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Fish F armer JUNE 2021


Sustainability is the key

THE NEW NORMAL Brexit, six months on


Solutions for land and sea

SEA LICE Why treatments are proving controversial

Caviar goes east Sturgeon farming in China

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07/06/2021 16:19:38

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06/04/2021 14:37 07/06/2021 12:01:55


Editor’s Welcome


his month, the UK Government announced it had struck a free trade deal with Liechtenstein – not a piece of news with much relevance for fish farming, admi�edly, but it came at the same �me as trade deals with Iceland and Norway, which look set to open up the UK market to more imported farmed fish, especially salmon. As the Norwegian Government pointed out, however, the latest trade agreements do not fully replicate the mutual access that had been permi�ed under the UK’s former rela�onship with its neighbours in the European Economic Area. In this issue, Sandy Neil looks at the impact of Brexit six months on, and finds that while some of the chao�c confusion and delays have been tackled, many of the problems that seafood businesses have been experiencing from January onwards are structural, not just “teething troubles”. Also in the June magazine, we look at some of the latest developments in aquafeed, including the roll-out of a new Feed Standard by the Aquaculture Stewardship Council. Feed is not just one of the biggest costs for aquaculture, but also one of the most important aspects of sustainability in the industry. It is increasingly clear that producers absolutely What’s happening in aq have to be aware of the sustainability issues all along their supply chain, not just those parts in the UK and around th of it which they directly manage. What’s happening in aquacu Two ar�cles focus on different treatments for sea lice – Benchmark’s CleanTreat and the in the UK and around the w heat treatment technique – which haveJENNY each sparked HJUL –– EDITOR JENNY HJUL EDITOR a fierce debate over fish welfare and the environment. JENNY JENNY HJUL HJUL –– EDITOR EDITOR And we look at sturgeon farming, for which the centre of gravity has shi�ed eastwards as Steve Bracken SSC’s record results Stewart Graham The final sessions more and more caviar is produced, and consumed, in China rather than Russia. This issue also features an interview with veteran RAS expert Ivar Warrer-Hansen, and Steve Bracken SSC’s record results Stewart Graham The final sessions HE salmon farming sector in Scotland, when it was to he focus this month istopictures on Europe, the internati is coincidence that and videos of unhealthy Sno Fish Farmer went press, there was sti lltold no offi cialonal reports from the Shellfish Associa�on of TGreat Britain conference and the UKwhere Aquaculture be thewere subject ofScotti aget-together parliamentary inquiry, embraced the industry willsent soon be gathering for the EAS (European salmon to news outlets just asjoint the Scotti sh news from the shScotland, parliamentary inquiry into Sustainability Summit – which replaced usual in-person at Aviemore. salmon farming sector in when itNo, was tosalmon he focus this month isto on Europe, the internati T HE is no coincidence that pictures andwhere videos of unhealthy Sthe 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 we can’t get away from sustainability! 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 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 Best wishes, 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 Robert Outram 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 06 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: Sturgeon Photo: Shu�erstock


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ons: £75 a year www.fishfarmer-magazine.com nowSubscrip� on @fishfarmermag Fish Farmer isUK ROW Subscrip�ons: £95 www.fishupdate.com a year including Facebook and Twitter Fish Farmer is now postage on www.fishfarmermagazine.com - All Air Mailwww.fishfarmer-magazine.com www.fishupdate.com Facebook andthe Twitter Contact us Meet team

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26 22-23 30 Shellfi sh Comment BTA 26 22-23 30 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 07/06/2021 16:22:46 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 June issue... News

What’s happening in the UK and around the world

Processing News


Update from the processing sector



Mar�n Jaffa



Hamish Macdonell



Sandy Neil

Lice treatment


Vince McDonagh



Nicki Holmyard

RAS technology


Insights from Ivar Warrer-Hansen

Fish health

The debate over Benchmark’s new lice medicine


Virtual Sustainability Summit


Report from Aquaculture UK’s event


A commercial crop for Scotland?

Water treatments and systems From RAS to pens at sea


46 48-49 50-54

Why sustainability is a key issue

What’s New

Monthly update on industry innova�ons and solu�ons

Industry Diary

All the latest aquaculture events, conferences and courses

Aqua Source Directory

60 62 64-65

Find all you need for the industry



Nick Joy


ff06 Contents.indd 4

40-41 42-43

Vince McDonagh




50 www.fishfarmermagazine.com

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United Kingdom News


RSPCA Assured lifts Loch Spelve suspension

Above: Scottish Sea Farms’ Loch Spelve site. Below: Wounded fish (photo: Scottish Salmon Watch)

ANIMAL welfare body RSPCA Assured has lifted its suspension of the Loch Spelve site operated by Scottish Sea Farms, following an investigation of complaints brought by activists. The site’s RSPCA certification had been suspended following a complaint made to regulators over fish welfare by anti-fish farming group Scottish Salmon Watch, and the release of a covertly filmed video which appeared to show damaged fish at the site. Scottish Salmon Watch has formally brought its allegations to the attention of the Animal & Plant Health Agency, Police Scotland’s Wildlife Crime Unit and the Scottish Government’s Fish Health Inspectorate. RSPCA Assured said in a statement last night: “We were very concerned by some of the footage and allegations of poor welfare and immediately suspended the farm whilst we urgently investigated. “Following our detailed investigation, which included a rigorous in-person inspection by a specially-trained RSPCA farm livestock officer, we found no evidence to support the allegations made.


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“Unfortunately, it’s a reality of farming any animal – and also pet ownership – that from time to time there can be disease outbreaks and other welfare challenges. What’s most important is that the person responsible acts swiftly to address them. “We are fully satisfied that the issues identified in the video were being swiftly and responsibly addressed by the farm at the time, in accordance with the RSPCA’s welfare standards. Therefore, we have today lifted their suspension.” The statement added: “Any allegations of animal welfare issues, or breaches of the RSPCA Assured membership agreement, are taken very seriously and always thoroughly investigated. But, thankfully, welfare concerns on RSPCA Assured certified farms are extremely rare, and many millions more farm animals are having a better life thanks to the work of the charity.” Scottish Sea Farms had strongly rejected the accusations, maintaining that the visible wounds showed the harm that predatory seals can inflict on farmed salmon, with the affected fish removed as swiftly as possible and dis-

patched quickly and humanely. Commenting on the reinstatement, Scottish Sea Farms Managing Director Jim Gallagher said: “As farmers, we do everything in our power to protect our livestock, including from the threat of natural predators such as seals and sea birds, but no approach or measure is 100% failsafe all of the time. “Seeing even a small number of our fish succumb to a predator attack or ill-health is hugely distressing for all involved but doubly so when it is misrepresented as neglect or abuse.”


07/06/2021 14:41:21

All the latest industry news from the UK

AKVA supplies 160m pens for Mowi on Harris

Above: Frank Byrne (L) and Don MacLeod

AKVA group has installed Mowi Scotland’s first 160m pen installation at Loch Seaforth on the Isle of Harris. In addition to the 10x160m pens, AKVA supplied the sites with two new mooring grids, bird nets and fibreglass poles. AKVA also delivered two HDPE nets in partnership with net maker Tufropes. Don MacLeod, Mowi Scotland’s Seaforth site manager commented:“The installation of 160 metre pens – the largest pens now used in Scotland – are important as we look to raise salmon at exposed locations that

offer excellent growing conditions but also offer increasing weather challenges from storms.The installation of 160 metre net pens and other infrastructure supplied by AKVA group will significantly improve our containment systems and safety.” Frank Byrne,AKVA group Scotland pens, nets and moorings manager, said:“We worked very closely with Mowi to deliver on time to what was a very tight schedule. This new cage infrastructure will be combined with the existing AKVA barge in service on one of Mowi Scotland’s largest sites.”

Grieg raises book value of its Shetland assets GrIEG Seafood appears to have added another £15m to the sale price of its Shetland business. In its Q1 presentation paper in May, the business put the net book value of the division, as at 31 March, as NOK 1,635m. At today’s exchange rates, this would make the price – based on book value – around £140m.A few months ago, a figure of £125m was quoted. Chief executive Andreas Kvame told shareholders “…the process to divest our business in Shetland is ongoing and is proceeding according to plan.”

So far no contender has come forward, but the CEO’s comments could suggest that talks are taking place.The presentation report also said Grieg expects to conclude a sale “within 2021”, adding there was strong production on mainland Shetland during the first quarter. Harvesting on the Isle of Skye has now ceased. According to reports from Norway, Grieg took a big hit on the Oslo Stock Exchange with analysts predicting the company will need the proceeds from a Shetland sale to strengthen its financial situation.

ptied an fish witho Above: Grieg Seafood’s Shetland farm

Loch Duart launches new ‘person overboard’ alert system

Above: David McKeown, Safety Manager

SCOTTISH salmon farmer Loch Duart has introduced a new “person overboard” (POB) system, which it says will provide greater safety for all its team who work at sea. The system, which leads the way in the aquaculture sector, is an industry first for the independently owned business which has sea sites off the coast of Sutherland and the Outer Hebrides. Once activated on contact with water, the new POB system sends a distress signal to alert all radios, boats and landing craft in the vicinity that the person is overboard. Loch Duart’s Health and Safety manager David McKeown (pictured) worked


UK News.indd 7

with engineering firm Watt Marine Ltd. to develop the system. He also consulted with the Marine Coast Guard Agency who approved the new system. While safety measures for the team already meet regulatory requirements, this new, robust system, unique to Loch Duart, means that the company is now going above and beyond current standards for team safety, the company says. The new person overboard system, developed and adopted by Loch Duart, means that all Loch Duart staff working at sea will be fitted with a personal location device. If a person goes overboard by accident or due to weather conditions, the device is automatically activated when the life jacket is deployed - all life jackets automatically deploy when in salt sea water. Within 15 seconds of activation the system sends out a distress signal and alerts all radios, boats and landing craft in the vicinity that the person is overboard. Within 45 seconds the personal location device sets off an audible alarm on the farm.Within one minute the personal location device sends a further distress signal to the Coastguard and other vessels within the area. David McKeown said:“Our people are the most important pillar of Loch Duart’s

success, and we are always looking at ways to further improve their safety. We worked closely with Watt Marine Ltd to push the standards higher and improve safety at sea beyond the industry norm. Loch Duart is now, arguably, ahead of everyone else in the sector regarding safety at sea.” Struan Eaglesham, Director of Watt Marine Ltd. who helped develop the system, added:“Watt Marine Ltd has supplied, installed and serviced marine electronics systems to Loch Duart for many years. With no off-the-shelf solution available, we designed, developed, tested and implemented the new system to further improve workforce safety.Working with Echomaster Marine Ltd we then developed and implemented the man overboard system, which utilises Personal Flotation Devices, VHF radios and Automatic Identification System systems.“ Kerrie Forster, Chief Executive Officer of The Work Boat Association, said:“Loch Duart has made big strides to better protect the welfare of those working on Loch Duart sites.Thanks to the open sharing of the project’s outcomes at industry safety groups, such as the Workboat Association Safety Forum and the Aquaculture Safety Group, they have championed change across the whole sector. Well done to all the team involved.”


07/06/2021 14:42:53

United Kingdom News

Mowi Scotland doubles first quarter harvest volumes Food distributor invests in more than doubled from €0.63 prices. CEO Ivan Vindheim said: to €1.46 (£0.54 to £1.26). “Although extensive lockdown Loch Long Salmon Mowi said Scotland achieved measures are still in place,

Above: Ivan Vindheim

SALMON farming giant Mowi has announced global record high volumes for the first quarter of 2021, with Scotland’s improved biological performance leading to a doubling of production and a big increase in operating profit. Worldwide, Mowi harvested 125,000 tonnes of salmon and sold 62,000 tonnes of value added products while reducing farming costs by 9% at the same time – all in a period still impacted by coronavirus lockdown measures. But the quarter also saw a welcome increase in salmon

out-of-home consumption has started to improve in some markets compared with the previous quarter. “Demand in retail has continued to be very good, something Mowi has yet again capitalised on through our integrated value chain.” Vindheim also believes demand for salmon is on its way back to full recovery. The turnaround in Scotland, which has had problems in recent years, must be highly encouraging for the company. Harvest volumes increased from just over 9,000 tonnes in Q1 last year to 18,273 tonnes this year. The operational EBIT for Scotland was €26.6m (£22.9m) against €5.7m (£4.91m) in 2019, while the accounting EBIT was €40.2m (£34.6m) against a loss of €18.2m (£15.7m) last year. The operational EBIT per kg

all-time high harvest volumes for a first quarter following improved biological performance plus improved earnings on lower cost and increased volumes. Despite lower market prices in the quarter, price achievement was good and impacted by strong spot performance and positive contract contributions. Globally, Mowi achieved an operational EBIT of €109m, the same as the corresponding quarter in 2020.The company reported operational revenues of €1,022m (€885m in 2019 million). Full-year harvest guidance for 2021 is unchanged at 445,000 tonnes. The Mowi board has decided to pay out NOK 0.77 per share in ordinary dividends in the second quarter of 2021, equivalent to 50% of the company’s underlying earnings per share in the first quarter of 2021.

UK prawn farmer goes into administration GREAT British Prawns, the UK’s first producer of sustainable land based and clean water prawns, has gone into administration. The pioneering company has blamed a fall in demand caused by the closure of restaurants during the long coronavirus lockdowns. Around 18 jobs at the company will be lost. It opened two years ago in the Scottish village of Balfron in Stirlingshire with a plan to harvest up to a million Litopenaeus vannamei (Pacific whiteleg shrimp) prawns in the first few months of operation. Great British Prawns was also a leader in its field, using aquaculture technology and sustainable energy to produce warm water king prawns in clear and clean water. Up to that point king prawns came mainly from Asia and Central America. The business suffered an initial setback in 2019 when many of its first batch of imported juveniles turned out to be infected with the shrimp virus IHHNV (infections hypodermal and hematopoietic necrosis virus), and had to be destroyed. Then, within a year of starting up its main markets, in hospitality, were closed down by the Covid-19 pandemic.The company tried to find alternative outlets


UK News.indd 8

such as home deliveries, but this could not make up for the loss of the restaurant trade and was clearly not enough to save the business. Co-founder Dougie Allen said at the time that the company intended to be a leader in a more intelligent approach to growing food. The joint administrator Graeme Bain, from Johnston Carmichael, said: “Unfortunately the business had already ceased to trade prior to the appointment of administrators, and the majority of employees had been placed on furlough. Regrettably, with no ongoing trade, all 18 jobs at the business have been lost. With the vast majority of demand for the company’s product coming from the hospitality industry, Covid restrictions undoubtedly had a significant impact on the business. He added: “The administrators are currently looking to realise value from the company’s assets.”

LOCH Long Salmon has attracted another investor for its project to construct a semi-closed fish farm at Beinn Reithe on the west coast of Scotland. Golden Acre, a food distribution company with operations in Glasgow and Surrey, has agreed to invest an undisclosed sum. Golden Acre said its aim was to find sustainable, low-impact food production opportunities. Loch Long Salmon’s proposed Fiizk semi-closed farming systems are intended to protect the fish from sea lice – since they will draw water from lower, licefree depths – and they will also have the capacity to capture salmon waste, which can then be used as a fertiliser or in green energy production. Stewart Hawthorn, a founding partner of Loch Long Salmon, said: “Right now salmon waste is lost from the open nets and is dispersed into the environment. We want to capture as much of this as possible and turn it into a resource. We can capture more than 85% of this waste by adapting the currently available technologies.” Neale Powell-Cook, owner of Golden Acre said: “We want to contribute to improving the environmental performance of the UK food sector. We really appreciate Loch Long Salmon’s genuine commitment to sustainable salmon farming in Scotland and are anticipating a strong market demand for these special fish. We have been convinced by the expertise brought to this project by the Loch Long Salmon team.” Christoph Harwood, Director of Loch Long Salmon, said: “Our goal with Loch Long Salmon is to establish a new salmon farming company that addresses concerns about sea lice and organic waste accumulation. Semi-closed farming systems deliver this and support rural development in Scotland. We are delighted that Neale Powell-Cook and the team at Golden Acre have joined us to ensure that this goal becomes a reality.” The next step for the Beinn Reithe site development process is to apply for planning permission and a SEPA CAR licence. Loch Long Salmon expects to have full planning permission by the end of 2021. Site construction will commence in 2022 and first stocking is planned for early in 2023.


07/06/2021 14:43:54

All the latest industry news from the UK

A MARINE Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) report into the death of a Mowi Scotland assistant manager last year has highlighted a number of serious failings in work practices. The victim, Clive Hendry, drowned after falling into the water from a feed barge access ladder during a boat transfer on the afternoon of 18 February 2020. He was attempting to climb onto the barge from the workboat Beinn Na Caillich and fell into the water after being crushed between the boat and the barge. The MAIB said a fish farm technician attempted to stop the assistant manager from entering the water by holding onto the back of his personal flotation device and oilskin jacket, but the severely injured casualty slipped out of them. The report found: “The investigation concluded that the conduct of the boat transfer had not been properly planned or briefed and was not adequately controlled.

“A risk assessment for the transfer of personnel to and from the fish farm installations had not been carried out and a documented safe system of work had not been produced. “Recommendations have been made to the vessel and fish farm owner, Mowi (Scotland) Ltd, to apply The Workboat Code Edition 2 to its fleet and implement a safety management system that complies with the principles of the International Safety Management Code.” The investigation concluded that the conduct of the boat transfer had not been properly planned or briefed and was not adequately supervised or controlled and the MAIB has highlighted the following failings: the transfer of personnel by workboat had not been properly risk assessed, and safe systems of work had not been put in place  the crew on board Beinn Na Caillich were not fully prepared to deal with the emergency situation. They

Photo: MarineTraffic

Accident probe finds safety failings at Mowi

Above: The workboat Beinn Na Caillich

had not conducted regular ‘manoverboard recovery drills’ and were not familiar with the vessel’s recovery equipment  the workboat and fish farm owner of Beinn Na Caillich did not have an effective marine safety management system and lacked staff with the experience to oversee its marine operations. A Mowi spokesperson told

Fish Farmer Magazine: “Clive had been a truly valued member of our team for 12 years and we all continue to be deeply affected by his death. “Our sympathies go to Clive’s family, friends and colleagues. As detailed in the report, preventative actions were immediately implemented and we are now reviewing the learnings from this report that include two recommendations made by the MAIB.”

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07/06/2021 14:44:46

United Kingdom News

AquaGen led team in salmon health breakthrough

LED by AquaGen Scotland, a team of international aquaculture researchers has made a significant breakthrough with the identification of two new genetic markers that indicate greater resistance to a bacterial infection in Atlantic salmon. The project is backed by the Sustainable Aquaculture Innovation Centre (SAIC) and headed by AquaGen Scotland, with partners from the University of Stirling’s Institute of Aquaculture, DawnFresh Farming, and Cooke Aquaculture Scotland. The consortium has been exploring the genetics that determine whether fish are resistant to Flavobacterium psychrophilum – a bacteria

which can lead to health issues in salmon fry. The scientific milestone is expected to pave the way for selective breeding programmes, which could boost the health and welfare of farmed Scottish salmon by breeding new fish from parents that possess the genetic resistance markers and are, therefore, expected to display increased resistance to the bacteria. Flavobacteriosis – the disease caused by the bacteria – can be a particular threat to smaller, juvenile fish and is a widespread challenge for the aquaculture sector, with infections also reported in Chile, Norway and Canada. However, current prevention

and treatment programmes are limited – vaccination by injection cannot be used due to the size of the fish and, as the sector continues to move away from antibiotic treatments, a genetic breakthrough could hold the key. To identify the two genetic markers, more than 4,000 fish from AquaGen were tested for more than 70,000 genetic markers using a specially designed lab-based model, which mimics the natural infection route. The next stage of the research programme is to conduct field trials at one of Cooke Aquaculture’s sites using salmon eggs specifically selected by AquaGen. It is hoped that in the event of a natural outbreak of the bacterial disease being detected, these fish can be tested to validate the effect of the genetic markers. Dr Rowena Hoare, research fellow at the Institute of Aquaculture, said: “Flavobacteriosis is known to be problematic for salmonid culture in freshwater globally for decades. This project has shown how fruitful it can be to combine the expertise of academic and industry researchers to address a complex and economically important disease.”

Cadman brings in two aquaculture specialists PRIVATE equity firm Cadman Capital Group has announced two appointments for its aquaculture portfolio. Forrest Petersen joins the Orkney Shellfish Hatchery team as Oyster Hatchery Consultant, while Cristian Cox joins Ocean On Land Technology in the specialist role of Recirculation Aquaculture Systems Designer & Engineer. Cadman owns Orkney Shellfish Hatchery, Ocean On Land Technology® and Caribbean Sustainable Fisheries, the latter based in the British Virgin Islands. Forrest Petersen is a shellfish hatchery specialist with more than 14 years of experience in the operation and management of shellfish farms and hatcheries around the world, including managing


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the University of Hawaii’s bivalve oyster hatchery. He has also worked on a number of private projects, most recently at Hawaiian Shellfish. In his role as Oyster Hatchery Consultant, he will be responsible for scaling up the bio-secure production facility at Orkney Shellfish Hatchery, as it looks to move to commercial production of European native oyster spat. Cristian Cox is an aquaculture engineer with more than 24 years of international experience. He has worked in aquaculture facilities in a range of countries. As Recirculation Aquaculture Systems Designer & Engineer, he will focus on enhancing and optimising Ocean On Land Technology’s existing product range, including its flagship Aquahive® product.

Scottish salmon exports to Europe up 74% on 2020 DESPITE the headwinds of Brexit and the Covid-19 pandemic, Scotland’s salmon exports to European Union countries in the first quarter of this year were up by 74%, by volume, compared with the same period last year. Figures compiled by the Scottish Salmon Producers Organisation (SSPO) from information supplied by all of Scotland’s salmon producers reveal that 19,410 tonnes of Scottish salmon, worth more than £100m, were exported to the EU in Q1 of this year. That is an increase of more than 8,200 tonnes on Q1 in 2020, and a record total for Q1 in any year. The level of prices in 2021 means, however, the value of exports did not increase by the same rate. Exports to the EU now account for 69% of global sales for Scotland’s salmon producers, by volume, compared with 56% in 2019. SSPO Chief Executive Tavish Scott said: “This is a great result for the Scottish salmon farmers and the Scottish economy. As the country and companies start to bounce back from the huge problems presented by Covid these figures show the worth of the salmon sector as an economic driver for Scotland, aiding the country’s renewal through job creation and tax revenues. “Salmon farmers remain vulnerable to the problems caused by Brexit. Export volumes to the EU may well be up for the first quarter of the year but increased delays in getting products to our EU markets have kept values low. “The SSPO will continue to work with the UK and Scottish governments to find ways to streamline red tape and ensure our members can offer their customers the certainty of getting fresh, nutritious fish to EU markets on time.” Scott said that additional bureaucracy, paperwork, delays and confusion arising from Brexit have left salmon farmers incurring costs of at least £11m million, but added that he remains confident that 2021 will be a strong year for the sector. The SSPO estimates that salmon producers in Scotland are spending an additional £200,000 a month on extra paperwork because of Brexit, while each seafood load is taking around two more hours to process, since the end of the Brexit transition period.

Above: Scottish salmon for export (photo: SSPO)


07/06/2021 14:46:19

All the latest industry news from the UK

Mairi Gougeon takes on Rural Affairs role SCOTLAND has a new Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and Islands, following First Minister Nicola Sturgeon’s post-election reshuffle. Mairi Gougeon takes on the brief, which includes responsibility for aquaculture, succeeding long-serving Secretary Fergus Ewing, who is stepping down from the Cabinet. Mairi Gougeon is MSP for Angus North and Mearns. She has been a member of the Scottish Parliament since 2016 and was appointed as Minister for Rural Affairs and the Natural Environment in 2018, before being promoted to Minister for Public Health and Sport in 2020. Her new post includes responsibility for agriculture, food and drink policy, fisheries and aquaculture as well as cross-government coordination of policies for island communities. She is the only junior minister promoted to the Cabinet in the latest reshuffle. Fergus Ewing had served as Cabinet Secretary for Rural Economy from 2016, having held junior ministerial posts from 2007 onwards. Nicola Sturgeon said: “He has

brought diligence and endeavour to all of the jobs he has held. In particular, he has worked tirelessly with and on behalf of Scotland’s rural sector over the past five years since the Brexit vote, fighting their corner at every turn. Fergus has been a champion for Scotland’s farmers and crofters during one of the most difficult, challenging and uncertain periods our agricultural sector has ever faced, and he has the gratitude of many in the industry for his efforts to protect their interests.” Tavish Scott, Chief Executive of the Scottish Salmon Producers Organisation also paid tribute to Fergus Ewing. He said: “The fish farming sector has had a productive, thoughtful and positive relationship with Fergus over five years. We greatly valued his can-do attitude and will miss his drive and enthusiasm. Our entire sector wishes Fergus best wishes for the future.” Scott also welcomed the appointment of Mairi Gougeon, saying: “The Scottish Government has been hugely supportive of fish

farming in our commitments to be net zero in greenhouse gas emissions by 2045 and to lead the Covid-19 recovery as Scotland’s largest food export. We are delighted that Ms Gougeon has been appointed to the Cabinet with responsibility for aquaculture and rural issues and the Islands. “I will be asking for an early meeting with Ms Gougeon so we can start work on the SNP’s welcome manifesto commitment to regulatory reform and the myriad of other pressing issues affecting our members. “It is particularly important that this manifesto commitment is in the 100 days plan that the First Minister has already announced and I look forward to working with our new Cabinet Secretary on that important change agenda.” James Withers, used Twitter to welcome Mairi Gougeon’s appointment, saying: “A warm welcome to @MairiGougeon as the new Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs & Islands (and food and drink!). Well known across the sector from her time as Minister. Will be great

Above: Mairi Gougeon

to have that knowledge back as farming, fishing, food & drink takes the next big steps forward.” He also said of Fergus Ewing: “He has been a passionate advocate of farming, fishing, food, drink and tourism. No more so than during the last year and recent months, helping us to drive forward an industry recovery plan.”

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07/06/2021 14:47:19

European News


UK and Norway agree free trade deal NTS earnings hit new high

NORWAY and the United Kingdom have finally reached agreement on a free trade deal which will provide improved access for seafood. The deal, confirmed by Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg, entails a continuation of all previous tariff preferences for seafood, including farmed salmon, and improved market access for whitefish, shrimp and several other products. Fisheries and Seafood Minister Odd Emil Ingebrigtsen said the UK was the country’s third largest market in volume terms for seafood, and the fifth largest in value worth NOK 6.2bn a year. Norway’s main seafood exports to Britain include cod, salmon, haddock, saithe and shrimp. He added: “The agreement contributes to increased predictability for trade in seafood to one of our most important export markets. The agreement ensures the continuation of all tariff preferences for seafood that Norway had while the United Kingdom was a member of the EU. In addition, important improvements have been achieved. “Our goal has been to get the best possible terms for trade with the UK. The agreement means that effective border control is planned to ensure that goods do not deteriorate at the border and that they enter the market quickly. This is especially important for the seafood industry,” said the Minister. For exports in excess of the duty-free quota reached for this year, the duty will be reduced


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from 7.5% to 5%. For exports in excess of the duty-free quota of 1,560 tonnes in 2022, the duty rate has been further reduced to 2.5%. Zero duty applies from 1 January 2022. The talks have been taking place since last summer and there were fears at one time that an agreement might not be reached. The main stumbling blocks concerned the export of agricultural goods such as cheese and meat to Norway which brought strong opposition from Norwegian farmers. Norwegian fishermen were also concerned about some aspects around seafood exports. A similar free trade deal has also been reached between the UK and Iceland, another key seafood supplier to the UK although it mainly involves whitefish at this stage. The move should benefit fish markets such as Grimsby. Liechtenstein has also agreed a free trade deal with the UK today. The UK’s international trade secretary, Liz Truss, said the deal will be “a major boost for our trade with Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein, growing an economic relationship already worth £21.6bn, while supporting jobs and prosperity in all four nations at home”. As the Norwegian Government pointed out, however, the UK’s trade settlement with the three jurisdictions concerned does not fully replicate the freedom of movement for goods and services which existed as part of the UK’s relationship with the European Economic Area, prior to Brexit.

NTS AS, the integrated Norwegian aquaculture group, came close to doubling its income during the first part of this year. Unveiling its 2021 first quarter results, operating revenues totalled NOK 636m (£55m), up from NOK 343m (£29.8m) 12 months ago – a rise of 85%. NTS said the higher revenues were the result of the merger with Frøy ASA, the provider of wellboats and other vessels, along with a wide range of key salmon farming supply services. In addition, revenues from Farming Norway increased due to significantly higher harvest volumes. A total of 5,686 tonnes of gutted fish were harvested in the first quarter, compared with 3,098 tonnes in the corresponding period last year. The wellboat, service boat and freighter business areas are grouped in Frøy ASA, which was listed on the Oslo Stock Exchange at the end of March this year. NTS ASA owns 74.2% of the shares in Frøy which operates a fleet of 14 vessels and, almost quadrupled its sales from NOK 92m (£8m) in Q1 2020 to NOK 356m (£31m) this year. The NTS group operating profit or EBIT for Q1 came out at NOK 67m (£5.8m) while pre-tax profits were NOK 47m (£4m), up by NOK 9m on a year ago.

Above: A Frøy ASA wellboat


07/06/2021 14:49:16

All the latest industry news from Europe

January’s cyber attack cost AKVA £4m

THE cyber attack which hit the AKVA group at the beginning of this year has cost the business more than £4m or NOK 49.7m. The figure is disclosed in the global aquaculture services company’s 2021 first quarter figures. The attack took place on 10 January, seriously disrupting a number of AKVA’s systems for a time, mainly connected to cage-based technology. It is believed the attackers were looking to extract a ransom from the company. The group delivered revenues of NOK 719m (£62m) against NOK 752m (£65m) for the same period last year, a decline of 4%. It is paying a dividend of one krone per share. AKVA’s EBITDA (less the oneoff cost of the cyber attack) fell

from NOK 86m (£7m) in Q1 2020 to NOK 83m this year. The financial profile remains strong, AKVA said, and the group is fully financed to execute on the organic growth strategy. Cage-based technology (CBT) revenues in Q1 totalled NOK 590m (£51m) against NOK 657m (£57m) last year, while the EBITDA and EBIT (excluding cyberattack costs) for the segment ended at NOK 69m and NOK 29m respectively. The related EBITDA (and EBIT) margins were 11.7% (12.3%) and 4.9% (5.8%), respectively. The CBT order intake was NOK 569m against NOK 686m in Q1 2020. Land-based technology (LBT) revenues rose from NOK 79m (£6.8m) to NOK 115m (£10m) while the EBITDA and EBIT (excluding cyber-attack costs) for this sector ended higher at NOK 9m and NOK 7m respectively. The related EBITDA and EBIT margins were 8.2% (3.7%) and 5.9% (-0.1%). The LBT order intake was also up – from NOK 10m to NOK 69m.

Aquanor will go ahead, organisers say FOLLOWING the Norwegian government’s latest guidance on Covid-19 regulations, Aquanor 2021 will go ahead in August, the organisers have confirmed. Aquanor, one of the biggest trade shows for the aquaculture industry, will be held this year as a “hybrid” event, with inperson presentations and stands, accompanied by a digital platform for those who cannot attend. The event is scheduled to take place in Trondheim, Norway over 24-27 August. The event is organised by the Nor-Fishing Foundation. Announcing the latest news, the organisers said: “The board of the Nor-Fishing Foundation has decided that Aqua Nor 2021 will be carried out as planned in August. That means we will be meeting in Trondheim – as well as digitally. “It is with great joy we announce that we can finally meet in Trondheim once again. The exhibition will be planned and

executed in accordance with all infection control rules and guidelines to keep all participants safe.” For UK industry representatives, Norway is currently an “amber list” country – which means that travellers would have to quarantine for 10 days on their return to the UK – and the UK is on Norway’s “red list”, which means that travellers from the UK other than EU/EEA citizens or those resident in Norway are generally not permitted to enter the country.


@ www.fishfarmermagazine.com

European News.indd 13


07/06/2021 14:50:41

European News

NTS wins bidding war for SalmoNor SEAFOOD giant NTS ASA has beaten rivals Mowi and SalMar in the contest to acquire Norwegian salmon farming business SalmoNor AS. NTS plans to merge SalmoNor with its wholly owned fish farming subsidiary, Midt-Norsk Havbruk (MNH). The deal brings together two of the earliest pioneers in Norway’s aquaculture sector. Both SalmoNor and MNH can trace their origins back to two of the earliest fish farming licence holders, 50 years ago, on Norway’s Above Vibecke Bondø Namdal coast. The merged chased from existing shareholders. business will have an annual The merger agreement entered into must production of 37,000 tonnes and employ 120 be approved by the Norwegian Competition people. It will trade as SalmoNor, so it appears Authority and NTS says it is expected that the that the deal will mean the end of the MNH transaction can be completed by the end of the brand. third quarter of 2021. The transaction, announced today, follows a Like MNH, SalmoNor is a fully integrated competitive bidding process in which SalMar salmon farmer, with control of the entire and Mowi also took part. The deal values Salvalue chain from hatchery to slaughterhouse. moNor at almost NOK three billion (£255m) SalmoNor also has its own exhibition license after payment of NOK 380 million (£33m) in in Nærøysund in collaboration with the Nordividends to the shareholders in SalmoNor wegian Coastal Museum in Rørvik. SalmoNor before the merger. NOK 100 million of the and MNH together own approximately 74% of consideration is conditional on the achievement the shares in one of Norway’s most modern of some predetermined milestones. slaughterhouses, SalmoSea AS, on FlerengstranThe shareholders in SalmoNor receive 20 da. per cent of the settlement in cash, consisting SalmoNor’s general manager Vibecke Bondø of NOK 495 million in fixed remuneration and said: “The merger of two strong and compeNOK 100 million in additional remuneration. tent aquaculture companies such as SalmoNor The shareholding (remaining 80 per cent) corresponds to 26.44 million shares in NTS at a and MNH will be a good industrial solution that triggers significant synergies. The merged price of NOK 90. The consideration shares will company will build on the employees who consist of a combination of own shares in NTS, are in the company today, and contribute to new shares issued by NTS and shares repur-

a further development of competence and jobs. For us, this is about facilitating further sustainable growth and new jobs on the coast. We also want in the future to be a clear social actor that contributes to building viable local communities.” NTS CEO Harry Bøe also commented: “This strengthens NTS’s position as a central Norwegian aquaculture group. The merged company will be a significant player and employer in Nærøysund municipality, and gives new impetus to healthy and sustainable aquaculture growth.” Salmonor is based in Rørvik in Trondelag, in south central Norway, where it employs more than 50 people and generates some £50m in sales from 14,000 tonnes of salmon. The company has seven food fish permits, one display permit, two R&D permits and its own hatchery. It says it has always had a strong focus on the environment and environmentally friendly operations, believing “that a good environment for fish will also provide healthy food, secure jobs and profitable operations.” Working with the local museum, the site is also popular with tourists as home to a viewing centre which tells the story of the aquaculture industry. Operations include quality salmon production at five locations which it claims to be among the best in the country. Its hatchery and ancillary smolt production activities make itself sufficient in smolt. It also conducts preventive fish health work in collaboration with a veterinarian.

Salmon Evolution ‘uniquely positioned’ for RAS LAND-based aquaculture business Salmon Evolution is continuing to burn money, its Q1 financial results for 2021 show, but the company says it is on track to produce around 25,000 tonnes per year by 2024. Salmon Evolution has one production site under construction at Indre Harøy in Norway and a joint venture, “K Smart”, with Dongwon Industries for a 16,800 tonnes production facility in South Korea. Construction on this is due to start in 2022, with first grow-out production targeted in 2024. Ahead of any commercial revenue, the company has reported negative EBITDA of NOK 6,721,000 and a pre-tax loss of NOK 5,581,000. Following a successful share issue in March via private placement, which raised NOK 500m, the company reports that it had available cash of NOK 1,015 million as at 31 March 2021. It has since signed a committed term sheet for a NOK 625 million bank debt financing package with Nordea, Sparebanken Vest and GIEK on “very competitive terms”, securing a fully funded platform for Indre Harøy Phase 1 and equity commitment for K Smart. Salmon Evolution is planning a public share listing on the Oslo main stock exchange in the third quarter of this year. CEO Håkon André Berg said: “The joint venture with Dongwon Industries represents a massive opportunity for Salmon Evolution to leverage its human capital and build on the experiences from Indre Harøy as well as


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securing the company a very tangible pipeline for the coming years.” Its report states: “With funding in place and projects well under way, Salmon Evolution is uniquely positioned to take a global frontrunner position in the future development of land-based salmon farming.”

Above The Dongwon facility


07/06/2021 14:53:32

All the latest industry news from Europe

Norcod achieves global food safety standard

Proven a thousand times over!





NORWEGIAN cod farmer Norcod has secured certification under the Global GAP Aquaculture Standard, one of the world’s leading food safety benchmarks. Norcod is the first cod farmer to achieve the GAP standard. The company’s Chief Sustainability Officer, Hilde Storhaug, said: “We are very pleased and proud to be the first within our industry to obtain this certification. It demonstrates the clear operational focus we’ve had from the outset on sustainability, and that Norcod is a responsible player in the aquaculture industry.” The standard covers the entire production chain from broodstock, seedlings and feed suppliers to farming, harvesting and processing, setting out detailed requirements for legal compliance, employees’ occupational health and safety, animal welfare, food safety and environmental and ecological care. Norcod is now in the process of applying for compliance with the Aquaculture Stewardship Council standard.

Grieg Seafood reports financial loss for Q1 GRIEG Seafood said lower market prices negatively impacted on earnings to the tune of NOK 141m (£12m). Q1 Revenues fell by 43% to NOK 660m (£57m). The company’s Shetland arm is now classed as “discontinued operations” and is not included in the first quarter results which show an EBIT or operational loss of NOK 16m (£1.4m), compared with a profit of NOK 216m (£19m) in Q1 2020. Oversupply of downgradAbove: Andreas Kvame ed salmon due to winter ulcers also affected margins in Norway, but there was good biological performance in Rogaland (Norway) and in British Columbia. Harvest volumes during the quarter dropped from 16,315 tonnes in 2020 to 13,583 tonnes this year. Commenting on the group’s performance, CEO Andreas Kvame, said: “The first quarter turned out largely as expected. Covid-19 continued to characterise our markets, impacting price achievement. Equally, our employees and supply chains continued to show resilience and flexibility, keeping the wheels turning on a steady pace. “Our plan stays firm; we will improve profitability, streamline the organisation, and secure financial capacity.”


European News.indd 15

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07/06/2021 14:54:17

European News

Norway takes action over IHN fears FISH farms in Norway have been put on alert over the possible spread of a serious new viral disease. The Norwegian Veterinary Institute says that Infectious Hematopoietic Necrosis (IHN) has been detected in Denmark and Finland and there is reason to fear that it could spread to Norway via imports of roe, live fish and fresh products of rainbow trout and other susceptible species. It warns: “The introduction of IHN to Norway will have serious consequences for fish health and the Norwegian aquaculture industry.” So far, IHN has never spread across the border. With Norwegian salmon farms hit by increasing Infectious Salmon Anaemia (ISA) outbreaks this year, it is something the industry could well do without. The virus that causes IHN has recently been detected in rainbow trout in two fish farms in Jutland, Denmark. This year, fish showing signs of IHN in Denmark have been exported to

a number of European countries including Austria, Germany, the Netherlands, and Finland. The Veterinary Institute said: “The receiving facilities are now being followed up with testing and infection tracing, and so far confirmed infection of rainbow trout has been exported to Åland in Finland. Here, signs of disease were detected compatible with IHN. Several Danish fishing facilities are also under investigation for IHN. The situation must therefore

be described as confusing and serious.” Åse Helen Garseth, fish health expert at the Institute, added: “There is reason to fear that the disease may also be introduced to Norway via imports of roe, live fish and fresh products of rainbow trout and other susceptible species. It is therefore particularly important that importers are aware of this risk and show caution, among other things through tracing their origin.”

It could also spread through sports fishing activities, so the Institute is advising that all fishing equipment should be disinfected before moving from one site to another. IHN is a serious disease caused by the infectious hematopoietic necrosis virus It affects salmonids such as rainbow trout, Atlantic salmon, char and Pacific salmon, but a large number of other fish species are also susceptible, but it cannot affect humans. The most important signs of IHNV infection are protruding eyes and fluid in the abdominal cavity due to problems with fluid balance and blood circulation. Internal signs may be minor bleeding in organs and swollen kidney. It is usually small fish that get sick, while larger fish can be carriers of the virus without showing signs of disease. The Norwegian Food Safety Authority said if there is the slightest suspicion of IHN it must be notified immediately and care taken to prevent further spread of infection.

NRS faces fresh ISA threat NORWAY Royal Salmon faces the prospect of being hit by Infectious Salmon Anaemia (ISA) for the second time, as the number of suspected cases continues to mount. The company, through its NRS Farming operation, has reported a possible outbreak at sea site 16055 known as Kråkeberget in Troms and Finnmark county. Just ten days ago a case was confirmed at Korsnes, another NRS site, also in the Troms and

Finnmark region. Following this latest report NRS Farming has notified the Norwegian Food Safety Authority Tuesday this week of findings compatible with ISA at the Kråkeberget site. As with most incidents of this type, the suspicion is based on positive analysis results (PCR) on samples analysed for ISA after sampling of fish at the site, it is stated in a report from the Norwegian Food Safety Authority.

An inspection of the facility is planned soon and the Norwegian Food Safety Authority will take follow-up samples so that the Veterinary Institute can confirm whether the disease is ISA. The farm contains more than a million salmon with an average weight of around 2.6 kilos and it is possible that NRS may have to cull the entire farm, which would prove hugely costly. As is often stated, ISA presents no threat to humans, but it is taking a high financial toll on those companies unfortunate enough to be affected. The Norwegian fish health related authorities have yet to find a solution to this growing problem where suspected cases are appearing on an almost weekly basis. Meanwhile, following tests, another suspected case was reported on 27 May at sea site 30559 in Austrheim municipality in Vestland county which is run by the farming company Kobbevik and Furuholmen oppdrett AS.

Above Royal Norway Salmon farm


European News.indd 16


07/06/2021 14:57:22

All the latest industry news from Europe

SalMar performs well in Q1 SCOTTISH Sea Farms generated higher revenues and turned loss into profit for the Norwegian salmon giant SalMar during the first quarter of this year, figures show today. SalMar, which announced outstanding group-wide Q1 results, shares ownership of Scottish Sea Farms (which it calls Norskott Havbruk) with Lerøy Seafood. It previously told Fish Farmer magazine (see report, May 2021 issue) that it plans to expand its operation in Scotland and Shetland, with details expected later in the year. SalMar said Scottish Sea Farms generated gross operating revenues of NOK 396m (£34.5m) during the first three months of this year, compared with NOK 264m (£23m) in Q1 2019. It said: “The increase is attributable to a larger volume harvested. Norskott Havbruk harvested around 5,900 tonnes of salmon in the quarter, up from 2,900 tonnes in the first quarter last year. “ The EBIT per kg (gutted weight) came to NOK 12.39 in the first quarter 2021, compared with NOK 14.36 per kg in Q1 2019. The decrease is attributed to lower salmon prices, partly offset by lower costs at harvest. The contract rate for the quarter came to 50%. SalMar’s

Above: Gustav Witzøe


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share of Scottish Sea Farms’ pretax profit came to NOK 116m (£10m), against a pre-tax loss of NOK 38m (£3.3m) in Q1 2020. The report said the standing biomass status was good with low sea lice levels in all regions. Norskott Havbruk expects to harvest 36,000 tonnes of salmon in 2021. SalMar’s principal fish farming activities are in Norway and on a group level it delivered an operational EBIT of NOK 627m (£55m) and an EBIT per kg of NOK 17.02. The group expects to harvest 163,000 tonnes in Norway and 14,000 tonnes in Iceland (Icelandic Salmon) this year. At the start of 2021, the company secured NOK 7.5bn in green financing, which will be used to finance continued sustainable growth. CEO Gustav Witzøe, said: “Towards the end of the first quarter, the price of salmon rose steadily compared with the levels seen in the autumn of 2020 and at the start of this year. Together with a strong operational performance from our employers along the entire value chain, this enabled SalMar to announce yet another good result, with margins up on the previous quarter.”

Hydroniq wins fourth wellboat contract with Myklebust Verft

Above How the new wellboat will look

HydrONIQ Coolers has won a contract to install its hull-integrated seawater cooling system in a new wellboat being constructed by shipbuilder Myklebust Verft. Both companies are Norway based and the contract is the fourth in a row for Hydroniq with the shipbuilder. Marine cooling systems use seawater to reduce temperatures in a ship’s engines and other auxiliary systems, to avoid overheating of the engine and other critical systems. “Four newbuilds in a row demonstrate Sølvtrans’ ambitions and Myklebust Verft’s ability to deliver. We consider it a mark of quality to be chosen as subcontractor to the fourth wellboat in a row,” said Magnar Kvalheim, sales manager at Hydroniq Coolers. design for the newbuild, no. 78 is based on Kongsberg NVC 390 LFC and developed in close collaboration between Sølvtrans, Kongsberg and Myklebust. Steel cutting of the hull started on Saturday 1 May, and the plan is that delivery of the vessel will take place in the fourth quarter 2022. While the first three vessels in the series (newbuilds 75, 76

and 77) have a storage capacity of 4,000 cubic metres, the latest newbuild (78) will have a storage capacity of 5,000 cubic metres of live salmon or trout. The vessel will be 92.5 metres long and 20 metres wide. The wellboat will be equipped with the rack seawater cooling system, which differs from other cooling systems as it is integrated in the hull below the vessel’s main engine room, freeing up valuable space in the engine room. “We know that the rack seawater cooler is well suited for vessels that operate with large loads and at low speeds, such as for example wellboats. The technology is also highly energy efficient, which is positive with regards to keeping operating costs and emissions to air as low as possible,” added Kvalheim. Hydroniq Coolers will manufacture and assemble the seawater coolers at its headquarters outside Aalesund, Norway, and deliver it to Myklebust Verft located at Gursken in Møre og romsdal county, Norway. The company has not disclosed the value of the contract. Hydroniq Coolers is owned by Norwegian investment company SMV Invest AS (formerly Sperre Mek. Verksted AS).


07/06/2021 14:57:59

European News

Norway’s salmon exports see volumes dip, prices rise

NORWEGIAN salmon export volumes dipped slightly during May, but values are continuing to rise thanks to higher prices, the latest monthly figures show. The country’s fish farmers sold 83,000 tonnes of salmon last month, a drop of 1%, but the value rose by 6% to NOK 5.9bn (£502m). The largest markets were Poland, France and the United States. Paul T Aandahl, analyst at the Norwegian Seafood Council said: “The growth in export value in May is due to a strong price increase. But because of a strengthened Norwegian krone, Norwegian producers and exporters are still not allowed to benefit from the

entire price increase in the markets.” He added: “Our calculations show that the strengthening of the krone in May reduces the value of salmon exports by about 10%. “Italy is the market with the strongest value growth this year, which we see in connection with weak sales last year due to closed fresh food counters and restaurants.” Exports of farmed trout fell by 20% in volume terms to 4,300 tonnes during May. Revenues totalled NOK 276m (£23m), a drop of 6% on May last year. Total seafood exports, including cod, haddock, shellfish and pelagic species, were worth NOK 8.3bn (£706m), up by 6% in value on

12 months ago, making it the third best May performance to date. Renate Larsen, the Seafood Council’s CEO, said: “We have experienced an adventurous increase in exports of snow crab and king crab to the USA and Asia. Although there are still some challenges, there is reason to be cautiously optimistic on behalf of seafood exports.” Larsen said she expects growth to continue as restaurants open up in a number of European countries such as the UK and Italy.

Above Norwegian salmon

Bakkafrost exceeds expectations THE Bakkafrost group, owners of the Scottish Salmon Company, delivered a total operating EBIT or profit of 223.5m Danish kroner (£26m) during first three months of this year, higher than some analysts were suggesting. The group harvested 21,000 tonnes gutted weight, with 7,000 tonnes coming from its Scottish operations. The combined farming and Value Added Products (VAP) segment produced an operational EBIT of DKK 218.3m (£25m) The group made a gross profit for Q1 2021 of DKK 407.7m (£47m) against a loss of Above Cxxxx DKK 148m (£17m) in Q1 last year. CEO Regin Jacobsen said that overall he was satisfied with the results, adding that the performance from Scotland was gradAbove Regin Jacobsen ually improving. He also predicted brighter days ahead for the salmon industry. Jacobsen said: “The salmon market has been severely hampered by the Covid-19 pandemic, but during this quarter we have also seen clear signs of improvements in the market. The global supply of salmon in this quarter increased by nearly 16%, compared to the first


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quarter last year. Despite such increase in supply, salmon prices increased during the quarter... we expect this positive development to continue as Covid-19 mass vaccination progresses in the key markets for salmon. All in all, the salmon market outlook is good for the rest of 2021 as the global supply is expected to decrease somewhat, compared to the same period last year.” He added: “We are especially pleased with the strong results from the VAP segment. Once again, we have seen the benefit of having a flexible value chain which is of great importance to us to maintain our competitive position. “The farming segment in the Faroe Islands has performed well and the biology has been strong with good growth and low feed conversion factor. “Quarter by quarter our average smolt size increases which also was the case in this quarter. In Scotland, the farming performance is gradually improving, and we expect to see some increase in average smolt size by the end of this year.”


07/06/2021 14:59:40

All the latest industry news from Europe

Iceland shines for NRS, but Norway disappoints NORWAY Royal Salmon today announced a first quarter operating profit of NOK 60m (£5m) during the first quarter of 2021, down from NOK 75m (£6m) a year earlier. The latest quarter’s profits were also appreciably lower than the NOK 87m (£7.46m) some industry analysts were expecting. Although Arctic Fish, its recent Icelandic acquisition, performed particularly well, CEO Charles Høstlund made it clear he was not satisfied with some aspects of operations in Norway. The operating profit or EBIT per kilo was NOK 6.4 (£0.55) against NOK 16.53 in Q1 2020 (£1.42). Høstlund said: “Arctic Fish had a very good development in production costs and the company is harvesting more and more salmon. It is a growing company, and harvest volumes are expected to increase substantially in the coming years. Recently, Arctic Fish was awarded new licences, which will support the

Lerøy hit by winter sores and weak prices

company’s future growth ambition to harvest 24,000 tonnes by 2025.” But the CEO said he was not satisfied with farming operations in Norway, particularly in relation to production costs which were showing too much variation between the best and worst sites. He concluded: “In the first quarter, the salmon price was significantly lower than in the same quarter last year, but higher than in the previous quarter. On the other hand, the price increased during the (this) quarter and has continued to increase after the end of the quarter.” Farming Norway produced an operational EBIT of NOK 77.2m (£6.5m) against 89,4m (£7.6m) last year, while the operational EBIT in Iceland was up from NOK 14.6m £1.2m) to NOK 21.5m (£1.8m). NRS said it expects to harvest 52,000 tonnes this year, 40,000 tonnes from Norway and 12,000 tonnes from Iceland. Above Henning Beltestad

THE Lerøy Seafood Group today reported 2021 first quarter revenues of NOK 4,925m (£420m), down from NOK 5,305m (453m) last year. The main factors behind the drop were lower prices for salmon and other fish, but the company also had problems with winter sores in some of its farming operations. Lerøy is a fully integrated seafood business combining salmon and trout farm, conventional trawl fishing and fish processing. The company jointly owns Scottish Sea Farms (called Norskott Havbruk in Norway) with SalMar. The Scottish business produced revenues of almost NOK 460m (£39m) - as an associated company this figure is not incorporated in the group results for Lerøy. Lerøy’s group operating profit, before fair value adjustment related to biological assets, was NOK 455m (£39m), compared with NOK 816m (£69m) in Q1 2020, around NOK 20m lower


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than predicted by analysts. CEO Henning Beltestad said despite weaker prices during the quarter the company was experiencing a strong underlying demand for seafood, adding that the shift towards retail was increasing. He revealed that Lerøy had challenges with winter sores in its Norway-based Lerøy Aurora region, which have continued into the start of the second quarter. This is having a significant negative effect on price achievement, Beltestad said, which was likely to show up in the Q2 results. Lerøy Havfisk also runs a fleet of ten modern trawlers which produced catches totalling 25,721 tonnes, the highest in the company’s history. The company said that it was continuing with plans to go into land-based fish farming technology and is in negotiations about a possible further development in the west of Norway. This development will be carried out in three stages.


07/06/2021 15:02:37

World News


AquaBounty’s GM salmon approved for Brazil

Above: AquaBounty salmon

US-based fish farmer AquaBounty Technologies has gained permission to sell its genetically modified salmon in Brazil. The news was announced this month as AquaBounty also confirmed that it has started the first harvest of its GMO salmon at its farm in Albany, Indiana. AquaBounty’s “AquAdvantage” GMO Atlantic

salmon have had elements of two other fish species – Chinook salmon and ocean pout – added to their genetic make-up in order to achieve faster, more efficient growth.They have been reared in the company’s recirculating aquaculture system (RAS). The company said that with the approval of its application to Brazil’s National Biosafety

Technical Commission for the sale of GMO Atlantic salmon in Brazil, it “moves closer to realising an exciting new market opportunity in South America.” Sylvia Wulf, Chief Executive Officer of AquaBounty said: “This is another significant achievement for AquaBounty as we seek to expand our presence into new international markets.This approval now enables us to seek production and distribution partners in Brazil, the largest and most populated country in South America with significant demand for salmon.” Aquabounty has also received regulatory approval for sale in the US and Canadian markets. Wulf also said: “We are thrilled to commence commercial-scale harvesting of our GE salmon at our Indiana farm.The first weeks of our harvest supply are fully committed and our customers are excited to introduce the salmon in their markets. We will continue to ramp up production to the farm’s full capacity throughout the course of the year.” AquaBounty also announced that Gail Sharps Myers – the EVP, Chief Legal Officer, Chief People Officer and Corporate Secretary for Denny’s Corporation – was elected to its board of directors at the Company’s annual shareholders’ meeting held on 28 May, 2021. She joins recently appointed Director, Dr Ricardo Alvarez, President and CEO of Richelieu Foods Incorporated.

Ramboll wins Kingfish RAS contract AQUACULTURE technology business Ramboll has been awarded a further contract by The Kingfish Company for design and engineering services for a recirculating aquaculture system (RAS) site being built in Jonesport, Maine. The RAS facility, to be run by subsidiary Kingfish Maine, is projected to produce 6,000-8,000 metric tonnes of yellowtail kingfish per annum. Ramboll has already provided support for the earlier stages of the project and this deal ensures the company will now be involved all the way through to completion. The Kingfish Company currently operates the Kingfish Zeeland land-based RAS facility in the Netherlands.The company has received a number of sustainable practice awards and is the first land-based farm to receive Best Aquaculture Practices certification and the first Aquaculture Stewardship Council certified source of yellowtail kingfish. Ramboll has led several major projects in the aquaculture industry around the world, helping companies implement innovative and sustainable strategies to improve seafood production, reduce environmental impacts, use energy and water more efficiently, and get product safely to market. Most recently, Ramboll was selected to help design and build the first large-scale, landbased salmon farm in Sweden. Ohad Maiman, founder and CEO of The Kingfish Company, said:“Based


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Above: Yellowtail kingfish.

on collaboration with Ramboll over the past year, and their experience with RAS facilities in Scandinavia, we are confident in this global partnership and the anticipated operational results of our advanced RAS technology facility in Maine.” Mark Travers, Executive Vice President, Global Practice Development at Ramboll, said:“We’re excited to expand our partnership on this project, which is aligned with Ramboll’s mission to create sustainable societies where people and nature flourish, and to help design and build the high-tech infrastructure needed to make efficient, large-scale production of yellowtail in the US a reality.”


07/06/2021 15:04:33

All the latest industry news from around the world

Skretting in Australian expansion move NUTRECO’S aquaculture division Skretting has announced plans to expand its production capacity in Australia through the purchase of Ridley’s extrusion facility in Westbury,Tasmania. The company said the move was a continuation of Skretting’s long-term commitment to the Australian and New Zealand aquaculture industries. “We have been producing aquafeed from our Cambridge facility in Tasmania since the 1990s, and today proudly employ over 90 staff,” said Melissa Abbott, General Manager of Skretting Australia. She added: “I am pleased that we are expanding our manufacturing capacity to enable us to continue our long-term commitment to clients and partners across the broader Australian and New Zealand aquaculture industries. I am very proud of what our team has, and continues to achieve, and the role that we play in supporting local communities. It’s an exciting day for the Skretting team,.” Nutreco CEO Rob Koremans said: “Skretting Australia is an important

part of our global business.This is a strategically important investment for us in a growing and leading industry, and we intend to continue to partner with local leaders for many years to come.” The transaction is subject to approval from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission which is expected to conclude this year. Based in Stavanger, Norway, Skretting says it is the global leader in providing innovative and sustainable nutritional solutions for the aquaculture industry, with production facilities in 19 countries on five continents. Producing high quality feeds from hatching to harvest, its total annual production volume of feed is more than two million tonnes.

Above: Ridley’s extrusion facility

Norway and Vietnam agree to co-operate NORWAY and Vietnam have agreed to work closer together on the development of industrial scale aquaculture. Representatives of the two countries, both major fish farming nations, took part in a webinar last month. Norway is of course well known as the world’s largest salmon farmer, while Vietnam exports tilapia and shrimp worldwide. The news outlet Vietnamplus reports that the participants included the Vietnamese Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, the Norwegian Embassy in Vietnam, Innovation Norway and the Vietnamese Chamber of Commerce and

Industry. Deputy Agriculture and Rural Development Minister Phung Duc Tien told the digital gathering that Vietnam’s strategy over the next decade and beyond was to expand aquaculture into an industry producing large volumes of products both for export and home consumption. But he also pointed out that Vietnam’s fish farming industry faced challenges in a number of areas, including infrastructure, technology and on biological issues. Vietnam’s marine aquaculture areas have posted average annual

increases of 23.3% over the last decade, producing about 610,000 tonnes. Norwegian Ambassador to Vietnam Grete Lochen said Vietnam had considerable potential when it came to aquaculture growth, adding that Norway had the experience to promote the sustainable development of fish farming. on an industrial scale.

Salmon industry making ‘major sustainability strides’ THE farmed salmon industry has emerged as one of the most environmentally conscious and sustainable food production methods in the world, a new report argues. The Global Salmon Initiative (GSI) has published its Annual Sustainability Report, providing eight years of data across 14 key indicators – 10 environmental and four social – and it paints a highly encouraging picture. The GSI is a CEO-led initiative of 13 salmon farming companies, representing 40% of the global salmon production industry with all members fully committed to showing measurable progress in the sustainability of their operations through greater collaboration, transparency and innovation. Key trends from the 2020 Sustainability Report include:  A 60% reduction in the average use of antibiotics since GSI’s foundation in 2013, which can be attributed to the improvements in antibiotics stewardship, disease control and fish welfare led by GSI members;  Continued efforts to accelerate availability and uptake of alternative responsible feed ingredients, such as novel oils (i.e. algae) and fish byproducts, are supporting a growing industry to reduce its dependence on marine ingredients. This has led to an average decrease of marine ingredients in fish oil of 11% and fish meal of 40% since 2013; and  A shift towards a more holistic approach to preventing and managing sea lice resulted in a 50% decrease in medicinal use on average among GSI members since 2013, with a 96% decrease in in-feed treatments as companies shift to non-medicinal management practices. When compared with other animal proteins, farmed salmon represents an environmentally conscious choice, with a lower carbon footprint, requiring less land, and more efficient use of feed resources. Farmed salmon is a nutrient-dense food that supports healthy diets. Since its formation in 2013, GSI members have targeted their efforts on accelerating progress against the most significant environmental challenges facing the sector:


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biosecurity and sustainable feed sourcing, as well as motivating industry progress towards third-party certification. Building on a nearly decade-long partnership, GSI and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) are developing an industry-wide reporting framework to measure greenhouse gas emissions for the aquaculture sector and identify ways to mitigate climate impact. As a member of the UN Food Systems Summit Champions Network and recent co-host of a Food Systems Summit Dialogue, the GSI is helping to identify and activate game-changing solutions for food systems transformation. In doing so, it seeks to demonstrate the essential role blue foods play in current and future food systems that are inclusive, healthy, sustainable and resilient. Publication of the report also marks the launch of GSI’s new resource hub, which includes infographics and case studies highlighting the work of GSI task forces and how GSI drives salmon farming and food system change at speed and scale. To access these resources and learn more about how GSI members’ farmed salmon is raised to be better, visit www. RaisedToBeBetter.org Regin Jacobsen, Bakkafrost CEO and GSI co-chair said:“What started out as a means of making each of us members accountable has become a key tool in helping us identify where we need to make greater progress, and then challenging the GSI platform to find solutions and implement them – with the end goal of ensuring a more sustainable industry and a more responsible product for consumers.” The other co-chair, Sady Delgado, CEO of AquaChile, added:“ As an industry we continue to face challenges, and no doubt will face more in the years to come. I believe the platform GSI provides will be crucial in helping us move forward, and we can only move forward when the facts are laid on the table. For this reason, the Sustainability Report remains as crucial to our progress as it did in year one.”


07/06/2021 15:06:27

World News

Ace Aquatec expands North America division

Above: Sam Bowman

AQUACULTURE technology group Ace Aquatec has made two senior hires for its North America division, based in Canada. The North America division will be led by Ace Aquatec Regional Manager, Sam Bowman, who previously held senior management positions at two of the world’s largest salmon aquaculture producers, Mowi and Cermaq. He joins Dr Jenny Bouwsema PhD, Director of Scientific Research, who has worked alongside a number of fish farms and hatcheries across the globe to help develop technical solutions and carry out welfare research, and fellow new recruit Adrian Hulme, Product Engineer and Design Consultant with more than 35 years’ experience in underwater engineering.

Ace Aquatec, which is based in Dundee, Scotland, also opened operations in Chile and Norway last year. Sam Bowman said: “We are a nation known for providing some of the world’s best quality fish so it’s great to be working alongside Ace Aquatec, who have an extensive background in providing some of the best aquaculture technology in the world. “Their ethical and sustainable approach is something to be welcomed by the North American market and I look forward to working alongside the team to grow their presence.” Nathan Pyne-Carter, CEO at Ace Aquatec, said: “Over the last year, we have taken the decision to grow Ace Aquatec’s presence internationally by making our technology and research knowledge more accessible to fish farmers across the globe. “We’re continuing to see the growing demand for more productive, ethical and sustainable methods of fish farming, so expanding our team in North America was the next logical step in our strategy.”

Aid deal for fish farmers in Nigeria NIGERIA’S beleaguered fish farming sector is set to receive a lifeline, thanks to an aid and co-investment package funded by US Aid and a non-governmental organisation, Partners For Development. Fish farmers in the country have seen rising costs and falling prices for their product throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. The aid package, a coinvestment partnership between the USAIDfunded West Africa Trade & Investment Hub and global organisation Partners for Development, will leverage $1.1m (£0.77m) of private funds in addition to a grant from the Trade Hub of $500,000 (just under £352,000) to build the industry’s resilience.

Key project goals include improving production, helping sales rebound, and increasing employment in the aquaculture sector, including for women and young people in the fish supply chain. The co-investment partnership will strengthen the capacity of eight fish farmers associations and 600 fish farmers to enable them to use improved aquaculture and business management practices to increase their productivity by as much as 25%. The project also aims to boost the capacities of 15 hatcheries and 15 fish feed distributors that supply the farmers with fingerlings and fish feed, respectively. Hatcheries and fish feed distributors are

expected to improve the quality of their inputs and increase production capacity by 25%. John Marrkand, Executive Director, Partners for Development, said:“We are looking forward to not only strengthening the capacity of fish farmers, hatcheries, fish feed distributors, and key officials, but to also providing loans to expand and improve the performance of those working in the aquaculture value chain.”

Industry calls on Biden to back US aquaculture A coalition representing the aquaculture industry has written an open letter to US President Joe Biden, arguing that more farming in the seas could help mitigate climate change, as well as meeting the world’s increasing demand for food. Stronger America Through Seafood (SATS) advocates for increasing Americans’ access to “healthful, sustainable and affordable seafood” produced in the US. The letter was signed by more than 70 aquaculture advocates, including American scientists, environmental advocates and industry leaders. SATS notes that, according to forecasts by the United Nations, the human population is projected to reach 9.7 billion by 2050 and the global demand for animal protein will rise by as much as 88 percent. It also argues: “Well-managed marine aquaculture development could increase the resiliency of our food systems to future environmental, social, and economic shocks, including the impacts of climate change. “Certain types of marine aquaculture, such as seaweed farming, also have the potential to sequester carbon and may be used as a tool to mitigate global warming by removing CO2 from the atmosphere. “In addition to carbon sequestration, aquaculture can provide other ecosystem services such as improving water quality, regulating ocean acidification, protecting coastlines, providing habitat for other species, and more.” The full text of the letter can be found at the SATS website. Margaret Henderson, Campaign Manager of Above: Joe Biden


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Stronger America Through Seafood, said: “As our federal leaders seek innovative solutions to address the climate crisis, aquaculture, one of the most resource-efficient methods for protein production, should be considered as a tool to help feed our growing population responsibly while protecting our planet. Through federal action, the Administration and Congress can establish a clear regulatory pathway for permitting offshore aquaculture that would support a sustainable seafood future, increase the resiliency of our food systems, and create new jobs in communities nationwide.” She was supported by Dr Kevan L Main, Director of Mote Aquaculture Research Park, who said: “If we are going to feed the growing world population, we must continue to advance the development of sustainable marine fish farming technologies. Protein production from sustainable aquaculture systems is more efficient and less damaging to the environment than other animal protein production.” A bill with bipartisan support, the Advancing the Quality and Understanding of American Aquaculture (AQUAA) Act, is being supported by Senators Brian Schatz (D-HI) Marco Rubio (R-FL), Roger Wicker (R-MS), and Representative Steven Palazzo (R-MS). This would open up selected federal waters for aquaculture. Under the administration of President Trump, an executive order was signed encouraging the development of seafood production, including marine aquaculture, but there is also vocal opposition in the US to netpen farming at sea.


07/06/2021 15:09:03

All the latest industry news from around the world

Algal blooms cost Camanchaca $12m THE algae bloom attack which struck Chile in March cost Salmones Camanchaca, one of the country’s largest salmon farming companies, at least $12m (£8.52m). The company, publishing its 2021 first quarter results, also revealed that the loss in biomass was around 3,700 metric tonnes. Salmones Camanchaca SA is a vertically integrated salmon producer engaged in breeding, egg production, recirculating hatcheries for Atlantic salmon and pass-through or lake hatcheries for Pacific salmon and trout. The company admitted the attack hit the business hard, adding that its harvest estimate for this year is now down from between 55,000 and 57,000 metric tonnes to between 41,000 and 44,000 tonnes. Two principal locations were affected: Reñihué Fjord, where there are three operational sites and cost the business 2.4m fish and $4.5m (£3.19m), and Comau Fjord, which has four sites and cost 3.2m fish and led to a financial impact of $7.5m (£5.32m).

However, Camanchaca says that despite “extraordinary events” the company will maintain its long-term cost targets, while the double digit decline in Chilean supply this year is expected to lift sale prices, which are now above pre-pandemic levels. Revenue for the quarter fell by just over 17% to US $70m ($49.7m), while the impact from Covid-19 meant that both sales volumes and sales prices were 11% lower compared to a year ago. The better news is that prices are now 19% higher than in the final quarter of last year. The company announced an EBIT or operating loss of $11.37m (£8.07m) against an operating EBIT or profit of $11.43m (£8.11m) in Q1 2020. Camanchaca’s two main markets for Atlantic salmon are the United States, where it sells around half of its production, and Mexico which accounts for 26% of sales. The company said that following the opening of a new sales operation in Mexico, there had been a significant increase to that country.

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Above: Algae attack


World News.indd 23


07/06/2021 15:09:43

Processing News

Young’s fined £787,500 for safety breach Britain’s largest seafood company has been fined more than three quarters of a million pounds after a worker was trapped by a mixing machine at one of its Grimsby sites.

YOUNG’S, a major supplier of salmon and whitefish to retail and foodservice, pleaded guilty at Grimsby Crown Court to breaching Section 2 (1) of the Health & Safety at Work etc Act 1974. The company was fined £787,500 and ordered to pay £33,443.68 in costs. The court heard the 59-year-old worker was creating the mix for fish cakes at the

company’s Humberstone Road factory in Grimsby. At the end of a mix run he went to clear the mix from the machine, lifting an interlocked guard that should have stopped the machine from running. He put his hand into the machine without realising it was still running and the augur caught his hand and drew his arm in up to the elbow.

The worker managed to free himself from the augur but in removing his arm, his thumb and two of his fingers were severed and he suffered serious tendon damage. Following the incident doctors were unable to reattach his fingers and he has not yet been able to return to work. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) said it had found that the machine continued to run when the safety guard was lifted and failed to respond when the emergency stop was pressed. The interlocking system was inadequate,

and the company had failed to ensure that the machine was effectively maintained. These matters were exacerbated by poor communication between the shop floor and maintenance and an inadequate fault reporting system. HSE inspector Carol Downes said later: “The life changing injuries sustained by the employee could have been prevented and the risk should have been identified. “Being pro-active with preventative maintenance and good communication of faults can reduce

The life changing injuries... could have been prevented

the chance of harm.” A Young’s spokesperson said: “Young’s Seafood accepts the fine imposed by the court following the Health and Safety Executive’s inves-

tigation, which we cooperated with fully. Mr Spence has been a valued member of the Young’s family for 25 years and continues to work with us today. “We thank the court for its favourable comments about our positive health and safety record, our lack of previous convictions and our proactivity as a responsible employer to put effective health and safety measures in place to avoid incidents like this happening again in the future.” Young’s employs around 3,000 people in both Grimsby and Scotland.

Green endorsement for JCS GRIMSBY-based based salmon and trout supplier JCS Fish has been awarded a “Green” cer�ficate under the Investors in the Environment (iiE) environmental accredita�on scheme. This is the first �me the business has achieved Green status, having been audited to the lower Silver level for each of the past five years. Jack Coulbeck, who co-ordinates sustainability for JCS Fish said: “Over the past year we have been working really hard to drive down our environmental impact, assessing our overall carbon footprint for the first �me and se�ng some really tough goals for future improvement. “It is really great that this was recognised by the iiE assessor and helped us win this higher standard.” Some of the key environmental improvements that have helped JCS win Green status included: That the company has a clear set of goals and targets to make progressive reduc�ons in its carbon footprint, aiming for neutrality by


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2030 and zero emissions by 2050. It has commi�ed to only using fish from suppliers assessed and accredited for their environmental impact and sustainability approach, and to cu�ng waste across the business Reducing the impact of employ-

ee transport by suppor�ng cycling to work and providing an electric charge point on site for EVs The iiE scheme is unique because organisa�ons must achieve a minimum 2% improvement in resource efficiency over an agreed baseline figure, to secure Green accredita�on JCS co-founder and director Louise Coulbeck added: “We have

always sought to manage the business as sustainably as possible, but this agenda has become even more urgent over recent years and is something our customers now expect of us. I think our achievements set an example for any small to medium sized enterprise who wants to make a real effort to improve their environmental footprint.”


07/06/2021 15:11:34

Processing News

Russian Aquaculture buys processor

Left: A Russian Aquaculture vessel, at Murmansk

Russian aquaculture has taken its stake in Murmansk-based seafood processor Tri Ruchja and Murmanrybprom to 100%. The group had previously owned 40% of the processor and has invested RuB 358.5m (£3.46m) to become sole owner.

The Murmansk processing facility is capable of producing 30,000 metric tons of products annually and is fitted with modern equipment for processing salmonids. The acquiring company said that the plant has cold storage, a well-developed infra-

structure and is located within convenient transport access from Russian aquaculture’s farms. The facility is certified by the Marine stewardship Council (MsC) and the aquaculture stewardship Council (asC).

Seafood Expo Global moves to spring 2022 ISI takes controlling stake in

SEAFOOD Expo Global and Seafood Processing Global, the worlds’ largest industry trade fair has been moved to next spring. It had been scheduled for the end of April this year, but because of the Covid pandemic it was decided to stage it five months later, in early September. Now the organisers, Diversified Communications, have said, following further reflection, they will hold it next year when, hopefully, the Covid situation should be much improved. The new dates are April 26-28 2022 and the venue is Fira Barcelona Gran Via. Liz Plizga, Group Vice President at Diversified Communications, said: “Keeping our customers’ best interest in mind is our top priority.


Processing News.indd 25

“After an evaluation of suppliers and buyers’ concerns around the continued uncertainties caused by the on-going COVID-19 situation worldwide, it became evident that 2021 would still be too soon to host an international event that would provide the global experience the seafood community would find valuable.” She added: “We are committed to Barcelona. We will continue working with Fira de Barcelona and the city to ensure we can host a valuable in-person event that will bring back, at the Gran Via venue in 2022, the international representation that makes Seafood Expo Global/Seafood Processing Global the global seafood marketplace and the largest seafood trade event in the world.” Events director Wynter Courmont said the organisers were already receiving strong interest from all sectors of the global industry. Seafood Expo Global/Seafood Processing Global is the world’s largest and most diverse seafood trade event, bringing together more than 29,000 international industry professionals.

Spanish salmon processor

GloBal fish trading company Iceland Seafood International (ISI) has signed a letter of intent to acquire an 80% stake in the Spanish salmon processor ahumados Dominguez. The move is the latest in a series of major acquisitions by this fast-expanding seafood business, which has extensive interests across the globe, including the uK where it now owns Grimsby-based Havelok seafood. last november isi took over the specialist irish smoked salmon company Carr & sons in a deal worth around £6m. The company sees Spain, where it already has extensive interests, as one of its most important markets. ahumados Dominguez is a retailoriented business with a strong brand and consumer recognition in the smoked salmon sector in spain. it is known for its premium quality. ISI said the move will strengthen Iceland Seafood’s proposition in the Spanish retail market, as well as creating opportunities to use the platform ahumados Dominguez has created. The remaining 20% stake in the spanish company will be held by Pedro Mestanza, Managing Director, who will continue to lead the company post-acquisition. The company’s sales in 2020 were €19.3m, its EBITDA was €1.7m and profit before tax was €1.2m. The statement said: “By leveraging both the untapped opportunities ahumados Dominguez has as a standalone company, and the opportunities that a partnership with Iceland Seafood creates, the aim will be to significantly grow sales and profitability in the coming years.” The purchase price for the 80% stake will be “8.8 x EBITDA on a debt and cash free basis”. iceland seafood plans to fund the acquisition with a combination of debt and equity, with the final financing structure still being worked on.


07/06/2021 15:12:27



Huffing and puffin Seabirds are finding their food sources diminishing, but who’s to blame?


n 15 May 2021, the Herald newspaper included a two-page commercial feature placed by the Coastal Communi�es Network who claim that the safety of Sco�sh water is being compromised as the economic drivers of open cage salmon farming are given more import(sic) than ecological integrity. This is their take on the impacts of salmon farming, but I would suggest that this feature would be be�er described as nothing more than a NIMBY whinge. I say this because of the eight people who appear in this feature, not one originates from the west coast. As far as I can ascertain, five of the complainants are from outside Scotland and two are anglers from the East coast plus one other. One of the people featured is Ka�e Tunn, a Skye based ar�st and ocean advocate who moved up from London about six years ago. Interes�ngly, she recently appeared on a BBC TV programme called Wanted: A Simple Life in which she advised another young single female who also wanted

to move to the Isle of Skye from London (available on iPlayer). Among some of the issues Ms Tunn raises in this feature is that seabird popula�ons are in decline. She says: “Few people are aware that the main cause of this is a lack of food generated by overfishing.” She adds that “These fish aren’t even used for human consump�on. The capelins and sand eels that go into fishmeal are vital for wildlife like puffins – just one species that suffers a knock-on effect from these expanding salmon farms.” The Sco�sh Government’s Fishery Sta�s�cs for 2019 do not show landings for either sand eel or capelin. Looking back at historic reports, capelin is never men�oned, and this is likely because most capelin is caught north of Iceland and therefore unavailable to UK boats. Sand eel also does not feature in the 2019 sta�s�cs as a separate species and is likely grouped together with other species because catches are now so small. Ms Tunn associates the sand eel fishery with salmon farming but looking back at the historical record, the first landings of sand eels were made in 1974 with a total of 173,556 hundredweight (cwt) (8,817 tonnes). This does not mean that sand eels were not caught prior to 1974, it just means that they were not recorded separately before then. This is not unusual as

in salmon feed has “Fishmeal been greatly reduced ” 26

Martin Jaffa.indd 26


07/06/2021 16:17:01

Huffing and puffin

tracking other species in these reports can also be difficult. The first salmon smolts were put to sea in Scotland in 1967 at Lochailort. However, it was not for another twelve years until harvests were recorded. In 1979, this was 520 tonnes. It is hard to believe that five years earlier, 8,817 tonnes of sand eels were destined to feed this fledgling industry. Of course, sand eels have been used for salmon feed but generally this has been phased out, not just because there has been recognition that they form the food of some important wildlife but also because fishmeal in salmon feed has been greatly reduced. It is more likely that fishmeal made from offcuts will be found in much of the salmon feed rather than sand eel. The trouble with critics of the salmon farming industry such as Ms Tunn is that they assume that all fish caught at sea for non-human consumption are destined for the salmon farming industry. The reality is that fishmeal is a commodity traded across the world for a whole range of uses. Many years ago, forage fish were caught and made into fertiliser and it is still possible to buy garden fertiliser that includes fishmeal, yet critics never seem to blink an eye at the practice of catching wild fish to help garden flowers and vegetables grow. Equally, fishmeal has been widely used to feed pigs and poultry. I remember when it was common knowledge that chicken often had a slight fishy taste because of the amount of fishmeal used in their feed. The use of fishmeal in these animal feeds has also been reduced primarily because of cost but globally, about 20% of fishmeal still goes


Martin Jaffa.indd 27

to feed terrestrial farm animals. Wild fish is also fed to other animals but not typically as fishmeal. Fish is widely used to feed pet animals, and this is now approaching 3 million tonnes a year globally. Rather strangely, critics never seem to suggest that we should stop this use of the wild fish harvest. Pet cats and dogs do not normally eat fish in their diet and doing so is only a consequence of vanity purchases by their owners, who of course want only the best for their animals. It wasn’t that long ago when US pet food manufacturers offered a bluefin tuna variety of their cat foods. This would be now considered totally unacceptable so why is it acceptable to feed everything from wild salmon to herring and cod to haddock to pet cats? Salmon farming is such an easy target, especially for those who have chosen to live in their vicinity. Perhaps, rather than criticise salmon farming and work to close the industry down, these NIMBY critics might consider that if they don’t like being around salmon farms, then it is they, who should move elsewhere. FF

Above: Puffin with a beek full of eels Left: Lesser sand eels


07/06/2021 16:17:32

Scottish Salmon Producers’ Organisation


Disappearing act A statistical glitch meant figures for Scottish salmon exported to the EU in January were wildly wrong, but it took a while for HMRC to realise there was a problem


s every economist knows, there are three types of lies: lies, damned lies and statistics. But that view is not confined to economists. It is now shared by many in the Scottish salmon sector, thanks to an extraordinary episode over export figures. The collation of our export figures is usually pretty routine. Salmon consignments are registered as they leave the country and flagged again when they arrive at their foreign destination. The figures are then brought together by Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs and published monthly and that, usually, is that. However, when the official figures for January 2021 were published, it was clear that something had gone very badly wrong. Instead of an expected 5,000 tonnes of Scottish salmon landing in the EU, customs officials reported just 87 tonnes: a drop of 97 per cent on the expected figure. We knew about 5,000 tonnes of salmon had been sent (we had export declarations to prove it). We knew the salmon had passed through the hubs where the export health certificates were issued and we knew the salmon had arrived at its European destinations. But, according to HMRC, the salmon had vanished somewhere between the UK and the EU. We are not the only sector to put great weight on our export statistics (we would not be able to champion our success as the UK’s largest food export if we did not have the figures) so we tried to find out what had happened. At this point, it is worth remembering the context. When this statistics foul-up happened, the UK Government had just set up the Brexit Seafood Task Force (at the behest of the Scottish salmon sector) to find practical ways of solving the paperwork problems that Brexit had introduced. Everybody, from the Prime Minister down, wanted real, accurate figures for the amount of trade being done with the EU since the Brexit deal came into force. And yet, not only did the customs service not have anything even resembling accurate figures, it did not appear to see the need to put the error right. The SSPO chased and questioned, harried and pleaded but all we got back was a simple refusal to acknowledge anything had gone wrong. In a statement reminiscent of the famous Belfast adage about the


Hamish MacDonnell.indd 28

Titanic – “it was alright when it left here” – HMRC kept insisting that it had published all the figures it had been given. It was this refusal to engage that was the most infuriating part of this whole saga. It was almost as if those in charge of data collection did not want to admit there had even been an error. They appeared determined to insist there was not a problem that needed to be fixed, rather than concede something had gone wrong and set about trying to correct it. We checked with our producers. They had filled in the paperwork properly. We checked with the hauliers. They also confirmed that it would have been impossible to get export declarations without the paperwork being filled in correctly. We even checked with officials at the European statistics agency and they confirmed that 4,700 tonnes of Scottish salmon had arrived in the EU in January. In the end, we had to raise the issue publicly, at Westminster’s Scottish Affairs Committee. That attracted mainstream press coverage and the incredulity of MPs. After that, HMRC did act. Officials got in touch. They started working through their systems and eventually found out what had happened. There had been a decision to adopt a new, light touch approach to customs from 1 January onwards, in the hope of avoiding tailbacks and Above: Cross Channel queues at the UK Channel ports. Part of this involved dropping a check which registered the ferries to France at the goods as having arrived in the EU. To cope with Port of Dover in Kent this change, exporters were expected to tick an extra box on the export declaration: something they did not know they had to do.


07/06/2021 16:14:57

Disappearing act

According to HMRC, the salmon had vanished somewhere between the UK and the EU

The result was that produce was leaving the UK, arriving in the EU but not being registered in the UK customs system as having arrived. But while we now knew what had gone wrong, we were no nearer to getting an accurate, official figure for Scottish salmon exports to the EU. The irony is that, had HMRC published the correct figure, it would have been a great story for the UK Government. According to the SSPO’s own figures, which have now been collated independently from our member companies, a total of 19,410 tonnes of salmon was exported to the EU from the UK in the first quarter of this year – including 5,030 tonnes in January. This is considerably higher than the 11,150 tonnes exported over the same period in 2020 and actually represents a record Q1 export level. That is crucial because much that was being written publicly about Brexit was based on the false premise that our export volumes had fallen through the floor.


Hamish MacDonnell.indd 29

It is worth noting that, looking deeper into the figures, a more complex story appeared. Yes, more salmon was exported from Scotland this year than last, but at a much lower value. So while our producers were getting fish to their customers, uncertainties over Brexit, slower delivery times and delays were forcing down prices. On top of that, Scotland’s salmon producers were having to cope with £200,000 a month in extra costs, a burden imposed by the new Brexit regulations. What this means is that Brexit has created a complex situation for our producers, one in which increased sales have been tempered by lower prices and increased costs. That is the background which should be available to all those wanting to analyse this issue but it is a context that has been unavailable because of the statistical problems with the customs service. This is why getting the figures right is so important. It is impossible to judge the impact of the Brexit changes unless and until the right statistics are available. We can only hope that this was a one-off and HMRC will produce figures everyone can trust, sooner rather than later. If not, then it will not just be the Scottish salmon sector referring to the HMRC figures in less than praiseworthy terms. FF


07/06/2021 16:15:44


Six months on How the industry has learned to cope with Brexit



ix months on from the end of the Brexit transition period on 1 January 2021 and all of the chaos it caused for UK seafood exports, have the problems been left behind? We asked seafood industry professionals in the UK and EU if exporters, logistics companies and border officials had sorted out the problems that led to many loads being delayed or even dumped. If not, what remains to be done? Just two years ago in 2019, Scottish overseas salmon sales were worth a total of £618m, with France the largest market - responsible for sales worth £221m alone. The EU accounted for 56% of the volume, and 52% of the value of exports. Then came the Covid-19 pandemic, followed by Brexit, and everything changed. On New Year’s Day 2021, the Brexit transition period ended, and a new customs regime began. Up until 11:59pm, when Britain remained effectively inside the EU’s single market, taking seafood to Berlin was as easy as taking it to Birmingham – the only difference was the distance. Since the morning of 1 January, businesses exporting meat and seafood from the UK to the EU have faced higher costs, more paperwork, and delays that led to whole shipments being dumped, lost orders, discounted sales, and disgruntled customers. Exports almost entirely collapsed, when it was taking many hours – sometimes days – to process orders of seafood destined for the EU. Figures released by the Office of National Statistics (ONS) revealed the devastating impact of Brexit, with UK seafood exports to the EU almost


Brexit - Sandy.indd 30

Right: Hamish Macdonell Opposite from top: Donna Fordyce; Tavish Scott; Artus Galiay

completely wiped out amid a £700m hit in January alone. According to the ONS, the fish and shellfish industries suffered a massive 83% drop that month. It’s worth noting, however, that for the salm-


07/06/2021 15:16:02

Six months on

EHCs “ were never

designed for perishable products like salmon on industry volumes were up on January 2020 even though the total value of salmon exports to the EU was reduced, as Hamish Macdonell explains on page 28 of this issue. In January 2020 the total value of food and drink exported to the EU from the UK was £1bn, according to data compiled by lobby group the Food and Drink Federa�on (FDF). In January 2021, this fell to just £256m. Many other UK fresh food exports to the EU were also significantly impacted by Brexit, with exports of beef down 91.5 per cent in January, pork down by 86.9 per cent, and cheese by 85.1 per cent. Salmon shipments declined 98% from the same period a year earlier. The Sco�sh Salmon Producers Organisa�on (SSPO) calculated losses of at least £11m to Scotland’s salmon farmers in January as a direct result of Brexit. On top of that, the organisa�on es�mated that businesses are


Brexit - Sandy.indd 31

spending £200,000 a month on the extra paperwork, amoun�ng to an annual bill of £2.5m. At the heart of the costly delays is a complex layer of post-Brexit bureaucracy called Export Health Cer�ficates (EHCs), which can run to dozens of pages for each order. These have for a long �me applied to animal-based imports from outside the single market and now, of course, apply to those from the UK. In April, the SSPO’s Chief Execu�ve Tavish Sco� called for these documents to be urgently redrawn and simplified to eliminate holdups. He welcomed a “commitment that the UK Government has given to ini�ate a system review of EHCs. They were never designed for perishable products like salmon, and therefore never should have been the document we are forced to use as exporters.” By the end of May, “things are much be�er than they were, but are far from ideal,” according to the SSPO’s Director of Strategic Engagement Hamish Macdonell. Exporters and importers are adap�ng to the many new changes, he says – for example, EHCs are now being processed in 45 minutes rather than four hours, shortening delays. While “there have been improvements since January,” Macdonell adds, “some extra burdens will remain, regardless of the efforts being made.” On the other side of the Channel in France, the issue of groupage – loading produce from more than one supplier onto the same truck – remains a problem, explains Artus Galiay, the Director of United Kingdom/ Ireland at Nord France Invest, the interna�onal investment promo�on agency for Hauts-de-France. “On the French side, the import opera�ons are going quite well, even though issues related to the groupage of consignments in trucks remains problema�c,” he says. “Indeed, there are s�ll delays for the trucks that operate these groupages. The trend observed since the start of the year remains the same: to be efficient, importers are be�er off impor�ng full truck-loads, rather than smaller volumes. The larger the number of consignments in a truck, the higher the probability that there will be a problem. “What everyone used to do, i.e. order certain fish in small quan��es on an ad hoc basis depending on availability, has become much more complicated. Therefore, we have witnessed a gradual but steady professionalisa�on of importers and exporters. This trend is developing and will con�nue to develop. It takes �me, but with habit, the ability to export andimport improves, which helps in making cross-Channel trade more fluid.


07/06/2021 15:17:36


The “ challenge

remains to win back overseas customers lost at the start of the pandemic

“From the point of view of local fish control authori�es in Boulogne-sur-Mer, the quality of Bri�sh health cer�ficates and pre-no�fica�ons in the online pla�orm TRACES NT has been constantly improving. This makes it possible to reduce the number of non-compliant documentary checks, thanks to the professionalisa�on of all the players: Bri�sh cer�fying vets, registered customs representa�ves, but also exporters and importers.” “Progress has definitely been made in some areas,” agrees Seafood Scotland’s Chief Execu�ve, Donna Fordyce. “Groupage is working much be�er now, and border control inspec�ons are much smoother. There are s�ll some differences between countries in terms of required paperwork at �mes, but overall Sco�sh seafood is ge�ng through to its final des�na�on.” However, the extra paperwork is s�ll problema�c. “The focus now is on delivering fundamental changes to the system to reduce some of the administra�ve burdens placed on seafood exporters,” Fordyce says. “A new end-to-end digital solu�on has been fast-tracked for tes�ng in June and could be in use by the end of July. To its credit, the UK government has listened to the seafood industry in that regard. The proof will be in the pudding of course, but it’s good to see the government responding to this pressing concern.”

Extra costs “remain a major obstacle for small and medium sized companies wishing to con�nue trading into Europe post-Brexit,” she adds. “The Sco�sh seafood industry has begun reviewing where these costs could be reduced but this is unlikely to have a major impact given that some export charges – such as VET checks and cer�fica�on costs – can be the same whether you are expor�ng 10 kilos or 10,000 kilos. That is why there is a dispropor�onately adverse impact on smaller companies. The planned digital solu�on will reduce costs but not significantly.” The SSPO has echoed Seafood Scotland’s call for digi�sa�on of the paperwork. Hamish Macdonell says: “We have pushed for ages for the EHC process to be digi�sed and, despite pilot projects being done before Brexit, it is s�ll some way off. That means that everything is s�ll done in hard copy (with pages and pages and pages) which leads to mistakes and then delays while new versions are sourced. “In January, we experienced serious problems because of delays at the hubs processing the EHCs in Scotland. Thanks to the hard work of Food Standards Scotland (FSS), our member companies and the hauliers, those delays have been shortened greatly. EHCs are now being processed in about 45 minutes [they were taking up to four hours in January]. Some are taking longer than that, but everyone has had to adapt.” These adapta�ons include se�ng off earlier, he explains. “Our member companies are factoring in the extra �me that is taken to process the EHCs into their harvest schedules, so fish is leaving the farms earlier and ge�ng to the hubs earlier, leaving more �me for the paperwork to be completed. “FSS have also learned quickly over the last few weeks. Their EHC officials are now much more used to dealing with the paperwork and are quicker than they were. The shi� pa�erns have been altered to make sure the most staff are on duty when the weekly peaks happen and more staff are employed. “We also had problems at the French border. Many of these were, again, because customs staff were not used to the new systems, the volume of product which needed to be processed, and the paperwork. Those problems have eased over �me as everyone involved (hauliers, suppliers and customs officials) has got more used to the systems. “The result is that we are reasonably confident of providing day-one for day-two delivery to the EU, as we used to do before.” What new challenges lie ahead for the UK’s seafood exporters? “The new challenges are mostly to do with the extra demands of the paperwork,” says the SSPO’s Hamish Macdonell. “There is so much now


Brexit - Sandy.indd 32


07/06/2021 15:19:14

Six months on

Things are much be�er than they were, but are far from ideal

that mistakes get made and loads are delayed. Anything that causes problems and delays will play into the hands of our compe�tors.” The main obstacle facing Bri�sh exporters, according to Donna Fordyce, will be recovering the customers they have lost. “The challenge remains to win back overseas customers lost at the start of the pandemic,” she says. “Most have found other – non-UK – suppliers so it will take a concerted effort by everyone involved to persuade buyers that the Sco�sh industry can meet its previous commitment to deliver on day two, following processing on day one. But there’s no doubt that countries such as Norway have benefited from the impact of Brexit on UK seafood exports.” Over in France “the issue of quotas remains a major challenge,” explains Artus Galiay of Nord France Invest. “If it takes �me to establish fishing quotas, it causes delays all the way down the chain. French importers who work with local fleets in Boulogne-sur-Mer are then affected. Similarly, the substan�al delays in the a�ribu�on of fishing licences to French fishermen is detrimental to the smooth func�oning of opera�ons in Boulogne-sur-Mer. This reduces inputs from local fishing and affects the en�re French fish industry. There are therefore very strong expecta�ons in France for this issue to be resolved once and for all. “In addi�on, the reopening of restaurants, a�er months of closure linked to the Covid-19 pandemic, will increase the pressure on the supply of fish and shellfish. It is in everyone’s interest to allow and promote fish exports. The full impact on consumer prices is likely to be felt over the next few weeks.” Is there any progress in ge�ng around the EU ban on impor�ng live shellfish from all but the cleanest category of waters? “Scotland’s waters are on the whole grade A waters, so the ban has had less of an impact for the Sco�sh seafood industry,” explains Donna Fordyce. “The Shellfish Associa�on of Great Britain is taking up the mantle with regard to the UK as a whole, and we support their efforts in this regard, given the many family businesses who need this issue resolved urgently if they are to survive.”

but that will not impact Norwegian imports.” Few French companies are prepared for these new Bri�sh controls, says Nord France Invest’s Artus Galiay. “Local French companies know that one has to be well-trained in order to export from the European Union to the United Kingdom,” he says. “For example, formali�es are far from simple for so-called ‘triangular transac�ons’, whereby some products are bought from Bri�sh ships in Boulogne, before being re- exported to the United Kingdom. The return of Bri�sh controls will not help, and few companies are prepared for it yet. We will have to adapt, but ini�ally this will clearly risk sharply reducing French exports to the United Kingdom. “The French and Bri�sh administra�ons are working together to clarify what is required of companies, who will then be able to see more precisely what they need to do. However, the local authori�es in France who will have to cer�fy fish products for exports to the United Kingdom are already familiar with this exercise, since they already cer�fy products exported to third countries such as Japan or Canada. Inspectors have already been hired and trained to prepare for the surplus of cer�ficates that will be generated by exports to the United Kingdom.” A�er all the disrup�on for Bri�sh seafood exporters, are the rival compensa�on schemes introduced by the UK and Sco�sh governments paying out? “The UK’s original £23m scheme was less than helpful for the processing sector when first launched because the criteria for approval was convoluted, resul�ng in very few processing companies being able to make successful bids for financial support,” says Donna Fordyce. “Those companies which were successful also saw the claims capped and only 50% of the claim paid. “The scheme was then extended to allow the UK fleet to apply for funding, mirroring to a greater extent the Sco�sh Government scheme that had already been launched. Only one fund could be drawn down of course, so with both governments’ agreement, it was agreed that companies could compare awards from both sources before deciding which benefited them the most.” Nearly all of the SSPO’s members were ineligible for compensa�on, according to Hamish Macdonell. He says: “The UK Government scheme was so �ghtly drawn - only small and medium-sized businesses could apply that most of our members were not eligible. Only one member company of ours applied and that company was turned down. They are not sure why that happened so are chasing it up. As far as I am aware, the Sco�sh Government’s scheme was for caught fisheries so, at the moment, none of our companies have accessed money from any of the schemes.” Overall, six months on, it appears Brexit has made impor�ng and expor�ng seafood slower and costlier, explains Hamish Macdonell. “It is not as quick as it was,” he says. “There is considerably more paperwork. This takes more �me and resource and is cos�ng our members about £200,000 extra a month but they are coping. “So, to sum up, our members are managing what is a more difficult process than it was before, and they are managing it as well as possible. Things are much be�er than they were but are far from ideal.” FF

Opposite: Salmon exports to the EU have suffered delays and increased admin costs; below, DFDS is one of the main hauliers supplying the Sco�sh seafood trade Below: Boulogne-sur-Mer, a key seafood market for UK exports

What will happen when the UK Government introduces its own checks on animal-based products, with EHCs required from October, and in-person checks from January 2022? “I suspect this move will have li�le impact because only 1% of imported products are set to be inspected in person,” Donna Fordyce says. “What is more of an issue is the poten�al buildup of products coming from Europe into the UK,


Brexit - Sandy.indd 33


07/06/2021 15:20:00

Lice treatment


Heated argument Thermal cleansing is intended to rid fish of lice, but some argue it brings its own problems nies. Wri�ng in the journal and website Kyst og Fjord (Coast and Fjord), Karoline Skaar Amthor, Seafood Norway’s head of environment and health and the organisa�on’s communica�ons director Kris�n Langeland, both firmly rejected the allega�ons. They said: “All available research shows that this is wrong. Nowhere has it been shown that an exposure of fish for 30 seconds with water up to 34oC causes scalding and burns. “What we see is an escape response in the fish as a result of the warm water. It must be handled so that the fish does not injure itself during the short exposure �me. Risk reduc�on thus lies largely in planning, technical design and prac�cal implementa�on.” n intense debate is currently underway in Norway over the pracThey further added: “All handling of fish is to �ce of using warm water to remove salmon lice. the detriment of the fish. It is an independent Pitching environmentalists on one side and the industry on the goal to safeguard fish welfare throughout the other, it is an argument that could eventually impact on all northproduc�on cycle. We use a number of welfare ern hemisphere aquaculture businesses. parameters to assess whether the handling is In recent years, hot water treatment – some�mes described as thermal acceptable in rela�on to the purpose or not.” cleansing – has overtaken chemical and mechanical methods as the most Many industry experts with long experience common method of de-licing fish. It is a prac�ce which has received in this area argue that it is mainly condi�ons par�al veterinary approval. other than water temperatures which cause fish New studies, however, have suggested that using water above 28oC welfare problems. can cause salmon to show pain-related behaviour. Currently, salmon are Figures from the Norwegian Veterinary exposed to temperatures between 29oC and 34oC for around 30 seconds. Ins�tute show that the number of incidents of The salmon louse is a �ny parasi�c crustacean – not so far distant from high mortality a�er thermal treatment has been crabs or lobsters - that feeds on mucus, skin and �ssue fluids on salmodeclining. nids in the sea. Lice are also found on other fish. Norwegian Seafood’s Amthor and Langeland Although naturally occurring in salmonids, they have increased hugely maintain: “Mortality has not increased even due to intensive farming methods, with fish concentrated in small areas though volumes have increased, on the contraand in larger numbers crea�ng an opportunity for the parasite popula�on ry. We are gaining be�er knowledge about how to grow. to detect, diagnose and deal with disease-causThe claims around “thermal treatments” have led to inves�ga�ons (and ing organisms more quickly through drawing accusa�ons) on the part of a number of groups. lessons from one area of knowledge to the next. Toine Sannes, a leading Norwegian Green Party environmentalist, This has made Norway one of the world’s foreclaimed recently that the prac�ce led to salmon being scalded at �mes. most and most successful seafood producers.” This led to a sharp response from Seafood Norway, the employers’ “There has also been progress in terms of welorganisa�on which represents both aquaculture and sea fishing compafare and it will con�nue. Construc�ve cri�cism



Thermolicers (Vince).indd 34

Left: Toine Sannes Opposite from top: The Voe Viking will usually treat three pens a day; Karoline Skaar Amthor; Kris�n Langeland; Lice on a salmon


07/06/2021 16:13:06

Heated argument

is a good thing, but characteris�cs such as ‘scalding of live fish’ do not contribute to anything posi�ve.” However, the Norwegian Food Safety Authority has recently intervened, recommending cau�on on all sides. It said the use of non-drug treatments is one of the main factors in poor farmed fish welfare for Norway, adding that it and the industry both agree that things have to improve. The Authority points out that certain current methods for trea�ng lice can be very stressful, adding that more than 20 million fish died before slaughter last year. While the reasons were complex, non-drug treatments were among the main causes. It states: “The Norwegian Food Safety Authority will follow up on the consequences of lice treatment for fish. “This means that it will be possible to use thermal treatment against salmon lice if the effect is good and the treatment is carried out in a responsible manner. The industry must con�nue its work both to improve the method to ensure sound fish welfare, and to map whether this method has the necessary effect on salmon lice.” The statement goes on: “Preven�on is always more important than treatment. Good opera�on reduces the welfare challenges for the fish

and reduces the need for lice treatment, including thermal de-lice. The authority’s CEO Ingunn Mid�un Godal said: “We see that some players succeed quite well with this [method] today. We expect the en�re industry to operate to the same high standard. This means more emphasis on preven�on against lice infesta�on, so that the need for treatment is reduced.” The debate has also been welcomed by the company Flatsetsund Engineering (FLS) which specialises in developing treatments that offer high fish welfare. Wri�ng on the industry website ilaks.no and posted on the company’s own website, the CEO Lars Georg Backer, challenged the authori�es to set be�er standards on documenta�on – “for the sake of the fish”. He said many fish farmers wanted to use methods that provided improved welfare but it was difficult to compare methods and that is why FLS thought it “high �me” to put in place documenta�on requirements that provide knowledge about how the fish are doing both during and a�er the opera�ons.” FoMAS, an independent health service that offers veterinary services to the aquaculture sector, has been carrying out its own studies. These indicate that at low sea temperatures it is possible to obtain the right results with water at 28oC when combined with rinsing. However, at high sea temperatures water at 29oC was required. FoMAS says the trials will con�nue this year. And so too will this passionate debate. FF

Preven�on is always more “important than treatment ” www.fishfarmermagazine.com

Thermolicers (Vince).indd 35


07/06/2021 16:13:49



Challenging times Brexit loomed large on the agenda of the SAGB’s 51st annual conference


he 51st annual conference of the Shellfish Associa�on of Great Britain (SAGB) took place for the first �me on Zoom this year, and despite my personal dislike of Internet-based events, it turned out to be both informa�ve and enjoyable. Conference presenta�ons covered produc�on, interna�onal and UK trade, trading opportuni�es, research and funding, and spanned both the wild-caught and farmed shellfish sectors represented by SAGB. Held over three days, from 12-14 May 2021, the conference opened with CEO David Jarrad se�ng the scene on the many issues facing the shellfish industry.


Nicki Holmyard.indd 36

“What a year it has been, with Covid-19 changing the working and trading landscape, on top of the many challenges thrown up by Brexit and the UK becoming a third country. We have worked very hard to ensure that the voice of the shellfish sector is heard loud and clear by government departments, and that they are working to find solu�ons,” said Jarrad. In par�cular, Jarrad highlighted the chal-


07/06/2021 16:10:57

Challenging times lenges of excessive paperwork and addi�onal costs of export for all species, as stumbling blocks for SAGB members and the wider industry. He also stressed the massive disrup�on to businesses caused by cessa�on of trade in live bivalve molluscs (LBMs) from grade B waters into Europe, which remains a live issue. These concerns were also touched upon by Victoria Pren�s MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) in her keynote presenta�on. This sparked a lively debate, with seafood producers anxious for answers that have thus far not been forthcoming from government and government agencies. “I’m not going to pretend that there is a silver bullet (to the LBM issue). There isn’t. But we are taking a range of steps that will, I hope, make a real difference. The Trade and Coopera�on Agreement has finally been ra�fied by the EU. We will now see the new specialised commi�ees being set up which will be an important step forward,” Minister Pren�s said. “The FSA has agreed that there is poten�al scope for change to ensure that classifica�ons are awarded in a propor�onate and pragma�c way – ensuring the high levels of public health protec�on that we are renowned for. They will con�nue to engage (with shellfish farmers) on this.” Pledging prac�cal and financial support to help businesses adapt to the new condi�ons and find new markets, she also stated that improving water quality was a priority for the government. Andrew Kuyk CBE, from the UK Seafood Industry Alliance, looked at trade in seafood post-Brexit, and referred to the paradox that 80% of the seafood caught and farmed in the UK is exported, much of it to the EU, while two thirds of the seafood imported into the UK comes from outside the EU, in a “double asymmetry”. “Brexit means that we have swapped our former free and fric�onless trade, with products reaching the market in less than 24 hours, for a process that takes 2-3 days, costs more in terms of paperwork, customs agents and transport, and this severely affects business models. We might have free trade in terms of no tariffs, but non-tariff barriers are causing real problems for fish and shellfish,” he said. Marcus Coleman, Chief Execu�ve, Seafish, explained how Covid-19 had been a “shot in the arm” for UK retail sales, with a 14


Nicki Holmyard.indd 37

going to pretend that there “I’mis not a silver bullet… there isn’t ”

From the top: David Jarrad; Victoria Pren�s MP; Andrew Kuyk; Marcus Coleman

% upli� in shellfish sales on the domes�c market. However, the farmed sectors benefi�ng the most were salmon and warm water prawns. According to Nielsen IQ Scan Track data, the performance of molluscs in retail in the year to 27.3.21, rose by 17% in value to £56.4 million and by 21% in volume, to £7,000 tonnes. Mussel accounted for 75% of the volume, up 20% on the previous year, oysters for 1%, clams for 3%, cockles for 8% and scallops 13%. Whilst his presenta�on did not feature foodservice specifically, Coleman said he believed there were gains to be had for farmed shellfish in this sector. Results of recent consumer research from IGD Shopper Vista, showed that the main drivers are quality and price, followed by healthy op�ons and special offers. Ethically produced seafood fell towards the bo�om of the list, showing that greater work needs to be done to encourage shoppers to be more mindful of the origins of their seafood. Will Rash from the Big Prawn Company spoke about shellfish sales in the UK and how to increase them, while Andrew Brown of Macduff Shellfish talked on shellfish trade in the EU post-Brexit. Rash said that understanding the consumer was key to finding opportuni�es for sales, and spoke of the shi� in a�tude brought about by Covid 19. His research found two dis�nct groups emerging; one that has retained their jobs, feels well off and is happy to spend more; while the other has lost their income, is feeling the pinch, and is looking to cut spending. He also pointed out the rise in the number of people iden�fying as flexitarians, and this group is taking a more environmentally sustainable approach to their diet, which will help seafood sales. Ms Ray Smith, the UK government’s Agriculture, Food and Drink Counsellor in Beijing, spoke of opportuni�es for expor�ng shellfish in China. Her team supports food and drink companies to find partners, a�end food shows, promote their products and amplify their media efforts. “China is our third largest trading block behind the US and EU and consumes huge amounts of seafood, including 4.5 million tonnes of crustaceans, 26 million tonnes fish and 27 million tonnes of molluscs. New regula�ons make it more difficult to export there, but we can assist interested companies,” she advised. Neil Auchterlonie, Chair Seafood 2040, looked at shellfish within Seafood 2040, the visionary plan developed by the seafood supply chain that covers fishing, aquaculture, processing, markets, consump�on and business development. The revised plan now has 19 recommenda�ons, all of which are relevant to shellfish, and has already delivered the English Aquaculture Strategy. The strategy aims for growth and diversifica�on of aquaculture in England over the next 20 years and for it to be an innova�ve and integral component of the “Blue Economy”, with farmed produc�on contribu�ng at least 15% of overall seafood consump�on in England by 2040. Wouter van Zandbrink’s talk on other uses for bivalves in the ecosystem touched on the many ecosystem services that shellfish provide to the marine environment, from providing shelter, habitat and food for other species and increasing biodiversity to capturing carbon. Closing the event, David Jarrad expressed his delight that the SAGB’s first foray into the digital world in 51 years was a great success. “We were very pleased with the feedback,” he said. FF


07/06/2021 16:11:36

RAS technology


with a catch

RAS veteran Ivar Warrer-Hansen shares his insights with Fish Farmer


var Warrer-Hansen knows fish – and he knows water. He was a co-founder of the Aquaculture Department of Denmark’s Water Quality Ins�tute in the late 1970s, and then ran his own trout farming business in Ireland between 1982 and 1992, growing it from a small opera�on to become the country’s biggest trout farm a�er which he entered into salmon smolt and salmon grow-out farming. For nearly two decades he has been a manager in and senior adviser to the recircula�ng aquaculture systems (RAS) industry, working with businesses like Inter Aqua Advance, Trouw Aquaculture/Skre�ng and most recently Nordic Aquafarms, where he was involved with the design of that company’s $450m project in Maine, USA. Now he has his own consultancy business, RASLogic, based in his na�ve Denmark. Fish Farmer caught up with him to hear his views on the current boom in RAS projects around the world – and whether this “gold rush” might have a downside. Fish Farmer (FF): Does the future of aquaculture lie in land-based farming now? Ivar Warrer-Hansen (IWH): It’s a new industry, which has been developing at a steady pace but then within a couple of years it has exploded. I think there’s room for both kinds of developments, the RAS and the conven�onal, cage farming and land-based. It is, though, no�ceable that not one of the large exis�ng salmon farming companies have invested in land-based grow-out so far. They have invested in smolt RAS facili�es but not grow-out; but suddenly landbased farming is mushrooming. All the new, large-scale RAS projects are for salmon, and projec�ons are that we will double the output of farmed salmon in 10 years, worldwide. We will be able to locate produc�on close to markets – such as the USA, China or Japan – and it will not be limited to the geographical areas where we could raise salmon previously. That is a very sound development. But salmon is a type of gold rush.

Back in 1992 in the conven�onal salmon industry there was also a gold rush, much of it by big interna�onal companies. It was seen as diversifica�on but it happened too quickly, and in 1992 we had a crash. There were four or five difficult years a�erwards. Having said that, the salmon market has developed, and there is greater demand for it, globally, but we could s�ll see slumps. The conven�onal salmon farming industry would be be�er placed to go through hard �mes thanks to its lower capital costs. For a RAS project, capital costs and deprecia�on could account for $2 per kilogram of fish produced. FF: How far advanced is RAS technology now? IWH: There will be some RAS concepts, even those already being built, which do not have the technology to stand the test. There is different thinking regarding parts of the process. For example, if you take biological filters, which are at the heart of the system, there are mistakes being made. In Norway, there has been a problem with post-smolt systems, and there have been more than 80 incidents of fish mortali�es due to hydrogen sulphide for example. For those RAS suppliers who have been used to supplying mostly fresh water systems, there’s a different way of thinking and a different set of risks with salt water. There are some designs that are good and some that are not good. But there are examples of good growth too and there are a couple of RAS systems opera�ng well now, where they have not had any problems. FF: How well do we understand the biology and how fish interact with a RAS system? IWH: We get wiser, of course. For example, it was always believed that fine par�culate ma�er in the water was more of a problem for smolts and smaller fish, but surprisingly, it appears to be more of a problem for larger fish. With biological filters there are some concepts that begin to create problems – - shi�s in bacterial flora – so that it can be difficult to keep them stable. Some people may be surprised that a year or two later, they see a drop in performance and are not ge�ng what they originally planned. The biological filter can “backfire”, essen�ally.


Interview RASLogic.indd 38

Left: Ivar Warrer-Hansen Opposite: A RAS design


07/06/2021 16:09:02

Goldrush with a catch FF: What sort of thing can cause really major problems at a RAS site? IWH: Salt water has a naturally high sulphate content. Under certain naturally occurring condi�ons, the sulphate can be reduced to hydrogen sulphide by bacteria. Sulphate in itself is completely harmless but hydrogen sulphide is toxic, and those processes, if you have not designed your system properly, can and do take place in a RAS. For example, say you have emp�ed a tank and the system’s design means that it is impossible to completely empty out a pipe or other part that is not being used, then when you fill the tank again the water le� in from before could kill your fish. A lot of RAS design looks good on paper but when you work with it, it does not always do “what it says on the �n”. FF: So monitoring is very important? IWH: Yes – and it is improving all the �me. There are some very good control systems, but for hydrogen sulphide, probes that can measure down to the levels required. have only just been developed in the last year or so. Also, when we see systems not performing well, they may not kill the fish but just like hydrogen sulphide, sub-lethal levels of methane, say, may entail a limi�ng effect on fish growth. Fish have an amazing sense of smell and there are things that would stress them and affect their growth poten�al, including processes inherent in some types of biofilters.

Out of the 15 or so major RAS suppliers, only around a third have the poten�al to build a good system for a large scale facility, that is producing 10,000 tonnes or more. Even well established companies don’t always get it right. If we do go into �mes with poor market prices for prolonged periods, it might be the conven�onal fish farmers that have the last laugh. There will be systems that are not op�mal and I can envisage that we will see some failures, with unproven technology. But there is of course an amazing drive to con�nue, and that is what saved fish farming back in the 1990s. Commitment and spirit kept the industry alive. Thank God we see that today too. FF

If a system “doesn’t stand

the test it can have disastrous consequences

FF: How has fish feed had to adapt, for RAS farms? IWH: Fish feed for RAS needs to be improved. We have subs�tuted fishmeal and oils with vegetable protein and oils, and while that has had li�le impact on cage-grown fish, it has had some quite significant consequences for RAS. The issue is what comes out of the fish! I am impressed with what the feed manufacturers have been able to achieve as far as fish growth is concerned. But waste has changed and that makes it more difficult to treat the water. FF: What other species might RAS be suitable for – apart from salmon? IWH: There are many fish species already produced in RAS systems, like �lapia or ca�ish, but they are low value fish in terms of price. There is also poten�al with sea bass and sea bream, but even these are not the fish fetching the highest prices. I’m very pleased to see what is happening with yellowtail kingfish because that is a super fish; it is marketable, it is a very good product and I’m happy that it has taken off but it is s�ll at a very small scale. There are other very a�rac�ve fish that taste amazing – like grouper – that have never really hit the market globally. I would say that turbot has a lot of poten�al. It has been tried in RAS farms and there were some systems which did not work so well, but we know the biology of it now, we know more about husbandry, and with today’s RAS concepts it would be a brilliant candidate. It fetches a high price and it is marketable worldwide. And it is [chef and TV presenter] Rick Stein’s favourite fish! FF: What do you see as the prospects for large-scale RAS grow-out farms? IWH: I have worked with and have had experience with – more or less – all the concepts in the market. If a system doesn’t stand the test it can have disastrous consequences.


Interview RASLogic.indd 39

IF YOU HAVE PLANS FOR A RAS PROJECT, WE CAN HELP YOU CHOOSE THE RIGHT TECHNOLOGY CONCEPT Few, if any, have the experience we have with literally all RAS concepts on the market. We know the strengths and the pitfalls. Choose RASLogic as your sparring partner – that makes sense.

• Production planning • RAS Design • Assistance in Tender processes (We are un-biased with no industry interests)

info@raslogic.com www.raslogic.com


07/06/2021 16:09:32

Fish health

How clean is


Benchmark’s new lice treatment has come under fire already, but the company is confident that it will prove to be safe


enchmark’s CleanTreat® is set to become one of aquaculture’s big talking points for the year. On one hand, it is being hailed as a game-changer – not just as a poten�ally successful product for the company but also as a powerful weapon in the salmon farmers’ war against sea lice. On the other, cri�cs fear that if the system is nodded through by regulators, it could prove catastrophic for the marine environment. The European Parliament’s Environment Commi�ee has already passed a mo�on condemning it. So who’s right? The point at issue is not CleanTreat itself but the sea lice treatment that it uses. CleanTreat itself is a water purifica�on system that allows fish to be treated with types of medicine – or pes�cide, if you will – that cannot be used in open water. Benchmark has been trialling the system in conjunc�on with its new sea lice solu�on, BMK08, which it says has been shown to be highly effec�ve against lice, without causing any ill effects for the fish. The treatment was


CleanTreat.indd 40

originally marketed as Ectosan and, now, as BMK08. It is based, however, on an established, effec�ve and once commonly used insec�cide: imidacloprid. The trouble is, imidacloprid is one of the substances classed as neonico�noids, which became infamous when campaigners linked widespread use of these pes�cides to a collapse in bee popula�ons. An�-fish farming campaigner Don Staniford, of Sco�sh Salmon Watch, said in a complaint to the European Parliament’s Environment Commi�ee: “Benchmark has patently failed to inform shareholders, investors, the public, the stock exchange and the media that BMK08/Ectosan is in fact the banned neonico�noid imidacloprid.” Imidacloprid has indeed been banned – but not completely. At one �me it was the most widely used insec�cide in the world. Like other neonico�noids, it is a systemic toxin that acts on the central nervous system of insects and arthropods. Dave Goulson, a biology professor at Sussex University, talking to the Guardian (27 May 2021) put it this way: “These chemicals are incredibly poisonous – the novichok for insects. It takes a billionth of a gram to harm aqua�c life, so even �ny traces would have major impacts on marine life.” In April 2018 the European Union resolved to ban outdoor use of the three main neonico�noids, including imidacloprid. They con�nue to be used, quite lawfully, in enclosed greenhouses and also as flea and �ck treatments for cats and dogs. As the la�er suggests, neonico�noids are deemed to be quite safe up to a certain dose for vertebrates, including humans and our pets. A spokesperson for Benchmark told Fish Farmer: “BMK08 has been proven to be safe for salmonids and the medicine will always be administered in a closed contained system; and it will be exclusively used with the award-winning and validated CleanTreat® purifica�on system to remove the medicine before release of purified water back into the sea”. The company’s confidence that the treatment is safe for salmonids is, it says, based on extensive field trials carried out in Norway. The spokesperson added: “We have made significant progress towards commercialisa�on of our new sea lice solu�on, BMK08 and CleanTreat®, our first customer agreements for CleanTreat® have been signed and EU ra�fica�on of the

Below: Benchmark’s CleanTreat vessel Opposite: CleanTreat processing tanks


07/06/2021 16:02:43

How clean is CleanTreat?

Maximum Residue Limit (MRL) opinion was achieved in April. The MRL confirms the safety of Benchmark’s sea lice solu�on for consumers. “The commercial launch of BMK08 and CleanTreat® remains subject to the grant of a Marke�ng Authorisa�on from the Norwegian Medicines Agency”. The MEPs on the Environment Commi�ee are not convinced, however, and they voted at their May mee�ng in favour of a lengthy mo�on that, among other things, stated: “…hazardous chemicals that are applied under veterinary prescrip�on and used to treat infec�ons of sea lice are ul�mately released into the aqua�c environment; their effects not only have the poten�al to nega�vely impact sensi�ve non-target organisms, the release of those compounds has been iden�fied as a major environmental concern due to the high mobility of imidacloprid in soil and the resul�ng contamina�on of ground and surface water…” The mo�on argues that the European Commission should withdraw its MRL for imidacloprid in animal products for human consump�on – in other words, they believe there should be no acceptable level for it in the fish we eat. Whether the mo�on is endorsed by the European Parliament will be se�led at one of the Parliament’s plenary sessions this month. Even if the Parliament votes to rescind the MRL, its vote will be advisory and not binding for the Commission. It would place the Commission under poli�cal pressure, however, if the mo�on is upheld. Further controversy arose when The Ferret, an independent news source in Scotland, reported that emails from Marine Scotland appeared to show that the agency was sympathe�c to promo�ng BMK08 for trials in the UK. Both the Sco�sh Government and Benchmark have made it clear, however, that there is no plan


CleanTreat.indd 41

to trial the new treatment in Scotland, at least in the short term. The company told Fish Farmer: “We are currently focused on launching our new sea lice solu�on, BMK08, which is used together with CleanTreat, in Norway. At this �me we do not have any scheduled trials for BMK08 in Scotland”. The company stresses: “BMK08 has been developed to work exclusively in a wellboat which is a closed treatment system, so the medicine is not exposed to the environment. A�er treatment with BMK08, fish are removed from the treatment water and rinsed to remove external residues before being returned to their pens. The rinse water and treatment water remains on board the wellboat and is transferred to the CleanTreat vessel via a system of secured pipes. The medicine is then removed by CleanTreat through a series of steps, monitored closely by our on-board laboratory to confirm the medicine has been removed before returning purified water back to the sea”. In terms of its passage through the regulatory process, Benchmark says: “The commercial launch of BMK08 and CleanTreat remains subject to the grant of a Marke�ng Authorisa�on from the Norwegian Medicines Agency. “The MRL (Maximum Residue Limit) for BMK08 (imidacloprid) has been ra�fied under European Law and confirms the safety of Benchmark’s sea lice solu�on for consumers. For an MRL to be granted the Commi�ee for Medicinal Products for Veterinary Use (CVMP) review all toxicology and safety data for the substance. “Used together with CleanTreat, this medicine and treatment system is a breakthrough development for the salmon industry in effec�vely managing sea lice levels and improving fish welfare whilst protec�ng the environment.” There is no doubt that simply releasing imidacloprid into the marine environment in order to kill sea lice would be highly reckless; equally, it is clear that is not what Benchmark is intending to do. The ques�on for regulators will be twofold, therefore: is the treatment safe for the fish (and for consumers); and is CleanTreat effec�ve in ensuring that no ac�ve imidacloprid is le� in the residue that enters the sea? Failing to address this properly could be bad for the environment, but an overly cau�ous approach could also risk losing out on an opportunity to tackle one of the biggest issues for fish health. FF

This medicine and treatment system is a “ breakthrough development for the salmon industry ” 41

07/06/2021 16:03:23


Tsar quality

Russia’s elite treat is increasingly being produced in China BY VINCE MCDONAGH


s one of the most expensive dishes on the planet – just 1kg of an Iranian-bred variety sold for £20,000 a few years ago – it is no surprise that caviar doesn’t regularly feature on most people’s shopping list. Even in a pandemic year, however, caviar remains a hugely valuable business with China now firmly in the driving seat for both consump�on and produc�on, according to a report from EUMOFA, the European Marke�ng Observatory for Fisheries and Aquaculture. The global market this year is likely to be worth US $1.55bn (£1.09bn), up by 75% on five years ago, with Chinese fish farmers expor�ng 150 tons a year. Caviar, some�mes dubbed “black gold”, is roe from the sturgeon, which is mostly farmed today because over-fishing has led to the near ex�nc�on of several of the species in the wild. Caviar ranks alongside other luxury delicacies such as foie gras and black truffles. Historically, sturgeon were harvested in the Caspian Sea and their roe sold as caviar by Russia, where it was once almost regarded as a na�onal dish, and Iran. Today, the increasingly wealthy Chinese have taken over produc�on, and are now also the world’s largest consumers.


Caviar (Vince).indd 42

In the “19th

century the United States produced 90% of the world’s caviar

Caviar also remains popular with Western consumers, however, par�cularly in the United States and Europe. The EUMOFA report, updated from an earlier study three years ago, says the rapid growth in Chinese caviar produc�on has increased interna�onal compe��on over the last decade and a sharp decrease in average prices. For example, the average import price in the EU bloc has decreased by almost 40% from €430 per kg (£370) in 2014 to €264 (£227) in 2018, the most recent year for which figures are available. The report con�nues: “However, it seems that the price level has since stabilised, although at historically low levels. EU producers and exporters are also faced with Chinese compe��on in other markets. “From a yearly average export price of €538 per


07/06/2021 16:05:37

Tsar quality


Above: Russian caviar

kg (£462) in 2014, the caviar price decreased by 22% to €422 per kg (£363) in 2018.” Prices remained stable in 2019 and, surprisingly perhaps, increased by 10% in 2020. The report goes on: “Recently, the Chinese government has published a new regula�on to combat water pollu�on. This directly affects the aquaculture produc�on of Chinese caviar and may cause several farms to close. “ EUMOFA reports that the Chinese expor�ng company Kaluga Queen managed to secure a delay un�l 2024 before having to meet the new standards. “As China increases its focus on sustainability and increasing domes�c consump�on, there is hope that price pressure and compe��on for other producers may so�en,” the study adds. It also predicts that, as pandemic restric�ons ease, demand from tradi�onal outlets for caviar such as high-end restaurants and luxury cruise ships should see an increase. According to CITES (the Conven�on on Interna�onal Trade In Endangered Species), Europeans consumed around 126 kg of the delicacy in 2018 with France and Germany being the largest at 57.9 and 25.7 kg respec�vely. EU states are also important producers, led by Italy at 54 tons and France at 45 tons. Precise consump�on figures for the UK are not available, but Britons imported around four tons of caviar in the pandemic year of 2020. While China remains the largest player, EUMOFA says other countries are ge�ng in on the act. Russia too is partly back in business, harves�ng between 40 and 50 tonnes of sturgeon caviar last year. In 2019, there were 80 farms in Russia producing sturgeon and caviar, mainly for home consump�on. However, it has been alleged that the Russian produc�on numbers include falsely labelled caviar from China and Uruguay. Outside China, Americans are among the largest consumers of caviar and it is also a small but growing producer. Many might be surprised to learn that in the 19th century the United States produced 90% of the world’s caviar, sending 15 trainloads a day to New York and all the major European capitals. It was such a common dish at one point it was served free in saloons to encourage thirsty drinkers. Today, Americans – those who can afford it – s�ll love their caviar and it remains one of the major markets as well as being an exporter, mainly to Japan, Canada and the EU. In turn the US market is supplied by several na�ons, with Germany and France being the main providers. These two countries are also the largest consumers in the EU and buy mainly from China. But France also imported a small amount from Madagascar, an indica�on of how many countries are now producing caviar. The EUMOFA report says the pandemic has had a strong impact on the caviar market. As the hotel catering and restaurant (HORECA) segment was largely shut down along with a drama�c reduc�on in airline and cruise ship travel, the tradi�onal market outlets for caviar virtually disappeared. Whether some of the recent changes become permanent remains to be seen, but EUMOFA believes some new trends could stay around. “The possibility of purchases directly from the producers assures consumers of the origin and quality of the caviar. As pandemic restric�ons ease, demand from tradi�onal outlets for caviar such as high-end restaurants and luxury travel is likely to pick up again,” the report states. FF


Caviar (Vince).indd 43

Es�mates from 2016 show that roughly 36% of sturgeons are reared in flowthrough systems, followed by recircula�ng aquaculture systems (21%), and cages (18%). Exploi�ng sturgeons for caviar produc�on is costly because it takes many years for female sturgeons to reproduce. Included in the cost is also the selec�on process of selec�ng females for caviar produc�on. The sex can be determined a�er an average of three years of farming, depending on the species, through using ultrasound. During this period, both male and female sturgeons are reared, and a�er sex determina�on, males are harvested.


SIBERIAN: In the wild, it takes 19-20 years for this species to reach maturity in northern Siberia and 11- 12 years in southern Siberian rivers (par�cularly the Lena River). In cap�vity, the �me for reaching maturity is 6-8 years. KALUGA: Wild maturity for Kaluga is reached a�er 14-23 years, but the �me is halved in cap�vity. Spawning takes place once every four to five years. China has developed hybrid species of kaluga sturgeon and produc�on has increased rapidly over the past 10-15 years. BELUGA: Probably the best known name in the West. Maturity is reached a�er 19-22 years in the wild. In cap�vity, the species reaches maturity a�er 16-18 years. DANUBE: Maturity is reached at 12-16 years, with spawning every four to five years. In cap�vity, maturity is reached a�er 9-11 years. 1 STARRY: Maturity in cap�vity is reached a�er 8 - 10 years. In the wild females mature with an average age of 9.7 years and rarely spawn more than three �mes in their lives. STERLET: This species matures faster than other sturgeon varie�es. In the wild, males reach sexual maturity at an age of 3-6 years old, one to two years earlier than the females, while in cap�vity maturity is reached a�er 4-5 years.


07/06/2021 16:06:36

Virtual Sustainability Summit


and innovation The Summit showcased some of the brightest ideas in sustainability for aquaculture BY ROBERT OUTRAM


nce again, the annual Aquaculture UK event has been postponed until May next year. Instead, organisers Diversified Communications presented a Virtual Sustainability Summit over 18 and 19 May, sponsored by DSM and Veramaris. The first speaker was Dr Melanie Siggs, Director, Global Aquaculture Alliance who talked about aquaculture and its relevance to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. I particular, she stressed that aquaculture produces lower greenhouse gas emissions per kilo of protein produced, compared with land-based equivalents. She also pointed out that aquaculture can claim a much more efficient feed conversion ratio. In all, she said, food grown in the sea will make a major contribution to feeding a human population that could reach a predicted 9.8 billion by 2050. Dr Siggs also talked about the initiative to minimise waste in all forms of seafood production, including bycatch. She said: “We should commit to using 100% of every fish taken out of the ocean and every animal we farm.” Chris Ninnes, Chief Executive of the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) noted that in one decade, the ASC has grown substantially and now certifies 1,400 farms, representing 1.85m tonnes of production. Looking ahead to the ASC’s feed standard, which launches later this month, he said it would require good practice and compliance with the law, a code of conduct for certified producers, proper due diligence, improvement in fisheries practices and a commitment that plant ingredients used in feed would not lead to deforestation. He said: “We advocate using data to prove impact and drive change.” Ninnes also defended the ASC against charges that it is less than transparent, pointing out that draft and final audits have always been posted online, and in future will be all-digital, making them even more accessible.


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There’s a Blue Revolu�on coming, and aquaculture is right at the heart of it

He said: “If we do not make information available and transparent, it is harder to overcome the challenges we face.” The Scottish Salmon Producers Organisation hosted an online panel discussion with SSPO Chief Executive Tavish Scott; the SSPO’s Head of Technical, Ian Berrill; Kate Stronach, Mowi Scotland’s Communities Manager; and Joanna Peeling, Head of HR, Scotland with Mowi. Kate Stronach talked about some of the community projects her company had undertaken, from housing to education and activities for young people. Joanna Peeling said that in the areas where Mowi farms, challenges include an ageing population and outmigration on the part of young people, so fish farming was playing an important part in providing opportunities for them to stay and work in their local community. Tavish Scott and Ian Berrill also took questions on a number of topics, including how to implement and measure the SSPO’s Sustainability Charter and the importance of innovation to the industry. The Summit also included a presentation from the team at DSM and Veramaris, a joint venture between DSM and Evonik set up to develop a new source of algal oils as an aquafeed supplement. The algal oil produced by Veramaris is the first based on natural, non-genetically modified marine algae to win an MSC-ASC certification. They were joined by Aisla Jones, Fisheries and Aquaculture Manager with the Co-op UK, who explained that as a responsible retailer, the Co-op is keen to promote the adoption of more sustainable ingredients for aquafeed.


07/06/2021 16:00:04

Environment and innovation

She said: “Marine ingredients can be ‘demonised’, but if we are looking to replace them, we need to ensure that it’s from a responsible source.” The second day was kicked off by Heather Jones, CEO of the Sustainable Aquaculture Innovation Centre (SAIC), who said: “There’s a Blue Revolution coming, and aquaculture is right at the heart of it.” She said SAIC was backing research into some key topics in the industry, from looking at new, sustainable feed and feed additives to how to maximise the welfare of ballan wrasse as cleaner fish. SAIC is also promoting opportunities for women to progress in aquaculture. The team from the Institute of Aquaculture Clockwise from far left: Dr Melanie Siggs; Chris Ninnes; Kate Stronach; Heather Jones; Joanna Peeling; Ian Berrill; Tavish Sco�

at the University of Stirling also gave a presentation outlining the Institute’s range of research covering the whole industry “ from farm to fork”, including the impact of climate change, exploring whether new species are candidates for domestication and how to prevent the spread of disease. Finally, Dr Jenny Bouwsema of Ace Aquatec Canada explained how the new generation of acoustic deterrent devices (ADDs) is using an “acoustic startle response” (ASR) approach to change seal behaviour without harming the seals, or other marine mammals. The UK industry may have had to give up the chance to mingle at Aviemore again this year, but there was plenty of food for thought to be had from the Sustainability Summit. FF

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07/06/2021 16:00:40


Offshore Two projects indicate the growing renewal of interest in seaweed as a crop


seaweed nursery in Argyll is set for growth after securing investment funding of up to £75,000 investment from Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE). The £150,000 project aims to expand and commercialise the nursery at the Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS). The nursery will be operated by SAMS Enterprise, the wholly owned commercial subsidiary of SAMS, at the European Marine Science Park, Dunstaffnage. The investment will be used to increase production capacity, improve efficiency, advance the Institute’s applied research capabilities and support the rapidly growing seaweed farming industry throughout the UK. The nursery premises have been reconfigured to optimise production with refitted laboratories, upgraded seawater supply and installation of specialist equipment. Morag Goodfellow, HIE’s area manager for Argyll and the Islands, said: “The seaweed nursery at SAMS Enterprise, which of course is backed by the global scientific expertise of SAMS itself, is both innovative and crucial to the growth in Scotland’s seaweed industry. It may also attract new investors into the EMSP business cluster, which would strengthen our regional economy.” SAMS says the seaweed industry is the world’s fastest growing area of global aquaculture production, currently worth over £11bn a year. The economic potential for seaweed is also being explored at a site adjacent to Mowi’s salmon farm at Scalpay, an island in the Outer Hebrides connected to Harris by a single track bridge. The farm at Scalpay is part of a study involving the University of Stirling, local shellfish partners and sustainable seaweed farming company KelpCrofting. Ultimately, the study should help to determine if locating a salmon farm adjacent to a seaweed and shellfish farm can benefit different species of marine life. Mowi’s newsletter The Scoop quotes Laura Tulip, an Environmental

Photo: Alasdair O’Dell SAMS




First seaweed harvest at Scalpay Just a couple of months after our first salmon harvest at Scalpay, which delivered a superior grading rate of 96.67%, the very first crop of sugar kelp (Saccharina latissima) has also been harvested at the adjacent seaweed farm by KelpCrofting Ltd. This is another important milestone for the sites which are pioneering the use of integrated multi-trophic aquaculture (IMTA) at a commercial scale. The farm at Scalpay is part of a study involving the University of Stirling, local shellfish partners and sustainable seaweed farming company KelpCrofting. Ultimately, the study should help to determine if locating a salmon farm adjacent to a seaweed and shellfish farm can benefit different species of marine life. The Scoop spoke to Environmental Analyst, Laura Tulip, to find out more: “This is another important milestone at Scalpay. The team at KelpCrofting is pleased with its first harvest and whilst we need a control to scientifically prove that the growth and quality of the seaweed has benefited from the nutrient enrichment from our salmon, the early signs are promising. Later this year, KelpCrofting will install a new kelp farm in the waters of South Pabay. Located away from the salmon farm, this will give us a point of comparison to

determine whether the seaweed is directly benefitting from its proximity to salmon.” KelpCrofting ensures that nothing is wasted from the seaweed, as Kyla Orr, Co-founder and Scientific Director of KelpCrofting, explains: “So far, we have harvested over eight tons of food grade sugar kelp from Scalpay. It is evident that the kelp is growing rapidly with each week that passes, and some fronds are nearly two metres long after only four months at sea! We will continue to harvest weekly into June and look forward to seeing how much more this super crop can yield.” “The kelp being harvested during May and June is part of a collaborative Innovate UK project with Oceanium and Efficiency Technology. After each landing, the batches of high-quality kelp are delivered locally to Kyle of Lochalsh for primary processing (chopping), after which it is transported to Oceanium’s trial biorefinery in Cheshire for further processing into nutritional supplements, plant-based protein and biodegradable packaging.”

Yvonne Booth and Laura Tulip

Sugar kelp

Introducing the Aqua Skye, the largest wellboat in Scotland We have a long-term contract with DESS Aquaculture Shipping to use the Aqua Skye, which has already cared for approximately 10,000 tons of salmon since it arrived in Scotland earlier this year. The largest wellboat in Scotland, here’s what you need to know:

already been used at several sites for freshwater treatments, thinning down and moving fish.

• It is just over 84 metres long and 16m wide • It has a net well volume of 3,900m³ • It is fitted with a reverse osmosis plant that can produce up to 4,500m³ of fresh water in a 24-hour period. • It has self-cleaning fish tanks and a separate counting system. • It is equipped with a “waterfall” system for de-lousing during unloading.

“The Aqua Skye will be used across all of our seawater sites to provide a freshwater remedy against gill damage and tiny skin parasites. With the addition of this vessel, we can provide more non-medicinal health solutions for our fish.

Head of Marine Operations, Sean Anderson, spoke to The Scoop about how the Aqua Skye is performing so far: “It has

“Because of the sheer size of the vessel, we can now load and treat much more fish in one go than we’ve ever been able to before. This means we can complete farms much quicker than before and move on to the next farm to stay ahead of the game.”

It is “ evident that the kelp is growing rapidly with each week that passes

From the top: SAMS Seaweed Nursery; Morag-Goodfellow; The Scoop, Mowi newsle�er; Yvonne Booth (le�) and Laura Tulip (photo: Mowi)


Seaweed.indd 46

Analyst with Mowi: “The team at KelpCrofting is pleased with its first harvest [of sugar kelp] and whilst we need a control to scientifically prove that the growth and quality of the seaweed has benefited from the nutrient enrichment from our salmon, the early signs are promising. Later this year, KelpCrofting will install a new kelp farm in the waters of South Pabay. Located away from the salmon farm, this will give us a point of comparison.” KelpCrofting ensures that nothing is wasted, as Kyla Orr, Co-founder and Scientific Director of KelpCrofting, explains: “So far, we have harvested over eight tons of food grade sugar kelp from Scalpay. It is evident that the kelp is growing rapidly with each week that passes, and some fronds are nearly two metres long after only four months at sea! We will continue to harvest weekly into June and look forward to seeing how much more this super crop can yield.” Each batches of harvested kelp is delivered locally to Kyle of Lochalsh for primary processing (chopping), after which it is transported to Oceanium’s trial biorefinery in Cheshire for further processing into nutritional supplements, plant-based protein and biodegradable packaging. An Economic Feasibility Study on Seaweed compiled by Enscape Consulting for Crown Estate Scotland (March 2021) looked at the prospects for seaweed farming in Scotland and concluded that a small farm – around eight hectares – could achieve a payback within three years, but only at prices of more than £1,000 per ton of seaweed (wet weight). This, the report says, is a price level “which might not be achievable without added value being incorporated in the business model”. This could mean investment in processing infrastructure and, the authors suggest, collaboration between small producers. The report also recommends that the example of the Scottish Shellfish Marketing Group could be followed in terms of encouraging co-operative ventures and providing guidance for farmers. The report also suggested streamlining the licensing process. FF


07/06/2021 15:58:00

CSAR - Centre for Sustainable Aquatic Research

Talking sensors A total of 157 par�cipants from 33 countries a�ended the webinar on the Applica�on of Sensors in Precision Aquaculture (#aquasensors). Hosted by Swansea University’s Centre for Sustainable Aqua�c Research (CSAR) in collabora�on with the Waterford Ins�tute of Technology on 25 of May 2021, the webinar is now available on YouTube and the talks can be downloaded from the website.

Dr Sara Barrento, marine biologist and science communicator at CSAR, introduced the webinar topic and noted the mo�va�on behind the need for precision aquaculture for real-�me sensor technology to facilitate sustainable management of aquaculture facili�es as they increase in size and become more advanced, locate further offshore and aim towards restora�ve aquaculture. Dr Barrento also introduced the Access2Sea project pilot case study on lumpfish welfare. The team at CSAR is developing the Lumpfish Welfare Watcher a web-based applica�on that will calculate the Lumpfish Opera�onal Welfare Score Index (LOWSI) based on four visual indicators (skin damage, eye condi�on, caudal fin damage and suc�on disk deformi�es), and the rela�ve weight. The applica�on will also have a Body Mass Index (BMI) calculator, funded by the Seafood Innova�on Fund, the calculator allows to determine the propor�on of lumpfish that are emaciated, underweight, and normal, along with recommenda�ons for ac�on. Professor Carlos Garcia de Leaniz, director of CSAR at Swansea University, introduced the STREAM (Sensor Technologies for Remote Environmental Aqua�c Monitoring) project. The project is monitoring Coastal and Estuarine environments around both Ireland and Wales using cost effec�ve sensors to support the coastal industry (including aquaculture), environmental and climate science. Dr Sofia Teixeira of the Tyndall Ins�tute in Ireland presented on smart sensors for wellness and health in aquaculture. These sensors are non-invasive and provide rapid tests to monitor health by measuring indicators, such as cor�sol, that have wide applica�ons in the assessment of the immune competence, stress, growth, and behaviour. Professor David Gethin, of the Welsh Centre for Prin�ng and Coa�ng (WCPC) at Swansea University, gave a brief overview of commercial sensors and highlighted the benefits of printable sensors; they are less expensive and can measure a range of parameters in an integrated system. However, printable sensors need to be calibrated against laboratory and commercial devices, and their durability s�ll needs to be tried and tested. Professor Gethin also provided an overview of the methods used to print the sensors being developed for the STREAM project. Brian O’Loan, of Bord Iascaigh Mhara gave a very informa�ve presenta�on on the shellfish aquaculture industry in the SE of Ireland. He began by explaining the value of shellfish aquaculture in the region and the impacts that the Covid-19 pandemic has had on the industry. Mr O’Loan then discussed the commercial sensors he had used in the past outlining the good and bad points of each. Mr O’Loan presented data that he had recorded


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in the area during previous sampling programmes and projects. Mr O’Loan concluded by reitera�ng the pressures faced by the Aquaculture industry and the need for more affordable, spa�ally, and temporally sophis�cated real-�me monitoring with no�fica�ons if a parameter goes outside a pre-defined level. Paul Shanahan, of the Na�onal Mari�me College of Ireland (NMCI), highlighted the advantages that coastal radar systems provide, such as accurate local weather informa�on which can be disseminated to social media and coastal stakeholders who can make choices on whether it is safe/ suitable to carry out an ac�vity/ opera�on on a given day. Mr Shanahan explained the type of radar in use, its characteris�cs, loca�ons and showed the data it generates talking the audience through the various characteris�cs of the radar display. The STREAM project is hoping to deploy one of these radars in Swansea, Wales in the near future. Paul Howes (top le�), Manager of the Centre for Sustainable Aqua�c Research, alongside Dr Pete Jones (middle) and Dr Josh Jones (bo�om), researchers working on the STREAM projects at Swansea University, did a talk on the research taking place in CSAR using sensors. Mr Howes focused on the unique facili�es and projects taking place in CSAR, using a variety of species from microalgae to fish, and topics such as aquaponics and aqua biotech. Dr Pete Jones focused on experimental lab work using sensors for determining preference and avoidance thresholds for marine organisms. Dr Josh Jones focused on the mapping opportuni�es and challenges for aquaculture and fisheries, using relevant data from sensors.

Gyopár Elekes, of fap�c.xyz, focused on the use of machine vision technology that can access lumpfish clinging behaviour. The technology uses underwater cameras to record stereoscopic images, the AI and deep learning algorithms allow collec�ng key data which will then inform on the number of fish, define thresholds for fish density and, in the case of lumpfish, access the propor�on of fish clinging and swimming. Chris�an Berger, of PEBL – Plant Ecology Beyond Land, focused on the importance of monitoring low trophic sea farms: the data can be used to inform on the ideal loca�on of new aquaculture sites, create op�mized harvest schedules, provide early warning and troubleshoo�ng and validate sustainable objec�ves (carbon, nitrogen, biodiversity). He presented the SeaLens: a low-cost sea farm monitoring tool and a case study on a proposed seaweed and shellfish farm in Skye. The webinar on the Applica�on of Sensors in Precision Aquaculture had the support from the European Project Access2Sea funded by the Interreg Atlan�c Area Programme through the European Regional Development Fund and STREAM: Sensor Technologies for Remote Environmental Aqua�c Monitoring funded by the European Regional Development Fund through the Ireland Wales Coopera�on programme. FF


07/06/2021 15:55:38

Water treatments and systems

Land and sea Fish health in a pen or a landbased farm is dependent on good water treatment


arlier this year, aquaculture technology specialist AKVA started work on its biggest ever contract – a massive land-based salmon farm Ningbo, near Shanghai. AKVA is building the recircula�ng aquaculture system (RAS) for Nordic Aqua Partners, which will be running the facility. It is planned to produce 8,000 tonnes of salmon in 2026 and the first phase alone will have a 4,000 tonne capacity. Ningbo is not the only large RAS project currently under way. For example, in April it was announced that Sande Se�efisk had signed a deal with water treatment specialists Sterner AS, for the RAS for a large smolt and post-smolt plant in Gloppen, south-west Norway. Meanwhile, Israel’s AquaMaof Aquaculture Technologies is helping to build a massive landbased farm for Proximar Seafood near Mount Fuji, Japan. While some land-based farms use a flow through system, these larger projects all use some form of RAS. Jacob Bregnballe, Sales Director, Land Based Salmon Projects with AKVA Group, explains: “Flow through works well only in certain loca�ons. In some sites in Iceland, for example, there is rela�vely warm, clean water which can be used for flow through, and also some parts of Norway. “I know the headaches you get with flow through – it’s a pain if the water is not perfect. Few places have clean water all year round and a storm can mean you get weeds and mud.” “We go for clean water technology because salmon live in clean rivers.” The classic RAS setup includes a mechanical filter, a biofilter which removes ammonia and a degassing process, removing CO2 which is also excreted and is harmful to the fish, before the water is returned to the tanks. It’s a constant


INTRO - Water Treatments & Systems.indd 48

process and down�me while fish are in the tanks would be hazardous. Bregnballe says that AKVA prefers to use biofilters using fixed-bed technology, in contrast to a moving-bed setup, in which the biofilters move in the water. The fixed-bed approach is preferred because this way the biofilter can remove micro-par�cles in the water as well as its main func�on, nitrifica�on (conver�ng ammonia excreted by the fish into nitrites, which are not harmful). He adds: “Micro-par�cles are a hazard to the fish because they can get into the gill filaments.” AKVA also uses an ozone process to safely disinfect the water and this

Above: The land-based salmon farm Ningbo Below: Cameron Kerr with compressor


07/06/2021 15:22:58

Land and sea

variety of equipment, systems and processes. As Adrian Feiler, Business Development Manager - Aquaculture for KAESER Kompressoren explains, “A range of reliable KAESER air products are specifically designed and built to provide maximum durability in Aquaculture environments and ensure maximum process reliability. They are built to last in tough condi�ons and protected against water, and designed to be easy for the customers to use”. And the condi�ons out at sea really are tough. As Feiler puts it: “If you want to break something, give it to an aquaculturalist!” Reliability is key and that requires on the spot maintenance – which is where Kerr Compressor Engineers, the sole Sco�sh Authorised Distributor of KAESER HPC air products and an established and experienced supplier to the Sco�sh aquaculture community, comes in. Cameron Kerr, Director, Kerr Compressors, says: “Aquaculture was a rela�vely new industry for us just 10 years ago, however, through the increasing use of technology by the industry, much of which relies on the use of compressed air and low-pressure air, it has become our largest single sector in the past few years.” Reliability is key and that requires on the spot maintenance – which is where Kerr Compressors, a distributor for KAESER, comes in. Cameron Kerr, Director , Kerr Compressors, says: “Aquaculture was a rela�vely new industry for us, but it has become our largest single sector in the past few years.” He adds: “Maintenance is the key driver. Even having two, three or four hours set aside for planned maintenance can be difficult for the customer, so a breakdown would be an even bigger problem.” Compressors can be diesel-powered or electric, but the former tend to suit aquaculture, as diesel generators are more robust and take up less space. Nonetheless, KAESER has a range of electric-powered e-compressors – which have a smaller carbon footprint and are quieter – and has sold around 50 to aquaculture clients in Chile recently. FF

also helps to coagulate any remaining micro-par�cles into large clumps. AKVA is not the only company with RAS experience – others that come to mind include Alvestad Marin, Evoqua and Kruger Kaldnes, to name just a few. The next few years will provide lessons as what works well and what does not. Meanwhile, although a pen at sea does not require recircula�on technology in the same way as a land-based farm, even seawater needs treatment from �me to �me. When dissolved oxygen levels drop this can be very dangerous for the fish. In order to counter this, operators can either directly oxygenate the water or use aera�on, pumping up oxygen-rich water from the depths into the pen. The la�er also has the advantage that it creates water pressure, keeping out harmful algal blooms, jellyfish and sea lice larvae. Farmers also use bubble curtains to keep jellyfish out of the pens. Operators of fish farms, whether onshore or offshore, depend on a reliable, quality supply of low pressure air and compressed air for a

to break something, “Ifgiveyouitwant to an aquaculturalist! ”


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2020-10-29 9:27 AM

07/06/2021 15:23:46


Feed the fish, save the planet Sustainability is the theme of the latest developments in aquafeed BY ROBERT OUTRAM


eed is a cri�cal factor for the aquaculture sector, not just because of its economic importance but also because ge�ng this issue right is vital for the industry’s long-term sustainability. The ongoing debate about aquaculture’s impact on the environment is increasingly focused on what farmers feed to their animals and where those nutrients come from. It’s not surprising, then, that later this month the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) will be launching a new “kind Feed Standard”. The Standard will address the hot topic of fishmeal – clearly fish farming is not sustainable if it is seen to be contribu�ng to the overfishing of bait fish species – but it goes much further than that. Feed producers will need to show that both their marine- and land-based ingredients meet strict environmental requirements, are responsibly sourced and also that their supply chain is not exploita�ve, especially for the workers and communi�es involved in it. The ASC’s approach is to start with a 14-month “effec�ve period” stage in order to allow auditors, producers and their suppliers to prepare for cer�fica�on, followed by a 24-month transi�on period before the standard takes full effect. More details on the new Standard can be found on page 58 of this issue. Why has feed become such an issue for the industry? One reason is concern regarding overfishing. While some fisheries are well regulated and held to sustainable levels, there is reason to believe that some parts of the ocean are facing the possibility that their fish stocks will soon be depleted – not just to provide fish for human consump�on but also for fishmeal. One accusa�on o�en levelled against fish farming – especially salmon farming – is that it consumes more fish than it produces, and so it is therefore fundamentally wasteful of the planet’s resources. That may have been true at one �me, but the Sco�sh Salmon Producers Associa�on stresses that it is a different story now. Aquafeed contains an increasing propor�on on non-marine ingredients, and also marine ingredients sourced from fish trimmings – a by-product of fish for human consump�on


INTRO Feed.indd 50

that would otherwise go to waste. The SSPO says: “Sco�sh salmon farmers are commi�ed to ensuring that ingredients derived from wild fish, used in our fish feed, comes from managed, cer�fied sustainable fisheries – we don’t currently use feed ingredients sourced from West African fisheries. “Our sector has commi�ed to achieving full traceability of all of its feed ingredients, along with major investments in feed and monitoring technologies to maximise the efficient use of feed to minimise any wastage and poten�al impact.” Most of the six million or so metric tonnes of fishmeal and fish oil produced each year is for livestock feed – including marine, but mainly landbased species such as pigs and chickens- and pet food. Sco�sh salmon produc�on accounts for only 0.75% of it, the SSPO says. Of the marine ingredients used in feed for Scot�sh salmon, around a third are now sourced from trimmings. With a Feed Conversion Ra�o (FCR), of 1.23:1, it currently takes 1.23kg of pelle�sed feed to produce 1kg of salmon, but only just under 25% of that is fishmeal; and of that propor�on, just over 26% is derived from trimmings. The SSPO calculates that the “FIFO” (Fish In, Fish Out) ra�o is around 0.81 for Sco�sh producers, on average, meaning that the sector actually produces more fish than it consumes. The global demand for marine protein is expected to grow significantly over the coming decades, however, and this means that the aquaculture industry must con�nue to search for alterna�ve forms of protein for feed, not to men�on the other components required to raise healthy fish. The sustainability ques�on does not just apply to marine ingredients, either. Increased reliance on soya protein, for example, puts extra pressure on the world’s fer�le land areas and the unregulated produc�on of soya is already responsible for

Some parts of the ocean are facing “ the possibility that their fish stocks will soon be depleted ”


07/06/2021 15:46:17

Feed the fish, save the planet

alarming levels of deforesta�on – which is why the world’s leading aquafeed producers are focusing on their supply chains to ensure that they can be sure that they can be cer�fied as sustainable. Feed giant Alltech Coppens has developed a Sustainability Index in order to approach this issue objec�vely and verifiably. The company says: “The Alltech Coppens R&D and Procurement departments evaluate all raw materials used in our aquaculture products, ensuring they are sustainably sourced and responsibly and ul�mately benefit farm performance and the future of our industry and planet. With data sourced from Global Feed Life Cycle Ins�tute (GFLI) and BLONK databases, different feed is characterised according to its impact on different factors, such as climate change, acidifica�on, etc. “However, we also need to combine the data within this database and tailor it toward our own specific condi�ons. Assessing how much feed we


INTRO Feed.indd 51

Top: A school of anchovies Above: Feed pellets Left: Feed barge in Shetland

produce, how much of each raw material or ingredient we use in each feed and the geographical loca�on of our suppliers, we can evaluate the raw materials. We are determined to contribute to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and evaluate the origin of raw materials.” In 2020, 80% of the raw materials that the group sourced were produced within Europe. Of these, 30% came from Germany (where the group’s main factory is based) and 16% from the Netherlands (where the head office is located). The company says that it expects that the numbers of local supply will further increase throughout the current year. Alltech’s evalua�on of fish feed quality is not only determined by parameters directly related to the fish (such as performance). There is also a focus on the effect of the feed on the planet. The company conducts trials of alterna�ve raw materials, like insect meal and single-cell proteins. The Alltech Coppens R&D and Procurement departments are constantly sourcing new alterna�ve raw materials with a strong focus on lowering the impact the feed has on the environment. The company has also replaced 60% of its marine products with trimmings. The approach is in line with what Alltech Coppens calls its “Four Pillars of Excellence” in fish nutri�on: Palatability, Performance, Pollu�on Control and Profitability. Climate change presents a direct threat to aquaculture as well as to the planet in general. Skre�ng, another of the major global feed producers, is se�ng out to evaluate and report its carbon footprint, star�ng with its Italian subsidiary, which in January this year became the first in the group to have its carbon emissions independently cer�fied. Skre�ng’s Carbon Footprint Systema�c Approach has been cer�fied under ISO 14067:2018, the interna�onal standard that covers the quan�fica�on and repor�ng of the carbon footprint – the carbon emi�ed into the atmosphere from the en�re produc�on chain – of a product. Skre�ng Italy is now in a posi�on, the company says, to provide cer�fied


07/06/2021 15:46:59


Above: The eniferBio team. From le�: Anssi Rantasalo, Joosu Kuivanen, Simo Ellilä, Heikki Keskitalo and Ville Pihlajaniemi. Right: Tetraselmis microalgae, Inalve Below: Black soldier fly Opposite: Inalve’s facility and lab team (photos: Fanny Tondre)


INTRO Feed.indd 52

carbon footprint figures on any of the aquaculture feed products in its por�olio. This should help fish farmers to calculate their own carbon footprint and understand ways in which it can be reduced. The cer�fica�on was conducted by Norway-based risk management and assurance group DNV GL, and covers the en�re produc�on process, from raw material procurement, through formula�on, and to final product despatch through the factory gates. Umberto Luzzana, Marke�ng Manager at Skret�ng Italy, said: “We have entered a cri�cal phase of climate recovery. Through carbon neutrality, fish farmers in Italy and beyond have the opportunity to become part of the solu�on as climate leaders. They can accelerate progress by making these bold but essen�al commitments to our planet’s health and wellbeing, while at the same �me establishing a pla�orm that will enable them to increase revenues, reduce costs and risks, and engage many more consumers.” Skre�ng plans to roll the cer�fica�on programme out on a global basis as part of its ac�on plan for sustainability. Skre�ng Italy launched a carbon-neutral aquaculture feed, Feed4Future, in 2020, which is produced with 10% lower CO2 emissions. The remaining emissions are offset by carbon credits. The group has also been exploring alterna�ve sources of protein. Earlier this year, in partnership with Finnish biotech start-up eniferBio, Skre�ng announced the successful comple�on of process pilo�ng trials of its “Pekilo” mycoprotein. The next phase will be to test the ingredient in its R&D facili�es at Skre�ng Aquaculture Research Centre (ARC) in Norway. “We have been working closely with the eniferBio team to support them and help speed up the process to receive a commercially rele-

vant novel ingredient for the first valida�on at our salmon R&D facili�es in Norway,” said Jenna Bowyer, Category Manager Novel Ingredients, Skre�ng. “Our desktop assessment verified the poten�al of this ingredient to be an alterna�ve protein source to marine and soy proteins in our aquafeeds. This is another example of Skre�ng’s commitment to iden�fying, developing and commercialising novel ingredients that can have a posi�ve contribu�on to the sustainability of the aquaculture industry.” To produce the quan�ty required for Skre�ng tes�ng, eniferBio teamed up with Tereos, a global leader in the sugar, alcohol and starch markets. Tereos provided the raw material for the trial, in the form of vinasse, a by-product from the produc�on of ethanol from beet molasses. The process of eniferBio allows the efficient conversion of dilute side streams such as vinasse into a valuable protein ingredient for aquaculture feed. “This is a very important step for us as a company as we re-establish the Pekilo produc�on process, now as a major source of aquafeed protein,” said Simo Ellilä, CEO of eniferBio. “We believe the process is unique in offering a cost-compe��ve, sustainable alterna�ve to soy protein concentrate. The process is very scalable, and Pekilo can be produced close to the end users – promising to decrease dependence on imported protein. This pilot trial is an excellent example of bringing together the whole value chain in Europe.” Skre�ng has commi�ed to ensuring that 5-10% of its feed ingredients will come from alterna�ve novel sources by 2025.


07/06/2021 15:48:52

Feed the fish, save the planet

Alterna�ve protein sources such as soya or insects – which can be raised on food waste as part of the “circular economy” – can provide basic nutrients for carnivorous fish, but there are elements in the fish’s marine diet that are hard to subs�tute with these land-based alterna�ves. The ocean’s food chain contains important elements and oils – like omega-3 – that are not only important for the health of the farmed fish but also for those who consume them. In the wild the fish would normally absorb those through smaller fish, crustaceans and other marine creatures, but they o�en originate in organisms such as algae. It makes sense, therefore, to look at algae as a source of nutrients for farmed fish (and for humans, too). A number of businesses around the world are looking at ways to cul�vate and process micro-algae to make use of these valuable nutrients. The founders of one start-up in the south of France believe they have found a new, game-changing technique for doing this. Inalve, based in Nice, uses a “biofilm” approach to grow micro-algae in higher concentra�ons. Krystyna Ledóchowska, Growth Manager with Inalve, explains: “Typically, micro-algae is grown in suspension in water, or using a fermenta�on process in tanks. biofilm is more produc�ve. It is a natural process in which cells grow on a surface. “Our approach is sustainable and uses photosynthesis – and the sun is free! The algae grows on a


INTRO Feed.indd 53

Our “ sector has

‘carpet’ which means we can use land area more efficiently. “Algae growing out of water secretes a protec�ve substance which itself is useful and can be harvested. The process creates polysaccharides, which can help to boost the fish’s immune system.” Inalve follows a “3-in-1” approach – innocula�onscul�va�on and harvest. The

commi�ed to achieving full traceability of all of its feed ingredients


07/06/2021 15:49:50


result is a paste of microalgae that is 100 �mes more concentrated than other micro-algae produc�on methods, without needing intermediate physical or chemical processes. The company was co-founded in 2016 by two academics in France; Christophe Vasseur and Hubert Bonnefond. Its pilot farm (300 m2) was inaugurated in Nice in January this year, and the company plans to build a commercial scale farm in 2024 with a produc�on capacity of several thousand tons of microalgae a year. The plan is then to roll out the model to sites throughout the world. The aim is to produce nutri�on and feed addi�ves for finfish and other aquaculture species, and protein and feed addi�ves for land-based livestock. Micro-algae can contain up to 4,000 nutrients in combina�on. The biofilm process contributes to the capture of atmospheric CO2, with 2kg of CO2 absorbed per 1kg of biomass produced. In terms of absorbing CO2 it is four to nine �mes be�er than protein produc�on derived from fishmeal or plants, the company says. Fine tuning aquafeed and the nutrients and addi�ves that go with it helps to keep fish healthy. Adisseo’s SANACORE feed supplement, for example, is based on combina�ons of synerge�c natural compounds, such as phytobio�cs,

immune-s�mulants and organic acids, that can promote gut health and compensate for the impact of a plant-heavy diet on the gut of a carnivorous fish (see ar�cle below for more on this). You can also find out more about the benefits of nucleo�des as feed addi�ves, as explained by life science company BioIberica (page 59). Meanwhile, fish feed producer Aller Aqua says it has been able to increase both the coloura�on and nutri�onal content in sea bream through the launch of a new product. The company says farmed sea bream o�en lacks the deep and appealing colours of wild sea bream, but maintains its new feed, ALLER LUCET, can help bring them out. Paired with added omega-3 fa�y acids, the deeper coloura�on increases the fish’s overall consumer appeal and nutri�onal value. Wild sea bream generally feed on a large variety of organisms and this diet creates a deeper coloura�on. However, while the farmed diet is op�mised for health and growth, its limited variety makes for a lighter coloured fish. Naturally derived raw maLeft: Roast sea bream terials in the farmed sea bream diet can however change this, enhancing the coloura�on and adding nutri�onal value. Get the diet right and your farmed fish will literally be “in the pink”, it seems. FF

Our approach is sustainable and uses “photosynthesis – and the sun is free ”

Why nucleotides matter

Feed ingredients are crucial for healthy fish and shrimp


he aquaculture feed industry, like other animal feed industries, constantly examines the market and the latest developments in search of new ingredients that can add in terms of quality and functionality, and have a direct impact on animal production parameters and performance. In an industry as thriving as aquaculture, with an expected significant growth in production and where the introduction of new species is being investigated, the addition of new functional ingredients into the diet plays a very important role now and, even more so, in the future. Nucleotides are semi-essential nutrients that have key functions in the bodies of marine species.They are very useful at some specific stages of development, particularly in those where cell and tissue replication are very important: early stages of life, infections and diseases, vaccination and stress conditions. Nucleotides help the animal immune system to develop faster, preparing it for any challenge. In addition, they contribute to healthy gut development in diets containing a high percentage of plant proteins, improving productivity and overall performance. Nucleotides are a very


INTRO Feed.indd 54

interesting ingredient used in aquaculture productionBIO_NucleoForceAqua_130x92mm_AFT.pdf systems, both fish and shrimp, to preserve animal health, boost production and improve profitability. Nucleotide products for animal nutrition must be free-form (“free nucleotides”) because RNA


and DNA long chains or small fragments are far too large to pass across cell membranes. So 1/6/21 10:50 providing an animal with free, readily available nucleotides is a practical way to support the overall animal’s metabolism. www.bioiberica.com


07/06/2021 15:50:31

Tailored Feed Block Diets for Wrasse & Lumpfish Improved Health & Welfare, Reduced Aggression



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INTRO Feed.indd 55



07/06/2021 12:16:30

Alltech Coppens – Client content

Can your farm break through the glass ceiling? Changing your feed could be the key to a breakthrough in RAS efficiency


or many years, the concept of recircula�ng aquaculture system (RAS) farming and its customised feeds were generally assumed to have reached the limits of their efficiency. While RAS s�ll had the upper hand on tradi�onal farming systems, with regard to both produc�on and sustainability poten�al, it was believed that there was nowhere to go when it came to further improvements. However, research at the Alltech Coppens Aqua Centre has breathed new life into RAS farming. Backing up remarkable findings with field tests and customer experiences, Alltech Coppens has provided RAS with the momentum it needed to break through its glass ceiling. The perceived limit A RAS is a complex ar�ficial reproduc�on of an aqua�c ecosystem, allowing fish farmers to increase their scale of produc�on dras�cally and in a very sustainable way. RAS, compared to other ways of fish farming, requires a high ini�al and opera�onal capital investment, but this start-up investment can be easily recouped when running an op�mised system. The profitability of RAS depends on the produc�vity (kg/m3/year) of the system and, therefore, it can make a difference with a rela�vely high stocking density and growth rate. However, while the func�onality of a RAS seems straigh�orward (water in the tank circulates through the filter system and is reused), ge�ng the set-up just right can be complicated. For fish to reach maximised growth levels, pris�ne water condi�ons are essen�al. Also, every RAS system is also unique, with its own op�mal way to run. Some farms can spend years trying to figure out how their system can achieve the best performance and find a balance. Even the aspects that are meant to dis�nguish the RAS can lead to its downfall. While the system boasts the capacity for a high stocking density, its need for constantly clean water means that excess discharging of wastewater can easily become an issue if the farm is restricted in what it can do. This means that farmers will o�en have to compromise on desired density in order to keep waste to a minimum. Another element that dis�nguishes RAS from tradi�onal systems is the biofilter. When the water in a RAS passes through this filter, it filters out the harmful ammonia that is produced by the fish and excreted through their gills into the system. Every biofilter has a fixed surface area on which bacteria can grow and which, therefore, determines its capacity for transforming ammonia into nitrite and, eventually, the much less toxic nitrate. If the organic load is too high, the biofilter is less effec�ve, making the overall system less efficient. It is important to bear in mind that the biofilter can only handle a certain amount of ammonia per day, which typically is related to the feed that is used. Many of the issues farmers face can be traced back to the feed they use and how it was digested by the fish. Feed management is vital to achieving op�mal performance, and pushing past previously perceived limits, in RAS. Pairing your system with a feed that complements its unique


Alltech Coppens - PED.indd 56

of “theMany issues

farmers face can be traced back to the feed they use and how it was digested

characteris�cs can help to op�mise the water quality and, especially, oxygen levels, helping to achieve growth maximisa�on and providing a�rac�ve financial benefits. Using the feeds typically available on the market, however, producers could previously find no way of a�emp�ng to increase stocking density or growth rate without compromising the func�onality of their system, leading many to believe that RAS could progress no further. Exceed your maximum growth feed level In Alltech Coppens, we have developed a line of specialised RAS feeds that significantly limit the


07/06/2021 15:37:57

Can your farm break through the glass ceiling?

adverse effects of feed on: • The biofilter (and, in turn, water quality) • total suspended solids (TSS) and • oxygen levels. This can lead to significantly lowered feed conversion ra�on (FCR) and growth exceeding the current maximum. These RAS feeds are op�mised for diges�bility, resul�ng in be�er FCR because they allow high protein reten�on, leading to less faeces produc�on. This saves farmers work cleaning the systems and gives a higher produc�on poten�al for the same biofilter, through lower ammonia produc�on per kilogram of feed and be�er-balanced biofilters. Customer experiences Customer experiences in prac�ce have shown how much of a difference this new line of RAS feeds can make. One example of this is a trial with a large trout RAS customer in Denmark, which has been ongoing for more than two years. When the farm made the switch to Alltech Coppens RAS feeds, they found that the filters could handle considerably more feed and no�ced the fish were doing much be�er, showed lower FCR and be�er growth. At harvest �me, they produced almost 50% more than before, in exactly the same system.

was confronted with frequent cleaning of his system due to the organic load. He then tried the Alltech Coppens dedicated RAS feed for ca�ish and was amazed by the outcome of the trial. Switching to this feed resulted in less �me spent cleaning his system and a produc�vity increase of close to 50%. Conclusion RAS farming is nowhere near reaching its full poten�al. In fact, we have only begun to see how far we can push this system, and how we can change our approach to get the most out of it. By inves�ng in a dedicated RAS feed, you could see be�er growth, lower FCR and more produc�on of fish in the same system, while maintaining a much more stable and resilient biofilter.

Produc�vity increase Your guide to op�mising RAS Similar field observa�ons have been seen in other To learn more about RAS farming, request your copy of the Alltech Coppens species farmed in RAS, like ca�ish and eel. A loyal RAS guide. ca�ish producer using a compe�tor diet in Germany www.alltechcoppens.com/request-ras-guide. FF Opposite, from the top: Feed at farm; Ca�ish at the ACAC; RAS feeds


Alltech Coppens - PED.indd 57


07/06/2021 15:52:26

Aquaculture Stewardship Council – Client content

Feed you can trust The ASC’s new Feed Standard will take a holistic approach

All “ ingredients

– marine and agricultural – can have benefits as well as impacts

Top: Feeding �me at a pangasius farm in Vietnam Photo: ASC

Above: Chris Ninnes


he impacts of the feed used in aquaculture can be a source of criticism for the industry.This month, the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) will help to tackle this important challenge with the launch of its Feed Standard. The Standard, due to be launched on June 15, has been developed over a number of years by a diverse group of experts comprising feed producers, retailers, NGOs, farmers, and other stakeholders. Whereas much of the debate over aquafeed focuses on fishmeal, the Standard will take a more holistic approach, covering both marine and land-based ingredients. It will require that feed mills meet strict environmental and social requirements; source ingredients from socially responsible suppliers; and use environmentally sustainable raw materials. In doing so, issues in both the supply chains and at raw material levels will be addressed. Requirements on reporting of performance will also improve the transparency of the industry, reward sustainability, and assist future research into feed sustainability. After launch, the Standard will enter a 14-month “effective period”, allowing auditors, feed manufacturers and their suppliers to familiarise themselves with the Standard and prepare for certification. Following that period, farms will then have 24 months to switch to ASC compliant feed in order to continue meeting the ASC Farm Standards. Chris Ninnes,ASC CEO, said:“Marine ingredients play an important role providing vital nutrients to farmed fish, but like everything they must be used and sourced responsibly. Rather than driving substitution of one type of ingredient with another, the ASC Feed Standard will recognise that all ingredients – marine and agricultural – can have benefits as well as impacts, and must be addressed holistically. “We know many producers and feed manufacturers are already taking this issue seriously, and we want to reward them and incentivise others to follow suit.This standard could not have been produced without the work and expertise of our multi-stakeholder Steering Committee and I’d like to


Aquaculture Stewardship Council - ASC -PED.indd 58

thank them for their contribution to this important milestone for the wider industry.” The Feed Standard will take the ASC’s approach to responsible aquaculture and extend it to the feed mills that manufacture aquafeed, as well as the suppliers of their ingredients.These mills will be the facilities audited against the standard, but they and farms will be given time to ensure their supply chains meet ASC requirements.The Standard will also incentivise more feed mills to work towards certification to meet growing demand from ASC farms. As well as environmental sustainability, mills must also ensure they and their suppliers are socially responsible. For instance, independent auditors must verify that mills are not using forced or child labour, pay and treat their staff fairly, and must not discriminate on any grounds.They must also be responsible neighbours, communicating proactively with their local communities. Certified feed mills are required to incentivise their supply chains to adhere to these principles as well, ensuring an impact in areas where the risk of these issues are more prevalent. ASC will be providing additional documents for auditors and feed mills to provide clear guidance on how the standard should be implemented. Keep an eye on the ASC website www.asc-aqua.org for full details after the Feed Standard has launched on 15 June. FF


07/06/2021 15:36:18

Health programme to promote gut integrity and immunity


hrough continuous research and innovation, ADISSEO has gained understanding of the interaction between gut health and production challenges such as feed formulation, environmental conditions or disease. The company’s feed additive SANACORE® GM is based on combinations of synergetic natural compounds, such as phytobiotics, immune-stimulants and organic acids, that can promote gut health and support fish to better deal with these production challenges. The synergistic combinations of natural components offer protection via anti-inflammatory action and promotion of gut integrity and immunity, as well as antimicrobial action against pathogenic bacteria. In marine fish, well documented results – including laboratory and farm trials – demonstrate its high efficacy in reducing the histopathological damage induced by high plant inclusion in diet, and in lowering the prevalence and severity of endo-parasitic infection by Enteromyxum leei. www.adisseo.com


Page 59.indd 59


07/06/2021 12:18:10

Products and services

What’s NEW Monthly update on industry innovations and solutions from around the world A feeding solution for all weathers

FEEDING from a container? The Spanish company Fish Farm Feeder (FFF), which manufactures automated feeding systems for aquaculture, has adapted the “packaging” of its machines to the needs of its clients, so fish or shrimp farms without a covered area for storing feeding systems do not need to worry any more. All feeding components of the feeder, including the feeding silos, are stored in a container so it is possible to keep it outdoors. This new design permits using automated feeding systems in any region and at any stage of a fish or shrimp live farming cycle. FFF provides solutions for land-based, RAS, river and/or lake aquaculture offering tailormade feeding systems to farms or consultant companies. It has been taking care of farming feeding needs for more than a decade. Tel: +34 886 317 600 www.fishfarmfeeder.com

Corrosion-free pumps for huge fish farms

Protection from predators SEALS will try anything to access salmon pens. Stiff HDPE netting like Garware’s Seal Pro has provided a challenge for them and as a result, some seals have realised that they can climb over the handrail and chew through the light anti-bird nets that cover the top of the pen. One of the solutions now being tested by W&J Knox and their customers is another of Garware’s recent developments – the X18 Seal Fence. The jump net extension netting has been stiffened to such a degree that its inflexibility makes it extremely difficult for seals to grab and chew to gain access to the fish, providing greater protection for the pens. www.garwarefibres.com

LYKKEGAARD Pumps has developed corrosion-free pumps made from the high-quality material HDPE. As with the company’s original steel pumps, these are among the most energy-efficient pumps on the market. HDPE-pumps can work in salt water, even in high temperatures, without any damage or corrosion. The pumps are customised for each application, and the largest pump produced so far is able to move up to 1,200 litres of water per second. The pumps are developed to fulfil the needs of the ever-growing fish farm sector. As the market is growing, the need for sustainable pumping solutions grows as well. www.lykkegaard-as.com

Forty years of end-to-end service

SUPPORTING Scotland’s aquaculture industry since 1981, Streamline Shipping Group celebrates its 40th anniversary this year. The group serves Scotland and its island communities and operates shipping services internationally. Now one of Scotland’s leading independent freight transport operators, with over 200 staff and strategically located depots and storage/quayside facilities, Streamline’s service offering includes: international freight forwarding and haulage/distribution across UK and Europe; an in-house customs documentation team; and a network of approved partners, providing an end-to-end logistics service for our aquaculture customers. It is truly a one-stop-shop for all logistics needs worldwide. Get in touch with any enquiries at: getaquote@streamlinegroup.co.uk or call 01224 211506.


What's New - June 21.indd 60


07/06/2021 15:25:35

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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 15-19, 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


07/06/2021 15:34:31


Aquaculture_quarter_127x165.qxp_Layout 1 21/05/2020 16:11 Page 1


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Aqua Source Directory



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Aqua Source Directory.indd 65


07/06/2021 12:24:17

Opinion – Inside track

The feed conundrum BY NICK JOY


hen I was first in the industry, feed was pelletised not extruded. It sank like a stone in the pens. The pellets were so hard that you couldn’t break them, though they still seemed to generate a lot of dust. It’s hardly surprising that FCRs [feed conversion ratios] were much poorer, as the fish had stomachs full of rock-like pellets. There were so many things about feed then which were less than ideal. Mostly it was due to our industry having to use what was available rather than what was designed specifically for aquaculture. Oil levels reached an exciting high of 16% and I remember the first time it was suggested that oil levels could go above 20%. I was sure that the pellets would fall apart! Part of the reason for the problem was that the feed mills were designed to produce feed for agriculture. This was a very price-driven industry; we tended to buy in relatively small lots and we needed the feed to last. Feeds were comparatively simple and low priced. People elsewhere in agriculture couldn’t believe the price of salmon feed, but then they hadn’t looked at the price of fishmeal and oil! This was the centre of the problem. The mills were not designed to handle fish products of any quality and certainly not for digestibility or conversion potential. Furthermore, the fishmeals themselves were not of particularly good quality. So we had bad ingredients, a bad process and feed that was unsuitable for fish in almost every way. As diets improved, salmon farming grew. Sometimes feed was too expensive but generally the development of high quality diets heralded profitability, driven by faster growth and better conversion. The industry’s efficient use of fishmeal also grew, but then the critics started to complain about its use. Efficiency of fish to fish conversion became a big discussion point despite the fact that the largest consumer of fishmeal was the chicken industry. It became clear that the industry was going to use a lot of fishmeal and oil – albeit not all of it, because price and quality limited what was available to us, particularly on the oil side as the health capsule market – which used up the very best oils and was willing to pay a very high price to get them – developed. Meanwhile there was and still is a significant production of very low grade meals and oils. So the industry was pushed to looking at the use of vegetable oils and meals. Here we arrive at the conundrum of how we feed our fish. Fish is the “natural” diet of salmon. If using vegetable material to feed our fish is more “sustainable”, this leaves us open to the argument: why not feed the plant-based food direct to humans? Those people that hoped they could allay the concerns of critics by using vegetable matter in feed were in for a rude shock. The critics won’t go away because they make their living from having us to criticise. They are not passionate advocates of what’s best for the world, generally. I’m sure that the original starting point was trying to save the world, in the same way I got involved in farming, but somewhere along the line the whole process becomes corrupted. The point is that listening to them will rarely help a farming industry because that is not their aim. Of course there are some wonderful methods by which we might feed our industry, such as conversion of food waste into worms or fly larvae; algae for oil and meal; or direct use of waste products from other food producers like chicken.


Nick Joy.indd 66

The critics “ won’t go away because they make their living from having us to criticise

The problem is that those same critics would immediately use this attempt to reduce feed waste as these sources are unattractive to the consumer. Here lies another conundrum. We all know where a lot of the solutions lie but the very people who supposedly are trying to save the world make it impossible to use them. As one very wise organic mussel farmer once said at a conference: “Where we are with criticism of aquaculture is like the first time a hunter brought two cattle into the village. ‘Why don’t we breed from these and then we won’t have to go out and die trying to get food’ the hunter said. Most of the village agreed but then there were those that said ‘Oh, but they will poop everywhere and kick the children’.” Oh and he didn’t say poop! But I hope you get the point. There have always been those who know what everybody else is doing wrong. It’s important that this industry pushes on and finds new ways to grow more fish, using the best, most sustainable feed materials available. FF


07/06/2021 15:33:04

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07/06/2021 12:25:58

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07/06/2021 12:26:58

Profile for Fish Farmer Magazine

Fish Farmer June 2021  


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