Fish Farmer VOLUME 42
Serving worldwide aquaculture since 1977
SEAFOOD EXPO GLOBAL
LOGISTICS SUR MER
SSCâ€™s Craig Anderson smooths the way
Aquaculture Awards 2019: report and pictures
Brussels puts on another capital show
Robbie Landsburgh meets our friends in France
June Cover.indd 1
STRIVE FOR FIVE
DO YOU STORE YOUR VACCINES AT THE CORRECT TEMPERATURE?
AIM FOR 5°C. ABOVE 8°C SHORTENS SHELF LIFE. BELOW 2°C REDUCES EFFECTIVENESS. FREEZING DESTROYS VACCINES.
The importance of vaccine storage is paramount for both safeguarding vaccines and the efficacy once administered on fish stocks. The correct storage of vaccines will have direct influence on your fish health and investment.
STRIVE FOR FIVE AIM FOR 5°C. ABOVE 8°C SHORTENS SHELF LIFE. BELOW 2°C REDUCES EFFECTIVENESS. FREEZING DESTROYS VACCINES.
Best practice fridge tips:
HAVE A SEPARATE POWER SUPPLY FOR YOUR FRIDGE
CHECK THE SEAL BY PLACING A TORCH INSIDE AND CLOSING THE DOOR. IF LIGHT SHINES THROUGH, THE SEAL IS FAULTY
AVOID USING THE FRIDGE FOR OTHER ITEMS SO THAT IT’S NOT OPENED FREQUENTLY
DON’T PUT VACCINES AT THE BACK OF THE FRIDGE WHERE ICE CAN FORM
2 DO NOT DRINK
PLACE A BOTTLE OF WATER MARKED ‘DO NOT DRINK’ IN THE FRIDGE TO HELP STABILISE TEMPERATURE
ENSURE THERE IS SPACE AROUND THE FRIDGE TO ALLOW AIR TO CIRCULATE
AVOID FRIDGES WITH FREEZER COMPARTMENTS
MONITOR MAXIMUM AND MINIMUM FRIDGE TEMPERATURES DAILY
MSD Animal Health, providing the best solutions and services in supporting professionals directly. www.msd-animal-health-hub.co.uk/ Copyright © 2019 Intervet UK Ltd trading as MSD Animal Health. All rights reserved. GB/AQC/0219/0002
Contents 4-15 4-14 News
What’s What’s happening happening in in aquaculture aquaculture in the the UK UK and and around around the the world world in
16-19 16-21 16-17 16-22 extra Industry pioneer News Extra platform Parliamentary inquiry
JENNY JENNY HJUL HJUL –– EDITOR EDITOR
Fair hearing French connection Farmers must fight back Uphold the codeworks Network that
Steve Bracken SSC’s record results Stewart Graham Craigﬁnal Anderson interview The sessions
salmon farming sector in Scotland, when it was to he focus this month istopictures on Europe, the internati T HE is coincidence that andwhere videos of unhealthy Sno Fish Farmer went press, there was sti lltold no oﬃ cialonal HE industry had plenty of opportunities to meet up last be the subject of a parliamentary inquiry, embraced the industry will soon be gathering the EASinto (European salmon were sent to news outlets just asjoint the Scotti sh salmon news from the sh parliamentary inquiry month, first inScotti Brussels at thefor world’s biggest seafood show, opportunity this would provide explain how it month. operated. Aquaculture Society) and WAS (World Aquaculture Society) parliament went back to work atto the start of this These farming, conducted earlier this by the Rural Economy and later in Edinburgh, when ayear sizeable crowd turned up for The had to hide and, if given aof fair hearing, conference, to benothing staged over days in the southern images had litt le to do with theﬁinve current state Scotland’s ﬁcould sh and Connecti vity (REC) committ ee. MSPs have now heldFrench ﬁve the industry Aquaculture Awards, held Dynamic Earth. address much of the criti cism levelled against it. city of Montpellier. As well as highlighti ng the latest technological farms where sea lice levels are in decline and, in fact, at a ﬁvemeeti ngs, in private, to consider their report and wetomust be In between, there were two workshops in Stirling discusss Fish Farmer supported this but at times that salmon advances incleaner our fast moving sector, Aqua 2018felt will also feature year low (htt p://scotti shsalmon.co.uk/monthly-sea-lice-reports). pati ent. However, waiti ng forview, their recommendati ons has been progress in fish rearing and programmes for future farmers were being drowned out by the noisier elements of the sessions on emerging markets and look at the role of ﬁ sh This latest propaganda campaign, which involves all the usual made harder by leaks from within the REC to anti -salmon farming research. There was also a major RAS conference in Washington angling lobby, which had called for the investi gati on. But as the farming in alleviati ng poverty. Increasingly, industry meeti ngs anti -aquaculture suspects, came as Holyrood’s Rural Economy acti vists. The latest of these (see our news story on page 4) and no doubt many other events, both here and abroad, news of sessions progressed, and eventually farmers’ voices were heard, are broadening scope, subjects such asthat the committ social and Connecti vity committ eetackling returned the summer recess we to makes grim reading for the industry asfrom it suggests ee which has yet totheir reach us. became more opti misti c. We now believe that MSPs, perhaps with acceptability of aquaculture and the contributi on it makes to global consider its draft report into the future of salmon farming. members have been willing to listen to those campaigning to Perhaps one of the most significant gatherings, though, if not food security and saving the planet, aindustry move is toanti welcomed. the excepti on of one two Greens cahoots with -farming Those who want toor shut down thein asbe expected, shut down this valuable sector, rather than to those who operate the grandest, was the students’ careers daythat athave, the Institute Also investi gati ng initi ati ves in the developing world, Dr Harrison campaigners, will, on balance, regard the industry in a favourable stepped activiti es, which nowbrings involve breaching the within it.up theirThis of Aquaculture. annual meeting current students light. They will hopefully see that farmers take their environmental Charo Karisa ofrecent, WorldFish writes the farming al in biosecure environments of farm sitessoto snatch photographs in Of course, such stories may beabout inaccurate and, inpotenti any with case, the together with and some not recent, alumni, the Nigeria, both in catf ish and ti lapia culti vati on. responsibiliti es seriously and that businesses will only ever invest the of ﬁﬁnding ng evidence against farmers. Onein committ ee’s ndingsincriminati are paths not binding. Scotland’s ﬁall sh farmers aimhope of easing graduates’ into work. Among the excellent In Scotland, the summer been something of a waiti ngdead game growth that isﬁbeen sustainable. campaigner lmed himselfhas searching, unsuccessfully, for have fortunate to have the support of their minister, advicealways tomorrow’s stars were given by today’s leading while the parliamentbright is in recess and the members of Holyrood’s If ee members, who have yetbe to of ﬁ shthe at one acommitt Marine Harvest site. Another heare saw ‘hundreds’ Fergus Ewing, to grow sustainably. lights, nugget stood out:especially network said -those ‘you going to Rural Economy and Connecti vity committ ee conti nue to weigh up visit a salmon farm, would like to learn more about the subject of infested salmon in a pen, but we only have his word against that But it should not go unchallenged that some MSPs on the REC business partners, you’re going to be colleagues, or competitors the evidence in their inquiry into salmon farming. We don’t expect their inquiry, we have plenty of good stories in our May issue. Even of the professional vets and biologists who manage the welfare of committ ee, with their own agendas against the growth of the or customers, sol the make sure that you speak to each their report unti autumn but hope the MSPs are other’. using the time the bett er, they could head to Highlands later this month, where these farms on a daily basis. industry, are in breach of the Code of Conduct for MSPs. As they sends studentswith all over global toStirling become fully its acquainted the the factsworld aboutbut ﬁshthe farming. they meetsector the aquaculture industry en Scotland’s If the isto proud ofreti itsthe high standards, as itsalmon says itlongest is, it are inwill aindustry positi on inﬂ uence future course ofat farming, aquaculture is athe village, thanks amasse tradition of formidable This month also sees rement oftoMarine Harvest’s biggest ﬁsh farming show. must mount a much more robust defence of itself, through its and of businesses vital to Scotland’s economy, we have a right networking. We look forward to the class of 2019 returning in serving employee, Steve Bracken. We had no trouble collecting a We will certainly be at Aquaculture UK inindustry, Aviemore and look representati vethey body, the SSPO, than itthe has done tothrough date. The to know who are, and weand hope its few years when they have established themselves, and warm tributes from his friends colleagues to mark thedelivering forward to seeing many of you there too. campaigners, we now see,the willrest stop at representati ves, will the parliament toand investi gateatbefore milestone and, along with of thenothing, industry, thefarmers team Fish the same message topressure the next generation. should prepared to ﬁvery ght back. the RECbe report published. Farmer wish himisall the best for the future.
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Meet the team
Editorial Advisory Advisory Board: Board: Steve Editorial Bracken, Scott Landsburgh, Hervé Steve Bracken, Scott HervéLandsburgh, Migaud, Jim Treasurer, Chris Mitchell, Migaud, PatrickJim Smith and Jim Hervé Migaud, Patrick Smith, Patrick Smith, Treasurer and Jason Cleaversmith and Hamish Treasurer, Wiliam Jim Treasurer and Dowds William Dowds William Dowds Macdonell Editor: Jenny Hjul Designer: Andrew Designer: Andrew Balahura Editor: Jenny Hjul Balahura Adverti sing Manager: Team Designer: AndrewLeader: Balahura Dave Edler Executives: Advertising dedler@ﬁshupdate.com Scott Binnie Adverti sing Adverti sing Executi Executive: ve: firstname.lastname@example.org Scott Binnie Maree Douglas sbinnie@ﬁ shupdate.com email@example.com Publisher: Alister Bennett Publisher: Alister Bennett
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Cover:Steve Alisonsh Hutchins, Dawnfresh Cover: Bracken explains Lumpsucker Scotti Sea Farms regional farming director, Loch Etiof ve.The Cover: Craig Anderson, salmon farming toon Prince Charles producti on manager forCEO Orkney, Picture: Scott Scottish Salmon in Arran during his visit Binnie toCompany, Marine Richard Darbyshire (left), Harvest and the in 2016.Angus Photo: Iainat Ferguson Westerbister team Scapa Pier Photo: Blackburn
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20-21 22-23 18-19 24-27 News extra Salmon market SSPO Scottish Salmon Company
Current trends In good Julie Hesketh-Laird Meet thehealth new chief executive
Contents – Editor’s Welcome
58-60 48-49 41-43 42-44 38-39 Brussels Skipper showInnovation Aqua 2018 Aquaculture Salmon market Montpellier preview From shrimp torobust salmon Investor advice Fish farming focus
44-46 46-49 40-41 50-55 Brussels Aqua 2018 Innovation Aquaculture New processors’ groupon Sti rling course Pictures atmarket the exhibiti Insurance
61-63 Alternative species Kampachi is King
56 48-49 50-58 42-45 64-65 Book review Training Aqua 2018 Innovation Aquaculture Nets Tasmania Martyn Haines Conference round-up Best ofonthe start-ups Focus cleaner ﬁsh Predator proof
66-67 57 53-55 60-63 48-49 Kaeser Aquaculture Nor Fishing Aqua 2018 UK Net cleaning
24 20 20-21 28-29 22-23 Comment BTA Shellﬁ sh SSPO What’s in a name? Dr Nick Lake Phil Thomas
What’s in a name? Dr Nick Lake Phil Thomas Robbie Landsburgh
24-25 26 22-23 30 Shellﬁ sh Comment BTA
Introducti oncompressor Impressive Farming angle Focus on Africa Robot soluti ons
68-69 58-59 60-63 68-69 51 Pharmaq Aquaculture Australia Training Sea bass UK VisionMitchell for smolt Barramundi boom Martyn Haines European leaders Chris
Montpellier report Dr Marti n Jaﬀ a Doug McLeod Martin Jaffa
28-31 24-25 26-27 32-33 SSPO Comment Scottish Shellﬁ sh Sea Farms Shellfish Nicki nHolmyard Rising stars Marti Jaﬀ a Orkney anniversary Janet Brown
32-33 26-27 26-30 34-35 28-32 Aquaculture Shellﬁ shﬁSea Cleaner sh Awards Scottish Farms Comment All thenBrown winners Janet Machrihanish Orkney farm Marti Jaﬀ a visit
69 64-67 70-73 52-54 70 Aquaculture UK Nigeria Networking Research Processing news Meet the team on Boosti ng producti Dave Chris Conley Mitchell Boosti ng production Dave Chris Mitchell SmartConley factories
34-37 34-35 28-29 32-33 36-41 Just the Comment Cleaner shday Orkney Farm visitﬁjob Stirling careers
72-73 81-82 76-77 56-59 Aqua Source Directory From the Archive Value chains Aquaculture UK
36-39 32-35 34-35 43-45 IoA careers Wild salmon Cleaner ﬁsh decline Orkney The mackerel hypothesis Transport Leask Marine Sti rling students
74 91 78-79 63 Opinion& Marketing News Retail Processing & Retail By Nick Joy
38-43 Cleaner fish
92-93 80-81 64-65 Aqua Source Directory
Marti nofJaﬀ a era Vaccines New player Dawn new
Find allLitt you need for the industry Awards David reports Growth inleChina Developing trends
Figure 9. 9. Development Development of of salmon salmon nominal nominal catch catch in in southern southern and and northern northern NEAC NEAC 1971 1971 to to 2016. 2016. Figure Text at at top top inserted inserted by by author. author. Filled Filled symbols symbols and and darker darker line line southern southern NEAC. NEAC. Text
Future of farming
44-57 46-47 40 37 36-37 Brussels Innovation Cleaner ﬁreports shconference Aquaculture Innovation
Save Pinneys jobs Carlisle jobs Recruitment Eat more ﬁshchallenges
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94 82 66 Opinion
Figure 10. 10. Examples Examples of of the the young young mackerel mackerel currently currently growing growing up up ‘all ‘all over’ over’ the the North North Sea, Sea, Figure Norwegian Sea Sea and and along along the the Norwegian Norwegian coast coast at at the the moment. moment. These These were were caught caught in in aa ‘washing ‘washing Norwegian set’ by by the the purse purse seiner seiner ‘Brennholm’ ‘Brennholm’ at at an an arbitrary arbitrary position position 100 100 nm nm west west of of the the Lofoten Lofoten Isles Isles in in set’ January 2018. At this stage these small mackerels are competitors to the postsmolt salmon, January 2018. At this stage these small mackerels are competitors to the postsmolt salmon, later they they will will be be both both competitors competitors and and potential potential predators. predators. The The new new and and abundant abundant availability availability later Printed in Great Britain for the proprietors Wyvex Media Ltd by J Thomson Colour Printers Ltd, Printed in Great Britain for the proprietors Wyvex Media Ltd by J Thomson Colour Printers Ltd, Printed Printed in in Great Great Britain Britain for for the the proprietors proprietors Wyvex Wyvex Media Media Ltd Ltd by by JJ Thomson Thomson Colour Colour Printers Printers Ltd, Ltd,of juvenile mackerel in the multi sea winter salmon feeding areas may be a good explanation to of juvenile mackerel in the multi sea winter salmon feeding areas may be a good explanation to Glasgow ISSN 0262-9615 Glasgow ISSN ISSN 0262-9615 0262-9615 why the the MSW MSW fishes fishes have have such such aa good good condition condition at at present present despite despite their their poor poor early early sea sea growth. growth. Glasgow Glasgow ISSN 0262-9615 why Photo JC JC Holst. Holst. Photo
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09/05/2018 18:05:09 08/08/2018 15:36:28 06/09/2018 16:32:15 04/10/2018 09:15:28 04/06/2019 18:05:09 16:43:10 09/05/2018 08/08/2018 15:36:28 06/09/2018 16:32:15 04/10/2018 09:15:28
United Kingdom News
New Orkney farm to bring £3.2m boost for Scotland SCOTTISH Sea Farms has won approval for a new salmon farm in Orkney which, it says, will bring a £3.2 million boost to the Scottish supply chain. The site, off the small island of Hunda within Scapa Flow, has been years in the planning. With consent to grow up to 1,677 tonnes of salmon, the new farm will see investment in infrastructure including: • 60m grid structure and associated mooring systems; • 12 x 100m diameter pens which will beneﬁt from innovative
Above: Scapa Flow, Orkney
new netting to keep salmon and local marine life safely separate; • 200-tonne feed barge with high-tech
control room and capacity to control feed portions to the nearest 50g; • Underwater cam-
eras to monitor ﬁsh health and behaviour in real-time; • Environmental monitoring technology to detect any changes in oxygen levels or water quality; and • 14m catamaran-style workboat. Scottish Sea Farms’ production manager for Orkney, Richard Darbyshire, said: ‘Salmon farming continues to advance at great pace and this new farm at Hunda will beneﬁt from the latest knowhow and technologies. ‘Each and every aspect of our farming activity has been
carefully considered: from enhancing ﬁsh health and welfare, to protecting local marine life and the surrounding environment.’ Overseeing day-today activities at Hunda will be a specialist farm team, creating six new full-time roles and delivering a £200,000 cash injection in terms of local salaries. There will also be signiﬁcant investment in training and development, further adding to the existing skills base in Orkney. Scottish Sea Farms’ head of Human Resources, Tracy
Bryant-Shaw, said: ‘Well paid, skilled jobs are crucial to enabling people to remain within remote and rural communities, so we’re delighted to be contributing an additional six full-time jobs to Orkney. ‘Each job comes with training and development, delivered by local providers wherever possible, including the opportunity for those in trainee roles to undertake a Modern Apprenticeship.’ Scottish Sea Farms scores hattrick: Page 28.
Go ahead for GM feed trials Ace leader scoops Director of the Year innovation prize NEW trials using genetically modiﬁed camelina plants have been given the go-ahead by the government. Rothamsted Research, in Hertfordshire, in collaboration with the University of Stirling’s Institute of Aqaculture and the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, has shown that genetically modiﬁed oils from the plant were an effective substitute for ﬁsh oil in the feeds of farmed salmon. The new research will determine performance in the ﬁeld, and the seed oil yield, of transgenic camelina plants that have been engineered to accumulate omega-3 ﬁsh oils in their seeds. These fatty acids, also known as omega-3 long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids, help protect against human cardiovascular disease. A recent study led by the University of Southampton found the uptake and use of these oils by the body was the same whether plant or ﬁsh based sources were consumed. The hope is to develop a sustainable source of these beneﬁcial oils from plants rather than from oceanic sources.
Above: Jonathan Napier
UK news.indd 4
Year – Family Business DUNDEE based Ace Aquatec categories. has added another award He said: ‘Obviously, there to an impressive haul, with are people who are leaders managing director Nathan in their own sector who we Pyne-Carter named Director were going up against, and of the Year in the innovation it was a really nice surprise category of the Institute of to find that what we’re doDirectors Scotland awards ing in the aquaculture space last month. is perceived well and to get The judges said Pyne-Cartthis acknowledgement for er, who has pioneered a the hard work that we’re range of technical solutions Above: Winner, Nathan Pyne-Carter doing in that space. for the aquaculture industry, ‘It’s good to see that, compared to other is ‘a leader who understands and embraces sectors, we are also standing out for our innoinnovation and this innovation has wider vation and technology development.’ reaching impacts than on the business – the This year, Ace Aquatec won the Queen’s Award environment, ethics and sustainability’. for Enterprise Innovation for the second year in Pyne-Carter, who was a finalist in three catea row. It was recognised for the positive impact gories, won the Scottish Government Director its electric Humane Stunner Universal (HSU) of the Year – Innovation prize, beating finalists has on animal welfare across the global seafood from Trossachs Distillery, the Data Lab and industry. Last year, the company’s Queen’s Eserve International. Award victory was based on the contribution its The awards, held at the DoubleTree by Hilton acoustic predator deterrents have made to the Glasgow Central Hotel, had 11 main categories, Scottish economy. with a further seven regional awards. Two years ago, Pyne-Carter beat Norwegian Pyne-Carter was also shortlisted in the IoD innovators to scoop the coveted innovation Scotland Director of the Year – Small-Medium award at the Aqua Nor exhibition in Trondheim. Business, and Turcan Connell Director of the
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Salmon farmer wins ‘excellence’ award for export ager, Celine Kimpﬂin, said:‘This is a hugely proud moment, not just for the export team but for everyone at Scottish Sea Farms: from all those working hard out on the farms, through to our quality, processing and supply teams, and the many other departments that all play a part in delivering a premium quality product beﬁtting of its Scottish provenance. It really is a true Above: James Grant, and team, with the award team effort.’ The awards, held at the SCOTTISH Sea Farms won the Corn Exchange in Edinburgh, were coveted Export Business of the Year attended by Scotland’s First Minister, award in the Scottish Food & Drink Nicola Sturgeon, who congratulatExcellence Awards, held in Edined all the ﬁnalists, in a total of 18 burgh in May. categories. The company beat off stiff compeSturgeon paid tribute to the food tition from fellow industry ﬁnalists, and drink industry’s ‘excellence the Scottish Salmon Company and success’ and also presented a and Loch Fyne Oysters, as well as posthumous award for Outstanding from ice cream maker Mackie’s of Contribution to Scotland’s Food and Scotland. Drink to the late chef,Andrew Fairlie. Scottish Sea Farms’ exports were This year’s awards attracted record worth £91 million last year and the entries, said James Withers, chief company now sells salmon to 24 executive of Food & Drink Scotland, different countries. It also has the and 800 people turned up for the contract to supply Marks & Spencer awards night, hosted by restaurant in the domestic market. critic Jay Rayner. The company’s export sales man-
SSF profits drop but Orkney performs well SALMON farming giant SalMar has reported reduced revenues and proﬁts from its Scottish Sea Farms operations in the ﬁrst quarter of 2019, the group’s latest ﬁgures show. Q1 revenues fell from NOK 519 million (£46.6 million) in 2018 to NOK 405 million (£36.3 million) this year, while pre-tax proﬁts dropped from NOK 178 million (£16 million) to NOK 58 million (£5.2 million). SalMar blamed the decrease in revenues to lower harvest volumes, which fell by 1,700 tonnes to 4,800 tonnes. It said the bulk of the volume harvested came from Orkney, which enjoyed good operational performance and average weights. The remaining volume harvested came from mainland Scotland. The UK business, which SalMar shares with Lerøy Seafood, has been hit by
various biological problems, particularly in Shetland, and the results were not unexpected. However, SalMar said in its annual report a few weeks ago that Scottish Sea Farms, also known as Norskott Havbruk, was starting to turn the corner thanks to high harvest weights, good prices and improvements in cost reductions. The business is scheduled to harvest 30,000 tonnes this year. ‘The ﬁnancial result has been negatively affected by costs relating to high mortality at certain sites,’ said SalMar. ‘Fifty per cent of the quarter’s volume was sold under contract. Operational EBIT per kg gutted weight came to NOK 22.78 in the ﬁrst quarter 2019, compared with NOK 26.67 per kg in the same period in 2018.’
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UK news.indd 5
Twinjection is PHARMAQ`s system for the simultaneous administration of two vaccines. Twinjection will reduce handling, stress and the operational cost of the vaccination procedure compared to sequential injection. Twinjection is thus beneficial for both the fish and the farmer.
United Kingdom News Clearly it is important to ensure that correct doses of each vaccine are injected with Twinjection. PHARMAQ has tested the most common vaccination equipment in use today in order to assure secure and precise injection of each vaccine when co-injected. We can help to make specific recommendations and give guidance on best practice for each machine and gun.
Vets hail vaccine authorisation
PHARMAQ has been granted a new marketing authorisation in the UK and Ireland for its multicomponent vaccine containing Moritella component. The Alpha Ject micro 6 vaccine, a POM-V (prescription Testing of Twinjection technology. only medicine – veterinarian), is indicated for use in Atlantic salmon to reduce mortality caused by infections with Aeromonas salmonicida (furunculosis) Vibrio salmonicida (coldwater vibriosis), Listonella anguillarum serotype O1 and O2 (vibriosis), Moritella viscosa (winter sore) and IPNV (infectious pancreatic necrosis). Up until now, veterinarians wishing to prescribe this vaccine for Scottish fish have had to do so with authorisation from the Veterinary Medicines Directorate through the issue of a Special Import CertifiPHARMAQ can also help manage the vaccination process if requested by a customer.
cate.(SIC). With the removal of the SIC requirement, under which 50 million doses have hitherto been deployed in the UK alone, Pharmaq will be able to supply the local industry with the only Moritella component vaccine that enjoys a full MA in the UK and Ireland. pharmaq.com Alpha Ject micro 1PD, also a POM-V medicine, already enjoys a full MA in the UK and Ireland.This contains Salmon Pancreas Disease Virus (SPDV) for active immunisation of Atlantic salmon to reduce clinical signs (heart lesions and pancreas lesions), viraemia, viral shedding and mortality from infection with SPDV (pancreas disease). It is documented for combined use with Alpha Ject micro 6, thus the two vaccines can provide a flexible solution for vaccination of salmon.
Photo: Ian Georgeson
China suspends direct Scottish route THE only direct flights between Scotland and China are to be suspended from September, according to reports. The route, which opened less than a year ago, was described by salmon companies as a huge advantage in getting fresh fish to the growing Chinese export market as quickly as possible. The freight service, which provided an alternative to transporting exports to China via Heathrow or the Middle East, was welcomed at the time by Mowi, which sent more than three tonnes of salmon on the inaugural flight last June. However, Hainan Airlines is no longer taking bookings after September 1 on the Edinburgh to Beijing flights, raising fears that the service may be abandoned altogether. Georgina Wright, head of sales at Mowi, said: ‘While we are disappointed about the flight suspension from Edinburgh, we have lots of options via Heathrow and Glasgow for other markets than China so there will be no negative impact on our increasing exports to the Chinese market or elsewhere in the world.’ The route also includes a stopover at Dublin but passenger interest in the four flights a week is understood to have been disappointing. Travel agents and Edinburgh Airport linked the move to the Scottish government’s failure to cut air taxes and the matter was discussed at First Minister’s questions in the Scottish parliament last month. Nicola Sturgeon said: ‘We hope the service will return for the summer season when passenger numbers are likely to be higher. We will work with the airport and the airline to secure that.’ One aviation source told The Scotsman: ‘They are stopping the service in August. Above: A piper marked the first Hainan Airlines direct flight to It is almost certain it’s final as passenger Edinburgh last June loads have been poor since the start.’
UK news.indd 6
Scottish salmon exports grow SCOTTISH salmon exports in the first quarter of the year were valued at around £152 million, up 27 per cent on the same period last year. The figure, an increase of £32 million for January to March sales, was close to the Q1 total for 2017, a record year for salmon exports. Farmers exported some 22,500 tonnes of fresh, chilled salmon in the first quarter of 2019, according to the statistics from Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs. The EU remained the largest single regional market, accounting for more
than 45 per cent of exports by value at around £69 million. France maintained its position as Scottish salmon’s biggest importer followed by the United States, where there has been particularly strong growth, and China. Sales to Eastern Europe, Latin America, the Caribbean and Sub-Saharan Africa fell.
Signs of progress at Grieg in Shetland GRIEG Seafood is continuing to battle with biological and other problems at its Shetland operations, but there are signs of progress, the group’s impressive 2019 first quarter figures show. Shetland harvest volumes increased by 49 per cent from Q1 2018 to 1,788 tonnes, and revenues rose by 41 per cent from NOK 86.8 million to NOK 122.3 million. However, the division made an operating loss (EBIT) of NOK 24.9 million (about £2.2 million) compared to a loss of NOK 7.1 million in the
same period last year. Grieg said that despite challenges with gill related disease and winter ulcers last year, the quality of fish was high, with a good average weight. And while the price achieved was also good, it was lower than a year ago.The survival rate was 85 per cent.The company said costs were likely to remain high for the time being, but it expected a gradual reduction as harvest volumes increased. Grieg Seafood Shetland is co-operating with other sea farmers in the region to establish a more sustainable marine biology.
Scotland boosts strong Mowi Q1 performance MOWI’S Scottish operations played a key role in the world’s largest salmon farming company announcing strong results for the first three months of this year. The company reported a 2019 Q1 group operational EBIT of €196 million, considerably up from the figure of €158 million over the same period a year ago. The operational EBIT from Scottish operations more than doubled from €16.1 million in Q1 2018 to €35.8 million this year. Salmon of Scottish origin also achieved the best operational EBIT per kilo increase, up from €1.85 per kg in 2018 to €2.27 this quarter. Salmon of Norwegian origin achieved an operational EBIT per kilo of € 2.07 (€2.26) while
salmon of Canadian origin reported operational EBIT per kilo of €1.41 (€1.10). Salmon of Chilean origin reported operational EBIT per kilo of €1.47 (€1.36). Salmon of Irish origin had an operational EBIT per kg of €4.38 (€4.37). Mowi Feed reported an operational EBIT of €-2.4 million (€ – 4.3 million). Mowi Consumer Products reported an operational EBIT of €5.8 million (€21.9 million) Biological performance remains a top priority, but some areas are challenging.
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Farm supplier Fusion ﬁnds Sanctuary
Above: Fusion’s exsiting site
AQUACULTURE equipment manufacturer Gael Force Fusion is to take over the site of the former Scottish Sea Life Sanctuary near Oban. The company, part of the Gael Force Group, will move from its current location at Barcaldine, leased from Scottish Sea Farms. Gael Force Fusion has unveiled plans for investment and the creation of new jobs at the location, adding a possible eight staff to its current total of 22. A planning application is being
prepared for Change of Use and will be submitted to Argyll and Bute Council in the near future. The new premises will enable Gael Force Fusion to continue with its plans to invest in innovative ﬁsh farm pen systems, research and development, technical design and manufacturing, the company said. Gael Force Group managing director Stewart Graham said: ‘This is a clear indication of our commitment to the Argyll region, where we will be aiming to regenerate an existing unused business premises to support our continued strategic growth plans and large programme of work. ‘The positive outcome of our investment is that we are able to support our current workforce, move ahead with our plans for creating further sustainable jobs in Argyll.’
Project unlocks lobster rearing potential A PIONEERING project rearing lobsters in new sea based systems has shown great potential. Led by the National Lobster Hatchery (NLH) in Padstow, Cornwall, the threeyear initiative – named Lobster Grower 2 (LG2) – used sea based container culture systems, which required no feed inputs. More than 26,000 lobsters were deployed into culture containers in St Austell Bay, and were monitored to determine production success. The scheme, which is now complete, accumulated the world’s largest data set detailing the development of European lobster juveniles, with the collection of over 48,000 observations of survival and 15,300 measurements of growth. It will be invaluable to both industry development and future research, said the NLH’s consortium partners who include
Seafood expert new Loch Duart chair
Above: Carly Daniels with the NLH team
the University of Exeter, Westcountry Mussels of Fowey, Cefas (the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science), and Falmouth University. The consortium also studied the diet of these early stage lobsters by examining the assemblages of organisms fouling the culture containers (from which the lobsters feed off) as well as analysis of the gut content. The group said LG2 has unlocked the secrets to lobster aquaculture by identifying the key barriers to commercial realisation. Carly Daniels, principal investigator of LG2 and head of Production, Science
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Loch Duart wins top export prize
at the Insider Made in INDEPENDENT Scotland Awards. Scottish salmon ‘We’re a small farmer Loch Duart company with big has scooped the ambitions and this is a Exporter of the Year success we share with prize at the 2019 our loyal customers Insider Made in Scotaround the world. land Awards, held in ‘From our amazing Glasgow last month. team at the farms in Loch Duart’s sucAbove: Alban Denton Sutherland and the cess in exporting to 20 Uists, to the staff at all our countries and its strong trade ofﬁces in Scotland and France, with chefs and restaurants we work hard to ensure that around the world was recour customers get the Loch ognised at the awards night, staged at the Glasgow Science Duart salmon they love on Centre and hosted by comedi- to the menus of restaurants and hotels across the globe. an Fred MacAuley. Thanks to everyone that Based in Sutherland and the helped us win this award.’ Uists, the salmon producer Loch Duart has recenthas seen its export sales grow ly made signiﬁcant capital by 68 per cent over the last investment to support the two ﬁnancial years, to an allgrowth of the business, includtime high for the business. ing more than three quarters Chief executive Alban of a million pounds on ﬁsh Denton said of Loch Duart’s health and welfare and over triumph: ‘We are so proud £3 million on boats, feeding that Loch Duart has been equipment and other assets. named Exporter of the Year
and Development for the NLH, said: ‘The pinch points highlighted through LG2, including the prohibitive cost of lobster juvenile seed, gives lobster aquaculture innovation a clear direction that has transferable outcomes to improving stock enhancement and aquaculture alike. ‘LG2 has helped make key advances in lobster aquaculture with the vision to making lobster aquaculture a viable venture by 2030. It has also generated a wealth of knowledge relating to the development of early life stages in the wild - an area which has bafﬂed marine biologists for years.’
LOCH Duart has appointed a new chairman with a background in the seafood sector. Alistair Erskine was the owner of the Edinburgh Salmon Company and has also managed J W Seafoods, Allen & Dey (seafood processors) and salmon farming company, Highland Fish Farmers. He takes over from Dr Andrew Barbour, who has been chairman since 2008 having joined as a non-exec director in 2002. Alban Denton, managing director of Loch Duart, said: ‘Loch Duart is very fortunate to be appointing Alistair Erskine, whose understanding of the Scottish and UK seafood markets and the global importance of this industry, runs side by side with our growing, international ambitions. ‘Alistair’s industry insight and commercial acumen is widely known. He has long been at the forefront of the seafood sector, having previously owned the Edinburgh Salmon Company, which he built into one of the largest salmon processors in the Scottish Highlands.’ Erskine said: ‘It’s an exciting time to be joining Loch Duart and I look forward to working with them as the business continues to grow and build on its reputation for extraordinary salmon which is loved around the world. ‘I have a passion for the seafood sector and look forward to bringing my experience of running businesses in salmon farming, salmon processing and smoking to support this amazing company and brand.’ Loch Duart, based in Sutherland and the Uists, celebrates its 20th anniversary this year.
Lay-offs ‘inevitable’ in algae crisis SEAFOOD Norway, the body which represents the country’s fishing and aquaculture industry, has warned there are likely to be serious economic consequences from the large algae outbreak which has devastated salmon farms in the Nordland and Troms regions. Around 13,000 tonnes, or eight million fish, worth more than two billion kroner have been lost in the worst algae bloom for 28 years. Seafood Norway’s regional manager, Marit Bærøe, said huge challenges lay ahead for the companies, their employees and the affected coastal
Above: Harald Tom Nesvik
communities. ‘At the moment, the main focus has been on how to handle the algae outbreak. The co-operation we have
seen so far within the industry has been quite unique.’ As the crisis deepened last month, millions of salmon were
Fresh trouble for afﬂicted farm A NORWEGIAN salmon farmer already badly hit by the algae crisis reported an escape at one of its afflicted farms. Nordlaks said the escape was a result of a hole in a newt. The company lost a reported 1,506 tonnes of salmon -- around 1.2 million 1.3kg sized fish -- from the algae bloom in just four days. The losses would have equated to 5,500 tonnes of fish at market size. Meanwhile, Cermaq saw a new attack of algae at its site in Ofoten, Salmon Business reported at the beginning of June. The farmer reportedly lost about 50,000 fish with an average weight of 3kg in the latest setback. There had been about two million fish before the algal bloom, but the site has now lost all its fish. In a large-scale rescue operation before the new attack, Cermaq successfully completed an evacuation of four million fish from three locations in Nordland. Altogether, the company has lost approximately 2.8 million fish, or 3,500 tonnes of biomass, after the toxic algae bloom, according to Salmon Business.
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moved to stop them from being suffocated by the algae outbreak. Several companies, including Nordlaks, Ellingsen Seafood, Lerøy Aurora and Nordnorsk Stamfisk, tried to save their fish, transferring them by well boats in an operation lasting between 18 and 24 hours. Line Ellingsen of Ellingsen Seafood said the company has already managed to save 850,000 fish worth 250 million kroner. ‘It has been a desperate battle against the clock, but the evacuation so far has gone well. ‘We are doing what we can to avoid further losses,’ she told the
website and journal DN.no. Seafood Norway CEO Geir Ove Ystmark said that when such a large salmon stock has perished, several companies were certain to face long periods with no production, which will inevitably lead to lay-offs. ‘This will not only hit our members, but it will also affect those who work in the industry,’ he added. ‘We will therefore be in close contact with the trade unions and those municipalities which have been affected.’ He said Seafood Norway has already been in contact with unions and other professional
bodies representing those who work in the industry. Fisheries minister Harald Tom Nesvik, who visited some of the worst hit farms, has already indicated that the government will offer compensation to companies who have been hit, but has not gone into detail or said whether it will include those workers who lose their jobs. Salmon prices in Norway have fallen following the outbreak, but seafood analysts are predicting there will be a shortage of salmon over the next few months, leading to a sharp price increase throughout the northern hemisphere.
Mowi to build new smokehouse in France MOWI has announced it will build a brand new, automated processing plant on the same site as the French facility destroyed in a fire last year. The new unit at the Landivisiau, Brittany, site will replace the Marine Harvest Kritsen processing factory, with a cost of around 60 million euros (£52.8 million). France will also be the next market to see the roll-out of the company’s new MOWI brand premium range salmon, which was first launched in Poland earlier this year.
‘France is one of the biggest salmon markets globally and the board’s decision ensures the continuation of Kritsen’s and Mowi’s long tradition of producing high quality smoked products in the country,’ said Mowi. The new processing plant will be key in the development of the MOWI brand in France, said the company. Construction of the ‘highly automated’ smokehouse’ will begin at the end of 2019, with the first smoked salmon in early 2021. The volumes produced will be 2,000 tonnes per year at the
time of the launch in January 2021, to reach 3,000 tonnes in January 2022. This will lead to the retention of 166 jobs. ‘Thanks to this modern and efficient plant, we will be able to respond to the basic trends of the French smoked salmon market and meet the expectations of consumers, who increasingly prefer products of superior quality, while offering the best industrial standards, from farming to distribution,’ said Fabrice Barreau, managing director of Mowi Western Europe.
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Egg production unit opens in Norway every kind of aquaculture, and here we have a facility that gives us the ultimate in biosecurity and production capability for the very first critical stage of producing eggs that are going to grow, thrive and produce the quality product that we all believe in so much. ‘Alongside the production capability we also have to develop genetics that drive forward production efficiency and sustainability of production.’ The unit, planned for more than five years and completAbove: Benchmark’s new egg production unit - a ‘fantastic site’ ed on schedule, was testament to Benchmark’s dedication to A NEW salmon egg production unit capable of producing at least 150 million eggs a year was the salmon sector, Pye added. ‘This is our commitment to the future of the opened last month in Sørfold, Norway. The plant, described by owner Benchmark as salmon industry. We have a tremendous belief in the industry. ‘the world’s best facility of its kind’, will focus ‘We know it is going to continue to grow and on quality, said the company’s CEO, Malcolm prosper and we are totally committed in playPye. ing our part in that.’ Addressing 250 guests at the opening of the Stig Joar Krogli, general manager of the site, site, he said: ‘We are putting together somesaid: ‘It’s a fantastic site, producing fantastic thing that is vital for the future. This is at the forefront of the salmon industry’s development. quality eggs and it’s a dream to work here – a view of the future, of what we can do.’ ‘Disease is one of the critical elements in
New boss at North Atlantic Seafood Forum
THE former chief of MSD Animal Health is to head the North Atlantic Seafood Forum (NASF), the prestigious annual seafood conference. Johan Kvalheim will replace Jørgen J. Lund at the helm of the Bergen based event, which is held every March. Kvalheim graduated from the Norwegian College of Fishery Science in Tromsø in 1997. He holds an MBA in International Business from the ENPC School of International Management in Paris. He has played senior roles at Norwegian salmon farmer Lerøy, and at the Norwegian Seafood Council, and in 2013 he was appointed managing director of MSD, Norway’s largest veterinary medicine company. Kvalheim left MSD in 2018 to set up the seafood export company, Star Seafood, with other leading seafood executives. He is expected to remain with the company until this month, when he will join the North Atlantic Seafood Forum. NASF is described as the biggest seafood business conference in the world, with a focus on salmon, white and pelagic fish, and processing. The 15th NASF conference will take place from March Above: Johan Kvalheim 3-5, 2020
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Grieg catching up with big players GRIEG Seafood is no longer swimming in the shadow of the big salmon farming players on financial markets, a leading industry observer has suggested. Tore Tønseth, a seafood analyst at the investment organisation Spare-Bank 1 Markets, said that so far this year the value of the company’s Above: Andreas Kvame shares on the Oslo Stock Exchange had risen by an average of just over six per cent, and went up by nine per cent after the company unveiled impressive first quarter figures in May. Those figures revealed a nine per cent rise in revenues and a 30 per cent increase in harvest volumes. He pointed out that the surge in share values had taken place during a weak period for salmon stocks in general. Grieg also reported that it was making progress in tackling its biological problems in Shetland. Tønseth told the Norwegian business journal Finansavisen: ‘Historically, Grieg Seafood has been among the weaker companies operationally on the Oslo Stock Exchange.
‘They have exposure to the extremes of farming, in both the south and north of Norway, and (the performance of) its operations in Shetland and Canada have varied from time to time.’ But he had been pleasantly surprised by the seafood company’s first quarter results. ‘With considerable investment and new management, much has begun to go the right way for Grieg Seafood,’ he said. Tønseth praised the work of Andreas Kvame, who became CEO in 2015, and said that due to low utilisation of existing licences, the company had had a lot to work on in volume terms. This had doubled the effect on earnings. ‘The volume increase will, in isolation, also increase earnings, but with higher volume, the company will also get better utilisation of its infrastructure, which in turn reduces the unit cost.’ Grieg Seafood expects to harvest 82,000 tonnes this year and has set a goal of 100,000 tonnes for 2020.
NRS proﬁts drop despite higher revenues DESPITE a near seven per cent increase in operating revenues for the first quarter of 2019, the fish farmer Norway Royal Salmon took a big knock on its operating profits or EBIT, its figures showed last month. Revenue rose from NOK 1,391.8 million a year ago to NOK 1,486 million this year, an increase of 6.8 per cent, thanks mainly to higher prices. But the group saw its operational EBIT fall from NOK 192.7 million (£17.3 million) in 2018 to NOK 164.3 million (£14.7 million) this year, a drop of NOK 28.4 million or around 15 per cent. The decline, said NRS, was largely due to lower harvested volumes. ‘The first quarter was challenging for the NRS’ sales operations, with low margins contributing negatively to the profitability in the quarter,’ the company said. ‘The sales volume was 1.3 per cent higher than in the same quarter last year, while 71 per cent of the harvested fish was sold on the spot market and 29 per cent sold at fixed prices. ‘The fixed price contracts resulted in a gain of NOK 2.1 million compared to the level of spot prices.
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‘The sales volumes to Asia increased by 34 per cent and the volumes sold in Norway increased by 24 per cent in the quarter.’ NRS said the export volumes to west and east Europe decreased by six and three per cent respectively. But west Europe is still its biggest market, accounting for 72 per cent of export volumes. Asia accounts for 21 per cent. The farming business harvested 8,096 tonnes (10,935 tonnes) gutted weight in the quarter, a decrease of 26 per cent on a year ago. NRS said European demand remained strong and demand in Asia was developing well.
Bakkafrost posts lower Q1 profit THE Faroese salmon farming group Bakkafrost announced a first quarter operating profit (EBIT) of 267.7 million Danish kroner (£30.6 million), marginally lower than the same period 12 months ago. HarAbove: Regin Jacobsen vest volumes, however, were up from 12,200 tonnes to 13,700 tonnes this year. The company said that while salmon spot prices had picked up since the end of last year, they were still lower than those for Q1 2018 and this had a negative effect on the overall operational EBIT. The farming segment made an operational EBIT of DKK 229.7 million which corresponds to (Norwegian) NOK 21.86 per kg. The VAP segment made an operational EBIT of DKK 1.3 million for Q1 2019. The VAP production was 4,700 tonnes gutted weight in Q1 2019, compared to 2,100 tonnes in Q1 2018. The combined farming and VAP segments made an operational EBIT of DKK 231.1 million for Q1 2019, which corresponds to NOK 21.99 per kg. The operational EBITDA for the fishmeal, oil and feed (FOF) segment was DKK 65.3 million. Commenting on the results, CEO Regin Jacobsen said: ‘The disrupted market balance from Q4 2018 into Q1 2019 resulted in a weaker than expected result in the farming segment in the first part of Q1 2019. ‘We are pleased, however, to experience a better market development and more activity in the VAP segment. ‘Our new hatchery at Strond is now about to start the fourth batch, since the first eggs were hatched last summer. The first smolts will be transferred to sea sites in the second half of 2019.’ He added: ‘The biological development was very positive during Q1 2019. Investments in reducing risks, improving efficiency and creating growth continue with several new projects, mainly focusing on smolt capacity, in addition to a new live fish carrier and a new biogas plant.’ The outlook for the farming segment was good and Bakkafrost said it expected to harvest 54,500 tonnes gutted weight this year.
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Inventor of Stingray lice laser award finalist THE creator of the Stingray sea lice laser has been named as a finalist in the European Inventor of the Year award. Norwegian Ebsen Beck is one of 15 on a shortlist selected by the European Patent Office to go forward to the contest in Vienna on June 20. He is also just one of three contesting the small and medium business section. The Stingray is a submers- Above: Ebsen Beck ible robot that tracks its The Stingray can operate around surroundings and emits a the clock, killing tens of thoupowerful green laser beam in the sands of sea lice each day, claims direction of its target. its manufacturer, Stingray Marine On-board computers use stereSolutions. oscopic cameras and image recThe company, through which ognition software to scan nearby fish and pinpoint sea lice on their Beck patented and commercialised the technology, has created bodies in just seven milliseconds. 50 new jobs in Norway and posted The Stingray then locks its laser an annual turnover of nearly €10 beam on to the parasite and fires million in 2018. a short pulse of intense green The 2019 finalists in the Europelight. The 532-nanometer-wavean awards come from 12 counlength laser is lethal to the sea tries and their inventions cover a lice but reflects off the salmon’s range of fields. shiny scales.
Record month for Norwegian salmon APRIL proved to be another outstanding month for Norway’s salmon and trout farmers, with exports continuing their relentless and impressive rise. Thanks to strong global demand, sales of salmon hit a record at 86,000 tonnes and were worth NOK 6.2 billion (£540 million), a volume rise of 17 per cent and an increase in value of NOK 995 million or 19 per cent. These latest figures bring total salmon ex-
ports so far this year to 333,000 tonnes worth almost NOK 23 billion (around £2 billion). Paul T. Aandahl, analyst at the Norwegian Seafood Council, said Poland was the most important export market for Norwegian salmon and also showed the largest growth last month. This was due to higher domestic consumption and increased processing of frozen fillets and smoked salmon for onward export, especially to Germany. Ingrid K. Pettersen, his analyst colleague at the council, said Asia and the United States also showed
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strong demand, with a weaker kroner helping sales. Farmed trout exports are also picking up, with sales last month rising four per cent to 3,800 tonnes and worth NOK 275 million, a value increase of 14 per cent. So far this year revenues from trout are up by 19 per cent and worth a total of NOK 1 billion. Aandahl said there had been exceptionally strong growth in smoked trout sales, which had risen by 145 per cent over the past 12 months. Total Norwegian seafood exports hit 8.8 billion kroner in April, a rise of NOK 892 million or nine per cent. Frozen cod performed particularly well.
Exciting entries for Aqua Nor award THERE have been a record number of applicants for the Aqua Nor Innovation Award, with the winner to be announced at the exhibition in Trondheim in August. Among the entrants is at least one Scottish company, although the last winner, Dundee based Ace Aquatec, said it had not entered any of its innovations this year. Ace Aquatec beat two Norwegian finalists in 2017 when it was recognised by the judges for its work in fish welfare, after developing the in-water electric stunner, the HSU (Humane Stunner Universal). The firm’s managing director, Nathan Pyne-Carter, picked up the award and a NOK 100,00 cheque. This year, the Nor-Fishing Foundation, organiser of the biennial Aqua Nor exhibition, said it had received 30 applications, three more than in 2017. Some 40 per cent of applications were from foreign applicants, with entries from Tasmania, Taiwan, the United States, Canada, Spain, the Netherlands, Scotland, England, Denmark (three) and Finland. Project manager for Aqua Nor 2019, Kari Steinsbø, said there was great professional variety among candidates, and several were focused on AI (artificial intelligence) and IoT (Internet of Things). The technology will, among other things, control processes on farms and organise and collect information, to create environmental improvements, good animal welfare and a healthy economy in the aquaculture industry, said Nor-Fishing. The applications feature RAS plants and components, the electrical operation of work vessels, the commercial utilisation of waste from fish farms, and health and safety equipment included in work clothes. Other entries include the hiding places and transport equipment for lumpfish, temperature control in the transport chain for farmed fish, and language and vocational training adapted to foreign operators entering the Norwegian aquaculture industry. The Innovation Award has been established for more than two decades and has been important for research and development in the supplier companies, said Steinsbø. This, in turn, has contributed to further growth in the aquaculture industry, both nationally and internationally, he added. Nominations are now closed for the 2019 award and the jury is examining the applications. It will submit its recommendations on the three final candidates to the board of the Nor-Fishing Foundation in June. The winner – who will receive NOK 100,000 and a diploma – will be revealed on the opening day of this year’s exhibition on August 20. Aqua Nor is held in Trondheim Spektrum from August 20 to 23.
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Above: A Hatch cohort on a ﬁeld trip - the next group will be taken to Hawaii
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HATCH, the world’s first accelerator programme for sustainable aquaculture start-ups, is searching for industry pioneers to take part in its third cohort – in Hawaii. The company, which won an award for International Impact in last month’s Aquaculture Awards, held in Edinburgh, is expanding by offering more investment, more locations and more industry and investor connections. Bergen based Hatch set up its first aquaculture accelerator programme last year and, in the process, built up a network of mentors and supporters. So far, 16 investments have been made, involving 14 global aquaculture start-up companies, after the first two accelerator cohorts – in Bergen and Dublin. These young companies have already raised more than six million euros in follow-on funding, less than a year after the first programme began.
One of the companies, Bergen based Manolin, also won an Aquaculture Award, in the Most Promising New Entrant category. Carsten Krome, CEO of Hatch, said: ‘It’s been an incredible year of growth for us and we are extremely proud of our team, and indeed our portfolio companies which have shown so much dedication and commitment. ‘The programme this year is the biggest and most sophisticated we have done to date and unique in its set-up, not only within the aquaculture sector, but beyond.’ The third cohort will start in Hawaii, at the Hawaiian Ocean Science and Technology Park (HOST), an aquaculture innovation hub associated with the University of Hawaii. Each successful applicant will be offered 100,000 euros per team (half in cash, half in kind), as well as access to a global aquacul-
ture network, testing facilities, personal, technical and business mentoring sessions and global exposure to all relevant key players in aquaculture. Over a 15-week period, from August 26 to December 5, the participants will be taken from Hawaii to Bergen and Singapore. The Singapore visit will connect participants with the world’s largest seafood market and shine a light on tropical aquaculture. Hatch co-founder and COO Wayne Murphy said: ‘These incredible locations are a key part of our strategy to provide our start-ups with a truly global perspective of the aquaculture industry and offer an unforgettable experience. ‘ Hatch is aiming at accelerating 10 to 14 aquaculture technology start-ups per cohort. Applications are now open under www.hatch. blue/apply and will close on June 28.
Pentair to sell off aquaculture interests PENTAIR is to shut down part of its aquaculture business, the company announced at the beginning of the month. The water treatment company said in a statement: ‘Pentair has made the decision to shut down portions of its aquaculture business, which provides service, equipment and technology for the aquaculture industry. ‘While we believe the aquaculture business offers attractive long term opportunities, the short term business model does not meet our expectations.’ The company, founded in the US, with its headquarters in Minneapolis, added: ‘Aquaculture is a small business within Pentair’s approximately $1 billion aquatic systems segment.’ It has begun the process to market and sell portions of the aquaculture business including Vaki, which it acquired in 2016, and its Chile operations. ‘We are dedicated to ensuring a smooth transition for our customers, and are committed to providing resources to help employees through the transition”, said the company.
Maine event for land based farming Atlantic Sapphire raises the roof
Above: Site for a new land based salmon farm in Maine
A US company planning to grow salmon in land based tanks has completed the purchase of land for the venture, in Bucksport, Maine. Whole Oceans plans to farm Atlantic salmon in a recirculating aquaculture system. It hopes to initially produce 5,000 tonnes of salmon annually and eventually increase capacity to 20,000 tonnes. The company is also seeking sites for production on the west coast, and recently confirmed that it was buying a majority share in the world’s first land based salmon farming venture, Kuterra, which produces about 250 tonnes of salmon a year.. The British Columbia, Canada, based business was established by the Namgis First Nation in 2013, and has received government subsidies to remain operational. The owners have been trying to sell the facility for the past two years and said the deal advances their mission to ‘develop next-generation Atlantic salmon aquaculture on land’. Namgis First Nation have been leading opponents of traditional open net pen salmon farming on Canada’s west coast. Another company, Nordic Aquafarms, is also planning to establish a land based farm in the state of Maine. Its site, in Belfast, Maine, is looking to produce 16,000 tonnes of salmon in its initial phase, expanding to 33,000 tonnes. The company’s subsidiary, Fredrikstad Seafoods, began production at is Norwegian land based facility at the end of May, receiving the first 100,000 smolt. It is the first and only land based salmon farm in Norway and plans to produce 1,500 tonnes a year o begin with. A Dutch company, Kingfish Zeeland, has also recently announced it plans to move into land based farming in Maine. According to a report by Seafood Source, the farmer, which operates a recirculating aquaculture system yellowtail farm in Kats in the Netherlands, wants to build a much bigger RAS facility in the US. CEO Ohad Maiman told Seafood Source the company had considered 22 sites along the US east coast but had narrowed the list down to two sites, both in Maine.
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ATLANTIC Sapphire, the Norwegian company building the world’s largest land based salmon farm in Miami, revealed further expansion plans – before it has harvested a single fish. During a presentation in Oslo on May 8, the company disclosed that its target of rearing 90,000 tonnes of salmon by 2025 will increase to 200,000 tonnes by 2030. Such production levels would supply half the current US market and the announcement saw its share price soar. The company, led by Johan Andreassen, raised $90 million in half an hour in a stock sale, which will fund the second stage of the development in Florida. Atlantic Sapphire already has 1.6 million salmon in the water at its Miami site and plans its first harvest, of 6,000 tonnes, in 2020. It has attracted investment from leading Norwegian bank, DNB. Senior seafood analyst at the bank, Alexander Aukner, said land based salmon farms could deliver 341,000 tonnes of production by 2025, from 8,000 tonnes this year and 17,000 tonnes by 2020. But many of the projects remain on the drawing board, waiting further finance and planning permits. Above: Johan Andreassen
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Snapper up Costa Rica farm tours THE World Aquaculture Society (WAS) conference and trade fair taking place in Costa Rica later this year is offering visitors the option of two farm tours. Latin American & Caribbean Aquaculture 2019 (LACQUA19), in San Jose from November 20-22, has organised a tour to Truchas Reales, in San Gerardo de Dota, on November 19. The company is one of the largest producers of trout in Central America, with its products awarded for high standards of quality. A second tour, to Martec, located in Quepos, approximately three hours from San Jose, is also available. This open sea farm is located eight miles from Quepos, and has a 3-5km concession for snapper farming. Contact Carolina Amézquita at email@example.com for more information.
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World news.indd 14
All the latest industry news from around the world
US judge speeds up price ﬁxing lawsuit US lawyers are trying to speed up the pace of the salmon price fixing lawsuit against several Norwegian owned companies, Intrafish reported. Consolidated lawsuits by US companies suing the Norwegian firms could be subject to conditions of the Hague Convention. This would reportedly require the defendants to translate documents into Norwegian, and they would also have to be served notice in person, a process which could reportedly delay proceedings by up to a year. But the Florida judge in charge of the lawsuits, Cecilia Altonaga,has ruled that the Norwegian salmon firms would receive summonses in a timely fashion by email and via the public website
because each is a ‘major international business that conducts substantial business by email and maintains well-kept web pages in the English language’. She also noted the companies have US subsidiaries that they maintain ‘sufficiently close’ relationships with. The list of defendants includes: Mowi ASA; Marine Harvest USA; Marine Harvest Canada, Inc.; Ducktrap River of Maine LLC; Grieg Seafood ASA; Grieg Seafood BC Ltd; Bremnes Seashore AS; Ocean Quality AS; Ocean Quality North America Inc., Ocean Quality USA Inc; Ocean Quality Premium Brands, Inc; SalMar ASA; Leroy Seafood Group ASA; Leroy Seafood USA Inc.; and Scottish Sea Farms Ltd.
Canada farms hit by high lice levels HIGH levels of sea lice have been found on salmon farms in Clayoquot Sound, on the west coast of Vancouver Island, for the second year in a row, according to CBC news. Last year, half of Cermaq Canada’s 14 salmon farms in
Clayoquot Sound reported sea lice levels at or above the threshold that requires treatment under its federal licence. Several of those same sites have struggled to control the parasite this spring, prompting the company to accelerate its harvest plan to deal with the situation. Linda Sams, sustainable development director for Cermaq Canada, told CBC that the company is taking
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steps to prevent future sea lice outbreaks. It is reportedly using a more effective anti-lice treatment called Lufenuronon for the next crop of fish, and has a $12 million hydrolicer barge that can manually remove sea lice from farmed fish. Following last year’s outbreak, Cermaq temporarily stopped using Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) labels on fish produced from some of its British Columbia farms.
Interview – Craig Anderson
Scotland ﬁrst Salmon boss talks about Norwegian inﬂuence, attacks on the industry and expansion
RAIG Anderson, CEO of The Scottish Salmon Company, is not afraid to go it alone. An ardent defender of the industry – who sat alongside his fellow farmers to represent the sector at last year’s parliamentary inquiry, he relishes a challenge. Right now, this is ensuring that Scotland remains at the heart of the industry, and that the Scottish salmon sector is being well represented, both by government agencies and the Scottish Salmon Producers Organisation (SSPO), which he believes have been swayed by Norwegian inﬂuence. Anderson, like all Scottish salmon farmers, has ambitions to develop his company and Fish Farmer caught up with him on the boat from Ardrossan to Arran, where he hopes to open a new farm, with 4,500 tonnes capacity. The Scottish Salmon Company was holding its third community consultation on the island, meeting members of the public, listening to their views and answering their questions
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about the proposal and salmon farming in general. Previous sessions have been disrupted by organised protesters, but Anderson and his team are keen to engage with the local community. This is not, though, the toughest of his current concerns. As one of the biggest producers in Scotland, he wants to make certain there is strong representation to support the country’s status as a global salmon farmer. ‘The SSPO should be more focused on providing technical resources and driving ongoing improvements in standards to support the industry’s world leading position,’ said Anderson. ‘The Scottish farmed salmon industry is unique, with its own opportunities and challenges. There is too much focus on replicating Norwegian models and processes. ‘Norway is distinctly diﬀerent in terms of hydrographic and climatic conditions, scale of operations and legislative and operational infrastructure. ‘The focus needs to be Scottish-centric, developing platforms to drive the industry forward and supporting Scottish companies at its heart.’ The Scottish Salmon Company operates 60 sites on the west coast and the Hebrides, employing 650 people, many in remote areas. Headquartered in Edinburgh and listed on the Oslo stock exchange, it has shareholders all over the world, including in Norway and Scotland. ‘We’d like to see involvement and investment in the Scottish industry and, through SAIC [the Scottish Aquaculture Innovation Centre], a better way of looking at what Scotland can do as a nation, technology wise, education wise, investment wise and innovation wise in Scotland,’ said Anderson. ‘We want to work in partnership [with the SSPO] to ensure a united voice that serves the sector’s interests in Scotland inclusive, listening to and enabling the collective view of all its members, and fostering collaboration with regulators and other stakeholders. ‘We remain fully committed to being an active, responsible and collaborative member of the Scottish salmon farming industry, but our focus is creating and retaining value for Scotland.’ The company, along with the rest of the industry, has encountered rising hostility from anti-salmon farming activists, and not just at public meetings. In the past year, protests in Scotland have taken a more serious turn, with trespassing on farms now commonplace for all producers. Such tactics, as well as farm invasions and staﬀ intimidation, have long been deployed in British Columbia, on Canada’s west coast, but are new to Scotland. ‘It’s an absolute disgrace,’ said Anderson. ‘Our staﬀ are being intimidated by drones remotely ﬂown from cars in laybys.
Left: Scottish Salmon Company CEO Craig Anderson has just celebrated six years at the helm Opposite: Anderson on Arran last month - he wants the industry to be more ‘Scottishcentric’
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Interview – Craig Anderson
Status quo? I’ve been in a lot of businesses and I’ve never known one that’s faster moving
‘These drones are flown 20 to 30ft above our teams and individuals on the site, and film them, and it’s wrong. ‘We’ve also had divers on pens, trespassers on site, staff and fish being photographed and filmed day and night - most of the time without our knowledge and therefore without the appropriate awareness of health and safety on our operational sites.’ The company was targeted by protesters following an incident in Loch Roag, on Lewis, last summer. Due to unusually high sea temperatures and lack of rainfall, the farm experienced a sudden and significant outbreak of juvenile sea lice, said Anderson. The parasite thrives especially well in these conditions and, in large numbers, it can cause damage to fish skin. ‘Up until that point, these fish had been in very good health and it was distressing for our team to see their stock affected. ‘Urgent action was taken by our vets, who immediately provided emergency treatment for our fish. Some of the worst affected could not be saved, but the vast majority responded well to our interventions.
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‘We facilitated visits from the SSPCA, the Marine Scotland Fish Health Inspectorate and veterinarians from the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) – all of whom we cooperated with fully and who were satisfied by the immediate steps taken to remedy the situation. ‘However, at the time we became the focus of anti-salmon farm protesters when a diver filmed fish with sea lice, allegedly at the company’s Loch Roag site. ‘There is a lot of myth, scare-mongering, and misinformation and we have to live with that on a daily basis,’ he said. ‘We continually have had to defend the business against spurious claims. ‘We are a transparent organisation and if you compare the salmon industry to any other industry in the UK and the world I don’t know of an industry that’s more transparent and better regulated,’ he said. ‘However, some activists are demanding data from the salmon industry so that they can then use it against the industry; it’s an own goal.’ He said he had ‘serious reservations’ regard-
ing the call, by some, for seven-day real time reporting. ‘Time delay data does not detract from transparency and allows veterinary professionals the operational time and space to enact mitigation and welfare measures should the need arise. ‘Salmon farming is a highly regulated and responsible industry with existing transparent reporting procedures and shares data provided on a compulsory and voluntary basis through multiple channels.’ Anderson has just recorded a good year, with the SSC becoming the second biggest salmon producer in Scotland, harvesting almost 30,000 tonnes in 2018 and reporting record revenue and operating proﬁt. He has been in salmon farming for two cycles, joining the company six years ago on June 3. ‘We’ve developed phenomenally in that time and created real value in Scotland. We have more than doubled our full time employees to 650 people, 85 per cent of whom live in rural Scotland. ‘Last year, we spent over £112 million with over 650 Scottish suppliers, which represents 75 per cent of procurement, with investment of over £20 million in developing our operations. ‘We invested £11 million on health management, expanding our ﬂeet with two hydrolicer ships. The company was also the ﬁrst in the UK to be recognised with a 3-star Best Aquaculture Practice (BAP) certiﬁcation, a rigorous global standard. ‘Exports have increased 122 per cent in the last two years and now account for 60 per cent of revenue. ‘We have seen strong growth in our export brands in key markets, including the launch of Lochlander and Native Hebridean salmon in North America. ‘We increased sales to North America from $100,000 to around $22 million last year and growing, with new opportunities also in Canada. Sales to Japan have doubled and growth was also seen in South Korea.’ What’s more, the company’s Native Hebridean broodstock programme has been in development for more than 10 years and, said Anderson, they now have consistent supply. The SSC has invested £15 million in its family breeding unit and recently acquired the new Harris and Lewis smokehouse in Stornoway. In April, the company annoucned £10 million spending in freshwater facitilities in Wester Ross. Anderson thinks the industry’s ambition to
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double growth by 2030 is not possible within the current consenting structure, which has yet to be streamlined in the wake of last year’s parliamentary inquiries into salmon farming’s future. ‘What we concentrate on is our own linear growth and not the industry as a whole,’ he said. ‘We are focused on responsible, sustainable growth to ensure we can build consistent, long term supply and achieve balanced production.’ His company, he said, is committed to producing a premium product and developing its brand abroad. ‘We’re going to see monumental changes in the industry, brought on by technological and scientiﬁc advances. ‘We will work with government agencies, as well as our own experts, to understand how we can continue to drive development.’ It is not a business that has ever stood still, said Anderson, who is bemused at the Holyrood committees’ conclusion last year that the status quo was not an option for salmon farmers. ‘I don’t have status quo from a Monday to a Tuesday. I’ve never understood the term ‘status quo’ in the salmon industry. ‘This is a phenomenal industry, it’s great for the country, it’s great for the people who work in it. ‘I’ve been in a lot of businesses in my life and I’ve never known a faster moving, more dynamic, evolving and honestly complicated business. And it’s our job to make it complicatedly simple.’ FF
Above: Anderson with SSC recirculation project manager Richard Polanski in April, announcing £10 milllion investment in new freshwater facilities in Applecross Opposite: Anderson at the Arran community meeting with Gael Force’s Jamie Young
Scottish Salmon Company – Arran
Testing the water Community told of innovation at heart of proposed development THE Scottish Salmon Company’s third community meeting, in Brodick public hall, passed off peacefully, attracting curious Arran locals rather than the organsied protests of earlier meetings. The company’s proposed development is located off the island’s northeast coast, in the Firth of Clyde. The farm has ‘innovation at its heart’, said the SSC, ensuring robust fish health and welfare and environmental sustainability. Two groups of 10 pens of 120m circumference will be arranged in two rows of five, with a linked feed barge. All pens will be painted dark grey or black to minimise visual impact. A scoping report was submitted to North Ayrshire council in March, and scoping responses were then received and considered. The public consultation process took place in April and May, and over the next month all comments will be discussed, an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) will be conducted, and any design refinements carried out. Then, in the summer, the planning application will be submitted, with a decision anticipated in the winter of 2019-2020. A local socio economic impact study, conducted by Imani Development, has shown that the new farm would create up to 10 direct jobs, plus a further 51 jobs across Scotland in the supply chain.
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Andrew Parker of Imani said: ‘There are positive impacts across the whole industry for a site of this size, all the way through the supply chain.’ And the jobs created would not just be in rural areas on the west coast. In North Ayrshire, W&J Knox will supply the nets and family run Arran Workboats, which the SSC has worked with for 30 years, is currently building six boats for the company.
There are impacts across the whole industry for a site of this size’
Above: Andrew Parker of Imani (top); Jim Traynor and Finlay Oman of W&J Knox
Testing the water
Focus on sustainable solutions, says head vet BIOLOGY director Dave Cockerill explained how fish health, along with environmental stewardship, is key to the proposed development. The company has a dedicated health and welfare team of biologists, veterinarians, nutritionists and environmentalists who work closely with the production team to ensure the healthy growth of salmon. Cockerill was on hand at the community consultations to engage with the local community, listen to their views and answer any queries from a health perspective. ‘There has been a lot of misinformation and many people used the opportunity to understand
more about salmon farming, our company and this proposal,’ he said. As one of the leading veterinarians in the industry, he explained that great strides have been taken over recent years with the holistic approach to health management. ‘Our focus is on long term sustainable solutions and using new technology such as hydrolicers, freshwater and expanding the cleaner fish programme,’ he said. ‘We have made significant progress in the last few years, we haven’t stood still as an industry. ‘We’ve always had to innovate to drive the industry forward, with health and welfare at the forefront.’
Above: Dave Cockerill
Taking farm technology to new level A ‘best-in-class’ farm design proposed for Arran takes existing and new technology and brings it all together in one farm for the first time, said Gael Force’s sales director, Jamie Young. The farm will support the Scottish Salmon Company with its fish health and welfare, and environmental sustainability aims. Gael Force has been
lending its knowledge and support to SSC throughout their project planning and consultations with the public. The farm, which will see two sets of 10 Gael Force Fusion pens, each of 120m circumference, will be fed by a single ‘SeaFarm’ steel barge. The specially designed pens will further reduce the site’s environmental footprint. As
part of the barge design, a fish welfare improvement space will allow for non-medicinal treatments. This particular barge is designed with a 600 tonne feed capacity and also includes a number of key automated features. The whole farm is designed by Gael Force and involves multiple individual projects, all
tailored to the Scottish Salmon Company’s specific needs. Young said the farm design, which is fully capable of operating securely in higher energy sites, can be adapted to suit other locations and customers. Gael Force will be exhibiting at Aqua Nor this August and is expected to make a world launch of its latest fish pen design at the show.
Left and above: Scottish Salmon Company staff and supply chain partners meet the public at Brodick public hall on Arran
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Trade Associations – Scottish Salmon Producers Organisation
BY ROBBIE LANDSBURGH
‘B’ day landing Scottish seafood delegation in fact ﬁnding trip to Boulogne
S Brexit continues to dominate the UK political agenda, but still with no clear outcome in sight, many businesses have sensibly continued planning ahead to make sure they are ready for any eventuality. Scottish salmon producers are most deﬁnitely in this camp. Within our sector, contingency plans are developing in anticipation of changes arising from Brexit, particularly a no deal scenario. Moves are underway to consolidate Export Health Certiﬁcate (EHC) certifying activity at distribution hubs, alongside other initiatives to expedite the process. The SSPO and our members also continue to work with hauliers and government oﬃcials to ensure the routes to market are as quick and free of burdens as possible amid ongoing worries of potential delays and tailbacks in the south east of England. Hauliers have told us that they will likely wait around ﬁve hours at the Channel Tunnel before considering using ferry terminals as an alternative route to market. It is very much a case of trying to ensure there is minimal disruption to the usual processes, while at the same time keeping options open to be able to adapt quickly in changed circumstances. Against this uncertain backdrop, a delegation of Scottish seafood exporters, salmon producers included, embarked on a trip to France in late May to witness ﬁrst-hand the preparations the French authorities have made for Brexit. France is, at present, the biggest market for Scottish salmon, with UK whole fresh salmon sales of some £168 million in 2018. As well as this, it is a natural ﬁrst point of entry in to the EU ahead of dispatch to other countries. While no one can say for certain what sort of disruption, if any, Brexit may cause to cross-border trade processes, authorities, businesses and other key stakeholders on both sides of the Channel are doing their best to ensure goods, such as highly prized fresh and smoked Scottish salmon, can continue to get to customers quickly as the UK exits the EU. Our visit was punctuated by a very brief but enjoyable trip to the Luxembourg Palace in Paris with our French seafood counterparts to celebrate seafood in the heart of the French capital. After this, we moved on to the main purpose of the trip: to visit Boulogne-sur-Mer, home of France’s most important ﬁsh market and ﬁshing port, on a Brexit fact ﬁnding mission. We began at 4.30am with a tour of several facilities in Boulogne. We
were guided around the distribution hubs of STEF and Delanchy – the main seafood hauliers on the French side – and the ﬁsh market itself, centred around the Halle Jean Voisin, catching a glimpse of both the refrigerated facilities for landing, allotting and forwarding ﬁsh, and the auction hall where it is bought and sold.
‘B’ day landing
Then it was on to the RoRo (roll-on, roll-oﬀ – in other words, the process by which goods are transported by lorries and trucks and are then able to drive on and oﬀ ferries at ports) hub port and a meeting with French buyers and processors in the town centre. Perhaps of most signiﬁcance as far as Brexit is concerned was the new border inspection post (BIP) in Boulogne, where all Products of Animal Origin (POAO) must, as a matter of EU law, pass through as they enter the European Union from a third country. The Boulogne BIP is designated for seafood only. All other animal products entering France from the UK via the Channel Tunnel would be routed through similar facilities in Calais. Importantly, the BIP facility in Boulogne is also designed to be a customs post, meaning all import formalities taking place in the one setting. Much to our relief, we were informed that not all consignments of animal based food products would have to be physically inspected in an intrusive way at the BIP, no matter what Brexit outcome transpired. However, all would have to undergo a documentary check in a no deal Brexit, slowing down the process and adding in new layers of bureaucracy. French salmon importers have been informed that around one ﬁfth of Scottish salmon consignments coming into France would undergo physical checks in such a scenario. To provide some context, half of shellﬁsh and mollusc consignments and 100 per cent of live seafood products would be physically inspected. The delegation was told that scenario planning for a no deal Brexit is based on around 30 lorries per day, containing only seafood, arriving in Boulogne. Border inspection post and customs facilities would be open from 5am to 1pm, seven days a week. There would be an emergency phone number for late arrivals to process consignments through the BIP, with nine vets at any one time at the BIP during normal working hours. Finally, we were advised of the documenta-
tion required for exporters if the UK were to leave without a Withdrawal Agreement. This would include transport documents, customs documents, commercial invoices and export health certiﬁcates (EHCs). Pre-notiﬁcation and advanced sending of documents electronically would, as French authorities made clear to us on the trip, make it easier to deal with clerical errors and omissions on the accompanying certiﬁcates upon arrival in France. As mentioned, our sector has done a lot of preparatory work for Brexit. There are some issues that it is fair to say we are on top of, at least to the extent that we can be. Others may need more work. For example, while the issue has been under consideration for some time, more work needs to be done on analysing the costs of making customs declarations, both in terms of fees and of the administrative cost to companies which import and export goods. This was an important concern raised by various delegates on the trip. Likewise, in some instances we need, collectively, to gain a fuller grasp of pre notiﬁcation requirements in a no deal, and changes to labelling requirements, among a number of outstanding concerns. I could ﬁll many more pages with all the information gleaned from Brexit conversations with colleagues from across the UK and Europe on the trip. These conversations won’t ﬁnish now that we have returned from the trip, however. We will continue to share information and updates within the sector as the new October 31 Brexit deadline moves closer. Clarity from those at the political level would, of course, help greatly! All told, it was a very useful trip and we are very grateful to our French hosts for being so helpful, kind and accommodating throughout. As a delegation, we built upon and strengthened existing working relationships, and forged new ones. While Brexit preparations had often been based on theoretical concerns for many of us, we have now seen what confronts the sector on the ground in France and can plan accordingly. A lot of Brexit questions were answered on the trip but there are inevitably many more still to be addressed satisfactorily. Over the next few months, eﬀorts will continue to make sure the Scottish salmon sector is as ready as it can be for any Brexit outcome. FF Seafood fast-tracked in no deal Brexit: page 44
Above: Boulogne, the ﬁrst point of entry for seafood exports. Opposite: France’s most important ﬁsh market.
We built upon and strengthened existing working relationships, and forged new ones
BY DR MARTIN JAFFA
Panoramic view? BBC’s insights into salmon farming were underwhelming
HE Scottish salmon farming industry has weathered yet another onslaught from television journalists. By the time you read this, it will have been long forgotten by the public. Of course, the BBC Panorama programme was never going to be fair and balanced. The title said it all – Salmon Farming Exposed – and that is what the programme makers set out to achieve. Give or take a few images of poor doers that have been shown before, the programme didn’t really oﬀer anything that hasn’t been said by the same industry critics on other similar TV programmes. I suspect that many potential viewers switched over to another channel before the programme began. Certainly, many of my non-ﬁshy acquaintances weren’t tempted to watch. The programme began with images of salmon that had been aimed at the consumer, mainly TV adverts from Asda. The ﬁrst image of two salmon sides laid together was more interesting. This was taken from a video (on YouTube) ﬁlmed by a company called Purple Patch as part of Sainsbury’s Scottish salmon case study in 2012, which was included on Sainsbury’s website. The video featured interviews with Ally Dingwall, Sainsbury’s aquaculture and ﬁsheries manager, and Steve Bracken, then Marine Harvest’s business support manager. Over nearly four minutes, the two talk about the care with which Marine Harvest (Mowi) raises salmon for Sainsbury’s. Dingwall also talks about Sainsbury’s corporate values that are enshrined in everything they do. He says that they are not just words, but are values that they live and breathe. Of course, the critics will say that they are just words, but interestingly, they are words that the programme makers chose to ignore, preferring to select out a couple of seconds of video of a piece of salmon for viewers to watch. Instead, the BBC showed a clip from a rather corporate SSPO video entitled ‘Responsible and Sustainable’. The Panorama presenter, Lucy Adams, then asked what does sustainable really mean? Is it a word simply used to boost sales? She turned to Dr Dimitrios Tsivrikos, a marketing expert from University College London, to help provide an answer but unfortunately he sidestepped the question. He told the programme that consumers rarely read the label and instead look for visual clues to help make a decision. He highlighted the image from a pack of Sainsbury’s Taste the Diﬀerence smoked salmon, and said the picture of a loch and a tree gave clarity, green values and was environmentally friendly.
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I agree that many consumers don’t read the labels on the packs, but the main visual signal for buyers is a combination of the overall look of the pack, together with the price. The image of the loch highlighted in the programme is unlikely to inﬂuence the choice of most consumers. This is because when the pack is displayed on the supermarket shelf, the image is hidden, because it appears on the back, not the front of the pack. In addition, the only packs that carry such images are packs of Taste the Diﬀerence salmon and smoked salmon sold by Sainsbury’s. Most salmon packs do not have any image at all and therefore these cannot inﬂuence consumer choice, as Dr Tsivrikos suggests. As far as I can see, the image reproduced on Sainsbury’s packs does not persuade me of the salmon’s green or environmental credentials. It is simply a picture of a loch. The picture is accompanied by text that states: ‘This ….salmon is reared in the cold, swift-ﬂowing waters surrounding Scotland’s beautiful Hebridean islands’. This doesn’t suggest either green credentials or being environmentally friendly. It’s just a statement of fact. How this image answers the question of whether the salmon is sustainable is unclear. The reporter continued that Scottish salmon sells at a premium based in part on images of Opposite: The image from pristine lochs, and then refers to another pack Sainsbury’s smoked of Sainsbury’s smoked salmon that says on salmon pack the information box on the front of the pack: responsibly sourced from (and then the name of the production site). Dr Tsivrikos responded that the consumer will automatically be thinking of clear water and ‘something’ territories (which I couldn’t make out even on repeated listening). He added that this will ‘create a fantasy of something that is so pure’. I am not sure of
“It wouldn’t be a surprise if the editors now rue the day that this issue was pitched to them
which fantasy world Dr Tsivrikos thinks consumers are part, but no one we know buys salmon or smoked salmon in this way. Dr Tsivrikos appeared to set the tone for the rest of the Panorama programme, which was simply a rehash of the same old criticisms of salmon farming, none of which were put into
any form of context. The programme oﬀered nothing new and as such it wouldn’t be a surprise if the Panorama editors now rue the day that this issue was pitched to them. I wouldn’t be surprised if the viewing ﬁgures were not much diﬀerent between the original broadcast and the repeat, which was shown at 1am the next morning! FF
CONTINUUM OF CARE
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Shellfish - SAGB Annual Conference
Recipe BY NICKI HOLMYARD
for a fast ﬁx
A host of projects will help sector achieve its full potential
HE Shellﬁsh Association of Great Britain (SAGB) welcomed a maximum capacity crowd to its 50th annual conference and dinner, held last month in the splendid surroundings of Fishmonger’s Hall in London. Welcomed by director David Jarrad, delegates heard from speakers on all aspects of the shellﬁsh industry. Seafood guru Karen Galloway gave the popular Drummond Lecture, with a lively presentation on how to capture enthusiasm for eating seafood in children. ‘Research shows that those who eat it regularly have increased IQs and a better quality of sleep,’ she said. Urging parents to introduce more shellﬁsh to children, Galloway suggested that they ‘keep it comfortable, give it some crunch, focus on favourite ﬂavours, put it between bread, take it outdoors…’ She expressed frustration that the Food Standards Agency shows an ongoing reluctance to include shellﬁsh in the ‘two per week’ message, despite the fact that many studies have shown the nutritional beneﬁts to outweigh perceived risks. Galloway also called out the lack of shellﬁsh recipes on popular online recipe sites, compared to chicken and vegetarian dishes. ‘We need to ﬁx this fast!’ she said. Alison Austin, chair of Seafood 2040, used her keynote speech to also stress the need to move the narrative beyond two per week.
We need to look at the seafood oﬀer in public procurement, and to ﬁnd reasons to convince policy makers and health professionals to change menu speciﬁcations,’ she said. Austin spoke of the successful establishment of a Seafood Industry Leadership group, which will help to deliver the vision and action plan that make up the Seafood 2040 strategic framework for England. The framework has 25 detailed recommendations and includes the need to facilitate signiﬁcant growth in the aquaculture sector; see business growth enabled by infrastructure improvements; increase opportunities for exports; and assure access to international markets for responsibly sourced raw materials. ‘Importantly, over the next 20 years we want to see a +75 per cent increase in seafood consumption, which will create an additional £4.6 billion of additional sales,’ said Austin. She believes there are many reasons to be optimistic about aquaculture, with a host of projects either in the planning or underway to help the sector achieve its full potential, including an Assurance Scheme for Shellﬁsh and Human Health project. Fisheries minister Robert Goodwill MP opened proceedings on the second day. ‘I am conﬁdent that following Brexit, opportunities will arise when the country once again becomes an independent coastal state and trading nation,’ said Goodwill. He stressed that Defra (the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Aﬀairs) was working hard to ensure that disruptions to seafood supply routes would be minimised following Brexit, in order to help pave the way for new trade opportunities. ‘I am aware of the industry’s serious concerns around the impacts of a possible no deal Brexit, with the need for additional export and health certiﬁcates and the subsequent delays these would bring, but our priority is to ensure that trade can continue as smoothly as possible and with minimal disruption,’ he said. He touched on future funding to support aquaculture and ﬁsheries, and conﬁrmed that a new long-term domestic arrangement would be put in place to support UK seafood businesses from 2021, that would be comparable to the current EMFF scheme. Goodwill stated that 102 aquaculture projects had been assisted to the value of £14.3 million to the end of 2018 through EMFF. The scheme will continue to be open for new projects until 2020, with an additional £37.2 million of funding announced by Michael Gove, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Aﬀairs in December 2018.
Recipe for a fast fix
Martin Smith from the Marine Management Organisation confirmed the government’s commitment to ongoing support for aquaculture in his presentation. He also demonstrated how the estimated benefits of EMFF funding to 2023 had been exceeded in every category. ‘The target value for aquaculture production was an additional 3,100 tonnes with a value of EUR 7.9 million, but to the end of 2018 this had already reached 10,091 tonnes with a value of EUR 25.226 million,’ he said. Alex Adrian, of Crown Estate Scotland (CES), spoke of his ambitions for the shellfish farming industry, as an essential part of a diverse aquaculture offering. ‘It’s not just about salmon,’ he said, stressing the shellfish sector’s inherently sustainable credentials and job security. Adrian explained that the CES is seeking to identify development opportunities for the sector, following the publication of its Critical Mass Model Report in 2017, which concluded that only 27.5 per cent of Scottish mussel sites currently produce more than 200 tonnes, and that marginal gross earnings are achieved from mussel farms producing 150 tonnes. ‘The growth of mussel production throughout Scotland will require increased scales of production, which can be achieved through the restructuring of existing licensed sites, while economies of scale can be achieved if resources are collectively pooled in various ways,’ he said. A Critical Mass Development Plan pilot is currently underway in the Clyde, looking at site selection and carrying capacity; production planning, impacts and benefits; and a template to facilitate the development planning process. Hamish Torrie, from the Glenmorangie Distillery, gave an insight into DEEP, a £1 million oyster restoration project in the Dornoch Firth, which is supported by the distiller. ‘Oysters are the ultimate biofiltrators and reef
who eat it regularly have increased “Those IQs and a better quality of sleep ”
Clockwise from top:
Guernsey Seafarms; Alison Austin; Karen Galloway at the conference; Robert Goodwill MP
builders, and this project will deliver societal and economic benefits,’ he said. ‘We also see it as an exemplar for Scotland plc, which will be built out into a wider series of restoration projects over the next few years, with support and funding from researchers, oyster farmers, government and business communities. We hope there will be four million native oysters in the water by 2025,’ said Torrie. Mark Dravers, from Guernsey Seafarms, looked at 50 years of trials and tribulations in shellfish hatchery production, with a focus on his own successful business. He explained that France produces around 75,000 tonnes of oysters and uses three billion seed, Ireland produces 8,000 tonnes and uses 200 million seed, and the UK produces 1,000 tonnes and uses less than 20 million seed. ‘To put European oyster farming into perspective, we need to compare it with China, which produces 4,000,000 tonnes of oysters!’ he said. Presentations were also enjoyed from Scott Johnston of Young’s Seafoods, who outlined 50 years of scampi processing; Dr Bekah Cioffi from the Welsh government, on opportunities and threats for shellfish in Wales; John and Jason Gilson on their lives in the cockle business; Jane MacPherson of Marine Scotland, on the future of shellfisheries management in Scotland; and Dr Colin Bannister on 50 years of assessing lobster and crab stocks. Marcus Coleman, CEO of Seafish, discussed global seafood industry trends, and Mike Warner, SAGB promotions manager, talked about his work to encourage greater consumption of shellfish throughout the UK. FF
Aquaculture Awards 2019
Best on Earth! Scottish Sea Farms scores hat-trick in Dynamic prize night
T was Scottish Sea Farms’ night at the Aquaculture Awards 2019, with the company picking up three coveted prizes at a special ceremony in Edinburgh on May 29. And the evening also saw Fish Farmer’s William Dowds receive special recognition for his contribution to aquaculture, as his friends in the industry cheered on at the event, held in Dynamic Earth. First up for Scottish Sea Farms (SSF) was the Applied Research Breakthrough award, which the company shared with Mowi, BioMar, the Institute of Aquaculture at Stirling and SAIC (Scottish Aquaculture Innovation Centre) for a joint cleaner ﬁsh project. This successfully closed the cycle for captive ballan wrasse breeding for the ﬁrst time, at Machrihanish hatchery on Scotland’s west coast.
Scottish Sea Farms also scooped the Diversity award, presented to the employer that has done the most to promote diversity in the work place. The salmon farmer has encouraged increasing numbers of women to reach senior roles in the company. And SSF regional manager Richard Darbyshire was named the People’s Choice winner, chosen by his industry peers and beating competition from Ace Aquatec’s Nathan Pyne-Carter, among others.
Left: Campbell Morrison of sponsor Europharma presents SSF’s Richard Darbyshire with his People’s Choice award. Opposite - clockwise from top: Rob Fletcher of the Fish Site pays tribute to industry champ William Dowds; Martin Gill of Lloyd’s Register with the Applied Research Breakthrough winners (left to right) Ralph Bickerdike of SSF, Paddy Campbell of BioMar, Gideon Pringle of Mowi, and Stirling’s Herve Migaud; Nathan PyneCarter of Ace Aquatec; guests at the Dynamic Earth event; Mowi boss Ben Hadﬁeld with Technical Innovation prize winners Valerie Robitaille and Mikael Lefebvre of XpertSea. All pictures: Angus Blackburn
Aquaculture Awards.indd 28
Best on Earth!
Aquaculture Awards.indd 29
Aquaculture Awards 2019
Clockwise from above: SFFâ€™s head of human resources Tracy BryantShaw (left), Emma Leyden and Clare Scott are awarded the Diversity prize by Bob Fowler and Robin Shields of sponsor SAIC; Clara McGhee of Mowi was named Most Promising New Entrant; a representative from Cargill collects Hatchâ€™s International Impact award from Paddy Campbell
Aquaculture Awards.indd 30
Best on Earth!
Clockwise from left: Steinar Wasmuth (centre), founder of Norwegian ﬁsh waste conversion company Bioretur, picks up the Sustainability award from sponsor Cargill; Loch Duart chief executive Alban Denton enjoying the evening; Aquaculture Awards judge Nicki Holmyard collects the Animal Welfare trophy on behalf of Marks & Spencer, presented by Benchamark’s Malcolm Pye; Mowi communications director Ian Roberts and aquaculture consultant Sarah Riddle.
Darbyshire was hailed for transforming his company’s performance in Orkney since taking on his role there more than ten years ago. Other triumphs at the awards, attended by Scottish salmon farmers, suppliers, academics and students, as well as overseas guests from Norway to Canada, included Hatch, which won the International Impact award. The Bergen based aquaculture accelerator has helped to commercialise several technology start-ups in the sector. Among these is Manolin, which went on to win the Most Promising New Entrant award for developing software that helps farmers optimise treatments and improve ﬁsh health. Sharing the award was Mowi’s Clara McGhee, a farm technician who has chronicled her daily life on the farm in a blog on the Fish Site, owned by 5m Publishing, organiser of the awards. Another talented Mowi new entrant, Kendal
Aquaculture Awards.indd 31
Aquaculture Awards 2019
Top: Dawnfresh farming director Alison Hutchins, Mowi operations director Gideon Pringle, and the SSPO’s Anne Anderson. Middle: Awards host Arlene Stuart Bottom: Ben Wilson of Inverlussa Marine Services, Kristian Ulven of Vaxxinova, Norway, and Camilla Wilson of MSD Animal Health
Hunter, who manages her own farm at Loch Alsh, was also a ﬁnalist. The Sustainability award went to Bioretur, a Norwegian company that has pioneered a system of converting ﬁsh waste into fuel and fertiliser. The company beat an international shortlist that reﬂected the decision of the organisers to open up the awards to global nominations for the ﬁrst time. Canadian pioneer XpertSea was awarded the prize for Technical Innovation for its Growth Platform, an automated data collection device that provides farming insights to shrimp producers. Co-founder and CEO Valerie Robitaille and chief revenue oﬃcer Mikael Lefebvre came to Scotland from Quebec City to pick up the award. Marks & Spencer received the Animal Welfare award in recognition of its Welfare Outcome Measure Programme, picked up by Nicki Holymard, one of the judges, standing in for Patrick Blow, M&S aquaculture manager. Blow had explained earlier, at a seminar held before the awards, how the programme measures farming operations of salmon, among other species, to improve the animals’ welfare. The ﬁnal honour of the evening acknowledged the contribution to the industry by Fish Farmer’s William Dowds. Former Fish Farmer editor Rob Fletcher, now a senior editor at the Fish Site, presented William with a bottle of whisky on behalf of his aquaculture friends and colleagues. The host of the Aquaculture Awards, now an annual event, was Scottish broadcaster Arlene Stuart. Show organiser Susan Tinch said: ‘The Aquaculture Awards are the perfect opportunity to celebrate the best in our industry. ‘I’m always amazed by the quality of entrants, and this year’s winners oﬀer shining examples across areas including diversity, sustainability and innovation. ‘Recognising and applauding individual successes from around the world make running this event an absolute pleasure. ‘I am already looking forward to Aquaculture UK next May and the 2020 Awards.’ The 2020 Aquaculture Awards will take place at Aquaculture UK, being held in Aviemore from May 19-21. FF
Aquaculture Awards.indd 32
Students told to shine Stirling alumni give tips on getting jobs in aquaculture
HE buzz words at this year’s students’ careers day at Stirling’s Institute of Aquaculture were ‘network’, ‘communicate’ and ‘shine’, the ﬁrst two perhaps being easier to explain than the latter. Almost all the speakers, alumni of the Institute of Aquaculture, highlighted the importance of making contacts and hanging on to them for life. The institute’s director, Professor Selina Stead, was ﬁrst to oﬀer advice to the young scientists approaching the end of their masters degrees or doctorates. ‘I cannot stress how important it is to take that opportunity to go and speak to people – in any minute you’ve got,’ she said. ‘To have so many experts here in one place at one time is really quite unique.’ As well as those giving presentations, there were representatives from several companies, both producers and from the supply chain, who had set up stalls during the day-long event, which was organised by the Aquaculture Students Asso-
ciation. It was a chance to ﬁnd out the variety of jobs available - the most exciting research, the consultancies, the industry, and what’s happening in government, said Stead. Scottish Sea Farms vet Dario Mascolo, who qualiﬁed in Italy before completing the masters in aquatic veterinary studies at Stirling, described the interview process for his job. He saw the head of ﬁsh health ﬁrst, and in his second interview he was quizzed by the managing director. ‘He was trying to suss out if I wanted to stay in Scotland and if I wanted to take up the responsibilities of the role.’ Mascolo’s third and ﬁnal interview was with the company production manager and involved a site visit – which was more intended to assess his capability to communicate with people. ‘You need to build rapport with the people who are actually seeing the ﬁsh every day…there are 40 sites and you can’t be on site every day,’ he said. His suggestions for students included: • Practise your communication skills – it’s not only about what you know, it’s about how you deliver it; • Be prepared – know what the company ethos is; • Be honest – there is no point in boasting skills you don’t have. The company will invest in new graduates’ training so show them how
Left: Aquaculture Students Association president Carolina
Fernandez (front row centre) and her team
Opposite: IoA alumni
Dario Mascolo and Antonios Chalaris; students registering at the Careers Day; Elanco’s Julio Lopez Alvarado.
Careers Day.indd 34
Students told to shine
willing you are to learn; • Don’t be afraid to take up a diﬀerent role – there are lots of roles in ﬁsh health that might not be what you’re looking for, but that doesn’t mean you won’t enjoy it; it’s a step into the industry and you can work your way up. Mascolo said there were many opportunities in ﬁsh health; at Scottish Sea Farms, for example, more than 10 per cent of employees are involved directly in ﬁsh health and welfare, from site level up to management level. ‘If there’s no health, there’s no growth,’ he said. Andre Paul Van, who is ﬁsh health manager for one of the oldest, family run ﬁsh farming businesses in Scotland, Kames Fish Farming, applied for a diﬀerent role to the one he wanted. He didn’t have much ﬁsh farming experience when he started, after focusing on research for his PhD (at Stirling), and started with a more husbandry focused position. But Kames boss Stuart Cannon, another Stirling alumni, asked him what he wanted to be and he said a ﬁsh health manager as it was a good balance between research and industry. As Van gained experience he gradually took on more ﬁsh health responsibilities, although his job now involves everything from hatchery duties, to husbandry, the transportation of ﬁsh out to sea in helicopters, grading, harvesting and sometimes even building cages. ‘Working for a small company you can get ﬁrst-hand experience of what ﬁsh farming is really all about,’ he said. Kames, which focuses mainly on rainbow trout, is undergoing an expansion process, aiming to double production between 2019 and 2023, said Van. Oﬀering advice to students, he said any ﬁsh farming experience goes a long way. Also important are initiative and problem solving skills; and adaptability, because ‘nothing is predictable in ﬁsh farming!’ Another Stirling alumni, Nicholas Stinton, prioritised farm experience as the key to getting ahead in the industry. As a ﬁsh health inspector for Cefas (Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science), he told the students that the Fish Health Inspectorate was looking for people with applied knowledge, and experience is invaluable. ‘We wouldn’t even consider you without experience. We work collaboratively with the industry and the last thing they want is someone who is straight out of university with no experience telling them what to do. Instantly you get a bit of kudos and they’ll listen to you if you’ve spent some time in aquaculture.’ He also said students had to ‘shine’ and when asked, by Kathrin Steinberg, current president of the EAS-SG (European Aquaculture Society Student Group), what this meant, he recommeneded trying to stand out by doing research and asking pertinent questions.
Careers Day.indd 35
‘Be engaging – there is a ﬁne line between being engaging and being over conﬁdent.’ More invaluable job hunting tips came from Julio Lopez Alvarado of Elanco, who advised students to read between the lines in their job search, because sometimes companies don’t mention ﬁsh health in the advertisements – they ask for ‘key account managers’ when they are looking for a vet or ﬁsh health biologist! He said networking was ‘crucial’. It was often the route into a job, rather than an advertisement or interview. And once contacts have been made, Alvarado said ‘keep in touch for life’. Alvarado’s interview tips • Study the company, learn about its products, its location, its species, as much as you can; • Learn about your interviewer if possible, they will be impressed; • Study the sector, pharmaceutical, aquaculture or whatever; • Dress for the occasion – not necessarily a suit but properly. If you succeed you will represent the company so you have to project the right image; • Try to be relaxed – the company doesn’t want to hire people who panic, so be yourself, these are your future friends, or maybe your future competitors. They are looking for your personality and your capacity. Alvarado said he was asked to give a presentation at an interview on the future of salmon farming in Europe and the health challenges. Daunting though this was, it was a wonderful
up on time or delivering to “aTurning deadline can be more important than a ﬁrst class degree ” 35
chance to come prepared and organised, and to really engage with the interviewers. ‘Even if they don’t ask for a presentation, prepare one anyway and imagine you have to give one,’ he suggested. The Institute of Aquaculture attracts students from all over the world and many of the speakers during the careers day had come to Scotland from the Mediterranean. One of these was Antonios Chalaris, product manager for BioMar UK, who decided to leave Greece to do an internship as part of his degree. ‘I asked myself, which country in Europe has the best aquaculture in terms of technology, innovation and resources and the answer was very straightforward: Norway!’ But he ended up in ‘the second best country in Europe, Scotland’, and found himself in the remote location of Ardtoe, where he was introduced to cleaner ﬁsh by Ardtoe’s research director, Jim Treasurer. When Chalaris studied for his masters at Stirling, the biggest opportunity was meeting people, from 24 diﬀerent nationalities, the vast majority of whom are now working in aquaculture and ﬁsheries. But, as Chalaris told today’s students, the route ahead does not always go as planned. Determined to do a PhD in cleaner ﬁsh, he turned down several job oﬀers, but then missed out on the PhD.
Instead, he went to work at Otter Ferry, mainly farming ballan wrasse, but also lumpﬁsh and halibut. He made it clear to the boss, Alastair Barge, that he wanted to do a PhD. Barge was happy to help and Chalaris embarked on an industry-led doctorate, with two academic supervisors from the IoA, Herve Migaud and Andrew Davie, and a focus on improving the hatchery performance of ballan wrasse. Sometimes it was diﬃcult balancing the demands of his job with those of his PhD. ‘I had academic supervisors asking for more samples, which the farm managers were not happy about, because the production of ballan wrasse then was 5,000 ﬁsh a year. ‘I couldn’t really go and say I’d like a few thousand ﬁsh to play with for my PhD…I found myself many times being stretched between academia and the industry.’ Having successfully completed his PhD and after six years at Otter Ferry, Chalaris joined BioMar
Top left: Industry representatives discuss job opportunities Above: Aquaculture consultant Malcolm Beveridge discussed his varied global career
Join Xelect team in cutting edge genetics GENETICS specialist Xelect is a rapidly growing company and often advertises for staﬀ, said Marie Smedley, a senior breeding programme manager. The St Andrews based ﬁrm predominantly employs PhD graduates and MSc graduates at its ‘one-stop shop for genotyping’. Xelect designs breeding programmes, does laboratory analysis in house, and also sends people out to the hatcheries to oﬀer support, and it undertakes much of the R&D for its customers. ‘If you are going to work in a lab team you have to not only be able to handle the boring, monotonous and repetitive activities, but also get involved with some of the more advanced technique
Careers Day.indd 36
developments as well,’ said Smedley. She said in a genetics laboratory, techniques are being developed all the time, as the technology advances very quickly. Because of the nature of what Xelect does, there is a lot of R&D going on. It is involved in a consultancy with the Roslin Institute at Edinburgh University, and collaborates with the school of computer science at St Andrews. And it has PhD studentships with Aberdeen and Southampton universities. Even though the staﬀ have well deﬁned roles, there is quite a large degree of overlap between these, and anyone working for Xelect would have to be very
good at working in a team, very good at processing their ideas and being able to switch between diﬀerent tasks, said Smedley.
Students told to shine
Recruitment drive as salmon industry grows
THE salmon farming industry in Scotland has growth aspirations and to achieve these it is going to need more people. There is, therefore, a recruitment drive going on, with numerous jobs and opportunities available in the sector, said Iain Berrill of the Scottish Salmon Producers Organisation (SSPO), giving a salmon industry perspective on careers in aquaculture. Berrill stressed the importance of making contacts: ‘We’re a very close knit industry…the most important thing is about relationships.’ The salmon companies in Scotland are mostly large businesses, highly structured and with serious investment in their staff. ‘There are excellent career prospects in salmon farming, the which, he said, is always looking for new people. BioMar operates all over the salaries are really good, and it’s a very stable industry with a pool of world, in Central and South America, in Europe and Asia, and the company is very significant businesses.’ building its newest feed plant in Tasmania. There are numerous roles, including farm managers, production directors, moorings experts, engineers, boat crew, logistics, biologists, Office ready veterinarians, fish health managers, nutritionists, feed analysts, Now he has made the transition from the academic world to the comlaboratory managers, sales, training and finances, among others. mercial environment, Chalaris was able to offer advice on how to be ‘office There is plenty of scope to move within these roles as your skills ready’. develop, said Berrill, and new recruits can work their way up from, This means knowing how to write a proper business email; knowing how to say, assistant farm manager, to farm manager, regional manager, behave in meetings (make sure you don’t use your phone, ‘one of the worst and then production director. things you can do’); and knowing how to present to an audience. ‘There are even roles for translators – our businesses sell to over ‘Turning up on time or delivering to a deadline can be more important than 50 countries globally and if you speak a foreign language it’s very a first class degree. You might have the best CV in the world but if you are useful.’ two minutes late to your interview you’ll never get the job.’ He said a common question from students is. ‘how do I get into Once hired, he said: ‘Make sure you work hard and do nothing less than this sector when over qualified but lacking in experience’. your best, every single time, in whatever you do.’ Berrill’s advice was to go in at the bottom and work your way up. Chalaris, a student leader at Stirling and former president of the EAS Stu‘If you’ve got experience it’s hugely valuable and once you are dent Group, encouraged students to join student groups – and to network. identified as someone who has the academic skills as well as that ‘All you guys here are going to be business partners tomorrow, you’re going experience, the opportunity to progress is huge.’ to be colleagues, or competitors or customers, so make sure that you speak He mentioned Mowi’s head of cleaner fish, Dougie Hunter, as a to each other.’ case study to demonstrate the route to top jobs in a big organisaEchoing his comments was the current EAS-SG president, Kathrin Steinberg, tion. who also studied at Stirling. Hunter started as a technician for Mowi on the Lochailort feed trial She tried to provide insights into how to shine at the interview stage, saying units and worked his way up to assistant manager. Then he started that it was not enough to list your achievements. managing that facility, before moving into a more research and ‘I’m not sure my CV really shines,’ she said modestly. ‘One thing that might development role. be good is to try to find something you might have in common with the He was technical services manager and that role expanded to covemployer.’ er fish health, environment, quality assurance and research. She also suggested mentioning other interests in CVs as a possible Five or six years ago he was relocated to Canada to be seawater ice-breaker, and said that whenever she includes hers it always comes up production director. And earlier this year he came back and is now in the interview....but that may just be becasue her hobby is underwater head of cleaner fish and technical for Mowi Scotland, one of the key hockey. senior managers in the leadership team. Steinberg has moved around in her career to date and said she had found a Berrill told the students to work out what they wanted from a job ‘middle area’ that combines science and industry, working for the Aquaculand to exploit their valuable transferable skills. ture Stewardship Council (ASC) as a performance data coordinator. ‘You don’t realise some of the things you have learnt (at universi‘My advice is love your topic, whatever you do, and be able to explain why ty) - your attention to detail, and your ability to compress complex you do it and why you love it.’ information into bite size chunks.’ What she looks for in students is someone who is open, honest, curious, And he said that setbacks can act as motivation: after completing has the ability to fail (‘if you fail at something you do it again and you do it his PhD at Stirling he spent 18 months temping, working in a call better’), and the ability to work independently. centre, a tough but motivating experience. Picking up the refrain of the day, Steinberg finished by saying ‘network, network, network, attend conferences and talk to people’. The EAS is ‘basically a big networking organisation’, promoting contacts within industry, within science, within research, to facilitate the circulation of information. ‘Why is networking so important in aquaculture? It’s a small industry, if you start now you will end up knowing the whole industry,’ said Steinberg. ‘Even if you want to work as a scientist it’s important to do some internships so you know what happens on site. ‘At least talk to farmers and try to understand what the problems are. Stay up to date by networking and reading a lot of magazines.’ *Steinberg said the EAS is still looking for student helpers for the next EAS conference, in Berlin in October 2019. Students get free registration if they work more than 25 hours in the conference and are paid 10 euros per hour. Above: The SSPO’s Iain Berrill gives jobs advice to students Email email@example.com for more information. FF
You are going to be business partners tomorrow, you’re going to be colleagues, or competitors or customers, so make sure that you speak to each other
Careers Day.indd 37
Cleaner fish – SSPO workshop
New sites needed to
Wrasse and lumpfish producers share best practice as sector moves to next stage
WORKSHOP last month to discuss current practice and progress on the production and use of cleaner fish attracted almost 90 industry experts, from across the UK, and from Ireland and Norway. Organised by the Scottish Salmon Producers Organisation and chaired by SSPO technical manager Iain Berrill, the event, in Stirling, was one in a series of regular SSPO technical meetings. This one coincided with the conclusion of the Scottish Aquaculture Innovation Centre (SAIC) sponsored project to upscale the production of farmed ballan wrasse. The gathering was aimed at sharing the latest knowledge and experiences on both wrasse and lumpfish culture and their use on farms, as well as disseminating the findings from the SAIC initiative. The day-long seminar featured an overview on production from the main cleaner fish producers - Dougie Hunter of Mowi, Alastair Barge of Otter Ferry, Rob Smith of the University of Swansea, Richard Prickett of Dorset Cleanerfish Company, and Daniel Phillips of Ocean Matters, the Anglesey company recently acquired by Mowi. They all shared their experience on the farm, and there were updates from Ireland and Norway as well, said Berrill. Wrasse remains a more challenging species to farm than lumpfish but good progress is being made. With lumpfish, the industry is nearer to meeting demand and upscaling has been much easier than with wrasse. The SAIC wrasse project, at Machrihanish near Campbeltown, was a collaboration between Mowi, Scottish Sea Farms, BioMar and the Institute of Aquaculture, and won the recent Aquaculture Award 2019 for Applied Research Breakthrough, after closing the life cycle for captive ballan wrasse. Many of the big obstacles in wrasse culture and use have now been overcome, said Berrill, with improvements in juvenile and on-farm feeding, for example, and closing the life cycle. ‘But it is one thing to close the cycle of the fish, you then have to ensure that the eggs you are getting out are of the highest possible quality,’ he said. There is still research to be done to assure the best quality fish from the captive broodstock, and scaling up is the next stage to move from a modest production to a larger scale for use on farms across the sector, to reduce reliance on wild stocks. Most companies use cleaner fish but there is a limited pool of facilities, and people, producing them, said Berrill. Several salmon farmers - Mowi, Scottish Sea Farms and the Scottish Salmon Company - are involved in collaborations with third party cleaner fish providers, but the whole industry would encourage more providers. Some of the farms that were previously used for marine finfish production have been renovated for cleaner fish but there are likely to be more facilities in the UK that could be repurposed, said Berrill.
Cleaner Fish.indd 38
These are still new species of fish and we will work tirelessly to overcome the challenges
Mowi is setting up cleaner fish production at the former Anglesey Aquaculture site in Penman on Anglesey, once a sea bass farm, and located close to Ocean Matters. The company also won planning permission last year to build a new wrasse hatchery at Machrihanish, next to its existing plant. The Stirling workshop was addressed by Ronnie Hawkins from Mowi and Daniel Carcajona from Scottish Sea Farms, who described their experiences using lumpfish and wrasse on farms.
New sites needed to scale up
They discussed how farm infrastructure must be ready for the cleaner fish, and the staff on the site fully trained, said Berrill, adding that this kind of exchange of information is key to progress. The meeting also heard from Norwegian firm OK Marine on developments in cleaner fish farming technology. Further insights into the health and welfare of both species were provided by Carolina Gutierrez-Rabadan, of the University of Swansea, Felix Scholz of the Fish Vet Group, Sonia Rey Planellas of the Institute of Aquaculture (IoA), and Antonios Chalaris of BioMar, who talked about what cleaner fish need to eat. Turning to wild stocks, Lewis Bennett of Loch Duart highlighted the work that has been going on with the policies established by Marine Scotland and, in the south, the IFCAs (Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authorities). The sector has been engaging with these bodies and ensuring a flow of information. In Scotland, salmon farmers have signed up to a suite of voluntary measures and the provision of data, which is ‘over and above what is legally required’, said Berrill. ‘Hopefully, that will help reassure some [people] of the sustainability of the fishery. We don’t have any evidence of significant concern over stocks. ‘We only take a certain size range and the rest go back, so there is a careful balance to ensure you still have fish coming through and a good breeding population.’ Bennett also referred to a new research
Cleaner Fish.indd 39
project with Cefas in the south-west fishery, looking at the age and size of breeding. This will support the fishing season they are adopting in the south and in Scotland. Berrill said the workshop had been very productive: ‘Making sure there is a good flow of information between individuals and companies is key and these summits help in that process. ‘On health and welfare, these are still new species of fish and we will work tirelessly to overcome the challenges. We are moving in the right direction. ‘Later this year, we hope to review and update aspects of the Code of Good Practice that cover cleaner fish, which need continual upgrading as our knowledge and experience grows.’ After the SSPO meeting, held at the Stirling Court Hotel on May 22, there was a further seminar the following day, hosted by the Institute of Aquaculture, which focused more specifically on the research outputs. The IoA’s Herve Migaud and Andrew Davie, who presented the latest R&D on both cleaner fish species at the SSPO workshop, considered the next phase of cleaner fish research. FF Marking a milestone: next page. Above: Farmers and fish health professionals at the workshop. Opposite: The meeting provided a good exchange of ideas
Cleaner fish – Wester Ross
The wild bunch Wrasse prove a big success and now they are helping ‘train’ their farmed peers
EPLOYING cleaner fish has proven to be a very shrewd move for one of Scotland’s smaller salmon farmers, Wester Ross. The company has not had any sea lice for five years, said farming director Chris Ford, who spoke to Fish Farmer during the recent Seafood Expo Global in Brussels. Ford has been involved since wrasse were first introduced at Wester Ross and said to begin with they didn’t have much success. ‘We tend to find that if you put a load of new wrasse out it takes them months and months to get into it, but if you put them in with fish that are used to it, they train them up, it seems.’ The number of ‘trainer fish’ they use depends on how many they can keep from cycle to cycle. ‘If they only had one or two trainer wrasse in the pen that can make a difference because the other wrasse just watch them.’ Wester Ross also feeds the wrasse every day on a special diet of natural pate, and Ford said they would start attacking each other if they weren’t fed. It has been a steep learning curve, discovering how the different types of species perform, and which have the most effect on the lice. Wester Ross uses wild ballan wrasse but also goldsinny, which Ford said has a much better sur-
vival rate because they are less aggressive to each other. They use them when they are short of ballan wrasse or if they get different types of sea lice. ‘The ballans definitely go for the leps (Lepeophtheirus salmonis), which are our main problem. We think the goldsinnys would take on the caligus, the smaller, mobile lice. ‘Leps used to be a problem but now we don’t have any. We might get the odd one but we’ve had pretty much zero count for the past five years, since we got over the initial trial with the wrasse.’ The past year has seen ‘really good success’, said Ford, following experiments using different types of hides. ‘We trialled a few different things, like using real kelp and stitching it into the ropes and just having them hanging there in the pens. ‘We just have to renew it every two weeks because the wrasse eat it all. That seemed to really help them, so we’re exploring ways we can actually grow it on to the nets. ‘We’re going to try this summer. I think you can just lay down nets on a kelp bed and lift them up again after a month or so.’ Currently, the kelp they use is picked off the outside of the predator nets after it has grown during the summer. ‘They prefer this to plastic hides and it’s made a big difference in their behaviour- performance, health and survival. ‘Before, we found they were quite territorial; if you don’t have enough places from them to hide in then they start attacking each other. It’s all about keeping them as happy as you can and you get a much better survival rate.’ Wester Ross has an average of 10,000 salmon per cage and just 22 wrasse in each; it is not ‘about piling the numbers in, it’s about keeping them happy and training them’ said Ford.
We’ve had “pretty much zero count for the past five years’
Left: The Wester Ross team in Brussels: Chris Ford, Keith Bertram, Barbora Gaborova and managing director Gilpin Bradley. Opposite (Clockwise from top left): Wrasse; Chris Ford at a farm site; visitors to the Wester Ross stand in Brussels; wrasse and salmon.
Cleaner Fish - Wester Ross.indd 40
The wild bunch
continued farming wrasse. ‘Eventually, we’d like this to be a success, just to protect wild stocks. I don’t think we’re having a big eﬀect on them anyway. But year after year, you’re bound to have some eﬀect.’ FF
‘I think the reason we have so much success is our nets are a bit smaller than the larger companies’, so there is more contact between the salmon and the wrasse. ‘I think if the big companies raised their nets, shallow them, then the wrasse would have more contact. I don’t know if that would necessarily work – they could do it in bursts. ‘We don’t need to do that, it happens naturally. And as soon as you crowd them up for a harvest or lice count, you can see straight away the wrasse are in there.’ The wild wrasse are caught in the vicinity and the farmers can keep them for a whole cycle. During the fallow period, they will discard anything that’s been damaged or is too big. ‘If they’re too big they start attacking the salmon, they’re pretty horrible, they take their eyes out,’ said Ford. ‘It’s more of a size than an age thing – the perfect size is about four inches.’ He said it is ‘nonsense’ to say wrasse are being ﬁshed out in Scotland, as some have suggested, and that salmon farmers are using wrasse caught in the southwest of England. The stocks are abundant and farmers such as Wester Ross are strict with the sizes they deploy, not too small and not too big. However, the company is trialling farmed wrasse for the ﬁrst time, after introducing them in March. ‘They’re really quite diﬃcult, they won’t eat the pate so we have to get green crab and feed them that,’ said Ford. They also eat dead ﬁsh in the cages and are not yet as eﬀective as the wild caught ﬁsh, but they are being closely monitored. ‘We’re doing diﬀerent trials, so some are in with the wild ones and then we’ve got a couple of cages with them on their own and we’ve noticed the lice numbers are slightly higher. But not many leps, just caligus. ‘If it does get to the point where we think it’s too many lice, then we’ll put some trained wrasse in with them.’ The farmed wrasse were supplied by Ardtoe which, Ford said, has now dis-
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The new name for sea lice skirts for the fish farming industry Working together with Scottish Sea Farms to produce the strongest and most effective sea lice skirts on the market today.
William Milne Tarpaulins Scotland Ltd Aberdeen Scotland AB12 3AX T: 01224 631 012 M: 07786 578 456 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org 41
Cleaner fish – Institute of Aquaculture workshop
Marking a milestone Strong commitment from industry and academics to address remaining wrasse bottlenecks
HE University of Stirling held a workshop on May 23 to mark the completion of its four-year research project into ballan wrasse. Led by the university’s Institute of Aquaculture (IoA), and co-funded by the Scottish Aquaculture Innovation Centre (SAIC) and industry partners Mowi, Scottish Sea Farms and BioMar, the project aimed to address knowledge gaps in ballan wrasse biology and fast track domestication of the species. The project brought together scientists from the IoA, working on broodstock management, nutrition, health and behaviour to develop tools and protocols for the farming of cleaner ﬁsh in Scotland. Results from the project were presented at the Stirling Court Hotel on the Stirling campus, bringing together 50 representatives from across the Scottish and Norwegian academic and salmon farming sector. During the project, there were contributions from a wide range of collaborators, including Otter Ferry Seaﬁsh, Cefas, Ridgeways Biologicals, HTI Hydroacoustic Technology and the Norwegian Veterinary Institute. Sea lice are naturally occurring crustacean ectoparasites of salmon that continue to be one of the most costly and challenging ﬁsh health issues for the salmon farming industry. The cohabitation of cultured native cleaner species with salmon stocks is widely considered to be a key element of integrated pest management control. Ballan wrasse and lumpﬁsh are the two species being actively farmed by the sector but both are very new in terms of production experience. Research and development of ballan wrasse farming in the UK was initiated in 2010 by scientists at the Institute of Aquaculture, together with the joint venture between Mowi (formerly Marine Harvest Scotland) and Scottish Sea Farms at Machrihanish. As with any new marine ﬁnﬁsh species, many hurdles had to be overcome to make the farming of the species commercially feasible. The workshop consisted of a series of presentations and discussions from project scientists and industry partners, summarising the main ﬁnd-
Cleaner Fish Hearve.indd 42
ings and tools developed for broodstock and genetic management, nutritional and environmental requirements, health management and deployment. A welcome and introduction was given by Herve Migaud, the project leader, who said: ‘The project made signiﬁcant breakthroughs in the domestication and understanding of the requirements of the species, and knowledge has been directly implemented into the industry. ‘The aim of the workshop was to disseminate project results, openly discuss experience across all Scottish salmon farmers and discuss next steps going forward.’ Dr Andrew Davie (co-project leader at Stirling) then gave an overview of the main ﬁndings and tools developed for the species’ broodstock management. One of the highlights for the project was the successful closing of the lifecycle in 2017, with spawning of ﬁrst F1 generation at the Machrihanish hatchery, marking a critical milestone in ballan wrasse farming and the ﬁrst step towards genetic improvement. Many tools were also developed to assess and control the genetic make-up of the broodstock, enhance egg productivity and quality, and control gender. This was followed by a presentation from Thomas Cavrois, PhD student at the Institute of Aquaculture, and Dr Antonios Chalaris from BioMar, who summarised how the project research has led to a better understanding of ballan wrasse nutritional requirements and digestive physiology, especially in relation to the optimisation of culture conditions for post weaned juveniles. The research has demonstrated how the hatchery production window can be reduced signiﬁcantly through effective environmental management in conjunction with new feeds, commercialised by BioMar. The next session focused on health challenges and management, with presentations from Stirling PhD student Athina Papadopoulou and Dr Gustavo Ramirez from Ridgeway Biologicals. Results highlighted the identiﬁcation of the main bacterial challenges in the species, the characterisation of Atypical Aeromonas salmonicida and the development of an effective autogenous vaccine, which has subsequently
“is aThere clear
urgency in producing the numbers required
Marking a milestone
been implemented by the Scottish industry. Last but not least, advances made on deployment of ballan wrasse to salmon cages were presented by Dr Adam Brooker from the Stirling team and Ronnie Hawkins, Mowi’s cleaner ﬁsh manager. Results on behaviour post deployment obtained through the use of hydro-acoustic tracking were presented, strongly demonstrating the need for acclimatisation of the farmed wrasse prior to their release in the pens. In addition, many advances were made with the design of suitable hides, feeding systems and overall wrasse management in cages. These sessions showed the very signiﬁcant progress made by the consortium, but also highlighted knowledge gaps that remain and which will require further research. Davie said: ‘While key milestones have been achieved in the farming of ballan wrasse, cleaner ﬁsh are still in the research and development phase and more research is required to upscale production and meet industry requirements for farmed, robust and effective ballan wrasse. ‘There is a clear urgency in producing the numbers required; however; it must be acknowledged that we are only ﬁve years since the ﬁrst spawning events in captivity in Scotland.’
Cleaner Fish Hearve.indd 43
An industry perspective was then given by Dr Ralph Bickerdike, head of Fish Health and Technical at Scottish Sea Farms, and Dougie Hunter, head of Cleaner Fish and Technical at Mowi. They both presented their respective company strategies and reiterated their strong commitment to cleaner ﬁsh farming in the future. This was followed by three presentations from colleagues invited from Norway: Espen Grøtan, Mowi biological manager of ballan wrasse production: Dr Ingrid Lein from Noﬁma; and Dr Duncan Colquhoun from the Norwegian Veterinary Institute. Grøtan gave an overview of the advances and challenges faced during the hatchery phase in Norway, as well as highlighting the planned expansion in ballan wrasse production capacity. Lein presented an overview of Noﬁma’s research activities on cleaner ﬁsh, with an emphasis on welfare in production and cages, while Colquhoun gave a comprehensive review of the many health challenges identiﬁed and researched in cleaner ﬁsh. Collaboration with colleagues in Norway will continue to ensure the two countries complement each other rather than overlap efforts. Migaud concluded: ‘This has been a very successful project and workshop, which celebrated the signiﬁcant achievements that have been realised, but equally clearly identiﬁed the direction for future work. ‘Throughout the workshop, it was clear that there is a very strong commitment from both the industry and academic community to address remaining bottlenecks, which will ultimately ensure the effective and widespread implementation of farmed ballan wrasse in Scotland is realised to control sea lice. ‘Coming years will see the upscaling of this innovative pest management strategy, contributing to make the salmon industry more resilient.’ For further details on cleaner ﬁsh research, contact Professor Herve Migaud (email@example.com) or Dr Andrew Davie (firstname.lastname@example.org). FF
Above: Delegates at the Institute of Aquaculture workshop Opposite: Ballan wrasse
Brussels – Seafood Expo Global 2019
Scotland looks ahead But politicians stay away from show despite Brexit backdrop
HE world’s biggest seafood show, held in Brussels in early May, saw more than 29,000 visitors attending over three days, according to estimates by the organisers. Seafood Expo Global expanded this year to include a second processing hall, and accommodate 2,007 exhibiting companies – an increase of 61 over 2018 – representing 88 countries. The event covered 40,559 square metres of exhibition space, breaking last year’s record by 1,237 square metres, said Diversiﬁed Communications. There were 81 political and diplomatic delegations from 49 countries, but none from the Scottish or UK governments this year, despite the current focus on Britain’s future trading relationship with Europe in the ongoing Brexit process. However, the Scottish pavilion showcased the best of the UK’s seafood industry and exhibitors reported busy stands and much interest. Ahead of the show, Seafood Scotland launched a growth blueprint, including strategies for better marketing, access to funding, improving skills and building processing capacity. The ‘Changing Tides’ document is designed to be a catalyst for change in Scotland’s seafood sector, in line with the country’s goal to double the value of food and drink to £30 billion by 2030. Patrick Hughes, head of Seafood Scotland, which compiled the report, said: ‘Irrespective of Brexit, the actions laid out in Changing Tides are necessary to move the industry forward. ‘Without action we will be unable to realise the industry’s full potential. We have a real opportunity to act collaboratively across the sector.’ The strategy acknowledged the workbeing done by the aquaculture sector in its industry led Aquaculture Growth to 2030 vision, created in 2017. ‘We echo the
plan’s call for enabling and proportionate regulation and policy making that is conducive to sustainable economic growth,’ the Changing Tides report said. ‘This approach should apply across the seafood industry – to the catching sector as well as aquaculture – and balance the needs of both sectors.’ Among the challenges identiﬁed in the Changing Tides report are skills and labour shortages, uncertainty over future funding to promote Scottish seafood, supply chain interactions, innovation, processing capacity, regulation, Brexit – and how to get consumers to eat more ﬁsh. Steps to address these challenges include: • A review of funding streams for marketing support for Scottish seafood, looking at models such as the Norwegian Seafood Council; • The creation of an investment toolkit that demonstrates how businesses can attract inward investment and present themselves to investors; • Removing unnecessary or unfair ﬁnancial and regulatory burdens that stiﬂe ambition and prevent businesses from growing sustainably; • Embracing technology innovation, and automation in particular, looking at lessons from nations such as Iceland; • Finding successor funding to the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) post-Brexit; • Develoing a leadership masterclass programme; • Developing a seafood education programme that makes schoolchildren and educators aware of career opportunities in the industry; • Ensuring post-Brexit arrangements around immigration and work permits take account of the needs of the seafood industry; •Developing commercial solutions around waste and by-products; • Reviewing the current capacity of the seafood processing sector. The report also looked to the aquaculture industry’s 2030 growth strategy recommendations on transport logistical constraints. James Withers, chief executive of Scotland Food & Drink, said: ‘There is a £30 billion prize out there by 2030 for Scottish food and drink. This new vision and roadmap for our seafood industry will mean it plays one of the most signiﬁcant roles in unlocking that huge opportunity.’ Read the full report at http://seafoodscotland.org/changing-tides/ Seafood Expo Global 2019 round-up: Pages 44-55.
Brussels - Intro.indd 44
have a “realWeoppor-
tunity to act collaboratively across the sector’
Above:: Visitors and guests at the Scottish pavilion Left: Fish and chips at the Scottish reception
Brussels – Seafood Expo Global 2019
Seafood fast tracked in no deal Brexit Scotland forges closer links with counterparts in Boulogne
COTTISH seafood companies have struck a deal with French oﬃcials in Boulogne-surMer to fast track exports to Europe in the event of a no deal Brexit. Eight border inspector bays will be set up in the town, ready to check lorries carrying seafood. The drivers will be issued with special passes so they will not have to join lengthy queues at Calais if borders close. Salmon farmers and shellﬁsh ﬁrms have been concerned about potential delays of road freight at Calais once Britain leaves the EU. Lorries transport seafood every day from the UK to Boulogne-sur-Mer, the vast majority coming from Scotland. Scottish government agencies, logistics specialist DFDS and seafood businesses have been collaborating with their French counterparts to ﬁnd a system that suits both sides, said Patrick Hughes, head of Seafood Scotland, who had meetings with the mayor of Boulogne-sur-Mer during Seafood Expo Global. One option that had been discussed was to use air freight to transport seafood exports in a no deal scenario. Hughes said they looked into air routes direct from Scotland to Europe, via Lille or a regional Belgian airport close to Boulogne-sur-Mer, but the cost made the plan unviable. ‘It was going to be ten times more expensive to do it by air freight than to ship it by road and that’s not feasible.’ The Scottish sector has forged closer links with the French as a result of looking at alternative transport options, said Hughes, and this led to the subsequent agreement over border inspection posts. ‘Seafood will potentially get fast tracked from Calais so there wouldn’t be any delays on the French side. And then it will be processed in Boulogne and there will be minimal delay,’ he said. ‘In the event of a no deal Brexit, that system will automatically kick into place. The reason that has
There is a willingness “and a need on both sides to come up with a solution
Brussels - Scotland.indd 46
come about is because there is a willingness and a need on both sides to come up with a solution. ‘The Scottish seafood sector were concerned about the potential delays and potential losses they would incur if a no deal Brexit came along and seafood was left to rot. ‘DFDS can’t aﬀord delays because they would need extra drivers and because their times are so tight, so there was a need for the Scottish industry to look at solutions. ‘But equally there was a desire in Boulogne-Sur-Mer because they rely very heavily on the Scottish imports. There are 5,000 jobs in Boulogne that rely on the seafood sector.’ Hughes said if Brexit has led to anything it is a greater degree of collaboration between Scotland and other partners. ‘We’re working so much closer now with logistics and with international counterparts to come up with solutions.’ The Boulogne arrangement doesn’t necessarily negate potential delays at Dover, however, and Hughes said now they have to ensure seafood is fast tracked at the UK end too. The next focus for the seafood agencies is to address the problem of export health certiﬁcates, which are not needed in the EU at the moment but could cost the sector £15 million in a no deal situation. ‘We need to act because the industry needs solutions,’ said Hughes, and Seafood Scotland is collectively working with the Scottish government, DFDS, the Scottish Salmon Producers Organisation (SSPO), and the Scottish Seafood Association. SSPO chief executive Julie Hesketh-Laird later conﬁrmed during the Brussels Above: Patrick Hughes show that export health certiﬁcation for salmon was likely to be digitalised by July. ‘We have been putting a lot of work in with the UK and Scottish governments to make sure that export health certiﬁcation can be done digitally. It currently involves a lot of paperwork,’ said Hesketh-Laird. She said the SSPO was also trying to avert delays caused by staﬀ shortages by stationing more certiﬁcation oﬃcers at the DFDS transport hub at Larkhall, where some salmon is certiﬁed. ‘Certiﬁcation is the responsibility of local authorities, but Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing is supportive of the suggestion,’ she said. FF
Brussels – Seafood Expo Global 2019
New haulier in drive for Scottish business
EAFOOD companies in Scotland may still be anxious about transport to the continent post Brexit but at least there will be no shortage of logistics experts oﬀering their services. Most of the country’s farmed salmon is currently handled by logistics giant DFDS in Larkhall, but as of May there is a new option – and it is looking for Scottish business. Set up by Irish seafood logistics specialist O’Toole Transport and Luxembourg based refrigerated distribution specialist John Driege, JDOT Logistics will be based at a central distribution hub at Bellshill near Glasgow. JDOT Logistics will collect ﬁsh and shellﬁsh from processors and markets in Scotland and transport it overnight for arrival the next morning at John Driege’s distribution centre in Boulogne-sur-Mer, France, for onward delivery to customers throughout Europe. The venture was launched during the Brussels expo, where Fish Farmer caught up with O’Toole, director of the new group, at his stand in Hall 3, which had already attracted at least one Scottish salmon producer. ‘We’ve been looking at Scotland for four or ﬁve years and last year a depot became available in Bellshill,’ said O’Toole. ‘When I saw it my heart missed a beat because it was exactly what I wanted. It’s destiny, it has to happen, now is the time.’ Scotland is a new market for O’Toole, who has been operating in Ireland and Europe until now, but his partner, John Driege, already had some Scottish contacts. ‘He’s a friend of mine since 2006, he was at my wedding in 2008, so the friendship goes back for many years.
Brussels - Scotland.indd 47
‘I was just speaking to John about diﬀerent things we were doing in our business and mentioned Scotland and he said, oh I’m trying to do something in Scotland as well. ‘John is based in Boulogne which is a key area for all seafood exports handling in France and he would handle the product on behalf of Scottish customers.’ O’Toole, based in Galway with a depot in Dublin, said he was very proud of the service he oﬀers his current customers and wanted to provide ‘a bit of choice in the market’ in Scotland. ‘One of our Irish customers said yesterday if she got the transport 20 per cent cheaper she wouldn’t move because she’s so happy with the service. ‘I was delighted to hear that. When we work with customers it’s about partnering with them and, for us, providing a service so our customers know exactly where their goods are all the time.’ The ﬂeet of 100 trucks will not only be tracked for location, but will also track temperature when the goods are in transit. ‘It gives great peace of mind to the customers and it makes our job very easy. We can explain to the customer where the truck is and what time it’s going to arrive. ‘Our aim is to oﬀer the Scottish seafood sector, especially those with guaranteed next day delivery requirements, a premium refrigerated service where they are conﬁdent that their customers will get their orders on time and in the best possible condition.’ O’Toole said he thought potential customers would value having a closer relationship with a smaller operator. ‘Customers have come to us today and said it’s not going to be about price, it’s going to be about service.’
As for Brexit concerns, O’Toole said Driege has specialists in Boulogne depot to deal with the paperwork. ‘In the port of Boulogne they’re opening a customs clearance hub and the fast-tracking system will apply to everybody – the depots are for all to use, and they can drive their lorries in there the same as anyone else.’ Since O’Toole saw the Bellshill depot last March he has already attracted some Scottish customers, and in Brussels he was busy meeting potential new clients. He has been in talks with some of the Scottish salmon farmers, as well as smokers and downstream processors. Up to 10 jobs will initially be created at the Bellshill distribution hub, but it is anticipated more will follow once JDOT Logistics becomes established. And he said he had had no problems recruiting drivers. ‘The door has been beaten down by Scottish drivers looking to come and wok for us. We have a great workforce in Ireland, we have already hired two drivers in Scotland. ‘Our trucks will be in Boulogne from Ireland every day so the Scottish drivers are speaking to our drivers and they know it’s a good ﬁrm to work for and like the idea of going to a smaller company.’ O’Toole admitted that people are a bit nervous – ‘they say if we move to you are you still going to be here in six months’ time’. ‘We’ve signed the lease for six years and want to be here in six years’ time. Our plan is to grow and hopefully build a new place down the line.’ The Bellshill unit is 20,000 sq ft unit, with ﬁve loading bays and parking for 30 trucks. ‘It’s going to grow from there. The model I’m looking at is in Dublin, where we rented a warehouse ﬁve years ago, very similar to the one we have now in Bellshill. ‘And we bought a site in Dublin last year –it’s kind of a ﬁve-year process, get the depot, get the customers, outgrow the depot, buy a site, build a new big depot. ‘The place we’re building in Dublin is ﬁve times the size of the one we moved into ﬁve years ago.’
Customers “have come to us today and said it’s not going to be about price, it’s going to be about service
Above: Laurence O’Toole in Brussels Left: O’Toole with business partner John Driege and part of the their ﬂeets
Brussels – Seafood Expo Global 2019
Prize winning St James eyes Miami supply
RENDAN Maher, owner of Scotland salmon company St James Smokehouse, said winning a Seafood Excellence Global award in Brussels was a surprise, but he must be getting used to winning. The Annan and Miami based businessman said it had been ‘amazing’ when his Saint Pure Salmon won the prize for best new retail product at the Boston seafood show in March, but the latest accolade, for the best retail packaging, was ‘surreal’. The product is sushi grade Atlantic salmon sourced from an Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) certiﬁed farm in Chile. It is cured with sea salt and brown sugar and smoked over Florida orange and grapefruit wood, giving it a light fruity smoke proﬁle. The salmon is sliced vertically, sashimi style, and the product’s packaging is black and features infographics aimed at a younger demographic. Maher said his success in both the biggest American and biggest European seafood shows was ‘conﬁrmation you are doing something right’. He said no one else is using Florida orange and grapefruit wood and he wanted to do something a bit diﬀerent. ‘Provenance is really important in terms of whatever product you sell,’ he said at his stand in the Scottish pavilion. In Scotland, they have the heritage but he wanted to do something distinctive in Florida. ‘I didn’t want to build a smokehouse in Miami and then just do a Micky McMouse version of what we do in Scotland. ‘We’re the world’s most award winning smoked salmon company and I’m really proud of that, but I wanted the Miami plant to have its own identity, and not be the little American cousin of the Scotland one.’ Branded as ‘Saint’ – ‘the brother or sister of St James’ – the Miami product takes its provenance from Florida’s heritage as the biggest grower of citrus in the world. Because of the continual pruning of the trees, there is an abundance of wood - orange, lemon, lime and so on. Maher has repurposed this waste fruit wood which, he said, gives a light smoke….more ‘fresh and hip’. The product was launched for the American market but he said it had since attracted atten-
Brussels - Scotland.indd 48
Left: Brendan Maher
tion in Europe and he will sell it here, just as his Scottish salmon is sold in the US. Maher, who lives in Miami and Scotland, is friends with Johan Andreassen, the Norwegian behind the Atlantic Sapphire land based salmon farm in Miami, and he sees this as a future supplier. ‘There is a synergy there – he’s raising the salmon in Miami and we’re smoking it in Miami so that project interests me. Again, you’ve got total provenance.’ FF
Brussels – Seafood Expo Global 2019
MOWI launch in Poland
HE world’s biggest salmon farmer was in its usual position in Hall 5 of the Brussels seafood expo, but the stand looked diﬀerent this year, with the name ‘Marine Harvest’ replaced by ‘Mowi’. Mowi’s new branding exercise had been a ‘great success’ so far, according to Ola Helge Hjetland, group communications director. The ﬁrst MOWI own label premium products are on sale in more than 300 stores in Poland, and the change of name, from Marine Harvest, last autumn has been well received. The decision to launch the MOWI brand in Poland was partly based on the company’s existing infrastructure in the country, where it has sizeable processing operations. The special MOWI Pure range of cold smoked and fresh portions is sourced from selected farms in Norway, with selected breeds, and selected feed. The brand was launched ﬁrst in the food service market and lthen the consumer brand was introduced into four big retail chains in Poland, where it has been a huge success with customers. More products will be added in the coming months, and it was recently announced that France would be the next country for the roll out of the brand. Hjetland said Mowi had done a lot of in-store promotions in Poland and people were willing to buy the higher priced products. ‘The big set up we have in Poland is an advantage for us, both with the factories but also with the marketing and sales departments and a very good crew in Poland,’ said Hjetland. ‘But it’s also a diﬀerent market to the northern European markets so it’s a good market to test the product.’ He said they eat less ﬁsh in Poland and the market is less developed than the UK, France, Germany, Belgium, or the Netherlands. ‘It is a good test for us as well in the way we will set up marketing diﬀerently in all the diﬀerent markets. ‘The branding and packaging will be the same but the way we approach the consumers might change from market to market.’ The company revealed last month that a partnership with the IoT (internet of things) company EVRYTHNG would enable the new brand to be rolled out with full traceability, with data collected from production to supply chain. Consumers, should they be interested, will be
Brussels - DNB.indd 49
able to see where their salmon began its life, what food it was fed and where it was harvested. The MOWI brand will remain a premium product when it is launched in other markets, said Hjetland, but there will be more ready to eat products, such as sushi. The rebranding of the company has gone ‘even smoother than we could have hoped for’, he added. Mowi is a very familiar name to many stakeholders, as it was the original name of the company when it started in 1964. ‘The story around the name change, people get that…and connecting the company name to this major brand launch is something people see as exciting.’ Hjetland acknowledged that the change to Mowi might make less sense for those who don’t know its background, but he believes it presents a good opportunity for the company, ‘making people aware of our heritage and our history’. FF
Below: Mowi’s new branding on display in Hall 5 in Brussels;
Ola Helge Hjetland, group communications director, with Bertil Buysse, managing director for Mowi Value-Added Products UK
Brussels – Seafood Expo Global 2019
Salmon demand ‘not what it used to be’ DNB seminar looks at price volatility and hears about quality concerns
EMAND for salmon is not what it used to be, with falling prices accompanying low supply growth, according to DNB Bank senior seafood analyst Alexander Aukner. In an eve of exhibition seminar, held in Brussels by DNB and the commodity exchange Fish Pool, he told an audience drawn from across the industry that he saw the market diﬀerently from other analysts, and his price estimates were the lowest. Between 2017 and 2018, there was marginal supply growth but the price dropped in both those years, suggesting demand is not quite as it has been. Negative developments have happened before but they can be easily explained (for instance, when the Russian market was closed); there is a diﬀerence in today’s current global value of salmon. Looking at prices historically, he said between 1996 and 2012, the value increase was 10 per cent, driven by volume. From 2012 to 2016 the value increase was 20 per cent, driven by price. In 2017 and 2018, the value increase was between two and ﬁve per cent. Aukner said it was ‘quite natural’ that demand was not what it used to be because the price was twice as high. Looking ahead, he said an 8.1 per cent supply growth was expected in 2019 – ‘if our estimates are correct, the market will have to absorb 150,000 and 200,000 tonnes of new volumes’. He said Norway seemed to have ‘turned a corner’ after a very challenging summer last year, and has a good basis for further growth. But this was before the devastating algae outbreak that hit farms in the northern regions of Norway in late May, which was expected to cut supply growth. Aukner said, in early May, that production in Chile was likely to continue to grow, with the average mortality in the ﬁrst quarter of this year down to 0.65 per cent. There had also been a 10 per cent increase in smolt release, an 18 per cent increase in biomass, and harvest weights were ‘fantastic – Chile is doing very well’ and will grow more. Criticism Looking at new ways to sell salmon, Tim Brouwer, general manager of Dutch processor Visscher Seafood, said the industry had to overcome growing consumer criticism. This, he said, was ‘one of the biggest challenges ahead’. ‘Consumer criticism, in my opinion, not in all but in most cases, is based on valid objections. Too often these objections are trivialised or even denied by the salmon industry. We say the problem is not as big as you think it is, or deny there is a problem at all.’ Brouwer spoke of encountering ‘very severe’ quality issues with some farmers. On top of this, there is criticism from the media; ‘in general, opinions towards salmon are not getting better’. This is resulting in governments in the Nordic countries changing their policies towards salmon. They used to say eat salmon every day of the week and they have now changed this to once a week, he said. He believes criticism of the industry provides great opportunities for companies to distinguish themselves, with new brands for example.
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Brouwer said he was curious to see how the new Mowi strategy will unfold, but he thought it was better to have several speciﬁc brands targeting speciﬁc customers, instead of having one big brand. ‘I believe in the end of big food brands as we have known them for the last 50 years.’ The biggest trends in seafood were around clean eating – ‘we want to know where our ﬁsh is coming from’. There are many great farmers in Norway and they have great opportunities to set themselves apart. To this end, his company changed its focus to customers with high standards, and sources its salmon not just from Norwegian farmers, but also from Scottish, Irish, Icelandic, and Faroese producers. Brouwer later told Fish Farmer that his company buys from a ‘selective group’ who he has got to know over the years. ‘Among our steady suppliers we don’t see this issue [poor quality] too much, but for the part we buy on the spot market you sometimes see this. ‘What we have done now is establish pro-
Above: DNB senior seafood analyst Alexander Aukner. Opposite: Tim Brouwer of Visscher Seafood
We source from regions that “naturally have less issues ”
Brussels – Seafood Expo Global 2019 Brussels – Seafood Expo Global 2018 grammes with a few steady suppliers of ours where we really work on quality improvement and also source from regions that naturally have less issues.’ Visscher Seafood used the Brussels show to THE owner of Varklaks the award winning Scottish launch its new brand, premium ‘natural salmonsupplied companybyStproducers James Smokehouse said salmon’ all above the speculati on ‘a that he was planning buy imPinArcti c Circle, region where there to is less neysfrom was lice, correct. pact less disease’, said Brouwer. Brendan Maher factory He said there hadsaid beenhea and veryhis good reaction manager, Leo , hadand spent 10 hours from visitors to Sprott his stand, although theat the factory in Annan, Seafood has main market wouldwhich be theYoung’s US, they are bringing put up for sale. Varlaks to Europe as well. 10 hoursof there looking willing at it and ‘I‘We thinkspent the category consumers to getti feel for for athe building, andistobigger see if in we pay a ng bit aextra bett er product canUS change way they operate and make the than inthe Europe. it‘We more cient,’inMaher Fisheco Farmer alsoeﬃ target Europetold some stores for during the Seafood Expo show, where St James this but I don’t see this going into mainstream Smokehouse was exhibiting as part of the retail in Europe. Scotti sh pavillion. ‘The product is priced between conventional He said made perfect Pinand organicit so we’re in thesense rangetooftake 8.50on euros neys because they both do smoked salmon and per kilo.’ were bothhas based Annan, with many of their Visscher zeroincustomers in France, said staﬀ interchangeable over theofyears. Brouwer, and sells 86 per cent its European Maher, who set up his business in 2003, said sales in the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, his goal then was to be as good as Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Pinneys, ‘the Rolls Royce of smoked salmon, the for benchmark’. Brouwer said: ‘The future is bright salmon ‘Fast forward and we’re doing bett er than if we are able to respond well to consumer them,’ heﬁsaid, ngtoPinneys hadons made criti cisms, ndingsuggesti answers the questi thea mistake in only having one customer, Marks & industry is dealing with now. Spencer, which ended its contract recently. Maher Volati lity said the company also lost its focus of being the Rolls Royce of smoked salmon when ‘But if we keep on going to think only about it decided to diversify into other products. short term returns then I don’t think the future
‘It makes sense to buy Pinneys’ says St James Smokehouse boss
Contrary to previous reports, he said he wouldn’t be able to retain all 450 staﬀ at the site, but hoped to employ a maximum of 100. ‘No company on looking planet earth retainand 450supplying there anda remain is great. If we start in thecould long term healthy,profsusitable,’ he said. tainable, great quality product then of course the future is bright.’ St James employsearlier 100 staﬀ in Scotland and a There wasSmokehouse sympathy forcurrently salmon farmers in the seminar from further 50 in thechief US, where hasCommoditi set up another Tom Bundgaard, analystMaher at Kairos es. smokehouse in Miami, spending £7-8 million on the project. Hees,described it as a ‘cool’ Comparing the prices of a range of commoditi he said salmon was smokehouse, more like an Apple store than a ﬁ sh facility. top of the list in terms of volatility - higher than all other food products Hehigher said he wanted people and than copper, zinc to anddrive tin. past and then go in and ask for an iPhone because they thought it was an Apple store. ‘It takes10nerves of steel to work in an industry this volatile,’ he said, ‘I’ve built an Apple store! It’s not your usual sti nky ﬁshthat factory. It’swould minadding that the only prediction he could guarantee was prices imalist, serene with lots of glass… and a terrace of orange trees.’ FF continue to go up and down.
Above: Brendan Maher
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04/06/2019 15:50:59 09/05/2018 16:12:09
Brussels – Seafood Expo Global 2019
Chile keeps calm And carries on growing more stable, says Salmones Austral director
RODUCTION growth in Chile over the past four years has been stronger than anticipated, Kontali analyst Ragnar Nystoyl told the DNB/Fish Pool seminar in Brussels. He was bullish about Chile’s prospects, especially against declining productivity in Norway, and said Chilean harvest weights were outstripping Norway’s. But Chilean producers are more circumspect. Salmones Austral director Jose Miguel Barriga Phillips, who has a long history in the industry and whose father, incidentally, was a Scot, said Chile will grow ‘step by step’. The country currently produces around 250,000 tonnes of coho salmon and trout, and about 700,000 tonnes of Atlantic salmon. With the Norwegians dominating the Atlantic salmon market with close to 1.3 million tonnes, he said he doesn’t see that Chile can compete. Salmones Austral is a medium sized company, in Chile’s top ten, with volumes of around 30,000 tonnes of Atlantic salmon a year, and 15,000 tonnes of cockles. The company arose out of a merger between two old companies in 2013, when the impetus was ‘more on surviving’ because at that time things were very diﬀerent, and prices were very low, said Barriga Phillips. ‘This was a way to ﬁnd some kind of synergies to grow. Today, the consolidation is more focused on the long term.’ He thinks there are good opportunities for medium sized players because the market is changing as a result of this greater consolidation. There were three or four players at around 100,000 tonnes of salmon but now, following the merger between AgraSuper and AquaChile last year, ‘you have a big animal in the ring with close to 200,000 tonnes’. ‘From the market point of view, if you need to move that amount of ﬁsh, the company needs to invest in more people, more marketing. ‘I expect we’ll see that, because AgraSuper is coming from a protein company that produces poultry and pork and they know the way to move huge volumes of proteins in diﬀerent markets.’ Barriga Phillips said Salmones Austral, headquartered in Puerto Montt, is more focused on the frozen market, and Chile is very competitive around the world with frozen ﬁsh, against the Norwegians especially. ‘If you have good opportunities you move to the fresh, but in general we’re more frozen,’ he said. ‘In the last two months we sold more fresh to the US because the price was very good. But if the price goes down, you need to move to the frozen market.’ He said his company tries not to sell on the spot market and its main customers for Atlantic salmon are in the US, China, Indonesia and Malaysia, but it also looks for niche markets, such as Dubai and Israel. ‘We try not to move into the typical markets because you need a certain volume for certain big markets, and it’s not easy to move huge volumes. We are very open to new markets, trying to develop frozen products, portions and ﬁllets.’ Some of these markets might have been reluctant to buy from Chile in the past, because of doubts over supplies, and preferred to buy fresh ﬁsh from Norway. But in the newer markets, such as Israel and Dubai and China, Chile is taking a ‘very important role’.
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‘In Russia, when the Norwegians moved out with the fresh, Chile took over the position with frozen products,’ said Barriga Phillips. Air freight makes selling fresh ﬁsh too expensive but logistics are improving too. With more airlines – including from China and Korea- coming to Chile, the salmon farmers can shift their products faster and are selling more fresh ﬁsh to these markets. ‘Two or three years ago, it was impossible for any airliner to come to Chile to take ﬁsh to China. That is a big change in the last year in the fresh market, thanks to the airlines.’ Chilean supply is also more predictable and less volatile than a few years back, helped by factors such as the establishment of Hendrix Genetics in the country two years ago. Dutch owned Hendrix acquired Troutlodge, the world’s leading supplier of live trout eggs, in 2014, and, with it, a location in Chile. Hendrix Genetics Aquaculture Chile was then formed to set up an independent Atlantic salmon breeding programme, backed by genetics research. Barriga Phillips, a former general manager of Skretting, knew Neil Manchester from Hendrix (formerly owned by Nutreco, parent company of Skretting) and Salmones Austral started buying eggs from Hendrix’s Chile base last year. ‘I always told them to start producing the eggs in Chile because they imported eggs from Landcatch (bought by Hendrix in 2010) in Scotland. ‘Today, it’s very diﬃcult because after the ISA disease, Chile are loathe to import genetic material because you can bring disease.’ Barriga Phillips added: ‘From the production point of view, we are more stable today, with the vaccines, with the genetics like Hendrix, with new diets and the special additives for the liver, for the skin, for the gills, nutrition is taking a very important Opposite: Salmon Austral role.’ director Jose Miguel On top of all this, there are new RAS hatcheries Barriga Phillips and higher energy sites, with shorter production cycles. ‘This means today we can reach a good cost and a predictable cost,’ said Barriga Phillips. ‘The second point is in the past you could see easily 15 per cent mortality for Atlantic salmon; today, maybe the morality is closer to ﬁve. ‘That can produce volatility because if I expect to have a certain volume of losses and they didn’t disappear, it’s good for my cost but I will bring more
Brussels – Seafood Expo Global 2019
ﬁsh to the market. It’s good news but you must be prepared for this improvement or the other issue – two years ago we harvested at 4.5kg and today we can harvest at 5.5kg, that is 20 per cent more. ‘So with bigger ﬁsh and more tonnes, you can bring more ﬁsh to the market. This is good but the volatility is coming from this side: better performance and that produces higher volumes.’ But it’s a good kind of volatility and Barriga Phillips believes Chile’s prospects are positive – ‘if nothing strange happens, this is farming! ‘I think the regulations and our experience shows that we need to keep more calm and grow more stable.’ He is sceptical about analysts’ predictions. For example, Kontali will forecast Chile growth of ‘six per cent one month, then the next month the forecast is growth of three per cent, then the next month the forecast is 10 per cent. ‘I don’t know where they get the information. We know the stocking of smolts in the sea gives you the next 16 months’ harvest, the ﬁsh is not appearing from one day to another. It’s important to take care that information that looks very sophisticated sometimes has errors because for us it’s not logical, these big changes.’ FF
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Brussels – Seafood Expo Global 2019
Clear case for promoting women Canadian employer says his Scottish ﬁrm now has the best gender balance
AN Smith, CEO of Canada’s Clearwater Seafoods, said in the nine years he had been attending the Brussels expo much had changed regarding female participation, with more women working in seafood rather than handing out samples at booths. Taking part in a Women in Seafood seminar, with an all Canadian panel, Smith said there were even now some female CEOs in the industry, but they were very few and far between. ‘So we’ve come a long way, we’ve made progress, and we have so much work to do,’ he said. Nova Scotia based Clearwater Seafoods, which bought Scotland’s Macduﬀ Shellﬁsh for nearly £100 million in 2015, is one of North America’s largest seafood companies. It employs more than 1,900 people in a vertically integrated business, owning ﬁshing quotas, vessels and processing facilities. Smith said: ‘We are committed as a company to having a workforce and a work place that is free from discrimination and values all types of diversity. ‘Fundamentally, we need to be representative of the communities that we serve- the communities we operate in but also our customers, our suppliers, our employees and our shareholders. ‘We do that in a number of diﬀerent ways. We are conscious and focused on the systemic barriers to employment and advancement of women in our company. ‘We want to achieve a workforce where women are equally represented and we have speciﬁc policies around that.’ Smith later told Fish Farmer that the gender
balance in Macduﬀ was now better than in the Canadian operation. It had been possible to start with a clean slate and make sweeping changes in the company’s culture when Clearwater took over the Peterhead based ﬁrm, he said. Smith added that he had an overblown sense of fairness about diversity and he admitted he shook things up and ‘now they have changed their culture’. He mentioned Lee Malcolm, who came in as head of HR but who he then promoted to director of operations. ‘When you ﬁnd women with talent in your company and support and help them to develop, they continue to be strong performers and they have a higher retention rate than the men,’ said Smith. He told the audience at the seminar that his company was sponsoring Women in Seafood out of both fairness and competitiveness.
Above: Clearwater CEO Ian Smith (second right) and the Canadian panel Opposite: Marie Christine Monfort and Tesa DiazFaes Santiago
Senior female managers still ﬁghting for a seat at the top table SOME companies and some countries do things diﬀerently, with Norway and Iceland hailed as being among the most progressive in terms of gender equality, the seminar heard. Mary Larkin, president of Diversiﬁed Communications, which organises the expo, and chair or the seminar, praised Canada too. ‘It’s fascinating to see the progression one country can make and the impact they can make,’ she said. During the second half of the seminar, Larkin asked Marie Christine Monfort, who founded the Women in the Seafood Industry (WSI) organisation, for advice. ‘Men control the purse strings so how do we get them more involved and make them be part of this conversation and realise what women are facing?’ Monfort said it was important to make it clear there is discrimination and show the potential gain, that diversity is good for business…’there are piles of documents, piles of research’. She decided to set up the WSI because she ‘could see all the work women were doing in this industry and men were taking the decisions’. ‘I had a shock when I attended the NASF, a huge international forum, in 2012, and that day I counted the number of male speakers and female speakers. ‘I realised that something was really wrong because that year ﬁve per cent
Brussels - Women.indd 54
of speakers were women. There were women in the room but they were not invited to take the mike and I realised that things could be done diﬀerently.’ She established the WSI in 2016 and it is growing in the attention it captures, and in the number of conferences its members are invited to attend, and in the number of sponsors. But she said there were still ‘nervous responses, patronising attitudes, and a denial that there is still a problem today’ among some men in the seafood industry. She stressed the importance of networking: ‘We have seen the success of male networking over the past 2000 years. Women have to build their networks.’ Tesa Diaz-Faes Santiago, director of communications for Grupo Nueva Pescanova in Chile, said she is often excluded from meetings but is told afterwards ‘we need your help’. ‘It would be better if I was in the meeting myself, and had a seat at the table,’ she said. Larkin agreed: ‘It’s the meeting after the meeting we’re not a part of. I’ve watched the men in our organisation – men network up and women nurture down. ‘I see that with my own female leaders- women are worried about their teams, but men are worried about what their CEOs think.’
Brussels – Seafood Expo Global 2019 ‘I grew up mostly raised by my mum and she had to go to work. She worked as a secretary in an insurance oﬃce and worked really hard and tried to work her way up. ‘I saw ﬁrst-hand how she worked for men who were less competent and less knowledgeable than her and how she was routinely passed over for promotion.’ Later on, when he served in the military in the 1980s, things had changed a lot but the lack of diversity and gender discrimination was institutionalised. ‘So I had a lot of ﬁrst-hand experience of what not to do, and how it was very unfair.’ As for competitiveness, he said: ‘We want to win and we’re only going to win if we have the best talent, and we’re not going to win the war on talent unless we address diversity of all kinds but, in particular, gender diversity.’ The statistics are very clear: ‘Diversity strengthens our capability, improves the bottom line, unlocks innovation, drives customer satisfaction and boosts our brand and our brand reputation. ‘We address that, we have very clear policies in the company, we have metrics (you can’t manage what you don’t measure), we focus on making sure that our human systems are tied to our policies and principles on how we want to achieve gender diversity in our company.’ Laura Halfyard, general manager of Sunrise Fish Farms of Newfoundland, said the number one reason women engineers leave the profession is for family reasons, because their careers do not allow them the ﬂexibility of a family. ‘What about the cost of training that woman and then, because she wants to take a few years and have children, you would sooner go out and search and retrain another guy, than try to hold on to her and value her more.’ Smith said they have husbands and wives who work for his company and when there is a birth of a baby it really is a family event. ‘But it is tough. If you have equivalent leave for husband and wife- we’re not that big a company that we don’t miss husband and wife both taking a signiﬁcant amount of time oﬀ at the same time. ‘I think we always need to think about how we support families and how we have to come up with strategies that address the needs of families, not only
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when they have young children at home but also husbands and wives taking care of elderly parents. ‘I don’t think there are any silver bullets, it’s more about the mindset, recognising that these are challenges that exist within the organisation and that you have to try and address them. ‘I also don’t think it’s a situation where you can simply write policy, not one size ﬁts all.’ Halfyard said: ‘Going forward, we have an ageing population and recruitment challenges, so if we say we’re only going to recruit from 50 per cent of the population it hits home. ‘It’s simple maths – you’ve got to have both involved in the workforce to progress forward. It’s not only a nice thing to do, it’s an essential thing to do.’ FF
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Brussels – Seafood Expo Global 2019
Land-based takes ﬂight Israeli technology ﬁnds new customers from the Middle East to Scotland
ARMING salmon on land in recirculating aquaculture systems (RAS) may still be an industry in its infancy but it will take oﬀ just as the jet engine did in the last century. It’s an unlikely analogy but Shai Silbermann, vice president of sales and marketing at AquaMaof Aquaculture Technologies, can see the parallels. When Frank Whittle, the pilot and aviation engineer, was testing his prototype in the Second World War ‘everybody looked at him like a crazy one’, said Silbermann. ‘Now it’s obvious and to think about having aeroplanes just with propellers is crazy.’ There are similarities with RAS, he said. ‘In a couple of years I think nobody will think of anything else.’ Silbermann’s conﬁdence is not without foundation. AquaMaof, the Israeli land based ﬁsh farm expert, has doubled in size in the last two years. It is already producing harvest weight salmon of 5-6kg at a trial unit in Poland, and there are AquaMaof farms in Russia, Slovakia, two in Israel, and in the Far East. The company has a 50 per cent stake in Pure Salmon, which has invested in the Polish facility and plans to roll out the AquaMaof template across the world. Will they venture into Scotland, where RAS facilities are producing larger smolts but not rearing salmon to full size? ‘As a matter of fact, we have a client now in Scotland, an existing salmon farmer who wants to take the ﬁsh all the way to harvest,’ said Silbermann. ‘They know the variety of the technologies and decided to go with us. We don’t have the signature but it looks like they are very serious.’ AquaMaof has a business unit in Scotland, run by Dr Andrew Preston, who gave a presentation at the recent RAStech conference in Washington. In Brussels, visitors to the stand could observe the AquaMaof system in action through a 360 degree virtual reality video, transporting them to the inside of Global Fish, the 600 tonne capacity plant in Poland. Several batches of salmon have been produced now, with AquaMaof’s zero discharge technology, using proprietary water reuse techniques. Silbermann said they have a ‘diﬀerent philosophy’ to the Norwegians and
in the industry, we believe “thatWewebelieve are very eﬃcient and that’s why we can make a lot of proﬁt’ ”
Brussels - AquaMaof.indd 56
Above: Shai Silbermann
Danes who are developing RAS farm projects in the US. ‘All the other competitors are very, very good, but they are using mechanical elements like drum ﬁlters but we don’t use these. ‘We have a diﬀerent concept, we use physical elements – we are coming from ﬁsh production, that’s in our DNA, we’re not coming from water treatment.’ The Polish plant, near Warsaw, is also AquaMaof’s R&D and training centre. ‘Success for us is not that we succeeded to sell the project. If you buy the technology but don’t make proﬁt you will close the facility and people will say it’s the technology.’ Any country can build an AquaMaof land based salmon farm, said Silbermann. ‘There is no place we can’t do this – we could do it in the middle of the Sahara. This is the beauty of it, it has a micro climate inside, almost zero discharge of water, you just need to take new intake water for the beginning and then it’s almost zero.’ AquaMaof invests in some of its customers’ projects because ‘we see the future in the production, we know that most of the money can be generated from production and not from projects. ‘We believe in the industry, we believe in the technology, we believe that we are very eﬃcient and that’s why we can make a lot of proﬁt, otherwise why invest?’ The company has around 42 employees in Israel, and agents for the facilities in Russia and in the Far East, and in Canada, Germany, Scandinavia, South Africa, the US, Norway, China, and Dr Preston in Scotland. The company’s RAS technology can be adapted for other species but the focus for now remains on salmon. ‘We need to look very much to the Norwegians because they have invested 50 years in R&D and now we have a ﬁsh that we know,’ said Silbermann. ‘And we have very good markets, and the infrastructure for the salmon industry – you have good feed, the eggs – it’s a commodity, so you can produce it all year round if you want. If you want eggs without disease, you have it.’ Going back to the jets, Silbermann said you can have the technology but if you don’t have a good crew, the airports and logistics, it won’t work. FF
Brussels – Seafood Expo Global 2019
Solid interest in humane stunner ACE Aquatec had about 80 new leads in the ﬁrst two days of the show, double the amount in one day as in the whole of last year’s expo, according to managing director Nathan Pyne-Carter. Potential customers came from Norway and from the Mediterranean, mainly to talk about the company’s electric Humane Stunner Universal (HSU), and Ace’s head of sales and marketing, Mike Forbes, said the majority of leads felt ‘pretty solid’. ‘People have an awareness of electric stunning - they see the results on a video screen, ﬁsh coming out totally calm and unconscious and they think, how do you do that. ‘They are always quite surprised that there is so little involved mechanically, just the ﬁsh ﬂowing through in the water. ‘They expect to see more parts, and for it to be more intrusive with more impact on the ﬁsh, and then we show them the section of the stunner we’ve got here – it’s very diﬃcult to make
but very simple.’ The HSU was the focus of Ace Aquactec’s stand in Hall 4, where all the processing equipment companies congregate, but the Dundee based ﬁrm also brought along its electric ﬁsh because it’s a new product and, said Forbes, ‘it attracts attention’. ‘Even though people here are more on the processing side, we have had them asking what it is and what it does.’ Forbes said Ace Aquatec is very busy, building more products, bringing more people in, with R&D constant. Its newest innovation, the underwater 3D biomass camera, will be launched on international markets later this year. This month, Forbes will go to London, to pick up the company’s second Queen’s Award for Enterprise Innovation, this time for the HSU. He will be accompanied by Jeﬀ Lyons, who was instrumental in is creation.
Above: Ace Aquatec’s Mike Forbes
First taste of Thai shrimp fed on alternative protein from Teesside VISITORS to Thai Union’s stand in Hall 5 were oﬀered the world’s ﬁrst taste of shrimp fed on Feedkind protein – and with chef Stephen Parkins-Knight creating a range of pan fried dishes, the verdict was positive. Feedkind is produced from natural gas by Calysta at its plant on Teesside in north-east England. The shrimp served at the Brussels expo were commercially farmed on a feed using 10 per cent FeedKind protein and marine ingredients derived from Thai Union tuna by-products. Calysta product manager Allan LeBlanc said the
tasting marked the next step to Feedkind becoming a fully commercial product. Thai Union responsible sourcing managerTracy Cambridge said in the farm trials there was no difference in growth or performance of the shrimp. ‘The farmers would have been the ﬁrst people to tell us if there was any diﬀerence in growth, size, fatness, and the guys cooking them would deﬁnitely have complained if they didn’t taste the same.’ LeBlanc, who is based at the company’s headquarters in California, said they are focused on salmon and shrimp as the two largest species farmed in the world. ‘We’ve seen good results in both. But shrimp grow a lot faster than salmon so it’s a quicker process. I’d hope we’ll do something similar with salmon next year. ‘When we looked at the aquaculture industry, shrimp was a priority but no one had ever fed shrimp a Feedkind diet so we had no idea if they would eat, if they would like it, if they would grow well, so we started two
and a half years ago with lab trials in the US.’ The Thai Union feed mill trial began last year and a commercial product is about two years away, he believes. He said the price of the Feedkind diet would not be much diﬀerent because it only makes up 10 per cent of the feed. Including alternative protein in shrimp diets is not necessarily a response to current customer demand, said Cambridge, but a proactive initiative to be more sustainable. ‘Here, we’re getting ahead of the game, getting ahead of what our customers are asking and getting ahead of consumer demands. ‘ Calysta’s Teesside plant can produce 60 tonnes of Feedkind, and the company is in the process of scaling up production, with a new site in Memphis, Tennessee. The development has backing from feed giant Cargill and once completed, in about 18 months’ time, will have the capacity for 100,000 tonnes. But the company has other expansion plans in the pipeline, ‘actively pursuing’ other plants in Asia because it’s closer to the market,’ said LeBlanc. ‘
It’s a hard life for exposed cages but ﬁsh fare well AQUALINE sales manager Hans Olav Ruo said the company was seeing more suppliers to the aquaculture industry attending the show as more seafood is farmed. The company’s Midguard system, introduced in 2015, has been a success, and having been tested for four years, it has proved the concept of high energy sites. A complete net cage system, it is described by the company as
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escape-proof, and has been installed all over the world. Ruo said 90 per cent of the cages they supply in Norway are Midguard, many of them ﬁtted with electric powered instead of hydraulic winches, so the sinker tube on the bigger nets can be lifted more eﬃciently and more safely. Aqualine is also in discussion with a salmon farmer in Australia, where they have a problem with sealions.
‘We have supplied Midguards with double nets,’ said Ruo, ‘and are in discussion with Tassal for double nets for their huge cages.’ In Scotland, sales of the Midguard system are going well, with the company supplying 50 nets since January. For the more exposed sites, they use the same materials but there are ‘always improvements in the details’. ‘There is a lot of maintenance, the cages live a very hard life, there is
always movement and they need to be maintained,’ said Ruo. There is a big diﬀerence in the lifespan of the cages, depending on where they are, and inshore cages have a ‘luxury life’ compared to pens on high energy sites. But the quality of ﬁsh has been very good. In Orkney, a further three full Midguard systems have been sold to Cooke Aquaculture for its trial farm at East Skelwick, which already had two Midgaurds.
Skipper Expo Show
Aberdeen scores! Ninth exhibition in city is ‘busiest ever’ BY SCOTT BINNIE
HE Skipper Expo Show, held at the Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre last month, attracted record visitors, said the organisers. ‘In the nine years we’ve run the Aberdeen show, this was our busiest ever ﬁrst day,’ said Mara Media spokesman Hugh Bonner. ‘People were literally queuing out the door. ‘We had 850 people in an hour and a half, and 1,300 in the full day. And Saturday has also been very busy. ‘We have 250 companies, including 27 boat and shipbuilders and 25 diﬀerent nationalities. ‘The ﬁshing and aquaculture industries are in a healthy state. Next year, together with our main sponsors, the Scottish Fishing Federation, we hope to move the show to new and larger facilities in Dyce, but up to this point, nothing has been signed.’ Although predominantly for the trawler ﬁshing industry, Skipper Expo had a signiﬁcant overlap with aquaculture, with products and services also aimed at ﬁsh farms. SeaQuest Systems, from Donegal, Ireland, showed its 40cm pump, now operating on board the ship Volt Processor, in conjunction with Optilice, the de-licing system from Optimar. Some 400 tonnes of salmon an hour can be pumped and SeaQuest claims that stress levels on ﬁsh are 300 per cent less than with traditional pumps. Another 40cm pump is on its way to Chile and the 30cm version, to be launched later this year, has four units pre-sold to a North American customer. Peterhead and Fraserburgh based PBP Services, provider of protective coating systems, has recently made a £150,000 investment in a new robotic blast surface cleaning system, and has been appointed oﬃcial insulation partner for Degaﬂoor. This is ideal for applying to all industrial ﬂooring, particularly ﬁsh processing companies, said the ﬁrm. The German resin cures and dries in 90 minutes, allowing ﬁve coats to be applied quickly and eﬃciently to give a seamless resin ﬁnish. Recent business has come from Norway, Denmark, Ireland and Bahrain. Protective clothing company Guy Cotten continues to use its knowledge of the market to introduce new items to its range, including the Isomax jacket with bib and brace, and added apron, giving extra protection exactly where needed. Both Gael Force and Vonin exhibited, concentrating mostly on their trawler and ﬁshing related products.
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Manufacturers of cages, nets, and ropes had a big presence in Aberdeen. All the way from Peru was FISA (Fibras Industriales). With more than 70 years’ experience, including in the aquaculture industry in Chile, Fisa is now looking to bring its range of cages and nets to European ﬁsh farms - in particular, Supra, its HDPE anti-predator netting that has been so successful in Chile. Sales director Yoni Radzinski had also hoped to exhibit at Aqua Nor later this year but the show was already full when he tried to book in November last year. Also towards the end of 2018, Irish net maker Swan Net Gundry opened a new base in Shetland, under the SNG Aqua banner. Initially for net repairs and a net washing facility, the ﬁrm has since applied for planning permission for a new building, and when complete, further aquaculture services can be developed. Local company Euronete, from Aberdeenshire, continues to concentrate on netting and ropes for the pelagic ﬁshing industry, but it sees the potential of growing the business within aquaculture, by emphasising the quality of the product and service it provides. As mentioned above, a great many ship, boat and barge builders and repairers attended, including several for the ﬁrst time. Bredgaard Boats from Denmark builds ﬁbreglass vessels ideal for use as ﬁsh farm workboats. The boats are custom built to order and can have a six to eight-month timescale from planning to ﬁnish- good news for any ﬁsh farm looking for a short lead-time. Another ﬁrst time Aberdeen exhibitor was Damen Shipyards, from the Netherlands. Damen produces workboats ‘oﬀ the shelf’ but with modiﬁcations available for the addition of cranes and other individual requirements, such as the Volt Processor (see above), a 40m de-lousing ship. European sales manager Mike Besijn told Fish Farmer: ‘Aquaculture is growing and we’d like more involvement. We listen carefully to our customers. ‘The ship is a platform and we have the ﬂexibility to add to it. We think Damen are achieving the wow factor.’
is growing and we’d “Aquaculture like more involvement ”
Photo: The Skipper
Above: Busiest ever show (photo: Skipper Expo); JC Hydraulics; Swan Net Gundry/SNG Aqua. Opposite: Damen Shipyards (top); Fisa of Peru.
More wow factor comes from Ferguson Marine within half an hour. Engineering, based on the Clyde. The ports and harbours of Scotland again had a big presence at the show, At the show the company was focusing on its new with Lerwick, Scalloway, Peterhead, Fraserburgh and Scrabster, plus Shetland VR (virtual reality) headsets, which customers can use to ‘walk around’ a 3d visualisation of a vessel. For prospective new builds this helps potential buyers decide on any alterations, from the siting of deck equipment down to window sizes, so that all builds are unique and one-oﬀs. The company is currently working on a 21m vessel, designed by Macduﬀ Ship Design, for Inverlussa. Also working more closely with aquaculture customers is Macduﬀ Shipyards. The Banﬀshire based yard is building a catamaran for Scottish Sea Farms and continues to build up the net cleaning sector of its business. As leading supplier of Mest Shipyard is a modern shipyard in the Faroe Islands. It services and repairs vessels built in Noranti-predator netting in Chile, way or Denmark from a position in the North Sea we are proud to that means less travel and cost. introduce SUPRA Halfway between Scotland and Iceland, Mest has to the European Market. a 115m dry dock and fjords with virtually no tides and sees its shipyard as ‘the best kept secret in the Anti-predator Nets Rigged Cages North Sea’. Equipment suppliers also featured well JC Hydraulics, based in Peterhead, is a repairer but also an agent for BOPP deck equipment, giving JC a signiﬁcant presence with new boat builds. A new contract was signed at the show and more are ‘close to signing’. Global Empire Hydraulic Connections from Cork came to Skipper Expo with an ingenious product launched six months ago. The King Coupling is a quick-ﬁx solution for hydraulic hoses and burst hydraulic pipes. Instead of losing half a day to ﬁx the problem, down time is reduced as machinery can be up and running again
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Skipper Expo Show Seafood Auctions, all talking of recent developments or plans for the future. On the Aberdeenshire Council stand, the ports and harbours of the county were represented as well as KIMO, the body working to protect and enhance the marine environment. Many vessels are involved with the scheme which resulted in more than 200 tonnes of rubbish being taken from Scottish waters last year and now totalling of over 1,400 tonnes since the scheme began in 2005. And both Seaﬁsh and the Scottish Maritime Academy in Peterhead were there to publicise the importance of the maritime, ﬁshing and aquaculture courses they organise, including health and safety, sea survival, deckhands and engineering. One of the largest stands was from Norway - MMG (Maloy Maritime Group), under whose banner some 16 companies exhibited, covering shipyard and port services, ﬁshing gear and general supplies, technical equipment, design and engineering. From the group, three companies in particular - Baatbygg, Selstad and MH Service work within aquaculture. The Friday of the two-day show coincided with Norway’s National Day. Every Norwegian there was, of course, more than happy to be in an exhibition centre in Aberdeen rather than being at home on holiday! And the cakes and champagne they provided and shared helped non Norwegians celebrate the day too. FF
Above: Protective clothing from Guy Cotten. Left: Ferguson Marine Engineering; Macduﬀ Shipyards. (Photos: Scott Binnie)
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Alternative species – Kampachi
Making waves Is the tide turning at last for US offshore aquaculture?
HEN Neil Anthony Sims brought his King Kampachi brand to the US market for the ﬁrst time this spring he could not have hoped for a more enthusiastic response. At the Boston Seafood Expo in March, visitors to the Kampachi Company stand who sampled the premium sashimi grade ﬁsh, also known as yellowtail or almaco jack (Seriola rivoliana), declared it the best ﬁsh in the show. This was not only a ﬁtting testament to Sims’s decades-long efforts to pioneer offshore aquaculture, but also a step forward in an even bigger mission. ‘We don’t just want to grow ﬁsh, we want to change the world,’ Sims told Fish Farmer, as he waited for news from planning ofﬁcials about his next project. Sims has been experimenting with a series of offshore innovations to overcome both technical and possibly greater political challenges. He has trialled ocean bound ‘Aquapods’ off Hawaii, but his current farm, 6km offshore in the Gulf of California, near La Paz, Baja California Sur, Mexico, is a commercial venture. The site, not strictly in the ocean, was chosen for its deep, clear waters, strong currents, and proximity to the US market. Obtaining permits to farm ﬁsh in US federal waters is a notoriously problematic process, which helps explain why the States, with the world’s second largest Exclusive Economic Zone, ranks 16 in aquaculture production and still imports more than 90 per cent of its seafood. There are currently no commercial ﬁnﬁsh operations in US federal waters – the zone between three to 200 miles offshore. Sims has been at the forefront of the campaign to change the law, in order to bring sustainably farmed ﬁsh to a much wider market – and address climate change. ‘Initially, we change the way the world sees seafood, but increasing seafood consumption is critical to a more climate friendly approach,’ he said. ‘Look at the work that has been done looking at greenhouse gas and freshwater use and the land use impacts of cattle production. ‘We can’t have nine billion people eating hamburgers the way America eats hamburgers.We need to be able to provide them with something that is highly appealing to the palette. ‘You can’t force people to be vegans, you can’t force people to eat carp – we want to provide them with a desirable alternative to beef.
‘We believe King Kampachi and other marine ﬁsh farmed responsibly offshore will offer that potential.’ The Kampachi Company has the capacity to produce 500-600 tonnes a year at its Mexican operation and Sims expects to be harvesting more than 10 tonnes per week by the end of 2019. The ﬁsh are reared in four Polarcirkel style pens, with HDPE rings on the surface, and copper alloy mesh. Each 10,000 cubic metre pen, 30m in diameter and 17m deep, is independently submersible, with a ballast chamber and ballast weight. The ﬁsh are fed by an air blower unless the pens are submerged, and then a water borne feeder is deployed. They are nourished on a specialised diet for seriola, from Ewos (part of Cargill) in Canada, which is about 50 per cent agricultural proteins and oil such as corn, wheat, canola, and about 50 per cent ﬁshmeal and ﬁsh oil. Of that 50 per cent, half comes from trimmings, from food grade ﬁsheries, and the other half is from sustainable certiﬁed forage ﬁsh ﬁsheries, said Sims. A vessel is stationed out at the farm 24/7 and when the weather is inclement, or when there is a red tide, the cages are submerged and the boat comes into the harbour. Since the ﬁsh were put in the water at the end of June last year, they have had to submerge them very little during the summer months, and perhaps a third of the time during the winter months, said Sims.
don’t “justWewant to grow ﬁsh, we want to change the world
Above: Neil Anthony Sims Left: King Kampachi (Photos: The Kampachi Company)
Alternative species – Kampachi
The grow-out phase is between nine and 12 months, when the fish will be between 2.2 and 2.5 kilos, and big enough for the US market. The hatchery is on the other side of the bay, 20 miles away, and the broodstock are in another, separate facility. Sims said it is all working well and he is ‘very pleased’ with progress. The farm recently underwent an ASC audit and he hopes to make an announcement soon about the result. ‘We believe it is not enough to claim we are doing this responsibly, we want to have third party validation of that. That is important to build consumer confidence in our products.’ His Aquapod trial, the Velella Beta project off the coast of Kona, Hawaii, was named one of Time Magazine’s 25 Best Inventions of the Year in 2012, but it was difficult to scale up. Sims said: ‘We’re going to keep pushing the boundaries but we also want to be able to produce fish at scale.’ One of the major barriers to commercially expanding open ocean aquaculture in US federal waters has been its arduous permitting process. In 2016, NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) Fisheries finalised a rule that would allow commercial aquaculture operations to be permitted in US federal waters in the Gulf of Mexico. However, NOAA got the authority rescinded after protesters (including Food and Water Watch and commercial and recreational fishing groups in the Gulf) filed suit and a court decision in Louisiana ruled it had no authority over aquaculture, only fishing, said Sims. ‘So, essentially, the Gulf of Mexico fisheries management plan became moot. We are still moving forward - this just means we don’t need a permit from NOAA but are moving forward with our Velella Epsilon project.’ This latest trial involves similar submersible cage technology to the Mexican farm, and will be located in federal waters in the Gulf of Mexico, off Sarasota, Florida. (See box right) Permits must be obtained from the Environmental Protection Agency, from the Army Corps of Engineers – ‘the conduit for all of the other federal agencies, including NOAAA, who weigh in on environmental impact’, said Sims. ‘We also need a permit from the Coastguard, and from the State of Florida under the Coastal Zone Management Compliance Act. ‘The whole point of the demonstration pen is to demonstrate the permitting process as well as demonstrating the operation of the pen.’ He expects to have the permits by summer and fish in the water by autumn and is optimistic about the future. He was awarded a $139,000 federal grant to demonstrate the Florida
project and said if the results prove favourable,‘we would also hope to pursue a commercial aquaculture permit’. The tide is turning, he thinks, and the US federal government is recognising the importance of scaling aquaculture offshore. New legislation to establish a federal system for aquaculture permits has been introduced, by Republican Senator Roger Wicker, of Missouri. ‘There has been increasing recognition from the leading environmental NGO groups;WWF, and Conservation International, and the Nature Conservancy have all come out advocating for an increased production of aquaculture, so long as it’s done responsibly,’ said Sims. ‘And there is an abundance of new scientific evidence – particularly out of the University of California, Santa Barbara. ‘There is a research team there supported by the Packard Foundation and the Moore Foundation and they are coming up with a number of papers confirming the ability to grow offshore aquaculture in an environmentally responsible way. It is very gratifying to see.’ He said there is also work (by Arlin Wasserman of Changing Tastes) showing an increasing receptivity among US consumers towards aquaculture products, particularly offshore aquaculture products.The scope to up-scale is huge. ‘One of the works by University of California Santa Barbara recently showed that if you only go out to 200m deep all over the world but you exclude all of the other areas where there are competing interests – recreational fishing, commercial fishing, oil and gas, navigation, marine reserve areas, and only go out to 200m deep there is potential offshore to grow 100 times the current seafood consumption over the world.’ King Kampachi is available to distributors through either Prime Time Seafood (www.primetimeseafoodinc. com) or CleanFish (cleanfish.com). FF
Above: Offshore farming in the Gulf of California Top left: King Kampachi made its US debut at the Boston seafood expo in March
VE project seeks victory on two fronts
to keep pushing the boundaries but we also want to produce fish at scale
KAMPACHI Farms described the Velella Epsilon project at a seminar held during the World Aquaculture Society conference in New Orleans, in March. The Velella Epsilon project is an extension of previous projects (Velella Beta-test and Velella Gamma project), which demonstrated small-scale offshore marine fish culture in the waters off Kona, Hawaii. The Velella Epsilon (VE) project will adapt these technologies to Gulf of Mexico (GOM) waters, while pursuing two simultaneous efforts: (a) permitting and deployment of a research scale, demonstration net pen in federal waters, and (b) navigating the commercial permitting process to obtain a commercial offshore aquaculture permit in the GOM, while documenting this effort in a Manual for Aquaculture Permitting Pathway (MAPP). The VE project focuses on a small, pilot scale (single net pen) aquaculture system where up to 20,000 almaco jack (kampachi) fingerlings would be reared for
approximately 12 months in federal waters, approximately 40 miles west-southwest of Sarasota, Florida. These fish will be landed in Florida, marketed, and sold to state and federally licensed dealers. The VE project will lay the groundwork for wider acceptance of commercial aquaculture in the GOM region by: 1. Serving as a platform for the promotion of rational aquaculture policies and demystification of the industry, by providing a working net pen example to politicians, constituents, journalists, and other influencers of policy or public perceptions, as well as the local community;
2. Increasing public awareness of, and receptivity towards, offshore aquaculture and the need to culture more seafood in US waters, by providing public tours of the offshore operation, including (possibly) snorkelling inside the net pen, and fee fishing; 3.Acting as a demonstration platform for data collection of water quality, potential benthic impacts, and marine mammal and fish stock interactions resulting from offshore aquaculture in the GOM; and 4. Providing local recreational, charter, and commercial fishing communities with evidence of the benefits of aquaculture, through the Fish Aggregation Device (FAD) effects of the project. The ‘project permitting’ stage will record the first year’s experiences and achievements of federal and state multi-agency collaboration and coordination; recreational and commercial fishing and seafood stakeholder partnerships; and the multi-tiered, iterative siting analysis process that lead to the final net pen site location for the VE project.
Nets Tasmania – Advertorial
The wiz net of Oz Single net solution to the toughest predation challenges
ETS Tasmania recently received the ultimate accolade for its KGrid single net predator proof netting. As reported in last month’s Fish Farmer, Australian courts have made it a legal requirement that any predator nets installed at ﬁsh farms have to be up to the KGrid standard of eﬀectiveness. The company, based in Geeveston, around 60km from Hobart, was set up in 1987 by Don Latham to provide specialist nets for those pioneering the farming of Atlantic salmon and sea trout in the clear cool waters of southern Tasmania. Latham recruited staﬀ for the new company mostly from backgrounds in the Tasmanian marine and commercial ﬁshing industries, as he developed the skills required for aquaculture net making. His enthusiasm for learning the tradition of net making was gleaned from research and extensive travelling, and his energy, combined with the opportunities provide by a new industry, fuelled the early days of the company.
Australian innovations in netting technology and materials, together with the team’s broad understanding of the needs of ﬁsh farmers, founded on practical experience, helped to establish the company rapidly. Nets Tasmania quickly acquired an unequalled track record in the specialisation of aquaculture net making design and supply. The extreme predation problems that Australian ﬁsh farmers were up against - from seals, including leopard seals, sharks and crocodiles - forged Latham’s determination to resolve these challenges. Today, Nets Tasmania puts all its eﬀort and commitment into delivering the best aquaculture nets for ﬁsh farmers worldwide. The company is committed to the best of traditional net making skills, in combination with the latest products and materials. Latham said the unique factor in the business’s success is his direct involvement with every net that leaves his net sheds. He is hands on in the design and development stages, as well as in the supervision and training of his staﬀ – an approach that achieves the best nets possible for each customer’s requirements. What is KGrid netting? KGrid is described as a uniquely diﬀerentiated netting material, with physical characteristics that set it apart from previous aquaculture netting products. It is a product of an Australian ‘can do’ response to a challenge and utilises a material for net construction that requires a total rejigging of the net maker’s art. The result is a netting type that provides single sheet predation control and minimisation of maintenance costs for the ﬁsh farmer, with an inner surface ideal for stock enclosure. It is developed speciﬁcally to overcome the serious seal attack problems experienced by Tasmanian salmon farmers. Nets Tasmania has worked with Japanese supplier Kinoshita Fishing Net Manufacturing Company since 2013 to engineer the braided, knotless, resin treated net sheets. The prototype was initially designed to over-
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Clockwise from top right: Salmon grow out net for Australia; mort collector base centre; Don Latham at work; detail of KGrid assembly technique; checking quality control
The wiz net of Oz
come crocodile and shark predation on farms in northern Australia, where net damage and stock losses were severely limiting ﬁsh farming viability. As the potential to apply this predator control system to Tasmanian salmon farming became apparent, so did the need to build a dedicated assembly facility, to apply the knowledge gained in manufacturing the ﬁrst generation of nets more eﬃciently. The decision was made to establish that facility in Vietnam and its performance to date has vindicated that decision. This now means that the specialist staﬀ and facilities producing KGrid nets are fully developed in capacity and availability to meet worldwide ﬁsh farming requirements. KGrid is made on BM Braided Muketsu knotless machines, and yarn material is polyester conjugated ﬁbre thermally bonded.
Nets Tasmania PED.indd 65
This provides an ultra-tough barrier to attack, and also uses the physical characteristics of the material to increase water ﬂow. This is done by having a consistent mesh shape, not subject to the water ﬂow distortion prevalent in other materials used to fabricate knotless nettings. There are more than 180 KGrid nets in service, mostly on Tassal Group ﬁsh farms in southern Tasmania. There are also KGrid nets installed on salmon farms in Chile and Canada, on tuna farms in Japan, and on barramundi farms in northern Australia. Now Nets Tasmania is looking at the European market. Latham told Fish Farmer the company philosophy is ‘to work with our customers through a total commitment to our role as net designers and makers, and to provide the most eﬃcient and eﬀective enclosure of their ﬁsh stock’. Each customer’s net is designed and constructed to the speciﬁc ﬁsh farm’s requirements, said Latham. Nets Tasmania’s mantra is: ‘Deﬁne the need - resolve the challenge provide the solution,’ he added. For more information, contact: Fax +61 3 62 97 0130 email@example.com Mobile (AU): +610418 121 616 www.netstasmania.com.au FF
Each customer’s net is designed and constructed to the speciﬁc ﬁsh farm’s requirements
Kaeser – Advertorial
Compressor impressor Kaeser brings specialised products to specialised applications
aeser Kompressoren is a family owned German company that celebrates its 100th birthday this year. Kaeser compressors and blowers are renowned throughout the world for their high quality, outstanding reliability and exceptional energy eﬃciency. With its comprehensive network of branches and distributors, Kaeser Kompressoren has a worldwide service organisation that also covers all regions where aquaculture is practised. Kaeser claims to be the number one compressed air partner for aquaculture applications and technology. Salmon aquaculture is the booming segment of the food industry. Proﬁt margins are high, as is consumer demand. This has led to the increasing use of technology by the aquaculture industry, much of which relies on the use of compressed air. Salmon feeding has already been a pneumatic procedure for more than 12 years, whereby the feed is directed from the feed silo into the pens by a low-pressure air stream. This tried-andtested technique is now leading to feed barges
being designed with machine rooms beside the feed silos, in which the blowers can be housed to protect them from the outside elements. In recent years, higher pressure compressed air applications have increasingly found their way into the aquaculture industry. Operating in the 7 bar range, compressors – either diesel or electric powered – are used to provide the compressed air for such tasks as removing dead ﬁsh from the pens (morts removal), or to raise the level of oxygen in the sea pens, a procedure known as ‘sea pen aeration’ (SPA). Prior to this innovation, divers had to be dispatched to the pens to manually place the dead ﬁsh in baskets, which then had to be lifted out of the water by hand. Now, using compressed air to do the job instead, a cone is installed in the deepest part of the sea pens. This is connected to a tube through which compressed air is blown, forcing the dead ﬁsh up from the bottom of the pen to the top, owing to the ‘airlift pump’ principle. Here, they are separated from the water so that the staﬀ can assess the condition of the carcasses and conduct statistical analyses on them. This is far quicker and less labour intensive than the previously used manual approach, and removal of the carcasses sooner rather than later also helps prevent the spread of disease. A recent further development is to extract faecal matter in the same way. This concept is already being tested in closed pens on trial farms and could be used in future in areas where both water quality and environmental impact are of key concern. One of the most important uses for compressed air in aquaculture is SPA, a process whereby compressed air is blown into the pens through diﬀusers. As bubbles rise to the surface, a gas exchange takes place between the water and the gases in the bubbles, raising the oxygen levels in the water. Even more importantly, it results in an artiﬁcial upwelling,
Clockwise from left: Prototype of the diesel powered KAESER M 50 including aquaculture modiﬁcations; the picture shows the separation of carcasses and water in the morts removal process; operating principle of the SPA system (photo: Pentair Aquatic EcoSystems); a Sea Pen Aeration system in full operation at a salmon farm site. Note the four plumes of aeration inside each pen (photo: Pentair Aquatic EcoSystems)
which forces oxygen rich, cold water from deeper down in the water column up into the pens. This has several eﬀects: ﬁrstly, because colder, deep waters can hold more oxygen, the oxygen levels in the pens are raised. This is particularly important in the summer months, when environmental factors such as algal blooms can be a major concern. Cold, deep waters also mitigate the eﬀects of temperature peaks, which are dangerous for the salmon and have become increasingly common during the summer months in recent years. A further eﬀect of the upwelling is that, thanks to the water at the upper levels ﬂowing outwards, less of the oxygen poor surface water enters the pens. Moreover, algae drifting in upper water layers are kept out of the sea pens by the outwards ﬂow. This eﬀect is most important during algae blooms, preventing the algae from reaching the salmon. The SPA concept described above is used most commonly in Canada and Norway. In other countries, such as Chile or Scotland, bubble curtains are the usual method for protecting the ﬁsh from swarms of jellyﬁsh (Scotland) and algal blooms (Chile). In the past, these two blights have been responsible for wiping out entire ﬁsh stocks in some farms and have caused damage in the millions. Such compressor applications are completely new, so most feed barges have nowhere to house the associated necessary equipment. This means that the compressors tend either to be installed at the farms themselves, or on rafts built especially to accommodate them. Compressors with electric drive motors are usually housed within a container, whereas diesel-powered compressors are generally left
exposed to the elements. Both types of compressor, however, were designed for use on land; the harsh conditions found at sea, with constant exposure to saltwater, were not part of the design brief. This weak link in the design chain has led to premature problems occurring with compressor operation, particularly under the tough operating conditions associated with maritime use. However, compressors are essential to protect farms against such existential threats as jellyﬁsh swarms, algal blooms or other potentially critical dangers in an emergency. For this reason, downtime due to failure of the electrical system, for example, is unacceptable and operational reliability is paramount. It was Thomas Kaeser himself, chairman of the board at Kaeser Kompressoren, who recognised the special needs of the aquaculture industry and therefore commissioned Adrian Feiler, an aquaculture specialist, to examine the speciﬁc issues at hand. The company subsequently spent 2018 becoming intensely acquainted with the aquaculture sector. It looked at the problems compressors face in this diﬃcult operating environment, analysed the key aquaculture markets and liaised closely with ﬁsh farmers and plant hire companies. Equipped with this knowledge, Kaeser Kompressoren was able to develop the ﬁrst prototype of a compressor that was designed speciﬁcally for use in the aquaculture industry. Introduced to the world at the AquaSur 2018 trade fair in Chile, this ground breaking innovation was built to withstand maritime environments and to ensure maximum operational reliability. Through continuous consultation with end customers, this prototype has been further reﬁned so that Kaeser Kompressoren can now oﬀer a compressor conﬁguration which delivers even greater reliability under the harsh conditions that go hand-in-hand with aquaculture applications. This, in combination with increased compressor service life, means that plant hire companies and ﬁsh farmers alike can enjoy the signiﬁcant advantages that Kaeser compressed air solutions have to oﬀer. For more details on Kaeser Kompressoren, visit www.kaeser.com FF
Kaeser can “now oﬀer a
compressor conﬁguration which delivers even greater reliability under the harsh conditions that go hand-inhand with aquaculture application
Pharmaq – Advertorial
season Mowi’s Paul Fletcher assesses Pharmaq’s SmoltVision
N an interview with Fish Farmer, Paul Fletcher, manager at Mowi’s Lochailort hatchery, shares his views on SmoltVision, the new tool from Pharmaq Analytiq designed to help managers assess the readiness of their smolts for transfer to seawater.
Fish Farmer: How long have you been working at Lochailort? Paul Fletcher: I have been working at Lochailort for just over 11 years, ﬁve at the old site here and the rest at the new unit. FF: And roughly how many ﬁsh are taken through to the smolt stage at the site? PF: We smolt approximately ﬁve million ﬁsh per year here at Lochailort.
FF: Historically, what methods have you used to assess your stock’s readiness for transfer to sea water? PF: The way we have assessed the readiness of the stocks is normally through ATPase sampling which is done through our own labs. Blood chlorides are also sometimes taken. FF: It has been said that assessing readiness for transfer to seawater is more challenging in ﬁsh raised in recirculating aquaculture systems (RAS) than those reared in ﬂow through or freshwater loch systems. What is your view on this? PF: It certainly can be more of a challenge to get the timing just right to transfer the smolts from a RAS system; over the years we have seen the smolting process become quicker, with us now looking at the ﬁsh to be smolted around 300350 days, whereas at the freshwater loch sites we seem to be steadily achieving this at 400450 days. We are trying to hit a small window where all the ﬁsh are at their optimal transfer point simultaneously to ensure a good transfer with very little mortality, and where the ﬁsh can take oﬀ in their new environment at sea. FF: You have recently tried out Pharmaq Analytiq’s SmoltVision tool to assist you in your assessment of your stock’s ﬁtness for transfer. Can you tell us a little about how this works? PF: SmoltVision basically monitors the ATPase activity of two ion pumps (pump in/pump out) located in the gill lamellae. As smolts transition from a life in freshwater to one in the sea they must switch from actively taking ions in from the environment to actively excreting them out. This active process is mediated by ATPase, for which there is a freshwater isoform in the ﬁrst instance and a seawater one in the second. By testing 20 ﬁsh over three points in time, the shift from freshwater ATPase activity (inward pumping) to seawater ATPase activity (outward pumping) can be monitored. Because the measurement is actually done at the gene
Pharmaq PED.indd 68
level, this provides a pre-warning of a functional shift in ion pump activity several days in advance of it happening. In addition to this, Pharmaq Analytiq is able to monitor a supplementary marker which it refers to as ‘the co-factor. This can provide useful information about the presence of potentially damaging influences on the gills, including suboptimal water quality, pathogens or simply mechanical damage, all of which can interfere with the normal smoltification process. By tracking the levels of the three markers at three time points in the smoltification period, SmoltVision helps me decide, in advance, the optimum time to transfer my fish – a decision which, I am acutely aware, fish have evolved to make themselves! FF: Given that the analysis is conducted in Norway, this must affect the speed with which you get the results? PF: The samples are back normally within four to five days from the date sent. FF: Since using SmoltVision have you noticed a benefit ? PF: Pharmaq Analytiq certainly helps by putting the results across in a way that are clear and easy to understand, giving us the confidence to transfer the fish within the optimal window for the population. FF: How easy is SmoltVision to use? PF: It is very easy. You sample the gills like you would for a normal PCR gill test, except that you don’t have to use sterile technique, so it is much quicker and less hassle. You then put the tissue in sampling tubes provided by Analytiq, fill out the forms, and send them back to Bergen for analysis. No need to use dry ice, as the samples are stable enough to ship with only regular cool packs. When the samples are analysed we
Pharmaq PED.indd 69
Opposite: Talking smoltification. From left to
right: Hugh McGinley, freshwater production manager, Mowi Ireland; Paul Fletcher, Lochailort manager Mowi Scotland; and Elise Hjelle, Pharmaq Analytiq. Above: Tracking seawater tolerance: the figure shows data from a single tank of fish with four sampling points in the period 21.01.19 – 15.02.19. Each sampling point involves 20 fish. The yellow field indicates the level of seawater ATPase expressed at receive an email notifying us that the test is each sampling point, and which increases complete, and that we can access the results over the sampling period. Once the group online on the confidential Pharmaq Analytiq has crossed the smolt threshold the fish are customer portal. considered seawater tolerant. The co-factor is within the normal level of expression, and FF: And how do you interpret the results? is thus not indicating any disturbance of the PF: We don’t have to. Pharmaq Analytiq smoltification process for the group in question. sends through reports from each of the three Below: Differentiation between seawater and sampling points. The interpretation of SmoltVi- freshwater (Picture McCormick et al., 2013a).: sion results differs a little from how the results These images show immunolocalisation of from a regular ATPase analysis are interpreted. chloride cells in the gills of wild salmon. The Instead of focusing on the specific numerical green cells are freshwater type cells and the value for each fish, SmoltVision focuses on the red cells are seawater ones. The first image ratio between the seawater and the freshwashows a fish at the parr stage, adapted to a ter ATPase level. This means that it is not the freshwater environment and producing mainly specific number for each component that is the freshwater chloride cells (green). After important, but instead the level of seawater the onset of smoltification, the fish starts to ATPase compared to the level of freshwater produce more of the seawater type chloride ATPase. As long as an individual is showing more cells (red) as it develops seawater tolerance. seawater ATPase than freshwater ATPase, then Two weeks after transfer, represented in it is considered seawater tolerant. The results the last picture, the fish has fully adapted to from the analysis are summarised in the report, seawater and is only producing the seawater with a comment describing how many seawater type of chloride cells. During the smoltification tolerant individuals there are in each sampling process when the ratio between freshwater point. and seawater cells will vary, it is important to be able to distinguish between the two types, in FF: Do you anticipate using SmoltVison at order to track the progress of the population. Lochailort again? PF: Yes we will be using the SmoltVision testing again and I know other sites will also be using the test. FF
SmoltVision helps me decide, in advance, the optimum time to transfer my fish
Latest robot makes Brussels debut
Fish inflation hits Young’s profits
Marel launched its fully automatic RoboBatcher Thermoformer at Seafood Expo Global following proof of concept trials in selected factories.
Smarter factories Rapidly evolving “technology will
help fish processors increase their throughput
Above: The RoboBatcher Thermoformer on Marel’s stand at the expo
FURTHER refinements as a result of these trials have been incorporated into the machine, which is now on sale. The robot was among four products launched during the exhibition but it was definitely the ‘star of the show’ judging by the visitors it attracted. The concept of robot packing is still quite new. There is also a robot box packer, the RoboBatcher, which was too big for even Marel’s giant stand, but which has already been snapped up in a new deal, announced in Brussels, between Marel and fellow Icelandic
company Visir. Vísir has just installed its first RoboBatcher and the agreement will see the installation of additional robots in the near future. ‘We entered an agreement with Vísir on the joint development of robot box packing last year,’ said Sigurdur Ólason, managing director Marel Fish. ‘After a very smooth installation of the first packing robot, we’re very happy that Vísir is already keen to step up the automation yet another notch.’ The RoboBatcher makes filling orders eas-
ier and more efficient by automatically adjusting processing based on which product weights and sizes best match the order requirements. Marel was also flagging up its FleXicut pinboner and fillet portioner with the FleXitrim trimming line, launched commercially in Brussels this year. For salmon processors, three new products released this year improve processing results in terms of end-product quality, yield and reduced labour costs: the QC Scanner, the PaceInfeeder for the Filleting Machine, and FleXicut
Salmon for pre-rigour salmon processing. ‘All three of the new releases are examples of how we make salmon processing more intelligent – and therefore more efficient, more sustainable, more profitable,’ said Ólason when Marel launched the products at the Salmon ShowHow in Copenhagen in February. The company also released a new software module earlier this year for improving salmon filleting results. Innova for Salmon Filleting provides complete equipment control and real-time monitoring to
improve performance. Smarter factories featuring rapidly evolving processing technology will help fish processors increase their throughput, obtain better yields, and respond to tighter quality and safety requirements, said Olason, in a foreword to Marel’s annual Insight Fish Processing publication. ‘We recognise that there are significant differences in the utilisation of fish and processing methods around the world, but there are some core ‘smart factory’ attributes that lay the foundation for smarter processing, irrespective of factors such as the cost and availability of manual labour, fluctuations in raw material supply, and even the types of products that are being produced.’
Sixty years of food sales VETERAN seafood ﬁgure John Catherall, a signiﬁcant presence in the UK food industry for nearly 60 years, is to retire. Catherall has been an important factor in the growth and development of companies such as Smedleys, Ross Foods, Dawnfresh Seafoods, United Biscuits, Seabay and Faroe Seafoods, the latter now a subsidiary of the Grimsby oﬃce of Faroese salmon farming company Bakkafrost. Having joined Faroe Seafood in Grimsby, Catherall immediately identiﬁed an opportunity to build sales of the company’s high quality salmon, farmed in the clean waters around the Faroe Islands, and he focused initially on the market in Ireland, where he lived for 10 years. ‘I soon became a trusted adviser to this new and exciting
Processing News.indd 70
market and created a workable logistics plan to enable the reliable delivery of fresh salmon to all 32 counties twice a week,’ he said. Catherall quickly learned that the short-life fresh ﬁsh sector had to be handled very diﬀerently from the frozen market, with which he had earlier become familiar. But the successful Irish experience enabled Faroe Seafood to develop sales throughout the UK and into many other markets. Looking back over six decades of the food business, Catherall said it had been a pleasure to work for Bakkafrost, a great company that concentrated on the all-important and sustainable aspects of the business: ﬁsh welfare and employees and customers.
THE rising cost of ﬁsh – both wild caught and farmed – appears to have hit the proﬁts of Young’s Seafood. The Grimsby based business reported second quarter (January 1 to March 30) turnover of £134.2 million, down by just over £2 million on the same period last year. The EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation) slumped from £5.5 million 12 months ago to £4 million this year. Young’s CEO Bill Showalter referred brieﬂy to the ‘challenges associated with raw material inﬂation’, The cost of principal species such as cod, haddock and salmon have risen sharply over the past 12 months, placing pressure on all UK seafood processors. ‘Our second quarter results reﬂect our steady underlying performance, the challenges associated with raw material inﬂation and a footprint transformation project which had an impact on production, and has since been concluded,’ said Showalter. ‘The steps we have taken to address these issues will be fully reﬂected in the subsequent quarters.’
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Opinion – Inside track
Recirculating ideas BY NICK JOY
ERY early in my career, in the face of the usual barrage of criticism from the wild salmonid sector, someone started to talk about growing salmon on land. I was lucky then, as now, to have good friends in the industry to discuss ideas and debate the best ways forward. Although some of them thought it was inevitable that the industry was pushed that way, others, me included, felt that acceding to pressure to do something illogical would be counter-productive in the long run. I don’t think things have changed. Let us assume that there was no anti-salmon farming lobby; would anyone even consider growing salmon on land? Unless you have come up with some answer that I have not spotted, the only reason for onshore salmon farming is as a response to criticism, hardly the best reason for a business. Imagine suggesting to a potential funder of such a project what is involved in this type of farming. Firstly, we are going to build an extremely complicated, highly technical and extremely expensive infrastructure. This will need to be designed to be highly reliable, highly ﬂexible and maintain an extremely stable environment. Then we are going to stock it to a very high level, necessary in order to make a proﬁt. These stocking levels mean that any error by system or operator make it likely that there will be ﬁsh losses. So to ensure the highest standards of operation, we will need the best of technology but also the highest standard of staff, both expensive. In order to maintain good chemical quality water for the ﬁsh, we will need to maintain complex biological systems in seawater, or the build of waste materials will affect ﬁsh performance or even kill them. Feeding and feed monitoring must also be of the highest order or this will overload the system too. Infrastructure operating costs will be very high as well because large amounts of water have to be pumped about. Energy requirement for this type of farming cannot be anything but high. Our imaginary funder may well ask what the market for this product will be. Well, I don’t know if you noticed in the April issue of Fish Farmer [‘Land reared salmon tastes like…salmon’] but a pack of salmon from such a farm was shown at £25.90/kg, hardly a snip. Even when competing with salmon prices at their highest this is hardly a small differentiation. The price is close to double the nearest competing product. Just to emphasise this, the pack shown offered ﬁllet of 0.36kg for £9.20. It reminds me very much of No Catch Cod when it was on the market. I am sure that in my imaginary conversation, I would be arguing that scaling up will bring the costs down. But that would depend on a market large enough to take a considerable increase, as well as the ability to manage an increase in complexity. The funder would surely ask whether a large market exists for such an extreme differentiation. But, somewhere, there is a charismatic entrepreneur and a willing funder because projects are getting funded and are developing. The question for me is not whether they will succeed but whether they are a way forward for our industry in the long term. It is not just about risk because although onshore farming decreases the risk of sea lice and so on, it increases the risks in other ways. So it could be argued that the risks at sea balance out the risks on land (but I wouldn’t try to make that argument).
Nick Joy.indd 74
question “is The not whether
they will succeed but whether they are a way forward for our industry
The reasons for its future demise will be multi-factorial. Firstly, an industry’s existence must be predicated on more than the fact that its competitors are being criticised. What if the criticism eventually proves to be unfounded? The simple truth is that time will show whether the criticism is true. If not, there is no basis for such a differentiation. The next is that its costs will always be higher than its competitors’ and so will its energy use. In the future, it is highly likely that protein production will be measured on its energy consumption. In a world where energy use will come under increasingly intense focus, this form of farming will be exposed by the very people who pressured its formation. I will not go into the welfare issues of higher stocking densities or the history of major losses in this industry, but the popularity of feedlot beef or intensive egg or milk production should warn against this form of farming from a market perspective. As long as programmes such as Panorama produce biased perspectives, there will be people who think this is the future. I wish no ill of those who chase this dubious dream, but I think you cannot predicate a viable future on the utterings of a small group of vociferous people. FF
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