do, do not have the resources to ensure it.

These are why I see things the way that I do. Don’t be fooled by those who claim otherwise. Small farmers must either band together as coops where they can be forced by either or both the government and the marketplace to ensure that they are engaging in practices that will not spread disease or damage an already seriously damaged environment, or they need to be absorbed into corporate farms or frankly just shut down. The rush to produce more and more shrimp globally will bring nothing but more disease and more misery to those who break their spirits on the harsh reality that is part and parcel of today’s shrimp farming unless constructive change is brought about.

Stephen G. Newman has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Maryland in Conservation and Resource Management (ecology) and a Ph.D. from the University of Miami, in Marine Microbiology. He has over 40 years of experience working within a range of topics and approaches on aquaculture such as water quality, animal health, biosecurity with special focus on shrimp and salmonids. He founded Aquaintech in 1996 and continues to be CEO of this company to the present day. It is heavily focused on providing consulting services around the world on microbial technologies and biosecurity issues.

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