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Fish Farmer VOLUME 41

Serving worldwide aquaculture since 1977

NUMBER 01

JANUARY 2018

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FOCUS ON FEED

LINE OF INQUIRY

FARMING FUTURES

WHAT’S THE CATCH?

Innovation drives search for sustainable ingredients

Scottish salmon sector prepares its case ahead of probe

Offshore expert and aquaculture pioneer join forces

Martin Jaffa on Norway’s new generation of cod farmers

January Cover.indd 8

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Contents 4-15 News

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

Happy New Year

A

s the New Year gets underway, the focus of fish farmers worldwide will no doubt be on producing healthy stocks and trying to keep costs down. Longer term, they will be looking for growth to meet increasing demand and to provide welcome employment in the areas they farm, whether that be remote rural locations in the Scottish Highlands, the vast freshwater expanses of African lakes, the seas off British Columbia, or the shrimp ponds of Andhra Pradesh. In some of these thriving aquaculture centres, however, farmers’ attention will continue to be diverted in 2018 by those who would like to see their industry shut down. While businesses on the north west coast of America seem to be under the most immediate threat, our own farmers in Scotland are anticipating a renewed onslaught of opposition from a small group in the angling community, ahead of a parliamentary inquiry in the spring. This will consider the environmental impact of the salmon farming, and industry representatives are eager to present their case and thereby defend the vital contribution the salmon sector makes to Scotland’s economy and to the livelihoods of thousands of ordinary working people. We hope that all involved in this debate will approach it with open eyes and a determination to do what is best in the national interest.

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

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Cover: Feed Technology Plant. Photo: Skretting

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Scott Landsburgh

Alternative oil

42-45 Feed IFFO

Phil Thomas

46-47 Feed

Cleaner fish

22 BTA

Doug McLeod

24-25 Shellfish Nick Lake

48-51 Feed research

Institute of Aquaculture

52-55 Norway

Future farms

26-27 Comment Martin Jaffa

28 News extra

Act now on planning

29 Feed

Introduction

56-57 India

Shrimp projects

59-60 Archive

Over regulated

30-33 Feed

GM feed trials

62-63 Processing News Recruitment concern

64-65 Aqua Source Directory

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Contents – Editor’s Welcome

Find all you need for the industry

34-37 Feed

Insect meal

66 Opinion

By Nick Joy

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15/01/2018 14:51:21


United Kingdom News

NEWS...

Photo: Moira Kerr

Tragic loss of Argyll oyster farmer

Above: Hugo Vajk

THE Scottish shellfish industry was saddened to learn of the death on January 7 of Argyll oyster farmer Hugo Vajk, following an accident at work on the shore of Loch

Creran, writes Nicki Holmyard. The full circumstances remain unclear, but his colleagues raised the alarm when Hugo was found in the water. He

was retrieved by Oban RNLI lifeboat and airlifted by Coastguard rescue helicopter to Lorn and Islands Hospital, where he was pronounced dead. Hugo and his wife Judith transferred their oyster business from Herm in the Channel Islands to Scotland in 1995, and had grown the farm into one of the largest and most successful in Scotland. However, he was not one to shout about his achievements, preferring to work quietly in the background. In October 2017, when he won, for the third time, the Association of Scottish Shellfish Growers’ (ASSG) ‘Best Native Oyster’ competition, he encouraged Judith

to collect the prize plate instead. Oyster farming was not just a living for Frenchman Hugo, it was a passion and something he did instinctively. ‘He loved living here and he loved his job. He was very well known and respected,’ said Judith. Her sentiments were echoed by friends, colleagues and customers, as tributes poured in. ‘When Hugo moved north from Herm, I thought he was the best thing that happened to Scottish oyster farming,’ said Andy Lane, former managing director of Loch Fyne Oysters. ‘He was a strong, no nonsense charac-

ter with a confident knowledge of oyster growing that surpassed all of us. ‘There was a magic about him, and both he and Judith worked with such cheerful commitment. His death is so premature and so sad.’ Doug McLeod, former chairman of the ASSG, said Hugo will be sorely missed by all who knew him. ‘My contacts with Hugo, both during my decades in the ASSG and more recently, were without exception positive. He was highly knowledgeable about oyster cultivation, but he appreciat-

ed the bigger picture, and readily supported initiatives designed to promote the sector. ‘Hugo was always a positive presence at our association meetings, and was a stalwart and supportive guy, with a ready smile and a dry sense of humour. ‘And even after years of determined application to produce the ‘best’ oysters, as he did again in 2017, he was still seeking further improvements - not as a perfectionist, but as a grower with a keen sense of the possible. The industry has certainly lost a champion,’ he said.

Neptune wins appeal case over lice treatment

New law to focus on fish health WORK began last month on new measures to improve the health of farmed fish, it was announced at the latest Aquaculture Industry Leadership Group in Inverness. The Rural Economy Secretary, Fergus Ewing, told the meeting a framework will be developed to underpin legislation and guide best practice. Key areas of work will include knowledge exchange, cooperation and openness, sea lice and innovation. Professor Colin Moffat, head of science at Marine Scotland, and Ben Hadfield, managing director of Marine Above: Marine Harvest Scotland managing director Ben Hadfield will co-chair the new health group

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Harvest Scotland, will co-chair the Strategic Framework for Fish Health Working Group, which will meet later this month, with a final draft framework expected in the spring. Ewing said: ‘This framework reflects the importance of fish health to our aquaculture industry, and puts the welfare of our marine environment and fish at the heart of production. ‘It recognises that innovation is essential to deliver the industry’s vision for aquaculture, to maintain Scotland’s reputation for quality produce and enhance our position on the global finfish production stage. ‘ Hadfield said: ‘Under this vital initiative, on which the industry are committed to work collaboratively with the Scottish government, we will increase our transparency as a sector, increase the deployment of practical and environmentally friendly fish health strategies, and evidence our current and long term commitment to fish health.’

THE Fish Vet Group and Benchmark Animal Health have lost a three-year battle in the Norwegian courts against the aquaculture company Neptune Pharma. The Norwegian Court of Appeal rejected claims that Neptune executives exploited trade secrets involving a sea lice treatment used by the global salmon industry.

The Court of Appeal affirmed the January 2016 decision of an Oslo District Court to dismiss the Fish Vet Group and Benchmark’s case. Benchmark CEO Malcolm Pye claimed that Neptune directors Victor and Adrian Endacott stole intellectual property relating to the Fish Vet Group’s sea lice control product Salmosan.

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15/01/2018 14:58:29


All the latest industry news from the UK

End of an era as Bracken to retire

Above: Steve Bracken

ONE of the pioneers of Scottish salmon farming has announced his retirement after 41 years in the industry. Steve Bracken, business support manager of Marine Harvest Scotland, will stand down at the end of July 2018. Beginning his career as a fish farm assistant at Lochailort on May 23, 1977, Bracken is the longest serving employee at Marine Harvest. He has held various management positions during his four decades of service, including a three-year posting in Sri Lanka. He moved to his current communications role in 2000, where he has engaged with

media, governments, customers, local communities, and NGOs. He is widely credited with being the Scottish industry’s leading spokesman. At his 40-year service celebration last year, one colleague paid tribute to ‘one of the greatest ambassadors for the aquaculture sector’. Ben Hadfield, managing director of Marine Harvest Scotland, said: ‘I want to personally thank Steve for his enormous contribution to Marine Harvest and for everything he’s done for the Scottish salmon farming sector. We wish you the best in retirement.’ Ian Roberts, director of public relations for Marine Harvest Canada, will take on the role of communications and business development director in Scotland. A UK citizen, Roberts will begin his new job in May and will be based near Fort William. A replacement for his position in Canada is currently being sought.

Film shows local benefits of salmon farming THE Scottish Salmon Producers Organisation (SSPO) launched a promotional film in the Scottish parliament just before Christmas to give MSPs an insight into the role of salmon farming in rural communities. At a reception sponsored by the SSPO and attended by industry leaders and politicians, including Rural Economy minister Fergus Ewing, Scott Landsburgh, chief executive of the SSPO, said it is up to local communities to show

The world moves forward

how important salmon farming is to them. The reflects the views of many in the Scottish Highlands and islands that, without salmon farming, local communities ‘wouldn’t have jobs’, ‘the lifestyle we enjoy’, ‘the support for local activities’, and ‘the business opportunities’. In 2016, salmon farming supported local causes to the value of £735,000. The film can be seen at http://scottishsalmon.co.uk/salmon-farming-supports-local-communities/

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15/01/2018 14:58:51


United Kingdom News

Fish vet conference takes shape

THIS year’s Fish Vet Society conference will feature a retail presence with a keynote address by a Marks and Spencer representative, as well as talks on the consequences of Brexit. The gathering, on March 2021, has lined up Abigail Seager from the Veterinary Medicines Directorate and Lindsey Toon from Benchmark Animal Health to discuss the possible impact on the sector from leaving Europe. In a section on foreign policy, speakers include Kristina Landsverk, chief veterinary officer of the Norwegian Food

Safety Authority, and Birna Mørkøre, chief veterinary officer, of the Food and Veterinary Authority Faroes. The last session of the day will be on welfare at slaughter. There will be an overview of the history of slaughter of salmon and other farmed fish by Dave Robb, who will chair the session. A formal agenda will be finalised in the next few weeks. The meeting will take place at the Houston House Hotel, in Uphall,West Lothian, and the society dinner will be held on Tuesday, March 20, at the venue.

Loch Duart success shared with staff LOCH Duart made a £42.5 million turnover in the last financial year, up from £26.4 million in 2015/16. Profit before tax was £8.5 million, compared to a £2.4 million loss in the previous year, when a jelly fish attack on the company’s Hebridean stock hit both revenues and profit. This was not repeated in 2016/17 and the success of the year meant that around £3 to £4 million in bonus payments was shared with all staff. ‘Our last financial year featured good fish growth, better control of the biological challenges facing the whole industry and strong salmon prices,’ said Loch Duart’s

Above: Award winning Loch Duart’s managing director Alban Denton

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managing director, Alban Denton. ‘The hard graft of our staff members is turning around the fortunes of this proud, world class company. We properly acknowledged their fantastic efforts by sharing around £3/4 million in bonus payments with all staff.’ The company was recognised as Food & Drink Company of the Year at the Made in Scotland awards and Foodservice Product of the Year at the Scottish Food & Drink Awards. Denton was also named Chief Executive of the Year at the HR Network Scotland National Awards 2017. The company’s 2016/17 performance has enabled it to re-invest £2.9 million during the year and a similar level of investment is planned for 2017-18. It is also investing heavily in its non-medicinal management and maintenance of fish health. The company also reduced its loans and bank debts, which had fallen to £2.6 million by March 31, 2017, from £7.2 million. Headcount at the firm increased to 109 by March 31, up from 103, and has subsequently increased to 115.

Fish ‘fingerprinted’ to fend off fraud LOCH Duart is to ‘fingerprint’ its fish to prevent the growing menace of food fraud. The company has joined forces with traceability experts to create a means of verifying the origin of its salmon, which is sold to top restaurants and wholesalers. The firm Oritain will deploy testing measures to trace elements that occur naturally at each farm and are absorbed by the salmon raised there. Further analysis creates a unique fingerprint. The service will be provided to stop unscrupulous suppliers trying to pass off other

salmon as Loch Duart’s and help the company protect its brand. The farmer will be able to audit at any stage in the supply chain and determine exactly where the salmon being tested originates from. Loch Duart will be the first farmer in the northern hemisphere to use this technology.

Kames withdraws Dounie trout farm plan KAMES Fish Farming withdrew an application to site a trout farm in the Sound of Jura following local opposition to the plans. The proposal, for a 12-cage farm at Dounie, met with disapproval from residents, lobbying as the Friends of the Sound of Jura. Kilmelford based Kames submitted an application in November 2016 for a Sepa licence for 12 circular cages, each 100m in circumference, to rear a maximum of 2,500 tonnes of fish to meet demand, create six jobs and secure other positions

in the company. However, the fish farm, at Salen Mor Bay south of Ardnoe Point, drew strong local objection, including a petition with more than 3,000 signatures, collected by the Friends of the Sound of Jura. Kames’ managing director, Stuart Cannon, confirmed in December that the company had withdrawn its application. The family business and local employer has been operating in Loch Melfort for 45 years. It said it would continue to seek to expand production to meet growing demand for its trout and employ local staff.

New lice treatment ‘100% successful’ A NEW bath treatment for sea lice has proven 100 per cent effective in commercial field trials in Norway, said its manufacturer. The treatment, called Ectosan, was developed by Benchmark, which described the product as a ‘breakthrough’ in addressing the salmon farming industry’s sea lice challenge. Furthermore, the invention is hailed as environmentally friendly as it is administered through a purification system, CleanTreat,

which removes any detectable traces of medicine from treatment water before it is discharged. The company is now exploring other applications and routes to market for this

technology. Benchmark believes Ectosan has annual sales potential of £4050 million, and will continue field trials in key markets through 2018 and 2019 as part of the regulatory process.

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15/01/2018 14:59:23


All the latest industry news from the UK

Champion chef new salmon ambassador AN award winning chef has been appointed as food ambassador for the Scottish Salmon Company (SSC). Gary Maclean, champion of MasterChef:The Professionals and Scotland’s first national chef, will represent SSC’s values of ‘pride, passion and provenance’ and its focus on health and wellbeing. Maclean, who has taught at City of Glasgow College for more than 17 years, is known as ‘MacChef’ to his students. He has a long standing relationship with the SSC, having previously worked on recipe development alongside other staff and students at City of Glasgow College. In his new role he will continue creating recipes using Scottish salmon, as well as educating and inspiring fellow chefs and people across Scotland to use salmon when cooking. All the recipes, plus nutrition and cooking tips, will be available on the SSC website. Maclean said: ‘As a chef born and bred in Scotland, it is fantastic to be working with the Scottish Salmon Company. I’m passionate about cooking with local produce from the great Scottish larder, especially salmon, and I’m looking

Above: Gary Maclean

forward to developing some exciting new recipes.’ Craig Anderson, chief executive of the Scottish Salmon Company, said: ‘It is great to have Gary on board as our new food ambassador. His passion for quality and provenance perfectly mirrors our core values and we are excited to be working closely with him.’

Conquer disease with gene editing: Gove BRITAIN could see a new approach to genetically edited crops and animals after Brexit, Environment Secretary Michael Gove suggested. Gene editing – which speeds up the practice of selective breeding but, unlike genetic modification, does not introduce new genes from another species – is still in its infancy but represents a long-term opportunity in animal health. Gove said the technology could boost crop yields and produce more valuable livestock. Research into how gene editing can

Above: Gary Maclean

improve fish health is already underway in the UK. Scientists in Scotland and Europe are currently involved in a study to identify genes involved in infectious salmon anaemia (ISA) and make alterations to increase resistance. This could then be applied to produce ISA resistant broodstock.

now for aquaculture prize night Scottish caviar plan ‘cruel’ say activists Enter NOMINATIONS are open for the 2018 Scottish Marine Aquaculture PLANS to produce caviar in Scotland have met with opposition from animal rights campaigners. Fynest Caviar submitted a planning application to Argyll and Bute Council in December and hopes to begin work on its project beside Loch Fyne in spring, with Scottish produced caviar on the market by Christmas 2020. The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa) has lodged no objections with Argyll and Bute Council, which has set a determination deadline for later this month. However, more than 5,000 people have signed a petition organised by Peta urging councillors to abandon plans for the ‘cruel’ farm. The farm will be a closed containment aquaculture facility beside Ardkinglas

Awards, to be held for the first time since 2015 after being relaunched. Previously run by the Crown Estate, the awards consist of 12 categories, including three new ones, and reflect the diversity of the UK aquaculture industry. The winners will be announced at a ceremony on May 23, during the Aquaculture UK 2018 exhibition in Aviemore. Eleven of the categories will be chosen by a panel of industry judges, but the twelfth – the People’s Choice – will be selected by the wider industry, giving all those present at Aquaculture UK, and further afield, the chance to vote for the people who have helped to inspire their careers. The closing date for entries is March 5.The forms for the awards, now run by 5M Publishing, can be accessed at www.aquacultureawards.com.

Above: Site for the new farm

sawmill at Cairndow, near the head of the loch. One of the new company’s three shareholders, chartered accountant Fraser Niven, said the firm hoped to capitalise on the reputation of nearby producers Loch Fyne Oysters and the Scottish Salmon Company. ‘A significant element of the investment is to acquire a blended initial stock, from accredited sustainable sources,’ he said.

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‘The stock will acclimatise over the first 12 months and a small number of the fish will be in a position to provide caviar after a further 12 months. ‘However, the key to the business is to hatch and rear fish.’ The plans include an onsite broodstock unit to allow the operators to produce their own juveniles, a nursery and an on-growing area. Female sturgeon can take up to 25 years to mature.

New chapter in cleaner fish farming

Above: Jim Treasurer A LONG awaited book on cleaner fish biology gathers together leading specialists in the field and provides protocols in cleaner fish rearing, deployment, health and welfare. Cleaner Fish Biology and Aquaculture Applications, edited by Jim Treasurer, reviews and presents new knowledge on the biology of the utilised cleaner fish species, wrasse and lumpfish. It will be published in March.

Written by a team of internationally recognised experts in cleaner fish biology, culture and deployment, Cleaner Fish Biology and Aquaculture Applications is aimed at hatchery managers, salmonid producers, fish farm operatives, researchers, regulators, students and enthusiasts working with, and interested in, cleaner fish. The book is published by 5mBooks (www.5mbooks.com), 464 pages, £150.

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15/01/2018 14:59:48


European News

NEWS...

Norway salmon exports hit record £6 billion NORWAY exported a million tonnes of salmon last year, the highest volume on record, figures for 2017 show. The value at 64.7 billion kroners (almost £6 billion) was also a record and up five per cent or NOK 3.4 billion on the previous year. The total Norwegian seafood export figure for 2017 (including white fish, pelagic species and shellfish) also hit a record high, totalling NOK 94.5 billion (£8.63 billion), a rise in value of three per cent or NOK 3 Above: Export growth for farmed salmon continued billion, and a volume markets in Asia and cent from fishing. increase of seven per Renate Larsen, man- the US. At the same cent. time, exports to the EU aging director of the Of the total value remained unchanged Norwegian Seafood last year, 72 per cent Council, said that 2017 from 2016.’ came from aquaculCommenting on was ‘another great ture, while fisheries the salmon success, year for exports’. accounted for 28 per analyst Paul T. Aandahl ‘Values increased by cent. Measured in volat the Seafood Council three per cent and we ume, the distribution added: ‘After a very see growth in value was 40 per cent from aquaculture and 60 per and volume in overseas strong year in 2016,

we see that the export growth for salmon continued to flow out in 2017. ‘The main reason is a stable EU market. But increased consumer prices have led to reduced salmon purchases in several of the major consumer

markets in the EU.’ The average export price for fresh whole salmon was NOK 60.34 per kilo in 2017, which was 0.26 kroner higher than in 2016. But there was considerable variation during the year, with prices ranging between NOK 72.07 per kilo in January (a record for a single month) and NOK 50.51 in November. Nearly 73 per cent of all Norwegian salmon exports, measured in product weight, went to the EU last year, a decline of three per cent. Poland saw a volume decline of six per cent to 132,000 tonnes, while exports to France were down by 10 per cent to 103,000 tonnes. Denmark and Spain were the largest emerging markets over the past 12 months. Exports to Denmark

increased by 15 per cent to 86,000 tonnes, while exports to Spain increased by eight per cent to 63,000 tonnes. The US continues to provide increasingly attractive prospects, with salmon exports totalling 49,000 tonnes, worth NOK 4.4 billion, a value increase of 31 per cent or NOK 1.1 billion, and a volume increase of 10,000 tonnes, or 25 per cent, from 2016. Asia too is growing in importance, with 169,000 tonnes worth NOK 11.6 billion sold in 2017, a rise of 11 per cent in volume and 13 per cent in value. Farmed trout exports continued to decline; they were worth NOK 2.9 billion, down by NOK 1 billion on 2016. The largest trout markets in 2017, measured in volume, were Japan, Belarus and the US.

Investor sets up new aquaculture fund THE specialist seafood investment company Broodstock Capital has allocated 200 million Norwegian kroners ($25 million) to finance fishery projects. The Norwegian firm is setting up a second dedicated fund to focus on small and medium sized businesses in fishing and the aquaculture industry. It specifically targets companies with a proven track record and a strong management team, with the ability to stay ahead of the curve and capitalise on a growing market. Kjetil Haga, partner in Broodstock Capital, said: ‘Many investors have contacted us after setting up our first fund a year ago. ‘Investors in the new fund are a few selected professional family offices with strong interest

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in and good insight into the seafood industry. We think they are a good match for us – and vice versa. ‘The key lies in identifying the companies that really have a sustained competitive advantage and thus the highest possible growth potential. We have identified such companies in Norway and abroad.’ Another Broodstock partner, Simen L. Bjørnstad, said: ‘The new set-up reinforces our strategy of investing in market leaders within growth niches in the seafood industry.’ In April last year Broodstock became a majority shareholder in the Danish based company Billund Aquaculture, which has 30 years’ experience in design, installations, operations and

Above: Good industry insight

service of intensive land based recirculation aquaculture systems. It has also invested in Maritech Systems and net cleaning company Multi Pump Innovation (MPI).

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15/01/2018 15:03:43


All the latest industry news from Europe

Fish effect on mental wellbeing studied - but results inconclusive HUNDREDS of young people have been taking part in an unusual experiment to find out if eating more seafood can improve their mental wellbeing. But the results so far have been inconclusive. Conducted by NIFES, Norway’s National Institute of Nutrition and Seafood Research, the trial has been held in the Norwegian coastal city of Bergen. Some 500 students from eight local schools have been divided up into three groups, each eating a different type of meal. One group is served oily fish such as salmon, another meat and the third omega-3 capsules. They were then asked to fill out a questionnaire about their behaviour, and their relationships with friends and family. NIFES says that while earlier studies have suggested that seafood can have a beneficial effect on mental health, this trial had so far failed to establish such a link. It found there was no marked change in the mental health of the participants between the start and the finish of the trials. NIFES says there could be a number of reasons for this, including the fact that three months was too short a period or simply that fish does not have a marked effect on personality. However, a small group differed from the main body of students in that those who ate fish said

Above: Unusual experiment

they felt a little better than those on the meat diet. NIFES researcher Lisbeth Dahl said: ‘So few people were involved that we could not make

any conclusions with this subgroup.’ The trial is part of a much larger study looking at the impact of eating fish on general health and wellbeing.

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European News

Thermolicer firm appoints new boss Festive salmon sales record for Norway NORWAY’S Steinsvik Group, which makes aquaculture equipment including the Thermolicer, has appointed a new CEO. Martha Kold Bakkevig has replaced Bjørn M. Apeland. She brings 20 years’ experience of management and business development, and is local to Haugesund in Rogaland county, where Steinsvik is headquartered. ‘After almost 14 years as an entrepreneur and senior leader in a company that has become a leading company in technology and equipment deliveries to the rapidly expanding aquaculture industry, I now leave it to Martha Kold Bakkevig,’ said Apeland, who will act as deputy CEO for a period. Steinsvik is owned by the investment company Kverva Technology. Terje Eidesmo, CEO of Kverva Technology and chairman of Steinsvik Group, said: ‘It is a great responsibility to lead Steinsvik, and Martha is the right person to take care of what has been done while building the company in line with the ambitions Kverva Technology has as owners.’ Bakkevig said: ‘Steinsvik is working in an industry in continuous growth and is one important foundation for Kverva’s technology initiative.’

Above: Bjørn Apeland with Martha Kold Bakkevik

Above: Unprecedented demand

cil analyst Paul T. Aandahl said: ‘This is the largest export day for fresh Norwegian salmon ever. By the way, week 50 was also the largest week for salmon ever, with an export volume of 30,000 tonnes.’ Aandahl said that despite strong growth in Asian demand, the EU was still the largest market, receiving 79 per cent of exports in the week leading up to the festive holiday. Demand from Britain was particularly strong. Hans Frode Kielland Asmyhr, the

DECEMBER 15 will go down as the best day in the history of the Norwegian fresh salmon industry, with a record 6,500 tonnes of fish exported in just 24 hours – thanks to unprecedented Christmas demand. The export volume was worth 319.5 million kroners (£28.8 million) and was equivalent in size to 325 trailer-loads. It meant the country’s salmon farmers were earning at the rate of almost 222,000 kroners a minute that day. Seafood Coun-

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Seafood Council’s UK representative, said: ‘Christmas is a time when the British eat a lot of salmon, both smoked and fresh. ‘There were big campaigns, along with a number of good deals in the stores, which led to an increase in exports to the UK.’ The Seafood Council said December was traditionally the best month for salmon, with Italy and Germany doubling its orders. However, France was top of the list, with consumption trebling during the festive period.

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15/01/2018 15:04:36


All the latest industry news from Europe

Iceland aquaculture growth faces resistance PLANS for a major expansion of salmon farming on the East Coast of Iceland are meeting with resistance - not from the usual environmental lobby suspects, but from an established fishing and seafood processing company, writes Vince McDonagh. The board of that company, Loðnuvinnslan, based in the town of Fáskrúðsfjörður, which lies on a fjord of the same name, is calling for the two projects either to be subjected to more official scrutiny or scaled back because of the environmental damage they claim it could do to the area. This latest row reflects the dilemma

facing Iceland as it prepares for a significant expansion of its current modest fish farming sector over the next decade. The country has studied the prosperity aquaculture has brought to isolated areas of Norway and believes it too can reap some of those benefits. But there are arguments over where to locate the farms. A government consultative study was published last year and final recommendations are awaited. The one certainty is that this latest controversy will not be the last as Iceland begins to get serious about growing its fish farming industry.

A number of small communities outside approved areas which have lost their traditional land based fish processing factories now want to be in the frame for fish farming investment because of the employment it will bring. The two companies hoping to build fish farms in Fáskrúðsfjörður (population 662) are Fiskeldi Austfjarðar (Ice Fish Farm) and Laxar Fiskeldi. Together they are looking to produce around 15,000 tonnes of salmon a year. Loðnuvinnslan, which owns a couple of trawlers and a processing plant in the town, says in a letter of protest to Iceland’s Environment

Above: Icelandic farm

and Planning Agency that the proposals are currently under review without including a comprehensive assessment of the impact on the biosphere and the effect on the fjord itself. It says Fiskeldi Aust-

Change of fisheries minister in reshuffle ICELAND has changed its fisheries minister in a major shake-up of the government, following October’s largely inconclusive general election. Out goes Reform Party member Thorgerður Katrín Gunnarsdóttir, Above: Kristján Þór Júlíusson who had held the post for less than a year. She is replaced by Kristján Þór Júlíusson, who was education minister in the previous government, but has considerable marine experience. He is a certified steersman and a former captain and has spent a number of years working in the marine industry. An experienced politician, in 1986 he became the mayor of Dalvík for the Independence Party and remained in office until 1994, when he moved to Ísafjörður and took on the job of mayor there until 1997. In the 1998 municipal elections he successfully ran for

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European News.indd 11

office in Akureyri. Although she had only been fisheries minister since January last year, Katrín Gunnarsdóttir made quite an impact in the job, especially during the two-month-long fishermen’s strike, when she publicly resisted pressure to declare the stoppage illegal. There has also been a change of prime minister. Bjarni Benediktsson of the centre right Independence Party has returned to his old job as finance minister, while the new premier is Katrin Jakobsdottir, leader of the Left-Greens. She is Iceland’s sixth government leader in less than ten years. As her left-right coalition government has a wafer thin majority, another election this year cannot be ruled out. Elections in Iceland are sometimes called for the strangest reasons. The last government was brought down by a paedophile rehabilitation scandal. Jakobsdottir has promised a new tone for Iceland, which is almost certain to continue to stay out of the European Union. A deal with Britain after Brexit is likely to be one of its priorities. Just what all this means for the fishing industry is unclear, but it always seems to rise above the political turmoil in Reykjavik and carry on as one of the main contributors to the country’s economy. Left: Katrin Jakobsdottir

fjarðar already has a licence for 3,000 tonnes of salmon which has yet to be implemented, but it is now looking to add a further 7,850 tonnes to its production plan. Laxar Fiskeldi wants to produce a further 4,000 tonnes in the fjord. Loðnuvinnslan, which has been in business since 2001, claims that if the two applications are allowed to go ahead it will lead to considerable waste related pollution and sewage in the fjord. This, it says, will affect the quality of the marine environment and, in turn, its production facility. There are also believed to be concerns about labour shortages. The company employs 150 people in a relatively underpopulated area and also has freezing, cold storage and ice production facilities. It points out that the while the fjord itself may be 1,300m wide, shipping is confined to a 400m corridor and if fish farms are constructed in the waterway, vessel movements will be severely restricted, adding to costs and other problems. Loðnuvinnslan also said it was surprised that the aquaculture growth plans had been in preparation for the

past four years yet no one had bothered to consult the views of the company. As for the two fish farming companies involved, Fiskeldi Austfjarðar is barely six years old and is already well established in the east of Iceland, producing sea reared trout and salmon, as well as its own smolt. It says it operates an eco-friendly fish farming business and has received Aqua Gap verification on its production and harvesting. Currently, it holds an 11,000 tonnes licence but has applied for additional capacity for 43,000 tonnes. Meanwhile, Laxar Fiskeldi says it wants to ‘develop a dynamic salmon farming activity’ in sea cages in the eastern fjords region of Iceland with plans to eventually build up production to 25,000 tonnes. It adds on its website: ‘From the maricultural point of view, the East Fjords of Iceland provide favourable natural conditions. The area is tried and tested for salmon farming. The results are promising in terms of robust growth rates and the absence of pancreas disease and salmon lice.’

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World News

NEWS...

Cooke fights for Washington farms COOKE Aquaculture employees from salmon farms in Puget Sound, Washington State, turned up at a hearing earlier this month on legislation that would shut down their industry, the Seattle Times reported. Cooke, which is based in New Brunswick, Canada, has invested $70 million so far in its Washington operations, which it bought last summer from Icicle Seafoods. And it wants to invest more in its farms, Joel Richardson, vice president for public relations, told the committee hearing in Olympia. Cooke employs about 180 people in Washington, at four farm locations as well as at

Above: Puget Sound, Washington

a Seattle processing plant and on boats. If the bill is passed, the state would no longer authorise new leases, or allow any agency to issue permits for any activity involving invasive species of marine finfish

aquaculture. The industry would be gradually phased out as permits expire, terminating in 2025. Senator Kevin Ranker, who is sponsoring the bill, said that while the escape of more than 160,000

fish from Cooke’s Cypress Island farm last summer focused his attention on net pen farming of Atlantic salmon in Puget Sound, it is the impact of daily operations and concern about disease among the farmed fish

getting into the environment that concern him the most. All of Cooke’s escaped Atlantic salmon sampled by the state were disease free and not carrying sea lice, according to the state Department of Fish

and Wildlife. Joel Richardson said: ‘We believe farmed salmon is consistent with Washington’s environmental ethic and agricultural tradition.’ But wild salmon advocates said far more jobs and a far older economy in Washington rest on the precarious state of wild salmon. Meanwhile, Cooke is suing Washington State for terminating its Port Angeles net pen lease. The company filed its lawsuit on January 4, claiming that the decision was based on erroneous and outdated information about the condition of the facility, and that closing the operations will result in the loss of jobs.

Farmer purchases feed firm COOKE Aquaculture has concluded a $500 million share deal to seal the purchase of a feed ingredients company. The animal feeds produced by Omega Protein Corporation are an important component in Cooke’s production of Atlantic salmon, said the company. ‘The acquisition of Omega Protein will help further diversify the supply side of our business and supports our strategy of responsible growth as a leader in seafood production,’ said Glenn Cooke, CEO of Cooke. ‘We are bringing together two innovative fishery teams with a passion for delivering superior products, service, and value to our customers in a safe and environmentally sustainable manner.’ Omega Protein operates seven manufactur-

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ing facilities, in the US, Canada and Europe. Prior to the closing of the acquisition, the company operated more than 30 vessels to harvest menhaden, a fish abundantly found in the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico. These vessels will now be operated by Alpha Vessel Co Holdings. ‘With over 1,000 employees and a purchase price of $500 million, Omega Protein is the largest acquisition in the 32-year history of Cooke,’ Glenn Cooke added.

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15/01/2018 15:11:10


World News

Tassal boss to host farm tours TASMANIAN salmon producer Tassal is offering tours of its new fish farm sites, hosted by the company CEO Mark Ryan, the Australian broadcaster ABC reported. The two-and-a-half-hour trips would ‘include an overview of our operations and vision’, a visit to existing salmon farms and travel to Storm Bay, south of Hobart, to view the location of proposed sites, the company said. Tassal said ‘sustainable business is responsible business’ and pledged it was ‘committed to continuing to serve better’. The tours, which the company said had been more than six years in the planning, were announced on the same day that news emerged of 30,000 mortalities at Tassal’s Okehampton Bay farm in December 2016. The deaths of juvenile salmon were due to human error during freshwater bathing to prevent disease, the company said in a statement, describing the event as a ‘minor, one-off mortality issue’. ‘We are always very sad if something like this happens, but to put it into context, there are 800,000 fish in the water at Okehampton so we lost three per cent of our juvenile stock,’ Tassal said on its Facebook page. The salmon farmer said it operated on a survival rate of 83 fish per 100 and, despite the Okehampton Bay incident, was still ‘tracking

better’ than the forecast mortality rate. ‘All fish farmers deal with mortalities — it is built into risk management planning. No farmer achieves 100 per cent survival.’

Above: Tassal boss Mark Ryan will give an overview of salmon farming

FOR ALL THE LATEST AQUACULTURE NEWS AND RECRUITMENT visit: www.fishupdate.com www.fishfarmer-magazine.com

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World News

EU cloud over Vietnam exports

Above: Pangasius exports rose in 2017

VIETNAM’S seafood exports hit a record value of US$8.32 billion in 2017, some 18 per cent higher than the previous year, said the country’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. The top markets were the US, Japan, China and South Korea, accounting for 55.3 per cent of the national export value. But exports to some European countries also rose significantly.

For example, sales to the UK were up by 36.4 per cent and to the Netherlands by 48.6 per cent. The Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP) said shrimp exports provided the biggest contribution, with a growth rate of 21 per cent to $3.8 billion in export value for 2017. Shrimp export value increased by 60 per cent to China, 42 per

cent to the US, 33 per cent to South Korea and 18 per cent to Japan. Meanwhile, the export value of farmed pangasius reached nearly $1.8 billion in 2017, a year-on-year increase of four per cent, despite difficulties in many markets. But there could be a cloud on the horizon, with Vietnam coming under increased pressure from the EU to clean up its catching industry or face sanctions. Brussels claims that the Hanoi government is turning a ‘blind eye’ to illegal and unregulated fishing practices and the EU has now issued a yellow card giving Vietnam six months’ notice to reform.

Marine Harvest buys Canadian firm MARINE Harvest is to buy leading east coast Canadian salmon farmer Northern Harvest, the Bergen based company announced. Northern Harvest is fully integrated with its own broodstock, smolt/hatchery, farming sites and processing operations. It is expected to harvest 19,000 tonnes of salmon in 2018; it has 45 farming licences in Newfoundland and New Brunswick, and has applied for an additional 13 farming licences. Marine Harvest will pay CAD 315 million (US$251 million, EUR 209 million) for the acquisition which, it said, ‘supports Marine Harvest’s long term strategy of being a world leading and integrated producer of

seafood proteins’. Marine Harvest – the largest salmon farming company in the world, with more than US$1 billion (EUR 850 million) in sales in the third quarter of 2017 – intends to pay for Northern Harvest in cash.

Above: Salmon

Nigerian farmers join forces

New seafood park planned for Boston A NEW fish park is being proposed for Boston, Massachusetts, host of North America’s largest seafood expo. The 220,000 square foot complex, to be built on a seven acre site on the outskirts of the city, will be equipped with up-to-date processing and distribution facilities. And it will become home to a number of seafood companies which have outgrown their existing premises and are keen to expand. The seafood industry currently supports around 1,400

Above: Boston

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jobs in the area. Eden Milroy, president of the developer, Pilot Development Partners, said: ‘The introduction of locally provisioned retail seafood at this location will provide a valuable interface between the seafood industry and the public.’ The Boston Globe said the emphasis on seafood in the Boston area was changing as restrictions on the local fishing industry meant processors were now focusing more on preparing and moving fresh seafood flown in from countries around the world.

NIGERIA’S aquaculture groups have merged to become the Amalgamated Association of Fish Farmers and Aquaculture of Nigeria. The chairman of the association, Hussaini Roha, told the News Agency of Nigeria that the merger would fast-track the development of the sector, which now produced more than 100,000 tonnes. ‘Fish farming is one of the fastest growing agricultural enterprises in the country and its contribution to Nigeria’s gross domestic product is significant,’ he said. ‘It has made an appreciable impact on the nation’s economy, in

terms of employment generation, poverty alleviation, foreign exchange earnings and provision of raw materials for the animal feeds industry.’ The inland water mass, estimated at about 12.5 million hectares, is capable of producing 512,000 tonnes of fish annually, he added. ‘The country remains one of the largest consumers of fish, with demand estimated to stand at 1.4 million tonnes per annum,’’ he said. Roha urged the government to strive harder to grow the industry, using the association as a platform to harness its opportunities.

www.fishfarmer-magazine.com

15/01/2018 15:14:14


All the latest industry news from around the world

Singapore site for first Asian offshore mariculture conference THE first offshore mariculture conference to be staged in Asia will take place in Singapore in May, following successful events in Europe and Mexico. Offshore Mariculture Asia will be held in Singapore from May 15-17, 2018, the organisers, Mercator Media, announced last month. Off the coast, deep water and strong current fish farming of finfish is the main topic of the debut conference, which hopes to attract more than 150 international delegates and speakers to the Marina Mandarin Hotel in Singapore. On day three of the conference delegates will have a chance to visit a fish farm. The conference, which is in association with the US Soybean Export Council (USSEC), will offer technical presentations and panel discussions, covering

hatchery and breeding technology, offshore technology and cages, nutrition, valued added and distribution. Marianne Rasmussen-Coulling, events director at Mercator Media, said: ‘At the last European edition of Offshore Mariculture Conference (OMC) in Barcelona, it was highlighted by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) chairman that Asia is the developing hub in terms of quantity and potential, and it needs to intensify with more fish per cubic metre of water. ‘It is felt that the market in South East Asia is now well primed for large scale/large volume production and is an excellent location for our conference.’ Previous European locations of the conference included Malta, Spain, Croatia and Turkey and in March of 2017 OMC launched in Mexico.

Global drive to improve fish farm safety PROTECTING the health of the world’s 18 million aquaculture workers will be the focus of a new project led by a University of Stirling academic. Despite being one of the most hazardous industries in the world, the risks posed by fish farming have been generally neglected. Experts gathered at the university last month to finalise an analysis of global occupational health and safety standards and challenges. Led by Stirling’s Professor Andrew Watterson, the initiative will provide an overview of global aquaculture and fish farming occupational health and safety issues along the primary supply chain, in marine and freshwater locations. The research will cover diving, construction works – such as the establishment of stock-holding units like ponds, racks and cages – as well as harvesting, processing, and transport of produce. The new study, funded by the Food and Ag-

riculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations, also explores workplace injuries relating to machinery, tools, boats, vehicles, drowning, falls, electrocution and bites. Occupational diseases are generally under reported across the world and aquaculture presents many threats to health. These include those linked to heat and cold, dehydration, work related neck and upper limb disorders, respiratory problems, allergies, parasites, bacteria from feed,

skin issues, and hazards related to ingestion and inhalation. Professor Watterson, of Stirling’s Faculty of Health Sciences and Sport, said: ‘Our report aims to set out what works, and what does not, on aquaculture occupational health and safety across the globe and focus on how to improve standards and reduce risks. ‘This will involve looking at occupational safety and health risk management in aquaculture and identifying best practice.’

Above: Andrew Watterson

Kenya backs ‘farmer friendly’ training

Above: Singapore

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A NATIONAL aquaculture curriculum has been launched in Kenya to promote tilapia farming on Lake Victoria. The modular curriculum, which will be offered in various vocational training institutions, polytechnics and colleges throughout the country, is part of joint efforts to sustain the declining fish population in Lake Victoria, reported Daily Nation. It will also enhance sustainable ways to protect the lake’s environment and eradicate poverty by creating alternate livelihoods other than lake fishing. The curriculum - part of the Trilateral Tilapia Cooperation - is being supported by Kenya’s Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries, the German Development Cooperation Agency, and the Israeli Foreign Affairs Ministry’s Agency for International Development Cooperation. Speaking during the launch, the programme’s deputy manager, Ladislao Di Domenica, said the curriculum seeks to promote hands-on training. ‘This farmers-friendly flexible curriculum, currently running in institutions such as Ramogi Institute of Advanced Technology, Jewlet Fish Farm, and Lake Basin Development Authority in Kisumu, comprises 70 per cent practical hands-on aspects of learning and 30 per cent theoretical and, with it, we expect to boost aquaculture and ensure the region’s and country’s tilapia productivity goes up,’ said Di Domenica.

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Trade Associations – Scottish Salmon Producers Organisation

Trade Associations – Scottish Salmon Producers’ Organisation

BY SCOTT LANDSBURGH

Setting the record

Brexit basics

straight

Exporters need to be certain their perishable product will move swiftly through customs barriers

I T

T IS now almost a year and a half since the United Kingdom voted by

Parliamentary inquiry will hopefully majority to leave the European Union. Of perhapsgive morethe material consequence is the fact that it is approximately nine months since the UK govScottish salmon industry a fair hearing ernment put the ‘will of the people’ into practice by triggering Article 50.

This has propelled the UK and EU into a negotiation phase to agree the terms of the UK’s exit, and thus the future relationship between the two HE ons. upcoming parliamentary inquiry into Scottish salmon farming jurisdicti at Holyrood could, in some be met by ourindustry industryatwith So where does the process leaveways, the Scotti sh salmon this trepidation, given the criticism levelled at us recently by some in juncture? the media. I have always been minded to hope for the best and plan for the worst in However, I see the situation somewhat differently. At our Christmas business, as in life. Talks of a transition agreement or implementation phase Holyrood reception for MSPs, I told the assembled audience (which upon exit are welcome in my view, and the ambition of agreeing a future included most of the Rural Economy and Connectivity Committee and comprehensive free trade agreement certainly has my support. the Environment Committee) that I was really looking forward to taking But such talk is vague at present and, realistically, we as an industry have to the opportunity to set the record straight. prepare for a ‘no deal’ outcome based on a fall back to World Trade OrganisaFor too long, the voices of the militant part of the wild fish lobby have tion (WTO) trading rules should discussions break down. been heard above the voices of reason from the mainstream operators Putting aside the question of tariffs for the moment, WTO rules are insuffiin both the wild and farmed sectors. Naturally, we can’t expect our cient on their ownto tounderstand deliver a suitable on onissues day one of Brexit parliamentarians sometrading of the positi technical involved when compared to the status quo, parti cularly given the specifi c circumstancin fish farming, but I do expect them to listen to a more balanced view es the of salmon exporti of challenges weng. face and the remedies we are using to overcome Exporters of Scotti sh salmon need to be certain that their short-life, perishthem. able move ly andto easily through barrierslevels to their Theproduct inquirywill gives us aswift platform highlight thecustoms extraordinary fi nal desti nati on. Without formal recogniti on of our produce conforming of funding we are putting in to improve our environmental credentials,to EU rules in advance of dayinone, allowing for swift transportati on from fish and the many advances scientific innovation to address environmenfarm to plate, at the risk of being accused of scaremongering, I think there tal and fish health issues that we are making, with significant investare genuine reasons to be apprehensive. ment in time and money. Of course, for 40taken plus years beenfish harmonising our lawsand andenviSteps are being bothwe to have improve health standards regulationsperformance, with our European trade partners and there be any ronmental and to meet challenges headshould on. Allnot of this will major our hurdles in coming to an agreement on mutual recognition of product equip industry for the future. standards, partiexamples cularly as itofisrecent very much in the interests both negotiating To give some investment, two ofofour member parti es. companies, along with the Scottish Aquaculture Innovation Centre And the World Trademillions Organisati guarantees basic rules and procedural (SAIC), have invested ofon pounds in a facility in Machrihanish to propriety whenand it comes customs ers. There is lice. no precedent a breed wrasse other to cleaner fishmatt to combat sea There arefor plans country but one we did afoot to leaving expandthe thisEUfacility. Incould total,reasonably nearly £14assume million that was even spentif on not end fish up with a free trade deal, then we will not revert to a situation where cleaner in 2016-17. the EU refuses to accept thebeing fooddeveloped safety credenti of our exports. But we Other solutions are also andals adopted with consideracannot guarantee anything. ble success. Collectively, the industry in Scotland spent £21 million over Moreover, will become a thirdsolutions, country with respect to the EU upon the last yearthe on UK mechanical cleaning such as thermolicers,to address the same exit, whether thereproblem. is a trade deal or not. This means there will be no autoAdditional investment has been madefor ongoods satellite technology enamati c and simple import/export process between the EUtoand UK, with the UK dropping out of the Union Customs Code framework upon exit. 16Even attempts to adopt closely aligned customs systems by agreement or imitation might not stop trade in goods between the UK and EU becoming more difficult. Processes tend to become more complicated and cumbersome the less SSPO.indd 16

rules are harmonised between jurisdictions. It is the same for the EU and third country exporters. Any new processes may involve additional European Commission health inspection visits, new processes for health certification following possible increased, time consuming scrutiny and testing. There may well be a need for Border Inspection Posts (BIPs) for products of animal origin, with prior notification required for the arrival of consignments. Identity checks, document checks and product checks at BIPs could be required as a matter of course by the Official Fish Inspector. If consignments failed these additional checks (this is highly unlikely but we should be aware that any early divergence between the UK and EU in animal health regulation could result in this) then our products would have to be either re-exported or destroyed. All in all, for food and beverages, the steps that third countries have to take to export to the EU are significantly more complex than the steps that EU member states have to take. At the moment, the UK’s Animal and Plant Health Agency can carry out allmonitoring the requiredofchecks in the UKwhich and exports ble the algal blooms, have can then pass through customs and on their wreaked havoc on salmon farms acrossto the final in desti nation. This changes after Brexit. globe recent years. then, notwithstanding any been other spent potential InAnd total, almost £50 million has for delay, we have toin consider oncauses fish health management the lastcustoms year. staffi ngthat and we capacity issues, this arrangement The fact deploy suchasmethods and and its associated infrastructure has hitherto not technologies is controversial in some quarters been needed for intra-EU tradehave fromno thechoice UK. but all food production sectors This potentially a massiveand issue for the but toisembrace innovation adapt to salmon Above: Improving industry.conditions. changing environmental We are governed by stricttoregulations on These technical barriers trade or non-tariff credentials allbarriers of these practices. Nothing is hidden from (NTBs) are hurdles to overcome even public view nothing the goesimpositi unchecked before we and contemplate on of by WTO environmental regulators. tariffs on our exported products. On this issue Opposite page: Scottish All of this should, in the anypotenti case, be seen in vely of tariff s, these have al to negati salmon the of our operating affcontext ect the positi onindustry of exporters to the in EU.an With tariffs of 13 per cent on smoked salmon and two per cent on fresh salmon being leviedwww.fishfarmer-magazine.com in a ‘no deal’ WTO rules scenario, Scottish salmon runs the risk of becoming less competitive on price in the EU market, with our competitors 15/01/2018 15:15:37


Setting the record straight

Nothing is hidden from public view and nothing goes unchecked by environmental regulators

increasingly challenging marine environment. Critics point to salmon mortalities but we have taken a number of steps to address these. Climate change and its impact on the marine environment has to be taken into consideration when judging how our industry performs on environmental measures – proliferation of algal blooms, jelly fish and sea lice are all symptomatic of pressures brought about by changes in sea temperatures. That does not mean we wish to make excuses and carry on regardless. It just means we are having to deal with problems that are not of our own making, like any other industry. Higher levels of mortality are not only being experienced in fish farming; they must also be

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occurring in the wild. The problem with this comparison is that our data is readily available but there is little data on wild fish survival for anyone to consider. It is clear that additional studies must be undertaken on the interaction between wild salmon and farmed salmon. The results so far are inconclusive at best, with similar trends for the decline of wild salmon stocks on the west and east coast (where we don’t farm salmon) of Scotland. Yet this has not stopped our industry being found guilty as charged in the court of public opinion due to the lobbying power and media reach of the wild fish lobby. More broadly, the salmon farming industry in Scotland continues to make an enormous positive contribution to the rural economy and rural life in general. The social and economic benefits generated by our industry in the Highlands and islands are hard to overstate. Our consistent investment in people, equipment and facilities over many years is delivering excellent commercial performance and this will

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Trade Associations – Scottish Salmon Producers Organisation

continue in the coming years. And it is the commercial success of salmon farm operations which ultimately underpins their ability to sustain employment and spending in the Highlands and islands. In 2016, our total farm gate value was around £766 million, and we estimate that for 2017, our export figures were around £600 million for the year, consolidating Scottish salmon’s position as the UK’s most valuable food export. In order to deliver such impressive results and achieve this remarkable status, the industry spends hundreds of millions of pounds on local suppliers and services in the Highlands and islands, and hundreds of millions more on our UK-wide supply chain. Tens of millions are spent on salaries and capital investment. Employment in the industry is increasing year on year. All told, the salmon farming sector in Scotland is making massive financial investments and both the UK as a whole, and Scotland in particular, with great emphasis on the Highlands and islands, are benefiting from the rewards. The results published in our industry’s latest Economic Report are testament to all of this. I will never apologise for our commercial successes, as some seem to want us to, as I know that these successes are what secure and sustain livelihoods up and down the country. On top of that, the industry gives back in terms of sponsorship, grants for community projects and involvement in local schools, activity programmes and community events. We train our staff, take on apprentices and offer careers in parts of the country that struggled to provide opportunities in the past, especially for young people.

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Furthermore, those who depend on us can rest assured that we will be fighting for the best Brexit outcome for the industry and for the communities in which we operate. One thing we should not forget is the quality of the end product we deliver. Scottish salmon is widely considered to be one of the best, if not the best salmon products in the world in terms of taste and quality. It is a healthy product, containing essential fatty acids which assist and improve heart and brain health. What was once a luxury item is now widely available and thus affordable for consumers. It wins awards across the globe and, at the same time, ranks as the UK’s favourite fish. We are proud of what we produce, and proud of how we produce it. Our intention is to work with, not against, those in the wild fish sector and the environmental protection lobby. Industry is no use to anyone in a modern society if it cannot coexist harmoniously with the natural environment. This is especially true of aquaculture and agriculture. This is not a new point that needs to be explained or preached to us. It is what we believe anyway! This has to be taken seriously

The “ social and

economic benefits generated in the Highlands and islands are hard to overstate

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15/01/2018 15:16:47


Setting the record straight

Above: Investing in people. Above right: Coexisting with the natural environment. Right: Quality end product

by our parliamentarians. Instead of listening to hyperbole (without evidence) from the militant lobby, they need to listen more to the voices of reason within both the farmed and wild sectors. The salmon farming industry is not even 50 years old. It is much younger than most major food-producing sectors in the UK. We have come a long way in a short time and there is so much more we can achieve and, of course, improve. Like all livestock farming sectors, we face challenges; we operate in a natural environment and while this provides us with the fantastic raw ingredients and conditions that our produce thrives on, we are also very much at its mercy. So as we prepare to answer tough questions regarding our industry, we do so in the knowledge that we are making sustained improvements to the health of our fish and the way in which we impact upon the environment. We recognise and take very seriously our responsibility as custodians of the natural environment for future generations; this, again, is reflected in the investments we are making. Scrutiny at an official parliamentary level can test the nerves but when it comes I am confident that we will be able to demonstrate the exceptional care and consideration we give to our production processes, and illustrate the immensely positive contribution we make to the economy and public life in general. It is the everyday consumer, employee, taxpayer, and member of the public who matters most when it comes to judging our industry and I am sure we can convince them of our merits if we are given a fair hearing. This is our opportunity to set the record straight. Scott Landsburgh is chief executive of the Scottish Salmon Producers Organisation. FF

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Trade Associations – SSPO

Comment

BY BY PROFESSOR PROFESSOR PHIL PHIL THOMAS THOMAS

Underpinning Out with the old provenance

Even mainstream media sources have embraced the fake news phenomenon

H I

OGMANAY is traditionally marked by journalistic reviews of the Do we think enough about what gives the passing year and tongue-in-cheek predictions about the 12 months to come.its However, bells markets? tolled out, it was clear that an industry edgeasinthekey extended period of reflection will be needed to understand the political, social and economic consequences of the European and global t may beAnd politiitcally correct tomonths say so at events ofnot 2017. will be several before 2018 reveals its presentofbut farmed Atlantic salmon would direction travel. not have Scotland’s leading What is notbecome in dispute is that 2017 was food a year of surging upheaval and exportFrom without the Crown Estate’s positive Donald Trump in January, change. the inauguration of US president engagement with aquaculture development back in the 1980s. Now, aquaculture is a significant part of the agency’s marine leasing portfolio and is regularly celebrated by the Crown Estate’s Scottish Marine Aquaculture Awards event. This year’s event in Edinburgh on the 11 June was the usual highly successful showcase for Scottish aquaculture and a rare opportunity for industry to join together to mark its success. The Crown Estate is presently at the centre of further devolution discussions between the UK government and Scottish government. The long-term future of key Scottish functions remains unclear and professional expertise could be squandered in the process of organisational change. Both the Crown Estate’s core expertise and the Marine Aquaculture Awards are important in maintaining the distinctive coherence of Scotland’s aquaculture and it would be a tragedy if they became casualties of political change. This year’s Awards event was hosted by actress, writer and comedian Jo Caulfield, an inspired choice by whoever made the booking. She was very funny and entertaining and kept the proceedings going with a swing. Only once did she stray, when she wondered what ‘provenance actually meant’. In a room full of folk whose livelihoods

should “beWeorganising our training and education provisions much better

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Phil Thomas.indd 20

to the formal launch of the UK Brexit process in March, to the populist election of French president Emannuel Macron in May, to the wholly unexpected outcome of the snap UK general election in June, to the (still unresolved) impact on the provenance of their to products she quickly sensed an auofdepend the German election in September, the dienceindependence response and referendum moved to safer comedic material: there are some Catalan in October, you just don’t jokefor about! tothings the settlement of terms the Brexit divorce However, her left me myself whether we think enough in December, lastremark year’s news wasasking characterabout underpinning ofpolitical, the provenance of Scottish farmed fish – and ised by athe constant stream of social and for me that’s farmed salmon. economic uncertainties. Thereofisan nooptimistic doubt that Scottimight sh provenance Those nature be hope- is important to our industrythat – itthings gives will us the edge in all markets. ful settle down in our the key coming months. However, trade negotiations Provenance canthe be Brexit defined in various ways but most people will agree between the UK and EU not start inand earnest that it goes beyond thewill appearance sensory qualities of the final until March, and current evidence suggests on and product consistency product: flavour, texture, visual presentati there will be key continued unrestappeal in the but provenance is about are always factorspolitical in consumer UK, within and between the EU member states, much more. andItarising the unpredictable political quality assurance, including: reflectsfrom a wider concept of consumer situation in where the US.the fish is grown and processed; the professional the place Challenges long-term planning methods; and the quality, integrity of in the productibusiness on and processing and investmentand decisions setpeople to continue. commitment care ofare the involved – the professional skills, However, thepassion business mood in the expertise, and dedicati onUK of remains the producers themselves. generally upbeat despite some reduction In Scotland ourand, ‘place of producti on’ gives us a huge natural advanintage economic growth rate,fithe performance because we grow sh in the pristine coastal waters of some of ofthe industry sectors, andareas drink,of the world, and our brand is most beauti fulincluding and wildfood scenic remains strong. protected by its PGI status. AtLikewise, this stage, it looks UKScotti businesses adopti on as of ifthe sh Finfiare sh Code of Good Practice simply live with the high levels of to a range of independent allied learning with thetoindustry’s deep commitment uncertainty, and they are programmes, likely to continue to farm quality assurance including the RSPCA fish welfare do so throughout 2018. In these circumstances, scheme, builds on the underlying strength of our statutory regulatory there is much merit our in the old British adage: systems to assure producti on systems. Keep calm the andskills, carry on. Finally, expertise, passion and dedication of our farmers Below big headlines, my choice for most Above: Lumpsucker can be the demonstrated in abundance day in and day out – and they were significant feature of 2017 was the growth showcased by the recent awards event. of fakeHowever, news. There has alwaysobjecti been ve a human being wholly and forward looking, it is this third tendency to constructwhere convincing narratives area of provenance the Scotti sh industry has greatest scope for from whatever scientific, social systemati c development. Thatoriseconomic not to say that our industry’s skills facts be drawn experti from the evidence; and can professional se available are not of the highest calibre, but it is to and often such narratives support the interests recognise that our vocational educati onal and training structures, and or beliefs of the narrator. But 2017 witnessed the emergence of a quite www.fishfarmer-magazine.com different phenomenon: a narrative process in which well researched facts, passing opinion,

www.fishfarmer-magazine.com 03/07/2015

14:31:33

15/01/2018 15:18:58


Out with the old

reason“ableNo reading of the report would lead you to the view that cleaner fish bring more problems than they fix

personal anecdote and blatant make believe were treated as equally valid factual currencies. It would be good to report that this new development was strongly resisted by the mainstream professional news media. However, in practice, many news professionals appeared to embrace the new concept as just a different way of doing things. This raises serious concerns about the confidence we should have in the whole of our public information systems. Everyone understands that you can’t always believe all that you read in the newspapers. But the fake news seems guaranteed to produce public misinformation or misdirection by deliberate design. There is a tendency to blame this development on social media, but it is a wider problem. I am a long time daily reader of the Times newspapers, which many would regard as highly trusted British news institutions. But even these have occasions where they fall well short of doing a good job of properly informing their readers. Often, the coverage of aquaculture is a case in point. A recent example was the Sunday Times article ‘Clean fish (sic) bring danger of disease to salmon farms’ (December 31). This piece was based on claims by ‘campaigners’ that the use of cleaner fish in salmon farming risked bringing ‘more problems than they fix’. This view was, of course, soundly rejected by

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Phil Thomas.indd 21

the salmon farming industry (who might reasonably be expected to know something about these things). Nonetheless, general readers would have been left with a clear impression of a spat between protagonists with divergent but equally authoritative points of view. However, the story had its origins in ‘Risk assessment of fish health associated with the use of cleaner fish in aquaculture’, a December publication by the Animal Health and Welfare Panel of the Norwegian Scientific Committee for Food and Environment. This very factual and workmanlike analysis, running to 68 pages, said nothing surprising or alarming about the use of cleaner fish (its general points have already been considered in cleaner fish deployment in the Scottish industry). No reasonable reading of the report would lead you to the view that cleaner fish would bring ‘more problems than they fix’. So, what was the public information purpose of the Sunday Times news report? Why did the reporter not take a few minutes to read the original report (which was readily available on the internet) before giving the ‘campaigners’ claim’ such credence? Surely, somewhere in this journalistic process the objective of keeping the public informed deserved to have been given more serious consideration. Finally, let me turn to my predictions for 2018. The first is that the problems of false news will not abate, and it will become an increasing public information issue. The second is that 2018 will see a new focus on freshwater technology in salmon farming. Its concepts are sound, and the early trial results in Scotland look very promising. There are logistical, technological and cost challenges to overcome. But any sector whose main animal health problems can be controlled by using freshwater should be jumping at the chance to do just that. FF

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15/01/2018 15:19:16


Trade Associations – British Trout Association

Not the ‘forgotten fish’

Report marks the expansion of Polish fresh portion trout production BY DOUG MCLEOD

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RECENT report from EUMOFA (European Market Observatory for Fisheries and Aquaculture Products) reviewed and analysed fresh portion trout in Poland, from production history and domestic consumption to international trade, prices and margins. From the description, there appears little doubt that portion rainbow trout is not the forgotten fish that we have tended to perceive in the UK and much of the EU. Indeed, the Polish industry appears to have succeeded in achieving the ‘magnificent seven’ of expanding production while increasing both exports and imports, growing the processing sector, raising both local consumption and prices across the food chain, and maintaining the producers’ share of that food chain value added. Production of rainbow trout has increased by some 50 per cent in the past five years, from 13,000 tonnes in 2011 to 20,100 tonnes in 2016, accompanied by an increase in farm gate prices from euro 2.75/kg to euro 2.83/kg (only a three per cent increase, but more than nine per cent in local currency). However, these prices were consistently below the levels for fresh trout imports from Spain and frozen from Turkey, with these import values perceived as establishing some form of guide price for local bulk purchasers. Although imports are growing across the board in terms of different format, this development has been mainly for processing and re-export. Nevertheless, producers are concerned that the trend for higher imports has limited the price increases which might have been expected to be generated by the expanding domestic demand for trout. Sales to the domestic market (mainly supermarkets) are mostly gutted head-on fresh, with a rising proportion in the form of MAP pre-packs in recent years (now around 55 per cent of sales when fillets are included). The national trade association has attributed the growth in sales since 2012 to a sustained promotional campaign emphasising freshness, health benefits and convenience of MAP products, with a further beneficial outcome being an improved positive perception of trout among consumers.

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Analysis of the price/cost of fresh portion trout from 2012 to the first nine months of 2017 at the different levels of the value chain (in local currency) shows that there has been: • A broad stability in the ratio of retail to farm gate prices (in the range of 185 - 195 per cent); • The share of the retail value accruing to the trout farmers has remained over 50 per cent (52-54 per cent). Therefore, when assessing the developments over the past few years, the trout farmers of Poland can feel a reasonable sense of achievement. And looking to the future, some further expansion is expected, with additional investment in recirculation facilities being forecast, alongside a modest degree of continuing market promotion. There would be significant investment in promotion, but the national EMFF (European Maritime and Fisheries Fund) programme has been slow to kick off. However, there are a number of constraints on the horizon of national expansion: • Lack of new sites for flow-through farms; • A lack of supportive finance (as mentioned above, an extremely slow delivery of EMFF funding); • No major promotional projects in preparation; • Disease issues, in particular VHS; • Rising imports of fresh product from Italy and Spain, increasingly for local consumption rather than processing. In conclusion, it is difficult not to admire the expansion of the Polish fresh portion trout production sector in recent years, particularly in contrast to the slow decline of the sector in much of the rest of the EU, including the UK. As the EUMOFA report states, the domestic market development – which has been the main driver of the industry’s expansion – reflects an overall increase in fish consumption combined with ‘the effects of heavy and recurrent promotional activities’, plus ‘the introduction of chilled pre-packed trout products to supermarkets’. As I noted in a previous article (Fish Farmer, May, 2017), describing the French trout sector as the most dynamic sector of the retail fish sector in recent years in that market, the expansion has been driven by product innova- Below Domestic demand for trout tion and marketing activity. There is no reason not to believe that if the UK trout industry can generate equivalent novel added value products, combined with promotional actions to raise consumer awareness of the nutritional benefits of the product, we could mirror the profitable growth of our Polish and French colleagues in the next few years. FF

We could “mirror the

profitable growth of our Polish and French colleagues in the next few years

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15/01/2018 15:20:51


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15/01/2018 14:01:03


Trade Associations – ASSG

BY NICK LAKE

Cultivating growth But new legislation needed to overhaul flawed planning rules

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OOKING back, 2017 was a packed year both for shellfish cultivation and the wider world. Our conference at the end of October seems a distant memory, but I would hope that all those who made it to Oban will have gained some lasting value from the trip. We are grateful to the Rural Economy minister, Fergus Ewing, for opening the event with a positive description of our sector within the wider Scottish aquaculture industry. There is no doubt that the support of the Scottish government in helping producers to be part of the rural economy is welcomed, and a good working relationship can be maintained to assist with future sustainable development. It did strike me in listening to the minister whether we should be making a case for shellfish cultivation to be recognised in its own right and not to be subsumed within the general title of Scottish aquaculture. Positive achievements There have been a range of achievements for individual producers, often as a result of strategic investment. The European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) strategic funding has been well used by our sector and has undoubtedly encouraged further private investment from businesses. But looking forward, it is now just next year that our withdrawal from the EU will become a reality. (We will not, of course, be withdrawing from Europe as geographically we are all united by physical proximity, and in the marine environment this counts for a lot!). Hence, the question has to be, when it comes to strategic investment what needs to replace the EMFF type approach within Scotland to continue to see shellfish cultivation prosper? In part, the answer relates to the administrative and business planning framework we currently operate under, through the various requirements of site selection, consents to operate, lease agreements, physical location and public infrastructure (piers, roads, ferries and so on). These all greatly influence the ability for what are, primarily, small rural businesses to operate and contribute to the wider community and rural economy in a highly sustainable way. In determining what public investment may be required to help facilitate this we need to consider the wider public administrative system that private businesses are currently having to work under, and whether through changes it could yield benefits for businesses without over reliance on public finance. Environmental credentials One of the better headlines we attracted last year was ‘How mussel farms can boost biodiversity’ and a description of research to evaluate how mussel longlines can have a positive impact on the range of species within a farm site. Last year, I made a trip down to the Holmyards’ mussel farm (Offshore Shellfish) and saw for myself the scale of the developments off the Devonshire coast. It is good to see that the impacts have been rigorously documented and reinforce what we already intuitively know – that, in the right location, shellfish cultivation has a range of positive benefits. It could easily be argued that such developments are providing, in tech speak,

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‘positive ecosystem services’. So it would seem appropriate that we should be seeking such a recognition of positive benefits within our regulatory and administrative system for the development of shellfish cultivation within Scotland. Such an approach could provide the added impetus to encourage private business investment in shellfish cultivation, while recognising the wider benefit to society of such activities and facilitating additional public sector engagement and support. It is worth remembering the fundamental benefit of shellfish cultivation- that of producing a high quality protein food source with a carbon footprint far lower than terrestrial livestock production. It also has the added benefits of providing many essential vitamins and minerals and the right profile of oils to assist our lifetime health. Even more important in a business context is, of course, that it is a highly sought after food, to be enjoyed for the taste and feel good factor alone! Sustainability accreditation In relation to the general consumer expectation of environmental sustainability it has also been extremely encouraging that Scottish mussel production has achieved a world first. Hebridean mussels were awarded the Aquaculture Stewardship Council certification for their cultivated shellfish, a standard that authenticates both the method of production and environmental safeguards. This now means that the vast majority of mussels produced in Scotland are accredited through one or other of the independently verified schemes. With major retailers now being able to supply their consumers with products having a known sustainability profile, there is a positive outlook in securing greater sales of Scottish shellfish. Producer responsibilities On a less positive note, all ASSG members were notified of the recent identification of oyster herpes virus in the last ‘approved zone’ production area for Above: Fergus Ewing; last year’s Oban conference; Pacific oyster in Northern Ireland. Consequently, there should be no movement of ASSG award winners stock for on-growing or placing in Scottish waters Richard Tait, Judith Vajk and as they are currently all approved to be clear of this Craig Archibald. Opposite page: Pacific oysters shellfish disease. Fish health monitoring and control systems are in place specifically to protect the industry from dis-

www.fishfarmer-magazine.com

15/01/2018 15:22:45


Cultivating growth

ease outbreaks, and the inevitable economic consequences to both the public and private sectors. The EU animal health regulations cover a range of shellfish diseases which, if found in stock, render the area non-approved. It is an individual’s responsibility to ensure that they only secure seed or part grown stock from an approved zone. However, prior to such EU regulation, the UK’s Control of Deposit Orders were the process by which shellfish were approved for relaying. These had the advantage that not only were certain shellfish diseases recognised, but also pests and parasites which could be transported with the shellfish. In a world increasingly subject to climate change and global warming, there are also other potential hitch-hiker species that risk being moved with large consignments of part grown shellfish. In the post Brexit era (I won’t mention the ‘B’ word again!) it would be prudent for our sector to consider if we should enhance our biosecurity measures. This could be achieved through a publicly administered system to safeguard against any unintended introductions of potentially harmful species or disease. But ultimately the responsibility to ensure due care rests with us all and is in our own sector’s best long-term interests. Planning for the future I have recently been involved in a series of meetings considering site designation planning issues for aquaculture in Scotland. The realisation is that for both local and central government the suitability of using the terrestrial Town and Country Planning Act (TCPA) to regulate and control marine aquaculture developments has thrown up some major issues. The issue of permitted development rights (PDRs), with or without prior notification to allow certain change of operational practices or expansion of activities, is currently the subject of legislative revision by Scottish government. Hopefully, early in 2018 certain shellfish activities will be encompassed within PDR. This should help businesses to fully optimise the production potential of sites without falling foul of inappropriate planning rules. However, the current planning legislation is still fundamentally flawed in application to the marine environment and shellfish cultivation site activities. It had been hoped that the national review of Scottish planning legislation would present the Scottish government with the opportunity to redefine the term ‘development’ and fundamentally improve the application of the TCPA to marine aquaculture. At a recent meeting of the Ministerial Group for Sustainable Aquaculture – Capacity Working Group, such hopes were finally dashed. With no change to the definition of development, the only option is to look at possible new planning and consenting legislation for marine aquaculture. The formation of a working group to start this process has been agreed. This will not be for the feint hearted or those nearing retirement! However, in terms of shellfish cultivation, could

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our thoughts to this process “I amIf wesurecanweallcanaddstart to get more positive and progressive outcomes ”

this be a real opportunity to balance the positive attributes and requirements of the sector with public policy capable of delivering wider benefits locally and to society?

New horizons This brings me back to my original note regarding where shellfish cultivation places itself within the far larger industry of Scottish aquaculture. Will we ever be a £1 billion industry? Highly unlikely in the next 20 years. Will we continue to progressively grow production and our consumer base? Yes, you bet. Do we have the ability to be part of the solution for food security? Definitely so. Can all parts of the rural community benefit either directly or indirectly from the employment opportunities and activities

of shellfish businesses? Absolutely. And can we come up with a regulatory process which recognises these strengths and possibly enhances the likelihood of creating successful shellfish cultivation businesses in Scotland? Yes. I believe this is what Scottish government policy is trying to achieve but it cannot be expected to come up with all the answers alone; there is a clear role for the industry to advise what is likely to work. If we can all add our thoughts to this process I am sure we can start to get more positive and progressive outcomes in the years ahead. Nick Lake is the CEO of the ASSG (Association of Scottish Shellfish Growers) (www.assg.org.uk) The dates of the next ASSG conference are October 4-5, 2018. FF

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Comment

BY DR MARTIN JAFFA

The catch with cod New initiatives are reminiscent of the last (failed) attempt to farm this fish

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HILE Scotland continues to focus on salmon production, there are moves afoot in Norway to resurrect the failed cod farming industry. It appears there is mounting interest in the possibility that farmed cod can make it back on to the plates of discerning diners. I don’t want to pour cold water on any project that promotes aquaculture development, but I am amazed at how easy it has been for some to forget why cod farming was not a success. I certainly remember there was a lot of talk about the various hurdles that had to be overcome to get cod to a commercial size, but it wasn’t the difficulties of growing the fish that did it in for cod farming. The industry was doomed from the outset, even for companies trying to exploit a specialist niche, such as No Catch. A cod venture based in Shetland that aimed to produce sustainable organic cod, No Catch was hailed a branding success, but there was a catch. This was, simply, that there was an unwillingness to pay a premium for farmed cod when the market was awash with wild caught fish, selling at a more realistic price. The problem then was, as now, that the market was not short of cod.

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Any business plan would have to answer the fundamental question of how farmed cod could compete. One farm, on its own, might be able to make the sums work but should there be any volume production, farmed cod would have to compete with the wild catch. However, almost 20 years ago, something happened that convinced entrepreneurs that cod farming could become a lucrative business, and that something was the environmental sector. Plans were announced to list cod as an endangered species, with concerns that the fish would disappear from the North Sea. At the time it was said that stocks were down to one tenth of the level of that during the 1970s. Consumers were told that cod was off the menu. There were major concerns that North Sea stocks would follow the fate of the fish off the Canadian Grand Banks, which disappeared and had not recovered. Cod was an extremely popular fish, being the mainstay of British fish and chip outlets. Its potential loss was a devastating prospect and hence those who could see an opportunity in cod farming grabbed the chance with both hands. But when the farmed fish eventually reached the market, the expected rewards failed to materialise, even though farmed cod was supposed to generate a premium price. The problem was that while North Sea cod might have been in trouble, cod stocks elsewhere were thriving and therefore the flow Left: Cod fillet. Opposite of fish to market was never in doubt; consepage: Cod quently, prices remained competitive. Producers of farmed cod simply could not compete, and they fell by the wayside. No Catch cod collapsed with debts of £40 million. One Norwegian industry veteran reported a loss of half a billion kroner. Predictions of an

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15/01/2018 15:24:19


The catch with cod

Predictions of an industry “ producing in excess of 30,000 tonnes were just a pipedream ” industry producing in excess of 30,000 tonnes of farmed cod were just a pipedream. A handful of companies are now dabbling in cod farming again. They believe that farmed cod can offer better quality and freshness, as well as regular supply. This year, just over 1,000 tonnes of farmed cod was exported from Norway, which achieved an average price of NOK 35.78/kg. This compares with premium Skrei cod which achieved NOK 35.83/kg, while standard fresh cod reached NOK 30.04/kg. Skrei is more expensive than standard cod, even in the UK, but the volumes sold are so small that it is promoted as an exclusive. The Skrei season is very short so chefs can promote it as different, even if most consumers are unlikely to be able to tell the difference. Farmed cod may be able to exploit a niche

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with selected chefs but if it ends up in the ordinary market, then it is likely to struggle. In the UK, the processors producing coated fish for home consumption quickly substituted more sustainable (and cheaper) Alaskan pollock for cod when stocks were threatened. But after the market realised that cod was not going to disappear as forecast, Alaskan pollock lost its position back to cod, helped by more attractive pricing. In the fresh and chilled sector, cod is still a market leader but in part this is because it is subject to regular promotion. And price discounting. Consumers like cod but are not willing to pay any price to buy it. Cod farmers, with their much higher costs, will find it difficult to persuade consumers to pay more just because it is ‘fresher’ than the wild alternative. They hope they can fill the gap when fresh wild cod is not available. However, to most consumers, this gap doesn’t exist. Fresh cod is available all year round, even if some has been previously frozen. It all sounds very reminiscent of the last attempt to farm this fish. The market will again prove to be its downfall unless companies keep their production very low and the fish remains a niche special. FF

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15/01/2018 15:24:37


News extra

Act now over planning Latest look at consenting confusion may result in legislation

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HE leaders of the bodies representing both salmon aquaculture and shellfish farming in Scotland have said they feel let down by the government’s ongoing review of planning legislation. Scott Landsburgh, chief executive of the Scottish Salmon Producers’ Organisation, said planning in aquaculture ‘needs sorting out’ and the current review of the Town and Country Planning Act would have been a good opportunity to do so. ‘I am disappointed that the planning bill has no reference to tidying up the definition of ‘development’ within aquaculture. We are seeking alternative opportunities to get it added as an amendment.’ Meanwhile, Nick Lake, CEO of the Association of Scottish Shellfish Growers, makes the same point in his column (page24): ‘It had been hoped that the national review of Scottish planning legislation would present the Scottish government with the opportunity to redefine the term ‘development’ and fundamentally improve the application of the Town and Country Planning Act to marine aquaculture. ‘At a recent meeting of the Ministerial Group for Sustainable Aquaculture – Capacity Working Group, such hopes were finally dashed. With no change to the definition of development, the only option is to look at possible new planning and consenting legislation for marine aquaculture.’ As this year sees yet another attempt to streamline the consenting process in Scottish aquaculture – this one by SARF (the Scottish Aquaculture Research Forum) – Landsburgh stressed the need to avoid duplication. ‘Time is of the essence in all of these processes because what’s frustrating is we were talking about the lack of efficiency in the consenting process nine years ago and we’re still talking about it.’ Landsburgh, due to retire shortly, recalls the first aquaculture planning reform he initiated, with Roseanna Cunningham and John Swinney, when he took up his SSPO post nearly a decade ago. The Industry Leadership Group, the body set up by the aquaculture sector in Scotland to further growth, is also driving changes to planning and consenting infrastructure. With the involvement and support of the Cabinet Secretary for the Rural Economy, Fergus Ewing, the ILG is trying to move forward ‘as efficiently and quickly as possible’, said Landsburgh. ‘A lot of meetings are being set up just now. Meetings are fine but we need clear outcomes very soon on certain things in the consenting process.’ SARF’s nine-month study, which began in January, aims to streamline the current minefield, that involves multiple agencies and several different pieces of legislation. The investigation will lay the grounds for a possible Aquaculture Act and follows the publication in 2016 of the Independent Review of Scottish Aquaculture Consenting, commissioned by the Crown Estate and Marine Scotland. ‘The 2016 review report presented a range of options for improving the situation, or at least reducing some of the complexity and inherent duplication

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What’s frustrating is we were “ talking about the lack of efficiency nine years ago ”

of effort,’ said SARF, as it called for proposals. One of the options was to completely change the regulatory regime by way of a new Aquaculture Act, removing aquaculture from the Town and Country Planning Act. ‘It is important to note that the 2016 report did not recommend immediate adoption of the Aquaculture Act Option…It did however suggest that this was an interesting medium-term approach, over the next five years.’ SARF noted that other industrial activities in the marine environment are generally managed by way Above: Venn diagram of Marine Licensing. It said the fact that marine illustrating overlap in consenting areas for key aquaculture is managed by way of the Town and Country Planning Act is ‘anomalous’. regulators Its goal in the next nine months is ‘to provide peer reviewed evidence to help advise regulators, managers, industry and stakeholders, in relation to discussions about the development of a future Aquaculture Act’. FF

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15/01/2018 15:25:54


Feed – Introduction

In with the

new

Focus on novel ingredients as aquaculture aims for greater sustainability

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HE international aquafeed market is estimated to be worth anything between $50 and $100 billion and as aquaculture continues to expand worldwide, the demand for quality feed can only increase too. This growth has created opportunities, not just for the established feed manufacturers but for many new entrants into the sector, who are exploring novel ingredients to relieve the pressure on wild caught marine stocks. In this month’s feed feature we focus on some of the entrepreneurs and scientists pioneering alternatives to fishmeal and fish oil, both those at the early stages of research and the long-time champions of innovative aquafeed diets. In the latter category is Johnathan Napier of Rothamsted Research, who has made it his life’s work to engineer omega-3 from plants and has now produced his camelina derived feed in enough quantity to embark on a year-long trial at a Scottish salmon farm. The development of insect feed has also seen great progress in the past year, not least on the regulatory side, with the EU permitting the use of insect based nutrients in aquafeed since July 2017. Leading the field is the South African producer AgriProtein, which has spearheaded the use of black soldier flies to convert waste into protein, and is currently setting up fly farm projects around the world to produce its MagMeal replacement for fishmeal. The company has managed to upscale quickly by developing a factory Above: Feed innovation. roll-out model, and claims it can deliver fly farms on a turnkey basis anyBelow: Demand for where in the world at the rate of up to 25 factories per year. quality feed Entering this market more recently is the Cambridge based group, Entomics, which plans to investigate the benefits of insect derived ingredients in salmon feed, in conjunction with Stirling’s Institute of Aquaculture. We talk to the team’s CEO as they begin a two-year project focused primarily on the needs of the Scottish salmon sector. And we also revisit the innovators of AlgaPrime, a microalgae based pure oil that is already being incorporated into salmon diets by BioMar, with customers in Norway, Chile and Scotland. TerraVia’s Walt Rakitsky talks about his product’s future following the company’s takeover last year. With the focus on new feed ingredients, what is the future of traditional fishmeal and fish oil as a source for aquafeed? Dr Neil Auchterlonie, technical director of IFFO, the trade association for the global marine ingredients industry, answers that question, emphasising that it is not replacements that are required but complementary foods. If there is a common theme in our feed coverage it is innovation and the big companies continue to invest valuable resources in improving their offerings to farmers. In the salmon sector, there is much interest in cleaner fish nutrition and Skretting’s Jamie Johnston explains the advances being made in rearing this new species. Elsewhere, Institute of Aquaculture PhD student Sam Houston writes about his latest work with alternative oils in seam bream diets, following

a well received presentation at Aquaculture Europe in Dubrovnik last autumn. The future success of aquafeed suppliers in keeping pace with the worldwide expansion of fish and shellfish farming depends on the quality of research, so it is encouraging to see a new generation of scientists on the case. FF

a common theme “If thereit isisinnovati on ”

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Feed –Rothamsted Research

Man on a

mission

Scientist behind GM omega-3 looks forward to full-scale salmon trial in Scotland

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HE ground-breaking project to produce omega-3 fatty acids for fish feed from genetically modified plants enters a new phase in 2018, with a year-long trial at a Scottish salmon farm. Johnathan Napier, who pioneered the research at Rothamsted Research in Hertfordshire, has overseen the cultivation of GM camelina plants that contain the same amounts of EPA and DHA as fish oil. The first field trials, successfully conducted in the UK in conjunction with Stirling’s Institute of Aquaculture and BioMar in 2015, proved that the GM camelina plants could synthesise fish oils without any negative effects on yield. But to produce the plants on a commercial scale, Napier moved his trials to the US, where GM regulations are less restrictive than in the EU. Last year, the Rothamsted team did field trials not just in the UK but also in the US, in Nebraska, and in Canada, in Manatoba. ‘The Manatoba one was bigger scale, one and a half hectares,’ said Napier. ‘It’s to give us a feel for starting to see what it’s like to scale up, how the crop forms. ‘One of the reasons we were doing the big trial in Manatoba was because in this coming year, 2018, with our colleagues in the Institute of

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Below: Rothamsted Research. Above: Johnathan Napier. Opposite page: Camelina

Aquaculture in Stirling we’ve got a big salmon feeding trial pencilled in. ‘That’s to last a whole year, so obviously to feed the fish for a year you need quite a lot of material. We’ve done shorter trials, for a couple of months, and with fish that have been much smaller. ‘The idea with this trial is to take the fish all the way up to market size. We will probably start feeding them when they’re a few hundred grammes in size – that’s what we’ve done previously, but then we’ve only grown them from 100 to 300g. This time we’ll start with a 100g size fish and take it all the way up to, ideally, four kilos.’ Enough of the camelina plants have been produced to launch the trial in April, and more can be grown as required using existing facilities, said Napier. ‘That’s the beauty of it, we’re using agriculture, pre-existing infrastructure – you just need land and people who can grow the crop, harvest it and crush the seeds. That’s something there is lots of pre-existing know-how and infrastructure and experience on.’ He contrasts this relatively inexpensive production of GM camelina with the development of other marine ingredient alternatives, such as algae, which requires much greater investment. In the Scottish trials BioMar will again formulate the feed. ‘I think for a lot of the aquafeed companies they keep a watching brief on all of this technology because they can see it could be very useful to them. But they want it to have gone through these experimental phases and have come to market so that they can buy it on the open market.’ Napier has speculated in the past about Brexit opening up the possibility of producing GM crops in the UK. ‘The result of the EU referendum represents an interesting wrinkle in all of this, as it means

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Man on a mission

the UK will no longer fall under the EU’s GM regulations and it’s possible in the future that the GM approval process will be different in the UK,’ he told Fish Farming Expert in 2016. Asked now what hope he thinks there is of growing his plants big scale in Britain in the future, he is circumspect. ‘I think you have to try and be optimistic. From a political point of view, everyone wants to try and make the best of this, and that might create more opportunities, but the political aspect just adds another layer of complexity on top of what is already a complicated situation. ‘I think Michael Gove, the minister for Defra, said he didn’t think post Brexit there’d be much change in the regulations regarding the growing of GM crops anyway, but I guess these things can change. ‘If the economics are right…and the consumer

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GM.indd 31

the fish all the way “The ideaupis toto take market size ”

can also see the advantage economically and in terms of health benefits and sustainability issues, then maybe anything is possible. ‘From my perspective, we would look first to commercialise this technology in North or South America rather than in the UK or Europe.’ Producing the plants makes economic sense, says Napier: ‘A tonne of vegetable oil on the commodity market is significantly cheaper than a tonne of fish oil and we would use the same agricultural processes to produce our GM plant version of fish oil, so the price of our oil should be analogous to what you’d pay for a vegetable oil as opposed to a fish oil.’ He makes it sound so straightforward one wonders why others aren’t rushing to do the same thing. In fact, there is a similar project in Australia but, as Napier says, there are two main differences. ‘One is that they’re using a different crop species, canola, which is

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Feed –Rothamsted Research

Tinkering around in North Texas A COLLABORATION between Rothamsted Research and the University of North Texas (UNT) reproduced results showing that transgenic camelina plants can grow in the field; they have matched the seeds’ biosynthetic products more closely to those of their marine counterparts; and they have identified the potential for even greater oil storage in the seeds. The BBSRC funded research records how a second year’s field trial of GM camelina in 2015 confirmed the results from the previous year. It also shows how the team was able to reduce the level of unnecessary omega-6 fatty acids in the transgenic seeds to match more closely the mix in marine fish oils. Furthermore, the latest research - using advance molecular imaging techniques to look at camelina plants - highlights the previously unrecognised and huge untapped space in camelina seeds for accumulating fish oils. ‘Because we’re making the DHA and EPA in a plant oil, plant oils have got a lot of omega-6 fatty acids in them and they’re not bad but they’re not something you’d find in a fish oil,’ said Johnathan Napier. ‘Fish oil is predominantly omega-3 plus a fatty acid, so we were just trying to tinker around with the oil profile to make it a better fit with what a bona fide fish oil would look like.’ The work, published last year by Nature in Scientific Reports, was described by Napier as ‘an improvement, not a step change’. Kent Chapman, co-director of the BioDiscovery Institute at UNT, said: ‘We believe that combining our expertise in advanced metabolite imaging with Rothamsted’s skills in metabolic engineering has given new insights into how seeds make different oils and, excitingly, points to new ways to boost the accumulation of important fatty acids such as these omega-3s.’ Above: Kent Chapman

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oil seed rape basically. And their oil only makes DHA whereas we make EPA as well. ‘Theirs is a slightly odd offering, I’m not quite sure how well suited it is to the needs of the aquaculture industry because if you’re going to come up with a substitute for fish oil for aquafeed it needs to look like fish oil, which has EPA and DHA in it. ‘If you say I can give you something that half looks like fish oil I’d imagine they’d say okay we’ll pay half the price! That’s not going to work economically.’ Cargill, too, is ‘doing something very similar to what the Australians are trying to do’ and might develop its own bespoke plant derived fish oil source [see box right]. For Napier, the development of GM camelina is something of a mission and his involvement in the project goes back 20 years. He credits the ‘huge expertise’ of some of the team at Rothamsted, ‘who were in at the ground floor doing this in the 1990s’. ‘It makes me feel ancient! We had the idea of doing it in the last millennium and it turned out to be much harder, just to get the prototype to work. But my view is if it was easy someone else would have done it already. ‘It has become my life’s work and the critical thing is moving it from being a research project into something that becomes a commercial reality, something that has an impact in the real world. ‘I see lots and lots of academic research that just remains that, academic research. People have said in the past about professors working in ivory towers and I don’t want to fit that mould. I want to make sure my research has a benefit ultimately to the public, to the consumer. ‘Nowadays, funding agencies really want to see their research delivering benefit to the taxpayer because the taxpayer funded the research in the first place.’ Napier said his initial motivation was scientific curiosity, but even in the first few years he realised there was a potential ‘to do something quite different that could also be useful’.

It was a conversation with Douglas Tocher at the Institute of Aquaculture, around 1999, that encouraged him to focus on fish. ‘I said we can make these omega fish oils in plants and that will be great for human nutrition, and he said actually it would make much more sense to feed them to fish because that’s where the big demand is.’ Napier and Tocher have collaborated for years

would look first “toWecommercialise this

technology in North or South America rather than in the UK or Europe

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Man on a mission

Above: Feed. Right: Douglas Tocher

and will continue to do so in this year’s salmon trials in Scotland. Although Napier is listed as the inventor on a number of patents, they are owned by Rothamsted and GM pioneering is unlikely to turn him into the James Dyson of the aquaculture world. ‘Research councils and universities have mechanisms that give some sort of remuneration back to the inventors but I won’t be a millionaire! I say that with some confidence. ‘I think having intellectual property, having patents on this technology, is a great way to ensure the UK taxpayer ultimately gets a return on it. Even if we have to go and do the work in North America, we still have intellectual property.’ Asked how long he thinks it will be before GM ingredients become routine in fish feed, he said they could be ‘significantly available for aquafeed companies’ in the early part of the next decade, from 2022 onwards, given the work going on at Rothamsted, at Cargill and in Australia. ‘That’s a good thing, it’s great to relieve the pressure on the oceanic sources and it will let aquaculture as an industry grow further. Growth is constrained by the lack of fish oil.’ As for the impact on public perceptions, Napier believes communication is the key to allaying any consumer anxiety. ‘It’s all about communicating and telling the public what’s going on and why you’re doing it. One of the problems the salmon industry has with, for example, sea lice is that it’s viewed as being a dirty secret. I’m sure the industry would say it’s not a dirty secret but it’s presented as that by the media. ‘The lessons we learnt from GM is that you need to be more proactive in terms of communicating what’s going on and be as transparent as possible. I hope if you behave in that way, the public can gain some confidence and get a better understanding of how their food is produced. ‘It’s quite interesting working with the aquaculture industry because it’s not dissimilar to

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GM.indd 33

the plant biotechnology and plant genetic engineering industry because we have had big problems with lobby groups basically purporting to represent the consumer and they may or may not. ‘You just need to get out there and put your case as clearly as possible and deal in a really open way, that’s all you can do. ‘The great thing about the aquaculture industry is they’re very innovative…they’re always looking for ways to change and improve whereas in agricultural farming most farmers would say ‘I’m doing this because this is the way my dad did it and his dad before that’. They’re quite resistant to change. ‘I think people within aquaculture need to take a step back and think let’s be positive about this and explain what important role we do play, not in a sort of jingoistic or spin doctor way, but as open as possible. Say ‘these are the problems and we’re trying to fix them but we do do something useful, and that is providing safe, nutritious food for everybody to have to eat’. FF

Making fish oil in Montana

Above: Canola field

THE $2.4 billion fish oil sector is a niche for major grain traders and represents a fraction of their income, Reuters reported last year. But fish oil is the sort of high-return product they are targeting. Global annual production of fish oil has for years been limited to about one million tonnes, Einar Wathne, president of Cargill’s aqua nutrition business, told Reuters. ‘It could be a kind of showstopper for growth in aquaculture if we can’t find other sources for these valuable omega-3 fatty acids,’ Wathne said. Cargill plans to pay farmers in Montana to grow a new variety of canola. Vegetable oil made from canola is high in omega-3s, and Cargill teamed up in November 2016 with German chemical company BASF to develop a canola type by 2020 that it will use to make oils for fish food. The new canola is genetically engineered to make long chain omega-3 fatty acids by introducing genes from algae in the ocean, another source of the fats. A half million acres of canola could produce about 159,000 tonnes of oil - the equivalent of one-fifth of global fish oil supplies.

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15/01/2018 15:32:57


Feed – Insect meal

The Cambridge flies Young team collaborate with Stirling scientists on alternative protein source

F

OUR Cambridge graduates with no background in aquaculture are hoping to develop insect protein as an advanced ingredient in salmon feed, to improve performance and even help combat mortalities. The group have formed a company, Entomics Biosystems, and although their concept is barely three years’ old, they have secured a £900,000 government grant and leading industry collaborators, including Stirling’s Institute of Aquaculture and BioMar, as well as the retail giant Sainsbury’s. Together, this consortium, which also involves Reading University, is embarking on a two-year project to manufacture insect meal from black soldier fly larvae, carry out assessments and fish trials, and study the nutrition aspects of the new feed. Much of the expertise will come from the Institute, under the auspices of Dr Oscar Monroig, who will investigate the insect meal ‘not as a mere fishmeal replacement alternative, but rather as a feed ingredient for functional feeds aiming to enhance health of fish’. The business brains, though, come from Matt McLaren, a young Australian who seems to have been collecting degrees, from Berkeley on the US west coast to Cambridge, where he gained his MBA three years ago. He is the CEO of Entomics and with his Cambridge graduate colleagues – a biochemist, biologist, and engineer – has developed a novel insect post-processing technology, turning waste into fish feed. Their timing is spot on because the EU only approved insect use in aquafeed last July, opening up potentially vast markets. ‘The technology has been building for several years but now that there is development on the regulatory side, and on the consumer side as well hopefully, this is something that can be rolled out relatively quickly,’ McLaren told Fish Farmer. ‘We’re not necessarily proposing brain surgery here; intuitively this makes a lot of sense, turning food waste into fish feed.’ While they were still students, the team became interested in converting waste into something more useful, ‘messing around with ideas and building some small prototypes’. McLaren walked into his local Sainsbury’s store and asked the manager about the food waste situation. ‘He took me downstairs and showed me what goes on and what food waste streams there were and how much of each type, looking at animal by-products versus fresh produce versus bakery waste. ‘I think that’s where we first started in terms of the commercial engagement

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and we started working with Sainsbury’s at a local level, picking up a couple of stores’ food waste a couple of times a week and building up a prototype of our system and doing some trials.’ The Cambridge team is still based in the city but uses laboratory facilities in an institute in the Fens, about 20 minutes away, which are more suitabledealing with flies and fish farming and waste is not something the cancer research labs in Cambridge are used to, McLaren concedes. Entomics is not trying to compete with the more established insect meal producers, such as South Africa’s pioneering AgriProtein, but to make insect meal a more effective source of nutrition. ‘There are other parts of the world where this is already being done- we’ve been to China and you wouldn’t believe how big the factories are that have been built in the last few years.

Above: The Entomics team (from left to right): Joe Halstead, Miha Pipan, Matt McLaren and Fotis Fotiadis

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The Cambridge flies

‘The South African guys have been doing this for almost ten years and have got millions of dollars to build big factories in other parts of the world. We’re not necessarily trying to be the biggest or trying to reach that production target. ‘What we’ve tried to focus on, with this as a new ingredient, is how we can add value and optimise it in, for example, the farmed salmon context… and increase some of the health benefits above and beyond basic insect meal. ‘It’s not the case that insect protein comes out of the box perfectly optimised for salmon, it’s not something salmon eat 100 per cent of in the wild. ‘It’s something which is very good quality animal protein and we saw an opportunity to manipulate or at least change some of those nutritional characteristics to be more suitable to salmon. ‘In many ways that’s probably more interesting in

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Insects.indd 35

The Scottish salmon industry has “been very warm and welcoming ”

terms of a project investigation to some of the big companies because they’re already aware of what the price of insect meal is. They’ve already done some trials internally and they’re already quite familiar with it.’ He said the project with Stirling and BioMar is not about production, it’s more about trialling, ‘doing things in the lab to break down the insect meal using microbial fermentation’. They will, for example, be looking at how to break chitin rich shell into more digestible nutrients that the fish can use, and investigating the fish’s gut microflora and observing how the insect meal reacts when it’s in the gut versus fishmeal and soy. ‘In the same way you look at the poultry or livestock markets, feed additives and ways to use enzymes and probiotics to unlock the nutritional value of

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Feed – Insect meal

There are always going to be “people who can produce bigger and cheaper than us ”

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15/01/2018 15:35:56


The Cambridge flies certain feed stock, we’re trying to focus on how we can understand insect meal better than everyone else and use that knowledge to create the highest quality feed additive ingredient that unlocks some of the benefits of insect meal that may not be immediately apparent or readily available out of the box from a traditional producer. ‘It’s those kind of questions that are much smaller in scale but for us it’s a more manageable and quality focused investigation. There are always going to be people around the world who can produce bigger and cheaper than us.’ At this stage most of the work will be done using the Institute of Aquaculture facilities in partnership with some local aquaculture operators, with very small scale trials. ‘We would then look to demonstrate this in the field in a more of a commercial context,’ said McLaren. ‘Even though it’s legal right now, there’s not much being used in the industry as yet so I think over the next two or three years there’s going to be a bit more mainstream acceptance or at least trialling and adoption and testing by the commercial players. ‘At that point it’s an even more appropriate time to start introducing the results of our trial into the work they’re already doing. ‘A lot of the people doing the hard work to try to get the industry to accept this and demonstrate that it can be a cost effective substitute, they’re going to be doing that anyway. ‘What we’re proposing we might do for phase two, or the next wave of innovation, is to try and increase the value, whether that’s decreasing the disease rates, decrease mortality or increase the feed conversion rates. All of these are quantifiable benefits that we’re trying to focus on.’ While McLaren says it’s too early to do disease trials, he thinks there are links between, for example, the salmon’s gut microbiome and its innate immune response to diseases – ‘like pancreatitis and the different types of common diseases in the industry where the fish aren’t necessarily developing the right type of immune responses based on a diet which is not really reflective of their natural diet’. ‘It’s not like it’s going to be injecting a fish with a medicine, it’s going to be more about a natural way to look at gut microbiome and the overall immune response. ‘Insects are so complex – it’s a very interesting new feed stock which people don’t really understand that well…. It’s going to take a bunch of different companies taking different approaches to make it work.’ For the Entomics team, there have been a couple of encouraging milestones, one being the change in the EU regulations. ‘Once the EU signs off on something it’s proof the scientific and bureaucratic research has gone into safety; it’s reassuring,’ said McLaren. On top of this, investment in the growing industry by experienced aquaculture operators has inspired confidence- AquaSpark in the Netherlands, for instance, has backed Dutch insect firm Protix. The volumes of insect meal remain very

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Insects.indd 37

small at the moment, said McLaren, so there needs to be an increase in scale and a decrease in price for the sector to be competitive. ‘But for me it’s more a matter of time and scale than a matter of safety now. It’s going to be interesting to see who gets there first….hopefully it will be a diversified industry but maybe a winner will start to dominate the market.’ Entomics does not want to stretch itself too thin and for now will stick with one model organism – salmon. Economically, this makes sense too, McLaren believes. ‘Salmon has a very unique nutritional requirement that seems to suit insect meal quite well – they’re carnivorous, they generally do better on an animal based protein diet, looking at fishmeal as an example, whereas poultry do seem to have a much lower price point in terms of the feed on a per tonne basis.’ He sees Entomics perhaps partnering with some of the bigger feed companies in the future, adding processing technology, rather than replicating the efforts of others by becoming a bulk producer. ‘There’s a lot of money, time and energy being put into trying to grow insects up to a certain point but that last little gap, going from a live insect to an optimised salmon feed, is a very big value jump. There’s a lot that goes into salmon feed formulation – the Cargills and the BioMars of the world are very good at optimising ingredients at the right cost for the right salmon outcomes. ‘As this industry grows and becomes more commoditised I think there will be room for differentiated higher value offerings and it may be that we’re the ones to partner with the other big players to figure out what those are and how we can lower the cost of salmon production or increase value in terms of tonnage or revenue for the farmer.’ For the next two years, the Cambridge team will be getting to know Scotland better, and McLaren is quite happy about that. There is a ‘good division of labour’ with the Stirling scientists, and they all play to each other’s strengths. ‘They’ve given us a huge amount of understanding and knowledge of the practicalities of fish farming, and they’re very well connected to the industry. ‘Also, the Scottish salmon industry has been very warm and welcoming in a way we hadn’t felt when tapping on the doors of other organisations. ‘We sense that the industry is saying if it’s good enough and cheap enough we’ll use it. It’s almost up to the producers in the insect industry side to make a product that’s proven to be safe, and cost effective and a good substitute.’ FF

Opposite page and above: Black soldier fly

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15/01/2018 15:36:17


Feed – Microalgae

Every little helps Sales still on course for omega-3 source, says AlgaPrime ‘evangelist’

T

HE development of microalgae as a fish oil alternative has been relatively fast moving in the aquafeed industry, with major feed companies and several salmon farmers adopting versions of the product. Last spring, the Norwegian producer Leroy used the occasion of the Brussels seafood expo to announce its commitment to AlgaPrime DHA, the omega-3 rich microalgae ingredient made by US firm TerraVia and its Brazilian partner Bunge. The feed, formulated by BioMar, would be fed to salmon above one kilo, as Leroy embarked on ‘a journey of reducing dependency on marine ingredients’. Leroy is still a happy customer of TerraVia’s, as is the Chilean farmer Ventisqueros, which has just reported a very successful season, according to Walt Rakitsky, TerraVia’s head of emerging business and at the forefront of the plant based, sustainable aquaculture movement. And the company continues to collaborate with BioMar, whose global sustainability director, Vidar Gundersen, is on record saying he considers microalgae ‘to be the most sustainable raw material available for the production of salmon feed’. However, it has not all been plain sailing, and last summer TerraVia filed for bankruptcy protection. The firm was bought by the Netherlands based food ingredients group Corbion for a reported $20 million, but investment in the AlgaPrime sugar-to-oil production facility in Brazil had been nearer $120 million. The idea that algae oil is too expensive to produce, though, is dismissed by

Rakitsky, who says it wasn’t the AlgaPrime part of TerraVia that had the financial problems; there were other parts of the company that operated unprofitably. ‘AlgaPrime remains a cost effective feed alternative – it has an industry leading cost structure,’ he told Fish Farmer earlier this month. In fact, the buyout of TerraVia and its AlgaPrime partner Bunge is viewed only in a positive light. Corbion, with its worldwide reach and deep pockets, provides a healthy structure for the development of AlgaPrime, said Rakitsky, who helped launch AlgaPrime in 2016 after years of research. From the start, the ‘very pure’ oil could be produced in large-scale commercial quantities in Bunge’s microalgae fermentation tanks, on the same site as the Brazilian company’s sugar cane plant in San Paulo. When Fish Farmer spoke to Rakitsky and his Bunge colleague Miguel Oliveira a year ago they said it had always been their intention ‘to attack the aquaculture market’ with their product.

Left: Walt Rakitsky, Hans Halle-Knutzen, sales and marketing director, BioMar Norway, and Vidar Gundersen, global sustainability director of the BioMar Group. Opposite page: AlgaPrime

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Every little helps ‘We felt there was a real need for a new alternative source of omega-3 at a scale that we could deliver on,’ said Rakitsky. The rise in prices of fish oil has seen the marine ingredient’s inclusion in aquafeed diets plummet over the years. According to Marine Harvest, the proportion of fish oil in the diet of commercial salmon in Norway has dropped to nine per cent, down from 24 per cent in 1990. This has affected the long chain omega-3 fatty acid content in farmed salmon. A recent study from Stirling University revealed that average levels of DHA and EPA in UK farmed salmon in 2015 halved in 10 years to 1.36 grammes. AlgaPrime can deliver omega-3 in the same way that fish oil delivers omega-3, Rakitsky said. But, currently, microalgae only accounts for around two per cent of the total fish oil usage in salmon feed. Rakitsky is on something of a pilgrimage to increase this proportion and he describes himself as ‘the evangelist for AlgaPrime’, crossing the globe to talk to farmers and feed manufacturers, for salmonid production but also for other species. He was about to go to Norway when Fish Farmer spoke to him, then to Chile, and last October he was in Dublin at the GOAL conference, where he gave a presentation and picked up the Global Aquaculture Alliance’s fifth annual Global Aquaculture Innovation Award. There has been great interest in AlgaPrime from Scottish farmers and two are already using it in their feeds, said Rakitsky, adding that he is also talking to UK supermarkets- ‘every little helps, as they say in Tesco! But we talk to everyone.’

This “ remains

a cost effective feed alternative – it has an industry leading cost structure

He won’t say if this includes Marine Harvest, soon to have its own feed plant in Scotland, but agrees the ingredient could be incorporated into feeds at BioMar’s new Tasmanian plant ‘if the regulatory regime there approves it’. The potential perception problems of other alternative feed ingredients don’t affect microalgae, and Rakitsky said extensive consumer surveys, particularly in the US but also in Europe, to canvass opinions of omega-3 suggest customers would buy salmon if they thought it was good brain food. ‘We are going to conduct further consumer research,’ he said, believing this could be an important selling point. As far as capacity goes, Rakitsky said ‘we’re still aiming for tens of thousands of tonnes’ and can upscale either in Brazil or elsewhere in the world. Increased production will, of course, help bring the costs down, but output stood at hundreds of tonnes just over a year ago. In 2018 he says he is still focused on ‘allowing the industry to expand and enhancing nutrition, but also on promoting Economic Conversion the fact that DHA is very good for the eyes and brain, Feed particularly the brain’. FFRatio—Growth Trend

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Mar ‘17


Feed – BioMar

Mill boost for Australian market New plant to be built in area of ‘outstanding growth potential’

B

IOMAR Australia released plans last month to develop an AU$56 million aqua feed production facility in northern Tasmania, providing a significant boost to the state’s growing aquaculture industry. Paddy Campbell, managing director of BioMar UK, Australia and the Northern Sea Region, said the feed plant would bring world class, state-of-the art fish feed innovation and production facilities to Wesley Vale in Tasmania. Once operational, the facility will produce up to 110,000 tonnes per annum of aqua feed product to support the aquaculture industry. It will create 55 full time jobs and an additional 30 jobs across the region through indirect support, operational, port services and logistical roles, Campbell said. BioMar is already well established in Tasmania as the leading supplier of Atlantic salmon feed, having entered the market in 2003. The company has adapted the use of technology and developed its successful export business in the country through containerisation. At present, one in every three farmed salmon in Tasmania is fed BioMar products, which are currently being exported from the company’s Grangemouth factory in Scotland. ‘We are very grateful for the Tasmania Liberal government’s commitment of $2.3 million towards this project and the support and of the Office of the Coordinator-General in securing the site in Wesley Vale,’ said Campbell. He added that BioMar was proposing to construct the feed facility, expected to be completed in 2019, on the site of a former particle board manufacturing mill in Wesley Vale. ‘This development proposal will also remediate and revitalise the Mill Road site, which has remained empty and abandoned for some time now,’ he said. ‘We are currently in conversation with the local community to seek their input and feedback on the proposal concept, and we look forward to continuing this conversation throughout the development and construction phase of the project.’ Construction is expected to begin in July and BioMar hopes to produce the first pellets in September 2019. ‘We looked at different places to build the factory and the primary reason we chose Tasmania is because the industry here has got huge growth potential and we want to be close to our Tasmanian customers,’ Campbell told ABC news. He said the company would strive to source its materials locally. ‘Growth has to be sustainable,’ he said.‘We ensure what we do is sustainable and we’re always driving to improve sustainability. ‘So how we source our raw materials will be key and we would like to try, if possible, to use local raw materials, sustainable materials, local crops.’ Huon Aquaculture chief executive Peter Bender, one of the the biggest local customers, welcomed the announcement. ‘We use BioMar feed and having it locally produced to the highest standard is welcome news for us here at Huon,’ he said. In a statement, Petuna’s David Wood said it was positive for the salmon industry that all three major aquafeed producers in the region would soon have feed mills in Tasmania. Ridley Corporation announced earlier last year its plans to build a 50,000 tonnes a year mill in Westbury in the state’s north. And Skretting already has

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a plant in the state with capacity of more than 140,000 tonnes. BioMar had a very busy year globally in 2017. It expanded production capacity at its Karmoy facility in Norway by 70 per cent, to 340,000 tonnes. At the official opening of the new line in October, the company’s CEO, Carlos Diaz, discussed how Marine Harvest’s new feed mill on Skye, due to open later this year, would affect the market in Scotland. ‘Of course, I do not like having a competitor, but it is a fact and we will handle it as we handled it when they built a factory in Norway,’ Diaz told Salmon Business. ‘Marine Harvest was a very important customer for us [in Norway] before, but we have managed without them.’ However, he said there was still a place for BioMar in the Scottish market once the Kyleakin plant, that will produce 170,000 tonnes annually, is completed. ‘Scotland is not lost to us.We do not sell a lot of feed to Marine Harvest.We have a good position in the Scottish market,’ he said. ‘Still, it will surely affect the market, and they will take market shares. ‘It may be shaky for one and a half years, but we are optimistic.’ FF

want “toWebe close

to our Tasmanian customers

Above: BioMar’s Paddy Campbell talks to reporters in Tasmania last month

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Feed – IFFO

BY DR NEIL AUCHTERLONIE

Fishmeal is not

replaceable A basket of available ingredients is required to achieve nutritious aquafeeds

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EDIA coverage of the aquafeed industry increasingly centres on a misplaced concept of the replacement of fishmeal, as journalists and academics alike have been caught up in a frenzy of promoting the innovation and sustainability of a range of alternative feed ingredients. While it is clear that a greater volume of feed ingredients is required to meet the demands of the growing aquaculture industry, at IFFO we couch this in the phrase ‘as well as, not instead of’, emphasising that it is not replacement as such that is required, as much as complementarity within the ingredient producers’ landscape.

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A basket of available ingredients is required in order to achieve nutritious aquafeeds that support the continued growth of aquaculture businesses. In reality, it is the strategic optimisation of the use of fishmeal and fish oil as high value ingredients that is important (rather than their removal), in order to get the most out of the nutritional content of these materials within a production cycle and system. Contrary to what the many messages in the seafood (and sometimes mainstream) media portray, in purely bioeconomic terms fishmeal and fish oil are of the utmost importance to farmed aquatic animals. The key is to extract those benefits alongside the use of some of the other established and novel ingredients that may help to provide some volume of supply, and support continued growth of aquaculture. That is, in fact, how fishmeal is used in the pork industry, where it is an important constituent in pig weaning diets. From a fishmeal industry perspective, it is striking that in this dialogue there appears to be a general assumption that all the available alternative ingredients are interchangeable with fishmeal (and fish oil) in aquafeeds. From a nutritional perspective this is plainly not the case, and actually dangerously naïve in terms of the health and welfare of farmed fish. Fishmeal is not directly replaceable nor is replacement a viable objective, as noted by some authors (Bureau, 2012), although that message is largely lost in the clamour for media attention and research funding. Fishmeal is a nutrient dense material that has a broad range of micronutrients, unlike those

Left: High value ingredients. Above: Supporting continued growth of aquaculture

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Fishmeal is not replaceable

seen in other ingredients, and that is why it continues to be regarded as a foundation of feeds for species such as salmon and shrimp, even though inclusion rates have declined as more feed has been produced with the same amount of fishmeal. The nutritional importance of fishmeal has been documented for decades (see Windsor and Barlow, 1981 for reference), with high digestibility, high protein levels, excellent essential amino acid balance, vitamin and mineral content to the fore when examining the material’s worth as a feed constituent. Contemporary feed technology allows for the partial substitution of fishmeal, but on a technical basis that takes into account the limiting factors of some nutrients. One of the most important factors known to contemporary feed production technology is an identification of the quantity of particular essential amino acids in ingredients and subsequently designing feed formulations to ensure an appropriately balanced feed for farmed fish. Usually, this occurs through the addition of specific compounds, and there is advancing knowledge of the addition of specific synthetically produced essential amino acids, such as lysine and methionine, for example (in which

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fishmeal is comparatively rich), to make up the concentrations to meet requirements in fish feed. Some authors do recognise that this frees up more fishmeal use for specialty aquaculture diets (Nunes et al., 2014), including those for juveniles, improved stress and health management, and broodstock. This is generally regarded as a good thing as fishmeal is then made available to realise its true value across whole production cycles, a situation that is akin to that predicted by IFFO as the strategic direction of the industry more than a decade ago (Shepherd, 2006). It is not, however, just the amino acid profile that is under consideration during a situation of declining fishmeal inclusion in aquafeeds. Some other key micronutrients may also be affected, and other examples already exist of a need for micronutrient supplementation as a direct result of the reduction of fishmeal inclusion rates. The safety of vitamin D3 supplementation for fish was reviewed by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) in 2017 because the ‘increasing use of plant based feed materials in aquaculture feeds could induce a decrease in vitamin D3 content in feeding stuffs’. This has clear implications for the health of farmed fish, as well as consequences for the availability of nutrients to the consumer of the farmed fish product, and the perception of the fish by the consumer (a healthy, nutritious ‘natural’ product or one intensively raised and fed on ingredients never found in the wild fish diet). Perhaps more obvious is the declining long chain omega-3 fatty acid content of farmed salmon which has also been documented (Sprague, Dick, & Tocher, 2016), some of which is supplied via the fishmeal component of the diet as well as a direct fish oil inclusion. Given the range of vitamins and minerals in which fishmeal is rich, we

Diets are formulated in a way which avoids micro nutrient deficiencies rather than optimises health

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standard diets and that can subsequently achieve higher profit margins. That in essence is w already been recorded in pig weaning diets, as summarised in Fig.1. Feed – IFFO

has already been recorded in pig weaning diets, are very likely to be just at the forefront of research that will identify a as summarised in Fig.1. whole range of other factors that could be important and have an effect Some authors recognise the importance of on fish nutrition and physiology. the applicati on and of research piglets to Even where fi shmeal content may be reduced in feeds for some farmed Fig.1. Comparison of growth and feed conversion ratio (FCR) intranslati earlyonweaned fed a d fish species such as barramundi, the importance of the material in terms the field situation, where the animal receives a comprised six different protein sources including standard and fishmeals (afte of stressors relatipremium ng to pathogens and of palatability forof farmed fish has been identi fied (Glencross et al., 2016), number environmental conditi ons (Kiron, 2012), but this irrespecti ve of nutriti onal content, and threshold minimum level incorpoal., 2013) area of science is only just developing. rations recommended. As farming systems have changed, achieving There are direct consequences of substituting fishmeal (and fish oil) Some authors recognise the importance the application and translation to the optimal health status and producingof fishresearch which in aquafeeds, and these could include reduced performance,of reduced are able to cope with pathogen challenge and survival, and potentially even an increase in frequency for the adminissituation, where the animal receives a number of stressors relating to pathogens and environ tration of veterinary medicines, all of which are key to business profit and the physical demands of farming systems is increasingly important. loss statements.(Kiron, To believe2012), that replacement canarea be straightf orward is is becoming conditions but this of science only just developing. Science is developing in this area and recent fanciful. There is even more of an issue, however, when we look at the available studies have shown, for example, the imporAs farming systems have changed, achieving optimal health status and producing tance of managing EPA and DHA levels for per- fish which scientific information regarding fish species’ requirements for many of Above: Fig.1. formance in farmed salmon rather than a strict thecope micronutrients. What we thinkchallenge may be required in aquafeed formu- demands Comparison of growth to with pathogen and the physical of farming systems is becoming (minimum) nutritional requirement (Bou et al., lations based on scientific studies may not be wholly relevant to stock and feed conversion increasingly 2017). Although these long chain omega-3 fatty being produced inimportant. modern farming systems. ratio (FCR) in early acids are likely to be among the most important When it comes to vitamin, mineral and other micronutrient studies, weaned piglets fed micronutrients for that species, we may expect much of the research on fish nutrition in the past has been focused on a diet comprised of similar results for a variety of other vitamins deficiency, and is typified by use of terms such as ‘adequate’, ‘satisfactosix different protein and minerals. ry’, or ‘meets requirements’ when it comes to investigations on specific sources including When we consider the effects of temperastandard and premium nutritional elements of feed. ture on fish metabolism and the importance Generally, information on which to base feed formulations – especially fishmeals (after Ma, et of optima and ranges of competence, we see a for high performance feeds - is lacking. Those data may be accurate for al., 2013) the controlled conditions in the laboratory that provided the information, situation with fish that is not replicated in land animals. Clearly, farmed mammals function at but the question quickly arises about how that information translates to a single temperature, while fish operate over a farming systems. range of temperatures across which there are So, we have a situation where diets are really formulated in a way changes in physiological function. which, at acceptable cost, avoids micronutrient deficiencies rather than There is much more complexity when it comes to optimise a farmed animal’s health (with the possible exception of to adequate, and performance, nutrition in fish. the fat-soluble vitamins where there was also an obvious need to avoid With aquatic animals there is also a multitude hypervitaminosis and health complications that could arise from that of aquatic species farmed, with the FAO quoting condition). a total of 580 farmed species in 2014 (Food and Cost is interesting, because higher fishmeal inclusion rates, although adding additional cost, may theoretically increase survival, quality factors Agriculture Organisation, 2016). Approximately and growth, to levels beyond those achieved with standard diets and that half of these could be fed species, indicating an even greater need for studies and data for can subsequently achieve higher profit margins. That in essence is what

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Fishmeal is not replaceable species which have been farmed for periods measured in decades compared to the millennia of land animals. Each species will have its own nutritional requirements and optima, adding a further layer of complexity. Add to that the prospect of differing nutritional needs for different life stages, and it truly is a challenge to have an extensive evidence base with specific nutritional information for each species. In salmon, a decline in marine ingredient inclusions in feed has been documented, and the diets that existed in the early 1990s are very different from those observed today, with substitution having occurred with vegetable based ingredients predominantly (Ytrestøyl, Aas, & Åsgård, 2015). Although that seems to be something of a success, caution needs to be exercised in this debate about substitution, and thinking in terms of direct replacement is an oversimplification of a complex nutritional question. We are likely on the cusp of a redirected effort in fish nutrition that will look more at the functionality of ingredients, rather than establishing minimum inclusion levels. It is important to consider how the links between nutrition, growth and health may function, and where there may be no impacts on growth there may be some underlying impacts on health (and survival) in aquaculture systems that are not immediately obvious.

is important to consider how the links between “It nutriti on, growth and health may function ”

With a continual scrutiny on aquaculture sustainability, this is an important subject to examine. Fishmeal and fish oil are the foundation of the modern aquaculture industry, and their position as high quality ingredients in aquafeeds is secure, as they are a rich source of many of the micronutrients on which farmed fish rely. Their true value has perhaps been somewhat overlooked, but as new science develops and will likely show the importance of micronutrients, we may expect an even greater realisation of their nutritional importance. FF

NOBACITHIN AQUA R100

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Feed – Cleaner fish

Feeding forefront

Physical properties of pellets important with picky eaters

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HE market for cleaner fish is going from strength to strength - even making the national news headlines last year, with the amount of wild wrasse being used in Scottish aquaculture. However, it is increasingly important to be seen as responsible in the use of all cleaner fish, according to Jamie Johnston, Skretting UK’s hatchery technical sales adviser. ‘Cleaner fish are a fantastic tool in the box of salmon farmers against the challenge of sea lice,’ he said. ‘With continued pressure on salmon farmers within Scotland regarding the impact of lice and lice management, all treatment choices must be used in a responsible manner.This makes it important to look closely at all aspects of cleaner fish husbandry.’ With an estimated three and a half million cleaner fish needed annually in the Scottish industry, this represents a large amount of fish that were not there before. ‘While the number of fish needed will depend upon individual management strategies and the species of fish used, it will be a large increase of fish in a short period of time,’ said Johnston. ‘The full scale production of lumpfish only really started in Scotland in 2014 and there were over a million produced and put to sea last year. It’s

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Below: Lumpsucker. Opposite page: Cleaner fish must be in good condition to combat lice

incredible to think how far the industry has come in such a small amount of time.’ The main focus from a sustainability outlook should be on fully closing the life cycle in both wrasse and lumpfish, something that Johnston is keen to stress has come a long way. ‘While great strides are being made in all cleaner fish culture to use only captive brood fish, there are still wild caught fish being used for spawning in some instances. ‘But in the space of time that production has been going, the progress has been fantastic. Having fully captive brood fish will also help us to better control other challenges within cleaner fish production, such as disease management.’ Johnston expects wrasse to also become more of a focus in the future to further widen the armoury available to farmers to combat lice. ‘Lumpfish and wrasse are both very good at what they do but it is very important to treat them differently,’ he said. ‘Wrasse have a better lice eating rate in warmer temperatures, while the lumpfish work better in the colder months. ‘The stocking density rate seems to be up for debate as well, with some farms seeing good results with as low as a one per cent of salmon biomass inclusion of wrasse, raising to some farms using eight per cent. ‘However, the rates used for lumpfish tend to be higher but still range from two to 15 per cent. This will include some trial and error on the farm sites to see what works most efficiently for them.’ One of the key areas where salmon farmers can make a big difference is planning for the cleaner fish, said Johnston. ’Transfer and handling of any farmed species will cause stress. It is important that precautions are in place for all husbandry operations – and this includes not only transfer of the fish from hatchery to the salmon cages, but also any other in-cage treatments throughout production. ‘Unfortunately, some treatments may be needed during the grow-out cycle of the salmon,

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Feeding forefront

depending on different biological challenges, and it is important to think about the cleaner fish as well and how to limit the stress caused.’ Johnston believes that robustness of the cleaner fish should be of key concern. ‘A stressed, unhealthy cleaner fish is not going to eat lice, which defeats the point of having them in the salmon cages. ‘The cleaner fish themselves must be in good condition in order to be the best they can be at combating lice. ‘This means that good hatchery protocols and management are key to future success as they set a solid foundation.This is something that the producers of cleaner fish are becoming better and better at as more experience is gained by everyone.’ The CLEAN range of diets that were launched in the UK late last year by Skretting have been seen as a great success by the industry.The product portfolio incorporates hatchery products for lumpfish named CLEAN Start and CLEAN Assist, which have already been launched to run alongside the GEMMA range of hatchery products. ‘It seems natural to split the hatchery products as we become more knowledgeable about the specific requirements for both wrasse and lumpfish in the hatchery environment, just as we have for the in-cage feeds CLEAN Lumpfish and CLEAN Soft,’ said Johnston. ‘This enables Skretting to be at the forefront of nutrition for both species as they continue to develop.’ The CLEAN hatchery products are specially formulated to reduce loading on production systems, as well as giving specifically tailored natural functional ingredients. ‘These functional ingredients have an important role within the CLEAN diets for lumpfish in mucus production and protecting the skin, and

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helping to limit oxidative stress.This helps to prepare the fish for transport and transfer to sea and any further stresses that they may encounter. ‘Lumpfish are extremely picky feeders in the hatchery stage and it makes the physical properties of the pellet very important.The pellet must be slow sinking to give the lumpfish time to become interested, and highly palatable, while also maintaining clean production tanks.’ The take-up of the product has been good, with strong commercial performance in Norway, which saw the launch of the products during Aqua Nor last August. ‘Norwegian lumpfish hatchery production is estimated to be around 30 million fish and the CLEAN range will be raising around 65 per cent of that production,’ said Johnston. ‘This extensive usage shows just what a great product it is and we can use the experience to further enhance the product. ‘The success of this product has been down to our strong collaborative effort with customers and other external partners in order to improve robustness and optimise the de-lousing efficacy of the fish. ‘With growing numbers of both lumpfish and wrasse being produced in the UK it is very important that we keep collaborating to see how we can improve. ‘While the CLEAN range has had a great start, it is important that we continue to innovate to come up with the best possible nutritional solutions for both of the cleaner fish species. ‘This will enable this sector of the industry to grow to meet the current demand, which can only be seen as a good thing if it is going to reduce potentially stressful and costly mechanical and chemical treatments.’ FF

It’s “ incredible

to think how far the industry has come in such a small amount of time

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Feed – Research

Trial insight into vegetable diet Study considers optimal use of alternative oils in sea bream nutrition BY SAM J. S. HOUSTON1, VASILEIOS KARALAZOS2, JOHN TINSLEY2, DOUGLAS R. TOCHER1, AND OSCAR MONROIG1

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ILTHEAD sea bream (Sparus aurata) is an important marine fish farmed in the Mediterranean Sea, where major producers include Greece, Turkey and Spain. Aquaculture production of this species in 2015 was 166,000 tonnes, which far exceeded production from wild fisheries. Intensive aquaculture relies on extruded feeds that meet all the nutrient demands of the fish to which they are fed. In the last decades, there has been significant progress in the nutrition of sea bream, and high performance, sustainable feeds for this species are commercially available. Nevertheless, for diets of carnivorous fish such as sea bream, marine raw materials, namely fishmeal (FM) and fish oil (FO), have been traditionally used as the main sources of

essential nutrients that fish require to grow efficiently. Fisheries resources are finite and are increasingly substituted in feeds with plant based meals and oils, this practice being necessary to support sustainable growth in finfish aquaculture. The use of plant ingredients such as vegetable oil (VO) comes at a cost, particularly for carnivorous marine fish. Thus, while FO is rich in essential long-chain (20 carbons or longer) polyunsaturated fatty acids (LC-PUFA) such as EPA and DHA, VO lacks these essential nutrients. Consequently, the amount of FO that can be replaced by VO in marine fish diets is dependent upon the physiological demand for essential LC-PUFA that, in turn, is dependent on species and developmental stage. Knowledge of how dietary LC-PUFA interact with lipid and fatty acid composition and metabolism can help us formulate feeds with a greater awareness of the overall physiology of the animal under intensive farming conditions. In turn, such diets can support and potentially improve fish performance and physiological status while utilising available resources, like FO and VO, in an optimal way.

The results “highlight the importance of the physiologically essential LC-PUFA, EPA and DHA in the feeds

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Trial insight into vegetable diet

Recently, Stirling’s Institute of Aquaculture and BioMar, a world leader in high performance diets for more than 45 fish and shrimp species, carried out an experiment to investigate the impacts of a dietary gradient of VO replacing FO upon tissue compositions, fatty acid profiles and lipid metabolism in juvenile gilthead sea bream. Figures Figure 1

Base Formulation

Above: Sam Houston. Right: Figure 1. Formulation for the six experimental diets used in this trial. The pie charts illustrate the six oil mixtures for diets D1 – D6.

Ingredient

% Weight

Marine protein sources

12.5

Vegetable protein sources 60.9 Wheat

7.1

Aminoacids

0.8

Vitamin premix

3.5

Oil →

15.0

Six experimental diets were manufactured at the BioMar Process Innovation Technical Centre, in Brande, Denmark. The diets were formulated to meet all known requirements of gilthead sea bream juveniles, other than those for essential fatty acids (EFA), which were varied in a typical ‘dose response’ design. Thus, using different proportions of a VO and FO mixture, three diets (D1 – D3) were formulated to deliver LC-PUFA below the reported EFA requirement for this species, whereas three other diets (D4 – D6) were formulated with increasing levels of LC-PUFA above the requirements. The diet formulation is presented in Figure 1. All diets were formulated to attain strong fish performance and reflect current commercial formulations. The diets were fed to sea bream for a period of four months at the BioMar Trial Centre, in Hirtshals, Denmark. After the feeding trial, samples of whole and gutted fish, liver and viscera were collected to determine effects on biochemical composition. Liver and mid intestine were also sampled for analysis of fatty acids and expression of genes involved in lipid and fatty acid metabolic pathways. The pathways of interest included, β-oxida-

Figure 1. Formulation for the six experimental diets used in this trial. The pie charts illustrate

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Feed – Research

Right: Figure 2. Lipid content in response to dietary vegetable oil (VO) in the viscera (■), liver (●) and whole body (▲) of juvenile gilthead sea bream. Figure 3. Multivariate analysis (Principal Component Analysis) of gilthead sea bream liver fatty acids after consuming the experimental diets (D1 – D6) for four months. Each coloured point is the fatty acid profile of a liver, the fatty acid profiles of diets D1 – D6 are also plotted. Figure 4. The relative expression levels of pparα, srebp1 and fads2 and in the livers of gilthead sea bream after consuming the experimental diets for four months plotted against dietary vegetable oil (VO). Pparα is the peroxisome proliferator-activator alpha, a transcription factor that activates many genes involved in the catabolism of fatty acids. Srebp1 is the sterol regulatory element binding protein 1, a protein that activates many genes involved in fatty acid biosynthesis. Fads2 is the fatty acyl desaturase 2, an enzyme that introduces double bonds into fatty acids at the ‘delta 6’ carbon (in this species), the sixth carbon from the carboxyl group.

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Figure 2

Figure 3

tion, involved in energy production from fatty acids, lipogenesis, biosynthesis of fatty acids and cholesterol, and fatty acid modification, specifically the production of LC-PUFA from dietary EFA. Our results showed that the proximate composition of the fish (whole body or carcass) was not significantly affected by the dietary treatments. In the liver, however, a trend of increasing lipid accumulation was observed with increasing dietary VO, with the opposite trend observed in the viscera, where lipid is typically stored in gilthead sea bream (Figure 2). This indicated that the diets had impacted systemic lipid metabolism. Nevertheless, these effects were more prominent at the high end of FO substitution, and hence confirm that sustainable alternative oils can be safely used in diets for this species without compromising status. Quantitatively, the liver fatty acid composition was altered towards the dietary fatty

Figure 4

acid composition. However, multivariate analysis of fatty acid profiles in the liver revealed that the proportions of some fatty acids increased in the liver as dietary VO increased, despite being present in the diets at very low levels (Figure 3). These fatty acids were desaturation and elongation products of fatty acids that were present in the diets, such as 18:1n-9 and 18:2n-6. The multivariate analysis indicated that the livers from fish consuming higher levels of VO (D1 – D3) responded by modifying dietary fatty acids, although the response varied markedly among individuals as indicated by the ‘fan’ shape in Figure 3. While this confirmed that dietary lipid can be remodelled in the liver of gilthead sea bream, no production of the physiological essential LC-PUFA, namely EPA and DHA, was detected as previously shown in carnivorous marine fish. Dietary effects were also observed on the expression of key genes representing β-oxidation, lipogenesis and LC-PUFA biosynthesis in key metabolic sites including liver and mid intestine. However, expression levels were highly variable, which likely indicated that there were factors influencing gene expression that were not regulated by diet. The genes involved in β-oxidation (pparα, cpt1α, fabp1) showed a moderate negative relationship with dietary VO, possibly indicating that dietary VO reduced the catabolism of fatty acids, which may have knock on effects on energy supply.

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Trial insight into vegetable diet

The expression of lipogenic genes (srebp1, fas) were increased with dietary VO, but only in liver and mid intestine from fish consuming diets D1 - D3, with lower levels of LC-PUFA. This may indicate that dietary VO had a positive effect on lipogenesis, stimulating the production of fatty acids in liver and mid intestine. Thus, reduced β-oxidation and increased lipogenesis may contribute to the increased lipid levels observed in the liver of the fish fed diets with very high levels of VO. Two genes for proteins involved in fatty acid modification were measured (fads2, elovl5). Only fads2 expression (coding a delta-6 desaturase) was altered in response to the diets. The pattern of expression was positive related to dietary VO. Furthermore, we were able to relate its expression level to the levels of desaturation products (certain fatty acids) in the liver. Some example data from the liver are provided in Figure 4. Taken together, these findings showed that although sea bream tissue fatty acid composition largely reflected that of the diet, lipid metabolism was influenced by dietary VO and certain fatty acids were preferentially catabolised, retained or synthesised. Moreover, the results highlight the importance of the physiologically

essential LC-PUFA, EPA and DHA in the feeds of gilthead sea bream, as they were unable to produce them when they were not adequately supplied by the diet. Some systemic impact on lipid deposition was detected on the liver, but not at the level of whole fish and mainly at high levels of FO substitution. Such changes may be linked to the observed moderate down-regulation of genes involved in lipid catabolism and the stimulation of lipogenic genes. Overall, the present study provides valuable insight into sea bream lipid nutrition and metabolism and contributes to the development of high performing, sustainable feeds for sea bream that further improve fish composition and physiological state. FF

Above: Sea bream farm in Greece; sea bream. Left: Fish feed

Institute of Aquaculture, Faculty of Natural Sciences, University of Stirling, Stirling, Scotland 2 BioMar Ltd, North Shore Road, Grangemouth Docks, Grangemouth, Scotland 1

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Innovation – Norway

BY VINCE MCDONAGH

Open

minds

Salmon pioneer and vessel builder join forces in latest Norwegian fish farming concept of the future

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ORWEGIAN salmon farming is rapidly moving into a new high-tech and futuristic era with designs more akin to the space age than traditional aquaculture. The latest advanced project idea comes from the company Måsøval Fiskeoppdrett, which has submitted an application to the Directorate of Fisheries for five development licences for a project it calls ‘Aqua Semi’. Måsøval is working in partnership with the construction company Vard

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Below: Image of Wenberg Fish Farming and Edelfarm concept. Above: The Måsøval concept. Opposite page: Impression of a land based fish farm project by Måløy

to create a semi-submersible on an open site which it believes could help solve the problem of salmon lice. The Aqua Semi is designed with roof and steel walls down to 20-25m deep and with a steel

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Open minds

The unit “would be

grill at the bottom. The unit can be lifted up out of the sea by pumping water out of the float. The plan is to locate the Aqua Semi in Frøyfjorden near Måøydraga in south Central Norway, where there is the type of strong current necessary to ensure a full water exchange inside the structure. The unit would be built much like a North Sea oil platform as an independent structure, with its own feed stores, shelters, control rooms

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and a salmon management centre, with the aim of starting production towards the end of this year. Måsøval says that by siting the Aqua Semi in exposed sea areas its concept will be able to prevent sea lice and dramatically reduce any potential genetic impact on wild salmon. By using seawater efficiently, it will also have a lower environmental footprint and lead to better fish health and welfare. The company adds: ‘We will be able to create a work platform that ensures the safety and security of personnel and which can be effectively cleaned and maintained on site.

built much like a North Sea oil platform as an independent structure

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Innovation – Norway ‘Måsøval Fish Farming and the Vard Group said they were both pleased to have strong professional resources from a number of important organisations in the field of salmon and trout farming.’ The application is now awaiting approval. Vard is already engaged in building other offshore aquaculture concepts, including two platforms for Cermaq, due to be completed later this year (Fish Farmer, December 2017). Vard became a major player in the aquaculture industry when it acquired the leading equipment supplier Storvik Aqua last year. Storvik Aqua has a production facility in Norway with subsidiaries in Scotland and Chile. Another example of how the future might look comes from a land based fish farm project by the aquaculture company Måløy. This will use recirculating aquaculture system technology for up to 15,000 tonnes of fish farmed in tanks at Raudeberg in Norway. When fully developed the project will provide around 50 new jobs. It is also expected to receive local authority approval. Meanwhile, the Norwegian companies Wenberg Fish Farming and Edelfarm have applied for ten development licences (to farm 7,800 tonnes of Atlantic salmon) in conjunction with two high-tech related partners, BioVio Technologic in Bodø and the international company Technip, who plan to bring their own offshore technology into the project. The concept is a semi closed system, with full control over the environment, a concrete bottom and the ability to take in and discharge water at different depths. FF

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Below: Images of architect Anders Haagaas Grinde’s award winning Oslo Fish Farm Design

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Open minds

Driverless delivery to keep fish fresh

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T IS not just established farming companies that are coming up with high-tech solutions for the industry. A group of students has spent the past year devising an innovative method of bringing seafood directly from fish farms and processing trawlers back to port - and keeping it fresh for at least a month. Called SEAtrue, it is an ingenious transport system where driverless vessels with refrigerated containers ferry the fish - either farmed or wild caught - to shore bases. Nine fourth year students worked on the project last summer at DNV GL, a world leading adviser to the maritime industry at Høvik in Norway. The students were hand-picked from universities and colleges in several European countries, including the University of Southampton in the UK, as part of the Norwegian government’s strategy of increasing seafood production and value creation.

They were given the task of coming up with a logistics system while keeping newly harvested salmon fresh for up to 40 days. SEAtrue is a battery powered robotic vessel fitted with refrigerated containers, with the added benefits of low emissions and the ability to be adapted to customer requirements. Project manager Ole Johan Lønnum said: ‘This new technology gives us unprecedented opportunities to improve seafood production. ‘Better cooling methods now allow longer shelf life, while these driverless (automatic) ships will lead to lower costs and ensure higher quality. They also allow us to provide more and better information to the consumer.’ The students were closely monitored throughout by experts at DNV GL. Project leader Liv Aune Hagen said they impressed their tutors by the quick way they gained an insight into the seafood industry and the speed at which they arrived at a solution with the potential to revolutionise the production and distribution of seafood.

And in another possible development, Norwegian architect Anders Haagaas Grinde received a design award for his master’s thesis about constructing a giant farming plant not far from Oslo’s city centre, which he believes has real possibilities. Grinde was the main winner of this year’s Nykommer Award, organised by Design and Architecture Norway. The plan is to build a land based centre for salmon farming located on a greenfield site near Oslo’s newest industrial port centre. Although still at the concept stage, the plant would include every stage of production, from hatchery to slaughterhouse, and is scaled to satisfy the city’s annual consumption of salmon (see pictures opposite). The jury panel said they were very impressed with the design, adding it would help make salmon production both transparent and exciting, as well as adding an environmental dimension.

Australians venture further offshore

T

WO of Australia’s biggest salmon farmers have invested hundreds of millions of dollars in research and infrastructure, aimed at taking fish farms offshore, the Townsville Bulletin reported earlier this month. Tasmanian based Tassal says it will spend $275 million over the next four years, with a plan for offshore sites to make up 70 per cent of its salmon farms. It also plans to create ocean paddocks featuring world leading sanctuary enclosures, allowing the fish to be hand raised, with room to swim and grow healthily. Tassal chief executive Mark Ryan said that in the future the volumes it farms in Macquarie Harbour would be less than half of what it has historically farmed there. ‘All three salmon companies in Tasmania have been granted research permits to explore suitable future areas by the Tasmanian government,’ he said. The company also plans to produce Tasmania’s largest smolt in land based nurseries which will help to shorten the time fish spend in pens at sea. Meanwhile, Huon Aquaculture, also in Tasmania, has embarked on a research project at Cape Connella, on the state’s east coast. Huon boss Peter Bender said: ‘The research site is between 1.5km and 6km off the south of Bruny Island’s Cape Connella and, due to its

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Norway.indd 55

location, it will take several years to assess if farming here is viable and what new technologies we may need to make this possible. ‘Depending on the outcome of this research project, there is the potential that in the next four years, we will begin to farm at this site.’ The company is also involved in trials to grow yellowtail kingfish 6km off the New South Wales coast, said Bender. ‘Diversifying the species that we grow is something that we will explore into the future.’

It will take “several years

to assess if farming here is viable

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15/01/2018 15:57:19


World – India

BY DR ARUN S. NINAWE

Great shrimp growth Fast expanding sector provides new skills and employment for young people

I

NDIA has seen a recent growth in its seafood exports, mostly as a result of an improved shrimp aquaculture sector. Seafood exports increased by 20 per cent in 2016-2017, to 1,137,948 tonnes, worth US$5.78 billion, with frozen shrimps accounting for 64.5 per cent of the value and 38.28 per cent of the volume, according to figures produced by the Marine Products Export Development Authority. India’s aquaculture industry has recently witnessed a diversification of species- particularly of mangrove crab and tilapia – as well as improved production infrastructure, quality control and value addition. The application of various technologies, especially biotechnological tools, has made an impact in reducing the disease risks in aqua farming, and advanced technologies and tools are contributing to the future enhancement of aquaculture production. Improved nutrition, the use of probiotics, im-

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India.indd 56

proved disease resistant strains, better water quality, improved seed and feed, the use of immune-stimulants, rapid detection of pathogens, and the use of affordable vaccines have all assisted in health control measures in aquaculture. But the major production and export increase is due to the adoption of Pacific white leg shrimp (Litopenaeus vannamei) in the country’s coastal aquaculture systems. India farms mainly two varieties of shrimp, L. vannamei and the native Indian black tiger shrimp (Penaeus monodon). Following a serious disease outbreak in Peneaus monodon, which was farmed over an area of about 100,000 hectares, L. vannamei was introduced, and many farmers have since switched to growing this species. India has quickly become a major player in the global shrimp culture industry, with production since 2009 rising from 1,700 tonnes to a production peak of 406,044 tonnes in 2015-2016. The present farming area for L. vannamei now covers 300,000 hectares. Among India’s 36 states and its union territories, 98 per cent of shrimp production comes from eight states: Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Odisha, and West Bengal. Of those eight states, Andhra Pradesh is the leading farmed shrimp producer, accounting for 64 per cent of Indian farmed shrimp production. At present, India’s shrimp production is dependent on imported broodstock from the US, Indonesia, Thailand and Singapore, with the introduction of specific pathogen free (SPF) L. vannamei broodstock improving and expanding the number of shrimp farms. However, the trend is now changing, with the development of indigenous SPF L. vannamei broodstock in a collaborative research programme led by the Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Aquaculture. But there are challenges ahead; declining competition in the export market from East Asian and South-East Asian countries, due to early mortality syndrome (EMS), has been a warning signal for India to take serious precautionary measures, and expand its focus on research. The Department of Biotechnology is promoting aquaculture in Andhra Pradesh through a project funded by the the UK’s BBSRC (Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council). The two villages involved in the project, Mungamur and Jadagogula in Nellore District, have witnessed the expansion of aquaculture activities, particularly shrimp farms. Andhra Pradesh is not only the hub of aquaculture, especially for the shrimp farming industry, in India but is also the gateway for seafood exports. There are huge skill development opportunities in the region for the villagers and for young people, and great potential for entrepreneurial ventures and self-employment.

has “India quickly

become a major player in the global industry

www.fishfarmer-magazine.com

15/01/2018 15:59:06


Great shrimp growth

Images: Herbal extract application, sampling, water analysis and bacterial analysis in shrimp farms located in Jadagogula and Mungamur villages.

In the project, local youths are involved in analysing and testing water samples, in screening shrimps for etiological agents, in feed formulation and prophylactic measures, and in the marketing and management of farms. The prospective farmers are producing eight to ten tonnes of shrimp per hectare in two to three crops a year, adopting best management practices and monitoring eco-physiological parameters, both in the shrimp hatchery system and in the grow-out culture. The parameters include temperature, salinity, pH, dissolved oxygen, metabolite load (NH3, NO2, NO3), alkalinity, and water hardness. As a precautionary measure, diagnostics are used to screen the post-larvae for WSSV (white spot syndrome virus), IMNV (infectious myonecrosis virus), parasites -particularly enterocytozoon hepatopenaei (EHP), EMS and AHPND (acute hepatopancreatic necrosis disease) before stocking, and these diagnostics are also used for monitoring the shrimp during the grow-out period. The feed, which has been crucial in the success of the husbandry, is the local brand Fedora blended with the commercial formulation Immuzone, a herbal product developed by C. Abdul Hakeem College and marketed by Poseidon

www.fishfarmer-magazine.com

India.indd 57

Biotech, a Chennai based aquaculture company. The shrimp fed in grow-out culture operations are achieving a feed conversion ratio ranging from 1.5 to 1.7. The areas covered by two successful entrepreneurs are about 18-20 acres, with pond sizes of 1.25 to 1.50 acres each. There are also reservoir ponds to maintain the supply of water to the culture ponds. The farming has been totally organic, with no chemicals or antibiotics used. The project, launched in 2016, was undertaken to alleviate the poverty of shrimp farmers, who had lost money through white spot syndrome virus, and prevent further outbreaks of the disease with better husbandry. The results have been positive, with the last two harvests showing a doubling in the farmers’ production without any incidence of WSSV. The project is ongoing and there will be four to five more shrimp crops before its completion in 2019. The implementation of the project has created greater awareness through training, demonstration and also by conducting workshops in the villages. FF Dr Arun S. Ninawe works in the aquaculture and marine biotechnology programme in the Indian government’s Department of Biotechnology.

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15/01/2018 16:00:51


Pentair.indd 58

15/01/2018 14:04:23


From the archive – January/February 2005

Minister to face the industry at new breakthrough Aquaculture Conference BY CATHERINE MICHAEL

L

EWIS Macdonald, the minister responsible for aquaculture in Scotland, is set to give a keynote address at the first Aquaculture Today Conference in Edinburgh. The minister is sure to have some interesting news for the audience of global aquaculture industry professionals, as he will be responsible for steering expected new legislation on fish farming in Scotland through the Scottish parliament in the coming months. Appointed last year, one of his first statements in office was that he was aware of industry concerns at the amount of regulation being imposed on aquaculture enterprises in Scotland. A member of the Scottish parliament since its first intake in 1999, Mr Macdonald became Deputy Minister for Environment and Rural Development in October 2004. He is just the latest in a number of big names to sign up to speak at the pioneering event – the premier UK forum for networking for aquaculture industry professionals. Aquaculture Today is a brand new conference run for the UK fish farming industry in a European context. It is the only UK-based aquaculture conference covering all aquaculture sectors. The conference will explore the key issues affecting aquaculture businesses, including the global markets, the regulatory environment for aquaculture, environmental responsibilities and aquatic animal health. This conference will provide delegates with an opportunity to hear from key industry presenters and will provide a constructive and sociable forum for discussion, culminating in clear resolutions for the future. Who will attend? A wide range of delegates are expected to attend, from aquaculture producers, researchers, seafood processors, representatives from industry associations and to others such as civil servants whose responsibilities include aquaculture. The conference programme will run over two days and will be presentation based. A welcome reception and early registration will be available on April 12 and a conference dinner will be run on the evening of April 13. The conference venue will be equipped with an interactive voting system allowing delegates to decide on clear resolutions. Aquaculture markets Increasing market demand for seafood means that it is one of the rising stars of the food sector and an increasing proportion of seafood product is now farmed. However, aquaculture producers face unparalleled pressure on prices and intense market competition. Product differentiation and diversification are hot topics as is the need to communicate the clear health benefits from seafood consumption while protecting core markets. Speakers will include Grenville Wall (TNS market analyst), Julie Edgar (Scottish Quality Salmon), a representative of the EU Trade Commission and food industry professionals to discuss market opportunities, market protection measures

www.fishfarmer-magazine.com

Archive - January.indd 59

Above: The Fish Farmer Cover

and how to make the most of the unique marketing advantages offered by selling seafood as a health enhancing functional food. Aquaculture and the environment Despite sustained efforts to improve their environmental credentials, aquaculture operations continue to come under fire from environmental pressure groups. Is the industry doing all it can to mitigate environmental impacts and how can it communicate more effectively what it has already done? Speakers will include Andrew Wallace (Association

59

15/01/2018 16:02:11


From the archive – January/February 2005

Is this degree of regulation necessary “and, if not, how can it be reduced? ”

of Salmon Fisheries Boards), a Scottish Environmental Protection Agency representative, speakers from the aquaculture industry and from environmental organisations on the following subjects: environmental responsibilities, experiences from aquaculture and wild fish interests working together and the practical and environmental implications of having larger aquaculture units further offshore. Aquatic animal health Fish farmers, and to some extent shellfish growers, have to pay constant attention to the health status of their stocks and biosecurity has become the guiding principle for most day-to-day farm operations. Speakers will include Professor Randolph Richards (University of Stirling), Dr Jim Treasurer (SAMS Ardtoe), Dr Hamish Rodger (Atlantic Veterinary Services) and other leading fish vets, researchers and fish health administrators with presentations on re-formulation of the fish health directorate, breeding disease resistant fish, what can be done to reduce the economic impact of pancreas disease, current approaches to managing sea lice and what’s happening with ISA. The regulatory framework for aquaculture A frequently quoted statistic is that Scottish aquaculture has to contend with 10 statutory bodies, 63 pieces of legislation and 43 European Community directives. Is this degree of regulation necessary and if not, how can it be reduced? Should the industry make more of the fact that it conforms to international standards? Speakers will include representatives of the main industry trade bodies, key politicians and senior Scottish Executive representatives discussing industry codes of practice, new aquaculture legislation, the transfer of planning responsibilities from Crown Estate to local authorities and the main question of whether the regulatory burden creates an uneven playing field for EU based aquaculture businesses, particularly when compared to Norway and Chile, whose industries work under far fewer regulations.

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Archive - January.indd 60

Right: The Edinburgh Marriott Hotel - venue for Aquaculture Today Conference

The two-day event will be held at the Marriott Hotel on the western outskirts of Edinburgh – conveniently situated close to Edinburgh airport and adjacent to the Edinburgh by-pass for those arriving by car. Full details on the conference venue and transport are available on the conference website – www.aquaculturetoday.co.uk FF

www.fishfarmer-magazine.com

15/01/2018 16:02:56


DON’T MISS THE UK’S LARGEST AQUACULTURE EXHIBITION AND CONFERENCE

Pentair.indd 61

15/01/2018 14:05:27


Processing News

Brexit threat to Scottish recruitment

Sainsbury’s promotes ‘lesser known’ fish

Scotland’s seafood processors are far more dependent on European workers than those elsewhere in the UK, new figures from Marine Scotland show AND efforts to recruit UK workers were now becoming more challenging. The survey found that around 58 per cent of seafood staff in Scotland were from Europe – mainly Poland, Latvia and Lithuania – compared to 42 per cent among food producers for the UK as a whole. The figures are broadly comparable to those unveiled by Seafish, the industry authority, at the Humber Seafood Summit last October, which highlighted Scotland’s dependence on EU seafood workers. The Marine Scotland report said ‘recruiting UK nationals has become more challenging over the years, which has increased the dependency on a non-UK workforce’. ‘This dependency

Above: Fergus Ewing

has resulted in the surveyed seafood processing businesses voicing their concerns on finding suitable and reliable labour if, when the UK exits from the

EU, there are changes to the free movement of people. ‘This has resulted in some businesses citing the EU exit as a significant threat to

their business’s operational viability.’ Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing said in a statement: ‘With the majority of EEA [European Economic Area] employees working on permanent contracts, and likely to be living here on a long-term basis, processors are rightly concerned for the future and the potential loss of skilled and experienced food processing employees. ‘This study backs up recent analysis which found EU nationals contribute more than £4.4 billion a year to our economy and shows exactly why we value the contribution they make in our communities. ‘We will continue to show EU nationals that they are welcome here and call for free movement of people,

Concerned for the future

EU nationals contribute more than £4.4 billion a year to our economy

which is clearly in the best interests of Scotland and the UK as a whole.’ Further concern about food production has come from Westminster’s All-Party Parliamentary Group in a report warning that Brexit could seriously hit food businesses because it would become impossible to compete at world market prices.

Young’s owners preparing for sale – report THE private equity owners of Young’s Seafood may be poised to put the business up for sale, according to a report last month by the Press Association news agency. Grimsby based Young’s and the three private equity owners, Lion Capital, Bain Capital and HPS Investment Partners, have so far refused to comment on the report, which says they are working with the investment house Stamford Partners to explore the possibility of a sale. Executives from the giant Japanese Mitsubishi Corporation, which owns Norwegian salmon farmer Cermaq, have reportedly been holding talks at Young’s over the past few weeks, although any deal is said to be unlikely before the summer. Young’s is Britain’s largest seafood company, employing more than 2,000 people in Grimsby (where it is the town’s largest private employer) and Scotland, where it has an extensive salmon curing operation. It has a history dating back to 1805 when Elizabeth Young, a London fish seller, and her family started a whitebait business. It later became famous for its potted shrimp. In the 1960s it was acquired by the Grimsby fishing and frozen food tycoon Carl Ross. The Young’s brand, which includes the highly successful Chip Shop and Gastro ranges, is easily the most recognisable label in Britain’s supermarket freezer cabinets.

62

Processing News.indd 62

It had a number of owners over the years until it merged with Bluecrest Foods some 17 years ago, also under a private equity umbrella. It was acquired by Lion Capital in 2008 for £1.1 billion, but later sold the Findus part of the business to Nomad Foods, which also owns Birds Eye, for £500 million. Last year, Young’s enjoyed sales of just over £496 million and earlier this year it expanded into the US retail market. If the private equity owners proceed with a sale - it was always going to be on the cards - then it would be the second major Grimsby seafood business to change hands recently. Last year, the Icelandic Group sold Seachill to Hilton Foods for £80 million. There will be no shortage of potential suitors for Young’s.

Above: Ally Dingwall

SAINSBURY’S has launched a new fresh fish scheme in a bid to persuade customers to try alternative British fish species. Called Fishmonger’s Choice, it includes whiting, monkfish and Dover sole, which are being made available in more than 200 stores across the UK. Sainsbury’s says the type of fish will vary according to the seasons. The retailer believes that with most British consumers sticking to five species - cod, haddock, salmon, tuna and prawns - it’s clear there is a ‘fear factor’ in trying new fish. Ally Dingwall, Sainsbury’s aquaculture and fisheries manager, said: ‘Fish consumption in the UK is still concentrated on the Big Five – they make up around 70 per cent of our volume sales. So we’ve launched this new range to help shift perception of lesser known species. ‘It’s about making fresh, seasonal, British fish readily available to customers and offering more approachable formats of species like whiting and monkfish, so that they can purchase and prepare it with confidence.’

www.fishfarmer-magazine.com

15/01/2018 16:04:38


Processing News

Whitelink reels in funding for new ship FAMILY owned seafood supplier Whitelink Seafoods has secured a funding package from the Royal Bank of Scotland to buy a new scallop vessel. The ship, which will help the company process, distribute and supply a higher volume of produce, will also allow Whitelink to secure and create new jobs for the local community of Fraserburgh and surrounding areas. Established in 1974 and still run by the Sutherland family, the award winning company supplies seafood worldwide. The business employs 200 people in the UK, with a turnover in the region of £75 million. Whitelink has operations in Scotland, England, France, Germany, Iceland and Spain, all helping the company distribute its produce across the globe. Its product range is varied, with types of seafood processed by the company including scallops, langoustines, squid, hake, salmon, monkfish and cod, in both fresh and frozen form. The latest addition to the fleet is the third scallop vessel RBS has helped the business acquire in the last two-and-a-half years. Graeme Sutherland, director of Whitelink Seafoods, said: ‘We can’t thank Royal Bank of Scotland enough for its continued support of our business. Our new vessel will help us secure continuous supply for our loyal and valued customers all over the world.’ Gregor Stewart, relationship director at RBS, said: ‘We’re proud to support Whitelink Seafoods in its latest business venture. ‘The company is a notable example of a well run business with strong family values and a fascinating heritage. ‘It’s also extremely encouraging to see the new vessel helping to secure jobs for the local area. We wish Whitelink Seafoods continued success.’

Processor lines up salmon experts THE food processor Marel has invited two leading international salmon figures to speak at its 17th Salmon ShowHow processing conference in Copenhagen next month. Trond Davidsen, president of the Above: Grant Rosewarne International Salmon Farmers Association (IFSA) and insights into current Grant Rosewarne, CEO trends and challenges and managing director of salmon farming and his expectations of New Zealand King of the future of the Salmon, will address industry. He has been the meeting, to be president of ISFA for held on February 7. the past six years, Davidsen will share

and has also been deputy managing director of the Norwegian Seafood Federation since 2014. Rosewarne was appointed CEO of New Zealand King Salmon in 2009 and managing director in 2016 and has focused on lifting its products from a premium commodity to a worldwide branded food delicacy. Marel, which is headquartered in Iceland, said it will display a range of equipment.

Fish and chip awards mark 30 THE National Fish and Chip Awards mark their 30th anniversary at a ceremony in London on January 25. From a single award category in 1987, the awards have grown to 15 categories, encompassing everything from takeaways to

mobile operators. The flagship Fish and Chip Shop of the Year Award currently has a top 10 regional shortlist. Previous winners reported increased footfall and turnover of up to 100 per cent, said the organisers Seafish.

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Processing News.indd 63

Above: (From left to right) Valerie Ritchie, Graeme Sutherland, Andrew Sutherland and James Sutherland

Britons prefer national cuisine SEVEN in ten Britons would choose British made products if given the choice, according to new research. The study – by Young’s Seafood - also found that 60 per cent would crown British cuisine ‘the best in the world’, while nearly half of respondents say eating British food reminds them of their childhood. Fish and chips, roast chicken, and shepherd’s pie all made the top ten line-up of favourite British meals, with six in ten labelling British food as ‘traditional and comforting’. The poll, of 2,000 adults, has inspired Young’s new ‘Proudly Made in Britain’ campaign, which will see packs of fish fingers displaying the message. The campaign is supported by PR and digital marketing and will award five consumers a year’s supply of fish fingers. Designed to help

Above: Fish and chips remains a favourite

consumers recognise British made products, the ‘Made in Britain’ marque is accredited to businesses that make and sell goods which have been manufactured or have undergone a final substantial change in Great Britain before going on the market. Yvonne Adam, marketing director at Young’s Seafood, said: ‘Our research shows

that we Brits love our fish fingers, and we love to buy British made products. ‘We’re proud to be the only fish finger brand still making the product in Britain – proudly made by our team in Grimsby.’ Young’s fish fingers, with the ‘proudly Made in Great Britain’ credentials, went on sale in Tesco from December.

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15/01/2018 16:06:35


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Opinion – Inside track

Make our message heard BY NICK JOY

I

CALCULATED last week the number of meals we provided a year from our small farm sites. It turned out to be around 18 million - not bad for one of the smaller salmon farming companies in Scotland. I compared this to my beef and sheep farm, which is approximately 1,000 acres. (I estimate that the combined area of Loch Duart’s sites would be half of that area at maximal measurement). We sell around 350 lambs and 120 beasts away a year. I reckon that yields, on a very crude basis, about 480,000 meals a year. It’s a useful comparison when you consider how much area we use as an industry to create food for so many. Of course, the inputs are different and many will argue that we have a different sustainability threshold, but these are different arguments. The usefulness of this calculation is how efficient we are in our use of the area we are provided with. When you think about the inordinately arduous process of attaining planning permission for sites, this sort of efficiency is rarely talked about. We have to get the message out that we use the small area we are allowed to have so well. There are not many of us fish farmers when you consider that the UK has a population north of 60 million. It is such a small percentage that it is hardly worth putting the figure in this article, yet we produce a huge amount of the nation’s meals. Agriculture employs around half a million people, whereas we are fewer than 10,000. When you look at legislation or public comprehension, agriculture is very poorly understood, despite the fact that there are regular television programmes to try and explain the industry. How on earth, then, can the public ever begin to understand the complexity of what we do in a medium that few ever travel on, let alone in (the sea)? We produce a healthy, efficient, delicious food and from a tiny footprint. Our industry is disparate and spread out. Communication is hard and coordination even more difficult. If agriculture, older and more widespread, has difficulty getting its message across, how much harder is it for us, the new kid on the block? Yet coordinate and communicate we must, both individually and as an industry, and we have to get better and better at it. All rural businesses which develop or enhance our natural systems are going to become more challenged. As can be seen from Environment Secretary Michael Gove’s speech on agriculture earlier this month, the logic of the town is to encourage more and more of the countryside to stop food production and increase access. We will face further legislation designed to ensure that those who have hobbies in the countryside can exercise their rights. I am not suggesting they should not, but that we will have to fight for our existence and justify it to a greater degree against this backdrop.

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Nick Joy.indd 66

We will face “increasing

legislation designed to ensure that those who have hobbies in the countryside can exercise their rights

In the year to come, I hope we will not just see a counter to all of the letters that have taken over our industry -AGD, PGD, CGD and so on. Our industry has faced many challenges and overcome them. I am sure that we will solve these ones in time, too. The bigger problem of our image will still be an issue long after I am gone but this only means that we have to try harder and spend more on it. So it is now officially 2018, the bells have rung and another year of this fantastic industry starts. May I wish all of you who I know a wonderful, prosperous and enjoyable year. And to all of you who I do not know, the same, but I hope I get to meet you and learn more about what you do this year. Nick Joy is the co-founder and former managing director of Loch Duart. FF

www.fishfarmer-magazine.com

15/01/2018 16:07:22


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Aquaculture America 2018

February 19-22, 2018 Paris Las Vegas Las Vegas, Nevada USA THE NATIONAL CONFERENCE & EXPOSITION OF

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Hosted by: California Aquaculture Association

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