Fish Farmer June 2017

Page 1

Fish Farmer VOLUME 40


JUNE 2017

Serving worldwide aquaculture since 1977





Insights into the species on the front line of sea lice control

Companies bound for Trondheim set out their stalls

Exploring the case for a national aquaculture education strategy

Nick Joy on the thriving marine life around fish farms

June Cover.indd 1

05/06/2017 16:37:26

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05/06/2017 10:26:02

Contents 4-15 News

What’s happening in aquaculture in the UK and around the world JENNY HJUL – EDITOR

Spread the word


t last month’s cleaner fish summit in Glasgow, almost 200 people representing salmon interests in Scotland, Ireland, Norway, the Faroes and Iceland shared all they knew about lumpfish and wrasse, farmed and wild. After three intense days, most (including Fish Farmer) hopefully left a little the wiser. Nearly everybody agreed it was important to exchange information about these still relatively unfamiliar species. So for those who could not attend, we have devoted a chunk of our June issue to covering the conference highlights. Elsewhere, the impact of fish farming on wild salmon and sea trout - mortality is addressed by two of our regular columnists. Martin Jaffa has compiled extensive data from Scotland’s river systems to challenge assumptions about fishery stocks, and Phil Thomas calls for a greater focus on the possible causes, other than salmon aquaculture, behind the decline in some wild catches. Next month we will get the perspective of an angling writer, who has been close to both the salmon farming and fishing sectors. In this issue, we also bring you a preview of Aqua Nor, the world’s biggest aquaculture show and a platform - in Trondheim in August - for many in the industry to showcase their latest products and services. Watch this space for more updates in July.

16 Planning ahead Update from the ILG

Meet the team

Contact us

Editorial Advisory Board: Steve Bracken, Scott Landsburgh, Hervé Migaud, Patrick Smith and Jim Treasurer Editor: Jenny Hjul Designer: Andrew Balahura Advertising Manager: William Dowds Advertising Executives: Dave Edler Scott Binnie Publisher: Alister Bennett

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Welcome - June.indd 3

40-41 Aqua Nor Preview Introduction

43-44 Aqua Nor Preview Students

18 Comment Phil Thomas

19 BTA

48-49 Aqua Nor Preview

Doug McLeod

Scottish pavilion

20-21 Shellfish

66-67 Training & Education

Nicki Holmyard

Martyn Haines

68-69 Training & Education In schools

22-23 Comment Martin Jaffa

Fish Farmer is now on Facebook and Twitter

Contents – Editor’s Welcome

70-71 Kazakhstan Big ambitions

24-25 Cleaner Fish Introduction

26-27 Cleaner Fish Ocean matters

28-29 Cleaner Fish Welfare

32-33 Cleaner Fish Vaccines

76-77 Archive

‘Sustainable’ buzz word

78 Processing News Smokehouses restored

79-81 Aqua Source Directory

Find all you need for the industry

82 Opinion

By Nick Joy


05/06/2017 16:34:45

United Kingdom News


Surging salmon sales drive UK food exports

SALES of salmon are behind record UK food and drink ex-

ports, according to the Food and Drink Federation.

In newly released first quarter data published by HM

Biggest cages for Scotland at new Orkney site

A NEW salmon farm which will use what were described as the largest cages in the aquaculture industry in Scotland is to be sited off the coast of Westray, the Orcadian reported. Plans for the


UK news.indd 4

development by Cooke Aquaculture, which will create eight jobs and includes a 600-tonne feed barge, were approved at a meeting of Orkney Islands Council’s planning committee. The site is situated

east of Skelwick Skerry, North Sound, Westray, and consists of eight 130m circumference cages, which have a diameter of 41.38m. There were no objections from statutory or internal consultees, or public objections to the development. There were some concerns about the fact that the site lies in a ‘remote, exposed location’. But reassurances were given on the strength and suitability of the cage and grid structure by Cooke. Cages of this size are used in other areas, including Canada and the Faroes.

Customs and Excise, salmon exports grew in value to

£186.7 million and rose by 13 per cent in volume, boosting overall British food and drink exports by 8.3 per cent to £4.9 billion. This is the largest first quarter ever recorded for food and drink exports. Exports of salmon saw the largest value growth, up 52.3 per cent in Q1. This leap in sales means that salmon has also regained its title as the UK’s biggest food export, overtaking chocolate in the first three

months of the year. Scott Landsburgh, chief executive of the Scottish Salmon Producers’ Organisation, said: ‘Rising global demand and a reputation for high quality has hooked international markets on our premium fish. ‘Our industry is thriving and its success is being enjoyed all over the UK, which is a real pat on the back for the farmers who do their very best to produce fish we can be proud of.’

Sporting effort raises £35,000 for charity Samaritans Scotland and the UK SCOTTISH Sea Farms staff and Sepsis Trust. their friends and families, togethSSF staff came up with the idea er with the company’s suppliers, of a triathlon festival that was raised more than £35,000 for suitable for all levels and open charity during a triathlon festival. The event, held on the campus of to all employees, customers and suppliers. Stirling University, involved teams The event is part of the comfrom Shetland, Orkney, Argyll and the Highlands, who had trained for pany’s Year of Health and Fitness, with a host of internal initiatives months for the sporting challenge. aimed at encouraging the workOlympic swimmer Michael force to live healthier lifestyles. Jamieson was also there to give the participants tips on swimming and later present the prize winners with their medals. Charities were nominated by SSF employees and included the Beatson cancer charity, Glasgow children’s hospital, Cancer Research UK, Brain Tumour Research, Above: Some of the participants

05/06/2017 16:31:12

All the latest industry news from the UK

High praise for aquaculture training THE NAFC Marine Centre UHI’s aquaculture training programme has received the best possible ranking in an external review. The audit of NAFC’s Scottish Vocational Qualifications (SVQs) in Aquaculture was carried out by an external verifier on behalf of the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA). The audit found ‘significant strengths’ (the SQA’s highest rating) across all areas, including resources, candidate support, and assessments and verification. The external verifier commented that students ‘were very positive regarding their experiences on the courses’, and appreciated the regular contact and support from NAFC staff who, it was noted, ‘are highly experienced and qualified’. ‘The wide and often remote geographical distribution of candidates imposes a significant challenge for assessors,’ the verifier said, adding: ‘The centre continues to provide excellent candidate support in very challenging ensuring regular person to person contact and through the use of a range of communication strategies.’

Training and assessments are mainly carried out at the student’s workplace, but also include some college based training. The Modern Apprenticeship programme is funded by Skills Development Scotland and certificated by Lantra Scotland (the Sector Skills Council). Through the use of online teaching materials, and other distance learning technology, as well as site visits, NAFC staff are able to offer the training to students throughout Scotland. Since the programme was launched in 2011, a total of 94 students in Above: Mathew Wright, Stuart Ftitzsimmons, Saro Shetland and 61 in Orkney have completed a Saravanan, Duncan Kidson and Laurence Pearson Modern Apprenticeship in Aquaculture at level The audit also complemented the ‘rigorous and 2 or level 3. comprehensive system in place at the centre’ for A further 51 students from Shetland, Orkney, the assessment and verification of students. the Western Isles and elsewhere in Scotland The SVQ qualifications form the basis of the are currently enrolled on the programme and Modern Apprenticeships in Aquaculture offered enrolment for the new level 4 course in Aquaby NAFC which provide practical on-the-job culture Management will start within the next training and skills development for staff. few weeks. They also offer a progression route and career NAFC’s academic quality manager Duncan Kiddevelopment path from first entry to senior son said: ‘This very positive outcome is due to management positions, leading to nationally the commitment, dedication and hard work of recognised SQA qualifications. the centre’s aquaculture trainers and assessors.

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UK news.indd 5


05/06/2017 16:31:29

United Kingdom News

Clubbing together for good cause A TEAM from Akva Group and the Scottish Salmon Company (SSC) will take on the Macmillan Cancer Support Longest Day Golf Challenge on June 21. They are aiming to beat last year’s record when they raised £5,000 for the cause. Throughout the day the team will complete 72 holes, walking a distance of more than 11 miles at Fortrose, Muir of Ord and Nairn Dunbar golf clubs, before heading to the Nairn golf club for their final round. The team on the day will consist of eight players: Akva’s Robert Duncan, Stuart Gordon, Andy Whyte and Andy Lynn, and the Scottish Salmon Company’s Donnie

Above: Last year’s team

Sinclair, Chris Smyth, Cammy Gibb and Keith Mctaggart. The aquaculture sector has been involved in the challenge for a number of years, and in 2008 a team from Marine Harvest not only qualified as the best score in Scotland but went on to win the final in Portugal, raising a total of £12,500. The Akva and SSC team is now hoping to

live up to the standards set by Marine Harvest’s Dave McEwan, David Macgillvary, Chris Ryan and Ronnie Hawkins. Team captain Robert Duncan said: ‘It was a great but tough day last year and we are working even harder to beat our target of £3,000 for 2017. Visit www.justgiving. com/fundraising/AKVA-TSSC.

New record for SSC despite high costs THE Scottish Salmon Company (SSC) has recorded its best ever EBIT/kg in the first quarter of this year, at £1.67, up from £0.30 in the same period last year. Revenue for the period was £35.1 million, compared to £29.1 million in Q1 last year, on harvested volumes of 5,685 tonnes (Q1 2016: 6,741 tonnes). Increased revenue was driven by further development of the export market, and increased contract prices, with a focus on customer partnerships, together with consistently higher market prices, said the company. However, biological challenges remain a challenge and this affected costs in 2016. These rose by 15 per cent in the final quarter of last year and have followed through into the first quarter 2017. The company remains focused on biological improvements and has leased an additional well boat to ensure operational flexibility, as well as commissioning a dedicated hydrolicer. It also plans to introduce

more cleaner fish throughout its marine sites. During the quarter, the SSC received a positive decision notice for a site at Portree on the Isle of Skye with an additional 2,000 tonnes of consent. This brings the operations in that location to more than 4,000 tonnes capacity. Smolt release will commence in September 2018, with first harvests anticipated to start in late 2019. Export sales accounted for 47 per cent of value, compared to 43 per cent in Q1 2016. The company continues to target overseas markets, leveraging the value of its provenance and the continued demand for quality Scottish produce. It expects to harvest 25,000 tonnes in 2017.

Scotland boosts Marine Harvest profits MARINE Harvest has more than doubled its first quarter pre-tax profits (EBIT) with most sectors, including Scotland, putting in a strong performance. The company achieved an operational EBIT of 220 million euros over the first three months of 2017 compared with 112 million euros for the same period last year. CEO Alf-Helge Aarskog said: ‘Driven by all-time high salmon prices, we achieved record high operational results in the first quarter. ‘It is especially encouraging to see strong operational performance in Marine Harvest Scotland and Marine Harvest Canada.’ Salmon of Scottish origin reported an operational EBIT per kilo of 3.12 euros (0.68 euros in 2016), while salmon of Norwegian origin achieved an operational EBIT per kilo of 2.52 euros (1.87), and Canada was at 3.42 euros (1.97 euros in 2016). Salmon of Chilean origin reported operational EBIT per kilo of 1.87 euros in the quarter (-1.55 euros). MH Feed reported an operational EBIT of 0.1 million euros (1.6 million). MH Consumer Products


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reported an operational EBIT of 9.6 million euros (-0.6 million). The group reported operational revenues of 892 million euros (up by 82 million euros) during the period. Total harvest volume was 83,768 tonnes in the quarter (compared to 96,613 in the same period in 2016). Harvest guidance for 2017 is 403,000 tonnes, which the company says is in line with the previous guidance. ‘I am very pleased with the result Marine Harvest Consumer Products has achieved so far this year, seasonality taken into account. Consumer Products has improved its operations in all areas,’ said Aarskog. ‘We are also pleased to announce that Marine Harvest has entered into a term sheet to refinance its existing bank facility with a senior secured five-year 1,206 million euros credit facility with DNB, Nordea, ABN Amro, Rabobank, Danske Bank and SEB.’ The company also published its annual handbook, in which it projected that growth in the worldwide supply of Atlantic salmon would continue to slow down. Supply increased by 384 per cent since 1995 (an annual growth of eight per cent), but the annual growth has been five per cent between 2005 and 2016. Kontali Analyse expects growth to diminish further going forward and has projected a three per cent annual growth from 2016 to 2020. ‘The background for this trend is that the industry has reached a production level where biological boundaries are being pushed,’ said Marine Harvest in its handbook. ‘It is therefore expected that future growth can no longer be driven by industry/regulators decisions alone, but be subject to implementation of means to reduce the industry’s biological footprint. ‘This requires progress in technology, development of improved pharmaceutical products, implementation of non-pharmaceutical techniques, improved industry regulations and intercompany cooperation. ‘Too rapid growth without these conditions being met adversely impacts biological indicators, costs, and in turn output.’

05/06/2017 16:31:54

All the latest industry news from the UK

£1m Highlands fund now open AN innovation fund worth £1 million is now open to applications from small to medium enterprises (SMEs) working in the aquaculture supply chain in the Highlands and Islands. Announced in March, the 30-month pilot programme, Accelerating Aquaculture Innovation (AAI), is led by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) and delivered in partnership with the Scottish Aquaculture Innovation Centre (SAIC). It offers SMEs the opportunity of match funding to help commercialise innovative new processes, products, services or technologies. The programme has the potential to boost industry turnover in the region by £8 million and create up to 50 jobs. The value of innovative concepts can take different forms – financial, commercial, economic, social or public – but it must be measurable, and it must benefit both the

industry and the Scottish economy. Aquaculture is a priority sector for HIE and of growing importance to Scotland’s economy. It is estimated to contribute as much as £1.8 billion turnover a year to the Scottish economy and support around 8,000 jobs. The Aquaculture Growth Strategy 2030, A Strategic Plan for Farming Scotland’s Seas, said there is potential for this to increase to £3.6 billion and 18,000 jobs by 2030. Elaine Jamieson, head of food and drink at HIE, said: ‘The full range of projects, from £25,000 to £1 million, will be considered. Where applications are successful, the AAI programme could typically provide up to half the project cost. ‘Where applications don’t quite meet the programme criteria, the AAI team will point SMEs to more suitable support avenues so that they still receive the help they need to develop their concept.’ Going to plan: Page 16

Loch Duart salmon wins food ‘oscar’

Above: Extraordinary tasting salmon

LOCH Duart won the Foodservice Product of the Year award at the

food ‘oscar’ was presented to Simon Maguire, Loch Duart’s finance director, at the ceremony, held in the Edinburgh International Conference Centre. The awards celebrate and

Scotland Food and Drink Excellence Awards in May. The prestigious

recognise those businesses and individuals in Scotland which are leading the

way with innovation, enterprise and quality. Loch Duart’s reputation for ‘extraordinary tasting’ salmon was acknowledged in the award, which considered its focus on low density farming, sustainability, environmental stewardship and fish welfare. On hearing of the award, managing director Alban Denton said: ‘We’re really thrilled to get this award. Our staff work at sea in all weathers to bring

our salmon to the market and the fine taste of them is what brings people back to eat them again and again. ‘This award is an endorsement of the quality of our salmon and its continued impact in the hotel and restaurant trade. ‘This is a boost to all the Loch Duart team and wouldn’t have been possible without their commitment and dedication towards producing the most extraordinary tasting salmon available.’

Salmon pens made into duck nests ONE of Scotland’s rarest breeding ducks looks set to benefit from specially constructed floating nesting rafts manufactured by Fusion Marine. In the UK, common scoters (Melanitta nigra) breed in only a handful of freshwater lochs in the northern Highlands and it is hoped that the supply of these two nesting rafts will provide safe new breeding sites. The common scoter is on the Red List as a bird of high conservation concern, with only about 50 breeding pairs in the UK. Working with the RSPB and Forestry

UK news.indd 7

Commission Scotland (FCS), Fusion Marine designed and manufactured the 7m by 3.75m rafts, made from durable polyethylene and recycled plastic sourced from redundant fish farm pens. Peat, turf and heather are placed on top of the rafts so as to create natural looking floating islands that will prove attractive for nesting and which are also safe from predators such as mink. The rafts will be sited on two lochs where scoters are known to breed. The rafts should also enable researchers to better monitor scoter breeding behaviour.


05/06/2017 16:32:14

European News


Cleaner fish prices up 25 per cent CLEANER fish prices are up by almost 25 per cent in a year, according to a report from Norway’s Directorate of Fisheries. The average price of cleaner fish increased from NOK 14 (£1.30) each in 2015 to more than NOK 17.50 (£1.62) in 2016. The average price increase per species was 27 per cent for wrasse and 2.3 per cent for lumpfish. The average price for ballan wrasse was roughly NOK 28.50 and for lumpfish about

NOK 18 in 2016. The figures also show that the number of cleaner fish stocked in cages increased from

Warmer seas carry sea lice to Iceland WARMER seas are leading to an increase in salmon lice at some of Iceland’s fish farms, the country’s Food and Veterinary Authority, has warned. The authority, which is Iceland’s administrative body for food safety, recently approved an application for the treatment of lice at a fish farm in the Arnarfjörður area. It said in a statement that the number of incidents has been increasing recently because the seas are warmer than usual, even during the winter. However, it stressed the fish were quite healthy in all other respects. The average temperature around the most recent affected area at Arnarfjordur was 3.5 deg C during February, compared to 1.5 deg C at the same time last year. The authority said new measures to try to combat the problem will be taken during the summer. This is the first time since the 1980s that Iceland has used drugs against salmon lice. Icelandic legislation does not require farms to monitor or count the lice, but they should make note of their size.


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26,409,000 in 2015 to 36,143,000 in 2016. The collection of data from hatcheries shows that 46.5 per cent of

the cleaner fish were farmed lumpfish and ballan wrasse, while the remaining 53.5 per cent were various

species of wild wrasse. ‘The distribution of the cleaner fish species shows that 15,784,000 lumpfish, 2,130,000 ballan, 5,898,000 goldsinny (wrasse) and 4,812,000 grøngylt (corkwing wrasse) were set out,’ says the report. In addition, 7,520,000 unspecified wrasse species were deployed, thought to be mainly corkwing and goldsinny. The production of lumpfish increased from around 13.4

million fish in 2015 to about 15.1 million in 2016. But fewer wrasse were produced. ‘The production of wrasse declined from just over 1.3 million fish in 2015 to 423,000 fish in 2016,’ said the report. The number of companies using cleaner fish was unchanged from 2015, with 93 companies reporting using the fish in 2016 as a biological control for sea lice. Cleaner fish report: Page 24

Norway close to salmon deal with China NORWAY and China moved closer towards restoring normal fish exporting relations following a visit to Beijing last month by Norway’s fisheries minister. Per Sandberg led a delegation of 120 seafood executives and signed a protocol on salmon exports with the Chinese veterinary authority minister. The protocol is a follow-on from an agreement on food exports and imports reached in Bergen in April. Despite political differences on some issues, China remains Norway’s most important trading partner in Asia and a big market for Norwegian seafood. In 2016, Norway exported 143,000

marketing budget. Sandberg said: ‘The protocol is an important step forward in opening up exports of Norwegian salmon to China. ‘Everyone has done a great job in completing this protocol. With the size of the potential here, we will see large volumes of salmon go to China over the next few years.’ The protocol not only deals with export Above: Per Sandberg in China terms but lays down health requirements the Nobel Peace Prize tonnes of seafood and methods of dealsix years ago. Prior to to China worth 2.75 ing with issues such as billion kroners. Most of the dispute, Norway salmon disease. had accounted for 90 the exports consist of Sandberg also met per cent of supply to frozen white fish and China’s salmon market. e-commerce compapelagic fish such as nies, which are huge The Norwegian mackerel. in China, and will play The export of salmon Seafood Council a key role in getting has assigned $1.15 had stopped after salmon to consumers. million for marketing Oslo upset Beijing by China’s salmon supporting the Chinese throughout China this year – around 10 times imports: Page 14 dissident Liu Xiaobo Aqua Nor: Page 42 its usual China focused when he was awarded

05/06/2017 16:27:41

All the latest industry news from Europe

Bakkafrost’s strong start to 2017

THE Faroese Bakkafrost group announced a total operating EBIT (earnings before interest and tax) of DKK 335.5 million (Danish kroners) for the first quarter of this year, up substantially by almost DKK 82 million on the same period last year. As with all other fish farming company results this year, strong salmon prices were behind the performance. Harvested volumes were 13,200 tonnes gutted weight. The combined farming and VAP segments made an operational EBIT of DKK 320.2 million, compared

with DKK 236 million for the first three months of 2016. The farming segment made an operational EBIT of DKK 373.2 million (DKK 260.8 million in 2016). The salmon spot prices continued in Q1 2017 on a high level from 2016, which was positive for the farming segment. The VAP segment realised higher prices, but was not matched by the high spot prices, and therefore the VAP segment had negative margins in Q1 2017. The VAP segment made an operational EBIT loss of DKK (minus) 53.0 mil¬lion.

Cermaq reports survival rates of 94.8 per cent

CEO Regin Jacobsen said: ‘The first quarter of 2017 was an eventful quarter for Bakkafrost. There were challenges in the farming operation in this quarter, as ISA virus was confirmed on one farming site. ‘Since the ISA suspicion arose in July 2016, Bakkafrost has monitored the development at the farming site closely, together with the authorities. Timely action has been taken and all fish harvested immediately.’ In June last year the company announced a five-year investment plan for the next four years of DKK 2.2 billion.

NORWEGIAN salmon farmer Cermaq’s Q1 sustainability performance showed a fish survival rate in Norway of 94.8 per cent. The rate in Canada and Chile was between 92 and 93 per cent. In Canada the treatment for sea lice (in feed) was at the same level as the previous year, in Chile there was an increase in bath treatments, but there were no bath treatments in Norway (including hydrogen peroxide). The use of cleaner fish has proven effective in the Norwegian operations and Cermaq is engaged in research into local cleaner fish in Canada. Through an industry wide initiative in Chile, a native cleaner fish species (Malapterus reticulatus) has been identified and Cermaq Chile will start breeding trials. Cermaq is testing the effect of Imvixa at its research site in Chile. Imvixa is a new oral treatment against sea lice which has been approved.


Visit us at Aqua Nor - Stand No. A-015 Since 1958 Faivre company develops and manufactures high quality equipments for the aquaculture industry PUB Fish Farmer 2013 1-2 PAGE 190WMMX130HMM.indd 1

European News.indd 9 6/11/13 14:15:00


05/06/2017 16:28:04

European News

Lerøy more than doubles Q1 profits

Lerøy, the big Norwegian fish farming and trawling group, has more than doubled its profits during the first quarter of this year, thanks mainly to continuing high salmon and trout prices. The company reported operating profit (before fair value adjustments related to biological assets) of NOK 1,277 million, compared with NOK 584 million in the first quarter of 2016. Company CEO Henning Beltestad (pictured left at the Seafood Expo in Brussels) told investors: ‘For the first quarter of 2017, Lerøy Seafood Group can report

their highest revenue and best operating profit of any quarter throughout the group’s history. ‘The salmon and trout prices have remained very high throughout the first quarter and are the most significant driver behind the record result reported by the group. However, release from stock costs remain at a high level and we are working hard to reduce these costs.’ He said that with the acquisitions of the deep sea trawler company Havfisk and Norway Seafoods, the Leroy Seafood Group (LSG) was now

Norway’s largest corporation within white fish and had a major position within white fish on a global scale. ‘I am truly impressed by how the group’s employees have adapted to the new organisational structure while continuing to achieve record high sales.’ He said 2017 had ‘got off to a great start and the outlook is very promising. We very much look forward to further developing the market for white fish.’ Lerøy Seafood Group’s revenue increased from NOK 3,815 million in Q1 2016 to NOK 5,459 million in Q1 2017. Compared with Q1 2016, the group’s slaughter volumes of salmon and trout increased by 13 per cent. The group’s profit before tax and before fair value adjustments related to

1.3m euro boost for Irish seafood AT least 1.3 million euros has been awarded to 19 seafood enterprises around Ireland under the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) Operational Programme for the seafood sector. Michael Creed, the minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, said: ‘It is especially welcome to see that aquaculture enterprises are dominating this round of grant awards. Grants of almost a million euros are being offered to 10 aquaculture enterprises. Nine of these will further develop our oyster production, while the other concerns mussels.’ He said that the EMFF Sustainable Aquaculture Scheme remains open for Above: Michael Creed applications and supports capital investments in licensed aquaculture sites to grow production and mitigate environmental impact. biological assets was NOK 1,294 million in Q1 2017, compared with NOK 592 million in Q1 2016. Last autumn, Lerøy obtained 100 per cent ownership of the trawling business Havfisk ASA (Havfisk) and Norway Seafoods Group AS (renamed to Lerøy Norway

ISA outbreak hits Norwegian farming area AN important Norwegian fish farming area has been forced to slaughter at least 170,000 fish following fears of a major salmon


European News.indd 10

disease outbreak. The Norwegian Food Safety Authority (FSA) has warned that ISA could be beginning to spread around the com-

munity of Nebbo in Hardangerfjord, near Bergen. Fish farmers said they discovered what looked to be the symptoms of ISA on May 11 and immediately reported their findings to the FSA. They also ordered the slaughter to begin as soon as the symptoms were confirmed. ISA is a flu type virus which can hit any salmon farm, but it does not affect humans. However, it can spread quickly among the fish. Erlend Haugarvoll, general manager of

Linga Laks AS, one of two breeders affected, told the newspaper Bergens Tidende: ‘This (discovery) means we are likely to lose between three and four per cent of our fish. It is sad, but luckily this happens quite rarely.’ The FSA said it has now isolated the site and was planning further measures to control the outbreak. It has recently introduced tougher rules for dealing with such incidents, including setting up a control area of up to 20km to limit the spread.

Seafoods AS). Both companies were consolidated into Lerøy Seafood Group as of September 1, 2016, and make up the new wild catch segment. Havfisk’s primary business is wild catches of white fish and it has licence rights to harvest just above 10 per cent of

the total cod quotas in the zone north of 62 degrees latitude, corresponding to more than 30 per cent of the total quota allocated to the trawler fleet. Havfisk’s total catch volume in Q1 2017 was 20,586 tonnes, compared with 16,169 tonnes in Q1 2016.

Nordlaks looks to shift investment abroad Norwegian salmon producer Nordlaks will invest in salmon farming operations overseas if the government stalls on new developments. CEO Inge Berg said the company is planning to invest NOK 5 billion (533.3 million euros) over the next few years but if it does not receive new permits to farm in Norway it will consider expanding in China, Australia and Iceland. ‘There are a few big projects in China

we are very well informed about,’ he told the Norwegian newspaper Dagens Naeringsliv. ‘If the industry cannot invest in Norway it will move investments abroad.’ The company has applied for development licences to build three huge farming ships.

05/06/2017 16:28:46

All the latest industry news from Europe

Salmon drives strong quarter for BioMar DANISH feed company Diaz, BioMar CEO. BioMar delivered a At the Seafood Expo strong first quarin Brussel BioMar ter in both volume announced that a fuand profit, driven ture cooperation with particularly by the Lerøy Seafood and salmon sector, the TerraVia will ensure company announced that all Lerøy salmon last month. will benefit from a In the salmon high level of omega-3 division the sales DHA in the feed partly volume was almost 30 deriving from the miper cent higher than croalgae ingredient, the same quarter last AlgaPrime. year, with all three ‘In BioMar Group country units in the we are continuously division – Norway, UK working to take the and Chile – performnext steps in innoing better. vating aquaculture. ‘We have been able To us, novel oils and to be at the market product with a measat the right time with ured sustainability new product concepts profile is not a future targeted at strength- vision. It is a reality,’ ening the sustainasaid Diaz. bility of the industry, ‘We have right now a as well as the quality range of salmon cusand health dimentomers delivering new sion of the products product value propdelivered to the end ositions based upon consumer,’aquamanager-final.pdf said Carlos our feed 1concepts. 27/04/17 We

European News.indd 11

hope very soon other species could join this trend.’ As well as launching new products, BioMar has begun the construction of a 11:50 new feed factory in

Australia, establishing a solid platform for close cooperation with the customers in the region. ‘We have during 2016 and the first part of 2017 been

cooperating across the company,,’ said Diaz. ‘We will continue this effort while investing resources in building up a new business unit in Aus-

tralia. These expansions are in line with our strategy into new species and markets.’ BioMar buys big share of shrimp market: World News.


05/06/2017 16:29:09

World News


BioMar buys big share of shrimp market

Above: Major player in high-end shrimp feed

FEED company BioMar has taken another big step into the shrimp feed market by acquiring 70 per cent of the Ecuadorian shrimp feed producer

Alimentsa. The acquisition will position the Danish group among the leading shrimp feed producers in Latin America, which it has

been supplying since 2016 from its factory in Costa Rica. Ecuador is one of the world’s leading shrimp producing countries with a volume of more

than 450,000 tonnes of shrimp. ‘It is our ambition to become a major player within high-end shrimp feed,’ said BioMar CEO Carlos Diaz. ‘With the acquisition of Alimentsa we can immediately deliver an attractive value proposition to the shrimp farmers in Latin America and we believe that we in the future - together with Alimentsa and the customers - can develop new product solutions based upon shared interest in innovation, cooperation, sustainability and performance.’ The acquisition rep-

resents an investment of $119 million and BioMar estimates that growth rates in the market will be eight to 12 per cent. Shrimp production in Ecuador is characterised by optimal conditions that allow up to three production cycles per year. The farming densities are quite low, allowing much better and sustainable sanitary conditions. Alimentsa holds a market share around 12-15 per cent. ‘We have during the last years expanded the business significantly,’ said Diaz. ‘In 2016 we established

production in Turkey. ‘In 2017 we are forming a solid footprint with two factories in the Chinese market and in 2018 we have planned and announced the construction of a green field factory in Australia. ‘Now we are taking a leap into the world of shrimp. All of those initiatives are a part of our growth strategy: Shaping the Future. ‘We believe in being 100 per cent devoted to aquaculture and we have clearly stated that we strive to be innovators dedicated to an efficient and sustainable global aquaculture.’

Broodstock feed for African farms MEANWHILE, BioMar is launching a high performing range for tilapia and African catfish, increasing its presence in the African market. The continent has huge demands for more food, which could be partly fulfilled by aquaculture, said BioMar’s Ole Christensen. ‘BioMar Group has ambitious targets and initiatives for shaping an efficient and sustainable global aquaculture in collaboration with the entire aquaculture value chain.’ African catfish and tilapia farming has increased in recent years, and BioMar has served this market from France with starter and grower diets. Now, as farms become increasingly intensive, BioMar is targeting broodstock diets, with a new feed range aimed at all tilapia and catfish farmers in Africa. The company has drawn on expertise from its global R&D, in collaboration with its unit in Costa Rica – where tilapia is also popular – to develop its new feeds. ‘The goal of broodstock feed EFICO Genio 838F is to increase reproduction capacity,’ said Michel Autin, technical director of BioMar EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa). ‘The vitamin mix and levels are fine tuned to promote an increase in the number of females actively spawning. ‘Our newly developed broodstock feed has a formulation that includes the necessary protein and vitamin balances, which contribute to increased spawning frequency, hatchability, and survival of fry.’ The EFICO Genio 838F includes the probiotic Bactocell and immune modulating ingredients similar to BioMar’s EFICO Genio broodstock feeds for trout, sea bass and sea bream to improve survival and boost the immune system.


World news.indd 12

‘These efforts have been of great value to the development of the feeds offered by BioMar for warm freshwater fish like tilapia and African catfish,’ said Autin. ‘And now we can, for the first time, provide a broodstock diet that is specialised for warm freshwater fish whose natural diet is largely plant based.’ African aquaculture production is expanding in various ways and into various species, and the markets served by BioMar are not limited to tilapia and catfish. ‘We have for many years also supplied feed to a growing number of sea bass and sea bream farms based in Northern African countries,’ said Ole Christensen. ‘We aim to add value to African aquaculture production.’

05/06/2017 16:25:19

World News

‘New frontiers’ in African aquaculture THE first World Aquaculture Society (WAS) conference and exhibition to be held on the African continent will highlight the industry’s potential to support economic development and investment opportunities in the region. The theme of World Aquaculture 2017, which takes place in Cape Town from June 26-30, is ‘Sustainable Aquaculture – New Frontiers for Economic Growth – Spotlight on Africa’. The opening ceremony plenary address will be given by Guinean president Alpha Condé, chairman of the African Union and African Union special ambassador for aquaculture. On the first full day of the conference, Dr Rohanna Subasinghe, former chief of aquaculture for the FAO, will speak on ‘Feeding the Nine Billion: the Role of Aquaculture’, followed by Dr Sloans Chimatiro, acting country director with WorldFish Zambia, who will talk about ’African Perspectives on Aquaculture’. In recognition of the early developmental stage of African aquaculture, special sessions on developing value chains, financing African aquaculture, and policy will be presented by the African Union, NEPAD, World Bank and WorldFish. The trade show will host more than 90 exhibitors, while the conference

Scope for growth in Asian exports

Above: USSEC marine aquaculture workshop in Jakarta, Indonesia

The US Soybean Export Council (USSEC) has conducted workshops across South East Asia to boost marine aquaculture production in the region. The workshops – held in Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam and Philippines - brought together representatives from government, industry associations, international buyers, certification programmes, and exporters to discuss and outline what the Asian aquaculture industry should do to target the international export market. The region has a significant number of high quality fish processing facilities for land based aquaculture production and wild caught fisheries, but the marine fish aquaculture industry remains largely outdated and behind global trends towards larger scale, industrial marine fish cage farms that operate in offshore areas. There is an expectation that improvements in production technology will lead to significant increases in the volumes of marine fish, but domestic and

World news.indd 13

regional markets would have difficulty absorbing a rapid rise in supply. The theme of the workshops, therefore, was to prepare the industry in the area to plan for supplying an export market. Lukas Manomaitis, USSEC technical director for South East Asia, said: ‘We were energised by the regional industry turnout and the overall interest in growing this sector of the industry. ‘We are confident that the conversations and discussions that were had by the industry stakeholders at these workshops will set the foundation for significant sustainable, feed based marine fish aquaculture production in these countries. ‘In turn, this will increase markets for high quality US soy feed ingredients.’ Breakout sessions covering government, trade, sustainability, and industry topics were conducted at the workshops. USSEC plans to produce white papers covering these topics, to be used as a resource for future implementation.

Above: Cape Town, South Africa

features 70 sessions conducted over four days, and covering a diverse array of aquaculture related topics and speakers. There will also be a dedicated poster session. Representing the coming of age of African aquaculture and a significant milestone for the global aquaculture community, WAS will host a meeting to launch the formation of a WAS Africa Chapter on the Tuesday afternoon. For students, there will be a tour of the South African Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) Marine Research Aquarium, the Student Spotlight Presentations and awards, special seminars, and the student reception. Networking opportunities for all delegates include the welcome reception, president’s reception, and happy hours every evening. There will also be farm tours. The event, co-organised by WAS with the Aquaculture Association of Southern Africa (AASA) and DAFF, takes place at the Cape Town International Convention Centre from June 26-30, 2017.


- Fresh water basins for treatment - Fence out sea lice with perma skirts - Tarps for desinfecting boats & barges - Tarps for delousing +47 915 15 014 13

05/06/2017 16:25:38

World News

China’s salmon imports booming

Above: Premium product in China

SALMON exports to China have increased dramatically, according to the organisers of World Seafood Shanghai (SIFSE) 2017. Import values come to around 80,000 tonnes annually. Much of this total is Atlantic salmon, while other varieties, such as pink, chum, masu, chinook and coho, make up the remainder. The value of imports of salmon to China are put at around $300 million, fed mainly by supplies from Scottish and Chilean producers, as well as from Norway, Canada and the US and with a significant potential from Russian producers. Russia could become a new seafood partner for China, as a new free-trade deal for Russian companies has been put in place in China’s Harbin city.

More than 500,000 tonnes of pink fish, including salmon, is caught by Russian companies annually. Harbin’s trade agreement lowers import tariffs on Russian seafood, opening the gates for Russian salmon going forward. Some 80 per cent of all salmon eaten in China is consumed at hotels, restaurants and other commercial dining establishments. Salmon is still seen as a premium product in China and tends to be sourced from countries with strong labelling and food safety standards, revealing high hygiene standards and country of origin – seen as marks of quality on the Chinese import market. World Seafood Shanghai (SIFSE) 2017 takes place from August 1921 at the Shanghai New International Expo Centre.

BC seafood festival expands to Campbell River AS a new addition to the British Columbia Seafood Festival, the Salmon Capital Seafood Taste expands the festivities into Campbell River for the first time. The event, which takes place on June 11, will feature chef inspired food stations with culinary innovations such as Barbecue Indian Style Marine Harvest Atlantic Salmon with Rice, Layered Cermaq Atlantic Salmon Cocktail, and Herb Chinook Salmon Rillettes Pate with Carrot Lemon Jam. ‘There’s no better way to celebrate Seafood Month than joining Campbell River’s aquaculture industry for a taste of BC’s fresh farm raised fish,’ said Jeremy Dunn, executive director of BC Salmon Farmers Association. ‘We’ve partnered with local chefs from Vancouver Island, as well as from Metro Vancouver, to create something special for the community.’ In order to give back to the community, there will be a minimum donation of $5 per person and all proceeds raised will be donated to the Campbell River Hospital Foundation.


World news.indd 14

05/06/2017 16:26:29

All the latest industry news from around the world

Vietnam’s marine exports likely to hit $12 billion by 2020 VIETNAM’S exports of marine aquaculture produce are expected to reach US$12-13 billion by 2020 and $30-35 billion by 2030, according to the Vietnam Sea Culture Association. Nguyen Huu Dung, the association’s president, said that with its long coastline and more than 3,000 islands and archipelagos, Vietnam has excellent prospects in marine aquaculture, especially in farming fish, molluscs and seaweed. Speaking at a workshop on ‘Developing a Sustainable, High Volume, Export Focused Marine Fish Aquaculture Sector in South East Asia’ in Ho Chi Minh City last month, Dung said that since 2012 Vietnam had been among the top 10 marine aqua-farming countries in the world, with its exports increasing significantly. Nguyen Ba Son of the General Department of Fisheries said marine fish output had gone up to 28,300 tonnes last year from 15,700 tonnes in 2010, with Khanh Hoa, Quang Ninh, Kien Giang and Bà Ria-Vung Tàu being the main farming Above: Vietnamese marine aquaculture has excellent prospects areas. There are many species suitable for marine he said. aquaculture, he said, listing the main species The lack of policies and preferential support to attract investments farmed in floating net cages as grouper, snapper, sea bream, yelloware other challenges, he said. tail, kingfish and wrasse. Dung said by 2050 the demand for seafood based protein would The industry has achieved early success but faces constraints, such as increase 1.7 times from, with farmed items accounting for 62 per cent, small-scale, outdated technologies, and a lack of links between farms and the feed, seed, processing, consumption and distribution systems, offering South East Asia, including Vietnam, good opportunities.

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World news.indd 15


05/06/2017 16:26:49

News extra – Vision 2030

Going to plan Industry Leadership Group ‘satisfied’ with early progress but more work to be done


HE Scottish aquaculture industry’s plans to double growth by 2030 have made quick progress on many fronts, but the crucial changes to the overly bureaucratic planning regime will take until the end of next year. The Industry Leadership Group (ILG), set up last year to help deliver ambitious growth targets for the Scottish aquaculture sector, has moved ahead with several of its 20 recommendations just months after its first meeting. Apart from the first recommendation – to create the ILG - two other key aims have now been ‘closed off’, said Stewart Graham, co-chair of the industry led body. Following its latest meeting, in Stirling last month, recommendation two – making aquaculture a core growth sector for Highlands and Islands Enterprise – has seen £1 million of funding pledged to support small to medium enterprises (SMEs) in the region. And recommendation 14, to support the indigenous supply chain, including processing, will also be met, under the Accelerating Aquaculture Innovation programme, run by HIE in partnership with the Scottish Aquaculture Innovation Centre (SAIC). Graham said the ILG is also ‘fairly satisfied’ with the progress on recommendations 12 and 13 – which cover the alignment and delivery of R&D to support growth, and a continuing investment in innovative methods to control sea lice. ‘We are moving on these although there is not a specific time frame,’ Graham said. He gave much of the credit for the encouraging rate of progress so far to the ministerial leadership which, he said, ‘has been fully supportive of the industry’s growth plans’. Rural Economy minister Fergus Ewing has attended the ILG meetings and has had a ‘huge input and influence’. ‘I’m very satisfied we’re starting to see improvements in how Marine Scotland engages with the industry. There is more work to be done but we have to massively compliment the Scottish government. ‘They have shown an incredible willingness and accessibility…and a strong recognition of the economic importance of the rural economy.’ Recommendation seven seeks clarity in planning policy and calls for greater consideration of the economic benefits of aquaculture developments. The application of planning policy is currently inconsistent across local authorities, the industry said in the Vision 2030 report, published last autumn. ‘The things we want done have been accepted by the chief planner,’ said Graham. ‘Nothing will happen until the end of next year because there has to be a consultation and a new planning policy, which takes time.’ He acknowledged, however, that it is one thing to change policy and another to change people’s behaviour at the front end, which might be different from the planning chiefs. ‘You can get the planners on side but you also need to cooperate with local government, bearing in mind the individuals change, so it has to be a consistent dialogue. ‘We can’t legislate away local democracy - ultimately it’s there for a good reason. Therefore we must ensure that companies close that loop by engaging in a regular and consistent way with local authority members.’ It is up to the industry to have structured and regular engagement through the mechanism of the Scottish Salmon Producers Organisation (SSPO) Community Engagement Charter, launched late last year. Another planning recommendation in the Vision 2030 report- number 9, the development of social and economic benefits – can also be accomplished


News extra ILG.indd 16

Above: Stewart Graham

through the SSPO charter, said Graham. Applications must demonstrate exactly what the social and economic benefits are in any development, as well as the environmental considerations. Until now, the focus has been on environmental impacts. ‘We as an industry are not setting out the economic benefits clearly enough,’ said Graham. Four recommendations are also under way: the development of innovation sites in Scotland (number 11), which SAIC is leading on; skills development (number 16; Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa) modelling and collaboration (number 10); and short-term improvements to the consenting process – which has, the Vision report observed, been ‘slow, disjointed and unpredictable’. Progress on the latter is slow but some ‘very big changes’ have been made at Marine Scotland. The government body has a new head in Graham Black and Mike Palmer is head of aquaculture. The next two ILG meetings- to be held again in Stirling, in the offices of SAIC- are scheduled for August 21 and November 13. Fergus Ewing is due to attend both. As for communicating the ILG’s message, Stewart Graham said they recognised the need to consult with the wider stakeholder group. It has been agreed that the communications teams of several participants, including Scotland Food and Drink and the SSPO, will form an ILG communications unit and promote its proceedings to the industry. Graham - who is also managing director of Gael Force Group and co-chairs the ILG with Jim Gallagher, managing director of Scottish Sea Farms – is giving the keynote address at the Aquaculture UK conference at Stirling University on June 14, where he will report on the activities of the Industry Leadership Group. FF

We must ensure that companies engage in a regular and consistent way with local authority members

05/06/2017 16:23:54

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05/06/2017 10:27:31

Trade Associations – SSPO



Taking a Underpinning wider view provenance

How the line between scientific Do we think what gives the research andenough advocacyabout gets blurred

industry its edge in key markets?


OWARDS the end of April thousands of scientists around world rstat t may not be the politi callygathered correctfor to the sayfiso ever March for Science. Theyc were protesti ng present but farmed Atlanti salmon would at have what they regarded as an alarming not become Scotland’s leadingtrend foodfor politi cians to ignore or discredit use ofpositi science export without the Crownthe Estate’s ve in policy makingwith andaquaculture decision making. engagement development As a in scienti my natural instincts were very much back the st, 1980s. with theaquaculture protesters. However, I also feltpart thereofwas Now, is a signifi cant the aagency’s need to acknowledge thatportf published research is marine leasing olio and is regunot sufficiently robust or well targeted to sh larlyalways celebrated by the Crown Estate’s Scotti support ve decision making. Marine objecti Aquaculture Awards event. This year’s Additiin onally, as a relati development, event Edinburgh onvely therecent 11 June was the the linehighly between scientificshowcase research and usual successful foradvocacy Scottish now sometimes seems blurred. In these for circumaquaculture and a rare opportunity indusstances, ‘making the case’ may appear to be the try to join together to mark its success. objecti ve – a farEstate cry from scientists being The Crown is presently at theregarded centre as er truth’. of ‘seekers furtheraft devoluti on discussions between the Politi cians faced with savvy scientists, The UK government and media Scottish government. armed with complex computer models which long-term future of key Scottish functi onsare rediffi cult to independently verify, may have an mains unclear and professional expertiseuncould derstandable cautiinonthe in accepti ng of all organisati they are told. be squandered process onal This brings me to the second half of May, when change. the Times becamecore quiteexperti engaged Both thenewspaper Crown Estate’s se with and aquaculture and fisheries themes. (Other newspathe Marine Aquaculture Awards are imporpers also carried the items, but I will stick with the tant in maintaining the distinctive coherence Times to help the chronology.) of Scotland’s aquaculture and it would be a Things began on May 23 with an article by Jerome tragedy if they became casualties of political Starkey on new research by Samuel Shephard and change. Paddy Gargan, published in the journal Aquaculture This year’s Awards event was hosted by Environment Interactions on May 5. actress, writer and comedian Jo Caulfield, an Starkey’s piece seemed based on the Inland inspired choice by whoever made the booking. Fisheries Ireland Press Release of May 18. This She was very funny and entertaining and kept promoted the Shephard and Gargan paper under the proceedings going with a swing. Only once Above: Scientists protest the headline ‘New study finds that sea lice from did shefarms stray,can when she wondered what ‘provesalmon cause a 50% reduction in runs nance actually meant’. of wild Atlantic salmon’. This was also what Starkey In a room full whose livelihoods concentrated on, of andfolk it was reflected in the Times

is “a There need to

move away from the myopic narrative Wesalmon should that be organfarming ising is theour training and dominant educati infl uence on on provisions wild salmon much mortality’ better


editorial on the day 12Predictably, by May 24 there was a Times letter from Paul Knight of Salmon & Trout Conserva-


SSPO.indd 12

Phil Thomas.indd 18

tion UK highlighting their campaign for closed containment salmon farming and blaming the Scottish government about something (he never misses a chance!). However, there was also an unanticipated letter from London based smoked salmon producer Lance Forman, making the case that the reduction in wild salmon returns in Scotland was related to the massive increase in the seal populati onon over theprovenance past 40 years. depend the of their products she quickly sensed an auBy May response 25, Formanand wasmoved receiving from thematerial: angling fraternity on the dience tosupport safer comedic there are some Tweed salmon farms joke there)about! - and even the bass fishermen in Portsmouth things(no you just don’t were joining in!her Suddenly, showing downturn in wild However, remarkgraphs left me askingthe myself whether wesalmon think numenough bers plottthe ed alongside the increases in seal numbers across about underpinning of the provenance of were Scottiappearing sh farmed fish – and the forinternet. me that’s farmed salmon. Then, at is thenoAtlanti c Salmon Trustsh 50th Anniversaryison May 30, scienti ficindusThere doubt that Scotti provenance important to our director Whelan announced theour Suspects Framework project, which is try – itKen gives us the edge in all key markets. proposed to address ecti ng wildways salmon numbers. Provenance can the be factors definedaffin various but most people will agree On May 31, this was reported by Starkey in the Times, Whelan’s own that it goes beyond the appearance and sensory using qualiti es of the final words, as follows: product: flavour, texture, visual presentation and product consistency ‘Fiftyalways years ago, one four smoltsappeal that swam out to sea would return are key about factors ininconsumer but provenance is about the following year to breed. Today that figure is one in 20. Young salmon are at much more. riskItfrom river polluti onconcept caused byofindustry, forestry and assurance, agricultural run-off . If reflects a wider consumer quality including: water levels are low or rivers are blocked by weirs, they face delays that leave the place where the fish is grown and processed; the professional them vulnerable predators, cormorantsmethods; and goosanders. If they integrity of thetoproducti onsuch andasprocessing and the quality, swim past a salmon risk people a swarminvolved of sea lice.– In theprofessional estuaries, they commitment andfarm carethey of the the skills, must run se, thepassion gauntlet and of seals, whose have increased by 500 per experti dedicati onpopulati of the ons producers themselves. centInsince 1978.our At sea, theyof must navigate milesnatural amid changing Scotland ‘place producti on’thousands gives us aofhuge advanstocks of bait fi sh and plankton, which they feed on, steering clear mackerel tage because we grow fish in the pristine coastal waters ofofsome of and spread by trawlers.’ theherring most nets beauti ful and wild scenic areas of the world, and our brand is I can add little, other than to agree with Ken. On my reading, most research protected by its PGI status. suggests that sea lice (from salmon farms or otherwise) probably increase the Likewise, adoption of the Scottish Finfish Code of Good Practice mortality rate of outward migrating salmon by a little over one per cent. This is allied with the industry’s deep commitment to a range of independent a very limited impact, unless you ignore all the much larger impacts on mortalifarm quality assurance programmes, including the RSPCA fish welfare ty rate that result from other causes. scheme, builds on the underlying strength of our statutory regulatory That does not diminish the importance of salmon farmers minimising sea lice systems to assure our production systems. numbers on farmed fish to optimise their health and performance. Finally, the skills, expertise, passion and dedication of our farmers However, it does mean that there is a need to move away from the myopic can be demonstrated in abundance day in and day out – and they were narrative that salmon farming is the dominant influence on wild salmon morshowcased by the recent awards event. tality, and to give some attention to the other factors that are of much greater However, being wholly objective and forward looking, it is this third importance. area of provenance where the Scottish industry has greatest scope for As to the Shephard and Gargan paper, can I only suggest that you read it very systemati c development. That isput not toasay our‘probably industry’s carefully? I did so and have mentally it in file that marked notskills for and professional experti se are not of the highest calibre, but it is to policy makers’. recognise educati onal and training structures, The truth isthat that our to bevocati usefulonal in politi cal decision making, research needs and to be focused on challenging the presumed facts or on solving the perceived problem. It is then that politicians and policy are most likely to sit up and take notice. FF 03/07/2015


05/06/2017 16:23:08

Trade Associations – British Trout Association

Welcome boost Selective improvements for trout - sooner rather than later? BY DOUG MCLEOD


LTHOUGH I’m not a scientist, I was extremely interested in a couple of project presentations that I attended on the occasion of the 49th AGM of the Federation of European Aquaculture Producers (FEAP) last month, specifically on selective breeding and parasitic disease control and management. While the trout farming industry has enjoyed a degree of selective breeding over the last three decades or so, the main breeding traits have been the more obvious ones of growth, age of maturation, yield and colour. Beyond these initial qualities, there are several challenges that remain. An EU funded project, FISHBOOST, is attempting to develop tools and methods to improve traits such as non-specific mortality, feed efficiency, fillet yield and quality, and perhaps most importantly, resistance to disease. From a farmer’s standpoint, improvements in these traits would lead to more optimal efficiency in the production process and higher profitability through lower costs. It may not be the Holy Grail, but heritability of disease resistance must be up there as one of the most important objectives for aquaculture research. If successful it could have a significant impact on the ability of the sector to reduce the current impact of diseases, including for trout RTFS (rainbow trout fry syndrome), and overall reduce even further the industry’s use of antibiotics and other veterinary medicines. The researchers of FISHBOOST – including the University of Edinburgh at Roslin – have not yet made major progress with rainbow trout, although it is one of the six species being studied. However, the preliminary results of disease resistance heritability for carp (the other freshwater fish species in the project) were described as clearly positive. It was emphasised, though, that these breeding techniques should be applied with complementary strategies of disease control, such as vaccines. I look forward to learning the results for this year’s efforts focused on rainbow trout at a BTA

BTA.indd 19

conference in the near future (the options are next September’s AGM or at a meeting in 2018). The second project, ParaFishControl - also EU funded to the tune of eight million euros, has the objective of achieving solutions for parasitic infections and diseases in the main European farmed fish species, including rainbow trout. The interest reflects the relatively lower attention, historically, and research funding for parasitic diseases than for bacterial and viral diseases, despite the economic impact of such pathogens (for example, 103 million euros for white spot in rainbow trout across the EU). Scientists – and the UK interest includes the Institute of Aquaculture at Stirling and Cefas in Weymouth- were as positive as those of FISHBOOST about the early results from their efforts, where research has identified an antibody based immunotherapy for Ich and antigens treatment for PKD, alongside positive trial results for Ich multifiliis immobilisation through a DNA vaccine. Further positive results will support a brighter future for aquaculture across Europe. However, these positive contributions to the drive to reduce mortalities and improve the economics of production must be supported by efforts to develop the market, through generic promotion, product development (as per the added value products described in last month’s column) and marketing strategies for branding. Increased production without expanding consumer interest in the product will only lead to shrinking margins with reduced profitability and declining re-investment in our industry. A comprehensive and multi-faceted approach to the entire supply chain - the old ‘farm to plate’ adage- is essential, to galvanise a rejuvenated trout production sector in the UK. FF

These positive contributions must be supported by efforts to develop the market

Above: Rainbow trout


05/06/2017 16:22:24

Shellfish – SAGB annual conference


What ‘good’ looks like Collaboration crucial to meet ‘momentous’ challenge of Brexit


ELEGATES at the annual conference of the Shellfish Association of Great Britain (SAGB) enjoyed a host of excellent presentations on subjects as varied as Brexit, the role of the Aquaculture Advisory Council, mariculture of lobsters, the Swansea tidal lagoon and a vision for the seafood industry. Both the farmed and wild shellfish capture sectors were covered. The conference and annual dinner were held in the splendid surroundings of Fishmongers Hall in London on May 23 and 24 and boasted a record attendance. Julia Brooks, market insight analyst from Seafish, set the scene with a look at the market performance of the shellfish sector. According to Nielsen Scantrack, in the year to April 22 total seafood consumption in the UK was worth £6.2 billion, of which £1.2 billion was accounted for by shellfish. Brooks advised that shellfish is typically bought by the over 35s from more affluent households. In the multiple retail sector, mussels make up 48 per cent of the mollusc segment and performed well during the year, with consumer purchases up by 8.4 per cent. Sales of oysters, which account for three per cent of purchases, fared less well and were down by 18.2 per cent, while scallops, which have a 35 per cent share, fell by 12.8 per cent. Clams enjoyed a revival of interest, with purchases up 116.2 per cent to make up three per cent of the sector. If sales are to grow, Brooks believes that retailers should pay attention to the changing demands of shoppers, who are seeking good value, promotions, convenience, an exciting range of products, and a positive in-store experience.


ASSG.indd 20

Below: Lobster. Opposite (top): Mussel ropes

house many small brown crabs. (Below): Carly Daniels at sea. Lobster pictures courtesy of the National Lobster Hatchery

In the food service sector, Asian flavours are becoming increasingly popular across the molluscan species. Opportunities for overall growth in the shellfish market lie in developing new recipes and flavours, and in recreating favourites with a twist to appeal to a younger market seeking more affordable and convenient preparations. Shellfish snacks are lacking on the shelves, yet snacks are a distinct growth area. New products need to minimise the mess, smell, time and waste associated with shellfish, to represent value for money, and address the health and quality demands of shoppers. Mike Mitchell, who runs consultancy Fair Sea, is a member of the Defra Seafood Expert Group. He gave his interpretation of the Defra 2040 Vision for the seafood industry and explained that it helps to define and remind us of what ‘good’ could look like if we act collaboratively towards shared and agreed long term objectives. He spoke of the ‘momentous’ task of transitioning from EU membership and the importance of ensuring that all parts of the supply chain collaborate effectively to ensure a thriving future. Broadly, the 2040 strategy aims to grow markets by increasing consumption, and ensure that resources can grow sustainably and profitably to meet demand, backed up by science and a supportive regulatory framework. An action plan is being developed to help deliver these aims. The plan includes recommendations such as setting up an overarching body for English Aquaculture, developing an innovation plan, strengthening partnerships between industry and science, strengthening industry collaboration with the Food Standards Agency, and investigating financial mechanisms to grow investor confidence. The plan, developed by Defra, Seafish and industry, will be published this summer and offers a unique opportunity for everyone to work together to grow a thriving seafood economy by 2040. Mitchell finished by calling on industry members to engage with the plan and to recognise the potential benefits it could bring. Mariculture of European lobsters was the subject of Dr Carly Daniels’ talk, which looked at the

05/06/2017 16:21:21

What ‘good’ looks like

Defra vision offers “unique opportunity

for everyone to work together to grow a thriving seafood economy by 2040

research she has been undertaking to grow juvenile lobsters at sea. Daniels works at the National Lobster Hatchery in Padstow, where for the past 17 years breeding and stock enhancement programmes have been ongoing in a bid to reverse the decline of lobster stocks. During this time, the hatchery has successfully hatched many thousands of lobsters and released the juveniles to sea, but it is not known how many survived. More recently, Daniels and her team have been developing a sea based container system and undertaking growth trials at six different sites around the Cornish coast. The hope is that by growing juvenile lobsters to a larger size before release, a higher percentage will survive in the wild. Trials integrated with rope grown mussels in St Austell Bay have proved to be the most successful. The lobsters are grown in compartmentalised lanterns, need no feed input, and thrive in this natural environment. Next steps are to undertake the first quantitative assessment of the success of lobster releases through physical or acoustic tagging and to undertake more work on genetic selection. Daniels is excited by future possibilities for lobster enhancement programmes and explained that while the existing capture fishery supplies just 5,000 tonnes of lobster per year, there is a ready market

ASSG.indd 21

for around 120,000 tonnes of lobster, which leaves plenty of scope for expansion. She is also keen to explore the potential for market diversification, by producing a small lobster similar in size to a langoustine, using mariculture techniques. CEFAS is currently looking at the regulatory changes that would be needed to achieve this. Dr Peter Miller, who leads the ShellEye project, spoke about the techniques his team has developed to identify potentially harmful algal species in satellite images. His project is testing tools to help shellfish farmers monitor and forecast water quality events that could have a negative impact on their crop, thereby enabling proactive management to safeguard consumer safety. ShellEye has worked with shellfish farmers, analysing water and mussel tissue samples to verify satellite findings, and combining ocean measurements with meteorological and earth observation data to create early warning indicators of microbiological hazards. In Scotland, the project has worked with fish and shellfish farmers to develop and test a bulletin service that provides relevant, cost effective near real-time information. Ongoing work aims to enhance the precision of near-coast and near-farm harmful algal bloom risk estimation and to produce HAB probability maps to assist with insurance risk assessment and site selection. Richie Flynn, the national representative for finfish and shellfish famers in Ireland, was recently elected as chair of the newly formed EU Aquaculture Advisory Council (AAC).

Aquaculture in the EU is made up of 50 per cent molluscs and crustaceans, 27 per cent seawater fish and 23 per cent freshwater fish. Oysters and mussels are third and fourth in terms of importance in the overall sector, making up 12.18 per cent and 11.91 per cent respectively. Flynn explained that the AAC is composed of representatives from the industry and other stakeholders, with a 60/40 per cent allocation of the seats in its general assembly and executive committee. The work of the AAC is complex and undertaken by working groups on finfish, shellfish and general matters. Current aims, embedded in its work programme, are to aid the implementation of the strategic guidelines for the sustainable development of European aquaculture, to discuss environmental issues and sustainability concerns, look at aquatic animal health and welfare and food safety, and address blue growth by identifying research and development priorities. Flynn advised that membership of the AAC was now the only way for countries to deal with the EU, which is fully committed to the advisory council process. Delegates also heard from Andrew Schofield and Martin Syvret about the proposed tidal lagoon in Swansea Bay (TLSB), which offers potential for aquaculture development of numerous species - particularly oysters – and for the siting of a multi-species hatchery plus spatting and nursery ponds. A main aspiration of the TLSB is to reintroduce native oysters to Swansea Bay. Syvret spoke about a report he has just completed with Dr Andrew Woolmer as part of the Seafish Strategic Investment Programme, which looks at the aquaculture species and techniques suitable for lagoons, estuaries and sea lochs. Danielle Bridger, a PhD student from Plymouth University sponsored by Offshore Shellfish, closed the conference with her talk on the added benefits to fisheries fostered by offshore mussel farming. She explained that the hanging ropes are also home to king and queen scallops, brown, spider and porcelain crabs and sea urchins, while the general area is both a nursery and foraging area for many species of fish and shellfish. FF


05/06/2017 16:21:35



What a whopper!

One river’s bumper sea trout catches raise questions about declines elsewhere


HE River Polla is not one of Scotland’s best known rivers. In fact, it doesn’t even feature on the list of the top 50 salmon rivers compiled by the Salmon Atlas. However, despite its insignificance in terms of Scottish sports fishing, it produced its second ever best catch of sea trout last year- a total of 140 fish compared with its average rod catch of about 45 fish. Among this bumper harvest was a specimen fish weighing 10lb, nearly as big as the 11lb fish caught in 2012. The salmon catch was also good, with 40 fish hooked, compared with an average catch of just 29 fish, the largest of which weighed a grand 19lb. There is certainly good fishing to be had on the River Polla. The Polla is a short river with only two miles of accessible fishing. It empties into the head of Loch Eriboll on the far north coast of Scotland. Its distant location is why it is largely unknown, compared to famous east coast rivers, such as the Tay and the Tweed. However, what makes the River Polla interesting is the fact that Loch Eriboll is home to two salmon farms and any young fish migrating to the sea must swim through the loch between these two farms. Despite its northerly location, the River Polla is remarkably similar to another well-known sea trout fishery, the River Ewe and the 12-mile-long Loch Maree. The River Polla is not associated with a freshwater loch like the River Ewe but otherwise they are very similar, with young fish passing down the river into the head of a sea loch before swimming past an active salmon farm in order to reach the open sea. The difference between the two sea trout fisheries is that while the River Polla appears to be thriving, the fishing in Loch Maree has been all but wiped out. Salmon & Trout Conservation Scotland (S&TCS), an organisation representing anglers, blames the presence of the salmon farm in Loch Ewe for the collapse of the Loch Maree sea trout fishery. They say that young sea trout that linger in the sea loch are susceptible to attack from sea lice, a natural parasite of salmon that, under certain circumstances, can be spread from salmon cages. The question is why, just a year after a salmon farm was established in Loch Ewe, did sea trout catches in Loch Maree collapse while catches from the River Polla have flourished despite the presence of two small farms in the sea loch? The Polla is not even unique, as the River Hope also emerges into Loch Eriboll, although towards the mouth of the loch and catches from there and the associated freshwater Loch Hope have also been very healthy. Critics of salmon farming say that Loch Hope sea trout thrive because they can swim straight out to sea without passing by the salmon farms, even though they reportedly tend to remain in other sea lochs rather than swim straight out to sea. While the River Polla has also produced good salmon catches, surprisingly so has the River Ewe. Last year, 264 salmon were caught from the two-mile-long River Ewe, with the largest weighing in at an impressive 23lb.


Martin Jaffa.indd 22

If salmon farming is not to blame for “ the collapse of the Loch Maree sea trout fishery, then what is? ”

S&TCS say that salmon catches are holding up because unlike sea trout, young salmon smolts rush past the salmon farm to the sea, managing to avoid the infectious sea lice. The opposing catch trends for salmon (increasing) and sea trout (declining) from within the same river system pose something of a conundrum. How can salmon catches be healthy while sea trout have all but been wiped out? In the case of Loch Maree sea trout, S&TCS say that the fishery is no more. Yet such opposing catch trends are not unique to the Ewe System. Other fishery districts display similar catch responses. One fishery district is of particular interest as the catch trend graphs look remarkably similar to the River Ewe. This other fishery is the River Nith which emerges into the Solway Firth, not far from the border with England. What makes the River Nith trends stand out from those of the River Ewe is that the mouth of the Nith is about 130 miles from the nearest salmon farm. With such a distance between the river and a salmon farm, the decline of the River Nith sea trout fishery cannot be due to the influence of salmon farming. One of the directors of S&TCS has written that the comparison with the River Nith is a red herring. This is because he says that the River Nith is not a typical west coast spate river and also because large sea trout are still caught from the river. The heaviest fish caught last year was 10lb, which by coincidence was the same weight as the heaviest fish caught from the River Polla. The River Nith and the River Ewe may not have the same physical characteristics, but this didn’t seem to concern S&TCS last year, when they published a comparison of catches from east and west coast rivers. They said that the only difference between the coasts was the presence of salmon farms. The fact that the River Ewe is 4km long and the River Tay is 180km long didn’t seem to worry them although the differences between the River Ewe and the River Nith now seem to. S&TCS suggested a better comparison would be with the River Hope and its associated loch, which empty in Loch Eriboll. The problem with this comparison is that salmon farms are located in Loch Eriboll and therefore it is similar, not different, to the River Ewe. However, comparing Loch Eriboll with Loch Ewe highlights the major difference in catches that exist between the two. This comparison suggests that salmon farming is not the primary cause of the decline of the Loch Maree sea trout fishery otherwise sea trout catches from the River Polla should have collapsed too.

05/06/2017 16:19:53

What a whopper!

The obvious question is that if salmon farming is not to blame for the collapse of the Loch Maree sea trout fishery, then what is? Closer examination of the catch data for the Ewe System shows that catches have been in decline since 1952, when records were first collected. However, there was also a significant increase in catches towards the end of the 1970s and beginning of the 1980s. Annual catches of sea trout doubled and even tripled over a period of about five years but then fell into decline until 1988, a year after the salmon farm was established in Loch Ewe. At the same time, catches of large trout over 3lb also increased well above the norm. As these fish lay proportionally more and larger eggs, the loss of such fish would have a greater impact on future recruitment of sea trout to the loch. For reasons that are still unclear, Loch Maree

Martin Jaffa.indd 23

Above: How the different river sytems compare.

was simply over fished in the run up to 1988. As a consequence, the fishery collapsed with the loss of larger fish. This is comparable to what happened in the North Sea to its cod stock. It was estimated that there were fewer than a hundred large adults left in the North Sea cod fishery before conservation measures were introduced. The North Sea cod fishery has subsequently recovered, and is soon to be certified as sustainable, yet Loch Maree has fewer fish than ever. Why has the Loch Maree sea trout fishery failed to recover? While S&TCS claim that the Loch Maree sea trout fishery has been wiped out and is no more, the reality is that fishing has continued on the loch since 1988. Since the reported collapse, 6,016 sea trout have been caught and killed. It is not surprising that the fishery remains a shadow of its former glory since as soon as fish return to the loch, they are caught and killed. Sea trout stocks in Loch Maree are never going to recover while this killing continues. The latest catch figures suggest that it may already be too late. Meanwhile, the less accessible fisheries along the north coast, such as the Polla and the Hope, continue to provide good sea trout fishing. Loch Maree is simply a victim of its own reputation. FF


05/06/2017 16:20:13

Cleaner fish – Glasgow summit

Changing the game Industry addresses challenge of rearing and deploying wrasse and lumpfish


HE successful use of cleaner fish will underpin the development of the salmon farming industry, a summit in Scotland was told last month. At the opening of the three-day event in Glasgow, delegates were given updates from an international line-up of speakers on how wrasse and lumpfish are helping to tackle naturally occurring sea lice at fish farms. The goal the industry has set itself is to produce more cleaner fish, to learn more about their biology and behaviour, and to improve survival rates. Chris Hempleman of Scottish Sea Farms (SSF) said cleaner fish will ‘change the game’ for salmon aquaculture but the challenge was to have significant numbers – ‘no company has enough’. SSF has been involved in a venture with Marine Harvest, the University of Stirling, Otter Ferry Seafish and Ardtoe since 2011 to farm wrasse, and relieve the pressure on wild stocks. However, it had been a ‘steep learning curve’ and although his company now has some sites stocked only with farmed wrasse, wild caught fish are still widely used. Ideally, farmed cleaner fish need to be in sufficient numbers to match all smolt inputs; be of optimum size, be fully vaccinated, be properly conditioned prior to stocking; be available for ‘top up’; be re-usable; and be carefully managed for health and welfare. Meanwhile, Olav Breck of Marine Harvest Norway, said his country needs 40 million cleaner fish each year. Of the 26.4 million wrasse and lumpfish used in 2015, 57 per cent were farmed, but Marine Harvest aims to be self-sufficient and independent of wild caught cleaner fish in 2018, preferably with a fifty-fifty balance of lumpfish and wrasse. However, he acknowledged the ‘unacceptable’ low survival of both species along the Norwegian coast, and said more knowledge was needed on nutrition, feeding strategies and disease. The International Cleaner Fish Summit, co-hosted by the Scottish Aquaculture Innovation Centre (SAIC) and the Norwegian Seafood Research Fund (FHF), brought together scien-


Cleaner Fish Intro.indd 24

Above: SAIC’s Jason Cleaversmith leads a break-out discussion. Left: Marine Harvest vet Carolina Gutierrez. Opposite from top: SSF’s Chris Hempleman; international panel; delegate Alastair Barge of Otter Ferry Seafish; SAIC’s Cori CritchlowWatton with Stirling’s Adam Brooker (left) and Andrew Davie.

tists, producers, feed companies and suppliers from Norway, the UK, Iceland, the Faroe Islands, Ireland and Canada, to improve understanding of the main cleaner fish species. Heather Jones, CEO of SAIC said: ‘Greater sea lice control has been one of our priorities since day one, as has sharing the insights gleaned from SAIC supported projects with the wider Scottish aquaculture sector. ‘So to see our industry and academic partners exchange the knowledge being gained with their industry and international peers is a truly landmark moment.’ Themes covered at the summit included transportation, deployment, conditioning, cohabitation, and nutrition. Health experts explored disease control, new vaccines and treatments and welfare, and there were also talks covering cleaner fish sustainability, standards, sedation and dispatch. There was much discussion at the summit – held at the University of Strathclyde’s Technology and Innovation Centre – over how to address the challenges of rearing and deploying cleaner fish so that there are adequate quantities of this biological sea lice control to meet growing industry demand. Farming cleaner fish species in pens designed for salmon presented many problems, and not enough

05/06/2017 16:17:57

Changing the game

They “unlock

growth potential in fish so they easily pay back what they cost

is known about their nutritional requirements or their behaviour. Sandra Schlittenhardt, a vet with Marine Harvest Ireland, said there are no licensed vaccines for cleaner fish in Ireland so the fish are all completely unprotected. Furthermore, because they produce organic salmon in Ireland, cleaner fish have to be treated separately with antibiotics, which involves removing them from the pens. And taking fish out for AGD treatment van be very laboured; they have used 30 to 40 pots to get 80 per cent of the wrasse out. Also, lumpfish can’t handle the very strong currents prevalent on Ireland’s west coast, and wrasse are prone to injury and have a tendency to disappear from pens. However, Irish cleaner fish last longer and fare better than in other countries, she claimed. ‘Cleaner fish are hard work,’ she said, ‘but they are absolutely worth it.’ Salmon producers seem to agree, with high levels of investment across the industry. Representatives from all countries said they were ‘not using a lot of time trying to convince bosses that cleaner fish are the future’. Besides, in Norway, 60 per cent of lumpfish farms are partly or fully controlled by salmon farming companies, so they have a vested interest. Chris Hempleman said: ‘It’s more of a debate about how to make them work all the time. It’s down to numbers – we don’t have enough cleaner fish. ‘It’s a huge spend but so are medicine spends,

Cleaner Fish Intro.indd 25

and cleaner fish unlock growth potential in fish so they easily pay back what they cost.’ The summit concluded with a resolve to maximise research efforts, and to avoid R&D duplication through continued collaboration. Already there was talk of setting a date for the next summit, and it was mooted that the EAS meeting in Croatia in October could provide a platform for further discussion. But Kjell Maroni of FHF had the last word, cautioning that if there were too many forums, ‘we won’t be able to do our day jobs!’. FF


05/06/2017 16:18:17

Cleaner fish – Ocean Matters

Six million more Lumpfish farm has plans to supply entire UK market


HE clamour for more cleaner fish may have been one of the most consistent themes of the Glasgow summit, but one company is going a long way to meet the demand. Ocean Matters in Anglesey has harvested one million lumpfish since last year and is on course to produce between 1.5 and two million by November this year. ‘We’re the first people in the UK to produce serious volume, and definitely the first to get to a million,’ said production manager Daniel Phillips. He and managing director Werner Forster bought what was a semi derelict turbot farm at the north Wales site in December 2015. They started building in February 2016, stocked the first lumpfish at the end of April that year, and began harvesting in October. The site is in one of two neighbouring quarries about 500m apart, the other housing Anglesey Aquaculture, once a sea bass farm and now owned by Marine Harvest, which is in the process of transforming it into a wrasse farm. Phillips worked on the sea bass farm for five years, and before that gained experience on a project in California, where he met Forster. Ocean Matters’ main customer is Marine Harvest, which predicted it would need to deploy more than two million lumpsuckers in Scotland each year by 2020. Phillips believes this is achievable. ‘We have a building that has the potential to do up to six million fish and we’re looking to expand quite aggressively in the next couple of years,’ he told Fish Farmer after the Glasgow summit. ‘We are an independent company and with customers including Marine Harvest. It’s our intention to supply other farmers – we’re doing some work with them at the moment – but our primary customer this year has been Marine Harvest.


Cleaner Fish - Ocean Matters.indd 26

We’re “ looking to

expand quite aggressively in the next couple of years

Above: Ocean Matters’ site in Anglesey. Below: Lumpfish

‘But if we can do six million fish in one building we can probably do pretty much the whole UK market.’ Ocean Matters has just three people in its team but all have worked in big, commercial marine RAS for a while, and Phillips, who studied marine biology at Bangor, admits ‘we’ve been lucky’. At the moment they use wild eggs, supplied by Iceland and the Norwegian company, Skjerneset fisk. Nobody has developed a broodstock programme yet, and although Ocean Matters is looking into this, it’s not part of the business model right now. ‘We’d probably not need a great deal of broodstock, it’s really down to quality. But the problem at the moment is that there’s no research gone into broodstock because it’s so new and no one has done it yet. ‘Although people are steaming full ahead they haven’t got to the point where the conditioning and diets are understood.’ Importing eggs is ‘working quite well’ for Ocean Matters, which then rears them to about 20g, feeding them on normal commercial diets, with artemia as a starter feed. These fish are then sent to Scotland, usually two to three times a week, on salmon smolt lorries with fish transport companies, Solway Transport and Migdale Transport. Phillips said they spend a lot of time looking at the post deployment and servicing side of things. ‘We want the fish to do as well as possible – I get the impression a lot of people ship them and think that’s their responsibility over but we’re trying to get as involved as possible in the after care. ‘We’re not seeing any issues with transport – we’ve got a 100 per cent transport success rate so far and have had no mass mortalities.’ Ocean Matters uses a full lumpfish vaccination programme, and all fish get injected and dipped before they leave the site.

05/06/2017 16:16:47

Six million more

The ones that got away SANDRA Schlittenhardt, a vet with Marine Harvest Ireland, raised the issue of wrasse disappearing from pens. Do salmon eat them during starvation? She said this has been seen but it needs to be investigated more. Another vet complained of unexplained losses of lumpfish, and wondered how long it took for this species to decompose. In Norway, as elsewhere, ‘a huge amount of fish just go – since we don’t find them perhaps they do decompose very fast?’ The question was answered by Daniel Phillips of Ocean Matters, who is raising lumpfish in Anglesey.

The company has six large tanks with very low – five to 10 per cent – exchange per day systems. There are two different RAS systems, one geared up for smaller fish than the other, and both are operating efficiently, said Phillips. ‘A lot of RAS systems work on flow through systems but we don’t; we run a batch sterilisation system, which is much more secure.’ He said they haven’t yet costed the expansion but ‘it’s not astronomical figures- ‘it’s in the hundreds of thousands. We’re using an old turbot farm so we have tanks and that’s quite handy.’ ‘And we have a good location. The fact that we’re in Wales means we’re away from the salmon industry so we’re in a much stronger position if there are disease problems in Scotland. We’re not going to end up with that coming into our water treatment systems. ‘Maybe somewhere like Weymouth, being so far away, would be a disadvantage but where we are it’s only about four hours to Glasgow.’ The consensus at the summit seemed to be that nobody had enough cleaner fish but if Ocean Matters can produce all the lumpfish needed in the UK is that going to solve a problem in Scotland? ‘I think it does, from a production point of view,’ said Phillips. ‘But then it’s down to the salmon farmers how they utilise them, which is why we want to get involved in that – we want to make it as successful as possible.’ But while lumpfish orders ‘will definitely be fulfilled’ he agrees that wrasse are going to be more of a challenge. They are a harder fish to farm and they take much longer. Ocean Matters has not ruled out farming wrasse but Phillips said they are not at that point yet. ‘We’re just going to try and focus on this for the time being. We’ve been going for 12 months, fish in the water, and we’re doing quite well but there are always things to iron out and improve.’ FF

Cleaner Fish - Ocean Matters.indd 27

This cleaner fish, he said, is not very muscular and its livers are big and fatty. When it dies it tends to become ‘a gooey mess after a day being buffeted by the currents’. ‘Then it probably disintegrates quickly and is pushed through the mesh. From day two you’re looking at something you can squash in your fingers. After three days you probably won’t have much left.’ Phillips (pictured) also said live fish counting equipment for lumpfish can be challenging. He was sceptical that

with pipeline counters ‘you are getting the numbers you want, therefore be careful that you are putting in what you think you are in a commercial situation’.

Rationale for ranching RANCHING cleaner fish could possibly address sustainability problems, suggested Chris Mitchell, national sales manager of Pharmaq, offering up food for thought during one of the summit discussions. ‘Some 30 years ago, riparian landowners who had coastline on their estates had this idea that if you reared young salmon in your river in a hatchery you could release them as smolts and they’d all go off and feed and come back a couple of years later as three and four kilo fish and you could just net the estuary and sell the salmon, with no husbandry costs whatsoever. ‘In principle it was a good idea but then they realised you had no rights of ownership on fish in the sea. So a trawler could sit off your estuary offshore and hoover up all your returning salmon,’ he explained to Fish Farmer later. ‘It was the law of the sea that prevented that from being a good idea. There being a good market for salmon, this would be very attractive for people to go and fish for them. ‘It struck me that with lumpfish and possibly wrasse, because there is only one market and that is the salmon farmers, then that wouldn’t really matter. The fishermen are already catching these fish and selling them to salmon farmers. It would just mean there would maybe be a bit more of them to catch. ‘They could be licensed perhaps, and the lumpsucker fishery could be protected. The hatcheries could rear tiny juvenile lumpsuckers and release them – they’re not going to go very far – and then they get caught in possibly only a year’s time.’ Lumpfish are currently mostly caught for broodstock - and questions are being asked about how much they’re catching, as it’s an uncontrolled fishery.

‘Maybe it’s more appropriate for wrasse,’ said Mitchell. ‘The regulator would need to investigate releasing stock into the sea, but they did do that in Shetland with lobsters. They reared juvenile lobsters in captivity until they were about three inches long and then released them into the sea as an experiment in lobster ranching so there is a precedent there. ‘It’s just an idea about the scope for ranching if there are sustainability issues with cleaner fish wild catches. Perhaps one of the ways to address this apart from farming is to ranch them.’

Above: Pharmaq’s Chris Mitchell


05/06/2017 16:17:03

Cleaner fish – Welfare

Blue is the colour Tests try to lessen the stress for new species


MPROVING the welfare of cleaner fish depends on regulators and certificating bodies as well as the industry, said Peter Ostergard of Aquamed, vet to Faroe Islands salmon farmers. ‘We could speed up best practices on farms if there were welfare laws, robust operational welfare indicators, notifiable live lice counts, and gill scores,’ he suggested in his talk on operational welfare. ‘Could the ASC, Global GAP and so on be more involved in the welfare of cleaner fish? It isn’t currently included in the certification process and should be.’ In the Faroes, they have been using cleaner fish for two years and it’s still ‘trial and error’. They only use lumpfish and they don’t farm the fish themselves, importing all they use from Iceland. Cleaner fish, like all fish, have nociceptors and therefore can feel pain, discomfort and stress. They are entitled to the five ‘freedoms’ as outlined by the Brambell Committee recommendations on animal welfare.


could speed up best practices on “We farms if there were welfare laws ”

Cleaner Fish - Welfare.indd 28

Above: Peter Ostergard. Right: Lumpsuckers.

These include: • Freedom from hunger and thirst- so provide the right conditions; • Freedom from discomfort- so provide hides for shelter and rest;

05/06/2017 16:01:01

Blue is the colour • Freedom from pain, injury and disease- so ensure rapid diagnosis and treatment; • Freedom to express normal behaviour; and • Freedom from fear and distress. Ostergard said there is no doubt that disease plays a major role in the reduced welfare of cleaner fish in the Faroe Islands, but ‘we don’t know why they die’. They get bacterial infections and in fact their characteristic turquoise green colour may suggest they are unhealthy. They also get diseases such as tenacibaculum, which could be a secondary infection, and black spot disease, which has caused a lot of mortality. Other welfare problems occur during restocking when cleaner fish disappear, with old fish showing aggressive behaviour towards new fish, attacking them by biting their tails and fins. Also, salmon eat lumpfish and therefore they might be a cause of fear and distress, so the cleaner fish need a place to hide in safety. Ostergard called for more innovation in hide technology, perhaps with more vertical structures. Environmental factors can affect fish welfare, too. Lumpfish have no swim bladder and are not great swimmers, so buoyancy is very important. In the Faroe Islands the weather can be rough and the strong currents that are good for salmon are bad for lumpfish. In general, females are better floaters than males so one solution could be to have all female populations. Ostergard said best practice demands 100 per cent staff dedication, and 100 per cent designation, with teams being allocated enough time and the right equipment to focus on cleaner fish welfare. Looking at cleaner fish welfare from an academic perspective, Asa Marie Espmark of Nofima described ongoing research investigating operational welfare indicators (OWIs). These would be evaluated in experiments and at the end of the project, a handbook would be produced. One experiment exposed lumpfish (wrasse will be tested next) to different light intensities and colours to gauge their reaction. They tested them with green, blue and white lights and found significantly more stress response to green, although their stress response was much lower than salmon’s. The fish appeared to be more aggressive in green light, and their eye damage and caudal fin damage increased due to tail biting. Another experiment tested three different densities, concluding that 60kg lumpfish/m3 causes few problems for fish health. But the lowest densities (15kg/m3) cause more problems because the fish become aggressive towards each other. They also tested for acute and chronic stress during, for example, the vaccine process. Espmark said the tight clustering of ballan wrasse may cause skin and fin damage. But is it caused by stress or is it causing stress? The industry, she said, can help solve this problem by giving fish natural light so they could rest. Atle Foss of Akvaplan-niva also studied the effect of different lights and

‘Big step forward’ for welfare

Left: Eoina Rodgers

THE RSPCA was first asked to produce welfare guidelines for wrasse in 2010, said the society’s aquaculture officer, Eoina Rodgers. The focus was on wild caught wrasse, transport and handling, and the guidelines have been adopted widely by the industry in Scotland, said Rodgers. With industry input, these guidelines have now been updated and the RSPCA hopes to include them in the next version of its welfare standards for farmed Atlantic salmon. The standards, to cover both wrasse and lumpsuckers, will be auditable so will provide a means to measure and improve cleaner fish welfare. They will cover several criteria, including wild fish sourcing, hatcheries, transport, stocking of cleaner fish in enclosures, handling of cleaner fish, feeding in pens, and slaughter. Next, the standards will go to the RSPCA’s Standards Technical Advisory Group for consultation. They will then be published and implemented in November. ‘We will then have an auditable set of standards which will contribute to the improvement of cleaner fish welfare,’ said Rodgers. She said the RSPCA standards are updated and re-published every two years and during that time they are continually monitored, through close cooperation with the industry. ‘Although these standards have been in development for some time and much of the industry has adopted our guidelines, the implementation of the standards is a big step forward for the welfare of cleaner fish.’ colours, in relation to the sedation and dispatch of cleaner fish. Three work packages included using colour and light to attract and trap lumpfish, developing a prototype ‘pod’ for commercial scale testing, and establishing protocols for anaesthetising and euthanising cleaner fish. What was clear is that the fish really like all kinds of blue, but can’t see red at all. After testing with LED lights, 55 per cent of the fish swam towards the blue lights, and similar results were achieved using glow sticks. In another test with 36 fish (in six tanks) they tried various combinations of glow sticks and LED lights and more than 70 per cent of the fish swam into a trap with blue lights. They then ran tests in net pens with two types of LEDs and two types of traps but very few fish were caught. ‘The same fish that were queuing up earlier, weren’t interested,’ said Foss. They then changed to ‘disco lights’ and the fish ‘stormed the pod’. Tests, therefore, were inconclusive but ‘there is something there with the blue’ he said; conditions in the sea, waves, noise and so on may have affected the results but ‘we’ll continue’. FF

Cleaner Fish - Welfare.indd 29


05/06/2017 16:15:49

Cleaner fish – Equipment

Made to


Net firm develops new products for old customers

the fish. Knox had already witnessed colour preferences with cleaner fish, after Ardtoe researchers asked for samples of rigid plastic material, which they saw as being ideal for lumpsuckers. ‘The only stuff we had was almost fluorescent orange, very heavy PVC material. We said put this in now and we’ll get you some different colour. But the lumpsuckers immediately migrated on to it. ‘It turned out that the girl who fed them every morning wore an orange waterproof jacket and as soon as she appeared the fish went to the side of the tank where she was. So it was probably an association with that.’ The Faroese company, HiddenFjord, said they use white for the Lift-up mortality removal system to keep the lumpfish away from the dead fish. They found, as others have done, that the fish don’t like white but are attracted to blue, and black too. Knox is a distributor in Scotland and Ireland for Lift-up and when Hutchens was at the factory in Norway recently he discovered that some Lift-up Left: Artificial kelp on the customers are now fixing the hide material to the combi hide. Below: Combi hide laid out in the yard. pipework of the Lift-up. ‘They are using it as a means to secure stuff Opposite: Lumpsucker midwater because it is a surface that the fish will be smooth surface plastic attracted to. material. ‘As soon as they turn the Lift-up on, anything at the bottom of the net is going to get sucked into it. They have got methods for removing the cleaner fish but it’s better if they can keep them away from it and this seems to be working quite well. ‘It’s all innovation at the moment. Even as people are using gear we’ve supplied they are asking for modifications.’ W&J Knox hides hang vertically from a surface rope. Some are just artificial kelp and others have a combination of alternative strips of kelp and plastic, which suit the wrasse and the lumpsuckers. ‘The plastic strip is primarily for the lumpsuckers because they like a smooth surface. We have seen them going in and sitting on the artificial kelp as well. But the kelp is primarily for the wrasse, who like little hidey holes – the more convoluted that material is, the better.’ Knox is also making small holding box nets, for when cleaner fish are first transferred to sea. And they have devised a net to place within harvest bins


&J Knox has been producing cleaner fish equipment for the past 18 months, in response to customers’ demands. The company, whose main business is supplying nets to the Scottish market, became aware of this new field about four years ago. ‘The industry had to change the way they were washing their nets when they started using cleaner fish,’ said managing director Dave Hutchens, who attended the Glasgow summit to network and let people know what the company is doing, ‘They had to keep the nets clean otherwise the fish graze on them. And they were using smaller mesh apertures to keep the fish in. The first thing we noticed was that we weren’t getting nets back to the service station as regularly as we used to because they were washing them in situ to keep them clean on a regular basis. ‘We made enquiries and found the cleaner fish industry was taking off. So we started a dialogue with our customers, looking at ways to better manage the cleaner fish.’ Knox was asked to produce hides and worked with the salmon companies, with different combinations of material and layout. ‘A lot of R&D went into it- no one really knew what was wanted.’ They have since supplied hides to all the Scottish Salmon Company sites against competition from Norwegian suppliers (in particular, Tom Morrow and OK Marine), and while Hutchens doesn’t know what share of the market Knox has, he said they are still getting ‘plenty of orders’, also supplying Scottish Sea Farms and Marine Harvest Scotland. It is a sector in constant development, though, said Hutchens. Immediately after the cleaner fish summit, customers asked for a change in the colour of some of the materials, having learnt that blues and greens were attractive to


Cleaner Fish - Knox.indd 30

We hope we’ve got our finger on the pulse when it comes to what they might need

05/06/2017 15:59:39

Made to order

People power

THERE was much consensus during the summit that in every aspect of cleaner fish production, husbandry was very important, along with the full engagement of staff and a specific company

nets and hides, suitable hides, and stocking densities [six per cent is normal in Ireland].’ Karoline Skaar Amthor, a vet with NorseAqua, agreed: ‘Sites are like people with ‘personality traits’, some good and some bad, and we need to know these so we use the right technology. ‘Know your resources and capabilities: do we have enough people, do they have the right knowledge and motivation?’ And Reidun Bjelland, of the Institute of Marine Research in Austevoll, who discussed cohabitation strategies, said people on farms need to be constantly updated and site specific health management was needed, with plans tailored to pens and staff. ‘Motivate the site staff – the more engaged they are, the strategy. better the survival of the cleanSandra Schlittenhardt, Marine er fish.’ Harvest Ireland’s vet (pictured She went to her first cleaner third from left), said: ‘Motivafish conference in 1995 and tion of site staff is crucial – they said many of the issues are the must be on board – with clean same – ‘we still need to learn,

- to prevent lumpsuckers attaching themselves to the sides of the tanks. ‘The fish are moved around a lot in harvest bins and when they first discharged the lumpsuckers, they opened the valve and all the water came out but no fish – they took the lid off and found the lumpsuckers attached to the side of the tank!’ Other associated products include small nets they put cleaner fish feed in and hang in the pens so the fish can eat through the net. Knox has made ‘thousands of those’, said Hutchens. The cleaner fish products will make up about five to seven per cent of turnover this year, he said, the biggest proportion yet and growing. He sees more potential for growth among Scottish customers, though it is hard to predict what will be needed on the farms. ‘We don’t know how long the hides are going to last in the sea, for instance. They have to wash them and if they are blasted with pressure washers they could disintegrate. Whether they will be disposable assets that last a cycle or longer, we don’t know yet.’ He would expect them to last at least a cycle or two, but that could be ongoing business – ‘it’s such early days’. ‘We have a guy out on the road all the time visiting customers…so we hope we’ve got our finger on the pulse when it comes to what they might need. ‘It’s important to just keep in touch. Our customer base is the same and this is just a different product, an add-on to the portfolio.’ FF

Cleaner Fish - Knox.indd 31

Left: Delegates from Ireland. Above: Reidun Bjelland from Norway’s Institute of Marine Research.

and about what has gone before…establish a good platform for communication’. Heather Jones, CEO of SAIC, told delegates to ‘go back and talk to colleagues who are not here about the importance of best practice and of communicating, and about the value of having dedicated teams and equipment’.

• Fish Cage Nets – Nylon & HDPE • Predator Solutions • Net Service Plant • Treatment Tarpaulins • Lice Skirts • Supplier of LIFT-UP • Wrasse Hides


05/06/2017 15:59:56

Cleaner fish – Disease control

Health check

Race for vaccines as rates of infection remain ‘unacceptably high’


OST rates of infection in cleaner fish remain unacceptably high and therefore there is a need for better vaccines, said Tim Wallis of Ridgeway Biologicals. Discussing his company’s development of autogenous vaccines, he said while in Norway there is a lot of work trying to identify the main pathogens, in the UK the causes of mortality are less understood. Autogenous vaccines are useful for controlling emerging pathogens, and to identify the main ones Ridgeway sent sampling kits to wrasse and lumpfish hatcheries.They also sampled three salmon cages with lumpfish and four with wrasse. Wallis said they didn’t see furunculosis very often but there were lots of other pathogens isolated in Scotland, such as atypical Aeromonas salmonicida, Pasteurella skyensis, Aliivibrio salmonicida, and Vibrio ordalii. Having isolated recognised pathogens and candidate novel pathogens, Ridgeway recommends an autogenous vaccine strategy that involves bath/ dip vaccines formulated to challenges in hatcheries: wrasse bath vaccine at 1g and 2g and lumpfish dip vaccine at 1g and 3g. Also recommended are injectable vaccines at 15g at least, 400 degree days before transfer to sea. Wallis said that although cleaner fish can be infected with pathogens that may threaten salmon health, salmon are vaccinated and so are safe. Pathogen prevalence is hatchery specific, and vaccination programmes need to target local pathogens pre- and post-deployment. On a practical level, there is an infrastructure gap for conducting these studies. Primary pathogen challenges require very well configured space and currently there is nowhere in Scotland that is suitable. Marine Scotland’s challenge trial facilities in Aberdeen are temporarily out of action as they undergo engineering work. And Stirling doesn’t have the facilities either, although it is planning a renovation programme to address this. Ridgeway Biological’s trials, therefore, are being conducted at the Cefas (Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science) laboratory in Weymouth, under subcontract. Meanwhile, Nils Fredrik Vestvik of Pharmaq in Norway said the only available cleaner fish vaccines at the moment are for atypical furunculosis and v.anguillarum, but neither are licensed yet.


Cleaner Fish Vaccines.indd 32

bad “areHow sea lice

mechanical treatments for cleaner fish?

Above: Marine Harvest Scotland vet Carolina Gutierrez (left) and Stirling PhD student Athina Papadopoulou.

Practical experience indicates low mortality and good growth after vaccination. Pharmaq also recommends a minimum size at vaccination of 8g and 500 degree days before sea transfer, so the fish can develop immunity. New challenges include moritella viscosa, possibly a primary pathogen which has been seen all over Norway this spring, causing high mortality. Going forward,Vestvik said it was important to focus on screening so farms don’t bring problems from the sea (broodstock) to land; screen broodstock for lumpfish virus, pasteurella, nukleospora; and, also, don’t bring problems from land to sea – such as pasteurella, lumpfish virus, atypical furunculosis. ‘Know the health status before adding new cleaner fish.’ Putting this advice into practice, Marine Harvest Scotland vet Carolina Gutierrez agreed that pre-transfer checks were key – ‘prevention is crucial’, she said in a talk on cohabitation disease control. At Marine Harvest sites, all farmed cleaner fish are tested for systematic bacterial infections and AGD before they leave the hatchery and treated if necessary – with a pre-deployment antibiotic course for seven days; a brackish bath for wrasse (12-15ppt for 30 hours); and a freshwater bath (0ppt for two hours) for lumpfish. Salmon of course are vaccinated, and all farmed cleaner fish are vaccinated with Ridgeway’s autogenous vaccines in the hatchery prior to deployment: they get two dips/bath immersions at 1g and 3g (wrasse and lumpsuckers); then one IP injection with oil based vaccines at 15g average for wrasse and a minimum of 7g for lumpfish. Cleaner fish are deployed at 400 degree days post vaccination. Gutierrez also talked about Marine Harvest’s approach to sea lice infection in cages.The gut content of cleaner fish is monitored regularly, weekly in dead fish and fortnightly in apparently healthy fish. Sea lice treatment of salmon includes Slice, Salmosan, freshwater baths, and mechanical methods, such as hydrolicers and thermolicers. ‘How bad are sea lice mechanical treatments for cleaner fish?’ Gutierrez asked, stressing the need for effective means of capturing wrasse and lumpfish prior to treating salmon. Farmers should prevent cleaner fish going into a thermolicer in the first place but in case they do, the equipment could be modified, she said, showing film of a wrasse getting stuck in the machine. With AGD, scores are monitored weekly in salmon, with gill swabs every two weeks in all species. Treatment includes freshwater baths for salmon and lumpfish – in the wellboat for a maximum of three hours; hydrogen peroxide (all three species) in tarpaulin for a maximum of 20 minutes, with approximately 1,200-1,400 ppm.Wrasse get alternative hydrogen peroxide treatments, and are siphoned off to a separate tank. It’s too difficult to do gill scores for cleaner fish, which are often positive to AGD long after salmon are negative following treatments. FF

05/06/2017 15:57:22

Health check

Re-using wrasse practices ‘have now been outlawed’ BALANCING the biosecurity risks of re-using cleaner fish from one generation to the next was a hotly discussed topic at the summit, inside and outside the conference hall. As lumpfish grow so fast they are too big after one cycle and are currently slaughtered with the salmon harvest, although there is talk about post-use markets (see right). With wrasse, though, farmers are keen to get the maximum benefit of their supplies, and have observed that experienced wrasse perform best. Marine Scotland’s official line is that cleaner fish can be re-used once, so they can be deployed for two cycles, but on the same site. However, farmers say they have recently received a letter from the government body saying that wrasse that have been removed with the salmon cannot then be returned to the pens, even to the same site. One farm worker told Fish Farmer that this had, until now, been common practice in the industry, with all the protocols in place to avoid the spread of disease. ‘We don’t move them between sites but what we were trying to do when they arrived at the harvest station with the salmon, was to hold them in a secure unit, disease screen them and then move them back to the site they came from. ‘You get the biggest benefit from your wrasse that way because as the salmon numbers deplete, your stocking density of cleaner fish goes up and they do a better job of cleaning. ‘We thought that was perfectly allowed, we do risk assessments and due diligence to make sure the fish are okay. But a letter has recently gone out to everybody saying that the practice is no longer acceptable. ‘Marine Scotland’s stance is that we have to hold the fish on site, preferably

Cleaner Fish Vaccines.indd 33

in a net, when it is fallowed for salmon. We have run into problems with this because keeping cleaner fish on a site for six months with no salmon is expensive. ‘You have to keep cleaning the nets, keep feeding the wrasse, and inevitably you’re going to have slow deterioration and natural losses. Once the six months has gone you may have lost 10 or 20 per cent of your stock. ‘You’ve put a lot of money into feeding them and they’ve just sat there doing nothing.And when you do stock your smolts, the wrasse have grown to such a size that they could actually damage the salmon.’ It is not possible to leave all the wrasse in the pen during a harvest, said the farm worker,. ‘The fish are pumped aboard a boat alive and you get mackerel and so on and all the cleaner fish.We put creels down to recover as much as possible in the week running up to a harvest and remove them to a cage that’s not due for harvest. ‘We try to get as many out as we can but if you have 1,000 wrasse in a cage and recover 60 per cent you’ve still got 300-400 wrasse which are then going off to the harvest station. ‘They can do so much good back on the site they came from. So we thought we would send them back but Marine Scotland has said no.’ Apparently, even if the cleaner fish are held in a secure unit for less than 24 hours and are not fed, that is still classified as a farm, and the fish are not allowed to be moved between farms. ‘If that’s the case, what is a smolt lorry? What is a wellboat? Are they farms?’ asked the farm employee, who works for one of Scotland’s big salmon companies. Cleaner fish managers are now looking at the options and trying to coordinate a joint response, he said.

Post-use possibilities for lumpfish

Above: Lumpfish Below left: Ballan wrasse

APART from salmon farmers, there is not much of a market for lumpfish. But this could change by targeting the right customers, said Nofima marketing scientist Bjorg Nostvold. She tested the potential of lumpfish with various groups, including Japanese and South Koreans, and interviewed international players at the recent Seafood Expo in Brussels. There was, she admitted, concern over how customers would react if they knew the fish were used as lice eaters. As it turned out, the reaction was mixed, with Thais saying ‘we eat anything that moves so we don’t care!’ Nostvold fried lumpfish in butter at home and said it had a strong taste like heavy halibut and her kids liked it. It’s also good for deep frying and with sweet and sour sauce, she suggested. With a 600g slaughter weight, it would be served as a fish per person and would lend itself to Norwegian dining habits – ‘we sit for hours with friends with lots of small dishes’. But when she tried it out on a sushi chef he said ‘this isn’t going to happen in the Norwegian market’, mostly because of the yield. However, when they gave a Japanese group lumpfish sashimi they ate everything and were ‘very enthusiastic’. In particular, they said it had lots of collagen, which is ‘very trendy’ in Asian countries – ‘they think if they eat plenty of collagen their skin won’t age’. From this research, Nostvold concluded that further study of Asian markets seems most relevant. There are lots of people in places like South Korea, for example, who eat a lot of seafood, including stuff we wouldn’t consider edible. It’s a ‘very exciting market’ with ‘potential value creation’. But there is a need for more research – into areas such as the collagen content of lumpfish.


05/06/2017 15:57:43

Cleaner fish – Performance

Gold standard Wild wrasse could teach farmed species in ‘training school’


dam Brooker of the University of Stirling, explaining recent research on wrasse, pointed out some of the differences between wild and farmed stocks, with the former being good at delousing and the latter being more variable. The university undertook a study on wrasse to investigate welfare performance, reaching the conclusion that ‘if you’ve got an unhappy wrasse there is no delousing’. With a focus on deployment and cage management, the research uncovered several ways to improve performance. First, wrasse need the minimum stress during transport and a recovery period in a keepnet. Brooker said fish that have been conditioned for life at sea fare better after transfer than non-conditioned fish, so conditioning is ‘a step in the right direction’. Conditioned fish showed diurnal variation, whereas non-conditioned fish stayed deep with little diurnal variation. The conditioning regime should involve a month’s adaptation in the hatchery with hides, agar supplementary feed blocks, ambient water temperatures, and diurnal photoperiods, followed by two weeks of net pen conditioning in keepnets with agar feed and hides. The agar blocks are a jelly feed developed at Stirling as a solution to minimising feed waste. Stable in water and palatable, they enable feed intake to be monitored more accurately. Wrasse are grazers and therefore pelleted feed is not ideal in net pens, said Brooker. As well as conditioning the wrasse to enhance performance, farmers should ensure there are appropriate stocking densities; the nets are clean to eliminate other food sources; and there is minimum disturbance from farm operations.


Claener Fish - Transport - Performance.indd 34

“Ifgotyou’ve an

unhappy wrasse there is no delousing

Below: Wrasse - wild could teach farmed fish a thing or two.

Brooker said that individual fish have individual behaviour – for example, there are hide fish, depth fish, edge of pen fish and corner fish. In a 2015 experiment with wild and farmed wrasse, researchers found significant differences: the wild fish had strong diurnal behaviour, high pen coverage and were all edge and corner fish, while the farmed species had low pen coverage, limited diurnal behaviour, and were mostly depth fish. Further research will explore tweaking the conditioning regime, looking at the effect of hide type/number/location on delousing performance; and the effect of temperature on behaviour. The researchers also want to do further research on lumpfish and cohabit wrasse with lumpfish. But with wrasse, preconditioning is key to optimising delousing performance – it shifts the range of behaviour phenotypes of farmed wrasse towards that of wild wrasse. And wild are ‘the gold standard’. ‘Their behaviour is what we want to achieve with farmed wrasse,’ said Brooker, adding that future projects might look at the performance of wild and farmed fish cohabiting, in a kind of ‘wrasse training school’. FF

05/06/2017 15:45:59

Cleaner fish – Transport

Handle with

care After a journey fish need acclimatisation and rest


HE high mortality rate among lumpfish in the weeks after transfer to sea may be linked to transportation and handling, although information about any such correlation is sparse. What is known is that there is a less developed supply chain with cleaner fish than salmon, resulting in longer transportation times. Thor Magne Jonassen of the research institute Akvaplan-niva outlined the results of a project on the transportation of lumpfish that began in October 2015 and concluded in February this year. ‘There is little knowledge on how lumpfish cope with transportation and stress,’ he said. ‘Early mortality at sea could be related so how can we optimise transport conditions?’ With a goal of discovering optimal transportation procedures, his team collected data from 15 different forms of commercial transport (mostly trucks) and measured stress parameters before, during and after transportation, and mortalities after transfer to sea. Then they did controlled transport simulations studying the effects of variable transport conditions on acute and chronic stress. Most transportation is done in two stages, primary – typically by truck, and then transfer to secondary transport in tanks on boats. Only two forms of transport in the experiment were just by wellboat- that is, with no transfer. The researchers looked at sedation or no sedation, starvation days, transport duration, crowding conditions, water quality during transport, temperatures and so on, measuring plasma cortisol levels to detect variations in stress. Among the findings, Jonassen said stress tended

Claener Fish - Transport - Performance.indd 35

to be higher in cold water temperatures than warmer ones. In general, water quality is more stable in primary transport (lorries) than secondary (wellboats). Secondary transport can be ‘quite primitive’, he said, therefore there are more challenges at this stage. Stress levels showed a modest increase after primary transport but an increased level after secondary transport. He questioned whether the variable levels were all related to transport conditions or the effect of handling. Or even down to less time allowed for acclimatisation and rest. They found that the starvation effect produced no increased stress when starving for two to three days. (The fish are starved to reduce the metabolic rate and thus reduce waste during transport.) Increased stress levels were found 45 to 65 minutes after loading on to the truck, probably due to handling stress. And there were significantly higher stress levels in fish that had been sedated at the transfer from the truck to secondary transport compared to those that weren’t, so it was recommended that fish should not be sedated from primary to secondary transport. In the simulated tanks they tested six different transport conditions with a control of fish netted from one tank to another with no transport. There was a big difference between transported

and non-transported fish but the fish got back to pre-stress levels after 20 hours. Significantly, they found that longer journeys are less stressful than shorter ones as the fish are given time to adapt. Stocking density made little difference, and nor did increased temperatures, fish size or oxygen saturation. And there was no evidence of chronic stress effects after transport and transfer to sea. Jonassen reminded the audience that all the trials took place under ideal transport conditions, whereas in real life fish may be already stressed. In conclusion, he suggested carrying out risk assessments, handling fish with care (‘do it fast and gentle!’), being aware of lumpfish attaching to tubes and tank surfaces, and trying to avoid the handling of fish during transportation. Direct transport is possible, and the technology exists. This was later borne out by Age Kristian Hansen, whose company Leppefisk transports cleaner fish in 12-tank lorries. It’s a direct transfer system, which they tried with Grieg in the north of Norway, cutting out the middle, secondary stage. This, he said, had good results, with fish transferred directly on to the boat, without handling. Following a discussion among delegates, suggestions for best practice included minimising handling, better communication between supplier and user, training, and a dedicated team and resources. FF

mortality at sea could be “Early related to transportation ”


05/06/2017 15:46:19

Cleaner fish – Feed

Known unknowns More questions than answers as different wrasse and lumpfish diets are trialled


ADS Lenes of Marine Harvest Norway said the question asked most often at farm sites is ‘how do you feed the cleaner fish?’ ‘The answer is not too much and not too little but how much is that?’ The main aim is to keep the fish healthy and fit enough to eat lice. Lenes, who is the cleaner fish coordinator in Norway’s northernmost region, said they use ballan wrasse, goldsinny, corkwing and lumpfish and each of the company’s four regions have different approaches. For example, more wrasse is used in the south due to the warmer sea temperatures. Marine Harvest Norway used six million cleaner fish in 2016, 60 per cent wild and 40 per cent farmed, though as Olav Breck had said earlier, in under two years all would be farmed. While wild and farmed wrasse and lumpfish are fed differently, there are two things common to all: feed is presented close to artificial kelp (hides) to create a short distance between the cleaner fish and the salmon – to allow for easier interaction; and they start feeding straight after deployment and feed a lot, by hand at first. Lumpfish are fed every day from June to December, and then four days a week from December to May. They use autofeeders and dry feed but the most important thing is to use the same feed that cleaner fish producers use. They start the feeding at the same time they feed the salmon, and feed for three to six hours. For the rest of the day they can eat lice. They are fed by hand once a week so site staff can spot any differences in behaviour. In the north, Marine Harvest is trying to feed 80 per cent via autofeeders and 20 per cent by hand to see if mortality decreases. Wrasse are fed three to seven days a week depending on the temperature. They use either autofeeders or bait bags, with three to six bait bags per unit, which are checked every day to keep track of their appetite. Wild wrasse are fed more or less the same as farmed, but from bait bags only. The problem, said Lenes, was trying to feed two species at the same time in the salmon cages. Feed can’t solve all the problems associated with cleaner fish performance but it’s definitely a factor in production, said BioMar’s Dan Leeming. The goal for feed companies is to increase the production of stronger, more robust fish with improved lice eating efficiency. To achieve this, BioMar has collaborated with SAIC, FHF, the Institute of Aquaculture, the Machrihanish wrasse project, Marine Harvest Scotland,


Cleaner Fish - Feed.indd 36

Above right: Jonas

Jonasson of StofnFiskur.

Scottish Seas Farms, the Scottish Salmon Ccompany and Otter Ferry Seafish. Hampered by a lack of literature about the nutrient requirements of wrasse and lumpfish, the company has nevertheless developed a range of feeds for cleaner fish, throughout the lifecycle. The objectives with the wrasse Symbio range were to improve the feed intake, utilisation and growth; reduce the dependence on krill without affecting palatability and with no impact on specific growth rates (SGR). They set about making a grower feed with higher moisture diet for wrasse, reducing the FCR by 29 per cent. This offers better growth and more efficient feed usage. The Symbio range for lumpfish includes larval feed, with a high protein content that helps the fish move on to a granular feed; pro-wean and

05/06/2017 15:44:11

Known unknowns

Qrill. The latter is produced by Aker BioMarine and used by BioMar to make cleaner fish feeds. It is processed immediately after catching so is very fresh, MSC certified, and 100 per cent traceable - but because it is in limited supply, how it is distributed is key. Trials with specialty feed in 3,500 lumpfish produced good results with no deformities (that is, none caused by nutrition) and an SGR of 5.92 per cent. For lumpfish, the objective was to trial different density diets to influence growth rates to optimal for deployment. The fish are big eaters – ‘they eat anything and grow very fast,’ said Reidun Bjelland of Norway’s Institute of Marine Research. This is a new problem for salmon farmers. As Chris Mtichell of Pharmaq said, ‘the drive in fish

Cleaner Fish - Feed.indd 37

“Not too muchmuchandisnotthat?too little but how ”

nutrition for the last 30 years has been how do you get them to grow quickly and efficiently and here we’ve got an animal that is growing too quickly’. BioMar’s trials involved trying to slow down growth rates- taking nutrients away, and testing the effect of different nutrient densities on growth. A low density diet resulted in a very low survival rate, said Leeming. ‘We don’t know why but it’s a work in progress.’ In the Faroe Islands, where farmers only use lumpfish farmed in Iceland, the best results came

when they were fed artemia in the first two weeks of start feeding, said Kirstin Eliasen of Fiskaaling. After 700 degree days lumpfish juveniles are weaned to 0.5mm dry feed pellets. In Iceland, too, artemia produced the best results with lumpfish. Jonas Jonasson of StofnFiskur – which has built a farm to produce two million lumpfish- said to save money they used rotifiers instead of artemia but got lots of deformities and so switched to artemia. ‘If you want cleaner fish to eat live feed later on, train it when it’s young by feeding it artemia!’ he said. FF


05/06/2017 15:44:29

Cleaner fish – Feed

Diets that


Finding the right feed at each life-stage is integral to success says Skretting


KRETTING UK signed up Jamie Johnston, the company’s new hatchery technical sales advisor, to attend the cleaner fish summit in Glasgow before he had started his job, so he was immediately challenged with getting to grips with this growing sector. But after only several weeks in post he already sounds like an old hand as he talks about rearing – and specifically feeding – lumpfish and wrasse. Johnston, originally from County Durham and now based at Skretting in Invergordon, gained plenty of hatchery experience during his previous employment at Flo-Gro Systems, a Lincolnshire firm that produces vannamei (whiteleg shrimp) in recirculating aquaculture systems. Before then he did a teaching degree at Durham University, after graduating with a first class degree in aquaculture and fisheries management from Sparsholt College. He thinks the teaching course has given him transferable skills, not just in public speaking and all round confidence, but also in planning and organisation. But aquaculture was his first love. His interest in fish was sparked at the age of 11 when his father took him to a koi carp competition. He is now an internationally recognised koi carp judge, having taken ornamental fish judging exams at 21, and travels the country for his hobby. Johnston’s responsibilities at Skretting incorporate technical sales support and product management for freshwater salmon hatcheries, as well as providing sales and technical support for marine hatchery customers, including those using cleaner fish, currently a growth area for


Cleaner Fish - Skretting.indd 38

Clockwise from above: Lumpfish; attached to an inlet of a tank; Skreting’s Jamie Johnston; lumpfish stuck to the bottom and side of a tank.

the industry. He describes the advances that have been made with cleaner fish in a short time as impressive – ‘it’s always a challenge to bring a new species into aquaculture and commercialise its production’. ‘The progress has been very quick with cleaner fish, thanks to a concerted effort from both industry and academia and the various funding bodies that are supporting industry. ‘These fish are not 100 per cent understood yet but I think we’re getting there quickly. For example, a customer I visited with a lumpfish hatchery is now achieving over 75 per cent survival from hatch – a big improvement over what he achieved in his earliest cycles.’ Some of the success of lumpfish farming in particular is intrinsic to the species, which can

05/06/2017 15:41:54

Diets that work

When you’re starting to farm a new species, especially in a hatchery environment, attention to detail and biosecurity is very important

be grown to the point of deployment in sea cages in six or seven months, compared to ballan wrasse which has an 18-month grow out time. Survival at all points in the production cycle is partly water related, Johnston thinks, but also down to the level of staff engagement with the fish. ‘When you’re starting to farm a new species, especially in a hatchery environment, attention to detail and biosecurity is very important. ‘I saw that with shrimp – if some part of the culture facility was overlooked and not being cleaned regularly and sufficiently that’s when you start running into problems.’ The right feed is also an integral part of success with cleaner fish. The requirement for species and life-stage specific feed solutions has been recognised by Skretting in its new range of cleaner fish feeds that complements the Gemma range and is set to be launched into the UK market in August. While the company has a portfolio of hatchery and in-cage feeds for cleaner fish that includes Gemma Silk, a slow sink hatchery diet, and the successful in-cage solution, Amber Neptune, the new range incorporates the latest nutritional knowledge and understanding of the feeding behaviour and preferences of both wrasse and lumpfish. Branded as Clean, it will consist of feeds for all stages of lumpfish production, from broodstock to maintenance at sea, as well as a new in-cage feed solution for wrasse called Clean Soft. ‘The physical characteristics and palatability of cleaner fish feeds are very important and need to be tailored to the specific species and life stage,’ said Johnston. ‘For example, in the hatchery if the pellet sinks too quickly juvenile fish will not have time to feed and a lot of feed may be wasted, negatively affecting the culture conditions. ‘So what’s required in this setting is a slow sinking food so the fish actually see it and get interested in it.’ The new Clean Soft feed for wrasse deployed in sea cages incorporates the use of mesh feeding bags positioned at dedicated feeding stations within the cage, enabling the cleaner fish to graze the pellets at known positions and regular meal times. ‘The reason it’s been named Clean Soft is because over time it takes up the water and becomes a softer pellet, while maintaining the pellet integrity, allowing the fish an extended period to feed,’ Johnston explained. ‘Wrasse especially prefer to feed by grazing on static feed presented at feeding stations.’ ‘Lumpfish can also be very picky eaters and need a visual stimulus to go and take the feed. They prefer small pellets throughout the deployment period. ‘The right nutrition to maintain a robust and effective lumpfish is currently delivered through the Amber Neptune 1.5mm and 2.0mm products which will be superseded when our Clean range for lumpfish is launched in the summer. ‘Regardless of individual management strategies, whether wrasse and lumpfish are kept

Cleaner Fish - Skretting.indd 39

together or not, you need to tailor the feeding and husbandry strategy appropriately. You might have to think about a slow sinking pellet for your lumpfish and a static solution for the wrasse.’ Trying to slow down the growth of lumpfish once they have been deployed in sea cages, Johnston agrees, is an ‘unfamiliar concept’ – ‘how often have you heard fish farmers saying ‘my fish are growing too quickly’?’ This conundrum is something that Skretting has addressed and its in-cage feeds deliver solutions that focus not only on the critical transfer phase from hatchery to sea but also on maintaining robustness and performance throughout the deployment period, rather than very quick growth. There is also a production challenge around vaccination times and the withdrawal periods, said Johnston. ‘The hatcheries obviously want to get their lumpfish vaccinated and delivered to customers as quickly as possible but the time between being vaccinated at 8-10g and the point where they’ve had the recommended number of degree days to ensure the full onset of immunity may result in them being bigger than the optimum deployment size.’ Skretting continues to invest strongly in marine fish research and development, and commercial sales in Norway of the new Clean range have been strong, following close collaboration with customers and external partners over its efficacy across the lifecycle of both species of cleaner fish. Skretting plans to employ a similar partnership approach with customers using cleaner fish in the UK. FF


05/06/2017 15:42:48

Cleaner fish – Research

Filling in the gaps Addressing lack of knowledge in lumpfish culture BY ADAM POWELL1, JIM W. TREASURER2 , CRAIG L. POOLEY1 , ALEX J. KEAY1 , RICHARD LLOYD1 , ALBERT K. IMSLAND3,4 AND CARLOS GARCIA DE LEANIZ1,


T IS estimated that 50 million cleaner fish will be required by 2020 (10 million in the UK), most of which will be lumpfish. Such large numbers can only be achieved through commercial production. Lumpfish continue feeding at temperatures as low as 4 deg C and can be ready for deployment in salmon farms in as little as four months, much sooner than ballan wrasse, which typically require 1.5 years. Unlike production of wrasse, which has increased only modestly, commercial production of lumpfish has grown exponentially in the last few years. It reached 11.8 million juveniles in Norway during 2015 and 0.8 million in the UK and was expected to exceed 30 million juveniles in 2016, 20 million in Norway alone. The first pilot trials for the commercial production of lumpfish started in 2011 and consequently research and development are still at a very early stage, with production still relying on the capture of wild broodstock, which has been argued by some as unsustainable. To supply the salmon farming industry with the number of lumpfish required for sea lice control, the species needs to be reared entirely in captivity. Knowledge of the use of cleaner fish to delouse farmed salmon has increased much in recent years, but 87 per cent of studies refer to the use of wrasse and only 13 per cent refer to lumpfish. As with other novel species in aquaculture, there are critical gaps in knowledge. Reproduction of lumpfish in captivity To provide the numbers of lumpfish required by the salmon farming industry, research is needed on reproduction and control of maturation for year-round production, possibly using photoperiod and hormone control. In Britain, adults breed in shallow waters over rocky substrates during the winter and typically mature at three to five years of age, although some populations may mature after only two years. Males are typically smaller than females, develop a larger suction cup and mature earlier. Post spawning survival is low, sometimes as little as 10 per cent, which suggests that fish may only spawn once. Wild females readily spawn in small tanks and without the


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need of substrate, but such eggs tend to yield lower survival as they are difficult to incubate optimally once they have hardened; for this reason, artificial fertilisation of lumpfish is recommended as it allows manipulation of the egg mass before it hardens.

Above: Ardtoe’s Jim Treasurer, one of the authors, at the Glasgow cleaner fish summit.

Larviculture Lumpfish are a highly fecund species and may be expected to experience a type III mortality, whereby the lowest age specific survival is observed early in life, coinciding with the onset of external feeding, as is typical of many other fish species. This stage has been termed the critical time for survival and is the stage where the greatest gain in survival can be achieved through larviculture. Lumpfish larvae feed differently to most other cultured fish due to the ventral suction cup. This likely reduces energy expenditure and may enable larvae to feed passively, although they become more active a few weeks post-hatch. In experimental conditions where food density was maintained constant at 1000 Artemia L1, lumpfish larvae grew faster when food was administered in short pulses than when it was administered continuously. However, foraging mode appears to depend on prey abundance. Thus, when prey is abundant (750 Artemia L1), lumpfish adopt a ‘passive cling’ foraging mode, but when prey is scarce (75 Artemia L1), they resort to the more costly ‘active swim’ mode. On-growing Some early attempts at rearing lumpfish commercially consisted of bringing wild caught juveniles into salmon cages and feeding them on proprietary salmon and flatfish feeds. However, high mortality ensued, attributed to fat deposits in the liver and brain, highlighting the need for the formulation of specific diets. Novel formulated feeds, based on body composition and having a lower oil composition, are being produced specifically for rearing lumpfish in cages. Highest growth rates have been observed for automatic feeders compared to hand-fed fish, for fish reared at a low stocking density compared to high density and for fish fed under a more intensive feeding regime. Overall, it was thought economically viable to rear lumpfish in cages until sexual maturation (i.e. to a larger size than currently reared sea lice control). Recent studies indicate that the optimal temperature for growth of cultured lumpfish decreases with body size. Thus, while a temperature of 15.7 deg C

05/06/2017 15:56:25

Filling in the gaps appears optimal for growth of juveniles 11–20g in mass, it decreases to 8.9 deg C for 120–200g fish. This suggests the need to adopt a rearing strategy of ‘temperature steps’ during on-growing and grading, although eye cataracts were observed in some fish when temperature exceeded 13 deg C.

The “ production

of selected lines with desirable traits needs to be developed

Disease management It is not known to what extent lumpfish are susceptible to diseases listed in current aquatic animal health regulations, and this needs to be reviewed as a risk to the developing cleaner fish industry. For example, IPN and VHS have both been detected in farmed lumpfish, and there have been recent instances of atypical Furunculosis, Pasteurellosis, Vibriosis and bacterial gill disease. The development of vaccines for certified disease free production of juveniles is thus a research priority and some recent progress has been made with autologous vaccines, although the highly variable nature of bacterial strains isolated from fish farms may complicate the development of full-scale vaccine trials. Fungal infection is a common disease of adult lumpfish in captivity and can be a major cause of mortality. For example, at a Scottish marine hatchery, fungal infection caused up to 45 per cent losses in hatchery reared broodstock over two years. Several species of fungi were probably involved, but those belonging to the genus Exophiala appear to be the most common. Treatment has been attempted via 200 ppm formalin and bronopol baths 25 ppm active for 30 min. Treatment has not always been successful, and culling of heavily infected fish is recommended. Given the likely future restrictions on the use of formalin in fish farming (Cefas 2016), control of fungal diseases is expected to become increasingly challenging until new treatments are developed. Amoebic gill disease (AGD) is common in farmed salmon in northern Europe and also affects ballan wrasse and lumpfish, having caused lumpfish mortalities in the UK and Norway. AGD can be controlled with hydrogen peroxide but this can be very harsh on the fish. At Ardtoe, lumpfish appear tolerant of freshwater, and the administration of freshwater baths for 3–5 h, or the continuous exposure to 15 ppt brackish water over 7–10 days have both been effective. Caligus is typically the most common sea lice present in lumpfish, but several other parasitic copepods may also be present at lower prevalence. To our knowledge, there are no records of the salmon louse, Lepeophtheirus salmonis, infecting lumpfish.

In the presence of salmon, lumpfish appear to be more active and spend less time resting. No antagonistic behaviour between lumpfish and salmon has been observed and the two species seem to coexist in sea cages. Recent data suggest that one-third of lumpfish may die of starvation in salmon cages within a few weeks after deployment. Understanding their feeding preferences is, hence, essential. In sea-cage trials, the proportion of lumpfish eating sea lice increased from 13–17 per cent at day 11 to 33–38 per cent at day 77, suggesting there may be a learning component. The actual proportion of lumpfish eating sea lice may have been higher, as these values were derived from gastric lavaging, which would have missed fully digested sea lice. It has been estimated that if 30 per cent or more lumpfish consumed sea lice on a regular basis, then sea lice infestation levels would be greatly suppressed. However, lumpfish are opportunistic, omnivorous feeders and will not only feed on sea lice, but also on salmon pellets and many organisms found in sea cages, which need to be kept clean to encourage delousing behaviour. It might be possible to increase delousing efficiency by selecting individuals that have a greater affinity for consuming sea lice, and perhaps also by conditioning them prior to deployment. Family variation and potential inheritance of delousing behaviour Large differences in sea lice grazing have been observed among individual lumpfish in a semi-commercial trial. In a follow-up study, significant variation was found among nine families deployed in sea cages, with cages housing the most efficient lumpfish showing a 70 per cent reduction in sea lice infestation. Although behavioural traits tend to show low heritability in fish, if the heritability of sea lice grazing is high enough, this would open exciting possibilities for selecting lines with superior delousing performance, which would improve welfare and reduce the number of lumpfish required by industry. Interactions between lumpfish and other cleaner fish Wrasse tend to eat more sea lice than lumpfish but are not suitable for delousing below 6 deg C. Lumpfish, on the other hand, can continue to feed at 4 deg C and have the potential to survive the winter even in the northernmost salmon farms. Thus, a two-species cleaner fish system involving wrasse and lumpfish might be an advantage, provided lumpfish can coexist with wrasse in sea cages. No information is available on interactions between different species of cleaner fish in sea cages, and this is a research area that warrants further study. Also, the possible exchange of pathogens between lumpfish and wrasse when both are held in the same cages should be investigated. Strategies for advancing lumpfish aquaculture The ultimate goal of the emerging lumpfish aquaculture industry is to produce disease free juveniles that adapt well to deployment in salmon pens, and are efficient at delousing farmed salmon while maintaining the health and welfare of both salmon and cleaner fish. One approach towards achieving this goal might be to examine the development and challenges faced by the more mature wrasse farming industry as a precedent. A handbook on production of ballan wrasse has recently been published under the ‘LeppeProd’ project, and similar technical guidance would be very useful for lumpfish culture. This is still a relatively new species for aquaculture, and no selective programme for lumpfish is currently in place, but the production of selected lines with desirable traits needs to be developed. As lumpfish are not farmed for human consumption, but rather to remove sea lice from salmon, the targets of artificial selection will differ from those applied to most other cultured fish which are typically selected for fast growth and high conversion efficiency. In the case of lumpfish, commercial production will benefit from selecting individuals that show a high affinity for preying on sea lice. Strains showing slow growth may also be advantageous, as lumpfish stop eating sea lice when they reach a size of 300–400g. FF

Behaviour in sea cages Although lumpfish spend relatively little time removing lice, it is sufficient to reduce parasite loads significantly. During daylight, lumpfish spend the majority of time foraging, and when not foraging, they tend to be found resting on floating seaweed or remain stationary (‘hovering’) just under them. At night, they prefer to aggregate on smooth 1 Centre for Sustainable Aquatic Research (CSAR), Swansea University; 2 FAI plastic and concrete substrates (thought to be Aquaculture Ardtoe; 3 University of Bergen; 4 Akvaplan-niva, Iceland. similar to seaweed), rather than on stones or car tires. As with ballan wrasse, availability of suitable substrates is also thought to be important for health To read the full report, see Reviews in Aquaculture (2017), 0, 1-20, ‘Use of and welfare of lumpfish deployed in salmon cages. lumpfish for sea-lice control in salmon farming: challenges and opportunities’.

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05/06/2017 15:56:43

Aqua Nor preview – Introduction

Aqua more! Norway gears up for record breaking show


CHINESE delegation is hoping to attend this year’s Aqua Nor exhibition following a series of high level recent visits from the Norwegians to China. During the latest, and the largest ever, trade mission from Norway, with about 130 participants, fisheries minister Per Sandberg led representatives from companies and organisations including Nofima, Pharmaq, Stingray Marine Solutions, Nordlaks, Ocean Aqua Farms, Aker BioMarine, Seafood Norway and the Nor-Fishing Foundation, the organisers of Aqua Nor. The latter’s communications director, Erik Hempel, went too, for a flying visit to Beijing, to deliver a presentation on Norwegian aquaculture at a technology seminar of 450 people. Hempel said preparations for the recent trips, which began with a visit by Prime Minister Erna Solberg, had taken about three years, ‘very quietly’ behind the scenes. Since 2010, when relations between the two countries soured over the awarding of a Nobel peace prize to a Chinese dissident, the government in Oslo has been trying to rebuild ties. The rewards for the Norwegians are clear, with some companies reaping the dividends already from collaborations. SalMar, for instance, has had a huge ‘oil rig type platform’ built in China, which

Nofima-seminar AT AQUA NOR

We don’t “have one

square metre left – in fact, we have more than 100 companies on the waiting list

is now on its way back to Norway and due to be operational by August. The structure was built after SalMar’s development licence applications were approved last year. Hempel said that not all exports to China stopped after 2010: ‘They didn’t fall, they stagnated for about four years and then, around 2014, they jumped again.’ He welcomes the prospect of a large Chinese presence in Trondheim in August but such is the success of the event this year that hotel space is already at a premium. The biennial show, held over four days, is set to be a record breaker, with all available stands booked out months ago, despite the organisers laying on extra space. ‘There will be more than 550 exhibitors although we don’t have final numbers yet,’ said Hempel. ‘We don’t have one square metre left – in fact we have more than 100 companies on the waiting list. ‘We did have a waiting list two years ago but not like this. We were sold out in October this time, which is a first.’ Apart from most of the big names in Norwegian aquaculture, and many from overseas, Scotland included, there has been increased interest from the offshore industry this year. ‘They are both exhibiting and coming as visitors,’ said Hempel. ‘The offshore industry is beginning to recover but they haven’t lost interest in fishing and aquaculture. These people are used to spending massive amounts of money on exhibitions.’

Taste of things to come Photo: Terje Aamodt©Nofima

Closed containment aquaculture:

Nofima cordially invites the aquaculture industry to six short and newsworthy presentations. Scientists will present new research findings about the growth and health of salmon and associated challenges of closed systems. You will get an expert opinion on the potential of this new production form, from the knowledge hub of CtrlAQUA. Time: 13.00-14.00 Tuesday 15. August. Place: Aqua Nor fair in Trondheim. Language: English Free entrance


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SEAWEED AS is located at Værlandet and Bulandet at the mouth of the Sognefjord, and is a relatively newly established producer of seaweed for human consumption. But already, the company is a leader in its field in Norway. ‘Seaweed AS is a fully integrated seaweed producer, which means that we have our own hatchery, we have our own growing facilities, harvesting vessels and a production facility,’ said the company’s says Audun Oddekalv. The counties of Norway’s West Coast began developing the culture of alternative species in 2007, through the ‘West Coast Programme for new aquaculture species’. The four counties in the region will share a joint stand at Aqua Nor. On the West Coast there is also algae production for uses other than as human food. To date, NOK 18 million has been invested in a pilot project for growing micro algeae at Mongstad in Hordaland county. The plan is to use CO2 from TCM Mongstad in the production of future fish feed. The West Coast will be located at stand D-333

05/06/2017 15:31:39

Aqua more!

There was a significant presence from the offshore sector at last year’s Nor Fishing exhibition in Trondheim, and many expressed an interest then in attending the aquaculture show. ‘The offshore people I’ve talked to have said we’ll come and have a look,’ said Hempel, who anticipates visitor numbers reaching 25,000 in August, up from

22,000 in 2015. Much of the exhibition’s success can be attributed to the healthy state of the salmon industry. Prices are ‘ridiculous’ said Hempel – ‘it was NOK 71 per kg last week to the farmer. It hasn’t been like that for 20 years. Salmon farmers have

Above: The opening day of Aqua Nor 2015.


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FISH EQUIPMENT Quality supplier


+47 38610530fish


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move the textbox up to the righ Aqua Nor - Intro.indd 43

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T E C H N O L O G Y By developing technology focused on solving the biological challenges we contribute to the continued development of a sustainable industry

with fish welfare as the most important success criteria. Good fish health is paramount in achieving good results and investing in our technology will help deliver both.

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Aqua more!

Seminar highlights Closed operations Tuesday, August 15 from 13:00–14:00. Conference tent. Nofima invites the aquaculture industry and all other interested parties to six short presentations. Meet hand-picked researchers from Nofima or CtrlAQUA SFI who will tell you about what research shows regarding the growth and health of salmon, as well as the challenges, in closed operations. Innovations and patents Wednesday, August 16 from 13:00 – 15:00. Meeting room M8 Innovation has been and will continue to be a central activity in the development of the aquaculture industry. This seminar aims to show what Norwegian authorities have done to promote innovation in the aquaculture industry, and how innovation can be protected through proper patents. Financing and insurance Wednesday, August 16 from 10:30 – 13:00. Meeting room A4 Many investors experience difficulties in obtaining adequate financing for their projects in the aquaculture industry. Once established, they also find it difficult to get insurance coverage for their operations. This seminar will present different sources of finance, and will also take a look at how to obtain adequate insurance for aquaculture operations.

a lot of money at the moment which is probably why we’ll see so many of them at the exhibition this year.’ Alongside the exhibition, there will be a seminar programme, which will include a discussion, run by the Nor-Fishing Foundation, on the theme ‘Modern aquaculture – more than salmon’. Norwegian aquaculture is mostly about salmon farming. However, the technology that has been developed and applied to salmon farming may be adapted to other species and other environments, too. The seminar (on Tuesday, August 15 from 2-75pm, room A4) will explore some of the technologies, the other species and other approaches to modern aquaculture. Innovation Norway is running an internationalisation seminar which, said Hempel, is aimed at the exhibitors so is being held at 5.30pm. ‘They offer them a cold beer before they go back to their hotels and give a presentation on the international market for aquaculture technology. ‘And in cooperation with the Norwegian patent office we have added a patent and innovation seminar – very interesting stuff. ‘This will be good for those countries where aquaculture is less well established, such as in Africa, where they have difficulty getting finance. The banks don’t dare go into this – where is the collateral, they ask. Well, the collateral is swimming about in the sea.’ The innovation awards, a regular Aqua Nor feature, have attracted a record number of 28 applications for 2017. This is despite a change in the rules which means that research institutions can’t apply. ‘We wanted to focus on the companies and individuals – the award [worth NOK 100,000] is much more important to them,’ said Hempel. ‘Even so we’ve had a massive increase in applications.’ As many as 13 of these came from countries other than Norway, and some applicants have submitted more than one project each. Applications have been received from Australia, Canada, Denmark, France, Scotland, Sweden, Tasmania, Germany and the US. The chair of Nor-Fishing Foundation, Liv Holmefjord, said: ‘This confirms that there is a lot of innovation in many countries going on, and this activity will benefit both the award winners and the aquaculture industry as a whole.’ The applications are now being reviewed by a jury, which will then nominate three candidates for the final. The Nor-Fishing Foundation board will make its final decision on the day before Aqua Nor 2017 opens, and the award will be presented during the opening ceremony on August 15. There will also be an award for the best stand at the exhibition. A specially selected jury visits all stands to pick the finalists and the winner, who is announced on the third day of the exhibition. Aqua Nor 2017, August 15-18, Trondheim Spektrum. FF

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Controlling water quality Fish health and welfare Wednesday, August 16 from 13:30 – 16:00. Conference tent A healthy and happy fish is a fish that eats and grows. But that is not the only reason why we should be concerned about fish health and fish welfare. In this seminar, we take a closer look at how the fish lives in the cages and how we can monitor fish health.

Visit us at AquaNor Stand B-101


05/06/2017 15:32:31

Aqua Nor preview – Students

Tomorrow’s talent Employers can meet future recruits in special ‘speed-dating’ event


HIS year’s student day at Aqua Nor will provide an opportunity for young people to get to know the aquaculture and seafood business better. Hosted by the Nor-Fishing Foundation together with Sett Sjøbein, NTNU, NTNU Ocean club, the Norwegian Seafood Federation, and the Norwegian Fishermen’s Association, the event will be held on the final day of the show. While entry to Aqua Nor is free all week for the hundreds of students who typically turn up, Friday, August 18, has a special focus and programme for them. Among the highlights, Eirik Newth, astrophysicist and writer, will give a speech on global trends, technology and how these will form lives and jobs in the future, particularly related to the ocean. This will be followed by young professionals in the seafood business sharing their stories to inspire their peers. After lunch there is time to explore the fair, followed by the popular ‘speed-dating’ session with companies in the afternoon. One of the firms keen to meet youngsters at the show is Maritech, the Norwegian software producer which supplies solutions for the seafood industry. ‘We participate in Student Day at Aqua Nor to present ourselves as an attractive employer,’ said Maritech account manager Christine Møller-Christensen. ‘At the same time, it is important to be visible and to get to know those Above: Maritech’s who want to enter our industry – and to support them in their choice. Christine Møller‘We are looking for talented programmers who would like to develop toChristensen. morrow’s solutions for digitalisation and automation in the seafood industry, and we also seek economists, marketers and many other talents.

Students who show they are interested will be at the front of the line if they apply for a job with us later


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‘Although we may not have vacant positions in all specialties, the students that we meet during student day will have an advantage later. ‘Maritech can also offer project studies and diploma studies as well as summer jobs. By participating in student day, students show that they are interested and wish to keep abreast of developments – and by doing so they will be at the front of the line if they apply for a job with us later.’ Maritech participated in the previous student day in 2015 and Møller-Christensen said it was ‘a really positive experience to participate the last time’. After the speed-dating, there is a happy hour, co-hosted by Youngfish and providing further mingling options for the students. Those who want to join in can sign up either via Facebook or the Aqua Nor website. And any companies interested in participating in the speed-dating can get in touch with the organisers. Employers are encouraged to engage with students during the day, by inviting them on to their stands and taking part in the speed-dating, and perhaps meet the talent of tomorrow. However, the student day will mostly be in Norwegian say the organsiers. FF

05/06/2017 15:30:37

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05/06/2017 10:32:55

Aqua Nor preview – Inverlussa

Hard worker Boat built to keep up with fast changing industry


INVERLUSSA Marine Services has just taken delivery of its latest boat, the 25m Gina Mary, bringing its fleet up to 10. A slightly larger sister vessel is due to arrive in September, from the same yard, Havyard Ship Technology in Leirvik, Norway, and both have been designed by Mull based Inverlussa and Macduff of Aberdeen, specifically to service the aquaculture industry. The Gina Mary has already started work for Marine Harvest, while the next vessel is likely to be contracted to another Scottish salmon farming company, said Inverlussa managing director Ben Wilson. ‘They are both going to be multi-purpose treatment vessels for aquaculture. One of the differences with this boat is we’ve designed it specifically for aquaculture. Normally, we would have aquaculture in mind but maybe try to tick some other boxes as well.’ Inverlussa builds its boats on spec, which is a risk, especially with the cost for the Gina Mary being ‘considerably more’ than the contract price of £3 million. But, as Wilson said, the company knows its customers. ‘We’ve been in the market for a wee while and we’ve learnt a lot and always been quite focused on new designs and innovations. So rather than buying a boat off the market that’s been designed already, we design our own or have them designed for us. ‘The industry is changing so quickly and the vessels need to change as well. We want to make sure we’re keeping up with the industry. ‘We have vessels working every day on fish farms and we get good input from our skippers and our crews and they have a clear idea of what works and what doesn’t.’ Inverlussa boats are fully crewed and maintained by the company, which now has a staff of 60, including crews and office employees. The Gina Mary can be fitted with various delousing systems and has the space for a twin hydrolicer, a thermolicer or three ISO tanks for hydrogen peroxide. At times of the year when the treatments are quiet the vessel can switch ‘quite quickly and quite easily’ to other tasks, such as heavy mooring or towing work, or net removal. ‘It is really multi-purpose,’ said Wilson. ‘The market is looking for this versatility… and if you want to be a player you need to be able to invest in building the right equipment and it’s got to be specifically designed for the market.’ Wilson, whose


Aqua Nor - Inverlussa.indd 48

We’ve always been quite focused on new designs and innovations

Above and left: The Gina Mary, inside and out; Inverlussa managing director Ben Wilson.

family background is in shellfish farming, diversified into building vessels more than 10 years ago, setting up Inverlussa Marine Services in 2006. Changes in the salmon industry have driven the growth of the business. But, he said, it is a fairly small market and the balance of boats in Scotland now is about right. He doesn’t currently have customers in Norway but is a regular visitor to Aqua Nor. In 2015, he took one of his vessels, which provided a popular meeting place, especially for numerous Scots, on Skansen harbour. This year all the Inverlussa boats are busy, but Wilson will be at the show again – ‘the Scottish industry goes and it’s important to be there’. FF

05/06/2017 15:28:49

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05/06/2017 10:30:51

Aqua Nor preview – Scotland

Highland hopes First ever national pavilion will focus on global growth

Left and opposite: Scenes from the 2015 show.


EN Scottish companies are preparing to exhibit on the first Scottish pavilion at Aqua Nor. They are excited to showcase both the strength and ambition of the Scottish aquaculture supply chain, as well as the academic


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expertise in aquaculture. Aquaculture is an important sector for the Highlands and Islands and the Scottish pavilion - with approximately 70sqm of stand space - is jointly hosted by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) and Scottish Development International (SDI). The companies taking part include: • Gael Force Marine Equipment – marine equipment supplier; • AquaMoor – mooring technology; • Aqualife – fish vaccine delivery; • Fusion Marine – fish cages; • Tritech International – underwater imaging equipment; • Trimara Services – net cleaning equipment and service; • Institute of Aquaculture – research and consultancy; • Thistle Marine (Peterhead) – crane supply, load testing and repair; • OTAQ – acoustic seal deterrent; • Bioemitters – biodynamic parasite control equipment. Several of these exhibitors - Gael Force (see page 48) and Aqua Moor, for instance- are planning new product launches during the exhibition. The chance to meet a global audience was behind the Scottish contingent’s decision to exhibit. All the major aquaculture nations are present at Aqua Nor, either as exhibitors, visitors, or in official delegations.

05/06/2017 15:25:09

Highland hopes

We regard Aqua Nor as the most important aquaculture exhibition, so our expectations are high

Scotland’s expertise in aquaculture stems from its science based approach to fish health and production, said the pavilion organisers. ‘No other country worldwide can boast a higher number of world class universities per head of population – and the graduates and science departments of the universities have been a key resource for Scottish companies.’ Strong networks of industry and academic expertise create a collaborative environment that produces results. Joint projects include a trial to test the commercial viability of a mussel hatchery in Scotland and a project to increase the sustainable supply of cleaner fish for use in sea lice control. ‘There is an innovative nature to the aquaculture industry,’ said Dr Andrea McColl, senior development manager of Life Sciences at HIE. ‘The companies that are coming to Aqua Nor thrive in this environment – taking advantage of all our expertise in life sciences, fish health, biosciences – and, of course, technology and engineering. ‘The Scottish aquaculture industry is well regulated and renowned for its high standards.’ The Scottish industry and the government share the ambition to see aquaculture double by 2030, and the companies attending Aqua Nor are all looking for international growth. ‘The technology, knowledge, products and services we bring with us have been used successfully along the Scottish coastline – and we believe our expertise and experience is a valuable addition to the global industry,’ said McColl. ‘We expect a high number of visitors at our stand

and look forward to showing them what we have to offer. We regard Aqua Nor as the most important aquaculture exhibition, so our expectations are high.’ The Scottish pavilion – which can be found at A-006 - will host a networking reception to foster connections with the Scottish industry representatives and to give visitors a chance to learn more about their products and services. FF

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STAND NO. A2-666


05/06/2017 15:26:11

Aqua Nor preview – Gael Force

Platform for product launch 31/03/2016 10:21:18

Bespoke feed concept showcased to wider market


AEL Force is eyeing aquaculture’s most prestigious exhibition as a golden opportunity to take its home grown expertise and expanding range of innovative technology, equipment and services to the international market. The Highland based company is one of the main exhibitors on the Scottish pavilion, where it will officially launch its new offshore feed system, SeaFeed. Designed and manufactured in Scotland, the new system is, says the company, ‘a result of listening closely to the needs of the aquaculture market and experience of over 30 years working in the industry’. Describing the thought process behind the new system, director Jamie Young said: ‘The overwhelming message we have been hearing is that fish farmers need an offshore feed system which is completely reliable – and we feel we have matched this expectation with SeaFeed. ‘It puts control into the hands of the farm manager, with bespoke software allowing each farm to manage the way they feed and in a way that suits them, their fish and the environment they grow their fish in. ‘Each element of the system has been carefully selected to reduce feed waste, save energy, minimise maintenance and ensure that it has operator and barge safety at its heart. ‘The new tried and tested blower is innovative, very compact, and has a low noise output.’ Preparations are underway to showcase the SeaFeed selector and software at the exhibition, so visitors will be able to see for themselves what is described as ‘a stylish new concept’. Farm operator safety and prevention of water ingress are an integral part of the selector design and there is an emphasis on ensuring the integrity of the barge, with a watertight homing position which the swan neck delivery pipe defaults to when not feeding, or when a pipe becomes detached. With two orders already confirmed for the system in Scotland, and an active search for installation partners in all markets, it is fair to say there is a great tide of excitement building up to the official launch. As well as a presence in the Scottish pavilion, Gael Force has an additional stand in Hall A2, providing a platform for its equipment and services. These include the SeaQureMoor mooring system, and the range of SeaMate feed barges – the 80th of which the company is now building. Gael Force’s crew of experts will also be on hand to demonstrate the robust underwater technology range consisting of a cameras, lights and sensors. At the heart of the camera system is the flagship SeaSight 410 series underwater camera. An extremely tough unit designed for long-term deployment on exposed sites, it has full 360 deg pan and tilt and a unique lens brush cleaner. It also features an on-board depth sensor, as well as an optional field

Each “ element of

the system has been carefully selected to reduce feed waste

removable optical dissolved oxygen/temp sensor with data overlay. SeaLight underwater lights combine superb design with compactness and corrosion resistance, providing vast amounts of light with an output of 28,800 lumens, high life expectancy and reduction in power consumption by 72 per cent. Completing the technology range is the SeaGuard Seal Deterrent, an effective system which operates by firing multiple and random patterns using a control box with projector. Gael Force’s thriving order book has already seen the company grow its employee base by 23 personnel this year and it is now hoping to recruit a further 24 to bolster the workforce of 159. The recent launch of the group’s aquaculture specific website is a further testament to the company’s commitment to invest in the industry. FF

Above: The SeaSight 410 underwater camera with lens brush cleaner. Left: SeaFeed System Software has been developed locally. Right: SeaFeed External Selector is available in either 8-way or 4-way.


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05/06/2017 15:23:54

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05/06/2017 10:32:00

Aqua Nor preview – Garware advertorial

Shifting environments Net maker delivers eco-friendly solutions to its customers around the world


EAFOOD is the largest traded food commodity in the world and provides sustenance to billions of people worldwide. Approximately three billion people in the world rely on both wild caught and farmed seafood as their primary source of protein. A 2016 report from the United Nations found that 31.4 per cent of the world’s stocks were overfished and another 58.1 per cent fully fished. Meanwhile, aquaculture surpassed wild caught fish as a source of seafood for human consumption in 2014. Many see it as the next

Below: Star nets installed in Norway; Right: A Sapphire Excel net cage.

Above: Pxxxxx


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frontier in sustainable food production. Now, entrepreneurs, investors, and some environmentalists are beginning to coalesce around aquaculture as a potential long-term solution to the depletion of the oceans and the world’s increasing appetite for this healthy protein. However, in recent times, aquaculture has been an issue for environmentalists and has come under greater government scrutiny. With increased production of farmed fish, the focus has shifted towards sustainability in an eco-friendly manner.. With this in mind, Garware Wall Ropes have been at the forefront in aiding this green revolution in aquaculture. Today, some of the key challenges faced by aquaculture farmers are biofouling and fish escape through predator attacks. Critically, biofouling blocks the exchange of freshwater flow through the nets, thereby reducing the oxygen supply and thus worsening the health of the fish stock. To reduce algae growth, nylon netting can be treated with copper based antifouling paints. However, the antifouling coatings are not durable and hence need periodic replenishment to restore effectiveness.

05/06/2017 16:42:15

Green revolution

“Feedback from

multiple sites has shown a major reduction in holes in predator nets

Ideally the treatment needs to be applied once a year throughout the life of the aquaculture cage. Since it is a copper based solution, it has a hazardous impact on the environment. Nylon nets, by their very nature, lose around 10 per cent of their strength on immersion in water. They also have poor wet abrasion resistance and hence are not ideally suited for in-situ cleaning. Moreover, the water absorption and retention characteristics of nylon make nets made from this material heavy to handle. Garware Wall Ropes’ mission statement says: ‘To provide innovative, application focused solutions, to provide enhanced value to our customers globally.’ The R&D centre at Garware Wall Ropes will pursue innovation constantly to deliver customised, environmentally friendly solutions to our customers. One such innovation is Star netting, which specifically addresses the concern of abrasion during in-situ cleaning. The larger sized fibres, along with the inherent stiffness provides abrasion resistance of almost three times that of nylon. With widespread customer acceptance of

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Star nets, Garware has recently launched an advanced version called Viking Plus. Viking Plus knotless netting has a unique combination of fibres which allow the net to sink in water like one produced from nylon. Viking Plus, with its stiff netting and improved abrasion and cut resistance properties, can offer better volume retention when compared to conventional nylon knotless netting. Fish escapes are a key environmental challenge with perceived issues of genetic dilution, ecology and the risk of spreading disease. For the aquaculture industry, escapees mean economic loss in addition to the negative impact on public perception. One of the main vectors in fish escapes are marine predators such as seals. These predators not only attack the fish but the stress of their mere presence affects the overall health and growth of the fish. Traditional nylon netting has poor cut resistance which may result in tearing during predator attacks. Garware’s Sapphire Ultracore anti predator netting is an effective solution designed for preventing attacks from seals. Sapphire Ultracore has stainless steel wires at the core of the netting, thereby improving the bite and cut resistance of the predator nets, resulting in improved protection against attacks from multiiple predators, such as seals, barracuda, and even sharks. Customer feedback from multiple sites has shown a major reduction in holes in predator nets, aiding in the reduction of fish escapes. Among the most recent additions to the Garware product portfolio is Sapphire Excel Plus netting. Sapphire Excel Plus netting is designed with a compact braided round twine, offering better water flow and less algae adhesion.


05/06/2017 16:42:30

Aqua Nor preview – Garware advertorial

We “ endeavour

to understand the needs of the customer

Left: A Viking Plus net cage in Norway.

Scientific studies at Sintef in Denmark have suggested that in comparison to conventional nylon netting, Sapphire Excel Plus has better volume retention, less drag on mooring systems and facilitates a better water flow through the cage netting, thus offering better oxygenation to the fish. Looking towards the issue of biting fish, Garware has launched Breamsafe, a new net system for sea bream farming in the Mediterranean. Careful attention has been paid to all the components used to build the net, with uniformity of the black netting being a


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key factor. The above products are proving beneficial in addressing the environmental needs while delivering higher value to aquaculture farmers. Garware Wall Ropes says that one of its main endeavours is to continuously understand the needs of its customers and deliver value through innovative application focused solutions. FF

05/06/2017 16:43:02

Aqua Nor preview – AquaOptima advertorial

Focus on RAS All systems go for land based farming experts


RONDHEIM based AquaOptima has been a supplier of land based recirculating aquaculture systems since 1993. The company’s market is worldwide and it has designed and supplied RAS for a range of species to more than 35 countries. These include contracted RAS projects either in construction or in operation in Russia (for sturgeon, caviar and white fish), Portugal (eels), Indonesia (barramundi and tuna), China (salmon), Thailand (barramundi), Japan (tiger puffer fish), Bulgaria (turbot), Norway (salmon and cod), Cuba and Croatia. AquaOptima also has experience of Artic char, halibut, rainbow trout, tilapia, sea bass, sea bream, and Japanese flounder. Having built systems for freshwater and seawater species, and for warm and cold water, the company is now focusing on the salmon industry and the Norwegian market. AquaOptima staff have experience in both design and operation, and research and development within the field of closed containment aquaculture systems. The company specialises in the design, engineering and supply of equipment. Based on production plans, its team lay out buildings with tanks, water treatment and technical rooms. They do all the necessary engineering and provide quotes from local contractors for construction and installation, with the specification and pricing of all necessary equipment. Working as an independent company, AquaOptima can choose the most suitable equipment for each project, and ensuring the quality and performance of the RAS means it finds the most optimal solution for the client. Staff also supervise during installation and provide assistance during the first period of operation. Based on the company’s own software models, it also performs feasibility studies as input to client’s business plans and decisions re investment. A new appointment to the team at AquaOptima is Dr Astrid Buran Holan, who joined in April as a senior advisor and project leader. Previously in a research position with Nofima, she said she is excited to take on the new tasks and challenges, and to implement research based knowledge in the supplier industry. At Nofima’s Centre for Recirculation in Aquaculture (NCRA) Holan worked on developing and integrating new or already existing water treatment technolo-

We see “ the need to

be in close contact with the client during and right after the start-up of a new facility

Clockwise from top: Astrid Buran Holan; RAS in Russia; white fish, sturgeon and carp farm in Russia; farming eels in RAS in Portugal.

Aqua Nor - Optimar PED.indd 57

gies in re-circulating and semi-closed aquaculture systems at sea. Simultaneously, she saw the technology in close relation to the environmental aspects, and the needs and requirements of the fish in such systems. ‘Dr Holan will strengthen the technological and biological aspects of AquaOptima, and contribute to the further development of the company,’ said CEO Borge Soraas. ‘We have a strong focus on water treatment, water quality and rearing conditions to optimise fish performance and improve fish welfare. ‘We also see the need to be in close contact with the client during and right after the start-up of a new RAS facility, and to offer training and supervising in that period.’ See AquaOptma at Aqua Nor. Stand number F-555. FF


05/06/2017 16:39:07

Aqua Nor preview – Trimara advertorial

Introducing the Boss Once installed in the pen this net cleaner takes over


RIMARA Services UK will be introducing an exciting new development in net washing to the European fish farming world at Aqua Nor 2017. At the best of times net washing is a boring business – repetitive and mundane – and due to the challenging nature of high pressure water systems and the marine environment itself, it can also be irregular and unreliable. The AutoBoss (aka the Boss) has been designed to address these issues. After more than four years of research and field development in New Zealand, the Boss is now commercially available in a proven package that delivers reliable, automated and low cost net washing options for farmers around the world. AutoBoss units are now active in New Zealand, British Columbia, Maine and Newfoundland. The AutoBoss concept stands apart from current net washing approaches by its focus on efficiency. Completely self-contained (and weighing just 950kg) the whole Boss unit travels to the pen. She walks herself along the net surface with specially designed fingers as her washing head moves up and down below. Two hydraulically driven thrusters hold the unit and the washing head on the net surface which means less high pressure water is required to give the same cleaning power. With the power pack housed within the unit itself, the AutoBoss needs a shorter umbilical, a smaller high pressure water pump and less fuel. An on-board programmable PLC offers different washing modes chosen by the farmer to ensure that cleaning power is focused where it is most needed – Trimara calls this ‘right-sized cleaning’. Once a customer has committed to a purchase of the AutoBoss the objective of Trimara Services is to ensure that there is tremendous pre- and post-sale support. Trimara Services offers an extensive commissioning and training process for operators and local mechanics. Training on the machine takes place in the workshop, in the classroom and on the water. Once farming staff have completed the initial training week Trimara will


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She walks herself along the net surface with specially designed fingers

Left: The AutoBoss in the water washing nets – once installed in the pen the Boss takes over. The operator can focus on keeping the work site clean and tidy and preparing nets for washing. Right (top): AutoBoss weighs approximately 950kg and can be quickly and easily transferred between pens. This means that there is more time spent washing nets, increasing the efficiency and delivering clean nets for the farmer. Right: The unique AutoBoss walking wheel allows the Boss to walk along the top of net on a set programme – washing the net as she goes.

certify them as competent AutoBoss operators and mechanics. ‘Our goal is to transition any new operator from novice to expert as quickly, and as comprehensively, as possible,’ said Dave Martinson, product support representative for Trimara Services. ‘We believe that this will deliver the best results for the farmer.’ The Trimara backing does not end there. Also included in the post-sales support package are follow-up site visits, a performance monitoring programme and a 24/7 advice service. With experts in New Zealand, British Columbia and the UK, Trimara Services has the globe covered. For more information please visit Trimara Services at Aqua Nor where the company is part of the Scottish pavilion. Contact or visit FF

05/06/2017 15:21:59


in Net Cleaning

The Cleaning system

«Some say … He He He He He He He He He He He He

fights daily against the marine growth drives with his eyes closed increases the level of Oxygen is more environmentally friendly than his dog RACES in more than 21 countries drives the fastest, easiest and safest system on the market thinks Castrol oil taste better than coffee races against time and money never compromises on quality is supported by the best service team reduces disease and stress symptoms in the biomass claims that Earth is flat

All we know is that he used the Remote Operated Net Cleaning system known as R.O.N.C!»


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+47 93 02 70 80 |

05/06/2017 10:34:09

Aqua Nor preview – Genetics advertorial

Select few New tools for pedigree assignment in aquaculture breeding


ENETIC gain through trait selection and inbreeding control is in widespread use for broodstock management in major aquaculture species such as salmon, trout and tilapia. These species have benefited from substantial public and private investment in genome sequencing. However, the global supply of seafood involves hundreds of finfish, shrimp and mollusc species, many of which have not benefited from the application of genetic selection techniques. Indeed, it has been estimated that worldwide only 15 per cent of aquaculture production is currently utilising genetics and thus a great many businesses are missing out on the opportunity to improve their profitability and sustainability. Fortunately, advances in sequencing technology and falling costs mean that the latest genetic technologies are no longer the preserve of a select few aquaculture species with sequenced genomes. Family level selection either requires individual families to be reared separately or the use of genetic methods to assign offspring back to parents. The separate rearing of families requires substantial investment in physical infrastructure and has largely been superseded by the use of methods that examine the frequency of genetic markers. Among the first type of genetic marker used for pedigree reconstruction was polymorphic microsatellites, short repetitive sequences of DNA that vary in frequency within the population. Various software packages have been developed to assign individuals to fam-

Above: Xelect’s new tools will allow optimisation of shellfish hatcheries. Opposite: Using advanced algorithms Xelect is able to rapidly design and validate pedigree assignment tools for almost any species. Below: Xelect offers a complete genetic service from its fully equipped laboratory in St Andrews. Photos: Tom Ashton

ilies based on variation at microsatellite loci. Usually 12-20 microsatellites are required to achieve a high degree of assignment accuracy. Today, the analysis of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) (single base changes in the genetic code) are replacing microsatellites as the marker of choice. SNP markers have distinct advantages with respect to speed of analysis and repeatability. In fact, SNPs always give the same result no matter which laboratory is doing the analysis, which allows data sets collected at different times to be combined and re-analysed. Around 75-96 SNPs are usually required to assign offspring to parents with 100 per cent accuracy. Xelect, the leading aquaculture genetics service company, has substantial expertise in designing and validating SNP panels that are optimised for the customer’s broodstock. The company’s SNP panels for finfish, shrimps and molluscs are widely used in breeding programmes around the world. Important considerations in pedigree assignment are accuracy, high throughput, fast turnaround times from sample receipt and low genotyping costs. For most species, Xelect starts by identifying SNPs and their frequency in the population using Next Generation Sequencing. The SNPs discovered are filtered by numerous criteria related to power in pedigree assignment and ease of assay before arriving at the final panel which is validated using an independent set of offspring from known crosses. SNPs can be assayed using a variety of chemistries and genotyping platforms from a fin punch or tissue sample stored in ethanol. Xelect offers a fast and reliable service for pedigree reconstruction in breeding programs at very competitive prices. A new approach Xelect originated as a spinout from the University of St Andrews. Research and innovation are therefore part of the company’s own DNA. Currently, it is about to launch a new type of genetic marker based on amplicon sequencing of haplotypes that provide around six times the information content of a single SNP. Bar codes are added to the DNA extracted from individual fish


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05/06/2017 15:20:33

Xelect-ion Day

and following PCR the bases of the amplicons are read using a Next Generation Sequencing platform. The technique enables thousands of fish to be analysed simultaneously in each sequencing run at lower cost than with competing technologies. Over the next year, Xelect plans to bring to the market a portfolio of validated haplotype panels and welcomes enquires from breeders of any aquaculture species. Xelect is able to develop bespoke, strain-specific marker panels for species with little or no available genetic data. Routine pedigree analysis using these new markers will be offered at competitive prices using an in-house Illumina sequencing service.

“Research and

innovation are part of the company’s own DNA

The growth and development of the shellfish sector will depend on the incorporation of modern selective breeding strategies to drive trait improvements and increase efficiency. Advanced hatchery management will enable selection of faster growth in native oysters, reduction of fragile shells in mussels and improvements in meat yields in scallops. Xelect’s new genotyping approach will allow emerging shellfish hatchery operations to benefit from the same improvements in profitability and sustainability currently enjoyed by the larger finfish businesses in global aquaculture. Visit Xelect at stand B-125 at Aqua Nor. FF

Shellfish opportunity The company’s new genotyping by sequencing technique will allow reliable genotyping of species with challenging genomes, including many farmed shellfish. Mussels, scallops and oysters have a far higher density of SNPs within their genome than most vertebrates such as fish. This high density means traditional SNP genotyping can often fail as the SNPs effectively interfere with each other during the assay. The new commercial genotyping service from Xelect will allow cost effective and highly accurate genotyping of marker-dense shellfish genomes.

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05/06/2017 15:20:52

Aqua Nor preview – Pharmaq advertorial

Leading the way Vaccine innovators control whole journey from antigen to antibody


S a producer of some of the leading fish vaccines in the world, Pharmaq has recently taken a further step to ensure that its products are administered in a way that optimises outcomes for customers. In January the company acquired a leading 20-year-old innovator in the arena of fish vaccination technology, Norway Fish Tech. In addition to this, the vaccination services company Nordland Sett Vaks also joined the Pharmaq stable. By incorporating these two leaders in fish vaccination and associated technologies, Pharmaq, in conjunction with its diagnostic sister company Pharmaq Analytiq, has uniquely positioned itself in controlling the whole journey from antigen to antibody. The two new acquisitions, renamed Pharmaq FishTeq and Pharmaq Sett Vac, will lead the way in the innovation of vaccine machine technology and vaccine administration respectively, so adding an additional dimension to the quality of PHarmaq’s suite of vaccines. The latest machine, being supplied throughout Scandinavia, the UK and the Mediterranean, is the NFT 20, a semi-automatic device which can be run by a single operator. So far, companies including Grieg Seafoods, Marine Harvest and SalmoNor are all using this new device.


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Above: Innovating vaccine technology.

Precision Pharmaq’s vaccination database, based on eight years of experience and data collection, shows that a high level of precision at the injection site can be consistently achieved when vaccination is conducted with good machines. The NFT 20 is equipped with ‘machine vision’. Every fish going through the machine is photographed and the injection site and depth is adjusted accordingly. The system also logs the vaccination data (vaccine consumption, quantity and sorting) which can, if required, be sent by email to an external database. Grading Every fish going through the process, be it a salmon, sea bass or trout, is measured to an accuracy of 1mm. The machine can handle fish ranging from 100 to 250mm in length (20150g). In addition to this the fish can be graded

05/06/2017 15:19:07

Leading the way

A high “level of

precision at the injection site can be consistently achieved

following vaccination into three different sizes. It is also possible to set a minimum size for vaccination below which fish will pass through unvaccinated. These features are selected on a touch screen panel. The NFT 20 can be integrated with existing pre- and post-vaccination infrastructure or, if desired, Pharmaq FishTeq can assist and advise on the design and commission of a complete anesthesia and vaccination system. It is also easy to configure up to three NFT 20 machines in series to raise the rate of vaccination up to 25,500 fish per hour. Pharmaq FishTeq can assist here too. Simple operation - novel features Each NFT 20 can be managed by a single experienced operator for which Pharmaq FishTeq provide training. The NFT 20 machine can be modified to vaccinate with two different vaccines in one injection with doses of 100µl and or 50 µl going through standard 0.7x15 mm needles as part of Pharmaq’s Twinjection system. During operation, vaccine units are stored in a temperature controlled cabinet, a feature designed to help maintain consistency of vaccination. Mobility is another key feature of the NFT20 machine. Placement in a container means the machine can be moved between sites. Their deployment on seawater farms has necessitated unfettered access to all areas and components

of the machine by freshwater. The same, of course, applies to disinfectants making the NFT20, which is constructed from acid proof steel, a highly bio-secure piece of fish farming equipment. Once disinfected the machine simply needs to be supplied with water, compressed air and electricity and is ready to go! For further information please contact Jørn Ståle Pettersen +47 90071726 ( or Jan-Oppen Berntsen +47 90722369 ( FF


AquaNor 2017

Visit us at our stand D-330

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05/06/2017 15:19:27

Sea Lice – Norwegian Weather Protection

Norwegian Þrm set for farm trials with new freshwaterbag transport solution

Above: Viking boat from a Norwegian fjord - near Flåm on the west coast

NORWAY, Scotland and the Faroe Islands have set high standards in the fight against sea lice. ‘We all have long traditions as seamen in extremely harsh waters, and this requires courage, good quality equipment and, not least, knowledge of survival at sea’. So says Arne Dalland, General Manager of Norwegian Weather Protection (NWP) Aquaculture. This legacy has now been deployed in the aquaculture industry, with products tailored to meet NWP’s customers demands. ‘The weather on the coast of Norway, Scotland and the Faroe Islands sets the standard for the high quality of our products’, said Dalland. ‘The knowledge and experience of our sailors, fishermen and craftsmen enable us to create solutions that last’ Norwegian Weather Protection AS is located on the west coast of Norway, 40 minutes by car from Bergen. With 30 years experience delivering to fish farms, the firm produces high quality products that combine both a flexible and innovative approach to meet clients requirements.


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Above: Arne Dalland, general manager

Above: From the production of a lice skirt

05/06/2017 15:16:50

ith on


Norwegian local craftmanship - and user knowledge sets the standard for

Lice skirts to the next quality level

NWP Aquaculture have delivered over 900 of our quality liceskirts in 2016, and have now increased our capasity once again. Our new lice skirt - version «Extra Strong», incorporates significant upgrades, with stronger and smarter solutions based on NWP`s experience and good feedback from the users. This results in an even stronger skirt that is more efficient to handle, and involves less downtime and lower lice penetration.

NEW - Mounting film, tutorial and service tools Why: To secure quality and better economy for the Seafarms, through efficient procedures. Our new mounting film is made in cooperation with Marine Harvest and gives an example of a good practice. We also have new user manuals. If your skirt is damaged we can now offer our new Aqua Tool Bag where you can do quick repairs on site. Right: Arild - one of the owners and our project manager, with the new Aqua Tool Bag.

Better product - and still the best price Our products are local handcraftship from Norway. The fabric is of the best german quality. Combined with new technology and efficient productionslines we also manage to have the best price on this high end product.

10 points checklist When purchasing our new lice skirt it can be difficult to choose the most suitable op7on. NWP Aquaculture have now devised a 10-point checklist to make the selec7on easier. FF

NEW - Fresh water pool - «North Edition» Extreme weather conditions and the force of water in movement creates extreme pressure. NWP`s focus on quality has reached a new level - with our new freshwater pool «North Edition», only the best is good enough when we chose materials and technology. Please contact us for further information and quotes: Henriette Fennelly - Key account Manager, UK Mob: +47 915 61759 - E-mail: Tor Steinar Olsen - Sales Manager, Faroe Islands Mob: +47 950 27752 - E-mail:

AQUACULTURE Phone: +47 56 35 64 00, E-mail:,

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05/06/2017 15:17:07

Aqua Nor preview – Stranda advertorial

Back of the net Machine designed to work with the forces of nature, not against them


NORWEGIAN company thinks it has struck the target with a brand new net cleaner that is easy to use, has low operating costs and greatly reduces wear and tear. Stranda Prolog AS, based in Kristiansund, unveiled its new product, the Manta, at the Global Seafood Expo in Brussels in April this year, and visitors to the company’s stand at Aqua Nor can look forward to hearing first hand about the latest developments. The Manta has been developed in close cooperation with people who have many years’ practical experience of cleaning the nets in fish farming cages. Stranda Prolog CEO Klaus Hoseth said: ‘They contacted us because they wanted to make something new and better. ‘At Stranda Prolog we have decades of experience developing advanced equipment. We took them up on their challenge. Together we have made the machine they had envisioned. We are very happy with the outcome.’ The Manta was certainly attracting a lot of interest in Brussels, in a year in which new innovations in net cleaning have been to the fore at the various fish farming exhibitions around the world. The Manta is designed to work with the forces of nature, not against them. It has neutral buoyancy and indifferent stability. When placed in water with the thrusters shut down, it neither sinks nor floats to the surface, and it has no tendency to right itself. This makes it very easy to manoeuvre as the machine offers no resistance to the operators input.

Right and below: The Manta practically flies through the water.

‘The Manta practically flies through the water,’ said Hoseth. ‘A camera dome with light sensitive cameras offers the pilot a 360 degree view. In the forward looking camera, the pilot can see the machine itself as it skims across the net. ‘A rear facing camera provides ‘eyes in the back of his head’, allowing the pilot to check on his own performance, adjust and, if necessary, turn back and do over.’ As net cleaning has become an almost continuous task over the summer months, efficient and easy to use equipment is essential. Wear and tear is also a concern. The Manta has no belts or other moving parts that get in contact with the net. It simply slides along the walls of the cage while the waterjets from seven powerful rotating nozzles flush algae and other forms of fouling from the nets.


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05/06/2017 15:15:48

Back of the net

believe “We that the Manta will be a very cost efficient tool for the industry

The outer discs are designed to get into all the hard to reach places of a cage – that is, corners and ropeholds. The Manta is largely made from standard, off the shelf industrial components. The thruster motors have a service life of more than 20,000 hours. ‘We believe that the Manta will be a very cost efficient tool for the industry,’ said Hoseth. Stranda Prolog will be on stand F-541 at Aqua Nor, where Klaus Hoseth and the team will be on hand to bring visitors up to speed with the latest developments. For more information visit the company website at FF

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05/06/2017 15:16:03

Aquaculture UK – Scotland

Vocation, vocation, vocation Martyn Haines explores the case for a national education and training strategy


EXPECT a few of us have fantasised about what we would do if we ever came to rule the world. Which wrongs would be righted? Well, it’s each to our own on that score, I guess, and according to our own political convictions. While few of us will ever seriously contemplate entering political life, more of us do acknowledge the inadequacies within our own worlds of work that we would relish addressing, if ever granted the authority. For more than 30 years now, my world of work has been vocational education and training in various guises. Aquaculture and fisheries was the focus from the outset and remains so, following a varied journey, first within the Scottish further education sector, and more recently through European aquaculture partnerships. Scotland has seen many changes to its education system over the last three decades. On first starting out in the 80s as a green new lecturer, a few old hands offered me the benefit of their wisdom. Some resolutely claimed that education is beleaguered by political interference and experimentation. But don’t worry, they said, just keep doing the basics well; they come back into fashion every 10 years. Today, listening to the renewed emphasis being placed on attainment in the primary and secondary sectors by Scottish politicians, following 10 years of a well intentioned but ineffective Scottish Curriculum for Excellence, these seemingly cynical words of advice ring particularly true. By contrast, Scottish Vocational Education and Training (VET) has seen many changes that have been incremental, progressive, and to the good. The development of the Scottish Qualifications Authority and its industry led VET provision in the 80s, as we departed from the previous syllabus based SCOTEC system, has evolved into a huge success story. Having recently encountered VET systems impoverished through a lack of effective development and regulation in some European countries, Scotland should be proud of its world class provision and never take it for granted. How has this internationally significant achievement been reflected within Scottish aquaculture education and training? Well, initially, very positively. During the SQA’s rapid growth period of the 80s and 90s a range of vocational aquaculture provision was developed which served the needs of the industry’s new entrants, some of whom hold responsible positions today. The National Certificate in Fish Farming delivered from the early 80s heralded a golden period in Scotland for full time vocational education in aquaculture, culminating in the addition of Higher National Certificates


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Above: Aquaculture companies have developed work based training schemes.

and Diplomas developed by Barony College in the 90s. Articulation with aquaculture degrees at the Scottish Agricultural College in Aberdeen and then the Institute of Aquaculture at Stirling University allowed many students to make the full journey from National Certificate to Degree, and in some cases, post graduate degree thereafter. This period of growth was reflected elsewhere, most notably at Inverness College and the Shetland North Atlantic Fisheries College, both sitting in the heart of the salmon farming industry, geographically. For many years, Inverness College developed and managed the Kishorn Training Centre, which had its own on-growing and hatchery facility, set up to serve the needs of full time residential students. Upwards of 50 to 60 students a year went through the Scottish college system at its peak,

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Vocation, vocation, vocation

We need to be clear about what is “working for learners and industry ”

many joining the Scottish industry as expansion created new opportunities. By the turn of the century, change was clearly in the air. The number of highly motivated mature career changers applying for courses dropped dramatically, and learners’ interests were swinging from aquaculture to sport fisheries. What is more, this trend was reflected across the UK. Eventually, recruitment fell drastically, a phenomenon we all attributed to the negative media coverage of the industry, which was building momentum, and one by one the full time vocational college courses in Scotland fell by the wayside. This total void is a tragedy that persists today. The vacuum created has been filled by the growth of work based training schemes and bespoke in-company staff development programmes. The aquaculture companies are more reliant

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on local recruits than they were, as well as their own staff development programmes. While they have done a commendable job in developing such a high degree of self-reliance in response to the college tap being switched off, one cannot help wondering whether the current state would have been our chosen ideal for Scotland, if we were laying down plans for aquaculture education and training back at the turn of the century. As well as musing on whether we got to where we are now by default or design, many more specific questions come to mind. With the advent of ICT and learning technologies the potential delivery modes for education and training available to students are far more sophisticated and diverse. Therefore, we need to be clear about what is working for aquaculture learners and industry, where improvement is needed and what gaps or barriers to access exist nationally, if any.

Depending on the size and complexity of the job in hand, is there a case for a national strategy to guide the development of aquaculture education and training and to future proof it? If so, how should such a strategy be led and orchestrated? Following presentations by a wide range of providers at the Aquaculture UK conference, the audience will be debating these questions and many others with education and training providers. We anticipate a strong turnout from industry and look forward to meeting you there to explore what we would do, if we ruled the world! Martyn Haines is director of Pisces Learning Innovations. He is delivering the opening session on ‘Aquaculture Education and Training – past, present and future’ on June 15 at the Aquaculture UK conference at the University of Stirling. The conference runs from June 14-15. FF


05/06/2017 15:13:59

Lessons for life – Education and training

Lessons for life Innovative learning in New England, the Netherlands and Scotland BY PAMELA ERNSTBERGER


HERE are around the world a number of examples of aquaculture curriculum being made available to the 14 to 17-year-old demographic during their compulsory secondary education. This has been the core of much of my aquaculture teaching career to date and I have been fortunate to have had the opportunity to work at two vocational aquaculture high schools in New England the Sound School in New Haven, Connecticut, and Bridgeport Regional Aquaculture Science and Technology Education Centre (BRASTEC), also located along southern Connecticut. Both schools are outstanding secondary education institutions. Catering to a very diverse student population, they deliver a science based curriculum to 14 to 18-year-olds, equivalent to S3-S6 within the Scottish system, focusing on the application of STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths). Their facilities are state-of-the art in terms of the learning environments and technologies, offering children and their teachers, opportunities to develop innovative ways to enhance the learning experience. Their location, with ready access to Long Island Sound estuary, enables learning to be taken out of the classroom. Pupils can participate in activities on marine research boats, taking part in trawl sampling, applying key scientific concepts out in the field, as well as developing boat safety and navigation skills. They also have very sophisticated recirculation systems stocked with a range of species, including tilapia, lobster, barramundi, koi carp, and seaweed, just to name a few. Children are involved in maintaining fish rearing environments as well as feeding, monitoring and handling the fish. These are very large indoor fish farms, an extension of the classroom. While the pupils at these east coast schools have access to outstand-


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Above: The author (second right) with Bridgeport colleagues. Right: Salmon eggs are grown in the lab for eventual release as part of the Salmon-inSchools project; Melisa Beecher with teacher John Roy. Opposite from top: Students at Bridgeport; Thijs Rutter (left) and Roelof Schut at Groene Welle; a Sound School student visiting Marine Harvest Scotland; fisheries students with teacher Roelof Schut (courtesy of Johannes Elzinga)

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Lessons for life

Children are “involved in maintaining fish rearing environments as well as feeding, monitoring and handling the fish

ing facilities within very modern education centres, they cannot readily access commercial fish farms, as the region lacks a well developed industry. This is a significant drawback. The American aquaculture industry largely revolves around catfish, based in the southern states, with some Atlantic salmon farming further north on the east coast in Maine. Locally within Connecticut, opportunities to work in aquaculture are limited to the shellfish industry and salmonid hatchery operations that are run by the state in support of fishery enhancement programmes. There are currently efforts being made to grow the industry as more awareness has led to demand for more locally produced foods, including finfish and seaweed production. To compensate, and in order to expose the children to commercial farming, study tours to Scotland have been organised in the past. Aquaculture training in the Netherlands Back in Europe, the Groene Welle secondary school incorporates all levels of vocational education, including pre-vocational, vocational and apprenticeship training (VET), catering to students from 16 to adult learners. Groene Welle, situated in the north east of the Netherlands at two sites - one at Zwolle and one at Hardenberg - offers aquaculture as part of its Sports Fisheries Management and Aquaculture option. Approximately 100 pupils follow this threeyear course on the European Qualifications Framework, level 3 and 4. The other course is Fish Farming and Fish Breeding in Recirculation Aquaculture Systems (RAS). Topics covered during the training, said Thijs Rutter, aquaculture teacher at Groene Welle, include: aquaculture systems, fish farming techniques, fish breeding and fish

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health and welfare. The college has its own fish farming and fish breeding facilities, and a substantial part of the course consists of practical classes. The students work with the fish and farming systems under the supervision of one teacher and two technicians. There are breeding tanks, hatchery systems and growing systems, with different types of biological and sediment filters. The systems can be heated for tilapia, African catfish and carp and cooled down for turbot and trout. The college has also set up different aquaponics systems. Students have designed a system that utilises the waste water from fish tanks to supply nutrients to the growing plants, producing great results. To enhance their skills and knowledge, the Dutch students are encouraged to get practical experience abroad - for example, to Hungary (carp breeding) and more recently to Scotland (salmon farming). They also undertake independent internships abroad, some completing work in Belgium and Ethiopia. To improve education in aquaculture, Groene Welle takes part in European partnership projects and is continuously striving to create

new opportunities for students through future partnership in international projects. The international collaboration between the industry and education is of great importance for the Groene Welle community to prepare the children to be globally competitive skilled workers. Those who complete the course in Fisheries and Water Management successfully have gone on to work on fish farms (eel, koi), private fisheries, trading, web shops and jobs with government agencies.


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Lessons for life – Education and training

By Melisa Beecher, senior student at the Sound School: Students at Sound School are introduced to the aquaculture industry the moment they come to campus. The three years leading up to senior year are preparation for what’s to come. I have had great years at Sound, but the best has been this final year working in the Fish Production Lab (FPL). The 2017 Finfish Shellfish class consists of 19 seniors. Within the first couple of weeks our teacher John Roy gave us an in-depth introduction to the Recirculating Aquaculture Systems (RAS) that are in the FPL, housing all the animals. During this time we learned how to maintain the systems. This would help us decide which species we wanted to focus on for our final projects including which system we would manage. Ever since freshmen year when I saw the seniors working with the juvenile lobsters I knew I wanted that to be my final project area. I wanted to maximise their growth and in the process, learning more from my teacher and background research, I had to focus on a feeding regime. In preparation for setting up my experiment, I learned much about RAS, lobster biology, the different culturing techniques for the different species including finfish and other shellfish. In the classroom, I learned about bio-accumulation and the harmful effects on the animals, including humans, the carbon budget, genetics and so much more. While doing this project, I also learned important life skills that will help me later in life, even when sometimes you have to do things you don’t want to do! I have acquired many relevant skills and tools needed to succeed in the aquaculture industry. I’ve enjoyed being part of the Finfish Shellfish class. After I graduate from HS, I plan to go to Southern Connecticut State University to study for a degree in teaching biology in secondary education. I’d love to work in an aquarium, taking care of the tanks and marine life. For now, I am very happy working in the lab and being a part of something so fantastic as the FPL at Sound.

Aquaculture in Scottish schools Scotland has had a different experience of providing aquaculture education to its youth. Aquaculture was introduced to the secondary school curriculum by the former Barony College, working with industry, schools and colleges on the north west coast of Scotland, funded by the European Fisheries Fund in 2011-13. A new SQA National Progression Award (NPA) was developed for schools and associated learning resources developed for school teachers and learners. The real key though was the inclusion of local commercial fish farms willing to provide some on farm experience as well as introduce fish farming to the classroom. This ‘tripartite’ partnership (schools, colleges and industry) was very successful for a number of years. I am now involved in the development of the European Aquaculture in Schools project. The aim is to develop similar tripartite delivery systems in several European fish producing countries. Both practical experience and blended learning delivery will feature and we are talking to a range of potential partners from southern and central Europe. Once this offer is made available in the secondary school system, how can students possibly resist aquaculture! FF


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By Elizabeth Kendall, outreach educator for the Connecticut River Salmon Association

Top: High school students stocking salmon in Farmington River, Connecticut. Above Fish breeding lab at Groene Welle.

Connecticut’s Salmon-in-Schools project is part of a 30-year experiment to restore the population and this is the only state that is carrying forward the ‘legacy’ project through the Connecticut River Salmon Association (CRSA). For the last 10 years, it has served more than 30,000 school aged children across the state of Connecticut, many of whom remember it as the highlight of their school year. Of the 64 participating schools, there are 12 high schools and one college that participate in the Salmon-in-Schools project. Salmon-in-Schools helps students to connect with their studies by raising and caring for salmon from egg to fry and learning about the habitat where they thrive, releasing their fry into a healthy habitat. Younger students especially become attached to the fry and want to ensure their survival in the wild. The older students get to apply scientific skills out in the field, such as water testing, river ecology, collecting data and electro-fishing. Innovation becomes more apparent at high school where students have been given the challenge to design in-door recirculating systems to serve as the artificial habitats for the egg incubation period of the salmon’s lifecycle. This project encourages students to be more actively involved and be more conscious of the environments around them. This project has been expanded to include travel offering field studies of salmon and the aquaculture industry in Scotland for the older students through the Exploring Diversity in Aquaculture online programme.

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MSD Animal Health – Advertorial

Spanish insight Top salmon producers visit vaccine production site


he UK aquaculture team of MSD Animal Health took a group of fish farming experts to its state-of-the-art vaccine production facility in Salamanca, Spain, in a bid to further improve the awareness in vaccine production. MSD Animal Health, known as Merck Animal Health in the US and Canada, works closely on a daily basis with Scotland’s aquaculture industry to promote optimal fish health. The team combines technical advice, sales and after-care support to provide an all-round service to ensure healthy farmed fish. The trip took place to provide customers with a greater understanding of the vaccine manufacturing process and how long it takes to create and distribute vaccines. The MSD team stressed the need for accurate forecasting to ensure that the company can provide its products when they are needed and in the correct quantities. Representatives included senior fish farm managers, directors and technical and production managers from Marine Harvest, Cooke Aquaculture, Scottish Sea Farms, Loch Duart and the Scottish Salmon Company.

Below - from left to right: MSD’s Camilla MacDonald, Campbell Morrison and Ana Perez Bueno (MSD regulatory affairs) with the UK customers. Above: Customers observing each stage of the process.

It was a great way to show the complexity of the process and the timescales involved

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Sessions also took place during the trip discussing freshwater challenges such as saprolegnia, costia, flavobacterium, pox virus, fin nipping and water quality. Each issue was discussed at length, and shared best practice and possible improvements were suggested by the group. Campbell Morrison, MSD senior key account manager, and Camilla MacDonald, technical manager, accompanied the group to Salamanca for the two-day visit. Morrison said the trip was a ‘huge success’. ‘The customers visited the production site where we manufacture the Aquavac range of salmon vaccines. ‘It was a great way to show, first-hand, the complexity of the process and the timescales involved to produce the finished product. ‘I stressed the importance of us needing to understand our customers’ potential requirements, allowing us to accurately forecast the demand to produce and meet our customers’ needs. ‘The breakout sessions we had were also really helpful, with key challenges being identified. Our fish health team were able to answer questions, and provide some excellent insight to the technical aspects of MSD Animal Health, again reiterating the importance of accurate forecasting of vaccinations.’ He said the feedback following the trip had been ‘excellent’. ‘All our customers found the trip insightful and a great opportunity to not only meet others within the industry, but talk about challenges faced across Scottish fish farms and ways we can work towards the most effective solutions. ‘Hopefully, we can offer this trip for other customers in the future as it has been so well received and I look forward to catching up with the visitors now we are back here in Scotland.’. FF


05/06/2017 15:09:24

World – Kazakhstan

What’s the


Ambitious plans to revive fish farming as wild stocks decline BY VLADISLAV VOROTNIKOV


HE Kazakhstan government has pledged to pump 7.2 billion tenge or $24 million into the revival of fish farming businesses across the country between 2016 and 2020, according to the comprehensive state programme for the agricultural industry,Agribiz-2020. The ultimate goal is not only to restart production at the farms that were abandoned with the crash of the Soviet Union, but also to build several dozens of new facilities.The target is for the total volume of aquaculture production to jump from 400 tonnes in 2015 to 15,000 tonnes in 2020. After that, the government plans to increase the funding of the aquaculture sub-programmes as the industry needs to offer reasonable alternatives to expensive imported fish products. Serik Timirkhanov, head of the aquaculture department of the country’s Fishing Association, said that as part of the Soviet Union, Kazakhstan was producing 9,800 tonnes of fish at its several dozen aquaculture facilities. The end of the state-planned economy has put the industry on the edge of extinction and over the past years there were only several ‘family’ farms in the country that were producing fish, often on a non-industrial basis, with the volume of production ranging from five to 30 tonnes of fish per year. Arman Evniev, spokesman for the country’s Agricultural Ministry, said the government was well aware of the problems of the industry and the lack of quality production. He notes that back in 2012 the government had already made its first efforts to support aquaculture, adopting subsidies for the purchasing of fish feed, but soon decided to abandon this programme as it was believed to be ineffective. The figure of $24 million is designed to be only a part of the actual state aid the industry can apply to in the coming years, Evniev said. This money is allocated for the purchase and increase of breeding stock at farms, while the government is also offering so-called ‘investment subsidies’.This form of aid is provided to the investors who bring money into the construction of the new capacities. The exact amount of state aid in this direction is impossible to estimate,


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as it depends on the number of new fish farms that will be built in the country, as well as their combined investment value. Data from the Agricultural Ministry reveals that there were 50 farms registered for aquaculture production in 2016.They were located primarily in central and southern parts of the country and producing trout and carp. Shares of these species as a proportion of total aquaculture production in Kazakhstan were 49 per cent and 21 per cent respectively. Timirkhanov said there was growing interest in fish farming among the country’s investors. No competition He also pointed out that neighboring Uzbekistan is farming 30,000 tonnes of fish a year, one of the largest outputs of all the former Soviet countries. The secret of Uzbekistan’s success is that it did not have the large reserves of the fishing industry when the Soviet Union broke apart, so had no choice but to develop fish farming to meet domestic demand. The Uzbekistan government has also imposed high duties on imported fish, making domestic producers more competitive on price. In Kazakhstan, from the very beginning of independence the situation was rather different. For a long time the government refused to provide support to the aquaculture industry, while fish markets were supplied by imports. The prospects for fish farmers worsened when, nearly 10 years ago, a customs union was established between Russia and Belarus.The absence of import duties within this organisation became a major challenge for Kazakhstan’s aquaculture producers. The high reliance on imported fish has been one of the main factors constraining the development of fish farming industry in Kazakhstan, said Saule Asylbekova, deputy director general of the Kazakh Scientific Research Institute of Fisheries. In addition, she said fish farmers were suffering from the high rates on bank loans, high prices on feed, which was almost fully imported, as well as expensive electricity and gas. Added to which, the technological base left a lot to be desired. All in all, according to Asylbekova, this was leading to the situation where fish imported from Norway or Russia was cheaper, compared to the production of Kazakhstan farms. The governmental support started to provide some improvement from 2016, as the fish farms got the chance to become more competitive, but the situation is still far from perfect. Timirkhanov expresses the same opinion, saying that the pressure of imports remains high, but he also notes that the reserves of the fishing industry have been heavily depleted in the country over past decade and this will provide some room for growth for fish farming businesses. Kazakhstan has hundreds of lakes, with a total area of 700,000 ha.The annual catch from local fishermen is 4,000 tonnes, primarily of crucian carp. Timirkhanov suggests that transferring those water areas to fish farming could boost production volumes 100 to 200 times. By way of comparison, Russian fish farms bordering Kazakhstan regions are producing 100-200 kg of fish from one ha per year, while the most advanced farms have 350 kg/ha, he said. Timirkhanov also said the Caspian coast is a promising area for the culti-

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What’s the catch?

vation of marine fish, but the challenges here are the winds and storms. One possible solution is the use of submersible cages, but they are very expensive for the country’s farmers.To build a farm for the production of 2,000 tonnes of salmon, for example, on the Caspian coast of Kazakhstan would cost $12 million, with no returns for about seven years. There are very few investors prepared to take such a risk. At the same time, ordinary sea cages, which are much cheaper, carry a higher risk of destruction during storms. One of the most popular technologies in Kazakhstan is the cultivation of fish using closed technology, but here the cost of equipment is about 2-3 million euros. Today, many of Kazakhstan’s fish farms are based on underground wells, including geothermal ones,Timirkhanov said, though this system is not more widespread than lake farms. Legislative obstacles The owner of a private fish farm in South Kazakhstan, Oblast Ajzas Akmiliev, complains that the main problem for the further development of the industry is the lack of a legislative base. He says that to use the lakes for fish farming the country needs to solve the issue of product origin. All lakes are owned by the state and there are no procedures for leasing the water to aquaculture interests. Furthermore, the state agencies are over bureaucratised, which tends to scare off many investors. Timirkhanov believes that the future profitability of fish farming in Kazakhstan is still uncertain, and that greater government transparency would help. While the government has stated its intention to offer support to fish farmers for the next four years – and possibly longer – some in the industry are sceptical, especially since the offer of state aid to buy fish feed was abandoned after a year.

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The industry really needs a long-term programme with detailed legislation

Top: Most fish in the country is cultivated by so-called family farms. Middle: A pond based on the well. Usually there are several such ponds in one place that are based on the single well. Right: Industrial fish farming is still a rare thing in Kazakhstan. Opposite: Marketplace where the fish (both imported and domestic) is sold.

According to fish farmers, the industry really needs a long-term programme with detailed legislation. Subsidies should be designed for the period of payback of the average project in the industry or for about seven to 15 years. With such a commitment from government, fish farming enterprises would become much more attractive to investors. FF


05/06/2017 15:06:46

Markets & Retail News

Price puts people off fish: survey SEAFISH says its ‘Fish2 a Week’ campaign is continuing apace, but its own market research suggests that it has some work to do. Seafish commissioned a YouGov survey towards the end of last year, three months before the campaign was launched, and it found that a surprising majority of adults – 72 per cent in total – still did not know they should eat two portions of fish a week, one of them being oily. And adults who do not eat a lot of fish say it is the cost which puts them off buying more. But around half of adults surveyed were aware of the healthy heart benefits around fish and an almost similar number thought it contributed to healthy skin, hair and nails, even contributing to healthy blood

Above: Promoting a healthy message

pressure. Some 78 per cent said that knowing the health benefits of seafood would persuade them to eat more. The industry body said: ‘Our market research revealed some startling figures. Seafish’s new ‘Fish 2 a week’ campaign started in mid-February as part of our consumer health

Startling figures surprising majority “ofA adults still did not know they should eat two portions of fish a week

work and will be used throughout the year as a concerted message to the general public.’ It has now created a range of short videos with recipes which people can share on YouTube. It has also recruited a team of volunteers to take on the challenge of following a specially created 28-day meal plan.

Saucy ‘boosting Sainsbury’s frozen sales’ THE Saucy Fish Company said it has played a big part in boosting Sainsbury’s frozen seafood business since it appeared in the store chain. The nationwide Sainsbury’s deal was launched earlier this year and, according to Kantar World Panel, some 80 per cent of the Saucy Fish Co spend has been incremental to Sainsbury’s frozen fish category as a whole, with the brand introducing younger, more affluent customers to frozen fish through its ‘Frozen Just Got Cooler’ digital campaign. Beginning in February, the campaign set out to inspire a new generation of shoppers. It has now reached in excess of 55 million consumers across multiple platforms. The company’s sales and marketing director, Amanda Webb, said: ‘We’re absolutely thrilled with how well the Saucy Fish Co frozen range has been received in Sainsbury’s.’ Saucy Fish is part of the Seachill group, which has been put up for sale by the parent Icelandic Group in a move which is already attracting interest from a number of other seafood business including, it is believed, Young’s.

Follow the fish for higher house prices!

THE unmistakable smell of fish and the aggressive sound of marauding seagulls are a surprise turn-on as far as home buyers are concerned. For according to the Halifax Bank, house prices in the attractive northeast Scottish fishing port of Fraserburgh have risen faster than in any other coastal town in Britain. According to the Halifax, prices have nearly doubled, from an average of £70,000 in 2006, to £137,000 in 2016. And another important fishing port, Lerwick in Shetland, experienced


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Above: Fraserburgh

a 77 per cent rise in prices, making the fishing community the town with the second fastest growth. Once known as the biggest shellfishing town in Europe, Fraserbrugh lies about 40 miles north of Aberdeen, with a population of just under 13,000. It has not enjoyed the best of economic health since Young’s Seafood cut back on jobs almost two years ago. But it could be energy rather than fish which is attracting house buyers. Martin Ellis, Halifax’s chief economist, said: ‘The strongest performing coastal towns in terms of growth have been in Scotland, where property prices on the Aberdeenshire coastline have been helped by the oil industry more than the sunshine.’ However, it seems the picture postcard image of fishing trawlers on the beach and fishermen sorting out their catch has a huge appeal. In the south of England, Brixham and Salcombe in Devon are among the most expensive fishing towns, with prices almost five times higher than in Fraserburgh.

05/06/2017 15:04:33

From the archive – January/February 1997

What does sustainable aquaculture mean to you? Jimmie Hepburn examines the implications of a 90s buzz word


USTAINABILITY is the buzz word of the 90s. We hear about ‘sustainable development’ ‘sustainable strategic approach’ and even ‘sustained economic growth’. What does all this mean? How do sustainability and aquaculture fit together? To some, sustainable aquaculture is about having a good bank balance, while others see it as the industry meeting the needs of its market. Some people are more concerned about employment in the local community or the impact on the environment, such as the vast quantities of fish harvested by the global industrial fishery. Can all these opinions be right? Are they that important anyway? Should we not just concentrate on our current problems and not think so much about the future? Even if we do think about the future, should we consider sustainability issues within the next five to ten, 100 or even 1,000 years? These complex questions are not easy to answer. They have arisen from our history, from decisions which previous generations took, and it is only now that we are having to cope with the resulting problems. For example, over the last 200 years, we have witnessed the effects of agricultural and industrial revolutions. These have largely been responsible for channelling the forces of nature to meet what Man perceived to be his needs. However, as we come to the end of the twentieth century, we are beginning to realise that demands on the natural resources of the world could jeopardise quality of life for future generations. In other words, we are entering the ‘sustainable development revolution’, where future progress is governed by creating a world and an environment that best guarantees the future of forthcoming generations, not just our own. Above: Twenty years ago. This signifies a distinct shift in attitudes. No longer will we link progress and development through maximising our exploitation and utilisation of natural resources. Advancement will be measured by how we can continue to improve the quality of life of our species without depriving the generations to come. At an international level, the first sign of a change in attitude occurred at the Stockholm Conference in 1972, which established sustainable development on the world agenda. This paved the way for the largest meeting ever of heads of government at Rio in 1992: the ‘Earth Summit’. This conference outlined a sustainable development agenda for the twenty-first century, Agenda 21, and a sustainable development strategy for the whole world from international, down to local, levels. This meeting was a milestone in consciousness, but the results of the initiative have not yet materialised. By the year 2025, the global population is likely to be around eight billion, which will require an extra 60 million tonnes of fish protein. As 11 of the 21 major international fisheries are threatened with collapse, the role of aquaculture in satisfying fish protein requirements will be crucial. In many low income countries, survival is the driving force. If that is dictated solely on economic criteria, often the result is a proliferation of factory shrimp mania. For example, in parts of Asia and South America, intensive shrimp production has rapidly expanded, often to the detriment of local marine ecosystems and their ability to produce fish for a viable wild catch fishery. Some progress has been made on ‘low-tech’ aquaculture, which uses local inputs to provide good, wholesome food at an affordable price for local people. These initiatives are normally associated with warm water aquaculture, and there will have to be a great many more to meet future needs. In the high income countries, the situation is rather different. Wealth has buffered us from many of the growing environmental problems facing the world. For example, if there is a drought, we do not see long queues outside the supermarkets; our sustainability is assured. Today, we are concerned with how serious the problems are that we will have to face next century rather than deciding if there is a problem at all. I believe there are two basic components in developing a strategy for sustainable aquaculture: ecosystem processes and community processes. The former

We fish “ farmers are

dependent on the same resources as others

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represents the finite natural resources and systems which can provide the means to fulfil human needs. We cannot become dependent on systems which are dysfunctional or exhausted. We therefore must manage with what the resources can provide for us. The second component, the community processes, represents the means and the ability to organise ourselves to utilise the ecosystem in a meaningful, sustainable way. This is calling for us to develop a new consciousness where we can create an environment which will meet the needs of future generations, even where this may mean a sacrifice on our part. Although this approach has been practised by many traditional agricultural practices, it has yet to be applied to modern industrial food production systems such as intensive aquaculture. Theoretical considerations are all very well, but what does it mean for us as individuals? Different people have different opinions on what is sustainable. All have their validity as they have meaning for those individuals. Progress will be made when we consider changing certain attitudes to reach a consensus for a way forward. Consider a member of a proactive environmentalist organisation criticising a salmon farmer for keeping thousands of salmon in a confined space and feeding them the equivalent of up to ten times their own weight in fresh fish. The environmentalist has nothing to fear if the industry were to crash. He does not have at stake a career, a family to support, a close tie with the local community, nor his own self esteem. All this a fish farmer may lose if he were to ‘give up’ or even change his involvement in such ‘unsustainable aquaculture practices’. Indeed, that attitude would be unsustainable for the salmon farmer. Ironically, I have yet to meet a fish farmer who is not concerned about sustainability. Indeed, we fish farmers are dependent on the same resources as others. However, we cannot control the high seas fishing industry or the globalisation of the world economy. The issues are complex, which will require us to communicate more effectively than ever. We need a consensus, from environmentalist to fish farmer, on our way forward. FF


05/06/2017 15:03:45

Processing News

Grimsby merchant revives old smokehouses

Marel reports strong Q1 results

TEN traditional Grimsby smokehouses which have been dormant for almost 30 years have been brought back to life.

THE fish merchant behind the project is Lee Williams, owner of B&L Filleting, who has a passion for smoked fish. He acquired the contract filleting business with his late father Kenny 17 years ago, but

the original smokehouses, which were installed in the 1920s, were still there – bricked up and out of action. It was Kenny, who died a few weeks ago aged 72, who told his son at the time: ‘Get those working

again.’ They had once belonged to fish merchant John Proctor who is said to have produced some of the finest kippers and smoked haddock in the country. (His other claim to fame is that his horse Sheila’s Cottage won the Grand National back in 1948.) Williams has invested heavily in B&L Filleting over the past few years, but the smokehouse project is clearly his pride and joy. The smokehouses are fitted with smart, shiny steel doors engineered locally by Bacon’s. ‘I believe what we have here are some of

Next generation joins family salmon firm JACK Coulbeck has joined his parents at Grimsby based JCS Fish as commercial manager, with the business anticipating continued growth and the launch of new products in its Big Fish Brand salmon range. The son of founders Andrew and Louise Coulbeck, Jack is a first class honours graduate in accounting and finance and a part qualified CIMA accountant. For the past three years he has been gaining experience of the seafood industry and commercial finance in a graduate role at Young’s Seafood.

Above: Jack Coulbeck and his parents

Andrew Coulbeck said: ‘We were delighted when Jack chose to develop his career in the seafood industry and even more delighted when the opportunity arose this spring for him to join us.’

Young’s showing strong sales growth YOUNG’ Seafood is showing stronger than expected sales growth thanks to a determined fight-back following the loss of a large salmon processing contract almost two years ago. The Grimsby based company’s latest financial statement shows that turnover rose from £120.5 million to £131.6 million for the second quarter (13 weeks) to April 1, 2017. Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (Ebitda) was £5.3 million, slightly up on the same period last year. Young’s has expanded and revamped its successful Gastro range and is looking overseas for growth.


Processing News.indd 78

the finest traditional smokehouses in the country. Traditionally smoked fish is so much better than the kiln variety, both in taste and quality. In fact, traditional is making a real comeback while kilned smoked is in decline. ‘What excites me is the fantastic heritage in this building. I believe there is a massive market out there for our type of smoked fish.’ He has dedicated the business his father, and plans to produce high end smoked haddock and cod loins for the restaurant and wholesale markets. ‘Kippers are making a comeback and we also intend to start smoking herrings.’ The 10 kilns are capable of producing two and a half tonnes of smoked fish a day. Williams, who employs 15 people has taken on four new staff for the project, which is led by Stephen Matthews. To make room for the venture, the white fish filleting has been moved to the next door premises of Goodwin’s, which Williams recently

Real comeback

What excites me is the fantastic heritage in this building

acquired. The development is the second milestone in the relatively short time this company has been growing. Last year B&L Filleting achieved the Marine Stewardship Council chain of custody certification, a segregation standard that tracks the full supply chain from fishing vessel or fish farm to final sale. Williams said the MSC award was designed to raise standards. Along with his father, his great mentor was the late Tommy Rudland, one of Grimsby’s leading fish merchants. ‘He insisted that every box of fish leaving his business should be perfectly packed and in perfect condition. I learned so much from Tommy.’

Key conservation award for food service division YOUNG’S Foodservice division has triumphed in the ‘Sustainable Use of Natural Resources Category’ at the Foodservice Footprint Awards. The annual event marks the work that organisations in the foodservice sector do for the benefit of their community and the industry. The awards are a celebration of initiative and innovation, of commercial imagination

and endeavour. Young’s Foodservice, which has been gaining new contracts recently, won the award for ‘Project Trawlight’, that focuses on reducing the amount of juvenile fish caught in each catch. Lights are attached to the escape panels on trawls to guide smaller fish out of the net. Early

trials have proved very promising and suggest a reduction in by-catch of up to 40 per cent. From an energy perspective, the lights only charge when they are in water, so there is no waste in energy. The lights turn off when they are not in use and come back on automatically when deployed.

MAREL, the large Icelandic fish and meat processing equipment company, has reported a positive start to 2017 thanks to investment and a number of important new orders. The news came as Marel announced it was teaming up with Primex, a fishing and fish processing company, to equip a new greenfield plant for the production of white fish in Norway. Reporting its first quarter results, Marel said the order intake was robust at 293 million euros and was well balanced between industries, products and global regions. Orders are at an alltime high of 390 million euros compared to 340 million euros at the same time last year. Revenue was 252 million euros. CEO Arni Oddur Thordarson said: ‘2017 started on a strong note for Marel with increased revenue, operational profit and order intake. Organic revenue growth between years is eight per cent with a solid EBIT of almost 15 per cent. ‘We are now reaping the benefits of ongoing investments in innovation.’

05/06/2017 14:54:34

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05/06/2017 10:47:20

Opinion – Inside track

Persistent myths BY NICK JOY


ALMON prices are high again and, despite the forecasters, look likely to remain high for some time. I am not going to be drawn into how long because it depends on too many factors, but I would be very surprised if it is not well past the autumn. When salmon prices rise the same old ‘mythmeticians’ come out. They say prices should fall because the market cannot stand this level of rise. When the price passed £4/kg they came out, and again when it passed £5. Every time they are completely sure this would spell disaster for the industry. And each time they have been wrong. The reasons are complex but some are relatively easy to explain. We will know when the salmon price is getting too high when it stops being the cheapest fish option on the menu in restaurants. For those who are going to eat fish, the prices have been rising on all fish for some time. The price of other main meal options have been rising too so the significance also depends on the competition. For an industry which has been and remains relatively high risk, returns need to be strong for companies to commit long-term. These periods of rising price reset the price point for salmon and from then on people see it as capable of being sold at that price. More importantly, the consumer adapts and thinks how to use salmon better because of the price. So the first myth is that a price rise inevitably links to market damage. Another myth is bust by a recent conversation with someone I used to work with at sea. For my 60th birthday my kind wife took me on a surprise holiday to Ecuador’s rainforest and cloud forest. Being rather obsessed with birds, I took a large number of pictures of hummingbirds. If I get started on their beauty I might never stop (or get to the point), suffice to say it was one of the high points of my life. On returning home I showed these pictures to friends on social media. One particular friend (I shall call him Alex), though impressed, made a strong representation that things were wonderful here too. Alex’s point was that after a long career at sea he had seen more than 50 species just while he was at work. This is very similar to my own experience and that of my fish farming colleagues. So how come we constantly face this myth that aquaculture has a negative impact on the environment? I have seen the benefits for many years. Sure there are some species that are impacted, but many more are affected positively. A fish farm is effectively a no take zone full of suitable habitat for an enormous number of species. One example of this is a company that installed enclosure nets around entire pen groups to exclude seals. The unintended consequence was that huge numbers of fish moved in between the nets because they were safe. A second was a company I worked with in Mozambique growing dusky kob. We installed pens in the southern part of the bay and though we had problems with barracuda breaking into the nets (then panicking and breaking out again), the fish grew very well. The bay was heavily fished but we noticed that within six months the fishermen were edging closer and closer to the pens. I dived and saw a few species but couldn’t tell if this was better than the rest of the bay.


Nick Joy.indd 82

I would “ like to see a

competition for the best wildlife picture from a site and records of rare and interesting species

A year later we received a deputation from the village in the north of the bay asking us to set up a farm there as the fishing in the south of the bay was so much better and they wanted a shorter paddle. It is such a myth to suggest that fish farms reduce diversity or create areas of low diversity in the sea. The inaccuracies are so obvious to those of us who have lived and worked on the sea every day. Maybe it is time for us to start to counter this one because it shouldn’t be difficult. I would like to see a competition for the best wildlife picture from a site and records of rare and interesting species. For those of us who love wildlife there are memories that simply take the breath away still. My favourite was watching gannets feeding from about five yards away as they dived into crystal clear water beside the pens in Argyll. As they snapped the codling or sand eel we could see them swimming under water. What more could anyone ever ask for. FF

05/06/2017 14:51:18

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05/06/2017 10:49:49

Latin American & Caribbean Aquaculture 17

Del 7 al 10 de Noviembre de 2017 Mazatlán International Center

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Consolidando el Desarrollo de la Acuacultura







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1/9/17 10:50:40 12:42 PM 05/06/2017