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Fish F armer JULY 2021



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Editor’s Welcome


ierra del Fuego, the southernmost province of Argen�na, has a good claim to the �tle “The end of the world.” Earlier this month the regional legislature of the province voted to ban open net salmon farming. Coming on top of the Danish government’s decision last autumn to curtail any further growth of fish farming at sea, and the ongoing struggle of the industry in Canada to resist the closure of farms in the Discovery Islands, it is clearer than ever that the fish farming industry needs to make its case in order just to stay in business. It’s not all gloom, however. At the North Atlan�c Seafood Forum – held online this year – Norway’s Prime Minister Erna Solberg reiterated her belief that investment in the blue economy is a route to saving the environment, not harming it. Also at the NASF, chief execu�ves and analysts alike were in agreement that the industry’s biggest challenge is finding ways to meet the world’s growing demand for their product – arguably, that’s a good problem to have. In this issue we report on the NASF and also present the first part of a preview of Aqua Nor 2021, one of the industry’s biggest trade shows. What’s happening in aq The July issue also features a profile of Norcod, currently the front runner in the race to in the UK and around th revive the cod farming industry. Find out why Norcod’s Chief Execu�ve, Chris�an Riber, What’s happening in aquacu believes this �me they have a model that works. in the UK and around the w We also focus on two aquaculture projects in Guatemala and The Bahamas that are being JENNY –– EDITOR JENNY HJUL HJUL EDITOR supported by Norway’s Kvarøy Arc�c, and on the “Øymerd” project which is se�ng out to JENNY JENNY HJUL HJUL –– EDITOR EDITOR create a fish farm based on a floa�ng concrete island. Steve Bracken SSC’s record results Stewart Graham The final sessions Nicki Holmyard looks at the shellfish farmers’ ba�le against tubeworm and this issue also features special industry reports on Breeding and Gene�cs, Transport and Logis�cs and Steve Bracken SSC’s record results Stewart Graham The final sessions salmon farming sector in Scotland, when it was to 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 Li�ing and Cranes. 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 month. operated. Aquaculture Society) and WAS (World Aquaculture Society) parliament went back to work at the start of this These farming, conducted earlier this year by the Rural Economy Best wishes, be thewere subject ofScotti a be parliamentary inquiry, embraced industry willsent soon gathering the EASinto (European salmon to news outletsfor just asjoint the Scotti shthe news from the sh parliamentary inquiry salmon Current trends In good Julie Hesketh-Laird The industry had nothing to hide and, if given aof fair hearing, could Meet thehealth new chief exe conference, to be staged over fi ve days in the southern French images had litt le to do with the current state Scotland’s fi sh and Connecti vity (REC) committ ee. MSPs have now held fi ve Robert Outram opportunity this would provide explain how it month. operated. Aquaculture Society) and WAS (World Aquaculture Society) parliament back to work atto the start of this These farming, went conducted earlier this year by the Rural Economy address much of the criti cism levelled against it. city ofngs, Asto well asand, highlighti ng the latest technological farms -Montpellier. where sea lice are in decline and, inwe fact, at abe five- Meet meeti in nothing private, tolevels consider their report and must Current trends In good Julie Hesketh-Laird The had hide if given fair hearing, thehealth new chief executiv conference, to beto staged over days in theaof southern images had litt le 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, Astolevels well asare highlighti ng the latest technological farms -Montpellier. where sea lice in decline and, inwe fact, at abe fivemeeti in private, 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 ngofpoverty. Increasingly, ngs anti -aquaculture suspects, as Economy activists. latest thesecame (see ourHolyrood’s newsindustry storyRural onmeeti page 4) became more opti misti c.into Weand now believe that MSPs, perhaps with acceptability of aquaculture the contributi on it makes to global consider its draft report 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 07 light. They will hopefully see that farmers take their environmental biosecure environments of farm sites to snatch photographs in Of course, such stories may be inaccurate and, in any case, Also investi gati ngacti initi aties, veswhich inregard thenow developing world, Harrison campaigners, will, on balance, the industry in a Dr favourable stepped viti involve breaching the within it.up their Editorial Advisory Board: Nigeria, both in catf ish and ti lapia culti vati on. responsibiliti es seriously and that businesses will only ever invest in the hope of fi nding incriminati ng evidence against farmers. One 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 photographs ingame Of course, such stories may be inaccurate and, inof any case,ngthe Steve Bracken, Hervé Migaud, Jim Treasurer, In Scotland, the summer has been a waiti What’s in a name? Dr Nick Lake Phil Thomas growth that is sustainable. Tel: +44(0) 131 551 1000 campaigner fibeen lmed himself searching, unsuccessfully, for minister, dead haveboth always fortunate to have the support of their Nigeria, catf ish and tilapia culti vati on. responsibiliti seriously and will only ever invest the hope of fies nding incriminati ng businesses evidence against farmers. Onein committ ee’s fiin ndings are not binding. Scotland’s fish farmers Chris Mitchell, Jason Cleaversmith while the parliament is inthat recess and thethose members of Holyrood’s Fax: +44(0) 131 551 7901 If the committ ee members, especially who have yet to fi shthat at aEwing, Marine site. Another saidofhea saw ‘hundreds’ Fergus toHarvest growhas sustainably. In Scotland, the summer something ngminister, game of Phil What’s in a name? Dr Nick Lake Thomas growth isfibeen sustainable. campaigner lmed himself searching, unsuccessfully, for dead have always fortunate tobeen have the support ofwaiti their and Hamish Macdonell Rural Economy and Connecti vity committ ee conti nue to weigh up Email: shfarmermagazine.com visit aparliament farm, like tothe learn more about the of infested salmon in awould pen, but we only have his word against 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 Marine site. Another said hefarming. saw ‘hundreds’ Fergus toHarvest grow sustainably. theaEwing, evidence in their inquiry into salmon We don’tof 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,farms they could head to Highlands later this month, where 496 Ferry Road, Edinburgh, EH5 2DL We the evidence in their inquiry into salmon farming. don’t expect Designer: Andrew their Balahura these on a daily basis. industry, are in breach of the Code of Conduct for 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 with the facts aboutof fish farming. biggest fish acquainted farming show. must mount a much more robust defence itself, through its and of businesses vital to Scotland’s economy, we have a right Janice Johnston Montpellier report Dr Marti n Jaff a Doug McLeod they will meet the aquaculture industry en masse at Scotland’s serving employee, Steve Bracken. We had no Subscrip� ons Address: Fish Farmer If the isto proud ofreti its high standards, as itsalmon says itcollecti is, it ng are in aindustry positi on inflthe uence the future course oftrouble farming, This month sees rement of Marine Harvest’s longest will also certainly be at Aquaculture UK inindustry, Aviemore and look jjohnston@fishfarmermagazine.com representati ve body, the SSPO, than itthe has done tothrough date. The toWe know who they are, and weons, hope its warm from his friends and colleagues tohave mark the biggest fishtributes farming show. Magazine Subscrip� Warners Group must mount a much more robust defence of itself, through its and of businesses vital to Scotland’s economy, we a right serving employee, Steve Bracken. We had nonothing, trouble collecti ng forward toand, seeing many of you there too. campaigners, we now see, will stop representati ves, will pressure the parliament toand investi gate before Publisher: Alisterrepresentati Benne� milestone along with rest 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 to fi ght back. the REC report is published. Farmer wish him all the very best for the future. West Street, Bourne forward toand, seeing many of the you 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 along with rest of thenothing, industry, thefarmers team Fish Lincolnshire should prepared to fivery ghtPE10 back. the RECbe report published. Farmer wish himis all the best9PH 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

Robert Outram

24 20 20-21 28-29 BTA Shellfish Comment 24 20 20-21 28-29 Comment BTA Shellfish

Cover: Fish farm maintenance ship in Skanevik�orden, Norway Photo: Shu�erstock


Welcome.indd 3


Tel: +44 (0)1778 392014

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 Shellfi sh Comment BTA 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 3 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 new Migaud, Patrick Smith and Jim Hervé Migaud, Patrick Smith, Patrick Smith, Jim Treasurer and Editor: Jenny Hjul jhjul@fi shupdate.com Treasurer, Wiliam 12/07/2021 15:32:14 Jim Treasurer and Dowds William Dowds William Dowds Head Office: Special Publications, Dawn Marti nofJaff a era Vaccines New player new Designer: Andrew Balahura

34-35 28-29 32-33 36-41 Comment Cleaner Orkneyvisitfish Farm 34-35 28-29 32-33 36-41 Comment Cleaner Orkneyvisitfish Farm


Fish F armer In the July issue... News

What’s happening in the UK and around the world

Processing News


Update from the processing sector



Martin Jaffa



Hamish Macdonell



Nicki Holmyard



Sandy Neil

Cod farming


Fish Farmer meets Norcod CEO Christian Riber



Report from the North Atlantic Seafood Forum

Seafood trends


Vince McDonagh

Aqua Nor Preview


How the show’s “hybrid” approach will work

Offshore farms


Vince McDonagh

Breeding & Genetics


Will the UK embrace gene editing?

Transport & Logistics


Sandy Neil


Cranes tough enough for the marine environment

Insurance & Risk Management Robert Outram

What’s New

Monthly update on industry innovations and solutions

Industry Diary

All the latest aquaculture events, conferences and courses

Aqua Source Directory Find all you need for the industry

Opinion Nick Joy


ff07 Contents.indd 4


54 57-59 60 62 64-65 66


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United Kingdom News


Scottish Sea Farms nets Grieg’s Shetland assets in the past, which it has largely managed to sustainable and profitable growth.” overcome. The business is now reporting lower lice levels and improved survival rates. SSF CEO Jim GallaghSalMar said the acquisition should improve er said: “As farmers, we these issues as a result of increased biologiare constantly striving to cal control and the realisation of integration create the best growing synergies between the two companies. conditions for our salmon. Grieg Seafood’s CEO Andreas Kvame said The purchase of Grieg he was pleased to have finally landed an Seafood Hjaltland UK is agreement on the sale of the business which a landmark step in our he believed would be in good hands with SSF. long-term strategy, giving Grieg’s shares surged by almost 9% on the us greater influence over news in Oslo yesterday, but later settled back several key biological factors including fish health, to a rise of around 5%. However, they could go higher in the next few days. stocking regimes and sea The proceeds from the sale should help to lice management. stabilise what has been a difficult financial “We’re very much situation for Grieg recently. It now intends looking forward to pairing to focus on its Norwegian and Canadian the skill and know-how operations. of our existing farming But caution remains the watchword as the and fish health teams with deal is likely to face scrutiny from the compethe local expertise within SCOTTISH Sea Farms is to become the new tition authorities before anything is signed. Grieg Seafood Hjaltland owner of Grieg Seafood’s Shetland operations, UK, working as one to benefit fish welfare and it has been confirmed. boost survival. This, in turn, will ensure a more The sale is worth NOK 1.9bn or £164m, secure and stable supply of salmon for our appreciably higher than the £140m figure discerning customers the world over, helping Left: Gustav Witzøe predicted earlier in the year. satisfy the insatiable demand for this highly Below: Jim Gallagher The news will be seen as a tremendous lift nutritious, low carbon food.” for the 200 or so people who work for Grieg With operations on Shetland and the Isle of on Shetland (known as Grieg Seafood HjaltSkye, Grieg Seafood Hjaltland UK currently land UK) following all the speculation around operates 21 marine farms, a freshwater a potential sale. hatchery and a processing facility, It is also a huge vote of confidence in Scotharvesting approximately 16,000 land’s position as one of the world’s leading tonnes of Atlantic salmon in salmon farming countries, and the deal will 2020. make Scottish Sea Farms (SSF) the second This complements the largest salmon farmer in the region. geography and nature of An announcement said Scottish Sea Farms Scottish Sea Farms’ own Ltd (SSF), which is 50-50 owned by Lerøy operations which are Seafood Group and SalMar, has signed an located across mainland agreement to buy 100% of the shares in Grieg Scotland, Shetland and Seafood Hjaltland UK Ltd. from Grieg Seafood. Orkney and produced The acquisition will be financed with new approximately 24,000 equity from the owners and from debt, and tonnes of Atlantic salmit is expected to be completed by the end of on in 2020. the fourth quarter of this year, subject to apThe move gives SSF proval by the relevant authorities and normal a harvest potential of conditions. just under 50,000 tonnes, SalMar CEO Gustav Witzøe, who hinted to only just behind Mowi, the Fish Farmer a few weeks ago that something UK’s largest salmon farmer at was in the air, said: “Through the acquisition, 52,000 tonnes. SSF strengthens its presence in the region, It is no secret that Grieg Shetland which provides fertile ground for further has suffered serious biological problems


UK News.indd 6


12/07/2021 14:54:56

All the latest industry news from the UK

Mowi Scotland’s Royal Warrant extended for another five years THE Royal Warrant of Appointment for Mowi’s Scottish salmon has been extended for a further five years until 2027. The Royal Warrant means that approved merchants who have supplied specific goods and services to the Royal Household for at least five years have the right to use the Royal Arms in connection with their business. Holders of the Royal Warrant are also allowed to use the Royal Arms on their product and packaging and to display the designated crest on their premises and to state that their product or service is “By appointment to...” the Royal Household. The system was established in the 15th century by the Lord Chamberlain. Currently, only HM The Queen and HRH The Prince of Wales are able to grant warrants. Commenting on the extension, Georgina Wright, Head of Sales, said: “It is an honour that Mowi Scotland is the only supplier of fresh salmon to Her Majesty.The Royal Warrant, clear from the Royal Crest on our boxes of salmon that are sold all over the world, is recognised and held in high regard globally and lends even greater provenance to the Mowi story.” Above: The Royal Crest Mowi Scotland has held the Royal Warrant since 1990.

New research into mussel broken shell problem

A group of aquaculture researchers in Scotland is undertaking an initiative that could determine the cause of shell breakage in different species of mussels, a problem seen as one of the biggest challenges facing the sector globally. The consortium – comprising of the University of Stirling’s Institute of Aquaculture, Fassfern Mussels, the Scottish Shellfish Marketing Group, The Fishmongers’ Company, the Association of Scottish Shellfish Growers, and the Sustainable Aquaculture Innovation Centre (SAIC) – will examine a range of factors that could lead to weakness in mussels’ shells. Trialling different conditions among different species at two Scottish sites, the researchers will aim to determine whether shell strength is related to mussels’ genetics; environmental


UK News.indd 7

conditions, such as the salinity of local water; or the harvesting process itself. Salinity, for instance, can affect the mineral properties of water and, in cases where it is too low, could compromise shell strength. Certain species of mussels – and hybrids thereof – are also suspected to have weaker shells to begin with; specifically, bay mussels or Mytilus trossulus. In Scotland, shell breakage is estimated to cost the sector around 2% of its average annual output, as well as associated costs. In extreme cases, it can prevent farmers from harvesting or cause sites to completely shut down. The researchers will combine

cutting-edge molecular tools and biomaterial testing during the project. Depending on the results of the initial phase of the study, the project could develop a molecular tool that will assess juvenile mussels for shell strength, a location screening system for mussel farms, or a new process for harvesting. Dr Stefano Carboni from the University of Stirling’s Institute of Aquaculture said: “We are aiming to understand what causes a large problem for the sector. Our project will help producers to understand whether the strength of mussels’ shells is genetic, influenced by local environmental conditions, the harvesting process itself plays a part, or it is a combination of all these factors. Whatever the causes, we can help farmers avoid growing mussels for years only to realise there is a problem at the last moment. “Once we have determined the variables, we can start to develop remedies – that might be screening for salinity conditions or a tool that predicts the percentage of mussels that will develop broken shells. From there, we can protect jobs, create new products, and develop a more efficient and sustainable sector.” Top: Mussels Above: Dr Stefano Carboni


12/07/2021 14:57:51

United Kingdom News

An organic treat for Buckingham Palace

Above: Skye salmon outside Buckingham Palace

SKYE smoked salmon fillets from Organic Sea Harvest’s first commercial production round will be gracing royal dinner tables. Organic Sea Harvest (OSH), Scotland’s first major salmon farming start-up in decades, harvested its first fish on 2 June.Yesterday the smoked fillets were delivered to

Buckingham Palace, where it is believed one has been earmarked for the Royal Household’s kitchens while the other will be sent on to HRH Prince of Wales at Clarence House. The fillets were prepared by royal warrant holders Severn and Wye Smokery. The warrant is a mark of recogni-

tion for people or companies who have regularly supplied goods or services to the HM The Queen, HRH The Duke of Edinburgh, HRH The Prince of Wales or their households. Hugh Drever, Managing Director of OSH sales commented: “We are delighted to announce our successful first harvest took place earlier this month. “Organic Sea Harvest is committed to producing salmon using sustainable organic methods and this is a major step in our aim of becoming the world’s leading supplier of organic salmon. Our organic principles are a key part in creating a delicious world class product. “Skye is known for its natural larder and top-quality seafood and we are delighted at the prospect of sharing it with the Royal Household.” Both of OSH’s sites are certified as organic by the Soil Association.

Gill Health Conference returns as online event THE Sustainable Aquaculture Innovation Centre (SAIC) has announced the return of the International Gill Health Conference, which will see the aquaculture sector combine its expertise and knowledge to tackle one of the sector’s biggest challenges. Having been postponed during the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, the two-day conference will now take place online from 26-27 October 2021.The event will welcome speakers and delegates from around the globe including the UK, Canada, Australia, South America and Europe. Gill health has become a priority area for the aquaculture sector, with an everchanging natural environment and the impact of climate change reinforcing the need for a greater understanding of gill disease, along with its prevention and treatment.The virtual conference aims to encourage knowledge sharing between the sector’s experts, including valuable research and development initiatives. The Gill Health Initiative was formed by an international steering committee in 2012 and has since become a renowned bi-annual event attended by hundreds of researchers and professionals involved in the production of Atlantic salmon and its


UK News.indd 8

associated supply chains. Heather Jones, CEO of SAIC, said: “Fish health and wellbeing, including but not limited to gill disease, is a crucial focus for all involved in the aquaculture sector. Collaboration and knowledge sharing is incredibly powerful and by working together across international waters, we can gain a better understanding of gill health and learn more from other nations about the preventative treatments and measures to improve wellbeing and boost the overall sustainability of the sector.” The event is supported by the Norwegian Seafood Research Fund (FHF) and is free to attend with registration opening soon. For more information go online to www. sustainableaquaculture.com/newsevents/international-gill-healthconference/

Minister praises SSF’s ‘green’ hatchery UK Government Minister for Scotland David Duguid has declared he is “impressed” with the environmental technology at Scottish Sea Farms’ new hatchery at Barcaldine. On a visit to the site on the west coast of Scotland yesterday, Duguid was shown the hatchery’s 600kw biomass energy system. Owned, installed and maintained by AMP Clean Energy, the system uses locally sourced, sustainably managed wood chip to provide the 17,500 sqm building with much of its heat and hot water, saving 683 tonnes of carbon a year compared with using oil. AMP estimates that is the equivalent of six million road miles per year by car. The hatchery’s recirculating aquaculture system (RAS) cleans and recirculates up to 98% of freshwater used per day, saving more than 20 times the water used by traditional hatchery systems.The RAS uses energy-saving heat pumps and heat exchangers to regulate temperature rather than kerosene boilers and electric chillers. The RAS also collects fish waste, which is treated and used as agricultural fertiliser. Duguid said: “I’ve been so impressed at the green approach of this state-of-the-art facility. Scottish Sea Farms’ water-saving and waste-recycling measures, coupled with the use of AMP Clean Energy’s environmentally-sound biomass heating system, prove that it is possible to forge ahead in innovation to sustain the sector while still meeting our net zero objectives. “The UK Government has ambitious climate commitments and it’s by embracing measures such as these and accelerating decarbonisation that industry will be future-proofed to protect and create jobs.” Scottish Sea Farms’ Head of Sustainability, Anne Anderson, said: “Like any food producer, we’re working hard to minimise any impact from our activities on the environment, not just via our new Barcaldine Hatchery but across the business: from our marine farms to our processing and packing facilities, through to essential support services such as IT and logistics. It has been a pleasure offering Minister Duguid a glimpse into some of the many initiatives under way.”

Above: Scottish Sea Farms Head of Freshwater Farming Rory Conn (left) with David Duguid, UK Government Minister for Scotland


12/07/2021 14:59:00

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Akva Group (Scotland) Ltd.indd 9 AKVA - FP.indd 1

12/07/2021 11:50:08 12:02:46 29/10/2020

United Kingdom News

Genetic breakthrough helps tackle oyster disease

SAIC launches online networking hub

Using a highly sensitive DNA test we can sample the waters the oysters live in to identify the presence of the pathogen. It’s an extremely cost effective and humane approach, and the oysters don’t even need to leave their hatchery”. Nik Sachlikidis of the Cadman Capital Group, owners of Orkney Shellfish Hatchery, commented: “This is another demonstration of our commitment to using science backed, cutting-edge technology to provide the highest possible standard of product. We know that our oysters are exceptional, and now we can also demonstrate that they’re disease free too. We’re continually looking at new ways to improve Above: Heather Jones our native oyster spat product, and to set new standards for industry best SAIC, the Sustainable Aquaculture Innovapractice in this area. Xelect have done tion Centre, is launching a digital forum to a great job of working hand-in-hand encourage collaboration among its consortiwith our team to solve some key issues um members and to promote cross-industry facing the Native Oyster hatcheries networking and knowledge-sharing across the and ensuring our broodstock are Bonaquaculture sector. amia free.” More than 215 member organisations are being invited to join the SAIC Consortium Forum, which has been designed to facilitate the sharing of valuable resources and knowledge in aquaculture. Users will be able to access a range of features, from interactive discussion boards to collaboration opportunities and job vacancies, as well as virtual networking with producers, researchers, supply chain businesses and other companies involved in the sector. Professionals from any of SAIC’s member companies can access the free-to-use platform, opening up further routes to collaborative working, for instance through SAIC’s innovation projects. Members can also sign up to the Forum online at consortium.sustainableaquaculture.com/ Above: Oyster farm A similar platform is also set to launch later this summer for the Women in Scottish Aquaculture (WiSA) network – a group numbering RESEARCH and development into the UK’s fledgling seaweed farming industry has won gold for SAMS more than 300 members, that promotes Enterprise at the Scottish Council for Development and Industry (SCDI) Highlands and Islands Awards. diversity within aquaculture, supports career At the event, held on 24 June, SAMS Enterprise – the commercial arm of SAMS, the Scottish Association development, and encourages new talent into for Marine Science – won the Ocean Winds Award for Excellence in Marine Innovation and Growing the the burgeoning sector. Blue Economy.The other finalists were Hebridean Adventures and Moray First Marine. Heather Jones, CEO of SAIC said: “CollabSAMS Enterprise recently secured a joint investment of £150,000 by SAMS and Highlands and Islands oration is one of the most important factors Enterprise to upgrade its seaweed nursery.The new facility will enable innovative seeding techniques and that can influence growth in aquaculture, and technologies to catalyse growth of the UK seaweed sector, while offering the highest levels of biosecurity we want to connect professionals from a wide and environmental sustainability. range of sectors and geographies in an easily Accepting the award at the virtual ceremony, Head of SAMS Enterprise Mike accessible and supportive way. SAIC’s new foSpain thanked the SCDI and the award sponsors, adding:“At SAMS we rum will provide a great opportunity for our are fortunate to have a concentration of world-leading macro-algae members to collaborate, share knowledge and researchers. best practice, and access useful resources that “This expertise has been the driver behind the science of our innocan help shape the future of the sector. vation in developing seeded material to support Scotland’s growing “Our aim is to support and develop refarmed seaweed industry. I am very lucky to have a fantastic team lationships across all areas of aquaculture, who have led the conversion of the innovative science into practical connecting professionals at every stage of deliverable products grown in our state of the art seaweed nursery.” their careers. In due course, we also plan to Although the seaweed industry is the fastest growing area of prodevelop mobile apps that will allow people to duction within global aquaculture, worth more than £11bn per year, its easily access the platform from any location, full business potential has not yet been realised within the UK, SAMS says. whether they are on a fish farm or at home.” EXPERTS at genetics business Xelect, working with the Orkney Shellfish Hatchery (OSH), have found a way to detect a pathogen responsible for the decline of wild European oyster populations, based on DNA analysis. Bonamia ostrae is a disease affecting European flat oysters, representing a serious risk for wild and farmed oysters. The widely used test for this disease is “destructive”, meaning that the oyster is damaged or killed in the process. The new test, developed by Xelect and OSH, adapts a tried and tested method known as a Taqman Assay using a filtered water sample – a technique called environmental DNA (eDNA) analysis. Xelect’s Dr Paolo Ruggeri, who oversaw the analysis, said: “Bivalves like the flat oyster filter large volumes of water every day, and in the process shed tiny amounts of their own DNA, and the DNA of any parasite they are carrying.

Enterprise award for SAMS seaweed initiative


UK News.indd 10


12/07/2021 15:01:50

All the latest industry news from the UK

Farmed shellfish production in Scotland fell during 2020, report shows SHELLFISH farming in Scotland was badly hit by the Covid-19 pandemic during 2020, according to the latest figures from Marine Scotland Science. The Scottish Shellfish Farm Production Survey 2020 shows that table production tonnage of mussels decreased by 15% from 6,699 tonnes in 2019 to 5,661 tonnes in 2020. Table production of Pacific oyster shells decreased by 33% from the 2019 total. Additionally, over 1.6 million shells were produced for on-growing in other waters. There was also a decrease in the production of native oyster from 103,000 to 75,000 shells in 2020. The report, based on information supplied by producers, says the decline is largely due to impacts from the Covid-19 pandemic, with many businesses reporting no table trade while the hospitality sector was in

lockdown during much of 2020. There was a very small amount of queen scallop production during 2020 with the biggest producer reporting no production due to the pandemic. There was a decrease in scallop production, from 26,000 to 19,000 shells, compared with 2019. The report estimates that the

Scottish shellfish farming industry fell to around £6.1m in terms of first sale value, representing a year-on-year fall of 23%. There were 125 active businesses compared with 129 in 2019. Despite these challenges, however, the industry saw its employment rise by 8%, with 300 full, part-time and casual staff being

employed during 2020. Marine Scotland Science says that “active surveillance” for diseases continued through 2020. Movement restrictions remain in place for the presence of the parasite Bonamia ostreae at Loch Sunart and the Dornoch Firth, Highland, West Loch Tarbert, Argyll, and Lynn of Lorne, Loch Creran and Loch Etive, Strathclyde. Despite this, the UK maintained disease-free status with regard to bonamiasis, marteiliasis and OsHV-1 µvar, with the exception of specific compartments under movement restrictions. Most of the reported shellfish mortalities during 2020 were attributed to: predation from wild ducks, starfish, crabs and oystercatchers; fouling by sea squirts; adverse weather conditions including storms and temperature extremes; damage due to grading and handling; and from natural causes.

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UK News.indd 11


12/07/2021 15:02:35

European News


Norwegian government still upbeat over 2050 production target to review the regulation of the THE Norwegian government has aquaculture industry, focusing on launched its new forward regulatory system’s objectives, strategy for the aquaculture how it operates as a industry, setting a course whole and how it can be for the next 10 to 15 adapted to meet current years. and future challenges. The main goal is The Norwegian still to produce five government, facing a million tonnes of tricky general election salmon and trout in September, says it by 2050, five times hopes to start work the current level. this autumn. Other goals include The report continues: producing sustainable “The government has great seafood with a low climate ambitions for the aquaculture and environmental footprint industry. If Norway is to and maintaining good fish succeed as an aquaculture health and welfare, along Above: Odd Emil Ingebrigtsen nation in the future, we with more sustainable feed. must have a profitable Fisheries and Seafood industry with competitive framework Minister Odd Emil Ingebrigtsen said he wants conditions. to ensure good access to markets, good food “We must ensure good market access and safety and a profitable and secure industry find solutions to sustainability challenges. along the entire coast. Development of new technology gives He declared: “The aquaculture industry has rise to new forms of production and new become an important industry in Norway products, and here there has been a significant and is our second largest export industry. development in recent years. A technologyWith this strategy, the government wants to neutral approach to government requirements set the course for the next 10-15 years and and to conditions for growth in production is facilitate sustainable growth in the aquaculture an important basis for further development industry. The strategy lays down guidelines and growth. on how we together – business, the research “The industry can play an even more community and the authorities – should important role if we are able to handle the solve the challenges we face and seize new challenges the industry faces and seize the new opportunities.” opportunities. This places not only demands on The minister also hinted that he thought the industry itself, but also on management and volumes in special permit sea cages were research. too high in areas where there are challenges, “With this strategy, the government wants without setting out how he planned to deal to see the development in a 10-15 year with the issue. However, there is no plan to perspective going forward with a focus on how insist on closed cage farming. we will together handle both the challenges The strategy report says the industry has and the opportunities we face. a large predominance of family businesses “The goal of the aquaculture strategy is to and local ownership which provides a good facilitate new sustainable growth and show starting point for further development of direction for one of Norway’s most important local communities along the entire coast. industries.” With its potential for further development, In its Seafood Barometer report for 2021, the aquaculture industry will be important for consultancy firm PwC cast doubt on the target Norway’s path out of the coronavirus crisis of five million tonnes of salmon and trout, and into the future. suggesting that a “base case” of 3.7 million The strategy also launches several new tonnes would be more achievable. measures. A committee will be set up


European News.indd 12

Green light for Mowi in Bantry Bay MOWI has been given the go-ahead to expand its organic salmon farming facility in the Republic of Ireland. Permission to proceed with the €6m project comes exactly a decade after the company first applied for a licence.The Irish Agriculture and Marine Department did grant Mowi a licence in 2015, but it was later postponed following various appeals. It was opposed this time by a number of local residents and various environmental and sports fishing groups, but their pleas have been rejected. The location is in Bantry Bay, County Cork where the company already has a salmon farming presence. Mowi owns a number of fish farms on Ireland’s west coast, mainly producing organic salmon. Mowi’s harvest output is relatively modest when set against Mowi’s Norwegian and most of its other overseas locations, but its EBIT or operational profit per kg is far higher than all of them. In the first quarter of this year it was €4.55 per kg, against €1.72 in Norway and €1.46 in Scotland.. The operational EBIT for 2020 rose by almost €5m to 22.4m despite the impact of Covid.The projected harvest figure for the new Bantry Bay operation, which should be ready within around three months, is 2,800 tonnes every two years. Mowi said the project would entail investment of €6m and the creation of eight new jobs.A spokesperson for the company said:“By developing a new site for organic salmon in Bantry Bay, the continuing development of stocking, harvesting, fallowing and rotation programmes can be advanced in compliance with international best practice thereby securing the long-term future of aquaculture in the area.This is a very positive step forward for the Irish aquaculture industry, as a whole. Our seas have rightly been identified as a key component of sustainable economic growth. “This development at Shot Head is likely to be complete in just 14 weeks in accordance with Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine installation requirements.”


12/07/2021 15:16:54

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European News.indd 13


12/07/2021 15:17:24

European News

Benchmark’s CleanTreat passes another milestone

Above Benchmark CleanTreat tanks

AQUACULTURE biotechnology business Benchmark could be deploying its new lice solution CleanTreat within weeks, after the Norwegian Medicines Agency granted Marketing Authorisation for its use. The CleanTreat system, used in conjunction with Benchmark’s new lice-killing formula Ectosan Vet, could be a game-changer in the fish farmers’ battle against sea lice – but it is also proving controversial. Ectosan (also known as BMK08)

is based on the pesticide imidacloprid, which has been described as “novichok for insects” and last month was condemned by members of the European Parliament. In the CleanTreat system, fish are treated for lice in a closed environment and the water is filtered to remove any traces of the pesticide before discharging the waste water into the sea. The decision by the Norwegian Medicines Agency (NoMA) to grant authorisation was based on

a thorough environmental risk assessment. The next steps will be the ratification of the MRL (Maximum Residue Limit) into Norwegian regulation – a procedure which follows on from the European Union’s previous ratification of the MRL – and the approval of product labels by NoMA. After this, which Benchmark anticipates will take just a few weeks, the new treatment will be deployed for use in two vessels. Benchmark CEO Trond Williksen

said that gaining Marketing Authorisation was a “major milestone” and added: “It is testament to the team of scientists at Benchmark that we are able to bring the first new sea lice veterinary medicinal treatment to the Norwegian salmon market in over a decade. “We are excited to bring this much needed solution to the salmon industry, driving sustainability through improved animal welfare and yield while protecting the environment. “We look forward to working with our customers as we roll-out Ectosan Vet and CleanTreat in the market.” In June the European Parliament voted in favour of a motion that objected to the European Commission’s ratification of an MRL for Ectosan. That ratification, which had been supported by the European Medicines Agency Committee for Veterinary Medicinal Products, had been confirmed by the Commission’s Standing Committee on Veterinary Medicinal Products and adopted by the European Commission on 15 April 2021. If the European Commission bows to the MEPs’ wishes and reviews the MRL, that could make it difficult to export fish treated with Ectosan/BMK08 to the EU. Benchmark, however, said: “The Company has full confidence in the European Medicines Agency and European Commission’s scientific and regulatory process.”

Havfarm project is refused permanent licences THE Norwegian Directorate of Fisheries has turned down an application for 13 development permits to be converted into permanent licences for Nordlaks’ offshore salmon farm platform, Havfarm 1. The Directorate cited welfare issues as the reason. The decision is seen as a major blow to Nordlaks Oppdrett AS and potentially throws a question mark over the billion kroner (£84m) project. A second platform, Havfarm2, is also planned. The Directorate said Havfarm 1 has not met the established criteria and mortality has been high over a long period. The platform completed its 15,000 mile voyage from China last summer and received its first stocks several weeks later. The Directorate said there had been challenges related to mortality which had been generally high with some of the cages having particular problems. Officially named “Jostein Albert” after the company’s former chairman Jostein Albert Refnes, the platform is one of two such 385 metre long vessels planned by Nordlaks. Each is capable of holding up to 10,000 tonnes of salmon. The platform was filled with more than two million salmon last September,


European News.indd 14

but a subsequent veterinary report has assessed fish welfare as “reduced and poor”. The Directorate’s report says: “Mortality has remained stable and high in all cages throughout 2021, where cages 3-6 have had the highest mortality with an average of about 25%.” The mortality rate for all the cages averaged 19%, with the most common cause of death being related to wounds. Eirik Welde, CEO of the family owned business, said in a statement last night: “Nordlaks has completed the documentation programme as required by the Norwegian Directorate of Fisheries. “In Nordlaks’ assessment, the results obtained through the documentation programme provide a good basis for evaluating the project.” Welde concluded: “It is fair to say that the refusal came as a surprise to us. Regardless of the outcome of the appeal, Nordlaks will release new fish into ‘Jostein Albert’ this summer.”

Above Eirik Welde


12/07/2021 15:18:36

All the latest industry news from Europe

Salmon Evolution trades on Oslo Børs SHARES in land-based fish farmer Salmon Evolution ASA are now being traded on the Oslo Børs stock exchange. The company has published a prospectus for investors but has said that no new shares will be offered in connection with the listing. On 7 July 2021 the Oslo Stock Exchange announced that the Oslo Børs had approved the company’s application for listing. The shares were previously listed on the Euronext Growth (Oslo) market. Salmon Evolution is constructing a large RAS (recirculating aquaculture system) farm at Indre Harøy in Norway, and earlier this year agreed a joint venture with Dongwon Industries to build and operate a land-based salmon farm in South Korea. In April, the company cancelled a further fundraising exercise after its shares dipped below the offer price. However, in its report for Q1 of this year, Salmon Evolution said it was still on track to produce around 25,000 tonnes per year by 2024.

Above: Salmon Evolution construction site, Indre Harøy

AE Madeira event set for increased capacity

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Above: Aerial view of Madeira island, Portugal

ORGANISERS of the Aquaculture Europe 2021 conference, due to be held in Madeira on 4-7 October, have welcomed the news that Covid-19 restrictions on the island are being eased. The announcement by the Regional Government of Madeira means that events can now take place on the island with 75% seating capacity (up from 50%) A spokesperson for Marevent, which manages the Aquaculture Europe series of events, said: “Having also received official approval from the Madeiran Health Authority to hold the event, we can now scale up operations and planning.” The abstract submission deadline for oral-preferred abstracts has now passed and the Programme Grid is online at the EAS site www.aquaeas. org/. The deadline for submitting abstracts for Eposter presentation remains as August 28.


European News.indd 15


12/07/2021 15:21:20

European News

Photo: Aas Mek. Verkstedt

Hydroniq wins two wellboat contracts

Above How the new wellboats will look

HYDRONIQ Coolers has been awarded contracts to deliver the marine cooling system for two wellboats being built by shipbuilder Aas Mek. Verksted for wellboat company Sølvtrans. All three companies are Norwaybased. Hydroniq Coolers will supply its hull-integrated “Rack” seawater cooling system to the two wellboats, newbuilds 211 and 212 from Aas Mek. Verksted.

Aas Mek. Verksted, and indirectly Sølvtrans, has also chosen Hydroniq Coolers’ hull-integrated marine cooling system for newbuilds 208 – 210, 204, 200 and 199 The “Rack” cooler is integrated in the hull below the main engine room of the vessel, where it reduces temperatures in the ship’s engines and other auxiliary systems through use of seawater, but without taking up valuable engine room space. This is a favoured solution for both vessel

crew and owners. Jan Inge Johannesen, sales manager at Hydroniq Coolers, said: “The long-standing partnership Aas Mek. Verksted has struck up with Sølvtrans as well as with key local suppliers such as Hydroniq Coolers is the closest the industry has seen to assembly line production of wellboats. We are very proud to have once again been chosen as supplier of the marine cooling system.” Similar to newbuilds 208, 209

and 210, the two latest vessel newbuilds will incorporate a newly composed Rack unit that Hydroniq Coolers has developed together with Aas Mek. Verksted and Sølvtrans. The objective has been to further increase the cooling system’s operational flexibility by incorporating three cooling systems within each unit, compared to the standardised solution of two. Three cooling systems eliminates the need for an external plate heat exchanger that is connected to the cooling unit. Hydroniq Coolers will manufacture and assemble the equipment at its headquarters outside Aalesund, Norway, and deliver it to Aas Mek. Verksted’s yard at Vestnes, Møre and Romsdal county in Norway. The Rack seawater coolers will be delivered during the second half of 2022. The two sister wellboats are of the yard’s own design, type AAS 3002 ST. Each vessel has a load capacity of 3,000 cubic metres across two wells. They are 76.96 metres long, 17.80 metres wide and 5.80 metres depth moulded. The two newbuilds will be delivered to Sølvtrans during 2023. Hydroniq Coolers – formerly known as Sperre Coolers – is owned by Norwegian investment company SMV Invest AS (formerly Sperre Mek. Verksted AS).

Norwegian seafood exports hit half year record NORWEGIAN seafood exports have hit a half year record, with salmon once again leading the way. Figures published today show the country’s seafood exports were worth NOK 53.7bn (£4.5bn), a value rise of 1% when measured against the first six months of last year. The Norwegian Seafood Council said the record figure was achieved despite a strengthening krone and with markets still affected by the coronavirus pandemic. Fisheries Minister Odd Emil Ingebrigtsen said: “This is fantastic news for seafood exports. Not only are we well ahead of a what was a good half year in 2019, but 2021 is the best ever half year for seafood exports so far. Not even a worldwide pandemic has put a stop to more seafood


European News.indd 16

being exported from Norway.” The country’s aquaculture sector exported 562,000 tonnes of salmon worth NOK 35.3 bn (£2.9bn) between January and June, a volume rise of 12% but a value rise of just 1%. This was mainly due to a drop in the average price of fresh whole salmon which fell from NOK 64.96

to NOK 58.30 per kilo. Once again Poland, France and the USA were the largest consumers of Norwegian salmon. The sluggish price situation of the last few months looks as if it could be about to change for the better. Salmon exports in June showed a strong positive development compared with the same month last year. A total of 98,500 tonnes were sold overseas at a value of NOK 6.3 billion (£528m). This represents an increase in volume of 19% and a value rise of 10%. Exports of farmed trout are continuing to take a hit. Volumes fell by 20% during the first half and the value at NOK 1.6bn (£134m) was down by 14%. The Seafood Council said shellfish exports are enjoying a boom, but there are some challenges for cod.


12/07/2021 15:22:55

All the latest industry news from Europe

Gigante Salmon set to list on Oslo’s EuroNext exchange YET another fish farming company is about to list on Oslo’s EuroNext stock exchange. The latest contender is Gigante Salmon AS based in the coastal town of Bodø. Under the guidance of Sparebank 1 Markets, the company plans to raise NOK 192m (£16m) to help fund its growth plans and has submitted an application to list on EuroNext.. The last few months have seen a flurry of applications from the aquaculture sector either in the form of Initial Public Offerings (IPOs) or additional share raising bids by existing listed companies, among them SalMar, Masoval and Nordic Halibut. There has been no shortage of investors eager to get into the fish farming business with most of the issues well oversubscribed. SalMar, for example, raised NOK 2.7bn (£230m) in the space of a few hours earlier this month.

Gigante Salmon AS is part of the fish farming group Gigante Havbruk, founded by Kjell Arild Lorentsen in 1988. This summer, the company is planning to start construction for a land-based salmon farm in Rødøy, Nordland. Lorentsen said it was an important move for the business because listing should provide a valuation of the work achieved so far. The company would continue to own 51% of the shares. Last Christmas the local municipality gave Gigante Salmon permission for a new land-based aquaculture site in Rodøy. The Rodøy project was described at the time as a potentially exciting development because it should help to reduce the problem of salmon lice. Work on the flow-through project is due to start this summer. Completion is expected in 2023 when it will be able to produce almost 14,000 tonnes of salmon.

SalMar swoops on Norwegian farmer Nekton

Above Nekton Havbruk

SALMAR has announced another acquisition deal. Just 48 hours after the salmon farming giant’s jointly owned subsidiary Scottish Sea Farms struck a deal to buy Grieg’s Shetland assets for £164m, SalMar announced it was investing NOK 80m (£6.8m) to acquire a 51% stake in the aquaculture company Nekton Havbruk. Based in Smøla in central Norway, Nekton Havbruk is a comparatively small player in the salmon business. It holds two food fish production licences, but the move will mean further growth for SalMar’s Norwegian operation in the immediate vicinity of some of its existing farm sites. SalMar said the remaining shares in the company will be owned by Nistuå3 AS and Nekton AS.

It adds: “The transaction provides SalMar with further sustainable growth in the immediate vicinity of existing fish farming areas around Smøla in central Norway. “The issue will be a good industrial solution that ensures significant synergies and further development of existing activity and operational competence.” Nekton Havbruk is a wholly owned subsidiary of the aquaculture group Smolen Handelskompani AS which has a long history. It began by breeding eels before moving into the salmon and smolt business. Nekton Havbruk AS (the name “Nekton” means “living organisms”) has a strong focus on technology and research and development, and operates its own viewing centre.

Garware appoints Sutherland as Scottish manager LEADING netting and ropes manufacturer Garware Technical Fibres has appointed Alan Sutherland, former Managing Director – Scotland with Marine Harvest, as Country Manager for Scotland. His appointment takes effect from 1 July. India-based Garware supplies specialist netting for fisheries and aquaculture around the world. Sutherland brings four decades of experience to the company, including nine years as boss of Marine Harvest – now Mowi – in Scotland. Above Alan Sutherland Since 2016 he has been involved in various aquaculture-based consultancy biggest producer of tilapia, and land-based projects and board appointments, including with aquaculture operator VeroBlue Farms, which African Century Limited, sub-Saharan Africa’s produced barramundi in Iowa, USA.


European News.indd 17

Sutherland’s career in fish farming started with rainbow trout in 1982. He moved into Atlantic salmon in 1997, working mostly in Scotland but also spending four years in Canada and the US. Kanwal Malik, Garware’s European Sales Manager, said: “In collaboration with our Scottish partner W&J Knox Ltd, Alan will further support & develop the aquaculture market for our next exciting innovation, which will be unfolding in the very near future. “With this new investment, Garware Technical fibres will continue to focus on providing innovative, application focused solutions, geared to enhancing the value to our customers”


12/07/2021 15:23:51

European News

NRS steadies harvest ship in Q2

NORWAY Royal Salmon has announced a second quarter harvest of 9,700 tonnes (gutted weight), broadly the same as in Q2 last year. The figure is made up of 7,900 tonnes in Norway and 1,800 tonnes at Arctic Fish, its Iceland salmon farming operation in which it has a 50% stake.. However, prospects for the current quarter look a little less certain as the company has been hit by one suspected and one confirmed ISA outbreak in recent days, which analysts suggest may impact on the Q3 harvest total. On the upside, the company is building two large offshore sea cages, the first of which is nearing completion. Built to withstand waves of up to 13 metres, the project is the latest in the growing interest in offshore aquaculture which reportedly is

more environmentally friendly and offers greater protection against biological issues such as salmon lice The NRS group owns 36,085 tonnes maximum authorised biomass (MAB) for salmon farming located in Troms and Finnmark, and 17,800 tonnes MAB for salmon farming and 5,300 MAB for trout farming on Iceland through Arctic Fish, one of the leading salmon farmers in Iceland. Arctic Fish has permits in three fjords, and two new permit applications mean that the total volume could reach 31,900 tonnes in the next few years. In addition, the group has a minority interest in two associated Norwegian fish farming companies which together own nine fish farming licenses. NRS will publish its full Q2 report on 23 August.

Iceland salmon farmers in merger talks TWO of Iceland’s leading fish farming companies have agreed to initiate talks over a possible merger. They are Ice Fish Farm and Laxar Fiskeldi, both majority owned by the Norwegian company Måsøval which successfully raised £70m (NOK 825m) in a share issue in Oslo last week. The two businesses say they have begun exploratory negotiations to “explore strategic opportunities between the companies for the future”. Some of their salmon farms are physically fairly close to each other. Last November

when Måsøval bought a large number of Ice Fish Farm shares from Midt-Norsk Havbruk, it was suggested that a merger with Laxar Fiskeldi could be on the cards. Based in Frøya, Masoval is a family run group and said last week that it planned to use some of the money raised for growth in Iceland. It said in a short Oslo Stock Exchange announcement it will provide more information if the proposed merger talks make progress. Ice Fish Farm, which is listed on Oslo’s EuroNext Growth market, successfully turned loss into

profit during the final quarter of last year. It reported an operating EBIT or profit of NOK 9.2m (£768,000) and saw revenues shoot up from NOK 8m to NOK 50.9m. It also said investment in smolt capacity was moving at a faster pace than originally planned. Laxar Fiskeldi, which produces high quality salmon mainly for the US and European markets, operates land based farms in the south of Iceland and owns sea farms in the east of the country. It was recently granted extra production licences by the Icelandic authorities.

Landing lands Nofima deal NETHERLANDS-based engineering business Landing Aquaculture BV has agreed a deal with leading Norwegian research institute Nofima to supply 20 fully automated RAS units. The experimental RAS (recirculating aquaculture system) units will be deployed at Nofima’s research centre in Sunndalsøra, Norway. Nofima will use the systems to carry out cutting-edge research into land-based aquaculture. Each experimental RAS unit is designed to hold up to 60kg/m3 fish under very strict water quality standards including a maximal dissolved CO2 concentration of 10 mg/L. Every unit has a 60-micron drum filter unit, twostage MBBR, full-flow degassing, low head oxygen cone and a temperature control system. Water quality and flow will be constantly monitored and controlled by oxygen, pH, temperature, water level and water flow sensors. The fish tanks can be operated as single drain tanks or Cornell dual drain tanks at varying water levels.


European News.indd 18

This flexibility allows for experimentation with salmon in a variety of live stages. For Landing Aquaculture BV, this will be one of the biggest RAS supply contracts so far. Co-founder and managing director Rob van de Ven said: “This project will show that Landing Aquaculture not only has a strong engineering foundation, but that it has also matured as a company with manufacturing capabilities to handle turnkey projects of this size”. Co-founder and innovation director at Landing, Carlos Espinal, said he sees this as the perfect opportunity to show how the RAS technology has matured over the last decade. He added: “We [Landing Aquaculture] take pride in working at the cutting edge of RAS. To do this, it is essential to remain both creative and technically correct. This project showcases how design can meet operational demands if your engineering knowledge is robust.”


12/07/2021 15:25:23

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European News.indd 19



12/07/2021 15:26:52

World News


Russian Aquaculture sees margins hit in Q1 RUSSIAN Aquaculture saw a yearon-year increase in sales volume and revenue for the first quarter of 2021, but earnings took a hit thanks to lower market prices. The company is one of Russia’s leading producers of Atlantic salmon and trout. Q1 saw increased production volumes, with sales totalling 7,800 tonnes, up 28% on the same period in 2020. Sales revenue was RUB 3,852m (£38.1m), up 12% year-on-year, but adjusted EBITDA was down 7% to RUB 1,488m (£14.7 m) and the company recorded an accounting loss for the quarter of RUB 82m (£0.81m), which was smaller than the loss for Q1 in 2020, RUB 335m (£3.3 m). The company blamed lower sales prices for the decline in EBITDA.The net loss for 1Q 2021 was attributed to the seasonality of the business and was driven, the company said, by “…a lack of brisk biomass growth in the winter.” In 1Q 2021, the Company invested RUB 1.3 billion (£12.84m), most of which was used to finance the acquisition of a new feed barge with fish farming equipment, a dry-cargo vessel and a large catamaran for service operations. Net debt decreased by 13% to RUB 5.3 billion (£52.4m). In

terms of debt structure, long-term borrowings accounted for 67% of debt as of 31 March 2021. Russian Aquaculture CEO Ilya Sosnov said: “We started the year on a strong note, achieving excellent results.We enjoyed considerable increases in the volume of harvest and of sales of finished product, received two new fish farming sites and completed a deal to increase our stake in our fish processing plant to 100%.The availability of proven primary processing facilities is an important link in our business model and another step towards the implementation of our strategy to create the

largest vertically integrated player in the aquaculture sector.” In May 2021, the company exercised its options as part of agreements concluded in 2020 and acquired a 60% stake in Murmanrybprom LLC and Tri Ruchya LLC, bringing its ownership stake in its processing plant to 100%.The acquisition will, the company hopes, guarantee the high-quality and timely processing of fresh fish, allowing for the development of its range of Inarctica ultra-fresh finished product. Russian Aquaculture’s operations include commercial Atlantic salmon farming in the Barents Sea in the Murmansk region and commercial trout farming in the lakes of the Republic of Karelia. In January 2021, the company signed an agreement for the use of a fish farming area in Pitkov Bay with a capacity of up to 10,000 tonnes per cycle. The company won an auction in April and signed an agreement in May for a site in Kislaya Bay with a capacity of 7,000-10,000 tonnes per cycle. The company currently owns cultivation rights for 39 sites for farming salmon and rainbow trout.The total potential production volume for these sites is around 50,000 tonnes of salmonids.

America’s ‘ghost kitchens’ are good news for seafood A new catering phenomenon is helping to boost sales of seafood, including salmon, in the United States. They are known as “ghost kitchens” which mostly deliver rather than serve meals and they are springing up across the country. A report by Anne-Kristine Øen, the Norwegian Seafood Council envoy in North America, said the number of ghost kitchens is growing rapidly. She said the term refers to “restaurants” that do not offer a dining area, and thus do not have a fixed physical presence. They deliver food that has been ordered, mainly online, and many of them use third parties such as Uber Eats, Grubhub and DoorDash (pictured) for delivery. Øen added: “It is especially restaurant chains in the middle class that see this as a great way to limit risk. Some of these suppliers also offer subscriptions to lunch boxes of various types, and there are examples of ghost kitchens that merge with players in the real estate market and offer neighbourhood services, preferably also with a couple of restaurant tables.” She also said: “The strong growth in this segment represents an interesting shift, and great values are in motion. The analysis company Euromonitor estimates that ghost kitchens could be a segment worth one trillion (one million million) US dollars by 2030.”


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Meanwhile, exports of Norwegian seafood to the US are rising – up by 2,271 tonnes last month and worth NOK 128m (£11m). Øen said the US enjoyed a strong economic recovery during the most recent quarter, as restaurants across the country continued to reopen.


12/07/2021 14:00:22

Salmon Evolution signs South Korea deal

A Global Supplier and Partner for Maritime Aqua Services

Above: The K Smart facility

TWO Norwegian companies have signed an agreement with Dongwon Industries for the 20,000 tonne K Smart Farming project in South Korea. They are the land based aquaculture company Salmon Evolution ASA and the specialist turnkey supplier Artec Aqua. K Smart Farming is a South Korean company established with the purpose to develop, construct, own and operate land-based facilities for salmon farming in South Korea. The parties said they have been working to secure data regarding the quality of the planned smolt site in Jeungseon and the grow out location in Yangyang. As these studies have been satisfying, K Smart Farming has now entered into an agreement with the Norwegian company Artec Aqua regarding a feasibility study for the two facilities. The outcome of this study will be the basis for further concept development, detailed engineering as well as application for relevant building permits etc. But Artec Aqua said the agreement also includes an intention for the company to conduct engineering, delivery, installation and commissioning of designed process related systems and equipment in the future build-out of the project. The agreement was signed in Seoul, Korea with both the top management of Dongwon, Salmon Evolution and Artec Aqua precent, and shows that the progress for Salmon Evolution’s


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All the latest industry news from around the world

involvement in South Korea is going according to plan. Mr Håkon André Berg, CEO of Salmon Evolution said : “We are very pleased with the progress of our joint venture with Dongwon in South Korea. We are also happy to announce that the partnership between Salmon Evolution and Dongwon continues to develop. He added: “This feasibility study is the first of many engineering and construction contracts that K Smart Farming will enter into, and we are excited to continue to work closely with Dongwon in building up K Smart Farming as a substantial land-based salmon farmer in the Korean market over the coming years.” “We are delighted to secure this feasibility study, which puts us in pole position to deliver the full turnkey build-out of this exciting salmon farming facility in South Korea,” says Ingegjerd Eidsvik, CEO of Artec Aqua. KSF is a joint venture between Norway-based Salmon Evolution ASA and Korean seafood giant Dongwon Industries Co., Ltd. The KSF joint venture plans to develop, construct, and operate a land-based salmon farming facility with an annual production capacity of 20.000 tonnes live weight of harvestable Atlantic salmon in South Korea. The project plans to use a hybrid flow through system technology, such as the one Artec Aqua is delivering to Salmon Evolution’s land-based facility at Indre Harøy in Norway.

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12/07/2021 14:03:30

World News

Tierra del Fuego bans open net salmon farming Seafarms to raise £49m for prawn farm project

ARGENTINA’S southernmost province is to ban open net salmon farming.The provincial legislature of Tierra del Fuego has approved a bill to outlaw the practice amid “concerns about stability”. The Tierra del Fuego archipelago covers an area of 28,400 square miles (73,700 square kms) of which one third belongs to Argentina and two thirds forms part of Chile. Ironically, it is probably the best region in the country for salmon farming.Three years ago the Norwegian and Argentine governments entered into a partnership arrangement to study the possibility of developing an aquaculture industry in the Beagle Channel which forms part of the archipelago.

The proposal immediately met with strong opposition from the regional administration which subsequently introduced a Bill to prohibit salmon farming. That bill was unanimously approved earlier this month. The ban also includes Argentina’s South Atlantic Islands and Antarctic territory. Provincial deputy Pablo Villegas told the Buenos Aires Times that it was possible to say no to salmon farming if campaigners worked with their heads, and with passion and commitment. Campaigners claim the introduction of salmon farming would threaten the region’s thriving tourist economy as well as having a detrimental impact on the environment. The decision was hailed by Greenpeace which said: “Ushuaia (the provincial capital of Tierra del Fuego) is protected from a harmful industry that has caused serious damage to the Chilean fjords and has seriously impacted local communities for decades.” It has also been welcomed by neighbouring Chile.

GAA hails year of growth DESPITE the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Global Aquaculture Alliance (GAA) grew the number of certified operators under its Best Aquaculture Practices (BAP) scheme by a tenth through 2020. The GAA’s annual report for 2020 shows that the number of BAPcertified processing plants, farms, hatcheries and feed mills increased 10.7 percent, to 2,918, between the end of 2019 to the end of last year. BAP covers facilities in 39 countries, representing 29 seafood species. This includes 236 BAP-certified processing plants eligible to offer four-star BAP seafood, signifying that the product originates from

Above: A fish farm in Greece


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SEAFARMS, the Australian shrimp farming group, is planning to raise AUS $90m (£49m) to fund its Project Sea Dragon project in the north of the country. Project Sea Dragon is a large scale, integrated land-based prawn aquaculture development designed to produce year round high quality prawn volumes for the export market. The group says funds are being sought immediately to start construction on the project with the aim of achieving the first prawn harvest by the third quarter of 2023. Eligible shareholders are being invited to take part in the fund raising through a share purchase plan to raise an additional AUS $15m.

Seafarms says the capital raising will be underpinned by Ian Trahar, the company chairman and largest shareholder who plans to invest AUS $20m into the capital raising and convert all loans of about AUS $15.2m to equity on the same terms as the placement. An extraordinary general meeting will be held in late July to approve the placement and other matters. Seafarms is backed by Nissui, the Japanese seafood group, which bought a AUS $25m stake in the business three years ago. It is now one of the largest

aquaculture operators in Australia, selling products under the Crystal Bay Prawns brand. The company says its ongoing strategy is to develop further aquaculture operations “to produce the highest quality seafood”, backed by Project Sea Dragon its large greenfield investment in North Queensland where it has been operating since 1988. It has grown its business from 600 tonnes to almost 1,800 tonnes over the last four years, making it the largest prawn farmer in the country.

the BAP-certified farm, hatchery, feed mill and processing plant. The rate of retention for BAP-certified facilities totalled 91% in 2020. The GAA report also shows that operators show fewer “nonconformities” – that is, violations of a clause within a standard – with successive audits. The number of non-conformities for environmentalrelated clauses, for example, fell from 2.68% of the total number of clauses to 1.93% from the first audit to the third audit, while the number of non-conformities for animal health and welfare-related clauses fell from 3.66 percent to 2.09 percent. This shows, the GAA said, that “annual audits work”, even though through 2020 the organisation had to switch to a remote auditing process thanks to the pandemic. By the end of the year there had been more than 700 remote audits carried out. The BAP program marked a number of “firsts” in 2020, including: Japan’s first retailer to actively market BAP seafood (Seiyu); Spain’s first retailer to add BAP to its sustainable seafood sourcing policy (Mercadona); Europe’s first company to attain four-star BAP status (The Scottish Salmon Company); and Norway’s first salmon farm to earn BAP certification (Kvarøy). CEO Wally Stevens said: “I am incredibly proud of my GAA associates for their achievements in 2020. We should also be proud of the women and men in the industry who surmounted the challenges of 2020 with courage and commitment. Just think what we can achieve in 2021 and beyond with that same professionalism and passion. This is a great opportunity for us to live up to our aspirations for a healthy global society, where all 17 SDGs [United Nations Sustainable Development Goals] are consistently being addressed.” As of April this year, GAA changed its name to the Global Seafood Alliance, reflecting its increasing involvement in wild fisheries through the Responsible Fishing Vessel Standard and Seafood Processing Plant Standard, which encompasses both farmed and wild seafood.


12/07/2021 14:04:23

All the latest industry news from around the world

BioMar pledges to cut its carbon footprint AQUAFEED giant BioMar has committed to reducing the carbon footprint of its feed by onethird by 2030. The pledge is part of the group’s “2030 Ambitions”, set out alongside BioMar’s 2020 Sustainability Report. BioMar is specifically promising action on three fronts:  Climate Action – BioMar aims to achieve “net zero” greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. To that end, the company says it intends to cut the carbon footprint per tonne of feed by one-third – using a baseline of 2020’s figures – over the next decade.  Shifting to “Circular & Restorative” production – 50% of ingredients in BioMar’s feed will be “circular” (including raw materials sourced from by-product and waste streams) and/or “restorative” (materials that “significantly shift the balance between ecosystem impacts and human production systems towards net-positive environmental outcomes”. One example given is the development of a single cell protein produced from fermented forestry by-products.  A commitment to “Enable People” – focusing on capacity building by committing to enable 100,000 people annually by 2030,

through training courses and development programs for employees, farmers and communities and engagement in third party agricultural and fishery improvement programmes and supplier improvement initiatives. Carlos Diaz, BioMar Group CEO, said: “Humanity has burdened our planet and pushed beyond planetary boundaries.We must strive beyond sustainability and innovate with solutions

that restore the planet while supporting its people.” He added: “We believe in transparency and even though some KPIs [key performance indicators] might seem too ambitious, we strive to aim high and disclose what we have and have not achieved.We believe in the sustainable future of the aquaculture industry and look forward to continuing to drive change.” Left: Carlos Diaz

Kingfish sells out, hits new production record THE Kingfish Company says it is selling its variety of yellowtail almost as fast as it can produce it.The Dutch fish farming business presented its second quarter results yesterday and announced that despite increased harvest levels, its current production capacity is sold out. The company is expanding its facility in the Netherlands, and the development of a new US site in Maine is progressing as planned. Just over a week ago the Kingfish Company secured a final waterside permit for farm in Maine.This week it announced record 2021 Q2 sales, production and harvest levels. It also achieved a higher sales price while its production capacity ramped up. During the quarter, Kingfish set a new production record Above: Lauren Enz

with 268 tons of growth, an increase of 17% over the previous quarter. The company added:“Stocking of the new system was completed in Q2, bringing total installed capacity to 1,250 tons per year. Productivity was 0.62 kg per cubic meter per day, down from 0.70 the previous quarter.” Compared with Q1 this year total sales in grew by 56% to €2.3m and by 42% to 197 tonnes in whole fish equivalents. Earlier this month, Kingfish announced the appointment of Lauren Enz as Vice President of Sales, US. In this newly-added position, Enz will lead US market development and expansion for The Kingfish Company, a pioneer and leader in sustainable land-based aquaculture. She brings more than two decades of seafood sales and leadership experience to The Kingfish Company, having previously served as VP of Business Development at Mark Foods and Director of Seafood Purchasing at Darden Restaurants.

AquaMaof wins two key RAS contracts AQUAMAOF Aquaculture Technologies Ltd, an acknowledged leader in Recirculating Aquaculture System (RAS) technology, has landed two key land based contracts in Russia and Kazakhstan. The Israeli company has has been selected by investment fund Russian Friends Capital (RFC) to develop two the Atlantic salmon production facilities with a planned production volume of 2,500 metric tons each. Design work on both facilities is due to begin next quarter. The facility in Russia,Tuloma Salmon, will be located in the Tula region, a two-hour drive from the capital Moscow. In Kazakhstan, the facility will be located in an economic zone adjacent to the border between Kazakhstan and China. Leonid Goldshtein, Co-Founder and CIS Director at AquaMaof., said:“We are delighted


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and honoured to have been selected by RFC as the RAS technology provider for these exciting projects. We are looking forward to supporting them in their mission to provide consumers with fresh and healthy salmon, which is locally and sustainably produced.” Dmitry Perman, Partner at RFC, added:“We are pleased to team up with AquaMaof as the technology provider for our salmon facilities in Russia and Kazakhstan. “The selection follows a comprehensive due diligence process in which AquaMaof’s RAS technology stood out in terms of lower energy use and bio security.“

“The fact that the company’s technology has been proven in the production of salmon up to market size was also a significant factor in our decision.These facilities are part of our strategy to get locally-produced, fresh, healthy salmon closer to consumers in all major CIS regions,” he said. The AquaMaof advanced Minimum Liquid Discharge (MLD) RAS technology utilises several water-treatment patents and filtering techniques to significantly cut water consumption in the process. At the core of AquaMaof’s integrated RAS technology is efficient power management, which dramatically reduces energy costs.


12/07/2021 14:05:28

Processing News

Trade deal disappoints Norwegian seafood processors Seafood Norway, the employer trade body which represents both aquaculture and fishing companies, has said it is disappointed with the UK-Norway trade deal, describing it as a lost opportunity. And the seafood industry in Iceland is not too happy either

THE agreement between London, Oslo and Reykjavik was signed in June - as part of a trio of trade deals which also included Iceland and Liechtenstein - and hailed by senior politicians on all sides as a deal which will safeguard and strengthen

the seafood sector. But it is not a view universally shared by industry leaders. Seafood Norway CEO Geir Ove Ystmark said the government had not succeeded in its aim and would mean the industry was, by and large, standing still. He states: “What

we are left with is a lost opportunity. The industry has all the way asked for lower tariffs on processed products. This would have generated (processing) activity and created jobs in Norway.” Seafood Norway believes the deal

means the country will remain a largely raw material supplier. Norway’s largest seafood organisation believes that Norway will now remain a raw material supplier with this agreement. “The government has given up a unique opportunity to put in place an agreement that would provide important - and necessary - industrial development along the coast.” Seafood Norway chairman Paul Birger Torgnes said the country needed profitable and long lasting jobs in order to secure its welfare

direction. Instead, we more or less stand on the spot resting, without any of the party speeches about the investment in the What we sea and seafood being are left with realised.” The agreement has is a lost also been met with opportunity disappointment by Fisheries Iceland (SFS), which claims the deal did not include improved market access for its members’ products. state into the future. Heiðrún Lind Mar“This must be the teinsdóttir, CEO of SFS last time we let such said seafood made an opportunity pass up more than 60% of us by,” he added. Iceland’s exports to the “ This agreement UK and this should have could have been an had stronger emphasis important step in that during the negotiations.

Iceland’s Marel set to take over Valka IcelandIc food processing group Marel has struck a deal to acquire Valka ehf, a fish processing business also based in Iceland. Under the deal Marel will acquire more than 90% of Valka’s share capital and the remaining shareholders will be invited to sell their stock on the same terms. The purchase price will be paid 50% in cash and 50% in Marel shares, except for smaller shareholders who will have the option of a full cash payment. Sellers that receive Marel shares will undertake a lock-up period of 18 months. Valka operates in the salmon and whitefish processing industries. Its product range includes waterjet cutting, trimming, and grading solutions for whitefish and salmon. Valka is based in Iceland and Norway and its annual revenue is around €17m. The company has 105 employees. Helgi Hjálmarsson, Valka’s


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founder and ceO, will take on a role as Director of Solution Integrity within Marel. He said: “The establishment of Valka in 2003 was a big step for me after nine excellent years in Marel where I worked on many innovative projects. By joining Marel you could say we are moving back home because both companies share the same vision and passion for developing high-tech processing solutions that transform the way fish is processed in a sustainable way. “Our combined product offering will make us stronger together and even better at providing full-line solutions for our customers.” Guðbjörg Heiða Guðmundsdóttir, Executive Vice President Marel Fish, said: “We are excited to join forces with Valka, an innovative provider of advanced processing solutions for the fish industry. Valka is technologically very strong and has good insight into market needs.

“Together the companies will build on the best of both, increase scale, accelerate innovation and strengthen our combined offering to continue to provide our customers with best-in-class processing solutions in the growing food processing industry.” Earlier this year Marel ac-

quired a 40% stake in Stranda Prolog, the Norwegian supplier of salmon processing solutions. The closing of the Valka acquisition is subject to customary closing conditions, including anti-trust approval from the Icelandic Antitrust Authority, and is expected to take place later this year.

Above: Guðbjörg Heiða Guðmundsdóttir (L) and Helgi Hjálmarsson


12/07/2021 14:09:17

Processing News

Loch Duart hails success for plant investment One year on from Loch Duart’s acquisition of a formerly defunct processing plant at Dingwall, Factory Manager Russell Leslie has said he is “delighted” with its performance. Independent salmon farmer Loch Duart purchased the site, which had previously been operated by Thai Union/ edinburgh Salmon Company, in 2020. The 50,000 sq. ft. premises had been unused for some time and the site required considerable refurbishment before it could return to operating fully. Russell Leslie said: “Loch Duart invested £2m in buying and refurbishing the factory and we now employ over 70 people. Having worked under the previous ownership and now running the plant myself, I am delighted by the improvements in staff conditions in the last year under the new ownership. The factory and yard are substantial in size allowing us to design in lots of space for working, social distancing and staff welfare.” Following the refurbishment, Loch Duart obtained the British Retail Consortium’s “AA” Grade certification, the UK supermar-

kets’ benchmark for food premises. The company said that the factory is already exporting to Europe and the USA each week, and added that its high standard of gutting and filleting work has already brought in contracts from other salmon companies, in addition to processing all of Loch Duart’s harvested output. Leslie said: “Our clear message to the local community is that we offer high quality jobs with good career prospects and reasonable rates of pay for the sector. “For example, a line operative can be promoted to team leader within six months and career development plans are available for everyone who wants to progress. Previously the factory had significantly seasonal peaks, but Loch Duart is packing fresh fish not smoked (which is mainly geared to Christmas market). “Loch Duart prides itself on its longserving staff and low absence from work. We aim to be exemplary employers offering long term prospects and career development.”

Asian processor embraces transparency initiative

ASIAN processor and exporter LP Foods Pte Ltd has become the latest company to participate in a project that aims to increase transparency in seafood sourcing. Based in Singapore and Vietnam, LP Foods is one of the first seafood suppliers in Southeast Asia to join the Ocean Disclosure Project (ODP). LP has committed to voluntarily disclose the origin of its shrimp, octopus, and fish products. The company has published an ODP profile containing a list of its seafood sources alongside information on the country of origin, certification and ratings, and environmental impact of production (oceandisclosureproject. org/companies/lp-foods). An LP Foods spokesperson said: “We are proud to be one of the first


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Southeast Asian companies to disclose farmed and wild caught seafood sourcing information through the ODP platform. LP Foods is committed to transparency and to improving our sourcing. We endeavour to provide more sustainable products in the marketplace to help ensure sustainable consumption and product quality.” Tania Woodcock, Project Manager for the ODP said: “By becoming one of the first companies in Southeast Asia to participate in the ODP, LP Foods has shown strong leadership and a commitment to transparency in seafood.” Sustainable Fisheries Partnership started the ODP in 2015 to provide a valuable information resource for responsible investors, seafood consumers, and others interested in sustainable seafood. To date, 37 other companies including retailers, suppliers, and aquaculture feed manufacturers from around the world have participated. Other new participants this year have included seafood suppliers Thai Union Group and Hilton Seafood UK.

Right: Russell Leslie

Minister reiterates confidence in seafood industry BRITaIn’S fish processing industry has “huge opportunities” in the years to come. That was the message from the UK Government’s Fisheries Minister Victoria Prentis, on a visit to Grimsby on 1 July. She visited Immingham Border Control Post (BCP) and two leading processors, Flatfish and Young’s Seafood, before hosting a virtual roundtable bringing together industry representatives from across the processing sector, including export and import stakeholders, to consider the challenges and opportunities facing businesses. The north and north east Lincolnshire region accounts for around one-third of UK seafood processing jobs. Prentis said: “It was a pleasure to visit Grimsby, to meet local businesses and see for myself the work carried out in what is one of our most important fish processing hubs. There are huge opportunities for people in the town, and the wider processing industry. “Supporting coastal communities to access trade opportunities outside of the EU is a key priority to ensure that the UK fishing and seafood industry is able to prosper for years to come.”

Above: Victoria Prentis (L) at Flatfish


12/07/2021 14:10:04



Fishy statistics Has the pandemic reversed the long decline in fresh fish consumption?


new report commissioned by the Alaskan Seafood Marke�ng Ins�tute (ASMI) would seem to suggest that home consump�on of fish and seafood has risen during the ongoing pandemic. They believe that this has been fuelled by a move away from red meat in search of healthier forms of protein. The survey of US consumers found that 26% bought seafood for the first �me, whilst about 35% have upped their seafood consump�on from pre-pandemic levels. ASMI say that consumers are now enjoying seafood at home once a week and if they have not already increased consump�on, they plan to do so during 2021. ASMI found that 48% of consumers are trying to ac�vely increase their consump�on of fish and seafood, whereas only 23% say the same for beef. By comparison, 26% of consumers say that they are trying to reduce the amount of beef they eat whilst the number is just 7% for fish and seafood. I have to admit that I am always a li�le scep�cal of surveys about fish and seafood


Martin Jaffa.indd 26

consump�on, and even more so when the survey has been commissioned by a marke�ng group. My experience is that what consumers say and what consumers do are two very different things. Rather than reply on how consumers respond, I am more interested in whether fish and seafood sales have increased or decreased as a consequence of any campaign or event. And in terms of “event”, there can be none bigger than the Covid-19 pandemic. ASMI do not say by how much fish and seafood consump�on has increased in the US during Covid, but I have been tracking the sales of chilled seafood in the UK since the pandemic hit. This is mainly fresh and chilled fish from the major retailers, although the figures are likely to include some coated chilled fish and fishcakes. Un�l the pandemic, sales of chilled fish for home consump�on had been in decline for most of the last decade. Average consump�on per person had fallen by the equivalent of about ten por�ons of fish a year and the likelihood was that this decline would con�nue, as reflected by the closures of many supermarket fish counters in recent years due to a lack of consumer demand. However, such forecasts were blown apart by the arrival of Covid-19. The change in chilled fish purchases from February to March 2020 was 0.1% but in April sales jumped by a massive 21.7%. This was when the supermarkets suffered an onslaught of consumer demand, led notably by an unprecedented need to buy toilet roll. How the increased sale of chilled fish translated into the wider stockpiling of food and housewares is unclear. Either, like ASMI’s findings, there was a surge of new consumers buying fish for the first �me, possibly because they couldn’t buy other proteins because they had sold out, or more likely, exis�ng consumers stocked up with more fish for home freezing. Whilst forms of lockdown con�nued for many more months, there has never been a repeat of the April sales surge. In fact, sales have grown by around 1% month on month or less ever since. There were excep�ons around Christmas and Easter but even the growth on these occasions has been rela�vely insignificant. It does not appear that this small growth is the result of new consumers star�ng to buy fish. Instead, I suspect that these small increases in sales volume are due to promo�onal ac�vity in the retail sector. A�er the ini�al uncertainty of Covid and lockdown, supermarkets returned to their normal promo�onal ac�vity. For example, at the

Above: A tradi�onal fish counter Left: Panic buying at the start of the pandemic


12/07/2021 15:42:57

Fishy statistics

end of this June, Morrison’s had discounted whole salmon by £2/kg down to £6/kg. Tesco’s were offering salmon sides at £12.70/kg saving £2.kg. Asda had a saving of 70p on their half salmon side (500g), priced at £6.50 and Sainsbury’s had new Mowi brand salmon packs (230g) on sale at £4, a saving of 50p per pack. Offers on cod, sea bass and other species were also available. The ques�on is as we come out of Covid, what will happen to fish and seafood sales? Certainly, ASMI are op�mis�c that US consumers are turning from beef to fish in search of a healthier diet. I am not so sure that the same will be said across this side of the Atlan�c. There has been some expecta�on that increased online shopping will boost fish sales and that the current trends will con�nue. I do hope that this will be the case, but I am not convinced. I think we will see that as we return to ea�ng out, interest in home cooking will diminish and the recent increased growth might stall. I don’t see anything in the retail sector that will persuade consumers to eat more fish at home.

What is more worrying is that the people who bought more fish in April 2020 were likely to be older consumers who were exis�ng fish consumers and were familiar with ea�ng a wider range of fish species. By comparison, younger consumers are more likely to be persuaded by the vegan and plant-based diets being promoted widely as favourable to the environment. If these younger consumers turn to plant-based diets, then who, in the future, will be ea�ng our fish? FF

I am always a li�le scep�cal of surveys “about fish and seafood consump�on ”

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Martin Jaffa.indd 27


12/07/2021 15:43:33

Scottish Salmon Producers’ Organisation


Never-ending Brexit The UK’s European divorce continues to have repercussions for the salmon industry


t always used to be said that Sco�sh devolu�on was “a process not an event”. Well, it seems that the same can now be said for Brexit. Anyone who adhered to the clean-break theory for our departure from the EU is being proved wrong, week by week and month by month. Indeed, every �me we think we have got to grips with the changes brought about by the UK’s exit from the EU, something else rises up from the bureaucra�c morass to test us yet again. This is not to say that Brexit won’t prove to be a success for Sco�sh salmon in the long run: if the trade deals the UK signs with countries all over the world prove to be advantageous, that could work in our favour. But the short-term reality is not only that Brexit is cos�ng our sector substan�al amounts in extra paperwork costs, delays and poorer prices but also that the situa�on keeps changing. There have been two recent examples which show how the ongoing “process” of Brexit is con�nuing to cause us problems. The first stems from changes brought in on 1 July this year. Up un�l the end of June, European workers had the right to work in the UK without permits. As from 1 July, permits are now needed – and this doesn’t just apply to workers from the EU, it also covers those from countries like Norway which are outside the EU but inside the European Free Trade Area. The result has been a major headache for our sector and a problem which could poten�ally bring the whole Sco�sh salmon sector to its knees. The reason is the Norwegian wellboat fleet. Our farms are serviced by a number of specialist wellboats. Some of these treat the fish, some harvest while others are used to transport salmon and smolts. Without them, the Sco�sh salmon sector would grind to a halt, pre�y quickly. From 1 July, the Norwegian crews on these Norwegian-flagged vessels have needed permits to work in Sco�sh waters. So, for the last couple of months, the boats’ operators have been working with the Sco�sh Salmon Producers Organisa�on to try to find a way to get permits. Quite a few crew members qualify for the new Fron�er Permit. This applies to those who have worked in the UK in 2020. As many of the


Hamish MacDonnell.indd 28

crew members worked in Sco�sh waters last year, they qualify for the new permits. But these new permits don’t cover all the Norwegian crew members needed to operate the boats. The companies opera�ng the boats won’t be able to bring in new crews from Norway to cover for sickness and holidays, and they won’t be able to cover for crew members who move on to other jobs or who re�re. This means there is a finite group of crew members; a group which will always be ge�ng smaller. This will allow wellboats to con�nue to operate in the short term but a longer term solu�on is desperately needed to prevent the Sco�sh salmon sector from hi�ng a crisis, somewhere down the line. Brexit enthusiasts would say that these are jobs which should be done by UK workers and, in an ideal world, that might be true. However, the reality is that it is very difficult, if not impossible, for UK workers to take these jobs because of the understandable language barriers in their way. To take on these jobs, UK workers would need to be able to speak Norwegian and, crucially, understand all the instruc�ons wri�en in Norwegian on the vessels. The SSPO is working with the UK Government to try to find a solu�on, making the case that this is yet another unintended consequence of Brexit and that something needs to be done to prevent considerable damage being done to a great UK export success story. But even while we try to manage this issue (and, at the moment, there is no solu�on in sight), another one is looming round the corner. On August 21 this year, the rules on Export Health Cer�ficates for the export of fish to the EU will change. I’d like to be able to explain exactly what

longer “Aterm

solu�on is desperately needed to prevent the Sco�sh salmon sector from hi�ng a crisis


12/07/2021 15:46:22

Never-ending Brexit

Above: Wellboat moored alongside a salmon farm

these will be but there is s�ll considerable uncertainty over the changes and what they will mean. It appears that the cer�ficates may need to be signed off by a cer�fied vet, rather than an environmental health officer, but even that is unclear at the moment. What is certain is that eight months a�er EHCs were introduced for fish exports to the EU and a�er eight months of ge�ng used to the complicated new system, further changes are in the pipeline. Not only that, but with other plans in prepara�on to digi�se the en�re system – changes we have called for – to help simplify the process, this won’t be the end of the story. So if there is one thing our members are having to get used to with Brexit it is this: constant change. Just when they thought it was safe to relax a li�le and think they had sorted the Brexit changes, along comes


Hamish MacDonnell.indd 29

something new. It is a tribute to our members that they have managed to get so much salmon to the EU this year. Exports of Sco�sh salmon in the first quarter of this year were up on the previous year. Well, they were up in volume terms but down in value. What this suggests is that they have valiantly fought through the new bureaucracy to get their fish to the con�nent but uncertainty over delivery �mes and delays caused by paperwork problems have eroded the prices they would have expected to get. I would like to think that this �me next year, we will be able to look back on 2021 and say it was just 12 months of “teething problems” and that Brexit has se�led down. I would like to think our members will be expor�ng even more to the EU and that both volume and value of our exports will be up. But, given the almost constant ra� of changes to the rules and regula�ons which are being thrown in the direc�on of our members, no one can be sure of that. In fact, the only thing we can be sure of is that this uncertainty will con�nue. And, if this “process” of Brexit con�nues much longer, those sunlit uplands of free trade around the world will con�nue to look as distant as ever. FF


12/07/2021 15:46:57



Tackling tube worms A new study aims to find an early warning for worm infestation


am always amused when people looking to come into the mussel industry think it will be easy. A�er all, don’t you just put a few ropes in the water and haul in a crop of black gold a year or two later? If only it was that simple! The reality is that there are many technical and biological hurdles to overcome in order to get a successful crop to market, year a�er year, any of which can throw financial forecasts into disarray. And that is without taking into account “curve balls”, such as Covid-19 and Brexit, causing severe disrup�on to marke�ng plans. In taking our own mussel farm (www.offshoreshellfish.com) offshore, we have faced many such hurdles, and we s�ll have a lot to learn about the dynamics of farming on a large scale, six miles out in the open sea. However, it has meant that we can grow a crop from spat to harvest, in just over one year, which is a big advantage when compared to our previous sites in Scotland, where it took between two to three years to achieve the same thing. Another advantage is that we no longer have an issue with biofouling organisms growing on the shells, such as barnacles (Balanus sp.) and tube worm (Pomatoceros triqueter). However, we do have occasional plagues of starfish, which se�le around the same �me as the mussels, and quickly outgrow them by feeding voraciously, leaving us staring at a devastated crop. In Scotland and Shetland, tube worm can be a major problem in some years, with an es�mated 500 tonnes of mussels spor�ng the calcareous white worm casts on their shells, causing financial losses of around £500,000 per year. As produc�on increases, the losses will also stack up. “On some of our sites, we have found as much as 20% of the shells affected. It’s seasonal, it’s not every year, and some�mes it is worse than others, but it can be a big problem and results in considerable wastage,” said Michael Tait, MD of Shetland Mussels. Tube worm do not harm the mussels, but they are virtually impossible to remove, make the product less desirable to customers in terms of aesthe�cs and smell when cooked, and they can also damage vacuum packaging. A new project, led by the University of S�rling’s Ins�tute of Aquaculture, with support from Shetland Mussels and the Sustainable Aquaculture Innova�on Centre (SAIC), aims to develop


Nicki Holmyard.indd 30

a rapid diagnos�c tool for the presence of P. triqueter DNA in plankton and shell swab samples. Such a tool would enable producers to make informed decisions about dealing with tube worm, including environmental management and cleaning regimes. Similar molecular diagnos�c techniques are already common in finfish farming, but not in the shellfish sector. The project could therefore herald a significant step change for shellfish farmers, enabling them to improve stock management and product quality. Currently, the only way to detect the presence of larval tube worm is by looking at a water sample under a microscope, but as project lead researcher Dr Stefano Carboni explained, the larvae can be easily confused with other organisms, and sampling only covers a small volume of water. “Tube worm and other biofouling are of long-standing concern for the shellfish industry, and there is not a clear understanding about what drives the se�lement of larvae. A more prac�cal and reliable method for iden�fica�on, would be an invaluable development for the industry, and it could be applied on a global scale. Once we have a molecular diagnos�c tool, it could easily be adapted to iden�fy other organisms of interest, including the D larvae of mussels, which would take all the guess work away from shellfish farmers,” he said. Current strategies for dealing with early-stage tube worm se�lement include

Left: Mussels infested with barnacles Opposite: Mussel shell with tube worm; Scallop shell with tube worm


12/07/2021 15:48:49

Tackling tube worms

monitoring water temperatures and weather pa�erns to es�mate when it will occur, exposing shells to the air, washing them, or cleaning using ace�c acid, brine or hot water. None of these are cost-effec�ve and can have a detrimental effect on growth and survival. For Michael Tait, who maintains separate spat collec�on and ongrowing sites, a detec�on tool could allow him to delay retubing seed mussels onto new lines un�l tube worm larvae are no longer registering in an area. “This project has exci�ng poten�al to change the way mussel farms are managed in future, and it will be interes�ng to see the ini�al results. The poten�al for adapta�on to a tool that iden�fies mussel larvae would also be of interest to us,” said Tait. Regular water samples will be collected from Shetland Mussels, along with surface swabs from mussel shells, which the S�rling University team will analyse for the presence of tube worm DNA. The data will allow them to monitor pa�erns and seasonal varia�ons that could inform cleaning schedules and poten�al site selec�on, as well as preven�ng future losses.

be a big problem and results “It canin considerable wastage ”


Nicki Holmyard.indd 31

Heather Jones, CEO at SAIC, was pleased to support a project to help the growing Sco�sh shellfish sector. “This project represents just one example of pioneering research that will support further sustainable growth to meet the global demand for protein. New data-led techniques such as this DNA diagnos�c tool can help to drive the en�re industry forward, with benefits spanning the environment, businesses opera�ng in the sector, and the end consumer,” she said. A similar project is currently underway in Sweden, where mussel farming company Bohus Havsbruk and the Swedish environmental ins�tute IVL, are looking at how mussels can be heat treated to remove fouling. The research, which is part of the EU Horizon 2020 AquaVitae project, is trialling the exposure of mussels to seawater at a higher temperature than the surrounding sea, for a short period of �me. Trials are currently s�ll in the laboratory phase, with researchers inves�ga�ng the temperature range that will result in high worm mortality, while maintaining high mussel survival. Once this has been established, the next stage is to undertake field trials to ascertain the feasibility of working at scale. FF


12/07/2021 15:49:25


Reef relief

Kvarøy Arctic is supporting two projects, repopulating endangered coral and helping to feed a community hit by disaster BY SANDY NEIL


orwegian salmon farmer Kvarøy Arctic is support of a more diversified, equitable, and climate-change resilient food system through its contribution to two aquaculture projects in a not-for-profit initiative. Kvarøy, a third-generation Atlantic salmon farm on the Island of Kvarøy along Norway’s Arctic Circle, is underwriting two separate grants in the budding World Central Kitchen (WCK) Food Producer Network programme. The grants will provide vital support for two aquaculture projects: Coral Vita in The Bahamas and Tilapia de la Faja in Guatemala. “World Central Kitchen is a nonprofit organization founded by Chef José Andrés that uses the power of food to nourish communities and strengthen economies through times of crisis and beyond,” explains Mikol Hoffman, Director of WCK’s Food Producer Network. “[It] has created a new model for disaster response through its work helping devastated communities recover and establish resilient food systems. WCK has served more than 50 million fresh meals to people impacted by natural disasters and other crises around the world in countries including The Bahamas, Indonesia, Lebanon, Mozambique,


World Central Kitchen - Sandy.indd 32

Venezuela, and the United States. “WCK’s Food Producer Network was launched in Puerto Rico in September 2018, when our immediate goal was to help our food producers revitalize their operations after the catastrophic damages suffered from hurricanes Irma and María the year before. Today we are looking beyond disaster recovery and to the future of food systems as we help our grantee partners in Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands, The Bahamas, and Guatemala contribute to a system-wide increase in food production capacity and food security, over and above pre-hurricane levels.” Kvarøy Arctic’s support was inspired by the words of its CEO Alf-Gøran Knutsen: “Quality

Left: Alf-Goran Knutsen Above and far right: Tilapia de la Faja Above right: CoralVita Founders Photo: CoralVita


12/07/2021 15:51:21

Reef relief

of life for the world’s children in 2050 depends on our decisions today. Every decision we make must stem from a deeply rooted commitment to protec�ng the planet for future genera�ons. There’s an old saying, ‘We do not inherit the world from our parents. We borrow it from our children.’ This is the tenet from which all of our ac�ons are based.” Jennifer Bushman, Kvarøy Arc�c’s Strategic Development Officer, says: “Suppor�ng organisa�ons that build resilient food systems in the face of climate change is an important part of our advocacy work. We feel that by helping to rebuild communi�es a�er natural disasters that we are be�er preparing them to be self-sufficient in good �mes and in bad. We suggested an aquaculture track to World Central Kitchen for their Food Producer Network and, with them, launched their first programme in support of aquaculture. We are hoping that others will dive in with us!” She adds: “We believe in the importance of suppor�ng a diverse array of projects to benefit the health of our oceans and our communi�es globally. Aquaculture isn’t a well-known industry in the Caribbean and we believe our support through this WCK program will help grow the industry for the benefit of us all.” Based in the Bahamas, Coral Vita is the world’s first commercial land-based coral farm. “Coral Vita was founded to preserve coral reefs for future genera�ons,” its Co-Founder and Chief Reef Officer Sam Teicher told Fish Farmer. “Half of coral reefs are dead and over 90% are on track to die by 2050. This is not just


World Central Kitchen - Sandy.indd 33

This is “ not just an

an ecological tragedy, but a socio-economic catastrophe, as reefs sustain 25% of marine life and the livelihoods of up to one billion people, while powering tourism economies and sheltering coastlines from storm surge. “The best thing to do for coral reefs is to stop killing them, which requires our poli�cal and industrial leaders to meaningfully act to solve for climate change, habitat destruc�on, overfishing, and pollu�on. Un�l that happens though, adapta�on solu�ons like coral reef restora�on must be radically transformed and upscale, which is why Coral Vita was founded.” Coral Vita is dedicated to maintaining and re-growing coral reefs incorpora�ng breakthrough techniques for growing coral up to 50 �mes faster, while boos�ng resilience against warming, acidifying oceans. The original farm was mostly destroyed by a 17� storm surge due to Hurricane Dorian. A�er focusing on humanitarian aid in the a�ermath, Coral Vita is returning to its core mission, sustaining the ecosystems that support the local community and help protect it from the threat of increasing storms. Through the grant, Coral Vita will invest in cri�cal infrastructure for its project including a heat pump system, a heat exchange system, and a UVC filter, all of which are necessary due to the compromised water table from recent hurricanes. These innova�ons will allow Coral Vita to increase its efforts from growing hundreds to over ten thousand coral fragments and build capacity for local jobs and tourism. “The support of WCK and Kvarøy Arc�c has helped us rebuild our farm even be�er than it was before the devasta�on of Hurricane Dorian,” says the other co-founder Gator Halpern. “We’ve been able to scale our opera�ons and increase the efficiency of our coral farming infrastructure to further benefit the reef ecosystem and community of The Bahamas.” The second aquaculture project to gain WCK support is Tilapia de la Faja in Guatemala, in an area that was impacted by the erup�on of the Fuego Volcano in 2018. The organic �lapia farm was founded three years ago by seven young entrepreneurs and produces a new source of food and employment for a growing community. With this grant, Tilapia de la Faja is building seven new �lapia ponds and implemen�ng the use of oxygenators facilita�ng year-round produc�on and a steady stream of protein. Currently, the farm is supplying fish to five communi�es within their municipality. The growth of produc�on will drama�cally increase their impact, allowing them to reach 45 communi�es with an uninterrupted supply of fresh, organic �lapia. A spokesperson for Tilapia de la Faja told Fish Farmer: “With this support we will have nine tanks in total, that will allow us to grow Tilapia year round. This is huge as the �lapia is one of the only local sources of protein in our community that will now be readily available all year. We hope to become self-sustainable a�er this grant. We’re projec�ng 400% growth. Before the grant, we were farming about 1,500 pounds of �lapia. Long term, we’re looking at diversifying beyond �lapia into other species of sustainable seafood.” Next up for Kvarøy Arc�c is its land-based farm: a “stunning flowthrough system on the northern coast of Norway,” says Jennifer Bushman. “This farm will be supported by our feed model, the Kvarøy smolt hatchery and our processing rela�onships. There will even be a biofuel based wellboat—only the second ever put into produc�on! All of this will be up and running by late 2023 if all goes as planned.” FF

ecological tragedy, but a socioeconomic catastrophe

” 33

12/07/2021 15:52:08

Cod farming

The third


Norcod’s CEO believes that the secret to successful cod farming has finally been cracked BY ROBERT OUTRAM


n the race to restart Norway’s cod farming industry, Norcod is in pole posi�on. Following a trial harvest in December last year, the company is now gearing up for its first commercial harvest this quarter. Chief Execu�ve Chris�an Riber is confident. He says: “Our current produc�on is on target and the fish is doing well. We s�ll see very low mortality, good growth and good fish welfare. And just this week [speaking in June] we’ve started se�ng out the next round of fish into the ocean, which will become the next 10,000 tonnes for 2022.” He describes the December trial as “a huge milestone” for the company, with the first 2kg-plus fish and expecta�ons that the coming harvest will exceed the planned average of 4kg-4.5kg. Even so, he says: “When we started back in 2018, a lot of people thought we were nuts!” Cod aquaculture began with experimental hatcheries to revive wild stocks in the 1880s, but the first wave of full scale commercial farming started a century later. It was not a roaring success – biological problems


Norcod.indd 34

A lot of people thought we were nuts

were challenging and profits low – and most closed during the 1980s. The second wave came in the early 2000s, with farms established in Norway and elsewhere, but again biological problems – and the global financial crisis – meant the industry was once more on the back burner. Riber believes that solu�ons have now been found for both the biological and financial challenges: “Now everyone is talking about cod farming in Norway and there are new companies coming into the market, which is very posi�ve.” So what’s different about the model now? One factor, says Riber, is the biology. As he puts it: “Back in 2012-13, they reached genera�on


12/07/2021 15:54:23

The third wave

three, and they felt they had cracked the biology at that �me, but then they got killed by the financial crisis. “Today we are se�ng out with genera�on six – it’s a totally domes�cated fish, it swims around in the pens similar to the salmon. As long as the cod is fed correctly and is kept with the right equipment, we see zero problems with cannibalism or escapes.” He adds: “We’ve done it the hard way from the beginning, so we’ve invested in completely new equipment, new rings, new feed barges and new service boats, which gives us a lot of advantages. “And we’ve chosen a strategy where we use feed with a very high marine content. We’ve


Norcod.indd 35

seen very good results with that, in the Faroes, for salmon. “So our fish has fantas�c growth and they are really strong, and fish welfare is really good. We see very low mortality.” To develop the feed, Norcod worked with Danish-based aquafeed producer Aller Aqua, a company with a lot of experience working with halibut farmers in Norway and also with sea bass and sea bream. Norwegian research ins�tute Nofima has been running a na�onal breeding programme for cod since 2003, and their stock was the basis for Left: Chris�an Riber Norcod’s ini�al broodstock. For its commercial produc�on going forward, Above: The farm at however, Norcod is working with Norwegian company Havlandet Marin Jamnungen Below: Norcod’s product Yngel for its gene�cs and breeding. Havlandet is the only commercial, privately owned breeder for cod, and Norcod is planning to construct a dedicated fry facility in Florø, in partnership with Havlandet. Another key factor is the market. Riber notes that in the late 2000s cod was selling for 10 or 15 NOK per kilo, but now prices are up to as much as 50 NOK. In fact, for Q1 of this year Norcod announced an income of NOK 11.8m (£1m) compared to NOK 6.3m (£546k) for the same period last year. The pre-tax opera�ng profit was NOK 1.5m (£130k) against a loss of NOK 16.7m (£1.4m) in Q1 2019. Danish wealth management business Artha recently bought out the stake owned by seafood producer Is�ord Norway. Artha was already a major investor but the move, which took its stake to just under 33%, underlines its confidence in the venture. Riber says: “Now more than ever, consumers are very focused on how is the fish raised, how sustainable is it, what is the environmental impact? “Our cod is checking all those boxes. We are very much focused on sustainability in our produc�on.” In May, Norcod became the first cod farmer to achieve the Global GAP Aquaculture standard. This covers the en�re produc�on chain from broodstock, seedlings and feed suppliers to farming, harves�ng and processing, se�ng out detailed requirements for legal compliance, employees’ occupa�onal health and safety, animal welfare, food safety and environmental and ecological care. Now, the company is working towards cer�fica�on with the Aquaculture Stewardship Council. This will not be granted un�l Norcod has been through at least one full produc�on cycle, and Riber hopes to achieve cer�fica�on some �me in 2022. Wild caught cod is a familiar product, but how is the farmed version different? Riber says: “It’s the same species, but due to the feed it has a significantly sweeter taste to it and it is very firm. It has less of the salt water, ocean taste and it is less watery. “What’s interes�ng about the farmed cod is that we can get a much be�er average size so, while wild caught fish can be anywhere between


12/07/2021 15:55:04

Cod farming

half a kilo and 7kg, we have a much narrower size range. And it has a much more stable quality. We don’t use nets or hooks to catch the fish, so there is very li�le bruising or damage to the fish.” As the farmed cod do not go all the way down to the sea bed they are also very unlikely to pick up nematode worms, which can be a problem for wild caught cod. The worms are harmless to humans when the fish is cooked, but are very offpu�ng when they turn up alive. Stability of quality and supply are also advantages Norcod is keen to stress. Riber says: “Our customers are high end food service and retailers – none of them like to buy on spot markets, they like programmes, stability and fixed prices. And that’s exactly what we can deliver to them. “We can do it outside the usual fresh fish season. So, from May onwards there is very li�le fresh cod available on the market, especially in high, stable quality, and that’s the demand that we can meet.” Norcod is working in partnership with Denmark’s Sirena Group, which markets a variety of seafood including wild caught white fish. Riber himself was formerly Commercial Director with Sirena before moving to head Norcod in December 2020. The connec�on means that Norcod should be able to get its product to its key markets, both whole fish for processors and retailers in Europe – including Scandinavia, the UK and elsewhere in western Europe – and fillets for retail and hospitality. As Riber says: “A big thing that we’ve done from the beginning, which differen�ates us a li�le bit from the others, is that we’ve built Norcod based on produc�on and marke�ng together; we haven’t just focused on produc�on. “We see our first mover advantage in the market but even more so when it comes to loca�ons and licences, where we have a big advantage.” Norway’s emerging cod farming industry is not currently governed by the kind of “traffic light” system which governs salmon farming, but it’s not hard to see that if the profitability of the model is proven, the government will start to licence it more stringently. Currently, Norcod operates at Jamnungen in Frøya municipality and earlier this year it was granted permission for a further site at Meløy, Nordland county. The company’s strategy is to farm cod from the Trøndelag region in Mid-Norway and northwards along the coast. One difference in the way cod farming licences are awarded is that they are fixed to a par�cular loca�on rather than transferable. Cod are saltwater fish for the whole of their life cycle, so the issue of farm sites


Norcod.indd 36

being too close to migratory routes between rivers and the sea is not a problem, but the loca�on s�ll has to have regard for the wellbeing of local wild cod. Otherwise the requirements for a cod farm are fairly similar to those for salmon – strong, high energy currents are good, as well as stable water temperatures. Cod, perhaps surprisingly, do not need as great a depth of water – 30 metres is usually sufficient. Also, while cod are subject to lice, like most fish, cod lice are nowhere near the problem that salmon lice present. With no freshwater phase in the cod’s life cycle, produc�on is arguably simpler than for salmon farming, Riber argues. The move to Norcod has involved quite a change for Riber himself, who is Danish but has long experience of working with Norwegian producers during his �me with Sirena. He says: “The plan was I should go back and forth on a weekly basis – of course that hasn’t been possible in the current environment, but things are opening up now. “There’s been a difference in going from a wild fish mindset to a farming mindset, that’s for sure, and it’s been an extremely interes�ng process, but I can use all my experience with Sirena. “With the high quality of this product, it’s going to be extremely exci�ng to see how the market reacts to it! FF

Top: Cod from the trial harvest Above: Cod fillets

We are very much focused on sustainability in our produc�on


12/07/2021 15:56:07


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Norcod.indd 37


12/07/2021 12:08:22

North Atlantic Seafood Forum

Views from the top

This year’s NASF brought together an impressive line-up BY ROBERT OUTRAM

goal “isThe clear –


he ocean could save us all – but we will have to save it first. That was the message from Norway’s Prime Minister Erna Solberg, speaking last month at the North Atlantic Seafood Forum. This year the NASF, the world’s largest top executive seafood business conference, was held entirely online. While this no doubt curtailed the networking opportunities, it certainly did not detract from the high level speakers, from business, government and the academic world, who were lined up to share their insights. Erna Solberg provided the political driving force behind the High Level Ocean Panel, which has brought together senior politicians and policymakers from 14 countries around the world to commit to finding solutions for the challenge of ocean sustainability. Every dollar invested in the blue economy could yield five in return, she said, and help with carbon reduction. But the oceans are under stress, she said., and a concerted international effort is required to halt the decline. She said: “The goal is clear – to build a sustainable blue economy. Blue growth must be based on the principle of sustainable ocean management… together we have an opportunity to give a blue boost to the economy, while building resilience against future crises.” Also speaking at the conference, Peter Haugen, co-chair of the Ocean Panel Expert Group said there is a risk that declining ocean health could cost the global economy more than $400bn annually by 2050 and $2trn by 2100. If not managed, the annual yield from fishing


NASF.indd 38

to build a sustainable blue economy

could fall by 16% by 2050. Nina Jensen, CEO of not-for-profit organisation REV Ocean talked about REV’s project to create a Research Expedition Vessel as an asset for scientists to study issues like climate change and plastic pollution in the oceans. Also addressing the topic of sustainability was Dr Samuel Thevasagayam, deputy director, agriculture development with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. He stressed the importance of fish in feeding the world – more than three million people consume at least 20% of their animal protein in the form of fish He said: “The ocean is a life source. It sustains us with oxygen, food, medicine and livelihoods.” The Forum also heard from senior figures around the world, on topics including aquaculture, food processing, sustainability, marketing and how to deal with the threat of sea lice. Speakers included top executives from some of the biggest names in fish farming. Trine Sæther Romuld, CEO Salmar Ocean (and also Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operating Officer with SalMar), talked about SalMar’s investment in offshore farming and confirmed that the company is going ahead with its Ocean Farm 2 project, which is close the end of its “pre-engineering” phase. The opportunities are great, she argued, since the areas that have been identified [as suitable for farming] in the open ocean are greater than all the production areas in coastal Norway. She added: “Going offshore is building on our fundamentals.” Bjarne Johansen Project Manager, Havfarm with Nordlaks and Kåre Olav Krogenes, project leader for Nova Sea’s Spidercage, also gave updates on their companies’ offshore projects. Ivan Vindheim, CEO with Mowi, said he would not be surprised to see further consolidation in the industry. He added that volume growth is the key driver – neither Mowi nor the industry as a whole had been


12/07/2021 14:13:23

Views from the top

KAS is in the pink with innovation award

Opposite from top: Erna Solberg; Bjarne Johansen; Ivan Vindhei This page from top: Henning Beltestad; Regin Jacobsen; Andreas Kvame; Charles Høstlund; Dr Lee Dongwon; Heidi Kuehnle

able to keep up with consumer demand in the last decade. He added “alternative farming technologies will not change that”. Mowi’s aim is at least to keep up with the industry’s growth and its 3 pillars are volume, cost and sustainability. Mowi is embracing the “Fourth Industrial Revolution” with smart farming, Vindheim said. He pledged the feeding will be 100% autonomous in future and said Mowi Norway aims to be fully digitalised by 2025. He stressed: “We strongly believe in the future of conventional farming. We do not see alternative technologies as a threat to Mowi, but as an opportunity.” Henning Beltestad, CEO, Lerøy Seafood said that Lerøy is building more post-smolt RAS facilities and considering whether to go all the way to building a full grow-out RAS facility. Also Leroy has been strengthening its downstream presence with the acquisition of a majority stake in Seafood Denmark, new factory in Madrid and a seafood centre in Italy. The Forum also heard from Regin Jacobsen, CEO Bakkafrost; Andreas Kvame, CEO Grieg Seafood; and Norway Royal Salmon CEO Charles Høstlund who talked about his company’s plans in Norway and – through Arctic Fish – Iceland. Also giving a bullish view of fish farming in Iceland were Ice Fish Farm’s CEO Guðmundur Gíslason,· Icelandic Salmon’s Björn Hembre and Stein Ove Tveitn of Arctic Fish. The growing ranks of land-based fish farming were also represented, with insights from Salmon Evolution CEO Håkon Andrè Berg; Proximar CEO Joachim Nielsen; Nordic Aqua Partners’ Chairman Ragnar Joensen; West Coast Salmon CEO Henrik Krefting; and Nordic Aquafarms’ CEO Bernt-Olav Røttingsnes. Dr Lee, President & CEO; Dongwon Industries, Korea – which is partnering with Salmon Evolution in a joint venture to create a landbased salmon farm in South Korea – said: “We see a bright future for salmon.” He predicted a market of up to 100,000 tonnes in Korea by 2030, and he also suggested that Norway has a future in selling solutions in fish farming around the world, as well as products. FF


NASF.indd 39

A Hawaiian-based company that has developed a process to grow natural astaxanthin was named as the winner of the Seafood Innovation Award. The award went to Kuehnle AgroSystems (KAS), in a virtual presentation as part of the North Atlantic Seafood Forum. KAS is trialling production of low-cost, natural astaxanthin from algae at a tenth of the typical cost of a naturally sourced product. Astaxanthin, a naturally occurring substance in algae and seafood, is used as an aquafeed feed supplement and colourant – it gives salmon and pink flamingos their distinctive hue – and as a dietary supplement for human consumption. As well as its colour effect, it is a powerful natural antioxidant. Astaxanthin is typically synthesised for aquafeed, but KAS believes that farmers and consumers would prefer to use a naturally sourced version. The award was made after the audience voted on an online presentation by KAS Chief Executive Dr Heidi Kuehnle; and the award jury also determined the winner based on the presentation, innovative solution and market potential. KAS was the winner out of a shortlist that also included:  Seas of Norway – which uses aquaculture residues to grow seaweed as a crop and a “natural biofilter”;  MicroClean – a company which is developing a non-chemical treatment to remove pathogens in seafood processing;  Blue Lion Labs – which offers an early warning system for harmful algal blooms based on machine learning;  SeaRAS – which provides water quality monitoring for RAS systems;  Pure Lobster – a business farming Australian redclaw lobsters in RAS facilities in Norway;  Ocean Rainforest – a Faeroes-based kelp producer; and  Seaguard – which has developed water purification technology using a filter from business AqOm and also an AqOm-based aquafeed.


12/07/2021 14:14:05

Seafood trends

Counter measures ‘Multichannel marketing’ and livestreaming could get consumers back to the fishmonger, a report suggests BY VINCE MCDONAGH

ing their shopping habits. Victoria Braathen, its Beijing-based envoy, said it has also made the country increase its focus on healthy ea�ng, a development which has to be good for salmon. Tom-Jørgen Gangsø, Director of Market insight and Market at the Council, said: “This report is the first in a series of reports where we at the Norwegian Seafood Council take a deep dive into what is happening in the trend picture in the world, and how and why this is important to us in the seafood industry. “This is par�cularly relevant now that we have had a global pandemic and it can be difficult to get an overview of what is going on, especially at market and consumer level. Since this report is the first of its kind, it will go a li�le deeper into megatrends as they lay much of the groundwork for what also affects the seafood industry.” The Covid-19 pandemic has undoubtedly increased the use of e-commerce which now accounts for nearly 28% of all grocery sales globally, according to the UK-based analysis company Edge By Ascen�al. This is twice the level forecast in 2015. The pandemic has put e-commerce two years ahead of previous growth predic�ons. Significant growth is also expected in the years ahead with Asia, Africa and the Middle East leading the way (Edge by Ascen�al, 2020). The Seafood Council’s report con�nues: “It is nevertheless important to note that the grocery trade will not be completely moved to online solu�ons in the near future. “’Mul�channel’, or ‘omnichannel’, is a term that is being used more and more. This means that chains have a presence both in the tradi�onal sense with physical stores, but they also have an online version.”


O na�on is buying as much seafood on-line today as China – and that includes its older genera�on. But what about the rest of us? The Norwegian Seafood Council has published a detailed report on how consumers like to obtain their fish, conceding it is not the easiest commodity to carry around when shopping conven�onally. The Seafood Council says the pandemic has clearly led to the Chinese chang-


Seafood Trends - Vince.indd 40

Above: How people shopped in 1958 Right: Victoria Braathen Opposite (top):

Seafood counter in Asia.

Opposite (right):

Salmon promo�on


12/07/2021 15:57:43

Counter measures

Barriers to buying fish online were higher than for other groceries

The goal is to create as seamless an experience as possible between the two. Another growing trend in this area , the study finds, is shop streaming. This is a combina�on of e-commerce and live streaming, offering customers the opportunity to digitally walk around a store and interact with what it has to offer. The scheme was first launched in China, but is now an emerging trend in the West. Last Christmas the French supermarket giant Carrefour launched its own events on its website, carrefour.com. The focus was mainly on toys, where they had promo�ons, demonstra�ons and interac�ons between customers and real-�me service, but it would seem there is no reason why it cannot be adapted to include seafood. According to the global media outlet Forbes, live streaming from store company websites will be able to provide customers with more informa�on about products and help them discover new items they haven’t previously considered. It also creates trust among customers who come to see the retailers as experts. Last year the Seafood Council asked more than 23,000 people in a number of countries how o�en they shopped for the likes of salmon online and found the top users were from Asia, with China the clear front runner. While the majority were in the 20 to 34 age group, at least 10% were from the older genera�on. Ironically, Norway was at the bo�om with only two per cent saying they use the Internet to buy their fish. This is probably true of Europe and the UK in general, but a�tudes are changing. A study of French consumers in 2016 found just eight per cent would consider buying fish on the net. When the same study was carried out two years later the figure had risen to 11%.


Seafood Trends - Vince.indd 41

However, those same respondents also said they found the barriers to buying fish online were higher than those for other groceries. Sustainability has also become a market driver for innova�on and growth and if companies do not comply they risk losing customers. Eco-labels such as the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) are considered to be a “licence to play” in individual markets, the study maintains. So the clear message is if your salmon is not cer�fied according to certain environmental standards you will not be entertained by the majority of retailers. Then there is the not insignificant issue of convenience which, the study, says, is not new. Back in 1958, Eugene J. Kelley wrote a research ar�cle that looked at the “increasing convenience trend” in the United States in connec�on with the expansion of shopping malls. For him, people’s shopping behaviour was about the balance between the cost of goods and the value of convenience. The report says convenience is also important when it comes to product format. For example, buying frozen packaged salmon fillets from a supermarket is o�en more �me and space saving than visi�ng a tradi�onal fish counter which may not be close to home and where the fish may s�ll need to be filleted. Studies by the Norwegian Seafood Council show that one of the most important drivers of shop selec�on is precisely that the shop is close to home or work. Furthermore, 79% of respondents in its annual consumer study state that it is important that the seafood products they buy are easy to prepare. But back to China. The Seafood Council’s Victoria Braathen says the Chinese love affair with e-commerce gives salmon and other Norwegian seafood an exci�ng trade and marke�ng channel and an opportunity to inspire and live stream with customers. Other salmon expor�ng countries might like to take note! FF


12/07/2021 15:58:41

Aqua Nor 2021 – Preview

Welcome back

The biennial trade show is returning in physical and virtual form


t’s Trondheim �me again – but not as we know it. Aqua Nor is back, but this �me many of the par�cipants will be present in digital form only. Two years ago, organisers the Nor-Fishing Founda�on were gearing up for Aqua Nor 2019 –the biggest event in the series to date – and looking to an even bigger gathering in 2021. We all know what happened in between to make trade fairs like Aqua Nor impossible to hold. Now, however, plans are well advanced for an in-person event and once more, Aqua Nor is a key fixture in the aquaculture calendar. The trade fair and conference will be returning to the Spektrum conference venue in Trondheim, Norway over 24-27 August, but it will also be a “hybrid” event with livestreaming of the speakers and sessions, the opportunity to network online and “digital stands” for exhibitors. Speaking last year, Kris�an Digre, general manager of the Nor-Fishing Founda�on said that the concept of a digital pla�orm had already been trialled at Aqua Nor’s sister show Nor-Fishing earlier in 2020. He added: “The par�cipants [at Nor-Fishing] have given us a lot of good feedback on what they want more of. We take this with us when planning Aqua Nor. Adding a digital pla�orm to the fair will add value for exhibitors who will have more opportuni�es to profile themselves. It will also make it easier for visitors, who for various reasons cannot physically par�cipate, to see what is happening in Trondheim. “At the same �me, it is important for us to preserve the physical part of the fair as much as prac�cally possible and infec�on control considera�ons allow. There is something very special about having a chat or mee�ng old acquaintances in the entrance hall area.” Erik Hempel, Director of Communica�ons with the Nor-Fishing Founda�on, agrees. He told Fish Farmer: “The response we’ve had – especially from those in Norway – is that everyone is looking forward to mee�ng up again. They are sick and �red of Teams mee�ngs!”


Aqua Nor Preview 1 & 2.indd 42

The physical trade fair takes place in the exhibi�on halls of Trondheim Spektrum, as well as in tents outside the halls. In addi�on, there will be exhibitors at Skansen, Trondheim’s historic park, harbour and fortress. The large exhibi�on areas, organisers say, will allow visitors to retain a safe distance from each other at all �mes. Aqua Nor follows the Norwegian Government’s infec�on control guide for trade fairs and exhibi�ons. Of course, even with the best precau�ons in place some people may prefer to stay away from large events at the present �me, and par�cularly for those based outside Norway, ge�ng there in person may be a problem. At the �me of wri�ng, visitors from outside Norway who have either had Covid and recovered, or are fully vaccinated, and can verify this with EDCC (European Digital Covid Cer�ficate] documenta�on, will be allowed to enter without quaran�ne. As things stand, that excludes visitors from the UK, which is on Norway’s “red list” – meaning that unless certain excep�ons apply, UK residents cannot enter Norway. As with all Covid-related ma�ers, the best advice is to check regularly as the rules can always be updated at short no�ce. For those who will be taking part digitally, however, Aqua Nor still offers a full programme, organised in partnership with

Above: The Trondheim Spektrum Opposite from top: How the digital event will look; networking outside the Spektrum centre; inside the hall


12/07/2021 14:19:48

Welcome back

Norwegian company Netfair. Exhibitors will have customisable “digital stands” which can be used to show videos, provide informa�on and communicate with visitors via online chat or video call. Online visitors will be able to see live streams from events at the fair as well as broadcast interviews with speakers, and summaries of the day’s events. It is already possible to register online and the online fair will be accessible as from 1 August. On 23 August there will be an all-digital conference on the theme “More Food from the Oceans. Blue is the New Green.” This will bring a global perspec�ve to food produc�on, both as supplier for an increasing world popula�on, and the posi�ve effects on our clima�c challenges by moving more protein produc�on from land to sea. Organised by The Nor-Fishing Founda�on, independent research organisa�on SINTEF and NTNU (the Norwegian University of Science and Technology), this will include contribu�ons from academia, government and industry, with specialised sessions on exposed aquaculture, land-based aquaculture, feed resources and nutri�on, food processing and engineering and enabling technology for aquaculture. The official opening of the Aqua Nor conference itself takes place on the following day, 24 August, and will be followed by the presenta�on of the Innova�on Award 2021. During the main conference there will be a series of presenta�ons in the Research Plaza (in-person and online) which this year is a collabora�on is a collabora�on between Nofima, SINTEF Ocean, NORCE, UiT Norwegian Arc�c University, the University of Bergen, the Ins�tute of Marine Research, the Veterinary Ins�tute, NMBU, NINA, Akvaplan-Niva, FHF, Innova�on Norway and the Research Council. The Professional Conference runs from 25-27 August and covers a range of topics including exposed (offshore) and land-based aquaculture; the latest developments in aquafeed; food processing and engineering; and enabling technology for aquaculture. Also running throughout the conference will be a series of six seminars, three in English and three in Norwegian. The topics will be:  improving the industry’s image; towards a new era in fish farming – land based and offshore; aquaculture as major supplier of seafood in future (English); and  tax in Norway; cod farming; seaweed cul�va�on (Norwegian). Meanwhile, the digital element is not the only new look for Aqua Nor this year. The event has a new logo showing two fish, with the symbol’s outer circle symbolizing the cage. The organisers have chosen to retain the colours from the previous logo – blue and red – thus taking some of the show’s history into the future.


Aqua Nor Preview 1 & 2.indd 43

The Nor-Fishing Founda�on says: “The two fish that swim in rela�on to one another symbolise the two parts of the hybrid fair; the physical and the digital, the fair as a mee�ng place, and the interac�on between exhibitors and visitors – breeders and suppliers. “In the future, dressed in our new and modern ou�it, we will con�nue to be the most important mee�ng place for the aquaculture industry – physically and digitally. A mee�ng place for passionate souls, with hearts that beat for the sea and the fish.” Whether par�cipants will be figura�vely swimming together in the exhibi�on halls at Trondheim, or online, Aqua Nor 2021 offers a packed programme. For more information see aquanor.no/en/ FF

“isEveryone looking

forward to mee�ng up again


12/07/2021 14:21:59

Aqua Nor 2021 – Preview

SAVED from the sea Show visitors at Trondheim can see the service boat that was nearly lost in a storm


ne par�cipant at Aqua Nor 2021 very nearly failed to make it. The service boat AQS Tor will be officially christened as part of the trade fair, and conference which takes place over 24-27 August this year. In April of this year, the brand-new AQS Tor was being transported to Norway when the Dutch cargo ship carrying it, the Eemsli� Hendrika, was wrecked in a severe storm. The cargo vessel’s crew were forced to abandon ship amid 45 to 50 � high waves, and the weather was so bad at one point there were fears it might be lost. The AQS Tor was swept off the Eemsli� Hendrika’s deck but, amazingly, it survived the rough seas and a salvage team managed to secure the service boat and bring it back to safety. The value of the AQS Tor, which was being delivered to Norway by Moen Marin, the world’s largest supplier of workboats to the aquaculture sector, is es�mated at around £5m. Moen Marin, AQS (the fish farming services business which will be opera�ng the boat), and Aqua Nor will be exhibiting the service boat at Trondheim and the christening will be open to all the show’s par�cipants. The event will also broadcast on the digital trade fair’s online pla�orm. Kris�an Hjertvik, technical manager at AQS said: “AQS Tor was soon fully repaired a�er the accident, and we are very much looking forward to showing it at Aqua Nor, and of course to rent it out for its first assignment this summer.” The boat will be ready to take on its first mission as early as the beginning of July. Hjertvik added: “The christening will take place at 4:00 pm on Wednesday during Mass - that is, August 25. It will be a public ceremony that all par�cipants at Aqua Nor can a�end. In addi�on, the boat will be open to visitors who want to have a closer look at it.” Hjertvik hopes the presence will inspire others to look at the aquaculture industry. He says: “AQS Tor has already become a well-known name in Norway. We want to show it off during the exhibi�on, both because we are proud of it and the journey it has survived, but also to inspire


Aqua Nor Preview 1 & 2.indd 44

others to work at sea and join this fantas�c profession.” The brand-new service boat was completed at Moen Marin in Croa�a, and was on its way home to Norway when the accident happened. During the accident, the cargo ship posed the greatest environmental threat, with several tonnes of fuel and oil on board. Hjertvik says: “The Norwegian Coastal Administra�on and the rescue company thus naturally had to priori�se rescuing the cargo ship. In order to save AQS Tor, we finally chose to hire the salvage company Stadt Sjøtransport ourselves. A�er the salvage, AQS Tor was transported to Florø, where the vessel remained for a week for inspec�on and a report on the extent of the damage. Hjertvik believes that the extent of the damage would have been much greater if they had not saved the boat themselves. A�er a tender round, the vessel was sent to Moen Ver� at Kolvereid, where the repairs were started. He added: “Right now, we are just wai�ng for a few parts, then the boat is ready to be put into opera�on. AQS Tor will be an excellent service boat for the aquaculture industry, in addi�on to being equipped with ROV [remotely operate vehicle technology] and can thus be used for other assignments such as control of submarine cables and pipelines.” FF

Tor “hasAQS already

become a well-known name in Norway

Above: AQS Tor being towed Left: Kris�an Hjertvik


12/07/2021 14:22:42

NAGELL D.indd 45

12/07/2021 12:10:30

Offshore farms


Solid solution Øymerd’s floating islands should be tough enough to face the roughest seas


t is the latest in a growing line of futuris�c offshore salmon projects that look more like space sta�ons than fish farms. A�er a long stand-off with the authori�es, Asta�ord Ocean Salmon AS has been granted four development permits allowing it to proceed with its much heralded “Øymerd” concept – a fish farm made of concrete and designed to cope with rough seas and winter ice. Asta�ord Ocean Salmon is owned by two family salmon businesses, Kleiva Fiskefarm and Gratanglaks, who are prepared to spend the not insignificant sum of NOK 700m (£60m) to achieve their ambi�on. But their tussle with bureaucracy is s�ll not over. Asta�ord was granted only half the number of permits it asked for and has decided to appeal, arguing it needs far more capacity to test the plant properly. The four permits are for a total of 3,120 tonnes, but the company says it will require at least twice that figure. Asta�ord’s applica�on for permits was ini�ally rejected by the Directorate of Fisheries for the somewhat strange reason that it did not meet the requirement for “significant innova�on”. The company mounted an appeal which was subsequently rejected by


OyMerd - floating islands (Vince).indd 46

the Directorate, but that decision was overturned by the Ministry of Trade and Industry. Fisheries Minister Odd Emil Ingebrigsten has welcomed the change and says he looks forward to seeing the project reach frui�on. The dispute over the number of permits remains and it could mean further delay unless the issue is resolved quickly. The increased pace of coastal fish farming in Norway means that its �ords are becoming congested, so companies are looking for innova�ve solu�ons. Some believe projects like Øymerd are the future for offshore fish farming. Øymerd is essen�ally a small floa�ng island, built mainly of concrete, which stands around 10 metres high. The plan is that it will be sta�oned off the north Norwegian coast near Harstad. Three-quarters of the pla�orm (7.5 metres) will be underwater and it is designed to withstand some of the roughest seas the Troms coastal region can throw up. The precise loca�on has s�ll to be decided. The pla�orm has three large specially designed net bags, radia�ng out in spoke fashion to hold the fish. Opera�ons are controlled by a three-storey high tower-like building in the centre of the pla�orm, with storage space under the deck for holding technical equipment and feed silos. Øymerd will be equipped with an energy system that prevents ice forma�on on the deck and along the freeboard. There is also a helipad.

Top right: The Øymerd Above: Marius Arvesen Right: Odd Emil


Left: Kleiva

Photo: Marius Arvesen


12/07/2021 16:20:11

Solid solution

The concrete used here will be a “solu� on specially adapted to Arc�c condi�ons ”

Tore Lundbergs, CEO of Gratanglaks, said: “We are sure that there is the greatest growth poten�al for the aquaculture industry from Troms and northwards. But if we are going to exposed loca�ons, we must also take into account ice problems, first and foremost ice forma�on from sea spray. “Øymerd can also become a solu�on for a more extreme climate, such as areas that risk dri� ice. Since the concrete structure is deep in the water, Øymerd will not move significantly on the waves.” Marius Arvesen the general manager of Asta�ord Ocean Salmon and a member of the family behind Kleiva Fiskefarm, says “Our aqua�c technicians can work under safe, stable condi�ons at the same �me as the fish are shielded from waves and surface current.... this also prevents lice infesta�on.” He says the people at Kleiva have always had a strong focus on the environment and sustainability, with the company constantly working on new development opportuni�es.


OyMerd - floating islands (Vince).indd 47

Normally there will be four staff on duty at any one �me, but Øymerd is capable of accommoda�ng nine people. Arvesen says he has great faith in the project, but points out that while the concept represents a new method of raising salmon, the technology is not that unusual as some of it is already in use by the offshore energy industry. Everyone seems proud that Øymerd is an all-Norwegian project – for example, the concrete pontoons are being constructed by Kvaerner Concrete Solu�ons AS, based in Lysaker, near Oslo. The two inves�ng companies believe it will provide many construc�on, supply and engineering jobs as well as helping to solve a number of challenges such as sea lice. Arvesen added: “We see no reason to build it outside Norway. In this way, we are sure that we will get a quality product.” Asta�ord Ocean Salmon has worked closely with the suppliers Bemlotek and Kvaerner over the past couple of years. Kvaerner will build the structure at a suitable loca�on in Norway before it is towed north to Harstad for equipment and shore tes�ng A large part of the design work in the last two years has been carried out by Concrete Structures. “In this construc�on, we u�lise the robust Norwegian concrete technology that has previously been used in the North Sea and in several interna�onal projects,” says project manager Kåre Hæreid. “The concrete used here will be a solu�on specially adapted to Arc�c condi�ons,” adds co-founder Rolf Valum. Tore Lundberg summed it up saying: “This project is the best of both worlds. We have benefited greatly from the working methods from the oil industry, in addi�on to the deep exper�se in concrete and floa�ng pla�orms for rough seas. “At the same �me, our long experience from both fishing and aquaculture has probably been very important for the final solu�on.” FF


12/07/2021 16:20:42

Breeding and genetics

Well bred Technology and large RAS projects are driving demand for specialist services BY ROBERT OUTRAM


t some point during 2023, the foothills of Mount Fuji in Japan will become the unlikely home for thousands of Atlan�c salmon. Norwegian-based Proximar Seafood is hoping to make major inroads into the Japanese market with a land-based RAS (recircula�ng aquaculture system) farm, with an ini�al produc�on capacity of 5,300 tonnes. Naturally, a RAS farm on that scale needs to ensure the health and quality of its stock, and Proximar has just signed a deal with Benchmark Gene�cs, which will supply salmon ova for Proximar’s hatchery. The first delivery of salmon to the Japanese market is expected in 2024. Joachim Nielsen, CEO of Proximar, says: “Proximar is on its way into the Japanese market, where quality is especially important. With the increasing number of land-based facili�es, ensuring quality eggs is a key issue. Our agreement with Benchmark Gene�cs ensures us stable deliveries throughout the year.” Earlier this year, Benchmark won a similar contract to supply eggs for the interna�onal land-based aquaculture group Pure Salmon. The agreement covers the delivery of more than 80 million eggs per annum, at full capacity, and also formalises a strategic collabora�on in research and development. Pure Salmon already operates a farm in Poland and the company is currently


INTRO Breeding & Genetics.indd 48

developing sites in Japan, France and the United States, with more planned in China, South-East Asia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The group is working towards a target produc�on capacity of around 260,000 tonnes of Atlan�c salmon annually. And just last month, Benchmark also announced a contract with Ecofisk to supply ova for a RAS farm to be located in Espevik in Tysvær municipality, Norway. The facility is set to be the biggest integrated land-based fish farm in Norway, Ecofisk believes. Delivery agreement starts in Q1-23, amoun�ng to over 25 million Atlan�c

“Ensuring quality eggs is a key issue”


12/07/2021 16:06:33

Well bred


INTRO Breeding & Genetics.indd 49

New revolutionary products now available

Rainbow trout eggs

Genetic marker assisted breeding in commercial egg production

Opposite: Benchmark Iceland incuba�on centre; Benchmark SalmoBreed Stage1 This page from top left: Xelect lab tea; Jan-Emil Johannesen, Head of Benchmark Gene�cs, and Joachim Nielsen, CEO of Proximar signing the agreement on 2 July; Benchmark’s new plant in Iceland, under construc�on

Together with our research partners AquaSearch has identified genetic markers related to the following traits in rainbow trout: • No second winter maturation • Improved resistance against: - Vibriosis - Furunculosis - IPN - White spot disease and - Rainbow trout fry syndrome

Produced on request for customized improvement of already superior genetics.


Percentage morbidity

Salmon eggs annually when the project is fully developed. Benchmark Gene�cs will also contribute technical exper�se in the project phase and when the smolt and grow-out facility has come into opera�on. Bjørn Inge Staalesen, the General Manager of Ecofisk, says: “We have signed a gene�cs agreement at an early stage because we are concerned about biosafety and want to secure one of the most important input factors for the facility.” The growth of investment in large-scale RAS salmon farming facili�es is crea�ng a new wave of demand for breeding and gene�cs services in aquaculture. It is not just that the large RAS farms require consistent quality, year round. The gene�c makeup of the stock also needs to be fine-tuned, to thrive in the RAS environment. It is partly because of this demand that Benchmark has invested in a new incuba�on facility in Iceland. The new plant, which will have an annual capacity of 300 million Atlan�c salmon ova, is being built next to Benchmark’s exis�ng broodstock and incuba�on centre in Vogarvik, on the southwest coast of the country. The new facility will hold 10.000 single incubators, each one containing eggs from a single female fish. The aim is to supply the growing global market for land-based salmon farming. It is planned to be in opera�on at some point this year. Research into gene�cs is increasingly making use of cu�ng-edge informa�on technology, and the answer is as likely to be found in a computer analysis as in a test tube. Xelect started as a spin-out from a leading aquaculture research group at the University of St Andrews in 2012, and now manages and supports breeding programmes on behalf of a number of

leading producers of farmed finfish, shrimp and shellfish worldwide. Xelect uses “evolu�onary algorithms” to help analyse gene�c informa�on. An evolu�onary algorithm is a piece of computer code designed to find the best possible solu�on to a given problem by making use of the same sorts of processes that allow natural popula�ons to adapt to their environment. The process is one of Darwinian selec�on – different scenarios are created, the weakest solu�ons are eliminated, and the more viable op�ons are kept, mutated, then challenged and selected again. Since today’s computers can process 42.5 trillion calcula�ons per second, technologies that used to be unaffordable and imprac�cal are now much more widely accessible. Xelect works with customers to find the best possible breeding combina�ons to develop the traits that ma�er to them, while avoiding the age-old trap of inbreeding. The company analyses the gene�cs of the fish or shellfish, gathering data. By analysing samples the team can create a cutdown version of each animal’s gene�c code, allowing them to see its family structure and, in some cases to



80 60


40 20 0





V. anguillarum challenge trial with significantly reduced morbidity in genetic homocygotes as well as heterocygotes.

T. +45 5544 2211 . ova@aquasearch.dk . www.aquasearch.dk


12/07/2021 16:07:04

Breeding and genetics

mate “runsOp�millions of poten�al ma�ng combina�ons

Top: Pure Salmon Poland Above: The Proximar Seafood facility Right: Salmon ova


INTRO Breeding & Genetics.indd 50

are available to all producers.” Meanwhile, a debate was restarted earlier this year when the UK Government aired proposals to loosen the restric�ons on managing gene�cs. Under European Union legisla�on, gene�c selec�on is allowed, and this is currently undertaken by the likes of Benchmark and Xelect, as well as Aquasearch Ova which specialises in rainbow trout. The EU does not permit the crea�on of genetically modified organisms (GMO), where gene�c material from another individual (or even another species) is spliced into organism’s gene�c make-up. Post-Brexit, the UK Government has the power to set its own rules, and in January the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA) opened a consulta�on on gene edi�ng (GE), a halfway house between selec�on and gene�c modifica�on. With GE, the aim is to produce changes that would be achievable through planned or natural selec�on – but faster. DEFRA says that GE could help improve resistance to disease for animals and crops, improve growth and produc�vity and even make our food healthier to eat. Launching the consulta�on in January, at the Oxford Farming Conference, Environment Secretary George Eus�ce said: “Gene edi�ng has the ability to harness the gene�c resources that Mother Nature has provided, in order to tackle the challenges of our age.” The Na�onal Farmers Union was broadly posi�ve check for “func�onal markers” (sec�ons of the gene�c code that are known but warned that care should be taken to ensure to correspond with par�cular traits). That gene�c informa�on is then mapped that liberalising the law on gene�cs in the UK does against real world performance data, to provide a picture of which fish are not make it harder to sell to the EU. thriving or have the best gene�c poten�al. Other groups are not so keen, however. In That’s when Xelect’s custom-built so�ware, Op�Mate, gets to work. 2018, Emma Hockridge, Head of Policy at the Soil Op�mate runs millions of poten�al ma�ng combina�ons, and assesses each Associa�on (which represents organic producers) one to see how likely it is to give progress on key traits, whilst protec�ng against said: “Scien�fic research has long shown that these inbreeding. The so�ware can even plan and reorganise breeding tanks for new gene-edi�ng technologies give rise to similar batch-spawning species, such as bass and bream. uncertain�es and risks as GM always has, and we Even with modern compu�ng power, this is no small task – to run Op�mate would urge the government to ensure the UK stays on some of the larger breeding programmes can take up to 24 hours aligned with the recent European Court of and requires tens of gigabytes of data to be analysed. That’s Jus�ce (ECJ) ruling that classed gene a level of sophis�ca�on that could barely have been edi�ng as a form of GM… imagined just five years ago, but which means Xelect government should treat can now make this service available even to smaller gene edi�ng with great producers for a very modest cost. cau�on and as promSenior Breeding Programme Manager Marie ised, uphold the preSmedley works closely with her customers on cau�onary principle the day to day running of their opera�on. She a�er Brexit.” says: “The power of so�ware like Op�mate is The RSPCA has also incredible, but it’s ul�mately useless if it doesn’t objected to any relaxtranslate easily to prac�cal ac�on on the farms. a�on of the rules, arWith most of our customers we’ll provide support guing that the effects on the ground at key �mes, such as stripping of GE are uncertain and seasons, and I can even switch on my laptop and could have an adverse quickly find the next best candidate in seconds if, for effect on animal welfare. example, something happens to one of the fish we’ve DEFRA had an�cipated selected’. publishing a response by June of Xelect’s Senior Gene�cist, Dr Mark Looseley, predicts that the this year, but this has been delayed technology is s�ll only in its infancy. He says: “This really is just the start. and a spokesperson told Fish Farmer: “The Improved processing speeds will allow us to look at many more scenarios with aim is to publish this summer; unfortunately a date much lower turnaround �mes, ensuring that breeding plans can be adapted is yet to be set but it will be in due course.” easily when needed. We will con�nue to add op�ons to the so�ware that Whatever is decided could have huge implicareflect breeding constraints that are specific to the biology of the species, or �ons for aquaculture, but for now it’s a case of the set-up of the hatchery to make sure that bespoke op�mised breeding plans “watch this space”. FF


12/07/2021 16:07:58

Transport and logistics

Moving targets Shifting seafood by land, sea and air has become more challenging BY SANDY NEIL


his month we look at transport, and the problems and solu�ons of moving salmon by road, sea and air amid the turbulence of Covid-19 and Brexit. What other trouble could be lurking over the horizon? During the pandemic, the Sco�sh Salmon Producers Organisa�on (SSPO) said export sales of Sco�sh salmon were hit hardest by the closure of food service sectors in vital markets like the USA, EU and China, plus a lack of long-haul passenger flights to these des�na�ons, and a consequent spike in freight charges. A lot of freight, including perishable goods like fresh salmon and seafood, is carried in the belly of passenger aircra�, but without that airliner capacity, the cost of ge�ng produce air freighted on a cargo plane soared. In April 2020, the first month of a UK lockdown and travel restric�ons, it was es�mated 8,500 aircra� were parked, with only a quarter of the global capacity in opera�on. Passengers at Edinburgh Airport plummeted from 250,000 a week to as few as 200. That month, per kilo, air freight rates went up around ten-fold. Airfreight rates are expected to remain elevated in 2021 as the demand outlook remains uncertain, and belly capacity is slowly re-introduced into the market. Wri�ng in a Bal�c Exchange market update earlier this year, Bruce Chan, vice president – global logis�cs at investment bank S�fel, said a lack of bellyhold capacity would drive high rates, as passenger airlines will only slowly reintroduce interna�onal widebody services. “By the second half of 2021, we do an�cipate passenger flights to resume, especially as vaccina�ons pick up,” he said. “But we cau�on against over-exuberance, as the first flights to come back are likely to be short-haul, domes�c, and leisure, which align less favourably with cargo. Core long-haul interna�onal travel and the belly capacity that comes along with it will be slower to return, in our view, so capacity relief for cargo should lag the recovery in airline passenger ac�vity.” The predic�on was borne out in June, when Chan reported: “Supply was

Supply was the big story last year


INTRO Transport & Logistics.indd 51

the big story last year, and it is s�ll an issue as slow vaccine rollouts in certain parts of the world and resurgent variants of COVID have kept a lid on long-haul belly capacity. Moreover, in contrast to the leisure-focused domes�c market, business travellers make up a significant por�on of the transcon�nental passenger cohort. There may be secular trends favouring a slower return there, such as conserva�ve human resources policies, new digital tools to facilitate virtual mee�ngs, and a desire to preserve some of the travel and entertainment opera�ng cost savings from 2020. “For many, the ques�on remains: where will rates go? Put simply, we believe that current sup-

Left: Edinburgh airport


Haulage contractors throughout Scotland for over 40 years Transportation of  Aquaculture  Timber  Livestock  General haulage Merchants of hay, straw & sawdust Darlochan Yard, Kilkenzie, Campbeltown, Argyll. PA28 6NT

T: 01586 820 258 E: petermckerral4@gmail.com www.petermckerral.co.uk 51

12/07/2021 14:25:35

Transport and logistics

ply and demand trends will push elevated rates through peak season and into 2022.” A lack of passenger flights also posed a poten�al problem for Norway’s salmon producers, who rely on air freight as their main route to markets outside Europe. However, Norway’s state-owned airport operator Avinor, which handles most air freight out of the country, said it had managed to maintain, and even improve, capacity for transpor�ng Norwegian seafood through the Covid crisis. “Demand for fresh Norwegian seafood con�nued in 2020 despite Covid-19, and at Oslo Airport a record was set in the number of tonnes of seafood that was transported by air to world markets,” the company reported in February. “At a �me when there has been a great global shortage of air freight capacity, the airlines have chosen to priori�se capacity from Norway and Oslo Airport. This is primarily due to a con�nued high demand for Norwegian seafood. In total, more than 110,000 tonnes of seafood were transported from Oslo Airport to large markets throughout the world, with Japan, South Korea and the US being the largest export markets. “There has been an increased demand for air freight capacity for Norwegian seafood from Oslo Airport, as a result of reduced capacity from other European airports. The disappearance of intercon�nental passenger routes with cargo capacity has been replaced by several dedicated cargo aircra�. At most, we have had over 70 weekly flights that have taken off from Oslo Airport with fresh Norwegian seafood to Asia. “Norway is in a special posi�on because we have a stable export product in Norwegian seafood that is in high demand. This is a�rac�ve for airlines,


INTRO Transport & Logistics.indd 52

Above: Oslo airport Below: Eimskip ship Opposite: A Ferguson vehicle delivering aquaculture supplies

which then fill their flights back to Asia from Europe by adding a stop at Oslo Airport or other Avinor airports. For example, Qatar Airways has established a freight route with fresh Norwegian seafood, which will be transported from Harstad Evenes Airport to central hubs in Asia.” Meanwhile in Iceland, an “experimental” transatlan�c shipping route for fresh salmon exports to the United States and Canada has exceeded expecta�ons, according to Icelandic shipping company Eimskip. Exporters in Iceland and the Faroe Islands began a series of trial runs during the second half of last year. By April 2021, Eimskip said they were so successful that they have now become regular weekly shipments. In addi�on to salmon, the company expects to see “a considerable increase” in whitefish shipments over the next few months. Eimskip CEO Vilhelm Már Þorsteinsson said: “It is clear that the adjustments we made to our shipping system for the export of fresh produce are already transla�ng into value for our customers, both in the increased value of the product and as a new and more environmentally friendly op�on in fresh transport to this distant market.” In Scotland, Ferguson Transport and Shipping is a family-run firm established in 1959, with 12 family members working within the business, including five third genera�on. Today it is one of the largest independent transport and distribu�on companies in the Highlands and Islands, and has provided logis�cs support to the aquaculture industry for over 40 years. “Ferguson Transport and Shipping provide road and marine logis�cs, crane services, warehousing and port opera�ons,” explains Group Managing Director Alasdair Ferguson. “Through our joint venture partnership in Kishorn Port Limited, we also lease to third-party companies within the boundaries of the port for cage manufacturing and recycling and the growing of cleaner fish. “We mainly transport salmon in specially designed insulated cylindrical tanks, fish feed, new nets, morts, cages, plas�c pipes for cage manufacturing, para move, oxygen, ADR and IMDG products. Most services are required by


12/07/2021 14:26:25

Moving targets

There has “been an

the farms direct or from their suppliers. “We also offer a ‘Biosecure Mort Management Solution’ integrating biosecure tanks, vessels and road logistics where morts are uplifted at pens, dewatered, loaded into sealed cylindrical tanks and transferred from farm by sea/road for reuse in the energy from waste or the agriculture sector for fertiliser.” Together with its customers, the company is tackling the challenges of Covid-19 and Brexit. “The industry continues to evolve and change at pace, so the challenges and opportunities are always evolving,” Alasdair said. “We need


INTRO Transport & Logistics.indd 53

to know and understand the customers’ challenges and where best we can help and come up with the correct solutions through continued good communication. “We are faced with more strict safety and environmental protocols, procedures and legislation than ever before, and both topics are paramount in the future success of any business and continued growth. Net zero, carbon footprint and energy transition are also in the forefront of everyone’s mind and we need as an organisation to recognise this and respond accordingly. “In time, fish farms will inevitably go further off shore into potentially much deeper water and more harsh environments where subsequent moorings and anchorages will become more challenging. However, we have invested in our managers and staff in the marine, port and road logistics teams and are ready to meet these challenges.” FF

increased demand for air freight capacity


12/07/2021 14:27:28

Lifting and cranes

Uplifting examples Equipment for a marine setting needs to have exceptional endurance and reliability built in


i�ing gear for the fish farming industry needs to be able to operate reliably in some very challenging environments – even more so as farmers look to offshore, high energy loca�ons that are great for the fish but problema�c for equipment. It’s not surprising, then, that a company that has built up years of experience working with the offshore oil and gas sector is now applying that exper�se to aquaculture. Norway-based Techano has been working with customers in aquaculture for around three years now, star�ng with an enquiry from a fish farmer about standards for offshore cranes. Techano Sales Director Øystein Bondevik says: “We realised there was a huge poten�al in this market. Whether it’s for oil and gas or for fish farming, offshore cranes are exposed to the same elements.” The move to larger farms and more offshore, high energy loca�ons is driving demand for tough li�ing machinery. And like an oil rig, when an offshore farm has staff they need to be supplied as well. As more farms move offshore the industry is expanding, just as the energy sector did, and it is subject to the same level of safety regula�ons as the oil and gas industry. Techano have had to develop and modify their technology for aquaculture. For example, for Nordlaks’ Havfarm 1 offshore facility, the company built “train sets” where the cranes run on rails, so that one crane can reach several pens. The rail-mounted units are an established feature for cranes opera�ng at ports, but they have had to be adapted for offshore use. Havfarm 1 was constructed in China and was sailed to Norway last year. Covid-19 has created challenges for the industry, however, since it has been difficult to get personnel to the construc�on sites. As a result, Techano has been manufacturing some of its high-end equipment in Norway, despite the higher costs, to ensure that its own experts are on hand to oversee quality control. In Italy, meanwhile, HS. MARINE has become one of the leading suppliers of li�ing equipment to the aquaculture sector through addressing the industry’s specific needs. The company focused on reliability above all, especially given the par�cular challenges involved in opera�ng at sea. As the company’s founder and Managing Director Stefano Forni puts it: “Ours are not former truck cranes… [they are] cranes specially designed


INTRO - Lifting.indd 54

for fish farming.” HS. MARINE’s cranes are built for longer lifespan and easy maintenance, which means that while their purchase price is not the cheapest, the company argues that the total cost of ownership is compara�vely low. Moving aquafeed is one of the biggest jobs in fish farming. Danish transport solu�ons company FM Bulk Handling – Fjordvejs supplies ship loaders and unloaders designed to minise the impact of the transfer on the feed itself and on the environment., using “gentle handling” to minimise dust and wasted feed. Originally known as Fjordvejs Maskinfabrik, in February this year, the company announced it would be changing its name – because the original was hard for interna�onal customers to pronounce! FM Bulk Handling provides machinery for the transporta�on of bulk products including fishmeal, fish feed and grain. The company said it has tripled growth over the past seven years and, as part of this, its customer base has become increasingly interna�onal. The company’s Chief Execu�ve Officer Jeppe Bergmann Rasmussen also explained: “All the machinery we develop and manufacture is used in the management and processing of bulk products: fish feed, fish meal, lime, grain etc. Making ‘Bulk Handling’ part of our name is a more precise reflec�on of this.” The company’s headquarters and manufacturing facili�es are in Denmark and it has also opened a US sales office in Atlanta, Georgia. FF

We “ realised

there was a huge poten�al in this market

Top: Techano’s crane on Havfarm 1 Middle: Jeppe Bergmann Rasmussen Below: Havfarm 1


12/07/2021 16:10:21

Techano delivers multiple lifting tools for the emerging offshore fish farm industry


ased on Techano’s pedigree from the traditional offshore industry, we have been able to utilise our knowledge to develop cross-over products for the emerging blue market – fish farming in rougher waters – by the use of our technology in a new context. We have a strong focus on, and understanding of, the fish farmers’ key requirements and values. Techano’s rail mounted service units (RMSU) have been in successful operation onboard the offshore fish farm, Havfarm1, since its start up. The crane sets are rail driven, enabling them to serve all six pens, minimising the need for costly external service vessels. The units are also equipped with capstan winches, cabin and an offshore crane, and thus serving both inboard and outboard lifting operations. The deliveries also include a system for fish transfer between the farm and the live fish carriers, with hoses, handling system and connections both inside and outside the fish farm. Techano has developed a fish crowding system for traditional open pens, improving both fish health and logistical requirements. Another major milestone in lifting technology is supplying Norway Royal Salmon’s submersible fish farm, Arctic Offshore Farm (AOF). The deliveries include a set of mobile net handling winches, chain jacks for bottom ring operation, cranes and a motioncompensated slipway for the service boat. Techano also delivers cranes and deck machinery to the traditional fishing industry. Currently, a series of 11 shipsets for trawlers are under delivery.

Above: Techano Rail Mounted Service Units and fish transfer system onboard Nordlaks Havfarm Right: Techano Offshore crane for Nordlaks Havfarm

Effective ship loaders and ship unloaders – low impact on feed and environment. Ship loader solutions from FM Bulk Handling – Fjordvejs are built to last and tailor-made for each ship or land-based installation. When fitted to a ship, our ship unloader provides equally effective and low-impact distribution of feed into silos on the water at the individual farms.

Specialising and solving problems for over six decades www.fishfarmermagazine.com

INTRO - Lifting.indd 55

Fabriksvej 14, V. Lyby DK-7800 Skive +45 97 58 42 00 post@fmbulk.com


12/07/2021 12:16:10

HS.MARINE – client content

HS.MARINE – the reliable solution

Designing cranes specifically for aquaculture produces better results for the user


eliability, efficiency and a service always opera�onal and able to respond to any request in a very short �me. These are the three keywords that have made HS. MARINE, a manufacturer of marine cranes, one of the main players in the market. In the company’s headquarters in Viadana (Mantua), in a strategic area between Milan, Bologna and Verona, new projects and challenges for the future are born. A future in which fish farming plays a major role in the development of HS.MARINE. “Fish farming,” explains Stefano Forni, founder and Managing Director of HS.MARINE, “Is today the core business of our produc�on. Over the years we have developed a technology dedicated to fish farming and we have created a range of specialised cranes”. Also for this reason in recent years HS.MARINE has recorded a strong increase both in produc�on and in orders, so much so that it was necessary to move into a new produc�on site, larger and more advanced than the previous one. Stefano Forni says: “Our business plan was based on the observa�on that the marine crane market was primarily made up using truck designed cranes converted for marine use. Observing the lifespan of the cranes on the marine market and the costs of the service at sea, we understood that the main issue was reliability, so we decided to develop a specific design for the applica�on and to focus on quality solu�ons and on the quality of the components. “All crane designs have been specially developed and improved for opera�on in the marine environment with a par�cular a�en�on to fish farming ac�vity. All structures have been designed to take up heavy lateral forces and to have a low value of elas�c deflec�on under load. All parts have been designed and protected for easy maintenance. Each crane components and each crane parts are selected and designed for long life. “I repeat: ours are not former truck cranes, ‘marinised’. Ours are cranes specially designed for fish farming. At first they may seem more expensive, perhaps we have a premium price, but ul�mately we are the cheapest solu�on because, unlike other cranes, ours are designed to last and therefore we have the lowest cost of ownership on the market. That’s why, especially in fish farming, we have so many repeat customers.”

“weUl�aremately the cheapest solu�on because… ours are designed to last

Above: HS.MARINE have supplied cranes up to 34 metres outreach, for hois�ng the bird net on the larger farms Below: Net haulers can also be integrated in the cranes

Longer lifespan Customers agree that HS.MARINE cranes have a longer lifespan and on the fact that HS.MARINE cranes are designed to minimise and simplify maintenance. At the same �me, the cranes’ reliability reduces the need for spares and, consequently, opera�onal costs. This is the reason why the Italian producer gets so many sa�sfied and repeated customers. In fact, the HS.MARINE design concept, the quality of the components and the surface treatment reduce maintenance and life�me costs, simplify the inspec�on ac�vi�es and minimise the need for spares and recoa�ng. Reliability The fish farming industry needs equipment of the highest level of quality to ensure reliable and safe opera�ons. That’s why HS.MARINE design focus is reliability, combined with easy and low maintenance. All components have been designed and selected to guarantee worldwide availability, easy inspec�on, low maintenance and easy service. Safety To support the progress of the fish farming industry and to guarantee safety, equipment needs to be specially designed and developed for this applica�on. It is now evident to the major operators that truck cranes or marinized cranes are not a good solu�on for fish farming industry. HS.MARINE cranes are prepared for the tough marine environment and are designed and built from the ground up for marine use, with high a�en�on to detail. HS.MARINE cranes can work in any configura�ons: no ma�er if the boom is fully extended ver�cally or if it is knuckled downwards. In every posi�on the safe working load can be moved by any crane cylinders, including the telescopic ones. Stefano Forni concludes: “An exclusive support team ‘HS.Equipment’ has been established in The Netherlands since 2014 for sales and service ac�vity. In despite of the recent market crisis HS.Marine is growing quickly, in order always to provide the best solu�on”. FF


HS Marine - PED.indd 56


12/07/2021 12:18:05

Insurance and risk management

STORMY outlook Extreme weather events and algal blooms are likely to mean pricier premiums for farmers BY ROBERT OUTRAM


hen it comes to the impact of climate change, the insurance industry is on the front line. Last month, HRH Prince Charles, who has long been a champion of the environment, brought representa�ves of the sector together for the launch of the Sustainable Market Ini�a�ve Insurance Taskforce. The Taskforce involves the heads of 17 firms, who have pledged to support the transi�on to a less carbon-intensive economy by expanding insurance coverage for climate-friendly projects and partnering with governments to provide be�er cover against climate-related disasters, which many believe are likely to occur with greater frequency as the planet heats up. For those insurers specialising in cover for aquaculture, climate-related risks also loom large. Duncan Perrin is Aquaculture Manager with Sunderland Marine, a specialist firm covering aquaculture as well as fishing and coastal vessels, which has been part of the North Group since 2014. His par�cular focus is insurance against stock mortality. He says: “Agricultural reinsurance in general has been hard hit in the past few years. We have seen wildfires in California, Australia, and South Africa, and hailstorms in US Midwest. Meanwhile the UK experienced unusual weather this spring, with the lowest average April temperatures recorded. If there’s an unusual weather event, someone somewhere is paying for it!” Perrin adds: “For aquaculture, what we are seeing more of is algal blooms and storms. These have always happened but now they seem to be more intense. Storm Gloria was an unprecedented weather event [in January 2020]. People lost their lives and there was huge disrup�on along the coast of Spain. These events are increasing in frequency and severity.” Also specialising in this sector is GAIC, the Global Aquaculture Insurance Consor�um. GAIC was set up in 2009 to insure fish and shellfish farms for stock mortality exposures that are difficult to place in the local market in most countries. The facility is administered by Lloyd’s insurance and reinsurance broker Alwen Hough Johnson Ltd, with capacity provided by certain syndicates at Lloyd’s of London. Neil Hopkins is an underwriter with GAIC and, having originally trained as a fisheries biologist, has been an aquaculture insurance specialist throughout his 37-year career. He agrees that climate-related events have led to some big claims in recent years. As he puts it: “Insurers are feeling the pain.” Hopkins notes that some risks in aquaculture have reduced compared with the past: for example, cage design and moorings are be�er engineered and there are now vaccines for some of the fish diseases that previously troubled producers. He adds, however: “Some risks have worsened. Climate change means storms and drought. There is a longer storm season and very severe storms

If there’s an unusual weather event, “someone somewhere is paying for it! ”


INTRO Insurance & Risk Management.indd 57

Above: Catalonia, Spain with a storm coming in

are more frequent. In addi�on the frequency, severity and geographical distribu�on of algal blooms is increasing.” Insurance is known as a cyclical business, and premium rates go up and down depending on how much capacity on the part of insurers is coming into, or leaving, the market. Right now the cycle is “hardening” a�er a number of “so�”


12/07/2021 14:31:05

Insurance and risk management

years, so farmers can expect to see their premiums con�nue to rise – and not necessarily because their own risk profile is significantly different. Insurers are also having to consider how they will approach changing technology and farming techniques within aquaculture. For example, the move to Top: Storm Gloria sweeps invest in large offshore salmon farms, in order to escape from the restric�ons sand and sea water placed on inshore development and from problems like sea lice, creates new from the beach challenges for insurance. Above: Post-storm Neil Hopkins comments: “People are pushing the envelope as far as offshore inspec�on, Mowi, farming is concerned. It is slightly naïve to believe that an offshore farm in an Carradale environment with 12 metre waves can be covered by the same insurance as an Opposite: Neil Hopkins inshore farm. “They are larger units too, so all your eggs are in one basket. From the insur-


INTRO Insurance & Risk Management.indd 58

er’s perspec�ve, far-offshore mega-farms represent a greater risk.” Sunderland’s Duncan Perrin also points out concerns: “Value-wise, both the large offshore projects and the RAS projects are a scale larger than what we are currently insuring. There is a lot of value in one place. “Some of the land-based farms being considered and indeed in the construc�on phase may be the equivalent of upwards of 10 tradi�onal marine farms in one loca�on. These values, and indeed risks, posed by these new sites merit careful considera�on by the insurance industry.” For the move to offshore aquaculture, he draws parallels with the early days of offshore oil and gas and suggests that aquaculture needs to learn the lessons that were hard won by the energy sector. The large-scale RAS (recircula�ng aquaculture system) projects in development around the world could pose an even greater headache for insurers when it comes to assessing risk. Sunderland Marine already includes a RAS expert among its risk managers, but in contrast to a typical open net farm at sea, it is clear that every RAS system has its own characteris�cs. Perrin says: “There may be a large step between a small pilot project and implemen�ng that technology in something that is 10 �mes the size. I’m not sure that it is a straight, easily scalable process. “Insurers and reinsurers have to be comfortable with the risk. These are highly technical, complex systems.” GAIC’s Hopkins agrees: “They [RAS systems] are not exposed to storms, plankton or disease in the same way as cage farms, but they have a very high


12/07/2021 14:33:55

Stormy outlook

From the “insurer’s

perspec�ve, offshore farms represent a greater risk

reliance on machinery, much of which was developed for much smaller systems than those being built now. “Ongrowing opera�ons are a new experience – we are not happy to cover a brand new RAS facility un�l it has been running for at least six months.” And he points out: “There are not many experienced RAS technicians and even they are learning the features of the new installa�ons as they go. “If something goes wrong, it goes wrong very quickly and it can affect a lot of fish. In comparison even a bad storm loss is likely to leave some of the cages at a tradi�onal site intact.” It may be that limited appe�te for this kind of risk may either hold back RAS development or land its investors with poten�ally greater financial exposure than they had hoped. Technology can also be used to mi�gate risk, however. A number of applica�ons are being developed to predict events such as algal blooms and provide an early warning, allowing ac�on to be taken such as oxygena�ng the water in and around the pens. One example is US-based technology business Scoot Science, which has developed SeaState, a pla�orm which brings together informa�on from thousands of different data points onto a “dashboard”. This gives farmers a window into what’s happening below the surface of the water

historically, in the present moment and in the future, allowing them to quickly quan�fy predictable risks in the ocean that threaten marine life. SeaState’s forecas�ng models are focused on providing an early warning of extreme ocean events. Through increased lead-�me farms are able to implement mi�ga�on efforts and drama�cally reduce losses. A�er an event, farms can also use SeaState to perform forensic audits and to iden�fy specific ac�ons that yielded the best results for fish welfare. CEO Jonathan LaRiviere says: “Fish farming groups have a high tolerance for unconstrained risk on the water. They’ve done an excellent job monitoring the oceans and yet s�ll consider many ocean risks—like low oxygen waters, large temperature swings, and plankton blooms—unpredictable. We have the tools to constrain those risks and we’re working with farms to increase lead �me for extreme ocean events. We’re doing short-term forecas�ng on the individual farm level and also looking at the longer term trends affec�ng regional aquaculture.” All this should also help insurers to assess the risks for fish farms in any given region of the world. Meanwhile, is there anything a producer can do to help keep premium rises to a minimum? Neil Hopkins has two pieces of advice. First, he says: “Spend �me to put together a good presenta�on of your risks, for your insurers, from mooring diagrams to staff CVs.” He adds: “Secondly, don’t just focus on price. There is tendency, especially for the large producers, to treat insurance as a commodity. That is completely the wrong approach. You need a bespoke approach because one farmer is very different from another. Your financial posi�on may be very different and that could affect, for example, how much of a deduc�ble you can afford to retain for your own account in order to achieve a premium saving.” Ul�mately, however, farmers need to be aware that intensified environmental risks are almost certainly going to mean that insurance cover is likely to get pricier in the foreseeable future. FF

Experience in aquaculture

Don’t ignore the human factor when it comes to risk management


ish farming is subject to many risks, some of which, such as extreme weather events, cannot be avoided. However, one of the most significant risk factors in fish farming is also one of the most avoidable: human error. The chances of an incident occurring due to human error increase as a worker becomes fatigued and loses concentration. Rapid advances in technology have put artificial intelligence (AI) at the disposal of the fish farmer, whose usefulness in monitoring routine tasks allows staff to concentrate on the core aspects of their job. Yet even AI is no substitute for good training and experience. As the world’s leading insurer of aquaculture risks, Sunderland Marine has a team of expert risk managers who have direct experience in the aquaculture industry and conduct regular surveys for all policyholders. The Aquaculture Risk Management team provides general guidance and tailored support on all aspects of production, equipping fish farmers with the knowledge they need to make informed decisions and minimise risk. As part of the service, Sunderland Marine periodically hosts Event Risk Management (ERM) conferences that are tailored to its policyholders. These events cover a range of topics and allow the policyholder to discuss their needs with risk managers and other leading industry specialists, including in-house experts.


INTRO Insurance & Risk Management.indd 59

Independent speakers at ERM conferences have included academics, government scientists, engineers and technology developers – all of whom have been happy to share their unique insights with our policyholders. Contact duncan.perrin@sunderlandmarine.com or search ‘risk management’ at sunderlandmarine.com for more information on our Aquaculture Risk Management services. Left: Duncan Perrin, Aquaculture Manager at Sunderland Marine Below: Fish farm pens


12/07/2021 14:35:11

Products and services

What’s NEW Monthly update on industry innovations and solutions from around the world Strong proof of concept

PRODUCTION of large Rainbow trout in salty or brackish environments has always been associated with the risk of vibriosis (V. anguillarum), with vaccination being the only protective measure so far. Now, however, it has been shown that natural resistance to vibriosis is heritable and can be selected for in the breeding, as well as production, of commercial egg batches. The University of Copenhagen, in collaboration with AquaSearch, has identified a DNA loci (QTL) highly correlated with the survival of FISH during a vibriosis challenge trial. Further, fingerlings produced using males homozygotic to this QTL had a 68.8 % better survival relative to controls (RPS), equal to what would generally be considered “vaccination level protection”! www.aquasearch.dk

Gentle touch for aquafeed

TO protect the environment, it is of highest priority to avoid dust, and broken and damaged fish feed pellets, when conveying them from the factory to the silo at a fish farm. FM BULK HANDLING is the expert in gentle handling of fish feed pellets. Gentle handling counts not only on sea-based fish farms, but also on land-based farms. Wasted feed in the filters is a “no go” if you want to avoid blocked filters. Using the machines from FM BULK HANDLING the feed will stay undamaged. The company’s chain, screw, bucket elevators, belt conveyors and loaders and unloaders for ships are designed for gentle handling. www.fmbulk.com

SEAMOR ROVs available in the UK and Ireland RS AQUA LTD recently partnered with SEAMOR Marine as the main distributor for SEAMOR’s range of remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) in the UK and Ireland. The Steelhead, Chinook and Mako are ideally suited to a wide range of applications in the aquaculture industry. Using ROVs for regular net inspection and repair traditionally undertaken by divers is resulting in significant cost savings. Simple to fly with intuitive controls, the Steelhead is lightweight and portable allowing deployment and retrieval by one person. The vehicles can be fitted with remotely operated manipulator arms, HD Cameras and high intensity lights, and a wide range of sensors may be fitted for water quality monitoring and analysis. To find out more, contact RS Aqua at info@rsaqua.co.uk or visit www.rsaqua.co.uk

Seeing from another angle

NAGELLD has added a new dimension to collaboration with its new multiuser virtual reality (VR) platform. From the west coast of Norway, Nagelld specialises in delivering visual content in aquaculture and maritime industries. Over the last 10 years the company has been creating VR experiences, interactive user-friendly 3D solutions and 3D animations for its customers. Now, you can spend your next team meeting in VR. With affordable VR glasses you can connect and collaborate from virtually anywhere, within the working environment. Nagelld gives you the capability and benefit to simulate and test your product design and usability in a virtual twin of the project. www.nagelld.no info@nagelld.no


What's New - July 21.indd 60


12/07/2021 16:12:00

Looking to


Post your vacancy on www.fishfarmermagazine.com for only £199 (+vat) per job posting. Contact Janice Johnston 0044 (0) 131 551 7925 jjohnston@fishfarmermagazine.com

Coming in the next issue...

AUGUST ISSUE • Sea Lice • Cleaner Fish • Anti-fouling and Disinfection • Management, Monitoring and Analysis • Aquanor Preview 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

Fish Farmer

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Industry Diary

Industry DIARY The latest aquaculture events, conferences and courses AUGUST 21



RAStech 2022 is the venue for learning, networking and knowledge sharing on RAS technologies, design and implementation across the world.

Hilton Head Island, SC, USA March 30-31, 2022

AQUACULTURE AMERICA 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


Trondheim, Norway August 24-27, 2021

WORLD AQUACULTURE 2021 Merida, Mexico November 8-12, 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 December 5-8, 2021



Fira, Barcelona, Spain April 26-28, 2022


Alexandria, Egypt December 11-14, 2021


San Diego, California, USA February 27 - March 3, 2022 Aviemore will once again be the venue for this biennial 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 2022 it promises to reach even further across the broader aquaculture markets in both the UK and Europe.

AQUACULTURE EUROPE 2021 Madeira, Portugal October 4-7, 2021



Industry Diary.indd 62

Aviemore, United Kingdom May 3-5, 2022

AUGUST 22 WAS NORTH AMERICA & AQUACULTURE CANADA St John’s Newfoundland, Canada. August 15-18, 2022


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Opinion – Inside track

Signs of good breeding BY NICK JOY


eading the papers has been interesting in the last few weeks, but nothing caught my eye so much as several articles discussing trying to bring taste back into food. Finally the supermarkets allied to some food producers are beginning to realise no one wants to eat bland food. In the old days they would have added salt to boost the flavour, but you can’t do that any more. Taste difference between foods is critical. If everything tastes the same, from pork to lobster, it will result in bulk sales of one cheap source of protein I am not saying we have reached this point but it is a good way of showing where we are, or have been, heading. It seems to me that we head in one direction only to change our minds. For a long time, agriculture has been heading down the combined targets of bigger sizes and faster growth. Look at the development of Charolais beef. The animals got bigger and bigger, till finally the fillet from one animal was so big that it had to be sliced thin for a single portion. Of course, it tasted of almost nothing. Now all of the butchers and some of the multiples are pushing for a return to the old breeds, which are smaller, slower growing and have definitive and stronger tastes. What a stunning surprise that people want to know what they are eating through taste! The problem, as I wrote in my article a long while ago “A car with no reverse gear”, is that modern breeding programs are so sure that they are not making a mistake that they eschew any protection against their own blindness. Yet it seems to me that these programmes don’t concentrate on what we have but solely on the attributes we want to have. These are only of any use if they add to the current attributes rather than replacing some of them. The lack of willingness to discuss the failures involved in such breeding programmes is part of the fundamental misunderstanding of the meaning of science. Science is not the truth. It is the search for the truth in the physical world and the proposal of current theories about that world. The way to use science is to discuss its failures as much as its successes. Breeding programmes in agriculture have crowed about achieving speed of growth but they have been utterly complacent and silent about their disasters, from breeding a pre-plucked chicken to legs breaking though fast growth and huge breasts. There have been many incidences in different species, including in aquaculture, but they are not discussed. The issue least spoken about in our industry was the killing out of almost all of the existing Scottish broodstocks during the 1990s and early 2000s. Colleagues would say to me that these new scientific breeding programmes would solve all of our issues sooner or later and that the stocks would be perfect for farming. I’m not going to criticise anyone or any programme specifically, but is there anyone who thinks our current ones are perfect for farming? Does anyone have any level of regret for the lost broodstocks? A reverse gear is a very useful thing. So what has caused the development of less than ideal stocks in agriculture? Though there are many causes, I would argue that primarily there are three:


Nick Joy.indd 66

Does “ anyone have

any level of regret for the lost broodstocks?

The first is the push for cheaper and cheaper food. Would progress stop if we accepted a higher cost? I doubt it but there would be a much weaker set of excuses for such mistakes and people would be a bit more careful. The second is linear thinking. Human beings like single lines that can be tested and so we change one thing, investigate it and then assume that all will be well, forgetting that changing one thing can have multiple effects. Changing more than one thing can also result in interaction between the changes. In our industry we know the crossover issues about using two different medicines. In breeding programmes these effects can be subtle but very damaging. I believe that taste is one of these. Lastly there is the curse of short data sets. Of course my definition of short is not the same as that of a modern scientist in the field. Cattle and sheep stocks were developed over a large number of centuries, while salmon stocks have been developed of a short number of decades. More importantly the mistakes made have been developed over a much shorter period. Those involved in this field, I am sure, would argue that the pressure to develop is driven by cost and the constant need to compete. Thus always are the worst things done. I have always said that the animal pays for our mistakes. It will always be so and I don’t decry the need to develop good farming stocks. However I do suggest strongly that we develop a range of stocks which suit a range of markets. It is ludicrous to suggest that all segments of the market should be supplied by the same product. If you expect the best restaurants in the world to cook and sell the same standard of food as the cheapest then you are living in cloud cuckoo land. FF


12/07/2021 16:17:04

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