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ISSN 1868-5943

June 3 / 2014 C 44346

June 3 / 2014 Eurofish Magazine

Latvia Politics in east affect exports EUROFISH International Organisation

Morocco: Strategy to increase seafood targets the EU Omega-3s: Supplements only part of the answer Trade: How the EU-US deal could impact seafood commerce is a member of the FISH INFO network

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In this issue

Latvian sector eyes political developments in east warily Latvia: The fisheries and aquaculture sector in Latvia amounts to less than 1 of the nation’s GDP, but punches above its weight due to the employment it provides in rural areas, where other opportunities are limited, its contribution to food security, and because it is a source of healthful protein. In terms of volumes the most important species are Baltic sprats and herring that are fished in the Gulf of Riga and the Baltic Sea. These pelagic fish provide the raw material for the Latvian fish processing industry and are also exported in frozen blocks and in cans to markets in the former CIS countries, a trade that is being undermined by the political and economic problems in key markets in the area. Baltic cod, another important species, has been plagued recently by problems with the size of the fish, and its absence from traditional fishing grounds. As a result some in the sector feel that the fishery should be stopped and the fishermen compensated instead. Read more on page 27 Offshore Mariculture, a biannual conference held this year in Naples, Italy, provided participants with an overview of developments in marine aquaculture in terms of policy, technologies, species, feeds, and certification, among other topics. Farmed fish (freshwater and marine) are contributing ever more to global production, reports the FAO – in 2012 farmed food fish amounted to over 42 of total fisheries production, up from 26 in 2000. Much of this growth however comes from freshwater fish farming. While global farmed finfish production in 1980 was equally divided between freshwater and marine farming, growth in freshwater farming has since outpaced mariculture and in 2012 the contribution of freshwater farming to global farmed finfish production was 63. Mariculture is highly developed in some countries such as Norway, Turkey, Greece, and Chile, but in others the potential is still untapped. Read more on page 20 AquaFima, an EU-funded project that concluded earlier this year, was established by partners from seven countries to elucidate the potential of aquaculture in the Baltic Sea. As part of the project four case studies were carried out to analyse fisheries management in coastal waters of the Baltic Sea. The project resulted in policy recommendations such as the need for a greater role for aquaculture, restocking, and stock enhancement to manage fisheries in the Baltic Sea, as well as e-learning courses for a master programme at the University of Rostock. In addition, the project implemented pilot plans for salmon and sea trout in two Latvian rivers with the objective of ensuring a stable, sustainable, and commercially viable fishery for these two species. Read more on page 22 Energy saving in aquaculture is becoming increasingly important not only to reduce costs and increase efficiency, but also to make farming operations more sustainable. Energy saving should take the entire production chain into account from the egg to the final product and integrate into the calculations the energy that goes into the production of inputs such as feed. Although aquaculture is relatively energy efficient in comparison with the production of other farmed animal protein - energy use per kg of fish protein is significantly lower than beef, or lamb, and about the same as for pork - there is still scope for improvement. There are several ways to make fish farming more efficient from improved recycling of waste to aquaponic systems that combine fish growing with crop production. Read Dr Manfred Klinkhardt’s article on page 51 The salmon summit at the North Atlantic Seafood Forum offered the audience a view of the salmon industry from the producers’ side, as well as the less rosy picture from the point of view of the processing industry. The last year has seen high prices for the raw fish which have been good for producers, but less welcome among the processors, who have been squeezed between salmon farmers on one side and the supermarket chains on the other. As a result some are wondering how long they can continue to survive if high raw material prices persist. In Chile the industry has been collaborating with the government to remove bottlenecks and if the improvements achieved so far continue, Chile is expected to regain its competitiveness by 2015-2016. In Russia, the biggest market for Norwegian salmon in 2013, the depreciation of the rouble is making importers wary and imports from Norway have fallen compared to last year. Read more on page 60

Eurofish Magazine 3 / 2014


Table of News 6 International News

Events 14 Seafood Expo Global, 6-8 May, Brussels Impact of improving economies apparent at show 20 Offshore Mariculture, 9-11 April, Naples Success calls for new technologies and less bureaucracy

Projects 22 Results of the AQUAFIMA Project Boosting aquaculture development in the Baltic Sea Region 25 EATiP holds its annual general meeting Do we collaborate or compete with Asia?

Latvia 27 Fisheries and aquaculture in Latvia Crisis in east casts shadow on export sector 32 Karavela’s new line of products is aimed at western tastes Successfully catering to markets in both west and east 35 RR Fish moves from experimental to commercial production Rapidly maturing sturgeon for meat and caviar 38 Grifs hopes for better catches of cod Coming to terms with the provisions of the CFP 40 Salas Zivis distributes fish, seafood, and other products across the Baltics Customer service is the first priority 42 Stema Real has over a decade of experience Contract processing of non-sterilised products

Research 44 The right to food, fish and omega-3’s The nutritional benefits of fish are unique

Scan the QR code to access the Eurofish Magazine website (www.eurofishmagazine. com), where you can also sign up to receive the complimentary Eurofish Magazine newsletter.


Eurofish Magazine 3 / 2014

Contents Morocco 46 Morocco has ambitious plans for its fisheries and aquaculture sector Fishing for economic and social development

Processing 49 Sapmer is developing new ways to add value Vertically integrating as far as possible

Aquaculture 51 Energy- and eco-efficiency in aquaculture Many potential savings are not yet realized 54 Fischmaster IP-Services GmbH Zander fry from Hessenaue

Trade and markets 57 The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership What will the EU-US agreement mean for trade in seafood? 60 North Atlantic Seafood Forum, Bergen, 4-6 March Salmon prices pose a serious challenge to processors

Species 63 Arctic charr (Salvelinus alpinus) Noble fish for demanding markets

Worldwide Fish News Belgium


7, 10



8, 11


















6, 9









6, 8, 9




Service 66 Diary Dates 66 Imprint, List of Advertisers

Eurofish Magazine 3 / 2014


[ NEWS INTERNATIONAL ] UK: Queen’s award for Enterprise Weighing and packaging equipment specialist Ishida Europe has won a Queen’s Award for Enterprise, the UK’s highest honour for business success in the International Trade category. Ishida has increased exports from 65 to 75 of total turnover through increased market penetration in existing

markets, along with entrance into new geographic regions. “This is an outstanding achievement and is the result of the hard work and dedication of all our employees. We have ambitious plans to continue to develop our global business and The Queen’s Award provides the ideal foundation for

the next phase of our growth.,” concludes Graham Clements, Ishida Europe managing director. Ishida Europe is the European division of Ishida Co Ltd of Japan, the inventor and market leader of the multihead weigher. Today, Ishida designs and manufactures a comprehensive range of packing

equipment that can be used as part of a line, or configured to provide a complete turnkey packaging solution. With the award the company can use The Queen’s Award Emblem in advertising, marketing and on packaging for a period of five years as a symbol of their quality and success.

Spain: Seafood Science for a changing demand At the 44th annual West European Fish Technologists Association (WEFTA) meeting, held in Bilbao, Spain from 9-11 June, researchers and professionals from across Europe gathered to find innovative solutions to comply with the new demands for fish and aquaculture products. Under the title “SEAFOOD Science for a changing demand”, WEFTA 2014 addressed the

following seven topics: Safety evaluation and emerging risks; seafood quality reassurance; integrity, authenticity and differentiation of products; sustainable use of catches and farming; advances in seafood processing technology and smart control; product innovation, consumer acceptance and expectations; and seafood from the world for European cuisine.

Among the results, the experts believe that the fish and aquaculture markets will be characterised by a significant increase in the consumption of seafood. It is estimated that the per capita consumption of every European citizen will have increased by 2 kg in 2030. The demand for information on sustainability, traceability, and the characteristics of products will also increase. A significant development

in fish farming to satisfy the requirements for fish and the increase in prices is also forseen. More information can be found at http:// The meeting sessions were hosted by AZTI-Tecnalia, a technological centre aiming to promote the research and study of marine, agri-food, environmental sciences and in general, those related to natural resources, the marine environment and food.

Norway: Cermaq chooses EcoNets and plastic cages Cermaq Norway has chosen AKVA group’s Polarcirkel EcoNets and plastic cages for a complete salmon farm in Northern Norway worth 14,5 MNOK and with delivery in 2Q/3Q - 2014. The companies have cooperated in testing and development of the EcoNet concept since early 2012. The good production results from this testing have now resulted in using EcoNet on a full scale farm. The nets in this complete salmon farm will circumference 160 m (51 m diameter) and be 34 m deep. EcoNet is made of PET monofilament that has a very hard and smooth surface. This results in low water resistance or drag due to low “total wetted surface area” compared to multifilament or fiber nets. Smooth surface also makes net washing more efficient. 6

Eurofish Magazine 3 / 2014

“In addition to the requirements of NS9415-2009 (Norwegian Standard for aquaculture equipment), we have also conducted comprehensive testing at SINTEF in Norway in order to document additional unique EcoNet properties.” says Trond Severinsen, COO - Export at AKVA group ASA. EcoNet is now NS9415 certified to stay in the sea for 14 years. This also eliminates the need for handling or changing nets, considerably reducing escape risks and operating costs. A 20-year-old EcoNet from Japan still has 95 remaining tensile strength compared to new netting. Close to 150 EcoNets are in use on a large scale by Tassal Group in Tasmania, Grieg Seafood Hjaltland on Shetland Islands, and Fega Group in Indonesia, in addition to extensive use in Japan.

The EcoNet offers low water resistance due to the filament’s hard and smooth surface. It is also certified to stay in the sea for 14 years.

[ NEWS INTERNATIONAL ] Belgium: Fisheries Council imposes first ever seafood trade ban against illegal fishing nations A decision has been made by the EU Fisheries Council to place trade restrictions on Belize, Cambodia, and Guinea for failing to cooperate in fighting Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing. The decision means EU member states are now required to ban the import of fish from these countries and ensure that EU fishing vessels do not operate in their waters. The three countries were initially amongst a group of eight countries identified by the European Commission in November 2012 for inadequate monitoring of their fishing fleets, neglecting to impose sanctions on illegal fishing operators, and failing to develop robust fisheries

laws. In 2013 the Commission announced that conditions in Fiji, Panama, Sri Lanka, Togo, and Vanuatu had improved while Belize, Cambodia and Guinea had not. The Council decision confirms the Commission recommendation that the countries be formally blacklisted or “redcarded” and prevented from trading fish with the EU. Four major environmental groups – The Environmental Justice Foundation (EJF), Oceana, The Pew Charitable Trusts, and WWF have all welcomed the decision praising the Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Maria Damanaki, for her leadership. The

NGOs are calling for greater transparency in the way the EU evaluates third countries’ efforts to fight illegal fishing. They are also calling on the European Commission to close a loophole that allows nonEU vessels fishing in the banned countries’ waters to continue exporting their catches to the EU, and to work with EU member states to strengthen efforts to keep illegally caught fish off the plates of European consumers.

Belize, Cambodia, and Guinea have been given one.

IUU fishing depletes fish stocks, damages marine ecosystems, puts legitimate fishers at an unfair disadvantage, and jeopardises the livelihoods of some of the world’s most vulnerable communities. IUU

fishing is estimated to cost Euro 7 -17 billion annually, representing 11 to 26 million tonnes of catch. The EU IUU Regulation aims to deprive market access for illegal fish, by requiring “catch certificates” for

Eurofish Magazine 3 / 2014


[ NEWS INTERNATIONAL ] imports into the EU, as well as banning the entry of fish from countries and vessels involved in illegal fishing. A round of “yellow cards” or warnings was issued by

the European Commission, with Curaçao, Ghana, and South Korea cautioned that they could also face similar trade measures if they do not cooperate in fighting IUU

fishing. South Korean vessels have been widely documented fishing illegally in West Africa, causing significant impacts on coastal fishing communities and the marine

environment. The organisations are calling on the EU to continue to show the same determination and resoluteness towards countries that repeatedly fail to observe the rules.

Denmark: Aquaculture exports for 2013 show a decrease of ca. 1% Provisional figures for aquaculture exports have just been released and show a total decrease of ca. 1 to DKK 1,031bn (EUR 138bn) according to Dansk Akvakultur. Trout exports fell ca. 1 due to a 9 drop in sales (ca. 3000 tonnes) with an average price increase of 9. The export of fresh, chilled, and frozen trout fell by ca. 3200 tonnes while exports of smoked trout increased by ca. 1000 tonnes. Prices for all products have risen with the

Aquaculture exports 2012 Tonnes





Change Tonnes






















*Includes fresh and frozen.

highest (13) increase noted in the fresh and chilled category. The value of roe exports increased with ca. 19 to DKK 114m due to sales

-5.03 Source: Danmarks Statistik

increase of over 200 tonnes and a price increase of almost 2 DKK/ kg. Eel has previously showed increased exports but 2013 showed

a decrease of ca 18 with average prices falling ca. 5. This resulted in a DKK 25m decrease of eel exports landing at DKK 88m.

Ireland: Strengthening the inshore fisheries sector Simon Coveney, the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine has announced a package of measures to develop the inshore fisheries sector. The measures targeted at the inshore fishing sector consist of three parts: 1) The establishment of a National Inshore Fisheries Forum (NIFF), supported by a network of Regional Inshore Forums; 2) A funding programme; and 3) Conservation measures to support lobster and shrimp stocks.

The inshore sector (1773 fishing vessels of less than 12m length) comprise over 80 of the total fishing fleet and predominately fish within 6 nautical miles of the shore. Traditionally, Producer Organisations (PO) have been the primary industry contacts, however, membership rates of POs are estimated to be less than 4. With the establishment of NIFF it should encourage inshore fishermen to participate in the management of the fisheries through community-led Fisheries Local

Action Groups (FLAGs) around the Irish coast and bring forward proposals for wider industry discussion. The minister committed EUR 1m in funding for 2014 targeted at providing financial assistance for sustainable, environmentally friendly fishing practices and the recent safety equipment and training initiative. Support will be available under the new Sustainable Inshore Fisheries Scheme. Following a consultation in 2013,

the minister will also introduce a maximum landing size for lobster of 127mm within the coming months. As another conservation measure, a revised closing date for the shrimp fishery of 15 March instead of 1 May will commence from 2015 to provide stock protection during the spawning period. Finally BIM has been asked to work with the Marine Institute to develop a pilot project for a national lobster hatchery as an additional conservation tool.

UK: MSC releases a new sustainable seaweed standard The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) is expanding its sustainability standard beyond wild-capture fish and invertebrate fisheries for the first time to include various groups of wild multicellular algae, also known as seaweed. With an increasing production of seaweed fishery on a global scale demand for MSC certification of seaweed harvesting is also increasing. It is important to have a standard that rewards those 8

Eurofish Magazine 3 / 2014

that are harvesting seaweed sustainably and a standard would also provide a benchmark for improvement. As a marine resource, wild-harvest and enhanced seaweed fisheries fall within the scope of the standard. During MSC’s Technical Advisory Board meeting in December 2013, the decision was made to proceed with developing a modification of its fishery standard

for use with wild and enhanced seaweed harvesting. The draft proposal is expected to be available for consultation in late 2014. When complete, it will be the first global standard for sustainable seaweed. A sustainable seaweed fishery needs the same level of management and monitoring as an equivalent animal fishery, requiring stock assessments and harvest control rules. Sustainable

best practice for seaweed fisheries is, however, not as well developed as it is for other fisheries. Therefore research will identify indicators of sustainability for both stock status and ecosystem impact. Seaweed can be used as a food source, both for humans and as a substantial feedstock for biofuel production, it is used as an ingredient in fertilisers along with cosmetics and pharmaceuticals.

[ NEWS INTERNATIONAL ] UK: First European tilapia farm to receive BAP distinction R.H. Ward (Welton) Ltd.’s tilapia farm “The Fish Company� in Welton Cliff, Lincolnshire, United Kingdom becomes the first European tilapia farm to be granted Best Aquaculture Practices (BAP) certification. This certification, developed by the Global Aquaculture Alliance,

audits the entire aquaculture supply chain to assure healthful foods produced through environmentally and socially responsible means. The company is also the first UK aquaculture farm to receive this distinction. At The Fish Company, the tilapia specimens are reared in a centrally

heated recirculating system inside a custom-built 1,080 m2 facility heated by a waste-wood biomass boiler and partially powered by a 45 kw solar photovoltaic array. The company currently produces approximately 50 tonnes of tilapia annually but expects to reach a full

production capacity of about 100 tonnes in the near future. The fish are processed by a local, family-owned seafoodprocessing company, B & L Filleting, in Grimsby, and are sold as gutted, whole round red tilapia to UK supermarkets under the ‘The Fish Company’ brand.

Norway: Seafood exporters urged to look east! The Bulgarian chef guild, Bulgaria’s most popular chef on TV, food bloggers, and Bulgarian radio are getting their dose of Norwegian seafood in Sofia, as the Seafood Council in collaboration with the Norwegian Embassy organised a promotion tour where chef and seafood enthusiast Danièl Rougè Madsen visited Bulgaria’s most popular chef program and one of

the country’s best-known culinary figures, Ivan Zvezdev, in connection with “ The Norwegian seafood day� in Sofia. Bulgarians are very much a meat-eating people, but have in recent years spent an increasing share of their income on food. This trend also increases the demand for fish products and Norway wants its products to be the preferred choice. Trends in

consumption and income in the countries of Central and Eastern Europe makes this exciting markets to look at. The Norwegian Seafood Council has since 2013 had a representative in the area, with special focus on Turkey, the Czech Republic and Bulgaria. “Many people are curious about fish and eager to learn new recipes. By creating ambassadors and

engage trendsetters in the early stages we get value for investments in such new markets,â€? says Maria Kivijärvi Heggen, Norwegian Seafood Council’s Regional Manager for Central and Eastern Europe. Not only is there promise for Norwegian salmon but for other species as well. “Exporters should turn to look eastward. There is a growing potential here.â€?

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Eurofish Magazine 3 / 2014


[ NEWS INTERNATIONAL ] Germany: Berlin start-up pioneers fish-farm veggie garden ECF, short for Efficient City Farming, has secured a sevendigit financial investment to build Europe’s largest urban aquaponic farm, the ECF Farm in Berlin. Aquaponics, combines the techniques of hydroponics, or cultivating plants in water, with aquaculture. In the 1,800 m facility ECF plans to produce approx. 25 tonnes of perch, zander, and tilapia along with 35 tonnes of high-quality vegetables per year. Construction is scheduled to commence mid-2014 and from the beginning of 2015 ECF will sell vegetables and fish in a direct sales model to consumers and restaurants in the city. The aquaponic system used at the farm is called “ASTAF-PRO” and was developed and patented by the Leibniz Institute

of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries (IGB) in Berlin. ECF has used the system in their “Containerfarms” with great success. By eliminating long transport routes and cold chains, fresh products will be offered daily to the consumer. The transparent production in the middle of Berlin sets the highest standards of ecology, animal health and consumer protection. The ECF Farm Berlin will serve as a reference farm for the sale of other farm systems and system components to entrepreneurs who are interested in a sustainable business model. ECF Farmsystem and the investors see the resource-efficient production of high quality fish and vegetables close to the consumer and the water-saving circuit systems as a chance to

A model of what the ECF will look like when finished.

increase the resource efficiency in food production. According to WWF and the UN, 17-35 of global CO2 emissions result from agriculture and food processing. In addition, these industries consume 70 of fresh water used worldwide. Over 1 billion people already depend on

fish as a protein source, while 85 of the world’s oceans are overfished or are about to. Food often travels long distances from production to consumer. Cold chains and transport by plane cause significant amounts of CO2 emissions. The ECF Farm in Berlin hopes to be a sustainable and economical alternative.

Belgium: EU proposes driftnet fishing ban to help protected animals The EU plans to impose a full ban on driftnet fishing in European waters over concerns about the threat posed to protected species. Driftnets is a type of fishing net that drifts close to the surface of the water, targeting species of fish that tend to swim there. There is however a risk that protected species like turtles and some kinds of sea birds and mammals get caught in them. Some

driftnet restrictions are already in place like they cannot be used to catch certain migratory species such as swordfish and tuna, and driftnets over 2.5 km in length are completely prohibited. Nonetheless, concerns continue about the impact of their use on protected species, and there are still reports of fishermen using the nets illegally or taking advantage of loopholes in the regulations. As a result, the

EU has now proposed a full ban on driftnets from 1 January 2015. As a help to enforce the rules, keeping driftnets on board fishing boats in Europe will also be prohibited, and the definition of what constitutes a driftnet has been refined. The EU aims to minimise the impact that fishing has on marine ecosystems. It is envisaged that a full ban on driftnets

will make it easier to enforce the rules. A similar ban is already in place in the Baltic Sea. Driftnet fishing is currently carried out in several EU countries, including Portugal, Slovenia, and the UK. However, their use is seasonal and they are often only used for a few months out of every year. The fishers are therefore also licensed to use other equipment, which means they can continue operating despite this ban.

US: Seafood Business magazine drops hard copies Diversified Communications is closing its flagship publication Seafood Business magazine in its current form. Seafood Business began in 1981 when it took over the quarterly Pacific Packers Report. During the 1980’s and 1990’s, the bi-monthly seafood


Eurofish Magazine 3 / 2014

magazine grew until it became monthly in 1999. During this period, Diversified Communications went from being a seafood industry based company to a tradeshow producer, where its seafood shows are now just a small part of its overall business.

The Seafood Business Magazine had since its prime become noticeably smaller and during a survey of its readers the magazine found that they would prefer to get their news online rather than in a monthly magazine, Larkin said. The switch resulted in

some staffing changes, but only one employee was laid off. “Now we will reach our customers daily instead of monthly,” Larkin said. The magazine’s stories will be available at, which offers both free and premium content.

[ NEWS INTERNATIONAL ] Turkey/Denmark: Biomar and Sagun Group announce joint venture in fish feed The Sagun Group, one of Turkey’s leading companies within aquaculture, fish processing and trading and Biomar a well-known international feed specialist have entered into an agreement to create a joint fish feed company in Turkey that will also include the construction of a fish feed factory by the end of 2015. The basis of the agreement is a memorandum of understanding that representatives from the two companies signed as part of the celebration of the 10th anniversary of the Turkish pavilion at the recent Seafood Expo Global in Brussels. Turkey has become second largest European producer of farmed fish after Norway cultivating seabass, seabream, and trout. Total volumes in 2012 amounted to 212,000

tonnes of which trout contributed 52 and seabass and seabream 31 and 14 respectively. Production is forecast to rise to 500,000 tonnes by 2023. This growth in production will call for a corresponding increase in fish feed and Biomar with its expertise in efficient, sustainable, and environmental friendly diets and production methods is well placed to meet some of this demand. The company already operates 11 feed factories in Europe, Chile, and Costa Rica and supplies feed to some 30 countries and for more than 30 different fish species. The Sagun Group has significant feed requirements of its own and its extensive network will facilitate market access for the new factory both within Turkey and abroad.

Ahmet Tuncay Sagun, President of the Sagun Group, and Torben Svejgaard, CEO of the BioMar Group, sign the memorandum of understanding for a joint venture to produce fish feed in Turkey.

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People have never consumed so much fish or depended so greatly on the sector for their well-being as they do today

PRODUCTION World fisheries produced 158 million tonnes of fish in 2012 2012







1960 (in million tonnes)

Global aquaculture production (excluding plants)

Global marine and inland capture fisheries production

TRADE Fish is among the world’s most traded food commodities Worth almost US$130 billion (2012)

Developing economies account for

Developed economies account for



of total fishery exports by value

of total fishery exports by value

FISH STOCKS 71% of the commercially important marine fish stocks monitored by FAO are fished within biologically sustainable levels (2011)





Fully fished


CONSUMPTION AND NUTRITION The amount of fish that people are eating continues to rise.

2012 20 012 more than

Fish makes up 17% of the global population’s intake of animal protein, and provides essential nutrients, vitamins and omega-3 fatty acids.



10kg per capita

per capita

FISH BY-PRODUCTS Just some of their many uses





Dietetic products


Pet food


LIVELIHOODS 10-12% of the world’s population depends on fisheries and aquaculture for their livelihoods


Italy: Fish has a growing role in feeding the world According to the 2014 edition of FAO’s The State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture global fisheries and aquaculture production totalled 158 million tonnes in 2012, around 10 million tonnes more than in 2010. The rapid expansion of aquaculture, including the activities of small-scale farmers, is driving this growth in production and holds tremendous promise in satisfying growing global demand for food. At the same time, the planet’s oceans – if sustainably managed – have an important role to play in providing jobs and FAO is committed to promoting ‘Blue Growth,’ which is based on the sustainable and responsible management of the aquatic resources. This focus comes as the share of fisheries production used by humans for food has increased from about 70 percent in the 1980s to a record high of more than 85 percent (136 million tonnes) in 2012. At the same time per capita fish consumption has soared from 10 kg in the 1960s to more than 19 kg in 2012. It is estimated that fisheries and aquaculture support the livelihoods of 10–12 percent of the world’s population or some 60 million people (about 84 in Asia and 10 in Africa). A positive finding is that over 70 of wild fish stocks are fished within biologically sustainable levels – a reversal in trends observed over the past few years, indicating things are moving in the right direction. Global aquaculture production marked a record high of more than 90 million tonnes in 2012, including almost 24 million tonnes of aquatic plants. China accounted for over 60 percent of the total share. Aquaculture’s expansion helps improve the diets of many people, especially in poor rural areas where the presence of essential nutrients in food is often scarce. However, the report warns that to continue to grow sustainably, aquaculture needs to become less dependent on wild fish for feeds and introduce greater diversity in farmed culture species and practices.

Regional breakdown of employment in the sector

Asia 84% Latin America and the Caribbean

Africa 10%


Just 2% of people are employed in fisheries in other parts of the world

The total number of fishing vessels in the world was estimated to be about 4.7 million in 2012

©FAO - May 2014


Eurofish Magazine 3 / 2014

Fish, as a food commodity, remains among the most traded worldwide, worth almost $130 billion in 2012 – a figure, which is likely to continue to grow. An important trend sees developing countries increasing their share of the world’s fishery. This means that fisheries and fish farming not only helps feed populations in developing countries but also play an increasingly critical role for developing their economies. The full report can be downloaded from the FAO: http://www.

Latvia: Method of implementing discard ban questioned All eyes are focused on the Baltic Sea, the region that is first in line to adopt the EU’s new discard ban. But a new proposal opens up the possibility of selling cod currently treated as too small, instead of avoiding catching them in the first place, says Oceana. In April at the Baltfish meeting in Riga, Baltic Sea fisheries directors gathered to discuss fisheries management and the discard ban, which will come into force in 2015. They adopted a proposal to decrease the size of cod allowed for human consumption, at the risk of opening up a market for undersized fish, says Oceana, an environmental NGO. “It’s very disappointing that they have chosen to solve the problem of unwanted catch in this way, rather than by improving fishing gear selectivity and changing fishing behavior. The allowed sizes should be based on biology, with the aim of ensuring that each fish is able to spawn at least once before capture. This is a step in the wrong direction”, says Xavier Pastor, Oceana’s executive director in Europe. The newly reformed Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) requires that the discard ban and other control measures enter into force soon, but question marks remain for a number of details. The Baltic region is first in line to implement the discard ban in the EU, and is therefore paving the way for the rest of the EU. Oceana is concerned that

[ NEWS INTERNATIONAL ] any bad practices put in place in the Baltic region will set a dangerous precedent for other regions. Small-sized cod are not the only ones that are important, large individuals are even

more crucial for the wellbeing of the stock. Some years ago scientists sounded the alarm for Baltic Sea cod, particularly the eastern stock, which was on the brink of collapse. While it has

since grown and seen a steady improvement, scientists are now reporting that the stock consists largely of small individuals, with very few larger fish. The abundance of large fish is crucial

since they are able to produce more and larger eggs. Measures to improve the selectivity of fishing gear will therefore be particularly challenging in the coming years.

France: Effects of alternative feeds on fish metabolism Entering its third year, ARRAINA, (Advanced Research Initiatives for Nutrition & Aquaculture) an EC-funded research project, is making significant advances in developing alternative fish feeds that maintain the nutritional properties of fish. The project is also furthering the European aquaculture industry’s knowledge base in relation to the long-term effects these dietary changes may have over

the full lifecycle of farmed fish. The ARRAINA project seeks to define quantitative nutritional requirements for the five main European aquaculture species (Atlantic salmon, rainbow trout, common carp, gilthead seabream, and European seabass). ARRAINA is also investigating the long-term effects of alternative feeds on fish metabolism, performance, quality and waste management throughout the

whole fish lifecycle (egg to brood stock). The project expects to deliver improved and innovative methods, tools and concepts for fish nutrition that contribute to Europe’s knowledge-based economy through the design and delivery of training courses in fish nutrition in order to increase research capacities and expertise, and by undertaking problem-based research and enhanced

knowledge transfer to bridge the gap between the scientific community and the commercial sector. ARRAINA will host a session on fish nutrition at the Aquaculture Europe conference (AE2014) in San Sebastián, Spain, 14-17 October 2014. This session will provide stakeholders and interested parties with the opportunity to learn more about the current and expected results of the ARRAINA project.

Eurofish Magazine 3 / 2014


[ EVENTS ] Seafood Expo Global, 6-8 May, Brussels

Impact of improving economies apparent at show With 1,700 exhibitors from 76 countries and nearly 26,000 visitors from 145 countries Seafood Expo Global, the new designation of the Brussels seafood show, was as international, and busier than ever reflecting better economic times in Europe and the continent’s status as the world’s most important market for fish and seafood. Some of the companies exhibiting at the event are presented here. A comprehensive review will appear in the August edition of the Eurofish Magazine. Kroma’s new gutting machine reduces risk of contamination Kroma, a Danish manufacturer best known for its high quality gutting and filleting machines, launched a new gutting machine at Seafood Processing Global this year. The machine is so new that it is not yet quite ready for sale, says Ivan Kristensen, the managing director of Kroma. The new machine is the smallest in Kroma’s new series of gutting machines and designed to gut salmon, trout and similar species between 2 and 10 kg in weight. The machine can gut fish of different sizes without requiring any manual adjustment thanks to its ability to measure and analyse the fish before starting to cut. What is new with this

machine however is that the software analyses the size and position of the fish and then slices the gullet through the mouth. This way it is possible to cut the gullet very close to the gills without damaging the fillet. Additionally, cutting through the mouth enables the guts to be sucked out through the oral cavity reducing the risk of bacterial contamination of the fillet. The machine goes on to make a “princess” cut that slices only through the belly. The gutting machine can be programmed with the anatomy of different species of fish allowing it to automatically recognise and adjust itself when presented with fish of different sizes or shapes. When designing the machine Mr Kristensen wanted to achieve two objectives, firstly, to cut the gullet

as close to the gills as possible, and secondly, to have a high throughput. The machine on display can reach 10 fish per minute, and so is relatively small with a small footprint that will suit companies who do not require high capacities. But bigger model are also planned that can reach a capacity of up to 30 fish per minute, says Ivan Kristensen. Like all Kroma gutting equipment the new machine, designated the Gutmaster Flex S, can be combined with the company’s Visiomaster system to monitor the quality of the fish, automatically sorting fish that can go on for further processing from the fish that need to go through a manual control. It can also be extended with an automatic feeder enabling it to be built into an automated production line and information from a grading machine can also be processed by the Gutmaster Flex S and passed on to other processing equipment further down the chain.

Pavilion promoting Japanese seafood at SEG for first time

Kroma’s Daniel Jørgensen (left), project manager, and Ivan Kristensen, managing director, in front of the newly developed Gutmaster Flex S that was launched at the SEG. 14

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The Japan External Trade Organisation (JETRO) was present with a pavilion for the first time at the Seafood Expo Global (SEG) this year and was represented by personnel from the JETRO office in Brussels as well as from its headquarters

in Tokyo. Japanese exports of seafood to the EU were worth a modest JPY5,072m (EUR37m) in 2013, a 41 increase from the previous year and a reversal of three consecutive years of declining sales to Europe. The EU is still a very small market for Japanese seafood exports absorbing only 2.3 of total Japanese exports of seafood in 2013, an increase from 2.1 in 2012. Most seafood companies in Japan target mainly the domestic market, says Ms Katsuru Kobayashi, research manager at JETRO, as this is almost as big as the entire EU market. For the main seafood products exported from Japan – scallop, mackerel, tuna, or salmon/trout – the primary destinations are Asia, the US, or Egypt, with no EU country in the top three destinations. One of the biggest hindrances to exporting to the EU is that Japan does not have enough EU HACCP certified establishments. While the USA has 947, Canada 627, and India 237, Japan has only 29. In other Asian countries the factories are built to comply with EU HACCP regulations, but in Japan processors have to retrofit their facilities to meet these requirements which is a time consuming and expensive process. In addition, the need to involve various authorities at different levels make adapting a factory to EU HACCP requirements


Maria Damanaki, the EU Fisheries Commissioner, expressed her wish to give the EU aquaculture sector the best conditions to promote growth.

Arnis Petranis, the managing director of Peruza, a company specialised in machinery for the processing of small pelagic fish.

virtually impossible in some prefectures, and very complicated in others. Japanese companies are trying to get round these problems by establishing factories in other countries such as China and Thailand.

for the fish industry and specialised in the processing of small pelagic fish. Peruza is active all over the Baltic and is now looking at expanding into other parts of the world, in particular areas where Peruza can best use its expertise. Latin America has a big resource of small pelagics, says Mr Petranis, the company chairman, which makes it an obvious choice to explore as our machines are proven to be well suited to process this kind of fish for human consumption, for canning and for freezing. The fish is similar to the fish we are used to from here and the conditions are also familiar for us. Interest in Latin America is a very new development in the company, which last year exhibited at a show in Lima for the first time to get a feel for what opportunities may be available and to meet potential customers. Some were also invited back to the Baltic, to visit canning factories. The company has built up its knowhow processing pelagic fish, but it also cooperates with another company AB Seac which deals in new and second hand machinery for small fish. But Peruza and AB Seac have complementary skills,

Japan has a number of products that could be of interest to European consumers, including scallops, seriola, red tuna, wild salmon, and farmed mackerel, as well as processed products such as fish burgers.

Fisheries Commissioner stresses advantages of EU farmed products Maria Damanaki, Fisheries Commissioner, visited the Seafood Expo Global as part of a Commission campaign to promote sustainable seafood, in particular from aquaculture, a sector that has stagnated for years even as it has expanded hugely in other parts of the world. There are several reasons for the lack of growth in the EU’s aquaculture sector. Part of the problem lies in the legislation, European and national that has bound up the sector in the EU in red tape. In

addition, finding sites that can be used to farm fish without interfering with other users of the marine or freshwater environment has been getting increasingly difficult, and finally, imports out-compete EU production. Ms Damanaki called for consumers to make increased use of domestically farmed fish as it was better for the environment than importing fish from distant places, and created jobs and growth in local economies. She also pointed out that the Common Fisheries Policy was committed to supporting the aquaculture sector making financing available through the EMFF to ensure that fish farmers could operate under the most favourable conditions. This includes improved access to space and water, reducing the administrative burden, and increasing competitiveness. Funds will also be available for research into key aspects of fish farming such as environmental impacts, health and nutrition of farmed fish, and reproduction and breeding.

Peruza looks for growth in Latin America Peruza is a Latvian company manufacturing processing machinery

says Mr Petranis, which naturally makes for better cooperation. AB Seac does filleting and nobbing machines, while Peruza designs and builds complete processing factories including the equipment that comes before the nobbing and filleting machinery such as defrosting machinery, washing machines, conveying systems, and the processing that comes after such as a canning lines, or continuous type smokers. The latter is typical for small pelagics in the Baltic, where the fish are threaded on to rods loaded into trolleys and then passed through the smoking machinery, going in raw at one end and coming out smoked at the other. This kind of system is economical when the volumes are high, three tonnes and above, per day. Peruza has also been active in Finland where its machinery is used to process vendace, a small freshwater fish similar to sprats but with a different consistency. The volumes are not large but it is a good challenge for us, says Mr Petranis. Turkey and Croatia are other countries where Peruza’s machinery is also being used. Eurofish Magazine 3 / 2014


[ EVENTS ] Borgarplast makes insulated tubs for the food industry Insulated tubs are vital for the storage of fish especially in areas where no cooling equipment is available or in places where the temperature is either very hot or very cold. Insulated containers can maintain their contents at a uniform temperature for long periods and are thus particularly suited to the storage and transport of fish, but also of other food items such as meat, poultry, food by-products, and even pet food. Borgarplast is one of the wellknown producers of insulated polyethylene (PE) containers which are used mainly in the food industry and specifically the fish industry, which is where its activities started. But we are now supplying other parts of the food industry as well, says Marcelo Arias, the area sales manager. The insulation is an important factor in the fish business, but in other sectors this is less of a consideration. More important is the fact that they are very strong with an average lifespan of 10 years, are easy to clean due to the smooth surface and the absence of sharp corners, and are easy to

repair in case they are punctured or break. All the company’s production is on Iceland and for overseas sales it uses a system of distributors. Europe is the main market for the company though it is also selling in other parts of the world. At the recent Seafood Processing Global Borgarplast displayed its range of products, pallet containers, which it classifies into highly insulated containers and heavy duty containers. The former are used in environments where there is a demand for insulated products as they can maintain the contents at a stable temperature, if necessary as low as -18 degrees, irrespective of the external temperature. High-insulated containers are characterised by hollow walls that are stuffed with an insulating material, polyurethane (PUR) foam. This gives them excellent insulating properties and at the same time keeps them relatively light. The company’s heavy duty pallet containers are made of solid PE. This makes them sturdier then their insulated counterparts, but also heavier and less efficient at insulating. On the other hand they can be recycled easily as they are made up of a single material throughout.

Marcelo Audibert Arias, area sales manager at Borgarplast, says the company is finding other applications that need tough, easily cleaned, and readily repaired bins. 16

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Common to both types of container is that they are accessible with a hand pallet jack or a fork lift, they can be stacked, and they come with lids that can be rubber strapped. In addition the containers can be embedded with an RFID chip which can be read by hand-held scanners or scanners in fork lifts or conveyor belts. These chips enable the containers to be traced all the way from the first to the last stage in the value-added chain.

Sairem uses microwave and radio frequency devices to thaw food Frozen food can be defrosted in many ways, it can be left at room temperature, placed in a bath, exposed to hot air or steam, put in an oven or microwave, or even be subject to radio frequency. Sairem, a French company, has a long history of using microwaves and radio frequency to quickly and safely defrost seafood and other food items so that they can be further processed, whether shaped, mixed, diced, put in brine, or minced. There are several advantages to using either microwaves or radio frequency, says Mr JeanPaul Bernard, the managing director of Sairem. There is no bacterial

growth and the product retains its texture and taste. In addition, the treatment time is brief enabling greater flexibility, the footprint of the machines is small so it can be installed even where space is limited, and the payback time is short. When thawing fish blocks radio frequency offers some advantages over microwaves. For example, the final temperature is homogenous throughout the block. If the fish in the block is to be formed after being thawed the temperature of the block should be around -2 degrees. While a microwaved product will take a few hours after the treatment to reach this temperature, with radio waves the blocks can be processed immediately. Sairem is one of the few companies in the world that offers both microwave defrosting machines and ones that use radio frequency. This allows them to serve a larger market as some products, meat for example, is best thawed in a microwave as it takes 5 minutes as opposed to 20-30 minutes in radio frequency. When using radio frequency the shape of the block is more critical, says Mr Bernard. The company is also willing to let the customer decide which technology he gets the best results from.

Jean-Paul Bernard, the managing director of Sairem, a maker of defrosting machines that use either microwaves or radio frequency to thaw the product.

[ EVENTS ] Demonstration machines can be installed and run for some time so that the customer can see for himself. Sometimes the machines are combined with water baths, so that the fish after going through the machine is placed in the bath. This saves a lot of time in the thawing process allowing a company to increase its throughput. Sairem sells its machines throughout the world, but 85 of the sales is for processing meat, while the rest is for fish and seafood.

From the Carpathian foothills to the rest of Europe with the Pescado Grup The Pescado Grup is Romania’s “specialist in tarama,� a fish paste made with the roe of several species, including cod, carp, salmon and herring. Tarama is extremely popular in Romania and is enjoying increasing sales in other parts of the EU. Pescado markets its tarama and other seafood products under its Salmaris and Bonito brands, from its operation,

the largest of its kind in Romania, in Bacau, at the foothills of the Carpathians. Pescado’s principal products, in addition to tarama, are canned mackerel, herring and sardines, in various marinades, and recently, smoked herring, mackerel, and salmon. Jars of rollmops (fillets rolled around a stuffing) with cucumbers or onions are also popular. Although Bacau has its own international airport, Pescado ships its products largely by truck, which helps keep its prices competitive and allows greater logistical control over the company’s shipments to its customers in eastern and southern Europe. Sales are largely to retail customers, including some of the largest supermarket chains in the EU. Pescado markets its own brand and also produces considerable amounts of its specialties under the private labels of its customers, including Carrefour, Aro, Lidl, and others. The company supplies about onethird of the Romanian market, and has significant presence in other European markets. Some markets remain mostly ethnic in demographics, such as in Spain, whilst in Germany and other markets the consumer base is more diverse. All of the company’s raw material is imported from a variety of sources, and Dan Popescu, Pescado’s export director, says that as long as the raw material is available, there will be no problem filling the growing EU demand for its products.

been producing and processing some of the most talked-about farmed fish at this year’s Seafood Expo Global: sea bream, sea bass, and rainbow trout. Bahar Cengiz, Kilic’s export manager, says that the company – the largest aquaculture firm in Turkey, with more than 500 employees and exports to almost 30 countries – sees significant export potential for these farmed fish species. Quality, rather than price, is the key to getting and keeping customers for Kilic’s products, Bahar Cengiz says. Sea bass and sea bream are produced by an increasing number of suppliers around the world, but quality standards differ in some areas, and a focus on product quality reportedly has been the key to Kilic’s growth. Kilic’s products include whole (i.e., gutted) and filleted fish (all the species the company farms, including meagre, Argyrosomus regius, similar to sea bass), in fresh and frozen forms; and meagre and smoked trout in canned form. The company supplies both the large retail market and the highly competitive foodservice market in Europe. All of Kilic’s processed products come from fish from its own aquaculture facilities. It operates 24 fish farms, and three processing facilities: two for saltwater fish (mainly sea

bass and sea bream) and a third one for trout. The facilities are modern and the company is careful in production and processing, and proud that they meet EU and US regulations for food quality, adhering to HAACP and Global G.A.P. standards. Exports to the US are small but growing, as many consumers there have not yet been introduced to sea bream. Shipping fresh fish by air adds to the expense, of course, but it’s usually no more expensive to ship high quality product than poor quality product, and Kilic believes that its product quality will help the company make further gains in major foreign markets.

Quality and value addition will pave the way for Kilic’s products on new overseas markets.


Kilic Group sees increasing potential on the US market The popularity of tarama, a fish paste made with the roe of several species, is spreading from Romania to other parts of Europe thanks to the Pescado Grup.

Turkey’s aquaculture sector is well-known, and for a generation now, Kilic Group, in the southwest Turkish city of Milas, has


Eurofish Magazine 3 / 2014


[ EVENTS ] Algal culture helps Nireus Aquaculture reduce proportion of fish in feed Farmed fish recently became Greece’s single most valuable export, and Nireus’ sea bream and sea bass operation is one reason why. As explained by its representatives at Seafood Expo Global 2014, Nireus, headquartered in Koropi, Greece, is the largest producer of sea bream and sea bass in the world, with 2013 sales of nearly EUR200 million in 40 national markets in Europe and North America. Its brand is Thalassa, and it also produces for the private labels of major European retailers. Nireus farms sea bream, sea bass, meagre, and several other species in its own farms (42 in total) in Greece, Turkey, and Spain. It also produces fish feed, one of the products of a large investment in algae culture. The growth of exports beyond the traditional southern European markets for Nireus’ products is important for the company’s longrun success. The general economic crisis in Greece and the southern European region has hurt sales. While sales volume has remained firm (indeed it grew by 4 in 2013), total value fell when prices had to be reduced (by 7 in 2013). In addition to general economic impacts on demand, Nireus also faces competition in seafood markets from rising availability of competing species, such as Atlantic salmon. While it might seem surprising, given the different flesh colors of the fish, sea bream and sea bass competes with salmon for the fish dollar (or euro) of the same customer base, namely middle-income consumers in both the retail and restaurant trades. Nireus expects “improvement” in the market for its products in 2014 and beyond, as economic conditions improve and 18

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Cured anchovy fillets are one of several products produced by Arba Commerce using the freshest raw material from the Adriatic.

as consumers in nontraditional markets such as North America become more familiar with high-quality sea bream and sea bass. Ready-to-cook products, such as fish in scaled and gutted form, and as fillets, are growth opportunities, according to Nireus. Another challenge that Nireus is working hard to overcome is the cost of raw materials, namely fish feed and juvenile fish. The prices of both rose in recent years, which has hurt fish farmers everywhere. Nireus emphasizes environmental sustainability in its fish feed manufacture. In addition to substantial investment in algae culture, the company has achieved great success in reducing the amount of fish in its fish feed that comes from species that are also for human consumption – and this helps in Nireus’ broader goal of operating sustainably, environmentally as well as economically. Nireus has received the Management Award for Sustainable Development and meets ISO, BRC, and GlobalG.A.P standards.

Arba Commerce uses the freshest raw material from the Adriatic Cured small pelagic fish products are quite popular in Eastern Europe, and Croatia-based Arba Commerce is well-positioned in that market. Arba is a large producer of prepared and preserved anchovies and sardines in several product forms Traditional products are the core of Arba’s business. A popular item is anchovy fillets in olive oil, in 106and 212-gram glass jars. These are also available with other variations, such as capers, olives, garlic and parsley. Salted anchovies in 5- and 10-gram tins are a premium product, with strong demand throughout Croatia and many neighbouring markets. On the frozen side, Arba products include airtight plastic containers of sardines in either round or headed and gutted (H&G) forms, and anchovies in H&G and filleted forms. Ready-to-cook products are becoming increasingly popular with consumers, Arba says, and European sales

through large retail chains are an important part of the company’s business. Arba’s supplies of anchovies and sardines come primarily from the rich waters of the Adriatic. Pavle Paunovic’, Arba’s director for supplies, says that raw material availability is not currently a problem but that future price increases could hurt the company. Annual procurement of 2,000-3,000 tonnes of fish are processed in a modern plant in Labin, in northwest Croatia, close to the harvesters that supply the raw fish. Like most of its rivals, Arba puts much emphasis on product quality, at every step from procurement of raw material to processing (it has invested heavily in its modern processing facility), and shipping to its customers. Arba is able to get good prices for its products, Paunovic’ says, because of its high quality standards. The company promotes its cured seafood products as healthier alternatives to ham and other cured proteins that lack the healthy fats and other qualities of seafood.


25-27 September

The largest commercial fishing exhibition in the North!

Covering every aspect of the commercial fishing industry from locating, catching, processing and packaging, right through to marketing and distribution of the end product. For further information on any aspect – exhibiting, visiting or sponsoring – please contact the Events Team on +44 (0) 1329 825335 or email Organiser

Official airline/air cargo handler & hotel chain

Official Logistics Company

Official Icelandic publication

Official International publication

[ EVENTS ] Offshore Mariculture, 9-11 April, Naples

Success calls for new technologies and less bureaucracy More than 100 fish farmers, researchers, manufacturers, consultants, investors and industry experts from over 18 countries participated in the 5th Offshore Mariculture Conference that was held on 9-11 April in Naples (Italy). The programme explored the progress and prospects for offshore aquaculture in both European and international waters, and provided a comprehensive insight into how offshore fish farms are operating today. In general, the conference benefits fish farmers who are either growing their offshore fish farming businesses or those who are looking to move their businesses offshore.


ier Antonio Salvador, President of the Italian Fish Farmers Association (API) in his welcome address highlighted that aquaculture still had solid potential and that fish farmers need less bureaucracy to be able to succeed in the global market. The conference chairman, Alessandro Lovatelli, aquaculture officer at the FAO, stated that the maximum sustainable potential from wild capture fisheries had been reached, while aquaculture production was growing worldwide.

Suitable sites needed for offshore farming Offshore fish farming is an emerging sector and with the consumption of farmed fish having risen tenfold in the last four decades, new locations and farming methods are constantly being explored. The conference provided the insight into this sector through two days of research, technical and case study based presentations. The keynote speech was presented by José Aguilar-Manjarrez, aquaculture officer, FAO. He briefly addressed which species and culture systems would provide the best economic and environmental fit, where open ocean mariculture could be developed in relation to available technologies and economic constraints, 20

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how much space was suitable for development, and when could it go forward. He also illustrated opportunities for offshore seaweed culture and the impact of climate change on offshore mariculture prospects due to climate change. Kathrine Hawes, principal at Aquarius Lawyers, (and also known as “The Fish Lawyer”) reminded the audience about the concept that the ocean is ‘there for all to take’ (Hugo Grotius) has been the legal framework for the management of ocean resources since the 1600’s. The lack of proper governance of the ocean environment is continuing to influence present day legal developments and the implementation of an effective ocean policy. Unfortunately, marine aquaculture operates in a very crowded ocean environment with many conflicts with other activities, including navigation lines, tourism, traditional and recreational fishing. Therefore, spatial planning is considered an effective tool to develop offshore mariculture activities.

New technology needs to be developed and deployed The need to increase domestic seafood production, the demand for which many countries still cannot meet and without even taking in

Pier Antonio Salvador, President of the Italian Fish Farmers Association welcomes participants of the Offshore Mariculture Conference 2014.

to consideration the continuously growing global population, requires the development and use of new farming technologies for both traditionally farmed species (such as sea bass and sea bream) and for other species of high economic value. These technologies should be a priority to reduce production costs and environmental impact. A series of presentations concentrated on aquaculture certification schemes, investment opportunities, and technological developments, most noticeably in cage and nets design. The detailed advantages and

disadvantages of large floating cages and submersible cages were presented by industry experts. Water quality monitoring, dissolved oxygen control, and the use of GIS software as part of the site selection process were among the topics actively discussed at the conference. Several offshore mariculture case studies and projects (carried out in Denmark, Ireland, Israel and Saudi Arabia) were presented during the conference. For example, the Danish R&D market-based GUDPOffshore, KOMBI and MERMAID projects were presented by Lisbeth

[ EVENTS ] Jess Plesner, Chief Advisor of Dansk Akvakultur. The main aim of the GUDP-Offshore project is to develop sea cage technology, which can withstand the forces of wind, waves and currents at offcoast and offshore sites, and still be profitable. The project is starting in an exposed part of the Great Belt and a final demonstration is planned in the Baltic Sea and the North Sea. The aim of the KOMBI project is to develop and demonstrate the farming of mussels and seaweed in quantities, which are able to neutralise the discharge of particularly nitrogen from fish farms in the area by using integrated multi-trophic aquaculture (IMTA) technologies, while the aim of the Mermaid project is to use a combined wind energy and sea cage trout farming platform in the Baltic Sea (west of Bornholm) to explore the possibilities of multiuser platforms in marine areas.

Sources of feed are a cause for concern There is a growing concern about mankind’s ability to produce enough nutritious food to feed the global population in this century. Therefore, fish nutrition aspects and feed management will play an increasingly important role in the further development of aquaculture. Yngvar Olesen, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, discussed how feed supplies can be produced for an expanding aquaculture industry in the future. For example, the Norwegian aquaculture industry produces nearly 1 million tonnes of Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) per year, with a corresponding feed use of about 1.15 million tonnes. The mean nutrient release from this production has been estimated at about 60 of feed-N and about 70 of feed-P. Integrated

multi-trophic aquaculture has been suggested as a means of increasing biomass production by utilising these excess nutrients, thus adding to the value of the feed, and at the same time contributing to more sustainable aquaculture production. In his concluding remarks he also noted that it was likely to be the industrial biotechnology companies that would produce the feed resources in 2040, while the feed companies would continue to develop and optimise feed formulation. The question of feed resources represents a clear risk for high investments in marine finfish culture, and particularly in offshore mariculture, on a large scale. The availability of feed resources for mariculture is likely to become one of the main drivers of the structural development of global mariculture. “Getting optimum profitability is the purpose of any investment. Achieving this in offshore marine aquaculture is mainly related with getting production costs as low as possible, without affecting growth performance and product quality. The most important production cost is fish feed, and that’s why applying a correct feeding strategy, adapted to the nutritional requirements of each species and to the environmental circumstances of each farm, becomes a major challenge. Through actively controlled feeding management this target can be efficiently achieved”, said Juan Antonio González from SkrettingSpain.

Valuable finfish offers the best return on investment Experts are certain that mariculture will grow in the future, and the use of more exposed or offshore locations is becoming mandatory to achieve the growth in production

The Piscicoltura del Golfo di Gaeta Soc. Coop. Agricola a R.L. fish farm’s sea cages.

that is needed. Offshore mariculture will involve high investments and large scale production units, and highly priced finfish is so far the most attractive target for offshore cultivation. These developments urgently require effective marine technology and governance solutions to facilitate installation, operation and maintenance of these novel offshore activities.

Aina Afanasjeva, aina.afanajeva@; Marco Frederiksen, More information about the conference, papers, presentations, and case studies are available at:

On the third and final day of the conference delegates visited the Piscicoltura del Golfo di Gaeta Soc. Coop. Agricola a R.L. (P2G) fish farm, which is situated about a 1.5 km off the coast, in the Gulf of Gaeta. The farm’s core business is the intensive farming of sea bass, sea bream and meagre. Delegates saw the 72 floating cages where 2,000 tonnes of the three farmed species are produced. Each batch of products produced at P2G can be fully traced and identified throughout the whole value chain through software which allows real time information on batch number, quantity, feed, farming days, temperature, etc. The next Offshore Mariculture Conference, organised by Mercator Media Ltd (UK), is planned for June 2016 in Mexico, where the potential for the future development of the mariculture sector is high. Eurofish Magazine 3 / 2014


[ PROJECTS ] Results of the AQUAFIMA Project

Boosting aquaculture development in the Baltic Sea Region


he fishery sector is an integral part of the Baltic Sea coastal regions and their economies. Not all fish stocks are fished within natural limits, however, and certain important species are severely overfished. The management of Baltic Sea fish stocks must therefore be improved, and alternatives such as aquaculture, restocking and stock-enhancement (i.e. the release of reared fish into the marine environment) should be taken into consideration. For this it is important to assess which strategies and technologies are suitable for which fish species and which part of the Baltic Sea ecosystem. The project brought together local/regional authorities, political decision makers, scientists, representatives of fishery and environmental organisations and other stakeholders with the objective to collect, bundle and transfer their knowledge, so that the aquaculture sector in the Baltic Sea region can finally begin to realise its potentials and lessen the burden on wild fish stocks.

discussed alternative approaches, such as a regional aquaculturebased fisheries management in coastal areas. This included the development of policy recommendations giving directions to boost the integration of aquaculture in the Multiannual National Plans that have to be established by the EU member states. At an academic level, new skills and innovative professional education schemes for the Baltic Sea aquaculture management were developed. This included beside others e-learning courses for an aquaculture master programme that will be integrated at the University of Rostock. The project aimed at promoting fisheries and aquaculture in regional development. Results include, for example, the compilation of a manual on infrastructure and planning needs for setting up aquaculture facilities. Furthermore, a report was published analysing the role of aquaculture in fish supply chain. To inform consumers about aquaculture an exhibition “Regional Fish by Aquaculture” was developed and shown in Germany and Lithuania.

Policy recommendations, development of new skills, among project As the AQUAFIMA project focused outcomes also on fisheries management and The project reviewed current national/EU fishery policies and 22

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regional coastal restocking measures for different fish species in the Baltic Sea region in four cross-border

A. Hiller

The EU funded project “AQUAFIMA”, which began in June 2011 and ended in March 2014, aimed to disclose the perspectives and development opportunities of the aquaculture sector in the Baltic Sea Region. In total 11 partners from 6 Baltic Sea countries, Denmark, Estonia, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland; and Norway, were involved in the project. The lead partner was the State Development Cooperation of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern (Germany).

Location of the AQUAFIMA case study areas

regions case studies were executed to analyse the fisheries management in coastal waters of the Baltic Sea. One of these case studies areas is the Gulf of Riga.

Fisheries management in the Gulf of Riga Being a separate semi-enclosed ecosystem of the Baltic Sea surrounded only by Latvia and Estonia, the Gulf of Riga is the area where fishery and fish restocking are performed only by these two states. In the Gulf of Riga the most profitable is the herring fishery

that gives the highest catches both in the offshore and in the coastal fishery. The management of fish resources in the area is mainly performed on a national basis. The exceptions are species for which the TAC (total allowable catch) is determined by the EU. These species are Gulf of Riga herring and salmon. The TAC for the Gulf of Riga herring is divided into national quotas for Latvia and Estonia according to a permanent percentage key. The national quota of Latvia is divided into two parts. One part is reserved for the offshore fishery and the

Antanas Kontautas


Exhibition Regional Fish by Aquaculture shown in Lithuania

second part for the coastal fishery. The herring quota for the offshore fishery is distributed between fishing companies, while the coastal herring quota is not. The fishing authorities can stop the coastal herring fishery if the quota is fulfilled. A similar procedure applies to the herring national quota in Estonia. The salmon TAC is divided into national quotas for all Baltic Sea countries. The distribution of the national quota to sub-regions of the Baltic Sea, such as the Gulf of Riga, is performed on a national basis. The fishery for all other fish species is managed by limiting fishing gear and two closed seasons for fishing for the protection of spawning fish. Beside herring, important species in the coastal fishery in the Gulf of Riga are perch, pikeperch, bream, flounder, salmon and sea-trout. In general the catches in the coastal fishery show a decreasing trend. The reasons behind this are market restrictions that reduce

the profitability of this fishery and making it unattractive for the younger generation. There are two main directions for fish farming in Latvia and Estonia: fish farming for consumption and fish breeding for fish restocking and reproduction in natural streams and lakes. In both countries the Restocking Programme determines migratory and freshwater fish restocking in lakes and streams in the Central Baltic Sea (Latvia, Estonia), the Gulf of Riga (Latvia, Estonia) and the Gulf of Finland (Estonia).

Bilateral agreement on additional management measures As indicated above, the dominant species in the Gulf of Riga is herring and the exploitation of its catches is limited by annual TACs, determined in the regulations of the European Commission.

However, Estonia and Latvia have agreed on further measures in the management of the herring stock. First of all, in spring during the herring spawning period, both countries have one month long closed season for trawl fishery in order to diminish the fishery load. Secondly, it was agreed to limit the number of fishing vessels and the engine power of the vessels targeting herring. The aim is to achieve a balance between fishing capacity and the herring resources.

Active collaboration vital for effective resource management The cooperation between fisheries experts of both countries has a long tradition. Currently, this cooperation occurs mainly in the working groups of ICES (International Council for the Exploration of the Sea) which is responsible for the assessment of the main fish stocks in the Baltic Sea, as well as in meetings devoted to the implementation of national fisheries data collection programs. In the Gulf of Riga, all data necessary for the assessment of the stock of herring are collected only by Latvia and Estonia and the main scientific survey is jointly performed. Credible assessment of the state of the stock creates a solid basis for the management of the fisheries, demonstrating that cooperation is very important. The case study on the Gulf of Riga demonstrates that trust between stakeholders and fisheries managers will play a vital role also in the future of the Common Fishery Policy. Without active collaboration, little can be achieved. In other words, cooperation matters and has to be seen as a fundamental prerequisite for effective resource management.

Salmon and sea trout pilot plans for the Salaca and Virtrupe rivers in Latvia In the last decade, several Baltic international nongovernmental institutions have been established, such as the Advisory Committee (AC) which unites the representatives of national fisheries and environmental organisations. The opinion of the AC is then taken into account by the European Commission when setting TACs and introducing new management measures.

A further activity of the AQUAFIMA project focused on executing two pilot plans on salmon and sea trout for the Salaca and Vitrupe rivers in Latvia. The long-term pilot plans objective is to ensure stable, sustainable, genetically diverse and commercially available salmon and sea trout populations in the Eurofish Magazine 3 / 2014


Environmental Development Association


The project was funded by the INTERREG IV Baltic Sea Region Programme of the European Union. All project results can be found at the project website

Typical salmon fry dwelling in the River Salaca

The two pilot plans investigating the Salaca and Vitrupe, offer valuable information. Firstly, descriptions of the river basins and the related overview of the laws and regulations are given. Salmon and sea trout resources and their direct and indirect usage are regulated by Latvian and international laws and regulations, as well as other relevant planning documents. Secondly, the development of the salmon and sea trout populations in both rivers are pointed out. Salmon and sea trout are anadromous migratory fish species. Their spawning and fry development takes place in fresh water, while adult individuals live 24

Eurofish Magazine 3 / 2014

in the sea. According to the pilot plans, it is currently difficult to assess salmon and trout populations in the Vitrupe river because studies on the broodstock structure and smolt production have not been concluded yet. Based on indirect data, it can be estimated that in the Vitrupe river the potential production of these two species is about 3,000 per year, of which about 1,200 salmon. In Salaca river basin potential salmon smolt production is about 30,000 and that of sea trout about 4,500 per year. In the last few years, production of salmon smolts has decreased, while that of sea trout has increased. Thirdly, factors influencing population stability were determined. One of the most important elements influencing the stability of salmon and sea trout are spawning areas and fry habitats. The development of these species` population depends also on the improvement of research, which should be carried out more accurately. As a priority, exploration and demolition of partly

ruined or non-functional dams and restoration of habitat quality should be considered. There is also a necessity to take other actions such as expand monitoring of salmonids and other fish species, restore hatcheries and the natural salmon smolt breeding process, and ensure the collection of biological material for salmon and sea trout genetic studies.

Contacts: Lead Partner of the project: Landgesellschaft Mecklenburg-Vorpommern mbH, Leezen (Germany), Matti Skor ( Project management: REM · Consult, Hamburg (Germany), Bente Vollstedt (, Annett Hölling ( BIOR – Fish Resources Research Department Inland Waters Laboratory

of Salaca and Vitrupe rivers. In particular, the pilot plans aim to reach 75 of the potential wild salmon smolt production in Salaca and Vitrupe rivers within ten years to meet the objectives and targets of the forthcoming EU Regulation for establishing a multiannual plan for the Baltic salmon stock and the fisheries exploiting that stock.

Although currently the requirements are unclear for EU member states’ National Salmon Plans, that will be developed in accordance with the EU Regulation for establishing a multiannual plan for the Baltic salmon stock and the fisheries exploiting that stock, the Ministry of Agriculture of Latvia has confirmed that information and data from the salmon and sea trout pilot plans for the Salaca and Vitrupe rivers can be used and integrated in the preparation of the National Salmon Plans for these two rivers.

Salmon and sea trout distribution in the Salaca River Basin

[ PROJECTS ] EATiP holds its annual general meeting

Do we collaborate or compete with Asia? The European Aquaculture Technology and Information Platform (EATiP) is an officially-recognised European Technology Platform (ETP), which provides external advice and societal engagement for the implementation of Horizon 2020 – the biggest EU Research and Innovation programme ever, with €80 billion of funding available between 2014 and 2020. The basic goal of Horizon 2020 is to ensure that Europe produces world-class science and removes barriers so that great and innovative ideas are brought to the market by both the public and private sectors.


he 6th Annual General Meeting of the European Aquaculture Technology and Information Platform (EATiP) convened in Brussels on 3 and 4 April. During one and a half days, over 50 participants, members of EATiP – representing the aquaculture industry, research community, international and civil society organisations, as well as the European Community (as observer) - met to discuss how to continue building a strong platform, what are EATiP’s key priorities for the future and how to put these in practice.

Closer cooperation with SMEs The event created a friendly and lively environment for sharing experiences from both past and on-going partnerships and projects, and looked specifically at how to assure the continuation of outcomes of relevant projects. New ideas were spelt out concerning EATiP commitments, in particular, for the development of a strategy so that smaller players, SMEs in particular, are more widely represented, active and engaged; to explore ways on how EATiP’s work can incentivise investments in aquaculture

research; how to share information and enable knowledge transfer to a wide range of stakeholders across the EU. From a strategic perspective, JPI Oceans (, a coordinating and integrating platform for marine and maritime research, has as its goals to ensure good environmental status of the seas and optimise planning of activities in the marine space, as well as boosting a knowledge based and sustainable maritime economy. The optimisation of response to climate change, understanding and mitigation of human impact on the marine environment, developing the necessary knowledge and technologies to conquer the new deep-sea frontier are just a few of the platform’s objectives. Continuing dialogue between EATiP and JPI Oceans will avoid duplication and fragmentation, and will facilitate stronger cooperation and interaction between stakeholders on such topics. EATiP has cooperated with a number of European projects that are now finished or are close to conclusion. One example is AQUAMED (, where two of the most important outputs are

(i) the list of research priorities that will contribute to a more sustainable Mediterranean aquaculture and plans of action to implement them, and (ii) the aquaculture multi-stakeholder platform, which is now acknowledged as a subsidiary body of the Committee of Aquaculture of the General Fishery Commission for the Mediterranean, says Dr Jean-Paul Blancheton, Ifremer, France.

Finding alternatives to traditional feeds Sustainable alternative aquaculture feeds tailored to the nutritional requirements of European farmed fish species is another of EATiP’s strategic goals and a “hot topic” on the research agenda. Understanding and minimising the undesirable effects of alternative diets (i.e. with low fish oil and fish meal content) is one of the many applications that ARRAINA ( will develop. It is aimed at further strengthening the links between the scientific community and the EU feed industry and thereby contributing to an increase in the productivity and performance of the European aquaculture sector. Sustainable feed production

is one of the thematic areas of EATiP that seeks to improve knowledge of nutrient requirements, investigate the nutritional characteristics of sustainable feed ingredients, develop advanced and cost-efficient feed technologies, and assess the physiological consequences of the use of low fish meal and fish oil feeds. I want to reiterate the extent to which joint research efforts at the European level with the participation of different stakeholders (farmers, feed producers) have led to the reduction of the FIFO (fish in fish out) ratios in European fish farming, commented Mr Sadasivam Kaushik, INRA, France. The FP7 project AQUAEXCEL ( ensures the availability and efficient use of aquaculture research infrastructures across national boundaries and supports aquaculture infrastructures of excellence to improve their services and methods. AQUAEXCEL has created an online database of all aquaculture research infrastructures in the EU and associated countries. It has among its aims a deeper integration of research infrastructures and increased access opportunities for SMEs. Research institutes and aquaculture companies are Eurofish Magazine 3 / 2014


[ PROJECTS ] field of food security (traceability, food standards) could be one of the avenues to explore further.

Asia has much to offer in terms of knowledge

The EATiP annual general assembly was characterised by frank discussions that covered many of the key issues facing the European aquaculture sector.

invited to conduct their experiments and tests for free at the facilities that are part of the network! We have now the ambition to establish a research infrastructure working group under EATiP, with the aim to identify needs for new facilities and/or services, coordinate the national roadmaps on research infrastructures, and stimulate SMEs to access the existing pool of aquaculture research infrastructures says Alexandra Neyts, NTNU, Norway.

Animated debate on challenges of going global European aquaculture does not act in isolation, therefore the international dimension of EATiP was highlighted at meeting, as 26

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well as the challenges associated with going global. The participants were invited to express their views on this topic and as expected, it triggered an animated and constructive debate. EATiP is to create a working group on this topic so as to ensure that all stakeholders can contribute to establishing a win-win position in respect of this. While EU aquaculture has access to high quality research and outstanding education, EU aquaculture production has stagnated in recent years, and unfortunately, it appears difficult to attract young talent to work in this sector. Why is this happening, can research become more aligned to the industry, could the cooperation between active EU technology-led SMEs/aquaculture companies and countries

outside EU, lead to a win-win situation and mutual learning? International cooperation is indeed part of strategic planning of Horizon 2020 and calls for projects are open to everyone. The EU’s seafood market is the biggest in the world which makes it largest importer of seafood products – 65 of demand and representing 24 of the total value of world seafood trade. The imports of aquaculture products (except for Norwegian salmon) originate mainly from Asia. Asian aquaculture is mainly driven by small farms, but has a rapidly growing research and development effort. Asia and the EU face common concerns in the fields of e.g. fish health and disease, environment, education. Join cooperation in the

Professor Iciar Martinez (University of the Basque Country, Spain and University of Tromsø, Norway) felt that when establishing international co-operations with non-European countries, those countries from which European science and industry may benefit should be given priority. She said that cooperation with some Asian countries such as Japan, China and South Korea is very much desired by many European scientists for their high technological developments in some disciplines, including engineering applications for the aquaculture industry, experience and know-how about fish biology and development, bioactive compounds in seafood, and integrated multitrophic farming for a large variety of very different aquatic species. This kind of collaboration is currently hampered by the lack of coordinated financing programs for research, development and innovation between Europe and the targeted non-European countries. She suggested that the introduction of some of the know-how from Asia into the farming of European species, and in particular for temperate species, could contribute to boost growth in the European aquaculture sector. The EATiP Assembly approved several follow-up actions on the wide range of topics discussed which will form the crux of EATiP’s work in the coming year. See www. for the full report. Anca Sfetcovici,


Fisheries and aquaculture in Latvia

Crisis in east casts shadow on export sector The fisheries sector in Latvia is a traditional occupation based on old customs and long experience. Today the situation in the industry is characterised by being at the crossroads between two financial programming periods, the new rules of the game set by the reformed EU Common Fisheries Policy, the consequences of the world economic crisis, and the influence of the political and economic relationship EU-Russia-Ukraine.


uring the last few years fisheries share in the gross domestic product (GDP) has been stable around 0.7. The total export volume has increased after the crisis. However, exports have decreased as a proportion of total exports, because the market for other products increased more. Fisheries share in Latvia’s total export was 2. Eurofish met with leaders of the Latvian fisheries sector to get an update on developments.

Undersized cod poses problems for fishers Fishing activities in the Baltic Sea and the Gulf of Riga mainly depend on the state of stocks, which are simultaneously affected by fishing activities in the Baltic Sea, fish feeding conditions, water temperature, water pollution levels and similar factors. During 2013 total catches in the Baltic Sea and the Gulf of Riga amounted to 60,997 t (main species were cod, Baltic herring, sprat, etc.), which is an increase of almost 525 tonnes compared to 2012. It is important to note that, on average, 96 the quotas allocated to herring and sprat were utilised, which is a very good performance indicator. On the other hand, only 18 of the

available salmon catch quota was utilized. Low use of salmon quota is related to the prohibition on drift nets and a market situation dominated by Norwegian salmon. Another serious problem that increasingly influences the salmon fishery, especially in the coastal zone, is seals that damage catch and gears making the fishery inefficient. The cod quota was exhausted by 35 during 2013. This trend of decreasing catches continues from 2012. However, the decrease is not caused by the TAC, but relates to the low outcome from fishing operations. According to the fishermen the fish has become small and skinny, and even more cod has “disappeared” from the traditional fishing grounds.

Coastal fishers are diversifying activities In the beginning of 2012 Latvia’s fishing fleet consisted of more than 700 fishing vessels. These vessels are divided into various segments. There were 628 fishing vessels on 01.01.2014 in Latvia’s fishing fleet authorised to fish in the coastal waters of the Baltic Sea and the Gulf of Riga. The total engine power of the coastal fishing fleet is 4,641 kW or 11 of the total capacity of Latvia’s fishing fleet. The gross tonnage of this segment is 773 GT or 2.6. Most of them have an overall length not more than 5 m and operate without an engine. Mainly stationery fishing gears – different seines and pots – are used in the coastal fisheries. Catches in the coastal fisheries depend

on the total quota allocated to Latvia. Coastal fisheries are also a part of the traditional coastal landscape. Although with some changes nowadays, this landscape still works as a tourist attraction. Some coastal fishermen are working hard to diversify their activities, by including tourism (angling in the sea; participation in fishing, engagement in fish preparation, etc.), agricultural activities, and services. Some coastal fishermen are also involved in fish processing, but mainly for the domestic market. The main problem in the coastal fishing area is seals that cause damages to catch and gear. The seal population has rapidly increased during the last few years due to robust protection measures. Hunting them is prohibited, therefore fishers are

Catches in the Baltic Sea and Gulf of Riga 2013 Baltic Sea and Gulf of Riga

Coastal area










Use of quota (%) 35%

Salmon (pieces/t)





Baltic herring












not applicable



not applicable



not applicable

Flounder Turbot Other species



Source: Ministry of Agriculture

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Fishing fleet deployment by operation area Vessels overall length, area









12-40 m Baltic Sea beyond the coastal area





>40 m high seas









<12 m coastal fishing


Latvian fishing fleet 2013 Fleet segment


Tonnage, GT

Capacity, kW

Fishing fleet in the baltic Sea and Gulf of Riga.:




Trawlers 12-24 m




Trawlers > 24 m







Vessels using net as main gear > 24 m Fishing fleet in coastal area










High seas Total Source: Ministry of Agriculture

experimenting with other methods to counter these predators, e.g., the possible use of push-up trapnets that are popular in the northern countries, also pingers, etc. But due to the specifics of the Latvian coastline a solution has not yet been found.

Baltic Sea offshore vessels reduced in number The fishing fleet that operates beyond the coastal area is the second largest one in Latvia. The total engine power of this fleet segment is 19,122 kW or 38.4 of the total capacity of Latvia’s fishing fleet. The gross tonnage of this segment is 7,649 GT or 25.5. The number of vessels in this segment has decreased during the last few years because of the decommissioning programme. In 2014 this segment consisted of 68 vessels. The main reason for the fleet capacity decrease was to achieve more efficient operations and a rapid drop in resources due to a reduction in the available quota. Support 28

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from the European Fisheries Fund for permanent cessation of fishing operations, which was widely used in the period 2007-2012 during the last few years slowed down recently because of the finalisation of the decommissioning programme. According to data from the Rural Support Service, the total sum available for permanent cessation of fishing activities was EUR19.8 million where 157 projects were fully paid by 31.12.2013.

The balancing of the fleet capacity is made according to the National Plan for Adjustment of the Capacity of the Fishing Fleet. Catches in the Baltic Sea offshore fisheries constitute 54.7 thousand tonnes or 48 of the total Latvian fishing fleet catches. The main fishing gears that are used in the Baltic Sea fisheries are bottom set gill nets and trawls. The main species targeted from the quota fish are

Normunds Riekstins, Director of the Fisheries Department in the Latvian Ministry of Agriculture

cod, herring and sprat. There is also fishing of non-quota species in the Baltic Sea. The main species from this source are turbot, flounder and smelt. As mentioned before changes in behaviour and feeding conditions of the cod have been seen and this negatively affects fisheries. Cod stocks from the Atlantic seas are in a healthy state and this has an impact on the price of Baltic cod. Thus, according to Normunds Riekstins, Director of the Fisheries Department in the Latvian Ministry of Agriculture, there are two issues that call for rapid EU and government action – an action plan to adapt the management of Baltic cod stocks, and measures to soften the harsh consequence for cod fishermen. On the contrary the situation in the sprat and herring fisheries is more stable. However, as these fish are exported to the CIS countries or used as a raw material for products whose main market also are CIS countries, the market situation has become worst. The unsettled political issues between Russia and Ukraine have caused a decrease in the exported fish amounts since the beginning of 2014. This has led to a build-up of stock in storage. There is now more than 3,000 tonnes sitting in our freezers, says Inarijs Voits,

Inarijs Voits, President of the Fishermen’s Association; Chairman, National Fisheries PO


Catches in high-seas 2013 (Mauritania, Morrocco, NEAFC and NAFO areas, tonnes) Horse mackerel






Other species


















Breams, pikes and river-lampreys are the most popular fishes harvested in inland fisheries. Of course, with the development of aquaculture there is still a possibility for improvements in the supply of fresh water fish, even if inland fisheries catches continue to decrease.

Angling is a popular activity

Source: Ministry of Agriculture

Chairman of the National Fisheries Producer Organisation. There is a high possibility that potential EU trade sanctions against Russia will negatively influence exports even more.

the North Atlantic under NAFO and NEAFC Conventions, where Latvia was granted quotas for shrimp, redfish and mackerel. In agreement with other EU Member States, Latvia exchanged quotas for mackerel and deepsea fish species for redfish fishing opportunities as Latvian fishermen are more interested in these species.

High-seas fleet fishes mainly off Africa Seven vessels were engaged in high-seas fisheries during 2013. Total catches amounted to 54,758 tonnes of fish and shrimps. The total engine power of the high seas fleet is 26,037 kW or 52.2 of the total capacity of Latvia’s fishing fleet. The gross tonnage of this segment is 21,523 GT or 71.9. The high seas fisheries took place in the Central Atlantic region (CECAF) in Mauritania (EEZ) waters, based on fishing licenses, which were issued under the European Union and Mauritania fisheries partnership agreement. A relatively small portion of the catch is made from fishing activities in

underdeveloped market for inland fishes as well the low demand for processed inland fish products.

Fishing in inland waters Inland fishing activities over the last years have tended to decrease. This is related to a prohibition on fishing activities with traps and nets in many lakes and rivers. The number of fishers is also limited by the number of fishing gears that is allowed in the respective water body. In places where the fisheries is allowed this sector has been strengthened by the implementation of restocking plans. A reason for the reduced popularity of this activity could also be the small and, in contrast to the sea fisheries,

Angling is a strong competitor to inland fisheries and is an activity mostly linked with the development of ecotourism in Latvia. Angling in Latvia is organized in two different ways. There is a licensed angling for which the angler buys a license and then fishes in a certain water body. There are also angling cards that allow general angling in all public and private lakes and rivers. Both permits need to be purchased before starting the activity. The fees from the sale of the permits are used for restocking and conservation of fish resources. A new technique which is getting more popular is angling in the sea from a boat. There are no

reliable data collected on general angling catches (data are collected only for licensed angling, but this does not give a full picture). The most popular species caught are roach, perch, pike, pike-perch and bream.

Aquaculture production increases slightly On 1 May 2014 there were 160 aquaculture farms registered by the Food and Veterinary Service. Five of them are state farms whose main activity is fish reproduction in natural water bodies, the rest are private farms including fish ponds for angling. Aquaculture establishments are sited in areas which are not necessarily directly related to the availability of freshwater, but reflect rather the traditions and socio-economic interests of landowners. Overall, in the period from 2006 to 2012 there was an upward trend in aquaculture sites, which can be related to support for aquaculture enterprises from the European Fisheries Fund. For example, the amount of recirculation systems has increased by 92 when comparing with 2011. The main species produced are carp, trout, goldfish, pike, catfish, sturgeon, etc. Latvian aquaculture farms carry out the following activities:

Inland fishing catches Year





Catch (t)





The Baltic Sea cod fishery is facing problems with the size of the cod, which is underweight and largely absent from the traditional fishing grounds. Eurofish Magazine 3 / 2014



Latvian import and export of fish products 2010



Fish products, including canned fish export, million EUR




Fish products, including canned fish import, million EUR







Latvian fish products trade balance, million EUR Source: Ministry of Agriculture

The use of recirculation systems in the aquaculture industry is increasing significantly though from a low base. They offer the advantage of negligible impact on the environment.

– Maintain reproductive capacity of fish stocks; – Fish and crayfish cultivation in freshwater ponds or basins for commercial purposes; – Short-term cultivation in fish ponds for angling; – Fish cultivation in ponds for personal consumption. In 2012 market production from the aquaculture sector was 574 tonnes total (in 2011 - 546 t). From 2004 to 2012 the average annual total aquaculture production was around 580 t. Maximum output was in 2007 (729 t), and minimum in 2005 (516 t). Although aquaculture production volumes fluctuate from year to year, overall, in the period from 1993 to 2012 it has been growing. The total market value of Latvian aquaculture production in 2012 amounted to EUR1.4 million. The new Common Fisheries Policy provides more focus to aquaculture activities as an alternative source of fish that could help to lower the pressure on natural resources. This was the perspective behind Latvia’s Multiannual Framework for Aquaculture Development (2013-2020). After useful discussions with stakeholders on the strengths, weaknesses and opportunities of the sector the goal 30

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is to facilitate the development of a competitive, export-oriented aquaculture that respects environment requirements.

Fish processing – an export-oriented industry The fish processing industry in Latvia is a well developed and locally significant sector located in the regions and employing a

high number of people – more than five thousand in 2013. The majority of fish processing enterprises are located along Latvia’s coastline. The most important towns are Liepaˉja, Ventspils, Roja, Engure as well as the towns of Tukums and Carnikava. Small fish processing enterprises are also situated near many other fishing villages where smoked and salted fish is produced in small quantities. During the last years changes in the number of processing companies have not been significant, there are still around 100 companies.

Historically Latvian fishers and fish processing companies have produced more fish products than is necessary to cover the local market demand. Fisheries are an exporting sector of the economy and maintain a positive external trade balance. External trade balance for fisheries products in 2013 was nearly EUR59 million. In 2013 fish products and canned fish were exported to 54 countries. The total value of fish products, including canned fish was EUR222 million. In 2013 a significant part of export of

Raw material for the processing industry is imported, processed and mostly re-exported. The value of exports including canned fish climbed 48% between 2010 and 2012.


fish to CIS countries was very small – only 1.1. Total amount of export of prepared and canned fish decreased in almost all CIS countries, except to Russia, Ukraine and Uzbekistan. The biggest increase in export of processed and preserved fish was to Ukraine – about 36. The increase in export of canned fish to Russia was only 3.4 counted in tonnes. However, the drop in value terms was 3, because during 2013 prices for canned fish dropped substantially in the Russian market. At the moment there are a lot of uncertainties about the Russian market in connection with the political crisis in Ukraine. Several currencies in the region have depreciated against the euro making it more expensive for importers in those countries. When currencies start to fluctuate, everybody, producers, traders, and importers, become more careful, says Didzis Smits, President of the Union of Latvian Fish Processing Industries.

40 countries, in order to supply the fish processing sector with the necessary quantity of raw materials, as well as to expand the assortment of fish products and canned fish on the domestic market. Last year in comparison with 2012 the import volume of fish products (except canned fish) increased by 14 reaching 61 thousand tonnes. In value terms imported fish products increased by 7.6 amounting to more than EUR142 million. In 2013 leading suppliers of fish to Latvia were still Lithuania, Sweden, Norway, Poland, Estonia and Morocco. A large part of the produced fish was re-exported. Imports of prepared and canned fish and seafood during 2013 decreased by 2 when compared to 2012 and amounted to 6.7 thousand tonnes. Imports of prepared and canned fish and seafood in value terms increased by 7 to EUR220 million. Canned fish were mainly imported from EU countries, but the share of EU countries in the total import of canned fish decreased from 87 to 82 compared to 2012.

In 2013 Latvia imported fish products and canned fish from

Latvian Ministry of Agriculture

Canned fish has traditionally been exported to markets in the east, but political developments there threaten exports.

fish products was to the EU and CIS countries. Among the CIS countries for many years the main destinations were Belarus, Russia and Ukraine. The total share of these countries amounted to 8.7, 8.2  and 8.2 respectively. In 2013 compared to 2012 exports of fish products (except canned fish) to CIS countries increased by 11 and the increase was mainly because of 65 increase in exports to Russia. Exports of fish products (except canned fish) to Moldova, Ukraine and Belarus decreased by 11, 9 and 2 respectively.

Developments in the east trigger uncertainty in sector The export tonnage of prepared and canned fish increased by only 2.3 and amounted to 64 thousand tonnes. Despite the fact that the CIS market continues to be one of the most important for Latvian prepared and preserved fish, in 2013 compared to 2012 the share of exports to CIS countries decreased amounting to 78 of the total exports of Latvian canned fish. The increase of export volume in tonnes for prepared and canned

Didzis Smits, President of the Union of Latvian Fish Processing Industries Eurofish Magazine 3 / 2014



Karavela’s new line of products is aimed at western tastes

Successfully catering to markets in both west and east One of Latvia’s largest fish canning companies, Karavela, decided a couple of years ago to invest in production installations for canned fish intended for western markets. The move to diversify markets although questioned by many at the time has since proved to be prescient as developments in the Ukraine have shown.


atvia has a long history of catching fish thanks to its 500 km long coast along the Baltic Sea. Since the end of the nineteenth century catches of pelagic fish, herring and sprats, from the Baltic Sea and the Gulf of Riga have been processed into canned fish. In fact, Gulf of Riga sprats smoked first on alder wood and then canned have a long standing international reputation. Over the years the canning industry in Latvia has consolidated as companies have closed down or have merged with others. More recently, concerns about quality have led to the formation of an association of canned sprat manufacturers, who are committed to maintaining certain minimum standards for the product. Only the handful of companies that fulfil the requirements of the association can use the coveted “Riga Sprats in Oil” logo on their products. However, canned sprats under different logos and brands are also produced by companies that are not members of the association, including by one of the biggest producers of canned products, the company Karavela.

Well-known brand stems from Danish start-up Karavela is best known for its Kaija brand of canned products. The word Kaija means seagull and the 32

Eurofish Magazine 3 / 2014

brand was acquired when Karavela in 2002 bought a 120 year old canning company that had been started in Riga by a Dane, Arnold Sørensen. Kaija had been producing not only canned fish, but also canned meats, vegetables, and fruits, and by the mid-80s was exporting its production to all around the former Soviet Union. During the political and economic changes in the 90s the company was privatised and finally taken over by Karavela. Andris Bite and Janis Endele, the directors of Karavela recognised that Kaija was a valuable brand for their markets in the CIS countries and that the name Arnold Sørensen could provide a foothold into markets in Scandinavia. Over 2011 and 2012 Karavela went through a series of upgrades as two new lines were installed, one to process mackerel products for sale on the Scandinavian market and the other to smoke sprats and herring (kippers). Although smoked sprats is a traditional product from Latvia, for Karavela it is only a small part of the production and we make them mainly to be able to offer clients a complete assortment, says Sanita Legajeva, the private label manager. With the new lines the company has succeeded in entering the

The brand Arnold Sørensen, the name of the Danish founder of a canning factory in Riga, is being used to sell canned mackerel in Danish supermarkets.

Scandinavian market and is now a player of some significance there.

Major differences between western and eastern markets Producing for markets in the west has been a steep learning experience, says Ms Legajeva, as the difference between eastern Europe, where we have been selling our products for years, and western Europe, are so marked. Tastes, business cultures, branding strategies, consumer attitudes to canned products, everything she found was quite different in the two markets. For example, in Scandinavia the range of canned fish products

is fairly limited, whereas in the east one can get a huge variety of fish products in cans. When Karavela ships a truck load of product to the east there might be 60 different products in the truck, while if the truck’s destination was in the west, there would probably be two products. In the east consumers are prepared to pay more for a brand that they know and trust, while this is not necessary the case in the west. Although efforts to diversify into western markets started only a couple of years ago, today about half the total production is intended for these markets. Latvian fish canneries have been selling their products to Russia, the


Ukraine, Belarus, Azerbaijan, and other CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States) countries for many years. The reasons are obvious: producers and consumers share a history, a language, and tastes; the products were exported even during Soviet times, so consumers are familiar with the brands; and consumers appreciate the high quality and variety of canned products, and are willing to pay for it. Many companies felt that the effort to understand, produce for, and sell on western markets called for a huge effort with little return. Tastes are radically different so new recipes have to be developed, processing lines need to be retooled, and new sales and marketing techniques must be mastered. In addition, production is under private label so margins are low, there are none of the juicy profits that come from selling under the one’s own brand. There are thus abundant good reasons for not wanting to explore western markets, but if like Karavela a company decides to take the plunge it can be worth it.

Facilities certified to international standards

three kinds of herring, in brine, in oil and with pepper, mackerel fillets and shredded mackerel. All the products are canned and they are being sold both to supermarket chains as well as to big distributors in Scandinavia, the Netherlands, France, and the UK. Later this year the company is also hoping to land contracts in Austria and Germany. For its markets in the east the company has a catalogue with some 130 items on it. Much of the raw material is small pelagic species, herring, mackerel, sardine, sardinella, anchovy, and sprat, but the company also uses salmon, tuna, and even tilapia in its assortment. Many of the raw materials that go into the final products are imported, the fish from Scotland mainly, with occasional deliveries from Norway as well, the tomato sauce from Spain, even the cans are imported from Germany or Denmark. The high quality of the products is reaffirmed by the company’s decision to be certified to internationally recognised standards including BRC, and IFS, as well as the Chain of Custody certification to the MSC (Marine Stewardship Council) standard. The latter certifies that the company has systems in place that ensure that fish from

Andris Bite, one of Karavela's directors, intitiated the company's orientation towards western markets.

Karavela’s production for its markets in the west comprises essentially 6 items – smoked mackerel,

The mackerel line has a production capacity of 150,000 cans a day, and 40,000 cans a day on the herring line.

Karavela produces a small volume of one of Latvia’s best known traditional canned fish – smoked sprats in oil under the Kaija brand.

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Sprats are threaded on to skewers and placed in frames on a trolley which is wheeled into the smoking machinery.

More than 90% of the production is intended for export markets in the east and west.

MSC certified fisheries is indeed the fish that is present in cans marked with the MSC logo. These certifications are only relevant for our markets in the west, says Ms Legajeva, while for our eastern markets we have to conform to other standards.

Among the large number of companies producing canned fish in Latvia Karavela stands out for its size as well as for its decision to invest in facilities that would produce for customers in the west. While the wisdom of this decision was questioned by others in the industry, and occasionally even by the company executives themselves, the results have been beneficial for Karavela. Apart from penetrating a new area it has gained invaluable experience and knowhow about western markets, tastes, production methods, and ways of

While over 90 of the production is exported the remainder is sold in Latvia, as well as Lithuania and Estonia, where the company has reintroduced a line of marinated products. Two or three years ago when sales of these products were almost moribund the company decided to invest in new sales channels and marketing efforts to revive this series of products. This market is not important for us economically, states Ms Legajeva, but as a Latvian company we feel instinctively that our products should also be available here.

Goal is to increase turnover from western markets The current situation in the Ukraine has definitely had an impact on the industry, with a local newspaper reporting that one company was planning to 34

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cut back production and lay off staff at least temporarily while another was threatened with insolvency. Karavela’s strategy to diversify markets while representing a major step away from the company’s comfort zone is now paying dividends. But even though the company has the benefit of a market in the west that absorbs 50 of its production and provides 40 of its turnover, it is still highly dependent on its eastern market. Part of the problem, such as the depreciation of the rouble and other currencies in the region, is beyond the company’s control. We are taking some precautions, says Ms Legajeva, such as reducing investments in the supermarket shelves, but for now we are continuing more or less as we have done in the past. Of course, she adds, if the situation continues it can really become difficult. Many of the company’s clients in the east have personally committed to honouring their contracts with Karavela and Ms Legajeva is confident that they will stick to their word as this kind of personal commitment is not atypical of companies in the east and is usually as binding as a written contract.

doing business. The company’s strengths lie in its willingness to take calculated risks and the fact that there is a good team to implement decisions. Our directors’ doors are always open and they are fully involved in the strategic as well as the day to day work of the company, says Ms Legajeva, which makes for operational flexibility and rapid decision making. These attributes will no doubt assist the company in achieving its goal of reversing the current 40:60 contribution to turnover from customers in the west and the east.

Karavela Ltd Atlantijas Str. 15 LV 1015 Riga Latvia Tel.: +371 67 496 400 Fax: +371 67 496 401 Directors: Andris Bite, Janis Endele Private label manager: Sanita Legajeva Turnover: EUR29.8m (2013 est.) Products: Cans of fish salads, marinated fish, smoked fish

Raw materials: Mackerel, herring, sardinella, sprats, salmon Processed fish volumes (2013): 7,350 tonnes Production volumes (2013): 39m cans Certifications: BRC, IFS, MSC Markets: Russia, Azerbaijan, Sweden, Denmark, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Czech Republic Clients: ICA, COOP, Dansk Supermarked, Princes, United Nordic, Amanda Seafoods Employees: 340


RR Fish moves from experimental to commercial production

Rapidly maturing sturgeon for meat and caviar What started as an experiment with the puriďŹ cation and recycling of water has now moved into a new phase. RR Fish is using recirculating technology to farm sturgeon for the production of meat and caviar.


turgeons belong to the family Acipenseridae under which all the genera including Acipenser and Huso are listed by CITES, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora. Two species, Acipenser brevirostrum and Acipenser sturio, are listed in Appendix I, while the remaining 17 are listed in Appendix II. Appendix II includes species which may be threatened with extinction unless their trade is subject to strict regulation, while Appendix I covers species threatened with extinction which are or may be affected by trade. Trade in Appendix I species must be subject to particularly strict regulation in order not to endanger further their survival and must only be authorised in exceptional circumstances. The restrictions on the trade in sturgeon has prompted a boon in sturgeon farming with global production increasing from 26,400 tonnes in 2008 to 64,800 tonnes in 2012 an increase of 145ď&#x2122;&#x201A;, according to FAO statistics. China is by far the biggest producer farming almost 55,200 tonnes. It is followed by Russia with 3,270 tonnes and Armenia with 1,636 tonnes. Within Europe it is Italy that produces the most with an estimated 850 tonnes in 2012. The increase in sturgeon farming is partly in response to the restrictions

Andrei Tjutjunnik, chairman of the board; Ivars Grinbergs, member of the council; Ingus Grinfogels, director of the marketing department; Anastasia Tjutjunnik, and Dmitry Zalutskiy.

on the trade in the fish, increasing demand for caviar as the number of wealthy consumers increases globally, and improvements in farming technologies. Sturgeon species are farmed chiefly for their roe which is a highly valued delicacy. The roe of different species has different characteristics, colour, taste, size of the eggs, and commands different prices.

Technology to purify and reuse water is deployed to farm fish RR Fish is a Latvian company that has seen the potential in cultivating sturgeon. Originally, the company focused on the benefits of a water cleaning system that could be used in different applications, and so to test their ideas set up a pilot plant.

Over the next five years a number of experiments were conducted to refine the system, reduce the input of electricity, improve the water cleaning mechanisms and decrease the need for fresh water. As the results improved the company began to consider using the system to farm fish. The question was what kind of fish to farm? For Ivars Grinbergs, member of

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The biofilter is the heart of the recirculation system. Bacteria in the biofilter break down organic matter and ammonia into harmless nitrate.

While the recirculation system was designed by RR Fish, the technology was bought off the shelf.

the council, the deciding factor was the cost of production. A recirculating system is expensive to build and operate and production needs to be efficient if costs are to be covered and to make a profit. According to Jacob Bregnballe, a Danish expert on recirculation systems and author of A Guide to Recirculation Aquaculture, the fish should command a high price on the market and production costs need to be kept as low as possible. These considerations shaped Mr Grinbergs decision to farm sturgeon, the fish was relatively rare, as trade was controlled by CITES, sturgeon eggs were a delicacy that retailed at very high prices, and even its meat was valuable.

this species, unlike other sturgeon species, does not stop feeding. The fish eats larvae of midges, small crustaceans, and marine worms and also takes in large quantities of sediment and detritus. The fish continues feeding during the wintering phase beneath the ice. In the cold waters of its natural environment the fish grows slowly reaching maturity only at 18-20 years, though in other rivers they mature in 9-12 years. The fish can tolerate a wide range of temperatures from 1 degree to about 26 degrees C.

Rapid maturity of sturgeon makes it viable to farm On the other hand sturgeon has the disadvantage that it takes many years to mature and start producing eggs. However, during his experiments, Mr Grinbergs discovered that sturgeon in his system were actually growing very rapidly, something that he attributed to the quality of the water. The water is pumped up from 36

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deep underground and is free of any pathogens as a result. Most of the water is recirculated with only 5 being replaced with fresh water each day, yet the cleaning and filtering system is so effective that there is no need to treat the fish with medicines or chemicals and the flesh does not carry any unpleasant flavour or off taste that is sometimes associated with farmed fish. According to Mr Grinbergs, the cleaning is so effective that 99 of all the impurities are removed by the system. He maintains it is this that enables the fish to mature faster so that the roe is ready to be removed already after about 3.5 years and was another of the critical arguments in favour of breeding sturgeon. The variety of sturgeon that is grown by RR Fish is the Siberian sturgeon, Acipenser baerii. The species is a freshwater fish native to the Siberian rivers, but today apart from Russia it is found in several European countries as well as China. The fish is a semi-anadromous species most commonly found in the middle and downstream sections of the rivers, but also entering brackish waters and the Arctic Ocean. During the spawning migration upstream as well as during the actual spawning

Yield from eggs far higher than from larvae On farms conditions are generally more favourable than they are in the wild and the fish mature faster usually after about 6 years for the males and 7 years for the females though at RR Fish, Mr Grinbergs says, the fish mature after three to four years. Initially the company imported larvae from Lithuania, Poland and Germany, but the problem was that it was difficult to get pure Acipenser baerii larvae. Often what they thought was Acipenser baerii, turned out to be a mixture of pure and hybrid varieties that resulted in higher mortalities and

slower growth rates. As a result the company stopped buying larvae and switched instead to purchasing eggs from a supplier in Poland. The yield from the eggs was far higher than it was from the larvae, the latest batch of 30,000 eggs which the company placed in its hatchery in February has now hatched to give 28,000 larvae, a yield of 93. Another benefit of the switch to eggs, says Mr Grinbergs, is that once they hatch the larvae need no adaptation to the farm’s environment. In contrast, when introducing larvae from an external supplier into the farm, a period of adaptation to the conditions at the farm is required during which time growth is slower. To successfully farm a fish like sturgeon that normally takes a long time to reach maturity, rapid growth is critical, and any measures that can reduce the time to maturity will contribute to the profitability of the venture.

Slaughter or strip? The fish are grown for 12-15 months so they reach a weight of about two kg. At this point they can be graded by gender. The males are sold for food while the females are allowed to continue


reasons to try and remove the eggs without sacrificing the fish. Producing high quality caviar from ovulated eggs has been a long-standing challenge until a few years ago, when researchers at the Alfred Wegener Institute in Germany patented a way to prevent the mature eggs from being damaged while they were being processed into caviar.

Improving economy should boost demand for caviar too

A series of D-ended tanks are used to hold the fish. There are 50 large tanks and 20 smaller ones that are used in the hatchery.

character becoming a glutinous film on coming in contact with water. This ensures the soft eggs stick together when they are washed, but if salt is added, the eggs burst ruining the caviar. The benefit of producing caviar from ovulated eggs is that they can be obtained (stripped) without harming the fish, which go on to spawn again. As a sturgeon takes several years to mature there are both economic and ethical RR Fish is farming Acipenser baerii, a relatively fast growing species of sturgeon and one that produces a highly sought after caviar.

growing for a further two years till they reach about 10 kg. By then the roe will have developed and the company plans to slaughter the fish remove the egg sacs and process the roe. Sacrificing the fish is the traditional way of obtaining the immature eggs (i.e. eggs before the fish ovulates). Even using a caesarean section to obtain unripe

eggs often results in reduced fertility or death of the fish. The advantage of unripe eggs is that the outer membrane of the egg is sturdy enough to withstand all the subsequent processing needed to obtain the final product, including rinsing, sieving, and salting. In contrast, once the fish ovulates the outer membrane of the roe changes

At RR Fish the sturgeon meat will also be a significant product initially intended for the domestic market. The company is planning to target high end restaurants and delicatessen shops for sales of fresh sturgeon meat and will plan production so as to be able to offer steady volumes of the product around the year, with something extra around Christmas and Easter. Production volumes will be modest to start with at about 1.5 tonnes of meat a month, but the company is counting on sustained interest from the market thanks to the high quality of production and the slight but perceptible improvement in the economy in Latvia as well as in Europe as a whole.

RR Fish Matrozu Street 15 1048 Riga Latvia Tel.: +371 6750 8658

Markets: Latvia (sturgeon meat), international (caviar) Volumes: 1.5 tonnes per month (meat) System: Indoor recirculation aquaculture

Member of the Council: Ivars Grinbergs Products: Sturgeon (Acipenser baerii) meat, and caviar (from 2015)

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Grifs hopes for better catches of cod

Coming to terms with the provisions of the CFP A fishing company owned by Juris Petersons, Grifs was created in 1993, when he bought boats from the former fishing collective Banga. Today the company has quotas for cod and sprats and also offers vessel repair and other metal working services.


rifs has a fleet of four vessels of which three are from Soviet times while the fourth is of Danish origin. None of the vessels is new, says Juris Petersons, the owner of the company, but with our small quota and the current prices of fish in the market there is no way we can afford to buy new vessels. Since buying new vessels is not supported the company invests significantly in their maintenance – one of the boats just had the steel of its hull replaced, a job that Grifs undertook itself. In fact, apart from fishing the company also has some ship repair and metal working activities. But its main business is fishing, an occupation that of late has been threatened by quota changes combined with falling prices for some species.

Cod price falls, while sprat price increases In particular the price of cod which two or three years ago was between EUR3 and EUR4 per kilo has now fallen to less than half of that, claims Mr Petersons. In addition he finds that sales of sprat and herring, which are traditionally to markets in the east such as Ukraine, Russia, and Belarus, are now hampered by the political problems there that have


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led to a depreciation of currencies. As a result activities on these markets have slowed down. Sprat and herring is also used in the production of fishmeal and fish oil and Grifs also sells its catches to these factories such as the FF Skagen plant in the north of Denmark, a huge facility that processes almost 1,000 tonnes of raw material a day. Grifs can also sell its fish to factories that process the fish into products for human consumption, but only if the payment terms are good. If I am told to deliver the fish today, but that payment will take two months, then I am not interested, says Juris Petersons. The problem, however, is not with the market alone, but also because of the falling catches in particular of cod. Grifs has a quota of 700 tonnes of cod, but for the last two years catches in spring, a time when they should be at their peak, have been very disappointing.

Catches of cod are very poor Mr Petersons says that he is actually losing on trying to catch cod, because the returns have been so meagre and do not cover the costs of the boat, fuel, and crew. The situation is a reversal of what it was three years ago. Then, the cod fetched three times more than

Juris Petersons, the owner of the fishing company Grifs SIA

sprat and herring. Since then prices of sprat and herring have edged upwards. This is partly due to the vessels that have been scrapped to bring capacity more in line with the resource, but also because fishing companies have invested in freezing capacity and can better control the volume of fish that is released to the market and thereby can influence the price. Monitoring and control of the fishery is also stricter, which may have contributed to a reduction of the amount of fish on the market and resulted in higher prices.

Putting up its own freezing plant was something that Grifs considered and then decided against, a decision Mr Petersons today feels may have been a little short sighted. The reason at the time was that he was reluctant to start trading with companies in the CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States) countries. Today however, he can see that having his own freezing space would be an advantage and points to companies that are “feeling much better” because they have freezers and storage facilities and are


therefore better placed to wait for an upswing in prices. Grifs market for its sprat is the domestic market where prices are higher as the fish is used for human consumption, but payment terms are worse. The cod on the other hand is sold mainly to processors in the west, chiefly to Poland, where processors from Scandinavian and other western countries have set up their plants.

A need for incentives to implement the discard ban As a fisherman, Juris Petersons is not impressed with the new rules on banning discards that are part of the Common Fisheries Policy. Firstly, we do not yet know the details of how this is to be executed, he says, secondly, the quotas have to be increased to give fishers an incentive, and finally the fishers have to be compensated for all the extra effort required to bring in this fish â&#x20AC;&#x201C; it takes time, money, containers, space on the boat, and we cannot be expected to do this for nothing. The problem will be mostly in the cod fishery, he thinks, because the catch in the sprat and herring fisheries is already landed in its entirety. His position is supported by the fisheries administration. Ginta Perle-Sile, Head of the Fisheries Strategy Division in the Latvian Ministry of Agriculture, says that only the overall

A pumping system is used to transfer the fish from the vessel to shore.

framework for a discard ban has been agreed upon, the details of the legislation and how it will be implemented remain to be finalised. We cannot expect the fishers to shoulder this burden alone, she feels, it is a responsibility that has to be shared by the fishers, the administration, and the European institutions. The idea behind the discard ban was to give fishers and incentive to use more selective gear so as to reduce the catch of fish that is discarded. However, Mr Petersons points out that the gear used is selective already and even if it were to be made more selective there

there would have to be 10 or 20 times that amount. Mr Petersons is fortunate in that he has quotas for both cod and sprat. If catches or prices for one species goes down, hopefully the other will compensate. But he sees a threat in the situation in Ukraine, which he feels is a proxy for big nations throwing their weight around without considering the impact on smaller ones. Most of all he would like to see a relaxation of the rules on European assistance for the purchase of new vessels, but is realistic about the chances of that happening.

Grifs SIA

Development in Latvian quotas for selected species (tonnes) 2014



















Source: Council Regulation (EU) Noâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s 1180/2013, 1088/2012, 1256/2011, 1124/2010

would still be some degree of bycatch. The volumes and the quality of the bycatch vary from season to season. With cod the typical bycatch is flatfish, usually flounder with smaller amounts of plaice. In spring the bycatch can be substantial, but it is the breeding season for flounder and it is in a poor state and cannot be used for more than fishmeal. In the autumn the flounder is fatter and can be used for human consumption. But the volume of the bycatch also determines what can be done with it. If it is made into fishmeal then having five tonnes on board is not worth it,

Locu iela 2 3600 Ventspils Latvia Tel.: +371 63624294 Fax: +371 63624335

Owner: Juris Petersons Activity: Fishing Quotas: Cod, sprat Fishing vessels: 4

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Salas Zivis distributes fish, seafood, and other products across the Baltics

Customer service is the first priority Exports of fish and seafood from Latvia has increased steadily over the four years to 2012 in terms of value. The main destinations for fish products are Latvia’s neighbours, Estonia and Lithuania.


alas Zivis is an entirely Latvian company emphasises Aleksanders Innuss, a member of the board, and it serves its local market, as well as exporting to countries in the east. Established in 1999, the company imports fish and seafood from around the world to repackage and distribute it in Latvia as well as neighbouring Estonia and Lithuania, and countries further afield, including Russia and Ukraine.

New and well equipped facility in Riga The facility in Riga is only two years old and is equipped to offer a wide range of services including filleting, cutting, freezing, and packaging. The machinery includes portion cutters, tray sealers, dosing machinery, and thermoforming packaging equipment all from reputed suppliers. When Salas Zivis was founded it focused purely on the trade in fish and seafood, however, two years ago the company started adding other products to its assortment. Our customers were interested in obtaining other items from us as well, recalls Mr Innuss, which was why we expanded the range of products. As a service company we try to accommodate our customers to the extent possible. Today Salas Zivis offers a range of frozen fruit and vegetables, meat, ice-cream, and dumplings with different fillings, in addition to its traditional fish and seafood range. 40

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The company places a lot of importance on providing good service to its clients. This is its philosophy and one of its defining features, says Mr Innuss. Another is the value we put on our employees, who are experienced and reliable and who are vital to the successful implementation of the company’s values. Without committed people working in the company we cannot deliver the quality that our clients expect from us and that would naturally affect the success of the company.

Expansion in factory space planned Having a completely clean slate is important if the company is to realise the three distinct but related projects it has conceived that will result in a bigger player in the market both in terms of its physical size but also in terms of its balance sheet. The first of the three is an expansion of the freezing facilities in order to be able to offer clients a wider palette of products from which to choose. This will necessitate increased storage space and investments in freezing machinery and will lead to the second project, which is to increase the physical size of the Riga factory. The factory today is about 600 sq. m, an area that, if all goes to plan, will expand with more space devoted to freezing and to storage. This kind of area is out of all proportion for a company that serves

Mr Aleksanders Innuss, member of the board of Salas Zivis.

Shrimp being packaged in thermoformed plastic trays.


The trays are sealed with a film bearing a label with the brand name of the product.

The cold store is large, but the company intends to expand its capacity soon.

mainly its domestic market, so the third project is to target markets in Western Europe with fish and seafood that can be processed under contract to the customer’s specifications. While frozen products were the most significant part of the company’s portfolio amounting to 2,500 tonnes out of a total of 4,500 (55) in the first quarter in 2012, they were by no means the only segment. In addition to frozen products Salas Zivis can offer chilled, smoked, preserved, and breaded, fish and seafood. Within the chilled and frozen segments the number of species and product types is extensive with nearly 25 finfish species in the frozen category and about 15 in the chilled.

from its customers and from there to supplying ever increasing numbers of products. Now, says Mr Innuss, we can see that readyto-prepare meals are becoming popular, where fish or seafood is packaged together with other ingredients to give a complete meal that just needs to be popped in the microwave or the oven for a few minutes to prepare it. In other words, the business is constantly evolving, and we are evolving with it. We will keep an eye on the market and respond to as well as try and shape developing trends keeping in mind the capabilities of our facilities and our staff. This attitude was what prompted the move from frozen products which are fairly straightforward to import and distribute

Popularising fresh fish The fresh fish is imported twice a week from different parts of Europe including Norway, France, Greece, and Spain, processed if necessary and then distributed in the company’s own fleet of 60 refrigerated trucks to the hotel, retail, and catering sector across Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia. Salas Zivis was one of the first companies in the region to convince consumers to eat fresh fish,

which was something of a novelty as people were more used to canned, preserved, smoked or frozen products. To do this the company highlighted the benefits of fresh fish, its unimpaired texture and taste, undiluted nutritional value, and the time saved when preparing it. The efforts made to change these habits are paying off and many retailers in the region today have fresh fish counters alongside the shelves of processed fish. The company also offers a wide range of smoked products, however these are not yet smoked in the factory as there are restrictions on the use of smoking ovens so close to residential areas, but are processed elsewhere. The company is looking at ways that will comply with the law, but allow it to establish a smoking unit in the factory.

Market trends determine production Salas Zivis started its trading with small retailers. Working with these shops it noticed an opportunity for repackaging fish and seafood and thus started this line of activity. This in turn led to filleting salmon in response to demands

to the logistically far more complicated trade in fresh fish and seafood. Certain consumers want fresh fish and seeing there was a demand the company initially wanted to meet it and then went further and sought to expand it.

International certification for facility soon The facility will soon be ISO certified and over time intends to get BRC and IFS certification as well. It is already certified by the local authorities and if a client demands some other certification scheme then the company will of course comply with this stipulation. After all, serving the customer is always the priority.

Salas Zivis Daugavgrivas 83 LV 1007 Riga Latvia Tel.: +371 6731 44 09 Fax: +371 6731 4410

Member of the Board: Mr Aleksanders Innuss Activities: Trading, processing, repackaging, distribution Products: Frozen, chilled, smoked, preserved, and breaded fish and seafood

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Stema Real has over a decade of experience

Contract processing of non-sterilized products Stema produces non-sterilised products, salted and marinated pelagic ďŹ sh as well as peeled northern prawn, for distribution in supermarkets in Scandinavia. While most of the production is under private label the company harbours hopes of one day producing under its own brand.


terilisation is a thermal treatment process given to foods to neutralise pathogens and non-pathogenic microorganisms to make the food safe for consumption and to increase its shelf life, when stored under normal conditions. Non-sterilised products on the other hand do not undergo the same degree of thermal treatment and need therefore to be refrigerated to prevent spoilage. Stema is a processing company established in 2002 that specialises in nonsterilised products. According to Maris Stils, the managing director, there were good reasons for this decision. Latvia has a long history of sterilised canned fish production which companies are building on even today. There are several Latvian companies producing sterilised canned fish, says Mr Stils, and we saw no reason to get into that market to become just another producer of canned fish. This was one of the main reasons we decided to manufacture non-sterilised products. In 2002 the company put up therefore a purpose-built factory for nonsterilised products, at the time one of only a few of its kind in Latvia. But there was also another reason behind the decision to focus on non-sterilised products: the market for sterilised canned fish is mainly in Eastern Europe, while the non-sterilised products


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that Stema produces are sold mainly in the west.

Service for Scandinavian producers Stema provides a service making products to specification and under private label for companies that then sell them to Scandinavian supermarkets. Although private label is usually associated with supermarket brands, in this case the brands belong to the companies supplying the retailer. Since the factory opened 12 years ago the company has been producing for these suppliers, getting their recipes and manufacturing under their label. Although it has been over a decade since the factory started this activity Mr Stils has always dreamt about one day producing under his own label, although he is well aware of the pitfalls of trying to develop oneâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s own brand. One of the products in Stemaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s assortment is canned marinated anchovy fillet. These are actually sprats that are caught in the North Sea and which are then placed in salt mixed with spices in barrels. The barrels contain 120 kilos of which 90 kg is the fish while the remainder is the salt and spices. This first stage of the production process, where the fish are layered with the salt-spice mixture is actually carried out by the fishers themselves. The sprats are

Maris Stils, managing director of Stema Real

allowed to mature in the barrels for several months and are then transported to the Stema production unit in Ventspils, where skilled workers process the small fish in three ways: as whole fish with head and tail; as cleaned and filleted; and finally as skinless fillets. The fish is then placed in jars or cans in a spicy and slightly sweet marinade that is common in Scandinavia. As it is a non-sterilised product, once the container is open the contents needs to be moved into another receptacle and refrigerated. The product can then be kept for 2-3 days.

Non-sterilised production is demanding Sprats from the North Sea are quite different from the Baltic Sea variety,

says Maris Stils. North Sea sprats are larger and have a higher fat content and a different taste and texture than the Baltic Sea sprat. There are fishers from different countries that catch and do the initial processing of the fish, for example, from the UK or from Sweden, but the fish itself is always from the North Sea. Immediately upon landing the fish is placed in barrels with the salt and stored for a period while the salt is absorbed. At Stema the marinade in which the fillets are laid is made following a recipe from the Danish partner. Once the marinated fillets are placed in the jars or cans they are packaged and then sent to Denmark. One of the critical differences between sterilised and nonsterilised products is that while sterilised products can be stored


The shrimp is cooked and frozen on board Canadian vessels in the Arctic Ocean within hours of being caught. At Stema the thawed shrimp is peeled and exported.

at room temperature, the nonsterilised products must be stored under refrigeration otherwise they spoil. This means the integrity of the cool chain must be maintained throughout the production, storage, and transport if the product is to last until the published “use by” date. At room temperature the product will only last for four hours, says Mr Stils. The company maintains the raw material and the processing facility itself at between zero and four degrees, a temperature regime which extends to the storage chambers and the trucks that are used to deliver the product. Producing non-sterilised products is something of a challenge, says Mr Stils. Maintaining the temperature is one aspect, but one has to ensure that all the rules regarding sanitation and keeping the environment in the factory clean and pathogen free are strictly followed, otherwise the consequences can be profound.

North Sea herring and sprat, and Arctic Ocean shrimp Stema has two lines of products, the herring-based assortment of products which includes also those items made from sprats, and comprises herring fillets in different sauces and marinates, sprat fillets in marinates, and whole sprats. The

second line of products uses northern prawn as the raw material. The shrimp products are produced under contract for a Swedish brand for distribution on the Swedish market. The crustaceans are caught in Canadian waters of the Arctic and the North Atlantic. On Canadian vessels the shrimp are harvested and within minutes of arriving on board are sorted, cooked, frozen and packaged, to give a very high quality product. Northern prawn is the most important Canadian fishery in the Northern Atlantic and an significant Canadian export commodity. For the season April 2014 to March 2015 however Canadian shrimp quotas have been reduced significantly and the effect of this on shrimp importers in Europe remains to be seen. The cooked shrimp when they arrive at Stema are thawed and then peeled. Thawing is usually in air, but occasionally water will also be used to aid the process. Since using water increases the risk of contamination special precautionary measures are taken to monitor and prevent this. The heads and shells are removed leaving just the tails which are packaged in buckets that are then filled with brine. The shrimp are intended not for retail but for the restaurant and catering sector and the buckets therefore carry 2.3 kg or even 6.5 kg.

The Stema processing plant is certified to the Marin Stewardship Council’s Chain of Custody standard.

Constant battle for raw material In the factory production of the herring (and sprat) products and the shrimp products does not happen in parallel. The regulations forbid it, explains Mr Stils, so we will have one shift where the shrimp peelers work and then at the end of the shift the whole place is cleaned and disinfected and then we start with the herring and sprat production. Stema has been processing these products for many years for its clients and has built up a high degree of experience and competence among the staff, who are quick and capable although the work is demanding and much of it is done by hand. Production is around the year

for both product lines, but while the herring/sprat production is evenly distributed through the year the shrimp production tends to fluctuate more depending on the season, rising as summer approaches and then falling again during the winter months. Mr Stils is aware that his company is highly dependent on the shrimp quotas in Canada and other countries, which in turn can be affected by several factors including climate. As it is, he says, our supplier has to fight to get hold of the volumes he needs and it is not always easy. These shrimp are becoming increasingly popular not just on European markets, but also in Asian countries and the competition for the raw material promises to get stiffer over the years.

Stema Real Ltd Enkuru iela 12A 3601 Ventspils Latvia Tel.: +371 636 21455 Fax.: +371 636 21220 Managing director: Maris Stils Production: Marinated herring (Clupea harengus), sprat (Sprattus sprattus), cooked

and peeled northern prawn (Pandalus borealis) Volumes in 2013: 276 tonnes peeled shrimp, 311 tonnes fish products Processing factory: 1,300 sq. m Cold store: 400 sq. m Certification: MSC Chain of Custody Markets: EU countries Employees: 150

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[ RESEARCH ] The right to food, fish and omega-3’s

The nutritional benefits of fish are unique The right to food implies sufficient food should be available and every person on this planet should have the means to access safe and nutritious food for a healthy life. The right to food is a fundamental human right protecting the right of every individual to be free from food insecurity, hunger and malnutrition.


ish and fishery products play an important role in food and nutritional security around the world. Consumption of fish offers unique nutritional and health benefits and is considered a key element in a healthy diet. Increased attention is given to fish as a source of essential nutrients in our diets, not only high value proteins, but more importantly also as a unique source of micronutrients and long chain omega-3 fatty acids.

pregnancy and the first two years of life (the 1,000 day window). A recent FAO/WHO expert consultation concluded that fish in the diet lowers the risk of women giving birth to children with suboptimal development of the brain and neural system compared with women not eating fish1. Fish consumption is also known to have health benefits among the adult population. Strong evidence underlines how consumption of

fish, and in particular oily fish, lowers the risk of Coronary Heart Disease (CHD) mortality; it is estimated that fish consumption reduces the risk of dying of coronary heart diseases by up to 36 percent due to the long-chain omega-3 fatty acids found in fish and fishery products. CHDs are a global health problem affecting all populations. A daily intake of 250 mg EPA+DHA per adult gives optimal protection against CHD2. For optimal brain

development in children the daily requirement is only 150 mg per day.

Aquaculture to meet increasing demand for fish With a growing population worldwide, the demand for fisheries products will increase even if the per capita consumption remains at the present world average level of 19 kg/year (FAO, 2012).

An irreplaceable source of long chain fatty acids Foods from the aquatic environment have a particular role as a source of the long-chain omega-3 fatty acids, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). DHA is a major building block of our neural system, and therefore particularly important for optimal brain and neurodevelopment in children. Alternative sources of omega-3 fatty acids are found in many vegetable oils, but this is mainly alphalinolenic acid (ALA) that needs to be converted into DHA. However, in our bodies the conversion from ALA into EPA and DHA is in many cases inefficient, making it difficult to rely only on vegetable oil during the most critical periods of our lives, namely during 44

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Carps alone can cover the yearly need for long-chain omega-3 fatty acids of more than one billion people.

[ RESEARCH ] Better utilisation will also help meeting future demand

Several recent studies suggest that regular fish consumption offers more benefits than the intake of omega-3 supplements.

It is believed that this increased demand will mainly be met from the increased output of aquaculture products, and not from wild sources. At present close to 50 of all fish for human consumption is farmed, a proportion which is set to rise making aquaculture the main source of essential nutrients provided by the fisheries sector. Even though the nutritional composition of farmed and wild fish in most cases is comparable, there might be some differences. From a nutritional point of view, the main difference between farmed fish and their wild counterparts is related to the quality and quantity of fat. The nutrient composition of farmed fish is frequently compared to that of wild fish, or to that of other farmed fish. However, farmed fish should rather be compared to other farmed meats to show how aquaculture products have a marked nutritional advantage by providing high levels of essential nutrients, some of which are hardly found in non-aquatic foods. The main farmed fish species, carps and tilapia, have much lower levels of the long-chain omega-3 fatty acids compared, for example, to salmon, but can

still be considered good sources of these fatty acids. Compared to levels in beef or chicken, the levels in carp and tilapia are much higher (USDA, 2013). A single meal of carp can cover up to several days requirement of this essential nutrient. The role consumption of farmed carp plays for food and nutrition security is particularly evident in many Asian countries where the major part of this fish is consumed. Carp alone can cover the yearly need for long-chain omega-3 fatty acids of more than one billion people, significantly more than the contribution from all salmon species combined. Wild and farmed fish are a healthy and better alternative to almost any other meats. Farmed fish have a more constant nutrient composition compared to their wild counterpart, whose environment, food and access to food varies during the year. The environment of farmed fish can be monitored and managed to secure an optimal product. By controlling the composition of aquaculture feeds and other inputs, healthy fish and healthful fish products with the optimal nutritional composition can be supplied.

Improved utilisation of existing fishery resources should also play a more important role in meeting the increasing demand of valuable nutrients from the aquatic environment. Reducing post-harvest losses, estimated at more than 10 in volume and up to 30 in value, could release millions of tonnes of healthful fish products for consumption. By-products as a result of processing represent in many cases more than 50 of the fish being processed. These by-products are increasingly being used for fishmeal and fish oil production, replacing the small pelagics being processed into fishmeal and fish oil. This has prevented the volumes of small pelagics for human consumption from decreasing although capture of these fish has been diminishing for many years. Some by-products could also be used directly for human consumption. One example here is the increasing export of fish heads from European and North American markets to Asian and African markets. These by-products are in many cases low cost products, but with a high nutritional value.

Small pelagics are cheap, nutritious, and filled with omega-3s Fish is the main source of long chain omega-3s (EPA and DHA) in our diets. Increasing focus and knowledge on the beneficial properties of these fatty acids has increased the demand for omega-3 supplements. However, this might not be the most optimal way of utilising our fish resources. Taking

supplements can result in intake of long chain omega-3s many times higher than the recommended daily intake, in some cases justified, but in most cases probably unnecessary. Several recent studies also suggest regular intake of omega-3 supplements has limited benefits compared to the benefits of regular fish consumption. The availability of long chain omega-3s is limited and should be made accessible to as many people as possible. Consuming fish directly is an economical and efficient way of providing long chain omega-3s, and additionally providing many essential nutrients, in addition to EPA and DHA. Consuming one hundred grams of small pelagic fish such as sardines or anchovies once a week will more than cover the needs of omega-3s for a person. Small pelagic fish are among the most affordable and healthy fish. Two meals a week of most carps will do the same, and no fish oil is needed in their feed in order to become a good source of beneficial omega-3 oils. For some people supplements might be the only option, and fish oil supplements made from fish by-products, rather than whole fish, is a good example on how supplements can play an excellent role in giving more people access to the valuable long chain omega-3s. Jogeir Toppe, FAO 1


FAO (2011). The State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture 2010, FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Deptartment. Rome, FAO. 218p. Available at http:// i1820e.pdf Mozaffarian, D., Rimm, E.B. (2006). Fish intake, contaminants, and human health: evaluating the risks and the benefits. JAMA, 296, 1885-99.

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Morocco has ambitious plans for its fisheries and aquaculture sector

Fishing for economic and social development Morocco, in the north-west corner of Africa, is blessed with an Atlantic as well as a Mediterranean coastline with a total length of 1,835 km, of which 512 km is Mediterranean. Morocco’s waters are rich fishing grounds for pelagic species, whitefish, cephalopods, and crustaceans much of which is exported. The fisheries sector amounts to 2.3% of GDP and with an export value of EUR1.17 billion (MAD13.2 billion) is responsible for 50% of food exports and 10% of total exports. In terms of employment the fisheries sector provides 170,000 direct jobs and 490,000 indirect positions. Altogether, some 3 million people benefit from the sector.


he structure of catches has been more or less stable over the last two years (2012 and 2013). Pelagic species represent almost 90 of the volume and around 40 of the value. The main pelagic species are sardine, chub mackerel, anchovy, and jack and horse mackerel. The most valuable species are the cephalopods, octopus, cuttlefish, and squid, that amount to about 4 of catches, but over a quarter of the value. Whitefish, which forms the biggest group in volume terms, after the pelagics, with about 7, represent just

under 25 of the value. Blacktip grouper, bogue, and hake are some of the important whitefish species in terms of volumes.

Catches from coastal and artisanal fleets The Moroccan fishing fleet can be divided into the artisanal fleet comprising 14,225 vessels, coastal vessels numbering 1,835, and 344 offshore boats. The fleet is distributed between the 13 ports on the Mediterranean coast and the 40 on the Atlantic side. The latter are broadly subdivided into north, central, and south Atlantic.

Moroccan catches Volume (tonnes)

Value (euro)
























Pelagic fish

Bivalves Algae Others Total

















Source: National Fisheries Office


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The bulk of the offshore fishing vessels, that is, 86 or about 300 vessels, land their catches in the central Atlantic ports, while about 40 of the artisanal fleet, or 5,545 vessels, is based in the south Atlantic ports. Apart from this, the coastal and artisanal fleets are roughly equally divided between the four zones. Fish is landed at 22 ports while a further 22 facilities are intended mainly for landings by the artisanal fleet and are located in more isolated areas. Eleven of these facilities are in the south Atlantic zone reflecting its importance for the artisanal fleet. The remaining 11 are evenly distributed in the other three zones with 4 in the central Atlantic and 3 each in the north Atlantic and the Mediterranean.

Diverse fish processing sector The processing sector in Morocco can be divided primarily into six areas of activity: processing and canning, mainly of small pelagics; filleting and salting anchovies as well as making marinated seafood products; fresh fish; frozen fish; producing fishmeal for the

manufacture of fish and poultry feed, as well as fishoil, which is used in feed and the cosmetic, pharmaceutical, and dietary industries; and finally, processing algae to produce agar gels which are used in the food and the cosmetic industry. The companies in the processing sector number 422 in total of which 190 are freezing companies, while 76 work in the fresh fish sector. In terms of export however, out of a total export value of MAD13.2 billion (EUR1.17bn), exports of frozen products and of canned fish amount to more than 70, while the remainder comprises fresh fish, semi-preserves, and fishmeal and oil. About 30 of the processing factories are based in the southern part of the country and many of them specialise in freezing pelagic fish and octopus. According to Mohammed Ichibane, a consultant with Cofrepeche Maroc, nearly 80 of the pelagic fish landed is not subject to any value-addition.

EU is the main export destination for Moroccan seafood Morocco’s biggest export market is indisputably the EU, which


level has prompted the industry to take steps to actively promote Moroccan seafood in the US. The seafood trade expects to increase exports to America by 17 annually and the recent Boston seafood show helped the companies to raise their profile on the US market and promote Moroccan seafood.

Small volumes of seabream and seabass (pictured) are farmed in marine cages. Now the government is planning to develop a hatchery for these species.

The production of mussels and ways of increasing it are also being actively considered by the National Agency for the Development of Aquaculture.

absorbs 68 of the total export value. Seafood export comprise frozen and fresh fish, cephalopods, and crustaceans; canned fish; semi conserves; and fishmeal and fish oil. More than half (53) of this value is comprised of frozen seafood, while fresh fish makes up 15 and

conserves 17. The rest of Africa is the next biggest market for Moroccan seafood taking 13 of the total export value, most of it (87) in the form of conserves, while almost all the rest is frozen. Other markets are in Asia (8 of total export value) and the US with a mere 2. This low

The fish processing industry in Morocco is well established handling more than 70 of the catch landed by Moroccan fishing vessels and exporting a range of products all over the world. Regular upgrades to equipment and investments in employee skills are carried out by the companies in the sector. In 2013 just under 1.2m tonnes of seafood were landed at Moroccan ports. Of this volume 33 was consumed fresh, 37 was frozen and the rest was divided between the production of conserves and of fishmeal and fish oil. According to the 2012 figures from the processors association FENIP, two thirds by volume of the products exported are destined for European markets. Of this, more than 90 of the export of semi-preserved products, and fishmeal and oil, and 99 of the fresh, go to Europe. Export destinations of frozen and canned products are more diverse. A substantial share of the canned fish export, 45, goes to other African nations, while frozen products are sold in Europe (57), Africa (19), the Americas (9), and Asia (9).

Fisheries strategy to increase production several fold In 2009 the Moroccan government launched an ambitious strategy for the fisheries sector

that sought to raise the contribution of the fisheries and processing sector to the national economy from MAD8.3 billion (EUR0.74bn) to MAD22 billion (EUR1.95bn) in 2020, an almost three-fold increase. Presenting the strategy in 2010, Ms Sabah Lazraq, Director in the Department of Fisheries, said that its overall objective was to secure the sustainability of Moroccan fish stocks and to ensure that Morocco maintained its position as a supplier of fish and seafood to the global market. The strategy will seek to boost domestic production, the number of jobs in the sector, and domestic consumption of seafood from 10 kg per capita to 16 kg per capita. Sustainability of stocks was also one of the pillars of the strategy, which foresaw the introduction of fishing quotas so that by 2020 95 of the species caught would be from managed stocks – up from 5 at present. In addition, the strategy also seeks to increase the export value from USD1.2 billion (EUR0.88bn) to USD3.1 billion (EUR2.28bn). Sixteen projects have been initiated that provide the structure through which the strategic objectives will be achieved. The projects are grouped into four vertical pillars, sustainability, markets, competitiveness, and one horizontal pillar, governance, that impacts the other three. The successful execution of these projects calls for dedicated infrastructure in the form of legislation, monitoring capacity, research and, above all, committed funding. Accordingly the projects are supported by five instruments in the shape of the National Committee for Fisheries which focuses on governance;

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the Adjustment and Modernisation Fund to provide financing; the National Agency for the Development of Aquaculture (ANDA), the Centre for Seafood Value Addition, and a body for monitoring employment in the sector.

Aquaculture a key element in the strategy Aquaculture in Morocco is still in its infancy although the first farms go back to the 50s when oyster spat was imported from France and Portugal and raised on racks in the Oualidia lagoon to give an annual production of 150-250 tonnes. Despite the long coastline there are few sheltered sites suitable for fish farming due to the heavy swell on the Atlantic side. This makes lagoons, bays, and estuaries the most favourable places for the development of marine aquaculture. In the 80s production was introduced in the Nador lagoon, where a number of species of fish and shellfish were raised using different technologies. Production however never exceeded 1,000 tonnes per year. In the 90s and the following decade two more fish farms were established

and mussel and oyster cultivation started in the north and the south of the country. Today modest volumes of seabass, seabream, meagre, oyster, clam and shrimp are being cultivated using a variety of techniques including offshore cages, raceways, earthen ponds, longlines, rafts, and stakes. The sector is attracting a lot of interest in Morocco where authorities recognise its potential as a source of nutritious and healthy protein, of employment, and of export earnings thereby contributing to the country’s food security and socio-economic development. The development of fish and shellfish farming forms part of the strategic plan launched for the fisheries sector in 2009 and which seeks to increase annual aquaculture production to 200,000 tonnes by 2020 from less than 500 tonnes today, and make it a major driver of growth in the fisheries sector. Fish and shellfish farming is thus one of the 16 projects into which the fisheries strategy has been structured, and falls under the first pillar, sustainability. A sign of the government’s seriousness is a new body, the National

The government would like to substantially increase the production of oysters.


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Production of oysters goes back to the 50s when seed was imported from Portugal and France.

Agency for the Development of Aquaculture, established in 2011 and charged with building up Moroccan aquaculture. ANDA is responsible for designing, implementing, and monitoring action plans that will achieve the objectives of the government’s strategy for the aquaculture sector.

Private and public sectors collaborate to realise strategic goals ANDA has developed a legislative framework for the sector, and is working to win the support of investors without whom the sector will not take off. It has also launched pilot projects in collaboration with the public and private sectors. These include the establishment of a national hatchery for the production of high quality fingerlings and two farms that will produce mussels and seaweed respectively. The organisation will use integrated coastal zone management to manage the sustainable development of the coast taking the different, and often conflicting,

uses (fish and shellfish farming, tourism, fishing) as well as the environment into account. Cooperation agreements have been signed with aquaculture organisations in Spain and Senegal to support the Moroccan aquaculture programme and a study of the market for farmed fish and shellfish in Morocco as well as in potential export markets is being carried out. The ambitious plans for the Moroccan aquaculture sector were given a good start, when in April this year the government signed ten agreements covering four shellfish farms, four fish farms, and hatchery each for shellfish and finfish. Among the investors is the Kilic Group, Turkey’s biggest producer of seabass and seabream and the owner of the largest hatchery capacity for fingerlings of these two species. Taken together these initiatives should increase the production from the aquaculture sector giving a boost to local economies and increasing the domestic consumption of fish as envisaged in the national strategy.

[ PROCESSING ] Sapmer is developing new ways to add value

Vertically integrating as far as possible The Sapmer Group comprises a holding company based in Singapore and subsidiaries. Sapmer is a French company on Reunion Island and Mauritius. The group is focused primarily on catching and processing ďŹ sh before marketing and distributing the products around the world.


mong the French overseas territories is Reunion Island located off the eastern coast of Madagascar in the Indian Ocean and about 200 km from Mauritius. As an EU outermost region Reunion Island is an integral part of the European Union and subject to EU law. Export from Reunion has the same access to the EU market as does export from any other EU Member State.

Rock lobster and Patagonian toothfish were the start The Sapmer Group was started in 1947 with fishing for St Paul rock lobster (Jasus paulensis) in the waters of the French Southern and Antarctic Territories in the southern Indian Ocean roughly midway between South Africa, Australia, and Antarctica. The company has a quota of approximately 400 tonnes a year. It has been catching lobster for many years using lobster pots and today its vessel, which is French-flagged makes two trips to the fishing grounds between December and April. The vessel used for the lobster fishing is a factory ship on which the lobsters are processed either raw or cooked and then frozen and packed. In the 90s the company expanded into fishing for Patagonian toothfish (Dissostichus eleginoides) in the Antarctic using longlines. The company has 55ď&#x2122;&#x201A; of the French quota for this species, according

to Paul David, the sales director of Sapmer, or 3,200 tonnes per year. The fish is caught with a fleet of four longliners that does three trips per year landing all the fish on Reunion where it is stored in a purpose built coldstore that is maintained at -20 degrees celsius prior to being re-exported to the companyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s market in Asia and the US. It is one of the obligations associated with the quotas, explains Mr David, that we land the fish on French territory. The fishing grounds for Patagonian toothfish are around the Kerguelen and Crozet Islands in the Southern Ocean. The species is fished between a minimum depth of 500 m and 2,500 m. It is a long-lived species with some individuals living for up to 50 years and reaching 2 m in length and up to 50 kg in weight. Aware of the importance of preserving the resource Sapmer together with six other French vessel owners has had the fishery in the Kerguelen zone certified by the Marine Stewardship Council.

Expansion into Indian Ocean tuna fishing While the fishery for the St Paul rock lobster and the Patagonian toothfish sustained the company for many years, the quotas on these species were a constraint to its expansion. In the mid-2000s the company therefore decided that it needed to start working with other species if it was to develop

Paul David, sales director of Sapmer

its business. This was the start of the tuna catching and processing activities which were inspired by the Japanese model of tuna fishing. Purse seiners catch the tuna and then freeze the fish at -40 degrees celsius directly on board the vessel leading to the production of a sashimi type tuna. This product was exported first to Japan, but later also to the EU, the US, and South Africa. The initial years the company spent obtaining the fishing licenses, and understanding the business of tuna production, marketing and distribution. Assisting them was a Japanese customer who worked closely with Sapmer explaining the finer points of the tuna business, how to cut the fish, how to grade it, how to test the product to see whether it was grade A or B. This initial exchange developed into a long and mutually beneficial commercial relationship between the two firms. The first two

tuna seiners started their activity in 2006 and were initially intended for the production of canned tuna. Later however these were replaced with five brand new, 90 m long purse seiners ordered in two stages. These five vessels fly under the French flag, while another two that have since entered the fleet are Mauritian flagged. On board these vessels the fish is frozen in two steps to rapidly bring down the temperature to -40 degrees celsius. In 2009 the company constructed its first coldstore, which had a capacity of 900 tonnes and a temperature of -40 degrees celsius, in Port Louis, Mauritius. All our tuna activities, storage, sales, administration, and logistics are managed out of Mauritius, says Mr David, and all the tuna from the vessels is landed and stored there. As the tuna catches were growing the company expanded its cold storage capacity

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[ PROCESSING ] first by 2,700 tonnes bringing the total capacity to 3,600 tonnes, and subsequently by a further 2,500 tonnes to reach the 6,100 tonnes that it has today. It is also important to be able to supply the fish all the year around and therefore it is necessary to have a cold store that is large enough and cold enough to be able to store the fish for periods without impacting the quality. The tuna fishing is seasonal, yellowfin for instance is caught between December and March, and is then frozen so that it can be supplied all the year round. While yellowfin is the dominant species in Sapmer’s assortment amounting to 40-45 of the total tuna catches, the company also targets skipjack (50) and bigeye tuna (5). About 35 of the yellowfin catch is fish above 10 kg, the most desirable size.

Plan to expand tuna fleet The company’s fleet of seven purse seiners will expand with a further two vessels, one this year and one in 2015. The facilities on Mauritius include grading, sizing, and sorting capabilities in addition to the coldstores at -40 degrees celsius. The fish is frozen on board and when it is landed on Mauritius it is graded, sized, and sorted, and placed in the cold store. Sapmer also owns two factories in Mauritius, where the fish is processed. In one the fish is made into loins, while at the other the fish is cut into steaks, made into saku blocks, retail boxes, vacuum packages, etc. The second processing factory is a joint venture with one of the main companies on Mauritius. From the time the fish is frozen it is never defrosted until it reaches the consumer, says Mr David, all the processing operations are carried out on frozen fish. During the processing the fish can go from -40 degrees celsius to -35 degrees celsius, but once it has been processed the products are returned to the coldstore at 50

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-40 degrees celsius. The products are shipped in containers at -35 degrees celsius or in superfreeze containers at -55 degrees celsius depending on the quality of the product. Sapmer sells its value-added tuna products to France and Italy and is focusing on developing other markets in the EU including Northern and Eastern Europe. In addition it is selling in South Africa, where it is hoping to expand its market share. Because the tuna is Mauritian, it is possible to export the fish duty free to South Africa with a SADC (Southern African Development Community) certificate which should assist in penetrating this market. Sapmer has also signed an agreement with an American company to sell tuna into the US. Part of the production is whole round fish too small to be further processed or not the requisite quality, which is sold to canning plants either on Mauritius or the Seychelles, to Thailand, or to Japan to be made into a dried skipjack.

The fish is brought aboard the boat and pre-frozen in brine before being stored at -40 degrees celsius.

A supplier of final products rather than raw burgers with quality ingredients for the raw material, processing it into material retail markets are also being devel- highly value-added products, and Sapmer is however not resting on its laurels. A newly created R & D division is busy developing ideas for more value-added products, so that Sapmer can supply the final product rather than just the raw material. Additionally, Mr David is interested in increasing the yield from the tuna which is currently only 40-45 by fine-tuning the processing technique. But the main target is finding ways to add value to the by-products from the cutting process, the head, guts, skin, bones, and tails. The company is already experimenting with extracting the meat from these by-products, making it into blocks and then using the blocks to make low end tuna burgers for hospitals, catering, or other bulk buyers. High end

oped by the new division. Sapmer’s strategy – to become a vertically integrated company catching

supplying them to markets around the world – is clearly well on its way to being implemented.

Sapmer Premium Seaproducts Freeport Zone 8 Quay D Road Port Louis Mauritius Tel.: +230 405 9700 Sales Director: Paul David Activities: Fishing, processing Species: St Paul rock lobster (Jasus paulensis), Patagonian toothfish (Dissostichus eleginoides), yellowfin, skipjack, and bigeye tuna

Fleet: 1 lobster vessel, 4 longliners, 7 (increasing to 9 in 2015) purse seiners Annual volumes: 400 tonnes lobster, 5,000 tonnes toothfish, 38,500-42,000 tonnes tuna Markets: Japan, EU, USA, Thailand, South Africa Coldstore: 6,100 tonnes at -40 degrees celsius on Mauritius, 2000 tonnes at -20 degrees celsius on Reunion Island Employees: 880

[ AQUACULTURE ] Energy- and eco-efficiency in aquaculture

Many potential savings are not yet realized As energy costs continue to rise, energy efficiency in aquaculture becomes an increasingly important topic. And addressing the topic of energy efficiency is not just about the power requirements of individual devices; it means taking a holistic view of all processes that require energy... because sustainable production also means producing more fish with less energy.


he production, distribution and preparation of our food require large amounts of energy. On average, about one quarter of the energy requirements of developed countries are used for this. The production of protein-rich foods, i.e. meat and fish, require a particularly large amount of energy. It is not really possible to name any accurate figures on how much energy is needed to produce a fish in aquaculture because such data are highly dependent on various different factors such as the farming method used or the prevailing climatic conditions. The nutritional requirements of the fish species in question play just as important a role as the efficiency of breeding, which in turn depends very much on the farm’s management, genetic improvements achieved for the species through specific breeding regimes, or health management. It can be said, however, that for the most important production techniques in aquaculture, feed today accounts for the largest share of costs. And for the farming of some fish species feed accounts for nearly two-thirds of production costs.

One way to combat the increasing pressure from rising feed costs would be to increase the production of herbivorous or omnivorous fish species such as carp or tilapia. However, demand for these fish species is not high in Western markets.

Aquafeed manufacturers thus often choose another way and are including more and more plant materials in their feed. Although this requires a lot of knowledge and particular expertise, it is still a good way to reduce energy input during the farming of carnivorous species such as salmon, and it makes production more environmentally friendly and more sustainable. In comparison with other methods for the production of proteinrich food, aquaculture products already come off quite well. To produce one kilogram of beef, for example – depending on method and region – between 35 and 50 MJ are necessary (all figures based on kg live weight). For pork, energy requirements vary between 16 and 20 MJ/kg. This corresponds approximately to the per kilogram energy requirement within fisheries, which during the last two decades has increased approximately six-fold due to the rise in fuel costs and longer journeys to the fishing grounds. Concrete data on energy use in aquaculture are only available for a few species and they vary greatly… from 17 to 20 MJ for the production of one kilogram of pangasius, to 18 to 27 MJ/kg of tilapia. It must not be forgotten, however, that compared to agricultural production methods, aquaculture is still relatively young and so still has large

Climate control systems ensure that constant indoor air conditions prevail in RAS. This cross-flow heat exchanger reduces heat requirements by around 50%.

optimization potential. If it were possible, for example, to achieve the standards of the best farms everywhere in aquaculture, this would enable enormous improvements.

And global aquaculture has huge savings potential from an energy perspective, too. One could, for example, make good use of the nutrients contained

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Aerators offer huge savings potential. Modern systems usually require less maintenance, are more powerful, more reliable and more energy saving than technically obsolete units.

in the supposed “waste” from fish farming facilities. This could be for the production of other foodstuffs so that aquaculture would then generate more protein with the same energy input. These possibilities must be developed further in the coming years in order to achieve higher sustainability. Already today, a number of aquaculture facilities are undergoing “energy screening” to track down any latent reserves and possible savings. They call in specialists to analyse their energy balance, their consumption of water, electricity and heating energy and set these against the company’s output and product throughput rates. Although this requires considerable effort, it pays off very quickly. Sometimes, all it takes is a few small changes to noticeably improve the profitability of production.

Waste of energy as the price of alleged safety A project that the German Development Corporation GTZ carried out jointly with Thai shrimp farmers a few years ago showed where reserves are also to be found. In Thailand’s intensive shrimp farms energy costs account for approximately one-quarter to one-third of production costs. It was noted that paddlewheels and pumps ran continuously, even when this would not be necessary. The aim of the project was to analyse the cost structures of the farms and identify opportunities 52

for savings. First, they looked for key performances, i.e. those factors that cause costs and can be influenced selectively – a kind of “benchmarking,” in which not only bare costs, but also the efficiency of the systems was considered, in other words, whether the costs and the benefits were in a reasonable relation to each other. The costs were each assessed per kilogram of shrimp produced in order to make the companies comparable. The analyses revealed that aerators accounted for around 80 of energy costs, making them the biggest energy consumers. If they were only used when actually needed, the energy costs could be reduced significantly. To control the switching on and off of the aerators as needed, however, meant taking regular oxygen measurements. Unfortunately, many farmers shy away from the necessary investments for this. Apparently they would rather pay a little more per month for diesel and electricity than invest a large amount of money in one go in the monitoring of oxygen. Many aquaculture facilities, especially in developing countries, lack a power management policy, and the technology used is often outdated and not very effective. Already with modern aerators and pumps that have a higher level of efficiency, energy consumption could be reduced measurably. Sometimes costs can even be saved simply through a slight reduction in production intensity. Farmers who do not use their ponds at the upper

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limit of capacity don’t have to ventilate them so intensively. The risk of losses decreases, and farming is optimised. And after all: what is the benefit earning a bit more if the gain is offset again by exponential cost increases? The project therefore also developed calculation models to find the point at which production quantities, costs and revenues are in a reasonable proportion to each other. Sometimes, it is already possible to increase efficiency simply by producing a little less.

Combining aquaculture with renewable energy sources Another way to reduce energy costs is to use renewable energy sources, which come from “natural resources”, for example solar, wind, precipitation, geothermal, or tidal, as well as agricultural raw materials or waste. Renewable energies have become much more significant due to the dramatic rise in crude oil prices and the ongoing climate change and they are considered to be particularly sustainable. Anyone who meets their energy requirements using such sources only improves the ecological balance of their operation, however, and not its energy efficiency… that is at least as long as they continue to use just as much power as before, albeit from other sources. A more efficient energy use would mean producing the same or even a larger amount of fish with less energy. Compared to terrestrial farm animal production, aquaculture releases only small quantities of CO2 into the atmosphere and proportionately only contributes minimally to the global greenhouse effect. This was proven in the study “Blue Frontiers : Managing the environmental costs of aquaculture” that the World Fish Center carried out on the basis of life cycle analyses in aquaculture. According to this

study most of the energy needs are not accounted for by aquaculture itself, but by the peripheral area of feed production. In some species feed production can account for up to 90 of total energy consumption. Nevertheless, like agriculture, aquaculture is under strong social pressure to improve its sustainability and reduce its impact on the environment. One way to achieve this objective would be the stronger integration and use of renewable energy, particularly bio-energy. The multi-year integrated EU research project BIFFiO, in which scientists from Norway, the UK and Germany as well as small and medium sized enterprises from the aquaculture, agriculture and bio-energy sectors are involved, is to examine how waste from fish farms and animal farms can be used intelligently either for obtaining energy, or as fertilizer. When the project comes to end in October 2016, it will make an important contribution to the EU’s objective to meet 20 of the Community’s energy needs with renewable sources by 2020. Elsewhere in the world, too, people are looking to make use of renewable energy. Already in July 2008, the U.S. State of Hawaii adopted a law (HB 2261) which includes a loan programme for aquaculture operators and farmers working in projects with renewable energy from water and wind power to photovoltaics or the production of methane, bio- diesel and ethanol. Loans can be provided for a maximum of 85 of project costs over a period of up to forty years.

Closure of material and energy cycles Closed circuit systems which are also called recirculating aquaculture systems (RAS) have particularly large potential for energy savings and thus also for efficiency improvements. In such

[ AQUACULTURE ] systems, the circulating water is kept constantly in motion using pumps, which require considerable amounts of energy. The water must be continuously cleaned with mechanical and biological filters, disinfected with ozone or UV light, “degassed” i.e. CO2 removed and re-oxygenated. When RAS are operated in regions with temperate climates they also often have to be heated as well, particularly in winter. Because these processes require energy, the investors today mostly try to combine their RAS with plants for producing renewable energy. Biogas plants are frequently chosen because they provide not only electricity, but also considerable amounts of waste heat. Some biogas plants can even utilise the sludge produced during fish production, so that at least partially closed material and energy cycles between RAS and biogas generation arise. The heated cooling water of conventional thermal power plants also offers good possibilities for a more energy efficient aquaculture because they enable optimal growth conditions year round for the fish in the farm’s tanks. Combining aquaculture with other methods of food production also seems promising with regard to the efficient use of energy. Aquaculture facilities do not only produce fish but also slaughter waste, nutrientrich water, sludge and CO2 from the fishes’ respiration. It is possible to make good use of such components within integrated systems. The simplest case would be, for example, to spray the nutrient-rich water (“liquid fertilizer”) which flows out of the fish tank onto agricultural land or to use it for irrigation of vegetable crops. The operators of aquaponic systems even try to link fish and plant production directly. Such systems, however, are highly complex and so very difficult to control if both farming areas are to be

equally productive. Even the CO2enriched warm air from warmwater RAS could be put to good use by passing it, for example, into a greenhouse, where it could then be used by plants during photosynthesis. Many plant operators also put heat exchangers into isolated RAS to keep the energy within the system for as long as possible and not to lose it to the outside. Despite all efforts, however, it cannot be ignored that the demand for electric power and other energy forms is increasing in aquaculture, which of course leads to an increase in production costs and in turn to a poorer CO2 balance on the farms. According to calculations by the Danish Aquaculture Association the rearing of just one kilogram of rainbow trout currently devours nearly 1.7 kWh. The Association sees this high value as a challenge for aquaculture and has set a goal to reduce the energy requirements of trout production to 1 kWh per kg. With an annual production of 35,000 tonnes that would mean annual financial savings of DKK17.1 million (EUR2.3m) and a CO2 reduction of 13,400 t. Attempts are now being made in a research project to find methods for aeration, degassing and water movement that are more energy efficient than the currently preferred method of air-lift pumps (“mammoth pumps”).

Better ecological balance through recycling of process waste It is also possible to improve the efficiency of fish production in aquaculture by finding ways to use the accumulated fish waste to economic benefit. One possibility is as fish meal and fish silage, another is further processing it to biodiesel, which can be used either in its pure form or as an additive to conventional fuels. This has long

been more than a mere idea: diesel from fish waste is already being made and used commercially in several regions of the world, for example in Canada, the USA, Vietnam and Honduras. The energy content of the fish biodiesel is 6 lower than in mineral fuel. One litre of biodiesel can be produced from one kilogram of fish waste and biodiesel is on average about one US dollar cheaper per gallon than conventional petroleum diesel. The production of fish biodiesel, which is usually done by transesterification from fish fat, is not too complicated. During the process, in addition to biodiesel, glycerol is also produced as a by-product and this can be further processed to soap. The remaining fish waste can even be processed into fishmeal, although the value of this meal is not high because a lot of highenergy components have already been extracted. Anyone who is not wanting to look at the energy efficiency of individual components but rather to examine the efficiency and sustainability of the whole process chain in aquaculture often makes use of life cycle assessments (LCA) . With their help, it is possible to assess accurately the impact on the environment at every stage of the product life “from the egg to the edible product”. The energy balance does not only allow statements to be made about how environmentally friendly the system is but also enables one to locate crucial weaknesses within the system. And it is precisely these hotspots which through changes and modifications or slight adjustments can bring about the greatest promise of success. Water consumption and land usage are just as much part of this as the main consumers of energy - feed, transport, infrastructure of the facilities, and the processing of the produced fish.

In the same proportion as aquaculture’s energy dependence increases, the number of ways to improve the eco-balance and energy efficiency of production systems also increases. The aim is generally to generate as much fish as possible with as little energy as possible. Often it helps already to stop using old, inefficient energyintensive techniques and replace them with new, more efficient equipment. This can be especially worthwhile where aerators are concerned, with new systems usually requiring less maintenance, being more powerful, more reliable and more energy saving than old units that were purchased many years ago . There is also enormous potential for savings in the field of lighting where traditional light sources can be replaced by light-emitting diodes (LEDs). These modern light sources are known for their long service life and extremely low power consumption while maintaining the same light output. For special purposes in aquaculture there are now even submersible LED lights that can be used underwater. In aquaculture, as in other industrial sectors, sharing experiences among professional colleagues is the easiest and cheapest investment. And one should take advantage of every opportunity to do this, because increasing energy efficiency does not only benefit individual companies but every single one of us. We all share the consequences of using fossil fuels and increased CO2 emissions, climate change and environmental damage. For this reason alone, when using or choosing a particular technology one should always consider its necessity and its energy requirements very critically. Sometimes setting up a simple shade net over a pond will achieve the same effects as elaborate, energy-intensive filtration systems or cooling systems. mk

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[ AQUACULTURE ] Fischmaster IP-Services GmbH

Zander fry from Hessenaue Zander is considered to be one of the most promising fish species for production in closed recirculating aquaculture systems. One problem, however, is that there are not enough fry available that have been adapted to dry feed. This could change now, however, because in May 2013 Fischmaster IP Services GmbH opened an ultramodern facility for the reproduction and farming of zander fry. The investment was made without any state subsidies.


iewed from the outside you wouldn’t think that on the two hectare site in Hessenaue near Trebur, within the triangle between Frankfurt, Darmstadt and Mainz, you would find one of the most modern recirculating systems in Germany. No big oxygen tanks, no insulated functional buildings, not even any transport containers for fish are to be seen. The whole complex with its 16 buildings – an air force homestead that was built in 1938 and has since then experienced a variety of different uses over the course of the years – is a listed building and site and thus under protection. This places particular architectural and historical obligations on Eric Nürnberger, the founder and manager of Fischmaster. He is not permitted to insulate the outer facades and when any of the much needed restoration work is carried out it has to be in exact accordance with fixed stipulations – from the kind of wood to the colour of the windows. On top of that, the site is also a conversion area because the homestead was mainly used for military purposes during its varied history: as part of a military airfield, as an army storage depot, and as a police training ground. Before he could start building at all Eric Nürnberger had to have about 60 holes drilled into the ground throughout the whole site and even beneath the buildings to enable investigations that were necessary to attain 54

the required soil, water and pollution reports. There were no water or electricity network plans, all the cables and pipes were old or no longer dependable. Whatever you touched, seemed quite dilapidated, Nürnberger remembers. He had kilometres of cable and 45 power distribution boxes installed. It took about six months just to get things tidied up and make preparations for the building process. Anybody who does all of that voluntarily must be very convinced of, or even obsessed with, the idea that this would be an excellent place for aquaculture. Eric Nürnberger is a passionate hobby angler and the idea for the aquaculture facility had taken seed at a course for fisheries supervisors in which he had taken part, when someone talked about aquaculture and indoor recirculating technology. He began to do his own research on the topic, try things out, and for many years ran his own small experimental plant in a garage. It is from that time that his connection with the fish farming expert Peter Schumacher stems. Schumacher has in the meantime set up his own business as a consultant for aquaculture planning, projects and ventures. After thorough examination of the market situation Eric Nürnberger gave up his original plan to build a farming facility for zander and decided instead to invest in fry

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Eric Nürnberger, the founder of Fischmaster, ensures that for the delivery of the zander fry to fish farmers and angling clubs there is a suitably equipped trailer with transport containers available.

production. At first he wanted to set up the recirculating system in Trebur’s Astheim industrial park where he already has two IT companies. Then it was to be built in a green field environment and he had even already purchased five hectares of agricultural land to this purpose. But although the local authority showed a lot of interest, the plans were initially unsuccessful because for one thing Nürnberger failed to gain the required operating licences and for another there were infrastructure problems. When in November 2011 the old homestead was to be sold via a public auction he succeeded in buying it and his project soon began to take concrete shape. Construction work began already six months later after he had worked out the technical design of the plant together with the project team behind Peter Schumacher.

Room-in-room construction creates space within the facility On account of the constructional limitations due to the preservation order Peter Schumacher had to look for alternative solutions when planning the recirculating system. The lower floor of the building was completely gutted to create a total area of slightly more than 750 square metres. That was enough space to install four new insulated rooms for the facility. These rooms stand freely within the building like dolls in the belly of a Russian Matrjoschka. “Room in room” is what Schumacher calls this construction type which is rather complex but offers several advantages. Cables and pipelines do not have to be sunk into the ground (an expensive process), for example, but can be

[ AQUACULTURE ] That would mean he would have enough electricity available to produce hydrogen by means of electrolysis and this could be used at any time in fuel cells for heat and electricity production. “We are only planning to become fully selfsufficient, however, and not to feed power into the public network.”

To encourage the parent fishes to maturity outside the normal spawning period the system manipulates environmental parameters to give the appearance of different seasons.

The most important company goal is, of course, the production of zander fry which should as far as possible be year-round. In order to bring the parent fish to maturity outside the regular spawning time the environment parameters are manipulated to give the appearance of changing seasons. To achieve this an elaborate electronic control system was developed which mimics the seasonal changes through different light and temperature parameters. After a brief “summer” with more than 16 hours light and 20°C follows “winter” with shorter light phases and lower water temperatures. The coming months will show whether that alone will be sufficient to stimulate the zanders’ maturity or whether other environmental factors will have to be modified, too. To begin with, the potential parent fishes have been divided into four groups for

positioned much more cheaply to the side of the installation. There they are more easily accessible for inspection and maintenance at any time. Apart from that, the layer of air between the inner and outer structural shells constitutes effective insulation which facilitates precise control of room temperature and prevents the rooms from becoming flowstone caves.

oxygen generator in an adjacent technology room. All the systems are arranged in a logical order and are easily accessible. There are broad aisles and open areas in all the rooms to offer the employees good working conditions.

Self-sufficient energy supply and manipulation of maturity

capacity of three cubic metres. In the near future Eric Nürnberger would even like to increase the share of renewable sources in his energy supply. “At present we produce about 70 per cent of the required electricity ourselves. But the aim is to produce 100, which would mean full self-sufficiency.” He intends to install further solar panels on the homestead site.

The four rooms within the house now contain five recirculating modules with a good two dozen tanks of various sizes which were specially produced in Turkey. Added to these are several 700 litre aquariums in which the eggs are hatched and the larvae are kept and fed after hatching. Water treatment comprises not only a drum filter but also an organic filter which is divided into fixed bed and moving bed zones. Above the moving bed is a CO2 extractor that is fitted with a heat exchanger for recovery of energy. At the end of the process the cleaned water is sterilised with UV light and enriched with oxygen from an

The farm is geared to sustainability, low consumption of resources and minimisation of energy consumption. It is mainly supplied with solar, wind and increasingly geothermal energy, too. Where it makes sense and pays off heat energy is recovered and recycled. Part of the electricity required to operate the plant comes from a photovoltaic system which delivers 95 kW at peak times. The plant is also heated at night by means of an intelligent cascade of high-temperature heat pumps. To achieve this, water is gradually heated to a temperature of 80°C and then stored in two buffer tanks each with a

Water treatment includes a drum- and an organic filter with CO2 extraction, a UV sterilisation plant and oxygen enrichment.

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[ AQUACULTURE ] maturing so that – if everything works as intended – a group of fishes will spawn every three months. The longer-term aim is to achieve a monthly spawning rhythm. The capacity of the plant would be sufficient to produce two million zander fry per year.

Weekly sorting prevents cannibalism With nearly 300 fishes Fischmaster has a substantial parent fish stock. Each of the four seasonal spawning groups comprises a good 70 two-year-old zander that grew in a recirculating system from NDF (Norddeutsche Fischhandelsgesellschaft). They will all be spawning for the first time. Coconut mats serve as spawning nests and once the eggs have been laid the spawn is transferred to the aquariums. After they have eaten the yolk sac the larvae first feed on artemia nauplii and then at an age of two weeks weaning begins so that they switch to dry feed. About 12 weeks after hatching, the young zander weigh between 10 and 20 grams and can be sold to fish farmers and fishing clubs. In their early life phase not only the transition to dry feed was difficult, said Michael Jüling who is responsible for the zander fry and has a masters degree in aquaculture, but also the strong divergence in growth rates among the young zander stock. To prevent cannibalism by the fast growers the stock had to be sizesorted practically every week. Demand for zander fry for stocking purposes is already high and likely to rise further in the future. Since word has spread among sports fishermen that young zander are produced in Hessenaue, fishing clubs have been asking nearly every day for the popular angling fish, particularly since Fischmaster does not only offer ten and 56

Up to now Artemia were hatched in this small system but a new system with considerably more capacity is currently under construction in an adjacent room.

twenty gram fry but can also supply zander weighing about one kilogram. These are produced by NDF with whom Fischmaster in the meantime cooperates closely. Fischmaster supplies NDF with fry and in return is given larger fishes that are then sold in the region. This is an additional business section that demands very special logistical requirements, however. During the coming months Eric Nürnberger is going to set up a holding facility with three big tanks in an adjacent building.

Aquaculture training centre conceivable It’s not easy to foresee when the construction activity on the homestead site will reach its end since all 16 buildings are being gradually refurbished. The generously sized sanitary facilities that were once built for military use have already been renewed and in the other buildings modernisation

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of the interiors is nearing completion. The renovation of the timberwork gables and exterior facades is proving to be particularly complicated since specialists are needed for this task. Old larch shingles have to be carefully removed one by one, thoroughly cleaned and then re-inserted. Because it is today no longer possible to get replacements for damaged shingles in Germany Nürnberger has already had new ones produced in Poland, handworked to the original. When the entrepreneur had the sewage system on the site renewed a rumour immediately took hold of the neighbourhood that the recirculating system would probably emit so much water that it would even be necessary to enlarge the sewage system of the municipality. But Eric Nürnberger was able to calm these fears which were completely unfounded, because his plant needed less water than a normal family home.

There might even soon be a training centre for aquaculture or a fry competence centre on the Hessenaue site that would offer aquaculture courses and training. Eric Nürnberger believes there is a lot of interest in such offers because he is getting a growing number of enquiries about lectures and guided tours through the facility. There would certainly be enough space for such courses on the site, the rooms would just have to be fitted and equipped accordingly. Contact: Fischmaster IP-Services GmbH Niersteiner Straße 38 65468 Trebur Germany Telefon: + 49 (0) 6147 913 0 Telefax: + 49 (0) 6147 913 200 E-mail: Internet:

[ TRADE AND MARKETS ] The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership

What will the EU-US agreement mean for trade in seafood? In June 2013, the European Commission and the US government launched negotiations for a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, known on both sides of the Atlantic by the unexciting acronym “TTIP.” The proposed agreement is all-encompassing – covering goods, services, and investment throughout the economy, and it will be years in the writing and even more years in the enacting. It will be the largest free trade agreement in the world, covering more than half the global economy.

The agreement will include seafood products, the means to produce them, and the marketing regulations under which they are sold. Well over €1 billion in EU-US two-way seafood trade (nearly one-third being EU exports to the US), and the accompanying direct jobs and jobs in ancillary industries, will be affected. The effects will also be felt by seafood sectors in countries outside the EU-US agreement.

Tariffs and non-tariff barriers to EU-US trade

Diversified Communications


lthough its final form is unclear, it is worthwhile to become familiar with some aspects of TTIP early on, for if existing EU or US trade agreements are any indication, there will be winners and losers from the TTIP in the seafood industry and market. No matter its final form, this trade and investment agreement will be huge, affecting billions of euros/ dollars in annual trade and capital flows in every sector of the economy, from soup to nuts to financial derivatives and copyright law. Consumers of nearly every product and service will be affected; in addition, millions of jobs in the EU and the US depend on EU-US trade, and the agreement will also concern them.

The trade-related focus of TTIP negotiations will be on two areas: import tariffs, and so-called nontariff barriers (a sort of an all-else category) such as excessive regulations and essentially duplicate product standards – standards that may be administered in both economies but with separate paperwork – among an array of other barriers to trade. The reduction or elimination of import tariffs will be perhaps the most visible result of the TTIP. Tariff elimination will probably result in minor gains compared with reduction of non-tariff barriers, because tariffs applied by the EU and US on each other’s products are already low (less than 4 percent, on average). But there are some notable exceptions, which will undoubtedly be the topic of lengthy negotiations. For example, processed products (for example, canned fish) tend to be dutiable at higher rates than unprocessed products (e.g., whole fish). This is often done to protect an importing country’s domestic processing sector, which may or may not rely on imported raw material but in any case competes with imported finished products. Seafood processing jobs are often

The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership currently being negotiated between the US and the EU will affect well over €1 billion in EU-US two-way seafood trade (nearly one-third being EU exports to the US), and the accompanying direct jobs and jobs in ancillary industries.

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Dina Sandholt


Sticking issues in the negotiations could be processed products (for example, canned fish) which tend to be dutiable at higher rates than unprocessed products (e.g., whole fish), to protect jobs in the importing countries processing sector which are often low paid positions in rural areas, where alternative opportunities may be limited.

lower-wage, and sometimes in rural communities with scarce employment alternatives, and governments may feel the need to support such jobs. Such higher tariffs are typically the ones whose phase-out is done over the longest time frame. Therefore, implementing the tariff-elimination part of the agreement will take many years. Typically the tariff reductions and other changes are “phased in” over time, so that affected industries (whether sellers or buyers of products) can have time to adjust to the new marketplace conditions. Changes that are small, such as elimination of already low tariffs, may be implemented immediately, while more sizeable adjustments may be made gradually over as long as a decade. 58

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What TTIP will do and what it will not TTIP addresses both trade and investment between the EU and the US; here we are discussing only its trade aspects. As described by the European Commission and the US Trade Representative – the parties to the negotiations – TTIP is a proposed free trade agreement. That is, the goal of both sides is the elimination of tariffs and unnecessary non-tariff barriers to EU-US trade. Tariffs are well-known to exporters and importers: they are monies collected at the border usually in one of two forms (and, rarely, in both forms!), either a percentage of the value of the import shipment, or a fixed currency amount per physical unit of the imported good.

Non-tariff measures are sort of an “everything else besides tariffs” category and are not so transparent: they include annual quotas (which, when filled, cause the import market to close); consumer health and safety regulations; product (or production method) standards; rules on dolphin protection, genetic modification, and ingredient lists; and all sorts of other rules and regulations that are usually very important but also create paperwork, increase importing/exporting costs and consumer prices, and possibly impede job creation. TTIP negotiators have set out to form an agreement that, at the end of the day (and it will be a very long day), eliminates tariffs on all EU-US trade and reduces or eliminates unnecessary rules

and regulations that create nontariff barriers to EU-US trade. Both economies have several free trade agreements already in place with other nations and economic blocs, and in principle, TTIP will resemble them in everything but size. What TTIP will not do – and this is stressed by the negotiators – is require the relaxation by either party of necessary rules and standards, such as those protecting healthy and safety. Nor will it replace the existing means, in either the EU or US, by which their own laws are made and enforced. Of course, if either side of the trade agreement takes offense by the action (or inaction) of the other, it can protest in one form or another, including by imposing sanctions on the

[ TRADE AND MARKETS ] other party. But – and this is an important but oft-forgotten point – countries have always been able to protest and impose trade sanctions. What well-crafted trade agreements do is provide a more orderly means for settling such disputes.

What about seafood specifically? The implications of TTIP for the seafood sector include the probable elimination of import tariffs for products traded between the US and the EU, with reductions in prices and increases in sales and consumption among the probable results. Also, the agreement could result in increased harmonisation of production methods in the two economies – which could affect everything from harvesting of wild fish to genetic modification and feeding of farmed fish. Seafood products are subject to an array of trade-related measures in addition to tariffs, including requirements applying to foods and other animal products generally (such as health and safety rules), as well as seafood-specific measures such as labelling related to fishery sustainability. These are all potential areas of interest in the TTIP negotiations. There is always room for improvement of existing necessary trade measures and for removal of unnecessary ones. Some specifics of the TTIP package are, of course, not yet known. No one yet knows if or how illegal fishing will be resolved, or how fishing subsidies will be handled in the final agreement. But we know some of TTIP’s likely seafood-related elements in general form, based on experience with past trade agreements, as

well as the rules and regulations of the World Trade Organization (WTO). Food safety is a vital matter in the seafood business, and the safety of imported seafood is a frequent topic of concern amongst those in the industry, seafood marketing, consumer groups, and others. No EU or US free trade agreement has gone through without provisions for food safety, and the means by which to address such concerns, and TTIP is unlikely to be an exception. Neither the EU nor the US is under any obligation to surrender “sovereignty” in their trade agreements; neither gives up the right to enact and enforce science-based laws to protect consumer health. However, the EU and the US – and each of the 157 other members of the WTO – have an obligation not to impose trade-affecting rules and regulations that are not science-based. Where there is disagreement about the science – genetically modified foods would be a good example in the EU-US context – there is in the WTO a dispute settlement mechanism (which is routinely employed!) to address and, with good fortune, resolve such disagreements. Free trade agreements – including, no doubt, the future TTIP – likewise have their own dispute settlement provisions. Likewise, disagreements sometimes arise between free-trade partners over production methods – for example, “dolphin-safe” tuna between the US and Mexico. Another area is product labelling whether of production methods, sources of fish inputs, added ingredients, or (an old US-EU dispute) what species is a “sardine.” These concerns can either be hammered out in TTIP negotiations, or left until later in

a formal dispute settlement process outlined in the agreement. But in any case, national or Community sovereignty remains intact in free trade agreements, and internal laws that are well founded are well protected.

What about the seafood industries in other countries? Countries outside of the EU-US agreement — non-EU countries around the globe — will also feel economic effects from the agreement. This is true even for countries, such as Canada, with which both the EU and US already have their own free-trade agreements. Many other countries with agreements only with either the EU or the US, also will probably be affected. In general, the impact of the TTIP agreement on “the rest of the world” will be positive, because economic growth in the EU and US means greater export opportunities to those two markets for third-country producers. Growth in the EU fish processing sector, as it takes advantage of an open US market, will boost demand for harvested and farmed fish – including from non-EU sources. EU imports of fish from elsewhere will grow, even though the agreement leaves EU tariffs on fish from sources other than the US unchanged. This will benefit the fisheries and aquaculture sectors of non-EU countries. However, some third-party effects will be less positive, especially for developing economies. For example, developing countries that currently benefit from so-called “preferential treatment” in the EU and US (mainly through lower existing tariffs on their exports to those markets through trade-policy

programs such as the Generalized System of Preferences and the Lomé Convention) will see fewer benefits from such preferential treatment. Canned tuna is an example of potentially adverse TTIP effects on developing countries. Both the EU and the US currently have import tariffs for canned tuna that are several times higher than the average tariffs for seafood products. Those tariffs are waived or sharply reduced for imports from many developing countries, as a way to help their economic development. A complete phase-out of those high tariffs on EU-US trade would end the relative advantage that developing country exporters of canned tuna currently have over US exporters in the EU market, and over EU exporters in the US market. Other negative effects will be felt by developed countries that already have free trade agreements with the EU or the US, such as Norway (EU) and Canada (US). These countries already have access to their large neighbours’ markets – the TTIP will introduce potentially major competition for them. It cannot be said to what extent these negative effects will offset the more general positive effects of growing EU and US economies (which helps foreign exporters of all stripes), but taking into account the winners and losers from TTIP will probably be an important consideration in TTIP negotiations. Both the European Commission and the US Trade Representative have more information about the broad goals of TTIP on their respective websites: and http:// Roger Corey, Eurofish Magazine 3 / 2014


[ TRADE AND MARKETS ] North Atlantic Seafood Forum, Bergen, 4-6 March

Salmon prices pose a serious challenge to processors Over 640 delegates from 35 countries met in Bergen during the 9th North Atlantic Seafood Forum on March 4-6, 2014. The conference was divided into thematic seminars, so participants could learn about all the key issues and developments related to the themes in which they were interested. This edition of Eurofish Magazine will review the most important summaries, trends, and expectations in the salmon industry as presented at the event.


he 4th NASF Salmon Summit opened with a comparison of the forecasts made by Lars Liabø, Kontali Analyse, last year at NASF with the actual figures of the industry. “Mr Kontali” is a permanent speaker at the NASF salmon seminar and has a reputation for accurate forecasts.

2013 was one of the best years for the Norwegian salmon industry The closing remark of the past year was that “salmon farmers should not complain about the future outlook with the forecast of the slaughtered volume of 2,025,000 (in tonnes WFE) in 2013”. The year after, the actual figures for 2013 were 2,041,000 tonnes, 1 higher than predicted. Together, Norway and Chile are responsible for 80 of the global market share of Atlantic salmon, where Norway had 56 and Chile 23 in 2013. The year 2013 was one of the best ever for the Norwegian salmon industry with prices of up to 37.5 NOK from 25 NOK in 2012. In terms of markets, Brazil is at present the fastest growing market, followed by China. Norway has a lot of excellent sites in contrast with Chile, the UK, Canada and the Faroe Islands. As for the forecast for 2014, the drop in oil and fish meal prices in 2013 suggests 60

Eurofish Magazine 3 / 2014

that there should be no increase in feed cost at the moment. Norway released 10 million more smolts in the sea in 2013, therefore, the estimated harvest quantity for 2014 range from 2,050,000 to 2,200,000 tonnes slaughtered volume with the average 2,144,000 tonnes (+5 compared to 2013). In addition, warmer temperature in the sea enables faster salmon growths impacting the harvest this year. “The future is bright, especially in Norway, but surprises can always happen”, was the concluding remark from Kontali Analyse.

Lack of global supply growth Representing Lerøy Seafood Group, the world’s second largest producer of salmon and trout, Mr Henning Beltestad spoke about market outlook for Atlantic salmon. According to the company’s estimates, the total supply of Atlantic salmon in 2014 is expected to reach 2,143,000 tonnes, 5.1 higher than 2013. Production in Norway is forecast to increase by 6.6 to 1,219,000 tonnes, and positive developments are expected in the UK, the Faroe Islands, Ireland and Iceland giving a total estimates for European production of 1,473,000 tonnes. In the Americas, salmon production is forecast to

Lars Liabø, Kontali Analyse, accurately forecast global production figures for salmon in 2013.

reach 669,000 tonnes, up by 2.7 compared to 2013. Of this volume, Chile is anticipated to contribute 481,300 tonnes (+2.8), Canada 117,200 (+1.8), Australia - 39,500 (5.3), USA - 19,500 (-3.9) and other countries - 12,100 (+9). In 2015, global salmon production is expected to be 2,165,500 tonnes. In terms of market development, in 2013 salmon consumption was flat with downward trends in Europe (-1), Japan (-6) and Russia (-8), and upward trends in the USA (+7) and other markets (+10). In the category of “other markets”, the highest growth was observed in Argentina (+28), Chile (+25), China, Hong Kong, Vietnam and Brazil (+20 each), Australia (+8), and other countries.

Mr Beltestad encouraged the audience to estimate the potential scope of salmon consumption if the countries with the world’s largest population were involved. “Salmon is a global product with consumption developing in all countries in the world. Every day we serve 3 million meals all year around. What happens if India with its 1.2 billion people by 2030 starts to buy salmon?” he asked Investment in sustainability is another important mile-stone of the Group’s development. The company’s Aurora division will be completely ASC (Aquaculture Stewardship Council) certified by the end of 2014, a move that already has created interest among customers.

[ TRADE AND MARKETS ] though it is too early to predict to which degree. “Chile is expected to recover its level of competitiveness by 2015-2016, if the industry continues with its current production performance”, said Mr. Gutierrez.

Challenging year for importing and processing companies

Henning Beltestad, Lerøy Seafood Group, expects European salmon production to touch 1,473 thousand tonnes in 2014.

Slow recovery of Chilean production The situation in Chilean salmon production was analysed by Mr Jose Ramon Gutierrez, Executive Director of Multiexport Foods, which is among the 3 largest salmon producers in Chile and the 10 largest in the world. Since the late 80s and 90s when the base for the salmon industry was established in Chile the country has been one of the most globally competitive producers. At the end of 2007 the industry suffered an unexpected sanitary crisis due to sea lice (ISA virus), which went out of control and spread throughout the industry. The ISA virus killed 70 of the Atlantic salmon biomass in 18 months, companies suffered heavy losses and the crisis cut 40 of the industry jobs. The industry and government started to design a new regulations for the sector, applying a new Chilean Production Model (“Salmon Chileno

2.0”) based on a neighborhood system including hundreds of new rules. In 2010-2011 the industry witnessed the best couple of years in its history thanks to the best production performance (average 4,5 kg/smolt) combined with high market prices. The good economic results boosted the industry and capital markets invested heavily in listed and not listed companies, and the industry began to grow rapidly again. Yet the new production level experienced its old structural problems, and during 2012-2013 the margins became negative again as production rose by 70, while the market price fell by 45. To overcome the reasons and consequences of the new crisis, the Chilean industry has been working hard with government to: remove overregulation, modify current neighborhood system, and define neighborhood capacity. As a consequence of the improvements, the Chilean industry is presently showing signs of recovery even

Ms Monika Siecinska-Jaworowska from Suempol Group, one of the largest producers of smoked salmon in the world and second largest exporter of salmon products from Poland, reminded the audience about the other side of the skyrocketing prices of Atlantic salmon which had sharply effected the Polish processing industry. Last year witnessed a market breakdown due to the sharply increased value of Norwegian salmon. The retail sector has not followed the price of raw material, and the processing companies stand in the middle of the chain”, said Mrs. Siecinska-Jaworowska. “If the situation continues, it will be difficult for the EU processing companies to survive, so we have to collaborate and think long-term”, she added. The latest developments on the salmon market in Russia was discussed by Mr Børge Prytz Larsen, Director of Severnaya Company. “The combination of increasing

prices of salmon and at the same time the ruble depreciation by more than 10 against the euro and dollar has made Russian importers very cautious”, he said. “Those factors have pushed prices of 50 NOK/kg for Norwegian salmon to the equivalent of 60 NOK/kg for the Russian buyers”. The political situation with the Ukrainian crisis has made the situation worse, and several salmon importers stopped buying salmon from Norway due to liquidity problems. “Those players who have enough resources to accept the present losses are able to increase their market share, as imports are being concentrated among just a few buyers”, he explained. During 2013, Russian imports of Norwegian salmon significantly decreased, but that volume was partly substituted by salmon imports from other countries, and in particular from Chile. The explanation for the dramatic increase of imports from Chile was that Russia stopped to freeze salmon and trout itself, but started to import it from Chile due to the lower prices, and consequently those produces were seen to occupy a lower segment. However, regardless of the prices, the volume of salmon imported to Russia in 2013 was pretty much the same as in 2012. In 2014, the market is experiencing a fresh drop in imports from Norway – salmon and trout imports

Monika Siecinska-Jaworowska, Suempol Group, fears for the processing sector if salmon prices persist at a high level. Eurofish Magazine 3 / 2014


[ TRADE AND MARKETS ] fell by 20 and 32 respectively compared to 2013. The situation is also characterised by the fact that there is quite a big stock of frozen fish on the market and importers are selling frozen fish with losses.

How will the Russian market develop? Mr Larsen suggested two scenarios for the Russian market, “bullish” and “bearish”. The best-case scenario will see salmon prices decline to 32-35 NOK/kg, the ruble appreciate 5-10, continued retail growth and support from credit insurers, so the volume will be approximately the same as last year. In the negative-case scenario, prices could remain in the high NOK 40s while the ruble continue weakening, the market could experience imports down by 30-40 compared with last year. Summarising, Mr. Larsen opined that imports would decrease short-term due to the ruble depreciation, but from summer the volumes to Russia will start to rise again. Salmon prices would come down to around mid 30 NOK/ kg, which the Russian market would follow rapidly, while the import segment would be more concentrated. In the upcoming year, strong demand for salmon and at the same time production capacity constraints will lead to limited global supply growth. In terms of distribution, growth is anticipated in new markets, driven by distribution and middle class development. It is expected that 2/3 of the volume increase will come from outside the EU and the US. The main growth is anticipated in the category of new products, and especially fresh pre-packed salmon products sold at unmanned counter. While supply growth is predicted as stable, demand will stay high, and higher margins are expected. Katia Tribilustova 62

Eurofish Magazine 3 / 2014

Polish industry delegation visits NASF 2014 A special part of the NASF 2014 programme included an official visit by a large Polish delegation, organized by Mr Tomasz Kulikowski, Chairman of the Polish Fish Market Development Association, and Innovation Norway, Warsaw. The companies included Morpol, Graal Capital Group, Suempol, Lisner, King Oscar, Contimax, TLB, Morex, Limito, Aja Fresh Fish&Seafood, and Stawiany, and Gdansk International Fair Company, the organiser of Polfish. The participation of the Polish delegation was to show the potential and importance of Polish fish processing sector, which is currently the largest importer of salmon from Norway in the EU. In 2013, Poland imported 125,000 tonnes of salmon, while the overall export of various fish products from the country in the same year was 400,000 tonnes. The total value of the Polish fish and seafood export reached EUR 1.5 billion, and the 13 companies at NASF 2014 were responsible for a combined EUR 1.2 billion turnover. The Polish delegation was marketed directly to NASF delegates as “the leading processing industry in Europe” as well as “cost efficient”, “flexible” and “state-of-the-art processing”. Before the start of the conference, a special program for the Polish delegation was organised by Innovation Norway. It included a visit to a salmon farm with a boat trip and interviews with salmon farmer, as well as Polish-Norwegian Seafood Summit at the Seafood Center in Bergen. The main topic of the meeting was “How can committed cooperation create added value and increased income for both Norwegian exporters and the Polish fish industry?” The most important areas for co-operation are joint work on raw material quality as well as support for long-term seafood consumption promotion in Poland, especially for pelagic species. There were two speakers from Poland on the NASF programme, Mr Piotr Janiec (Lisner) who presented an outlook for European markets at the 7th Pelagic Industry Summit and Ms Monika Siecin´ska-Jaworowska (Suempol) who presented the market outlook for current salmon demand in continental Europe. Companies generally considered the trip as successful, with a large number of meetings - not only with companies from Europe, but also among Polish companies which normally compete with each other.

From left, Piotr Kowalski, GRAAL S.A.; Alina Piacecka, Koral S.A.; Justyna Frankowska, GRAAL S.A.; Monika Siecinska-Jaworowska, Suempol Sp. z o.o.; Aleksandra Buczkowska, Royal Norwegian Embassy in Warsaw & Innovation Norway Warsaw; Bogusław Kowalski, GRAAL S.A.; Emilia Schomburg, Morpol ASA; Monika Pain, Gdansk Interational Fair Company; Agnieszka Jarczynska, AJA Seafood; Tomasz Kulikowski, MPR; Jakub Stawiany, Stawiany.

[ SPECIES ] Arctic charr (Salvelinus alpinus)

Noble fish for demanding markets Arctic charr (Salvelinus alpinus), also called mountain trout or salmon trout, is a member of the salmon family (Salmonidae). It is a coldwater species that occurs in Arctic, sub-Arctic and Alpine waters as well as in northern coastal waters. Like salmon, Arctic charr enters the upper reaches of rivers to breed. Some populations inhabit freshwater permanently, others migrate to the sea and only return to the rivers for reproduction.

No other freshwater species in Europe advances as far north as the Arctic charr. The anadromous charr from the European Siberian Arctic Ocean that still enters a lot of rivers there today is considered to be the basic form of

Cloonacool Arctic Charr


hat Arctic charr is closely related to salmon and trout can already be seen from the fish’s external appearance – its salmon-like body with the adipose fin. The fish’s behaviour is also similar to that of its sister species, for example with regard to its migratory instinct which can be observed in several populations, or its spawning behaviour. Like salmon, Arctic charr reproduces during the winter months and usually spawns on a gravelly bed. However, what distinguishes the Arctic charr from its relatives is the variability in colouring and the wide and fragmented distribution area which was influenced by glacial epochs. The fish’s colouring varies depending on the water in which it lives, its gender, and its maturity. The migratory fish mostly has a steel blue back, the inland fish is usually greenish brown. On their belly side the fishes are yellowish to reddish grey but this colour changes during spawning time to a brilliant orange-red colour. Even the colour of the meat is variable – in some cases it is dark red, in others only a pale shade of pink.

Arctic charr thrives in water at 5-6°C and wild populations are therefore found mainly in northern countries. In Europe, Iceland is the biggest producer of farmed Arctic charr.

this fish species. The distribution pattern of Arctic charr, comprising numerous populations that are isolated from each other, developed in northern Europe as a result of the ice age. In addition to the migratory Arctic charr, there are also an amazing number of landlocked Arctic charr that are

mostly isolated in their reproduction. Even specialists have to go to considerable effort to identify them. In Europe alone there are about 25 forms of Arctic charr. In the Italian Alps lives a Salvelinus type that is called Salmerino. In the Alpine lakes of the Rhine, Meurthe and

Rhône regions two “races” of Omble chevalier are distinguished that differ in their growth and in their nutrition. There is a comparable split in the fishes that live in Alpine lakes in the river region of the upper Danube. In addition to the extremely colourful “normal” Arctic charrs which are mainly

Eurofish Magazine 3 / 2014


PĂĄll Gunnar PĂĄlsson


In Iceland, Arctic charr is marketed either whole (gutted, head on) or in the form of fully trimmed fillets, both fresh and frozen.

predatory fishes that grow to over 50 cm there is an unobtrusive dwarf form that mainly eats plankton and rarely grows to more than 20 cm in length. It is possible that the two Arctic charr types only represent adaptations to different ecological niches within their habitat, but it is also possible that two new, independent species are developing differently here. Recent genetic testing would seem to imply the latter. And as if the situation were not confusing enough already there are also numerous sub-species and hybrid forms of Arctic charr, since a lot of charr species reproduce among each other. The so-called Alsace char which is produced frequently in aquaculture is for example a cross between Arctic charr and brook charr/brook trout.

the Arctic waters of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans; the distribution area of Arctic charr in Europe extends from the coasts of Iceland as far as the Oslo fjord. Landlocked freshwater forms live in clear, cold, oxygen-rich lakes in Siberia, Scandinavia, Iceland, Ireland and Great Britain, in the Pyrenees, the Alpine region and in the foothills of the Alps up to a height of 2,600 m. Arctic charr is often the only fish species in these waters. If the population grows too strongly the large fishes can become cannibalistic and eat their own young.

The migratory form of Arctic charr is mainly to be found in

The migratory or normal form of Arctic charr grows to a length of


Eurofish Magazine 3 / 2014

Tolerance for limited range of temperatures and relatively slow growth

about 40 to 60 cm and reaches a weight of one to two kilograms (the record is said to be 1 m and 14 kg). The dwarf race of the landlocked form usually remains much smaller reaching a length of only 15 cm and a weight of about 100 gram. The migratory Arctic charrâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s way of life is similar to that of the salmon. After the fishes have spent their youth in freshwater they migrate to the sea where they continue to grow and, when they become mature, swim to the upper reaches of the rivers again to spawn. Because the Arctic charr grows more slowly than the salmon the individual life phases are accordingly longer. Whilst young salmon, for example, often leave the rivers to swim to the sea already after two years, young Arctic charr remain in freshwater for

three to four years. During this time they mainly feed on small animals, particularly worms, insect larvae and other invertebrates. Later on in the sea they will become predators, however, and will mainly feed on fishes, mostly smaller species, for example sandeels, sandsmelt, and smelt but also young cod. The fishes reach maturity at an age of 6 to 7 years. They then return to the rivers in early autumn and spawn during the winter months. Like salmon, Arctic charr lays its eggs in hollows which the female makes in the gravelly bed with her tail fin. Because the males mainly stay close to the nests it is presumed that they are protecting their spawning grounds from intruders and egg predators and thus taking care of their young. Depending on their size, female Arctic charr lay between 2,500 and 8,500 eggs which are about 4 to 4.5 mm in size. It takes about three months until the larvae hatch, mostly at the start of spring. When they have eaten up the contents of the yolk sac they feed on insect larvae, planktonic crustaceans and amphipoda. As in all salmonid species the young of Arctic charr are recognisable from the characteristic vertical, dark-coloured stripes that are a typical feature of parr (fish over one year old). The reproduction behaviour of the landlocked forms can be of two different types, a distinction being made between the fishes that spawn near the lake banks and those that spawn on the bed. The former lay their eggs between September and January in shallow bank regions of 4 to 10 metres depth. In contrast, the bottom spawners reproduce in summer from July to August on stony beds

[ SPECIES ] at depths of 20 to 80 metres. These fishes prefer places where fresh water swells up out of the deep. What makes Arctic char interesting for most consumers is, however, neither its biology nor the intricate relationships within the species, but its excellent culinary qualities. The meat of the fish is of medium firmness and has a fine structure. Fillet colour can vary between pale pink and dark red depending on the fish’s origin and diet. Its flavour is somewhere between salmon and trout. Some gourmets even claim that it has the most noble and best meat of all the salmonids. And like salmon, the fillet of Arctic charr contains lots of polyunsaturated fatty acids – Omega 3 fatty acids – which are said to have numerous positive attributes for the heart, brain, and blood circulation. The fact that demand for this first-class fish is rather seldom probably has a lot to do with its still being largely unknown to many consumers. It is also not readily available at the retailer’s and is relatively expensive. According to FAO statistics the worldwide Arctic charr catch from fisheries was always below 200 t in recent years. Although the actual quantity is probably higher because Arctic charr is also very popular among sport fishermen this is not likely to change much in the low availability of the fish on the market.

Aquaculture contributes substantially to market availability The fact that Arctic charr is at least occasionally to be found at the fishmonger’s is mainly thanks to aquaculture. Like salmon and trout this salmonid species is

quite suitable for production in aquaculture. One prerequisite, however, is that the water temperatures do not rise too much over the course of the year. For that reason Arctic charr farms are mainly to be found in northern countries or mountain regions at high altitudes where such temperatures prevail throughout the year. Often Arctic charr is a substitute for trout which prefer slightly higher temperatures. According to the FAO, 32,857 t Arctic charr were produced worldwide in aquaculture in 2012: Iceland contributed 24,712 t, Norway 7,838 t, Austria 1,928 t and Canada 1,401 t, together about 94 of the total. The rest came from countries like USA (850 t), Italy (678 t), and Ireland (360 t). In Iceland, the most important aquaculture country for Arctic charr, several pioneers were already investigating farming possibilities for this fish over one hundred years ago. Shortly after 1900 they succeeded in hatching eggs and producing broodstock for farming purposes. When in the 1960s a viable feed was developed the first farms were opened, if only at a modest level. Iceland’s Arctic charr sector then experienced a boom in the 1980s and 1990s when the number of farms rose to about 40. A lot of them unfortunately did not prove to be profitable and the farmers soon gave up again. Today there are less farms in Iceland (probably currently nearly 15 in all) but these farms have much higher production capacities. A state farming programme that was initiated in 1992 contributed decisively to the success of Icelandic Arctic charr farming which rose continuously as from then. In the mid-1990s annual

production amounted to about 500 t and in 2008 production for the first time exceeded the 3,000 t mark. Only between 2004 and 2006 was there a slight setback because individual hatcheries were hit by a bacterial kidney disease and were not permitted to supply young fishes to the grow-out farms. In Iceland Arctic charr is mainly produced in landbased farms in specially designed ponds or basins that are completely separate from their surroundings. This means that any escapes from the farms cannot get into natural waters and endanger the wild population. In the event that a disease breaks out on the farm the pathogens remain isolated in the basin… particularly because the water that flows out of the basin is thoroughly processed and cleaned after use. Nearly all the big farms use ground water which is available in sufficient quantities in a lot of locations in Iceland. Although the water is slightly salty it is very good for Arctic charr farming because it is filtered by volcanic intrusive rock, it is crystal-clear and largely pathogen free. Apart from that, at a temperature of 5 to 6°C it is of an optimal temperature for the production of the coldloving fish species. Occasionally spring water is also used but only by a few and usually smaller operations. Only one single company farms Arctic charr in floating net cages. This facility is in a bay on the northeast coast of the island, an isolated region with hardly any inhabitants. Depending on the temperature and other farming conditions the fishes need between 18 and 32 months to reach the desired marketable weight of between 300 grams and 2 kg.

In Iceland farmed Arctic charr is based solely on artificially hatched fry. Modified light and temperature conditions enable the hatcheries to get the fishes to maturity and spawning outside of the regular spawning time, too, so that stocking material is available practically throughout the year. Mostly the young fishes remain in the hatcheries until they have reached a weight of 70 to 100g. The main producers of Arctic charr eggs in Iceland are Stofnfiskur and Holar University College that also runs regular farming programmes. They supply to a lot of Icelandic farming facilities in which the eggs are then hatched and the fry grown out in nurseries to a size suited to stocking. At present the production capacity of Icelandic Arctic charr is probably already well over 3 million fry per year. Samherji, with its companies Islandsbleikja, Islandslax and Silfurstjarnan, is a vertically integrated enterprise that unites all stages of the production chain from hatching and outgrowing to harvesting, packaging and marketing. It is the biggest Arctic charr producer in Iceland and thus naturally worldwide. Before the fry go into the farms they are given a vaccination which makes the use of antibiotics and other medication unnecessary during the farming process. More than half of the protein in the feed is of marine origin (fish meal), other animal meals are not used. Prior to harvesting, the fishes are given no more feed for at least 4 days to improve the flavour and texture of the meat. Arctic charr is marketed either whole (gutted, head on) or in the form of fully trimmed fillets, both fresh and frozen. mk

Eurofish Magazine 3 / 2014



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Eurofish magazine 3 2014  

Covering Latvia and Morocco, this issue also reviews the SEG show in Brussels and Offshore Mariculture. There's a special feature on Omega-3...

Eurofish magazine 3 2014  

Covering Latvia and Morocco, this issue also reviews the SEG show in Brussels and Offshore Mariculture. There's a special feature on Omega-3...