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Fish F armer JUNE 2020

Certification frustration Nicki Holmyard ploughs the certification minefield

TALKIN’ BOUT A REVOLUTION Nordlaks giant is a game changer



The gaelic inspiration behind Aas Mek’s new vessel

WiSA announce new appointments


Martin Jaffa calls for more youth input











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Editor’s Welcome


ell, it’s now official. The 2020 exhibitions and conference programme has been confirmed as a complete write-off. As expected Aquaculture UK in Aviemore and the EAS conference in Cork became the final two major events to reluctantly pull the plug on their scheduled (or in the case of Aqua UK rescheduled) dates. With unrestricted foreign travel likely to be one of the last things to return to normal, I suppose there was an air of inevitability about the whole thing. What it has done, though, is to herald a spate of ‘virtual’ exhibitions and events, with Nor-Fishing the latest to deploy a digital version of their 2020 offering, as reported elsewhere in this issue. Despite the lockdown it has been a pretty busy month, with our annual focus on ‘feed’ being somewhat dwarfed by the plethora of new boat stories that have landed on my desk over the past 30 days. Our regular diverse mix of contributors should once again make for an interesting issue and, as you know, they are never want to keep their opinions to themselves! Here in Scotland the lockdown restrictions are slowly getting lifted and I hope to be back out on the road meeting aquaculture ‘types’ again before too long. Until then, enjoy the read! JENNY JENNY HJUL HJUL –– EDITOR EDITOR

Take care, Dave Edler


Dave Edler

Fair hearing French connection Farmers must Uphold the codefight back Fair hearing French connection Farmers must Uphold the codefight back


Con Conte Cont

4-15 4-14 News 4-15 4-14 What’s happenin News in the UK and aro

What’s happening in in the UK and around

16-21 16-17 16-22 Industry pio News Extra pla Parliamenta 16-21 16-17 16-22 Steve Bracken SSC’s record resu Stewart Graham The final sessions Industry pionee News Extra platfor Parliamentary i Steve Bracken SSC’s record results Stewart Graham The final sessions

salmon farming sector in Scotland, when it was to he focus this month istopictures on Europe, the internati T HE is coincidence that andwhere videos of unhealthy Sno Fish Farmer went press, there was sti lltold no offi cialonal be the subject of a parliamentary inquiry, embraced the industry willsent soon gathering the (European salmon tobe news outletsfor just asjoint the Scotti sh newswere from the Scotti shScotland, parliamentary inquiry into salmon farming sector in when itEAS was tosalmon he focus this month istopictures on Europe, the internati T HE is coincidence that andwhere videos of unhealthy Sno Fish Farmer went press, there was sti lltold no offi cialonal opportunity this would provide 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 year by the Rural Economy be the subject of a parliamentary inquiry, embraced the industry willsent soon gathering the EASinto (European salmon tobe news outletsfor just asjoint the Scotti sh salmon newswere from the Scotti sh parliamentary inquiry Current trends In good Julie Hesketh-Lai The had nothing to hide and, if given fair hearing, Meet thehealth new ch conference, to be staged over five days in theait southern images had this litt le to doprovide with theto current state of Scotland’s ficould sh and industry Connecti vity (REC) committ ee. MSPs have now heldFrench five opportunity would explain how operated. Aquaculture Society) and WAS Aquaculture Society) parliament back to work at (World the start of month. These farming, went conducted earlier this year by thethis Rural Economy address much of the criti cism levelled against it. city of Montpellier. As well as highlighti ng the latest technological farms where sea lice levels are in decline and, in fact, at a fi vemeeti ngs, in private, to consider their report and we must be Current trends In good Julie Hesketh-Laird The had to hide and, if given fair hearing, Meet thehealth new chief e conference, to benothing staged over days in theaof southern images had litt le to do with thefive current state Scotland’s ficould sh and industry Connecti vity (REC) committ ee. MSPs have now heldFrench five Fish Farmer supported this but at times salmon advances in our fast moving sector, Aqua 2018felt willthat alsohas feature year low (htt p://scotti shsalmon.co.uk/monthly-sea-lice-reports). pati ent. However, waiti ng forview, their recommendati ons been address much of the criti cism levelled against it. city ofngs, Astolevels well asare highlighti ng the latest technological farms -Montpellier. where sea lice in decline and, inwe fact, at abe fivemeeti in private, consider their report and must farmers were being drowned out bywhich theREC noisier elements offarming the sessions on emerging markets and look atinvolves the role ofthe fishusual This latest propaganda campaign, all made harder by leaks from within to anti -salmon Fish Farmer supported this atthe times salmon advances in our fast moving sector, Aqua 2018felt willthat alsohas feature year low (htt p://scotti shsalmon.co.uk/monthly-sea-lice-reports). pati ent. However, waiti ng forview, theirbut recommendati ons been angling lobby, which had called foras the investi gatiRural on. But asngs the farming in alleviati ng poverty. Increasingly, industry meeti anti -aquaculture suspects, came Holyrood’s Economy acti vists. The latest of these (see our news story on page 4) farmers were being drowned out bywhich theREC noisier elements offarming the sessions onpropaganda emerging markets and look atinvolves the role fishusual This campaign, allofthe madelatest harder by leaks from within the to anti -salmon sessions progressed, and eventually farmers’ voices were heard, are broadening their scope, tackling subjects such asthat thethe social and Connecti vity committ ee returned the summer recess we to makes grim reading for the industry asfrom itgati suggests committ ee angling lobby, which had called for the investi on. But as farming inThe alleviati ngof poverty. Increasingly, industry ngs anti -aquaculture suspects, came as Holyrood’s Rural Economy activists. latest these (see our news story onmeeti page 4) became more opti misti c.into Weand now believe that MSPs, perhaps with acceptability of aquaculture the contributi on it makes to global consider its draft report the future of salmon farming. members have been willing to listen to those campaigning to sessions progressed, and eventually farmers’ voices were heard, are broadening their scope, tackling subjects such asthat the committ social and Connecti vity committ ee returned the summer recess we to makes grim reading for the industry asfrom it suggests ee Serving Worldwide Aquaculture Since 1977 food security and saving the planet, aindustry move that is toanti welcomed. the excepti on ofvaluable one or two Greens cahoots with -farming Those who want toWe shut down thein asbe shut down this sector, rather than to those who operate became more misti c. now believe that MSPs, perhaps with acceptability ofopti aquaculture and the contributi on ithave, makes toexpected, global consider its draft report into the future of salmon farming. members have been willing to listen to those campaigning to Also investi gati ngacti initi aties, veswhich inregard thenow developing world, Harrison campaigners, will, on balance, the industry in a Dr favourable stepped their viti involve the within it.up food security and saving the planet, aindustry move that is tobreaching welcomed. the excepti on ofvaluable one or two Greens cahoots with anti -farming Those who want to shut down thein asbe expected, shut down this sector, rather thanthe tohave, those who operate Meet the team Charo Karisa of WorldFish writes about farming potenti al inthe Fish Farmer: Volume 43 Number 06 light. They will hopefully see that farmers take their environmental biosecure environments of farm sitesindustry to snatch photographs in Of course, such stories may be inaccurate and, in any case, Also investi gati ng initi ati ves in the developing world, Dr Harrison campaigners, will, on balance, regard the in a favourable stepped acti vitiish es,and which nowculti involve breaching the within it.up their Editorial Advisory Board: Nigeria, both in catf ti lapia vati on. responsibiliti es seriously and that businesses will only ever invest the hope of fifinding incriminati ng evidence against farmers. Onein committ ee’s ndings arethat notabout binding. Scotland’s fish farmers Contact us Charo Karisa of WorldFish writes the farming potenti al in light. They will hopefully see farmers take their environmental biosecure environments of farm sites tosomething snatch ingame Of course, such stories may be inaccurate and,photographs inofany case,ngthe Steve Bracken, Hervé Migaud, Jim Treasurer, In Scotland, the summer has been aofwaiti What’s in a name Dr Nick Lake Phil Thomas growth that isfibeen sustainable. Tel: +44(0) 131 551 1000 campaigner lmed himself searching, unsuccessfully, for minister, dead have always fortunate to have the support their Nigeria, both catf ish and tilapia culti vati on. responsibiliti seriously and that businesses will only ever invest in the hope of fies nding incriminati ng evidence against farmers. One committ ee’s fiin ndings are not binding. Scotland’s fi sh farmers Chris Mitchell, Jason Cleaversmith while the parliament is in recess and the members of Holyrood’s Fax: +44(0) 131 551 7901 If the committ ee members, especially those who have yet to fi sh at a Marine Harvest site. Another said he saw ‘hundreds’ of Fergus Ewing, to grow sustainably. In Scotland, the summer has something of aofwaiti ngminister, game What’s in a name? Dr Nick Lake Phil Thomas growth that isfibeen sustainable. campaigner lmed himself searching, unsuccessfully, for dead have always fortunate tobeen have the support their and Hamish Macdonell Rural Economy and Connecti vity committ ee conti nue to weigh up Email: shfarmermagazine.com visit aparliament farm, like tothe learn more about the of infested salmon in awould pen, but we only have his word against that But itsalmon should not go unchallenged that some MSPs onsubject the REC while the isjhjul@fi in recess and members of Holyrood’s If the committ ee members, especially those who have yet to fi sh at a Marine Harvest site. Another said he saw ‘hundreds’ of Fergus Ewing, to grow sustainably. the evidence in their inquiry into salmon farming. We don’t expect Interim Editor: Dave Edler their we have plenty of good stories in our May Even Rural and Connecti vity committ ee conti nue weigh up Head Offi ce: Special Publicati ons, Fett esto Park, of theinquiry, professional vets and biologists who manage theissue. welfare of committ ee, with their own against the growth of visit a Economy farm, like toagendas learn more about the ofthetime infested salmon in go awould but we only have his word against that But itsalmon should not unchallenged that some MSPs onsubject the REC their report unti l pen, the autumn but hope the MSPs are using the Designer: Damianthe McGee bett er,farms they could head to Highlands later this month, where 496 Ferry Road, Edinburgh, EH5 2DL We evidence in their inquiry into salmon farming. don’t expect these on a daily basis. industry, are in breach of the Code of Conduct for MSPs. As they their wefully have plenty of good stories in ourgrowth May toinquiry, become acquainted with the facts about fithe shissue. farming. of the professional vets andagendas biologists who manage welfare of committ ee, with their own against the of theEven Commercial Manager: Montpellier repo Dr Marti n Jaff a Doug McLeod meet the aquaculture industry en masse at Scotland’s theirthey report unti l the autumn but hope the MSPs areas using theittiis, meit Ifthey the is proud of its high standards, itsalmon says are inwill aindustry positi on to inflthe uence the future course of farming, bett er, could head to Highlands later this month, where This month also sees reti rement of Marine Harvest’s longest these farms on a daily basis. industry, are in breach of the Code of Conduct for MSPs. As they Subscriptions Janice Johnston to become fully acquainted with the facts about fi sh farming. biggest fi sh farming show. must mount aaquaculture much more robustWe defence oftrouble itself, through its and of businesses vital toBracken. Scotland’s economy, we have a right Montpellier report Dr Marti n Jaff a Doug McLeod they will meet the industry en masse Scotland’s serving employee, Steve had no Subscripti ons Fish Farmer If the isto proud ofreti itsAddress: high standards, as itsalmon says itcollecti is, it ng are in aindustry positi on inflthe uence the future course ofat farming, jjohnston@fishfarmermagazine.com This month also sees rement of Marine Harvest’s longest We will certainly be at Aquaculture UK inindustry, Aviemore and look representati ve body, the SSPO, than it has done to date. The to know who they are, and we hope the through its warm tributes from his friends and colleagues to mark the fish farming show. Magazine Subscripti ons,economy, Warners Group must a much more robustWe defence itself, through its and ofmount businesses vital toBracken. Scotland’s we have a right Publisher: Alisterbiggest Bennett serving employee, Steve had noof trouble collecti ng forward toand, seeing many of you there too. campaigners, we now see, willrest stop nothing, representati ves, will pressure the parliament toand investi gate before milestone along with of the industry, thefarmers team will certainly be at Aquaculture UK inat Aviemore and look Publicati ons plc, The Malti ngs, West representati vethey body, the SSPO, than itthe has done tothrough date. The toWe know who are, and wethe hope industry, its at Fish warm tributes from his friends and colleagues to mark the should be prepared toyou fivery ght back. the to REC report isall published. Farmer wish him the best for the future. Street, Bourne forward seeing many of there too. campaigners, we now see, will stop at representati ves, will pressure the parliament toand investi gateatbefore Rising stars Marti nBrown Jaff a Orkney anniversa Janet milestone and, along with the rest of thenothing, industry, thefarmers team Fish Lincolnshire PE10 9PH should prepared to fivery ght back. the RECbe report published. Farmer wish himisall the best for the future.

22-23 18-19 24-27 Salmon SSPO 22-23 18-19 mar 24-27 Salmon SSPO market

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


Cover: The Marsali sets sail


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

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26 22-23 30 BTA Shellfi sh Comment 26 22-23 30 Shellfi sh Comment BTA 28-31 24-25 32-33 SSPO Comment Scottish Shellfi sh Sea 28-31 24-25 32-33 SSPO Comment Scottish Shellfi sh Sea Fa Rising stars Marti nBrown Jaff a Orkney anniversary Janet 32-33 26-27 26-30 34-35 Shellfi shfiSea Cleaner sh Scottish Comment 32-33 26-27 26-30 34-35 Janet Machrihanish Orkney farm Marti nBrown Jaff a visit Shellfi shfiSea Cleaner sh Fa Scottish Comment 13

Janet Machrihanish Orkney farm Marti nBrown Jaff a visit Advisory Board: Steve Contact Tel: +44(0) us 131 551 1000 MeetEditorial the team Fax: +44(0) 131 551 7901 Bracken, Scott Landsburgh, Hervé Steve Bracken, Scott HervéLandsburgh, Migaud, Editorial Advisory Board: Steve Tel: +44(0) 131 551 1000 Migaud, PatrickJim Smith and Jim Hervé Patrick Smith, PatrickMigaud, Smith, Treasurer and Fax: email: +44(0) 131 551 7901 Bracken, Scott Landsburgh, Hervé Steve Bracken, Scott HervéLandsburgh, Migaud, jhjul@fi shupdate.com Treasurer, Wiliam Jim Treasurer and Dowds William Dowdsemail: William Dowds Marti nofJaff a era Vaccines New player Dawn Migaud, PatrickJim Smith and Jim Hervé Patrick Smith, PatrickMigaud, Smith, Treasurer and 3 new Editor: Jenny Hjul jhjul@fi shupdate.com Treasurer, Wiliam Jim Treasurer and Dowds William Dowds William Dowds Head Office: Special Publications, Dawn Marti nofJaff a era Vaccines New player new Designer: Andrew Balahura Fettes Park, 496 Ferry Road, Editor: Jenny Hjul

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


Fish F armer

In the June issue... News

What’s happening in the UK and around the world

Balancing act


Hamish MacDonell

Certification frustration


Nicki Holmyard

Talkin bout a revolution


Marine giant sets off for Norway

The young ones


Martin Jaffa

Inhospitable times


Sandy Neil

Krill the brill

Major health benefits from adding krill to salmon feed


Our regular look at innovations in feed

Through the wind and the rain

Optimising fish performance in severe conditions

New routes to the market Feeding time

Autonomous feeding is the future of feeding fish in cages

Versatile vessel

Damen’s new workboat has a robust range of features

Mother Ship

Aas Mek’s new vessel has some gaelic inspiration

Girl Power

At your service

International rescue Remote Learning What’s New



Monthly update

All the latest aquaculture events, conferences and courses




MSD Animal Health’s support for vaccinations

Nick Joy



Safety to the forefront for SINTEF Ocean




New vessel to play a crucial role in fish health

Find all you need for the industry



Meet the new Chairs at WiSA

Aqua Source Directory



The latest innovations in the industry

Industry Diary


63 64-65 66


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United Kingdom News


‘Strongest ever’ Q1 results from SalMar EFFORTS to deal with long standing biological problems at Scottish Sea Farms negatively impacted on its performance at the start of this year, Norwegian salmon giant SalMar reports with its 2020 Q1 results today. The company has a 50 per cent stake in the UK-based operation which it calls Norskott Havbruk and which it shares with the Lerøy Seafood Group. SalMar’s main farming activities are based in Norway, but it also owns a majority stake in the expanding Icelandic salmon company Arnarlax. On a group level SalMar announced its ‘highest ever’ Q1 operational EBIT or profit of NOK 1,065 million (£87m) compared with NOK 806 million (£66m) for the same period in 2019. While the results from Scottish Sea Farms were a disappointment, there are positive indications that the measures to tackle issues at its UK operation are bringing improvements. Harvest volumes from Scotland were well down at 2,900 tonnes, compared with 4,800 tonnes for Q1 2019 and 5,300 tonnes in the previous (Q4 2019) quarter. The division generated revenues of NOK 264 million (£21.5m) against NOK 405 million (£33m) in Q1 2019 and NOK 392 million (£31m) in the previous quarter. SalMar said: ‘The low volume harvested is a result of the decision to let fish continue to grow at sea farms after biological challenges in the second half of 2019 caused fish to be harvested at a low average


Above: Gustav Witzoe SalMar CEO

weight. Some 86 per cent of the volume in the quarter was sold under fixed-price contracts. Operational EBIT per kg gutted weight came to NOK 14.36 in the first quarter 2020, compared with NOK 9.28 in the previous quarter. The improvement can be attributed to the fish harvested having a better biological performance. ‘However, profitability is down on the corresponding period last year, when an EBIT of NOK 22.78 per kg gutted weight was achieved. SalMar’s share of Norskott Havbruk’s loss before tax came to NOK -27 million in the first quarter, primarily as a result of a decrease in the fair value of the biomass due to lower forward salmon prices. ‘The fish have grown well and their biological performance

during the quarter has been good. The status of the standing biomass in all regions is good. Norskott Havbruk maintains its expectations to harvest 26,000 tonnes in 2020 as a whole.’ SalMar’s CEO Gustav Witzøe described the performance of the group as ‘very good’. He said: ‘We posted the highest ever Operational EBIT in the company’s history, achieved through strong underlying operations, high volumes and good prices. Central Norway in particular distinguished itself through solid performance in the quarter.’ Gross operating revenues came to just over NOK 3.6 billion (£294m) for the quarter, up 22 per cent on the same quarter of 2019. SalMar harvested 40,000 tonnes in the first quarter,

up from 35,500 tonnes in the corresponding period last year. Operational EBIT per kg came to NOK 26.61 for the first quarter, up from NOK 22.71 per kg for the first quarter of 2019. The increase is attributable to higher prices and a larger harvested volume. CEO Witzøe said that while the Covid-19 pandemic created significant uncertainty for world trade, SalMar strongly believed in further growth in the aquaculture industry and expects a total group harvest of 152,000 tonnes from Norway this year plus 12,000 tonnes from Arnarlax and 26,000 tonnes from Scottish Sea Farms in which it has a half share. The company has already decided to cancel a dividend this quarter. Footnote: £1 pound Sterling equals NOK 12.25


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United Kingdom News

Mowi blighted by biology in Q1

Above: Fish farm at a Mowi Scotland site

CONTINUING challenging biological issues was the main factor which led to a large drop in operational EBIT or profits at Mowi’s Scottish operations during the first three months of this year, the group’s Q1 results showed. The Scottish operational EBIT was 5.7 million euros compared with €35.8 million 12 months ago, and the equivalent of €0.63 per kg (€2.27 in 2019). Mowi said earnings were affected ‘by a prolonged period of challenging biology in our Scottish operations, which has impacted volumes and costs in the quarter’. Harvest volumes dropped from 15,787 tonnes in Q1 2019 to 9,036 tonnes this year. The regional report said: ‘The full cost per kg increased by as much as 33 per cent compared with the first quarter of 2019. The large increase was due to negative scale effects and increased biological costs and mortality costs. The biological situation in our Scottish farming operations has been challenging since mid-2019, with several issues including Pasteurella Skyensis, PD, algal bloom and sea lice. ‘This has coincided with a period of record high sea water temperatures and many winter storms. Consequently, costs for the harvested generation were high. Production has also been lower than in the first quarter of 2019 due to the biological situation and increased number of treatments. Incident based mortality losses amounted to EUR 2.7 million mainly related to AGD and treatment losses (EUR 0.2 million in the first quarter of 2019). ‘Although somewhat improved, the biological


situation still requires close monitoring, especially related to sea lice. In relation to Pasteurella Skyensis, a vaccine has been developed and is undergoing field trials. Going forward, costs are expected to improve as volumes recover and the company starts harvesting from a new generation.’ Allocated margins in Scotland from Sales and Marketing were also reduced from the comparable quarter. Its financial EBIT amounted to a loss of €18.2 million ( profit of € 45.2m for 2019). The overall price achieved was one per cent above the reference price in the quarter (6% above). Contribution from contracts relative to the reference price was positive in the first quarter of both 2020 and 2019. Globally, Mowi’s results in the first quarter were impacted by falling prices as Covid-19 escalated into a world-spanning pandemic with extensive lockdown measures in most countries. The operational EBIT came to €109 million against €196 million in 2019. Mowi CEO, Ivan Vindheim, said: ‘Despite Covid-19 currently causing substantial market and logistical disruptions, our operations are running close to normal. At the same time we are maintaining the safety and well-being of our employees. We will do whatever we can to keep operations running without compromising health and safety. I am extremely proud of all Mowi’s employees for making this possible.’ Mowi reported operational revenues of €885 million in the first quarter of 2020 (€979 million). Total harvest volume in the

quarter of 83,119 tonnes (104,118) was approximately in line with guidance. Harvest guidance for 2020 is unchanged at 450,000 tonnes. The Covid-19 situation significantly impacted trade flows, logistics and distribution during the quarter. The foodservice segment was particularly affected by measures imposed to contain the spread of the virus. Reduced consumption within foodservice, however, was partially offset by increased sales through the retail channel. Despite a challenging quarter, both Mowi Consumer Products and Mowi Feed, including Scotland, delivered all-time high volumes for a first quarter. Together Feed Scotland and Feed Norway produced almost 100,000 tonnes. Vindheim continued: ‘Our integrated value chain has demonstrated resilience in these challenging times, and we have continued to produce value-added products at our many factories. We have been able to capitalise on long-term relationships with retailers globally, and have sold an increased share of production through retail. ‘We have started to see easing of lockdown measures in some countries and signs of increased demand as a result. I strongly believe the demand for salmon will recover to pre Covid-19 levels as the foodservice segment gradually reopens as a result of this’. As stated in the trading update of April 20, the Board of Mowi has decided to postpone the decision on the first quarter dividend until the second quarter in light of heightened uncertainty due to the Covid-19 pandemic.


All the latest industry news from the UK

NI government boost for stricken aquaculture sector Fisheries Minister edwin Poots MLA has announced a £360,000 emergency support package for Northern ireland’s aquaculture sector. The package aims to help aquaculture businesses that have experienced a significant drop in sales as a result of the COViD-19 pandemic.The aquaculture sector is a small but valuable niche market in Northern ireland, employing around 131 people and supporting our rural communities.The scheme aims to assist producers of species like oysters and trout. Announcing the emergency support package during a visit to Movanagher Fish Farm in Ballymoney Minister Poots said: ‘Northern Ireland’s fishing industry has faced extreme difficulties as a result of COVID-19 and is in urgent need of our support. i have already announced a £1.5m support package to help the fishing fleet and today I am announcing a further support package of £360,000 targeted towards the aquaculture sector. ‘The aim of the emergency package is to help this sector to continue its work in growing, harvesting, shipping and delivering to customers all over the world and help the sector to be sustainable and profitable in the long term.’ The support fund of up to £360,000 will be in the form of a grant payment, covering the three month period - 1 March to 31 May 2020 and will be based on the income lost from sales of aquaculture products due to COVID-19. Average monthly sales over the past three years for each business will be used as the baseline. The Minister concluded: ‘This funding will help those businesses most at risk of financial ruin to survive this difficult period. My Department will inform business owners about the full details of the scheme and how to apply in due course.’ The Northern ireland aquaculture sector is a small but valuable

Above: Edwin Poots

niche market supporting rural economies, valued at approximately £11 million annually.There are currently approximately 28 active aquaculture producers and the sector employs around 131 people.The main species cultivated are mussels, oysters, salmon and trout. This package of financial support will provide support to the most vulnerable aquaculture businesses. Payments will be made directly to eligible shellfish growers and trout farmers.

Aquaculture coming home as England makes 20 year plan ready well established in the south-west, along with oyster growing in parts of the south-east. it also highlighted other specialist seafood farming possibilities.

A NeW strategy was launched at the weekend to expand aquaculture in england over the next 20 years. Poseidon Aquatic resource Management Ltd has been appointed to develop the strategy and will work with the seafood 2040 Aquaculture Leadership Group to shape the project and the means to deliver it.


But scottish salmon farmers are unlikely to face competition from south of the border. The english terrain and climate is generally not suitable for that type of aquaculture. however, a Seafish report from four years ago found there was significant potential for the development of mussel, clam and scallop farming, al-

The report said: ‘Undertaken in the right place at the right time with the right skills it can make a significant contribution to national economies, and in particular coastal and rural economies. The UK has significant historic and current skills in this area, yet aquaculture in england, Wales and Northern ireland has underperformed, in part due to a lack of understanding of its basic economic characteristics.’ This new strategy has been commissioned by seafood 2040 (sF2040) facilitated by Seafish in partnership with Defra. Neil Auchterlonie, chair of sF2040 said: ‘The english Aquaculture

strategy is a vital component of the delivery of sF2040, and the opportunities and importance for this piece of work cannot be overstated. We look forward to the delivery of a piece of work that will help to provide a pathway for the growth of this sector in england over the next 20 years, based on the sF2040 foundations of collaboration, science and best practice.’ And Tim huntington of Poseidon added: ‘We are very pleased to have been awarded this work. The english aquaculture sector, whilst small compared to that in scotland, deserves more recognition for its contribution to high quality regional food production. We intend to develop a strategy that builds upon this and takes it forward to meet the challenges and potential that the next twenty years will bring.’


United Kingdom News

Mowi and AKVA deliver world first for Scotland Left: The Tubenet in action on site at Port na Cro.

MOWI is the first aquaculture company in Scotland to trial an innovative new sea lice avoidance system developed by AKVA group. Mowi Scotland’s farm at Port na Cro (Argyll and Bute) is the first farm in the UK to install new and innovative technology specifically designed to proactively avoid a tiny fish parasite that is found commonly on many marine fish. Known as the Tubenet, the project is part of a commercial-scale validation that follows successful trials carried out at Mowi’s research centre in Norway. The Tubenet, produced by AKVA group, is a lice prevention concept that works by keeping fish well below the traditional sea lice belt that is in the upper water column (top 5-10m). This is achieved by installing a large cylindrical passageway in the centre of a cage, from which tarpaulin hangs and protects our salmon from lice infestations when they swim to the surface to fill their swim-bladders. Fish feed is delivered by way of subsurface feeding tubes, and cleaner fish welfare is safeguarded by using tailor-made hides specifically for Tubenets. In the case of Port na Cro, the tarpaulin hangs to a 14m depth and the feeders are placed at 13m. The inner cylinder is 60m in circumference. Gareth Siney, farm manager at Port na Cro, said: ‘We are really excited to be the first farm to implement the Tubenet. At the moment, we use lots of different tools to tackle sea lice such as water pressure and using cleaner fish that naturally pick the sea lice off our salmon. But this technique is the first that is proactive by essentially trying to avoid sea lice being present in the water in the first place. How it


works is that the Tubenet provides a barrier at the surface of the water creating a separation between our fish and where sea lice naturally gather.’ The Tubenet was installed at Port na Cro in May and Gareth and his team will provide regular reports and data to the other teams in Norway. The project will conclude when the salmon are marketed, but expectations are high given research already conducted by the Norwegian Institute of Marine Research (IMR) found that the system delivered as much as 80% reductions in sea lice infestation over time. Commenting on the trial in Scotland, David

Peach, General Manager at AKVA group Scotland, said: ‘AKVA group is proud to be working closely with Mowi both here in Scotland and in Norway. This innovation, using AKVA group’s patented technology is aimed at improving fish welfare and has been delivered from our Kishorn, Wester Ross build site after several years of significant joint research and development in Norway. We will continue to work closely with Mowi and in particular Gareth and the team at Port na Cro throughout the duration of this exciting validation project which is a world first in the aquaculture industry.’

Above: David Peach, General Manager at AKVA Group. Photo: AKVA


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Saucy Fish Co gets Waitrose boost THE Saucy Fish Co. has secured two important new listings for its frozen and chilled ranges in Iceland and Waitrose, providing a welcome boost for both the salmon and whitefish sectors. It is one of two fishcake launches involving salmon. After a successful launch in The Food Warehouse by Iceland in 2017, Grimsby based Saucy Fish will now see it’s frozen fishcakes listed in main estate Iceland stores from May. Flavours include salmon fishcakes with a lemon centre and smoked haddock fish cakes with a vintage Cheddar centre. A number of popular fish and sauce products from its flagship chilled range will be available at Waitrose online from this month. Anne Laudage, Brand Manager at The Saucy Fish Co. commented: ‘We are very excited to see some of our favourite Saucy Fish products become available in Iceland stores nationwide and on Waitrose online. Our fishcakes and fish & sauce products promise to add convenience and flavour to even more dinner plates across the country. ‘Our frozen fishcakes prove a great

match for Iceland’s core customer, offering a tasty meal solution that goes from freezer to fork in thirty minutes and feeds the whole family. We are equally confident that our chilled fish & sauce products will inspire Waitrose customers to cook fish confidently, adding fresh new flavours to their midweek meals.’ Marketing campaigns will be rolled out alongside the two new listings, including geo-targeted paid media activity, influencer partnerships and PR support. These two retailer listings mean more good news for the brand after the successful launch of four new fish & sauce lines in Ocado, early this year. Meanwhile, The Grimsby salmon company JCS Fish has introduced two innovative new frozen fish cakes to its BigFish™ range: Salmon & Sweet Potato and Thai Salmon & Sweet Potato. The recipes are unique to BigFish and combine sweet potato, herbs and spices with a generous proportion of responsibly sourced salmon. The Thai

fish cake is a zestier version with an Eastern Thai seasoning that includes lime, coriander and lemongrass. Both are free of artificial additives and rich in Omega3. The entire BigFish range was relaunched earlier this month with eye-catching redesigned cardboard packaging that also cut the brand’s use of plastic by around 60%.

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Morrisons British fish sales soar by 60%

Mowi delivers Fareshare

Above: British fish sales are booming at fish counters

Mowi Consumer Products and FareShare continue to get fresh, nutritious salmon to vulnerable people amidst the Covid-19 crisis. with UK food producers and associated supply chains deemed an essential service, Britain’s largest salmon producer (Mowi) and the UK’s national network of charitable food distributors (FareShare) have made necessary changes to their business arrangement that ensures the daily supply of fresh salmon continues to reach those in need. Packs of various fresh salmon products, including cold smoked, hot smoked and marinated, are picked up daily at Mowi’s seafood processing and packaging operations in Rosyth, and distributed by FareShare to drop off points around Fife and surrounding areas. in 2019 the company saw 1,600 kilograms of salmon products donated to charitable food outlets via FareShare, providing about 10,000 meals. ‘we have been partnered with FareShare since early 2017,’ commented Gary Paterson, Head of operations, Mowi Consumer Products UK. ‘our shared values were evident when we first met, and we were very keen to ensure that any surplus products no matter how small were donated to a charity to feed the various people in the community that would otherwise not be able to get the level of protein in their diet for one reason or another.’ ‘The majority of our protein is distributed within the Fife region to local communities here in Rosyth, Dunfermline as well as other parts of Fife, Perthshire and Tayside.’ FareShare’s network redistributes food that is nutritious, in-date and good to eat. it reaches charities across the UK, and provides enough food every week to create over a million meals for vulnerable people.

A leading fishing podcast (Fathom) has been told by UK supermarket chain Morrisons that they are now selling 60% more British fish than they were before the lockdown started. At the outset of the COVID-19 crisis, supermarkets across the country chose to close fresh fish counters - a decision described by Paul Trebilcock of the Cornish Fish Producers Organisation (CFPO) as ‘counter-intuitive’ and ‘causing frustration at the quayside’. Challenged on this decision by the podcast host, Sophie Throup - Head of Agriculture, Fisheries & Sustainable Sourcing at Morrisons - was candid in her response: ‘Everyone started behaving and shopping very differently - stockpiling toilet rolls and

Above: Morrisons store


pasta. As a business we had to concentrate on helping customers move through the stores as quickly and safely as possible - closing counters meant we could focus our efforts on keeping shelves stocked’. The characteristic back-andforth of fishmongers counters also presented a risk for retailers, with Throup adding: ‘Fish counters are about exchanging knowledge and information - personal contact - this is why they were shut right at the beginning’. As shopping conditions changed, Morrisons have spear-headed the reintroduction of fresh fish sales in supermarkets through developing a ‘British fish box’, putting a new emphasis on selling UK species. Asking if this represented a wider move towards ‘British produce for British customers’, Paul Trebilcock suggested this could represent a ‘new normal’ in the post-COVID consumer landscape. Responding, Throup noted that Morrisons ‘haven’t altered the range of seafood we’re selling, but what we have altered is the volume - we are selling 60% more British fish now than we do normally’. Throup added this includes a 1400%

increase in sales of dover sole, and an 83% increase in sales of monkfish - something she characterised as ‘phenomenal’. Emphasising how the ongoing lockdown conditions have changed how the public approaches seafood, Edward Polley of Falfish commented: ‘Under this period of lockdown, whilst people have been forced to stay at home, it’s also encouraged them to cook at home - and people are starting to eat more seafood at home. [People are discovering] how easy and simple seafood can be - the beauty is there’s something for every budget’. Whilst some sectors, the shellfish sector in particular, are still struggling to access much-needed export markets, Fathom hosts Paul Trebilcock and Chris Ranford reflected on how this difficult period could act ‘as a foundation’ for the future of fish sales in the UK - with strong communication between links in the supply chain paying dividends for buyers of all sizes, and for development of the domestic market: ‘Let’s hope the new norm is 60% increase in sales of British fish - let’s keep going in that direction!’

Above: Mowi distributing at Rosyth site


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Mowi Scotland celebrates ASC lochs award MOWI Scotland is celebrating the news that it has become the first aquaculture company in the world to achieve Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) certification for freshwater lochs. The honour has gone to Loch Lochy and Glenfinnan and follows on from the ASC’s revised trout standard.This is a significant milestone towards the company’s stated ambition to strive towards 100 per cent ASC certification by 2025. Rory Campbell, technical manager said: ‘This is a significant milestone for our business. Loch Lochy and Glenfinnan are both freshwater loch farms that, along with our recirculating aquaculture facilities, provide for a vital part of our salmon’s lifecycle before entering the sea. Both sites are the first freshwater farms in the world to be audited against a revised ASC Trout Standard that now recognises the production of salmon smolts in freshwater lochs. By achieving ASC certification at these freshwater loch sites it now allows us to have a pipeline of ASC certified smolts for our seawater sites and enables us now to push on with our plan to achieve ASC certification across our business.’ Samuel Clegg, certification manager, describes the process: ‘The audits were carried out in February.Two auditors spent two days auditing each farm. One auditor was really focused on technical information and the other auditor looked into personnel issues such as health and safety, human resources and payroll. As part of the audit process, many of our farm technicians at site were interviewed along with our fish health professionals who care for the fish at these sites.The whole process is deeply involving for all those involved with the standard covering a multitude of different technical, social and environmental areas.

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Above: ASC lochs award

He added: ‘There are hundreds of criteria within the Trout Standard and you have to pass every single one in order to get accreditation. It really does take the whole team to achieve this standard, the auditors look at every aspect of our business including our relationships with stakeholders local to the farms.’ Loch Lochy and Glenfinnan will hold this standard for a year when both will need to be audited again as part of the yearly ASC surveillance audit process.The rest of 2020 will see many more audits by the ASC as Mowi strives to achieve 100 per cent accreditation for all its farms.

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Threat to Icelandic wild salmon ‘negligible’ finds report

Above: Salmon farm in Icleand

PLANS to breed up to 10,000 tonnes of salmon on Iceland’s west coast would have an ‘insignificant’ impact on wild salmon or general marine life, an official report has concluded. The findings will be seen as a boost for the country’s growing aquaculture sector and a strong riposte to its environmental lobby which frequently opposes most new fish farming applications. The company Arnarlax submitted the application several months ago in a move which would greatly expand aquaculture in the Isafjörður region. Now a preliminary assessment report by consulting engineers Verkis


and published on the Icelandic Planning Agency website appears to have signalled a green light for the project. The report says: ‘Taking into account mitigation measures and targeted monitoring, the effects on natural salmon stocks when it comes fish diseases and salmon lice are likely to be insignificant. These effects would be the same regardless of whether fresh or infertile salmon is used. ‘Taking into account mitigation measures, it is considered unlikely that the proposed farming of fertile salmon harms wild salmon

stocks with regard to the risk of genetic mixing.’ The report finds that any impact is likely to ‘be at the most negligible’ on natural or wild salmon and whitefish and shrimp stocks in the area. It says that in the unlikely event of any adverse effects, these could be kept local and easily reversed, adding that synergies could be combined with other fish farming activities by other companies in the area. The report also suggests that the Arnarlax project would bring significant economic benefits to an area of Iceland which has lost much of its traditional fishing industry over the past few years.

Royal still flush in Q1 results COVID 19 has so far failed to take a toll on the first quarter financial performance of Norway Royal Salmon (NRS), one of the world’s major fish farmers. The company today reported that its EBIT or operating profit had more than halved to 75 million kroner (£5.9 million), thought to be due to higher costs. The EBIT for Q1 last year was NOK 162 million (£12.7m) . The EBIT per kilogramme was NOK 16.53 compared with NOK 25.51 in 2019. CEO Charles Høstlund (pictured) said the pandemic has put everyone to the test. He continued: ‘Our world is facing some formidable challenges and the need for healthy, environmentally friendly seafood will be important in the future. ‘We are very pleased that none of our employees have been diagnosed with the virus and that Covid-19 has not affected production so far. As a result of winter wounds, harvest from a zone with restrictions and the timing of harvest, the quarter was influenced by reduced price achievement and increased production costs.’ He reported that the Group’s Iceland based growth initiative Arctic Fish achieved an operating EBIT of NOK 16 million and an operating EBIT per kg of NOK 18.47. Høstlund described the performance of its Iceland operation as being ‘very satisfactory. The company, he said, was in a strong financial position with NOK 1,840 million (£144m) ( in unutilised credit facilities and NOK 58 million (£4.5m) in bank deposits at the end of the quarter. NRS, whose Norwegian farms are largely based in Troms and Finnmark, harvested 5,409 tonnes, gutted weight down 23 per cent on 12 months ago. But its estimated harvest volumes for the whole of 2020 37,000 tonnes, an increase of 36 per cent on 2019. The company has produced extra capacity through Norway’s traffic light system and the group now has 38


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10% spike for salmon as lockdowns ease

Above: Paul T. Aandahl Left: Salmon prices have risen

SALMON prices have shot up by more than 10 per cent in the past week, indicating that many economies around the world are re-awakening from the three month long lockdown. The latest intelligence from Norway Office of Statistics, often a marker for the industry in neighbouring salmon farming countries, shows that the kilo price for fresh salmon was NOK 65.46, a rise of 10.6 per cent on the previous weeks. However, export volumes are expected to be down with a more accurate picture expected in the next week or so when the Norwegian Seafood Council releases figures for the month of May.The kilo price of frozen salmon was NOK 52.53, a decrease of 10.5 per cent on the previous week, although volumes are on the rise.


Paul Aandahl, analyst at the Seafood Council said that despite increased freight costs there was now a shift in the flow of fresh salmon towards Asian markets such as China and South Korea where the re-opening of the economy began earlier. But Europe is also starting to open up. He explained: ‘We see continued positive development in exports of fresh whole salmon to further processing countries such as Poland and the Netherlands. Exports of fresh salmon fillets help stabilise exports to key overseas consumer markets such as the US and Japan and to larger consumer markets in Europe such as France.’ Sales to the United States show no signs of slowing at all with exports of fresh salmon fillets up by 57 per cent during the much of the global lockdown period. Observers say pre-packaged seafood products, including salmon appear to have been one of the few winners in this pandemic as consumers switch to home consumption in the absence of restaurants. The next month will be crucial in seeing how these new trends develop, as countries across Europe and beyond take their

first tentative steps out of lockdown. It is also unclear at this stage what impact any ‘second wave’ instances of the virus would affect the

recovery. In a fast moving and unprecedented situation like the one we are now in, all the industry can really do like any of us is to watch and wait.

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UNESCO calls for Mowi heritage site talks Irish producer picks up Nolans

Above: The Vega Islands

THE Norwegian branch of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Conservation Organisation - better known as UNESCO – is calling for a meeting with the Oslo government over plans to allow Mowi to develop aquaculture on one of its world heritage sites. Following a long running dispute and a series of appeals, Mowi was granted official clearance earlier this month to carry out salmon and trout farming in a remote region of northern Norway known asRødskjæran on the Vega Islands, an area renowned for its birdlife and as a breeding ground for eider ducks who are renowned for their feathers But in the last few days the Norwegian UNESCO Commission has requested a meeting with the Minister of Climate Change over the decision. Its regional director Tora Aasland has expressed her dismay

Above: UNESCO have called for talks


at the decision suggesting it was difficult to understand the rationale behind it. However, it is thought unlikely that the government will row back on its decision. She said she was both surprised and disappointed that the Ministry of Climate and Environment had ignored environmental advice and as head of the Norwegian UNESCO Commission and was also worried about the way Norway was managing its heritage sites, especially Vega which has many special features. However, the the project, which will create new jobs in an area where employment is scarce, has the support of local politicians, despite claims by UNESCO and other environmental groups that it will harm its renowned duck population. But the company described the about-turn as a ‘a good day for Mowi and the municipality of Vega.’

AwArd winning Irish Seafood Producers Carr & Sons Seafood Ltd, based in Killala, Co Mayo have acquired HJ Nolan Seafood, dublin, effective from March 2020. Going forward both Carr & Sons Seafood and the HJ Nolan Brand will be part of the esteemed Mondi Group. Erling Charleson, owner and founder of Mondi, was thrilled for this opportunity to continue the legacy of this historic brand into the future. Carr and Sons Seafood who hold a Grade A BrC are located on the wild Atlantic way in the idyllic fishing village of Killala, Co Mayo. This Grade A accreditation offers assurance to food retailers and all customers and consumers that Carr and Sons Seafood will adhere to the highest quality standards within the food processing industry. The Killala based company have always focused on craftsmanship and quality, which is reflected in their premium ready to eat seafood range. Nolan customers can expect the same high quality which has always been associated with their prestigious brand for over 100 years. From this tranquil location Carr & Sons supply both the home market and export market throughout Europe. The company ethos is to maintain their commitment to environmentally friendly business practices which in turn will guarantee a sustainable future for all stakeholders involved. George Nolan has entrusted Carr & Sons to carry on the tradition of the Nolan family. Carr & Sons considers it an honour to produce this prestigious brand to the standard and respect it has acquired over the past 100 years and Nolan’s customers can be assured of continuity of their beloved brand. Going forward Nolans Products will be produced at the Grade “A” accreditation facility in Killala, Co Mayo. Carr & Sons Seafood Ltd. was

Above: The brand was established in 1946

acquired by Mondi Group AB, a Swedish seafood company, in 2014. The company was originally established in 1946 and the Mondi Group AB have continued the tradition of the previous owners to produce and distribute a range of award winning chilled pre-packed smoked, fresh and ready to eat seafood products for the retail trade. Nolans Quality Seafood Ltd. was founded in 1912, and remained a family run business till present. Family continuity and commitment to their brand has earned Nolans worldwide recognition for their prestigious products. Continuity of this quality brand is guaranteed by transferring ownership to Carr & Sons Seafood in 2020. Mondi, a Swedish based company was founded in 1980 by Erling Charleson. Mondi Group’s mission is to produce and sell unique seafood products of the highest quality. They specialise in creating and producing premium products for both their home and international markets. Mondi have business links with Ireland since 1984. Erling Charleson owner of Mondi Group AB stated: ‘This is a very exciting chapter for our Irish company, this acquisition will make Carr and Sons one of the strongest ready to eat Seafood Company’s in Ireland.’ Erling attributed the Killala company’s success to continued investment in both their workforce and plant and to the outstanding commitment of its management team.


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Skretting gives itself ‘more to do’ on sustainability

Above: Skretting has put sustainability at the heart of its future plans

Skretting, the feed giant owned by nutreco, is in the process of setting new targets aimed at pushing the company’s and the industry’s boundaries on sustainability. in an interview with intraFish, Skretting SeO therese Log Bergjord was candid about the company’s failings in the area: ‘We have not done enough, we laid out some good ground work and are setting up crisp targets going forward, which are ambitious and relevant for the whole industry, ‘We are here for the long-run and we are taking the footprint that we leave behind very seriously. it has to be sustainable.’ Launching its latest sustainability report, Skretting measured itself against a range of metrics, including energy efficiency, emissions, water usage and human capital. While it showed progress in some areas, in others the needle moved in the wrong direction. For example, Skretting consumed 2 percent more energy per metric ton of feed produced in 2019 compared to the year prior, and CO2 emissions increased four percent year-on-year to 81 kilograms of CO2 per metric ton of feed. While the figures can lack context -- the shutdown of its Uk operations impacted overall numbers, for example -- Skretting is establishing more aggressive science-based targets to reach the goals of the Paris agreement of limiting global warming to below 2 degrees Celsius. the company is assessing exactly how much it needs to cut its CO2 emissions from both its factories and raw material sourcing, Skretting Sustainability Manager trygve Berg Lea told intraFish. the initial target will be set for 2030, but the exact reduction in percentage terms will be defined in the next six months, which will lead


to a focus on more tangible reduction, Berg Lea said. CO2 reduction can require out-of-the-box thinking, including taking actions that may benefit other companies as well. Last year, Skretting partnered with rival feed giant Cargill to transport the two companies’ norwegian feed products on the same vessels, not only to decrease shipping traffic and costs, but to cut greenhouse gas emissions associated with the transportation of fish feed by one-fifth. Flexibility in feed production and ingredients has always been one of the most important topics for Skretting, and the company has been evaluating changes in its raw material supply chain, Berg Lea said. In 2019, 27 percent of fishmeal and fish oil in Skretting originated from trimmings and by-products, while the remainder was from whole fish. Skretting aims to trace all fish oil and fishmeal purchased back to MarinTrust certified fisheries by 2025. ‘Many question the dangers in being reliant on sources far away, which means we might need additional focus on regional and national food security,’ Berg Lea said. In addition to fishmeal and oil being sourced from far-flung locations such as Peru, the company is also reliant on vitamins and a range of other feed additives mostly produced in China. ‘the coronavirus situation showed how vulnerable we are if we got a complete shutdown in China ... it’s complete disruption,’Berg Lea said. However, how this actually plays out is dependent not only on Skretting, but on politicians and regulators as well, Berg Lea noted. Skretting does admit some holes in sustainable sourcing, especially with wild fish stocks and soy, which are right at the heart of the

feed sustainability challenge. ‘As of today we do not have a regular and mandatory system to trace soy products back to the country or region of soybean cultivation,”’the company said in the report. Last year, Skretting met with other major feed producers -- Cargill Aqua nutrition, BioMar and Mowi -- in Brazil to discuss improvements in traceability and transparency in their supply chains and soy sourcing, right after the major Amazon debacle, in which forest fires were linked to Brazilian soy production. The producers teamed up with certification body Proterra and soy protein concentrate (SPC) producers Caramaru, imcopa and CJ Selecta to create the Aquaculture Dialogue on Sustainable Soy Sourcing from Brazil. Since the Amazon fires, South Korea-based CJ Selecta stepped up its sustainability efforts by focusing on seven targets, which include establishing a sustainability department, ending soy sourcing from the Amazon by 2022, have all farm areas audited by 2022, to name a few. ‘We put a lot of work together with our Brazilian soy producers and CJ Selecta is one that has really stepped up its sustainability performance,’ Berg Lea said. ‘i think it is really nice to see that when we engage constructively challenging them, they are really able to step up their performance and that’s really rewarding for me as a sustainability manager.” Skretting’s sustainability goals include its internal staff make up as well. Currently, more than 25 percent of leading positions at Skretting are filled by women. Though that level is promising in a male-dominated sector, the company is pushing for that percentage to grow to 30 percent by 2025. ‘We are very aware and our owners are very supportive of the fact that we need young women and young talent to step up and take the stage,’ Log Bergjord said. this also includes poaching talent from different industries, such as the oil industry, an industry facing an uphill battle in today’s economy, Log Bergjord said.

Above: Therese Log Bergjord


European News

Digital version of Nor-Fishing 2020 announced THE organisers of this years cancelled Nor-Fishing event have announced that they will instead be offering a digital version of the exhibition. The exact time is not yet set, but the digital event will last 2-3 days during Nor-Fishing week, 18 - 21 August. For those ‘visiting’ the exhibition, the intention of the organisers is that it should be like watching a live TV show.They will set up a studio with a host - and alternate between exciting reports and guests in the studio. Norwegian TV personality (and active seafood trader) Arne Hjeltnes will escort viewers through the exhibition days. In addition to being able to follow the live stream directly, the entire fair will be posted on our website so viewers can view the content at a time that suits them.The digital fair will thus live on after the event is over. Following Nor-Fishing 2020 Digital is completely free of charge for viewers. The exhibition is a very important international meeting point for members of the fisheries sector, and an important arena for presenting new technology to the industry. Nor-Fishing 2020 Digital will re-create the physical marketplace that Nor-Fishing represents, in a new and exciting format. Exhibitors will be be able to be presented with new technology, have a dialogue with customers through the chat function - and arrange their own digital meetings with other viewers.This will be an arena for presentations, dialogue and trade between exhibitors and visitors. For a long time the Nor-Fishing Foundation had a vision of organizing a digital event - as an addition to the traditional exhibition.The recent situation has accelerated the work of launching Nor-Fishing Digital - and it is with pride and eagerness that they announce that Nor-Fishing 2020 is going digital! Exhibitors’ contributions can be in the form of a movie or they can buy studio time where a representative from the company is interviewed by the program host. Nor-Fishing have checked the interest in the new digital meeting place among several of their largest exhibitors, and have a received positive response. In the weeks ahead they will be contacting all their exhibitors to find out who is interested in participating.

Above: Nor-Fishing has gone virtual

The professional program will be published continuously on their website up until Nor-Fishing week. Nor-Fishing is celebrating its 60th anniversary this year - which made it extra sad to face cancellation for the first and only time in the exhibition’s history. Instead of a year without Nor-Fishing, the organisers now want to make sure that this is the year when the digital fisheries technology exhibition sees the light for the first time! They will mark the anniversary with exciting and delightful flashbacks from the 60 years that have passed, and program host Arne Hjeltnes will chat with central personalities from the history of the exhibition. They will keep our finger on the pulse of the industry with panel debates on important fisheries policy issues – as well as exciting professional lectures and seminars/webinars.The professional program is put together by a program committee consisting of representatives from SINTEF Ocean, NTNU and several trade organizations.The Student Day, which is arranged in collaboration with NTNU and BI, will also be conducted digitally.

Kvaroy smolt appoints new CEO

Above: Pia Moeller


KVAROY Arctic is tightening its supply chain and setting the stage for broader control of its production from egg to harvest. The family-owned farm for sustainably raised Atlantic salmon will now receive two thirds of its smolt from the newly formed Kvarøy Smolt, located in the nearby town of Mo i Rana. CEO Pia Moeller takes the helm with a fresh perspective for the future needs of the business. “I love a good challenge,” says Moeller. “We have a competent team here, which is essential as I look for ways the company can optimize its processes, continue to practice best-in-class health and safety methods, and maintain a work environment that is equitable for all and inspiring to be part of.” Earlier this year, Kvarøy Arctic’s parent company Kvarøy Fiskeoppdrett AS acquired its primary supplier of smolt, Ranfjord Fiskeprodukter. The company, now known as Kvarøy Smolt AS, has a team of ten employees producing over 5.5 million smolt per year, about a quarter of which goes directly to Kvarøy Arctic.


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Hydroniq lands a cool contract Below: An artist’s impression of the new vessel

Hydroniq Coolers has been awarded a contract by norwegian shipbuilder Larsnes Mek Verksted AS to deliver a hull-integrated seawater cooling system to a new vessel the yard is building for norwegian wellboat company rostein. The wellboat, nB67, has been designed by Skipskompetanse AS from Måløy, norway. She is 79.27 metres long, 15 metres wide and has a total storage capacity of 2,800 cubic metres. She will be equipped to transport salmon and smolt, primarily. Hans robert Almestad,VP Sales & Marketing at Hydroniq, was delighted with the development: ‘This is the ninth rostein wellboat built by Larsnes Mek, and we have been fortunate enough to supply our seawater coolers to several of these. Both the shipyard

and shipowner are therefore well acquainted with our hull-integrated solution for seawater cooling and the energy savings it offers’. Hydroniq Coolers will deliver its rack seawater cooler to the wellboat. This type of marine cooling system is integrated in the hull below the main engine room of the vessel, where it reduces temperatures in the ship’s engines and other auxiliary systems through use of seawater – but without taking up valuable engine room space. The company will manufacture and assemble the equipment at its headquarter in Aalesund, norway and deliver it to Larsnes Mek which is located at the Gurskøya island on the north-western coast of norway. Hydroniq Coolers has not disclosed the value of the contract. Left: Hans Almestad


At the end of november this year, the vessel’s hull will be delivered from Marine Projects in Gdansk, Poland, to Larnes Mek, where the boat will be equipped and completed. delivery to the shipowner is scheduled for the end of May 2021. rostein is one of the world’s leading wellboat companies with a fleet of 15 vessels. Almestad added: ‘it is highly gratifying that

norwegian shipowners such as rostein are able to demonstrate a long-term industrial perspective and place newbuild contracts for wellboats when the industry is in the middle of a challenging coronavirus-period’. Hydroniq Coolers is owned by norwegian investment company SMV invest AS (formerly Sperre Mek.Verksted AS).

Ellingsen guarding against algal blooms ElingsEn seafood CEO line Ellingsen has been revealing the steps the company has been taking to avoid another algal bloom outbreak, in an interview with intraFish. This year heading into summer, among other things, the company has been regularly measuring the depth of view at its farm sites. ‘We take a white ‘plate’ into the sea. Then you see how many meters it takes before you can’t see it anymore,’ explained Ellingson. ‘it is a simple and effective method. if you get poor visibility, it is natural to take water samples.’ last year, devastating algal blooms impacted northern norway’s

salmon farms, causing major companies in the region to lay off workers. The event wiped out a value of around 7.1 million fish by the end of May of 2019. Ellingsen is not convinced that there is certainty in any method yet for preventing future mass deaths of salmon from

toxic algal blooms. ‘i don’t think there’s a quick fix,’ she said, noting it will take time to see which methods are feasible and work. The company is part of an algae monitoring project headed by norway’s institute of Marine Research, which Ellingsen believes is important.


World News


OTAQ invests in tech start up Minnowtech

OTAQ Group, a marine technology company focused on the marine aquaculture, offshore energy, renewables and oceanographic research sectors, has announced its investment in Minnowtech LLC, an innovative aquaculture technology company that provides an imaging platform to enable shrimp farmers to measure shrimp abundance to optimize feeding. Using Minnowtech’s unique IP and data-based imaging tool, shrimp farmers are able to optimize the health and growth of their crop, enhancing the harvest of market-size shrimp. OTAQ Group, a multinational marine technology group listed on the London Stock Exchange, has become a leader in several areas of technology for salmon farming with a client list that includes the world’s biggest fish farming companies. With this new investment in Minnowtech, OTAQ Group aims to broaden its reach into innovative technologies to help farmers grow other species such as shrimp.This investment gives Minnowtech an industrial partner with technical expertise and decades of in-house aquaculture industry experience to help further develop and launch Minnowtech’s emerging technology. OTAQ Group will additionally assist with hardware development using its expertise in underwater acoustics and electronics.


“We are delighted to have made this deal to support Minnowtech and help them commercialize the fantastic technology they have developed,” said Chris Hyde, Chief Commercial Officer of OTAQ Group. “We believe aquaculture is the key to sustainable food production and are very excited to be involved in a technology specifically aimed at the shrimp sector.This investment fits very well within our strategy.” “Having OTAQ Group involved is great for us and validates the hard work that the team here has put into our technology,” said Suzan Shahrestani, founder and CEO of Minnowtech. “Having access to their product development expertise and market knowledge is going be a great advantage for us.We look forward to working closely with OTAQ in the future.” OTAQ plc is a UK-based marine technology group that was admitted onto the main market of the London Stock Exchange on March 31, 2020. Started in 2015, OTAQ has grown rapidly to a team of 40 people based in 4 global locations. OTAQ’s product range includes Sealfence – the market leading seal and sea lion deterrent system. OTAQ has three product divisions – Aquaculture, Offshore (focused on offshore energy and oceanographic research) and Connectors (which manufacture underwater and harsh environment

connectors and mouldings). Learn more: www. otaq.com Minnowtech is an aquaculture technology company that provides a software imaging platform that enables shrimp farmers to estimate shrimp abundance. Using Minnowtech’s data-based imaging tool, shrimp farmers can optimize the health and growth of their crop, enhancing the harvest of market-size shrimp. Learn more: www. minnowtech.com

Above: Suzan Shahrestani Minnowtech CEO


World News

AquaMaof launches ‘virtual’ RAS booth Left: Work continues at AquaMaof in Israel

AQUAMAOF, the Israeli leader in Recirculating Aquaculture System (RAS) technology, has announced the opening of a virtual booth to showcase its technology and projects. With major trade events cancelled or postponed, the company has built a virtual reality (VR) stand to safely meet with the seafood industry. This virtual expo gives decision-makers in the seafood indus-

try the opportunity to interact with the cutting edge of AquaMaof’s aquaculture technology and the experts behind it. Participants will be able to watch live and pre-recorded expert presentations, as well as explore AquaMaof projects around the world in the interactive map and gallery. The highlight is the VR tour of AquaMaof’s flagship land-based salmon R&D and training center in

Poland. There will also be a meeting room to schedule video-conference with representatives from AquaMaof. “Due to the COVID situation, most of the major trade events and conferences have been postponed or cancelled,” says Shai Silberman,VP of Marketing & Sales at AquaMaof. “Nevertheless, it was very important for us to meet with the industry and provide it with an up-

date on our recent developments in RAS technology, so we came up with a safe virtual platform to make it happen. ‘Now, more than ever, we see a growing interest in our RAS technology as an enabler of sustainable, clean, and local seafood production.’ The virtual booth opens on June 2nd, 2020, with many slots available for people to visit from every corner of the globe. Participants can register their email address and enter the booth at: https:// aquamaof.vii.events/register Other companies are also expected to follow suit and come up with innovative ways to interract with their clients in 2020 following the curtailing and cancellation of virtually the entire exhibition and conference programme for the aquaculture sector this year. Earlier this month Nor-Fishing announced a virtual exhibition, and there have been a plethora of online conferences organised by companies such as Alltech Coppens in the past 28 days. AquaMaof’s initiative is very much a continuation of that trend.

You Beauty! CANADA-BASED Cooke Inc. has reached an agreement with Seattle-based Ocean Beauty Seafoods to merge their Alaska salmon and groundfish operations. Under the terms of the agreement, Cooke’s Icicle Seafoods and Ocean Beauty Seafoods’ wild salmon businesses, including sales and marketing, will be brought together under a new company, as will the two groups’ Gulf of Alaska groundfish operations, OBI Seafoods Inc. Icicle’s five shoreside plants and Ocean Beauty’s five shoreside plants will be included in the merger. Ocean Beauty has processing facilities in Naknek, Alitak, Cordova, Excursion Inlet and Kodiak. Icicle operates salmon processing plants in Wood River, Egegik, Larsen Bay, Seward and Petersburg.



World News

Processor closes plant after local outbreak SEATTLE based seafood giant Trident has temporarily shut down its plant after a nearby covid-19 outbreak on an American Seafoods vessel., reports IntraFish The company found no infections at the facility, but the huge number of American cases at a nearby dock prompted preventative action.The processing plant is located at Bellingham Cold Storage’s (BCS) Squalicum Harbor facility in Bellingham, Washington, north of Seattle. On Monday, the facility underwent a deep cleaning, and the closure was done out of an abundance of caution. More than 100 employees work at the plant. At this time, there is no known interaction between Trident employees and crew aboard the American Dynasty or the workers from BCS who are being tested. The move was prompted by news on June 1st that officials at BCS were testing 13 employees for Covid-19.The

employees work along a dock area used by American Seafood’s American Dynasty, which on May 31st confirmed 86 crew members aboard the factory trawler, which was offloading Pacific hake and

preparing to leave for the opening of Alaska’s “B” pollock season on June 10, tested positive for Covid-19.The boat was in lockdown at the Port of Seattle. at the time we went to press.

Farmed salmon ‘flying off shelves’ in US Left: Salmon farm in Chile.

CHILEAN salmon suppliers are beginning to see early signs of recovery in the US foodservice sector as states and counties begin to emerge from coronavirus lockdown restrictions to varying degrees., reports IntraFish. Where restaurants and some tourist attractions are starting to reopen, diners can expect to face strict social distancing measures with capacities running at a maximum of 50 percent, depending on state policy. In Mississippi,


for example, after the state’s stay-at-home order expired on April 27, restaurants were allowed to serve some customers beginning on May 7, but plans for a wider reopening of businesses were shelved after the state saw its largest single-day increase in reported cases and deaths. By contrast, New Jersey has allowed limited reopenings for certain businesses and sectors, but the state remains largely under lockdown measures.

Florida allowed limited openings for restaurants and stores in most counties beginning on May 4. The last two remaining counties shut down in the Sunshine State began reopening on May 18. ‘As restaurants start to open we are seeing our customers coming back and ordering,’, said Camanchaca US CEO Cesar Lago. ‘It’s still too early but we are seeing very positive signs.”

The combination of lower prices, nationwide in-store promotional campaigns added to gaps in supply of meat and poultry have helped stoke interest in salmon among consumers. At these levels Lago said salmon has been ‘flying off the shelves.’ ‘Salmon is getting into more people’s mouths and I think the long term of this is going to be [higher] consumption of salmon,’ he said.


World News

Cooke subsidiary loses 20k smolts COOKE Aquaculture has reported that a wellboat delivering for subsidiary Cold Ocean Salmon lost 19,800 trout smolt while transferring the fish in late May from the Canada province of Nova Scotia to Newfoundland and Labrador (NL). The wellboat, the Ronja Carrier, contained “a residual disinfectant in one hold of the vessel” that caused the mortalities, the company said. The mortalities made up 30 percent of the 65,438 fish destined for a marine aquaculture farm site in Margery Cove near St. Alban’s, NL. The fish weighed 200 grams. The loss is the latest in a string of incidents at Cold Ocean Salmon this year, beginning with the January discovery of infectious salmon anemia (ISA) at one site stocked with more than 480,000 fish. In April, the division reported nearly 29 percent of the operations 550,000 fish died in February, a revised figure significantly higher than the 14-19 percent losses the company initially reported in March. Cooke blamed the mortalities, near Baie d’Espoir, on February’s severe winter storm events in the province. Above: The Ronja Carrier

Texas boost for oyster aquaculture TEXAS has become the last Gulf of Mexico state to start oyster aquaculture, which is known as mariculture in the Lone Star state. The Texas oyster industry has been struggling because oyster populations have plummeted from a variety of factors, including overfishing, hurricanes, drought, floods and pollution. The state has restricted harvest and taken other steps that are boosting oyster populations. Oyster mariculture can be part of recovery efforts. “Oyster mariculture has the potential to satisfy some of the state’s consumer demand for oysters and provide economic benefits to coastal communities,” said Holly Binns, director of The Pew Charitable Trusts’ ocean and coastal conservation work in the Gulf of Mexico. “If done right, oyster aquaculture could enhance coastal environments by contributing some of the benefits that wild oysters do, such as filtering pollution from the water and providing habitat for small fish and other marine life.”

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Comment – Hamish Macdonnell

By HamisH macdonell

Balancing act Truth the big loser in activism disguised as journalism


HERE’S a documentary coming out later this year. Well, it claims to be a documentary but it will really be more of a diatribe. It’s called Eating Our Way to Extinction and you can probably guess what its about. It an anti-meat, anti-fish, anti-corporate, anti-pretty much anything to do with ordinary food production film, as far as we can tell. I say, ‘as far as we can tell’ because we don’t actually know quite what wild claims the film will make. The focus is likely to be on the beef producers of the Amazon and the poultry farmers of North America and we do know Scottish salmon farming will feature in it too. Yet, despite being in production for several years, despite using drones to capture un-authorised footage from above our farms and using under-water cameras to film around our pens, we have no idea what allegations will be made. That is because the producers have not shared those with us nor have they invited us to participate properly in the film. They refused to give us the chance to speak to camera, instead, after two years of filming and after test screenings had already taken place, they at last offered us the opportunity to provide a simple statement which they will no doubt post on screen for a few seconds over pictures of dead fish. That’s it. One statement to challenge two years of unauthorised filming about who knows what. This is not journalism. It is activism dressed up as reportage and in the past, such a film would never had got an airing. Anywhere. That is because, in the past, film makers had to be balanced, they had to have integrity and they had to abide by journalistic ethics. That was the price they paid to get an airing on the mainstream media. Now, though, the slow decline in the mainstream media has left a vacuum activists are more than happy to fill. That, combined with a plethora of new streaming services and channels desperate for material has given film makers like these all the encouragement they need. One of the implications of the Covid crisis is that it will hasten the demise of the traditional media. As someone who worked for the mainstream media for 30 years, that is something I profoundly regret. The traditional media has never been perfect, anything but. But at least it was journalism. For the most part, reporters got both sides to every story, even if they sensationalised it in the way that suited them best.


Now, there are no such checks and balances and Eating Our Way to Extinction is likely to be just the latest in an increasingly long line of activist dogma presented as journalism. I’d like to tell you where it will be shown but I can’t because I suspect even the producers don’t know yet. They will punt it around the streaming services until they find a taker and hope it goes around and around until every vegan activist in the world has seen it. This will be the ‘new normal’ – or at least a part of it and we should expect more of this in the months and years to come. So what should we do? First, we have to accept that this sort of activist journalism is a reflection in the rise of food activism more generally. Consider the activists who go into restaurants and demand that the owner withdraws this food or that ingredient from their menu, claiming it has been produced unethically or has a trail of far too many food miles smoking behind it. This happens. I spent a couple of hours earlier this year trying to persuade an anxious Edinburgh restauranteur to keep salmon on her menu after she had been pressured by activist diners to drop it. These people are not intrinsically wrong in trying to do this. It is their right and this is the way things are now. But, and this is crucial, it is totally out of order for anybody to take such a stand if they don’t have the facts. In the case of that Edinburgh restauranteur, it was clear the critics who complained about salmon on the menu hadn’t a clue about the way salmon is grown in Scotland or the excellent environmental record we have to tell.

Above: Extreme activism has been ‘a thing’ in 2020



It’s the same with the makers of Eating Our Way to Extinction. What I mind is not that they are making a film about meat production, what I mind is that they never actually set out to find out what was really going on. They were never going to seek a balancing view from our sector because they never wanted one. Their minds were closed from the beginning and they remain closed now. There are so many more sources of information out there now than there ever were before but that doesn’t mean people are any more informed than they used to be. What we need to do is make sure the right information is out there so that reasonable people get access to it and can make up their own minds. In our response to the makers of the Extinction film, we pointed out how disappointed we


will beat a negative “a positive campaign one every time ” were with their refusal to allow even a semblance of balance. Had they asked, we would have been delighted to host the producers at a salmon farm. That way, they wouldn’t have needed the pretence of making out they were secretly filming at some illicit location. Above all, we need to be reasonable, rational, open and honest. That won’t win back the dyed-in-the-wool activists who have already closed their minds, but it might just make others pause for thought. There used to be a mantra in politics which held that a positive campaign will beat a negative one every time. I don’t know whether that is strictly true, every single time, but I do believe positivity, openness and factual accuracy will win out in the end. It had better do: it’s all we’ve got. FF


Mussel certification - Shellfish


Certification frustration Plotting a way through the certification maze


s mussel farmers, we argue that our product is inherently sustainable and organic. The spat is naturally caught in abundance, is later thinned out to ensure optimum stocking density on the lines, the growing shellfish need no food or chemical input, and the production process results in little waste. Farming mussels in the open sea, with plenty of space between each headline, also ensures that a plentiful supply of plankton can reach all of the growing crop. Oyster and scallop farmers, whose spat starts off life in a hatchery, can argue the case in a similar way. However, believing that something is sustainable and organic, and having paper proof that it is, are two different things. Whilst we can be sure that production methods in the UK are sound and the water quality is good, the same may not be true for shellfish grown elsewhere. It is precisely this issue that has led to the rise in popularity of sustainability certification schemes for seafood. There is even a sustainability standard for seaweed. The retail world in particular is keen on certification. It does a good job in helping to tick due diligence boxes for sourcing and supply, and in turn enables retailers to support their marketing messages. Restaurants have been slower to demand proof of sustainability, preferring not to take on the additional costs of paying to use a logo licence, but instead, relying on the fact that customers will trust their judgement. Merely stating ‘sustainably, locally, or ethically sourced’ on the menu is comfort for most customers, happy to pay a handsome price for a seafood meal with provenance, and I am sure that few people actually ask to see a

Left: Cameron Brown


restaurant’s sustainability supply policy, although I have done this on occasion. The trouble with this, is that restaurateurs can become lazy and often don’t train their staff well enough. Many’s the time that my children, when they were young enough to be embarrassed by me, cringed as I asked pleasant but searching questions of waiters or supermarket fish counter staff, eager to get to the truth of the matter. And telling me that the oysters come from Japan, because they are Pacific oysters, that the salmon comes from ‘just down the road,’ because they got it from the local fishmonger, or that a fish is locally caught, when I know it is farmed, is just not on! I am not anti-fish farming, but I rail against being given misleading information. I may be in a small minority here, but I am sure I am not alone… Which brings me back to certification. In the good old days, not long after we started mussel farming in Loch Etive, on the West Coast of Scotland, I was doing some work with the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC). The MSC was set up to certify wild-caught seafood, but at that time, its board was strategically exploring whether the organisation’s reach could be expanded into aquaculture. In the early 1990s, fish and shellfish farming was slowly beginning to take off, but it was a bit of a Wild West scene. I agreed to road-test MSC pre-certification on our rope grown mussels, got the other shellfish growers on the loch together, found some grant funding, and took responsibility for the inevitable paperwork mountain. At the end of the process, the MSC board decided that our farmed product did not fit their remit, and that the organisation would not be expanding its wild capture certification and labelling programme to include aquaculture. MSC looked at aquaculture again in 2008, when WWF was seeking an organisation to make operational, the standards that were resulting from its series of Aquaculture Dialogues. However, by a majority vote, the MSC board again reiterated its previous position, stating that ‘accelerating the


Certification frustration

Believing that “ something is sustainable

and organic, and having paper proof that it is, are two different things

delivery of the MSC’s existing programme must remain the priority for its work.’ Their decision opened the way for a separate Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) to develop, but a great opportunity to have a unified and unitary approach to seafood certification for wild capture and aquaculture was lost. As a result, both organisations now have certification schemes for mussels, along with several others, and the MSC gets around its former objections by classing them as an enhanced fishery. MSC has also gained the upper hand in certifying bottom grown and rope-grown mussel farms. How to choose? In the UK, farms supplying the Scottish Shellfish Marketing Group (SSMG) have MSC certification, Loch Fyne Oysters went for ASC certification, becoming the first blue mussel producer to achieve certification against the ASC bivalve standard in 2017, and our own farm became the first to gain Best Aquaculture Practices (BAP) certification. According to Cameron Brown, MD of Loch Fyne Oysters, the company looked at several certification schemes, before deciding that the ASC bivalve standard was the most natural fit. It was also acceptable to a major retail customer they were hoping to woo. ‘ASC was appropriate for our rope farmed mussels; it looked at parameters such as how well we farm in a concentrated area, how good the water quality is, if there are any impacts on the seabed or the wider environment, and at the practical, social and community aspects of our operation,’ said Brown. We decided to apply for BAP certification for one simple reason – it was the most cost effective for producers to buy into, and it ticks a box. It therefore satisfies our customers’ customers’ duty of care to source something that has been responsibly farmed. They were seeking reassurance, rather than a label to showcase. BAP covers more than the effective fishery management and environmental concerns of the


Above: Fresh mussels

MSC, by also including requirements on the community and social aspects of farming, food safety and traceability. However, because it is more expensive for processors to achieve BAP certification, at least one major customer does not wish to take on that financial burden, so cannot label our mussels as BAP certified. They are already overwhelmed with MSC, BRC, ISO9001 etc audits, and are not prepared to incur additional costs to include another certification scheme to their offering. When we were first certified, I had thought that we could trail-blaze, and interest everyone in taking BAP product, but I quickly became disillusioned, because the European market we sell into is simply not interested. Not yet anyway. Instead, there is constant pressure on us to seek MSC certification instead, but I believe this is wrong on several counts. Firstly it is very expensive, and secondly, it remains first and foremost a fisheries certification. Yes it is credible, yes retailers understand and accept it, and yes consumers are familiar with the blue tick logo, but still we resist. As for organic, we applied for certification months ago with the Soil Association, but Covid-19 has got in the way and first audits cannot be done remotely. When (hopefully) we achieve it, nothing will have changed, our practices will be the same, and the mussels will look and taste the same, but somewhere, a consumer will feel differently about them because they have a label. Perhaps at the end of the day, it is just the feel-good factor that counts! FF


Offshore fish farming– Nordlaks

Talkin’ bout a revolution Marine giant sets off for Norway By ViNce McDoNagh


33,000 tonnes marine giant designed to help re-shape the future of salmon farming is due to arrive in Norway in the next few days after a two month long sea journey, taking it almost three quarters of the way around the world. Built in China, Havfarm 1 is one of two monster sized vessels ordered by the pioneering aquaculture company Nordlaks (North Salmon) in what will become the biggest development in offshore fish farming for some years. A construction timetable for Havfarm-2 has yet to be decided. Her estimated arrival in her home base of Hdasel in northern Norway is Sunday, June 13th where work will begin on preparing it to start production. It is being transported on the BOKA Vanguard, a semi-submersible heavy lift ship which normally transports oil and gas rigs. The voyage took it across the Pacific, around Cape Town, in between the Canary islands and up to Norway through the North Sea between Britain and the Netherlands. Almost 400 metres long, it is capable of producing up to 10,000 tonnes of salmon in open waters worth almost 600 million kroner at current prices. She has been officially named ‘Jostein Albert’ after the company’s former chairman Josten Albert Refnes. Nordlaks chief Inge Berg said: “We have a construction which we believe will be revolutionary for offshore coastal fish farming .” The vessel left the Yantai Raffles yard in eastern China at the beginning of April for its long voyage just two years after it was laid down. Lars Fredrik Martinussen, communications manager of Nordlaks, said project will herald a new era for the aquaculture industry. he added: “There is nothing like it. Getting it home will be a huge milestone.” It is also built to include special environmental features and should dramatically reduce the number and frequency of salmon escapes. “ Designed by NSK Ship Design, its Sales and Marketing Manager Thomas Myhre described the vessel as unique and one of the largest sea transport voyages of its kind. He also said the coronavirus outbreak had presented a few challenges before it embarked on its voyage, including carrying out some inspections by video camera. Meanwhile, preparations in Norway for the receiving the vessel are in full


swing with the laying of a seven and a half metre Above: The Havfarm1 departs long power cable. Nordlaks project manager Bjarne Johansen said the cable will also provide fast internet and communication connections as well as power. It will also do away with the need to use diesel generators. Nordlaks was established in 1989 when founder Inge Berg, who had studied aquaculture, bought his first license at Hanøya in the Vesterålen region of Norway. Production that year was just 150 tonnes and most of the work was carried out by hand. The company has plans to invest more than four billion kroner in the business of which this giant vessel is part. Nordlaks said that due to challenges from Covid-19 the Havfarm was not totally ready when she left China so completion work will be carried out on her arrival in Norway. She will be met by a flotilla of seven vessels that will assist in the unloading of the vessel from the transport ship, then towed to her site and connected to the long power cable in an operation which may take several days, depending on weather. Ocean Farm will not have a permanent anchoring solution, but will rely on dynamic positioning and propulsion systems to maintain position

We have a construction “which we believe will be revolutionary ”


Talkin’ bout a revolution

operators have also always been the focus, together with a goal of a design that, together with the exposed location, reduces the environmental footprint the activity puts on the seabed, in addition to contributing preventive to salmon lice.” It adds: “The operating environment, health and safety of the operators has been a key premise in the project. This means that design, work operations and equipment are planned on this basis. Necessary aquaculture equipment will be located at Havfarmen, including on rail service cars. This also helps reduce the need for interaction with other plants, which raises the biosecurity of the plant compared to traditional plants.” Footnote: Nordlaks is also due to receive a environmentally revolutionary new gas powered wellboat, built in Turkey, this year which has also been designed by NSK Ship Design. It is thought to be the first of two such wellboats which will the largest of their type in the world. FF

Above: The vessel is gigantic

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without mooring as well as displacement. Lighter anchoring solutions will be planned to relieve propulsion systems and reduce fuel consumption when Havfarmen is at rest. She can thus be moved between areas depending on the season, weather and wind, environmental conditions or other users’ interests. Asked why it was building these giant Sea Farms, Nordlaks replied: “The marine farms are part of Nordlaks’ solution for sustainable development of the aquaculture industry. Sea area is today a major constraint for the further development of the aquaculture industry, and access to new land is a necessity for the aquaculture industry to develop within the fish welfare and environmentally sound framework. That’s why we build the Sea Farms. “The marine farms must be placed in areas that cannot be utilized for farming with today’s available equipment. These are more exposed sea areas with complex wind, current and wave conditions, and typically greater depths. These sites will provide good environmental, fish welfare and production conditions.” The company conrtinued: “One of the most important prerequisites for design was a design that can protect the fish against the greatest environmental loads (wind, electricity and waves) that can become a challenge in more exposed marine areas. “At the same time, the design had to allow sufficient water exchange even during periods of less current. Safety and comfort for the plant’s


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By Dr MArtin JAffA

The young ones A ‘young leadership group’ is desperately needed by the industry


ince I have been involved with the salmon farming industry, it has undergone much change. I had already been involved with aquaculture for some years when salmon farming came onto my radar. Although it may now be hard for some to believe, when their experience of the industry has been limited to recent years, but there were once 126 different farming companies operating in Scotland. There are now just seven key players. The reasons given for the changes over the last thirty years depend on who is speaking. One of the most common narratives given by the anti-salmon farming critics is that Norwegian companies have bought out the Scottish industry so they can produce salmon without the constraints of the tougher regulations in Norway. This is of course nonsense. The changes in the Scottish salmon industry were highly predictable. The early days of the industry were a bit like the Klondike gold rush


with many believing that these was money to be made, and there was. The rise of salmon farming coincided with Mrs Thatcher’s boom years in which the new rich wanted the trappings of wealth and this included highly sought-after Scottish salmon. Farmers could sell all they could produce at a good price. At the end of the 1980s, the industry encountered a problem in the marketplace. Farmers had been increasing production to meet the increasing demand, but production had increased faster than the market and almost overnight, prices lost their shine. Prices even fell below the cost of production. The Klondike era was over, and farming became a serious business. Many small companies did not think the new look salmon industry was for them, whilst others recognised that the future depended on a larger scale production. In the subsequent years, a lot of companies decided to sell whilst other decided to buy. Consolidation was very much the order of the day, leading up to the current state of the industry dominated by fully integrated production in common with other forms of livestock production. One aspect of the industry that has been lost is not just the variety of the companies, but the variety of individuals involved in farming. The industry has turned somewhat corporate and whilst there are many positives to come out of this form of structure, one aspect that has been lost is the individualism, especially when it comes to expressing a different point of view. This is why readers of Fish Farmer magazine are stuck reading the views of older industry stalwarts like myself and Nick Joy. It’s becoming increasingly obvious that what is missing from the salmon farming industry are representatives of younger generations who are not only the leaders of tomorrow but also the young articulate face of salmon farming who are willing to stand up and speak out to defend the industry. What the salmon farming industry needs. and needs now, is an industry ‘Young Leadership Group’ with representatives not just of the farming companies but all the supply areas too. The salmon farming industry Above: Salmon farm has accumulated a mass of talent within its operations, which has not been effectively utilised to benefit the industry as a whole. Of course, the Left: A young worker on an oyster farm farming companies have their own interests to pursue but we also need a unified industry voice that can stand up to the criticisms and negative publicity. Other sectors have recognised the need for young people to engage. The National Farmers Union operate a ‘Young Farmer Ambassador Programme’ that brings together up to twelve young people to become influential members of the NFU and put their own stamp on the future


The young ones

of British farming. It also enables the group to network with like-minded individuals and to experience new aspects of the sector including engagement with the media, supply chain and politics. Seafish also run a ‘Young Seafood Leaders Network’ aimed at bringing together many talented professionals from across the sector with the prospect of leading change in the industry. Seafish say that the group are the future stars of the industry. Where are the future stars of the salmon farming industry? Currently, they seem hidden away to everyone except their colleagues. Experience is certainly a valuable commodity in the world of business. Certainly, experience is vital when it comes to specialised food production like salmon farming but at the same time youth and enthusiasm are commodities that should be encouraged to the benefit of the wider industry. The annual Aquaculture Awards have a category of ‘Rising Star’ yet none of the nominations for 2020 were of people working directly in salmon farming. Is this a reflection of the lack of talent in the industry today? Absolutely not. The talented and enthusiastic young people working in the industry today need wider recognition than a rising star award, which is why the industry should urgently invest in a ‘Young Leadership Group’. Investing in young people is very much akin to investing in the future success of the industry. FF

It’s becoming increasingly obvious that what is missing from the salmon farming industry are representatives of younger generations www.fishfarmermagazine.com


Comment – Corona Crisis Latest

Inhospitable times Social distancing could be the ‘death knell’ for the industry warn leaders By Sandy neil


s cases of the deadly coronavirus fell in May, the UK population finally began to emerge tentatively from lockdown. But, two long months after the pandemic had closed all but essential businesses feeding the nation, lurking crises began to bite. The Scottish seafood industry, more robust than many, has not been immune. Its domestic and export sales have suffered, forcing many producers to ask for help. What relief can they expect, and when? We start, as usual, with a bit of good news. New UK figures released by Seafish’s Sea for Yourself campaign showed how high seafood sales had spiked in supermarkets when lockdown began in March, as shoppers panic-bought in bulk. Frozen foods such as fish cakes rose 89 per cent, breaded products by 82 per cent, and fish fingers by 79 per cent. After the panic-buying peak, sales of seafood remained 4 per cent higher than before. But while demand for frozen seafood increased, fresh fish counters in most of the UK’s supermarket chains have remained closed. By May the Scottish seafood sector had been so ‘devastated’ by the virus that Seafood Scotland, the national trade and marketing body for the industry, begged the UK’s biggest retailers to reopen their fish counters, and so help unlock domestic markets. The industry, Seafood Scotland emphasised, was not small fry: it had landed 450,000 tonnes of sea fish and shellfish from 2000 vessels, and employs 13,000 staff in 150 processing sites. However, the coronavirus had caused a 60 per cent drop in demand. ‘Fishing families and the wider communities that rely on the sector are facing real economic hardship,’ it said. ‘Pre-coronavirus, 80 per cent of Scottish seafood and shellfish was exported, with the remaining 20 per cent destined for UK food service and retail. With the export market at a standstill, the sector is now completely reliant on the UK market to keep afloat, and even within this segment the food service sector is operating at minimal levels.’ Reopening supermarket fresh fish counters, it concluded, was ‘imperative’. In a letter sent to the leaders of ASDA, Sainsbury’s and Tesco, Donna Fordyce, Head of Seafood Scotland, urged: ‘Once the lockdown was implemented many of the main multiples closed their fish counters – effectively blocking a signifi-


cant part of our domestic market. We understand why this happened – retail was under enormous pressure at the time, and social distancing felt like a barrier. ‘However, we believe that the operational pressure has eased slightly as retailers and consumers alike become more used to working around social distancing in supermarkets. Morrisons has already proved it can be done.’ When can these struggling seafood producers and their families hope for relief? The country’s largest supermarket chain, Tesco, which has 3,700 stores in the UK and Ireland, told Fish Farmer it Left: Donna Fordyce


Inhospitable times

had closest all its counters, including fish, to allow staff to focus on its busiest areas, avoid waste and reduce touch points to keep staff and customers safer. No exact date, a spokesperson said, has been confirmed for reopening. Sainbury’s, which has 600 supermarkets and 800 convenience stores, said: ‘Our fish counters remain temporarily closed as we continue to focus on serving grocery and other essential items in our busy stores. We will update our customers on any plans to reopen this service, while keeping the safety of our customers and colleagues our highest priority. We continue to support our suppliers during this time by offering a wider range of pre-packaged fish.’ ASDA had closed its fresh fish and meat counters in January months before the coronavirus hit, and declined to comment on Seafood Scotland’s plea to reopen them. Waitrose, which runs 338 UK stores, decided it could safely keep its fresh fish counters open throughout the pandemic. Marks and Spencer, which runs 729 Simply Food outlets and 314 selling clothes and food according to a BBC report last year, pledged its support for Scotland’s salmon farmers. In a message to tens of thousands of on-line customers, the retail giant said: ‘100 per cent of our farmed salmon is Scottish. That means when you tuck into flaky, succulent salmon, you’re supporting M&S Select Farmers during these challenging times.’ Supermarket sales of Scottish salmon may have risen during lockdown as consumers filled their freezers and did more home cooking, but producers will now be asking whether this growth will continue when the hospitality, restaurant and catering


sector re-opens. On 21st May the Scottish Government published a ‘road map’ outlining the steps they hope to take as COVID-19 lockdown is eased, including when pubs and restaurants could reopen across Scotland. Phase one, which started on 28th May, allowed people to meet with another household in small numbers outdoors. However, it’s not until phase two that restaurants and pubs can open outdoor spaces – with physical distancing and increased hygiene routines in place. In order to progress to phase two, the virus must be controlled with the R-number consistently below one and the six World Health Organisation key criteria met.

Above: Seafood Norway Below: Fish counter

We are desperate to be back in business, employing people, supporting our world class producers and suppliers


Comment – Corona Crisis Latest

In phase three, pubs and restaurants can open indoor spaces with physical distancing and increased hygiene routines. However, to reach phase three the virus needs to be suppressed, with a test and protect system in place across the country. Hospitality represents 10 per cent of UK employment, 6 per cent of businesses and 5 per cent of GDP. It is the third largest private sector employer in the UK; double the size of financial services and bigger than automotive, pharmaceuticals and aerospace combined. And, of course, it is a vast and vital market for the Scottish seafood industry. Due to its nature, the hospitality industry will be one of the last to have lockdown restrictions lifted. In a letter to First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, Scottish chefs and restaurateurs warned that reopening with restrictions in place is not the solution. The group, including Nick Nairn, Martin Wishart, Tom Kitchin and Cara Contini, fear a ‘tidal wave of business closures and mass redundancies’ if bars and restaurants have to reopen with social distancing measures. ‘Put very simply, social distancing simply does not work in most restaurants, bars and hotel,’ pleaded the industry experts, who also include hotelier Gordon Campbell Gray, Tom Lewis, owner of the Mhor Collection in Loch Lomond, and Dale Dewsbury, the general manager of Restaurant Andrew Fairlie in Perthshire. ‘Hospitality already operates on a high cost base. In recent years we have faced additional spending including rent hikes, increased food and beverage costs, the new National Living Wage and higher business rates. ‘Social distancing will result in revenue drops that will make most businesses unsustainable.

Above left: Seafood Scotland in happier times Above right: Julie Hesketh-Laird

As we “ become an

independent coastal state, the government will remain committed to sustainable fishing

Above: Nicola Sturgeon


‘There is also worrying evidence suggesting many people don’t feel it is safe to eat out and will avoid visiting us even after lockdown is lifted. ‘Against this background, if furlough ends and restaurants, bars and hotels are allowed to reopen but with social distancing enforced and no income from major events and festivals, the result will be a tidal wave of business closures and mass redundancies, increasing Scottish unemployment and the strain on the welfare system. ‘We are desperate to be back in business, employing people, supporting our world class producers and suppliers, paying taxes and enhancing Scotland’s worldwide reputation for food, drink and hospitality but we can only do this with your support.’ In response, the Scottish Government replied: ‘Scotland’s hospitality industry is vitally important, economically and socially, to everyone who lives here and who visits Scotland and we are carefully considering how we plan the restart and long-term recovery of the sector and wider economy. Our package of support includes 1.6 per cent rates relief for all non-domestic properties in 2020-21 and 100 per cent relief for properties in retail, hospitality, leisure and airports. We will look carefully at all of the suggestions.’ If the Scottish aquaculture industry is facing a big challenge with the closure of UK restaurants, it is confronting an even bigger one with the downturn in export sales. Export sales of Scottish salmon have been hit hard by the closure of the food service sector in vital markets like the USA, EU and China, reduced passenger flights carrying fresh salmon as cargo and consequent spikes in freight charges, and an emerging trend to buy local in many European countries. New figures published by HMRC in May showed just how dramatic the dip was: volume and values of Scottish salmon exports during the first quarter of 2020 fell by 40 per cent and 34 per cent respectively, compared to the same period in 2019. In total, 13,600 tonnes of Scottish salmon were exported, worth £100 million. This represents a decline in volume of 8,900 tonnes, and a reduction


Inhospitable times

in value of over £51 million, in the period compared with 2019. The export decline was felt sharply in March, as coronavirus took hold in several major markets. The value of exports totalled £24.1 million, a decline from £31.7 million in February and 57 per cent lower than March 2019. As a consequence, the Scottish salmon sector pleaded to the Scottish and UK governments for help in a bid to improve market access. The Scottish Salmon Producers Organisation (SSPO) said the sector is showing great resilience in its operations, with farmers working hard to keep their key workers safe and livestock healthy. But, with the likelihood that quarter two export figures will also be lower than pre-Covid expectations, focus was shifting from early operational challenges to the support required to kick-start and develop export sales. Julie Hesketh-Laird, chief executive of the SSPO, said: ‘As our export markets gradually open we look to the UK and Scottish Governments to help find ways to ensure supply lines to customers are kept open and are competitive so the UK’s biggest food export can be enjoyed in our key markets. ‘The much-needed support being considered for the aviation sector must focus on freight as well as passengers. High quality Scottish salmon is available and we want to see significantly more flights leaving the UK with salmon in their hold. We operate in a highly competitive, global market and want to hold fast to our market share, which brings economic benefits to local and national economies. ‘In the longer term we need easy access to


markets through a swift and fair conclusion to free-trade negotiations with our Top: Fresh fish biggest and most important trading partners in the EU and USA. Support from Governments to make this happen is critically important now, more than ever. ‘At home, the dynamics of consumer shopping and consumption are changing radically. This is an important opportunity for Governments to get behind the promotion of healthy, nutritious, locally produced food. Campaigns that encourage healthy eating and buying locally produced fish would clearly benefit fish farmers and consumers.’ Responding to the salmon farmers’ plea, the Scottish Government said: ‘While every business is responsible for its own commercial activity, we are committed to working with the farmed fish and seafood industry to explore all potential options that might help create more commercial opportunities. ‘We are working closely with a range of industry bodies – including the SSPO – and retailers to increase sales of Scottish salmon across the UK. We are also investing in In-Market Specialists who will build on export strategies to open up existing and new markets for Scottish salmon as coronavirus restrictions ease. ‘Aquaculture is a vital component of the Scottish economy and a significant provider of highly skilled jobs in some of our most remote and fragile communities. We are determined for that to continue into the future, and last month launched a £3 million fund to support businesses in the sector.’ In April the Scottish Government launched the Aquaculture Hardship Fund, initially to support shellfish and trout businesses identified as most at risk from the loss of export and domestic food markets due to COVID-19. By 26th May, the fund had made £345,000 of payments to 30 food related aquaculture businesses covering March and April. The Scottish Government spokesperson continued: ‘The current situation is not helped by the continued uncertainty about tariff-free access to the EU export market and the likelihood of additional costs and administrative burdens arising from the need for Export Health Certificates for Scottish salmon exports to the EU. UK Government failure to agree a comprehensive trade deal with the EU by the end of the year is a real possibility, which is why the Scottish Government continues to press the UK Government to request an extension to the transition period.’ The UK Government said, though aquaculture is a devolved matter, it prom-


Comment – Corona Crisis Latest Scottish Government that once the impacts of the current COVID-19 crisis are overcome the industry has continued scope for development.’ In Northern Ireland, Fisheries Minister Edwin Poots MLA announced a £360,000 emergency aid package to help aquaculture businesses that have experienced a significant drop in sales as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The aquaculture sector is a small but valuable niche market in Northern Ireland, employing around 131 people and supporting its rural communities. Announcing the emergency support package during a visit to Movanagher Fish Farm in Ballymoney Minister Poots said the industry faced ‘extreme difficulties’ and is in ‘urgent need of our support’. He said: ‘The aim of the emergency package is ised to ‘work closely together with the devolved administrations on fisheries to help this sector to continue its work in growing, issues, and will continue to do so as markets reopen’. harvesting, shipping and delivering to customers all The spokesperson at the UK’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural over the world and help the sector to be sustainaAffairs (Defra) added: ‘We’re actively working to re-open the market in Saudi ble and profitable in the long term.’ Arabia to UK seafood exports, which had previously been closed due to sudden Despite all the bad news, industry observers changes in the Kingdom’s import regulations. Defra are coordinating with the believe aquaculture may be finally emerging from British Embassy in Riyadh to ensure that all seafood exporters will be able to the worst period of this crisis. Rising salmon prices recommence this trade as quickly as possible. in Norway, often a marker in neighbouring salmon ‘Defra have been working closely with the aquaculture sector, including the farming countries, are being interpreted as signs SSPO and British Trout Association to ensure that the priorities of UK aquaculmany economies around the world are reawakenture are understood for future trade agreements. ing from the lockdown. ‘As we become an independent coastal state, the Government will remain In the last week of May, salmon prices rose by committed to sustainable fishing and our flagship Fisheries Bill enshrines that over 10 per cent, according to the Norway Office of commitment in law.’ Statistics. The kilo price for fresh or chilled salmon Meanwhile the EU in May awarded funding worth £800,000 to eleven of rose from NOK 59 per kilo to NOK 65.46 – an Scotland’s shellfish growers and trout producers in a bid to mitigate the impact increase of 10.6 per cent. The kilo price of frozen of the pandemic. salmon was NOK 52.53, a decrease of 10.5 per The grants from the European Maritime Fisheries Fund (EMFF) included cent, but volumes were on the rise. The month did nearly £100,000 for phase two of the expansion of Seaforth Mussels on the Isle not start so optimistically. of Harris and around £200,000 for new specialist trout harvesting equipment ‘This year can be split in two for seafood exports: at Dawnfresh Seafoods in Lanark. The funding is split between oyster, mussel before and after the corona crisis,’ the Norwegian and trout producers. Seafood Council’s Director of Market Insight and The Scottish Government’s Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing said: Market Access Tom-Jørgen Gangsø said. ‘2020 ‘COVID-19 has had a devastating impact on the seafood sector with the market started off well with a strong increase in value for some products disappearing almost overnight, leaving many businesses at due to increased demand for Norwegian seafood risk of financial ruin. products. This positive trend came to an abrupt ‘This new funding is being awarded to businesses working in rural areas who end within the introduction of measures to reduce have been hit the hardest by this pandemic, helping them to strengthen their the spread of the coronavirus, which is why we are business and recover from the loss of markets. seeing exports fall for the first time in 18 months.’ ‘Aquaculture is an important part of our food and drink success story which For the first four months of the year, the seafood we need to preserve.’ export value had increased by 6 per cent or NOK Dr Nick Lake, chief executive of the Association of Scottish Shellfish Growers, 2.2 billion (USD 214.9 million, EUR 199.1 million) added: ‘This shows continued confidence by both the shellfish businesses and year-on-year to NOK 36.7 billion (USD 3.6 billion, EUR 3.3 billion). Then the virus hit, and the volume and value of Norway’s seafood exports fell dramatically. Norwegian seafood companies sold 183,000 metric tons (MT) of fisheries and aquaculture products in April, 30,000 MT less than in March and 7 per cent lower than 2019’s corresponding month. At NOK 8.2 billion (USD 800.7 million, EUR 742 million), the value of the country’s seafood trade was down NOK 1.4 billion (USD 136.7 million, EUR 126.7 million) compared to March’s revenues, and NOK 666 million (USD 65 million, EUR 60.3 million) less than achieved in April 2019. This was the first time since September 2018 that Norway had experienced a fall in the value of its seafood exports, and came despite a marked weakening in the kroner. Finally demand appeared to be picking up by the end of May. Paul Aandahl, analyst at the Norwegian


Left: Fergus Ewing Below left: Nick Lake

the last “Inweek of

May, salmon prices rose by over ten per cent


Inhospitable times

Seafood Council (NSC), said that despite increased freight costs there was now a shift in the flow of fresh salmon towards Asian markets such as China and South Korea where the re-opening of the economy began earlier. Europe too was also starting to open up. Mr Aandahl explained: ‘We see continued positive development in exports of fresh whole salmon to further processing countries such as Poland and the Netherlands. Exports of fresh salmon fillets help stabilise exports to key overseas consumer markets such as the US and Japan and to larger consumer markets in Europe such as France.’ Sales to the United States showed no signs of slowing with exports of fresh salmon fillets up by 57 per cent during much of the global lockdown period. Pre-packaged seafood products, including salmon appear to have been one of the few winners in this pandemic as consumers switch to home consumption in the absence of restaurants. Looking ahead, Mr Gangsø added: ‘We also find that the corona crisis has led to layoffs and increased unemployment globally. There is considerable uncertainty about how weakened purchasing


power will affect demand for Norwegian seafood in the long-run.’ We like to end our Covid-19 reports with good news if we can, and in Norway it appears the seafood industry could play a key role in getting the country’s economy and workforce up and running again. ‘For Norway and other seafood nations, this is a real opportunity for a blue revolution and illustrate the real meaning of sustainability – social, economic and environmentally,’ said the Norwegian Seafood Council’s CEO, Renate Larsen. ‘Seafood can be an important part of the solution in terms of rebuilding communities, creating jobs and responsible and low-carbon footprint food production.’ Norway is the second largest exporter of seafood in the world, and the largest producer of Atlantic salmon. Last year 36 million daily meals of Norwegian seafood were eaten across 149 countries around the world. As society is now slowly gradually opening up, the job of how to get the economy back on track has started in earnest. In May Prime Minister Erna Solberg and Fisheries Minister Odd Emil Ingebrigtsen met representatives from the seafood industry to discuss what role it should play in rebuilding the economy. ‘The world is awakening to a new world order after this crisis, and we will feel the repercussions for a long time, both in terms of economic uncertainty and in our everyday choices,’ Ms Larson said. ‘But the world will move on, we still have a mountain to climb when it comes to tackling climate change and food security, and investments into responsible seafood production is part of the solution. ‘In Norway we are in a very fortunate position to be in the financial situation to boost industry and to get new and sustainable projects off the ground in Above: Retail fish sales have held steady the seafood sector quickly after this crisis. It can be a huge opportunity for the Left: Erna Solberg seafood industry, not just in Norway, but also in many of our important export markets, where jobs are created in processing, distribution and sales.’ The important role of the seafood industry post-Corona was also highlighted by Professor of Industrial Economics at the University of Stavanger, Ragnar Tveterås. ‘There is a potential to create jobs in all parts of the value chain in the seafood sector. Since the financial crisis in 2008 nominal value added in the Norwegian seafood sector has tripled, and employment has increased by over 50 per cent. Through quick and decisive action by decision makers the seafood industry could create even more jobs in a situation where there are many competent hands and heads available.’ The question is: could a ‘blue revolution’ happen in Scotland too? FF


FEED – Krill

Krill the brill Study finds major health benefits from adding krill to salmon feed By Vince McDonagh


ECENT research has established that when krill is added to salmon feed it not only boosts fish welfare, but it significantly improves flesh quality. The findings are the result of a collaborative study between the Antarctic krill harvesting company Aker BioMarine and NOFIMA, the Norwegian Institute of Food, Fisheries and Aquaculture. Both organisations have just released the results of their research which looked into the health and fillet quality of Atlantic salmon after a period of dietary krill supplementation. The study, now published in the British Journal of Nutrition investigated the health parameters and meat quality of Atlantic salmon fed a diet where fish meal was substituted with krill meal during the finishing feeding period. Overall results reveal that krill meal improved the welfare and fillet quality of the salmon. Dr. Turid Mørkøre of Nofima and author of the study said: “Antarctic krill meal has sparked the interest of marine researchers due to its nutritional profile. Previous studies have shown the proven effects of krill, with this study we wanted to uncover the basic mechanisms behind these effects, on farmed Atlantic salmon. The overall goal is to improve the systemic understanding of dietary krill meal effects on a biochemi-

cal, morphological and molecular level.” Researchers picked out 800 Atlantic salmon, each weighing 2,270 grams, and randomly distributed them across eight sea cages at the LetSea feed trial unit in Norway. The study experimented with supplementing krill meal (12 per cent ) in a low fish meal diet (5 per cent ) among salmon. All feeds were designed to meet the nutritional requirements of salmonoid fish, with balanced EPA and DHA content. After 10-weeks, the fish were bulk weighed, and 20 fish from each sea cage were randomly selected for analysis. Antarctic krill meal is considered to be one of the few truly sustainable marine sources of protein for aqua feeds. With a nutritional profile consisting of proteins, amino acids and ash contents, it serves as a viable alternative to fish meal. Due to this, krill has garnered interest from the research community, who seek to understand how the krill’s high levels of EPA and DHA, phospholipids, vitamins, nucleotides and natural astaxanthin impact fish health and welfare when supplemented in diets. Overall, the study revealed positive effects on salmon health. Key findings include specific improvements in:-

Left: Antartic krill Opposite - top: Krill oil tabletsRight: Individual krill

• Body shape – krill meal inclusion led to more voluminous body shape and higher condition factor • Heart health – krill meal inclusion led to reduced fat accumulation around the heart • Fillet quality – krill meal inclusion led to a more ordered and stable collagen architecture and better muscle integrity • Immune genes – krill meal inclusion resulted in a boosted expression of immune genes in liver, including enhanced liver coloration and increasingly responsive structural genes



Krill the brill

• Hindgut – krill meal inclusion led to less inflammation in the hindgut and zero mucus presence. “We knew that nourishing salmon with krill supplemented diets benefits salmon performance, overall health and fillet quality. With these new findings, we now also understand why,” says Dr. Tibiabin Benitez-Santana, Fish Nutrition R&D Director at Aker BioMarine. Dr Benitez-Santana added: “This study is an important step in fish diet and welfare research.


Krill represents the single largest marine biomass on Earth. That, coupled with its powerful nutritional value as shown in this study, as well as the sustainable methods of harvesting, make Antarctic krill meal a natural contender as a supplement in low fish meal diets.” The British Journal of Nutrition says in the introduction to its report: “There is an urgent need to find alternative feed resources that can further substitute fishmeal in Atlantic salmon diets without compromising health and food quality, in particular during the finishing feeding period when the feed demand is highest and flesh quality effects are most significant.” Aker BioMarine was created because of a strong belief in the positive health effects of krill. The company says: “More than a decade later, our business continues to grow because we take care of the ecosystem we harvest in. To us, it makes no sense to take something out of the ocean to improve our health, if it simultaneously compromises the health of the ocean. Ensuring the well-being of the krill biomass and contributing towards a thriving Antarctic ecosystem are among our core priorities.” Aker BioMarine was also the first krill fishery to the receive the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) prized eco label. FF

There is an urgent need to find alternative feed resources that can further substitute fishmeal in Atlantic salmon diets without compromising health and food quality


FEED – Industry analysis

Feed for thought We take our 6 monthly look at developments around feed


lthough the current pandemic may have placed a temporary pause on the sector’s growth, there is little doubt that the animal feed protein ingredients sector will continue to boom in the years ahead. Indeed, the latest Global Markets Insight (GMI) study predicts that the sector will be worth $245.06 billion by 2026, a seven point three per cent increase on the 2019 figure of $160.95 billion. The stand out finding from the GMI report was that global demand will continue to expand, as sustainable protein sources for the world’s population need to be found in ever increasing quantities. The industry itself is expected to evolve and grow, with premium feed ingredients playing a pivotal role in ensuring the optimal health and wellbeing of all humans and animals on the planet. The GMI found that in Europe pressures on demand could soon outstrip supply, following the mass increase in fish and livestock production. However, the report added that current signs were good in the way that the industry was handling the demands of increased growth. The study also found that key growth drivers include Peru’s fast-flourishing aquaculture industry, as well as the renewed emphasis on meat


and meat-based products in the Asia-Pacific region (a sector which is expected to exceed $226bn by 2025). In terms of restrictions that may slightly hamper the feed ingredient industry, the study highlighted strict feed regulatory compliances as well as restrictions on fish farming which may reduce the quantity of farmable protein available.

Above left: Feeding time Above: Feed demand continues to expand

The study also focussed on which ingredients might play a pivotal role in the coming years? Oilseed meals, produced as a by-product of soybean, copra, sunflower, canola and cottonseed oil extraction, were expected to continue to play a much larger role in feed production. Thanks to oilseed meals’ wide variety of applications, this flexible ingredient will increase in use through the next few years


Feed for thought

Canola meal is a similarly flexible solution that can be used in a wide variety of feeds. Thanks to its high cystine amino acid content, as well as high levels of methionine, it has proven especially popular in a wide range of feed solutions. Canola meal has also now been recognised more as a safe, natural feed ingredient which can be reliably used to safeguard stock from diseases and ailments Yeast-based probiotics are also seeing a significant increase in usage, especially among ruminant feeds. This is due to the impressive recent advancements in yeast-based probiotics which have led to improved gut health, as well as preventing decreased rumen pH and enhanced fibre digestion. Dry yeast is expected to be more popular in the coming years than alternatives Bone meal is expected to gain significant traction, especially so in North America, Asia-Pacific, Africa and Europe Enzymes, vitamins, prebiotics and organic acids are also expected to be utilised much more frequently within animal feed, in order to ensure the continued health of animals to keep our food chain running at a sustainable and manageable pace. Experts suggest that, in order to gain a competitive advantage in the feed ingredients market, companies


should be developing novel microbial strains and expanding their portfolio of products. Phytase specifically is an enzyme which has been steadily increasing in use in past years. In 2018, phytase sales saw an increase of 3.91 percent up to 25,701 million tonnes and this number is expected to continue its steady increase Amino acids have become more and more utilised in the market as we become a much more health-conscious population. The Asia-Pacific region is again expected to see the largest growth in use of amino acids owing to their improved economic conditions and an increased demand. In second place to Asia-Pacific is South America, who also use a significant amount of amino acids for their feed. China will, it is estimated, continue to be the largest exporters of amino acid solutions. FF

stand “outThefinding... was that global demand will continue to expand



Alltech Coppens – Advertorial

Through the wind and the rain

Optimising fish performance in severe conditions using nutrition By Gijs Rutjes, Alltech coppens.


ver the last few years, temperature swings and long drought periods were followed by brief periods of heavy rain. When subjected to these rapid changes in farming conditions, fish suffer severe stress. Facing challenging conditions, like low water supply or water temperatures rising to unfavourable heights, can be difficult times for the fish and the farmer. Protein utilisation gives warmth, and that is what you want to decrease during these times. Keeping the stocks healthy and in good condition during these challenges accelerates the need for enhanced nutritional strategies that optimise the natural defence mechanisms of the fish. This is critically important, right from the beginning, as it helps to produce robust juvenile and adult fish with optimal flesh quality characteristics. Aquate® is the second generation of sustainable product solutions and is incorporated in all Alltech Coppens feed. The solutions under this umbrella are based on proprietary yeast and organic mineral components. Healthy and robust fish are more likely to perform to their maximum potential, and gut health plays a major role in this. Bio-Mos® supports the fish’s defence and strengthens mucus barriers on skin, gills and gut. It also binds and removes many opportunistic bacteria and optimises the gut function. Bio-Mos increases microvilli density and microvilli length in the gut, which


Below: Challenging conditions for trout farming during hot summer days

means that the digestive function is optimised. Next to that, Bio-Mos results in a thicker mucus layer, which effectively acts as an exterior protection barrier. The gut contains a large proportion of an animal’s immune system, and is where nutrients are absorbed and the gut microflora live. Gut health is essential in keeping fish healthy! Maintaining a good gut health is part of the functionalities of the entire Aquate premix. It focuses on maximising growth and feed efficiency while supporting animal performance by promoting good gut structure and a healthy gut microflora, as well as supporting natural defences. Primacy in research - innovation In order to satisfy both the farmer’s expectation of the highest quality feeds at the best prices and monitor raw material and formulation quality, Alltech Coppens does its research in a state-of-theart research facility with multi-salinity recirculation aquaculture systems (RAS) capable of handling cold, temperate and warm-water species. These research facilities allow the company to rigorously test their range of ingredients and feeds developed specifically for unfavourable circumstances on farms, all to assure fish health and productivity. Research produces tangible results that perfectly translate from the research centre to the farms operated by customers. The implementation of revolutionary feeding programs has enabled fish farmers to optimise fish health and performance while facing lower amounts of water and high temperatures. For trout, Alltech Coppens has developed an extra option, a special feed with boosted nutritional health support. This innovation is based on scientific data, field tests and practical experience over several years. This special feed, called COFit®, provides extra health support, especially during stressful periods. COFit contains a significant higher level of Aquate and Vitamins for maximal health support. The other characteristics of the COFit feed, like its adapted DP/DE, subsequently preserve optimal protein utilisation for the best performance on-farm while decreasing heat production.


Alltech Coppens

“andHealthy robust

fish are more likely to perform to their maximum potential

Left: Alltech Coppens onfarm support, checking the incoming water supply in a drought

This last aspect is quite important, as it helps the fish to stay more comfortable under warm conditions when feeding is still possible. Under warm conditions, oxygen radicals are more easily formed, resulting in oxidative stress. During oxidative stress, cell structures can be damaged, compromising the fish’s health, especially when such a period lasts. The normal oxidative capacity of the fish is generally not enough to cope with such a situation. It is, therefore, essential to provide extra oxidative capacity to the fish (i.e., by supplying extra selenium and vitamin C, as these have radical quenching properties). Other important aspects of COFit are its increased EPA + DHA level and the inclusion of a prebiotic, both further supporting health and robustness of the fish. EPA and DHA are well known essential fatty acids that are required for many body functions, like immune defence and heart and


brain development. The prebiotic further aids in creating and maintaining a beneficial gut flora and works in synergy with Bio-Mos. COFit is a well-balanced, health-supporting trout feed that is nutritionally adapted for stressful situations like exceptionally long periods of drought, resulting in water shortage; brief periods of heavy rain (spring through to autumn); extreme water temperatures and fluctuating oxygen levels. COFit is the ultimate nutritional solution to optimise the performance of trout when facing challenging conditions.


New routes to the market - Advertorial

Meal is the real deal

Keeping things moving 24/7

Above: natural astaxanthin gives salmon their endurance capacity.

Above: Kishorn Port facilities and aquaculture Hub

RedMeal is a whole Haematococcus pluvialis meal rich in astaxanthin and is a great source of energy, proteins, carbohydrates, essential fatty acids, vitamins, nucleotides, and minerals. It provides pigmentation plus a wide range of science-backed benefits such as improving egg quality, increasing reproduction and growth rates, enhancing the immune system and overall health due to its potent antioxidant characteristics. RedMeal is also perfectly suitable for formulations intended for premium aquaculture such as salmon, trout, and shrimp because it is 100% natural, free of fishmeal or fish oil. Moreover, it can be used compliantly in diets containing non-GMO plant-based proteins and algal dHa. RedMeal is produced at a GMP certified facility using atacama Bio’s proprietary, cost-effective and sustainable technology. www.atacamabionatural.com

FeRGusOn Transport and shipping’s work vessels are available for private hire seven days a week, 365 days a year for short-term, long-term and ad-hoc contracts. We work the length and breadth of the West coast of scotland, providing road and sea logistic solutions. services include general cargo movements, specialised cargo, adR transport, fish feed, waste management, pen washing, mort recovery and fish harvesting. at Kishorn Port and aquaculture Hub, we provide ships agency and services including storage, warehousing, craneage and quayside berthing. We also have a large dry dock and on site offices and accommodation, available for use through our joint venture, Kishorn Port ltd. www.fergusontransport.co.uk

INTEGRATED MARINE, RAIL & ROAD LOGISTICS SOLUTIONS THROUGHOUT THE UK Work vessels and Port services available for short term, long term and one-off contracts



New routes to the market - Advertorial

Fingertip Feeding

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FEED – CageEye

Feeding time Autonomous feeding is the future of feeding fish in cages


quatech company cageeye has unveiled an autonomous feeding solution that helps fish farmers produce more meals for the world, while lowering feed waste and improving animal welfare in aquaculture. The CageEye system combines data gathered from hydroacoustic sensors with biological and environmental data. It uses intelligent algorithms and machine learning to interpret and act upon them. “The system makes its own decisions about when and how much to feed the fish, based on data and objective analysis of fish behavior and appetite,” said Bendik Søvegjarto, CEO, CageEye. “The acoustic sensors accurately observe the behavior of fish in cages, which means the appetite-based decision engine will know exactly when the fish are hungry and when to end the meal. This helps the autonomous feeding machine understand the fish so as long as they’re hungry it will respond by providing feed.” The CageEye system recognizes patterns in the behavior of the fish, and intelligent algorithms enable it to make continuous real-time decisions and adjustments during every meal to feed dynamically. “Salmon has a huge growth potential. The goal is to meet the appetite of the fish and realize the growth potential every day, throughout every day of a production cycle, and to do this without wasting any feed.You don’t want to feed pellets to the pollock swimming outside the cages, and you want to transform every kilo of pellets into as much salmon as possible,” said Søvegjarto.


The “system

makes it’s own decisions about when and how much to feed the fish

Autonomous feeding is the future of feeding fish in cages. The computer does the work, and the human operator is interacting with it. “Human feeders with underwater cameras have to process and respond to large amounts of data, as they interpret what they see on their screens. At the same time, they must make a lot of decisions about when to start, stop, or adjust the feeding. Every day, over four hundred days in


Feeding time

a row,” said Søvegjarto. “Using an underwater camera is like looking through a keyhole and trying to understand what is happening on the other side. While a camera sees about 1 to 3% of the cage, we can observe about 70% of the entire cage.” “Salmon feeding is complex. It’s a bit like chess; feeders have to analyze complex situations, make calculations as they make decisions and time their actions. They must read the landscape, react to countermoves, and constantly revise their strategy. One human operator feeds 10 to 12 cages at the same time, so in a sense they are playing 12 different games of chess at the same time. No human can observe millions of patterns an hour and make the right decisions every time. By contrast, the computer will never have a bad day, it will never be unfocused, and it will never take time off.” Mutual benefits Accurate feeding reduces feed waste, which means farmers no longer have to pay for excess feed that is washed away by the sea whenever it is not eaten by the fish. This adds up to cost savings and reduced resource use. The fish benefit too. Machine learning facilitates feeding-on-demand for the whole fish population, benefiting their health and welfare as none will ever go hungry and they’ll never have


to compete for feed. This encourages them all to eat to satiation, which in Above: Bendik S. Søvegjarto turn speeds up their growth. Left: Operating central Consumers, therefore gain access to more affordable protein, because faster fish growth leads to shorter production cycles. This in turn means that farmers can increase their number of production cycles between now and 2050, and more human meals can be produced. Also, shortening the time at sea reduces the risk of mortality and disease, so there is potential

We must optimize production in “ response to increasing food demand, which might double in 2050 ”

to expect greater biomass harvested over an extended period of time by virtue of better fish survival. “We must optimize production in response to increasing food demand, which might double in 2050 as the world population grows to 10 billion people,” said Søvegjarto. Autonomous feeding can easily deliver a 10% improvement in feeding performance, both by reducing feed waste and improving fish growth. New jobs will be created as a consequence, both directly by fast-growing fish farms and indirectly in the fish processing, distribution and retail sectors. The aquaculture sector is expected to be a major driver of economic growth in the decades ahead, both in developed and developing countries. “By focussing on improving ecosystems, we can help create employment and combat poverty as we feed a growing world population, and we can do this in a responsible way that protects the environment and improves fish health and welfare,” said Søvegjarto. FF


Workboats – Damen Shipyards

Versatile vessel Damen’s new workboat has a robust range of features


AMeN Shipyards Group has unveiled a new workboat for the aquaculture industry. The Damen Utility Vessel (UV) 2613 draws upon the heritage of proven vessels from the shipyard’s portfolio, such as the Multi Cat and Shoalbuster, to deliver extreme versatility to the fish-farming sector. The vessel’s scope of work covers everything from harvesting to net cleaning and diving support to de-licing. Damen has developed the UV 2613 based on feedback from the market. It is a for-


ward-facing vessel, with sustainable characteristics. It is, for example, prepared for IMO Tier III. The vessel comes ready for the installation of a Damen NOX Reduction System – selective catalytic conversion technology that can be easily installed during construction or as a retrofit, making the vessel Tier III compliant. The vessel can also be fitted with battery packs for silent shift operations. This is an extremely user-friendly vessel, with lots of plug and play options available so that it can switch quickly from one duty to another. The UV 2613 can be installed with DP1, a multiple mooring system and a towing winch for example. It can even be fitted with a ramp in order to perform ferry duties if required. An extensive cargo hold of 85m2 facilitates harvesting as well as

Above: The UV 2613


Versatile vessel

dry cargo transportation and storage of diving equipment. The vessel’s deck is over 110m2. The vessel can be fitted with multiple cranes with capacity up to 220 t/m. The vessel’s azimuth thrusters, together with a bow thruster, ensure optimal manoeuvrability. Damen has paid close attention to safety in the design. The vessel features a high bow height and freeboard of 1 m minimum to avoid deck immersion and safe sailing, even in heavy seas. Additionally, with a beam of 12.8 metres, the vessel is extremely stable, with no need for an anti-heeling system. While the UV 2613 is 26 metres in length overall, its load line length is just 24 metres and the vessel is also below 200 GT (MCA). Damen Sales Manager Mike Besijn said, “We are very confident in the relevance of the UV 2613 for the growing aquaculture industry. Based on feedback we received from the market we have designed a versatile vessel, able to tackle a very wide range of duties, with a robust application of features ensuring the safety and sustainability of operations. We have already carried out the feasibility studies and completed the detailed engineering of the design – we’re ready to build this.” Damen Shipyards Group operates 36 shipbuilding and repair yards, employing 13,000 people worldwide. Damen has delivered more than 6,500 vessels in more than 100 countries and delivers around 175 vessels annually to customers worldwide. Based on its unique, standardised ship-design concept Damen is able to guarantee consistent quality. Damen offers a wide range of products, including tugs, workboats,

We have designed a versatile vessel, able to tackle a very wide range of duties

Above: Damen flag

naval and patrol vessels, high speed craft, cargo vessels, dredgers, vessels for the offshore industry, ferries, pontoons and superyachts. For nearly all vessel types Damen offers a broad range of services, including maintenance, spare parts delivery, training and the transfer of (shipbuilding) know-how. Damen also offers a variety of marine components, such as nozzles, rudders, winches, anchors, anchor chains and steel works. FF

Forward-facing fish farming


The Damen Utility Vessel 2613 offers unrivalled versatility for the aquaculture industry. Extreme user-friendliness comes courtesy of a range of plug & play options that enable the vessel to switch rapidly from harvesting to net cleaning and from dive support to de-licing and much more. DAMEN.COM



Mother Ship - Aas Mek wellboat

Mother Ship The gaelic inspiration behind Aas Mek’s new vessel


Ne of the largest and most sophisticated wellboats in the Scottish aquaculture sector is due to enter service this week. Migdale Transport is set to take control of Marsali, which will make the trip across the north sea from a shipyard in Norway to support Cooke Aquaculture Scotland’s salmon farming sites in Orkney and Shetland. The new vessel will see the company take on 14 new jobs – 12 deck and engineering roles, and two support roles in planning and logistics. Most of the crew on the Marsali will transfer over from sister-ship Migdale. “The crew of the Migdale has a lot of expe-


rience of working Cooke’s fish farms in Orkney and Shetland”, explains Migdale Transport boss Hugh Murray. “It made sense to transfer them over to the new boat to bring that continuity and knowledge across, but to do that we needed to upgrade some of the crew’s tickets from a 500 gross tonne vessel, to a 3,000 gross tonnes and we’ve upgraded the engineering crew to 3,000kW. Upgrading these tickets has taken up to a year to complete. The Marsali was constructed by wellboat specialists Aas Mek Verksted in the pretty coastal town of Vestnes in mid-Norway and has been specifically designed to meet welfare requirements for farmed salmon and will be able to carry up to 210 tons of live adult fish. Aas Mek is one of the oldest and most established yard, they’ve been building wellboats and have been innovating from the earliest days of the aquaculture industry.

Above: The Marsali sets



Mother Ship

We specifically designed the “ vessel to cope with the weather

and tidal conditions in Orkney and Shetland

“Due to the Covid 19 pandemic some of the crew that brought Marsali over to Scotland have had to go into two weeks’ quarantine in Norway before being allowed onto the vessel to complete more training and to understand the ship’s systems” explains Hugh Murray. “It’s been a real challenge to get everything in place but we are fortunate that we can get our boat out, as other boats that are being built are being delayed due to a lack of parts and engineers as a result of coronavirus.” Migdale Transport’s purchase of Marsali doubles the number of wellboats the company owns. The support sector has been investing heavily in more and more sophisticated vessels to respond to customer demand, particularly in terms of fish health and welfare, and the environment. Hugh Murray adds: “It was important for us to understand our customer’s needs, and we worked closely with Cooke to design the best vessel for their requirements. “We specifically designed the vessel to cope with the weather and tidal conditions in Orkney and Shetland. The vessel will have to make several passages past Cape Wrath on the northwesterly-most tip of Scotland where the sea state and weather conditions can be atrocious. “So we’ve given her a bigger engine and more powerful thrusters than other vessels of this size, and we’ve reduced the glassed area in the wheelhouse.” It’s not just design changes to cope with the Scottish weather or the bigger capacity that marks Marsali as a special ship.



AAS 2502 ST

AAS 1802 ST

Aas Mek. Verksted AS has experience and expertise in designing, constructing and building effective and reliable vessel. In cooperation with ship owners, we create innovative solutions for efficient and profitable ships. Traditionally activity has been newbuilding of fishing vessels for coastal and ocean fleet. We have years of experience in developing and constructing well boats for live fish transport. Our shipyard offers newbuilding, rebuilding and service of vessels up to 100 meters. We also provide indoor outfitting of newbuilding and repair work, for vessels up to 65 meters. Our vision is to design and build ships of high quality to achieve satisfied customers.

Aas Mek. Verksted AS – Your preferred partner for shipbuilding, shiprepair and docking! Shipbuilding and Repair Address: Buktavegen 50, N-6390 Vestnes, Norway

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Aas Mek wellboat

“Cooke Aquaculture Scotland wanted us to really improve fish welfare and our environmental footprint and we’ve worked closely with them to design changes to the vessel and its equipment. “We’ve worked on a relatively new system that dewaters the fish during loading and unloading transfers with a syphon system that uses pressure instead of a mechanical pump. This is a specialised piece of equipment and most older wellboats don’t have this system, but the result is that it is gentler on the fish, and means that fish can be transferred from seawater to a freshwater bath with less stress and excellent welfare conditions. “Any water taken onboard Marsali is filtered 100% to remove lice and . We are able to control the pH of freshwater to match the seawater if required, improving welfare conditions. We can also chill the water by 1 degree every hour and this again will improve oxygen conditions during summer treatments, or during any harvesting of stock. We have the biggest capacity CO2 strippers to keep the water quality as high as possible when operating on a “closed system”.

The Marsali - Gaelic for ‘Marjory’ “- was named after Hugh Murray’s mother ” 52

“We can also completely clean the CO2 stripper to ensure that we are not presenting a biosecurity risk. All water that is discharged back into the sea is double-filtered to 150micron then 80micron to ensure that it is 100% clean. “We also have a large on-board oxygen supply which we can also offer to oxygenate the seawater in the farm pens, if we think it is required, and through-hull cameras enable us to constantly monitor the fish in the pen when we are alongside. “Marsali is also equipped with a reverse osmosis (RO) system which can make up to 3,000m3 of freshwater per day. This is a design change agreed with Cooke Aquaculture Scotland to bathe fish in freshwater improving fish health and welfare, and also being an environmentally-friendly system. The Marsali – Gaelic for “Marjory” and named after Hugh Murray’s mother – will be based in the firm’s home port at Lochinver. “Lochinver was where my mother was born and brought up, where her early language was Gaelic. This is also where the Migdale comes for fuel, supplies and routine maintenance. As a family-owned business it’s a good feeling to

Above: Another view of the Marsali


Mother Ship

The Marsali is a very complex vessel “ and it took a lot of work with Cooke and the manufacturer to get this right ”

maintain a strong connection with Lochinver, and to keep the Marsali name alive.” However, Marsali will mainly spend her time in Orkney and Shetland supporting Cooke’s seawater operations and will call into Lochinver on her way south or north when travelling with smolts. Hugh Murray continued: “There is usually very little downtime. Our boats are only tied up between jobs, or when we need to bunker fuel, freshwater and food. When she’s not on station at a farm she’ll mostly be in harbours in Lerwick, Scalloway, Kirkwall and Stromness. She’ll sail south to pick up smolts from Cooke’s freshwater operations in Argyll and Cumbria, probably visiting harbour in Oban, Campbeltown, Workington and Hartlepool.” Signalling their confidence in the Scottish aquaculture sector, Migdale is due to go into refit later this year, again in Norway, where it will be upgraded to provide better support to Scotland’s salmon farming sector. Hugh Murray added: “The aquaculture sector has been making huge investment in wellboats and wellboat technology over the last decade, and the industry is world leaders in this sphere. “The Marsali is a very complex vessel and it took a lot of work with Cooke and the manufacturer to get this right. This is a significant investment for us, and sets the benchmark for many years to come.” FF Below: Luxury at sea



Girl Power – WiSA’s new appointments

Girl power Experienced duo appointed to lead WiSA network


omen in Scottish Aquaculture (WiSA) – a grassroots network aimed at promoting diversity, supporting men and women in their careers, and encouraging new talent into the burgeoning sector – has announced the appointment of two new co-chairs. Teresa Garzon, a key account manager for Patogen, and Rowena Hoare, a senior research fellow at the University of Stirling’s Institute of Aquaculture will share leadership of the group as it enters a second year of activity. The pair have more than 30 years’ combined experience of working in the aquaculture sector.

Creating balance and equality is an important step in creating positive and inspiring role models for the next generation of aquaculture talent


Teresa holds a PhD in biology and biochemistry, and was previously a laboratory manager for Marine Harvest Scotland – now known as Mowi. Rowena joined the Aquatic Vaccine Unit at the Institute of Aquaculture in 2001, where she works closely with industry partners and SAIC (the Scottish Aquaculture Innovation Centre) to develop vaccines and processes that can help manage and enhance fish health. The WiSA network – founded in partnership with SAIC- was launched on International Women’s Day 2019 to celebrate the role of women in the Scottish aquaculture sector, creating a platform for discussion and a network of support. As co-chairs, Teresa and Rowena will drive the future direction of the group, and amid the Covid-19 pandemic, the creation of a digital forum in lieu of face-to-face events. Teresa Garzon said: “Creating balance and equality is an important step in creating positive and inspiring role models for the next generation of aquaculture talent. WiSA aims to show young women and men that there is a wide variety of career opportunities available, while also creating a platform for discussion. I’m proud to play a part in championing the role of women in one of Scotland’s most interesting and rewarding sectors.” After securing a £50,000 investment – comprising


Girl Power

Left: Teresa Garzon and Rowena Hoare. Below left: SAIC Study Trip. Below right: WiSA in action.

of Scottish Government funding and sector sponsorships – WiSA launched an inaugural mentoring programme which concluded in April 2020. 38 mentors and mentees took part in the programme of one-to-one support, discussing career goals and aspirations, as well as some of the challenges and opportunities of life in aquaculture. Rowena Hoare added: “Aquaculture is a forward-thinking, innovative industry and diversity should be considered an important part of that. It’s crucial to keep that at the forefront of conversations around growth and the future of the sector, and networks like WiSA can be invaluable in providing the tools and skills to help women build successful careers. By creating a welcoming forum for advice and support, as well as providing workshops to help professional development and confidence-building, we hope to make a positive impact on the future of the sector.” WiSA membership is open to anyone, of any gender, studying or working in Scottish aquaculture and is supported by SAIC as well as many of Scotland’s major seafood producers including Grieg Seafood, Cooke Aquaculture, The Scottish Salmon Company, Mowi, Loch Duart and Scottish Sea Farms. SAIC’s mission is to transform Scottish aquaculture by unlocking sustainable growth through innovation excellence. We invest in collaborative research projects in the areas of fish health and welfare, nutrition, shellfish production, capacity

and sustainable industry growth. We also help grow the industry’s talent pool by supporting MSc and PhD places, internships and training programmes. The Scottish Innovation Centre programme, which was launched in 2013, brings together a network of Innovation Centres focused on different industry sectors or cross-cutting areas of innovation. Each Centre works to establish bonds between Scotland’s universities, colleges and research institutes and industry sectors, translating academic knowledge and expertise into commercially valuable skills and improvements that benefit individual companies as well as Scotland’s overall economy. FF


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Scottish Sea Farms– New vessel

At your service

Above:The Fair Isle

New vessel to play a crucial role in protecting fish health


he nationwide coronavirus lockdown hasn’t stopped Scottish Sea Farms in its drive to safeguard the health and welfare of its fish as it maintains a steady supply of salmon to the market. The company has this week put into operation a new service vessel which will play a crucial role in protecting fish health; particularly gill health which is currently one of the main threats to farmed salmon globally. Jim Gallagher, Managing Director for Scottish Sea Farms, said: “The COVID-19 pandemic has reinforced the need to safeguard the supply and flow of fresh, nutritious food around the world, and we remain as committed as ever to investing in the areas, activities and infrastructure that will ensure our farming approaches are fit for the future.” Representing an investment of £1.9 million, the 21.2m by 9.3m Fair Isle – named after the island lying between Shetland and Orkney – will work primarily in Scottish Sea Farms’ northerly regions. This, in turn, frees up existing workboat, the Sally Ann, to service the company’s mainland farms, increasing response times across the 42-strong farming estate. Scottish Sea Farms’ Head of Fish Health, Dr Ralph Bickerdike, said: “Having an additional vessel means we can respond more quickly and be more proactive in those instances where a veterinary treatment would help prevent an emerging health challenge from developing. “At the moment, things are looking good in terms of gill health and fish survival for the year to date is 96 per cent, which is as it should be during


a low water temperature period. However, we can’t be complacent; we need to make sure as we go into the summer that we have all the resources available.” Currently, water quality is monitored daily and fish from every pen are carefully hand-checked weekly to help detect the warning signs of gill disease. The new vessel will add to this ‘prevention over cure’ approach by enabling farmers to administer treatments, where needed, at an earlier and more effective stage. “As with the rest of the sector, we faced a huge challenge in terms of gill health last year and we’ve made a series of investments as a result,” explains Bickerdike. “We’re working hard to ensure our farmers are equipped to deliver preventative care as and when it’s required, and the Fair Isle will help towards that.” Built at the Dutch yard Nauplius and featuring a wide deck with 60-tonne carrying capacity, the vessel is the latest – and biggest – addition to the salmon farmer’s fleet. Inside there are three fully fitted cabins which will be home from home for the two crews of


At your service

Left: The Nauplius built boat in action

we faced a huge challenge in terms of gill health last year

three who will work a three-week on, threeweek off shift pattern and be deployed wherever they can be of most benefit. Marine Engineering Manager for Scottish Sea Farms’ Shetland region, Keith Fraser, commented: “With a service speed of eight knots, she’ll be very flexible and can steam between regions and move around as required. She can even travel to mainland farms to help with treatments, if needed.” Designed to withstand the extreme weather conditions of Shetland and Orkney, the sturdy boat boasts a large HS Marine deck crane with three times the lifting capacity of Scottish Sea Farms’ other boats in the area. It’s all part and parcel of meeting the demands of modern day salmon farming, says Scottish Sea Farms’ Regional Manager for Orkney, Richard Darbyshire, who along with Fraser was involved in the initial design of the Fair Isle. “Farm equipment and infrastructure has gone up in size and weight over recent years,” says Darbyshire, “and we need boats that can cope in order to provide an even safer working environment for our staff and protect the wellbeing of our stock.


“In addition to veterinary treatments, we scoped the vessel so it can do grid inspections, laying and replacing mooring systems, setting up farms for smolts coming in, putting in and rigging new nets, and towing barges. It’s a fantastic boat.” The Fair Isle will also contribute towards the company’s ongoing rollout of protective Seal Pro netting systems. Scottish Sea Farms’ Regional Manager for Shetland, Graham Smith, said: “Seal predation is a major threat to fish health, causing stress, harm and even death, so we have been installing Seal Pro netting systems extensively in the drive to deter seals from preying on our livestock. The Fair Isle has a key role to play in this, enabling us to transport and install the newer, heavier duty netting more easily than before.” Having successfully completed her final sea trials in Shetland, the Fair Isle is expected to make her maiden voyage to Orkney within days, weather permitting. FF


Safety – SINTEF Ocean

International rescue New collaboration will develop response to aquaculture emergencies By VINcE McDONagh


OMPARED to deep sea fishing, its much older cousin, aquaculture is a comparatively safe industry. But accidents do happen, sometimes with fatal consequences. It is only a few months ago that a Mowi Scotland assistant manager was killed in an incident at its site on the Kyle of Lochalsh. Then there is also the impact of sudden and unexpected biological issues such as algae bloom outbreaks. Now two cutting edge Norwegian independent research institutions are carrying a new research and development project designed to make fish farming safer and better prepared to deal with unexpected biological threats. Aquaculture and fish transport specialists NTS ASA and SINTEF Ocean , two of Europe’s largest independent research organisations have joined forces to develop better emergency response services for hazard and accident situations, as well as potential environmental threats. The research and development project is called “Coastal Emergency Preparedness” is being led by NTS with the main focus on hazard and accident situations at aquaculture sites. These include a wide range of potential hazards including personal injury, ship accidents, fish escapes and acute environmental discharges or as Norway experienced in the early summer of last year with the algae bloom attack which had a devastating impact at a number of fish farms only a year ago. It was the worst such outbreak for 30 years, leading to the loss of eight million salmon and 2.5 billion kroner(£205-million) in financial terms. So NTS has brought together a consortium of industry players ranging from fish farming companies to safety experts and vessel designers. For its part SINTEF Ocean is the responsible research partner co-ordi-

nating the work into an established project. NTS project manager Morten Øyahals says incidents like this are not only very costly, but can also have serious consequences for people, the fish and the environment. “We believe there is a need for more robust preparedness for major events in the aquaculture industry, such as the algae outbreak last year,” he added. For example, there were still no specific emergency vessels to deal with such problems. Ingunn Marie Holmen from SINTEF Ocean, who is leading the research and development work, said: “The Norwegian authorities have a stated goal of facilitating sustainable growth in aquaculture. ‘Yet there are no national emergency resources that meet the long term needs of the industry, especially activity and constructions are on the increase. For example, there was little knowledge about the interaction between environmental conditions around fish farms and algal blooms.’ She added: ‘The consequences of such incidents can be very serious and lead to damage to the environment and financial loss, reduced fish welfare or Far left: Morten Oyahals NTS Manager Left: Ingunn Holmen



Internatioal rescue

The project will help to make it easier to evacuate biomass to safer areas

Left: SINTEF Ocean

lost fish. ‘Coupled with existing monitoring services for vessels and installations, in the event of an outbreak the project will help to make it easier to evacuate biomass to safer areas and improve the overall readiness of the operation. ‘And there is also an important coastal emergency research and development element to the project focusing on hazards and accidents whether ashore or on vessels’. She explained: ‘The consortium behind Coastal Emergency Preparedness is therefore to equip aquaculture vessels in daily operation with sensors that can monitor the environmental situation below sea level. The data will be used to develop early warning models.’ Holmen also has considerable knowledge about the danger of personal injury accidents and other incidents which can occur on fish farms and which at times can be high. She says: ‘‘Coastal emergency preparedness will undoubtedly make important contributions to the safety and preparedness of the aquaculture industry. ‘It will also increase the safety of everyone working along coastal areas. From a socio-economic perspective, the project should provide positive benefits related to life and health, the environment and equipment.’ Coupled with existing monitoring services for ships and installations, the project will help to make it easier to evacuate biomass to safe areas, coordinate boats in accident areas and strengthen the general preparedness for large operations. Surprisingly, there were still no emergency boats specifically designed or built to deal with hazards, biological or otherwise. Morten Øyahals added: “Through this project, we therefore want to develop a separate emergency vessel - or be able to equip existing aquaculture vessels - with a view to rescuing personnel, escaping fish and other incidents.” FF


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Fish Farmer 59

Vaccination – MSD Animal Health

Remote learning MSD Animal Health reveal support plans for summer vaccinations


HE summer season proves to be an extremely busy time for fish farmers as they commence vaccination of their fish stocks. As well as the usual pressures, producers face an added challenge this year with farm visits from industry experts and health professionals extremely limited. However, to ensure fish farmers continue to receive vital support throughout the period, the MSD Animal Health UK aquaculture team has been adapting their service offering to help their customers continue with ‘business as usual’. We caught up with Liam Doherty, technical and account manager at MSD Animal Health UK.

“There is a lot more to vaccination than just improving accuracy. Looking at injection points, correct pressure, and ensuring needles are not blunt to avoid causing internal trauma is also really important. “You could have 100% accuracy, but if the needles are too long, during an internal assessment you will see that this has caused internal trauma. These webinars help to remind producers of all the different aspects of vaccination which need to be considered before the Bespoke training webinars event.” “With vaccination just around the corner, we have quickly adapted Throughout the summer months, MSD services so that we are still able to help our customers with their moni- Animal Health UK are still providing the Fish toring programmes and vaccination,” says Liam. Health Vaccination app (previously known as “From mid-June, we will be launching our first pre-vaccination training AQUAVAC® Monitor), which is a monitoring webinars which act as a refresher course for customers, highlighting programme that audits vaccination safety and best practice techniques to optimise vaccination accuracy prior to the efficacy throughout the production cycle. Howseason starting. During the presentations, we will also show customers ever, the audits will be carried out remotely the impact of what can happen when things go wrong, for example the rather than on-site via the Fish Health App and knock-on effects and financial implications of poor vaccination techalso new technology methods which the team nique. are currently trialling. Liam explains that webinars can be tailored to individual customer requirements, and can act as a platform for producers, staff, and the Virtual assessments set to take the place of onMSD Animal Health UK team to share best practice. site visits As well as webinars focusing on pre- vaccination, MSD Animal Health UK are also launching pre-transfer assessment webinars to look at safety aspects of the vaccine and to help producers profile local reactions of fish. The intention of these webinars is to give producers more of an understanding of the whole vaccination process and to ensure they are prepared for the season ahead. To accompany these training webinars, the team has also been working on new ways to carry out vaccination assessments remotely. “We have conducted a trial with one customer using Microsoft Teams and WhatsApp to see Left: Vaccination how these assessments can work remotely. Using the computer or phone camera, we were able to watch individuals on-farm carry out the pre-transfer audit while it was taking place. We were then able to view the footage



Remote learning

and write down our local reactions scoring,” explains Liam. From conducting this initial trial, Liam and the MSD Animal Health team were able to assess how effective the assessments were, and what additional resources were needed to improve this process further. As a result, the team are trialling new virtual technology which they will use to carry out accurate pre-transfer assessments and vaccination audits with their customers this summer.

Above: Liam Doherty Combining remote tools to provide a total service Left: Vaccination Although every farm site has dedicated health professionals present, Liam hopes this new level of support will help customers become more experienced in how to carry out autopsies, and provide education on what the MSD Animal Health UK team look for when assessing fish health pre, during, and post vaccination. ‘Many of our customers already use the Fish Health Vaccination App, which is another remote way of working. Usually, we would conduct the audits and input data into the app, however with this added training now available, once producers are comfortable with vaccination accuracy points, they can use the app on our behalf and send the reports back to us to review. “With all these services combined, we will be able to cover 80% of our usual work, just missing the additional 20% of face-to-face meetings. We look forward to beginning these virtual assessments and will keep our customers updated on our progress,” concludes Liam. If you would like to attend a training webinar, or would like to discuss how virtual assessments can be carried out on your farm, contact your local MSD Animal Health UK representative. FF

The project will help to make “it easier to evacuate biomass to safer areas ” www.fishfarmermagazine.com


Products and services

What’s NEW Monthly update on industry innovations and solutions from around the world FISA passes the test Last year FISA, together with UK representative Boris Net, introduced the product to Loch Duart. FISA’s SUPRA (Premium HDPE) anti predator solution is ideal for the Scottish salmon market as it is an integrated containment and anti-predator allowing customers to contain the fish and protect from predators in one unit. Following the successful test, FISA & Boris Net are currently in talks with other large Scottish Farmers. SUPRA is a premium solution for use in the most demanding trawling and aquaculture markets. It is a custom braided knotted net produced with 3rd generation high density Polyethylene (HDPE). It is light weight, has high breaking strength, low fouling impregnation and lower water absorption. www.fisa.com

Image: Supra netting leaving machine.

EMA thumbs up for Clynav vaccine The Committee for Medicinal Products for Veterinary Use (CVMP) from the European Medicines Agency (EMA) has recommended the granting of a variation to the terms of the marketing authorization for Clynav, Elanco´s first in class DNA vaccine, expanding the duration of its immunity from 3 months to 12 months after vaccination.[1] Fish vaccinated with Clynav have health benefits such as reduced lesions on the heart, pancreas and skeletal muscles and reduced risk of death caused by pancreatic disease following infection with salmonid alphavirus subtype 3 (SAV3).[2] [1] https://www.ema.europa.eu/en/medicines/veterinary/summariesopinion/clynav [2] https://www.ema.europa.eu/en/medicines/veterinary/EPAR/clynav Bespoke Brailers W&J Knox has been producing a variety of bespoke heavy-duty brailer nets for use from hatchery to wellboat. Inherent strength comes from the tubular marine grade stainless steel, fabricated in-house. Release mechanisms can be manual with a drawstring or mechanical with the addition of a brailer block. The brailer pictured was produced using HDPE netting and an additional diamond mesh overlay. However, other varieties have been made with a softer nylon netting and tarpaulin. To discuss your requirements, give Finlay Oman or Dave Hutchens a call on 01505 682511, or Alec Russell on 07775 688037. www.wjknox.co.uk

You’re hired! Independent aquaculture genetics specialists Xelect have recently announced a number of new customers, and several new hires. Xelect confirmed the appointment of experienced geneticist Dr Paolo Ruggeri as Scientific Officer, and earlier in the year Xelect also recruited Dr Mark Looseley as Senior Geneticist. Xelect’s CEO, Professor Ian Johnston, commented: ‘We’ve been delighted to see so much growth. It’s clear that the industry will ultimately fracture into major producers, using the latest genetics best practice, and smaller local operations. Companies are increasingly realising that it’s unwise to commit significant resources to aquaculture operations if they don’t invest in their genetic capital to improve economic performance.’ www.xelect-genetics.com



Industry Diary

Industry DIARY The latest aquaculture events, conferences and courses september 20 NAFc: AquAculture mANAGemeNt cPd

february 21

AquAculture AmericA ASiAN PAciFic AquAculture 2021 2021 Surabaya, indonesia June 8-11

San Antonio,texas, uSA February 21-24, 2021

AquAculture AFricA 2021

march 21 This Continuing Professional Development (CPD) programme will allow you to gain a diplo- lAtiN AmericAN cAribbeAN ma level qualification in aquaculture management while working in the aquaculture industry. AquAculture It is aimed at experienced aquaculture staff Guayaquil, ecuador who are working in, or are ready to progress to, march 22-25, 2021 aquaculture management roles. enrolment deadline of August 14 aprIL 21 course start date of September 7

october 20


AquAculture euroPe 2020

ASSG ANNuAl coNFereNce 2020

RAStech 2020 is the venue for learning, networking and knowledge sharing on RAS technologies, design and implementation across the world.

hilton head island, Sc, uSA November 16-17, 2020

AquAculture AFricA 2020

This conference will cover the full scope and diversity of European aquaculture. AE 2020 will feature an international trade exhibition, industry forums, student sessions and activities, satellite workshops and updates on EU research.

cork, ireland April 12-15 2021

may 21 AquAculture uK 2020


This World Aquaculture Society event will feature hundreds of world class speakers and delegates from around the globe.

St John’s, Newfoundland, canada September 26 - 29, 2021

NoVember 21 World AquAculture 2021 merida, mexico November 15-19

february 22 AquAculture 2022 San diego, california, uSA Feb. 27 march 3

aprIL 22

december 20

The event will be held in Singapore this year with involvement from countries throughout the Asian-Pacific region and around the world. Aquaculture is growing rapidly in the region and therefore 2020 is the perfect time for the world aquaculture community to turn its focus here. Singapore, december 14-18, 2020

WAS North AmericA & AquAculture cANAdA 2020

madeira, Portugal oct 5-8

Alexandria, egypt November 28 - december 1, 2020

World AquAculture 2020

september 21

AquAculture euroPe 2021

oban, united Kingdom october 8-9, 2020

rAStech coNFereNce

lusaka, Zambia June 28-July 1

october 21

The Association of Scottish Shellfish Growers’ annual conference features speakers from around the world.

NoVember 20

JuNe 21

Aviemore will once again be the venue for this bi-annual trade fair and conference. It is undoubtedly the most important aquaculture exhibition held in the British Isles. The show has a tremendous following and with increased investment for 2020 it promises to reach even further across the broader aquaculture markets in both the UK and Europe.

Aviemore, united Kingdom may 18-20, 2021

World AquAculture 2022 qingdao, Pr china April 25-28, 2022.

february 23 AquAculture AmericA 2023 New orleans, louisiana, uSA Feb. 19-22


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Monitoring in Aquaculture 14/07/2014 14:54:15

14/07/2014 14:54:15


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Opinion – Inside track

How do we get out of this mess? BY NICK JOY


NOTE from last month’s edition that the larger companies in our industry have written to the supermarkets asking them to open their fish counters. If there is anything that shows the gross distortion in food supply in this country, this is it. In discussions in the past with supermarket buyers, I have often wondered whether they thought they were gods or whether they knew they were! The supermarkets claim that they act in the interests of the public but never was the reality so far from the truth. They act as middlemen between producers and the public whilst controlling the chain of supply to their advantage. Nevermore has this been clearer as when the impacts of cheap food in production has risen in the press, it is always the farmer that carries the can in the eyes of the public.Yet the farmer is only trying to make a profit whilst being forced to decrease costs in real terms every year. Once I was at a convention on sustainability in aquaculture with all of the supermarket fish buyers present. I was asked how I saw our role as a differentiated producer. I said, and I would still argue this case, that it is the role of a differentiated producer to develop a relationship with the end user because this turns everyone in between into service providers. In other words if there is any real quality in the product then the end user should appreciate it. If they don’t your dead in the water anyway! If there is then processors, shops etc just become means to delivering the product to the end user, which means that the producer has the strength in the supply chain. This delivers two benefits; the producer has to stand by its produce and ensure its quality but also the supermarkets cannot define the quality level and then blame the producer. At the convention there were some really rather unhappy faces, mostly supermarket buyers. Ah well, I was never very good at courting popularity! In our current situation, coming out of this infernal lockdown, markets are starting to move again but some fundamentals have changed. The huge superstores have long Covid queues outside them and they are not a pleasant place to be. These huge shops depend on footfall but in my area it is notable that the smaller shops are getting much busier. I think it is that, if you have to wait, it is better to be in a short queue for a small shop than a long one for a big one. There will be many such changes and it will be interesting to see who adapts best. This is a time for those who are light on their feet. I was extremely impressed to see that Mowi had made an arrangement with Amazon to supply fish in the US. This sort of thinking is exactly what is needed in the new world we are approaching. I think more will be required. A lot of companies will look to get more and more accreditation as the supermarkets and the lazy middlemen look for rubber stamps to tell them what a company stands for. In doing this differentiated companies will have to watch that they don’t join the stampede. Accreditations don’t push for change, higher quality or difference. They encourage stability and are driven by people with a bee in their bonnet about environment or other considerations. This is not to say that they don’t have value to underpin a company’s philosophy but they have to accredit what a company wants to do and believes in not force the company into a particular box. Often the accreditation becomes bigger than the company’s accredited and then it becomes just another profit taker, reducing the profit available for the producer. More so in that brands are often subordinated under these accreditations which is precisely what supermarkets want. To a supermarket


I was “ extremely

impressed to see that Mowi had made an arrangement with Amazon to supply fish in the US

the ability to substitute one supplier for another is their greatest strength. Thus products which taste the same and overarching accreditations are the most critical issues for them. If this all sounds a bit depressing then there is some news which should give us all a bit of a lift. Last week it was reported that food sales are 75% up in the UK, which seems an extraordinary figure to me and I will take it with a pinch of salt. Takeaway sales were up 250%, which is less of a surprise. When allied to a report several weeks ago that cooking from scratch in the household has increased by 38%, it is clear that the ability to connect with the consumer has become much easier. I have been reminded several times that the problem with salmon sales to the consumer is that the average consumer does not know how to prepare it or how to cook it. Dear Lord! That was being said by our industry when I first joined it at the time when dinosaurs roamed the earth. Isn’t it about time that our industry spent grown up money using well known chefs to make sure that there isn’t a single person in the UK who doesn’t know how to cook our product? If Elon Musk can contemplate sending 10,000 nuclear bombs to create an atmosphere on Mars, surely we can show 60 million people how to cook what we produce! FF



Singapore - Dec. 14 - 18, 2020 Singapore EXPO Convention and Exhibition Centre

Hashtags: #WA2020 Facebook: Wa2020 Linkdin: WASAPC

Hosted by Singapore Food Agency Organized by World Aquaculture Society


Next generation Aquaculture Innovation and sustainability will feed the world

For more info on the CONFERENCE: www.was.org - worldaqua@was.org For more info on the TRADESHOW: mario@marevent.com

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