Eurofish Magazine 5 2019

Page 1

Eurofish Magazine

Albania Bumper year for Salmo letnica fingerlings EUROFISH International Organisation


October 5 / 2019 C 44346

October 5 / 2019


ISSN 1868-5943

EUROFISH Business Platform at Seafood Expo Russia hosts strong Turkish presence Denmark: Food production and consumption can be more sustainable Species: African catfish is increasingly being farmed in Europe is a member of the FISH INFO network

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In this issue

Inter-agency cooperation bolsters fisheries control The Albanian fisheries and aquaculture sector is gradually preparing itself as required by the EU for the country to make further progress in its strive for accession. Among the areas where changes have been implemented is monitoring and inspection where administrative structures are in place to streamline control systems and make them more effective. While fishing in the big lakes is already well organised, in the smaller lakes too the activity is being legalised and the fishermen grouped into management organisations that are charged with ensuring the fishery is sustainable. Marine fishing too is gearing up with the implementation of a vessel monitoring system and electronic logbooks. Changes in the structure of control and inspection have also been made with the establishment of an inter-ministerial institution that monitors Albanian maritime space and is responsible for the protection of the marine resources. In addition, a taskforce of fisheries inspectors is available to travel to across the country in case the local fishing inspector requires assistance with a monitoring assignment. Inspectors work closely together with fisheries management organisations, the local police, customs officials, and other authorities to ensure inspection activities are not disrupted by irate fishermen. Read more from page 34 Marine protected areas: While the term marine protected area (MPA) suggests a zone where fishing is prohibited, in practise these regions can vary greatly in terms of the fishing activities that are permitted within them with some banning them altogether, while others allow a limited degree of fishing. This can give rise to contradictory outcomes, for example, increasing fishing pressure within an MPA compared to outside it (perhaps due to higher yields), which may have an overall negative impact on conservation efforts. They may also displace fishing from one area to another which could result in greater pressure from fishing vessels in areas outside the MPAs. Protected areas can also generate controversy depending on the activities within the areas that are affected with conservationists and fishermen often representing two opposing points of view. MPAs can also protect areas against fishing activities, not against other threats, for example, climate change, oil spills, ocean acidification, that also have an impact on fisheries resources. One way of ensuring the success of an MPA is to establish it based on a cooperation between conservationists and fishermen. Read ore on page 45 Carp conference, Ansbach, Germany: Common carp is the most produced freshwater species in the EU after rainbow trout and one that is particularly well represented in Central and Eastern Europe, where carp production has a long history. Carp farming is in many ways unique in comparison with the production of other fish species as production is pond-based, extensive, and often in polyculture with other species that feed at different levels on the food chain. Carp ponds contribute to the environment in terms of flood protection, maintaining biodiversity, providing habitation and feed for water birds and animals, and because carp is fed with cereals rather than fish feed, its production has no impact on catches of the forage fish that are processed into fishmeal and fish oil, important ingredients in fish feed. However, as speakers at the biannual international carp conference testified, carp farming, like other parts of the EU aquaculture sector, is bedevilled by red tape. It is also suffering from predation, a lack of young people willing and able to start in the sector, a need to improve communications between farmers and other partners, and less support is available for producers of terrestrial livestock. Read more about the conference and its outcomes from page 20 Fish welfare: The welfare of livestock has been attracting increasing attention from activists and thanks to them also the general public. Annual growth of terrestrial animal consumption has been overtaken by that of fish consumption and most of the growth in the supply of fish for human consumption comes from farmed fish. Aquaculture is therefore becoming an increasingly important sector both economically and in terms of food security. Given its growing significance it can come as no surprise that the sector is drawing the attention of animal welfare activists who want to ensure that fish are reared in reasonable conditions free of pain, stress, and discomfort. The devil, however, lies in the detail. Whether fish feel pain is controversial even among experts, and while for most producers healthy and vigorous fish signify good rearing conditions, animal rights activists may not consider it enough. To be sure fish farmers and activists have different incentives – the former need to ensure a commercially viable activity, which means operating under certain constraints. Both parties, however, are interested in healthy, thriving fish, which provides a good basis for a discussion. Read Dr Manfred Klinkhardt’s article from page 30 EUROFISH Magazine 5 / 2019

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Table of News

6 International News

Events 16 Seafood Expo Russia, 10-12 July, St. Petersburg The gateway to the Russian market

20 5th International Carp Conference, 4-6 September 2019, Ansbach, Germany Fish farmers call for more support, action on predators

23 Commission proposals for drastic reductions in 2020 TACs provoke detailed discussion Busy and possibly bumpy road ahead for BALTFISH 24 Curtain drops on 28-year collaboration between DiversiďŹ ed and Brussels Barcelona to host SEG from 2021

24 Orahovica, Croatia Putting carp on the table

26 Polanco Caviar, Uruguay Caviar production in the southern hemisphere

25 Barkas, Poland Polish ďŹ sh production company with expansion hopes 25 Wild Salmon, Italy Wild Salmon making a splash in foreign markets

26 Sastas Tapasmar, Turkey Turkish anchovies prove popular in western Europe

27 Polski Karp, Poland Uniting carp farming across Poland

27 Pelagos Net Farma, Croatia Anchovies and sardines spur expansion for Croatian processor

28 Fish plus Fish, Latvia High demand for cod and haddock from Latvian processor

28 Mariscos Linamar, Spain Ready-to-cook mussel convenience 29 MAT Filtration Technologies, Turkey Turnkey RAS ďŹ sh farms 29 ZatokaTech, Poland Intelligent ďŹ sh processing machines

Aquaculture 30 Objective evaluation criteria still lacking for many ďŹ sh species Increasing demands for ďŹ sh welfare

Albania 34 Albania’s ďŹ sheries and aquaculture sector SigniďŹ cant increase in output 39 Within 24 hours of harvest Almarine delivers seabream to the Italian market Major contributor to national aquaculture production


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Contents 41 Close collaboration between ďŹ shermen, hatchery, and inspectors beneďŹ ts koran stocks Ensuring a thriving koran population

43 Fish Koral inaugurates a second factory in Kavaja near Durres New facility doubles processing area

Fisheries 45 The regulation of ďŹ sheries is an ancient practice dating back over 700 years Reconciling ďŹ sheries management and conservation with MPAs (CC BY-SA 3.0) Map based on by Hayden120 and NuclearVacuum

48 Unique co-management system contributes to preserving small-scale ďŹ shery communities in Telaťćica Nature Park, Croatia WWF project brings alternative livelihoods to ďŹ shers in the Adriatic

Denmark 49 Denmark halts marine aquaculture development 49 Denmark: Cleaning up Europe’s waterways 50 Denmark: WWF’s Sustainable Seafood Guide can help consumers make better choices 50 World Food Summit 2019, 29-30 August, Copenhagen Vision: A healthy and sustainable global food system for people and planet 55 Blockchain-based aquaculture Danish trio plan digital revolution for aquaculture sector

Species 57 African Clarias catďŹ sh are robust survivalists Made-to-measure for aquaculture

Worldwide Fish News Cambodia

Guest Pages: Dr Bernardo Basurco













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62 The Mediterranean Agronomic Institute of Zaragoza Education and training for sustainable ďŹ sheries

Service 61 Fish Infonetwork News 65 Diary Dates 66 Imprint, List of Advertisers

Scan the QR code to access the EuroďŹ sh Magazine website (www.euroďŹ shmagazine. com), where you can also sign up to receive the EuroďŹ sh Magazine newsletter.

EUROFISH Magazine 5 / 2019

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[ INTERNATIONAL NEWS ] UK supermarket to scrap plastic packaging on tuna cans From mid-September 2019, Aldi will, as a trial, be selling its multipacks of tinned tuna without plastic packaging and will instead be using a cardboard sleeve in more than 270 stores across the UK. If the four-month trial is successful, the new recyclable sleeve is expected to be rolled out nationally to more than 830 UK stores, saving over 11 tonnes of plastic per year. This is one of several packaging initiatives Aldi is trialling over the next few months, as it looks to phase out all hard-to-recycle plastic – such as undetectable

black plastics, PVC and expanded polystyrene – from its food products by the end of 2020. In August, Aldi also launched a selection of ready-meal trays, made from recycled plastic bottles and containers, across all its stores. If all readymeal products would use the recycled packaging, this would save an estimated 420 tonnes of non-recyclable black plastic per year. Aldi is on track to make all own label packaging recyclable, reusable or compostable by 2022, and aims to reduce plastic packaging by 25 by the end of 2023.

Replacing plastic packaging with cardboard is one of many initiatives Aldi has initiated reduce plastic packaging by 25% by 2023.

China increases tariffs on US seafood to 35% As part of the escalation between the US-China trade war, China on 1 September 2019 added a 10 tariff to imports of frozen lobster and shrimp from the US, taking it to 35. Additional food products such as salmon, cod, crab, squid, and pollock were on the list from China’s Finance

Ministry for additional tariffs from 1 September, but these have been postponed until December according to the ministry. Current exemptions, including processing for re-export still remain in place. Soybeans, an important US export to China and an important ingredient in

aquaculture feed production, will also be hit with a 5 increase in tariffs. The previous tariff level of 25, introduced a year ago, has decreased US seafood sales to China by 36 worth USD340m (EUR308m), according to an

analysis of Chinese customs data by Undercurrent News in July. Imports of live American lobster showed the largest drop, falling from USD 176m to just USD 25m, a decline of 86, the data disclose.

Videos underscore women’s contribution to the seafood industry The International Association for Women in the Seafood Industry (WSI) found the winners of its third video competition. The 2019 competition broke the record with 32 entries from 14 countries, an 88 increase compared to the year before. The international jury of recognised professionals struggled to select the best videos, as “all of them tell a story worth sharingâ€?. The objective is to highlight women’s contribution to the seafood industry, to raise awareness of gender issues, and to promote professional equality between men and women in the seafood industry. The winning video was strong, positive, and 6

touching portraying the lives of women of the Arousa Sea in Galicia, Spain. “This year the videos were again of very high standards and pay a wonderful tribute to women working in the seafood sector. Their commitment, their resilience, and their love for their work are portrayed very convincingly. All actors, directors, and real characters, should be warmly congratulated.� Marie Christine Monfort, WSI President enthusiastically commented. The third edition of this contest was supported by the French Development Agency (AFD) and the

International Association for Fish Inspectors, MATIS from Iceland, a loyal support to WSI once again supplied the technical logistics. The 2020 competition is open and

videos of new testimonies portraying women in fisheries from all over the world can be submitted via the website.

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[ INTERNATIONAL NEWS ] EUR112m given to programme for sustainable growth in Cambodia The EU has approved a EUR112 million grant funding the “Cambodia Programme for Sustainable and Inclusive Growth in the Fisheries Sector� (CAPFISH) to be implemented between 2019 and 2023. The programme is the largest funded action by the European Union in Cambodia and will follow up and

expand the activities of a previous programme covering both fisheries and livestock that took place from 2013-2018. The objective is to increase food security, improve nutrition and foster further economic development. The activities are divided into two complementary actions, covering capture fisheries and

another dealing with aquaculture. The EUR 87m “CAPFISHCapture Fisheries� programme aims to ensure a more sustainable, climate-resilient and inclusive development of Cambodia’s freshwater and marine fisheries and will focus on the sustainable management of the fisheries sector in Tonle Sap

lake and of marine resources. The EUR 25m “CAPFISH-Aquacultureâ€? aspires to increase fish output in parallel with the capture fisheries sector. Partners in the programme apart from the Royal Government of Cambodia include FAO, UNESCO, UNIDO, and Agence Française de DĂŠveloppement (AFD).

Brexit can considerably increase UK prices of ďŹ sh The UK withdrawal from the EU on 31 October could happen without an agreement. What this entails is highly uncertain. And as a result, businesses and consumers are stocking up on the basics which include canned tuna, as food shortages have been

predicted. Without a trade agreement the import of goods will be notably affected with more transportation time and additional costs for inspections. In addition, the unstable situation has sent the British pound to its lowest level in two years with GBP/EUR at 1,08

and GBP/USD at 1,20. And as the withdrawal date approaches a Reuter poll estimates that the currency will drop an additional 10. The low value of the pound means British consumers will need to spend more money on imported goods like tuna. To make things

worse, there will be a 24 tax on imported tuna products when the UK leaves the EU.

EUROFISH Magazine 5 / 2019

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[ INTERNATIONAL NEWS ] Spain’s northern blueďŹ n tuna quota fully caught

UK’s ďŹ shermen weather the challenges

The Spanish General Secretariat of Fisheries has closed the northern bluefin tuna fishery as the latest catch data combined with average daily consumption indicated that the full quota would be reached. Consequently, Spanish flagged vessels will not be allowed to catch northern bluefin tuna in waters of the Atlantic Ocean north of the 5th N parallel and will only be allowed to land the quantities captured and declared before the closing date. The closure also affects marine recreational sport fishing according to the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food.

US: 75 years of supplying the processing industry Bettcher Industries, a leading supplier of cutting and trimming tools for the processing industry celebrated their 75th anniversary at their headquarters in Birmingham, Ohio, USA. Founded in 1944 as a repair shop for meat processing equipment, the company quickly presented a cutting saw it had developed inhouse. It went on to invent its awardwinning Whizard hand trimmer in 1954 which came to be used throughout the US and still is one of the top sellers in the company’s portfolio. Since 1959 Bettcher has expanded, founding a European site in 1978 in Switzerland, and opening branches in Brazil and China. The latest expansion, opening this September, is the direct sales and service structure for its customer base in Spain, replacing third-party distribution. Bettcher has created 8

Seafish, the UK public body that supports the seafood industry, has published Economics of the UK Fishing Fleet 2018. The report reveals the fishing fleet had a turnover of GBP1 billion (EUR1.1b) for the second year in a row, although external factors such as fuel cost, weather, and the political landscape mean profits have fallen slightly. The sector saw a total operating profit of GBP268 million despite a lower number of active vessels (down 3 to 4,512) and a 5 reduction in total volume landed. In addition, the report showed a mixed response to the impact of the UK’s exit from the EU with some perceiving it as an opportunity while others seeing it as a potential risk to their businesses. Shellfish fishermen exporting to the EU have benefited from a 42 average price increase per tonne since 2015, reduced by the drop in the pound/ euro exchange rate, while longliners over 10 m in length have seen a significant decrease in revenues attributed to a fall in hake prices and a reduction in their landings per day at sea. The report can be accessed at media/Economics_of_the_UK_ Fishing_Fleet_2018.pdf

Gregor Thomalla and Russ Stroner of Bettcher celebrate the company’s 75th anniversary with the opening of a new sales and service center in Spain.

a state-of-the-art research and development environment at the Bettcher Innovation Center, where new, innovative precision cutting tools that increase

productivity are developed. The company holds more than 100 active patents and claims a 95 percent global market share for its hand trimmer systems.

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[ INTERNATIONAL NEWS ] Croatia: Cromaris achieves ASC certiďŹ cation for all sites and species One of the leading producers of Mediterranean white fish, Croatia-based Cromaris, has now become the only fish farming company to have all its production sites and all three commercialised species, seabass, seabream, and meagre, certified to the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) standard. More than four fifths of the company’s production is exported to markets across the EU and beyond and the latest certification will confirm the highest quality standards to which the fish are produced. “We are proud to receive the ASC standard for all our farms,â€? said Goran Markulin, CEO of Cromaris. “This reflects our strategy in terms of

developing sustainable aquaculture of top quality and the freshest Mediterranean fish on the market. It is important to say that we have certified all our farms – 100 of the production, so all our customers can be absolutely sure they are going to get ASC-certified fish.� The company’s facilities and products are already certified to ISO, GLobalG.A.P. IFS, BRC, Friend of the Sea, and Kosher standards, while the organic production is compliant with EU Organic, Naturland and Bio Siegel. The ASC certification extends to the company’s processing facility enabling it to offer processed products under the ASC logo. Cromaris has been investing steadily over the

The Cromaris Velo Zalo farm is one of the company’s production sites, all of which have been certiďŹ ed to the ASC standard.

years focusing on the sustainable production of fish and the ASC certification is a further step on

its path to reach sales of 10,000 tonnes of sustainably-produced fish by the end of 2019.


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EUROFISH Magazine 5 / 2019

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[ INTERNATIONAL NEWS ] Norway: Taking control of the cold, for less Ensuring stable temperatures and tracking goods are an essential part of the food business and TAG Sensors have introduced a new standard at a vastly reduced price compared to existing solutions. The product is a low-cost cloud-based temperature sensor that is stuck to the package, and continuously measures the temperature from production to receiver. It can be started and read using an app on a smartphone using NFC (near field communication) and RFID

(radio frequency identification) technologies or personalized in higher volumes with TAG Sensors customized printer. The readings can be done through cardboard or polystyrene boxes eliminating the need for opening them and it will then automatically upload the temperature graph with timestamps, geo-location, and taken pictures to a cloud-based portal. If there is a breach in the defined temperature limits, the system will immediately notify involved parties with a complete

temperature report. With geolocation the receiver can trace the goods certifying the authenticity of the product. The sensors can be printed directly for use by high-volume customers or can be ordered in batches from the production facility in Norway, which has the capacity to ship 33 million sensors per year. TAG Sensors claim the solution costs about a fifth of competing temperature loggers and was awarded a â‚Ź1.4m development project from the EU Horizon 2020 programme in

2018 with the citation that TAG Sensors would “introduce a new standard for cold chain management globally.�

Danish small-scale ďŹ shers protest destructive beam trawlers A group of small-scale coastal fishermen from northern Jutland occupied the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Copenhagen, the national authority responsible for fisheries at that time, in an attempt to showcase events taking place in the Skagerrak, and to demand the removal of the Dutch beam trawl fleet that is behind them. Beam trawling is one of the least selective and most destructive fishing methods. Using heavy

chains to dig through the seafloor to force the fish into the net. After prolonged dragging only starfish and small dabs are alive causing a major loss to biodiversity. Normally the Dutch beam trawl fleet fishes in the southern North Sea, but they started to fish the Skagerrak three years ago. This year numbers have been increasing due to poor catches of sole further south along with the banning of electric pulse fishing. Some pulse vessel

owners decided convert to twin rig beam trawling and relocate to Skagerrak in search of better fishing. The status of plaice and sole stocks in the southern North Sea is a cause for concern, with Dutch pulse vessels and beam trawlers only able to catch between 60 and 70 of their quotas. The Danish fishermen are calling for an immediate halt to the destruction of the marine

environment and their fishing grounds; they demand that the Skagerrak is closed to beam trawling. “Beam trawlers must leave Skagerrak for good. Neither the fish, the marine environment, nor the small scale fishermen will survive if they stay�, says Henry Fjord, a fisherman from Hanstholm on the Danish west coast.

According to a new FAO report a wider, appropriate application of genetic improvement in aquaculture, with a focus on selective breeding will help boost sustainable food supply for many generations. The report highlights that we are still largely farming wild fish, with 45 percent of cultured species being little different from their wild counterparts in contrast with the extensive use of improved breeds and varieties in livestock and crop production. It also notes that just over half of the reporting countries consider that genetic improvement has 10

a significant impact on aquaculture production. The report stresses the potential for sustainable production gains through the genetic improvement of farmed aquatic resources. A focus on selective breeding will help boost food production to meet the projected increase in demand for fish and fish products with relatively little extra feed, water and other inputs. Aquaculture lags far behind terrestrial agriculture – both crops and livestock – in terms of the characterization, domestication

and improvement of its genetic resources for food production. The report concludes that we have the opportunity to enhance sustainable aquaculture production through the strategic management and development of some of the more than 550 species currently used in aquaculture. According to FAO, a growing human population is expected to drive an increase in fish consumption of approximately 1.2 percent per annum over the next decade. Production of fish and fish products is estimated to reach over 200 million

ISSN 2412-5474

FAO highlights the great potential of genetic improvements in aquaculture for better food security




tonnes by 2030. The report is available here. [http://www.fao. org/3/ca5256en/CA5256EN.pdf]

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[ INTERNATIONAL NEWS ] EU: Better utilization of resources The EU fish processing industry generates a turnover of nearly â‚Ź28 billion and employs more than 122,000 people. Of the 5.1 million tonnes of fish caught almost a third (1.5 tonnes) is not utilized fully and ends up in low-value uses, like animal feed or gets disposed of, an additional cost for the industry. This calls for a more sustainable and

commercially attractive exploitation of fish and other aquatic products throughout the value chain. WaSeaBi is a 4-year project which aims to develop and test new concepts, ensuring that side-streams from aquaculture, fisheries, and aquatic processing industries can be exploited for production of new products and ingredients.

The project will achieve a more valuable exploitation of the biomass by developing storage solutions and sorting technologies to secure an efficient and sustainable supply system for by-catch as well as sidestreams from aquaculture, fisheries and the aquatic processing industries. It will add value to six different raw material side-streams

in the production of, for instance, protein-based food ingredients and aromatic ingredients and mineral supplements for food and feed and evaluate the commercial potential while quantifying environmental, economic, and social impacts. The EUR 4 million project just launched its new website and will last until May 2023.

Norwegian seafood exports show strongest July ever Norway exported 164,000 tonnes of seafood worth NOK7.8 billion (EUR777m) in July, a 6 fall in volume but an 11, growth in value to NOK768 million compared with the same period last year, reports Paul T. Aandahl, Seafood Analyst at the Norwegian Seafood Council. Growth

in salmon exports combined with increased prices is the main reason why value remained high. Aquaculture, which made up 78 of total exports reached NOK6.2 billion, which is also a record for the month of July. Salmon showed strong growth with an 11 increase in value

with an average price for whole fresh salmon reaching NOK59.55 per kg, compared with NOK56.38 per kg in July last year. Poland, France and Denmark were the largest markets for salmon while Asia showed the largest growth, mainly driven by improved access to the Chinese

market leading exporters to better exploit the potential that exists in this market.

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[ INTERNATIONAL NEWS ] Overview of Spain’s aquaculture Aquaculture in Spain 2019 is the latest edition of APROMAR’s annual report depicting the development of the aquaculture sector in Spain and Europe. The report provides an overview of the sector with information from the European Commission, the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (MAPA), the European Federation of Aquaculture Producers (FEAP) and the FAO. In 2017 the Spanish aquaculture sector comprised 5,100

operating aquaculture establishments. Of these, 4,793 focused on molluscs while 187 were inland aquaculture farms, 79 coastal establishments, and 41 marine farms. Seabass was the most cultivated fish species in 2018 with a production of 22,460 tonnes. The Region of Murcia produced 7,525t (34), followed by the Canary Islands 5,793t (26), the Valencia 4,633t (21), and Andalusia 4,479t (20). Other important aquaculture species include

rainbow trout (18,856 tonnes), gilthead seabream (14,930 tonnes), turbot (7,450 tonnes), 99 of which was produced in Galicia. Throughout Spain 140,050 tonnes of aquaculture feed was used in 2018 with 85 used to produce marine fish and the remaining 15 used for freshwater aquaculture. Spain is the EU Member State with the highest aquaculture production touching 311,000 tonnes or 23.0 of the total in 2017.

APROMAR’s latest report (now in English) gives an update on the aquaculture sector in Spain and the EU.

Sustainable ďŹ shing methods maintain high proďŹ ts for the EU ďŹ shing eet The 2019 annual economic report on the EU fishing fleet shows that the high levels of economic performance carried over from 2016 to 2017. The 83,323 vessels that make up the EU fleet registered a net profit of EUR1.30 billion in 2017, only 3 lower than the record EUR1.34 billion registered the year before. The continued strong performance was the result of higher average fish prices, continued low fuel prices, and the improved status of some important stocks, a trend that is expected to continue into 2018 and 2019. The sustainable exploitation of fish stocks was identified as an important foundation

for the strong performance. The report indicates that economic performance tends to stagnate where fleets depend on stocks that are overfished or overexploited. While the entire EU fleet was profitable, the results varied by scale of operation and by fishing region. The large-scale and the distantwater fleet segments registered higher economic performance than the small-scale coastal fleet segments. Furthermore, the fleet segments operating in the North Eastern Atlantic, where most stocks being fished at sustainable levels, registered higher

economic performance than the fleet segments operating in the Mediterranean, which has a continued (although improving) problem of overfishing or overexploitation of a number of stocks. In 2017, the EU fleet’s gross value added (i.e. the contribution of the fishing sector to the economy through wages and gross profit) amounted to EUR 4.5 billion, stable in comparison to the recordbreaking 2016. The improved efficiency of the fleet has resulted in a decrease in repair and maintenance costs, as well as other variable costs. Despite a small increase in energy costs (fuel), the average salaries in the sector

increased in 2017, continuing a trend that started in 2012. The Annual Economic Reports on the EU Fishing Fleet provides an overview of the structure and economic performance of the 23 coastal EU Member State fishing fleets. It is the result of combined work by economic experts from the Scientific, Technical and Economic Committee of Fisheries (STECF) and the European Commission and is available here [ jrc/en/publication/eur-scientificand-technical-research-reports/ scientific-technical-and-economiccommittee-fisheries-stecf-2019-annual-economic-report-eu]

New tool for ďŹ shing industry whistle blowers A whistle blower who believes the EU is ignoring rampant overfishing can now take matters into his or her own hands. What has been dubbed “Fishyleaksâ€? is a platform that enables whistle blowers to anonymously shine a light on bad practices in the industry. A take on the infamous “WikiLeaks,â€? a website that publishes classified


or leaked government documents, Fishyleaks was started by Our Fish, an NGO, to expose the worst elements of the fishing industry that persist today. Our Fish is an organization that works to end overfishing and operates throughout Europe in conjunction with other organizations to ensure Europe’s waters are fished

sustainably and Fishyleaks is a tool that contributes to achieving these goals. “We created Fishyleaks to help those who want to share information with us, in a confidential, anonymous and secure manner,� says Rebecca Hubbard, program direct or at Our Fish. Several anonymous users have shared information

and footage with Fishyleaks. In one video, the site alleges a fishing boat can be seen illegally dumping non-valuable dead fish at sea. Approximately 1.7 tonnes of fish are discarded across the EU every year, because the fish are of little commercial value or the species of fish does not have any enforced quota.

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[ INTERNATIONAL NEWS ] US government buys school lunch salmon worth EUR2.8m The United States Department of Agriculture announced that it had awarded Trident Seafoods with a contract for 324,000 pounds (147 tonnes) of frozen wild salmon fillets worth USD3.05 million (EUR2.8 million). The supplier will deliver the fish from October 2019 to

March 2020 for distribution to the child nutrition (school lunch) and other related domestic food assistance programmes. At the same time it is looking for a supplier of 391,200 pounds of frozen breaded Alaska pollock fish sticks a following record breaking order of pollock in

May. The large quantities of pollock are intended to offset the

effects of the trade war between the U.S. and China.

Danube: Proceedings of River habitat restoration for inland ďŹ sheries available In November 2018 the FAO, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and the Ministry of Waters and Forests in Romania, EUROFISH, DSTF, IAD, and EIFAAC organised a conference in Bucharest on River habitat restoration

for inland fisheries in the Danube River basin and adjacent Black Sea areas. The conference focused on valuing inland fisheries resources, conservation and management, regulatory framework, and shared country experiences from the region. All

Warm Alaska summer linked to salmon mortalities Dead salmon line the shores of many of Alaska’s rivers. This is not necessarily a new phenomenon as salmon dying after females lay eggs and males fertilize them is an annual sight along the streams. The reason for concern is that many dead fish are full of eggs with no signs of disease or parasites, the Times reports. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game is therefore looking at warm weather and water temperatures and the low water levels for an explanation. The department has not previously quantified mortalities caused by high temperatures due to their sporadic nature and inconsistencies but will begin to analyse fish deaths and correlate them to weather observations. To

some, the deaths are no surprise as climate models for years have forecast unhealthy river temperatures for salmon in Alaska, Peter Westley, assistant professor of fisheries conservation and fisheries ecology at the University of Alaska Fairbanks explains. The Alaskan summer started off with a warm June followed by the hottest July ever recorded with average temperatures in July reaching 14.5 degrees Celsius, 3 degrees above the historical average dating back to 1925. Salmon get stressed when temperatures exceed 12.8 degrees Celsius and on July 7 a temperature of 27.6 degrees C was recorded in the Deshka River, a major salmon stream north of Anchorage. Temperatures like this drastically

the information presented at the conference has now been published as an FAO proceedings report. The report is available directly from or the event website: and will also be available in Russian.

exceed climate models that predicted these high temperatures would only be reached in a year’s time. Warm water holds less oxygen than cold water, but tests ruled out suffocation as a cause. It’s too early to assess whether salmon reproduction will be

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affected in some streams as it varies greatly each year and good conditions for hatchling survival can compensate for fewer spawning adults. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game is monitoring the situation and may restrict fishing accordingly.

EUROFISH Magazine 5 / 2019

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2123 SEPTEMBER 2020


10 000+ professional visitors from 50 other countries 350+ companies from 26 countries 13,000 sqm of exhibition space

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S A I N T P E T E R S B U R G



PRODUCT SECTORS FISH & SEAFOOD Catching & processing Aquaculture Feeds Fish & seafood retail

Feeds, additives & veterinary Packaging Logistics & storage Financial services & insurance



Seafood processing equipment Refrigeration / freezing Equipment from aquaculture Equipment from mariculture

Ship building & repair Engines Ship equipment & navigation systems Fishing gear

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[ EVENTS ] Seafood Expo Russia, 10-12 July, St. Petersburg

The gateway to the Russian market The third edition of Seafood Expo Russia brought together 335 companies from 35 Russian regions and 26 countries around the globe. The country’s ďŹ sheries sector was represented by companies involved in ďŹ shing, aquaculture, and processing and all the allied industries. As in the previous years, the show was organized by LLC Expo Solutions Group.


Nordic countries have a lot to offer Following the needs of the ageing fishing fleet, in 2016 the government of Russia introduced investment quotas which should enable the construction of 120 new vessels (or half the fishing fleet) at a cost of 300 billion rubles by 2025. Scandinavian countries with their long experience in shipbuilding have much to offer the Russian market. Denmark, Iceland and Norway participated at the show with national pavilions. The Norwegian pavilion was organized by Innovation Norway together with Norwegian-Russian Chamber of Commerce (NRCC) and accommodated 11 companies from Møre Maritime Russia Cluster. “Up to 80 of the equipment on Russian fishing vessels is imported,â€? says Mr. Nikolai Shavrov, a consultant to NRCC. For the new Russian fleet the equipment will be purchased abroad – Norway, Iceland, 16


ussia is one of the topten fishing nations in the world. Total catch volumes by the Russian fishing fleet in 2018 reached just over 5 million tonnes placing the country 5th in the world in terms of fish and seafood production. Though catches are growing from year to year, the Russian fishing fleet is getting older. In 2015 the average age of the vessels was 29 years and industry experts estimated that if the fleet is not renovated, catch volumes will drop by 2 million tonnes by 2025.

Over the three days of the show it was attended by close to 10,000 visitors from 42 Russian regions and 38 foreign countries.

Denmark, Spain, Germany. It makes sense to fight for this market, and Norwegian companies have started doing it actively.� Exhibitors at the Norwegian pavilion brought their newest solutions for shipbuilding, construction of processing and refrigeration plants, ship repair, air conditioning and ventilation, as well as deck machinery, fishing gears, and nets among others. The Danish Pavilion, organized by the Danish Fish Tech Group, brought together 17 companies offering a broad spectrum of products and services for the fishing and processing sectors. Some of the exhibitors were new, while others are veterans on the Russian market, some were looking for a local agent, and others to expand their portfolio of customers. “We

sell our pumps round the world,� says Rene Jensen, Business Development Manager of JS Proputec, “and we see a lot of opportunities here in Russia after the introduction of the investment quotas, which have paved the way for foreign companies to enter the Russian market. Our products are already being sold in Russia and I came to the show to find potential customers and to meet our new distributor in Vladivostok.� Managing Director of EPS-Recycle Lars Steffensen is completely new to the Russian market. The company is selling solutions for handling polystyrene fish boxes which a lot of companies have as waste. EPS-Recycle collects and compacts polystyrene, brings it to their new plant where the waste is transformed into a new plastic material, which then can be used

for insulation, car parts, even for picture frames – anything made of polystyrene. “I see a lot of potential in Russia,� says Mr. Steffensen, “as their waste handling system is underdeveloped. I want fishing companies to see that there is money they are throwing away, and the best way to tell people about the waste is to say that it has value.� Danish companies are known for being good at collaborating and interacting with each other, delivering turn-key solution for potential customers, and they see a lot of potential in the Russian market. “The renovation of the fishing fleet will be fascinating to follow and see how the collaboration between Russian and Danish companies can grow,� says Martin Winkel, the head of

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[ EVENTS ] wants to enter this market, he said, “is don’t be afraid to go through this process. You have to understand and accept that it is very complicated. Just make a good “road map�, understand your goal, focus on it and move towards it. Look at the process as a big elephant. You have to eat it one bite at a time; there are many difficult steps – celebrate each of them and move forward. It is hard but possible.�

Seated from left, Ilya Shestakov, Head of the Federal Agency for Fisheries of the Russian Federation Dmitry Patrushev, Minister of Agriculture of the Russian Federation, Bekir Pakdemirli, Minister of Agriculture and Forestry of the Republic of Turkey and Altug Atalay, Director General for Fisheries and Aquaculture, Ministry of Aquaculture and Forestry of the Republic of Turkey, at the EUROFISH Business Platform.

the Danish Fish Tech Group. “In general, Nordic countries have a lot to offer to the Russian market. Competition is intense, but the market is huge, and I am sure we will find a niche�

Massive presence of Turkish companies at EUROFISH Business Platform As a service to its member countries, EUROFISH - international organisation for the development of fisheries and aquaculture in Europe, occasionally facilitates the participation of delegations at trade exhibitions around Europe giving participants an opportunity to introduce their products to potential customers. This year, the third edition of the EUROFISH Business Platform in St. Petersburg hosted eight seafood producers from Turkey together with representatives from the Central Union of Aquaculture Producers and officials from the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry. The delegation was led by Altug Atalay, Director General for Fisheries and Aquaculture. 18

The exhibitors showcased a wide range of Turkish seafood: rainbow trout, Black Sea salmon, seabass, seabream, crayfish and mussels – chilled, frozen, smoked and precooked. Samples were offered to passers-by and visitors to the stand to gauge their opinions and preferences. Visitors were particularly interested in trout and salmon which “are sometimes called “Turkish big red fishâ€?, explains Faruk CoĂşkun, General Secretary of the Central Union of Aquaculture Producers “and it has become one of the symbols of Turkey.â€? All the trout producers at the stand agreed that Russian consumers like big red fish – and the redder, the better. Participants also mentioned the challenges they had faced entering the Russian market. Obtaining the necessary certifications was the main hindrance involving a lot of paperwork and time both in Turkey and in Russia. Volkan Demirkiran, Export Manager of Ăšahlanlar, a company that recently obtained all the necessary certificates, said obtaining Russian import certificates was a very difficult procedure. “My advice to any company that

The next edition of the Seafood Expo Russia is scheduled for 21-23 September 2020. Mark these days in your calendars! Aleksandra Petersen, aleksandra.petersen

OfďŹ cial Turkish participation at Seafood Expo Russia

A step forward in Turkey-Russia relations

Dr Altug Atalay, Director General for Fisheries and Aquaculture, Ministry of Aquaculture and Forestry of the Republic of Turkey. Russia is very close to Turkey geographically, but the two countries are also closely tied in other areas: culture, economy, and defence, to name just a few. Russia is a very important market for Turkey and the relationship between the two countries is improving from year to year. We ďŹ nd it very important that Turkish companies participate in trade shows in Russia and use

every opportunity to promote our ďŹ sheries sector here. Seafood Expo Russia is an excellent opportunity in this regard and the companies here are showcasing the best they have. This year the Russian Ministry of Agriculture invited our Minister of Agriculture and Forestry to the event and participation at this level is a signiďŹ cant step forward in Turkey-Russia relations.

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[ EVENTS ] Exhibitors at the EUROFISH Business Platform

Akvatek Aqua Culture Inc. started its activities in 1993 as a hatchery for seabass. In 2015 the company started offshore fish farming rearing seabass, seabream, meagre, dentex and white grouper. The company is also producing fish feed. Production currently is for Turkey only, says Nedim YazĹcĹoálu, coordinator of Akvatek, but we would like to start working on the international market, and the Russian market is big and promising. The Business Platform is a great opportunity to meet Russian customers and learn about consumer preferences, said Mr YazĹcĹoálu, adding that the company was in the process of obtaining the certificates necessary to start exporting to Russia.

Dersu Balik farms and smokes trout and trout products exporting to Europe and other countries, but the major volumes are sold on the domestic market. Before coming to the show, the company was communicating with a few Russian companies that have shown a lot of interest in its products. At the show the company met with a lot of potential customers from HoReCa sector and retail chains.

Kuzuoálu Group is the largest producer of Black Sea salmon (Salmo trutta labrax) in Turkey. Annual production reaches 10 thousand tonnes of portion-size trout and big salmon trout which are sold locally and abroad – in the Middle East, Africa, USA, Canada and Russia. Kuzuoálu is participating at EUROFISH Business Platform for the second time. Describing the developments of the past year Mr. Hassan Kuzuoálu, the President of the Group said “We have completed one processing plant and another one will soon be completed. Russia is a very important market for us and our exports have been growing. Currently we supply 75 of the total volumes of Black Sea Salmon exported from Turkey to Russia.â€?

Nora Mussel produces mussels stuffed with rice – one of the most popular street foods in Turkey. Nora has its own mussel 68 Â?5Â?1/(5Ăą farm in the southern part of the Marmara Sea. Current production is 300 thousand tonnes per year, but the plan is to expand to 2 million tonnes within the next few years. Business Development Manager, Mahmut Erturan is sure that even with this level it will not be possible to satisfy the demand in Turkey. The mussels are sold ready to cook – frozen or chilled. “We want to introduce our mussels outside Turkey and at the show we’ve met a lot of potential customers – more than we expected,â€? says Mr Erturan.

Olivka Foods produces fish and olive oil considering both as wonders of nature due to their health benefits. Major species produced are seabass, seabream, meagre and red seabream. The fish eggs are collected from the broodstock in the nature and then transferred to the breeding tanks. The larvae developing from the eggs are fed with premium algae and artemia to assure high quality juveniles. When these exceed 0.1 gram, they are moved to the adaptation unit and then transferred to cages in the sea after a quality check. When the fries reach between 3 and 5 grams, they are moved to the earthen ponds where they grow to 400-600 g, which takes from 16 to 20 months. Adult fish are harvested, placed in ice baths, and after final quality controls are delivered to retail sales points.

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[ EVENTS ] Ă–zpekler Su ĂœrĂźnleri is one of the pioneers of Turkish trout farming. The company owns 10 farms producing around 6 thousand tonnes of trout per year. In 2009 the company started rearing seabass and seabream and today produces around 300 tonnes of each species. Traditionally, most of the trout was exported to Germany until three years ago when Ă–zpekler started exports of frozen trout to Russia. Russian consumers are used to wild trout and have been sceptical of farmed fish, says Ms SĂźlbiye Ă–ztĂźrk, Export Manager, but now their attitude has started to change as people are becoming more aware of the high quality and health benefits of the farmed trout.

Úahlanlar Fish Farming and Processing Company specialises in freshwater species: crayfish, trout, pikeperch, carp, perch, and tench. Last year, through the EUROFISH Business Platform, the company tried to find customers in Russia for its best-known product – crayfish in brine. Crayfish are associated with beer drinking in Russia, and Úahlanlar made some valuable contacts. During the past year the company obtained all the necessary certificates from both Turkey and Russia, and is now exporting crayfish to Russia.

Polifish farms trout and seabass in the Black Sea and produced 1.5 thousand tonnes last year of which a major share was exported. On average, 90 of the company’s sales are to Japan. Polifish already exports around 10 of its rainbow trout to Russia and expects a 4-5-fold increase in the near future. Russia and Turkey are neighbours, says Tayfun Denizer, General Manager, and we think it is best to trade with neighbouring countries.

All the participants uttered their satisfaction with the show and expressed gratitude to EUROFISH for hosting the Turkish delegation at the Business Platform. “This is a very good format of participation,â€? says Haydar AĂşkÄąn from Dersu. We can see our colleagues and their products, we can meet officials from the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, and we have an opportunity to talk to each other. And to visitors we can offer the full range of Turkish seafood and show the potential of our country.â€? 8

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5th International Carp Conference, 4-6 September 2019, Ansbach, Germany

Fish farmers call for more support, action on predators In the last few years, it has become axiomatic, and at the same time motivating, to say that aquaculture is the fastest-growing food production sector. As production from capture ďŹ sheries has stabilised, an increase in demand for ďŹ sh has propelled the development of aquaculture worldwide.


he FAO’s flagship publication on fisheries, The State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture 2018, reveals some interesting facts: – Over 64 of the world’s farmed food fish production comes from inland aquaculture typically in freshwater earthen ponds, but also raceways tanks, pens and cages; – In Asia, Central and Eastern Europe and Latin America,


filter-feeding species are produced in a polyculture of species and ages to enhance fish production by using natural food and improving the water quality in the production system; – Finfish make 67 of the global aquaculture production (excluding aquatic plants) and 97 of inland aquaculture production; – At the global level, 47 of finfish productions are carps.

Central and Eastern Europe has an ancient tradition of carp farming. To maintain this tradition and to help it evolve, carp farmers’ associations from the region organise a biennial conference dedicated to carp farming and related issues. After events organised in Kazimierz Dolny (Poland), Wrocław (Poland), VodĖany (Czech Republic) and Zagreb (Croatia), this year it was Germany that hosted this

important event. The 5th International Carp Conference took place in Ansbach, on 4-6 September 2019 and was organised by Verband der Deutschen Binnenfischerei und Aquakultur e. V. (VDBA) and the Verband Bayerischer Berufsfischer e. V. (VBB). The conference was attended by fish farmers and fish farmers’ associations from Germany, Poland, Hungary, Croatia, Czech Republic, Romania and Austria,

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[ EVENTS ] as well as by researchers, markets specialists, biodiversity experts, and other stakeholders.

Red tape is still a huge barrier to development The opening speech by Bernhard Feneis, the President of the German Association of Inland Fisheries and Aquaculture (VDBA) mentioned some key issues that were to be extensively discussed during the conference, including, the bureaucracy which overburdens SMEs involved in carp farming, the need for better communication between carp farmers and consumers and also between farmers themselves, the impact of global warming on carp farming, the damage caused by predators which reduces the contribution carp farming makes to

biodiversity, the need to attract young farmers into the business, and the role of carp farming in cultural and environmental protection. The first part of the conference was dedicated to interventions by European and national associations. Speeches held by Kathryn Stack (FEAP), Bernhard Feneis (Copa Cogeca), Michal Kratochvil (CFFA – Czegenrach Fish Farmers Association), Cătălin Eugen Platon (ROMFISH – Romanian Fish Farmers Association) and Bela Halasi-Kovacs (NAIK – Hungarian Research Institute of Fisheries and Aquaculture (HAKI)) focused on the importance of pond fish farming for society and on the importance of communications between farmers and consumers.

Carp offers farmers a number of advantages

macrophytes (on which the fish can feed).

Historically, the use of common carp for farming purposes was based on several advantages it had over other species: prolificacy, simple reproduction, and the ability to adapt to a wide range of water quality conditions. Farming carp with associated species in polyculture or in multitrophic integrated fish systems is not new. Ponds were used alternately for fish and cereals (or other crops) to improve the yields of both. Using science to improve traditional ways of pond farming improved the sustainability of carp production by including in the stocking formula species which recycle unused nutrients or by using nutrients which generate other aquatic organisms like phytoplankton and

Another important issue debated at the conference was the imbalance between pond farm and predator management. For more than two decades pond fish farmers have been asking for a European management plan for cormorants which, together with other birds or mammals, like herons, pelicans, and otters, are causing serious and documented damage mainly to carp farms. The need for this management plan was mentioned in 1994 by the Scientific Committee of the Bonn Convention and later by two European Parliament Resolutions in 1996 and 2008. Since 1979, when the Birds Directive was published, the number of cormorants has increased astronomically, and since the right measures were not

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The 5th International Carp Conference brought associations and their members from Germany, Poland, Hungary, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Romania and Austria together with scientists, administrators and other stakeholders.

taken in the ‘90s, the challenge now, after 25 years, is far more difficult to solve. The role of carp farming in providing ecosystem services for the benefit of society has been mentioned since the early 18th century. The most important services are nutrient recycling, primary productivity, and biodiversity maintenance. As the EU emphasises green production, the circular economy, sustainable practices, and biodiversity protection, pond fish farming which makes a significant contribution to all these areas, must be officially acknowledged.

Scientists and producers work together for mutual beneďŹ t An important partner for the carp farmers is the research establishment. Topics like the impact of climate change on carp farming, spring mortality of carp, the conservation of genetic resources of common carp, or nutrient sequestration in traditional pond farming were extensively discussed by scientists from the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland. One fact that emerged was that aquaculture, and especially traditional carp farming, has one of the lowest carbon emissions in the field of animal husbandry. 22

In spite of pond fish farming’s green credentials, the EU is far from being a global leader in aquaculture production. In terms of carp and associated species the EU produces only 86,000 tonnes of fish from 400,000 ha of ponds or around 200 kg/ha – much lower than the potential. Data on the carp market in the EU presented by Ekaterina Tribilustova, senior market analyst for EUROFISH, and in-depth analyses of national carp markets in Germany, Croatia, Poland and Austria provided a basis for discussions on marketing strategies and better communication. The lack of a coherent communication campaign to inform consumers about carp farming, its environmental-friendly technologies, and about its contribution not only to the rural economy but also to the quality of life of city-dwellers, needs to be remedied as soon as possible.

The level of support for ďŹ sh farming should be the same as that for agriculture Pond fish farming is usually a family business, organised almost always as an SME. But, while other forms of agriculture are entitled to various forms of support that

make the activity attractive for investments and draws young people into the business, fish farming does not benefit to the same extent, although it is a part of agriculture. These differences between policies and forms of support for agriculture and those for aquaculture provoked animated discussions at the conference. More seriously, they are also causing more and more pond farmers to consider using their ponds to produce crops or to move to other economic sectors altogether which ultimately could have a huge impact on the rural economy and on the ecosystem. Nevertheless, some good examples of young carp farmers, mainly from Germany, Poland and Romania, continuing their parents’ and grandparents’ work were presented at the conference. The stagnant growth in farmed fish and seafood production in the EU can be attributed to the overabundant national, regional, or local rules, permits, authorisations, licences, studies, applications and other papers needed to maintain a working pond farm. Talks, debates and analyses about cutting the red tape suffocating the industry are made regularly at European or, in some cases, at national level, but have had little or no impact.

Conference concludes with unanimously approved resolution

from fish predators such as cormorants, otters and others. Carp farmers cannot bear all the costs of protecting biodiversity and should be allowed to protect their ponds from predators. Urgent legislative changes in the status of protected species, especially fish predators, are required. 2. Financial compensation for ecosystem services – Carp ponds are more than just sites of fish production. The ecosystem services arising from pond farming serve society in general and preserving the environment cannot be the burden of the fish farmer alone. Therefore, fish farming should be compensated for production losses and for the costs of environmental services, in the same way as other forms of agriculture. 3. EU funded carp promotion – There is a need to treat carp as an extraordinary fish species due to its “greenâ€? production methods. Moreover, the vast majority of carp farms are small family businesses that lack the capacity to plan, design, and launch a marketing campaign. This initiative should be fully supported and fully funded by the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund 2021 - 2027. As often happens in life, the conference ended with a beginning – the start of the Bavarian carp season in WassertrĂźdingen, a town in the district of Ansbach, where fish was prepared for consumers – and paperwork for bureaucrats!

The format of the International Carp Conferences provides the participants with a resolution integrating the main topics discussed and the action needed at various decision-making levels. This years’ document, approved unanimously by the participants focused on three vital elements:

The presentations from the International Carp Conference are available at: https://www.karpfen-konferenz. de/pl/home-interational/

1. Changes in the status of protected species – Carp ponds are suffering from increased pressure

Catalin Platon, Romanian Fish Farmers Association, catalin.platon

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[ EVENTS ] Commission proposals for drastic reductions in 2020 TACs provoke detailed discussion

Busy and possibly bumpy road ahead for BALTFISH On 1 July 2019, Finland started its six-month Presidency of the Council of Ministers. It also took over the twelve-month presidency of BALTFISH, the regional cooperation of the Baltic states on ďŹ sheries and ďŹ sheries management.


he first BALTFISH meetings – Forum and High Level Group – took place in Helsinki on 4 and 5 September 2019. The Forum invites stakeholders to inform the Baltic Member States on fisheries management issues, while the High Level Group is exclusively for the Member States. The Forum meeting was well attended by stakeholders from across the interest groups. The Baltic Sea Advisory Council was represented by its chair, Esben Sverdrup-Jensen, other officeholders, and the secretariat.

A packed agenda of ďŹ sheries issues at Council and regional levels As holder of the Council Presidency, Finland will be dealing with a Baltic salmon management plan, the proposal for the new programming period for the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund, and the Commission’s proposal for a revised Control Regulation, as well as Brexit. Under regionalisation and the work of BALTFISH, it will be dealing with TACs and quotas for the Baltic, plus work on seals, possibly on eel, fisheries control, a Baltic Member State Joint Recommendation proposing an exemption for plaice from the landing obligation and a follow-up on alternative mesh sizes in the T90/BACOMA cod end in the Baltic cod fisheries.

Currently, the most important issue facing the Baltic is the Commission’s proposal for the Baltic fisheries in 2020 which contains quite a few challenges for the coming October Fisheries Council meeting to negotiate and adopt: a proposed TAC reduction of 71 for western Baltic herring, bycatch quotas only for eastern Baltic cod, a proposed 68 reduction for western Baltic cod, proposed reductions for some of the other stocks, an 11 increase for Gulf of Riga herring, and status quo for Gulf of Finland salmon. The BSAC has made an overview of the different positions (available at Furthermore, 2020 which is just around the corner, is the year by which all stocks must be managed at maximum sustainable yield (MSY).

Stakeholders have diverse views regarding Commission’s TAC proposals At the Forum meeting, the Commission went through its proposal, and there was a detailed discussion by all, with different views, positions and concerns put forward by the stakeholders. The Baltic Sea Advisory Council presented its joint recommendations on all stocks, with a special emphasis on the grave situation for cod in the whole basin and for the western Baltic herring.

Orian Bondestam (centre), Finnish Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, with his team, chairing the BALTFISH Forum

Another important issue raised by the BALTFISH chairman was seals, and again, there were different views on how or whether to have a specific management scheme for seals in the Baltic. The High Level Group met the next day behind closed doors and no doubt referred to the stakeholder input. No agreement, however, was reached by BALTFISH, and negotiations will continue right up to the October Fisheries Council

in Luxembourg. ICES has also been asked to give information on estimated levels of unavoidable by-catches of eastern Baltic cod in fisheries not targeting the eastern Baltic cod and to look in more detail at its earlier recommendation for the development of a spatial management plan for fisheries catching sprat. The meeting ended with a discussion on transparency regarding the work of BALTFISH, a very important issue for the Finnish Presidency.

EUROFISH Magazine 5 / 2019

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[ EVENTS ] Curtain drops on 28-year collaboration between DiversiďŹ ed and Brussels

Barcelona to host SEG from 2021 Seafood Expo Global will move to Barcelona in 2021 to exploit the city’s status as a global seafood hub.


iversified Communications, organisers of Seafood Expo Global, the world’s biggest and most international trade show dedicated to the seafood sector, has announced that the event will move to Barcelona in 2021. The change heralds the end of a 28-year long era when Brussels hosted the event. Mary Larkin, President of Diversified Communications USA, explained that Brussels had been an excellent choice to launch and grow the event, but pointed to the bigger venue, plentiful hotels, and the long-term growth opportunities

offered by Barcelona, which is a bigger city, as key reasons to move. Fira de Barcelona’s Gran Via venue, where SEG will be held, is one of the largest in Europe, with over 200,000 square meters of floor space, eight exhibition halls, more than 40 restaurants and is easily accessible by road, rail, and air – so the over 29,000 seafood buyers and suppliers and over 2,000 exhibitors who were at Brussels in 2019 can look forward to everything they have come to appreciate about the event so far.

Seafood Expo Global moves to Fira de Barcelona’s state-of-the-art Gran Via venue from 2021.

The change in venue will not deter EUROFISH Magazine from continuing to interview and write about exhibitors from the EUROFISH

member countries and beyond. The coverage of the following companies continues from the last edition of the magazine.

Orahovica, Croatia

Putting carp on the table


arp is perhaps not many seafood consumers first choice for a balanced healthy and delicious meal, but PP Orahovica, a Croatian Agricultural company, is working hard to prove why it should be. Orahovica has more than 10,760 hectares of farming land where they produce wine, cattle, fruit and maintain a fishery. The company’s fishery is 3,348 hectares and they are the largest producers of carp in all of Croatia. Over the past year Orahovica produced more than 3,000 tonnes of carp. Much of the carp is sold within Croatia, but the company does export to the Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary, Italy, Serbia and Bosnia & Herzegovina. Orahovica sells fresh and frozen carp and consumers can purchase either 24

whole carp or fillets. Production takes place on site where the fish are cleaned and gutted and packaged. Marketing Manager Katica Petkov revealed the company is currently in the process of developing several new products that will make carp a much more accessible food, especially for people who do not have the time to prepare and cook the fish. Specifically, the production facility is developing carp chips, burgers and steaks. Katica Petkov explained these innovative steps being taken by the company are reflective of their mission to stay on top of worldwide trends and up to date with the latest technology. The company’s desire to modernise is also reflected in the high-tech operation they run within their fishery. Fibre cables connect all

PP Orahovica is home to over 1,020 hectares of fishpond. Of this area, 34.5% s reserved for growing fish, and 65% is for breading fish for consumption. Carp, sheath-fish, perch, dwarf bullhead and silver carp are all bread on sight.

the pounds and droves of data are collected on the local environment to enable optimizations wherever possible. In addition to expanding the variety of products the company produces, Orahovica also has plans

to expand its carp production to 5,000 tonnes in the coming years. Also available for purchase at Orahovica are chestnuts and wines specially designed to complement their carp products.

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[ EVENTS ] Barkas, Poland

Wild Salmon, Italy

Polish fish production company with expansion hopes

Wild Salmon making a splash in foreign markets


ish production in Poland is a highly competitive industry, hence, when opportunities for growth emerge, like they have for fish production company Barkas, it is essential to capitalize on them. The company is currently in the process of expanding its operation so it can produce an additional 1,000 tonnes of products. Barkas is located on the central coast in Orboty near Kolobrzeg. The company offers a wide variety of smoked, salted, frozen and fresh fish. Most cuts are also available and packaging types include vacuum, MAP and bulk packaging. Mackerel is by far the firms most popular product, with halibut, salmon and herring also accounting for significant percentages of the companies yields. This year Barkas produced 2,000 tonnes of product, roughly half of which was mackerel. Fifty percent of the company’s products are exported to countries across Europe including Germany, the Netherlands, Denmark, Romania and the United Kingdom. Supermarkets are the main destination for these products. Foreign exports are sold to private labels

while the remainder of the Barkas’ goods are sold domestically under their own brand name. Barkas purchases its fish from several suppliers in the Netherlands and Norway. Much of the campany's mackerel comes from the Netherlands. All fish, even those not native to European waters are purchased from companies operating within Europe. The fish Barkas purchases from its suppliers are typically frozen. They also purchase a small selection of fresh fish, but the company’s primary focus is the processing of frozen fish. The motivation for the company’s expansion stems from the fact that the factory is limited by its packaging capabilities. An expansion to the facilities – which currently employs 50 people - will enable increased output. Arkadiusz Skorupinski, sales manager, said the company is in the process of applying for this expansion from the EU structural funds. The expansion will include upgrades to both the smoking and packaging facilities and Mr Skorupinski estimates production capacity will increase by at least 50%.


emand for wild Alaskan and Canadian salmon in Italy is strong; the problem is merely getting enough fish to the market. One company, however, taking on this challenge is Wild Salmon. The recent surge in popularity of wild pacific salmon in Italy has been excellent news for Gianfranco Carlo Garella, the operator of the company, who believes the health and nutritional benefits of wild salmon is making them competitive with their Atlantic farmed counterparts. Wild salmon tends to be rich in Omega-3 and

polyunsaturated fatty acids which support a healthy physical wellbeing. Wild Salmon imports its raw materials from Alaska and Canada. The volume purchased from these two locations fluctuates year to year depending on stocks and prices. Wild Salmon offers five species of salmon, including Chinook, Chum, Coho, Pink and Sockeye salmon. The company also purchases some King crab, black cod, tuna, halibut, salmon caviar and lingcod but in more limited quantities. Wild Salmon imports between 1-2 containers of pacific wild salmon each

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Barkas offers over 30 different types of fish from all over the world. Most of these products are smoked but salted and fresh fish is also available in limited capacity. EUROFISH Magazine 5 / 2019

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[ EVENTS ] year. Typically, the company uses air frater to transport the wild salmon, but occasionally shipping is also used. All products purchased from Alaska and Canada are frozen. Wild Salmon previously purchased raw materials from Russia, but issues of certification with Russian fishing companies led the company to move exclusively to Alaska and Canada. Once the raw materials arrive from North America, Wild Salmon processes the frozen products in their factory. The salmon can be cut to meet any specification. The salmon can be purchased raw, cold

smoked, hot smoked or marinated. The company employs 3-4 people year-round but during the holidays more employees are brought on board when demand is ten times higher than the rest of the year. Most of Wild Salmon’s business occurs within Italy to high end restaurants, sushi producers, hotels and supermarkets. Recently, however, the company has been expanding its operations to export to consumers in nearby Switzerland. Gianfranco Garella expressed his hope to continue to be able to expand operations and diversify export markets.

The salmon purchased by Wild Salmon is put immediately into vacuum packed packaging and frozen.

Polanco Caviar, Uruguay

Caviar production in the southern hemisphere


outh America and caviar production don’t typically feature in the same sentence, but in Uruguay one daring company is breaking the mould. Polanco Caviar produces river caviar from sturgeon in floating cages, resembling wild conditions. The production of caviar from sturgeon that swim upstream distinguishes Polanco from many of its European counterparts. The sturgeon is not native to Uruguay and are imported from Russia. Following the collapse of the USSR, a group of caviar farmers relocated to Uruguay where they judged the

conditions for production were perfect. Today, Polanco Caviar sells three species of sturgeon caviar, Acipenser baerii (Siberian sturgeon), Acipenser gueldenstaedtii (Russian sturgeon) and sterlet. The sturgeon are raised for between 7-11 years at which point the males are sold for meet and the females used to produce caviar. The company if fully integrated – the entire production process, farming (including the production of feed), harvesting, processing – are all under the same roof. Production amasses to 7 tonnes of caviar for export each year and the company has plans to expand

production to 10 tonnes in the coming years. The market for caviar is incredibly limited in Uruguay, thus Polanco Caviar exports nearly all its products. Primary destinations for Polanco’s caviar include most of Europe, the United States, Japan and recently Russia. The company is based in San Gregorio de Polanco, a town with a population of just over 3,000 located on the northern bank of Rio Negro. The Rio Negro flows from Brazil through the middle of Uruguay which is known for its soil fertility and water purity. The freshness of the water is one of the reasons Ciro

Fernandez, the Commercial Manager, attributes his companies fortune in avoiding disease with their sturgeon population. Polanco Caviar produces 11 months of the year stopping only in January when the local climate becomes too hot. Primary production occurs in the summer months for the Northern hemisphere, which according to Fernandez, allows the caviar to mature and reach its peak of ripeness in winter when demand for caviar is highest. Polanco Caviar is currently the only company producing caviar in Uruguay and one of two companies in the entire Southern Hemisphere.

Sastas Tapasmar, Turkey

Turkish anchovies prove popular in western Europe


astas Tapasmar is a Turkish production facility with 250 people located on the Black Sea. The company’s main export is anchovies (Engraulis encrasicolus) and sardines (Sardina pilchardus). Sastas Tapasmar’s most popular product is their marinated anchovies, though they also produce salted and smoked products. The 26

marinade has a low pH, which helps preserve the anchovies and the finished products are covered with sunflower oil, which insulates the fish from the air and prolongs the products’ shelf life. Some products combine fish with vegetables, special oils, or spices, most of which are sourced locally in Turkey, though some are imported

The main export of Sastas Tapasmar is anchovies, a staple in the Mediterranean diet which is rich in calcium vitamin D and omega-3.

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[ EVENTS ] from abroad. The company sells an estimated 450 million portions of anchovies and sardines annually. Fish filleting and marinating is the main added value the company provides, while the fishing is outsourced to local vessels operating on the Black Sea. The anchovies and sardines are purchased

directly from the vessels and then frozen immediately. Anchovies are only fished during the winter so a large supply is purchased and frozen ensuring the company can produce and sell its products around the year. In Turkey demand for marinated anchovies and sardines is limited, therefore

the company’s entire production is exported. Countries across Europe purchase Sastas Tapasmar products with Belgium, France, Spain, the Netherlands, Italy, Germany and the UK notable consumers, while exports to the United States and Australia have commenced as well, says GaÍtan

Polski Karp, Poland

Uniting carp farming across Poland


arp farming is incredibly competitive across Poland, especially with Czech and Lithuanian companies also exporting into the country. With this highly competitive market in mind, Polski Karp aims to unite farmers across Poland to assure their carp can reach the market and fetch a reasonable price. Today Polski Karp is a conglomeration of nearly 70 different carp farmers and producers across Poland. It focuses on improving farming, promotion and distribution of carp. Polski Karp has forged relationships and developed contracts with several processing facilities and supermarkets, making it advantageous for individual farmer to join the group. With such wide

membership Polski Karp is now able to purchase raw materials like feed at affordable prices for its members. All members of the group feed their carp with natural cereals and avoid the use of hormones or antibiotics. This past year Polski Karp purchased 1,500 tonnes of feed which was distributed amongst its members. It is also able to launch advertisement campaigns that promote carp consumption throughout the region. Polski carp produces and sells all freshwater fish that live natively, including eel, sturgeon and pike. Carp however makes up the vast majority of the revenue. Last year members of Polski Karp produced 5,000 tonnes of carp, roughly 25% of total carp production

in Poland. Ninety five percent of the group’s products end up on the domestic market. The remaining 5% is exported to the UK where Polski Karp has developed a relationship

Kileste who represents the commercial office in Belgium. The company’s clients are importers/distributors serving mainly the food service sector and supermarket chains. Products are typically sold under private labels, but the company also has its own brands, Tapasmar and North Point. with the retailer Tesco. Polski Karp has contracts with processors that can produce a wide variety of carp products. Carp is available both fresh and frozen, including fillets with skin, steaks, gutted fish and carcass. Last year the average weight of a 30-50cm carp from one of the groups farms was 1.5kg.

Carp rearing methods have not changed for centuries in Poland. They still live in full freedom in the over 70,000 freshwater ponds that exist in Poland.

Pelagos Net Farma, Croatia

Anchovies and sardines spur expansion for Croatian processor


fter a successful first six years in business, Pelagos Net Farma is looking to expand. By the end of the year the company hopes to start the work on a new factory dedicated solely to packaging. The aim of this expansion is to enable the production of more final products like marinated and salted anchovies that are ready for consumption. While Pelagos Net Farma already offers some products like this, most of their produce is semi products. Tuna is the main fish farmed by Pelagos Net Farma, but nearly all their tuna is sold to buyers in Japan. Tuna is

farmed year-round in their own farms located 19 nautical miles away from the company’s headquarters. The volume of tuna the company produces is highly dependent on the quotas set by the EU each year. Pelagos Net Farma owns a fleet of fishing and logistic ships for tuna feeding and catching. These fishing ships are equipped for tuna fishing as well as for fishing small pelagic fish used for feeding farmed tuna and processing. The company now catches its own anchovies and sardines and processes and sells them throughout the EU. Not all the anchovies and sardines processed

Fresh small pelagic fish are salted, marinated, filleted or individually quick frozen. EUROFISH Magazine 5 / 2019

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[ EVENTS ] by Pelagos Net Farma and caught by their own fleet, the company also purchases raw materials from other ships. Pelagos Net Farma sells fresh anchovies and sardines in addition

to marinated and salted products in their own branded jars and packaging. The company is currently producing 600 tonnes of raw materials each month. Currently the company has

its headquarters in GaŞenica industrial port near the city of Zadar. A new contemporary logistics centre with a cold storage plant with a capacity of 200 tonnes and an anchovy processing

plant with a capacity of 1,000 tonnes are located here. The processing plant currently employs 35 people, but the planned expansion should open the door for 20 new jobs in the company.

Fish plus Fish, Latvia

High demand for cod and haddock from Latvian processor


he Icelandic fishing company, Fish Plus Fish is operating at bursting point in its current production site in Latvia. The company, which produced 10,000 tonnes of whitefish products each year has applied for a new building permit in order to expand its operation. Bjarni Sighvatsson, business development, explained the company has invested in the newest equipment, and so now the only thing that needs upgrading is the actual building. Since the company started investing in new equipment, production has doubled without hiring any additional

labour – the factory employs 150 people. Fish Plus Fish specializes in the processing of whitefish, namely cod, but very recently haddock as well. Bjarni Sighvatsson explained the company has so much demand for these two types of fish alone they simply don’t have the capacity to diversify any further. The company purchases most of its raw materials from Norway. The raw materials come both fresh and frozen and they are already gutted when they arrive at the factory. The factory produces several different cuts and offers 20 different kinds of packaging, most of which are vacuum sealed.

Currently the company does not sell fresh products, but this is something Bjarni Sighatsson plans to explore next year. Logistically there are several challenges for selling fresh products, and it will likely require the company purchasing its own transportation fleet. In terms of diversifying products, the company also hopes the new building permit will allow them to build a factory with the capacity to develop new products like sauces and breaded whitefish. Seventy five percent of the company’s products are exported to supermarkets in the United States, including major retailers like

The company’s factory is equipped with machinery from well-known manufacturers enabling packaging in vacuum, trays, skin pack, flow pack as well as MAP.

Costco and Walmart. The remaining products are exported around the EU. All fish is sold for private label. The company manages to sell all the scraps from production as well, including the fish skin and bones, which tend to be purchased by Chinese consumers.

Mariscos Linamar, Spain

Ready-to-cook mussel convenience


he Mariscos Linamar Group describes itself as a leading Spanish specialist in the marketing of fresh Galician mussel species in general and the blue mussel Mytilus galloprovincialis in particular. The recently completed 7,000 square metre factory building in the port of Cambados (Pontevedra) is equipped with modern production facilities for mussel processing, including a depuration plant, several processing halls, temperature-controlled loading zones and the latest packaging machinery. This equipment enables Linamar


to guarantee mussel products of consistently high quality and freshness throughout the year, depending of course on the initial quality of the raw materials supplied. The company was one of the first in the industry to offer not only pasteurised mussels with a particularly long shelf life but also mussels in protective atmosphere which combines the advantages of freshness, quality and longer shelf life. Thanks to its many years of experience and technical know-how Linamar is today one of the leading suppliers of mussels in the wholesale, retail

Mónica Izquierdo, Commercial Director Gaby Obendorf, Area Sales Manager. Almost all of Linamar’s mussel products are also available in the summer months.

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[ EVENTS ] and HORECA sectors, both in Spain and throughout Europe. Linamar’s recipes for convenience mussel products are based both on the ideas and demands of its customers and on traditional preparations from Spain’s regional cuisine. While fresh mussels are packed either in a net, wooden boxes, under vacuum or MAP the

products with sauces are usually delivered in microwaveable vacuum bags or trays which shortens and simplifies the preparation process. In Brussels, Linamar focused on three products: ∞ Fresh live organic mussels (Mytilus galloprovincialis) in a 1 kg MAP bowl, 40-50 pieces/kg, ready to cook, cleaned and debearded,

shelf life 10 days at 2-5°C. ∞ Pasteurized mussels in white wine stock (ready to serve), 1 kg (96% mussels, 4% white wine stock), 35-40 mussels/kg, shelf life 45 days under storage at 2-7°C. Simply open the bag for preparation, heat the mussels and stock in a pot for 2-3 minutes in the microwave and the dish is ready to eat (prepared without preservatives).

∞ Pasteurised organic mussels (800 g bag), natural, shelf life 45 days. This product is the result of a cooperation between Mariscos Linamar and Angulas Aguinaga. All mussels come from typical Galician hanging cultures (rope culture) so they are practically sand-free. Linamar delivers to Frankfurt three times a week.

MAT Filtration Technologies, Turkey

Turnkey RAS fish farms


he Turkish company MAT Filtration Technologies is a recognized specialist in the field of technologies for water treatment and purification as used in large aquarium systems, swimming pools, water parks and indoor aquaculture technology. It was founded in Izmir in 2012 by five animal husbandry experts. In addition to research and development one of its major strengths is the execution of turnkey projects in the above-mentioned areas. MAT’s 120 highly qualified employees develop advanced, sustainable and cost-effective solutions to suit the needs of modern aquaculture in recirculating aquaculture systems (RAS) that are suitable for a wide range of fish species. MAT can offer almost all services from a single source, from concept development

through detailed project planning to the implementation of the construction. At the company stand in Brussels, Sales Representative Javier Bravo pointed out the reference list on the internet ( which names successful projects and satisfied customers in more than 50 locations worldwide. MAT’s core competence is compact filter systems for aquaculture, water parks, large aquariums and swimming pools. The range also includes protein skimmers, ozone generators, moving bed filters, trickle filters, UV sterilizers and much more. The company sees itself as a leading design, manufacturing and contracting company in the fields of MEP (mechanical, electrical & plumbing) and special filtration technologies, capable of realizing

Javier Bravo, Sales Engineer. MAT has sales and support offices in Greece, Spain, United Arab Emirates and China.

demanding projects on schedule in any part of the world. The company cooperates closely with specialists from Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and the USA. The team of MEP engineers, marine biologists and aquaculture engineers is able to calculate and specify the hydraulic requirements and special MEP characteristics of various water treatment systems. All major components are sourced from

European and US manufacturers. The 30,000 square metre production and assembly line in Izmir was built to the latest technological standards, enabling compliance with ISO 14001 and 9001. All manufactured equipment holds UL, SASO and CE certification. In addition, the company has a global professional liability insurance that covers up to 10 million euros for all its construction work.

ZatokaTech, Poland

Intelligent fish processing machines


atokaTech is becoming a notable player in the industry for intelligent production systems for food processing. Situated in Puck, Poland, the company produces a range of machines essential to the fisheries, aquaculture, and fish processing industries. Among the company’s strengths is that it manufactures equipment

and production systems to meet the specific requirements of customers. Engineers at ZatokaTech cooperate with the company’s customers from design, through assembly to further inspection and service care. The latter includes the provision of the complete technical documentation of the equipment as well as training of the staff that carry out the

maintenance. The components used in the machines are from established and respected producers with who ZatokaTech has been working for many years. Some of the company’s most popular products include freezing lines, packaging lines for carboard cartons, mobile fish handling systems, and robots for inspection, palletising and packing. Innovation

and experimentation take place at the company’s own machine park, where staff work in close collaboration with universities and research centers converting the latest research into practical applications. ZatokaTech owns its own industrial transport operation, enabling the safe and secure delivery of its products to customers all over Europe.

EUROFISH Magazine 5 / 2019

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[ AQUACULTURE ] Objective evaluation criteria still lacking for many fish species

Increasing demands for ďŹ sh welfare People keep animals for various reasons. Pets can be companions, they can play a part in hobbies or pastimes, or they can serve as test organisms in the laboratory. And of course – as farm animals – they are used for food purposes. In afuent countries, a change in values is currently taking place that is fundamentally questioning the right to use and exploit animals. Animal welfare is an increasingly signiďŹ cant aspect of successful promotion.


ith increasing prosperity social and legal acceptance of the ways animals are treated is changing. Usage issues are moving more into the background while animal protection, animal “rightsâ€? and species-appropriate husbandry are gaining importance. This development trend, which culminates in veganism – the complete renunciation of all animal products – is increasingly influencing how fishes are kept, treated and used. Although love of animals or concern for living creatures is generally regarded as one of the main reasons for the increased interest in animal welfare individual likes and dislikes vary considerably. People tend to have positive feelings about cuddly animals that have a soft coat and big eyes, especially baby animals. On the other hand, animal species that sting, scratch or bite, that are naked, cold, smooth or even slimy are much less popular. Fish are a special case here in that they can cover the entire spectrum. While Nemo, the cute little animated clownfish, boosted worldwide interest in and demand for the colourful coral inhabitants, pushing the fish species to the brink of extinction, Spielberg’s white shark triggered quite the opposite feeling‌ a good example of the ambivalence of human perceptions. Whereas warnings and unsightly photos printed on cigarette packets hardly stop persistent smokers from continuing to indulge their

vice and risk premature death the oversized rubber shark in the film ensured that millions of over-anxious, frightened people no longer swim in the sea but prefer to stay in hotel pools. The shift towards increased animal protection originated from the use of animal organisms such as fish, mice or monkeys for medical, cosmetic and toxicological tests. This basic concern is probably shared intuitively by many people and only rejected in a few individual cases. In many industrialized countries the use of real animal skins and furs is now also prohibited. Anyone who opposes this collectively articulated norm risks social condemnation and isolation. Animal protection organisations have discovered the huge activation potential of animal welfare for broad sections of the public. The topic can be presented easily and effectively in the media so that it triggers strong emotions. If a situation seems suitable, animal protection activists will often organise targeted campaigns around it. And in the process they sometimes don’t shrink from biased, exaggerated, provocative, and occasionally even defamatory statements. Once the campaigns against laboratory and fur-bearing animals had proved effective, the agenda was broadened to include zoo and circus animals and, shortly afterwards, the animal protection and welfare

Animal welfare is in the interests of every fish farmer because they will only make money if their fish thrive.

For some time now, sports fishermen have had to defend themselves against violent attacks by animal rights activists who see this hobby as “cruelty to animals�.


[ AQUACULTURE ] debate reached farm animals and the conditions under which they are kept.

Animal welfare is also called for in fisheries It was to be expected that the debate would not bypass fisheries and aquaculture. It is a known fact that sports fishermen have had to defend themselves for a long time against attacks from animal welfare and animal rights activists. This is not only about gill nets or certain fishing practices such as catch & release but is often enough due more to a fundamental rejection of this leisure activity which is then branded as “cruelty to animals�. Similar accusations have also been made against commercial fishing because the fish are not immediately slaughtered on board the fishing vessel in a humane manner and so often have to die a distressful death through suffocation. Despite numerous attempts to explain that – given the size of the catches that occur during trawling – individual slaughter is not technically feasible at present, the subject is by no means off the table.

The debate on animal welfare is particularly heated and controversial in the aquaculture sector. The numerous points of criticism range from “factory farming�, allegedly too confined fish tanks and net enclosures in which the fish are constantly subjected to stress and thus unable to pursue their normal behavioural activities, to the feed they are given and handling on the farm. Sorting and moving the fish often disturbed the group’s social structure. Attempts on the part of aquaculture experts to explain the necessity of such practices are often questioned or even ignored by animal welfare activists. This is probably due to the special constellation of the debate in which ambitious laymen and specialists face each other quasi on an equal footing. While laymen often lack the expertise required to substantiate their accusations and so mainly use emotional arguments to justify their demands representatives from aquaculture try to correct faulty allegations with objective justification of the criticised aspects of fish farming. But it is not easy to counter emotionally influenced accusations with

As people become more prosperous, animal protection and the “rights� and welfare of fishes become increasingly important.

A life like in their natural environment is impossible in aquaculture already because tank walls or nets limit the fish’s habitat.

rational statements which can then often appear “schoolmasterlyâ€? and unconvincing‌ which does not, however, mean they are wrong. It’s not easy for fish farming representatives to argue their case because what animal welfare activists implicitly demand – that the fishes should be able to live their lives as in nature – is for several reasons impossible in “function-orientedâ€? aquaculture facilities. The walls of the enclosures or tanks limit their living space and in this artificially reduced environment they do not have a free choice of food and cannot live out their natural behaviours. Of course their basic needs are met, otherwise the fish would not be healthy and grow well. And that is one of the decisive prerequisites for the economic success of any aquaculture business. Animal welfare is therefore in the farmers’ own interests, as they like to point out because they only make money if their fish are healthy. So it’s a win-win situation. That sounds logical, but this reasoning does not convince everyone because animal welfare is generally understood differently by environmentalist and aquaculture producers. For many animal welfare activists, health, vitality, a stress-free life or good growth

are not convincing signs of a fish’s well-being.

Whether fish feel pain is controversial Differences in the understanding of animal welfare do not only result from varying “perceptionsâ€? of the opposing parties. They in fact go much deeper. The controversy is particularly evident when it comes to the question of whether fish can actually feel pain and whether they have a “capacity for experienceâ€? comparable to that of humans‌ which would enable them to learn, remember or make associations. Those who believe this to be the case must also believe that fishes have an awareness of some sort that enables them to feel emotions such as affection, joy or fear and, ultimately, also to “sufferâ€?. A serious, unambiguous answer to these questions is currently not possible for even scientists argue about whether fish actually feel pain or are capable of such feelings. Ardent anglers like to counter the idea of the fish feeling pain as it struggles on the hook with the flippant remark that the animal will always fight to the end. It would hardly do that if the hook were the torture that opponents of fishing claim it to be. For comparison: a bull will allow itself to be led by the



Given an adequate supply of oxygen astonishingly high stocking densities are possible in aquaculture without restricting the fishes’ welfare.

Formulated feeds are mostly used in aquaculture today. They meet the fishes’ requirements during different life phases.

ring in its nose to avoid the pain it would experience if it did not succumb.

that as it may, aquaculture producers should follow the “benefit-of-the-doubt� approach and treat their fish as if they could feel pain because even the most modern research results could never explain what a fish really “feels� or how it perceives the world.

The opinion that a fish does not feel pain is supported by scientists who deny fishes a sense of consciousness and pain perception due to their special anatomy. A fish’s brain has neither a neocortex (cerebral cortex) nor a limbic system which is responsible for consciousness and intellectual performance as a “seat of emotions� in the brain of humans. Other researchers, however, disagree, presuming that other brain structures may have taken over these functions. Fishes had highly developed senses, could taste, smell, see and perceive tactile stimuli and were therefore quite able to suffer and feel pain and psychological stress. This is a moot point because in the absence of sound scientific evidence the assumption that a fish’s pain perception may be located in other parts of the brain is for the time being purely speculative. In addition, the perception of external stimuli must be more precisely distinguished from the perception of pain. It is undisputed that fish can perceive external stimuli but the question remains as to how

these are further processed by the organism. According to the pain definition of the International Association for the Study of Pain external, “nociceptively� registered stimuli can only be “interpreted� as pain with a high level of awareness. This connection can be explained by the anaesthetic used during an operation. Although it would be very painful when the scalpel makes an incision in the flesh the patient does not feel it because his consciousness has been “switched off� by the anaesthetic. If fish do not have the brain structures that are usually responsible for consciousness we can also assume that according to the current state of our knowledge they cannot feel pain. Responding to a stimulus alone is not enough to prove an ability to perceive pain or suffering because the ability to react to stimuli is one of the universal characteristics of animal life. It is already present in unicellular organisms that don’t have a nervous system or in invertebrates that don’t have a real brain. Escape and avoidance behaviour can be inborn or the result of unconscious associative learning processes. However, they are not clear evidence of a pain experience. Be

For hard-core animal rights activists, however, such lines of thought are little more than academic hairsplitting. Which does not, however, stop them from often dominating the public debate. And that’s not so hard because even in this area “postfactual� times have dawned and subjective feelings and emotions are often felt to be of more value than scientifically founded, objectively provable facts. Instead of attempting to understand scientific analyses many people resort to catchy and easily understandable anthropomorphisms, transferring human characteristics to fish, something which makes the debate about animal welfare even more difficult.

Not everything that seems desirable is feasible Anyone involved in aquaculture knows that environmental factors

such as temperature, oxygen and pH value are far more important to a fish’s well-being than some of the other variables that outsiders might consider essential. If the water quality is right and meets the species’ needs fishes in aquaculture can easily tolerate much higher densities than in natural waters. This can be a problem for fish producers because they have to find the right balance, i.e. a compromise between what is biologically necessary, ethically desirable and economically feasible. It is often difficult for laymen to understand why it is seldom possible to keep more than 5 to 10 kg trout per cubic metre in an unventilated pond where the water is renewed three to five times a day, but it is possible to keep 30 to 150 kg trout in sufficiently ventilated flow channels and tanks without the fish necessarily suffering any negative effects from these high densities! In addition, benchmarks and standards cannot be transferred from one fish species to another or from one type of installation to the next. What is feasible in a flow-through or recirculation system would often be impossible in open systems such as net


[ AQUACULTURE ] by the idea of pumps and find it cruel, although in fact the pumps are gentler and more animalfriendly than traditional nets. What concerns people is probably the thought that the fishes are sucked up like thick sludge and then have to pass through a pump. It’s perhaps not generally known that the pumps only generate a stream of water in which the fish swim comfortably and largely stress-free from one place to another.

Before transport to slaughter and processing the fish are no longer fed in order to prevent contamination from the intestinal contents.

enclosures. Accusing fish producers of “factory farming�, as some critics of aquaculture do, shows their lack of expertise. Not every fish from aquaculture can be assigned to schooling fishes that are known to form groups “voluntarily� in nature, but even these non-schooling species tolerate socialization much more easily than generally assumed. It is often even the case that higher densities reduce a fish’s stress because the fishes become “territorial� at low densities, occupying and defending their patch against intruders. However, since water quality can deteriorate with higher densities and susceptibility to the spread of diseases will then increase, it will be in the fish farmers’ own interests to take care not to exceed the limits of what is feasible. Some countries even issue regulations laying down the permitted maximum stock densities, for example in salmon farming in Norway and Chile.

These rearing conditions already fulfil essential criteria listed in the concept of the “five freedoms�, the first version of which was published by the British Farm Animal Welfare Council (FAWC) in 1979 and confirmed by its successor organisation, the Animal Welfare Committee, in 2011. In addition to freedom from pain, injury or disease, freedom from discomfort by providing an appropriate environment including shelter, freedom from fear and distress, and freedom to express normal behaviour, the freedom from hunger and thirst is also particularly emphasised. Fish reared in aquaculture are today mostly fed formulated feeds which meet the fish’s specific needs in different phases of its life. In contrast to life in the wild, where animals often have to compete for the available food, aquaculture feeds are dosed according to stock, age and environment so that all the fishes get their share. An exception to this general rule is the period

immediately before slaughter and processing when the fish are no longer fed so as to empty their intestines. Although this measure makes sense for hygiene reasons and is often even necessary to prevent bacterial contamination of the carcass it is repeatedly criticised by animal welfare activists as not being animal-friendly and thus a violation of animal welfare. This example shows that the concept of the five freedoms can offer no more than an orientation aid for assessing animal welfare in practice and must not be understood as a dogma. Some technical measures in the handling of fish are viewed highly critically by the general public and are often even rejected. This is in many cases mainly due to a lack of knowledge and understanding of the necessity of the procedures involved. The fish pumps that are used for transporting fish are a good illustration of this. A lot of consumers are appalled

What is sometimes needed to defuse criticism or to help people to a better understanding of certain work processes is a clearer explanation of what is actually going on. Because not everything that is considered “good technical practice� in aquaculture is viewed and accepted without contradiction by people who have different views of the world and of life. There are still considerable gaps in the European and international legal framework for animal welfare. Some directives and regulations offer orientation but there is a lack of clear requirements. EU Directive 98/58/EC lays down minimum requirements for the protection of animals kept for farming purposes, including fish. In 2005 the Council of Europe published its “Recommendation on the welfare of farmed fish� and in 2008 the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) published its “Guiding principles for fish welfare�. In the same year, EFSA’s Panel on Animal Health and Welfare assessed housing facilities for important farmed fish species (salmon, trout, eel, seabass, gilthead seabream, carp) in the EU, also addressing animal welfare aspects. One thing of which everyone in the fish industry should be aware is that animal welfare is likely to be the next “hot topic� after HACCP, traceability and sustainability. MK



Albania’s ďŹ sheries and aquaculture sector

SigniďŹ cant increase in output A relatively small country of 2.87m people and with an area of about 29 thousand sq. km (about the size of Belgium) Albania has abundant water resources which include a 420 km coastline along the Adriatic and Ionian Seas, almost 250 natural lakes, and eight lagoons. These water bodies support a diverse ďŹ sheries and aquaculture sector encompassing marine, brackish water, and freshwater ďŹ sheries, and ďŹ sh and shellďŹ sh farming in the sea, on land, in freshwater, and in the lagoons.


he total output from all this activity has increased each year over the four years to 2018 though production from individual segments, such as the coastal line fishery and the lagoon fishery, has fluctuated. The sector also includes a dynamic processing industry dominated by a few big companies that produce for the domestic market and export under their own brands as well as private labels.

Wide variety of ďŹ sh and seafood caught by Albanian eet The Albanian fishing fleet is the oldest in the Mediterranean, according to the GFCM, with an average age per vessel of 43 years. In contrast, the Romanian fleet is the youngest with

an average of just 12 years per vessel. A 2018 paper in the Journal of Black Sea/Mediterranean Environment by researchers at the Agricultural University of Tirana estimates that the Albanian fleet was about a third of 1 percent (0.33) of the Mediterranean fleet in 2012. According to data from the GFCM the Albanian fleet comprised 534 vessels in total in 2018 of which 319 were less than 12 m. The fleet is based in the four main ports, Durres, Vlora, Saranda and Shengjin and targets a variety of species. Catch volumes are dominated by small pelagics, sardines and anchovies, followed by shrimps and prawns, and by whitefish such as hake and haddock. Lesser volumes of lobsters and cephalopods are also caught. Part of the fleet is owned by the

Fish and seafood production in Albania (tonnes) 2015




Total capture










Coastal line





Coastal lagoons





Inland water





Total aquaculture



4, 430
















Grand total

Albanian Institute of Statistics


The hatchery at Linit near Pogradec where an endemic salmonid, koran (Salmo letnica), is bred for restocking in the Ohrid lake.

processing industry and catches by these vessels are processed by their owners. The catches by processors own vessels is however usually not enough to meet the parent company’s requirements, so processors enter into contracts with independent vessels to secure a greater supply of raw materials. Albania is a candidate country to accede to the EU and in April 2018 the Commission recommended that accession negotiations be opened, a decision on which is to be taken by the Council later this year. In the meanwhile, Albania continues to implement reforms in the different chapters including fisheries, where progress has been made, for example, in updating the vessel register and landing

statistics, according to the 2019 report on Albania prepared by the Commission. Among other issues the report mentions the need to improve inspection and control capacity to fight illegal fishing an area that in the past has been weakened by a shortage of staff, inadequate budgets, and a lack of coordination between different agencies. Today, however, things look different. In addition to drafting and periodically reviewing the legislative framework, Albania has set up a national surveillance structure. The Interinstitutional Maritime Operational Centre IMOC, an inter-ministry institution that monitors the Albanian maritime space, is responsible, among other areas, for fishing, the protection of the marine environment, and marine resources.

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Fishing vessels docked at the Shengjin port. The average age of Albanian vessels is the highest amongst countries around the Mediterranean, according to the GFCM.

Monitoring and control system has been beefed up A vessel monitoring system (VMS) has been implemented with the help of funding from the EU and technical support from the GFCM and vessels are being equipped with electronic log books to record and

electronically transmit fishing data. Ali Baze, the head of the Fishing Inspectorate points to the existence of a special task force of fishery inspectors that can be called upon at any time and to any part of Albania to carry out inspections and levy fines if necessary. The rules state that trawlers may not fish within three nautical miles of the coast

Ali Baze, Head of Fishery Inspectorate, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Albania

while for pelagic vessels the limit is six nautical miles, in addition there are species, that may not be fished at all or not in certain seasons. The inspectors are expected carry out monitoring operations at sea (or in freshwater bodies) as well as on land (processing facilities, restaurants). They monitor vessels for spatial and temporal infringements, or for violations of the regulations governing catching gear, and inspect catches for species that are under the permitted size or that may not be caught. In the latter category, for example, is the date mussel (Lithophaga lithophaga) a slowgrowing bivalve that takes 18 to 36 years to reach a size of 5 cm. The mussel bores its way into rocks, so harvesting it involves the indiscriminate destruction of the rocks. A harvest of two kilos of date mussels can destroy a large area of seabed, which is why fishing for it is prohibited in many countries. In Albania an

establishment caught selling date mussels is fined the first time, while a second offence can result in it being closed down, says Mr Baze. In the major freshwater lakes Ohrid, Shkoder, and Prespa there are periods when fishing is prohibited. In Ohrid lake it is three months in winter, while in the other two it is a month each in during summer. Fishing inspectors are expected to monitor these closed seasons to ensure that no fishermen violate them. In this they are assisted by the fishery management organisation (FMO) of the individual lake. This is the association of fishermen who are licensed to fish in the lake and who have therefore an incentive to prevent illegal fishing as it could have an impact on their own catches. The creation of FMOs and the regularisation of fishing activity is being extended. In Fierza lake, near Kukes, some 50-75 fishermen have been active for several years catching carp, eel and pikeperch using small vessels most of which have no motors. Two months ago, the fishers formed an FMO at the recommendation of the ministry that wants to license the fishery. The lake will be divided into zones and fishers will be allowed to fish in certain zones. Regulation brings disadvantages for the fishermen in the form of license fees and more intrusive monitoring of fishing activities, but it may also bring benefits such as restocking and a heathy resource. Most of the fishers are only doing it part time and mainly for subsistence so they are hostile to the idea of having to pay for licenses and of subjecting their activities to controls by fishing inspectors. On the other hand, Mr Baze thinks that the area around the lake could benefit as regulating the fishery may in time result in higher catches and perhaps more jobs.

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Value of Albanian seafood exports in euro 2015























1,345,600 1,235,467















Bosnia and Herzegovina Greece























Norway Hong Kong North Macedonia Slovenia Others


















42,935,176 Albanian Institute of Statistics

Close cooperation between inspectors, FMOs, police, and other authorities reduces illegal ďŹ shing The cooperation between fishery management organisations and inspectors extends also to the police, the border security force, or other law enforcement authorities to reduce the potential for conflicts. It also allows for the distribution of inspection tasks and, if necessary, the sharing of costs. Mr Baze is a strong supporter of this model which is a big improvement on past practice. He also acknowledges the role played by the European Fisheries Control Agency (EFCA) in Vigo which holds regular training sessions from which he and his colleagues have benefited. The implementation of improved control and monitoring measures may also have contributed to an increase in catches. Over the four years to 2018 production from inland waters went up 46 to 36

2,400 tonnes, while that of marine catches increase 10 to 5,500 tonnes. Mr Baze believes that in Ohrid lake an increase in the number of fish released into the water

from the restocking programme and a stronger emphasis on coordinated inspection together may have contributed to an increase in catches. The Shkoder lake, where there are some 150 vessels and 300 fishermen, does not have a restocking programme, so high levels of illegal fishing are likely to have an impact on the stock. But efforts by the FMO led by Arjan Cinari in conjunction with the task force have led to a marked decrease in illegal fishing there, says Mr Baze.

First step in creation of wholesale market network has been taken For fishermen, whether in the sea, freshwater or the lagoons the reduction in illegal fishing is welcome, but what they would also like to see is the creation of a market where they can sell their production. In the marine sector many fishers have contracts with processors to whom they sell their catch. Catches by individual freshwater fishers tend to

be small and sold to local shops, restaurants, and hotels. The government has set aside EUR1m towards a network of wholesale fish markets, one in each of the four major fishing ports – Durres, Vlora, Saranda, and Shengjin. Of these, the market in Shengjin is complete with it's inauguration in October. The wholesale markets are expected to guarantee fair competition between producers and traders and will introduce auctions for the open and transparent trading of fish and seafood. The markets will also bring a new level of value addition to the fish that is traded there. The fish will be landed and brought to the fish market overseen at all stages by professionals. It will be sold within the shortest possible time to ensure the standard and quality of the product. The new markets will meet EU standards with regard to transport and storage, processing, hygiene systems, and catch certification. They will be equipped with cold storage rooms, ice dispensing machinery, veterinary service as well offices

A wholesale market will be housed in this almost completed building in the Shengjin port. The market will be the ďŹ rst of a total of four. The others will be built in Durres, Vlora, and Saranda.

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Value of Albanian seafood imports in euro 2015





































Indonesia Morocco Viet Nam










Portugal United Kingdom United States


















Antigua and Barbuda








Others Total

63,832 37,180,677

Albanian Institute of Statistics

and a restaurant. The markets will bring further advantages in the form of regulating the sale of fish, establishing a system of traceability and thereby ensuring that the fish has been caught legitimately, and reducing if not eliminating any black market in seafood products.

amount to 100-200 kg for a short trip and 300-400 kg for a longer trip. Landings are mainly high valued fish as some Common Fisheries Policy rules, like the discard ban, have yet to be integrated into Albanian law, letting fishermen return undersized and low value fish to the sea.

At Shengjin port, where the building that will house the market is waiting to be taken into use, an employee at a fishing company feels that the new market promises to be very useful for the fishermen. Currently, a fisherman's catch is sold to one of the big processing companies directly. By bringing several buyers and sellers together the wholesale market will help set the value of the catch so that fishers with a high-quality product can earn a premium. A 26 m demersal trawlerwill target mainly hake, red mullet, deep water rose shrimp (Parapenaeus longirostris) as well as small volumes of cephalopods or other species, going out for 3-4 days at a time and fishing altogether for 10 to 12 days in the month. Catches

Restocking programmes in support of inland ďŹ sheries The government has for several years supported restocking programmes in natural and artificial lakes both to ensure the propagation of species that are endemic to certain water bodies, but also to support the fishery for these species. Members of local communities supplement their income by working part-time as fishermen, selling their catch on the local market and consuming part of it themselves. Through the restocking schemes the government thus indirectly supports the supply and consumption of fish among these communities. The two main restocking programmes

that are currently active are at the hatchery Stacioni in Linit near Pogradec, where the koran (Salmo letnica), an indigenous species in the Ohrid lake, is bred for release into the lake. The other restocking programme is at the Zvezda hatchery in Korca where carp fingerlings are produced for the Prespa lake. The support from the state amounts to some ALL10m (EUR82,650) per year for both hatcheries. The restocking programme goes hand in hand with restrictions on fishing during seasons and in areas when the fish are reproducing. The restocking efforts are aimed at the inland fisheries sector, but Albania also has an active fish and shellfish farming industry producing seabass, seabream in the sea, rainbow trout on land, and mussels both in the sea and in coastal lagoons. The legal framework for the sector is broadly in place though supplementary bylaws and regulations are in the process of being enacted. The laws covering aquaculture relate to spatial planning (allocated zones for aquaculture), sustainable aquaculture development, organic aquaculture, and the market for aquaculture products. Designating a site as suitable for aquaculture requires coordination between several different ministries and authorities and must take into account existing users of the site. It must also consider physical and environmental factors as well as biological and economic issues of the species being cultivated and its market. Considering the complexity of the task, identifying these sites is likely to take some more time. This, however, has not prevented the sector’s development. Production of farmed finfish increased by a quarter in 2017 and by 28 in 2018 to over 5,100 tonnes. Much of this can

be attributed to the marine species seabass and seabream, and the freshwater fish rainbow trout, where some big investments have been made including by companies from Turkey and Italy. In addition, mussels are farmed in the coastal Butrinti lagoon in the south, in Lezhe district, and near Durres. Production is modest at 1,100 tonnes in 2018. In Saranda in the south there is a depuration centre to rinse the mussels, says Mr Baze, that was established with support from the EU, but the mussels can only be sold on the domestic market. Strengthening the aquaculture sector in Albania will benefit the sectoral economy increasing employment, boosting fish farm incomes and at the same time reduce pressure on marine resources that are already stretched.

Coastal lagoon ďŹ shery records a drop in volumes The small-scale coastal lagoon fishery is another source of fish for the domestic market, though the volumes are limited. The fish is of high quality because the gear (trammel nets, fyke nets, hooks and traps) used to fish in these water bodies does not damage the fish. Moreover, the fish is placed on the market as soon as it is removed from the water as most of the small-scale fishermen catching fish from the lagoons have no long-term storage facilities. The targeted species include mullet, seabass, seabream, and eel, which swim into the lagoon from the sea either to feed or to breed and are trapped by the fish weir, which prevents them from returning to the sea. The weir blocks the entrance to the lagoon for eight months in the year, while the remaining four months there is free passage between lagoon and the sea. The catch from lagoons

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The Orikumi coastal lagoon showing a ďŹ sh weir, a barrier that allows the ďŹ sh to enter the lagoon but traps them, when they attempt to return to the sea.

was stable at about 600 tonnes in 2015-17, but then declined to 350 tonnes in 2018. Catches of the individual species are currently not available though this may change with legislation on data collection being enacted that should result in a more rigorous data collection system being put in place.

Seafood exports increase, imports more stable Albania has a fairly active trade in seafood importing products from 14 countries where the import value from each exceeded EUR100,000 in 2018 and exporting to 15 countries, where the 38

value exported to each exceeded EUR180,000. However, to put the trade in seafood into perspective, it is a very small fraction of overall Albanian trade. Exports of seafood amounted to 1.6 of total Albanian exports while imports were 0.7. The main destination, by far, for Albanian seafood exports, is Italy probably thanks to its geographic proximity, high rates of seafood consumption, as well as historical, and cultural links (many Albanians speak Italian as their first foreign language). Italy is also among the biggest investors in the Albanian seafood sector. In 2018 the value of seafood exports to Italy amounted to almost EUR26m,

3.5 times the value exported to Spain, the next most important destination for Albanian seafood. Significant exports also go to Poland, Romania, and Croatia. Exports comprise both fresh and processed fish and seafood. Most of the export destinations are European countries, the biggest of which are in the EU, but the countries of former Yugoslavia also actively import seafood from Albania. In terms of imports the source countries range from Asia to the Americas, though two European countries, Spain and Croatia, are Albania’s major import partners. Both countries catch anchovies which are sent either fresh or partly processed

to Albania for further processing. This includes filleting the salted anchovies –labour intensive work – that can be done more competitively in Albania. The finished product is typically exported back to customers in these countries. Albania also imports frozen crustaceans and cephalopods which are used by the processing industry as raw materials to be processed and sold on the domestic market or for export. Apart from the two European countries the main sources of Albanian imports in 2018 were the Americas (Canada and Argentina) and Asia (China, Indonesia, Morocco, and Viet Nam).

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Within 24 hours of harvest Almarine delivers seabream to the Italian market

Major contributor to national aquaculture production Most of the production of ďŹ sh and seafood in Albania is from capture ďŹ sheries including from the Adriatic and Ionian Seas, inland waters, and from the coastal lagoons. However, aquaculture, both marine and freshwater, is the source of increasing volumes of ďŹ sh and shellďŹ sh.


ccording to the Albanian Institute of Statistics, output from the aquaculture sector has almost doubled in the four years to 2018 to 6,250 tonnes, which is close to three quarters of the capture fisheries production. If the expansions in aquaculture and in capture fisheries continue along the same trajectories, production from aquaculture is likely to exceed that from capture fishing in the next couple of years.

Protected area ensures high quality water in the bay The aquaculture sector produces primarily rainbow trout in freshwater raceways or in cages in dam lakes, small volumes of carps in earthen ponds, mussels in the Butrinti lagoon and in the

Adriatic Sea, and finally seabass and seabream in marine cages. In Karaburun, 35 km from Vlore, Albania’s third largest city, three or four companies have concessions for farming seabass and seabream in the bay, a protected area that is shared with the national navy. Among them is Almarine, an Albanian Italian joint venture majority owned by the Italian partner. The company has existed for three years and until earlier this year was farming both seabass and seabream for the Italian market. However, production of seabass was stopped when the last batch was harvested, because, according to Franco Furlan, the sanitary controller, the duties on seabass made it uncompetitive. The Italian partner in the joint venture is a group with a long history in rainbow trout farming in Italy, where it

Franco Furlan, sanitary controller at Almarine

has 17 production sites as well as one in Belgium. The group is fully integrated with hatchery, feed production, on-growing, processing, sales, marketing, and distribution and is therefore well positioned to absorb the seabream produced in Albania and distribute it on the Italian market. In addition, since the Italian partner has its own fish feed production unit, it manufactures and supplies the feed for the seabream being grown in Albania.

Location of cages exploits water column depth and good water ow

Almarine has 30 cages on a 50 ha site in Karaburun, an area with no industry or agriculture. The water in the bay is therefore of very high quality.

Almarine gets the fingerlings from Pannitica an Italian supplier of seabass and seabream juveniles with a hatchery in Brindisi. The young fish weigh between three

and 12 g and this year, in almost each month in the first half, the company has bought approximately a million fingerlings which are transported by boat from Bari in Italy to Karaburun and introduced into the cages. The cages (30 m in diameter) are placed about one nautical mile from the coast in a 50 ha site that has been divided into a northern section and a southern section, each with 15 cages. Each of the cages is assembled on site, but the materials are imported from Italy. The relatively isolated site was selected for its depth, the water goes down to 50 m, stronger currents, and better exchange of water all of which create an environment that is better for the fish and also prevent the accumulation of nutrients (uneaten feed and faecal matter) in the area

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The ďŹ sh are fed using a vessel equipped with a feed cannon that sprays feed into the cage distributing it evenly by rotating, raising, and lowering the nozzle.

under the nets. The water temperature is also very good. Although it is 26 degrees at the surface, this falls to 22 degrees at 7 m and to 20 degrees at 11-12 m which is the depth of the cages.

Farm management measures are enough to combat gill parasite Being relatively isolated also reduces the risk of disease

A drone equipped with sensors and a camera monitors the welfare of the ďŹ sh and the condition of the nets and the cages. 40

spreading from other seabass and seabream cages in the vicinity. So far disease has not been an issue, says Mr Furlan. What we have experienced is the gill parasite Sparicotyle chrysophrii, which can be controlled by changing the cage nets. The parasite larvae colonise the nets, so if the fish are monitored regularly the nets can be changed before the larvae reach a stage where they pose a threat to the fish. To do this, Mr Furlan has invested in an underwater drone. The machine is equipped with a 100 m cable, a camera, and sensors to measure water temperature and depth. The camera streams video to a mobile telephone which can also be used to control the drone. Apart from monitoring the nets the drone is also used to check the welfare of the fish and inspect the cages – checking for holes in the net, the presence of dead fish etc. The infected nets can be dried in the sun to get rid of the parasite and then reused. Every day I take samples of 3-5 cages, analyse them, and write up a report, says Mr Furland. The drone has made

a significant difference as it allows him to take samples of 15 cages a day if necessary, while a diver would only be able to inspect 3-5 cages in the same period.

Modern technology distinguishes Almarine from other producers Almarine is the biggest producer of seabream in Albania, says Mr Furlan, and the farm with the most modern technology. The landing site, where the harvested fish is brought and from where the vessels go out to the cages, has

one building, a converted ammunition store built into the hillside, for storage of feed and fuel for the vessels. Another building is for the staff. At the jetty a couple of vessels are moored including one with a crane to empty the feed into the feeding vessel’s storage tank. The feeding vessel sails out to the cages and delivers the feed by spraying it into the water with the help of a feeding cannon. The fish is currently grown to two size categories, 300-400 g and 400-600 g and it takes 15-17 months to reach market size, says Mr Furlan. Once the fish is harvested it is brought to the nearby town of Orikum to a packaging facility certified by Global Gap and Den Norske Veritas. Here it is graded in a machine from a reputed Icelandic manufacturer and then packaged in expanded polystyrene boxes, covered in ice, loaded on pallets and refrigerated preparatory to being distributed. Almarine exports its entire production of 1,200 tonnes to Italy, where it is sold by the Italian partner. The product is fresh whole round fish which is harvested and sent by truck on board a ferry bound for Bari or Ancona. This way the fish is on the market in Italy within 24 hours of being harvested and is sold in mainly through supermarkets in the central and northern parts of the country.

Almarina Or Srl Orikum, Vlora Albania Tel.: +355 68 4013389, +355 69 8296075 Managing Director: Sheme Kondi Sanitary Controller: Franco Furlan

Production: Seabream Cages: 2 x 15 cages of 30 m diameter Volumes: 1,200 t Product form: Whole round ďŹ sh on ice Markets: Italy Customers: Supermarkets Employees: 29 (of which 16 on the farm)

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Close collaboration between ďŹ shermen, hatchery, and inspectors beneďŹ ts koran stocks

Ensuring a thriving koran population Albania has four large cross-border lakes. These are the Shkodra shared with Montenegro, the greater Prespa shared with Greece and North Macedonia, the lesser Prespa shared with Greece, and the Ohrid shared with North Macedonia.


ake Ohrid has an area of 361 sq. km, of which about a third belongs to Albania. From a biodiversity point of view it is particularly interesting because it hosts an indigenous species of fish, the salmonid Salmo letnica that is not found elsewhere in the world. Lake Ohrid is also noteworthy for its fisheries management organisation (FMO). This unites all the fishermen fishing the lake and is one of the oldest and best functioning in Albania.

Hatchery has a bumper year in 2019 Thanks to its unique status Salmo letnica (koran in Albanian) is subject to a management plan that includes a three-month prohibition on fishing in the lake from December to February and a restocking programme that is executed by the government hatchery in Linit near Pogradec under Celnike Shegani who runs the hatchery together with four workers. The plan is mandated by law, Albania’s fisheries law, which calls for the sustainable management of the stock. The importance of the koran to the area

is symbolised by the use of the fish in the Pogradec city emblem. The restocking programme dates back several years and ensures the survival of the koran and an important catch for the fishermen. Other species such as carps, rainbow trout (an alien species) and Alburnus scoranza inhabit the lake as well, but the koran is by far the most valuable, selling for up to EUR15/ kg at local restaurants and hotels. The programme, however, has not experienced a year as successful as 2019 in a long time, if at all. According to Ms Shegani 2019 has been exceptional because all the parameters important for breeding the fish including temperature, water volume, water purity, and number of broodstock, were at levels better than usual. As a result, this year the hatchery collected about 1.4m eggs from the broodstock, a record harvest. Not only has an unusually high number of eggs been collected, but mortality levels from the egg to the 3 g fingerling stage have also been very low. Ms Shegani expects therefore to be able to introduce a very high number of fingerlings into the lake this year.

Enton Spaho, head of aquaculture in the Albanian Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development

Celnike Shegani, director of the koran restocking hatchery in Linit near Pogradec on Ohrid lake.

Natural and man-made threats to the koran The success of the restocking programme this year is very welcome as the fish faces a few threats both natural and anthropogenic. The water in the hatchery that is used to breed the fish comes from a natural spring. Enton Spaho, the head of aquaculture in the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, says that three years ago the oxygen content of this water sank to such low levels that it began to have an impact on the fish. The solution was to aerate the water with oxygen so the problem was contained, but it was an indicator of the challenges the hatchery can face. The shore of the lake has a number of small farms growing vegetables and fruit. These have to be checked periodically to ensure that they are not using pesticides or fertilizers in volumes that could have an impact on the water of the lake. According to Mr Spaho regular

analysis of the lake water has not revealed any such chemicals and physical inspections of the farms showed that most farmers were not using these compounds, and the few that were used them in quantities that had no impact on the lake or the groundwater. Ms Shegani adds that last year there had been some trouble with a higher than usual content of heavy metals in the groundwater, but that this year it had not been an issue. All in all, the favourable temperature, oxygen content, and lack of heavy metal contamination contributed to the high number of eggs collected. The restocking programme is based on the capture of spawning fish from January to the end of February. A select group of some 15 fishermen catch the spawners and bring them to the part of the lake that is closest to the hatchery. Male and female fish are stripped of their gametes which are mixed together, and the fertilised eggs

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Mr Spaho. Thus, if a certain volume of eggs was collected from spawners from a specific zone, a corresponding number of fingerlings are returned to that zone.

Pogradec FMO is the country’s oldest

Koran ďŹ ngerlings at 3 g. They are typically released into the lake in October, when they reach 4 g.

are collected and placed in tanks in the hatchery, while the broodstock is released back into the lake. The collection stops when 150 kg of eggs have been collected as this is the maximum capacity of the hatchery. The fertilised eggs hatch after 45 days and the larvae continue in the hatchery until October, when they weigh about 4 g. The hatchery is mostly kept in darkness as the fingerlings are stressed by light and react by swimming frantically from one end of their basins to another.

Low mortality contributes to the good results Normally, we would release all the fingerlings in October, says Ms Shegani, when the weather is cool, and the fish having reached 4 g have a greater chance of survival. This year, however, due to the large number of viable eggs the

hatchery is operating beyond its capacity and 400-500 thousand fingerlings were released into the lake in August, when they weighed just 3 g. The low mortality among the eggs continued through to the fingerling stage and was another of the factors that contributed to making 2019 an exceptional year. Usually mortality measured from the eggs to the point when the fingerlings leave the hatchery is 30, this year it was less than 16, says Ms Shegani. In other words, for every 100 eggs 84 fingerlings were released into the lake. To introduce the fish into the lake workers place them in large drums which are transported to an area of the lake about a kilometre from the shore, where the depth is about 20 m and there are freshwater springs opening into the lake bed. The release is planned so that fingerlings are released into those zones from where the spawners were captured, explains

The koran is a slow-growing fish in the first two years, after that growth picks up, but it still takes 3.5 to 4 years for the fish to reach a market size of 800 g. Demand for the fish is high and the price is good, so the fishermen in the Ohrid lake have a vested interest in preventing illegal fishing. Adriatik Dokollari, the president of the FMO, says that there are 200 boats in his organisation corresponding to about 400 fishermen. The FMO, which was established in 2002 as a pilot project between the World Bank and the Albanian government, is the oldest in the country. Back then only 90 fishermen were members, but according to Mr Dokollari, the work done by the FMO in working together with the hatchery in the restocking programme and collaborating with the fishery inspectors and the police to safeguard the stock, has been so successful that catches of koran have increased over the years. It is during the closed season from December to February in particular that the FMO monitors the lake. But in general, inspections are carried

out regularly and they exert a lot of pressure on any unlicensed fishers who may be active, says Mr Dokollari. The FMO plays another important role in the management of fishing in the lake as it is the only body that, under an agreement with the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, issues the fishing licenses, without which it is not possible to fish in the lake. The licenses specify the zone where fishing may take place as well as the gear that may be used. The FMO can also revoke a license if, for example, the fishermen is caught fishing illegally. While fishing for koran is well under control further down the value chain there is scope for improvement. The lack of proper landing points for the fish is an issue as it means that fish is landed anywhere along the coast making the recording of the catches more cumbersome. If proper landing points were constructed fishermen would have an incentive to land their catches there facilitating at the same time the collection of catch data. Another issue is the lack of a market. Currently most of the fish is caught and sold by the individual fisherman directly to restaurants and hotels. A market for the catch is likely to bring more buyers and sellers together and may ultimately contribute to better quality and more transparency.

Hatchery Stacioni i Linit Pogradec Albania Director: Celnike Shegani Tel.: +355 6953 66988 The ďŹ ngerlings are released into the lake about 1 km from the shore, where the lake is about 20 m deep. 42

Activity: Breeding and restocking of koran (Salmo letnica) in Lake Ohrid Facilities: Larval basins, adaptation basins, laboratory Volumes: Release of approximately 700,000 ďŹ ngerlings per year in October

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Fish Koral inaugurates a second factory in Kavaja near Durres

New facility doubles processing area Established by Helidon Rruga, an entrepreneur, in 1994 Fish Koral is involved in all stages of the value chain, from ďŹ shing to processing, sales, marketing, and distribution. The company has just invested EUR6m in a new processing and storage facility in Kavaja that recently went on stream. The fish processing industry in Albania is dominated by a few large companies that process fish and seafood for the domestic market as well as for export. These companies use Albania’s proximity to Europe (and to Italy in particular), the fact that it is a candidate to join the EU, and its competitive labour market to position themselves as uniquely capable of delivering high quality fish and seafood products to retailers, distributors, and the Horeca sector in Europe.

Products for export Fish Koral is among the largest processing companies in Albania with a wide range of fresh, frozen, and processed fish and seafood products that are exported to several countries in the EU as well as distributed and sold on the local market. Established by Helidon Rruga in 1994, the company celebrated its 25 anniversary this year with the opening of a new

9,000 sq. m factory in Kavaja on the outskirts of Durres, the country’s largest port. Tirana, the capital, is less than 40 km away from Durres, and as the biggest two cities in Albania they form an important part of the domestic market that Fish Koral serves. Although he has a background in law, Mr Rruga was closely involved in the design of the new facility, which included the renovation of several buildings that existed on the site. The buildings are gleaming white on the outside, while the interiors are spacious and filled with natural light. I have tried to avoid all the problems that we experienced at the older site, he says. The new facility has almost twice the area of the older one that was inaugurated in 2008 in Durres. Some of the new rooms are still waiting for the cleaning, freezing and packaging machinery. In addition, when completed, the new refrigerated cold storage will amount to 3,000 sq. m taking the total of the two processing plants

Helidon Rruga, managing director of Fish Koral

to 6,500 sq. m. The location of the new facility, close to the highway to Durres, was deliberate as Fish Koral has a fleet of 10 vessels that is based in Durres fishing port. The fleet comprises seven vessels targeting demersal fish, two dredges for clams, and one vessel fishing the small pelagics, sardines and anchovies. The vessels supply the company with a part of its local raw material requirements, while the rest comes from 22 independent vessels with which Fish Koral has entered into contracts. According to Mr Rruga, Fish Koral has signed the most contracts of any Albanian processor with independent vessels.

Salted anchovies are a new addition to the product range

Frozen products, including squid, cuttleďŹ sh and shrimp, form a major part of the production.

Although a significant part of the raw material that the company processes is indeed locally sourced, it is by no means the only

source of raw material. Imported products also contribute an important share. Cephalopods, such as squid, and cuttlefish, and shrimp, are typically imported from countries in Latin America, defrosted, processed, and sometimes refrozen for export. At the new factory Fish Koral has started the production of salted anchovies, a delicacy that is popular in several countries in southern Europe, including Italy, Spain, and Croatia. The company imports the raw material for this production from Greece, Italy and Croatia. Processing anchovies is a long and highly labourintensive affair as the anchovies are salted, matured, filleted and finally placed in glass jars. The salting and maturing process leaves the fish so delicate that the following processing operations can only be done by hand. The need for manual labour has made Albania a popular destination for anchovy processors

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who sometimes export salted and matured anchovies to Albania, where the final filleting and packaging in glass jars is carried out. At Fish Koral the jars are available in three sizes from 50 g to 1.7 kg and among the clients is a major supermarket chain in Italy. Clients however have different specifications regarding the anchovies. Some want a higher percentage of salt than others, or a shorter or longer period of maturation, while jars can be topped up with either olive oil or a cheaper vegetable oil. Although it sounds complex, we can manufacture and deliver exactly what the client orders – it is what we specialise in, explains Mr Rruga. The market for raw materials is in a constant state of flux since most of the products are based on catches of wild species and these can vary from year to year resulting in fluctuating prices. At Fish Koral the price of the final product is closely linked to that of the raw material, says Mr Rruga, which in turn tends to affect demand for the product. His strategy is to switch from one raw material to another, for example, from cuttlefish to squid, if the cost of the former increases significantly, allowing him to maintain fairly uniform prices.

The new processing facility offers spacious rooms and natural light to the employees.

Collection and distribution points all along the coast Fish Koral’s products are sold under the company’s own brand in Albania, while on foreign markets the brand is sometimes the company’s own or that of a client. A large part of the production including squid, shrimp, cuttlefish as well as mixtures of all three is frozen. An Italian tunnel freezer individually freezes each piece, glazes it, and then freezes it again. The machine is extremely good, says Mr Rruga, the entire freezing process is very quick taking just 18 minutes and the result is a

very clean product. Although the main processing facility is in Durres (and now also in Kavaja) the company has also invested in sites in Vlora, Shengjn, and Saranda which are the next three ports in Albania after Durres. These sites are used mainly as collection points for raw materials as well as logistic hubs to get raw material to the factories in Durres and Kavaja as well as to distribute the finished products to the domestic market. Saranda, in the far south of the country and along the coast of the Ionian Sea, is also the site for another of the company’s more recent activities – the farming of seabass and seabream. This year production is

expected to be a relatively modest 300 tonnes of which 200 tonnes is seabream and the rest seabass. The fish are being raised in cages placed some 400 m from the coast in an area with a depth of 60 m to ensure there is a good flow of water under the cages which is good for the fish and prevents the accumulation of uneaten feed and waste matter. The area of the site in the sea is 70 ha so the company expects to be able to expand production to some 3,000 tonnes over time. In addition, there is a further 3,000 sq. m of area on land where the fish can be landed and processed for export as well as for the domestic market.

Fish Koral Autostrada Dr-Tr, Km 2 Durres, Albania Tel: +355 5 22 36 800 Fax: +355 5 22 36 801 alb@koralďŹ www.koralďŹ Managing director: Mr Helidon Rruga

The IQF tunnel freezer takes 18 minutes to process squid pieces. 44

Products: Fresh and frozen ďŹ sh and seafood, salted anchovies, farmed seabass and seabream Markets: Italy, Spain, Croatia, Greece, Albania, Montenegro, Kosovo Employees: 415 Vessels: 10 (catching demersal, pelagics, clams in the Adriatic Sea) Facilities: 2, in Durres and Kavaja CertiďŹ cations: BRC, IFS, Friend of the Sea

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[ FISHERIES ] The regulation of ďŹ sheries is an ancient practice dating back over 700 years

Reconciling ďŹ sheries management and conservation with MPAs Seven hundred years ago, on the island that is now New Zealand, the Maori people – the indigenous Polynesian people of New Zealand – practiced some of the earliest fisheries management in the world. Their consciousness of the ocean’s fragility materialized from their belief in the god of the sea, Tangaroa. In order to appease Tangaroa, the Maori made deliberate efforts to restrain from overfishing, and instead, extracted only what they needed; sometimes returning parts of their catch to the sea. Other island states in Oceania were also known to give certain fishing areas time to recover when signs of overfishing became apparent.

Marine Protected Areas – An overview The Atlas of Marine Protection, a database of marine protected areas created by the Marine Conservation Institute, an NGO based

NOAA photolibrary


ith such a long history of fisheries management, it appears to be in humans very nature to at least attempt to moderate fishing, if not for the sake of the preservation of the environment, then at least to guarantee the existence of plentiful fishing stocks for years to come. Today the practice of fisheries management has evolved to new levels of sophistication, but the fundamental goal remains the same: Protecting fishery resources so they are available in the future. The world’s oceans are interlaced with various fisheries management approaches like catch shares and individual transferable quotas which are enforced by both national and multinational bodies. One general category of ocean conservation is the establishment of marine protected areas (MPAs). MPAs are a globally recognized tool for managing marine life across the globe.

Specimens such as this Gorgonian coral (Leptogorgia hebes) in the Gray’s Reef National Marine Sanctuary are still vulnerable to impacts of climate change like ocean warming and acidiďŹ cation.

in the US, defines four different categories of MPAs based on their level of preservation. According to the Atlas, an MPA can be fully protected: No extractive or destructive activities are allowed, highly protected: Only light extractive activities are allowed, lightly protected: Some protections exists but moderate to significant extraction and

impacts are allowed, and finally, minimally protected: Extensive extraction and other impacts are allowed while still providing some conservation benefit to the area. The management goals for any given MPA can be diverse. Certain protected areas may restrict some forms of fishing equipment while others might bar extraction

entirely. As long as there is a restriction in place with the intention of conserving the local ecosystem the area can be considered an MPA. To date, 4.8 of the world’s oceans are protected by one of these types of MPAs. Of the current MPAs, only half of them, or 2.2 of the world’s oceans, are strongly protected and completely prohibit

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NOAA photolibrary


Gray’s Reef National Marine Sanctuary is home to this black seabass. On average ďŹ sh weigh 109% more within an MPA than outside.

extraction. While an exact figure is difficult to ascertain – namely because what exactly constitutes and MPA is ambiguous –, roughly 11,000 MPAs have been created by 65 countries and territories. Nations with strong colonial legacies, like the UK and France, have established a notable number of MPAs because of the wide access they have to the ocean from their former empires. The majority of MPAs are small, many are no larger than one square kilometer, but notable exceptions include the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, the Ras Mohammad Park Complex in Egypt and the Great Barrier reef. Larger MPAs also tend to exist out in open ocean where there is less fishing and economic opportunity. Often MPAs are made in conjunction with one another forming a network. The purpose of MPA networks is for individual MPAs with diverse protection levels to work together to achieve objectives a single reserve could not. MPA networks have been established in Australia, the Red Sea, Mexico and the Gulf of Aden amongst other regions. 46

With so many different methods of fisheries management, and the need for ocean conservation intensifying, it is essential to analyze the effectiveness of various forms of management. One of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals is to “conserve at least 10 per cent of costal and marine areas, consistent with national and domestic law and based on the best available scientific informationâ€? by 2020. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has even more ambitious targets, aiming to lock 30 of the world’s oceans into protected areas by 2030. MPAs are being used across the globe – especially in Oceania, North America and Europe – to edge the world closer to achieving this goal, but the effectiveness of MPAs is controversial.

MPAs can’t solve every problem It is a misconception to believe that once a marine area is “protected� it is out of harm’s way. There are a host of threats to marine species MPA’s cannot protect against. The

shortcomings of the MPA spanning the Great Barrier Reef typifies this debate. As one of the seven wonders of the world, it is no wonder the Great Barrier has been protected by one of the largest MPAs. The marine park spans over 3,000 km and defends the world largest collection of coral and over 1,500 species of tropical fish – or at least it attempts to. Hard coral cover on the Great Barrier Reef it currently at record lows. A report from the Australian Institute of Marine Science found that hard coral in the northern region is at just 14. The loss in hard coral is being caused by a combination of increasing water temperature, and the growing prevalence of tropical cyclones. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) estimated that 99 of the Great Barrier Reefs coral could be lost if the world does not avoid warming beyond the 2-degree Celsius threshold. The degradation of the Great Barrier Reef in spite of its protection under an MPA demonstrates aspects of ocean conservation an MPA simply cannot influence. A number of European

Union-designated MPAs are failing short of protecting threatened biodiversity as well. An investigation conducted by Dalhousie University, which measured the levels of industrial fishing in 727 MPAs in the European Union found trawl fishing was 38 higher in protected areas then in nonprotected areas, perhaps because of the better fishing yields within MPAs. Although MPAs do not, by definition, preclude extraction, researches at Dalhousie University were dumbfounded by the results which seemed to suggest that MPAs could have a negative effect on conservation efforts. While it shouldn’t be a surprise that MPAs are not unassailable in their ability to conserve marine organisms, the lack of requirements for any specific management objectives may give a false sense of optimism regarding what exactly an MPA can protect.

Conservation at the expense of ďŹ shing Closely related to the perceived ineffectiveness of MPAs in certain parts of the world is the clash of interests over what MPAs should aim to achieve. Stakeholders in the implementation of MPAs include environmental agencies, fisheries agencies and local communities, and they may all have slightly different goals for various MPAs. Fisheries agencies, for example, might be interested in the maintenance of fish stocks, while conservation groups may advocate forbidding extraction. One report found after surveying both conservation and fisheries agencies that 25 of fisheries and 30 of biodiversity objectives were considered potential sources of conflict for the other party. A strict definition of what an MPA is does not exist, and this might be part of the problem. The FAO defines an MPA as “any marine geographical areas

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One of the major criticisms of MPAs with conservation management objectives is the damage they cause to fishing stocks. While it is widely accepted that there are extensive ecological benefits of strongly protected MPAs for organisms within their boundaries, the impact of the MPA on the wider seascape is less clear. MPAs draw their strength from limiting fishing activities – there is no real way from them to prevent other threats to biodiversity like global warming, oil spills, ocean acidification etc. And so, this begs the question, how effective are MPAs at regulating fishing? An article published in the ICES Journal of Marine Science argues MPAs do very little, and possibly even exacerbate the depletion of fishing stocks. MPAs displace fishing efforts to adjacent waters, resulting in overfishing. While the fish within the MPA are protected, the displaced fishing vessels intensify extraction elsewhere, exhausting those stocks. Moreover, the establishment of MPAs creates incentives for illegal fishing because fish size within protected areas tends to be larger than in

non-protected areas. Thus, properly evaluating the effectiveness of MPAs requires the comparison of the benefits of conserving biodiversity within the protected area to the potential drawbacks of relocating fishing to other areas. New research published in Ocean & Coastal Management, a journal, however, suggests we may be underestimating the role MPAs can play for the replenishment of fished populations. According to the research, one hectare of protected (no extraction) marine area produces more than five times the fish of its unprotected counterpart. The large increase in fish production within the protected area results in spillover into the non-protected area that offsets displaced fishing efforts. These findings suggest MPAs with conservation management objectives may be less detrimental to fishing catches in nearby areas than previously thought. Traditional models operated under the assumption that fish reproduction ability is proportional to their mass. But new research published in Science suggests that larger mothers contribute disproportionately to population replenishment. This is excellent news for MPAs because on average, fish weight 109 more within an MPA then outside, contributing to a 175 increase in fish production. In other words, doubling the mass of a fish more than doubles its reproductive output, (these numbers very according to species). Even though fully protected MPAs restrict access to the fish, fishers still benefit from their disproportionate effect on fish numbers. These benefits have been measured in actual fisheries. Researches from the Institut de Recherche pour le DÊveloppement, a French public research institution, found that fish catches were 25 higher on the edges of protected areas in western Africa.

G. P. Schmahl/NOAA photolibrary

that is afforded greater protection than the surrounding waters for biodiversity conservation or fisheries management purposes.� IUCN’s definition is slightly more specific requiring that in the case of “conflict nature conservation objectives will be the priority.� The management objectives within an MPA can vary from specific species conservation to seabed protection. Importantly, an MPA does not necessary preclude extraction or fishing. Thus, MPAs which are created with the objectives of maintaining fish stocks tend to fall short or even conflict with conservation goals, while protected areas that prioritize conservation and ban extraction threaten the activities of fishing companies.

A spotted trunkďŹ sh in the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Reserve, Gulf of Mexico.

The positive effects could be observed up to 2.5 km away from the protected area. The spillover effect remains incredibly difficult to verify, and although fishers remain sceptical, one thing all experts agree on is for MPAs to effectively bolsters the number of fish available for catch, their location and size are critically important. Over the past decade California has had some successes with the creation of an MPA network that spans 18 of the state’s waters. The MPAs are small, and clustered close enough together so fish born in one no extraction zone can relocate to an area where fishing remains legal. Finding the perfect size for an MPA is no easy task. If you make it to small there will be no real benefit because fish will move in and out of the reserve to frequently and be caught. If it’s to large there won’t be a spillover affect to offset the displaced fishing efforts. Moreover, different species have disparate movement patterns, so there is no single gold standard MPA size for all marine life. Instead, regional consideration of fishing practices is essential when designing and planning future MPAs. When fishers and conservation groups can work together and create mutually beneficial MPAs, the

result is a rare win-win for both the environment and fishing. In Indonesia’s Seraya Besar fish stocks started to shrivel as a result of the dying reef which could no longer support marine life. Fishers and non-profit reef conservation organizations teamed up and created an MPA which enabled the regrowth of the reef and boosted fish stocks for the fishers. For years the debate between the conflicting goals of conservation and fisheries management has threatened to hinder the development of MPA networks across the globe. New research, however, might be able to reconcile the competing interests of fishers and conservationists. More work is needed to quantify how the spillover effect compensates for the displacement of fishing, if at all. More crucially, as the deadline for protecting a certain proportion of the world’s oceans advances, local governments and multinational organizations must carefully consider the locations of new MPAs. The successful establishment of effective MPA networks hinges on the reconciliation between the competing goals of fishers and conservationists which can only be achieved through dialogue and cooperation. Tyler Skow

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[ FISHERIES ] Unique co-management system contributes to preserving small-scale ďŹ shery communities in TelaĹĄĂźica Nature Park, Croatia

WWF project brings alternative livelihoods to ďŹ shers in the Adriatic For the past three years, WWF Adria, a regional WWF ofďŹ ce for the Balkans with headquarters in Zagreb, Croatia, has been working in TelaĹĄĂźica Nature Park / Marine Protected Area (MPA), in the center of the Croatian coast. The MPA is becoming known as the place where, for the ďŹ rst time in Croatia, ďŹ shers have been involved in the design of the management plan for the protected area. The key objective is to create a model for sustainable ďŹ sheries in the Adriatic. ones to reduce fishing pressure and catch-per-unit-effort.

Fishing tourism compensates for reduced ďŹ shing effort

WWF Adria

FishMPABlue2 also helps fishers to diversify their activities into fishing tourism and the development of new skills, while reducing their fishing effort in the MPA. Fifteen fishermen are represented on the TelaĹĄĂźica Nature Park co-management board, but the entire community numbers around 25 fishers ranging in age from 23 to 70. Small-scale fishermen mainly use gillnets but also longlines, spears, and traps, depending on the season. One of

“The Croatian Directorate of Fisheries recently endorsed efforts to safeguard ďŹ shing communities and protect ďŹ sh stocks by recognizing and supporting the work done in TelaĹĄĂźica and Lastovo Nature Parks“, Ante MiĹĄura, Assistant Minister, Directorate of Fisheries. 48

WWF Adria


network has been created between the fishers, government (Directorate of Fisheries), the park management, and WWF Adria to co-manage the fisheries. The network is part of the FishMPABlue2 project which is building good working relationships between MPA managers and fishers in 11 pilot sites in six Mediterranean countries. In Croatia, the project’s “co-management model� strives to develop effective governance measures with a positive impact on the environment and on the socio-economic levels of local fishing communities. Within the project, the fishers decided to create a no-take zone in the MPA themselves and substituted their nets with more selective

My dream is a total closure of ďŹ shing activities within the MPA. That would result in the creation of better ďŹ shing grounds outside the MPA due to the spill-over effect, says Sebastijan RaljeviĂź, a ďŹ sherman from TelaĹĄĂźica Nature Park, Croatia

the fishermen involved in the project is Sebastijan RaljeviĂź, who uses a 300-meter-long gillnet to demonstrate fishing techniques to tourists in contrast to the 1,000-meter-long net he used as a professional small-scale fisherman. Mosor Prvan, Project Officer at WWF Adria, says that income from fishing tourism is higher, with lower pressure on stocks, making this a win-win situation for both fisherman and fish. The Croatian Directorate of Fisheries recently endorsed these efforts by recognizing and supporting the work in TelaĹĄĂźica and Lastovo Nature Park MPAs and

agreeing to enforce the management plans that will be included in national legislation by the end of 2019. With this, Croatia is set to become a co-management pioneer in the Mediterranean. This is a good example of a management plan for fisheries being developed using a bottom-up approach involving fishers, scientists, nongovernmental organizations and government, says Ante Misura, Assistant Minister for Fisheries, expressing his satisfaction with the results achieved so far. More information on the project can be found at https://fishmpablue-2.

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Denmark halts marine aquaculture development

Denmark: Cleaning up Europe’s waterways

The Danish Government has announced that it will stop the development of marine fish farming in a bid to protect the environment. The move will see an end to the development of any new marine fish farms in the country and will limit growth of existing farms. According to Lea Wermelin, Minister for the Environment, Denmark has reached the limit of how many fish can be farmed in the sea without risking the environment. We must be a green pioneer, when it comes to fish farming, and therefore focus on the sustainable development of the aquaculture sector.

On some of European waterways a fleet of kayaks have been fitted with an unusual accessory: A trash can. These bright green boats are free to rent, but volunteers are required to work for their trip by collecting

Denmark is the eighth largest producer of marine farmed fish in the EU with a total of 19 fish farms. The move means that the government will put an end to developing new aquaculture projects in the country, while its existing farms will not be affected. Levels of pollution associated with aquaculture have been the cause of significant criticism in the past. The resulting concentration of waste from the sector and its impact on the marine environment has been widely questioned. Concerns also exist about the combination of uneaten feed and waste which pollute the water, smothering animals and plants on the seafloor. Other issues relating to aquaculture include the spread of diseases and parasites from farmed fish to wild fish. But officials from the Organisation of Danish Aquaculture are baffled by the decision saying that the Minister’s plan will have serious negative consequences for the entire aquaculture industry including land-based

aquaculture. Annual exports from the sector are worth over EUR 200 million. Niels Dalsgaard, Chairman of the Board, elaborates “The aquaculture industry is highlighted in the UN’s global goals and is growing worldwide. 70 of the earth is covered by sea and we only get a very small part of our proteins from the sea. Aquaculture relieves the use of land-based food production, which is why aquaculture is good for the environment and biodiversity - also on land. Several of our companies have the ASC certification. We are regularly visited by international delegations that show great interest in our profession, precisely because we are known as a green and sustainable industry. It is a pity that the Minister will now restrict all development in a sustainable food industry.â€? Marine aquaculture is a crucial part of the Danish aquaculture industry, as 2/3 of the landbased aquaculture facilities are closely linked to marine aquaculture, to which they supply eggs, fry and smolts. The Minister’s decision will therefore have major consequences for the entire industry. This decision will affect jobs in rural areas which contribute to the development of smaller commercial and fishing ports. Niels Dalsgaard emphasizes that aquaculture is a climate-friendly and resourceefficient food industry, which is also recognized as part of the sustainable food sector of the future. He wonders, why the Minister chooses to punish climate-friendly production with a limited environmental impact and has called for a constructive discussion with the Minister.

floating waste. The initiative is the brainchild of GreenKayak, a Denmark-based environmental not-for-profit organisation with a mission to clean up the continent’s canals, rivers and lakes. Volunteers can take to the water

Collecting trash is a small price to pay for the time spent in a free kayak and makes an important contribution to cleaning up canals, rivers, and lakes.

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in one of the project’s colourful two-person kayaks, equipped with paddles, life vests and trash pickers. While enjoying the countryside, kayakers can pluck garbage from the water and fill the onboard trash can.

Although still in its infancy, the scheme aims to address a growing global challenge. According to UN Environment figures, about 13 million tonnes of plastic waste ends up in the world’s oceans each year, the majority of

it fed by rivers from land-based sources. This pollution damages marine life which reduces biodiversity and can potentially harm human health. Since the initiative launched in 2017, volunteers have collected more than 21,000

kilograms of floating waste from Europe’s waterways and the project is growing. The scheme, which started in Copenhagen is now operating all around Denmark as well as Norway, Ireland and Germany.

Denmark: WWF’s Sustainable Seafood Guide can help consumers make better choices Consumers may not always know the provenance of the fish they buy which makes it difficult to make sustainable choices. Consumers’ decisions influence demand and by extension have an impact on fish stocks, which are not all equally healthy. According Jens Peder Jeppesen,

a marine biologist and manager of the Ă˜resund Aquarium, in, for consumers to make sustainable choices it is important that they are aware of the species they consume, the stocks they come from, and the methods used to fish them. He recommends looking for the

ASC or MSC label and checking the WWF’s Sustainabel Seafood Guide. As a general rule, the guide suggests consumers should eat different species of locally caught fish, products certified by the MSC or ASC, and fish caught with gear that does not damage the environment.

Bottom trawls and beam trawls, for example, do more damage than fixed nets, traps, fyke nets or lines. The fishing method is also usually mentioned on the packaging. The guide can be found here https://fiskeguiden. w w f. d k / w w f- re c o m m e n d a tions/

World Food Summit 2019, 29-30 August, Copenhagen

Vision: A healthy and sustainable global food system for people and planet Speakers at the World Food Summit discussed ways to make food systems safe, healthy, and sustainable and thereby conform to the UN Sustainable Development Goals. At a side event organised by the University of Copenhagen scientists showed how lifestyles could become more sustainable with relatively minor changes.


he fourth edition of the World Food Summit was hosted by Mogens Jensen, the Danish Minister for Food, Fisheries and Equal Opportinuties and Minister for Nordic Cooporation at the end of August in Copenhagen. World Food Summit 2019 – Better Food for More People, attracted over 250 participants from 45 countries representing all the


stakeholders in the sector including governments, industry, NGOs, and scientists. The discussions at the main event surrounded three themes: ensuring food safety and food security; better health and diets; and improved resource efficiency, through which key actions could be identified that would lead to healthy and sustainable food systems.

The opportunities offered by the summit to move food and food production centrestage in the global debate on sustainability generated a number of side events to the main summit. Several of these were dedicated to the challenge of food waste, but food insecurity, alternative proteins, and innovation in the food area, were also

among the themes covered by the side events. The University of Copenhagen, where research and education covers the entire food value chain from field to consumers to waste including health of humans, animals, crops and nature, also hosted a wellattended side event. Titled Sustainable and Healthy Foods for the Future, it included a plenary

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the producer, affordable for the consumer, culturally acceptable, nutritionally adequate, safe, and healthy. Sustainability, emphasised Dr Darmon, relates not only to the environment, but also to the economics. In fact, a sustainable diet takes into account four aspects, health and nutrition, culture, the environment, and economics, each of which can be assessed with the help of certain measurable indicators. Greenhouse gas emissions (GHGE), acidification, eutrophication, water deprivations are some of the indicators used to measure the impact of a diet on the environment. Similarly, the nutrient content, energy density, and dietary quality scores quantify the health and nutrition levels of a diet. Average food prices and budgets for food measure economic criteria, while observed dietary intakes and commonly consumed foods judge the cultural acceptability of a diet. Placing all these data into a single repository enabled the analysis of diets for their sustainability. Dr Darmon showed how greenhouse gas emissions of a diet were positively correlated to the quantities consumed and even more closely related to the calory intake. In other words, simply eating less is one way an individual can reduce his or her impact on the environment!

The Danish Crown Prince (centre) and Mogens Jensen, the Danish Minister for Food, Fisheries and Equal Opportinuties and Minister for Nordic Cooporation (second from right) together with other dignitaries at the World Food Summit 2019 in Copenhagen.

event followed by three parallel sessions on food production, food design, and food in relation to health and well-being, and brought together speakers from industry and researchers with their latest results.

To improve the environment, simply eat less,... Nicole Darmon from INRA, the French National Institute for Agricultural Research, is a nutritionist

and an expert in the field of social inequalities in nutrition, and sustainable diets. The latter are defined in different ways, but according to the FAO, they are not only environmentally sustainable, but also economically fair for

Comparing different diets with the same number of calories revealed, somewhat counter intuitively, that to eat a healthy diet one has to eat more – but more healthful, nutrient-dense foods with low levels of calories. To ingest the same level of calories a larger volume of these foods will have to be consumed compared with unhealthy yet energydense diets rich in fats and sugars. There is thus a trade-off between a healthy diet and one that releases fewer greenhouse

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‌in particular, less meat and fewer eggs

Nicole Darmon, French National Institute for Agricultural Research (INRA), Montpellier

gases. Dr Darmon also compared greenhouse gas emissions of individual food groups per 100 g and per 100 kcal and showed that the group, meat, fish, poultry and eggs, had the highest emissions of any group whether measured by unit weight or energy content, while starchy foods had the lowest. Sweet and salty snacks, which tend to be highly unhealthy, also had low emissions per 100 kcal, suggesting that dietary guidelines need to include both nutritional and environmental information to ensure that consumers opt for more sustainable diets.

Christian Gamborg, Associate Professor, Department of Food and Resource Economics, University of Copenhagen 52

Dr Darmon drew attention to three projects studying sustainable diets, one national, one using data from five European countries, and one based in Tunisia. The approach used was to try and identify from diets consumed by people in everyday life those that were more sustainable than the rest. The study using French data estimated the GHGE of diets of people participating in the French national dietary survey. The diets were also assessed for nutritional adequacy. Diets with GHGE values lower than the median were classified as “Lower-Carbonâ€?, while those with nutritional adequacy higher than the median were classified as “Higher-Qualityâ€?. Finally, a combination of both criteria, GHGE and nutritional adequacy, defined a third category, “More Sustainableâ€?. The results showed that More Sustainable diets were consumed by 23 of men and 20 of women and that GHGE for these diets were 19 and 17 lower than the average of all the diets in the dietary survey. More Sustainable diets contained more plant products than the average and less animal products. Similar results were obtained from the European study which showed that 18 of the diets were more sustainable with GHGE decreased by 21, and lower consumption of meat, soft drinks and alcohol. The results suggest that an immediate step towards reducing GHGE is a moderate reduction in meat consumption. In fact, in a diet optimisation exercise, Dr Darmon showed that a 30-40 reduction in environmental impact could be achieved by adjusting just two food groups: increasing the consumption of fruit and

vegetables and decreasing that of meat, fish, poultry and eggs. In a nutshell, a relatively modest dietary modification could go some way towards combating global warming.

Food production technologies generate mixed feelings In his intervention on new food technologies and their acceptance among consumers, Christian Gamborg, Associate Professor at the Department of Food and Resource Economics, University of Copenhagen, said that food technologies have developed rapidly in the past years, but there has also been a concomitant increase in the challenges that go with development including climate change, loss of biodiversity, and the environmental impacts of industrial agriculture. Studies made on attitudes to food technologies among the public and factors that condition these attitudes show that people perceive food technologies as a way, for example, of reducing animal suffering, but also as a development that causes further alienation from nature. In other words, food technologies are perceived with as much optimism as they are with scepticism. Several factors influence whether individuals accept or reject new technologies. Dr Gamborg explained, for example, how an individual’s acceptance of a new technology will depend on whether he or she perceives a personal or social benefit (usefulness) from it. He added that usefulness is likely to be viewed differently by individuals compared to an industry and that individuals’ perceptions of usefulness are affected by whether they think the technology is realistic,

whether alternatives exist, and if its use entails risk. Risk is a critical factor in determining acceptance of a new technology and one that is perceived very differently by experts compared with laypeople, where the former are more rational about assessing risk, while the latter are influenced less by reason. Technology, he said, is perceived as more risky if it denotes a loss compared to what one has already, if people fear they could lose control, if it is unfamiliar or provokes disgust, or if it is framed (by the media) in ways that have unpleasant or scary connotations, for example, calling foods produced in new ways Frankenfoods. Acceptance of new technologies is also influenced by perceptions of equity, that is, whether people perceive the use of new technology as being equitable. This perception in turn depends on who benefits from it, who has access to it, how are costs and benefits distributed, and whether consumers have freedom of choice with regards to its use. There are several challenges, including climate change mitigation, global food security, and sustainable food production, that new technologies will play a role in resolving. However, these technologies are not universally accepted, therefore it is important to get the public onside for greater legitimacy and to positively influence politicians. In conclusion, Dr Gamborg said, that acceptance of new technologies is not just about showing the benefits but also addressing all the other factors that influence people’s perceptions of the technology. To do this effectively he argued for more research on technologies and their impacts, but also on how and why the public reacts to new technologies. Perhaps, he concluded, some new food

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technologies like plant-based meat which is widely accepted, can be seen as providing a shortterm answer to the challenges we face, but in the longer term there may be no alternative but to change our lifestyles.

Should we favour fats over carbs in our diets? The debate about carbohydrates and fats in a diet has generated equal amounts of light and heat as a quick search on Google will confirm. One Harvard professor refers to the “diet wars�, while other headlines speak more politely of “controversies�. Adding to the discussion, Annemarie Lundsgaard, a postdoc at the Department of Nutrition, Exercise and Sports, University of Copenhagen, presented the results of her work on the effects of fats and carbohydrates on the healthy and unhealthy liver. A healthy diet was one that prevented metabolic diseases, she said, which is why it is interesting to know the ideal ratio between fats and carbohydrates and the most beneficial fatty acid composition in a diet. Dr Lundsgaard investigated several parameters among two groups of subjects in their mid-30s who were slightly

Annemarie Lundsgaard, Postdoc, Department of Nutrition, Exercise and Sports, University of Copenhagen

overweight and sedentary (thus possibly making them more susceptible to metabolic disorders later in life) after putting them on a high fat and low carbohydrate diet for six weeks, in which the energy intake matched the energy requirement. One group consumed high levels of saturated fats (SFA) while the other consumed high levels of polyunsaturated fats (PUFA). Tests showed that in both groups, fat oxidation increased and fat levels in the blood decreased. In addition, levels of a marker indicating the conversion in the liver of carbohydrates to fats decreased particularly in the PUFA-rich diet. This synthesis of new fat in the liver is associated with fatty liver, so the reduced levels of the marker were a positive result. Other positive results included the increased ability to clear fat from the blood (after a fat-rich meal), the decline in the secretion of sugar from the liver into the blood, and reduced insulin levels in the blood. The high fat diet thus seemed to induce anti-diabetic metabolic adaptations. In another study in which subjects overate (energy intake exceeded energy requirement) Dr Lundsgaard found that insulin action (the ability to clear sugar from the blood into the tissues, where it is used) was reduced with a high fat diet under conditions of caloric excess. Her conclusion was that it was the excess energy consumed that interferes with a healthy metabolism. For people of normal weight to overeat is thus not only a route to becoming overweight, it also has a negative impact on various metabolic pathways. Overeating carbohydrates also had deleterious effects – increased insulin and fat levels in the blood, increased synthesis of fat in the liver, and increased sugar output from the

liver – suggesting that overeating carbohydrates is a particularly bad idea in terms of liver metabolism. The results of her research suggest the importance of eating to caloric balance and lead to the question of whether a diet should be tilted away from carbohydrates and towards fats while maintaining a healthy metabolism – a decidedly useful contribution to the overall debate, though probably not the last word.

Novel foods: Having your ďŹ shcake and eating it too Professor Søren Bøye Olsen also from the Department of Food and Resource Economics, University of Copenhagen pointed out that a rapidly growing global population that is getting wealthier and not only consuming more, but eating more products, such as meat, that have a greater impact on the climate, compared to products consumed when the population was poorer, was one of the factors behind the climate and biodiversity crises. Resolving these calls for a change in our consumption behaviour, however, at the same time, consumers look first to their own interests. Novel foods could play a role in reconciling these two positions so that consumers could put their own interests first (choosing to eat meat) yet also alter their consumption behaviour (by accepting novel foods) and thereby reduce their impact on the environment. Novel products that are already being commercially produced, or are close to it, include meat produced in petri dishes, meat from “climate friendlyâ€? cows, edible insects, plant-based “meatâ€?, vegetables and herbs from vertical-farming, and

Professor Søren Bøye Olsen, Department of Food and Resource Economics, University of Copenhagen

3D-printed functional foods. When developing a new product, however, manufacturers need to take consumer acceptance into account, or they may discover there is no demand for the new product which would be a waste of their efforts and of no benefit to the environment. The way forward, he said, is to target demand. Since many consumers will always want to eat steak, create steak that is environmentally benign (grow it in a laboratory, or genetically modify cows to reduce their GHGE) or create steak-like products that have less environmental impact. What is important for a novel food to succeed, Professor Olsen showed, is its acceptance among consumers and the ease with which it can be used (though taste, texture, social norms, price etc. also play a role). In this regard, information and consumer education that increases the ease with which a novel food can be used, may also make it more readily acceptable. So, he concluded, keep the consumer in mind both when developing

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Professor Lene Jespersen, Department of Food Science, University of Copenhagen

novel foods and when bringing them to the market.

Fermentation could make a signiďŹ cant contribution to sustainability Many different avenues are being explored to make the production of food more sustainable. Professor Lene Jespersen from the Department of Food Science, University of Copenhagen showed in her intervention that the fermentation of foods can contribute to sustainability due to its impact on food processing, as well as by reducing loss and waste of food. Fermented foods are found all around the world. They are produced using different microorganisms, bacteria, yeasts, even moulds, which often exist naturally (rather than as cultures). In many countries, foods are fermented spontaneously thanks to the presence of these microorganisms in the air. Fermentation can play a role in sustainable food production by replacing or reducing steps in the food production process. For example, the production of enzymes during fermentation that degrade complex molecules such as starches could mean that cooking times can be shortened.


In addition, fermentation can make inedible materials edible, make products safer to consume, and increase shelf life, all of which reduce food waste. It may also make it possible for products to be stored at room temperature, obviating the need for refrigeration, which would be a significant energy saver. If microorganisms could be used to increase the yield from raw materials even slightly, this could make a major difference to the sustainability of food production. Using research that showed 98 species of yeast in sub-Saharan Africa, Professor Jespersen drew attention to the importance of taking a global perspective with regard to microorganisms so as not to overlook potentially important ones. Moreover, she said, studying the microbiome of a food is very important to understanding how it is produced and how it will taste. Fermentation can create new flavours thus potentially increasing demand for plant-based foods by enhancing their tastiness, it can also fortify foods with vitamins, improve bio-availability of micronutrients, reduce toxic compounds in foods, and supply microorganisms that have a number of beneficial impacts on the gut. Fermented foods could in fact be designated superfoods because they benefit not only the environment, but also the individual.

Replacing parts of our diet with seaweeds will beneďŹ t us and the environment Encouraging greater consumption of plant-based foods by making them tastier was also one of the subjects in the talk given by Professor Ole Mouritsen also

from the Department of Food Science, and the author of several books and articles on the science of food and taste. In his intervention, he pointed out that for eating in general to become more sustainable it was important to consume more from the lower trophic levels in the food web as every step to the next level results in about 90 of the raw material being lost. Moreover, the EAT-Lancet Commission recommends that three fifths of daily energy intake come from plant sources if diets are to be healthful and sustainable, and health, food, or food systems have a bearing on more than half the UN Sustainable Development Goals. There is, in other words, a close link between sustainable food consumption and the fraction of vegetables in our diets. However, Professor Mouritsen said, convincing consumers to actually eat all the greens they are supposed to may need some help from food science to alter the taste and texture of vegetables to something altogether more exciting. His preferred method of doing this is to use seaweed. Seaweeds have several important micro and macronutrients – proteins and essential amino acids, vitamins, minerals, trace elements, dietary fibre, and PUFA – and virtually no calories. They are a rich source of the compounds that give umami (deliciousness, roughly translated), hence their role as flavour enhancers for other foodstuffs. And they belong at the bottom of the food chain making them generally a good choice in terms of sustainability too. Some of them grow extremely rapidly, so there is less danger of overexploiting them. Seaweeds are used as food in themselves and can also be added to all

Professor Ole Mouritsen, Department of Food Science, University of Copenhagen

kinds of preparations, bread, pasta, soups, meats etc., and their consumption brings all the benefits of umami, healthfulness, and sustainability, so there is a lot to recommend them. Professor Mouritsen also keenly supported the greater consumption of cephalopods especially by Danish consumers, who rarely eat cuttlefish, squid, and octopus although some 20 species are found in Danish waters. They too are nutritious with lots of minerals and high levels of protein. He suggested using gastrophysics, food science, and innovation to encourage the consumption of this unused resource, which is relatively easy to prepare and with the right techniques can be very tasty. The session, “From molecular design to excellent eating�, at the Sustainable and Healthy Foods for the Future side event offered plenty of food for thought. What was apparent was that while science has a critical role in developing sustainable solutions for the environmental challenges the world is facing, consumers can contribute significantly by making relatively modest changes to their food habits.

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Blockchain-based aquaculture

Danish trio plan digital revolution for aquaculture sector A partnership between BioMar, Aller Aqua, and OxyGuard will use aquaculture data from the entire value chain to manage, optimise, and track production. The three companies have joined forces to develop CobĂĄlia, a blockchain-based software tool for the aquaculture sector, with the ambition to “completely revolutionise the sectorâ€?.


ncreased concerns over cost, logistics, food security, and traceability are strong drivers for development in the aquaculture sector, and many are looking to IT to address these issues. This trend was obvious at this year’s Aqua Nor conference where It was compelling to see how many stakeholders, in one way or another, have taken up new IT tools such as machine learning, AI and blockchain to solve discrete problems in the sector. This is all very good for the industry, however, many of these new strategic investments were specific to particular parts of the value chain focusing on limited issues and benefiting individual stakeholders. While there is definitely a place for these innovations, there is also a need for similar efforts that target the problem of fragmentation in the sector. Cobålia was developed specifically to meet the challenges with the lack of sector-wide-consolidation. There is increased demand for collaboration across the different links in the value chain, not only amongst commercial stakeholders, but also between the industry, research institutions, NGOs, and government institutions. Furthermore, all the evidence points to the fact that a strong and dynamic sector is a pre-requisite for sustainable development. Cobålia

is marketed under the slogan “Improve everything� and the software holds value-adding benefits for most of the stakeholders in the value chain, all the way from the primary producers to governmental institutions and NGOs and everyone in between.

Using data to predict future developments Cobålia collects data across the value chain. In theory all measurable data, can be collected and uploaded to a cloud-based database. The data is analysed, collated, recorded, distributed, and exchanged for a variety of purposes – to create transparency, compute best practices, pinpoint areas of improvements in production, management, environmental practices, and for countless other purposes. By sharing the data it will be possible to actually draw conclusions across the individual links in the value chain. This can provide deeper insights in general and, more importantly, enable predictions to be made about future developments along the supply chain. Overall, it will create better business intelligence to anticipate, for example, volatility, and to develop risk management strategies. Another key advantage is linked to the possibility of making

SDG-specific (Sustainable Development Goals) improvements. Development of a sustainable food sector is a pressing issue with growing populations and a European ambition to promote prosperity while protecting the planet. Intensification of the food production sector must be attached to the concept of sustainability, a point that was repeatedly emphasised by speakers at the recently concluded World Food Summit in Copenhagen. Digitalization of the aquaculture sector supports SDGs 2, 3, 6, 8, 9, 12, and 14 directly or indirectly. CobĂĄlia contributes to achieving there SDGs as it can locate areas for improvement all along the value chain. At the same time, it supports the growth and development of a sector producing high value protein with a lower environmental footprint compared to terrestrial animal protein production. And apart from these environmental advantages, it offers commercial benefits to the individual stakeholders.

Optimising production with artiďŹ cial intelligence For the fish farmer, CobĂĄlia is an advanced farm management platform (a digital farm) with the included benefits of personal farm-specific feedback from other stakeholders involved. This could

be individually tailored advice from the feed company, auto-generation of official reports for authorities, and in the longer run, the builtin AI unit can prognosticate and optimise production possibilities (for esample, correlation between water chemistry and the physical environment for improved growth) and draw best practise conclusions across data from the thousands of farms connected. Feed companies use Cobålia to evaluate feed performance using data from the fish farmers and they can assess data from the individual farmer on inventory, for example, to greatly improve logistics. The sector-wide platform makes it possible to develop numerous add-ons to potentially improve on all measurable aspects in the entire value chain. Data privacy issues are dealt with as the data owner controls access rights to his data and has the possibility of anonymising it as well. Furthermore, with the data collected from the primary producers, processors can link fish-meat quality directly to production conditions. These data sharing possibilities offer unique opportunities to make commercial improvements in the production – pigmented spots or brown meat, for example, could potentially be linked to parameters that may have

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Analysing data throughout the value chain and comparing against best practices can revolutionize the aquaculture sector.

escaped consideration until now. The possibilities are extensive. However, one of the biggest challenges facing CobĂĄlia is getting the fish farmers to accept and adopt a complete digitalization of their production. The age-distribution amongst primary producers is large and in the segment of experienced farmers, there is some 56

resistance to the magnitude of the changes envisaged by the use of the platform.

A tool for all stakeholders in the industry Following the idea that everyone should join and with the

underlying vision to develop the sector by strengthening individual businesses, the software is plugand-play and is compatible with almost all equipment on the market, and, most importantly, the price to join is very low. “It has been important for us to create a solution that benefits everyone. Small fish farmers should be able

to participate just as easily as large companies and institutions, as they too play an important role in the aquaculture industry. If we are serious about bridging the gaps in the sector, innovations should be accessible to everyone,� says Paw Petersen, CEO of OxyGuard, adding that the software platform will be released in January 2020.

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[ SPECIES ] African Clarias catďŹ sh are robust survivalists

Made-to-measure for aquaculture The African sharptooth catďŹ sh Clarias gariepinus is a hardy ďŹ sh of modest needs that is not particular about its diet. Moreover it is an accessorial air-breathing ďŹ sh that is sometimes to be found living in groups in the most conďŹ ned spaces at great densities. Its protein- and omega-3-rich ďŹ llet tastes good, is healthy and can be processed in many different ways. All this makes C. gariepinus an ideal candidate for aquaculture and it is produced in considerable quantities worldwide.


harptooth catfish of the Clariidae family (“walking catfishes�) are an indispensable source of animal protein in many regions of the world. And they are in the meantime produced in Europe, too: an increasing number of countries farms the species in warm-water recirculating systems. A particular characteristic of the fishes in this family is a special respiratory organ which enables them to absorb oxygen from the air in addition to using their gills to breathe. This additional airbreathing organ (suprabranchial organ) is located in the upper part of the gill cavity. It consists of a “cauliflower-like� structure (a formation in the mucous membrane of the pharynx) that is well-supplied with blood and has tubular air sacs that run on both sides of the spine towards the body’s rear. Aerial respiration enables catfish to survive in extreme biotopes with low oxygen levels. They can even leave the water for a few hours to search for food on land near the shore, change their habitat, or look for suitable spawning grounds. During their land excursions which usually take place at night the catfish crawl forward by twisting their body from side to side. For this they use powerful bony spikes on the pectoral fins, rather like the ski-sticks used for Nordic walking. Injuries caused by these spikes can be very painful with persistent bleeding.

The most species-rich and economically most important group within the Clariidae family is the genus Clarias. According to FishBase it currently comprises 61 recognised species of which 34 occur naturally in Africa and 27 in Asia. Clarias catfishes are often the only fish to survive in water bodies that dry out almost completely during dry periods. It is their air-breathing ability that allows them to endure these critical phases during which the fishes often lie tightly packed together in the most confined spaces. This means that high stocking densities in aquaculture are not a problem for them. Clarias species are not particular about their environment. They are extremely robust and insensitive to external influences – with the exception, that is, of temperature. The addition “African� in the species name (which also applies to Clarias species from Asia!) already indicates that the fishes need relatively high temperatures. Apart from this, however, they are not demanding. Their air-breathing ability and their modest needs make them ideal candidates for aquaculture in the tropics where suitable water temperatures prevail all the year round. Today, however, African catfish are also produced outside their natural range in Europe, where they are farmed in warm-water recirculating systems.

A typical feature of Clarias catďŹ sh is the four pairs of barbels, the main function of which is identiďŹ cation of prey and orientation in murky waters.

Ideal for production in aquaculture Pioneers of Clarias breeding in Europe were catfish farmers in the Netherlands but other countries have followed suit since then. More than one million tonnes of the species are probably produced worldwide today. Unfortunately there are large gaps in the FAO statistics for Clarias species. One reason for this is that African catfish are kept in various different systems, from tiny backyard ponds and irrigation ditches to regular aquaculture facilities. Due to their large number and spatial distribution they will probably never be recorded fully. The other reason is that some producing countries in Asia or Africa fail to record and

report their aquaculture production in full. Since African catfish are easy to rear the actual production is likely to be higher than the officially declared quantities. These fishes probably make a larger contribution to the supply of the world population with animal protein than often assumed. Something else that is not clear is which species are produced in aquaculture throughout the world. In many countries no exact distinction is made between different species. That is why the FAO statistics assign the largest part of production to Clarias spp. without differentiating them further. However, taking into account species-assignable aquaculture production, catch

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[ SPECIES ] reports from the fishery sector, and also the size of the distribution area, Clarias gariepinus is probably the most important species. This assumption is also shared by the South African ichthyologist Paul Skelton, who describes the African sharptooth catfish as the second most important freshwater fish in Africa after tilapia. Clarias gariepinus was first scientifically described by the British natural scientist William John Burchell (1782 - 1863) who is regarded as one of the most important explorers in Africa. Of course, the natives of this region had been familiar with the air breathing catfish for a long time already but it was Burchell who described the fish for the first time according to scientific criteria and gave it its name. The generic name Clarias which is derived from the Greek word “chlaros� meaning “particularly vigorous and lively� refers to the fish’s ability to survive out of water. The species name gariepinus is derived from the locality in which the catfish was found. Burchell found it in a river that the English called Orange River but in the native language it was called Gariep.

The African catfish C. gariepinus is fairly insensitive to diseases, has no demanding nutritional requirements, and is fairly easy to reproduce. And that is why it has been settled in many regions of the world. The fishes have spread widely in many places since then and have become a danger to the native fauna because they kill fish, amphibians, insects and even birds and have allegedly brought some species to the brink of extinction. Today, African catfish are regionally classified as invasive. This explains why Clarias catfish are strongly polarizing. On the one hand they are in great demand as a food fish and are produced in increasing quantities in aquaculture; but on the other hand they can become an ecological threat and a real plague in the waters they inhabit.

Aerial respiration allows habitats that are low in oxygen Typical features of Clarias are the fish’s flexible eel-like body, its long dorsal and anal fins, and its flattened head with the helmet-shaped ossified skull. The smooth skin is covered by a thick layer of slime. The body

When the larvae have absorbed their yolk stocks and begin active feeding they are usually fed with Artemia nauplii. 58

Under European climate conditions African catďŹ sh can really only be produced in recirculating aquaculture systems (RAS).

colour varies from greenish-olive to shades of grey and deep black, the back and sides of the body are marbled. A particular characteristic of Clarius catfish is its four pairs of barbels, whose main function is the identification of prey and orientation in murky waters. As obligate air breathers Clarias gariepinus is even found in waters that are periodically dry or have an extremely low level of oxygen. During the dry season the fishes often remain in the mud of swampy ponds for weeks until the next rainy season. If food or spawning facilities are lacking the fishes will also go ashore in search of more suitable habitats. To spawn they migrate into the side arms of large rivers which overflow in the rainy season and flood adjacent flat areas. African catfish were introduced in a lot of countries for aquaculture purposes. One of the largest producers of Clarias is China, where catfish are often kept in paddy field culture. In 1998, Bangladesh launched a national programme for rearing Clarias in tiny holes in the ground measuring only one square metre to provide farmers with regular additional income. The aim of this small-scale production was to “revolutionise�

aquaculture, similar to the idea of keeping chickens in cages. Such projects entail a high risk, however, and several studies have confirmed that under particular site conditions catfish can become a danger to the native animal world. Once the fish has settled successfully it is difficult to keep it under control. In Central Europe, on the other hand, the risk of an uncontrolled spread of African catfish is low. One reason is that the animals are reared in isolated indoor warm-water recirculating systems which make escape into open waters practically impossible. And another is that the temperate climate in our latitudes ensures that any escapes would only survive for a few months at the most anyway. As soon as the temperature drops to near freezing point in winter the fish would have no chance of survival. Gariepinus is a relatively poor swimmer. When looking for prey it proceeds purposefully and methodically and does not make any sudden attacks. The fishes are mainly night-active and fulfil approximately three quarters of their nutritional needs after nightfall. The barbels, that are equipped with taste-buds and

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[ SPECIES ] touch-sensitive mechanoreceptors, play an important role when tracking down prey. There is in the meantime growing evidence that African catfish also have an “electrosensitivity� which they use during their search for food. Apparently they perceive electrical discharges that emanate from some prey animals. The gastrointestinal tract of Clarias catfish can absorb large amounts of food. After a copious meal the fish’s belly is often grotesquely rounded. Clarias is an opportunistic feeder that will not spurn any food. However, the fishes remain flexible throughout their lives so that even as adults if necessary they can still feed on zooplankton that they sieve from the water with their gill rakers. Clarias catfish grow rapidly. In their first year growth is almost linear which leads to a considerable leap in size. Females grow faster than males at first but the growth rate slows down as from the third year so that at an advanced age males are almost always larger.

In the ďŹ nal fattening phase before harvesting the stocking density can reach 350 kg per cubic metre of tank volume but that is certainly reasonable for this catďŹ sh species.

The available data on the fish’s maximum age range from 8 to 15 years, the EU’s European Fish Farming Guide even states 30 years. Depending on their size and the nutritional situation the fishes become sexually mature

Once they reach a weight of about 10 grams the young catďŹ sh are large enough to be transferred to the tanks of the on-growing farms.

after one or at the latest two years at which point the females measure between 40 and 45 cm and the males between 35 and 40 cm.

Fry requirements met by European hatcheries Rapid advances in recirculation technology have made Clarias interesting for European aquaculture. As is often the case with new fish species the Dutch were among the first to bring catfish to Europe. In 1976 work began to develop a parent stock based on wild-caught fishes from the Central African Republic. Later, catfish strains from Israel and South Africa were added which led to the “Dutch breeding line� of African catfish. Commercial production of Clarias catfish began in specially developed warm-water RAS in about 1985. These enclosed systems offer the heat-loving African catfish the conditions that enable them to grow optimally. In intensive farming they reach the desired slaughter weight of 1.3 to 1.5 kg

after 140 to 150 days with daily growth rates of 1.7 per cent. Good farms achieve FCR values (Feed Conversion Ratio) of 0.85 and at an average of 85 per cent the survival rate is comparatively high. The fry required for stocking the RAS farms are today produced by European hatcheries, some of which also run breeding programmes. The main breeding goals are rapid growth and good feed conversion, perfect appearance, a high slaughter yield, and disease resistance of the fry. Probably the largest producer of Clarias fry in Europe is the Dutch company Fleuren & Nooijen, which produces over 2 million young fish a year. They are not only in demand in Dutch catfish farms, in the Ukraine and Costa Rica but are also sold in classic Clarias countries such as Nigeria and Israel. Clarias females experience seasonal gonadal maturation, the beginning of which is linked to the rainy season, changes in water temperatures and daylight hours. At temperatures above 22°C, a

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Two breeding cycles per year possible in RAS In order to avoid the emergence of cannibalism the larvae and young catfish must be regularly sorted by size. After about one month the offspring has reached a weight of 5 to 7 grams and can be transferred to the on-growing farms. This can take place in various production systems from simple, waterfilled earth holes to high-tech, computer-controlled recirculating aquaculture systems (RAS). Each system has advantages and disadvantages, and choice will depend on local conditions as well as the technical and financial means of the plant operator. With the exception of warm geothermal water, which supplies individual ponds regionally, the construction RAS facilities is unavoidable under European climatic conditions. Given well-functioning operation, regular fish stocking and the use of high-quality feed, 700 to 1,000 kg of Clarias catfish can be produced per cubic metre tank volume per year in such plants with two annual breeding cycles. Such quantities

Hot smoking is just one of many ways to add value to Clarias ďŹ llets.

are necessary because the high production cost in RAS requires a corresponding output if farming is to be a commercial success. The processing depth of Clarias catfish varies greatly in the individual regions of the world. While fish in Africa and Asia, with the exception of traditional forms of preservation such as smoking, drying or salting, are usually traded live, more convenient products based mainly on fillets are preferred by buyers in Central Europe. Processing is often still by hand, but increasingly also with machines. The BrĂźder Pommerehne production facility in Altkalen (Germany), which has a processing line with a daily capacity of almost 2,000 kg FEMEG

The development time from fertilisation of the egg to hatching of the yolk sac larva depends on water temperature. As a rule, egg development in the hatchery takes no longer than one day. Two to three days after hatching, the larvae have eaten their yolk stocks and begin active feeding. Usually feeding starts with Artemia nauplii, which are administered on demand several times a day. In this phase the larvae should be offered as much as they want. At the same time, the amount of dry food fed to the larvae is gradually increased so that the animals get used to the smell and taste of this food until, after about a week, they are only fed “dry�. The willingness of catfish larvae to eat can be seen from the circumference and colouring of their bellies: the abdomen of

well-fed animals is roundish and yellowish-orange in colour.


certain number of ovules in the ovaries are in the “pre-ripening� stage throughout the year so that the eggs can be stripped after special preparation. The females’ fertility is about 500 eggs per gram body weight. While ovulated eggs can be easily stripped, males must be operated on or killed for sperm collection.

Most recirculating systems produce African catďŹ sh in sizes around 1.5 kg, which enables very attractive and versatile ďŹ llets. 60

of African catfish, is an example of machine processing. With a fillet yield of between 40 and 42 this corresponds to around 840 kg of fillet per day. But even this company cannot do without manual labour. Due to the special skeleton structure of Clarias catfish the BAADER filleting machine can separate the fillets to a large extent but the fine work has to be done afterwards by hand. The reddish muscle flesh of African catfish is tender, boneless, relatively firm and has a medium fat content with a high proportion of healthy omega-3 fatty acids and thus a high nutritional value. The mild taste is typical of the species, discreet and by no means “fishyâ€?. Due to its rather neutral character catfish is suitable for a variety of products, both traditional and modern. The range of Clarias products on the market is already quite broad. In addition to fillets and calibrated fillet portions, which are available both fresh and frozen, there are smoked products, delicatessen products, canned foods and convenience products. Many of these catfish specialities were developed by small creative processing enterprises which are quick to pick up original ideas. The firm muscle flesh, fine fibre structure and mild taste of the African catfish open up a wide range of culinary possibilities and offer ideal conditions for value-adding.

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FAO seeks input for new vision for capture ďŹ sheries To understand and interpret two distinct and opposing trends in global marine and inland fisheries FAO is organising a symposium on 18-21 November 2019 in Rome. The crucial and growing contribution fisheries make to food, nutrition and livelihood security represents one trend, while the overall decrease in the proportion of marine fish stocks caught within biologically sustainable levels especially in least developed regions, represents the other. Given these developments the symposium aims to identify the challenges to improve the sustainability of fish resources, establish the status of global and regional fisheries sustainability, define what constitutes evidence and discuss how to ensure an evidence basis

for decision making, and finally outline what society expects from marine and inland fisheries in the 21st century. The debates and conclusions will contribute to the development of a new vision for the way capture fisheries are perceived and used, showing how the sector can respond to the complex and rapidly changing challenges facing society. The symposium will be technical in nature and is aimed at senior employees at technical organisations, academics from the natural and social sciences, fisheries, conservation and sustainability experts, representatives from private industry, fisheries administrations, NGOs, intergovernmental organisations, and indigenous groups. Attendance to the event is free,

but subject to an application process to limit the audience to 500 delegates (the size of the venue), while safeguarding a balanced representation from the groups mentioned above. More information is available at the symposium webpage, about/meetings/ sustainablefisheries-symposium/en/ or from

Dr Manuel Barange, FAO Director Fisheries and Aquaculture Policy and Resources Division, and Symposium Convenor, manuel., or Dr Vera Agostini, FAO Deputy Director Fisheries and Aquaculture Policy and Resources Division, and Chair of the Symposium Local Organizing Committee,

Market training for Malaysian Fisheries Development Authority A training event on statistical databases that Infofish conducted for the Malaysian Fisheries Development Authority was so well received that it led to a request from the Malaysians for further practical training in the use of databases and on the analysis of markets. Towards the end of July this year Infofish therefore organised a second workshop for the Fisheries Development Authority (LKIM) in Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia. The training gave participants insights into ways to access trade data and demonstrated how to analyse the data and other market intelligence. Twenty-two participants

from nine Malaysian states took part in the programme that began with a briefing on the principles, methods and factors involved in carrying out a market analysis. The highlight of the training was guidance on how to access online trade databases to prepare a market analysis. Participants were required to survey the wholesale markets, retail markets, and wet markets in their respective states with regard to fish prices and combine this with information received from surveying consumers. The information was then presented in the form of a market analysis during the training.

InfoďŹ sh organised a training session for the Malaysian Fisheries Development Authority in which participants were instructed in the use of public trade databases and the analysis of markets.

EUROFISH Magazine 5 / 2019

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The Mediterranean Agronomic Institute of Zaragoza

Education and training for sustainable fisheries The Mediterranean is one of the most overďŹ shed seas in the world. Remedying this is rapidly becoming a priority particularly in light of other developments such as climate change, which further threaten already stressed ďŹ sh stocks perhaps to the point of no return. Institutions such as the Mediterranean Agronomic Institute of Zaragoza (IAMZ), a part of the International Center for Advanced Mediterranean Agronomic Studies, have an important contribution to make towards the sustainable development of ďŹ sheries and aquaculture in the region. Dr Bernardo Basurco, coordinator of training activities in the area of ďŹ sheries and aquaculture at IAMZ, and technical coordinator of the MedAID project, explains why. According to the FAO, the Mediterranean is the most overfished sea in the world. Which are the main factors that have led to this status and what is hindering countries from reducing overfishing? What role can CIHEAM and more specifically the Zaragoza institute play in this process? A recent study presented to the European Parliament PECH Committee1 stated how the Common Fisheries Policy in the Mediterranean has been traditionally characterized by a suite of technical measures that have not changed significantly with time. The Mediterranean fleet has decreased in number but the improvement of engines, fishing gears and other technological devices have increased catchability. It seems necessary to change the management strategy, adding adaptive management measures to adjust fishing mortality to stock status. This study was coordinated by JosĂŠ Luis SĂĄnchez Lizaso, Professor of the University of Alicante 1

J. L. SĂĄnchez Lizaso, I. Sola, E. GuijarroGarcĂ­a, F. GonzĂĄlez-CarriĂłn, R. Franquesa J.M. Bellido, 2018, Research for PECH Committee Discard ban, Landing Obligation and MSY in the Western Mediterranean Sea - the Spanish Case, European Parliament, Policy Department for Structural and Cohesion Policies, Brussels.


and Director of the Master on Sustainable Fisheries Management, jointly organized by his university and CIHEAM Zaragoza. The study also counted on the participation of other lecturers and is an example of how our center can contribute to improving fisheries management by providing expert knowledge. In order to obtain and interpret management-supporting data, experts with a multidisciplinary background are needed. Experts who can address fisheries issues from diverse perspectives such as biology, economics, sociology or law. It is of maximum interest to train these experts so they can advise stakeholders in the diverse world of fisheries: different administrations (local, regional, state or supranational), fishermen (artisanal, semi-industrial or industrial), and social groups (shipowners, trade unions, consumers, processors, fish farmers, etc.). Furthermore, given the international scope of the marine environment, the need arises to establish a common method and language to be used between experts of the different countries sharing fisheries. To train specialists who can contribute to facilitating the search for cooperative measures from their respective countries to benefit all stakeholders

Dr Bernardo Basurco, Mediterranean Agronomic Institute of Zaragoza

is undoubtedly a great challenge. In this sense, the CIHEAM, and in particular the IAMZ, is doing important work in the training of human resources through its short courses and its master programmes, in particular the Master on Sustainable Fisheries Management. The Zaragoza institute is characterised by a high degree of collaboration with other Mediterranean countries making it a magnet for students from across the region. Does fisheries management in the Mediterranean benefit from this network of alumni? When looking fifty years ago in history, one can see how nowadays the political and financial context in the Mediterranean is no less

complex now than it was then. The reasons that justified the creation of the CIHEAM in 1962, are as pertinent today as they were at the time. Moreover, over the past decades, globalization has become a major public issue in the Mediterranean region, and we have observed an increasing movement of people and trade of agricultural and other products between Europe and most Southern Mediterranean countries, creating a growing interdependence in their economies. The CIHEAM’s main mission of “providing supplementary education (economic as well as technical) and developing a spirit of international cooperation among agricultural professionals of the Mediterranean countries� is now as relevant as it was half a century ago.

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The CIHEAMÂ Zaragoza institute is characterised by a high degree of collaboration with other international organizations and national institutions from Mediterranean countries. Illustrative is the case of the Master on Sustainable Fisheries Management, which is jointly organized by the University of Alicante and CIHEAM Zaragoza, with the collaboration of the General Secretariat of Fisheries (SGP) of the Spanish Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (MAPA), which also counts on the technical support of the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (GFCM) and the Fisheries and Aquaculture Department of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO). These institutions not only provide technical support providing recommendations on the content to be covered, contributing with their experts as guest lecturers, and potentially accepting students to develop their master theses with them, but also offer clear testimony of the need to train fisheries management specialists. The diversity of students with different backgrounds is an added value that enriches our training programmes and promotes networking. Currently, a number of our graduates occupy relevant positions in national fisheries administrations, international organizations and in NGOs, and meet frequently in international fora, such as the GFCM. We can proudly say that CIHEAM Zaragoza has provided a common language that facilitates links and communication in the region. Education at Zaragoza in the field of fisheries and aquaculture includes a number of master programmes as well as short term advanced courses for professionals. How are these topics chosen and what distinguishes these courses from similar ones offered by other universities in the

region? How does the institute tailor its programmes to people from very different educational and cultural backgrounds? The selection of topics for the short advanced courses organized by CIHEAM Zaragoza is a constant process, based on communication with institutions we cooperate with or with European projects where we participate or collaborate. Capacity building and the need for professional education is more recognized now than some decades ago. Most European projects now incorporate knowledge transfer and training activities. Once we have identified potential topics, we evaluate several critical issues, such us as the novelty of the topic and the potential demand. The experience accumulated during these years and our way of working based on external expertise allows us to update our training programmes to current challenges. It is very important to ensure that the topics selected are of interest to the whole region, and that they respond to the needs of several professional profiles (managers, consultants, administrators, technical advisors, etc.), and also that there exist experts working on those issues in most countries. As example, a course on new molecular techniques for the diagnosis of tilapia or salmon diseases may sound interesting, but it could be too specific, as there may only be few experts working on these issues, and the chosen species are not the most representative of Mediterranean aquaculture. Over the years, from the courses we have organized we have gained experience in the evaluation of the potential demand for certain topics. We keep records of the number and profiles of the candidates for each course we organize. Let’s say we know our “public�. As another example, several institutions have pointed out the need for training on economic

Bernardo Basurco


A decrease in the number of ďŹ shing vessels in the Mediterranean over time has not prevented it from becoming the most overďŹ shed sea in the world. At CIHEAM Zaragoza experts analyse challenges like this and make recommendations that contribute to improving the situation.

issues, and we agree. However, we know that for these topics we may receive a lower number of candidates than for technical subjects (e.g. stock evaluation, aquaculture health or nutrition, seafood quality and safety assessment), because there are only few experts working on fisheries and aquaculture economics. Close collaboration between academia and the fisheries sector is useful to ensure that research is relevant for industry, and for the development of products and processes that are (ideally) environmentally sustainable as well as commercially viable. How does the Zaragoza institute secure this cooperation? We look at the fisheries, aquaculture and seafood sectors as a global value chain, more than a supply chain. Most of our courses are of interest to experts coming both from private companies and public institutions. We understand that activities and companies are distributed across geographies, and besides primary producers, processors and distributors, other very important segments play relevant roles, i.e. the providers of inputs and goods (boats, nets, seafood processing equipment, aquafeeds, etc.), service providers (consultancy, certification, laboratories, assurance, aquatic health services, etc.), knowledge providers (R&D, media, etc.) and governance segments.

The MedAID project seeks to identify the factors that influence Mediterranean aquaculture production with a view to supporting the European Commission’s goal of boosting farmed seafood yields by a fifth from current levels. As coordinator of this project, which is now half-way through its lifespan, what do you see as the main constraints that the sector faces? Can the results from this project contribute to increasing aquaculture output in other parts of Europe? The goal of MedAID is to increase the overall competitiveness and sustainability of the Mediterranean marine fish-farming sector, throughout the whole value chain. From the project webpage (www., the reader has access to all open project reports, congress presentations, and other publications. We have already published two Deliverables, the results of which will be very interesting for other parts of Europe: Identification of product and market requirements of aquaculture chain stakeholders and Identification of market niches for different consumer profiles of fish products. There is an agreement about the (slow) growth in the aquaculture end market in Europe related to affordable prices and change in consumer attitudes. We have found that the main drivers for consumers to choose aquaculture products are those related to health and convenience (easy

EUROFISH Magazine 5 / 2019

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cooking, no bones and high valueadded products) and there is an increasing demand for food quality and safety, traceability, animal welfare and sustainability. The market for seabass and seabream is periodically shocked by instability and price volatility, seriously compromising the profitability of the business and the survival of the industry. The analysis performed and published found that demand for the two species is generally price elastic, which means high consumer price sensitivity. In contrast, supply is mainly price inelastic, unable to adapt, within a short time frame, the production volumes to the variations in price. The result is price volatility, affecting mainly producer and exporter incomes. Further, the price linkages along the value chain show upstream price transmission for domestic products, and substitution with cheaper imports. In such a scenario, transferring costs to the market becomes harder for many producers, especially small and medium sized ones. MedAID is also very active in research on zootechnical aspects. (Assessment) Researchers surveyed Mediterranean aquaculture farms throughout the region and identified significant relationships between key performance Indicators (KPIs) and predictor variables in the units that took part in the survey. The survey data analysis shows that farming practices differ between farms, allowing for improvement of farm management techniques, and also, that there is no common production method for Mediterranean seabass and seabream. Researchers also found very high differences in fish survival rates between companies, with seabass showing a survival rate of 85 throughout its production cycle, while gilthead seabream showed 80, even though they have an 64

equal mortality rate due to pathogens (10). We have also seen that the disease profiles between these species are clearly different and also vary according to the geographical region, with the parasite Sparycotyle chrysophrii being the most prevalent problem throughout the Mediterranean. Correlating mortality data to management variables showed that increasing density and the purchase of fingerlings from external sources are factors that negatively influence the mortality rate. The aquaculture sector in the Mediterranean is developing unevenly with large producers like Turkey and Egypt alongside much smaller producers in the EU. Where are the bottlenecks that need to be addressed if the Mediterranean members of the EU are to boost their output of farmed fish? Although the production of marine fish in some EU countries is low or stagnant, e.g. France or Italy, the economic impact of marine aquaculture in those countries is higher than what is normally assumed. France and Italy export seabass and seabream juveniles, they export aqua-feeds too, and provide other inputs or services to non-EU countries. It would be advisable for national administrations to assess the whole value chain and recognize the importance of all segments. In my opinion the main bottlenecks that impede the development of European aquaculture are already well defined in the “Strategic Guidelines for the sustainable development of EU aquacultureâ€? (COM/2013/0229 final). The first issue is related to the need to improve the governance of the sector, i.e. to simplify administrative procedures with licensing and other authorizations needed to start a business, renew it, or expand production capacity. There is a

need to better understand social acceptability at subnational and local levels, in order to overcome possible opposition from administrations at those levels as well as from social communities, which in many instances is due to a poor understanding of what aquaculture is and how environmental protection is compatible with sustainable aquaculture. The implementation of a more participatory approaches can be a solution, something wellknown in local fisheries. At national level, several EU countries, mainly large importers of seafood, are not sufficiently aware of the economic impact of the seafood trade deficit we have. A deficit that can be reduced with a clear support for aquaculture and with closer links between primary production, processing and distribution. The Mediterranean Agronomic Institute of Zaragoza completes 50 years this year. In the field of fisheries and aquaculture what would you say are its main achievements and what are the institute’s priorities over the coming 10 years? The training programme developed by CIHEAM-Zaragoza in the field of fisheries and aquaculture dates back to more than three decades, when in September 1985 the Institute organized a three week course on pisciculture. Since then, the Institute has organized about 90 short advanced courses for professionals and has successfully implemented two master programmes on this area of work. CIHEAM-Zaragoza has maintained a longstanding collaboration with the FAO Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture. Both networks identified advanced training as a critical action to be undertaken more intensely by the CIHEAM-Zaragoza, and therefore in 1997, the Master on Aquaculture, which is jointly organized with the University of Las Palmas

de Gran Canaria (ULPGC), started. At the same time the Institute promoted the creation of the Master on Sustainable Fisheries Management, initially with the participation of the University of Barcelona and then with the University of Alicante. More recently, the Institute has started to participate in or collaborate with EU research projects, in which CIHEAM-Zaragoza plays a key role in knowledge transfer through training activities and also in communication. As for our priorities for the future, the first would be on maintaining the strength of our training programme, which is not an easy task. Since the 2008 economic crisis, many institutions – including CIHEAM-Zaragoza – have suffered from budget reductions and have had to search for additional funds to support their activities. Collaborations with our partner institutions (e.g. GFCM, FAO, Spanish General Secretariat, for Fisheries University of Alicante, ULPGC, IEO, FAO, etc.) will be maintained, and we would also like to strengthen our collaboration with southern Mediterranean institutions, such as INRH, INSTM, NIOF, etc. The second priority is at the CIHEAM level. Our General Secretary, Mr. Placido Plaza, has asked the four CIHEAM institutes to cooperate, look for synergies and work together particularly in the field of coastal management and fisheries. A third priority is to develop e-learning programmes, which will complement our traditional face-to-face learning. Although we believe that face-to-face learning facilitates the establishment of links and cooperation between experts, new e-learning methodologies, such as e-learning modules, webinars, or other interactive online materials, offer new opportunities to further disseminate and transfer advanced knowledge.

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DIARY DATES 3-5 March 2020 North Atlantic Seafood Forum Bergen, Norway Tel.: +47 908 26 111 1-3 October 2019 Conxemar Vigo, Spain Tel.: +34 986 433 351

14 November 2019 International Cold Water Prawn Forum St Jonn’s, Canada Tel.: + 45 40 79 10 11

7-10 October 2019 Aquaculture Europe Berlin, Germany

9-11 October 2019 DanFish International Aalborg, Denmark Tel.: +45 99 35 55 18 www.danďŹ 30 October – 1 November 2019 China Fisheries & Seafood Expo Qingdao, China Tel.: +86 10 58672620 Fax: +86 10 58672600

12-15 November 2019 ProdExpo Minsk, Belarus Tel.: + 37517 334 01 54

18-21 November 2019 International Symposium on Fisheries Sustainability Rome, Italy

15-17 March 2020 Seafood Expo North America Boston, USA Tel.: +1 207 842 5590

20-23 April 2020 Alimentaria Barcelona, Spain

6-8 November 2019 Busan International Seafood & Fisheries EXPO Busan, South Korea Tel.: +82 51 740 7518 Fax: +82 51 740 7640 12-14 November 2019 World Shrimp Conference and Exposition Bangkok, Thailand Tel.: +603 8066 8112 info@infoďŹ www.infoďŹ

9-11 February 2020 ďŹ sh international Bremen, Germany Tel.: +49 421 3505 264 www.ďŹ

21-23 April 2020 Seafood Expo Global/ Seafood Processing Global Brussels, Belgium Tel.: +1 207.842.5590

A d d y o u r e v e n t t o w w w. E u r o f i s h M a g a z i n e . c o m

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