Fish Farmer June 2022

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Fish Farmer JUNE 2022


Highlights from the show



High risk, high reward


Can we replace marine ingredients?

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Editor’s Welcome Welcome


he sense of a return to something like normality was palpable in Aviemore last ierra del Fuego, the southernmost province of Argen�na, has a good claim to the �tle month, as the Aquaculture UK trade show and conference returned after a “The end of the world.” four-year absence. Earlier this month the regional legislature of the province voted to ban open net The conference also saw an endorsement for the industry from Mairi salmon farming. Coming on top of the Danish government’s decision last autumn to Gougeon, Scottish Rural Affairs Minister, who also pledged that reforms for the curtail any further of fish farming at sea,inand the ongoing of the industry in regulatory systemgrowth that oversees aquaculture Scotland wouldstruggle be an important priority. Canada to resist the closure of farms in the Discovery Islands, it is clearer than ever that the She said: “Developing world-leading legislation for aquaculture is key to developing fiash farming to make its and caseeconomically in order just to stay in business. sector thatindustry is both needs environmentally sustainable, operating within It’s not all gloom, however. At social the North Atlan� c Seafood Forum held online thisecosystem year environmental limits and with licence, ensuring there is a –thriving marine –for Norway’s Prime Minister Erna Solberg reiterated her belief that investment in the blue future generations.” economy a route the environment, notUK harming Also at the NASF, chief You canisread ourto fullsaving report from Aquaculture in thisit. issue. execu� vesthis andmonth’s analystsFish alikeFarmer, were inVince agreement that the industry’s biggest challenge is Also in McDonagh looks at an assessment from the Council of growing the opportunities fortheir exporters andthat’s Korea, fiNorwegian nding waysSeafood to meet the world’s demand for productin–Japan arguably, a good where appetite problem to have.for Atlantic salmon appears to be growing. Our considers role “novel ingredients” in aquafeed, and what In thisFeed issuefeature we report on the the NASF andofalso present the first part of a preview ofto Aqua Nor extentone they be able tobiggest substitute wild-caught forage fish. And you can also read 2021, ofmay the industry’s tradefor shows. What’s happening in aq about a proposed way atoprofi measure FIFO (Fish In, Fish is in anthe important The July issue alsonew features le of Norcod, currently theOut), frontwhich runner race to in the UK and around th measure when looking at the sustainability of fish farming. revive the cod farming industry. Find out why Norcod’s Chief Execu�ve, Chris�an Riber, What’s happening in aquacu This month’s issue also includes an update on land-based fish farming projects believes this �me they have a model that works. w in the UK and around the wo around world; an assessment the role semi-closed cages at seathat could We alsothe focus on two aquacultureof projects in that Guatemala and The Bahamas areplay being JENNY –– EDITOR JENNY HJUL HJUL EDITOR in protecting fish against sea lice; and a report from the Shellfish Association of Great supported by Norway’s Kvarøy Arc�c, and on the “Øymerd” project which is se�ng out to JENNY HJUL JENNY place HJUL –– EDITOR EDITOR Britain’s conference, which also took in May. create a fish farm based on a floa�ng concrete island. Nick Joy calls for the industry to embrace its mavericks and the innovation they bring Steve Bracken SSC’s record results Stewart Graham The final sessions Nicki Holmyard looks at the shellfish farmers’ ba�le against tubeworm and this issue also to aquaculture, while Salmon Scotland’s Hamish Macdonell warns that the looming trade features special industry reports on Breeding and Gene� cs, Transportconsequences and Logis�cs and Steve Bracken SSC’s record results Stewart Graham The final sessions dispute over the Northern Ireland Protocol could have disastrous fortold theit was to salmon farming sector in Scotland, when 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 ll no officialonal Li� ing and Cranes. UK’s seafood exports. be thewere subject ofScotti a be parliamentary inquiry, embraced the industry willsent soon gathering the (European salmon to news outletsfor just asjoint the Scotti sh news from the shScotland, parliamentary inquiry into HE salmon farming sector in when itEAS was tosalmon he focus this month istopictures on Europe, where the internati is coincidence that and videos of unhealthy Sno Fish Farmer went press, there was sti lltold no offi cialonal Aviemore may have looked like itsT old self, but there are plenty of new challenges for opportunity this would provide to explain how it operated. Aquaculture and WAS Aquaculture Society) parliament went back to work at (World the start of month. These farming, conducted earlier this year by thethis Rural Economy Best wishes, be the subject of aSociety) parliamentary inquiry, embraced the industry. industry willsent soon be gathering the EASinto (European salmon were to news outletsfor just asjoint the Scotti shthe news from the Scotti sh parliamentary inquiry salmon Current trends In good Julie Hesketh-Laird The had nothing to hide and, if given fair hearing, Meet thehealth new chief exe 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 Robert Outram 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, Best wishes Meet thehealth new chief executiv conference, to benothing staged over days in theaof southern images had litt le to do with thefive current state Scotland’s ficould sh and industry Connecti vity (REC) committ ee. MSPs have now heldFrench five Fish Farmer supported this but at times salmon advances in our fast moving sector, Aqua 2018felt willthat alsohas feature year low (htt p://scotti pati ent. However, waiti ng forview, their recommendati ons been Robert Outram address much of the criti cism levelled against it. city ofngs, Astolevels well asare highlighti ng the latest technological farms -Montpellier. where sea lice in decline and, inwe fact, at abe fivemeeti in private, consider their report and must farmers were being drowned out bywhich theREC noisier elements offarming the sessions on emerging markets and look atinvolves the role ofthe fishusual This latest propaganda campaign, all made harder by leaks from within to anti -salmon Fish Farmer supported this atthe times salmon advances in our fast moving sector, Aqua 2018felt willthat alsohas feature year low (htt p://scotti 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, a45 move that is tobreaching welcomed. the excepti on ofvaluable one or two Greens cahoots with anti -farming Those who want to shut down thein industry asbe expected, shut down this sector, rather than tohave, those who operate Meet the the team Fish Farmer: Volume Number 06 Meet team Charo Karisa of WorldFish writes about the farming potenti al inthe Fish Farmer: Volume 44 Number 07 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 Advisory Board: Editorial Board: Nigeria, both in catf ti lapia vati on. Contact us responsibiliti es seriously and that businesses will only ever invest in the hope of fi nding incriminati ng evidence against farmers. One committ ee’s fi ndings are not binding. Scotland’s fi sh farmers Contact us Charo Karisa of WorldFish writes about the farming potenti al in light. They will hopefully see that farmers take their environmental Steve Bracken, Bracken, Hervé Hervé Migaud, Migaud, Jim Jim Treasurer, Treasurer, biosecure environments of131 farm sites tosomething snatch ingame Of course, such stories may be inaccurate and,photographs inofany case,ngthe Steve In Scotland, the summer has been aofwaiti Tel: +44(0) 551 1000 What’s in a name? Dr Nick Lake Phil Thomas growth that is sustainable. Tel: +44(0) 131 551 1000 campaigner fi lmed himself searching, unsuccessfully, for dead have always been fortunate to have the support their minister, Nigeria, both catfish and tilapia culti vati on.against responsibiliti seriously and will only ever invest Chris Mitchell, Mitchell, Jason Jason Cleaversmith Cleaversmith the hope of fies nding incriminati ng businesses evidence farmers. Onein committ ee’s fiin ndings are not binding. Scotland’s fish farmers Fax:ee +44(0) 131 551 7901 Chris while the parliament is inthat recess and thethose members of Holyrood’s Fax: +44(0) 131 551 7901 If the committ members, especially who have yet to of Phil fi sh at a Marine Harvest site. Another said he saw ‘hundreds’ Fergus Ewing, to grow sustainably. In Scotland, the summer has been something of a waiti ng game What’s in a name? Dr Nick Lake Thomas growth that isfibeen sustainable. and Hamish Hamish Macdonell Macdonell Email: editor@fi campaigner lmed himself searching, unsuccessfully, forto dead haveRural always fortunate have the support of their minister, and Economy and Connecti vity committ ee conti nue weigh up Email: visit aparliament farm, like tothe learn more about theagainst of infested salmon in awould pen, but we only have his word that But itsalmon should not go unchallenged that some MSPs onsubject the REC while the isroutram@fi in recess and members of Holyrood’s If the committ ee members, especially those who have yet to Editor: Robert Outram fi sh at a Marine Harvest site. Another said he saw ‘hundreds’ of Fergus Ewing, to grow sustainably. the evidence in their inquiry into salmon farming. We don’t expect Editor: RobertRural Outram Head Offi ce: Special Publica� ons, Fe� esto Park, their we have plenty of good stories in our May Even and Connecti vity committ ee conti nue weigh up Head Offi ce: Special Publica� ons, Fe� es Park, of theinquiry, professional vets and biologists who manage theissue. welfare of committ ee, with their own agendas against the growth of a Economy farm, like to learn more about the ofthetime infested salmon in go awould but we only have his word against that Buttheir itsalmon should not unchallenged that some MSPs onsubject the REC report unti l pen, the autumn but hope the MSPs are using the Designer: Andrewvisit Balahura 496 Ferry Road, Edinburgh, EH5 2DL bett er,farms they could head to Highlands later this month, where 496 Ferry Road, Edinburgh, EH5 2DL We the evidence in their inquiry into salmon farming. don’t expect Designer: Andrew their Balahura these on a daily basis. industry, are in breach of the Code of Conduct for MSPs. As they wefully have plenty of good stories in ourgrowth May toinquiry, become acquainted with the facts about fithe shissue. farming. of the professional vets andagendas biologists who manage welfare of committ ee, with their own against the of theEven Commercial Manager: Montpellier report Dr Marti n Jaff a Doug McLeod meet the aquaculture industry en masse at Scotland’s theirthey report unti l the autumn but hope the MSPs areas using theittiis, meit Ifthey the is proud of its high standards, itsalmon says are inwill aindustry positi on to inflthe uence the future course of farming, Commercial Subscriptions bett er, could head to Highlands later this month, where This month also sees reti rement of Marine Harvest’s longest JaniceManager: Johnston these farms on a daily basis. industry, are in breach of the Code of Conduct for MSPs. As they Subscriptions to become fully acquainted with the facts about fi sh farming. biggest fi sh farming show. must mount aaquaculture much more robustWe defence oftrouble itself, through its and of businesses vital Scotland’s economy, we have a right Janice Johnston Subscrip� onsto Address: Fish Farmer Montpellier report Dr Marti n Jaff a Doug McLeod they will meet the industry en masse Scotland’s serving employee, Steve Bracken. had no Subscrip� ons Address: Fish Farmer If the isto proud of its high standards, as itsalmon says itcollecti is, it ng are in aindustry positi on inflthe uence the future course ofat farming, This month also sees reti rement of Marine Harvest’s longest We will certainly be at Aquaculture UK inindustry, Aviemore and look jjohnston@fiCommercial representati ve body, the SSPO, than it has done to date. The to know who they are, and we hope the through its Magazine Subscrip� ons, Warners Group warm tributes from his friends and colleagues to mark the biggest fi sh farming show. Assistant: Magazine Subscrip� ons,economy, Warners Group must a much more robustWe defence itself, through its and ofmount businesses vital toBracken. Scotland’s we have a right serving employee, Steve had noof trouble collecti ng forward toand, seeing many of you there too. campaigners, we now see, willrest stop at nothing, representati ves, will pressure the parliament toand investi gate before Publica� ons plc, The Mal� ngs, Publisher: Alister Benne� milestone along with of the industry, thefarmers team Richard Ellio� We will certainly be at Aquaculture UK in Aviemore and look Publica� ons plc, The Mal� ngs, representati vethey body, the SSPO, than itthe has done tothrough date. The to know who are, and wethe hope industry, its at Fish warm tributes from his friends and colleagues to mark the should be prepared toyou fiBourne ght back. the to REC report isStreet, published. West Street, Bourne Farmer wish him all the very best for the future. West Publisher: Alisterforward Benne� seeing many of there too. campaigners, we now see, will stop at representati ves, will pressure the parliament toand investi gateatbefore Rising stars Marti nBrown Jaff a Orkney anniversary Janet milestone and, along with the rest of thenothing, industry, thefarmers team Fish Lincolnshire PE10 9PH Lincolnshire PE10 9PH should prepared to fivery ght back. the RECbe report published. Farmer wish himisall the best for the future.

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


Janet Machrihanish Orkney farm Marti nBrown Jaff a visit Advisory Board: Steve Contact Tel: +44(0) us 131 551 1000 MeetEditorial the team Fax: +44(0) 131 551 7901 33 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 Treasurer, Wiliam Jim Treasurer and Dowds William Dowdsemail: William Dowds Marti nofJaff a era Vaccines New player Dawn new Migaud, PatrickJim Smith and Jim Hervé Patrick Smith, PatrickMigaud, Smith, Treasurer and Editor: Jenny Hjul jhjul@fi 06/06/2022 16:08:50 Treasurer, Wiliam 12/07/2021 Jim Treasurer and Dowds William Dowds William Dowds Head Office: Special Publications, Dawn Marti nofJaff a15:32:14 Vaccines New player new era

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Fish F armer

In the June issue... News

What’s happening in the UK and around the world

Processing News

Update from the processing sector


Dr Trevor Hastings remembered

Book Reviews

The Shrimp Book II and Pelagia

Comment Martin Jaffa

Salmon Scotland Hamish Macdonell


Nicki Holmyard

Asian markets Vince McDonagh

Sea Lice

Vince McDonagh

Underwater Services & Products Sandy Neil


Novel vs marine ingredients

Feed: eFIFO

A new way to calculate “Fish In, Fish Out”

Aquaculture UK Review Introduction

Aquaculture UK Review Gael Force

Aquaculture UK Review Show Round Up

RAS Systems & Water Treatments Land-based projects around the world

What’s New

Monthly update on industry innovations and solutions

Industry Diary

All the latest aquaculture events, conferences and courses

Aqua Source Directory Find all you need for the industry

Opinion Nick Joy


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06/06/2022 16:07:17

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06/06/2022 09:21:28


United Kingdom News

Salmon producers fear ‘trade war’ escalation SCOTLAND’S salmon producers have expressed their concerns that the UK Government appears to be heading for a trade war with the European Union. Trade body Salmon Scotland has written to the Prime Minister following a House of Commons statement from Foreign Secretary Liz Truss. She had outlined plans to introduce new legislation to amend, unilaterally, the Northern Ireland protocol which was agreed with the EU as part of the Brexit deal. The protocol involves checks on goods being brought into Northern Ireland from mainland Britain as the price for keeping an open border with the Republic of Ireland, but it has proved to be unpopular, especially with Unionists. Truss said the “grave situation” in Northern Ireland – where the Democratic Unionist Party has suspended power-sharing arrangements over the issue – made it necessary to act alone if changes cannot be agreed with the EU. The EU, however, said it would “respond with all measures at its disposal” if the legislation went ahead. Salmon Scotland said it fears the UK Government’s course of action could “undo” the hard work of the sector to drive up exports to the EU in recent

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Executive of Seafood Scotland, commented: “Any action that has the potential to upset the still precarious trade movements between the UK and the EU will be most unwelcome for Scotland’s seafood sector and on behalf of the fishing communities, processors, fishing families and the hundreds of other people who depend on the seafood trade for a living, we urge the UK Government to proceed with caution and to keep talking, in the hope of finding an amicable solution to the challenges arising from the Protocol. “The EU’s rhetoric of ‘consequences’ is ominous, and there is so much to be lost in the trade off. From impact on costs, duty, ease of movement to tying our exporters up in even more red tape, this latest news will be a blow to Scottish companies who have been working around the clock to get back on track, maintaining sales and securing jobs in coastal communities throughout Scotland.The system for moving goods to the EU is far from perfect, but we have reached a point where movement is at least possible. A step back to the hold ups that hit us immediately after Brexit will cost Scotland dearly, once again.” Top: Liz Truss Above: Tavish Scott

Mowi Q1 profit soars, but Scotland down again BOOSTED by soaring salmon prices, Mowi has unveiled a record first quarter operating profit or EBIT, but results from its

Above: Ivan Vindheim


months, which has brought in hundreds of millions of pounds for the UK economy and supported thousands of jobs in rural Scotland. Chief Executive Tavish Scott wrote in his letter to Boris Johnson: “Any deterioration in relationships between London and Brussels which leads to friction at the border, delays and queues for hauliers crossing to France or extra costs for our exporters could put us back to where we were at the start of last year when exports were in chaos.” He appealed to the Prime Minister “ step back from any sort of confrontation with the EU on trade.” Scott added: “That would cause problems at any time but, when the country is facing a cost-of-living crisis, when inflation is rising rapidly and when the war in Ukraine is putting considerable strain on the availability of key food stuffs, such a dispute could be very damaging.” Tavish Scott has also held talks with Defra, the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, this week. Meanwhile Donna Fordyce, Chief

Scottish business were once again disappointing. The world’s largest salmon farmer announced an operating profit of €206.7m (£176.7m) during the January to March period against €109.2m (£93.3m) in Q1 last year. The group turnover was €1,095m (£936m). Farming results also improved substantially – also driven by record prices. Mowi CEO Ivan Vindheim said: “The increase in salmon prices coming out of the pandemic has been impressive. Salmon is a fantastic product with great product features and the beneficiary of strong megatrends, and I firmly believe this will continue to boost demand going forward.” Almost all regions performed well, apart from Mowi Scotland where the harvest dropped by 7,732 tonnes to 10,541 tonnes and the operating profit was cut by more than half –

from €26.6m (£22.7m) last year to €10.7m (£9.1m) this time. Mowi said its Scottish results were still being adversely affected by problems relating to externally sourced eggs. This stock is being harvested out during the current quarter and Mowi said it expects significant improvements during the second half of this year. Mowi Canada produced an operational profit of €22.5m (£19.2m) against a small loss last year, while Mowi Chile almost trebled its operating profit, rising from €7.8m (£6.7m) to €20.1 (£17.2m). But Norway, where Mowi has its largest salmon farming activity, was the group’s main star where the operating profit rose from €70.2m (£60m) last year to €151.4m (£129.4m) this time.

06/06/2022 15:59:58

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06/06/2022 09:22:45


NEWS IN BRIEF Top grade for Blar Mhor

THE team at Mowi Scotland’s Blar Mhor processing plant have been awarded AA+, the highest possible grade, in a recent unannounced audit undertaken by the British Retail Consortium (BRC). The audit is an official assessment of a food manufacturer’s adherence to the BRC Global Standard for Food Safety and involves a thorough examination of all processes and documents involved in manufacturing food.

Above: Mowi’s Blar Mhor processing plant

Institute achieves Stirling performance THE University of Stirling’s Institute of Aquaculture has been ranked “first for impact” in the UK in the field of Agriculture,Veterinary and Food Science.The accolade comes from the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2021 – an independent appraisal of the quality of research conducted by all UK universities – which also reported that more than 80% of Stirling’s research is either world leading or internationally excellent.The University of Stirling is placed 12th in the UK for environmental sciences research. Overall, it rates 43rd in the UK rankings for all research, and 4th in Scotland.

Scottish Sea Farms helps SalMar to profit in Q1 SALMAR has become the latest fish farming company to report increased first quarter operating profits on the back of soaring salmon prices. The salmon giant, which is part owner of Scottish Sea Farms (SSF), posted an operating profit of NOK 1.26 billion (£105m), almost double the NOK 627m (£52m) figure for the same period last year. SSF, also known as Norskott Havbruk, reported an increased harvest of 7,800 tonnes – up from 4,900 tonnes on Q4 2021 and up from 5,900 tonnes on the same period last year.The company took over Grieg’s Shetland business at the end of last year. SalMar’s share of SSF profits after tax totalled NOK 96m (£8m), just over double the NOK 46m (£3.86m) figure for Q1 last year. SalMar said it was optimistic about the future of the aquaculture industry, adding that the total supply of salmon in 2022 is predicted to be at the same level as last year. It expects a corresponding cost level, lower harvest volume and a contract share of around 60% in the second quarter of 2022. The contract share in the second quarter is higher than normal due to lower harvest volumes. Harvest volume forecasts remain unchanged.The company expects 175,000 tonnes from Norway, 46,000 tonnes from Scotland and 16,000 tonnes from Iceland. Linda Litlekalsøy Aase, who took over as SalMar’s CEO in May, said: “Our employees have again delivered impressive performance in the form of first-class product quality and very good operational and financial results.” Above: Linda Litlekalsøy Aase

Pub chain pulls salmon from menus

Above: The University of Stirling’s Institute of Aquaculture

BioMar apponts UK Commercial Director INTERNATIONAL feed group BioMar has appointed Keith Drynan as Commercial Director of its Grangemouth-based UK business. Drynan is joining BioMar following a successful five years with Hendrix Genetics, where he oversaw the integration and development of the world’s leading trout breeding company enjoying financial success via a focus on product quality and new business development. Prior to his time in the US, he was responsible for Troutlodge on the Isle of Man and has held senior aquaculture roles across Scotland with Landcatch.

THE pub chain Young’s, which has around 200 outlets across the UK, is taking salmon off its menu because it has become too expensive. This is the first sign of significant retail-led resistance to the sky-high rise in salmon prices. Young’s plans to replace salmon with trout, which is less expensive.The chain is also considering how to respond to similar increases in the cost of chicken.

The company said it was prepared to be flexible with its menu choices in the current situation. Young’s CEO Patrick Dardis told City AM that the rise in salmon had been steep, adding that pork was currently cheaper than chicken. He said the company did not want to raise its prices over and above what it normally would. He also thought the surge in inflation would be relatively short-term.

Right: Keith Drynan


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06/06/2022 16:01:43

Wild salmon, trout catch in Scotland hits new low

ROD catch figures for salmon and sea trout in Scotland last year were the lowest since records began in 1952, figures from the Scottish Government show. Salmon and trout fishery statistics for the 2021 season show that 35,693 catches were reported for salmon and 12,636 trout.The spring catch for salmon was 66% of the previous five-year average, while the equivalent figure for sea trout was 77%. The 2021 statistics will have been affected by coronavirus Above: Fly fisherman on the Tweed, near Kelso measures in the spring Of spring salmon captured by rod, of 2021, which imposed 99% were released, as were 95% of the sweeping travel restrictions until May. total rod catch.These are among the Even so, the latest figures are consistent highest proportions of catch and release with a long-term decline in salmon and reported since records began. sea trout populations. Of the sea trout caught by rod, 87% Fish reported as being of farmed origin were released, which is the third highest represented just 0.08% of the total salmon proportion since records began. catch.

Reported retained catches for both fixed engine and net and coble fisheries were the second lowest since records began. The Salmon and Sea Trout Fishery Statistics publication for 2021 is based on data collected and collated by Marine Scotland.The time series began in 1952. Catch and release data were first recorded in 1994. In 2019, detailed rod effort information was collected for the first time and in 2021 information on released net-caught fish was collected for

the first time. The publication provides a summary of rod and net catch for the 2021 fishing season. It is based on returns from proprietors, occupiers or agents of salmon and sea trout fisheries throughout Scotland.

Mowi invests in electric vehicles SALMON producer Mowi Scotland says its new electric road vehicles are part of the company’s ambition to achieve “net zero” carbon emissions. Mowi aims to have a entirely zero emission/ hybrid fleet by 2025. The new vehicles, which include two Citroen E-Space Tourer eight-seaters, will be based at Mowi’s two recirculating freshwater aquaculture farms at Inchmore and Lochailort, and will be used to transport staff to and from work, predominately from Inverness to Inchmore and Fort William to Lochailort. Both hatcheries have also had electric vehicle charging points installed. Allan MacMaster, Manager at Lochailort, said: “Both production sites now have electric vehicles. In addition to the clear environmental benefits from this move, thanks to the electric people carriers, it is now easier to transport staff to and from their place of work which is a real advantage that will also help with recruitment in the future.”

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Above: Paul Gordon from Gofor Finance Ltd hands over keys to Mowi’s Becky Bashir

UK News.indd 9


06/06/2022 16:02:19


Scottish Sea Farms wins first ASC certification SALMON producer Scottish Sea Farms has been awarded its first certification from the Aquaculture Stewardship Council.The ASC accreditation is for SSF’s Summer Isles farms, but the company aims to have five of its facilities in Scotland certified by the end of 2022. The ASCV standard for farmed salmon is underpinned by seven core principles spanning regulatory compliance, fish health, responsible use of feed and medicines, environmental interactions, employee conditions and community engagement. For a farm to gain certification, it must be independently audited and assessed as meeting each requirement – a feat that fewer than 5% of salmon farms in Scotland have achieved to date – and reassessed annually to maintain the ASC endorsement. Scottish Sea Farms’ Aquaculture Technical Lead for ASC certification, Anna Price, said: “ASC certified farms are considered the global elite in terms of performance. Gaining our first certification is the culmination of two years’ hard work, involving several different departments and functions. “It wasn’t that we weren’t already farming to high standards; in every instance we were. However, there was still a considerable amount of work involved in

evidencing and reworking our processes and procedures.” The three Summer Isles farms have a track record of exemplary fish health and welfare, SSF said, with average survival of 94.2% across the last three crops, an average harvest weight of 6kg, and 91.7% of all fish harvested graded “superior”. Farm Manager Sarah Last said: “The last three crops have been record-breaking for us in terms of high fish survival and low lice levels, thanks to vigilant husbandry of both salmon and cleaner fish, so there hasn’t been an overhaul of our farming approach as such. “Where ASC certification has been invaluable, however, is in highlighting ways in which we could hone some of our day-to-day activities even further; small changes which, when combined, could

make a big difference.” Senior Aquaculture Technical Manager Matthew James of LRQA Group, who carried out the audit, commented: ‘We were impressed both by the high level of compliance achieved at a first audit, and the knowledge and enthusiasm throughout their farming team.” The certification for the Summer Isles farms is likely to be the first of several for the salmon farming sector in Scotland, following a revision of the ASC’s standards. ASC certification has been available to salmon farms around the globe for some time but, previously, very few Scottish farms have been able to attain this because the way they produce young salmon (smolts) was not covered by the ASC standards, and could therefore not be assessed. However, a recent update to the standards now covers this method of production, meaning Scottish salmon farms can now apply to demonstrate they are farming responsibly. The ASC said in a statement: “This is a thorough process, not something that can be achieved overnight, but we are already seeing a number of farms achieving certification and more undergoing the certification process.” Above: Scottish Sea Farms’ Summer Isles farm team, led by Farm Manager Sarah Last

SSF renews shinty sponsorship

Photo: John Fullerton Photography

SCOTTISH Sea Farms is to renew its sponsorship of the historic Glasgow Celtic Society Challenge Cup Final for a further three years. First played for in 1879, the Glasgow Celtic Society Challenge Cup is the oldest of its kind in shinty and the premier knock-out competition for clubs in the south of Scotland. The new deal will see SSF contribute £3,300 annually towards the cost of staging the event for a further three years, starting with this year’s Cup Final on Saturday 25 June between Glasgow Mid Argyll – their first Challenge Cup Final in 35 years – and current holders Kyles Athletic. The company will also offer a free leather shinty ball to the first 250 spectators through the gates, along with goodie bags and raffle prizes for those attending the pre-match lunch. SSF Managing Director Jim Gallagher said: “The game of shinty is woven into the very fabric of the communities in which we work and live, with the Glasgow Celtic Society Challenge Cup being the pinnacle of its sporting calendar. Committing to a further three years of support is our way of helping ensure that both the much-enjoyed Cup Final and the wider game itself continue to thrive for generations to come.” Left: Kyles Athletic, winners of last year’s Scottish Sea Farms Glasgow Celtic Society Challenge Cup Final


UK News.indd 10

06/06/2022 16:03:07

Technology essential to tackle algal blooms, SAIC says EARLY warning is essential for fish farmers looking to mitigate the impact of sudden blooms of algae at sea. That was the message from a workshop on harmful algal blooms (HABs) hosted by SAIC, the Sustainable Aquaculture Innovation Centre. Many producers are still using manual water quality sampling and microscopic analysis to detect whether HABs are present, but industry and experts agree, SAIC said, that a greater focus on technology could hold the key to regular, real-time data collection and the development of early warning systems. Sensing technology and mitigation tools were core themes of the discussions at the Global HAB Workshop: Industry Perspectives hosted by the Sustainable Aquaculture Innovation Centre (SAIC) in May – part of a wider event organised by the University of Strathclyde, University of Glasgow and the Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS) – which saw sector experts share insights about the impact of HABs. Mitigation techniques were also discussed, such as amendments to feeding regimes, clean water upwelling, oxygenation systems and bubble curtains. Debra Brennan, Fish Health Laboratory Manager at Mowi, said: “HABs events are difficult to predict, but with regular monitoring, potential negative consequences can be managed and mitigated. One of the biggest priorities for farmers is caring for fish in the best ways possible, using all the tools and technologies available to them, such as monitoring procedures that make it quick and simple to identify risks.” Chris Hyde, Chief Technology Officer at OTAQ, which will be releasing a digital-based early warning system later this year, said: “Our goal is to automate the process of identifying harmful phytoplankton, allowing fish farmers to take action to protect their fish as early as possible. Workers on site might have a range of different abilities when it comes to recognising different species, but a combination of real-time, 24/7 data and digital image analysis will enable producers to prevent threats to welfare and reduce losses.” SAIC has also supported several collaborative initiatives looking at managing the impact of HABs, including the development work behind OTAQ’s live plankton analysis system through funding provided to the University of Aberdeen; this was Scotland’s first project funded by both SAIC and CENSIS (Scotland’s innovation centre for sensing, imaging and Internet of Things technologies). Sarah Riddle, Director of Innovation and Engagement at SAIC, said: “In dealing with HABs, early warning is key – having even a few hours’ notice, so that a robust mitigation programme can be put in place, can make a big difference to fish health. There are still challenges to overcome in adopting new technology, including digital connectivity at remote sites and the ability to handle and analyse vast amounts of data, but there are significant opportunities for producers to use technology and innovative mitigation tools to protect fish. “Collaboration and knowledge sharing is crucial to helping the sector expand its economic impact while reducing its environmental footprint, and that will only become more important as the occurrence of HABs increases.”

Above: Chris Hyde

Mowi creates Modern Apprenticeship for processing

Above: Ross McConnell

MOWI has collaborated with Skills Development Scotland (SDS) and UHI West Highland to create a new Modern Apprenticeship (MA), allowing young people to train to work in food processing. The MA is full-time and apprentices will be based at Mowi’s Blar Mhor processing facility in Fort William. Apprentices will receive the SCQF Level 5 qualification and can expect to earn between £21,840 to £23,920 per year. Donald Waring, Learning and Development Manager at Mowi, said: “This is a significant milestone in our commitment to train and develop young people at Mowi. It is the first ever Modern Apprenticeship to be

customised for our new state of the art processing facility at Blar Mhor… we recognise the need to directly connect local emerging talent with our career opportunities and we are excited to be launching this new and innovative opportunity for what we hope will be a long and successful career for those that qualify as a specialist food processor.” Ross McConnell (pictured), a member of Mowi’s processing team, said: “I started in Mowi in the processing department when I was 18, and have worked here for just over three years. I enjoy working here and I have met some good friends. I like my shift pattern which means I have a good work-life balance.”

UK News.indd 11


06/06/2022 16:03:45


European News

SalMar set to take over Norway Royal Salmon


Top: Vibecke Bondø Above: Norway Royal Salmon workers

SALMAR and Norway Royal Salmon announced, on 30 May, that they had entered into an agreement to merge the two businesses, with SalMar the acquiring company. An Oslo Stock Exchange statement said the purpose of the merger is to increase value creation in the regions in which the two companies operate, and to make it possible to realise synergies between the companies. The deal is conditional on NRS’s acquisition of SalmoNor AS being carried out immediately prior to the completion of the merger, and that all conditions for the implementation of SalMar’s voluntary offer for the shares in NTS ASA has been fulfilled or finally dropped, or the voluntary offer has been completed. SalmoNor, like NRS, is part of the NTS group. Previously, the NTS board had blocked NRS from merging with SalmoNor. It is not yet clear what will happen to SalMar’s bid for the rest of the NTS group, which includes the wellboat supply business Frøy which was awaiting competition authority approval. SalMar and Norway Royal Salmon said both parties have several overlapping industrial activities, both in Norway, the West Fjords in Iceland and in offshore aquaculture, making it

possible to realise major synergies. The announcement states that both parties have a long career in, and expertise from, salmon farming in Norway. The new NRS smolt plant in Dåfjord outside Tromsø and SalMar’s development of the Senja 2 and Tjuin plants, together with both companies’ existing smolt capacity, are described as “valuable resources to ensure the delivery of the right smolt at the right time and facilitate improved biological performance throughout the value chain.” SalMar’s new processing plant at Senja, InnovaNor, will secure “significant additional volumes” through the merger, the statement said, which would provide economies of scale as well as a reduction in biological risk. SalmoNor is located in Rørvik, which is located in production area 7, which the statement said means it will complement SalMar’s operations in Central Norway. The statement also said the merger will provide improved access to customers worldwide. SalMar chairman Leif Inge Nordhammer, said: “A merger between SalMar and NRS makes sense. We are now merging strong teams that constitute the best aquaculture expertise in Norway. The merger also enables us to extract synergies better and faster than by simply implementing SalMar’s voluntary offer to acquire all shares in NTS. ” Vibecke Bondø, Chairman of the NTS group – which is currently majority owner of NRS and SalmoNor, and itself is in the process of being acquired by SalMar – and Linda Litlekalsøy Aase, CEO of SalMar hailed the combined business as a powerful new force in Norway’s salmon sector. Bondø said: “The merger creates a powerful unit that can realise significant synergies. SalMar has a strong history of operations, profitability and local development, and the shareholders in NTS will therefore, through SalMar, have an even greater potential for further positive value development than through NRS alone.”

Lerøy profits up, but CEO warns of rising costs LERØY Seafood has reported near double first quarter operating profits on the back of rising salmon prices. The group, which has a half share in Scottish Sea Farms, also owns a 10-strong white fish trawler fleet. As a result, it reaped the benefits of higher cod and haddock prices during the January to March 2022 period. The company said salmon prices climbed on average by NOK 20 per kilo (£1.66) over the past 12 months. Its main salmon and trout farming activities are conducted in three regions of Norway. Trout prices are also up, although not on the same level as salmon. Lerøy announced a 12% increase in Q1 turnover of NOK 5,524m (£460m) against NOK 4,925m (£410m) for Q1 2021. The operating profit or EBIT totalled NOK 852m (£71m), up from NOK 455m (£38m) a year ago. CEO Henning Beltestad said: “Strong demand for seafood, including significantly better price achievement for the group’s main products, is the most important reason for improved earnings compared with the corresponding period last year. “In the first quarter, we have seen an extreme price development for seafood, and especially salmon and trout. This development is positive for earnings in aquaculture and fishing activity for whitefish, but is required for earnings in the group’s downstream operations.” But he also warned that cost inflation, mainly in feed, transport and energy, was putting pressure on profit margins. “We are experiencing very strong cost increases on almost all input factors,” he added. Salmon and trout harvest volume in Q1 2022 was 32,057 gutted weight tonnes (GWT), down from 42,150 GWT in Q1 of 2021. The estimated harvest volume for salmon and trout, including volume from associates, is around 208,000 GWT for 2022. The board of directors has recommended a dividend payment of NOK 2.50 per share (£0.21) in 2022.

Above: Henning Beltestad

European News.indd 12

06/06/2022 15:53:17

Salmon exports ‘may hit NOK 100bn’ this year AI technology helps calculate the total SOARING prices are likely value. to mean that Norwegian “This year we salmon exports will top have had lower NOK 100bn (£8.4bn) this production year, according to the volumes than we latest calculations. experienced in That is as much as and 2021, but this is possibly higher than the also the case with value of all the seafood, other exporting including high value cod nations. and haddock, sold to “Last year we overseas markets by the exported salmon country’s fish farmers and worth NOK 81bn. fishermen last year. This year we are Analyst Paul T. Aandahl, poised to pass who regularly monitors Above: Norwegian salmon NOK 100bn,” he trends in the salmon declared. market for the Norwegian the strong increase in The average value of Seafood Council, believes prices was a continuation salmon per cage is NOK the barometer is heading of a long trend stretching 50m (just over £4m) while in that direction. back some 20 years. aquaculture accounts He said that, in April At the end of March this for more than 70% of all this year alone, Norway’s year the total weight of Norwegian fish exports. fish farmers exported salmon swimming around Home consumption of salmon worth NOK 81bn in Norwegian cages was salmon is also quite high (£6.82bn).This is NOK 710,000 tonnes. with Norwegians eating 2.4bn (£202m) more than He said with recent some 30,000 tonnes a year, in the same month last average prices around TransporT & of shipping at a value of around NOK year, an increase of 43%. NOK 100 a kilo, you only Logistic soLutions successfuL with partners 3bn (£253.6m). Aandahl explained that had to find an abacus to


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European News.indd 13


06/06/2022 15:53:56


Samherji staff paid to get on their bikes THE Icelandic fishing and aquaculture group Samherji is paying its employees to leave their cars at home. The company is offering both full- and part-time workers a regular monthly wage supplement of up to 9,000 Icelandic kroner (£55) to walk or cycle to work – and it is tax-free. One of the conditions is that they must have previously travelled to and from work by car. Samherji is Iceland’s largest seafood company, and runs a sizeable trawler fleet, fish processing operations and an expanding fish farming business. They employ several hundred people in Iceland and also have interests in Europe and the UK. Extra bike shed space is being laid on at fish farms and other sites. The offer runs until the end of October as Icelandic winters are usually quite severe and the company does not want people walking or cycling in Arctic conditions. Right: Cycling to work

Norway’s seafood industry and coastal mayors in wealth tax protest

Above: Aina Valland

MAYORS from coastal fish farming communities along the Norwegian coast have joined forces with the seafood industry to protest against a change to the way the value of aquaculture licences is taxed. The Norwegian government is proposing to value licences, for wealth tax purposes, at current value rather than at cost, which the mayors say will lead to higher taxes, hitting smaller family firms in particular. The municipal leaders, who travelled to Oslo to register their opposition, say this could drive them into selling up, with their businesses falling into foreign hands. Overseas businesses are exempt from


paying Norway’s wealth tax. The mayors’ action has the backing of the employers’ organisation Seafood Norway, which had hoped the government would drop the idea in its revised national budget this week. Norway’s parliament, the Storting, has decided to change the tax system for older licence permits, with – the industry says – serious consequences for established companies. Aina Valland, Seafood Norway’s Public Relations Officer, said it is disappointing that the government has failed to take the necessary steps to ensure fish farming continues to have different styles and sizes of ownership. Both the industry and the municipal leaders claim the government’s proposals are creating uncertainty and unforeseen consequences. The mayors want any changes to the system put on hold until a thorough investigation into their impact is carried out. Sigrun Prestbakmo, the

Mayor of Salangen in Troms and Finnmark county and a member of the Sp or Centre Party – which is associated with agrarian and fishing interests – said an increased tax burden on the industry would lead to less competition. The smaller companies, he added, are not only very important for communities, but they also play an important role in associated activities such as producing smolts, wellboats and processing operations. Sture Pedersen, the Conservative Party Mayor of Bø in Nordland, accused the government of trying to boost the Treasury at the expense of coastal communities. Seafood Norway’s Aina Valland said there was still an opportunity to reverse the “unfortunate consequences” of the tax changes. These proposals could leading to a radical increase in the theoretical value of a company, leading to significant additional taxation, she warned.

Family fish farmer quadruples Q1 profit THE family-owned Måsøval salmon farming group saw its operating profit more than quadruple, year on year, during the first quarter of 2022. The Norwegian company announced a Q1 EBIT (earnings before interest and taxation) of NOK 75 million (£6.25m) against NOK 18m (£1.5m) for Q1 of 20211. Måsøval also confirmed that it intends to apply for a listing on the main Oslo Stock Exchange later this year. Q1 turnover more than doubled, totalling NOK 280m (£23m) on a harvest of 3,284 tonnes against NOK 113m (£9.4m) last year. Chief Executive Asle Rønning expects a second quarter harvest of 6,000 tonnes and 27,500 tonnes for the full year. Måsøval launched its new brand, Pure Princess, in April. The brand is linked to the newly acquired company Pure Norwegian Seafood, which is responsible for the export of Måsøval’s fish. Måsøval AS also acquired the operating activities of Vartdal Invest AS, including several aquaculturerelated businesses. Above: Asle Rønning

Halibut producer reports jump in sales for Q1 FISH farmer Nordic Halibut has reported a big increase in sales during the first three months of this year,. The company announced a 63% Q1 increase in revenues to NOK 18.65m (£1.5m). Nordic said it is experiencing increased demand from existing and new customers for its sushi-grade halibut, which is currently exceeding available supply. The company is now implementing a significant growth plan. It achieved a 17% higher average sales prices for fresh whole halibut of NOK 134.4 (£11.16) per kilo, considerably higher than salmon. Nordic Halibut is not only benefitting from the general rise in almost all fish prices, but more importantly the reopening of restaurants after the Covid lockdowns. Looking ahead, the company said: “Nordic Halibut’s fully integrated value chain from roe to sales is built and organised on the company’s growth plan to harvest 4, 500 tonnes (heads on gutted) by 2026.

European News.indd 14

06/06/2022 15:54:49

Vega’s fish processing plant gets GSA certification

VEGA Salmon’s processing plant has been certified to the Global Seafood Alliance’s Seafood Processing Standard (SPS). It is the first seafood processing plant in Germany to earn the distinction. Although the company is headquartered in Kolding, Denmark, Vega Salmon’s processing plant is located just across the border in Handewitt, Germany, and its Atlantic salmon is farmed by its partners in Norway. The company’s

brands include Vega Basic, New Nordic and Purity. Purity salmon is farmed at low density, less than 20 kilograms per square meter. Vega Salmon CEO Jakob Graasbøll Enemark said: “We are very pleased to be part of the Global Seafood Alliance, in connection with our successful Best Aquaculture Practices [BAP] audit and performance. We want to be BAP certified to give our customers additional proof of our already comprehensive food-safety programs. The BAP certificate is of great relevance for Vega Salmon and especially our American and Pacific customers, where the program is strongly anchored and well known.”

ISA strikes eastern Iceland again INFECTIOUS salmon anaemia (ISA) is beginning to raise serious concerns in eastern Iceland, with a further suspected outbreak reported. Veterinary officials have taken tests at an Ice Fish Farm facility in Berufjörður which contains around 890,000 fish with an average weight of between two and three kilos. Mast, the Icelandic Veterinary Authority, said that in a series of samples taken, one sample appeared to be positive, but it will carry out further tests for final confirmation. “More samples will be taken from all the pens at the location and it can be expected that answers from that will be available by the middle of next week,” it said. Mast added: “As mentioned before, the ISA virus belongs to the family Orthomyxoviridae and has most of the characteristics of influenza viruses that we know in both birds and mammals. “Two variants of the ISA virus are known. One is a benign variant that never causes disease or damage (HPR0) and the other is pathogenic and causes varying degrees of infection and loss

(HPR-deleted).” To reassure the public, Mast regularly stresses that ISA is not harmful to humans. A pathogen variant of the virus was found at a Laxar Fiskeldi facility at Reyðarfjörður, containing over a million salmon earlier in May. An action plan was activated which resulted in the slaughter of all the salmon. Laxar became part of Ice Fish Farm recently in a deal worth an estimated £100m. Both are owned by Måsøval of Norway. A similar outbreak was discovered in the same area towards the end of April which also led to large-scale slaughter. There is also suspicion of ISA at a Mowi-run farm in Nordland, Norway which, if confirmed, will result in the site being emptied. Further tests were under way as this issue went to press.

European News.indd 15


06/06/2022 15:55:34


Swiss RAS farmer in ova deal with Benchmark

Above from left: Robert Runarsson, Global

Sales Manager, Benchmark Genetics; Kévin Demondion, Farm Manager, Swiss Alpine Fish; Harry Tziouvas, RAS Sales Manager, Benchmark Genetics and Dr Kuno Jung, General Manager Swiss Alpine Fish

SALMON producer Swiss Alpine Fish has signed a contract with Benchmark Genetics to secure its supply of ova for the next five years. The company is Switzerland’s first commercial salmon farmer, operating a land-based RAS (recirculating aquaculture system) facility in Lostallo, in the Italian-speaking part of the country. Its product is sold, either processed and smoked or fresh, under the SWISS LACHS brand. Every year Swiss Alpine Fish imports six batches of ova from Benchmark Genetics Iceland to grow to a harvest size of about 3.5 kg. The deal with Benchmark secures this supply over a five-year period and also includes technical support and knowledge transfer. Swiss Alpine Fish said its requirement for

security in the supply of eggs is linked to plans to expand the facility, to meet growing demand. The eggs will be delivered from Benchmark’s new incubation centre in Vogar, Iceland, to be officially opened in August 2022. Dr Kuno Jung, General Manager of Swiss Alpine Fish AG, said: “The SWISS LACHS brand has a special position in the local market. We are dependent on suppliers that understand our business and the need for continuity of supply, quality and biosecurity. Our long-standing collaboration with Benchmark has been one of the factors behind the successful growth of our business, and the signing of the agreement demonstrates our wish to continue developing the relationship.”

“Egg” closed farm goes on show THE “Egg” or Eggett fish farm has made its first public appearance in Norway, attracting a large number of onlookers. Standing 21 metres tall, the size and unique design of the Egg (also known as the Eggett) brought gasps of admiration. The builders, Herde Kompositt, designed the closedcontainment fish farm to eliminate problems such as lice, pollution and escapes. Even at this scale, the pilot plant has been dubbed “mini egg” because it is just a tenth of the size of eventual future constructions. It will be launched into the water at the end of this month. It has been built for the fish farming company Hauge Aqua Solutions and can hold around 100 tonnes of fish. Based in Ølve, south of Bergen, Norway,

Herde Kompositt is a leader in composite material production and is equally well known as a builder of lifeboats and similar craft. Hauge Aqua Solutions, of which the firm Investor Akvaculturpartner is a major investor, was launched 10 years ago with the aim of developing new socially and environmentally friendly aquaculture technology. The company is also committed to help develop aquaculture in Africa. The Eggett is classed as a “floating closed flow system for fish farming” and can hold 1,850 cubic meters of water . This pilot unit is unit is 21 meters high and 15 metres wide and built in fibreglass. The shape provides a complete double curved surface. Ninety percent of the tank is submerged and not visible during operations.

Above: The “Egg”

New board members for Norcod

Top: Renate Larsen Above: Trine Danielsen


TWO heavy hitters from the seafood sector have been appointed to the board of Norwegian cod farmer Norcod, as the company prepares to move on to the main list of the Oslo Stock Exchange. Former Norwegian Seafood Council CEO Renate Larsen and Trine Danielsen, Chief Commercial Officer of aquaculture industry organisation BluePlanet Academy AS joined the Norcod board at the company’s ordinary general meeting in May. Current board chairman Marit Solberg, together with board members Boe Spurre and Tore Tønseth, did not stand for re-election. “It has been fantastic to participate in the rebuilding of the farmed cod industry and be witness to the success Norcod has achieved so far. The company is in an excellent position and I am happy to pass on responsibility to the new board. I am confident that Trine and Renate can contribute greatly to Norcod’s further development,” said Solberg. Stepping up as new chairman is Jan Severin

Sølbek, who is majority owner of Norcod and has been involved in the company as an investor since 2019. Trine Danielsen has vast experience of fish farming around the world and related policymaking. She earlier served as state secretary in Norway’s Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries, and from 2011 to 2015 was mayor of Hjelmeland Municipality, one of the largest aquaculture communities in Rogaland County. Renate Larsen has been CEO of the Norwegian Seafood Council for the past six years and was previously CFO, and subsequently Managing Director, of salmon producer Lerøy Aurora AS. She has extensive board experience at both state and private companies. Norcod has finalised its first full production cycle and is set to begin harvesting its second cycle in the third quarter of this year. It will also be putting its third cycle of cod into the sea phase this summer.

European News.indd 16

06/06/2022 15:56:26

Harvesting Oceans of Possibilities. The Damen Landing Utility Vessel 2208 is designed to perform diverse tasks in the aquaculture industry. Its scope includes the transportation of people, cargo and feed, with multiple loading

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07/06/2022 10:29:07 5/27/2022 11:08:09 AM


World News

China’s giant floating fish farm is delivered

Above: The Guoxin 1

THE Chinese company Qingdao Guoxin Development Group has taken delivery of a giant 100,000 tonne vessel which has been designed as a mobile fish farm. Guoxin 1 has been described as a technological breakthrough in open sea aquaculture. The 249.9 metre long vessel (pictured), which looks more like an ocean-going oil tanker, will be able to harvest around 3,700 tonnes of fish a year and is said to be strong enough to withstand the worst storms. There are two swimming pools on board. The vessel will be operated by Qingdao Guoxin Development Group, which plans to build four similar mobile fish farms. The eventual aim is to have 50 such

vessels, although it is not clear if they will all be as large as the Guoxin 1. Guoxin 1 was launched in January and has been undergoing sea trials over the past five months. It underwent the official naming ceremony at the weekend. It is expected to operate in the South China Sea and Yellow Sea region. While the first harvest is expected later this year, it is not yet clear what type of fish will be cultivated on board. However, trials will be carried out with Atlantic salmon and local species peculiar to China such as yellow croaker. The aim is to produce fish far out at sea, allowing any sludge to be easily dispensed with. Dong Shaoguang, Deputy General

Manager of the Qingdao Development Group told the media that the key technology is the non-stop water exchange between the cabin and the sea that makes the water environment on the ship enclosed and controllable. This controlled environment also allows production staff to control pollution, and isolates the fish from exceptionally bad weather. The process is monitored using sensors, underwater cameras and an automatic feeding system. The Qingdao Guoxin Development Group believes the vessel can increase the density of the breeding operation and shorten the aquaculture cycle time by at least a quarter.

Cermaq reports 95% survival rate INTERNATIONAL fish farmer Cermaq achieved a 95% survival rate for its Atlantic salmon last year, but variances between areas show there is room for improvement. The conclusions come from Cermaq’s GRI (Global Reporting Initiative) Report for 2021. The report is based on the Global Reporting Initiative protocols, and includes detailed information about, for example: vaccination of fish, medicine use, sea lice treatment, ingredients in the salmon feed, interaction with wildlife (birds and mammals), escapes, energy use, occupational health and safety (OHS) figures, and taxes and investments per country. Cermaq said in a statement accompanying the report: “Scoring fish welfare on three levels; environmental, population and individual is an important tool to increase survival rate.” Cermaq did not quite reach its goal of zero escapes in 2021, with just over 5,600 fish recorded as escaping, out of the group’s 90 million worldwide. For mortalities, Cermaq’s operations in Chile and Norway saw slight increases, but the rate remained under 4% for Chile and around 5% for Norway. The mortality rate in


Canada was just under 10%, representing an improvement compared with the 12% recorded for 2020. Lars Galtung, Director for Sustainability and Communication with Cermaq, said: “Facts about salmon farming performance are needed for improvement in operations but also for constructive discussion and dialogue with stakeholders. This has been the basis for Cermaq’s comprehensive sustainability reporting and why our report is externally reviewed by our auditors.” The report can be downloaded from Cermaq’s website

World News.indd 18

06/06/2022 15:46:30

Barramundi plans AU$350m investment in Australia BARRAMUNDI Group has announced plans for a major expansion of its operations in Australia. The 10-year project, focused on the West Kimberley Coast in the state of Western Australia, is expected to involve a capital spend of AU$350m (around £200m), creating 350-400 jobs and adding to local business opportunities for the region. The project plan has been submitted to relevant authorities, including Australia’s Environmental Protection Authority. Barramundi Group has identified 13 marine sites that could be used to expand to a capacity of 30,000 tonnes of production annually. Barramundi Group chief executive officer Andreas von Scholten stressed that the expansion would be carried responsible,

taking account of environmental issues. He said the company had been collaborating with environmental consultants for several years to develop a strategy to sustainably grow production in the region over the next decade. The plan considers best management practices including fallowing, biosecurity, and a scaleup process at a rate that allows adaptive management. Von Scholten said: “A strategy underpinned by environmental custodianship leads to fantastic product quality, good fish welfare and consistent and sustainable production without compromising the pristine environment in which we operate.” “BGA is proud of its 18-year history, environmental credentials, and track record in the region. The learnings from our current operation have given us the confidence that we can grow in harmony with local flora and fauna, enhance biosecurity and provide even more jobs and opportunities for local communities in this remote part of Australia.” “We are consulting with our stakeholders in

the Kimberley region, including the Traditional Owners who have native title over this area.” The group reported reduced harvest volumes, year on year, for the first quarter of 2022. It also saw net revenue fall 11% to AUS $8.1m (£4.6m). Barramundi’s harvest for Q1 was 506 tonnes (Q1 2021: 543 tonnes). The company recorded a net financial loss of AUS $5.9m (£3.3m) for the quarter. Biological assets, at fair value, reduced by AUS $1m to AUS $19.5m (£11m). Left: Cone Bay Ocean Barramundi Above: Barramundi farm, Australia

MSD, GSA launch traceability platforms VETERINARY science group MSD Animal Health has launched a new DNA-based analytical tool to help ensure traceability for seafood and protect endangered fishery stocks. The company, a division of Merck & Co, said its DNA TRACEBACK® Fisheries platform uses genome sequencing to provide regulators with the tools they need to determine and monitor catch limits and quotas more effectively across a range of fish species including cod, herring, horse mackerel and sprat. TRACEBACK uses technology developed by genetics specialists IdentiGEN that combines each species’ unique DNA and data analytics to provide an evidence-based animal traceability solution. The DNA TRACEBACK Fisheries platform is currently being used in Irish waters to assess annual herring stocks and can be used to provide a standardised platform and common data framework for other species managed under the European Union’s Common Fisheries Policy. Meanwhile, The Global Seafood Alliance (GSA) has partnered with tech business Envisible to collaborate on a sourcing and traceability solution for the industry worldwide. The platform will allow data from different tracing systems to be shown together in one format. Envisible will digitise GSA’s operations in a multi-year partnership that will leverage supply chain information for Best Aquaculture Practices (BAP) and Best Seafood Practices (BSP) stakeholders across the globe. This initiative, GSA says, will enable its partners and endorsers to visualise non-identifiable data shared from stakeholders throughout certified supply chains.

GSA said the project will enable its marketplace partners and certified producers to share supply chain data, irrespective of the traceability system they use in order to enhance and verify compliance with the BAP and BSP certification standards. GSA CEO Brian Perkins said: “Our partnership with Envisible and the digitisation of seafood assurances is the next big step in providing greater value to our partners and endorsers by leveraging supply chain information and further strengthening our BAP and BSP certification programs. We’re becoming a more data driven organization, and Envisible is helping us get there.”

Above: Herring trawler

World News.indd 19


06/06/2022 15:47:13


Cermaq renews First Nations deal CERMAQ Canada has renewed a five year protocol with the large Ahousaht First Nation community in the west of the country. The deal is designed to focus on the priorities of the Nation and provide a road map on how Cermaq will farm in their territory. Previous agreements addressed operational plans, environmental stewardship, wild salmon protection and conservation, economic development opportunities, benefits sharing, employment and emerging business opportunities. New to this latest protocol is a further focus on reconciliation and wild salmon, area-based management, innovation, specific standards and broader environmental monitoring in recognition of changing ocean conditions, climate change and potential salmon farming impacts and opportunities. David Kiemele, Managing Director Cermaq Canada, said: “It has been an exciting time for our business and for the Ahousaht Nation as we embark on the future of farming in Ahousaht Territory. “Projects such as the feasibility study of a new Semi-Closed Containment System, a focus on GHG reduction and improved sea lice management innovation have all been possible due to the guidance of Ahousaht leadership... as we look to the next five years of farming within Ahousaht Territory we are

aware of the standards that must be met in order to continue our business and we are committed to a high degree of transparency and welcome the oversight and insight that the Nation provides to us as invited users of their resource.” Hasheukumiss Richard George, son of Tyee Ha’wiih and President of Economic Development with the MHSS organisation, said: “We are at a point of unprecedented challenges brought on by climate change, and a lack of understanding, particularly in government, of our Nation’s rights and this important relationship.” He added: “We are committed to working together to tackle both challenges through continued advancement of meaningful and measurable climate action, a focus on the health and wellbeing of the Ahousaht Nation, the protection and enhancement of wild salmon.”

Qatar Airways reports seafood transport milestone QATAR Airways has reported a record year for salmon shipments between Oslo and Doha in the Middle East.The airline transported more than 46,000 tonnes of Norwegian seafood in 2021, the largest amount yet. In February this year Qatar Airways Cargo announced it had carried almost 69,000 kg (69 tonnes) of salmon on a single lower deck Boeing 777 passenger flight. Rob Veltman,Vice President Cargo, Europe at Qatar Airways said: “Salmon is a significantly delicate cargo commodity because it requires expert, hygienic dealing with in temperaturecontrolled circumstances and, above all, dependable, quick connections. “Qatar Airways Cargo not only offers a global network of over 150 destinations, but we additionally reacted quickly to help Norwegian seafood exporters when the pandemic led to a dramatic lowering in [demand]. ” Qatar Airways Cargo, together with its Norwegian GSA partner, ECS Group subsidiary, NordicGSA, was awarded DB Schenker’s Seafood Airline Award for three consecutive years: 2018, 2019, and 2020.

Salmon giants in $85m ‘price-fixing’ settlement

AT least four Norwegian salmon companies, including some of the biggest names in the business, have reached a settlement for US $85m in a class action in the United States over anti-competitive behaviour. The companies, among them Mowi, SalMar, Lerøy and Grieg, continue to insist there is no basis for the US allegations, dating back


three years, which they say are “entirely unsubstantiated”. The settlement, equivalent to (£67.6m or NOK 815m) remains subject to the approval of the court in the Southern District of Florida. The saga began in 2019 when the European Commission said it suspected price collusion and raided a number of Norwegian-

owned salmon farms in Scotland, but this has not so far led to legal action on the Commission’s part. The US case was then brought by seafood distributor Euclid Fish Company, together with a number of other American companies. Euclid claimed that “the defendants often - and erroneously - claimed that cost increases justified the price increases, but their own data disproved this alleged justification.” A joint statement issued by Mowi, SalMar, Lerøy and Grieg today said: “Although the defendants reject that there is a basis for the allegations and consider the lawsuits to be unfounded, all of the defendants involved in the class action lawsuit in the case against direct buyers, after a mandatory mediation process, accepted a settlement offer from the direct buyers.” The settlement is subject to the approval of the court in the Southern District of Florida. The

figure of $85m represents the total amount for all defendants. All the defendants firmly reject the allegations of anti-competitive conduct and are of the clear view that the allegations are unfounded. SalMar added: “Given that the costs associated with litigation in the United States are significant, combined with the timeline for such litigation and the need to involve extensive internal resources, SalMar ASA has nevertheless accepted a settlement for purely commercial reasons. The settlement does not represent an admission of responsibility or guilt.” Some of the companies face similar allegations in Canada. Meanwhile, last year the European Commission, which declined to make documents from its own records available to either party in the US case, said that its own investigation is still continuing. Above left: Norwegian salmon

World News.indd 20

06/06/2022 15:48:43

Worldwide salmon industry marks sustainability goals

THE Global Salmon Initiative, which represents some of the most significant players in the salmon sector, has hailed progress in reducing the use of antibiotics, managing sea lice through holistic methods and reducing marine ingredients in aquafeed, among a range of other sustainability measures. The GSI membership represents around 40% of global salmon production. The organisation was set up to encourage improvements across the industry and its annual Sustainability Report for 2022 charts achievement on a number of fronts. Antibiotic use has been reduced by 48% on average, as a result of members prioritising antibiotics stewardship and identifying alternative approaches to managing fish health. The use of marine ingredients in fish feed has been cut by 22% on average, with the introduction and increasing use of novel ingredients such as algae and sustainable byproducts. New thinking on how to tackle sea lice has led to a reduction of 38% for in-bath and in-feed treatments. The GSI also reports that nearly half (48%) of GSI members’ production was certified by the Aquaculture Stewardship Council, which sets a high bar for sustainability and traceability. In total, the GSI’s report details more than 2,000 data points for the industry. The organisation is also working with the World Wildlife Fund to develop a greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions framework in order to help

measure and mitigate the sector’s carbon footprint. Regin Jacobsen, Bakkafrost CEO and GSI co-chair, said: “The past three years made it abundantly clear that our food system needs far greater resiliency. Through GSI, we can focus on the areas we know need improving and prepare ourselves for the challenges to come. This means working collectively to reduce our carbon footprint and biological risks, while continually enhancing fish welfare and local community contributions. GSI’s Sustainability Report serves as both an annual reminder of how far we’ve come as an industry and a compass to guide the work that remains.” Co-chair Sandy Delgado, CEO of AquaChile, said: “GSI provides a knowledge-sharing platform that enables us to pool expertise, test different approaches and work collaboratively to improve fish welfare, feed and more, allowing us as members to go further and faster together.” And Sophie Ryan, GSI CEO, added: “We want our Sustainability Report to be a signal of members’ shared commitment to raise a great product in the most responsible way. But the proof is in our data and we know that good is never good enough. This report is our way of motivating progress, holding one another accountable and doubling down on areas where we need to improve and innovate faster.”

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World News.indd 21


06/06/2022 15:49:13

Processing News


DuPont backs spirulina ‘smoked salmon’ venture International food conglomerate IFF DuPont is supporting a plan to create a “smoked salmon” substitute made from algae.

Above: Algaecore’s farm in Israel. Above right: Simpliigood researcher, Algaecore

SIMPLIIGOOD, developed by Israel-based Algaecore Technologies, is a product based on spirulina, a blue-green algae which is already being used as a food supplement. The plant-based salmon-like cut is crafted to take on the appearance, colour, texture, and flavour of smoked salmon. Composed of 100% pure, fresh, minimally processed spirulina, it is a clean-label product and is 40% complete protein. An agreement for strategic cooperation was signed between the Israeli Innovation Authority, SimpliiGood, and FoodNxt—the innovation lab established by global food, beverage, nutraceutical, and fragrances industry leader IFF-DuPont. SimpliiGood provides the raw material and texture and colour qualities, while IFF-DuPont contributes the flavour and aroma attributes. The product is expected to hit the market by the end of 2023. The spirulina is grown at Algaecore’s indoor farm in the southern desert region of Israel. The company produces 50 tons of spirulina per year, with a harvest every 24

hours. The farm recycles 98% of its water. Algaecore argues that, as it does not come from the ocean, its product will be free of marine pollutants. The new “salmon analogue” will join a series of existing spirulina-based SimpliiGood branded products marketed in Israel to food producers and directly to consumers. Its current portfolio encompasses a range of meat substitutes, including hamburgers and chicken nuggets, as well as popsicles, ice cream, crackers, and beverages where spirulina serves either as the base ingredient or as nutritional enrichment. Lior Shalev, CEO and Co-founder of Algaecore, said: “Our spirulina can act as a complete replacement for animal-based protein or be easily integrated into existing food products as an added-value ingredient, as it has a neutral flavour and maintains its full nutritional value. This project marks an exciting milestone in our company’s product line expansion as we enter the fish substitute market.”

In the first phase, the company will focus on producing a pure, spirulina-based smoked salmon analogue, with plans to expand to additional fish analogues in the future. Spirulina is a naturally rich source of whole protein, plus antioxidants, chlorophyll, vitamins, (including B12), and minerals, especially iron. The spirulina market is relatively young and is dominated by dried and powdered forms of the ingredient. SimpliiGood cultivates and markets a specific strain of 100% raw fresh spirulina that boasts 90% bioavailability (a measure of how easily the nutrients are absorbed by human consumers), making it a powerful addition to any food application.

This project marks an “exciting milestone ”

Arnarlax plans 80,000 tonne processing plant ICELANDIC fish farming company Arnarlax has announced plans to build a new high-tech salmon processing factory in the country’s Westfjords region. The plant will be one of the largest in Iceland, eventually able to process up to 80,000 tonnes a year. A start date has yet to be agreed, but the company has signed a letter of intent for the project with the Vesturbyggð municipality. Arnarlax is owned by the Norwegian salmon giant SalMar, which has announced plans committed to growing the business. The project is expected to create many new jobs in one of Iceland’s principal fish farming areas. It said the next steps will be to conclude an agreement with the local authority, prepare a zoning plan and prepare for construction by demolishing and relocating


existing operations. Björn Hembre, CEO of Arnarlax, said: “I am very pleased with this landmark agreement with Vesturbyggð. “This is the first step of many, but the declaration of intent allows us to start formal permit applications and design and preparation work for the construction of a high-tech processing house which will create many valuable jobs. “The investment will also strengthen the industry’s competitiveness and strengthen the position of aquaculture in the Westfjords for the future.” Rebekka Hilmarsdóttir, the mayor of Vesturbyggð, said: “It is gratifying that Arnarlax and Vesturbyggð have agreed on this important future development in the southern Westfjords. “Aquaculture is the largest industry in the region and it is important that there is now a future vision on both sides for its continued development.”

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06/06/2022 15:40:04

Work starts on Mowi’s new processing plant MOWI has announced that work on its new state of the art processing facility at Hitra in Norway is now under way. The company said “hopes are high” for the benefits it will bring. Work on the new factory started in April and is scheduled for completion in the first half of 2024. The factory will have a production capacity of 100,000 tonnes and will replace Mowi’s current factory at Ulvan. Plans for the plant were submitted as long ago as 2020, but details of the project were not confirmed until March of this year. Speaking about the new facility, Olaf Skjærvik, director of Mowi Mid Region, said: “This will be a state-of-the-art factory built for the future. The project group has done a thorough job, and we are very happy that we now can start construction. “The new factory will produce high-quality seafood in a much more efficient way than we do today. The building design is very modern and will create a more welcoming environment for our

staff whilst optimising health and safety features.” The new processing plant at Hitra will receive fish from sea harvest vessels only, rather than wellboats. Mowi Norway is now using four sea harvest vessels to supply its processing plants, and the South Region in Norway

Hawesta’s processing facility in Lübeck is set to close THAI Union’s German subsidiary Rügen Fisch AG is to close its processing plant in Lübeck, transferring operations to Sassnitz, where the rest of the Rügen Fisch processing is based. The plant in Lübeck, the secondlargest city on Germany’s Baltic coast, is currently run by Rügen’s subsidiary Hawesta, which produces a variety of canned fish including salmon and mackerel. Rügen Fisch said the Hawesta works council and the 200 employees were informed of these plans yesterday, and discussions with the employee representatives are starting now. The statement added: “The

company management would like to retain as many employees as possible for their production in Sassnitz. To this end, they are currently exploring options for supporting a move from Lübeck to Sassnitz. “The German and European canned seafood markets have seen headwinds in recent years. Rising labor, energy, ingredient, and packaging costs together with high fish and raw material prices, have led to an increasingly difficult market environment since 2019. This transfer of production is crucial for Rügen Fisch to ensure the long-term viability of the Group and to strengthen the position of the longstanding Hawesta brand to remain as competitive as possible.” The majority of the Rügen Fisch’s processing is centred around Sassnitz, a seaside town on the island of Rügen in the state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Germany.

is already fully based on this technology. Building on this experience, Mowi intends to increase the capacity of these vessels and, in the long term, substitute wellboat transport with sea harvest vessels, which represent an improvement in fish welfare, the company says.



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Processing News - June 22.indd 23


06/06/2022 15:42:10


Dr Trevor Hastings 1956 - 2022

By Chris Mitchell

Safety Authority. At this time he was also instrumental in running the industry-focused PD Trination group as it migrated between Norway, Scotland and Ireland for its annual meetings. In 2007, Trevor took up the Directorship arch 14th was a fine sunny day in Crathes, of the Freshwater Laboratory at Faskally Aberdeenshire, fitting weather for friends and near Pitlochry where he remained until his colleagues gathering to remember the life of retirement in 2011. Trevor Hastings, a keen outdoorsman – whatever the Away from work, I knew Trevor as a keen weather. fisherman and an accomplished rifle shot I am lucky to have known Trevor both as a colleague and friend, participating in competitions both at relationships which started in the mid-1980s when I worked at club and at national level. His club, The the, then, FRS Marine Laboratory in Aberdeen where Trevor was Bon Accord rifle club in Aberdeen, won employed as a senior scientist. 23 consecutive Scottish National League Trevor Stewart Hastings was born in March 1956 in Dublin where titles! Trevor’s high level of marksmanship he spent the early years of his life. Fast forward to 1977 and Trevor transferred well to the field and he graduated from Trinity College with a degree in Microbiology. remained a keen and effective stalker right Soon after graduation he moved over to Scotland to take up a post up until the onset of his illness late last year. at the Marine Laboratory, simultaneously studying for a PhD at Trevor’s interest in target shooting began Aberdeen University, and graduating in 1986. It was these studies whilst at Trinity College and I remember into extracellular proteases of A. salmonicida as potential him telling me that, when competing vaccine antigen targets that primed the way for the with Queens University in Belfast, successful development of one of the first vaccines nervousness came not from the against furunculosis in Atlantic salmon. Vaccination competition itself but rather against this disease, as readers of this magazine the journey to it, as this will know, has been instrumental in removing the involved students in a car industry’s hitherto dependence on the use of crossing the border into antimicrobials to remedy this condition. Ulster with a load of rifles In this endeavour, Trevor was part of a wider in the boot; potentially group including Doctors Alan Munro, Tony Ellis, somewhat challenging in Kim Thompson, Robin Wardle, Patrick Smith and 1970s Ireland! of course Professor Sandra Adams. If you have ever On a professional level, seen an A. salmonicida reference strain prefixed with I will remember Trevor as a the letters MT you may be interested to learn that this highly skilled scientist with an simply stands for “Marine Trevor”! unparalleled focus on detail, and on Trevor’s progression up the Civil Service hierarchy saw him join a personal one, as a great friend and a very the Senior Management Board at the Marine Lab as a Programme good-humoured soul with an infectious Director as well as a valued member of the European Food laugh – all of which I will miss.


A highly skilled scientist with an unparalleled focus on detail


Above: Dr Trevor Hastings

Obituary Dr Trevor Hastings.indd 24

06/06/2022 15:36:03

The Shrimp Book II


Edited by Victoria Alday-Sanz 5M BOOKS £150


his is the follow-up to a first volume published 12 years ago and, while it takes the form of a collection of academic essays on shrimp farming and biology, it combines both an academic and a practical perspective. As the editor, Victoria Alday-Sanz explains, having brought extensive academic experience to the first volume, she has been spending much of the time since its publication in a hands-on role in aquaculture. The contributors to The Shrimp Book II represent a range of expertise from around the world, from Thailand and the Philippines to Sweden and Scotland. The book is organised in six parts which deal, respectively, with: a general overview of “sustainability” in shrimp aquaculture (and a note on the problems of insuring the sector); the biology and genetics of the shrimp; production systems; feeds and feeding; biosecurity and disease issues; and

post-harvest issues, including questions of trade and quality control. The authors do not shy away from expressing opinions – for example, the authors of the “sustainability” chapter are highly critical of “integrated mangrove aquaculture” (IMA), an approach which was devised to help preserve coastal mangrove forests, but which the writers argue is fragmenting them and leaving the shoreline vulnerable. For academics studying this sector, animal health specialists and farmers, this is an impressive collection of collected knowledge. Victoria Alday-Sanz has more than 35 years’ experience working on diverse aspects of shrimp and fish biosecurity. She has often collaborated as an expert for international organisations such as FAO (the UN Food and Agricultural Organisation), the European Union and OIE (the World Organisation for

Animal Health). Currently, she is the Director of Biosecurity and Breeding Programmes with NAQUA, the National Aquaculture Group, in Saudi Arabia.

Pelagia By Steve Holloway LION FICTION £10.99


teve Holloway’s debut novel, Pelagia, is an impressively ambitious thriller set in the year 2066. Skillfully weaving back and forward in time and ranging across several continents, Pelagia tells the story of special forces agent turned particle physicist Ben Holden. Holden is on the run from the The New Caliphate who need his biometrics in order to fulfil their plan of unleashing chaos on the West. He finds refuge among the sea settlers of the South Pacific Pelagic Territory, yet his life remains under threat. Cinematic in its story-telling, Pelagia combines the tension of Captain Phillips and the intelligent science-fiction of Minority Report. In addition to its complex characters and a convincing portrayal of religious extremism, the novel offers a fascinating glimpse into the future

of aquaculture that will certainly engross anyone with an interest in that field. Indeed, this might be the first novel to realistically envisage precisely where technological developments in fish farming might lead. Those who already work at the forefront of innovation in aquaculture will be gripped by the oceanic world that Holloway expertly conjures up. Meanwhile, for those in any doubt about the relevance of aquaculture to the future survival of humanity, this novel should be mandatory reading. An immersive and inspiring book. Steve Holloway is a marine biologist who works for a Christian charity consulting with mariculture development projects in the Indo-Pacific area. He and his wife have lived and worked in many countries. Pelagia is his first fiction book; the sequel is in progress.

BOOK REVIEW The Shrimp Book.indd 25


06/06/2022 15:34:23


No-show at the trade show Why are the fish farming sector’s critics so reluctant to take on the debate in person? By Dr Martin Jaffa


ince writing my contribution last month, I have been travelling, including a short visit to the Aquaculture UK event in Aviemore. There was a real buzz about the place, not just because of the ability to meet friends old and new but because the new organisers had much improved the visitor experience. I have heard rumours that the event might develop in future years into some form of Scottish Aquaculture Festival rather than the current focus on the trade show. Perhaps this might attract an even wider audience? One potential set of visitors was notable by its absence and that was the industry critics. Certainly, one of these had posted on social media that he intended to visit the event and stage a protest, yet this long-time critic failed to show. He has previously protested outside the Scottish Parliament, a salmon feed plant and a major retailer, yet, in my eyes, protesting at Aquaculture UK would have been like Daniel entering the lion’s den. Most people he would have encountered elsewhere would have just shrugged their shoulders, but Aviemore was alive with industry people who would have delighted in challenging this critic face to face. With the likelihood that no-one would have come to support him, it is not surprising he was a no-show. I understand other keyboard critics were invited to come along but also failed to show. As their bravado can be mainly attributed to the protection of their keyboard, their failure to appear was not unexpected. Over the years, I have invited most of these critics to meet for a chat and all have refused. I expect that


their confidence in their claims might melt away in the face of someone willing to discuss the issues. I did nearly meet one critic and had arranged to meet for a coffee in Fort William. The allotted time came and went without an appearance. My only contact was through social media, and I sent a message only to be told that he had been returning to Fort William from Inverness and his car had had a puncture. At the same time, he was posting pictures of butterflies in his garden on Twitter. He didn’t offer to meet later. Clearly, he had had second thoughts. I fully understand why these critics are so reluctant to engage with industry directly. However, I cannot understand why the various wild salmon organisations wouldn’t use the opportunity to try to get their message across. For example, the Atlantic Salmon Trust could have taken a stand at the show to explain the West Coast tracking project. Equally, Fisheries Management Scotland, who have a specific manager working with salmon interactions could have explained their position on salmon farming. However, like the critics, such organisations don’t seem willing to engage with those who might be able to answer their criticisms. It seems to me that unless everyone is willing to openly discuss the issues then they will never be resolved. For similar reason, it would have been good to see Marine Scotland have a visible presence at the event. Perhaps, the organisers might consider a small area of the exhibition devoted to such

Opposite: Aqua UK


Left: Salmon catches

are down again across Scotland

Martin Jaffa.indd 26

06/06/2022 15:32:04

organisations at a nominal cost. As an industry we have nothing to hide and therefore we should encourage such debate. Interestingly, one keyboard critic commented on social media that industry people shy away from wild fish events. This is just not true. I have attended as many wild fish meetings as I can, however many are not advertised and do not encourage those from outside to attend. I have always applied for tickets in my own name and have been approached in the past to discuss my presence on entry. I have also regularly offered to speak at such meetings including NASCO and FMS conferences, but my offer has never been taken up. It

It is the critics who seem unwilling to hear the opposing voices

seems they just don’t want to hear the other side of the narrative. It is my belief that if one firmly believes in their narrative, they should be willing to stand up and face their critics directly. What I have found is that it is the critics who seem unwilling to hear the opposing voices. One of the casualties of the pandemic has been the face-to-face meeting which has been relegated to Zoom or Teams. Now life is returning to some form of normality, perhaps we should see open meeting being reinstated. I have always thought that there should be a public meeting to discuss wild and farmed salmon interactions and maybe this is something that could be organised once the fishing season comes to a close. Perhaps, this column could be the catalyst to initiate such an event. Despite some recognition that there are other factors that are responsible for the decline of wild fish, the overriding message from critics and the wild fish sector is that the only way for stocks to recover is to remove salmon farms. Fisheries Management Scotland have just published their 2022 Annual Review. It seems catches are down yet again across all of Scotland and the main cause has been the lack of water allowing fish to ascend rivers to the spawning grounds. This is something that may be more common in years to come but I am sure salmon farming will still be cited as top of the reasons why salmon are in decline.

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Martin Jaffa.indd 27


06/06/2022 15:32:41


Trade travails

If the dispute between the EU and UK escalates, the seafood industry could suffer. By Hamish Macdonell


he final leg of their journey was undertaken in a pair of six-seater taxis from Edinburgh but, given the distances they had travelled just to get to that point, they probably would have travelled by horse-drawn trap had that been the only means available. These were vets, customs officials and government employees from Mongolia. They had travelled more than 4,000 miles from Ulaanbaatar to Scotland to find out how we deal with the paperwork required to export fish and other animal-based products to the European Union. Had these Mongolian vets wanted the same information a couple of years ago, they probably wouldn’t have come to Scotland. But now, such is our proficiency in dealing with the complex and time-consuming export health certificate process, we are almost certainly amongst the world leaders in terms of expertise. The Mongolians were hosted by Salmon Scotland and DFDS at the hauliers’ transport hub at Larkhall. They saw around the site but it was a real and newly minted export health certificate that really piqued their interest. And (this is certainly something I never thought I’d write) these people were fascinated, absolutely fascinated by the certificate.


They wanted to know what had to be filled out, how this was done, why it had to have numerous official stamps and who did these things. It is an unfortunate but unavoidable fact of life that everyone at Larkhall who deals with the logistics of getting fish to the continent has become expert in export health certificates, so the Mongolians were learning from the best in the business. However, it could have been so different. Indeed, had the UK Government moved with a little more speed and determination, then the Mongolian visitors would not have had a hard copy certificate to study. That is because the whole process could have been (and some would say “should be”) online by now. But that full digitisation, which we urged the government to prioritise before Brexit, has still not happened. Yes, there have been trials this year and while those have gone well and do signify progress, we are no nearer actually knowing when the digitised system will be operational. Anyone who looks at the 22-page document which the Mongolian visitors studied so keenly at Larkhall can tell how easy it is to make mistakes. Each one has to be filled out from scratch with many boxes crossed out and official stamps put in just the right place. It is a recipe for potential mistakes and this has happened, numerous times. Many of the problems which hauliers face, from delays before dispatch to issues at the border, come from mistakes in the certificates, almost certainly the result of officials trying to do too much, too quickly because demand is so high. The full digitisation of the system would cut out almost all of those errors because

Above: Salmon packed in ice Left: The border between Northern Ireland and the Republic has become a Brexit headache

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months of disruption, much of it considerable, because of Brexit. They have battled through and, working with the hauliers and the vets, have made the export process as smooth and efficient as possible. It is costing them millions of pounds annually to deal with all the red tape and they have dealt with that too. Threat of a trade war And now, just when they have started to look forward to the When the full digitisation does arrive it digitisation of the process and the benefits that will bring, the UK will make a huge difference and there was a time, not that long ago, when we thought Government is threatening a trade war. That is unlikely to mean tariffs, at least not to start with. But, if this would be the one change that would start to make everything right. But that was the EU wants to hit back at the UK, all it needs to do is enforce a “go slow” at the Channel ports. It really won’t take much to cause before there was the threat of a trade war tailbacks and delays snarling up every road leading to the Channel with the EU. in the UK. That seems to be just what the UK Salmon is the UK’s biggest fresh food export to the EU. It acts as Government is risking by ramping up the a standard bearer for UK exports. rhetoric and threatening unilateral action Yes, the Northern Ireland Protocol is complex and difficult to over the Northern Ireland Protocol, a move resolve, but if salmon (and other perishable products) become the which could lead to retaliation by the EU. reluctant pawns in a trade war because the UK Government wants This is a complex situation and no-one to be pugnacious over it, the effects will stretch far beyond the in the salmon sector is denying that. The UK Government has to juggle many issues, salmon sector. We have been urging the UK Government to rein in the rhetoric, including the stability of Northern Ireland and the Good Friday Agreement, and trade to cool the temperature with the EU and, above all, to start talking. is not the only factor in the equation. Our producers have done so much and worked so hard to deal But the impact of any sort of breakdown with everything Brexit has thrown at them in the last 18 months. in trade relations between the UK and They do not deserve to be caught in the middle of yet another the EU would be disastrous, and not just UK-EU dispute, particularly one that has nothing to do with them. for our exports – although our producers Those Mongolian vets and customs officials were appreciative of would be in the frontline because they deal how smoothly and efficiently all those at Larkhall worked through in a perishable product. all the paperwork and red tape to get salmon deliveries out of the Our producers have had to cope with 18 door on time and off to the EU. They were so impressed that they made it clear it was a model they intend to replicate, proving that, when it comes to EU trade, our logistics partners are an example to the world. It is just a shame that the UK Government does not appear share the same goal. the producers would have a template online and would only have to adjust a few specific sections for each new load.

We have been urging the UK Government to rein in the rhetoric

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06/06/2022 15:30:15


The big picture The annual conference of the UK shellfish industry highlighted the challenges – and opportunities – facing the sector. By Nicki Holmyard


nline meetings may have kept the shellfish industry in touch over the past two years, but it was a relief to everyone to be able to attend the 52nd Annual Conference of the Shellfish Association of Great Britain (SAGB) in person this year. The conference covered both farmed and fished shellfish. This report does not touch upon the latter, although Lindy Wood from the Lobster Pot in Anglesey deserves mention for her Members Slot stroll through her “life in lobsters” and her family’s involvement over 70 years and three generations. It was a delight to listen to. SAGB Chair Chris Leftwich opened proceedings by calling on government to assist industry to overcome the ongoing Brexitrelated and regulatory issues hampering development. He praised the setting up of an All Party Parliamentary Group on shellfish aquaculture – for which SAGB is providing the secretariat – and hoped that this forum would help to raise the profile of the sector in parliament and lead to improvements. Delegates enjoyed keynote talks from government ministers from all three of the UK’s devolved parliaments, who acknowledged the importance of nurturing a sustainable industry. Victoria Prentis MP, Minister of State at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, said that she had been working hard during the pandemic to keep shellfish farmers in business, through various funding pots. New schemes, including the UK Seafood Fund, are now open to help industry develop its potential. Domestic sales and exports are being encouraged through agencies such as Seafish and the Department for International Trade. Top of her priority list is to regain EU free market access for live bivalve molluscs, which are currently not eligible for export from Grade B waters, unless they are depurated. “The government continues to engage with the EU through the Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) to overcome this, but there is little movement from the EU side at present,” she admitted, to the disappointment of mussel farmers. On the burning issue of ongoing poor coastal water quality, Ms Prentis said that the number of areas marked for improvement and protection is gradually being increased. However, delegates felt that the targets, which stretch to 2050 and beyond, lacked ambition and urgency. Work is also ongoing with CEFAS and Natural England to resolve a backlog of habitat risk assessments for Pacific oyster farms in protected areas. Despite the many positive attributes of shellfish farming, the current presumption against expansion of farms has created a crisis of confidence in the industry. Her words were echoed by Mairi Gougeon MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and Islands, and Lesley Griffiths MS, Minister for Rural


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Above from top: The Annual Conference of the Shellfish Associa�on of Great Britain; Victoria Pren�s; Mairi Gougeon; Lesley Griffiths Opposite from top: Fishmongers Hall, London; Aoife Mar�n; Alex Adrian; Bobby Groves

Affairs, North Wales and Trefnydd. Both ministers have important shellfish industries in their countries and are committed to helping them to flourish. Ms Gougeon explained that shellfish farming in Scotland employs more than 300 people and that Shetland produces 80% of the country’s mussels. Following a review of the aquaculture sector by Professor Russel Griggs, the government has recommended that shellfish leases are extended to 25 years, giving both industry and investors greater confidence in the sector. Ms Griffiths noted that research is ongoing into how to decarbonise the aquaculture and fisheries industries in Wales, and how to improve long-term management. Katrine Sasaki, head of market opening and agriculture at the British Embassy in Tokyo, told how her dedicated food and drink team supports exporters to enter the Japanese market and to find local partners. Japan is the largest seafood market in Asia, with per capital consumption twice that of other countries. “It has to be fresh, healthy, affordable, easy to prepare and sustainable. There is currently no access for raw oysters from the UK, but we are working with Defra and the Japanese authorities to address this,” she said. Wider market opportunities for UK shellfish were covered by Matt Whittles, head of trade in seafood for the Defra fisheries trade team. He explained that there are lots of “relatively small, but cumulatively big” export opportunities, but admitted that it is challenging to find markets for bulk exports of live mussels. Aoife Martin, operations director at Seafish, looked at the economic impacts of Covid on the industry, which saw retail and home

06/06/2022 15:24:18

delivery sales rise, food service all but die out, and many businesses failing. Exports of seafood also took a big hit. A recent review of farmed shellfish opportunities in the blue economy was covered by Alex Adrian from Crown Estate Scotland, who stated that an increasing number of people are interested in funding this space. The study looked at the optimum size of shellfish and seaweed farms, at how co-cultivation might make the sector more viable, at alternative markets for raw materials and at the ecosystem services they deliver. Lewis LeVay from Bangor University, presented the results of a project which looked at the feasibility of developing an assurance scheme for shellfish and human health. “There is an urgent need to develop an assurance scheme with a more adaptive approach than that currently in use, which throws up many borderline or anomalous results. Our study, which centred on an oyster and mussel farm in the Camel Estuary in Cornwall, showed that a real time predictive system for E. coli levels in shellfish is conceptually feasible and that relatively simple models based on available

Bivalves offer a superior, micronutrient-rich source of dietary protein

environmental data could be used to forecast risk to consumers. It is possible to offer producers an approach that is more appropriate by using a pour plate method to analyse samples, instead of the current system which uses Mean Probable Number (MPN),” he said. The method typically used in the UK to sample for E.coli in mussels involves a serial dilution of mussel flesh extract, followed by statistical analysis of the number of E.coli in the original sample, based on whether or not a positive result is achieved in the dilutions – hence “Mean Probable Number”. The “pour plate method” is the method of choice in the Netherlands and other EU countries for counting the number of colony-forming bacteria present in a liquid specimen. It uses a sample of mussel extract mixed with molten agar as a medium. Also at the conference, speaking about his research into the nutritional benefits of bivalve shellfish, Dr David Willer of Cambridge University outlined how poor diets are harming our health, economy and environment. “Bivalves offer a superior, micronutrient-rich source of dietary protein, which is needed for a healthier diet, as well as being a highly sustainable source of food,” he said. He postulated how innovation, investment and supply chain involvement could potentially turn the currently small bivalve industry into a multi-billion pound industry producing 6.5 million tonnes of mussel meat per year, by using all available coastal water space. A major effort to overcome regulatory barriers, set up hatcheries, develop more innovative growing methods, and install novel depuration centres and automated shell removal plants would be required, along with improved freezing and storage, and the development of novel protein extraction techniques. “We look at the big picture, at what could be,” he said, leaving his audience with food for thought. Chef and oyster afficionado Bobby Groves, spoke of his journey to write Oyster Isles, released in 2019. “It is as much about how oysters are farmed in myriad ways, as my enjoyment of discovering how the merroir is different at each farm. It also includes tales of farmers’ lives, explains why oysters matter, and opens up a new world to the reader,” he said. I can highly recommend it!

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06/06/2022 15:25:12


Korea moves South Korea and Japan are markets with huge potential for salmon, according to a report from the Norwegian Seafood Council. By Vince McDonagh


HE Pacific region has taken something of a back seat for northern hemisphere salmon exporters in recent months, partly because Covid has been ravaging parts of China once again, leading to huge lockdowns. Much of the focus has been on emerging markets such as the United States, France and the Middle East. But there is good news coming out of Asia, particularly Japan and South Korea where it seems consumers cannot get enough of the Above: A market street in pink fish. Seoul, South Korea Recent research by the Norwegian Seafood Council says salmon Opposite from top: Japanese exports to both countries hit a new record last year – and their sushi; Mia Sæthre markets are open for more. Bernhardsen The Seafood Council’s regional envoy Johan Kvalheim says: “Neither Japan or South Korea are saturated salmon markets, so there is great potential.


“The younger generation who were born and raised with Norwegian salmon love it. Now they are shopping themselves, but they also have new shopping habits and new requirements.” This is a generation looking for userfriendliness, and it is important for exporters to be aware of this, says Kvalheim. With a combined population of 178 million Japan and South Korea clearly present huge opportunities for seafood exporters. South Korea (with a population of 52 million) is the younger of the two markets, but possibly the one with the greater growth potential.

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Just two generations back it was a poor agricultural nation recovering from the ravages of a brutal war. Today it is an ultra-modern, high-tech and highly prosperous country with a taste for Western cuisine, particularly among the 10 million inhabitants of the capital, Seoul. In fact Seoul’s citizens currently account for 85% of the country’s salmon consumption. The Seafood Council says South Koreans ate a record 47,000 tonnes of fresh salmon, of which 90% was of the Atlantic variety. Most of that was from Norway, which means rival producers such as Scotland or the Faroe Islands have yet to get a foot in the door. Online and home consumption sales have increased significantly over the past year or two, almost certainly the result of the pandemic. In fact 10% of fresh salmon is sold through e-commerce, higher than most neighbouring countries. The Seafood Council report says: “Of the fresh salmon enjoyed by the South Koreans, as much as 85% is eaten as sashimi, often in Japanese restaurants or so-called ‘sashimi houses’. Salmon has also become the most popular sushi topping. “The high consumption of sashimi is reflected in several of the findings from the survey carried out by the Seafood Council.” The Council is planning a £1m plus (NOK 15m) marketing investment in Korea next autumn to try to persuade its inhabitants to eat even more salmon and it believes they will respond positively. The Seafood Council’s manager in South Korea, Mia Sæthre Bernhardsen, says in response to the survey: “The potential lies, for example, in discoveries such as increased home consumption, salmon as a sashimi king, high consumption among young people and new salmon products coming on the market. “Today, South Koreans prefer to import whole fresh salmon and then cut the fillets themselves.” This means imports of fresh fillets has been low, probably around 20% although the arrow is now pointing upwards. Bernhardsen says she is seeing innovative new processed salmon products in their stores. One of these is a product called “aged salmon”, which is matured in the fridge and wrapped in seagrass and herbs. “It gives the salmon a new and exciting taste, and will certainly reduce the smell of fish - something many South Koreans with small apartments appreciate,” she adds. So what about Japan, once renowned as one of the world’s great fish-eating countries, but where consumption is now sharply in decline? In 2019, the Japanese ate 40% more meat than seafood. The one bright spot is salmon, where consumption, at 340,000 tonnes a year, has more or less remained constant since 2016.

Less than 15% of this total is Atlantic salmon, although it is a variant on the increase, with 45,000 tonnes or 89% originating in Norway, making it by far the largest supplier. Last year, the Japanese ate over 51,000 tons of fresh Atlantic salmon, an increase of 16% on 2020. According to the survey, the main reasons for the growth are the following: • Salmon can be purchased in a variety of outlets: shops, restaurants and takeaway • Sashimi of salmon is very popular, especially among young people • The Japanese have eaten more salmon at home during the pandemic While South Koreans prefer whole fresh salmon, Japanese importers increasingly want salmon fillets which Norwegian companies are willing to supply. Seafood envoy Johan Kvalheim says Japan has stricter laws and regulations for fresh food. Storage space is in short supply and labour is expensive which means providers prefer others to do the filleting. He adds: “A large part of the salmon fillets end up as sushi topping or sashimi. In the typical kaiten sushi places where sushi goes on a conveyor belt, salmon is the most popular ingredient for the tenth year in a row. It is also the various sushi restaurants that account for most of the salmon sales in the restaurant, hotel and takeaway sector. “When it comes to fresh salmon and e-commerce, Japan is far behind South Korea. The survey shows that selection is limited and the packaging is often too large for small families or singles.” Another development is more fish is being sold in grocery chains since the pandemic – up from 75% to 90%. The survey also found most Japanese people think that it is too much of a luxury to use fresh salmon in dishes that are going to be cooked although he believes that can change. Kvalheim says: “Firstly, salmon is considered a superfood, Norwegian salmon has a unique taste and quality and Norway as a country of origin is highly valued. “Secondly, there is a great demand for high-quality products during public holidays, which we can utilise even better.” And there are plans to do that. Although Japan has a lower marketing budget than South Korea, there will be campaign activities throughout this year with special emphasis on national holiday periods.

Salmon has also become the most popular sushi topping

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06/06/2022 15:19:08


Open mind for closed cages Containment solutions could save the industry a fortune in sea lice treatments, an academic is arguing. By Vince McDonagh


ILLIONS in whatever currency you prefer to choose have been thrown at trying to crack the stubborn problem of sea lice in fish farms – so far, with relatively modest success. This issue is costing the industry dearly, at least £500m each year in Norway and more than £300m in Scotland over the past decade. According to one leading aquaculture expert, however, part of the solution could be found by taking a simpler approach. Are Nylund, a fish health professor at the University of Bergen, has been investigating the lice issue for several years and has come to the conclusion that the deeper at sea the fish farms, the healthier the fish. He has been working closely with the food research institute Nofima, and the technology organisation CtrlAQUA, which is working to make closed containment aquaculture systems more efficient. Major salmon farming companies such as Cermaq, Leroy and Mowi are collaborating in the experiment. He says avoiding lice was a significant motivation when the industry launched “closed farms” at sea. He also maintains that such facilities are not, in fact, fully closed because they release waste substances, so they should be classed as semi-closed. Suck containment systems contain fewer lice and this is why he believes they have a future. Professor Nylund, who has been researching pathogenic organisms in closed fish farms for a number of years, said: “Avoiding sea lice was an important motivating factor when the industry started establishing closed facilities at sea and they are largely successful.”


“Salmon lice are found in the upper metres of the water column, while the water intake is usually at a depth of 20 metres. This means that the salmon avoid a large part of the infestation.” However, he says there are several challenges that need to be addressed before these measures can be developed commercially. Nylund’s research in CtrlAQUA shows that many of the pathogens found in a semi-closed facility accompany the smolt from the hatchery (with the exception of the marine pathogens). The professor’s main piece of advice to fish farmers is, therefore, to ensure that the smolt they release into semi-enclosed facilities are pathogen-free. Professor Nylund contends: “This way, the breeders largely avoid getting lice into the cage. However, since the water stays significantly longer in a semi-closed cage than in an open cage, it was thought one should expect a higher infection pressure with other pathogens entering the plant. “But research shows this was not the case. Semi-closed facilities do no worse than open facilities once infection has gained entry.” He believes there are several issues that must be resolved before they can be adopted generally. “All the facilities we work with are prototypes that clearly need to be improved. They are built for calm sea and cannot be placed anywhere.” There are also improvements that can be made with fish welfare other than avoiding lice, he believes. His other main advice is to collect water at Above: Are Nylund Left: Aquafarm’s Neptun depths lower than 20 metres, because this increases the distance from the plankton 4 closed containment layer in which the lice larvae are found. farm en route to a SalMar site “The deeper you go the more you avoid Opposite: Xioaxue marine pathogens, even though the Zang, in the CtrlAQUA bacterium Tenacibaculum and the AGD lab [amoebic gill disease] amoeba will still be found (at lower depths),” he says.

The aquaculture industry should be based at sea

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CENTRE OF EXCELLENCE When asked about purifying the intake water, Nylund says such a move is theoretically possible but it is expensive because of the large amounts involved. Waste water treatment is probably an easier approach, he argues. He said it is important to tackle things one step at a time and waste water was the not the most immediate issue. “Requirements may be put in place regarding the treatment of wastewater. It is easier to treat waste water than treat intake water. “In closed facilities in the sea, which are called semi-closed because they release waste substances and thus are not completely closed, you can put out smolts and potentially have them there until they are one kilo [in weight].” Despite semi-closed facilities being more environmentally-friendly, they are still regulated as if they are open net pen farms which means that companies are not allowed to move fish across zones. Sometimes, this can present an operational challenge. Nylund supports the authorities on this issue, believing there are still too many unresolved problems to be able to relax the rules. He says: “Our research shows that as long as you do not have smolt that are free of viruses, you will get viruses in semi-closed facilities or any other aquaculture system for that matter.” However, he does not want to see a framework that is too strict, especially during the development phase. “Authorities must allow the industry to continue to develop semiclosed systems if they insist on keeping that kind of solution. “I think the aquaculture industry should be based at sea, except for smolt production. At least based on the knowledge we have today. We must focus on the sea, that is where the advantages lie, and we need to continue to develop semi-closed facilities to avoid salmon lice,” Nylund concludes.

LAUNCHED in 2015, CtrlAQUA is a centre for research-based innovation (SFI) doing research on closedcontainment aquaculture systems. The main goal is to develop technological and biological innovations that will make closed systems a reliable and economically viable technology. Closed systems can be land-based where water is recycled, or seabased, in which large floating tanks receive clean water from depth. In CtrlAQUA the research is dealing with both approaches.

The research focus is on the most sensitive phases for the salmon in the production cycle, such as the first seawater phase, the so-called post-smolt stage. However, this research is also very relevant for production all the way to harvest size in closed systems. CtrlAQUA is working to establish reliable and efficient production of post-smolts in closed systems, on land or at sea. This way, the industry can get a good and realistic alternative or supplement to the current production technology using open cages.

FishGLOBE – a unique closed fish farming technology Our vision was to create a floating sea farm that eliminates sea lice challenges, fish escapes and collects sludge. We have now delivered almost 2 million post smolt with no sea lice treatments since we started in 2019. Do you wonder how we do it? Contact us for a talk about the unique patented technology. Contact: Tor Magne Madsen on + 47 997 12 295 Email:

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06/06/2022 15:15:32


Ocean expertise As a new hub brings together the UK’s underwater and aquaculture sectors, Fish Farmer interviews CEO Neil Gordon about its ambitious aims. By Sandy Neil

T Right: Andrew Hodgson (L) and Neil Gordon Below: Saab Seaeye Falcon Opposite from top: RossShire Diving Services: biofouling assessment and mooring chain inspec�on of barge moorings; RossShire Diving Services carried out a survey to monitor the flameshell mussel beds at Mowi’s Kyleakin Feed plant


he Global Underwater Hub (GUH) is a new strategic, intelligence-led organisation aiming to transform the UK’s £8bn underwater industry into one of the largest and fastest-growing industries in the country, accelerating the drive to net-zero carbon emissions and creating high value sustainable jobs and exports. The GUH’s predecessor body was Subsea UK. The new organisation pledges: “Building on Subsea UK’s heritage and retaining the experience, knowledge, network and membership, the GUH will harness the UK’s combined underwater expertise in engineering, environmental science, technology, services and skills, to enable companies to successfully compete in the underwater sectors of offshore energy, defence, aquaculture, telecoms, and subsea mining.” The GUH announced its new board in May, joining Chief Executive Neil Gordon and Chairman Andrew Hodgson. The 10 new members come from a range of backgrounds across the blue economy including defence, the renewable energy sector and aquaculture – the latter in the form of Heather Jones, CEO of SAIC, the Sustainable Aquaculture Innovation Centre. “The Global Underwater Hub brings the underwater community and supply chain together,” Neil Gordon says. The hub acts as a go-between between underwater services and other sectors, making challenges and solutions more visible. “Our job is to try and help organisations to find the solutions and companies that can solve problems for them, particularly from a Scottish and UK context,” he explains. An underwater service solving

technological problems in one sector, say offshore wind farms or oil and gas, could transfer those solutions to aquaculture. The GUH has identified aquaculture as a key sector and Gordon sees three main areas for growth within it: remote monitoring and operating systems; engineering for deeper and further offshore environments; and contained or semi-enclosed systems. He says: “How can we manage these offshore farms, using technology? Can we look at a way of powering these systems, if they are further offshore? What kind of data can we acquire? What kind of sensors do we need to use to monitor the health of the fish, and the condition of the nets and the containment systems? Also what can we do in feeding systems, about quantifying how much food is necessary? “We are also seeing more need for sensortype technology, so we can monitor the condition of the environment, measuring the size of fish, and what amount of feed is being provided. There are challenges that come with overfeeding, because you get a lot of food waste, which can also add to issues on the seabed. “Another area that comes up is how do you control sea lice? If we know what causes those issues, or what the conditions are, we can look at engineering solutions. These could be: how do you move cold water from deeper areas into the farm to reduce the infestation of lice, or can you look at systems that move up and down the column of water? There are some really interesting ways of trying to address the problem.” The second growth area is underwater engineering. As fish farms get larger, and go

and further offshore, they will be exposed to more volatile wave and weather conditions. “There is a huge amount of capability in this country to engineer structures that can float, and be moored, and kept on station,” Gordon says. “Think about what has happened in oil and gas and the offshore wind industry: putting structures where they are going to be hit by much more dynamic environments.” Fish farm nets, he added, could require flotation systems to create buoyancy, for going to the surface and sinking again. “There is a lot of existing technology that could be transferred across to looking at new designs.” The third area is contained or semi-enclosed systems, where solutions to challenges elsewhere in the world can be applied at home. “There are real challenges, but great opportunities, for a lot of the existing capability we have here in Scotland and across the UK,” he says. The GUH is based in Aberdeen and over the next 12-18 months it will be opening two more hubs in England. “We are based in Westhill in Aberdeenshire, and we have two other hubs being developed, one in Newcastle, and one in Bristol, strategically to cover the north and south of England,” Gordon says. “Within those three hubs there will be what we call spokes, so it will reach into other parts of the regions. In Scotland, we will be looking at putting four smaller spoke hubs to make sure that it’s inclusive.” One such Scottish underwater service provider is specialist marine engineering company Ocean Kinetics in Shetland. Its managing director John Henderson says: “We have introduced and adapted new technologies to become the leading provider of engineering solutions to this very important sector in Scotland’s economy. “We have mastered fish-handling challenges in the fish catching and aquaculture industries, and we are experts at developing both mechanical and biological waste-water treatment systems for fish farming hatcheries and factories. Not to mention, our expertise in corrosion prevention and underwater construction has taken us worldwide.” Henderson says: “In Shetland, our custombuilt premises opened in 2012. From here – and our strategic bases in Aberdeen and Oban – we service clients right across the UK, and overseas.” Since 2017, Ross-shire Diving Services Ltd has been providing high quality underwater services to fish farms, ports and harbours in north-west Scotland and the Isle of Skye. The company has a core of experienced divers with more than 50 years combined experience and more than 300 dives a year in the aquaculture sector. Core services provided include – but are not limited to – net and mooring inspections,

anchor recovery and vessel assistance. Ross-shire director, Brian Watson, says: “We have invested in the future with the acquisition of new assets to provide remotely operated vehicle (ROV) inspections alongside our new workboat currently under construction at Northwind engineering’s yard in Kishorn, due for launch in August 2022.” The workboat is a 16m catamaran equipped with two 230Hp engines, an 18.5 tonne/meter crane, two five tonne capstans, a five tonne towing winch, moon-pool and accommodation for four. Ross-shire’s newest acquisition is the VideoRay mission specialist defender, making it the only diving company in the UK to own this tough, versatile ROV. At the other end of the country, in Fareham, sits the underwater e-robotics company Saab Seaeye. A company spokesperson said: “Offshore aquaculture operators look to technology to ensure cages are installed safely and kept healthy – and to reduce the need for divers to work in hazardous and arduous conditions. “With cages getting larger, moving further offshore and into deeper, harsher conditions, robots are an essential resource in net construction and anchorage security, as well as hygiene management, water sampling and maintenance. “For bigger and more remote cages, advances in technologies make it possible for resident robots to remain ready to undertake routine inspection and intervention both autonomously and over distant control – using the same resident robot technology adapted from systems Saab Seaeye has developed for the offshore energy market. “The Falcon’s success has come from its uniquely adaptable design and its power and agility to operate in confined spaces and strong currents. A record million hours underwater makes the Falcon a reliable choice and its intelligent control system makes ‘plug and play’ task configuration easy, maintenance easy, and with no thruster shaft seals to service or inspect it is ideal for aquaculture operations.”

Our job is to try and help organisations to find the solutions and companies that can solve problems for them



Filling the gap The world will need an extra 40 million tonnes of aquafeed by 2030, but from where?


quafeed is big business. The 2022 Alltech AgriFood Outlook, based on data from more than 140 countries, estimates that international feed tonnage – for livestock and aquaculture combined – increased by 2.3% in 2021, year-on-year, to a total of 1.235 billion tonnes. Aquafeed grew faster than this, with an increase of 3.7%. The Alltech report says: “Recirculating aquaculture systems (RAS) are becoming more prevalent, and consumer demand for fish is on the rise. Markets with ASF [Asian swine flu] challenges saw additional growth due to their reduced pork supply.” The growth of aquaculture production means that, although the proportion of marine ingredients in aquafeed has reduced – substituted with, for example, increasing use of soya and new ingredients such as algal oil – aquaculture’s share of world fishmeal


and fish oil has increased enormously over the past half century. From a negligible share in 1960, aquaculture’s share of fishmeal production has risen to more than 30% in 2000 and above 70% in 2020. It is a similar story with fish oil. Feed producer Skretting estimates that aquaculture production is likely to go up by another 32% between 2018 (the date of the last UN survey of the sector) and 2030. This, Skretting estimates, will create demand for an additional 40 million tonnes of aquafeed. Speaking at Seafood Expo Global in Barcelona earlier this year, Petter Johannesen – Director-General of IFFO, the marine ingredients organisation – said this means that the debate over marine vs “novel” ingredients in feed needs to be put in context. As he put it: “Instead of discussing ‘replacing’ ingredients in aquafeed, I think we need to add both new [non-marine] and marine ingredients.” In fact, IFFO’s report for the first three months of this year shows that, for the countries covered in the survey (accounting for about half of world production), Q1 production remained at the average level for 2013-2021. In March of this year, the marine raw material used around the world was 6% less than the figure for Q1 2020. In terms of fishmeal production, India, the Iceland/North Atlantic area and the African countries were the only regions considered in the IFFO report which increased their

Above: Fish feed Left: Fishmeal factor, Myanmar Opposite from top: Black soldier fly larvae; Carlos Diaz

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cumulative output during the first three months of 2022. For fish oil, the US, the Northern European area and the African countries were the regions that reported a year-on-year increase.

Six-legged solutions Clearly, relying on an increased catch of wild fish to satisfy the demand for aquafeed

Relying on an increased catch of wild fish… is not a sustainable solution

is not a sustainable solution, and we’re increasingly seeing feed companies working with specialist producers and start-ups to explore the use of new, non-marine elements. For example, international feed business Adisseo recently announced a collaboration with insect producer Entobel, which specialises in black soldier fly (BSF) production. Adisseo and Entobel are working together on R&D to discover how best to feed BSF larvae in order to convert them into fish and animal feed. In a joint statement the companies said: “By evaluating the interest and adaptation of the existing solutions they aim to improve production of insect meal, focused on the performance of the insects and the quality of this protein meal, prioritising the way to control the ingredients used to feed insects, and their complementarities with the most important feed additives, like methionine and enzymes.” As natural “bioconverters”, insects can feed on what would otherwise be unusable waste products, in turn providing feed for those creatures that humans find to be more palatable. Entobel has a long expertise in insect production and processing, and it is one of the most advanced and agile insect players in Asia, with more than two years of stable production track record at its current site in South Vietnam. As reported in our review of Aquaculture UK (see feature starting page 54), feed group BioMar is aiming to reduce its dependence on marine ingredients, encourage the circular economy and reduce the aquaculture sector’s carbon footprint, all under the group’s “Blue Impact” initiative. BioMar Chief Executive Carlos Diaz, launching the group’s “2030 Ambitions” last year, said: “Humanity has burdened our planet and pushed beyond planetary boundaries. We must strive beyond

Choose Mowi Feed to rear strong, healthy fish Mowi’s feed mill in Kyleakin on the Isle of Skye produces feed for salmon and trout at all lifecycle stages and for fresh and seawater environments. R&D is central to everything we do at Mowi Feed and ongoing field trials inform our approach to optimising raw materials, growth rates and animal robustness. We have a robust policy on sustainability and all ingredients used in fish feed are traceable. Mowi also holds certifications for feed production according to the GlobalGAP CFM, Label Rouge and organic (Naturland and Soil Association) standards and we are already working towards gaining accreditation to the forthcoming ASC Fish Feed Standard. Mowi is regularly audited by many of the major European retailers and comply with the quality standards prescribed by a wide diversity of retail outlets. We offer bulk deliveries using our own vessels and we can deliver in bags by sea or road transport.

To find out more contact: +44 7817 099 334

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FEED sufficient, healthy, quality seafood for future generations.” The fish, at the harvest stage, contain more omega-3 fatty acids than other products on the market, Skretting says.

Tailor-made feeds

The pandemic has emphasised the need for sustainable, healthy and local foods

From the top: Hatko Aquaculture fish farm, Turkey; Algal oil; sea bream; Pacific white shrimp; Industrial disc dryer used in the crea�on of fishmeal


sustainability and innovate with solutions that restore the planet while supporting its people.” BioMar’s collaboration with Deep Branch, a company that has developed a novel protein, Proton, derived from a microbe fed on clean CO2 from industrial production, and hydrogen, is just one example of what the group is doing in practice. Another example is BioMar’s agreement, announced in April, with environmental group the Earthworm Foundation to drive responsible shrimp projects in Ecuador. The full value chain collaboration will not only include deforestation-free aquafeeds but also capacity-building initiatives to drive social change and sustainability best practices in the region.

Another way to omega-3 Omega-3 oil, a critically important element in marine ingredients, can be substituted with oil derived directly from algae rather than from the zooplankton and fish further up the food chain. Last month, feed producer Skretting announced the results from a trial it has been carrying out with sea bream and sea bass in Turkey, in collaboration with algal oil producer Veramaris, retailer Metro Turkey and fish farm business Hatko Aquaculture. The sea bream and sea bass produced in the project have been fed a specialised feed – Marine Omega™ – from Skretting Turkey, containing Veramaris algal oil to maximise both the EPA & DHA omega-3 content, and reduce the inclusion of marine ingredients in the feed. In this first phase of the project, 150 tonnes of fish have been fed Marine Omega, with 180 tonnes of marine ingredients being substituted. Following the first harvest, the products have been introduced to the market by Metro Turkey The project started in 2021, and Skretting Turkey is encouraged by the results so far. Pinar Demir Soker, Technical Manager, says: “The pandemic has emphasised the need for sustainable, healthy and local foods and revealed consumer expectations for companies to continue their operations in a conscious, transparent and ethical manner. Through our global expertise in feed, we have developed a product that is a part of the solution in the journey of sustainability in food, so that we can leave

Specialist feed requirements require specialist solutions. Reed Mariculture, which focuses mainly on feed for aquariums and hatcheries – for a wide range of sectors from fish farming and shrimp production to bivalve shellfish – grows its own zooplankton, reducing dependence on harvesting directly from the sea. Feed producers have also had to adapt to new species. For example, World Feeds, which started as a supplier to public aquariums and the hobby market, now also provides specialist feed blocks for cleaner fish like lumpfish and wrasse. These fish share pens with salmon but they feed in a very different way and their aquafeed needs to take account of this. Finally, technology is increasingly helping to minimise waste and maximise fish welfare. At Aquaculture UK, aquatech company Bluegrove showcased an artificial intelligenceled feeding system, which combines data gathered from hydroacoustic sensors with biological and environmental data. While a camera sees about 1% to 3% of the cage, hydroacoustics can observe about 70% of the entire cage, Bluegrove says. The feeding system recognises patterns in the behaviour of the fish. Guided by the online dashboard, farmers know exactly when and how much to feed the fish, based on data and objective analysis of fish behaviour and appetite. The system can even feed fully autonomously. Finnish company Arvo-Tec also combines a smart feed system with data collection to help farmers manage their stock. Focusing on RAS (recirculating aquaculture systems) facilities, Arvo-Tec is, for example, helping Finnish trout farmer FinnForel to plan ahead and manage complete year-round production, including ensuring that production of feed pellets matches actual demand at different stages of the year. Feed is possibly the most significant cost for the aquaculture sector, but getting it right is also crucial for the industry’s reputation, in terms of sustainability and welfare.

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Your fish feed specialist

Working together to


science into sustainable farming

Find out more at:

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When does a Sea Pen become an Aquarium? Multi-species feeding strategies from the aquarium experts


orld Feeds Ltd has been making huge strides improving cleaner fish health, welfare and efficacy against sea lice. Their unique VAF Feed Blocks have been embraced by 6 of the 7 largest salmon producers in Scotland, with major farms in Norway also on board to reap the multitude of benefits their feeding strategies offer for what are essentially multi-species enclosures. Acknowledging concerns about the welfare of cleaner fish in commercial salmon pens, World Feeds introduced the VAF Feed Block as a hugely innovative, strategic and effective solution. The company operates on the simple premise of “improving the way fish are fed” and carry a storied history developing pioneering, practical methods of feed delivery for vast multi-species exhibits in the public aquarium industry. They maintain that providing fish with the optimum means of obtaining the feed is of equal importance to the quality of the nutritional content itself. Their specialist aquatic feeds and strategies are trusted by many of the largest public aquariums worldwide. Dubai Mall Aquarium & Underwater Zoo, which houses an 11-million-litre multi-species ocean reef tank, have exclusively used World Feeds products since inauguration in 2008. They now feed over 30,000 fish of 200+ species with a carefully selected mix of World Feeds’ range of diets – recognizing the nutritional and welfare benefits to their fish, as well as the logistical and financial advantages for the business. World Feeds designs and develops efficient solutions to overcome the challenges of feeding multi-species enclosures. They produce highly digestible feeds, from flakes, pellets and micronized flake particles for filter feeders to grazers and feed blocks, even including a unique and innovative technique for feeding sharks. Most pertinent to the aquaculture industry are the company’s distinctive grazing diets – an original concept that informed development of the VAF Feed Block. In aquariums, grazing diets are strategically suspended in key locations to facilitate natural grazing behaviour and create observation opportunities. In aquaculture, this principle is applied as a means of dispersing the cleaner fish around the pen, maximising their exposure to sea lice. The water-stable blocks maintain integrity when in the water – so pieces do not crumble or break away without being bitten off. This method of presentation is targeted specifically at the natural feeding habits of cleaner fish. Unlike salmon, these demersal species feed by gravitating around the feed block and graze by taking small bites. The grooved texture of the block is explicitly designed to allow the distinct mouth parts of cleaner species to gain better purchase on the feed, providing optimum grazing potential. Salmon, being pelagic feeders, ignore the blocks, feeding in the mid-water column on

Improving the way fish are fed food that appears in front of their faces. World Feeds Managing Director, Peter Kersh, asserts “The fact there has never been a dedicated diet like the VAF Feed Block on the market is likely why there have been so many concerns surrounding cleaner fish welfare in the first place.” Studies and trials using the blocks have recorded stable, controlled growth rates, significantly reduced mortality and less aggression during feeding. All results indicative of a marked improvement to cleaner fish general health and welfare – in turn improving their efficacy as sea lice hunters. World Feeds is now bolstering the effectiveness of the range by trialling the feed blocks at the hatchery stage. Several operations, including Ocean Matters and Otter Ferry, noted that this early-stage exposure helped to acclimate the fish to grazing on blocks, leading them to habitually gather at depth in selected locations for feeding. This behavioural practice becoming ingrained at the hatchery stage enables even greater effectiveness of VAF’s feeding strategies once the adult cleaner fish reach the sea pen.

Top: Dubai Mall Aquarium, Underwater Zoo Above: VAF Feed Block loaded Left: World Feeds, mul� species feeding


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Health program to support fish immunocompetence during critical periods


hronic stress such as high water temperature or high densities tend to overwhelm the immune system and open the door for disease to appear. Over years of experience gained in controlled conditions experiments and farm testing, ADISSEO has developed and optimized health-promoting additives and application strategies to support fish immunocompetency and reduce the severity of infections under today´s production conditions. Recent data proves that ADISSEO health strategies based on SANACORE® GM and APEX® can reinforce the immune response of key immunocompetent tissues such as gut, liver, kidney and skin mucus. Specifically in marine fish, evidence on the mechanisms underlying better immunocompetency is supported by significant effects on reducing the severity of parasitic infections such as Enteromyxum and Sparicotyle, and of bacterial infections such as Pasteurella.

Above: School of gilt-head bream Right: Fish farm and workers

For more info, contact Adisseo.

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act is mate goals urney Blue Impact:

Transforming Aquaculture

The aquaculture industry must contribute to the global food challenge of feeding an ever-growing population. To achieve success, it is estimated that global food production will need to double by 2050. For this to happen, significant changes throughout the sector are inevitable. Reducing the environmental impact whilst improving the social aspects are natural steps in sustainable aquaculture development. At the same time, the importance of a sound economic sector must not be underestimated. Economics are a key driver in accelerating any change in any sector. No compromise

Blue Impact is BioMar’s global brand dedicated to sustainability and driving change in aquaculture. It is centred around aqua feeds lowering carbon emissions, utilising more circular and restorative raw materials, and minimising ingredients derived from wild fish stocks. In the past, when creating diets, it has always been a juggling act to ensure we meet our farmers sustainability targets without taking away from other important aspects. Blue Impact is our first ‘no compromise’ feed that will allow farmers to meet their sustainability targets without having to make sacrifices with regard to their environmental, social, or economic aspirations. At the same time, the feed will optimise performance and fish health. Finally, every portion of Blue Impact fed salmon, offers all the benefits to human health of well-balanced omega 3 and 6 levels. Blue Impact will be the catalyst for driving change. We will use applied, science-based sustainability methods to select low impact ingredients to progressively transform aquaculture. Novel


ingredients with a sustainable profile will be first included in Blue Impact feeds.

Environmental impact

Increasing aquaculture production sounds easy, but the true challenge is that we aim to achieve this without taking more fish from the ocean or using more agricultural land for crops. The overall objective to reduce global greenhouse gasses has been adopted by various industries and many companies. Companies that are reporting on their Above: Sco�sh Sea Farms sustainability efforts are doing their utmost Lober Rock to lower the emissions through scopes 1 Opposite: Blue Impact and 2. For scope 3, companies are looking at or collaborating with their suppliers and buyers. The International Panel on Climate

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Change has set a clear target for the world to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050, but in the next 8 years we should have already reduced emissions by 50%. As aqua feed contributes up to 80% of most environmental impacts in aqua-culture production, we at BioMar take our responsibility seriously. We are working together with our raw material suppliers to stop deforestation. We are investigating how to restore degraded lands. We have allied with partners to convert CO2 into durable carbon. And we need to work together to increase food production efficiencies and reduce food losses.

Social impact

In addition to reducing the environmental impact, we also continue to improve the social sustainability of the industry. With this, our first Blue Impact salmon feed focuses first and foremost on the health aspects for both humans and fish. Omega-3 fatty acids are essential to human health and must be sourced through our diet as the human body cannot produce them itself. Fatty fish like salmon is known to be rich in omega-3. However, just like humans, farmed salmon require omega-3 to boost their health, robustness, and growth. Farmed salmon have traditionally got their omega-3 through the inclusion of fishmeal and fish oil in their diet. Producing these is extremely resource intensive, with a third of the global fish stocks going toward making fish meal and fish oil. Through novel ingredients such as AlgaPrime™, Blue Impact utilises low-trophic ingredients, bypassing the food chain and going directly to the source of these important nutrients. This will allow us to increase the amount of omega-3, without taking anything away from the natural food chain and helping restore these ecosystems. Another issue was created with the growing inclusion of plant materials, up from 20% in 1990 to 70% in 2020. The fat composition of farmed salmon changed to higher levels of omega-6. Most people consuming a regular Western diet have a ratio that is out of balance in favour of omega-6. The social challenge for Blue Impact, in which we succeeded, was finding

ways to restore the balance and offer a rich source of both omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids without overfishing the oceans or compromising on the natural health benefits of salmon.

Economic Impact

Any industry needs to produce products that consumers want and are willing to pay for to be profitable and sustainable. Profitability of a sector will fund the necessary change and help to attract financial investments. The image of the aquaculture industry and salmon farming in particular are causing pressure on economic results. Although, in the past years, salmon prices have been rewarding, the underlying criticism of salmon farming practices are evident and pose serious economic challenges for the future. Doubling aquaculture production implies expansion of capacity: larger or new sites. The opposition and protein competition are, however, quite active and we have seen licences being suspended or even withdrawn in certain parts of the world. The industry’s licence to operate salmon farms depends on sustainable development of the industry to be able to capture the enormous growth potential that lies ahead. Whether land-based or going offshore, access to financial solutions will be crucial to fund these developments and finance is tending more and more to projects that classify as sustainable or green.

Blue Impact

As sustainability leaders, BioMar strive for continued improvements to support sustainable aquaculture growth. We must ensure we are always on the front foot. That’s why, despite launching the first ever sustainable diet at this scale and scope, Blue Impact will continue to make improvements, drive sustainable practices, and transform aquaculture.

Blue Impact will be the catalyst for driving change

Blue Impact is for meeting climate goals The blue journey

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A new take on FIFO Aquaculture produces more fish than it consumes, as a new model demonstrates. By Björn Kok, Wesley Malcorps, Richard Newton and Dave Little


recent study from researchers at three UK universities (Cambridge, Lancaster and Liverpool) and the NGO Feedback Global argued that humans should be consuming small pelagic fish like sardines and anchovies instead of using them for marine ingredients (fishmeal and fish oil) in aquaculture and livestock feeds. It was argued that aquaculture would be imposing rather than relieving pressure on fish stocks, due to the use of marine ingredients. The “Fish In: Fish Out” (FIFO) ratio quantifies how much wild fish is used to produce farmed fish and is the principal metric used to measure the impact of aquaculture on wild fish stocks. Yet, the traditional FIFO metric fails to account for different sources of fishmeal and fish oil, such as fish by-products, which have a relatively lower impact on fish stocks than wild fish. The strategic utilisation of fish by-products in feed results in a more efficient use of valuable marine resources. The new proposed method “economic Fish In: Fish Out” (eFIFO) includes market factors (value) by applying economic allocation to the production of marine ingredients. This economic allocation reflects the socio-economic drivers for marine ingredient production. eFIFO achieves this by attributing higher value to ingredients that are more limited, and therefore have a higher economic value. In many existing FIFO calculations, the fish used for the production of fishmeal and the fish used for the production of fish oil are partially double counted, as the proportionate inclusion of fishmeal and fish oil in feeds is rarely the same as the relative yields from rendering. Different aquaculture species have varying requirements for the inclusion of fishmeal and fish oil, where production of some leads to spare fishmeal and others to spare fish oil compared to the yield. For example, the production of salmon uses relatively more fish oil, resulting in spare fishmeal that can be used for the production of other species. The eFIFO methodology works on the principle of “embodied fish” which is attributed based on the relative economic value of fish oil and fishmeal, and that of by-products compared to, e.g., fillets. Historically, the relatively higher price of fish oil leads to relatively


higher allocation of “embodied fish” to fish oil compared to fishmeal using the eFIFO methodology. Species with high fish oil requirements, such as salmon, will therefore have a relatively higher eFIFO score. Similarly the economic value of by-products is used to attribute an amount of embodied fish to these by-products. As a result, the utilisation of by-products results in a lower eFIFO ratio. In this way, eFIFO represents the quantity of marine resources used and their economic value, providing feed producers with a sustainability metric that is more representative of the motivations and sustainability challenges facing the industry. With these principles in mind, the eFIFO method avoids double counting wild fish resources for aquaculture production. The eFIFO calculations show that efforts to reduce the dependency of aquaculture on marine resources by alternative feed ingredients have significantly improved the efficient utilisation of marine resources. From a global industry perspective, results show that almost all aquaculture species groups assessed are net producers of fish, while farm-raised salmon and trout are net neutral, producing as much fish biomass as consumed. Of the species groups analysed in Above: Should anchovies this research, only the production of eel is a be used for fish and net consumer of fish.

Adoption of eFIFO would enable policy makers … to make better informed choices

A toolkit to assess sustainability The eFIFO score will also be useful in combination with Life Cycle Analysis (LCA), which is used to measure the environmental impact of a product throughout its entire life

animal feed? Opposite: Fish oil fetches a higher price than fishmeal

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cycle, from inputs to disposal. Impacts that are most often considered are greenhouse gas emissions or climate change, land use, water use and scarcity, eutrophication and acidification. However, assessments of impact on marine resources are often lacking. Previous methods for calculating the FIFO ratio are incompatible with Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) because of a lack of allocation of co- and by-products. Because the eFIFO method applies economic allocation, it aligns with other impact categories in LCA software using similar allocation strategies allowing for comparison of trade-offs between marine ingredient use compared to LCA impact categories providing more nuanced analysis. Sustainability certification and rating schemes still use old FIFO calculation methods that underestimate the efficiency gains in marine ingredient use made by the aquaculture and marine ingredient sectors. Adoption of eFIFO would enable policy makers and stakeholders in the industry to make better informed choices based on a calculation method that takes circular economy principles into account, and this could be a powerful stimulus to greater use and innovation in the utilisation of fish by-products. Such a strategy contributes to the sustainable growth of the aquaculture industry and its crucial role in the global food system. “Fish as feed: Using economic allocation to quantify the Fish In : Fish Out ratio of major fed aquaculture species.” Aquaculture, 528. Kok et al. aquaculture.2020.735474 See also the Institute of Aquaculture’s explanatory video youtu. be/8iXDVL7gqf8 AUTHORS: Björn Kok, Institute of Aquaculture, University of Stirling, UK & Blonk Sustainability Tools, The Netherlands | Wesley Malcorps, Institute of Aquaculture, University of Stirling, UK | Richard Newton, Institute of Aquaculture, University of Stirling, UK | Dave Little, Institute of Aquaculture, University of Stirling, UK.

WHAT WE LEARNED • Almost all species groups assessed in this study are net producers of fish, producing more fish biomass than consumed on average. • Global fed aquaculture produces 3-4x as much fish as it consumes. Atlantic salmon and trout aquaculture are net neutral, producing as much fish biomass as is consumed. • Some Fish In: Fish Out methods misrepresents wild fish use and do not consider the increasing share of fish by-products used in fish feed. • The economic FIFO (eFIFO) method uses economic allocation that gives a higher impact to the limiting feed ingredient (fish oilmeal versus fishmeal oil), reflecting socio-economic drivers of capture fisheries. • Attributing fish inclusion based on economic value results in lower impacts for by-product derived marine ingredients compared to unprocessed forage fish. • Using the eFIFO, rather than conventional FIFO, would encourage by-product use and circular economy principles to lower the overall fish use. Source: Björn Kok et al

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More Aviemore After four years people in the industry were more than ready to get back together, and Aquaculture UK provided the ideal setting. By Robert Outram


he big tent was back at Aviemore and, for three days, the aquaculture community was able once more to meet, greet and deal. Aquaculture UK’s 2022 show, on 3-5 May, had been long-awaited – the previous event took place in 2018 and, of course, the pandemic put paid to the show planned for 2020. This time there were more than 2,600 visitors, over the three days of the exhibition and conference, up 9% on the figure for the 2018 show. It was the first for Diversified Communications as organisers, with the company having taken over the running of the event prior to what would have been the 2020 show. Cheri Arvonio, Event Director with Diversified Communications, said the company’s first Aquaculture UK had exceeded even their highest expectations: “There was a real buzz about this unique event and the feedback we have had so far from exhibitors and visitors has been incredible. “Aquaculture UK certainly lived up to its reputation as the UK’s number one exhibition for the aquaculture community and we are already looking forward to building on this year’s success as we plan for the next gathering in 2024.” As reported in last month’s Fish Farmer, Aquaculture UK 2022 was opened by Scotland’s Rural Affairs Minister, Mairi Gougeon, who took the opportunity to pledge “rapid progress” on implementing reforms to aquaculture regulation following the hard-hitting report from Professor Russel Griggs earlier this year (see also page 54 of this issue). Salmon Scotland held its AGM in Aviemore, where it elected two new members to its board from the supply chain. Ben Wilson, managing director of Inverlussa Marine Services, and Jarl van den Berg, general manager of Hendrix Genetics, will represent


suppliers as Salmon Scotland expands its membership to reflect the interests not only of salmon producers but also the many businesses that are involved in the industry, from egg to plate. The Macdonald Highland Resort at Aviemore was also the venue for the UK Aquaculture Awards (see May’s Fish Farmer). For Norwegian company FiiZK – which earlier this year merged with fellow semiclosed cage system producer Ecomerden – Aquaculture UK wasn’t just a chance to catch up with other companies in the industry, but to meet its Scottish-based staff, having opened the office only a year and half previously.

Top: Panoramic view from Aquaculture UK Above: Visitors at Aquaculture UK Right: Kerr Compressors in the courtyard

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Ashleigh Currie, Fish Health and Business Development Manager for UK & Ireland with FiiZK, said: “Everyone was in high spirits and happy catching up with old and new faces. For FiiZK, we felt that the energy we have been putting into highlighting what we do as an aquaculture supplier was really recognised at this show, with the level of interest from a broad range of visitors, including fish farmers, other suppliers of technology, and conservation groups.” She added: “Trade shows are really important for all attending, albeit exhausting! But on a serious note, it’s a way to maximise on getting the ‘what we do’ message out there in a relaxed and fun environment. I met lots of new people that had heard of FiiZK but weren’t 100% sure what we did or what our ethos as a company was and that’s where you finish the threeday event thinking, I know I could sleep for a week, but it was definitely worth it!” Crane and lifting gear specialists HS Marine found their stand very popular, with the added incentive of some fine Italian wine, beer and parmesan cheese to provide some refreshment at the show. Simone Boiocchi, Marketing Manager with HS Marine, said the feedback from his team was that “we were very happy”. He said that being able to attend trade shows was important: “It’s very different to meet in person rather than using an app on your computer!”

It’s been an exceptionally long gap, for a show that is normally biennial. Jack Barclay, Managing Director with Unst Inshore Services, makers of Fluggaboats, commented: “The break helped us in one way and didn’t in another. So all in all it was very welcome when it did happen. The Aquaculture show is the best venue for us and this year was the best yet, whether that was due to the break or just that we had a good product is debatable. “It is very important for us to get to meet customers at trade shows. Being based in the far north of Shetland, we are pretty far out of the loop for customers to visit us. Nothing can beat having a chat in person to gauge a customer’s needs and how we can help them.” Barclay said there had been some welcome changes: “Four years ago there was one large marquee, this year there were two and at the next one, there are plans for three. The way it is run now is much more professional and exhibitors are upping their game accordingly. To be accepted as a participant in an event like this gives us confidence that this venue is the right one for us. “We have already booked and have plans for the next show!” It was a good show for Ace Aquatec which picked up an award for its work developing its humane fish stunner.

There was a real buzz about this unique event

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Tara McGregor-Woodhams, Chief Marketing Officer with Ace Aquatec, said: “We were delighted, not only to exhibit again at Aquaculture UK this year, but be awarded the Animal Welfare Award alongside Stirling University. This was a great way to celebrate the successes of innovators attending, particularly after ceremonies being cancelled or going online in the past.” She added: “Over the next 12 months, we’ll be focusing on working with producers and supermarkets in our key regions to show them what we’ve achieved and how in-water electric stunning can help them meet their welfare and sustainability targets.” She noted, however, that Aviemore, in the heart of the Scottish Highlands, can be difficult to get to and suggested: “I’d like to see the exhibition take place in a more central location like Edinburgh or Glasgow to make it more accessible for prospective overseas clients and companies to exhibit at.” Alan Dykes Key Accounts Manager with Elanco in the UK, Faroes and Ireland, commented: “Although the show was no different to previous years, the response to being together again after such a long time apart was plainly evident. He said: “Being able to get together face to face is an extremely important factor within any farming industry where you have a massive geographical spread of workers and companies who rarely have the opportunity to mingle and interact. Aquaculture UK is one


We have already booked and have plans for the next show!

From the top: The Gael Force SeaQure pen; HS Marine crane on display; Flugga workboat

of the very few times in the year where everyone, including site staff, can meet up and socialise. For this reason, in-person trade shows are extremely important.” “We were happy with the show, its always good to catch up with people and do some networking,” said Marcus Sanctuary, Manager at Tom Morrow Tarpaulins. He added: “We wanted to show people that we are growing and creating new products and better relationships. Being a small local Scottish company and standing shoulder to shoulder with the bigger companies makes us proud of our roots.” Cameron Kerr, Director, Kerr Compressor Engineers commented: “Four years is a long time between exhibitions and yet once we were in Aviemore for the Aquaculture UK 2022 event, it didn’t really feel any different and it was surprising how familiar and comfortable it felt to be meeting up again with the Scottish, UK and international Aquaculture community. “We were very happy with the whole event and credit to all the hard-working Aquaculture UK team and the new organisers, Diversified Communications, for delivering a well organised, busy and successful event.” He added: “There was a calm and relaxed feel about the show but also a real ‘buzz’ in the marquee on the middle Wednesday when the show was at its busiest.” Kerr Compressor Engineers exhibited a full range of the company’s energy efficient and reliable KAESER KOMPRESSOREN rotary blowers, MOBILAIR portable compressors, rotary screw compressors and reciprocating compressors, occupying two prominent stand positions inside and outside the marquee. Finally, congratulations to the three winners of Fish Farmer’s daily whisky prize draw for visitors to the magazine’s stand. They were: Matthew Heyman of Acteon Group; Nils-Per Sjastad of Simona Stadpipe; and Promek’s Kenneth Ramberghaug. All three took away a bottle of Tomintoul Speyside single malt whisky. Slainte!

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An open mind for closed solutions

The reliance on RAS systems for post-smolts could be an expensive mistake, argues one aquaculture expert


molts have a better chance of thriving if they are allowed to grow larger and stronger, prior to being moved into pens at sea. But is RAS (recirculating aquaculture systems) technology the best way to manage that? Gael Force’s Group Managing Director, Stewart Graham, hosted a Meet the Expert session at Aquaculture UK with Knut Senstad, an experienced biologist and fish farming professional. Senstad has been analysing post-smolt strategy in Norway and Scotland and his conclusions are stark: the Norwegian industry’s approach to managing post-smolts is failing - or at least needs to be properly analysed. The stated policy for the industry (particularly in Norway), he said, has been to allow the smolt to grow in RAS facilities before transferring them to the sea. He pointed out, however, that it has taken 15 years to get just 17% of smolts in 2020 from such facilities, with an average weight of 250g. He warned: “If you don’t do the simulation exercise before you make the decision, there is a 50% chance that you will fail.” Approximately half of 150 post-smolt simulated generations, he said, show, however, that the total cost per individual at harvest is greater using RAS. So, he argued, unless the survival of RAS-grown post-smolt is greatly improved there will not be any direct economic benefit.


Many simulations show the opposite, he said; for example a 500g post-smolt may cost £4.00 more per fish whereas a normal smolt costs £1.25, so more than two-thirds of current losses would need to be avoided for this approach to be economic. The benefits of a reduction in sea lice treatments must also be considered for each region. Another typical mistake, he said, was to maintain the water temperature in RAS systems at too high a level, so fish are maturing at too small a size. He listed problems for the current system of post-smolt RAS and grow-out in open net-pens at sea: “Increasing production costs, high mortality, extremely costly farming licences and difficulty in finding new locations.” Without being clear about goals, he warned, projects are unlikely to succeed. A severe situation faces first movers, as they move up to larger smolt sizes, since RAS systems and biofilters have been constructed to deal with lower feed loads. Senstad said: “You will need to carry out multiple post-smolt planning exercises for each region, ranking potential goals, evaluating which is a priority and narrowing these to realistic goals.” Senstad has done the modelling himself and he compared the outcomes from both approaches. In both cases, his figures assume grow-out to an average weight of 5.5kg. Using the RAS approach, he said, time at sea can be reduced from

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Make a decision based on facts – not one based on what everyone else is doing Top left Salmon smolt Left: Stewart Graham Above: Knut Senstad

66 weeks to 39 weeks, with basic losses cut from 13% down to 7% for each generation, although if sea lice mitigation operations are still to take place any treatment losses should be added to these basic levels. RAS reduces losses but it is an expensive approach. There is another option, Senstad explained. An enclosed floating cage, in the sea, using an oxygenated water column, has many of the advantages of RAS with less cost and risk. Because the water is drawn from lower levels in the sea it minimises the risks from sea lice. Adding waste collection can also help to achieve a circular economy. Semi-closed systems also use less power – from 0.7-1.0 kwh to 1.25 kwh per 1 kg of fish produced, compared with 3.0 kwh for RAS. Senstad also noted that for more than five years, around 50 semienclosed units have been operating in Norway, and to his knowledge there have been no failures reported as regards pumping or oxygenation. He said not all locations may be suitable, but the concept appears to be able to cope with wave heights up to around 2.5m. Post-smolt costs per fish: RAS vs semi-closed containment To 100g weight - RAS £2.80 - Semi-closed £1.98 To 600g weight - RAS £4.80 - Semi-closed £2.63 A number of manufacturers are already developing semi-closed systems. Gael Force’s own offering – part of its SeaQure brand – is set to be produced as a half-size prototype within the next two years, to be followed by a full scale version for trials. Stewart Graham said that the system should be commercially available in about five years. Gael Force may not be first in this field, but Graham believes that the company’s integrated approach – with SeaQure mooring systems and a barge to provide the unit with power, feed and waste handling – will prove an advantage. The Gael Force system will, he said, be suitable for either post-smolt production only or full grow-out. Because it is suitable for low-energy sites, more potential sites will be available for farmers – although this will be dependent on how regulators view the new systems. Knut Senstad concluded the session with a robust piece of advice: “Make a decision based on facts – not one based on what everyone else is doing.”

Above: Torstein Nygard (L) and Stephen Offord STEPHEN Offord, Production Director, Gael Force hosted a Q&A session with Torstein Nygård, Sales and Marketing Manager with hybrid power specialists Fjord Maritime. Gael force has just completed a newbuild 200 tonne feed barge for Cooke Aquaculture, with a hybrid diesel-electric system installed by Fjord. Fjord Maritime has already installed more than 100 systems in Norway. Torstein Nygård said: “We have developed a system that optimises the generators, so you can produce the power in the most efficient way.” He said that fuel consumption can be reduced by around 50% to 55%, which also means reduced greenhouse gas emissions. He added: “On average, 160-165 tonnes of CO2 per barge can be saved – that’s the equivalent of taking 80 or 90 cars off the road.” Also, Fjord’s systems collect reports – with more the two million data points, currently, across Norway – which can be used to run the generators more efficiently. Nygård stressed the Fjord Maritime systems can be retrofitted into any existing feed barge. As the hybrid system is smaller than a conventional generator, fitting into the barge should not be a problem. Investment in one of these systems should pay back in less than three years, he added, but with rising diesel prices, that time period looks set to be even shorter.

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Minister pledges backing for aquaculture licensing reform

and the sharing of ideas that we can provide common understanding, increase transparency and foster innovation. “I recognise the challenges here - as highlighted in Professor Griggs’ report – but I am also determined to reset relationships and emerge the stronger for it. That will require leadership from all involved, including through difficult discussions. “The sector can only be a truly sustainable success story if economic growth goes hand in hand with positive outcomes for Scotland’s communities and Scotland’s natural environment.”

I recognise Coastal Workboats the challenges announces Scottish ... but I am move determined Commercial boat builder Coastal Workboats took the opportunity to to reset announce plans to move to the new Scottish Marine Technology Park, alongside the Malin relationships Group of engineering companies, owners of Speaking at the official opening of Aquaculture UK, Scotland’s Rural Affairs Minister Mairi Gougeon stressed the importance of the industry – but also the need for reform in the way it is licensed and regulated. She said: “Aquaculture is a significant contributor to our rural economy, providing well paid jobs in some of Scotland’s most fragile communities and will play a major role in our green recovery and transition to net zero. “It makes a significant contribution to our national economy and provides a source of tasty, nutritious food that is enjoyed at home and abroad. “Developing world-leading legislation for aquaculture is key to developing a sector that is both environmentally and economically sustainable, operating within environmental limits and with social licence, ensuring there is a thriving marine ecosystem for future generations. “Delivered in a way that reflects the co-operation agreement with the Scottish Green Party and our own manifesto commitments.” Earlier this year a report from Professor Russel Griggs OBE called for change and described the system for licensing aquaculture in Scotland as “not fit purpose”. In her speech at the show, Mairi Gougeon said that she would be chairing a Ministerial Aquaculture Strategy Forum to oversee progress on the reforms. The Scottish Government’s Vision for sustainable aquaculture, set to be published by the end of this year, will have enhanced emphasis on environmental protection and community benefit at its core, she said. She announced that she had instructed officials to extend the marine licence renewal period for finfish and shellfish farms from six to 25 years, bringing it in line with the Crown Estate Scotland Lease cycle. The Scottish Science Advisory Council has also been asked to consider the scientific recommendations of the review to ensure changes to the sector support its sustainable development and tackle environmental challenges. In his report, Professor Griggs pulled no punches in describing the “mistrust, dislike, and vitriol” he had observed between the industry, regulators and other stakeholders. Gougeon stressed: “It is only through respect, collaboration


the Park. The decision reflects the commitment by the company – which is based in Devon in the south west of England, but serves a number of aquaculture customers in Scotland – to expand north of the border. The Scottish Marine Technology Park will be built on almost 50 acres of brownfield land on the banks of the River Clyde at Old Kilpatrick in Glasgow. It is envisaged as a new centre of excellence for marine engineering and complex marine manufacturing, bringing world-leading talent, expertise and innovation back to the Clyde and generating £125.4m annually for the local economy. Once complete, it will include several large fabrication facilities, its own 150 metre deep

Left: Mairi Gougeon Below: The Tiffany II, Coastal Workboats Opposite from top: Laura Widmer; Paddy Campbell

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water heavy lift berth, and a deep-water jetty with a 1,100 tonne ship hoist, the largest of its kind in Europe. Brian Pogson, Managing Director of Coastal Workboats said: “We share Malin’s vision for a thriving, collaborative, and sustainable new marine hub on the banks of the Clyde and we are very pleased to assist in the creation of additional economic and social value in the area.”

Diversity is theme for WISA breakfast

Aquaculture UK got off to an early start on the Wednesday with a networking breakfast hosted by Women in Scottish Aquaculture (WiSA). (WiSA) The event was introduced by Matilda Lomas, Biology and Cleaner Fish Co-ordinator with the Scottish Salmon Company. Women in Scottish Aquaculture was created in March 2019 as a networking group, and also to raise awareness of the opportunities for women in aquaculture, and to support industry in developing the potential of women within the workplace at all levels. Guest speaker Frazer Coupland, CEO with the Lochaber Chamber of Commerce, spoke about the need to embrace diversity, stressing: “Belonging is an important part of any workplace.” Matilda Lomas also introduced Laura Widmer, a Biology Assistant with the Scottish Salmon Company. Originally a biologist working in conservation, Widmer admitted she had initially felt misgivings about taking up a job in fish farming. Now, however, she said she found working with salmon and cleaner fish very fulfilling – even if the job presented challenges such as obtaining a histology sample from a 55 gram lumpfish while on a rocking boat at sea! She said: “Everyone at the Scottish Salmon Company has been so supportive – I feel that I’m part of a big family.” Heather Jones, CEO of the Sustainable Aquaculture Innovation Centre and a founder of WISA, commented that Laura’s story demonstrated what an international industry aquaculture in Scotland is now. She reminded attendees of the organisation’s slogan “Diversity makes us WiSA”.

She added that WiSA had come a long way in just three years and concluded: “We have got so much ambition to change things!”

BioMar looks to a more sustainable future

Feed producer BioMar had a sustainability message for Aquaculture UK. Paddy Campbell, VP Salmo with BioMar, gave a presentation on “Blue IMPACT”, a feed concept that aims to minimise aquaculture’s environmental impact and support the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. Campbell said that a key aim was to reduce the carbon footprint of aquafeed. As well as focusing on reducing greenhouse gas emissions, BioMar is also looking at ways to further reduce dependence on wild-caught marine ingredients, especially forage fish, which are an important part of the marine food chain and also a source of food for many coastal communities. BioMar chose the week of the show to roll out a related announcement about the signing of a long-term technical and commercial partnership with alternative protein producer Deep Branch. The immediate focus of the cooperation will be to optimise salmon feed using Proton, a single cell protein developed by Deep Branch for the feed industry, as a primary protein source. As reported in last month’s Fish Farmer,, Deep Branch uses clean and renewable carbon and energy sources, including industrial CO2 emissions that would otherwise contribute to global warming. By using these, Proton also frees up arable land that could be used for food crops. Paddy Campbell said: “Deep Branch is a company that shares our vision and passion for a sustainable food and aquaculture system.”

‘Connected Seafarm’ unveiled in Aviemore

The show saw the launch of a new concept in connectivity for aquaculture. The Connected Seafarm – presented by technology firm R3-IoT – is a full end-to-end data services solution that wirelessly and seamlessly connects smart devices from anywhere in the world. Incorporating a package including sensor devices and a dashboard platform set up to turn real-data into insights and calls for action, the Connected Seafarm can be easily and quickly deployed with no specialist in-house technical skills required. Kevin Quillien, co-founder and CTO of R3-IoT, told Fish Farmer:

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“Our solution can be deployed anywhere in the world.” The concept is based on a satellite-based communication system that is not dependent on the cellular (mobile phone) network, which is used to link sensors at the farm site to a user interface. Where a cellular network is available the system will use that, but it will switch seamlessly to satellite communications if the network goes down or is simply not available at that location. While R3-IoT can supply sensors and the “dashboard” user platform, the system is equally able to communicate with smart equipment from other suppliers, and can also link to a customer’s existing user interface if they do not want to change it. Quillien said: “The ability to digitise should not be dependent on having communications infrastructure on-site.” As he pointed out, the value of the data to a farmer – for example warning of harmful algal blooms or a sudden drop in oxygen levels – is significant and should be available to all fish farms. The system has already been trialled with fish farmers in Shetland and on the west coast of Scotland, but Quillien said it has also been attracting interest from operators in other parts of the world where connectivity is even more limited.

The system also makes recommendations for action, based on which areas of the score are particularly problematic. The LOWSI can be accessed via a web browser at

Making the case for gene editing

Looking after the cleaner fish

Cleaner fish – typically wrasse and lumpfish – were brought into help deal with the problem of sea lice in salmon pens. The welfare of these species also cannot be ignored, however. Assessing the health of a population of cleaner fish can be difficult, but the Centre for Sustainable Aquatic Research (CSAR) at Swansea University has developed a tool to help operators assess the wellbeing of lumpfish. Dr Sara Barrento, Science Communicator and Stakeholder Engagement Manager with CSAR, explained how the tool can help to calculate a welfare score and gave the audience at Aquaculture UK a hands-on introduction to show how it works. The Lumpfish Operational Welfare Score Index (LOWSI) software is free to use and can be accessed by any web browser. It calculates a BMI (body mass index) for lumpfish based on length and weight, and also takes into account other indicators such as tail and eye condition, rated as either “no damage”, ”moderate damage” or “severe deformity”. The Index then calculates a LOWSI score for the fish – or more typically, for the group of fish in the sample – indicating whether its health is “good”, “moderately compromised” or “severely compromised”. From the top: Kevin Quillien; Alan Tinch; Sara Barrento Opposite from top:(from le�) Atholl Duncan, Chair, Salmon Scotland, Mairi Gougeon, Rural Afairs minister & Tavish Sco�, Salmon Scotland CEO; Aquaculture UK, the main courtyard


Any form of genetic technology, applied in the real world, can quickly become a contentious topic. The UK Government’s current proposals to permit gene editing in the commercial sector are no exception. According to Alan Tinch, Vice President of Genetics with the Center for Aquaculture Technologies – CAT is a research organisation based in the US and Canada – scientists working in this field need to look hard at how they explain their work to the public. As he put it, speaking at Aquaculture UK: “What we need to communicate is not how to do this work, but why we need to do this work.” He explained that genetic editing is only the latest in a series of revolutions in the application of genetics, following on from genomic selection which has now become mainstream practice. Gene editing, Tinch explained, uses enzymes to “cut” DNA sequences to create targeted changes, which can then be passed on down through successive generations in the same way the results of selective breeding are – but much faster and more precisely. In contrast, genetic modification can involve splicing gene sequences together from completely different species. Gene editing even enables the apparent paradoxical aim of “breeding for infertility” – which may be a prerequisite for the widespread use of gene editing, to prevent changes from being transmitted into wild populations.

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This technology is viewed differently in different parts of the world, he said, with the European Union adopting the “precautionary principle” while the USA and many Asian countries take a more supportive view of the science. The UK, meanwhile, is somewhere in between. Tinch said that, while he had hoped that leaving the EU would have opened the door to more innovation in the UK, concerns about animal welfare could lead to the industry becoming even more heavily regulated than in the EU.

SAIC showcases ‘Innovation with impact’ SAIC CEO Heather Jones took the opportunity at Aquaculture UK to introduce some of the projects SAIC, the Sustainable Aquaculture Innovation Centre, has helped to fund and co-ordinate. One of these was a study of resistance to Flavobacterium psychrophilum, a pathogen which causes bacterial cold-water disease (BCWD), in Atlantic salmon. Fabian Grammes of Aquagen described how a challenge test, carried out with the University of Stirling, identified a genotype among individual fish most likely to survive exposure to the bacteria. This data is now being used by Aquagen to produce resistant eggs for the industry. Professor Brian Quinn of Wellfish Diagnostics explained how a new model of testing could replace the traditional “gold standard” for testing – albeit lethal – histopathology. Non-lethal testing, he said, is quicker, does not have to sacrifice fish in order to test the health of a population and can be applied to a larger sample size. Wellfish, he said, was developing a new, pro-active healthcare model for finfish farming. Fish can be tested frequently

and routinely, using clinical chemistry, with earlier identification of problems and treatment. Annette Boerlage of Scotland’s Rural College, SRUC, described a joint initiative on gill health with leading salmon producers in Scotland and a number of academic institutions. Within that, she had been working on an evaluation of commonly used diagnostic tests and the project had led to the creation of a tool to guide sample sizes and help tailor sampling to specific needs. Tom Wilding of SAMS, the Scottish Association for Marine Science explained a project involving the use of eDNA (“environmental DNA”) to monitor the seabed around fish farms. SEPA’s now framework for the industry involves increasing the frequency of testing (benthic monitoring) by five or six times, Tom Wilding said. At present this typically involves taking a sample from the seabed using a grab, sedimenta samples basically. eDNA analysis collects living and dead cells, and “free DNA”, in the marine environment, creating a library of DNA which can then be sequenced. “Sequence reads” can show the relative abundance of specific species – from bacteria to fish or fungi. The SAMS study was mainly focused on bacteria. The team are using a machine learning tool link patterns in the eDNA to parallel findings from a sediment sample. The machine once “trained” can predict trends closely. The SICsupported project will optimise machine learning and should lead to the development of a toolkit that can be used for sampling in future. Dr Jorge Del-Pozo, Senior Lecturer in Veterinary Anatomic Pathology with the University of Edinburgh, talked about a project with research organisation Moredun, into using serum biomarkers for the early diagnosis of heart disease in Atlantic salmon. Comparing biomarkers from diseased and healthy groups of fish, they found biomarkers could predict heart disease with 90% accuracy, in a sample of 20 fish or more. Next, the researchers are planning a longitudinal study to track the fish over a period of time. Also at the conference, attendees heard from speakers including Alastair Dingwall, Senior Director, Technical Operations with the Aquaculture Stewardship Council; SAIC Director of Innovation and Engagement, Sarah Riddle; Professor Simon Mackenzie, Head of the University of Stirling’s Institute of Aquaculture; a joint presentation on sustainability and alternative feed by Veramaris, Tesco and DSM; four Chilean innovators including Innovex and Altum Lab; a presentation by Sparos on custom nutrition at hatcheries; and a presentation by Xylem on biosecurity in aquaculture systems.

We need to communicate why we need to do this work

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Tread boldly Producers are investing heavily in land-based fish farms, but it’s not easy money


ot for the faint-hearted – that would be a fair description of large land-based fish farming projects, where technical problems and local opposition can place major barriers in the road to profitability. Recently, for example, international land-based aquaculture group Pure Salmon announced that it had dropped plans for what would have been the European Union’s biggest land-based salmon farm, at Landacres, near Boulogne-sur-Mer, France. Apparently the lack of a good local salt water supply was a problem – although this has not stopped some of the company’s other developments in areas without salt water. Pure Salmon is now looking at an alternative site in Gironde, south-west France, but while Landacres was just 20 minutes away from the crucial seafood markets at Boulogne, Gironde is an eight-hour drive away. Local protests over the Boulogne plan may also have been a factor.

Meanwhile, Pure Salmon’s worldwide ambitions remain undaunted, with plans under way for RAS (recirculating aquaculture systems) farms in a range of sites including China; Lesotho (in southern Africa); Virginia, USA; Japan; and Brunei. In April, Pure Salmon announced a deal with Benchmark Genetics for the supply of Atlantic eggs for its farm sites, with up to 80 million eggs globally supporting production of 260,000 tonnes – if all the plans come off. Eggs were the problem for American Aquafarms, the Norwegian-owned business whose plans for two 60-acre

From the top: Pure Salmon modular design; Pure Salmon staff; Pure Salmon facility, Poland Opposite from the top: Salmon Evolu�on Indre Haroy farm; Håkon Andrè-Berg CEO Salmon Evolu�on; Atlan�c Sapphire, The Bluehouse


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sites in Maine, north-eastern USA, were knocked back in April by the authorities. As we reported (Fish Farmer, May 2022) the intended ova supplier, AquaBounty Technologies, had not been approved by the US authorities for the export of its eggs from Canada. American Aquafarms was keen to point out that, while AquaBounty is best known as a producer of “AquAdvantage” genetically-modified (GM) salmon, the eggs destined for Maine were not GM. It has not been all bad news for RAS farming projects, however. Atlantic Sapphire, which has faced its share of setbacks including the destruction by fire of its Danish plant, was able to state in its annual report for 2021 that biological performance at its Florida site had improved significantly in the past two years. The company expects to harvest around 9,500 tonnes of salmon in Florida this year. Aquaculture technology group AKVA has reported a strong start for its Land Based Technology (LBT) segment for the first quarter of 2022, with revenues up 31% to NOK 151m (£12.6m) and order intake up 33% to NOK 254m (£21.2m). And land-based fish farmer Salmon Evolution has described 2021 as “a ground-breaking year” for the business. The company says it expects to complete its first harvest towards the end of this year. Salmon Evolution announced the key target as it unveiled first

quarter results for 2022, which show a deficit of NOK 11m (£916,000) against NOK 6.6m (£550,000) for the same period last year. The financials are not especially significant, since the main source of revenue ahead of the company’s initial harvest has been the sale of smolt – to other farmers – from Kraft Laks, the hatchery and smolt producer that is now part of the Salmon Evolution group. More noteworthy has been the release of the first smolt into the tanks at Salmon Evolution’s state of the art farm at Indre Harøy, north of Bergen. The company CEO Håkon André Berg, said: “Since we started construction back in May 2020, the first smolt release has been the moment that we all have been waiting for. “I am extremely proud of our organisation and the fact that we have been able to adhere to our ambitious timeline, even with the challenges faced by us during the pandemic. “At the same time, this is just the beginning. As we now move forward, our number one priority is the biology in our farm. Good biology will improve fish quality and translate into strong growth, which finally will be reflected in the financial performance.” He added: “With our organisation now totalling almost 50 highly skilled employees, I am more confident than ever in our mission – extending the ocean potential.” Despite its commitment to land-based production, Salmon Evolution is not strictly a RAS farmer. It uses a “hybrid flowthrough” system (HFS), taking filtered seawater, rather than relying on a system that filters and reuses recirculated water with two-thirds or more remaining within the closed system.

Pure Salmon’s worldwide ambitions remain undaunted

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SETTING HIGHER STANDARDS FOR RAS FARMING RAS farms are covered by the Best Aquaculture Practices (BAP) Farm Standard 3.0, part of the Global Seafood Alliance. Producers who want to show that their practices go above and beyond the BAP standards can, however, opt to be measured under the GSA’s new “Vanguard” standards, which set a higher bar. In May the GSA published a draft Vanguard standard for Recirculating Aquaculture Systems (RAS). Producers must already be certified to BAP Farm Standard 3.0 to apply for certification to the RAS Vanguard Standard. BAP Farm Standard Issue 3.0 — and, to a lesser extent, its predecessor, the Finfish and Crustacean Farm Standard 2.4 — incorporates fundamental requirements that RAS facilities are required to meet as a condition of certification. The RAS Vanguard Standard encompasses all species of finfish but does not encompass shellfish, seaweeds and aquatic plants.

Our number one priority is the biology in our farm

Above: Salmon Evolu�on’s first smolt release


That creates greater risks in terms of fish health, Berg argues. In contrast, the HFS system uses filtered seawater, oxygenated. As an additional precaution, each tank is a completely separate biozone with no mixing of water between them. Berg admits that geography is a limiting factor for an HFS system – obviously, proximity to the sea is a must and some seas are just too warm to grow salmon in this way. Even so, he argues, the system can work well in latitudes where net-pen farming at sea would not succeed, extending the areas of the world where salmon can be produced. The first generation of smolt at Indre Harøy are exceeding expectations, and by late May they had reached an average 725 grams, Berg says. The biology has been good and the company has been able to accelerate its feeding programme. The next step will be Phase 2, which Berg describes as “an improved version” based on the lessons learned from Phase 1. The company aims to take production at the site to 15,800 tonnes annually. Meanwhile, Salmon Evolution is also working with Dongwon Industries on the development of a new fish farm in South Korea, using the same technology as the Norwegian facility. Berg said that the first Salmon Evolution employees had now relocated to South Korea to start work on the project. The company is working with Danish aquaculture technology business Billund on the design and construction of the Korean site. So far, so good – but do the capital and running costs of a land-based farm mean the salmon it produces will be unfeasibly expensive? Not according to CFO Trond Håkon SchaugPettersen. He said that the low feed conversion ratio for fish in the HFS system, compared with net-pen farms at sea, makes up for the higher capital costs, especially with feed prices hitting new highs. Schaug-Pettersen said the company expects to be producing salmon at a cost that is equivalent to conventional farming, once production at Indre Harøy reaches 100% of capacity. Salmon Evolution is aiming at Aquaculture Stewardship Council certification which should also help to ensure its product is perceived as premium.

One of the main differences between the BAP RAS Vanguard Standard and BAP Farm Standard Issue 3.0 is that BAP Farm Standard Issue 3.0 exempts RAS that use less than 1% new water per day on a volume basis from the requirement for effluent monitoring. The new elements in the BAP RAS Vanguard Standard can be placed into four categories — water use efficiency, waste management and circular economies, energy use efficiency and use of renewable energy, and animal welfare. The clauses within each of these categories go above and beyond what’s required in BAP Farm Standard Issue 3.0, which incorporates fundamental requirements that RAS facilities are required to meet as a condition of certification. The draft standard is also intended to guide sustainability and green financing expectations by setting aspirational milestones which are aligned, to the extent possible, with United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including Life Below Water (SDG 14), Affordable and Clean Energy (SDG 7), Clean Water and Sanitation (SDG 6) and Responsible Consumption and Production (SDG 12). Producers certified to a Vanguard standard are listed on the BAP Vanguard webpage and authorised to publicise their special status to stakeholders. The Vanguard Standard is now available for public comment until 4 July. To download the standard, go online to

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What’s NEW Monthly update on industry innovations and solutions from around the world New Cawthron Institute web tool helps fish farmers tackle parasites CAWTHRON Institute has developed a web tool called “BeNeZe” that helps fish farmers manage flatworm infections in Kingfish and Amberjacks (Seriola species). The free tool is available through the BeNeZe website ( and is mobile compatible. BeNeZe works on the basis that temperature influences how quickly the number of flukes can build. Parasite populations don’t build as quickly in cooler waters, so it’s important that treatment regimes factor in local sea surface temperature (SST). Using the BeNeZe tool, farmers select the parasites on their farm and enter the current SST. BeNeZe works by crunching life-cycle data for each parasite and sets a timed treatment regime which breaks the parasites’ life cycle.

Redox acquires Norluft in aquaculture growth drive NORWEGIAN ozone and oxygen specialist Redox AS has acquired Norluft AS in order to offer its aquaculture customers a more complete product offering and strengthen its position within closed aquaculture systems. “Our ambition is to become the leading supplier of cost-efficient ozone and oxygen solutions to the seafood industry. The acquisition of Norluft fits perfectly with this strategy, both technologically and geographically,” says Jonas Bergman, managing director of Redox. Norluft is a supplier of oxygen and nitrogen systems to the seafood sector and other industries. The buyer, Redox, is an ozone and oxygen specialist that develops environmentally friendly technologies which improve fish welfare and biosecurity for the aquaculture industry.

Damen Shipyards building four new Landing Utility Vessels WITH its extra-thick steel plating, Damen’s 22-metre Landing Utility Vessel (LUV) 2208 is built to take the rough and tumble of modern, open water fish farming. Its stable, spacious, unobstructed deck is ideal for handling nets and cables, and it has go-anywhere roll-on/roll-off capability via a heavy duty ramp. A wide range of options is available including cranes, winches and low-emission propulsion. Working closely with Damen, UK boatyard Coastal Workboats on the North Sea has already built three such vessels, with two sold and four more now in production for rapid delivery. After-sales support packages are available to suit every need.

Space Age Shrimp THERE are an eye-popping number of shrimp ponds dotting the globe. According to Dr. Claude Boyd of Auburn University, there are between 1.75 million and 2.25 million hectares of ponds worldwide. On top of that, many are family-owned, single-pond farms, and many are very remote. Sea Warden, the California-based start-up, monitors millions of ponds worldwide using satellite imagery. Paired with on-the-ground data from farmers, remote monitoring provides farmers with operations advice and market insights, streamlines access to certification and improves supply chain traceability. Zack Dinh, co-founder of Sea Warden, hopes his start-up will help farmers who face “high levels of risk and uncertainty due to the lack of data.”

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Industry DIARY The latest aquaculture events, conferences and courses JUNE 22 BLUE FOOD INNOVATION SUMMIT The two-day summit will explore the opportunities and challenges in scaling aquaculture production while protecting and restoring the ocean ecosystem.




St John’s Newfoundland, Canada. August 15-18, 2022

New Orleans, Louisiana, USA February 23-26, 2023

London, United Kingdom June 14-15, 2022




Portland ME, USA September 7-8, 2022


Panama City, Panama April 18-21, 2023


Seawork is a “one stop shop” for buyers, providing access to the commercial marine and workboat markets. It is the largest European commercial marine exhibition held at the prestigious Mayflower Park venue in Southampton, SO14 2AN, United Kingdom. The European Aquaculture Society’s annual conference focuses on “Innovative Solutions in a Changing World”.

Rimini, Italy September 27-30, 2022


Southampton, United Kingdom June 21-23, 2022

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06/06/2022 09:28:04


Innovation vs the hive mind By Nick Joy


ow wonderful to have a show again! Aquaculture UK was a chance to meet old friends or in my case very old friends. It’s been so long since I have met so many people I know in such a short time who I haven’t seen for years. One or two of my friends even admitted to reading my articles now and then, and some voiced a criticism, though the tenor of it surprised me. They suggested that I was going soft in my old age and not being strong enough in my criticism. This might be true. The years of isolation made me wonder about whether I was still as connected to the industry as I had been, but Aviemore showed me how little has changed. Farming industries are slow to innovate, but here’s the fundamental difference between agriculture and salmon farming: agriculture is made of many units, few of whom can stand alone but also many of whom actually are practising farmers who develop knowledge as they get older. They don’t find change easy, but when it is forced on them, they talk to each other and read deeply. There are always outliers trying something new. I am talking about the “weird and the wacky”, or at least that is the way they are often perceived. So what did I see at the show? Stingray’s laser for lice control is certainly different but my gut feeling tells me that it can’t really work where the temperatures are higher. Loch Duart trialled it quite a few years ago and so it is hardly new. There are new seal scarers and a different lice shield but as far as I could see little else. Companies have changed hands, and farming companies have got larger, but not one stand made me excited or encouraged me to get involved. Why? One problem is the “hive mind” idea that universities have all the answers. We need to foster debate about the issues we face, encouraging people with strange ideas to come and explain them to us. In my time, much to the hilarity of some of the management, I have tried flickering light, crystals, seaweed and one or two other wacky ideas. Let me give you a list of some of the ideas that I trialled, just against lice, that were shot down by the hive mind. Using pressure and flow to remove lice, using heat to remove lice, using deep tarpaulins to shield from lice. Recognise any of them? When adopted by the larger companies (more examples of hive mind) they become mainstream and acceptable. We have SAIC (the Sustainable Aquaculture Innovation Centre), supposedly driving innovation forward. Am I being unfair when I say that it has been around for a good while and I have not noticed anything particularly stunning that has come from it, other than some rather nice offices? But maybe SAIC has been a victim of the hive mind too. If you want to find a way out of this mess, you need some new ideas, not rehashes of the old ones. To get them, you are going to have to


If you want to find a way out of this mess, you need some new ideas

encourage people for whom you don’t have the greatest regard. The best ideas don’t always come to the best people. Accept that you don’t know everything and you might find out that that you start learning again. Some young people last week told me about a strange new treatment in the NHS. A woman was pregnant with a breach presentation. She took up the rather weird offer of a smoking twig of a particular wood being put on her big toe nail and rotated. I giggled but had to know, did it work? Apparently it was extremely successful. Now, is this story true? I don’t know, but it shows an openness to new ideas which I find really healthy. Let’s see if we can find some before the next issue! So I hope this satisfies those readers who have felt I have been pulling my punches a little. Meanwhile: come on industry, surprise me by showing me that there are some really new ideas out there – or am I going to hear more stories about lice and gill disease forever?

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06/06/2022 14:10:00

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