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or anyone who loves unexpected challenges, 2020 was the gi� that kept on giving. For the UK seafood industry, it was a year dominated by the terrible impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and by the prospect of a “no deal” Brexit. The end of 2020 saw both issues coming together as concern over the new strain of Covid-19 led the French Government to close the Channel crossings just before Christmas. The horrendous scenes of stranded drivers and cargoes in Kent suggest that, had the Brexit talks ended without a deal, the plans in place would not have held up well. Instead, the industry has given two cheers for the Christmas agreement – it means tariﬀ-free trade for most products, but the delays currently being seen arising from new, unfamiliar paperwork and associated IT failures have been a massive headache for those trying to get perishable produce to the Con�nent. What’s happening in aq Let’s hope that these problems can be ironed out and, on the pandemic front, that the in the UK and around th long-awaited roll-out of vaccines oﬀers the hope that at some point, 2021 may come to What’s happening in aquacu resemble the world we knew before Covid-19. in the UK and around the w Meanwhile, we have a packed issue for you this month, with topics ranging from the JENNY HJUL –– EDITOR JENNY HJUL EDITOR latest developments in ﬁsh nutri�on and the use of satellites to detect algal blooms, to JENNY HJUL –– EDITOR JENNYons HJULapplica� EDITOR ons that beneﬁt the rural economy and an ini�a�ves to ﬁnd 5G telecommunica� Steve Bracken SSC’s record results Stewart Graham The ﬁnal sessions interna�onal charity that is helping communi�es in some of the poorest parts of the world to build a thriving (and sustainable) aquaculture industry. Steve Bracken SSC’s record results Stewart Graham The ﬁnal sessions salmon farming sector in Scotland, when it was to I wish all our readers the best for the year he focus this month istopictures on Europe, the internati T HE is no coincidence that andwhere videos of unhealthy Sahead. Fish Farmer went press, there was sti lltold no oﬃ cialonal be thewere subject ofScotti a be parliamentary inquiry, embraced the industry willsent soon gathering the (European salmon to news outletsfor just asjoint the Scotti sh news from the shScotland, parliamentary inquiry into salmon farming sector in when itEAS was tosalmon he focus this month istopictures on Europe, the internati T HE is coincidence that andwhere videos of unhealthy Sno Fish Farmer went press, there was sti lltold no oﬃ cialonal opportunity this would provide to explain how it operated. Best wishes, Aquaculture and WAS Aquaculture Society) parliament went back to work at (World the start of month. These farming, conducted earlier this year by thethis Rural Economy be the subject of aSociety) parliamentary inquiry, embraced industry willsent soon be gathering the EASinto (European salmon were to news outletsfor just asjoint the Scotti shthe news from the Scotti sh parliamentary inquiry salmon Current trends In good Julie Hesketh-Laird The had nothing to hide and, if given fair hearing, Meet thehealth new chief exe Robert Outram conference, to be staged over ﬁve days in theait southern images had this litt le to doprovide with theto current state of Scotland’s ﬁcould sh and industry Connecti vity (REC) committ ee. MSPs have now heldFrench ﬁve opportunity would explain how operated. Aquaculture Society) and WAS Aquaculture Society) parliament back to work at (World the start of month. These farming, went conducted earlier this year by thethis Rural Economy address much of the criti cism levelled against it. city of Montpellier. As well as highlighti ng the latest technological farms where sea lice levels are in decline and, in fact, at a ﬁ vemeeti ngs, in private, to consider their report and we must be Current trends In good Julie Hesketh-Laird The had to hide and, if given fair hearing, Meet thehealth new chief executiv conference, to benothing staged over days in theaof southern images had litt le to do with theﬁve current state Scotland’s ﬁcould sh and industry Connecti vity (REC) committ ee. MSPs have now heldFrench ﬁve Fish Farmer supported this but at times salmon advances in our fast moving sector, Aqua 2018felt willthat alsohas feature year low (htt p://scotti shsalmon.co.uk/monthly-sea-lice-reports). pati ent. However, waiti ng forview, their recommendati ons been address much of the criti cism levelled against it. city ofngs, As well asare highlighti ng the latest technological farms -Montpellier. where sea lice in decline and, inwe fact, at abe ﬁvemeeti in private, tolevels consider their report and must farmers were being drowned out bywhich theREC noisier elements offarming the sessions on emerging markets and look atinvolves the role ofthe ﬁshusual This latest propaganda campaign, all made harder by leaks from within to anti -salmon Fish Farmer supported this atthe times salmon advances in our fast moving sector, Aqua 2018felt willthat alsohas feature year low (htt p://scotti shsalmon.co.uk/monthly-sea-lice-reports). pati ent. However, waiti ng forview, theirbut recommendati ons been angling lobby, which had called foras the investi gatiRural on. But asngs the farming in alleviati ng poverty. Increasingly, industry meeti anti -aquaculture suspects, came Holyrood’s Economy acti vists. The latest of these (see our news story on page 4) farmers were being drowned out bywhich theREC noisier elements offarming the sessions onpropaganda emerging markets and look atinvolves the role ﬁshusual This campaign, allofthe madelatest harder by leaks from within the to anti -salmon sessions progressed, and eventually farmers’ voices were heard, are broadening their scope, tackling subjects such asthat thethe social and Connecti vity committ ee returned the summer recess we to makes grim reading for the industry asfrom itgati suggests committ ee angling lobby, which had called for the investi on. But as farming inThe alleviati ngof poverty. Increasingly, industry ngs anti -aquaculture suspects, came as Holyrood’s Rural Economy activists. latest these (see our news story onmeeti page 4) became more opti misti c. We now believe that MSPs, perhaps with acceptability of aquaculture and the contributi on it makes to global consider its draft report into the future of salmon farming. members have been willing to listen to those campaigning to sessions progressed, and eventually farmers’ voices were heard, are broadening their scope, tackling subjects such asthat the committ social and Connecti vity committ ee returned the summer recess we to makes grim reading for the industry asfrom it suggests ee Serving Worldwide Aquaculture Since 1977 food security and saving the planet, aindustry move that is toanti welcomed. the excepti on ofvaluable one or two Greens cahoots with -farming Those who want toWe shut down thein asbe shut down this sector, rather than to those who operate became more misti c. now believe that MSPs, perhaps with acceptability ofopti aquaculture and the contributi on ithave, makes toexpected, global consider its draft report into the future of salmon farming. members have been willing to listen to those campaigning to Also investi gati ngacti initi aties, veswhich inregard thenow developing world, Harrison campaigners, will, on balance, the industry in a Dr favourable stepped their viti involve the within it.up food security and saving the planet, aindustry move that is tobreaching welcomed. the excepti on ofvaluable one or two Greens cahoots with anti -farming Those who want to shut down thein asbe expected, shut down this sector, rather thanthe tohave, those who operate Meet the team Charo Karisa of WorldFish writes about farming potenti al inthe Fish Farmer: Volume 44 Number 01 light. They will hopefully see that farmers take their environmental biosecure environments of farm sitesindustry to snatch photographs in Of course, such stories may be inaccurate and, in any case, Also investi gati ng initi ati ves in the developing world, Dr Harrison campaigners, will, on balance, regard the in a favourable stepped acti vitiish es,and which nowculti involve breaching the within it.up their Editorial Advisory Board: Nigeria, both in catf ti lapia vati on. responsibiliti es seriously and that businesses will only ever invest the hope of ﬁ nding incriminati ng evidence against farmers. Onein committ ee’s ﬁ ndings are not binding. Scotland’s ﬁ sh farmers Contact us Charo Karisa of WorldFish writes about the farming potenti al in light. They will hopefully see that farmers take their environmental biosecure environments of farm sites tosomething snatch ingame Of course, such stories may be inaccurate and,photographs inofany case,ngthe Steve Bracken, Hervé Migaud, Jim Treasurer, In Scotland, the summer has been aofwaiti What’s in a name? Dr Nick Lake Phil Thomas growth that isﬁbeen sustainable. Tel: +44(0) 131 551 1000 campaigner lmed himself searching, unsuccessfully, for minister, dead have always fortunate to have the support their Nigeria, both catf ish and tilapia culti vati on. responsibiliti seriously and that businesses will only ever invest in the hope of ﬁes nding incriminati ng evidence against farmers. One committ ee’s ﬁin ndings are not binding. Scotland’s ﬁ sh farmers Chris Mitchell, Jason Cleaversmith while the parliament is in recess and the members of Holyrood’s Fax: +44(0) 131 551especially 7901 If the committ ee members, those who have yet to of Phil ﬁ sh at a Marine Harvest site. Another said he saw ‘hundreds’ Fergus Ewing, to grow sustainably. In Scotland, the summer has been something of a waiti ng game What’s in a name? Dr Nick Lake Thomas growth that isﬁbeen sustainable. campaigner lmed himself searching, unsuccessfully, forto dead haveRural always fortunate to have the support of their minister, and Hamish Macdonell Economy and Connecti vity committ ee conti nue weigh up Email: shfarmermagazine.com visit aparliament farm, like tothe learn more about theagainst of infested salmon in awould pen, but we only have his word that But itsalmon should not go unchallenged that some MSPs onsubject the REC while the isroutram@ﬁ in recess and members of Holyrood’s If the committ ee members, especially those who have yet to ﬁ sh at a Marine Harvest site. Another said he saw ‘hundreds’ of Fergus Ewing, to grow sustainably. the evidence in their inquiry into salmon farming. We don’t expect Editor: RobertRural Outram their we have plenty of good stories in our May Even and Connecti vity committ ee conti nue weigh up Head Oﬃ ce: Special Publica� ons, Fe� esto Park, of theinquiry, professional vets and biologists who manage theissue. welfare of committ ee, with their own against the growth of visit a Economy farm, like toagendas learn more about the ofthetime infested salmon in go awould but we only have his word against that Buttheir itsalmon should not unchallenged that some MSPs onsubject the REC report unti l pen, the autumn but hope the MSPs are using the bett er, they could head to the Highlands later this month, where 496 Ferry Road, Edinburgh, EH5 2DL Wefor the evidence in their inquiry into salmon farming. don’t expect Designer: Andrew their Balahura these farms on a daily basis. industry, are in breach of Code of Conduct MSPs. As they wefully have plenty of good stories in ourgrowth May toinquiry, become acquainted with the facts about ﬁthe shissue. farming. of the professional vets andagendas biologists who manage welfare of committ ee, with their own against the of theEven Montpellier report Dr Marti n Jaﬀ a Doug McLeod meet the aquaculture industry en masse at Scotland’s theirthey report unti l the autumn but hope the MSPs areas using theittiis, meit Ifthey the is proud of its high standards, itsalmon says are inwill aindustry positi on to inﬂthe uence the future course of farming, Commercial Manager: bett er, could head to Highlands later this month, where This month also sees reti rement of Marine Harvest’s longest these farms on a daily basis. industry, are in breach of the Code of Conduct for MSPs. As they Subscriptions to become fully acquainted with the facts about ﬁ sh farming. biggest ﬁ sh farming show. must mount aaquaculture much more robustWe defence oftrouble itself, through its and of businesses vital toBracken. Scotland’s economy, we have a right Janice Johnston Montpellier report Dr Marti n Jaﬀ a Doug McLeod they will meet the industry en masse Scotland’s serving employee, Steve had no Subscrip� ons Fish Farmer If the isto proud ofreti itsAddress: high standards, as itsalmon says itcollecti is, it ng are in aindustry positi on inﬂthe uence the future course ofat farming, This month also sees rement of Marine Harvest’s longest will certainly be at Aquaculture UK inindustry, Aviemore and look jjohnston@ﬁshfarmermagazine.com representati ve body, the SSPO, than it has done to date. The toWe know who they are, and we hope the through its warm tributes from his friends and colleagues to mark the biggest ﬁ sh farming show. Magazine Subscrip� ons,economy, Warners Group must a much more robustWe defence itself, through its and ofmount businesses vital toBracken. Scotland’s we have a right serving employee, Steve had noof trouble collecti ng forward toand, seeing many of you there too. campaigners, we now see, willrest stop nothing, representati ves, will pressure the parliament toand investi gate before Publisher: Alisterrepresentati Benne� milestone along with of the industry, thefarmers team We will certainly be at Aquaculture UK inat Aviemore and look Publica� ons plc, The Mal� ngs, vethey body, the SSPO, than itthe has done tothrough date. The to know who are, and wethe hope industry, its at Fish warm tributes from his friends and colleagues to mark the should be prepared toyou ﬁBourne ght back. the to REC report isStreet, published. Farmer wish him all the very best for the future. West forward seeing many of there too. campaigners, we now see, will stop at representati ves, will pressure the parliament toand investi gateatbefore Rising stars Marti nBrown Jaﬀ a Orkney anniversary Janet milestone and, along with the rest of thenothing, industry, thefarmers team Fish Lincolnshire PE10 9PH should prepared to ﬁvery ght back. the RECbe report published. Farmer wish himisall the best for the future.
Conte Conten 4-15 4-14 News 4-15 4-14 News
Fair hearing French connection Farmers must fight back Uphold the code Fair hearing French connection Farmers must Uphold the codefight back
16-21 16-17 16-22 Industry pioneer News Extra platform Parliamentary in 16-21 16-17 16-22 Industry pioneer News Extra platform Parliamentary inquir 22-23 18-19 24-27 Salmon market SSPO 22-23 18-19 24-27 Salmon market SSPO
24 20 20-21 28-29 BTA Shellﬁsh Comment 24 20 20-21 28-29 BTA Shellﬁsh Comment
Cover: From le�, Raminta Kazlauskaite, Joey Humble and Mar�n Llewellyn of SalmoSim.
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ons: £75 a year www.fishfarmer-magazine.com nowSubscrip� on @fishfarmermag Fish Farmer isUK ROW Subscrip� ons: £95 www.fishupdate.com a year including Facebook and Twitter Fish Farmer is now postage on www.fishfarmermagazine.com - All Air Mailwww.fishfarmer-magazine.com www.fishupdate.com Facebook andthe Twitter Contact us Meet team
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26 22-23 30 Shellﬁ sh Comment BTA 26 22-23 30 BTA Shellﬁ sh Comment 28-31 24-25 32-33 SSPO Comment Scottish Shellﬁ sh Sea Far 28-31 24-25 32-33 SSPO Comment Scottish Shellﬁ sh Sea Farms Rising stars Marti nBrown Jaﬀ a Orkney anniversary Janet 32-33 26-27 26-30 34-35 Shellﬁ shﬁSea Cleaner sh Far Scottish Comment 32-33 26-27 26-30 34-35 Janet Machrihanish Orkney farm Marti nBrown Jaﬀ a visit Shellﬁ shﬁSea Cleaner sh Farms Scottish Comment 13
Janet Machrihanish Orkney farm Marti nBrown Jaﬀ a visit Advisory Board: Steve Contact Tel: +44(0) us 131 551 1000 MeetEditorial the team Fax: +44(0) 131 551 7901 Bracken, Scott Landsburgh, Hervé Steve Bracken, Scott HervéLandsburgh, Migaud, Editorial Advisory Board: Steve Tel: +44(0) 131 551 1000 Migaud, PatrickJim Smith and Jim Hervé Patrick Smith, PatrickMigaud, Smith, Treasurer and Fax: email: +44(0) 131 551 7901 Bracken, Scott Landsburgh, Hervé Steve Bracken, Scott HervéLandsburgh, Migaud, jhjul@ﬁ shupdate.com Treasurer, Wiliam Jim Treasurer and Dowds William Dowdsemail: William Dowds Marti nofJaﬀ a era Vaccines New player Dawn Migaud, PatrickJim Smith and Jim Hervé Patrick Smith, PatrickMigaud, Smith, Treasurer and 3 new Editor: Jenny Hjul jhjul@ﬁ shupdate.com Treasurer, Wiliam Jim Treasurer and Dowds William Dowds William Dowds Head Oﬃce: Special Publications, Dawn Marti nofJaﬀ a era Vaccines New player new Designer: Andrew Balahura Fettes Park, 496 Ferry Road, Editor: Jenny Hjul Advertising Manager: Team Leader: HeadEdinburgh, Oﬃce: Special Publications, EH5 2DL Designer: Andrew Balahura Fettes Park, 496 Ferry Road, Dave Edler 11/01/2021 13:57:00 Advertising Manager: Team Leader: Figure 9. Development of salmon nominal catch in sou
34-35 28-29 32-33 36-41 Comment Cleaner Orkneyvisitﬁsh Farm 34-35 28-29 32-33 36-41 Comment Cleaner Orkneyvisitﬁsh Farm
36-39 32-35 34-35 43-45 Wild salmon Cleaner ﬁsh decl Orkney IoA careers 36-39 32-35 34-35 43-45
Fish F armer In the January issue... News
What’s happening in the UK and around the world
Update from the processing sector
Marine Protected Areas
How 5G can help the rural economy
Aquaculture projects in Peru and Africa
From cameras to subsea robo�cs
Controlling quality, temperature and oxygen
Can ﬁsh nutri�on be more sustainable?
Monthly update on industry innova�ons and solu�ons
All the latest aquaculture events, conferences and courses
Aqua Source Directory Opinion
ff01 Contents.indd 4
Find all you need for the industry
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United Kingdom News
Seafood exporters call for action on post-Brexit delays
Above: Donna Fordyce
THE leaders of Scotland’s main seafood and food trade bodies have called on the UK Government to help resolve the delays to EU exports which are causing signiﬁcant problems for the sector. Scotland Food and Drink, the Scottish Salmon Producers Organisation (SSPO) and Seafood Scotland have made a joint appeal for a “lighter touch” approach to help exports get through to the main European markets more smoothly. Dozens of lorry loads of ﬁsh have failed to leave Scotland on time since the end of the Brexit transition period on 31 December. Confusion over paperwork, the extra documentation needed and IT problems have all contributed to delays and hold-ups. There has also been a backlog of trafﬁc to deal with as a result of France’s temporary travel ban introduced to slow the spread of a new Covid-19 variant. Many of the problems have been encountered at inland locations in Scotland rather than at port entry points, but there have also been a number of issues around Dunkirk on the other side of the Channel. Some drivers have been forced to wait for more than 24 hours while lengthy checks are carried out. The trade bodies had warned that a last-minute arrangement would create problems if there was no “grace period” to implement it.
UK News.indd 6
They now say the UK-EU trade deal, which was agreed on Christmas Eve – just one week before the new regulations came into effect – gave businesses no time to prepare for the huge changes necessary to get produce to the continent. Tavish Scott, Chief Executive of the SSPO, said: “Had a deal been concluded even a couple of months ago, that would have given our producers and hauliers the time to test out the new systems, trial the paperwork and get everything in place. “As it is, we have had lorry loads of salmon stuck in Scotland, waiting for the right paperwork, we have seen delays in France because of IT problems in bringing in whole new systems and confusion everywhere. “Our members are resourceful and have been trying everything they can to get ﬁsh to customers in Europe, including new routes, but every delay forces the price of our product down and hands the initiative to our international competitors.” Donna Fordyce, Chief Executive of Seafood Scotland, said: “All our producers have been working incredibly hard to work through all the extra red tape which has been put in place since 1 January but it is an almost impossible task given the lack of preparation time. “The UK Government has to realise the enormous difﬁculties that have been placed
in the way of exporters simply because there wasn’t a workable system in place by the end of Brexit transition, despite numerous warnings that there would be issues.” James Withers, Chief Executive of Scotland Food and Drink, said: “For the last few months, we have been appealing to the UK Government to agree a grace period with the EU. We wanted to see the gradual implementation of the new Brexit trade rules, a sixmonth bedding-in period which would have allowed exporters and the EU to adjust to the new demands. “Instead, we have had to cope with a cliff edge with everything changing on 1 January. We warned this would lead to problems but our appeals for the grace period were ignored.” Scotland’s Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing said he understood that this was a time consuming and costly time for Scottish businesses. He said: “We have been working with logistics companies to provide an EHC (export health certiﬁcate) service at a number of central Scotland logistics hubs, thereby reducing the burden on local authorities. “We are all learning – including businesses – how to manage the considerable burden of this new bureaucracy on exporting food products. “We warned the UK Government that we needed much more clarity much sooner than we got on what the export process would involve after the transition period ended and that its plans to leave the single market would create barriers like this.”
All the latest industry news from the UK
MSPs slate lack of progress in marine planning REGIONAL Marine Plans in Scotland are stalling due to a lack of political leadership and funding, according to a critical report from a committee of the Scottish Parliament. In a report published in December, Holyrood’s Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Committee (ECCLRC) finds that, 10 years on from the Marine (Scotland) Act 2010, there has been slow progress in establishing Marine Planning Partnerships (MPPs) and developing Regional Marine Plans (RMPs). Of the anticipated 11 MPPs, only three have been established. MPPs have been left to figure out how to develop complex plans with little advice on best practice, the report says, and the MSPs say there is a need for clearer guidance from the Scottish Government Above: Gillian Martin on the roles and responsibilities of MPPs and the process for developing RMPs from the outset. In gathering evidence, the committee also heard that there has been a lack of clarity in decision making processes which has led to “a breakdown in trust” between stakeholders and has had a detrimental impact on collaborative working. The report calls on the government to demonstrate its continued commitment to regional marine planning by publishing a renewed vision statement, including details of work to
secure long-term finance and indicative timescales for establishing future MPPs. ECCLRC Convener Gillian Martin MSP said: “Successful marine planning outcomes in places such as Norway and New Zealand have largely been driven by strong local and national leadership. We believe that stronger leadership in Scotland, by both the Scottish Government and Marine Scotland, would enable our success too.” She added: “We believe marine planning partnerships lack the necessary funding to perform their statutory functions and Scotland’s allocated funding is ‘significantly below’ that of international examples. The Scottish Government must ensure adequate investment is allocated for the duration of the three-year marine planning statutory review cycle.” The report stresses that more needs to be done to communicate the benefits of regional marine planning, given the importance of the marine economy to jobs and growth in Scotland. Specific recommendations include the publication of national guidance for regional marine planning; improving the expertise available for RMPs; training for members of newly created MPPs; clear socioeconomic and environmental objectives for coastal regions; and investigating opportunities to involve community representation in RMPs.
Environmental award for waste recycling project SCOTTISH Sea Farms has won an environmental award for its work in recycling hatchery waste into nutrient-rich agricultural fertiliser. The company was presented with a VIBES Scottish Environment Business Award in December, as part of an initiative that recognises work by Scottish-based businesses to adapt their way of working, products or services as a consequence of Covid-19 or have continued to progress low carbon opportunities despite the pandemic. Scottish Sea Farms was praised by the award organisers for its work to capture fish waste from its new salmon hatchery at Barcaldine, near Oban, and recycle it as fertiliser to enrich farmland. The project is part of the company’s drive to set a new benchmark for sustainability in the sector and contribute to the Scottish Government’s ambition to be net
UK News.indd 7
zero by 2045. As part of the hatchery’s recirculating aquaculture system (RAS), any waste material, such as fish faeces or uneaten feed, is removed and captured for recycling. Lead Engineer for Barcaldine RAS Hatchery, Ewen Leslie, explained: “Using technology by Norwegian engineering company Scanship AS, we first aerate the waste to prevent any unwanted bacteria from germinating, Above: The first fish to be hatched at Scottish Sea Farms’ RAS hatchery then we bind it together into at Barcaldine were harvested late last year larger particles via the addistarted out finding uses for ronment of moving from tion of a cationic polymer. wet to dry form longer-term “That done, the waste is fil- waste from whisky distilleries and is now applying would be a reduction in tered to separate the solids the same technique to fish the volume of waste matefrom the water. These solids, farming. rial, thereby reducing the which are now of a sludgeScottish Sea Farms’ freshnumber of tankers and road like consistency, are then water team are now develmiles required to transport collected in a storage tank.” oping phase two of their fish it from hatchery to farmInvergordon-based waste waste recycling plans, with land,” said Ewen Leslie. management company Rock the goal of removing the “For land farmers, dry form Highland, part of the Avanti remaining water content and would provide an even more Environmental Group, then converting the sludge into nutritional and valuable ensures the sludge is both dry pellets. natural fertiliser alternative safe and suitable for agricul“The benefit to the envithat’s easy to handle.” tural land. Rock Highland
United Kingdom News
Scottish Government orders weekly sea lice reporting Scottish Salmon
Company harvest up for Q4 2020
Above: Sea lice
MANDATORY reporting of sea lice numbers has moved to a weekly basis for Scottish fish farmers. An Order was laid in the Scottish Parliament in December, introducing what the Scottish Government call a “step change” in sea lice reporting. It requires average weekly female sea lice numbers per fish to be reported one week in arrears, in place of current arrangements which require reporting only where specific levels are met or exceeded. The policy was flagged
up earlier in December by Cabinet Secretary for Rural Economy and Tourism, Fergus Ewing, while giving evidence to the Scottish Parliament’s Rural Economy and Connectivity Committee. The additional information is intended to help the Fish Health Inspectorate to monitor and enforce policy on sea lice management. The data will be published to promote transparency. As well as making the reporting of average sea lice numbers mandatory, the Order will require a reason
for no count to be given and will refer to the penalties for not doing so. The policy was developed through the Farmed Fish Health Working Group and a six week consultation on the new Order was held with relevant parties including the farmed fish sector, regulators, wild salmon interests, environmental interests and professional veterinarians. As previously, the Fish Health Inspectorate sea lice reports will be available in spreadsheet format via the Scottish Government website.
Scottish food and drink exports hit by Covid-19 SCOTTISH food and drink export sales were down £1.1bn on the same period in 2019, figures published by the Scottish government in December have revealed. In percentage terms, Scottish exports were down by 22.4% year on year. The contraction Above James Withers in Scottish food exports was seen in all categories except animal feed and live animals, with exports of fish and seafood seeing large decreases (down £112m) compared to Q1-Q3 2019. James Withers, Chief Executive at
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Scotland Food & Drink, reacted to the figures, saying: “We have never seen a drop in export sales like this before and it emphasises how horrendous 2020 has been for food and drink exporters in Scotland.” Speaking ahead of the post-Brexit trade deal agreed in late December, he warned that the food and drink sector was “fragile” as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic and stressed that that food businesses, hauliers and border inspection systems were not ready for 1 January and the end of the Brexit transition period, deal or no deal.
THE Scottish Salmon Company delivered an increased harvest during the final quarter of 2020, its owner, the Bakkafrost group, has disclosed in a Q4 trading update. The Faroe Islands salmon company completed the purchase of SSC at the beginning of October 2019 and is currently in the process of integrating the business into the wider group. So far it looks to be living up to expectations, given the negative impact of Covid-19 on all salmon farming and seafood enterprises. SSC produced a heads on gutted harvest of 9,300 tonnes in the 2020 October to December period, compared with 7,900 tonnes for the same period in 2019. Its Faroe Islands based business produced a total harvest of 16,000 tonnes against 17,900 tonnes a year ago. However the Faroe figure is somewhat higher than the 12,200 tonnes delivered during Q4 2018. Feed sales in Q4 2020 were 30.9 thousand tonnes, up from the 2019 Q4 figure of almost 28,400 tonnes. The full final quarter 2020 report, which will include details of turnover, profit or loss, along with the financial effects of Covid, is scheduled to be released on 23 February. Meanwhile, Bakkafrost is moving ahead with its vision to become one of the most sustainable salmon farming companies in the world. It recently announced that the total production of green energy from biological waste at its Strond hatchery on the Faroe islands will produce enough electricity to fuel more than 225 homes. Hatchery operations manager Rógvi Jacobsen said the development was a huge step forward in utilising all the material from its salmon production. He added: “We are privileged to be among the first movers in the Faroe Islands to use biological waste to produce green energy.”
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Scottish Sea Farms provides lifeline grant for charities COMMUNITY groups and good causes facing uncertainty or hardship because of the coronavirus shared in a Christmas gift of £18,280 from Scottish Sea Farms. This brings the total donated by the salmon farmer to £1.3m since 2011. In total, 43 local causes across the company’s farming regions of mainland Scotland, Above: Rainbow Child Care, Dunstaffnage was given a grant for weatherproof clothing Orkney and the eﬁted before the year was to £10,000, each of our Shetland Isles are out, each farm manager was farm managers is given a set to beneﬁt from grants of asked to nominate projects £500 community allowance up to £500 from the compain their communities where annually to support the local ny’s Heart of the Communithe funds might make a real cause or causes of their ty Trust. and positive difference to choosing. It’s a great way The funds were allocated those struggling because of of ensuring that the money from Scottish Sea Farms’ coronavirus.’ goes where it’s needed the Heart of the Community The initiatives chosen range most. fund, using cash which had from food banks, mental “This year however, with not been distributed during health charities and befriendthe coronavirus taking the year because of the Coving schemes, to community up everyone’s focus from id-19 pandemic. hospitals, nursery groups (inMarch onwards, only a small Heart of the Communicluding Rainbow Child Care, number of farm managers ty Coordinator Georgie Dunstaffnage near Oban, had been able to allocate MacKenzie said: “In addiwhere the fund supplied their awards, with the result tion to the main Heart of weatherproof clothing for that there was still £18,280 the Community fund which staff and children - pictured) remaining in the fund. gives out grants of anything ‘To ensure local causes ben- and aid for refugee families from a few hundred pounds
in Scotland. The Oban ofﬁces of the Royal National Lifeboat Institute and the Samaritans also stand to beneﬁt, as do several local schools. Alan Tangny, Farm Manager for Spelve on the Isle of Mull, chose to support the library at Salen Primary School, where four of his ﬁve children are pupils, with a gift of £500. As a father of ﬁve, he has four children currently at the school. and his eldest was also a pupil there. He said: “They are having to quarantine books that are taken home so having extra books will be a big help.” The company’s Northern Isles Regional Manager, Richard Darbyshire, picked Fernvalley Wildlife Centre for his allocation. He said; “As with so many local organisations, it’s been a tough year ﬁnancially for the Centre after being forced to close for months. £500 won’t ﬁx all of the problems that come with that but if it helps the Fernvalley team to continue looking after the animals then it’s money well spent.”
PatoGen set to build lab in Oban
Above: The laboratory
FISH health company PatoGen Ltd is to set up a laboratory for preventive and diagnostic services in Oban, Scotland.The move by the Norwegian company is part of its expansion into the UK, which started in 2014. PatoGen established its ofﬁce at the SAMS campus in Oban in August 2018. The company says: “Since PatoGen
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entered the Scottish market we have collaborated well with the farming companies with steady increase in activity.The farming companies in Scotland have embraced our services and developed the use even further and made it a part of the industry’s daily routines.” Dr.Teresa Garzon, PatoGen’s key
account manager for the UK, said: “It is the excellent collaboration, and the proactive farmers focus on maintaining good ﬁsh health and welfare that allows us to commit to the next step in PatoGen’s establishment in the UK.” The laboratory in Oban is planned to be operational during this coming summer.
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SAIC membership passes 150 mark SHELLFISH producer Isle of Skye Mussel Company and marine engineering specialist Malin Group have become members of the Scottish Aquaculture Innovation Centre’s consortium, taking the SAIC’s membership beyond 150. The consortium acts as a connecting point for different parts of the aquaculture sector, including seafood producers, supply chain companies, regulators, and the public sector. Beyond aquaculture, sectors represented include biotechnology, subsea companies, equipment suppliers, logistics firms and retailers. Consortium membership particularly grew in 2020, increasing by around 25% from February. Earlier in the year, the innovation centre launched its ongoing rapid-response funding programme to support investment in innovation at a highly challenging time. Dr Judith Brown, Director of Isle of Skye Mussel Company, said:“Joining the consortium during our start-up phase has enabled us to build relationships within a range of fields from research to industry, and the positivity of the SAIC staff has been fantastic during a difficult time to start a new business.The SAIC network encourages a spirit of knowledge-sharing and collaboration that has been invaluable to us… it has opened the doors to an entire community of aquaculture experts that are willing to work together.” More than half of SAIC’s membership (57%) is made up of SMEs, while another 31% is large organisations.Around half (48%) of the consortium is based in Scotland, while 28% are located in other parts of the UK and 9% overseas, reflecting the growing diversity of organisations with an interest in Scottish aquaculture and its R&D projects. Heather Jones, CEO of SAIC, said:“The growth of SAIC’s consortium reflects the increasing commitment from aquaculture – as well as the many industries that support it – to innovation and collaboration. It also highlights the growing diversity of the sector, not only in terms of geography, but also in the types of businesses involved, their size, and areas of focus.” Chris Dunn, Principal Naval Architect for Malin Group, said:“Aquaculture is growing at pace, and it is encouraging to see so many businesses harnessing new and innovative technology. Joining SAIC’s consortium has been a great development for the Malin Group, providing a forum to learn more about aquaculture, as well as develop our activity in this important sector. In December, SAIC announced funding worth £2.2m for eight new innovation projects aimed at supporting the sustainable development of the aquaculture sector in Scotland and beyond.
Projects selected for the funding round will explore new methods for sea lice control, managing gill health and environmental impact modelling, among other areas, SAIC says. Research will concentrate on a variety of species to reflect the diverse make-up of the sector, including salmon, trout, and wrasse, and at least one of the projects will support shellfish production – one of SAIC’s priority innovation areas. The projects represent a total combined investment of more than £2.2m from industry, academia and SAIC, including a package of more than £900,000 from the innovation centre itself. The new projects are expected to commence this year and will last between five months and three years. Proposals were assessed by SAIC’s Independent Scientific Panel (SISP) against a range of criteria, including their long-term commercial impacts and opportunities for sharing knowledge and applying outcomes across the entire sector. Heather Jones said:“The aquaculture sector is well placed to help meet the growing demand for high-quality protein, and innovation continues to play a crucial role in expanding the sector’s capacity and unlocking new opportunities. Scotland can be at the forefront of new initiatives and developments in technology that will help the sector to grow sustainably. “The results from our previous collaborative research projects – including the development of new tools, new jobs, and even new businesses – are great examples of what can be achieved when industry and academia work together. Finding answers to some of the sector’s most pressing challenges has seldom been more important, particularly in the wake of Covid-19. “Our consortium represents the entire aquaculture sector supply chain which is reflected in the variety and scope of these latest projects.They have the potential to deliver valuable outcomes that could make a real difference to the future of the sector.” SAIC said innovation will play a key part in realising the ambition of Scotland’s aquaculture sector to sustainably double its economic contribution from £1.8bn in 2016 to £3.6bn by 2030.
Above: Heather Jones
Grants Oak Smoked reports ‘successful’ year
ONE of the UK’s leading traditional smoked salmon companies says it has managed to adapt well, despite the Covid-19 pandemic, building on revenue which grow by more than a third in 2019. Like many seafood businesses, Grants Oak Smoked Ltd – based in Maryport, Cumbria – found markets both at home and abroad either closed or locked down. Despite these challenges, founder and director Jonathan Brown said the company has managed to weather the storm. He was commenting after last week’s publication of the company’s latest accounts which showed a substantial increase in sales in the (pre-Covid) financial year to 31 December 2019. Reporting on a “very successful year financially”, he said turnover surged by 35 per cent from £17.4m the previous year to £23.56m in 2019, of which exports accounted for more than half. This, he added, was due to Grants gaining new markets both at home and abroad. The financial year ended with Grants adding two gold medals to an already impressive list of prizes, at the Italian based International Food Taste Awards which recognises the finest foods from across the world. All entries are blind tasted by independent judges. Established in 1983, the company supplies smoked salmon to UK and overseas hotels, restaurants, retailers and food companies, all markets which have been severely hit by the coronavirus pandemic. The report says that in the face of such obstacles, Grants has managed to maintain tight control of expenditure and ensure a reliable source of raw materials and ingredients. At the 2019 year end, operating level profits rose by 130 per cent to £1.525m which it described as a “significant achievement”. Grants says it is working closely with customers to ensure supply, adding that the 2020 year end position remained strong with a secure financial base and an adequate cash flow to support future operations.
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Scottish start-up helps alternative protein research SALMOSIM, a salmon simulator start-up, has secured its first commercial contract with California-based Calysta, supporting trials for a sustainable alternative protein source that could be rolled out across the global aquaculture industry. Using a gut simulator that mimics the digestive tract of Atlantic salmon, SalmoSim will conduct a trial of Calysta’s single-cell feed ingredient FeedKind protein, which is made by Above: L-R Martin Llewellyn, Raminta Kazlauskaite and Joey fermenting natural gas. FeedKind Humble of SalmoSim has been developed to meet the growing global demand for protein cost up to £150,000 each time. and is designed to be a sustainable subDr Martin Llewellyn, founder of Salmostitute for proteins such as fishmeal and Sim and senior lecturer at the Universisoy, which are currently widely used in ty of Glasgow, said: “Our gut simulation seafood production. system provides a powerful tool for The SalmoSim team will use the gut carrying out basic and applied research simulator equipment to support Calysinto fish digestion and we’re pleased to ta’s product quality program while also be supporting Calysta with the develtesting a number of variables in support opment of its alternative protein… of new product development. Results SalmoSim can help feed manufacturers from the simulation, taking place at with an important pre-screening phase, the University of Glasgow, will provide allowing them to eliminate unviable Calysta with valuable data on digestibiloptions without the time and expense ity comparing FeedKind in SalmoSim associated with full-scale tests.” to existing in vivo data. In vivo trials can Calysta is currently the only company
in the world able to produce protein from gas at scale. Its Calysseo 50/50 joint venture with Adisseo is building the world’s first commercial FeedKind production facility in Chongqing, China, with 20,000 tonnes of capacity coming online in 2022. The SalmoSim gut simulator was first developed as part of a collaborative research project that began in 2016, funded in part by the Scottish Aquaculture Innovation Centre (SAIC).The consortium, led by the University of Glasgow, included Nofima, Alltech and Mowi, with the Marine Institute and University College Cork both involved in a linked project. As well as supporting trials for alternative feed sources, SalmoSim could be used to tackle a range of significant challenges in the aquaculture sector, including trialling novel approaches to limit the impact of sea lice.The company is also exploring the potential for building additional simulators for other fish species. See Feed feature, page 52.
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Aker Solutions signs up to Arctic Offshore Farming project
Above: Arctic Offshore Farming
AKER Solutions has signed a contract with Arctic Offshore Farming, a subsidiary of Norway Royal Salmon, to help deliver an ambitious ocean-based ﬁsh farm project. The contract is worth NOK 40m (£3.4m). Aker Solutions says it has identiﬁed ﬁsh farming as a market with several interesting prospects and, together with NRS, it has developed the design for Arctic Offshore Farming’s harsh environment installation. This deal means that the company will now also make its ﬁrst delivery of such facilities. Karl-Petter Løken, executive vice president, renewables at Aker Solutions said: “We will leverage our expertise and capabilities from the oil and gas industry also in other markets. Our ambition is to grow our renewable projects and low-carbon solutions to count for one third of the revenues by 2025, and two thirds by 2030. We are currently pursuing prospects within offshore wind power, carbon capture, ﬁsh farming and several other solutions.” He added: “The new contract shows that we can be a relevant and competitive contractor for such markets.” Arctic Offshore Farming’s facilities are currently being prefabricated as four separate sections at the Fosen Yard in Emden, Germany. During the ﬁrst quarter 2021, the modules will be transported on a barge to Aker Solutions’ specialized yard in Verdal where the four sections will be assembled to make two circular ﬁsh farming units. Knut Engene, senior vice president, projects, at Norway Royal Salmon explained: “Arctic Offshore Farming is a development project
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by Norway Royal Salmon and is an important project for further growth and to maintain NRS as one of the world’s leading producers of farmed salmon. “It is a project that will bring us into the future for facilitating environmentally sustainable salmon farming further out at more open sea. “ Aker Solutions’ scope includes preparatory activities for the fabrication, receipt of components, assembly, services to Arctic Offshore Farming and their suppliers, as well as preparation for sea transport. Each of the two ﬁsh farming units weighs about 3,800 metric tonnes, has a diameter of 80 metres and a height of 22 metres. Preparations for the project start in early 2021. The activity will be at its highest in April and May when around 50 employees will be working on the project. The ﬁsh farming units will be installed at the Arctic Offshore Farming location outside Tromsø in Northern Norway. Meanwhile, Norway Royal Salmon is to receive NOK 800m (£68m) in state guarantees from towards the construction of its futuristic offshore submersible ﬁsh farm and hatchery, Arctic Offshore Farming. The loan assurance has come from the Guarantee Institute for Export Credit, commonly known in Norway as Giek, an organisation which reduces the risk for businesses and their banks. Giek says lower risk gives parties the incentive to sign contracts and increase exporter competitiveness. Already this year it has supplied almost NOK 4.8bn (£410m) to the country’s seafood industry.
Benchmark appoints digital chief BENCHMARK Genetics has appointed Bara Gunnlaugsdottir as head of digital technologies, with a brief to develop the company’s strategy and innovation. In her new role, she will be driving the digital strategy and innovation programs of the business area, including the responsibility for all strategic management systems within production, quality and environment. As head of digital technologies, Benchmark says, she will lead the development, implementation and maintenance of application systems and ensure that Benchmark Genetics is well prepared for the future. Bara Gunnlaugsdottir joined the company’s Icelandic operation, StofnFiskur in 2004 as production manager. Before being appointed to the new position, she has been heading the division’s Strategic Business Systems, a job she has held since 2018. Bara’s educational background is a Diploma in Aquaculture from the University of Holar, Iceland, a BSc in Business Management from the University of Akureyri, Iceland and an MBA degree from the University of Reykjavík, Iceland. Recently, she completed a program in Digital Transformation from MIT professional education, and she will bring this additional knowledge to her new role in the business area. Gunnlaugsdottir said: “Our most advanced customers are already utilizing technologies such as blockchain and AI, and I am convinced that these technologies will play an important role in aquatic breeding looking forward.”
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Norway records strong export numbers NORWAY’S seafood industry enjoyed the second best year in its history during 2020 with exports again smashing through the all-important NOK 100bn barrier, despite the challenges presented by Covid-19. This country of 5.3 million people exported 2.7 million tonnes of fish last year worth NOK 105.7bn (£9.2bn) last year with farmed salmon again leading the way. The figure is just short of the all-time record, NOK 107bn, achieved in 2019. Renate Larsen, CEO of the Norwegian Seafood Council, said: “Even though 2020 was a different year, large parts of the seafood export have managed to defy the biggest challenges in the wake of the corona pandemic. “We have really seen how strong Norwegian seafood is globally and can be proud of our seafood industry, its ability to adapt quickly here at home and the strong position we have with consumers worldwide.” The year started well for the industry as prices nudged NOK 80 a kilo, with little hint of the crisis that was to come. But by March much of the world was shutting down as Covid-19 spread its tentacles. Larsen explained: “Norwegian seafood exports lost a very important sales channel, namely the restaurant and hotel segment. There were challenges in logistics, and sales of seafood were largely moved to grocery chains, online shopping and take-away services.” Seafood and Fisheries Minister Odd Emil Ingebrigtsen said: “I am happy that seafood exports once again cross the milestone of NOK 100 billion in export value. “The first time we managed this was in
2019, and that this is repeated in the coronavirus year 2020, is fantastic.” The salmon sector was by far the largest single species measured in both volume and value with exports totalling 1.1 million tonnes and worth NOK 70.1bn (almost £6.1bn) even though prices were sluggish for much of the year. This represents a volume increase of 2% on 2019, but a drop in value of 3%. Seafood Council analyst Paul T Aandahl said: “The pandemic has led to increased demand for processed products for sale in the retail trade. An increasing proportion of salmon is further processed in Norway. The export value for salmon in 2020 is the second highest that has been registered, and in terms of volume it is a record.” He added: “At the same time, there has been a shift in the flow of goods towards countries such as Poland, Denmark and the Netherlands, which to a large extent processes salmon for resale to other markets, primarily in the EU. “Some markets have received lower salmon volumes from Norway in 2020. The largest
decline has been in the export value to Italy, China, Lithuania and the Hong Kong SAR (special administrative region).” It was an even better year for farmed trout with export volumes hitting 71,800 tonnes, a rise of 21 per cent on 2019 and the value reaching NOK 3.9bn (£339m), up by 5%. Cod exports totalled 172,000 tonnes (down by four per cent) with a value of NOK 9.6bn (£835m), compared with NOK 10.1bn 12 months ago. The loss of the restaurant segment is blamed for the drop. Of other species mackerel export volumes increased by 26% to 300,000 tonnes and this sector was worth five billion kroner, a value rise of 16%. Herring also performed strongly with the value up by 18 per cent to NOK 3.8bn even though volumes were down by 11 per cent to 316,000 tonnes. It was not such good news for the shrimp (prawn) sector, where the UK is the second largest market, with volumes 25% lower at 12,000 tonnes and the value 16% lower at NOK 909m. Again, the loss of the restaurant trade was mainly to blame. Aquaculture accounted for 70% of seafood exports, by value, and 44.9% by volume out of the total for 2020. Norway exported 1.2 million tonnes of fish from aquaculture which was worth NOK 74.2bn.Volume was up 3% but value was down by 3% The total seafood export figure of NOK 105.7bn represents almost NOK 20,000 (£1,660) for every man, woman and child in the country – or 25,000 meals for each minute of last year.
Novel virus may explain fry mortality in Ballan wrasse A novel virus in Ballan wrasse hatchlings could be the cause of unexplained high mortality for hatchlings, according to fish health research business Patogen. The Norwegian-based company has named the virus Ballan wrasse birnavirus (BWDV). Patogen worked with a fish farmer to investigate diseased fish for relevant pathogens and histology, and performed a full genome sequencing in which researchers found the genome of the novel birnavirus. Downstream Above: Ballan wrasse PCR studies detected large amounts of virus in fish larvae from groups with increased mortality. PatoGen believes that biosecurity measures against BWDV will reduce the mortality in this critical phase of the ballan wrasse production. The mortality for wrasse occurs after a short period of loss of appetite and peak mortality typically occurs between day 17 and 25 post hatching (DPH).
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Samples from fish at the farm were collected weekly from hatching and were examined with PCR for relevant pathogens and histology. The genome sequencing analysis revealed high amounts of gene sequences of a novel virus grouped within the virus family Birnaviridae. The gene sequences of the novel Ballan wrasse virus were genetically different from other known birnaviruses and aquabirnaviruses. The best known birnavirus in Norwegian aquaculture is Infectious pancreatic necrosis virus (IPNV), an aquabirnavirus known to cause fry mortality in Atlantic salmon. Other birnaviruses are associated with early fry mortality on other marine fish species. The investigation showed that the virus infection is maintained in the population for a long time after the peak mortality and at high levels. PatoGen is now offering fish growers a PCR analysis for the Ballan wrasse birnavirus.
Academics to review Norway’s ‘traffic light’ zoning introduced at the beginning of the year, was designed to TWO Scottish university professors are among an elite ensure predictable and sustainable growth in the aquaculgroup of academics who have been chosen to evaluate part ture sector and was based on scientific advice. The sector of Norway’s controversial “traffic light” scheme for regulatis constantly evolving, the Council added, which is why a ing salmon farming. broad based expert group had been brought in to conduct The Norwegian Research Council has been commissioned an evaluation. to examine the scientific basis of the scheme, with emphaThe Norwegian coastline has been divided into three sis on how it controls lice. colour-coded zones: green, where growth is free to take Fisheries and Seafood Minister Odd Emil Ingebrigtsen said place; amber, which allows for limited expansion; and red, it was important to have a professional assessment on the where there can be no expansion and where existing prosituation in order to make it even better. duction must be reduced. The seven strong evaluation team will be chaired by However, the scheme has not gone down well with some Crawford Revie, professor of Data Analytics at the Universections of the industry. Up to 25 salmon and trout compasity of Strathclyde’s department of computer and informanies who have found themselves in the red zone said they tion sciences. plan to sue the Norwegian government, claiming they are Two years ago he returned to the UK after spending a being robbed of part of their livelihood. decade at the University of Prince Edward Island’s Atlantic The other members of the team are: Deputy Director / Veterinary College. Before moving to Canada Professor ReProfessor Anders Koed, DTU Aqua, Denmark vie worked on projects involving fish health and sustainable Top Jimmy Turnbull • Professor Andre Visser at DTU Aqua, Denmark salmon aquaculture. Above Odd Emil • Dr Dave Jackson at Marine Institute Ireland He will be joined on the team by Jimmy Turnbull, ProIngebrigtsen • Associate Professor Heather Swanson at University of fessor of Aquatic Population Health and Welfare at the Aarhus, Denmark University of Stirling’s Institute of Aquaculture. His work has taken him • Assistant Professor Jarno Vanhatalo at University of Helsinki, Finland to several countries. • Head of department Kirstin Eliasen at Fiskaaling, Faroe Islands. The Research Council said it looked for candidates with high They will submit their final report to the Research Council by the scientific competence, but at the same time avoiding strong ties to end of November this year. the Norwegian environments. It pointed out that traffic light system,
Labour shortage fears for Norway’s seafood sector EMPLOYERS in Norway’s fishing and seafood sector are worried about being able to get enough workers through the country’s long winter months. Businesses are hoping that the 195,000 Norwegians currently on the unemployment register or looking for work can help to fill the gap, as well as reduce the risk of Covid infected people coming in from abroad.
Labour and Social affairs minister Henrik Asheim, Fisheries and Seafood Minister Odd Emil Ingebrigtsen and Hans Christian Holte, director of NAV which looks after employment issues, have just met with industry leaders in a bid to solve the problem. They included representatives from the employers’ organisation, Seafood Norway, and Leroy
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Seafood, which is not only one of the country’s main fish farming companies, but also operates a large trawler fleet. A statement issued after the meeting said: “It is extremely important that we now use Norwegian labour as far as possible.” Labour Minister Asheim added: “The use of domestic labour instead of foreign workers will
also reduce the risk of import infection.” They said it was very important that people seeking work take advantage of the opportunities and help on offer, which could include travel and relocation expenses. Concern was also expressed about the risk of infections brought in by foreigners looking for work. The government has decided to introduce a travel registration system. This means that those who want to cross the Norwegian border must register information about – among other things – name, contact information, quarantine location and employer if relevant. Police also plan to tighten controls at borders in the north of the country. The statement added: “Those who come to Norway to work will be allowed to come in, but the police want to check that those who come meet the entry conditions, and have plans for how to implement the quarantine.”
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AQUACULTURE technology group AKVA is expanding its service station at Sandstad, Norway. Work is set to start in the first half of this year and the project is due to be completed in 2022. Sandstad is located in the Kalvøya industrial area in Hitra municipality AKVA group is making a major commitment at Sandstad, , with an upgrade to its service station including an assembly facility for pens, a deep-water dock, a modern workshop and office buildings. The initial building phase will commence in the first half of 2021.
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“This demonstrates our commitment and our confidence in Sandstad and the surrounding region. The area is centrally located for aquaculture operations in Mid-Norway and will now be significantly upgraded,” said Odd Jan Håland, AKVA group Nordic’s Service Manager. In time the service station will provide enough repair capacity to serve the entire Scandinavian market. The initial building phase will commence in the first half of 2021 and the new service station is expected to be completed in 2022. Normal operations will be maintained during the construction period, with the existing buildings eventually being converted to a simple storage facility and additional workshop.
AKVA upgrades its Sandstad service centre
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Industrial fabric producers join FiiZK Group www.eggedosis.no
Above: FiiZK semi closed cage in Norway
NORWEGIAN Weather Protection (NWP), which makes industrial seams for aquaculture, agriculture and other sectors is to become part of the FiiZK Group. FiiZK, a major supplier to the fish farming sector ranging from closed cages to software, announced the NWP will become its wholly owned subsidiary as from 1 January 2021. In a statement, FiiZK said: “The collaboration between NWP and FiiZK provides increased flexibility and expertise between our factories. As a result, our partners will benefit from
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increased production capacity as well as rapid and innovative product development.” NWP’s factory at Frekhaug, outside Bergen, will continue to operate, as part of FiiZK’s production setup, while functions within sales and administration will be coordinated from FiiZK’s head office in Trondheim. FiiZK’s product range includes lice skirts, treatment tarps, land-based fish farming systems and a digital feeding solution that integrates pellet detection with activity monitoring and multilocation management.
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STIM and Biomar in war of words over patent case Tank bursts at
Above Salmon smolt
A court ruling in Oslo has led to a war of words between feed giant Biomar and nutrient specialist STIM over a smolt feed patent. The argument concerns Biomar’s smoltiﬁcation feed Intro Tuning, which STIM maintains infringes the patent of its own SuperSmolt FeedOnly. Both are specialist products to control smoltiﬁcation, reducing the number of immature ﬁsh transferred to sites in the sea too early and also preventing smolts from maturing too early. In July, STIM AS submitted a request to the Norwegian courts, stating that BioMar should be prohibited from the sale of their smoltiﬁcation feed, Intro Tuning. According to STIM, the feed violated a new European patent that STIM has recently been granted. The Oslo County Court held hearings in the case the ﬁrst week in November. A decision was handed down by the court on 8 December concluding that BioMar’s feed Intro Tuning should not be the
subject of an injunction. Biomar hailed the decision as vindication of its position. Håvard Jørgensen, Managing Director of BioMar Norway, said: “We are very happy with the outcome of this case. The decision from the court is in accordance with the European Patent Ofﬁce’s (EPO) understanding of STIM’s patent, and thus as expected. This decision means that ﬁsh farmers can continue to choose feed from our product portfolio that promotes growth and health during smoltiﬁcation and transfer to seawater.” STIM, however, expressed a very different interpretation of the ruling. Its CEO, Jim-Roger Nordly, said: “Jørgensen has no basis for making such a claim. In reality, Biomar succeeded with nothing more than legal ﬁlibuster and a reasoning that ﬂies directly in the face of the work that EPO does to protect important innovations against unlawful exploitation.” STIM maintains that Biomar’s substitution of alternative amino acids for SuperSmolt’s key ingredient, L-Tryptophane, does not absolve the larger company from the charge of patent infringement. The decision by the Oslo County Court can be appealed, but an expiration deadline was set for the second half of January. The smoltiﬁcation feed is aimed at enabling optimal smolt growing in full light, rather than restricting light and ensuring that immature ﬁsh are not transferred too early into seawater. The decision by the Oslo County Court can be appealed, but an expiration deadline was set for the second half of January.
Cermaq commissions new wellboat CERMAQ Norway has entered into a deal to build a new advanced technology wellboat with a larger than usual capacity of 6,000 cubic metres. The charter agreement with Norsk Fisketransport AS (NFT) is for ﬁve years, but there is an option for up to a further four years in two year stages. NFT’s General Manager Oddleif Wigdahl said: “We have had good collaboration with Cermaq Norway for several years now, so
Above The new wellboat
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we are pleased and grateful that the company has shown renewed conﬁdence in us through this agreement. “Using the skills of Cermaq and that of our own employees, we will be taking new steps in the development of tomorrow’s wellboat technology.” The vessel will be ready for operation in the ﬁrst half of 2023 and will have circular tanks for optimal ﬁsh welfare. Norsk Fisketransport, part of
the aquaculture services giant NTS’ subsidiary Frøygruppen, has three wellboats of 3,200 cubic meters under construction at its Norway-based Havyard Ship Technology. They are expected to be ready for delivery by 2021. Norsk’s subsidiary, Havyard Design & Solution, has been chosen to carry out the design. A construction contract has yet to be signed. Havyard said: “The different parties will work closely together to optimise the design for the most efﬁcient operation possible.” NFT already operates two wellboats on a contract basis for Cermaq with a capacity of 3,200 and 1,500 cubic metres. Cermaq Norway regional director Snorre Jonassen said the new vessel will cover the company’s capacity needs in terms of harvesting, smolt transport and delicing.
Havlandet RAS site
A 500 cubic metre tank has burst at an experimental new pilot land-based salmon farm in Norway just a few days before the facility was due to take its first fish. According to the newspaper Bergens Tindene, initial estimates of the cost of the damage to the tank – also known as a bioreactor - is thought to be around three million kroner, or £250,000. It was filled with water at the time. The incident took place at the Havlandet RAS pilot which is part of the INC Group. At first it was reported there had been an explosion, but this has since been ruled out. The INC group said it was carrying out a full investigation into the cause of the rupture which was still unknown, but a crack in the tank has been discovered. The company stressed there is no risk of pollution. The plant was due to have received around 200 tonnes of fish the following week. The first harvest is scheduled for next autumn. Havlandet, which has more than 17 years’ experience of land-based farming with other fish species, began construction work on the site in January this year, close to the city of Florø in western Norway. The company currently has a licence for 10,000 tonnes of salmon onshore, but plans are to build a larger facility based on the experience of the pilot. It believes that a capacity of more than 30,000 tonnes of salmon can be produced within the available area, in addition to a significant amount of farmed cod. Depending on how much work is eventually carried out, the entire cost of the project is estimated at between NOK 40m and 60m million (£3.4m - £5m).
Mowi offloads its stake in DESS Aquaculture
MOWI has sold its 50 per cent stake in the aquaculture vessel support company DESS Aquaculture Shipping for around €115m (NOK 1.2bn). The sale will provide the global salmon giant with a useful boost to its cash reserves during a difﬁcult time for the ﬁsh farming sector. The buyer is Antin Infrastructure Partners, a leading private equity ﬁrm focused on infrastructure investments. It has bases in London, Paris and New York. Based in Grimstad, Norway Dess (Deep Sea Supply) operates a modern ﬂeet of live ﬁsh carriers, well boats and other support vessels. An announcement said that Mowi had invested €60m in DESS and , with its share of the proceeds at €115m it would give the company a gain of approximately €55m. It added:“The company’s primary interest is ﬁsh farming, primarily
salmon, the operations of which are focused on Norway, Scotland, Canada, the Faroe Islands, Ireland and Chile. “The group has a share of 25 to 30 per cent of the global salmon and trout market, making it the world’s largest company in the sector.” Founded just four years ago as a joint venture between Deep Sea Supply and Mowi, the company has developed vessels and its operation based on a combination of DESS’s experience as an Offshore Supply Vessel (OSV) owner and MOWI’s seafood production expertise. They said at the time that the aim was to build DESS into one of the world’s largest aquaculture shipping companies, offering vessels of high welfare standards and innovative design. DESS is currently building two new wellboats for Mowi.
All the latest industry news from Europe
Samherji expands in Iceland ICELAND’S largest ﬁshing company is working to further expand its plans to establish a large ﬁsh farming operation near the ﬁshing town of Grindavik on the southern peninsula of Iceland. Samherji Fiskeldi ehf has prepared an environmental assessment plan to produce up 12,000 tonnes of Arctic char and salmon, a fourfold increase on what is allowed under the current licence, at a location called Staður. Locals have until the end of the year to comment on the proposal. There has been a ﬁsh farm at the Staður site since 1984, when the industry was in its early stages in Iceland. Samherji Fiskeldi began a modest expansion of the site about three years ago when it applied for an operating licence to increase char production from 1,600 to 3,000 tonnes. The company said in its planning application that it was looking to harvest sought-after, quality products on a sustainable basis, adding that the site was blessed with a large amount of geothermal heat and water for the production process. It also pointed out that other companies are already farming char, salmon and trout in the area. The parent company, Samherji hf, is best known as Iceland’s largest trawler and ﬁsh processing operator, with interests in the UK and Europe. It has now embarked on a serious expansion of its ﬁsh farming business. A couple of months ago Samherji announced its intention to buy a former aluminium smelting plant, also near Grindavik, and convert the site into a salmon farm. Samherji is the world’s largest producer of Arctic char, a ﬁsh closely related to salmon but with milder ﬂavour.
Above Arctic char
SalMar reports increased harvest volumes NORWEGIAN Salmon farming giant SalMar has reported a 3,000 tonne plus increase in its harvest figures for the final quarter of 2020. The total figure is 43,600 tonnes for the three months between October and December, compared with 40,300 tonnes for the same period in 2019. SalMar’s farming operations in Central Norway produced a harvest volume of 20,900 tonnes while Farming North Norway had a harvest volume of 19,100 tonnes and Icelandic Salmon (formerly known as Arnarlax) had a harvest volume of 3,600 tonnes. SalMar also has a 50 per cent stake in Scottish Sea Farms, which it shares with the Lerøy Seafood Group. But because it is classed as an associate company, the SSF harvest figures are not usually included in trading update figures. In its third quarter report in November SalMar said that Scottish Sea Farms had turned the corner from the biological problems which had beset the business in earlier years. A more detailed indicator of the Scottish performance should become known on 25 February when the full Q4 report, which will also include financial results, is scheduled to be published. SalMar was one of the few major salmon farming companies to deliver exceptionally strong 2020 third quarter results, defying the impact of coronavirus. It included an increased operating profit or EBIT of NOK 646.8m (£54m) which CEO Gustav Witzøe attributed to a clear operational
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focus and a strong biological performance. It was also one of the few salmon companies to have paid a dividend for the quarter.
Above Ocean Farm 1 Bird’s-eye view
Vancouver Island mayors protest UNESCO highlights lack of funding salmon shutdown for ocean research
Above: Bernade�e Jordan
LOCAL government leaders and representatives of the salmon farming industry have written an open letter to Canada’s Fisheries Minister to protest her decision to phase out 19 salmon farms in British Columbia. The decision to phase out all open-net ﬁsh farming in the Discovery islands region over the next 18 months was announced by Bernadette Jordan, Minister for Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, earlier this month. The letter, published yesterday, states: “Salmon farming is deeply integrated into the fabric of local lives and, as one of the most signiﬁcant local employers, your decision has the potential to unravel the viability of North Island Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities.Yet you made this decision without even speaking to the industry nor locally-elected ofﬁcials who deeply understand BC’s salmon farming communities and have a direct interest in your action.”
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The letter says the decision puts at risk 1,500 jobs supported by the farms, and indirectly threatens the viability of the industry throughout British Columbia. It goes on: “Like all Canadians and residents of our communities during the pandemic, workers in the salmon farming industry, and local business owners are under severe emotional strain. Now they face the prospect of losing their jobs and their businesses going under.” And it asks Bernadette Jordan: “What is your plan now to help our communities recover from your decision? What is your government willing to commit at this stage, and beyond, to help us pick up the pieces for the people who live, work and take care of their families here on our coast?” Announcing the shutdown, the Canadian government said that it had consulted with First Nations representatives in the region, who blame ﬁsh farmers for the decline in wild salmon.
LACK of funding is hampering the development and implementation of marine research and its valuable applications, according to a report published by United Nations agency UNESCO. The Second Global Ocean Science Report, published by UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC), finds that on average, states devote only 1.7% of their research budgets to sciences of the ocean (0.03% to 11.8%, depending on the country). This is much less than other fields of scientific research, which is “incomprehensible”, the report says, considering the fundamental role of the ocean in regulating the climate and its rich biodiversity. The report’s publication comes ahead of the United Nations Decade of Ocean Sciences for Sustainable Development 2021-2030. “Our knowledge of the oceans is a key element for the future of humanity,” said UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay. “The Global Ocean Science Report 2020 underlines the essential role of ocean research and international cooperation for all key issues of the 21st century.” The number of ocean science publications is increasing in Asia and, to a lesser extent, in North America and Europe. The most advanced countries are China, Japan and the Republic of Korea. Budgets for ocean science vary considerably from country to country and over time. For example, between 2013 and 2017, 14 countries increased their average budget, with the Russian Federation recording the highest annual growth (over 10%), followed by the UK and Bulgaria. Meanwhile nine countries reduced expenditure, in some cases significantly, including Japan, Ecuador, Turkey, Brazil and Italy. Moreover, while the international community committed to controlling the exploitation of ocean resources by 2030 in line with Sustainable Development Goal 14 of Agenda 2030, few have defined strategies to achieve this, the report points out. The report highlights an increase in international collaboration among oceanographers and calls for the strengthening of South-South and NorthSouth partnerships. Innovation, complemented by technology transfer, must play a fundamental role in helping developing states achieve sustainable marine and fisheries resource exploitation. The report also highlights the crucial need for training in the various areas of ocean management. It notes the under-representation of women, who account for 39% of all oceanographers, an increase compared to the previous report, and six points higher than the percentage of women in the natural sciences overall. The report also calls for more data sharing in the field of oceanography.
All the latest industry news from around the world
Krill industry joins forces to protect penguins in Antarctica THE ﬁshing industry and a coalition of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) have agreed to stop krill harvesting in an area of the Antarctic Ocean, to protect the penguin population. Krill, which is used as a component in ﬁshmeal for feed as well as pet food and nutritional supplements for humans, is a key part of the penguins’ diet. The closure is year-round and permanent, affecting a 4 500km2 area of ocean around Hope Bay in the northern Antarctic Peninsula. The move is supported by the Association of Responsible Krill Above: Adélie penguins harvesting companies (ARK) and an NGO coalition of Greenpeace, Pew, WWF and Oceanites. The move expands voluntary restricted zones that came into effect in 2018. It is intended to secure the year-round protection of the largest Adélie penguin colony in the region, and sends a strong statement of intent in support of a marine protected area in the Antarctic Peninsula from industry to the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) and the entire Antarctic community. The companies making the commitment represent 85% of the krill ﬁshing industry in the Antarctic and are all members of the Association of Responsible Krill harvesting companies (ARK). They are: Aker BioMarine, CNFC, Jeong IL Co., Dongwon Ind. Co., PescaChile, Rimfrost, Fujian Zhengguan Fisheries Development Corporation, Liaoning Pelagic Fisheries corporation. Pål Skogrand, Director of Antarctic Affairs with krill harvesting
company Aker BioMarine, said: “Nature is changing fast in Antarctica, faster than policy and regulation is able to understand and keep up with. When the krill industry moves to an all-year closure ahead of its time, this is a necessary precautionary action that we take because we can. To get things right in Antarctica we need to move outside of our comfort zones and develop ‘shared ownership’ of crucial conservation concepts across industry, Governments and NGOs”. Aker BioMarine said studies have shown a strong population decline among the Adélie penguins within the time span they have been monitored. By closing this area, the company argued, the krill industry reinforces its precautionary approach, upholding important ecosystem values and facilitating a better scientiﬁc understanding of penguin performance. The move will also help answer the question of why some colonies are in decline and others are not. Will McCallum of Greenpeace’s Protect the Oceans campaign, said: “This is a major step towards seeing permanent protection in the Antarctic Peninsula and we are pleased to see the ﬁshing industry listening to the movement of individuals, scientists and politicians across the world calling for ocean protection… we urge governments to step up and commit to creating ocean sanctuaries in the Antarctic, free from harmful human activities. At this year’s major UN conference on Biodiversity they need to agree an ambitious target to protect at least 30% of the world’s oceans by 2030.”
China set to build giant ﬁsh farming ships CHINA is embarking on plans to build a powerful ﬂeet of giant ﬁsh farming vessels. Construction on the ﬁrst of these 100,000 gross tonnage vessels began just before Christmas at Qingdao in the eastern Shandong province. It is the ﬁrst of 50 such ships and should be delivered in little over 18 months.They will be able to deliver large volumes of farmed ﬁsh both inside and beyond China’s territorial waters.Together, their output could be worth up to US $2bn. They will also be equipped with some of the most advanced aquaculture equipment including underwater cameras and automated feeding facilities and able to withstand rough weather. The Qingdao Conson Development Group Company plans to invest in the construction of an aquaculture ﬂeet consisting of 50 such ships with a gross tonnage of 100,000 tons each, which are expected to annually produce about 200,000 tons of seawater ﬁsh with an annual output value exceeding US$1.68bn. The state-owned group primarily operates as an investment company, focusing on ocean development projects. But it is also involved in non-marine businesses such as hotels and property. Almost 250 metres long, each vessel will be ﬁtted with 15 tanks that can provide 80,000 cubic metres of aquaculture water which can be refreshed or exchanged without interruption, said
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Dong Shaoguang, deputy general manager of the Conson group. The company also believes the project will bring major environmental beneﬁts in that the breeding cycle will be shortened, allowing the production of quality seafood such as yellow ﬁsh. They are expected to operate in the South China Sea, the East China Sea and the Yellow Sea where China has been increasing maritime activities, much to the concern of nearby countries such as Vietnam, the Philippines, Japan and South Korea. It is not just in aquaculture where China has been ﬂexing its muscles. Part of its huge ﬁshing ﬂeet has been spreading its nets across the Paciﬁc Ocean. In the last couple of weeks the Chilean government has ordered its navy to track the activities of several trawlers operating close to its exclusive economic zone (EEZ). Neighbours Peru and Ecuador are also closely monitoring the situation.
Huon blames net tear for December escape TASMANIAN fish farmer Huon has blamed a “net tear” caused by net cleaning for the mass escape of salmon from one of its pens in December. An estimated 120,000 to 130,000 young salmon escaped from Huon’s Yellow Bluff site. “Following extensive internal investigations including multiple discussions with on-water crew, analysis of vessel movements and assessment of works plans, the recent net tear at one of our pens in Storm Bay was most likely caused during net cleaning operations,” Huon said. The company added that initial uncertainty around the cause was due to inconsistent GPS data about the location of vessels near the lease. Huon’s statement went on: “Net cleaning is a complex task, with crew working with multiple pieces of equipment including generators, electrical and mechanical pressure pump systems, high and low voltage motors and associated parts,” stated Huon. “We have implemented a range of actions to strengthen our operational processes including the installation of ROV (remotely operated vehicle) cameras on every net cleaning vessel and additional equipment training. Shortly before the net tear incident, a fire on one of Huon’s other sites caused the escape of around 50,000 salmon.
China tightens regime for seafood imports, again Xelect and FirstWave in tilapia breeding partnership
TOUGHER new Covid-related health regulations have been announced for seafood companies exporting to China. The Chinese authorities have said that much tougher requirements are justiﬁed in response to the way the pandemic is spreading in certain parts of the world. They add that all seafood exporting countries must comply. Businesses can continue to use existing health certiﬁcates until details of a new certiﬁcate have been agreed, but Beijing is demanding that companies list their entire seafood production chain. This means that many companies will have to register before the new certiﬁcates can be issued. Those who were already listed
were required to re-register if they want to continue doing business with China and the deadline for that was quite short – Friday, 8 January. In addition, production volumes and other export details of seafood sent to China during the past 12 months will have to be stated. The new requirements for health certiﬁcates demand that the entire production chain must be stated on the certiﬁcate and that includes names of ﬁsh farms or trawlers, freezer and reefer vessels, processing sites and storage sites. Packaging and methods of transport (trucks, ships aircraft etc) must be thoroughly disinfected to prevent the spread of Covid-19. Packaging should also be able to withstand disinfectant treatments. There are also further regulations about ﬁsh farmed or landed in one country and then exported on ships from another. This is at least the third time since the outbreak of coronavirus that China has toughened the rules for seafood exporters.
AQUACULTURE genetics specialist Xelect has signed a partnership agreement with FirstWave Group,Africa’s largest tilapia ﬁsh producer. The deal will create a breeding programme aimed at developing local, high-performance Nile tilapia breeds in east Africa, working with FirstWave’s operating companies Yalelo Zambia and Yalelo Uganda. This strategic partnership, the companies say, will enable FirstWave to bring a data-driven solution to its breeding management. FirstWave is Africa’s leading aquaculture ﬁrm, operating a vertically integrated group of companies across the production, distribution, and retail of aquafeed and ﬁsh in southern and eastern Africa. Tembwe Mutungu, FirstWave Group Co-CEO said:“Success in leading innovation within African aquaculture requires the best ecosystem partners in addition to the best people.We are excited to partner with Xelect as they apply their global expertise and cutting-edge, data-driven tools to our local husbandry practices in Zambia and Uganda.This will allow us to breed tilapia pedigrees adapted to our local production environments, while avoiding the use of foreign genetics that present a risk to ecological balance.” Xelect’s CEO, Prof Ian Johnston, added:“We’re delighted to be working with FirstWave as they are clearly one of the biggest names in African aquaculture. We share their passion for creating a sustainable, local source of protein, and were immediately struck by their high standards of professionalism.We’re seeing more and more producers realise the value of harnessing natural genetic variation to create the best possible ﬁsh for local conditions and believe this will become a ﬂagship example of best practice.” Xelect is conﬁdent that a data-driven breeding program will lay the foundation for precision aquaculture farming at FirstWave, enabling locally developed tilapia to achieve superior Above: Tilapia performance in growth. quality, and health.
Benchmark Genetics wins Ningbo contract BENCHMARK Genetics has been awarded a ﬁve-year contract to supply eggs to Nordic Aqua Partners’ massive land-based salmon farm in Ningbo, China. Construction on the Nordic Aqua Partners’ (NAP) site at Ningbo begins next month. Using RAS (recirculating aquaculture system) technology, the farm will have an initial capacity of 8,000 tonnes annually, but it is planned to increase this to 16,000 and then 40,000 tonnes. It will be the ﬁrst fully integrated and commercially viable RAS facility in China. Ningbo is a coastal city, strategically close to Shanghai and with a population of 7.6 million in the city and surrounding area. The port of Ningbo-Zhoushan is one of the busiest in the world. Benchmark has committed to provide 9.5 million ova, from its site in Iceland. NAP says biosecurity is a key issue for the Chinese government, and Benchmark’s biosecure facilities combined with a comprehensive screening system make the company conﬁdent that the eggs from Benchmark have the best starting conditions when entering into their RAS system. Ragnar Joensen, Chairman of the board of
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NAP, said: “Benchmark Genetics has a proven record of their ability to supply live eggs all-year-round to destinations worldwide, and security of supply is of key importance to optimise the production planning at our facility. Their R&D capabilities and product offering, adapted for land-based RAS production add to the beneﬁts of signing long term agreement with this provider.” Geir Olav Melingen, Commercial Director
at Benchmark Genetics, said he was excited about signing another contract with a landbased project, adding: “We aim to be the leading supplier of genetics to land-based farming, wherever located around the globe. “We have already supplied eggs to China since 2002 and have established a logistic system that so far has worked successfully, even during the challenging times of Covid-19.”
Photo: Benchmark Gene�cs
BAADER signs up to Quality Salmon project Food processing solutions business BAADER has signed up as a key supplier for a major land-based fish farm and production site in Sweden.
Above: Robert Focke
THE Quality Salmon industry symbiosis and circular industry park will combine a recirculating aquaculture system (RAS) and processing site, from rearing to packaging and transport in one complex. The park, operated by Quality Salmon Sotenäs AB is under construction on the
west coast of Sweden. Its aim is to produce salmon with a small CO2 footprint, zero waste, and zero emissions into the sea. The principal investor for the project is Lighthouse Finance, a Norway-based global financier. Robert Focke, Managing Director BAADER Fish, said: “We are
pleased to support Quality Salmon in creating sustainable salmon processing. By best combining automation, digitalization and humanisation in the holistic processing solutions we provide, we share common values with the project’s aim of joining forces in creating the most sustainable salmon
production.” He added: “We are convinced that RAS farming in combination with state-of-theart BAADER processing technology and the comprehensive collection and analysis of information in the value chain will not only help to meet the future demand for safe and sustainable proteins but will also make an important contribution to the development of regions with limited infrastructure and employment opportunities.” When fully developed, the Quality Salmon Industry park will operate on a 140-hectare land site producing up to 100,000 tonnes of Atlantic salmon per year.
share common “Wevalues with the project’s aim... of creating the most sustainable salmon
Above: Peter Pan Seafood
The industrial park will include all functions, and production will almost entirely be a circular economy including feed factory, salmon farm, slaughter, processing, management of residual products and water purification. Earlier this month, BioMar signed as feed supplier to the project.
KROMA acquires Dansupply DANISH ﬁsh-processing equipment manufacturer KROMA A/S has acquired the ﬁsh and food industry element of its compe�tor, the Dansupply Automa�on Company. KROMA said its investment in Dansupply Automa�on will give it access to Dansupply’s new conveyor system which is very hygienic. The system is being used by Kroma’s target customer base, providing an addi�onal marke�ng opportunity. The acquisi�on will also give KROMA a bigger foothold in the salmon market in the near future. In the long term, KROMA said the company will also deliver conveyor systems in other parts of the food processing industry and support future growth. KROMA said: “Dansupply’s knowledge, crea�vity, and exper�se will be valuable assets to its por�olio, which ﬁts the way KROMA A/S thinks and works. Building a more hygienic and eﬀec�ve ﬁsh processing capability and equipment is not only progressive but also pre-emp�ve. We
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live in a world with an increasing challenge of ensuring that food is safe. Beyond proﬁt, such a move is a social service on a global scale, as ﬁsh harvest processed in one part of the world gets to various places across the world. Buying and revitalizing the part of Dansupply’s business bought by KROMA A/S will help the ﬁsh industry retain and protect cri�cal ﬁsh processing infrastructure. It will also help people keep their jobs, encourage the ﬂow of ideas, and help the industry grow.”
Above: Dansupply equipment
Silver Bay COO leaves to take up role at Peter Pan
THE chief opera�ng oﬃcer of Alaska salmon processor Silver Bay Seafoods has le� the group for the Peter Pan Seafood Company, which recently changed hands. Silver Bay execu�ve Branson Spiers, formerly general manager of the company’s California opera�ons, will take over as interim COO in the wake of Hickman’s departure. At the end of 2020, Tokyo-based Maruha Nichiro sold Peter Pan to an investment group including Alaska-based private equity group McKinley Capital Management, RRG Global Partners Fund and Rodger May, the current owner of the Northwest Fish Company. The new ver�cally integrated Peter Pan Seafood Company is composed of Peter Pan Seafood’s assets and the value-added sales channels of Northwest Fish. Peter Pan is one of Alaska’s oldest salmon processing companies.
BY DR MARTIN JAFFA
Think outside the box An aquaculture strategy for England needs imagination, not unrealistic ambitions
arlier this year, Seafood 2040, a collabora�ve project from across the seafood industry, sought tenders for a new English Aquaculture Strategy. The idea was to create a pathway for growth of the aquaculture sector in England over the next two decades. At the �me of the original proposal, I wrote in Fish Farmer that I thought that this strategy was a rather pointless exercise. I argued that if aquaculture were to prosper in England, it would have happened regardless of any coordinated strategy. I was not convinced that commissioning a new strategy in 2020 would lead to any further industry growth. The ﬁnal report has now been published via the Seaﬁsh website (www.seaﬁsh.org). I was very much looking forward to reading about a new dynamic aquaculture industry for England, but I am afraid any enthusiasm quickly evaporated. I was hoping for new radical, outof-the-box thinking but instead, it oﬀered li�le that has not been said before. I suspect that this strategy, like others before it, will simply
end up on a shelf gathering dust. For me, there are two fundamental ques�ons which have not been addressed. The ﬁrst is, if we do grow more ﬁsh then who is going to eat it? Secondly, if there were increased demand, which is probably unlikely, then who is going to grow the forecasted aquaculture products? The new strategy aims to help meet the extra requirement of ﬁsh if and when the public increase their consump�on from 129.3g now to 280g of ﬁsh per week in 2040. This equates to an increase from 0.9 to 2 por�ons of ﬁsh per person per week. Achieving this increase is one of the key aims of the wider Seafood 2040 project but I am not persuaded that such a target will ever be met. Home ﬁsh consump�on has been in decline for several years and although it has picked up slightly during the Covid-19 pandemic, it will require a major change in public a�tude to achieve the Seafood 2040 goals and I cannot see that happening. Seaﬁsh launched their “Love Seafood” campaign in October but it has failed to a�ract much public interest. This is not surprising given the limited budget, but It will take more than loving seafood to change public behaviour. I suspect that in the coming years, far from seeing home seafood consump�on increase, it is likely to con�nue its downward trajectory. Below is a screenshot of the last three videos posted by Love Seafood on the You Tube channel, highligh�ng how much interest has been s�mulated by the campaign. Left: Love Seafood’s videos on YouTube Above: Carp could be a proﬁtable niche market
Martin Jaffa.indd 22
Think outside the box
So, as it stands now, the goal of ge�ng the Bri�sh public to eat two por�ons of ﬁsh a week would seem to be just a distant hope. I appreciate that 20 years is a long �me, but I have watched consump�on drop over a similar period. Even though demand is unlikely to increase, there is s�ll a ques�on of who would produce any of the ﬁsh forecast in the strategy, if my view of the demand is mistaken. The strategy considers a range of species, but space here does not allow me to discuss each one. Instead, I shall just look at the forecast for Atlan�c salmon. Produc�on is forecast to expand from 500 tonnes in 2020(!) to 14,232 tonnes in 2040 and all this produc�on is forecast to be produced by RAS (recircula�ng aquaculture systems). I am not a great fan of producing harvest-sized ﬁsh in RAS, but I can understand the argument put forward for doing so if the farm is located right next to places of high consumer demand. Much less clear is why anyone would want to grow 14,000 tonnes of salmon in RAS in the same Bri�sh Isles where exis�ng producers are forecast to har-
The goal of ge�ng the Bri�sh public to eat two por�ons of ﬁsh a week would seem to be just a distant hope www.fishfarmermagazine.com
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vest 300,000 tonnes from net pens. It makes no sense, commercially, economically, or as common sense. The strategy does not make clear who would be willing to invest the huge sums of money required in RAS when there is no commercial beneﬁt from producing ﬁsh this way. I am reminded of two things about RAS. The ﬁrst is that a speaker at a conference in Paris in the late 1980s said that RAS only makes sense for small ﬁsh or for species with a high economic value; and secondly, RAS only came to the fore when anglers’ organisa�ons started to see this as a way of separa�ng farmed salmon from wild, and hence reversing the declines of wild ﬁsh that were blamed on salmon farming, In addi�on to salmon, the strategy forecasts 669 tonnes of na�ve sea water species and 281 tonnes of exo�c seawater ﬁnﬁsh. These are barely worthy of considera�on to the point that even the strategy fails to highlight what species of ﬁsh these may be. It just seems other species have been thrown in to bulk out the report. The strategy also forecasts nearly 6,000 tonnes of sea-raised trout. The same issues apply to trout as they do to salmon.
The reality is that by 2040, we are unlikely to see any marine ﬁsh aquaculture in England unless someone establishes a farm to meet yet unknown demand for a high value species like turbot. Seaﬁsh helped develop some of the original techniques for farming turbot but as there was no market here, the ﬂedgling industry relocated to Galicia where there is high demand. The story for freshwater ﬁsh is not much be�er with 18,439 tonnes of trout produced by 2040 together with 253 tonnes of exo�c ﬁnﬁsh and 1,186 tonnes of na�ve species. Much of this produc�on is forecast to be produced in RAS with the rest produced in ﬂow through ponds. This is just unrealis�c. Why would anyone want to invest in RAS for farmed trout when they are producing it in net pens in Scotland? The strategy also includes shellﬁsh but that involves a whole other set of issues which I may discuss another �me. The reality is that this strategy was never going to be ground-breaking. Unlike Scotland, there is too much compe��on for space to make a viable aquaculture industry a reality. It would need a complete change of government a�tude to bring about radical change such as banning all ﬁsh imports, which is not going to happen. This doesn’t mean that England cannot develop an aquaculture industry. It just needs to be a diﬀerent sort of industry and that requires out-of-the box-thinking. I am not sure Seafood 2040 is ready for such an approach. Back in the 1980s, RELU – the Rural Economy and Land Use programme – looked at every possible way the tradi�onal agricultural farmers could diversify to make more money. Fish farming was considered but was largely dismissed. A decade later, RELU commissioned the University of S�rling to take another look at aquaculture and their recommenda�on was for farmers to grow �lapia in RAS in their barns. A number of small enterprises were established but all failed, primarily because the speciﬁc market for �lapia wasn’t bothered by its freshness.
Martin Jaffa.indd 24
Above and right: Will the English consumer be persuaded to eat two por�ons of ﬁsh a week?
Think outside the box
is too much compe��on “There for space to make a viable aquaculture industry a reality ”
THE WORLD OF AQUACULTURE
They were happier to buy cheaper imported ﬁsh from the overseas than locally produced more expensive ﬁsh. This s�ll applies and imported whole �lapia can be readily accessed from specialist ethnic markets. RELU actually missed a major opportunity to develop aquaculture in England by integra�ng produc�on into exis�ng terrestrial farms. There is a very simple reason why this remains a viable op�on and that is the market has no external compe��on. The ﬁsh is carp, and the market is to supply ethnic Chinese consumers in the UK. The USP is that this speciﬁc market wants the ﬁsh supplied live and current ﬁsh health regula�ons prevent live ﬁsh from entering the UK from overseas. The beauty of carp farming as an integrated produc�on is that they do not require constant a�en�on. They will grow readily in sta�c freshwater ponds boosted by some of the farm wastes generated elsewhere. The one catch is that the marke�ng of the ﬁsh must be a coopera�ve venture. No single farmer can produce enough to make a dent in the market, but numerous farmers can ensure that the market is provided with a regular supply. This is very low-tech, low-cost, low maintenance ... made by professionals aquaculture, quite the opposite of everything to do with RAS. If we are for professionals! to have an aquaculture industry in England, we need to start thinking diﬀerently and not just following those that might already be heading for a fall. This might sound very unappealing to many, but new aquaculture does not have to eschew the old ways. What is important is not the FishFarmer Magazine 92 x 130 mm_B.indd 1 produc�on, but that there is an untapped market ripe for picking. FF
Martin Jaffa.indd 25
profiwork SalmoFix www.fiap.com
Scottish Salmon Producers’ Organisation
BY HAMISH MACDONELL
A happier New Year It may seem grim right now, but there is a lot to look forward to in 2021
s one of my friends put it in their Christmas card message: “1349 was even worse, of course, so we have that to be grateful for.” An exaggeration perhaps but, given what everyone has gone through in 2020, perhaps only a slight one. We haven’t had the full 2020 export figures for Scottish salmon yet but we know they are down, significantly, on the year before. Our members have exported less at lower prices than they wanted. They have had to change working practices, introduce new measures and add extra layers of precautions to protect their workers. But, as they say, that was then and this is now and I believe that 2021 has the potential to be as good as 2020 was bad. We hold fairly regular catch-up calls with our international counterparts from trade bodies across the world. As 2020 progressed, one of the defining features of these meetings, for me, was the increasingly pessimistic forecast for food service outlets in the United States. In April, we were told official estimates suggested 10-15% of restaurants and food outlets would close and not reopen. By June it was 20-25% and by September the estimate had reached 30%. It may well be that, by the time a final reckoning is done, a third of all food outlets in the US will have closed because of the pandemic. They may or may not ever reopen but, here’s the thing: if they don’t reopen, then someone else will. That is because the recovery, when it comes, will be big. There are signs that consumer trends in 2021 will be defined by two overlapping factors: first, a sizeable proportion of the population that has money to spend; and second, people who are desperate to get out and do the things they could not do in 2020. It will take the roll-out of the vaccines, of course, but consumers everywhere are so keen to return to even a semblance of normality that the recovery, when it comes, is likely to be long and sustained. Those restaurateurs who have managed to weather the Covid storm and who are still in business will thrive when the customers return –
Hamish MacDonnell.indd 26
and return they will, in numbers – while those who have gone under will soon be replaced by others ready to capitalise on the post-pandemic spending spree. According to the Centre for Economics and Business Research, UK households built up an average of £7,100 in savings through 2020 simply because normal activities, from commuting to holidays, from going out to eating out, were curtailed. So there is every indication that food service will not just get back on its feet in 2021, but it will thrive, all over the world. Not only that, but the recovery is likely to be steady and sustained, not explosive. That is because the roll-out of the vaccines will take months, starting with the elderly and the vulnerable and moving down through the age bands. As more and more people in work and with disposable incomes get the vaccine, so spending on eating out will increase. But there is one more resumption of old habits we can look forward to in 2021 – the return of international travel. As is now very well known, most Scottish salmon exports to distant markets are sent in the bellies of passenger planes but, with most passenger flights grounded, it became difficult – and expensive – for our producers to get fish to those markets in 2020. You ask most British families what they are looking forward to, when they get the vaccine and most will say – going on holiday.
Above right: One day soon we will be eating out again
A happier New Year
Flights will resume in 2021 and returning with them will be the opportunities to get our salmon to distant markets quickly and efficiently. Again, there won’t be a “big bang” when everything returns at once. It will take time, but there will be increased demand for good quality, healthy and nutritious food and alongside that, flights will return, bringing back more opportunities to get food to market. I am very aware that I haven’t mentioned Brexit or any of the other potential obstacles to trade which could offset our return to normality in 2021. But, at the time of writing, no-one has any idea how Brexit is going to affect exports to the EU, how bad any problems are going to be or how long they are going to last. What is clear, though, is that 2020 and the global pandemic was not just a once-in-a-generation event, it was a once-in-a-century event. It cut the legs out from under so many businesses and so many sectors that life, for many, will not be the same again. But 2021 will be better, much better. The signs are there. We should experience strong, sustained, long-term recovery driven by pentup consumer frustration and unspent dispos-
Hamish MacDonnell.indd 27
able income and sparked by the roll-out of the vaccine. This will not just affect trade. It will run through every part of what we do. For the last ten months, the SSPO team has not been able to meet a single politician or decision maker face to face – which, for a trade body whose job it is to lobby those very people, this has been something of a blow. We need to get round the politicians we need to see this year, plus the ones we were prevented from seeing in 2020. It will be a busy year, certainly but also, I have no doubt, a very productive one. Oh, and for those of you still wondering why 1349 was so bad, it was the year both the Black Death and earthquakes ripped through Europe. By 1350, the first wave of the plague was in retreat, there were no earthquakes and the world was a much better place. There aren’t any surviving records for the revival of food service and consumer spending in 1350, but I think we can assume that they saw a very definite upswing in that year too. So if you look out of your window on to a gloomy January morning, contemplating yet another day working from the same spot in your kitchen, do remember – the darkest hour really is just before the dawn. FF
Restaurateurs who have managed to weather the Covid storm... will thrive when the customers return
BY NICKI HOLMYARD
Better together Combining different species in one site is an old idea, given a new twist
newly-released report by EUMOFA, the European Market Observatory for Fisheries and Aquaculture Products, looks in part at the past, present and future of integrated mul�-trophic aquaculture (IMTA) in the “Blue Economy”. In IMTA systems, species from diﬀerent trophic levels are raised in proximity to one another. The waste stream from fed species, such as ﬁsh, become nutrients for others. For example, ﬁlter feeders like mussels, clams, cockles and oysters, take up the ﬁne par�culate material, while plants like kelps take up the dissolved inorganic nutrients. In addi�on, deposit-feeding species such as cucumbers and sea urchins can be raised directly underneath a farm, to take up larger par�culate organic material. As a result, IMTA reduces the ecological impacts of ﬁsh farming opera�ons, by ac�ng as an environmental remediator. It can also improve social percep�ons of aquaculture, and provide ﬁnancial beneﬁts for producers through product diversiﬁca�on, faster produc�on cycles, and price premiums on IMTA products. Although the concept of IMTA has been around for millennia, the phrase “integrated mul�-trophic aquaculture” was ﬁrst introduced in 2004 by its Canadian champions Dr Thierry Chopin and Dr Shawn
Below Left: Tiger prawns Opposite: Sugar kelp;
mussels; cockles; sea cucumber
Robinson. According to Dr Robinson, IMTA is “a reasonably complicated way of just saying ‘mixed farming’.” The pair were awarded the 2009 Research Award of Excellence of the Aquaculture Associa�on of Canada, which recognises excep�onal, innova�ve research contribu�on and commitment that has a signiﬁcant impact on aquaculture industry development in Canada. The EUMOFA report tells us that IMTA has progressed from the land-based co-culture of ﬁsh and rice in China, which can be seen in surviving clay models of rice ﬁelds and aqua�c life da�ng back 2,000 years to the late Han period, to the concept of holis�c aquaculture introduced in the 1970s, and the more sophis�cated concepts of today. References to the use of diﬀerent trophic levels in aquaculture for remedia�on of nutrient overloads or addi�onal produc�vity date from the early 1970s, and IMTA was a reality in China in the 1980s. China is the world’s largest producer and consumer of ﬁsh, shellﬁsh and seaweeds, and is o�en used as a model for the applica�on of IMTA. The country has more than 50 major bay systems, and 10 million hectares of coastal waters, 1.3 million hectares of which are suitable for inshore mariculture and IMTA. Sanggou Bay is the most important and best known example of integrated mul�-trophic aquaculture. IMTA exists in three forms in China: incidental, transi�onal and engineered. Incidental is the most common form, and occurs when extrac�ve species and fed species are farmed in the same semi-enclosed bays, as a coincidence of aquaculture expansion, leading to the natural assimila�on of waste. Transi�onal systems are set up inten�onally with species from diﬀerent trophic levels to supplement overall farm produc�on, while engineered
IMTA reduces the “ecological impacts of ﬁsh farming opera�ons
systems use intensive techniques, which are currently being experimented with in China, and include a programme of marine ranching using ar�ﬁcial reefs. The predominant farming system in China’s coastal bays is suspended mariculture, which began with seaweed in the 1950s, added scallops in the 1960s, and expanded to large-scale suspended ﬁsh cage culture in the 1980s. In Sanggou Bay, which covers an area measuring 163 km2, shrimp farms are located along the inner coast in �dal ﬂats, giving way to ﬁnﬁsh in cages in the inner bay, scallops and oysters grown on longlines in the mid-bay, and other bivalves farmed in combina�on with macroalgae in the outer-mid-bay. At the mouth of the bay, sugar kelp (Saccharina la�ssima) grows alongside abalone, which feed on the seaweed. In turn, the kelp takes up nutrients released from the abalone, in a circular and mutually beneﬁcial system. Other seaweeds with diﬀerent seasons are also grown. Each year, aquaculture farmers in Sanggou Bay produce around 120,000 tonnes of oysters, 84,500 tonnes dried weight of sugar kelp, 10,000 tonnes of scallops, 2,000 tonnes of abalone, 100 tonnes of ﬁnﬁsh and 100 tonnes of sea cucumbers. According to the EUMOFA report, the market for seaweed in China changed from being 8090% a commodity market for alginates in the early 1990s, to around 60% in the mid-2000s. By 2018, 60–70% of farmed seaweed output was being used for food and animal feed, and the remainder for abalone and sea cucumbers. Seaweeds are touted as the IMTA species par excellence, due to their ability to absorb large amounts of dissolved nutrients and grow faster than land crops. In Europe, the classic IMTA combina�on of salmon, mussels and macroalgae was ﬁrst studied for its ability to capture waste nutrients from ﬁsh farming in Norway. The EU has since funded many projects on diﬀerent aspects of IMTA under Horizon 2020, the EU’s Framework R&D and Research & Innova�on Programmes, and Interreg. Projects
include seaweed cul�va�on and valorisa�on, and integra�on of aquaculture with marine ac�vi�es such as wind farms. However, despite encouraging results in terms of environmental and economic beneﬁts, IMTA has failed to take oﬀ on a commercial scale, although it has garnered a growing interest in farming seaweed as a stand-alone crop. Barriers to developing IMTA as a commercial concept include diﬃcul�es in encouraging established salmon farms and oﬀshore wind farms to integrate the types of IMTA available. The report suggests that a new direc�on needs to be taken – one that moves away from the classic model of ﬁnﬁsh cage at the top, bivalve lines or cages surrounding and below them, and seaweed on the sea bed. The exis�ng model works well on a research scale and in modelling, but has not been shown to be robust enough in real life, for industry to invest and take on the addi�onal opera�onal complexi�es needed. In 2018, a European Parliament report provided the star�ng point for policy changes and ac�ons to encourage aquaculture innova�ons such as IMTA, by speciﬁcally called for IMTA pilot projects. This report agreed with the Food from the Oceans scien�ﬁc report, which found that the only way to obtain signiﬁcantly more food and biomass from the ocean in a short period of �me, is to harvest organisms at the bo�om of the food chain, such as macroalgae and bivalve molluscs. While condi�ons are not yet fully in place in Europe for the widescale adop�on of IMTA, commercial and consumer interest appears to be growing, alongside that of policy makers. Perhaps these combined forces may pave the way for some exci�ng developments in future. See EUMOFA’s Blue Bioeconomy Report at bit.ly/2Lh9oAM. FF
Saving our seas Are Marine Protected Areas effective in protecting sea life?
BY SANDY NEIL
he UK and EU are creating more and more Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) as they rush to meet a UN goal of protecting 30% of the world’s oceans by 2030. Conservationists, however, argue that most MPAs actually provide little or no protection against human activity. So, are MPAs fit for purpose? Should they be reformed or replaced now that the UK is officially out of the Common Fisheries Policy? Water covers 70% of the Earth’s surface and a significant 7.66% of that, or 27,761,227km2 to be exact, is comprised of 17,495 Marine Protected Areas or “MPAs”. They vary in size from the largest MPA in the world, the first Antarctic MPA encompassing 1.55 million km2 in the Ross Sea, to one of the smallest: 0.8 hectares of water surrounding the wreck of the HMS Dartmouth, which sank in the Sound of Mull in 1690. MPA is a catch-all term, but in essence such areas restrict human activity for a conservation purpose, typically to protect natural or cultural resources. These marine resources are protected by local, state, territorial, native, regional, national, or international authorities, and differ substantially among and between nations. This variation could be different limitations on development, fishing practices, seasons and catch limits, moorings, and bans on removing or disrupting marine life. Some restrictions include “no-take” zones, which means no fishing of wild stocks is allowed. One of the most common management systems, as found in the UK, is the MPA network, defined as: “A group of MPAs that interact with one another ecologically and/or socially form a network.” The UK’s MPA network protects a wide range of marine life, with hundreds of sites covering nearly a quarter of UK waters, and representing a wide spectrum of habitats and species. Within this network there are many types of MPA designation, including Marine Conservation Zones (MCZs), Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) with marine components, Special Protection Areas (SPAs) with marine components, Nature Conservation MPAs, and national MPAs in Scotland.
Marine Protected Areas -Sandy.indd 30
The number of MPAs continues to grow rapidly in the seas surrounding the UK, as the four governments of Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland strive to meet the UN’s ambitious goal of protecting 10% of the world’s oceans by 2020, and then 30% by 2030. The UK is already beating that target comfortably, creating 371 MPAs since 2013 covering 38% of UK waters; to be exact, 338,049km2 from a total of 885,430km2. On top of all this, the UK has also created some of the world’s largest MPAs within the 6.8 million square kilometres of ocean it controls around British Overseas Territories. Most notably this includes the 830,000km2 Pitcairn Islands Marine Reserve in the Southern Pacific, for a time the biggest MPA on Earth when it was designated in 2015. In November 2020, a 687,247km2 “no take zone” was designated in the vast ocean around the world’s remotest inhabited island, Tristan Da Cunha. The new MPA is three times the size of Britain. It is the largest no-take zone in the Atlantic, and the fourth largest on the planet. Last September the Scottish Government designated Europe’s largest MPA, the 107,718km2 West of Scotland MPA, in the deepest parts of Scotland’s seas lying at 2,500m. It provides protection to 14 vulnerable habitats and species, including the leafscale gulper shark, orange roughy and Portuguese dogfish. In December Scottish ministers created four more inshore MPAs: North-east Lewis, Sea of the
Last “ September
the Scottish Government designated Europe’s largest MPA
Saving our seas
Hebrides, Shiant East Bank, and Southern Trench, as well as 12 more Special Protec�on Areas (SPAs) – a variety of MPA protec�ng wild birds – stretching from the Solway Firth to Shetland. “Scotland’s waters are home to many unique species and these designa�ons ensure our MPA network is fully representa�ve of our marine diversity,” Mairi Gougeon, then the Natural Environment Minister, said when making the announcement (she has since taken up a new role as Public Health Minister). “Protec�ng Scotland’s marine environment is also crucial for suppor�ng the sustainable recovery of our marine industries, and these designa�ons will form a key element of our Blue Economy Ac�on Plan,” she explained. As the total now stands, the 230 sites within the Sco�sh MPA network cover 227,622 km2, or 37%, of Scotland’s seas, “…exceeding the proposed interna�onal target to achieve 30% of global MPA coverage by 2030,” Gougeon added. On the surface, MPAs appear to be a success story. PROTECTION ON PAPER ONLY? That same month, however, an excoria�ng study by Oceana, the largest interna�onal advocacy organiza�on focused solely on ocean conserva�on, claimed that 96% of European MPAs con�nue to allow destruc�ve ac�vi�es within their boundaries, raising ques�ons about whether MPAs are ﬁt for purpose. “In the face of intense human pressure on European seas, a network of well-managed MPAs is cri�cal for marine biodiversity protec�on,” the report says. “In 2018, the EU (including, at the �me, the UK) declared having met interna�onal targets for marine conserva�on, by designa�ng more than 10% of its waters as MPAs. “However, this declara�on of success ignored the fact that designa�on is just one step towards achiev-
ing real protec�on. Without eﬀec�ve management, designated MPAs remain mere ‘paper parks’ that provide li�le to no actual protec�on. As the EU and the UK aim towards a more ambi�ous target of protec�ng 30% of the ocean, a key ques�on remains: how protected are exis�ng European MPAs?” The study came to an uncomfortable conclusion: “We ﬁrst examined the spa�al overlap between the largest network of European MPAs (Natura 2000, comprising 3,449 MPAs), and 13 human ac�vi�es that represent direct threats to marine species and habitats in Europe.” “Our analysis revealed a troubling picture: nearly three-quarters of sites were aﬀected by one or more threats, and those not aﬀected represented a mere 0.07% of the total area of the Natura 2000 MPA network. At the na�onal level, threats were present in more than half of the MPAs in each of the 23 countries analysed. The most widespread threats were mari�me traﬃc and ﬁshing, aﬀec�ng 66% and 32% of MPAs, respec�vely. Across the en�re network, MPAs faced an average of two threats, with some sites in Germany, the Netherlands, and the UK facing eleven or more threats each.”
Above: Mairi Gougeon Above right: Thornback ray Right: Fishing trawler
Marine Protected Areas -Sandy.indd 31
The criticism did not end there. “We evaluated management plans from a selection of the largest Natura 2000 MPAs, by country,” the report continues. “Where management plans did exist, they had often been seriously delayed – leaving sites unmanaged for up to 11 years – and 80% of plans were found to be generally incomplete. “Despite establishing clear conservation objectives, most of the assessed plans were characterised by clear weaknesses that hinder the effectiveness of management: a lack of deadlines for implementing measures; a failure to manage specific features for which sites were designated; a failure to address major threats that put those features at risk (like fishing or dredging); and the absence of provisions for surveillance and monitoring.” Oceana’s damning report followed another in the same month published by the European Court of Auditors, which slammed European governments for failing to protect their MPAs, finding that only 1% of the 3,000 supposedly protected areas in the Mediterranean banned fishing. The alarm had been sounded earlier by a 2018 study published in the journal Science, which found destructive trawling was more intense inside official EU marine sanctuaries, and that endangered fish species such as sharks and rays were more common outside them. The analysis exposed “the big lie” behind European marine conservation, experts said, with most MPAs completely open to trawling. The researchers assessed the activity of fishing vessels thanks to satellite tracking equipment now compulsory on ships. The analysis revealed commercial trawling activity was on average almost 40% higher inside MPAs than in unprotected areas, probably because the protected areas are richer in sea life. Furthermore, endangered and critically endangered fish species such as sharks and rays were five times more abundant outside the MPAs. “It should be the reverse,” says Prof Boris Worm, at Dalhousie University in Canada, who led the research. “When something is called a protected area, it actually needs to be protected. We know that when areas are actually protected they deliver: species recover, biodiversity increases and fisheries benefit as well, as fish become more abundant and spill outside these areas. “One problem we have in the EU is that while the conservation policies such as MPAs are a national matter, fisheries are managed by the EU as a whole. That disconnect may drive some of the problem we see here. One hand does not know what the other one is doing.” Professor Callum Roberts, at the University of York, who was not part of the research, told The Guardian: “This compelling study reveals the big lie behind European marine conservation. To be effective, all MPAs should be protected from trawling and dredging at a minimum, and many of them should prohibit all fishing.”
Marine Protected Areas -Sandy.indd 32
Despite all these failings, MPAs still bear on planning decisions for new or expanded salmon farms, although there is a lack of clarity over how this should be applied. A recent example is Scottish Sea Farms’ recent proposal for a farm off Wester Ross, against which the Scottish Wildlife Trust has raised an objection. The company applied to the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA) for a licence to site a 12-cage salmon farm close to Horse Island in the Summer Isles, which lies within the Wester Ross MPA. The Scottish Wildlife Trust argues waste material generated by the farm would damage several fragile protected features within the Wester Ross MPA, including maerl beds, northern feather stars and kelp forests. Dr Sam Collin, the Scottish Wildlife Trust’s living seas manager said: “We support sustainable aquaculture and we want to see Scotland’s fish farming sector operating in a way that is compatible with a thriving marine environment. “The site proposed by Scottish Sea Farms is entirely unsuitable due to its proximity to important protected habitats. These plans pose a serious threat to marine wildlife, stores of blue carbon, and the local creel fishing industry. “Allowing this salmon farm to go ahead when it threatens so many of the features which should be safeguarded by the MPA would set a worrying precedent.” Responding to the objection, Scottish Sea Farms
Without effective management, “designated MPAs remain mere paper parks ” www.fishfarmermagazine.com
Saving our seas said its proposed facility will take full account of the needs of the Wester Ross MPA (see Fish Farmer, November 2021 Scottish Sea Farms’ managing director Jim Gallagher says: “It’s absolutely right that sensitive habitats and species be protected and we’ve taken great care from the outset to ensure there’s no overlap between the proposed farm and priority marine features such as the maerl beds and other marine plants and animals they are home to. Several of our farms are already located in marine protected areas – our nearby farms at Tanera and Fada included – proving that, with responsible and sympathetic farm management, both can co-exist.” The company adds that when MPAs were first designated in Scotland, in most cases in areas where the marine habitat was deemed to be in good condition, many were at sites where salmon farms were already operating. The current planning application is ongoing. Scotland’s salmon farmers remain very supportive of MPAs, adds Dr Iain Berrill, head of technical at the Scottish Salmon Producers Organisation (SSPO). “MPAs, like several other types of protected area designations, are taken very seriously by salmon farmers who recognise the importance of, and indeed rely on, the protection of the marine environment,” he says. “Since their introduction, MPAs have been a consideration in planning applications but they do not, and should not, preclude development in those areas. Salmon farming continues to operate successfully in these areas. In fact, considerable areas of sea (and seabed) where we farm are covered by some level of specific protection. “Companies ensure that they take due regard for protected areas through pre-application assessment, surveying and monitoring so that they can demonstrate that they are not unduly impacting these designations. “As soon as the four new MPAs were proposed they became a material consideration in the sector’s planning applications. There is no specific new change now that the MPAs have been formally designated.” Are MPAs fit for purpose? “Yes, if fully imple-
Marine Protected Areas -Sandy.indd 33
mented,” says Calum Duncan, Head of Conservation, Scotland at the Marine Conservation Society (MCS). He adds: “The UK Marine Strategy highlighted that all UK administrations have failed to meet 11 of 15 indicators of Good Environmental Status by the 2020 target. Whilst 37% of Scotland’s seas are currently in the MPA network, probably less than 1% is protected from extractive and destructive activities.” If MPAs are failing to do their job, should they be reformed or replaced? Duncan says: “They should not be replaced by any means, but their management needs to be transformed. As part of our Ocean Recovery Plan, with our Save Scottish Seas coalition partners, MCS is calling for an independent MPA commission to transform the MPA network in Scotland in order to chart a course to at least 30% of Scotland’s seas being highly protected by 2030, at least a third of which is fully protected. “Strengthened management of the MPA network, including exclusion of mobile gear from benthic sites, no-take zones as core protection zones in MPAs, and relocation of aquaculture facilities that impact on priority marine features, migratory salmonid routes and seal haul-out sites, will be crucial as part of the transformation needed for ocean recovery. Sustainable coastal livelihoods rely upon a healthy marine ecosystem. Ocean health is currently a shadow of what it once was and what it could be again with the necessary transformative change.” The Scottish Wildlife Trust has also developed the Ocean Recovery Plan calling for a strengthened MPA network in Scotland. “In practice the designation itself has limited practical impact until well-designed management measures are in place,” says the Trust’s living seas manager, Dr Sam Collin. He goes on: “These measures would set out how threatened species and habitats can be protected from potentially damaging activities including fishing. Currently less than half of Scotland’s MPAs have any management measures in place. “Strengthening Scotland’s network of MPAs offers great potential for allowing our marine environment to recover while supporting sustainable economic activity, and our coastal communities. However, progress on the network has been relatively slow since the adoption of the Marine (Scotland) Act in 2010, which gives the Scottish Government the power to designate protected areas.” By 2030, the SWT wants at least 30% of Scotland’s seas to be managed under high levels of protection, where only low-impact activities, such as handcaught scallop fishing, are allowed. Within that 30%, it would like to see a significant portion, at least a third, designated as “fully protected”, where no “destructive or extractive” activities can take place at all. Dr Collin says: “There is enough legislation in place in Scotland to deliver an effective and joined-up network of MPAs. We’ve clearly set out how the network can be strengthened through the Ocean Recovery Plan and we hope the Scottish Government will demonstrate a commitment to a healthy marine environment by delivering these measures over the next 10 years.” The Scottish Government said Brexit would not change Scotland’s MPA network. A spokesperson said: “Our MPA network fulfils a range of domestic and international obligations which will remain after EU exit, and helps Scotland to maintain or exceed EU environmental standards.” For now, it seems, while the MPA system is covering an increasing proportion of coastal waters, the system itself is not set to see major changes any time soon. FF May Cover.indd 4
Opposite from top: Kelp; Professor Callum Roberts; Dr Sam Collin; Calum Duncan Above: Jim Gallagher Left: Puffin
Eye in the sky Satellite technology is the latest weapon in the battle against harmful algae BY GAVIN TILSTONE
cientists are working on improving the monitoring and prediction of harmful algal blooms (HABs) using satellite images which can provide a cost effective means of observing HABs over larger spatial and temporal scales to complement current marine monitoring efforts. An EU INTERREG France Channel England Programme (FCE) project, launched in 2017, is using the latest satellite technology from the European Space Agency (Copernicus Sentinel-3) to improve the way water quality and harmful algal blooms are monitored in the English Channel. Led by Plymouth Marine Laboratory (PML), this four-year project involves scientists from eight French and English organisations. The project, known as S-3 EUROHAB (“Sentinel-3 products for detecting EUtROphication and Harmful Algal Bloom events in the FrenchEnglish Channel”) is using data from the Copernicus Sentinel-3 satellite, to track the growth and spread of HABs and phytoplankton abundance related to water quality, in the French-English Channel. The satellite data has been used to create a web-based alert system, the ﬁrst of its kind in Europe, to warn marine managers and ﬁshing industries of the growth of potentially damaging algal blooms. Data will also be gathered to help better understand why, how and when HABs occur as well as the economic costs associated with HABs and poor water quality and how the web-based alert system may reduce these costs. Harmful algal blooms are caused by excessive growth of marine
Algal Blooms.indd 34
of tracking HABs are ineﬃcient and expensive
micro-algae, some of which produce harmful toxins that can kill ﬁsh, shellﬁsh and even humans when they consume contaminated ﬁsh. As a result, these HABs can have an extremely damaging effect on the tourism and ﬁshing industries. In the EU, the annual cost of HABs to these industries is estimated to be in excess of €918m. Poor water quality can also affect our coastal regions, which can adversely affect a number of maritime industries. Current methods of tracking HABs are inefﬁcient and expensive, costing €2m annually to monitor just 6% of the Channel area. S-3 EUROHAB’s methods will not only cost signiﬁcantly less, just €42,000 annually, but will also mean the whole Channel area is covered. The alert system will also result in much faster response times to HABs, potentially helping to mitigate the blooms which will aid in reducing the millions of pounds lost each year due to HABs occurring on both the French and UK sides of the Channel. Improvements to existing methods will be made using satellite ocean colour data and, in particular, the application of the latest technological advancement in, and recent launch of, the European Copernicus satellites. The project will use these satellite data to create a web-based HAB and water quality alert system that has been designed alongside marine managers and industry end users to enhance the marine monitoring of HABs in the French-English Channel region. The web alert system is now live and producing HAB risk alerts for shell ﬁshermen between France and the UK in the vicinity of the English Channel. The alerts are free to access online via the EUROHAB portal (see below). The project budget will total €3.7m with 69% funded by the Interreg France (Channel) England programme, representing a European Regional Development Fund budget of €2.6m. The project is made up of nine organisations: ﬁve from France (IREMER-Brest, IFREMER-Port-en-Bessin, IFREMER-Boulogne -sur-Mer, Comité Régional des Pêches de Basse Normandie Universite de Brest) and
Eye in the sky
four from the UK (Plymouth Marine Laboratory, Environment Agency, University of Southampton, Devon and Severn Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority), and is running from November 2017 to October 2021. To ﬁnd out more about S-3 EUROHAB or offer feedback on its activities, please visit the website www.s3eurohab.eu/portal/ where you can also access up to date alerts. FF Gavin Tilstone is a Senior Scientiﬁc Ofﬁcer at Plymouth Marine Laboratory. Top: Dead ﬁsh ﬂoa�ng in algal bloom Above right: The latest European Space Agency satellite mission Sen�nel-3 that is designed to observe a suite of oceanographic parameters from space including algal blooms Right: Satellite image of a harmful algal bloom (red-orange-grey coloura�on) in the English Channel
Algal Blooms.indd 35
HARMFUL algal bloom incidents are a major problem for aquaculture, and can lead to the deaths of thousands of ﬁsh at a time. Last year, for example, a HAB in Upper Loch Fyne led to large-scale mortalities at Scottish Salmon Company’s Quarry Point farm. HABs are also a problem for the ﬁsh farming industry in Norway.The spring of 2019 saw the most serious algae problem for almost 30 years. It killed at least eight million salmon in the Nordland and Troms regions, leading to job losses, hitting communities hard and costing the industry hundreds of millions of kroner. Farmed ﬁsh are particularly susceptible to HABs, since unlike their wild counterparts they are unable to swim away from toxic algae. HABs are associated with warmer sea temperatures, and continuing global warming means toxic algae is likely to continue as a threat to sea life, wild and farmed.
A shellﬁsh producer in Dorset is helping to assess the potential of 5G telecoms
BY ROBERT OUTRAM
T Below: Richard Pricke�; Digby Sowerby Below right & Opposite: Jurassic Sea Farms crew
Dorset 5G project.indd 36
his year, Dorset in the south west of England will be the se�ng for a ground-breaking project aimed at exploring how 5G telecommunica�ons can transform food produc�on. The 5G RuralDorset project, led by Dorset Council and part-funded by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport’s 5G Testbeds and Trials Programme, is aimed at understanding how next genera�on connec�vity can help rural communi�es. The project is one of a half dozen industry-focused ini�a�ves throughout the UK, and the largest within the agriculture and aquaculture sectors. Understanding how 5G can be used to address speciﬁc challenges in food produc�on is a key research area within the project. The agriculture and aquaculture trials, led by Wessex Internet, involve farms from across the county, including two large arable farms in North Dorset, a mixed farm at Kingston Maurward College – and Jurassic Sea Farms, which grows shellﬁsh and seaweed in a site in Portland Harbour. Digby Sowerby, Wessex Internet Project Manager for the 5G Rural Dorset project, describes the ini�a�ve as an “accelerator project”. As he explains, investment in state of the art equipment and end-user hardware for 5G is expensive, especially as it is not yet in mass produc�on. Government funding makes it possible to iden�fy and test applica�ons and assess which might deliver prac�cal beneﬁts.
He says: “Our aim is to deliver a 5G system that is reliable, aﬀordable and interoperable [working across diﬀerent systems].” As Digby Sowerby explains, there are three main “types” of 5G: low frequency, which will give good public coverage even for remote areas; high frequency communica�ons using private installa�ons, capable of transmi�ng large amounts of visual and other data easily; and a very high frequency that can transmit massive amounts of data in a small area, up to 200 metres. Rural areas typically have patchy 3G or 4G coverage at best, so farmers on land or sea have a problem when using new technology – like drones, robots or monitoring equipment – because data has to be transferred physically rather than transmi�ed wirelessly. The 5G revolu�on could change all that. Jurassic Sea Farms (originally the Dorset Seaweed Company) was formed in 2018 by Na�ve
Whatever comes out of the 5G “project has to make life easier for the farmers ”
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Fish Farmer Marine Centre (NMC) and Hugh Wiltshire. Nigel Bloxham, owner of the Crab House Cafe and oyster farm, also became an investor in 2019. Richard Pricke�, a director with Jurassic Sea Farms, says their 5G project will focus on two main applica�ons: measuring and monitoring key parameters, and introducing an underwater camera system. Pricke� says: “We have got a remote site which you need to monitor in a number of ways, and as easily as possible.” Remote monitoring reduces �me and costs, he adds. Key parameters are likely to include dissolved oxygen levels, chlorophyll and water temperature. On the la�er, the farm has a speciﬁc responsibility to report to the regulator, Natural England, if the sea temperature rises above 20C. This is because the main shellﬁsh crop consists of Paciﬁc oysters, a non-na�ve species, which are more likely to spawn above that temperature – although the Jurassic Sea Farms oysters should all be sterile, triploid oysters the precau�on is s�ll necessary. He adds: “Using a camera will help us to see how fast the seaweed is growing, to op�mise cropping.” Jurassic grows two na�ve kelp species, using seeded lines. Combining the seaweed farm with growing oysters is a mul�-trophic approach that should enhance produc�on for both. Another use for the camera will be monitoring predators, whether for the seaweed or the shellﬁsh. Portland Harbour is home to dolphins and many larger ﬁsh species. 5G communica�ons, it is hoped, will mean that key data can be transmi�ed directly to the farm staﬀ without frequent trips out to the site itself. Other trials within the project include using drones which can transmit data directly to the farmer, a monitoring system using tags and cameras to monitor the health of cows and a wheat farm run by robots. As Mar�n Sutcliﬀe, Aquaculture and Fisheries Oﬃcer with the Dorset Coast Forum, puts it: “Whatever comes out of the 5G project has to make life easier for the farmers.” FF
Dorset 5G project.indd 37
Coming in the next issue... FEBRUARY ISSUE
• Sea lice • Land-based Farming and Hatcheries • Anti-fouling and Disinfection • Management, Monitoring, Testing & Analysis For more information on opportunities for advertising with editorial content around these subjects please contact: Janice Johnston 0044 (0) 131 551 7925 jjohnston@ﬁshfarmermagazine.com Copy deadline - Friday 29 Janaury
Fish Farmer 37
BY VINCE MCDONAGH
Battered but unbowed The latest report from Seaﬁsh ﬁnds an industry adapting in the face of great challenges
fascina�ng insight into how the UK seafood sector turned coronavirus chaos into innova�ve new business opportuni�es is provided by Seaﬁsh, the industry’s support organisa�on. It is easy to forget that op�mism abounded at the start of the year with salmon and whiteﬁsh prices soaring to record highs. Throughout February and March, however, it became increasingly clear that the world was in the grip of the Covid-19 pandemic. The crisis hit some sec�ons of the ﬁsh trade harder than most because their main customers, hotels, restaurants and other catering outlets, had closed with no indica�on of when they would reopen. Seaﬁsh recently published a detailed study in its latest Covid Impact Review and it has produced a mixed picture. They key points to emerge are: • Export markets were hit ﬁrst, as key countries including China, Italy, Spain and France entered lockdown. • Retail sales soared as the UK began life in lockdown, before levelling oﬀ at an increased level compared with the same �me in 2019. • UK foodservice markets collapsed at the end of March as lockdown put a hold on ea�ng out and tourism. • As businesses along the UK seafood supply chain lost access to their usual markets, new small-scale markets emerged, selling direct to consumers.
Seafish Report - Vince.indd 38
Aquaculture businesses face unique and ongoing ﬁnancial challenges as a result of ﬁxed “minimum crewing” costs (minimum crewing is required for basic stock management at farm sites). Those supplying foodservice or reliant on live or fresh export markets were at par�cular risk when these markets disappeared “overnight”. Small primary processors, such as those in Northeast Scotland and the Humber region, supplying fresh whiteﬁsh to the foodservice sector were hit par�cularly hard. Seaﬁsh says major concerns have been raised around the eﬀects of lockdown on future supply. Aquaculture produc�on cycles take several years to complete, and the pandemic has broken the cycle of reproduc�on and restocking. There are fears that this crisis will lead to an undersupply of smaller, younger ﬁsh and seed to restock, and an overabundance of ﬁsh and shellﬁsh of a sellable size and weight in the coming years. But the survey has also thrown up a genuine tale of ingenuity and enterprise on the part of a number of businesses. It highlighted, for example, the Sco�sh ﬁrm of CFayre in the town of Largs. At the start of the year it was a family-run ﬁshmonger with a small online ordering service. Prior to lockdown, 90% of its trade came through the shop door. Seaﬁsh says that when the pandemic swept the UK, owner John Watson decided to close the shop and Left: The CFayre team shi� focus to online sales. Opposite: Keenan Seafood; Immediately, he saw the demand for online sales The CFayre website take oﬀ, with home deliveries far outstripping normal shop sales. So much so, that the small family team ini�ally struggled to keep up with the surge in demand. The review says: “With a huge eﬀort, working long hours and pu�ng in more eﬀort per sale, they were able to successfully adapt their opera�on. While working to meet heightened online demand, they also worked hard to adapt the shop. A�er seven weeks they reopened with safe physical distancing, contactless payment and branded high visibility
Battered but unbowed
have been raised around the eﬀects of lockdown on future supply
screens to keep customers and staﬀ safe. “John conﬁrmed that customers liked the new shop set up and sales remained good as lockdown began to ease. He noted that although online orders fell back as lockdown measures began to ease, they remained more than double what they were before.” Watson said: “One thing is for sure, both customers and staﬀ feel more comfortable with our new screens, so we’ll be keeping them in place. We’re selling more ﬁsh now than before the pandemic. We’re not sure whether that’s because customers have discovered us, moved away from supermarkets for their ﬁsh or are simply apprecia�ng the quality of Sco�sh ﬁsh, but it’s been very posi�ve.” Keenan Seafood, based in Belfast and which previously supplied a full range of fresh and frozen seafood to hotels, restaurants and contract catering outlets throughout Northern Ireland, has a similar story to tell. The review says: “As the foodservice sector was hit hard by the crisis, Keenan Seafood adapted their services to provide home delivery. They oﬀered a range of frozen packages of ﬁsh and shellﬁsh, including locally sourced Portavogie prawns, and their boxes come with cooking sauces and recipes. As supplies allowed, they have also provided other bespoke ﬁsh boxes, such as Fresh Ba�ered ‘Fakeaway’ boxes for those missing their Friday ﬁsh supper.” Commercial Director Robert Shanks told Seaﬁsh: “We’ve been adap�ng to demand, as people conﬁned to their homes have become more interested in trying a range of seafood and improving their cookery skills.” Further south in the UK, the review said Cornwall’s “FishToYourDoor” ini�a�ve was successful in helping ﬁshermen engage directly with consumers. Seaﬁsh said Sco�sh salmon farmers were experiencing problems as early as January as export markets dried up. Somewhat luckier were the likes
Seafish Report - Vince.indd 39
of Young’s, Seachill and Birds Eye, whose main customers were supermarkets. They quickly became the focus of panic buying and sales soared as a result. However, the outlook for small and medium sized ﬁrms dealing in fresh ﬁsh was not so posi�ve. More than four in ﬁve UK processors found themselves using government support measures. FF
YOUNG’S: HOW CONSUMPTION IS CHANGING
BIG names like Young’s Seafood, which has large produc�on centres in Grimsby and Scotland, also no�ced changes in habits. Sco� Johnston, Technical & Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Director, at the company said anecdotal evidence suggested that Sco�sh salmon was proving popular with customers. He also told Seaﬁsh: “At Young’s, we saw an upli� across the board which began in the lead up to lockdown. This started with strong chilled sales and was followed by an upli� in frozen sales as shoppers switched to bigger, less frequent shops and ﬁlled up their freezers with 142 million fewer shopping trips taken in between March and April. “We have seen this trend across the whole industry as data shows that frozen food has grown 19.8 % year on year, whilst frozen ﬁsh has increased sales by 18.3% (£41.5m) in the same period, a�rac�ng an extra 1.2 million shoppers. This is largely due to the convenience of frozen food, it helps families plan their weeks, is cost eﬀec�ve and reduces waste. Sco� added: “At its peak, total weekly volume sales grew by 56%. The ambient and frozen sectors beneﬁ�ed the most from panic buying as shoppers stocked up on cupboard staples and ﬁlled their freezers.“
Remote communities are learning to adopt an aquaculture method that is good for them and for the environment BY ROBERT OUTRAM
ive a person a fish, the proverb goes, and they can feed their family for a day. Teach them to fish, and you have fed them for life. US-based non-governmental organisation (NGO) World Neighbors takes the proverb a step further: “Teach that person to farm fish and you have helped them not only to feed their family, but generate enough income to invest in their future and that of their children.” World Neighbors is helping people in locations as diverse as Peru, Haiti and East Africa to develop fish farming on a small scale – and to do it in a way that minimises their initial outlay and the impact on the environment. Its projects are examples of the “circular economy” in action that wealthier societies could learn from. The NGO was founded in 1951 and works around the world with very poor, often remote, rural communities. Chief Executive Kate Schecter says: “The main principle is that we believe people are capable of helping themselves, given the opportunity. Even very poor people, once they have the tools and the knowledge, can save money on their own and invest it in their own wellbeing, on many different levels.” In Peru, the charity is working with remote communities in the Andes, where the seasons alternate between heavy rain and long dry periods. Lionel Vigil, World Neighbors’ Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean, explains: “Traditionally, there are six months of heavy
World Neighbors .indd 40
Above: Fish farm, Kenya Opposite: Fish farm in Peru
rain and a six-month dry season. With climate change, it’s more like a wet season of only three months, and farmers were asking us about ways to save water for the community.” Fish ponds provided an answer, not only for water storage but for a new revenue source. First, rainwater is captured using zinc tanks and plastic gutters, and stored in ponds lined with plastic. The ponds are used to grow freshwater fish – mainly trout, in the Andes – with fingerlings bought from Ayacucho, a city in the region. Fishmeal, normally the biggest expense for small-scale fish farmers, is provided using a sustainable process that makes use of food waste. Food leftovers and vegetable leaves are composted with black soldier fly larvae. The larvae feed on the waste and also produce enzymes that kill off harmful bacteria. Once the larvae enter the pupal stage, they are collected, dehydrated – using a solar dehydrator – then crushed and separated into protein and oil. This
Circle of life
We believe people “ are capable of helping themselves, given the opportunity
is mixed with corn flour to make high-protein fishmeal. The composted food waste is used to feed chickens and meanwhile, ammonia-rich waste water from the ponds is piped into a grow bed, with 50-gallon half-barrels containing gravel or volcanic pebbles. The process oxidises the fish waste into nitrites and nitrates as fertiliser for growing lettuce, spinach, tomatoes and peppers in the grow bed. Even the fish bones are ground to add calcium to the chickens’ diet. As Lionel Vigil puts it: “It’s circular agriculture.” The role of World Neighbors is to encourage and inform, for example through “farmer field schools” where people come to exchange ideas and find out about new techniques. Vigil stresses: “We never say ‘this is what we want you to do’. We train people, look for ideas and gather information.” This is an important principle for the charity because it means the changes will be more sustainable. Kate Schecter says: “We require that local people do the labour and where possible, that they buy the equipment. We are not going to bring in a bulldozer and dig the pond for them, because next time the bulldozer won’t be there.” World Neighbors is now looking at how the “circular” concept can be applied to the Amazon region of Peru, a very different environment
World Neighbors .indd 41
and one where aquaculture – especially growing tilapia – is already established. Another species also provides an interesting opportunity – arapaima (arapaima gigas), also known as paiche ,which is very expensive and not affordable for low income families. This is the largest scaled fish in the Amazon region, growing up to three metres in length. Its flesh can be salted and preserved, and it is described as “the cod of the Amazon”, but over-fishing has depleted wild stocks. Farming offers an alternative, and arapaima can be market-ready after just one year. Arapaima fetches a good price in international markets and it has a greater proportion of edible flesh, by total weight, compared with tilapia. Sometimes, tilapia are grown just to feed the larger fish. Meanwhile in Africa, tilapia is also the most popular farmed fish. World Neighbors has been working with communities in Kenya, for example, where a growing population is putting pressure on wild fish stocks in the lakes. Small-scale fish farming is also helping to secure economic independence for women in Kenya. Traditionally, gender roles are clearly defined: men fish in the lakes, and women sell the produce. The reliance on fishermen can leave women vulnerable to exploitation, and having their own small pond makes it possible to run their own business. It also means that female fish traders can buy from other women. Freshwater aquaculture is growing in many African countries, providing not only food for the local population but also an export opportunity for the nation as a whole. The sustainable approach makes sense for small farmers, but larger producers should take note too, says Kate Schecter: “I think they could learn a lot. One of the main things is the organic nature of it. There are less inputs, it is less expensive and it is much healthier for the environment, and good for the consumer.” FF
Future perfect Dawn Purchase of the MCS has set out key challenges for aquaculture BY VINCE MCDONAGH
he Scottish salmon farming industry is making continuous improvements to reduce its impact on the environment, but challenges remain, according to Dawn Purchase, Aquaculture Programme Manager at the Marine Conservation Society. In a special paper for the Open Access Government website, she tells her audience that Scotland last year produced just under 214,000 tonnes of salmon, the highest figure so far. Open Access Government is a digital publication that provides an indepth perspective on key public policy areas from all around the world, including health and social care, research and innovation, technology, blockchain innovation, government, environment and energy.
Sustainable fish farming (Vince).indd 42
Open Access Government regularly features a wide range of prestige contributors including government ministers and European Commissioners. Purchase, who has been with the MCS since 2003, and has since developed the MCSâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; own aquaculture programme which covers all aspects of fish farming. Aquaculture, she says, has been around for 2,000 years, but today accounts for half of all seafood eaten around the world.
We need to look for species that can deal with the changing climate whilst still providing us with the food we need
Above: Dawn Purchase Above right: Shellfish are perhaps the most sustainable form of aquaculture
And in the UK it remains the fastest growing food sector with an average annual increase in production of 5.3% a per year between 20012018. Globally in 2018, 114.5 million tonnes of aquaculture products, including aquatic animals, algae and ornamental seashells and pearls, with a farm gate value of US$263.6bn were produced. Atlantic salmon dominates the UK sector, followed by rainbow trout, halibut and shellfish such as mussels, oysters, clams and scallops. Purchase writes: “The Scottish salmon farming sector has been making continuous improvements to become more efficient and reduce its impact on the environment. “Changes in feed formulations have reduced the reliance on wild capture ingredients, antibiotic usage has been largely replaced with the use of vaccines and technical innovations with equipment allow for constant feed monitoring, reducing waste and benthic impacts. “Despite this progress, there remain a number of environmental concerns, as the industry continues to grow – and is not showing any signs of slowing down – it is important these issues be addressed before the industry expands further.” She continues: “The chemicals used to treat sea lice can have impacts on adjacent crustacean species. Recently wrasse and lumpfish have been used to actually eat the lice off the farmed salmon, but there are concerns about the reliance on poorly managed wild stocks of these to fulfil the high demand.” The sustainability of fish feed used in aquacul-
Sustainable fish farming (Vince).indd 43
ture was another key concern, and one of global significance. Her paper continues: “Many of the farmed fish we eat in the UK is imported, including firm favourites such as warm water prawns, bass, bream and pangasius. “These, as well as salmon, rely on commercial feed, utilising a range of ingredients, including wild fish such as anchovy, sprat, blue whiting, as well as vegetable proteins and oils such as soya and rapeseed oil. “These ‘feed fisheries’ are amongst the largest fisheries in the world, but these species play incredibly important roles in the marine ecosystem, therefore, need to be well managed so as not to impact dependant species such as seabirds, and some can certainly be better managed to achieve this. “There is also increasing concern about the environmental impacts of the terrestrial ingredients used, such as soya.” Perhaps the biggest global challenge is the growth in the human population, predicted to reach 9.5 billion by 2050. Purchase says: “According to the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO), 33% of the world’s farmland is moderately to highly degraded, which, in turn, impedes food security, particularly as much of the remaining land is unsuitable for agriculture. “Given these constraints on agriculture to fulfil our current and future food needs, we need to look to the oceans to provide us with the protein we need. “Global per capita seafood consumption has been steadily rising from 9.0kg in 1961 to 20.3kg in 2017, with wild capture fisheries at their maximum capacity, aquaculture, particularly in the sea, offers the potential to fulfil the protein needs of a growing population. “However, to enable this potential to be fulfilled it is increasingly clear that it needs to happen in a low carbon, climate-resilient and ecologically sustainable way.” There are a number of climate-driven challenges that needed to be overcome for people to realise the potential of aquaculture, predominantly ocean acidification, warming waters and increasing storm events, Purchase suggests. “We need to look for species that can deal with the changing climate whilst still providing us with the food we need, with the lowest possible environmental footprint. Shellfish are a great example. “As filter feeders, they don’t require commercial feed and remove nutrients from the surrounding water, but with a calcium carbonate shell, they also provide a carbon sink. Seaweed farming is also another emerging opportunity for ‘green’ aquaculture. It requires minimum input, can store carbon, and dampens wave energy along our coastlines helping to protect our inshore waters. She concludes: “Aquaculture holds huge potential to not only provide the protein a growing population needs but to do so in a low carbon ecological sustainable way. “To realise this potential, we need to ensure it works in harmony with the environment on which it relies and encourage and support innovation to ensure blue aquaculture really does have a green future.” FF
Nauplius Workboats – Advertorial
Design is a gamechanger The new breed of workboats addresses the crew’s needs
orking in open waters is pre�y demanding for crew members. That’s why addressing the “human factor” is considered a key driver for opera�onal performance. Nauplius Workboats applies crew-centric design principles, resul�ng in comfortable working condi�ons. Both decks and cabins are designed to promote an op�mal workﬂow. Even more importantly these days, those in aquaculture rightly expect more than a standard workboat. The Mul�-Cat hybrids(1907LUV, 2712LUV) set a perfect example; these unique vessels oﬀer extra deck space access remote slipways and withstand the harsh environments. Workﬂow op�misa�on can drama�cally cut opera�ng costs and greenhouse gas emissions to the beneﬁt of both clients and environment. Nauplius Workboats oﬀers innova�ve end-to-end services, so progressive design and technology can be applied to new builds and modiﬁca�on projects. No ma�er what the working condi�ons are, produc�vity, eﬃciency and safety are guaranteed. Next genera�on on deck units A�er an extensive R&D, design and tes�ng phase, Nauplius Workboats is proud to announce a new range of on-deck units. Included are Oxygen generator, Falmosan dosing units and Hydrogen Peroxide dosing units that
require minimal space occupa�on. All units can be integrated with new or exis�ng treatment systems – skidbuilt or containerised – and delivery will start in the ﬁrst quarter of 2021. As Gerrit Knol, Technical Director, Nauplius at Nauplius Workboats explains: “If you expect diﬀerent results while working condi�ons remain the same, innova�ve design will prove to be an absolute gamechanger. Also, our commitment to retain the highest level of opera�onal support contributes to the compe��ve advantage of our clients.” Segment speciﬁc know-how Nauplius Workboats has built a track record in workboats related services, ranging from design op�misa�on, complete builds, legisla�on knowledge to onsite assistance. This mul�disciplinary approach means the company has developed indepth know-how regarding the design, execu�on
Left: Beinn an Oir, a 1907LUV Opposite from top: Easy slipway access; top view of the Beinn Dearg; The Nauplius por�olio
Nauplius Workboats - PED.indd 44
Design is a gamechanger
features, in accordance with latest regula�ons for aquaculture in Scotland. To lower the carbon footprint and fuel consump�on, Nauplius Workboats designed a heat recovery system to generate the base load heat, required for the Thermolicer system. Oil burners are ﬁ�ed for temperature ﬁne-tuning only, addi�onally to the heat recovery system to further reduce the vessel’s carbon footprint. The ﬁsh treatment system facilitates a maximum throughput of 340 tons of salmon per hour depending on the size of the salmon. Due to the unique opera�on of this vessel, diesel electric conﬁgura�on facilitates the most economical output at lower fuel consump�on compared to tradi�onal propulsion systems. “We are very proud of this design, which merges all the demands of specialists working together without compromises to aesthe�cs,” Gerrit Knol says. www.naupliusworkboats.com FF and implementa�on process. Our vessels represent a broad range, yet three primary ac�vi�es jump out. Aquaculture, dredging and oﬀshore maintenance, and crew transfer vessels for support and transfer ac�vi�es. In most cases, these marine assets provide sole access to oﬀshore ﬁsh farms and other facili�es located in remote oﬀshore areas. Each ac�vity segment requires speciﬁc design features, layout arrangements and on board equipment. If all is designed and assembled to facilitate an op�mal workﬂow, complex processes under challenging working condi�ons can be executed to meet the most demanding produc�vity objec�ves. Nauplius Workboats has a unique modular approach resul�ng in a high produc�on capacity, seamless third party collabora�ons, bespoke aquaculture systems and systema�c ﬂexibility. This approach makes every tailor-made vessel unique in design, in accordance with client requirements and speciﬁca�ons; on deadline, and on budget, ensuring full compliance with interna�onal regula�ons and safety measures. Environmentally-minded sustainability has been and will remain a prominent topic in the ship building and opera�ng industry. Nauplius Workboat 3514 U�lity Vessel on build for Inverlussa, has been designed with an emphasis on complete service and low-impact environmentally friendly
Nauplius Workboats - PED.indd 45
Our commitment to retain the highest level of “ opera�onal support contributes to the compe��ve advantage of our clients ”
Cameras, drones and underwater services
A clearer view Robotics and imaging technology are transforming the way we work underwater
Photo: Peter Steen
he underwater environment is intrinsically hazardous, with currents, poor visibility and the perils of decompression just a few of the hazards facing divers. It is important, however, to be able to inspect subsea installations, whether these are deep fish cages, oil and gas pipelines or communications cables. Fortunately, technology is moving forward to create ever more sophisticated equipment to operate in challenging conditions and provide visibility in the murkiest of waters. Leading marine engineering business Ocean Kinetics, for example, offers a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) service that, the company says, “…is nearly always a much more cost effective operation compared to the use of more expensive manned diving teams.” One example of an ROV is the Saab Seaeye Falcon. The Falcon, which was launched nearly 20 years ago, is now a multi-functional vehicle that can be fitted with a wide range of tools and sensors. Although just a metre long, it can be packed with different cameras and tools, ranging from rope cutters, cleaning systems and a powerful five function manipulator,
INTRO Cameras, Drones & Underwater Services.indd 46
along with a variety of cameras. Matt Bates, Product Director, Saab Seaeye, says: “Aquaculture operators are attracted to the Falcon knowing it can work tirelessly, 24 hours a day for weeks on end, in extremely robust conditions, and at depths to 1000 metres if needed. “And it can do so much. Nets can be checked and cleaned, moorings examined, ropes cut, repairs made, and items recovered. Also, fish status can be checked, feeding stations monitored and morts removed. “For working around nets and moorings, the Falcon’s combined power and intelligent control system provides the agility needed to manoeuvre precisely in tight spots and strong currents and stay steady whilst working and filming.” Marine technology business OTAQ also provides a way to keep tabs on what’s happening underwater with its seabed landers, produced by the company’s offshore division. In October it announced that it had won a contract to supply international marine services provider Unique Group with a number of landers. Commonly used to record physical, chemical and biological activity, OTAQ Offshore will fit the seabed lander systems with inspection products, such as very high-resolution stills cameras, Eagle IP video cameras, OceanSENSE leak detection system and Dragonfish laser measurement systems. The systems will also be configured to carry other third-party supplied inspection and monitoring equipment. Two models will be produced for Unique Group: a shallow-water version rated to 300 metres and a deep-water version rated to 4,000 metres, which
Left: Saab diver Right: Deep Trekker REVOLUTION Far right: Tritonia Scientific
A clearer view
will be available to end-users for rental and sale exclusively through Unique Group’s worldwide oﬃce network. The two models will allow Unique’s clients to use the landers in a range of applica�ons using their exis�ng cables and winches. OTAQ Oﬀshore was created following OTAQ’s acquisi�on of Marinesense, which makes the OceanSENSE underwater leak detec�on and Dragonﬁsh precision laser measurement systems for the oﬀshore energy industry. It is a good example of the synergy that exists between the oﬀshore energy sector and aquaculture. Technical advances in one sector can o�en help the other. The big energy players are par�cularly helping to drive progress in developing ROVs and autonomous robots for subsea work. BP, for example, has reportedly commi�ed to a target of 100% of subsea inspec�ons performed via marine autonomous systems (MAS) by 2025. This presents a huge opportunity for Scotland, which combines cu�ng-edge research into ar�ﬁcial intelligence (AI) and robo�cs with subsea engineering exper�se, both in energy and aquaculture. An ar�cle published last year on the Sco�sh
Development Interna�onal website www.sdi.co.uk (“New depths: robots in Scotland’s subsea industries”) listed some of the leading players in ROVs, including Aleron Subsea, Innospec�on and AC-CESS and the applica�ons to which they are being put. The ar�cle also predicted a greater role for fully autonomous devices. While ROVs must be tethered and controlled from a support vessel, robot vehicles incorpora�ng AI (“AIVs”) could be managed from a much greater distance , even from onshore. The SDI ar�cle says: “Once deployed, the AIV can inspect pipelines, cables and other inﬁeld infrastructure for the oil and gas industry independently of its support vessel, which can be engaged in other tasks. Its onboard systems use advanced AI and machine learning not only to carry out a pre-programmed mission, but also to recognise and iden�fy poten�al issues on the ground and transmit this data to its human team. “An autonomous vehicle is more ﬂexible and eﬃcient in its approach and can deliver high-quality data even in diﬃcult condi�ons.” Saab Seaeye’s Ma� Bates says: “In a future that sees larger cages, going deeper, I can see advanced robo�c systems growing in importance. A typical key resource will be mul�-tasking robo�cs that can remain in residence at cages, ready to undertake rou�ne inspec�on and interven�on both autonomously and over distant control using the kind of resident robo�c technology adapted from systems we have developed for the oﬀshore energy market. It is an exci�ng �me for robo�cs in aquaculture.” For AIVs to be truly eﬀec�ve, one of the challenges lies in improving communica�ons between robots and humans. Researchers working at the Oﬀshore
An “ autonomous
vehicle is more ﬂexible and eﬃcient in its approach
EMPOWERING world leader in electric underwater robotics
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Cameras, drones and underwater services research, diving services and technology company based near Oban on the west coast of Scotland, has developed techniques to deal with the problem (see page 49 for more details). A key part of Tritonia’s technology is “stereophotogrammetry”, that is combining photos or videos to create 3D, highly accurate visual computer models. Tritonia can combine data from a number of sources, including divers, ROVs, side-scan sonar and aerial drones, and can model objects of any size from sub-millimetre scales to several kilometres across. The process also makes the water “disappear” and the data can be presented in a range of formats, such as visually or in CAD (computer aided design) format, revealing anything from cracks in a pipeline to biofouling by invasive species. It has often been said that we know more about the surface of the moon than we do about the ocean bed. Increasingly, however, technology is Robotics for the Certification of Assets (ORCA) project run by Heriot-Watt enabling a clearer view of what’s happening down University and the University of Edinburgh have developed a system that allows there. FF humans and machines to interact in natural language. MIRIAM – Multimodal Intelligent inteRactIon for Autonomous systeMs – permits users to text or speak to a robot and get an answer in plain English, rather than code, just as would be the case with a human diver. Meanwhile at a more practical level, Canadian robotics company Deep Trekker has developed firmware for its DTG3 and REVOLUTION inspection vehicles to allow users to choose which language they prefer to interact with the devices: English, Spanish or Norwegian. Deep Trekker’s ROVs are powered by long-lasting batteries, so don’t have to be tethered to a cable – making them more manoeuvrable. It’s not just the vehicles themselves that technology is transforming. Coming up with useful images that can be interpreted accurately is a challenge underwater, particularly where visibility is limited. Tritonia Scientific, an underwater
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Far left: OTAQ Seabed Lander Left: The Falcon DR + skid 145r
Seeing is believing
Tritonia Scientific – Advertorial
A vision to advance underwater inspection
hy are accurate and reliable observa�ons of underwater structures and environments vital for the aquaculture industry? Many methods currently exist for obtaining underwater imagery, but most are not of suﬃcient quality to support precise measurement or consistent monitoring. Emerging techniques and technologies are now being developed that not only provide visually appealing models but also generate accurate and dependable data, giving conﬁdence for important management decisions and regulatory repor�ng. Tritonia Scien�ﬁc is an underwater research and technology company, located near Oban, which brings together decades of commercial, scien�ﬁc, and prac�cal marine exper�se to turn informa�on gathered underwater into valuable intelligence for customers’ business needs. Most of their work uses the technique of stereophotogrammetry that combines photos or videos to create 3D, highly accurate visual computer models. The surveys are planned with clients to meet the speciﬁc requirements of inspec�ons and Tritonia can integrate data obtained from divers, ROVs, AUVs, side-scan sonar and aerial drones.
Figure 1: A georeferenced model of a 12x12 m sec�on of seabed produced where in-situ water clarity was 1-2 m. Figure 2: A Model: 136cm rock anchor (medium resolu�on). Used to measure: levels of biofouling, degree of anode sacriﬁce, depth of penetra�on, angle/ direc�on of incline. Figure 3: A 47-hectare oyster farm
Precision and accuracy come from using: • high-end through-water GPS systems for georeferencing; • lasers or delineated markers for scaling and orienta�on; and • salinity-corrected pressure sensors for depth measurement. Tritonia can model objects over a range of sizes, from several kilometres across down to sub-millimetre scales. These can be presented in a format that is most useful for the client, from CAD models to layered GIS packages. Tritonia makes the water disappear virtually, producing clear visibility even in turbid or low-light condi�ons. The models visually expose structures or environments that are not possible to see using tradi�onal methods, producing permanent records that can be con�nuously assessed and used for whatever the client needs. Precise changes can be iden�ﬁed using comparison so�ware on subsequent models which means that fewer surveys are o�en needed to show what is happening over �me. Beyond the ini�al survey requirements, Tritonia’s clients have found addi�onal advantages of the models, including exact posi�oning as to where
environmental samples, such as seabed cores, are taken or where invasive species have been iden�ﬁed during biosecurity surveys. In addi�on, low�de aerial drone surveys can produce photogrammetric maps of broad-scale inter�dal aquaculture resources, such the 47-hectare oyster farm shown in ﬁg 3. These orthomosaic models display both loca�on and shore eleva�on informa�on. Whatever the need for wan�ng to know more about what is underwater or close to the water, Tritonia Scien�ﬁc is dedicated to revealing it all. www.tritoniascien�ﬁc.co.uk FF
Tritonia Scientific - PED.indd 49
the water disappear virtually
Water treatment, aeration and temperature control
Pure and simple Monitoring and maintaining water quality is a crucial part of aquaculture
ater quality and factors like dissolved oxygen levels are vital for ﬁsh farmers, whether land-based or marine. In this feature, we look at three of the ground-breaking products now on oﬀer. Alvestad Marin was founded in 2003 by Runar Alvestad, with the aim of providing technical and prac�cal solu�ons for the aquaculture industry. The company is based in Oslo and products range from a robot-operated hatchery system to AutoOx, a fully automated system which regulates oxygen levels in water as part of Alvestad’s “GasBuster” system. Now, Alvestad Marin has launched an “almost RAS” concept for land-based ﬁsh farming. The idea is to reduce water usage through a “high re-use” system without a bioﬁlter. The system can manage water recycling as much as 90-95%, adding oxygen and removing CO2 and par�cles, as well as controlling temperature. The company says: “There is currently great interest in land-based ﬁsh farming, and many are considering building new facili�es. As a result of new technical requirements, there are also a number of established
CompHatch 2020 ®
Market leading hatchery has been improved! Hatching tray and EasyHatch substrate are molded together in one unit Less components for easier service and cleaning Replaced water tubes with channels to improve water distribution The water pipes have been replaced with built-in water channel
Below: Aquaturu Skaermbilled Opposite: The Alvestad alsmost RAS
CompHatch 2020 is AutoTend Ready!
Compact trays are designed for integration with AutoTend, automatic egg and fry tending robot.
facili�es that are planning upgrades in the near future. If one does not have unlimited access to water, it will be natural to consider solu�ons that provide opportuni�es for increased produc�on capacity and be�er u�lisa�on of the water source as part of the upgrade.” Also making use of new technology is Aquaturu, a Danish technology company which has developed innova�ve and environmentally friendly water treatment solu�ons that can help secure sustainable land-based ﬁsh farming. The company has introduced a new and revolu�onary method to reduce bacteria, viruses, parasites and algae in freshwater ﬁsh farming facili�es. Aquaturu’s water treatment technology helps eliminate the problems of the land-based aquaculture industry by lowering bacteria, parasites and algae in plants, leading to lower costs and thus higher returns. The result, the company believes, is eﬃcient sustainable and responsible aquaculture produc�on. The technology uses a controlled electrical ﬁeld in the waterﬂow, which kills and prevents the prolifera�on of a wide range of microscopic organisms including bacteria, viruses, parasites and algae. The equipment works even in very dirty water, without a pre-ﬁltra�on required, and it means the use of chemical treatments can be greatly reduced. Aquaturu aims to supply units by Q2 of this year. Bioﬂo, produced by Warden Biomedia, is a durable, rugged and highly eﬃcient media
See AutoTend in action at
For more information contact us today
50 HI_ALVESTAD_CompHatch_JANFEB2021_SVA.indd 1
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www.fishfarmermagazine.com 2020-10-29 9:27 AM
Pure and simple
designed to provide a large protected surface area for the bioﬁlm and op�mal condi�ons for bacteria culture growth. Bioﬂo’s large openings allow for wastewater to pass freely through the media which helps maintain a healthy and thin bioﬁlm. Sterner AS, the largest Norwegian-owned water treatment company which focuses on
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There is currently great “interest in land-based ﬁsh farming ”
aquaculture and RAS (Recircula�on Aquaculture System) technology for ﬁsh farming selected Warden’s ﬁlter for an onshore RAS based ﬁsh farm plant Sterner was building for its customer Eidesvik Se�esﬁsk AS. Sverre H. Amrani, Sterner AS Technical Sales Manager says: “Selec�ng the right media is never an easy task. With Warden’s extensive knowledge of and exper�se in ﬁlter media, we were able to select the most appropriate media for this plant. With their help we have been able to meet our targets.” FF
Food for thought
A sustainable aquaculture industry means ensuring sustainable feed sources
BY ROBERT OUTRAM
ish farming represents a great way to produce protein for a growing world popula�on. Aquaculture has a low carbon footprint and – compared with wild ﬁshing – there is no danger of running down wild ﬁsh stocks through unsustainable harves�ng. The problem is, however, that farmed ﬁsh have to be fed. Many of the species we prefer to eat are carnivores that, in the wild, feed on other ﬁsh. Fishmeal is therefore a key part of the diet for farmed salmon, for example. The United Na�ons Food and Agricultural Organisa�on (FAO) es�mates that, by 2030, global aquaculture produc�on is expected to grow to 109 million tons, represen�ng growth of 37% compared with 2016. Based on these ﬁgures IFFO – the interna�onal trade organisa�on that represents the marine ingredients industry – suggests there is at least a volume of 75-76 million tonnes of fed species to be produced globally in 2030, and very likely more if rates of change are maintained, growing from approximately 55 million tonnes of fed aquaculture produc�on currently. That, IFFO says, means an addi�onal 20 million tonnes of fed farmed ﬁsh annually, implying a demand for an addi�onal 30 million tonnes or so of extra ingredients that will have to be found for aquafeed. Many fear, therefore, that this will lead to overﬁshing of “forage ﬁsh” or bait ﬁsh – o�en species that are too small or unpalatable for human consump�on, but valuable for use in ﬁshmeal, food for terrestrial farm animals and pets, and fer�liser.
Intro - Feed.indd 52
Late last year, for example, Marine Stewardship Council cer�ﬁca�on was withdrawn for Atlanto-Scandinavian herring and blue whi�ng a�er failure to agree on sustainable quotas between na�ons. Although herring is sold for human consump�on, blue whi�ng is mainly used for ﬁshmeal and suspending these ﬁsheries is bad news for salmon farmers. It’s not just ﬁnﬁsh species that are seen as at risk. In December, the Associa�on of Responsible Krill harves�ng companies (ARK) and a coali�on of campaign groups agreed a voluntary ban on krill harves�ng in an area of the Antarc�c Ocean, to preserve a vital food source for the local penguin popula�on. All this means the pressure is on to ﬁnd alterna�ve feed ingredients. Leading salmon producer Mowi, for example has teamed up with the Bellona Founda�on, the Norwegian Seafood Federa�on and several major players in the ﬁsh feed industry to improve the climate footprint of Norwegian salmon. The “Råvarelø�et” ini�a�ve seeks to accelerate the development of new raw materials for ﬁsh feed, to help curb greenhouse gas emissions,
Left: Farmed seafood has a low carbon footprint Below: Soybean ﬁeld Opposite from top: Feed; Black soldier ﬂy; The SalmoSim team
Food for thought
while genera�ng employment and furthering the development of the aquaculture industry. The alterna�ves to ﬁshmeal are not without their own problems, however. Soy protein is used to reduce the amount of ﬁshmeal required in aquafeed, but soy produc�on has also been accused of damaging environment. In November last year, the Rainforest Alliance called for a boyco� of US feed producer Cargill, because the Alliance claimed Cargill was using soy from sources that are contribu�ng to deforesta�on in Brazil. Cargill denies the allega�ons but feed companies are taking the issue seriously. In December, Nutreco announced the launch of a new soy sourcing policy, aiming to simplify complex cer�ﬁca�on schemes for its procurement teams in Skre�ng and Trouw Nutri�on, and to facilitate the complete removal of deforesta�on from its supply chain by 2025. Nutreco says its policy will be transparent policy, highligh�ng soy-producing regions on low and high risk of deforesta�on, outlining the procurement requirements in areas of higher risk and cu�ng through the complex system of cer�ﬁca�on that currently covers soy and palm oil products. Skre�ng is also part of an ac�on group on sustainability, with Cargill Aqua Nutri�on, Biomar, Mowi and cer�ﬁca�on organisa�on ProTerra, together with several leading Brazilian soy producers. The group has agreed a more transparent and consistent approach to cer�ﬁca�on, to ensure that ﬁsh farmers are using soy protein only from sustainable sources. The search is also on for more exo�c and ingenious alterna�ves. Insect-based protein is a�rac�ng a lot of a�en�on although it represents only a small part of aquafeed so far. In 2019 French trout grower Aquadis Naturelle-
Intro - Feed.indd 53
ment partnered with Biomar to produce a trout harvest fed with Salvea, a feed product based on insect meal and ﬁsh trimmings, which also includes naturally derived pigments and an�oxidants, as well as omega-3 fa�y acids. Insects like black soldier ﬂies can be bred on land using food waste. It’s arguably a sustainable solu�on but it is not cheaper than ﬁshmeal from wild sources, and for many ﬁsh species it does not amount to a complete diet. Fish accustomed to a diet of marine prey require supplements and adding omega-3 also makes the ﬁsh more nutri�ous for human consumers. Last year a research team at the University of California, Santa Cruz, published ﬁndings from a six-year project to create a new ﬁsh-free aquaculture feed based on marine algae, which like Seaﬁsh also contain omega-3 oils. Pallab Sarker, Associate Research Professor and lead author of a Scien�ﬁc Reports ar�cle on the research, said: “This is a poten�al game-changer for shi�ing aquaculture to more sustainable prac�ces.” The new feed replaces ﬁsh oil with whole cells from Schizochytrium sp, a marine algae species, and replaces ﬁshmeal with a by-product le� over from processing Nannochloropsis occulata microlga, which is the basis for a commercial omega-3 dietary supplement. And in Chongqing, China, construc�on has just started on a produc�on facility for FeedKind, an aquafeed produced by fermen�ng natural gas with a naturally occurring bacteria. The project is being run by Calysseo, a joint venture between interna�onal animal nutri�on group Adisseo and California-based protein innovator Calysta. Produc�on of FeedKind uses no arable land and almost no water in
This is a “poten� al
Above: Feed Right: Amazon deforestation Opposite: Antarctic krill
Intro - Feed.indd 54
its production, and the Chongqing site will be the world’s first commercial-scale production facility for single-cell protein. Production is expected to be up and running in 2022, as the world’s first. The first phase will see annual production of 20,000 tonnes, which will supply the Asian aquafeed market. Jean-Marc Dublanc, CEO of Adisseo, stated at the ceremony to mark the start of construction: “Today’s groundbreaking is a landmark moment in the delivery of a disruptive technology that can provide benefits on several levels for Asian aquaculture. We are proud to bring the world’s first commercial-scale FeedKind production facility to China in partnership with Calysta. “Adisseo is committed to making strategic investments that can improve the sustainability and security of the Asian feed ingredient market, in the context of continuous growth of world’s population and demand for high quality protein.” The company estimates that, if it is used as substitute for fishmeal, 100,000 tonnes of FeedKind could mean that between approx. 420-450k tonnes of wild-caught fish could be saved. If it replaces soy-based feed, the same quantity of FeedKind could free up as much as 535 km2 of land and would save nine billion litres of water. In a separate development, Calysta has also engaged with Scottish tech start-up SalmoSim to find a way to trial new developments in aquafeed. SalmoSim has created a “salmon simulator” that mimics the digestive tract of the Atlantic salmon, making it possible to quickly trial new feed formulations. Results from the simulation, taking place at the University of Glasgow, will provide Calysta with valuable data on digestibility comparing FeedKind in SalmoSim to existing in vivo data. Dr Martin Llewellyn, founder of SalmoSim and senior lecturer at the University of Glasgow, said, announcing the deal: “The aquaculture sector is changing rapidly, with many seeking to find more sustainable ingredients for fish feed that can support future growth as a substitute
for wild-caught fish. SalmoSim can help feed manufacturers with an important pre-screening phase, allowing them to eliminate unviable options without the time and expense associated with full-scale tests.” Cutting-edge research is also on the agenda for Skretting, which last year launched The Bubble, a new research facility forming an integral part of Skretting Aquaculture Research Centre (ARC). The new facility will enable the team of scientists at Skretting ARC to better understand the complexity of physiological interactions of aquaculture species using many technologies mirrored in the human health sector, including the same techniques that are used to detect breast cancer and pathogens like Covid-19. Microarray, qPCR, OMICs, cell culture, rapid analytics and quantitative histology are just some of the methods which will allow researchers to dig much deeper into the fundamental causes of challenges and risks for aquatic animals. Some of those techniques, like cell culture, will enable the team to work in an even more sustainable manner. Alex Obach, Skretting R&D Director, says: “This facility will help us understand mechanisms behind effects, essentially finding out the ‘why’. We are not just observing changes,
Food for thought
but we are understanding them to a greater extent than ever before. Why do some ﬁsh grow be�er? Why are some more resistant to challenges? When we understand the why, we can go further in our innova�on.” Aquafeed can be ﬁne-tuned to provide very speciﬁc results. For example, Alltech Coppens has developed a trout feed that supports op�mal diges�on and health during very cold periods, when ﬁsh metabolism slows down (see page 56 for more in this). STIM has developed a feed formula, SuperSmolt FeedOnly, that regulates smol�ﬁca�on for salmon, using an amino acid. The aim is to ensure that no pre-smolt ﬁsh are transferred to sea too early, and also that ﬁsh do not pass the smolt stage too soon. The formula is now the subject of a court case in Norway, as STIM has alleged that Biomar’s Intro Tuning Feed infringes the patent of its own patent. Meanwhile there remains scep�cism in some quarters regarding “novel ingredients” as an alterna�ve to ﬁshmeal. Trade organisa�on IFFO, set out in a posi�on paper (Zero ﬁshmeal feeds, October 2019) various reasons why, in its view, a ﬁsh-free feed concept “is based on ﬂawed thinking”. IFFO argues that quality feed is required to ensure quality food, for a growing world popula�on. Fishmeal and ﬁsh oil are rich in the nutrients that farmed ﬁsh require, it says, and no other single ingredient can produce these in a way that farmed ﬁsh can absorb eﬀec�vely. The paper also says: “Where ﬁshmeal and ﬁsh oil are reduced, feed companies need to manage formula�ons to ensure that feeds s�ll retain complete nutri�onal proﬁles. This o�en involves the supplementa�on of individual micronutrients from a range of other sources, which adds complexity and in turn carries a further range of responsible sourcing and quality implica�ons for those ingredients that are used as par�al or complete subs�tutes. “Subs�tu�on usually adds costs carrying implica�ons for the economic viability of feed produc�on.” The paper also argues that as more than half of the world’s ﬁshmeal and ﬁsh oil are produced to a responsible sourcing standard (the IFFO RS), there is no ra�onale for their removal from aquafeeds
Intro - Feed.indd 55
from a ﬁshery management perspec�ve. The paper concludes: “Con�nued aquaculture development is dependent on the produc�on of quality aquafeeds using all the available ingredients. To enable this process, the superior nutri�onal quali�es of ﬁshmeal and ﬁsh oil are best directed to the points in produc�on systems where their op�mal nutri�onal value may be extracted. The approach, then, is not about removal of ﬁshmeal and ﬁsh oil from aquafeeds but in making sure that we use these most eﬀec�ve nutri�onal products to their best advantage.” It is apparent that feed is about a lot more than simply feeding ﬁsh: the choice and formula�on of the product aﬀects ﬁsh health and development; it aﬀects the industry’s impact on the natural environment; and it aﬀects the nutri�onal value of ﬁsh to us, the consumers. Developments in feed are among the most important factors shaping the industry as a whole. FF
Quality “feed is
required to ensure quality food
Alltech Coppens – Advertorial
A winter’s tale Feed can deliver enhanced fat digestibility and performance, even in cold water
n cold water, trout become less ac�ve and their metabolism slows down. Diges�on slows down too and fat diges�on, especially, becomes less eﬃcient. This is in line with the trout’s natural lifestyle whereby very li�le food is available during the winter period. The diges�ve tract is not accustomed to handle a lot of food. The enzyma�c processes depend on the water temperature and take place at a low rate when the water is cold. However, in a trout farm growth is desirable during the whole year, including the colder months. Feeds that do well in summer may fail to give good results in winter. In intensive trout farms and farms with a restricted water availability, more pollu�on can therefore some�mes be detected during the winter �me. This happens especially when the water temperature sinks to 8 °C and below. The trout adapts its physiology to the cold period and one important aspect is that its requirement for essen�al fa�y acids changes, compared to higher water temperatures. This adapta�on is necessary for the ﬁsh to keep a good condi�on and stay healthy. Migra�ng salmonids go through a similar process when they smol�fy. Ini�ally at the onset of smol�ﬁca�on the ﬁsh will move into brackish water, changing to a marine diet of shrimp and bait ﬁsh. Their camouﬂage changes to a silvery skin with a dark back and white belly. This helps them to blend in with the surroundings. The marine diet, rich in omega-3 fa�y acids, assures a high membrane ﬂuidity in the cold sea water so that they can move swi�ly. This physiological adapta�on assures a good diges�on of food during very cold condi�ons. At Alltech Coppens we aimed to develop a trout feed concept that
Alltech Coppens - PED.indd 56
allowed op�mal diges�on, health and performance during very cold periods. A�er extensive research at the Alltech Coppens Aqua Centre we have managed to considerably improve fat diges�bility in very cold water and match the trout’s changed requirement for essen�al fa�y acids. Fat diges�on is determined by four major factors: the water temperature, the mel�ng point of the fat in the feed, the fa�y acid proﬁle of the feed and the feeding level. The mel�ng point of the oil in the feed determines whether the fa�y acids can be emulsiﬁed well at a given water temperature. When the oil becomes more solid in cold water emulsiﬁca�on is compromised and diges�on reduced. The key is to have the right mel�ng point at a water temperature at 8°C and lower. Our R&D eﬀorts have provided crucial data to get the mel�ng point right in winter condi�ons! In order to func�on well in cold water, trout require more of the long chain omega-3 fa�y acids (LC-PUFA) as these are structural lipids that are built into the cell membranes. By incorpora�ng more LC-PUFA in the cell membranes, as the water turns colder a high membrane ﬂuidity and func�onality is maintained. This is essen�al for the trout’s physiology, and promotes good fat diges�on. The la�er, of course, is key to ge�ng a good performance in the cold months.
The trout adapts its physiology to the cold period
A winter’s tale
Opposite: Trout parr and smolt Above: Rainbow trout Right: Alltech Coppens feed
The feed rate is also decisive for fat diges�on. Since the ﬁsh’s metabolism slows down in cold water, it takes a long �me for trout to digest a meal. This can take up to a few days. A high feed rate overloads the diges�ve tract and the trout is less capable of diges�ng it eﬃciently. This leads to a poorer FCR and more excrements, which may be visible to the farmer in the form of a higher degree of pollu�on. Our research has shown that a slightly lower feed rate helps to increase fat diges�on and this is in line with the physiological adapta�on the trout goes through in winter. In this respect less is more. Apart from a slightly lower feed rate, it is also important to feed rather slowly in the cold period so that the slower trout have suﬃcient �me to take up the pellets and none are wasted. Making sure that the feed has a high a�rac�on and is palatable to the trout is also important, so that the ﬁsh immediately react when feeding commences. For this purpose the R&D team at Alltech Coppens have done feed trials to inves�gate the palatability of the diﬀerent ingredients so that the right combina�ons can be made, in addi�on to mee�ng the nutri�onal requirements. These crucial points have all been addressed
Alltech Coppens - PED.indd 57
in Alltech Coppens’ trout cold water concept. This concept meets the requirements of the trout and the challenges of a trout farmer in winter. The two trout feeds that excel in cold condi�ons are the highly diges�ble Ultra and Crystal. For advice on feed rates during cold periods please take up contact with the Alltech Coppens team FF
Feed additives can help win the battle against disease
ommercial aquaculture species suffer from a variety of bacterial infections and parasites which cause serious economic losses. Skin mucus is the ﬁrst barrier by which ﬁsh is protected from the attack of pathogens. There is a constant battle between the adhesion and growth of bacteria and parasites, and the renewal and defensive properties of the mucus The skin mucus defensive mechanism is composed of physical and biochemical barriers that can be bolstered by health-promoting functional additives. APEX® BRANCHIA is a health promotor based on synergistic natural compounds, which through multiple mechanisms such as enhanced antioxidant, detoxifying, and antimicrobial capacities of skin mucus, can reinforce the mucus barrier Recent studies have demonstrated high efﬁcacy in inhibiting growth of opportunistic bacteria and reducing ectoparasite infection rates. The supplementation of APEX® BRANCHIA is a key element for prevention strategies aiming at reducing the impact of infections and parasites on productivity in ﬁsh farming.
Share Our Vision
Species-specific solutions for a sustainable and profitable aquaculture At Adisseo, we offer species-specific nutrition and health solutions to aquaculture customers around the world. There is a lot to gain by optimizing your feed additive strategy. Our aqua experts are passionate to help you find out how to increase your productivity and profitability.
We look forward to sharing our vision with you!
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Products and services
What’s NEW Monthly update on industry innovations and solutions from around the world Alvestad Marin launches new CompHatch® and AutoTend® robot ALVESTAD Marin has updated its market-leading hatchery CompHatch with new design features. The new CompHatch2020 has fewer components, with the EasyHatch substrate moulded into the hatching tray in one piece, making for a more user-friendly system with enhanced hygiene and water distribution. Alvestad Marin has also launched AutoTend for automatic tending of salmonids eggs and fry. Tending fry and eggs is a time consuming and laborious activity, but it is a crucial task as unhealthy or dead eggs might pollute the entire batch. The AutoTend robot uses computer vision and machine learning to identify dead eggs or fry before removing them, using a vacuum suction extractor. www.alvestad.com/en
A FISH FARM FAVOURITE Falcon for aquaculture
Ocean Kinetics – the market leaders in aquaculture and marine works For over 25 years they have been providing high quality diving and ROV services, as well as high quality fabrication and machining services. Investing in the right people, equipment and facilities has made the company well placed to offer innovative and cost-effective solutions for even the most complex projects and repairs. They have extensive experience in carrying out underwater works, including underwater construction and corrosion prevention, inspection and salvage. This has taken them all over the world, from Antarctica to the West Coast of Scotland, new challenges are always welcome. Whether their divers are constructing, inspecting, welding, or salvaging, all operations are carried out to the highest safety and quality standards, deploying ROV (remotely operated vehicles) when this is the best solution. www.oceankinetics.co.uk
Falcon top for ﬁsh farming Market leading hatchery has been improved! THE leading underwater robotic vehicle in its class for the aquaculture industry is the Falcon from Saab Seaeye, world leader in electric underwater robotics. Aquaculture operators globally choose the Seaeye Falcon for its ability to work reliably in remote locations, and amidst strong currents whilst manoeuvring precisely when inspecting and maintaining nets, rigging and moorings. The Falcon comes in 300 and 1000 metre-rated options and is packed with five powerful thrusters along with Saab Seaeye’s revolutionary iCON™ intelligent distributed control architecture. An easily handled metre-sized vehicle, the Falcon can adopt different cameras, tools – including rope cutters and a powerful five-function For more information contact us today manipulator – and sensors for undertaking numerous intricate and alvestad.com/en demanding tasks. www.saabseaeye.com
reliable inspection and intervention to protect your assets
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world leader in electric underwater robotics
Industry DIARY The latest aquaculture events, conferences and courses MARCH 21
LATIN AMERICAN & CARIBBEAN AQUACULTURE 2021 (VIRTUAL EVENT)
AQUACULTURE EUROPE 2021 Madeira, Portugal October 5-8, 2021
Guayaquil, Ecuador, March 22-25, 2021
APRIL 21 AQUACULTURE EUROPE 2021 (VIRTUAL EVENT)
Aquaculture Europe 2020 will now be an ONLINE event. The basic format of the event will stay the same as “normal” Aquaculture Europe meetings, with morning plenary sessions and then breakout parallel sessions for oral and Eposter presentations.
(Previously, Cork, Ireland) April 12-15, 2021
NOVEMBER 21 Seawork is Europe’s leading commercial marine and workboat exhibition, providing businesses the opportunity to showcase their products and services to an international audience. Southampton, Mayflower Park, UK, 15-17 June, 2021 Visit www.seawork.com
RAStech 2021 is the venue for learning, networking and knowledge sharing on RAS technologies, design and implementation across the world.
Hilton Head Island, SC, USA November 3-4, 2021
MAY 21 AQUACULTURE UK 2021
Aviemore will once again be the venue for this bi-annual trade fair and conference. It is undoubtedly the most important aquaculture exhibition held in the British Isles. The show has a tremendous following and with increased investment for 2021 it promises to reach even further across the broader aquaculture markets in both the UK and Europe.
Aviemore, United Kingdom May 19-21, 2021
AQUACULTURE AMERICA WORLD AQUACULTURE 2021 2021
This show will be the largest aquaculture trade show in the Western Hemisphere and one of the largest anywhere in the world with nearly 200 booths! This is your opportunity to inspect the latest in products and services for the aquaculture industry.
San Antonio,Texas, USA August 11-14, 2021
SEPTEMBER 21 ASIAN PACIFIC AQUACULTURE 2021
WORLD AQUACULTURE 2021
The event will be held in Singapore this year with involvement from countries throughout the Asian-Pacific region and around the world. Aquaculture is growing rapidly in the region and therefore 2021 is the perfect time for the world aquaculture community to turn its focus here. Singapore June 14-18, 2021
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Merida, Mexico November 15-19, 2021
DECEMBER 21 AQUACULTURE AFRICA 2021 Alexandria, Egypt December 11-14, 2021
Surabaya, Indonesia September 7-10, 2021
SEAFOOD EXPO GLOBAL
San Diego, California, USA February 27 - March 3, 2022
Barcelona, Spain September7-9 2021
WAS NORTH AMERICA & AQUACULTURE CANADA 2021 St. John’s, Newfoundland, Canada, September 26-29, 2021
APRIL 22 WORLD AQUACULTURE 2022 Qingdao, China April 25-28, 2022
SAVE THE DATE NOVEMBER 3-4, 2021
Westin Hilton Head Island Resort I South Carolina, USA
The international conference and trade fair on Recirculating Aquaculture System (RAS) technology
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A PASSION FOR SALMON
SSPO Chair Atholl Dunc
THE THREE HORSEMEN
Brexit deja vu
THE OMEGA FACTOR Sandy Neil
PRESENT AND FUTURE SEAFOOD Nicki Holmyard
ff09 Cover.indd 1 14/09/2020 14:49:51
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Opinion – Inside track
How 2020 has changed us BY NICK JOY
t the start of a new year, looking back becomes a national pastime. For the year just passed, of all years, there is so much to review. When 2019 slipped quietly into 2020 there was already a seed of destruction growing under the soil and in March it surfaced and grew incredibly quickly. Like pancreas disease in salmon, by the time the symptoms showed the problem was too advanced to do more than attempt to mitigate the worst of it. Having said that, the world’s politicians have made an absolute meal of it. The speed with which civil rights – from freedom of movement to the right to see family – have been removed was astounding. It is dangerous to criticise people faced with this sort of radical change, especially when the basis for the changes is so obscure and illogical. How could anyone work out how to react when the governments of the world revised all of the things they had said were central to their philosophies? The challenges to our industry from health to market supply remained. Whilst I would love to say that our critics became more inclined towards finding commonality under such pressure, they did not. Nor, sadly, did government become more aware of the huge pressures that they are placing on food production. Neither seem to understand that food will be one of the most important issues of the next decades. Diet and food supply will become a very serious political issue in the near future. Aquaculture globally and in the UK specifically will be central to satisfying demand for a healthy nutritious diet and so the delivery of a sensible sustainable development strategy is crucial. Please note that I do not say that this will happen in 2021. I don’t believe in fairies at the bottom of my garden! The most lasting and significant changes brought on by the advent of Covid-19 will be those that affect our markets both globally and at home, most obviously those created by people staying home rather than eating out. A decrease of spend in restaurants and the like of around 58% this year, equating to £44bn, will bring a whole load of new trends with it. Takeaway and home cooking have become a far larger part of the average home’s eating habit, and over £11bn more has been spent on retail food purchases this year. Some companies adapted extremely fast. The Haar restaurant in St Andrews decided to develop and sell luxury seafood boxes. It has been a rip-roaring success and I take my hat off to them. This sort of thinking, allied to reacting fast, is exactly the sort of initiative our industry needs. We have a hidebound distribution system with far too many people taking too much margin between our producers and the consumer Of course the difficulty is knowing which of these trends will continue and thrive and which will wither and die. Large numbers of consumers have said categorically that they will go back to visiting restaurants regularly when restrictions end but will they really? So many people I talk with still really fear the virus and far worse, fear mixing with other people. Also, once you have presented a meal you have cooked yourself to a bunch of people and been told how delicious it is (not an experience I have had), you may be keen to hear it again. So many people have tried to forecast what will happen, often because they want to extrapolate their own view. Apparently more
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Diet and “ food supply will become a very serious political issue in the near future
than 400,000 people turned vegan this year but the other side is more rarely quoted: more than 200,000 gave up being vegan. So I will predict something which I hope is less about promulgating my own view but seems possible if farfetched. It is likely that there will be an effect on globalisation not just know about your locale and its risks, but also because during this period people have become much more aware of their environmental impact. How we address that one will also be interesting! Air freight has already become much harder and more expensive to use but will that mean that ultra low temperature freezing will become a greater part of food supply? After all it has 17 times less carbon footprint and the product tastes and has the texture of fresh. Writing ahead of the festive break, I predict the British public will eat too much at Christmas and drink too much at New Year. I intend to fulfil my part of that forecast with enthusiasm. I can do no better than to wish you all the same! FF
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B I O L O G Y
20 years -
Congratulations to Loch Duart, AKVA Group are proud to support you
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