Fish Farmer Magazine June 2018

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Fish Farmer VOLUME 41

Serving worldwide aquaculture since 1977


JUNE 2018





Sea lice counters, submersible cages and ‘smart buckets’

From biomass cameras to Buckingham Palace

Marine Harvest opens doors to £26.5m Inchmore

Reports from a record breaking show

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04/06/2018 17:48:39


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Contents 4-14 4-13 News

What’s happening in aquaculture in the UK and around the world JENNY HJUL – EDITOR

Fair hearing world Tomorrow’s


HE salmon farming sector in Scotland, when told it last wasmonth to nyone who was lucky enough to be in Aviemore bewill thehave subject inquiry, weather, embracedbut thethe notiof ceda parliamentary not only the amazing opportunity this would provide explain how it operated. difference that two years can to make in this industry. The The industry had nothing to hide and, if given a fair hearing, could Aquaculture UK exhibition was nearly 40 per cent bigger than address much of the criti cism levelled against it. in 2016, in terms of exhibitors, and the crowds seemed to be Farmer supported thisThere view,was but an at tiincreased mes felt that salmon inFish record proporti ons too. Norwegian farmers were being drowned out by the noisier elements ofThis the is presence and a noticeable focus on high end innovations. angling hadgood called for the investi gation. But as the clearly alobby, sectorwhich in very health and already embarked on a sessions progressed, anditseventually farmers’ growth curve, whether critics approve or voices not. were heard, we became mistisustainable c. We now believe thatindustry’s MSPs, perhaps Makingmore that opti growth is now the chief with the excepti on not of one GreensHere, in cahoots with -farming concern, and justorintwo Scotland. farmers areanti working campaigners, will, on balance, regard the industry in a favourable with the government to address producti on challenges, and light. They will hopefully see thatEwing farmers take environmental rural economy minister Fergus used thetheir occasion of the responsibiliti es seriously businesses will only ever invest in Aviemore show to launchand thethat Farmed Fish Health Framework. growth that is sustainable. Work has already begun on implementing its recommendations If the committ ee members, who have to and, with transparency at its especially heart, wethose look forward to yet hearing visit a salmon farm, would like to learn more about the subject of progress reports. their inquiry, weme, have of good stories our May issue. news Even In the meanti in plenty this special innovati oninissue, we bring bett er, they could headdevelopments, to the Highlands later this month, where of many cutti ng edge from around the world and they willdoorstep, meet thethat aquaculture industry enwhat masse at Scotland’s on our give an insight into aquaculture will biggest farming show. look likefish in the future. We will certainly be at Aquaculture UK in Aviemore and look forward to seeing many of you there too.

16-22 14-15 Parliamentary News extra inquiry

Contents – Editor’s Welcome

48-49 34-35 Brussels Aquaculture UK 2018 Salmon Awards market robust

50-55 36-37 Brussels Aquaculture UK 2018 New processors’ group Aqualine/Steinsvik

The final sessions Health framework

24-27 16-19 SSPO Inchmore opening

Meet the new chief executive Investment in aquaculture

56 38-39 Book review UK 2018 Aquaculture Focus on cleaner fish AKVA/Inverlussa

28-29 20 Comment Phil Thomas

30 21 BTA

Doug McLeod

57 46-49 Aquaculture Innovation UK Introducti on Ace Aquatec

58-59 50-51 Aquaculture Innovation UK Chris Mitchell BioSort

32-33 22-23 Shellfi SSPO sh

Janet BrexitBrown questions

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Editorial Advisory Board: Steve Bracken, Scott Landsburgh, Hervé Steve Bracken, Scott Landsburgh, Migaud, PatrickPatrick Smith and Jim Hervé Migaud, Smith, Treasurer, Wiliam Jim Treasurer and Dowds William Dowds Editor: Jenny Hjul Designer: Andrew Balahura Advertising Manager: Team Leader: Dave Edler Advertising Executive: Scott Binnie Publisher: Alister Bennett

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By Nick Joy


09/05/2018 04/06/2018 18:05:09 17:48:04

United Kingdom News


Stirling deal to fund new £17m Institute of Aquaculture A NEW £17 million Institute of Aquaculture will be built at Stirling University as part of a £90.2 million city region deal designed to drive economic growth, it was announced on May 31. The money - £45.1 million each for Stirling and Clackmannanshire – is being invested by the Scottish and UK governments, and will also support a £5 million new International Environment Centre at the university. The new Global Aquatic Food Security centre will form part of a new innovation hub which will operate four aquatic research facilities. Unique in the UK, the hub will provide the full range of marine environmental conditions, and create research and development opportunities to grow Scottish aquaculture skills and products. University principal Professor Gerry McCormac said: ‘Investment in world-class research through the City Deal will enable our researchers to further tackle some of the world’s most pressing problems. ‘By working in partnership, we can unleash our economic potential, delivering a unique source of jobs, growth, and skills development, both for Stirling, and the wider Scottish and UK economies.’ Speaking ahead of a visit to the university’s existing Institute of Aquaculture, Scottish Secretary David Mundell said: ‘The ambitious and innovative deal will drive economic growth across the region, creating jobs and boosting prosperity for generations to come. ‘It is now for Stirling and Clackmannanshire to get on with the hard

work needed to turn these proposals into a reality. ‘Today’s announcement brings the UK government’s investment in UK City Region Deals in Scotland to more than £1 billion. ‘All of Scotland’s seven cities either have, or are in negotiation for, a deal. And talks are also under way on the Borderlands and Ayrshire growth deals,’ said Mundell (pictured below with the IoA’s Herve Migaud). ‘The UK government is working hard to boost economic growth right across the UK. We want to work with the Scottish government where we can to ensure the sustainability and prosperity of Scotland’s economy.’

Report highlights rewards of aquaculture career A NEW report has called for more promotion of Scotland’s aquaculture sector and supply chain as a rewarding long-term career choice, particularly for young people and for women. The ‘Skills review for the Aquaculture Sector in Scotland’ was commissioned by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) on behalf of the Aquaculture Industry Leadership Group (AILG), and in collaboration with Skills Development Scotland. Carried out between July 2017 and January 2018, the study included consultations with stakeholders and employers in the sector and the supply chain, and an online survey of employers. The report highlights key areas of specialism for future employees that go beyond the boat handling, fish husbandry, fish feeding and biology skills normally associated with aquaculture. As the sector and its supply chain grows, so too will demand for skills in engineering, digital and IT, as well as leadership and organisational management.


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The report highlights a gender imbalance in the industry and education pipeline, and an ageing workforce. It recommends more promotion of aquaculture as a career opportunity for school leavers, graduates and other potential recruits. Training and education should be accessible to learners whether they are full time or in employment. The study encourages the industry to enhance work based learning and vocational training, and ensure this is accessible to industry employees across the country, particularly in rural areas. The report further recommends more consistency in training to create accredited industry standards that are transferable across the sector, and the development of a digitally enabled workforce. The geography in Scotland, and the Highlands and islands specifically, provides a natural advantage for the farming of finfish and shellfish.The sector is already worth around £620 million to the economy and supports many vital jobs, with the supply chain extending across Scotland. There is a general consensus that aquaculture in Scotland has the potential to grow significantly in the coming years, in line with increasing global demand for fish and shellfish. One of the challenges to ensure this growth is the availability of a suitably skilled workforce. Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing said:‘This

report highlights the importance of developing and retaining a well trained and highly motivated skills force. For a sector that has a significant focus on sustainable growth in the future, it is clearly becoming even more important to be accessible and to be an employer of choice. ‘I look forward to future discussions around how we might look to achieve those aspirations and how we can break down any potential barriers as aquaculture has a key role to play in our economic ambitions, not least through innovation and the provision of highly skilled STEM job roles.’ Stewart Graham, managing director of Gael Force and co-chair of the AILG, said:‘This is an excellent report born out of one of the industry’s Lead Recommendations in the Aquaculture Growth to 2030 strategy. ‘It highlights, as we might have expected, the existing incredible diversity of high quality jobs and careers in Scottish aquaculture. ‘However, more importantly, the report sets out the wonderful opportunities the industry presents now and going forward to 2030 for new entrants especially women and young people. ‘We are aware in the production sector and the supply chain of the ever more sophisticated science, engineering and digital technology being deployed in fish farming and its suppliers like my own company too.’

04/06/2018 17:11:49

All the latest industry news from the UK

SAIC announces PhD programme A NEW PhD programme worth more than £500,000 was announced by the Scottish Aquaculture Innovation Centre (SAIC) during Aquaculture UK in Aviemore on May 23. For the first time, SAIC will fund four PhD positions directly, each tackling an area of priority research for the industry. The programme is part of a skills initiative closely allied with industry requirements. Three of the PhD projects will focus on fish health issues and one addresses the needs of mussel farmers, creating collaborative partnerships between academia and industry. Heather Jones, CEO of SAIC, said at the launch of the scheme: ‘We would like to see a greater critical mass of talented, up and coming young scientists coming out of Scottish universities, who have got commercial nous, who have been exposed to working with industry from the very beginning of their PhDs.’ SAIC is putting in £180,000 to support the new PhD programme, which with matched industry funding, will be worth over £500,000. Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing said: ‘Increasing the supply of talented scientists with an understanding of the commercial realities of farming fish and shellfish in Scotland was one of our key aims in setting up SAIC. ‘Scotland needs to grow, develop and retain

a talented workforce skilled in the science, biology and applied research that these four projects represent. ‘I am delighted that four new PhD students will embark on industry relevant research to help improve production capacity and I wish them every success.’ The announcement took place during the SAIC hosted Aquavation Sessions seminar at Aquaculture UK. Each of the four PhD Above: Jones with SAIC’s Junior Executive cohort at Aviemore focuses on an area of Aberdeen and Scottish Sea Farms; research with the capacity to progress the sus• Environmental DNA for low cost monitortainable growth of Scottish aquaculture: ing of disease in salmonid aquaculture. • Dynamic spatial modelling and forecasting Partners: University of Glasgow, Marine of sea lice abundances. Partners: the ScotHarvest, Scottish Sea Farms and Bioclavis; tish Association for Marine Science (SAMS) • Spat mortality in farmed Scottish blue and Marine Harvest; mussels (Mytilus edulis). Partners: Univer• Photoperiod and immune function: how sity of Stirling’s Institute of Aquaculture critical lifecycle events in salmon imand Fassfern Mussels, with additional fundpact on disease response and post-smolt ing from the Fishmongers’ Company. performance. Partners: the University of

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04/06/2018 17:12:05

United Kingdom News

Grieg lice numbers down nearly 90%

New tool raises profile of farmed fish

how we farm fish,’ said Cumming, SHETLAND based Grieg Seawho recently appeared before food has recorded a drop of the Scottish parliament’s Rural nearly 90 per cent in numbers Economy and Connectivity comof adult female sea lice over the mittee, as part of its investigation last year. into salmon farming in Scotland. Managing director Grant CumHe explained to MSPs that ming said a variety of factors, he had consolidated Grieg’s including new farming methods and colder sea temperatures, had operations, reducing the number of active farms, to help bring helped to cut numbers of the lice numbers under control, and parasite. creating longer fallow periods, Grieg Seafood harvested 1,201 ‘But in addition to that, being tonnes during the first quarter able to treat our sea lice with of 2018 in its region, which includes the isles as well as Skye, freshwater has made a big difference to us too,’ he told Shetland compared to 1,293 tonnes the News. Cumming added that the previous year. sea in and around Shetland has ‘We produced a loss for the been colder than the last four or first quarter, which is disapfive years, which has stunted the pointing, but we had a very low growth of lice. He said they are harvest volume, which is the also using ‘a lot main reason for of cleaner fish’. showing a loss,’ ‘And most of Cumming said. the sites are But there was being stocked as an 87 per cent well with somereduction in adult thing called a sea female sea lice in lice skirt, which is Shetland coma six metre deep pared to the first tarpaulin which quarter of 2017. goes around the ‘We’re making a Above: Grant Cumming pen.’ lot of changes to

A NEW web tool has been developed to provide seafood buyers with information about the most important farmed fish and shellfish species on the UK market. The easy-to-use online tool, launched by industry body Seafish, profiles nine species, which will increase to 14 over the coming months. The profiles offer information on production location and methods, nutrients, feed, disease and medicines, escapes, as well as sustainability certifications. Information on global, third party certification schemes has been pulled together in the same resource, making it easier for buyers to see what is being done to mitigate the environmental and social impacts of aquaculture. Aquaculture is the fastest growing

food supply sector in the world and now accounts for half of all fish for human consumption, Seafish pointed out. It is also recognised as one of the most resource efficient ways to produce protein. Lee Cocker, aquaculture manager at Seafish, said: ‘Seafood buyers have to look hard to find balanced and up-to-date information on aquaculture and we believe this can impact on the purchasing decisions when retailers or wholesalers are deciding which farmed products they want to make available to customers. ‘Our hope is that the profiles on this tool will provide anybody interested in aquaculture with the information they need to make informed decisions and help dispel some of the common myths about farmed seafood.’

Salmon farmers separate fact from fiction SCOTLAND’S salmon farmers have produced a booklet of facts about their industry, aimed at addressing misperceptions and correcting often inaccurate coverage in the press. The publication, ‘Reported Versus Reality: A Pocket Guide to Scottish Salmon Farming’, has been sent to MSPs, Scottish MPs and local councillors, as well as to other stakeholders, including regulators, environmental groups, and any public bodies connected to the industry. The 24-page A6 guide tackles issues such as mortality rates, sea lice infestations on farms, stocking densities in cages, the impact of the sector on the environment and on


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wild stocks, and the shooting of seals. Scotland’s salmon companies came up with the idea of telling their own story in bite-size form during the recent parliamentary inquiry into the industry. Holyrood’s Rural Economy and Connectivity committee finished taking evidence in May and is due to produce its report in the autumn. The farmers say in the booklet: ‘Much has been said about Scottish salmon farming in recent months; much of it misleading or inaccurate, particularly with regards to fish welfare and the impact of our farming activity on the environment. ‘These inaccuracies, if

left uncorrected, have the potential to do untold damage to the reputation of Scottish farmed salmon. ‘They also have the potential to jeopardise much needed jobs, reduce business for local suppliers, and diminish the sector’s significant contribution to the economy in terms of salaries, tax and export value. ‘So on behalf of our people, our partners and our communities, this pocket guide aims to set the record straight and enable a fairer, more balanced dialogue about the future of this key sector for Scotland.’ Jim Gallagher, managing director of Scottish Sea Farms and one of the industry leaders

footprint than chicken, beef or pig farming. ‘We’re also amongst the most highly regulated of all salmon farming countries in terms of both fish welfare and the environment, and invest millions year-onyear to find ever better ways of doing things. ‘It’s this unrelenting commitment to meeting growing global demand for protein in the most responsible, sustainable way that we want to convey through the booklet, answering some of the most common misconceptions head-on and showing just how far the sector Above: The new booklet, published last month has come in four short decades.’ Visit https://www. tials of all the farming behind the initiative, sectors, particularly with said:‘Scotland’s salmon regards to sustainability, sustainability/reportfarmers have some of ed-versus-reality/ with a lower carbon the strongest creden-

04/06/2018 17:12:40

All the latest industry news from the UK

Welfare award for Marine Harvest’s Steve Bracken MARINE Harvest Scotland’s longest serving employee, Steve Bracken, was thanked for his commitment to fish welfare at a special presentation in Fort William recently. Two members of the RSPCA Assured scheme (formerly known as Freedom Food) surprised Bracken, Marine Harvest’s business support manager, when they arrived at the company’s Stob Ban office to make the presentation. Malcolm Johnstone, aquaculture manager with RSPCA Assured, and colleague John Avizienius, said they wanted to recognise the immense work and help Bracken had given them in the 16 years in which the scheme had been running. Bracken, who is due to retire this summer, had been

Far left: Steve Bracken receiving his award from the RSPCA’s Malcolm Johnstone. Left: Celebrating with colleagues in Fort William. Photo: Abrightside

a great advocate of the scheme from the very beginning and was the main contact within Marine Harvest, said Johnstone. Without his ‘help, time, knowledge and patience’, the RSPCA Assured scheme would not be where it is today, and the award was for his contribution towards fish welfare within Marine Harvest Scotland and the industry as a whole.

Bracken said: ‘I am delighted and honoured to receive this very special award, which is totally unexpected. ‘It’s all been down to team work in getting us where we are today with a robust fish welfare standard, and I’m just very pleased to have played a part in taking the RSPCA Assured Standard forward in MHS.’

SSF staff raise funds for new lifeboat SCOTTISH Sea Farms’ employees, friends and family completed a gruelling triathlon in sweltering temperatures to raise £52,000 to buy the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) a new lifeboat. The Scottish Sea Farms’ Triathlon Festival 2018 took place in the grounds of the University of Stirling, at the end of May, on one of the hottest weekends of the year so far, and involved sprint, relay and novice races, along with a mini mudder style challenge for under 16s. This is the second year that the company has held its Triathlon Festival, which was introduced to give employees, customers, suppliers and their family and friends a reason to get active while raising money for good causes. This year’s charity, the RNLI, was chosen following a company ballot, with the team setting themselves the challenge of raising enough to buy a new D class inshore lifeboat – the workhorse of the RNLI for more than 50 Above: (from left to right): Georgie Mackenzie, Scottish Sea Farms; Lynsey years. Anderson, RNLI; and RNLI mascot Stormy Stan A team of over 120 participants signed up to for the event, many putting in months of training. Adding to the atmosphere, Olympic gold medal winning track Thanks to their dedication, and the family and friends who cyclist Callum Skinner was on hand at the finish line to present either joined them or supported them through donations, the participants with their medals. event raised in excess of £38,000 towards the cost of the new Scottish Sea Farms managing director Jim Gallagher said: lifeboat, with Scottish Sea Farms’ Heart of the Community initi- ‘The Triathlon Festival really sums up the spirit of Scottish Sea ative providing the remainder. Farms: active, proactive and community spirited. The RNLI also had its own stall within the festival village, sell‘To use that same spirit to help support a cause as much ing branded goods to help raise additional funds on the day. needed, and as close to our hearts, as the RNLI is a truly proud Lynsey Anderson, community fundraising manager for the moment for us all. RNLI, said: ‘Support on this level means everything to the RNLI. ‘We’ve welcomed close to 300 people here today, and we’ve Our volunteer crew go out 24/7 in daylight and darkness, in been supported along the way by many more, all of whom had good weather and in bad, to save lives at sea. one thing in mind – to help us achieve our target of a brand new ‘We’re not government funded, we’re reliant on public donalifeboat for the RNLI.’ tions, so to have companies like Scottish Sea Farms rally round Supporting Scottish Sea Farms in the run-up to the event and on our behalf is really something to see and the day itself has on the day itself was coaching and events team You Can Sport, been incredible.’ and event planning specialists Event Full Solutions.

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04/06/2018 17:13:02

European News


Minister urges action on high mortality NORWEGIAN fisheries minister Per Sandberg told fish farming bosses that salmon mortality rates were unacceptable and must be cut to improve animal welfare and protect their reputation and profits. The minister called a meeting of executives on May 15 as figures from the Norwegian Directorate of Fisheries revealed 53 million salmon died on Norwegian farms last year. ‘To bring down the mortality is something everyone will benefit from, primarily the fish but also the fish farmers’ bottom line, and not least their reputa-

tion,’ Sandberg said. Mortality rates of large fish 15 months after transfer to sea were a particular concern, with the level almost doubling between 2010 and 2016, according to the Institute of Marine Research. Mortality during the first month, however, had been much reduced.

Above: Per Sandberg

While the survival of salmon in cages can vary greatly between individual farming sites, some 15 to 20 per cent of the fish die every year, according to the Food Safety Authority, up from 10 to 12 per cent in 2012, due to outbreaks of sea lice and disease. The majority of cages have less than 12.6 per cent mortality after 15 months, while in 20 per cent of cages one in five fish reportedly died after 15 months. At a few farms, mortality rates were up to 50 per cent, with the largest losses to the west and in the Froya region. One industry insider

told Fish Farmer that mortality rates for the first three months of 2018 were up by 30 per cent on last year. Treatments for sea lice are thought to be partly to blame for the rising mortalities, subjecting fish that may already be weakened by disease to further stress. In Scotland, mortality rates were around 20 per cent last year, with gill health cited as a major problem, as it is in other salmon producing countries. While lice numbers are being brought under control in most Scottish farms, treatments can compromise fish challenged by gill disease.

Salmon farmers lead investors’ ethical list TWO Norwegian salmon companies have topped an investor group’s new sustainable food producers’ index, which is based on criteria such as use of antibiotics, animal welfare and food safety, Reuters reported. Marine Harvest and Leroy Seafood Group led the first Coller FAIRR (Farm Animal Investment Risk amd Return) Protein Producer index, which was launched last month and measures 60 global intensive farming companies against eight criteria. Investors are increasingly judging companies according to ethical, sustainable and governance criteria, which


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they say are important factors in company performance, said the report. ‘Investors need ESG [environmental, social and governance] data and transparency to make better investment decisions, yet this information is lacking in the meat, fish

and dairy sector,’ said Jeremy Coller, chief investment officer of Coller Capital. ‘As megatrends like climate change, antibiotic resistance and food technology radically reshape the way we produce and consume meat, fish and dairy, the Coller FAIRR index will help institutional capital identify both best in class companies and potential stranded assets in the food sector.’ The FAIRR group is backed by $5.6 trillion in investment assets.

Left: Jeremy Coller

Top Norwegian firms attack tax plan

Above: Alf-Helge Aarskog

TWO of Norway’s leading salmon farming companies have joined the growing chorus condemning government plans for a new tax on the seafood sector. Following publication of its recent first quarter results, Lerøy Seafood said the reports were leading to increased uncertainty. And Alf-Helge Aarskog, CEO of Marine Harvest, told the business news website E24. no that any proposal that led to increased costs was not good for the industry. He pointed out that aquaculture costs had risen significantly in recently years, largely due to overcoming environmental challenges such as sea lice. Shares in Norwegian aquaculture companies fell sharply on the Oslo Stock Exchange recently, following reports that the Norwegian government is considering a new tax on the industry, although they later recovered. The left wing Socialist Left, or SV, party has already called for an oil industry style levy on fish farming companies, in which they are charged by the kilo they produce. While this proposal is likely to be rejected, the current right of centre government has said it is looking at plans to impose a special tax – despite strong opposition from within the government in the shape of Norway’s fisheries minister, Per Sandberg. ‘Farmers in Norway are charged more than enough taxes as it is,’ he said. ‘Politicians appear to be blinded by high salmon prices and huge surpluses. This is a tax I do not want to see.’

04/06/2018 17:14:40

All the latest industry news from Europe

Calysta protein in salmon feed trials

SalMar value doubles in less than a year

THE value of the fish farming giant SalMar has doubled in the past 12 months. The family owned company is now worth more than 40 billion kroners (£3.6 billion sterling), twice what it was just a year ago. Shares of the company, which owns 50 per cent of Scottish Sea Farms, recently reached their highest ever level on the Oslo Stock Exchange. SalMar’s largest shareholding, of 53.4 CALYSTA, the company behind an alternative per cent, is Kverva, which is mainly owned by form of fish feed protein, is to partner with Norwegian research institution Nofima in large- Kvarv, the family company of entrepreneur Gustav Witzøe and his son Gustav Magnar Witzøe. scale salmon trials, beginning in early 2019. The country’s media say that Gustav Witzøe The company, which has backing from the feed junior, aged 25, has increased his personal giant Cargill, claims that its FeedKind protein, produced by natural fermentation, can improve fortune by five billion kroners (£455 million) in just five weeks this year. growth rates, feed efficiency and fish health. Gustav Witzøe senior, who started the busiIt provides the industry with the first scalable alternative protein requiring no wild caught fish ness in 1991, has also reportedly doubled his fortune and is now said to be worth 42 billion or agricultural land. kroners (£1.9 billion). Mari Moren, director of research at Nofima, The company has announced a £135 said: ‘We are eager to do research on FeedKind million plan to build a second offshore as we believe that this may be an example of platform, which could be twice the size new protein sources that can contribute to a of Ocean Farm 1, installed in 2017. more sustainable aquaculture.‘ FeedKind has been approved for sale in the EU and several Asian countries. It has been shown to use 77-98 per cent less water and more than 98 per cent less land than alternative ingredients, such as soy or wheat proteins.

Low temperatures hit Iceland salmon ARNARLAX, SalMar’s Iceland operation, is expected to harvest 8,000 tonnes in 2018. It harvested around 2,600 tonnes in the first quarter 2018, compared with 2,000 tonnes in the same period last year. Gross operating revenues in the quarter came to NOK 139.8 million, compared with NOK 146.2 million in the corresponding period in 2017. The company experienced an unusually high mortality rate caused by the handling of fish when sea temperatures in Iceland were extremely low. Further handling mortality occurred in connection with the relocation of fish after one of the company’s net pens was damaged in a storm. The mortality has been recognised as an expense in the quarter. Operational EBIT for the period came to NOK -40.2 million, which corresponds to an EBIT per kg of NOK -15.65 in the previous quarter. Arnarlax achieved an operational EBIT of NOK 4.3 million, corresponding to an EBIT per kg of NOK 1.35.


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04/06/2018 17:14:58

European News

BioMar invests £10.6m in fry and RAS line cesses,’ said CarFEED group Biolos Diaz, BioMar Mar is expanding Group CEO. the capacity of ‘We foresee its factory in that the growth Denmark with will continue a £10.6 million and we need to line dedicated to take a significant fry and RAS feed leap forward to production. make sure we can The Brande deliver on the based factory has Above: Meeting future demands future demands seen a significant from the customers.’ growth in volumes sold over the The new line is expected to be last few years, with a growing ready in Q2 2019, bringing the customer base. factory in Denmark up to a caFeed is delivered to farmers pacity of 150,000 tonnes of feed across most of Europe, and there per year. It is BioMar’s largest is a ‘very strong foothold’ in the production unit in Europe outside eastern European countries as the salmon markets. The factory, well as in the RAS segment, said designed for agility with a flexible the company. production set-up, mainly delivers ‘BioMar has experienced a solid feed for species such trout, eel, growth in market share on our sturgeon and salmon in RAS. In core markets in Europe and the total, the factory produces feed factory in Brande has, through for more than 40 species. the last years, been expanding The Brande plant has been a capacity by removing bottlenecks pioneer within RAS feed. and optimising operational pro-

Ireland unveils new seafood strategy

IRELAND has launched a bold new strategy designed to drive up its fishing and aquaculture industries. Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM), the agency responsible for leading the development of the Irish seafood sector, has outlined its plans in a statement titled ‘Enabling Sustainable Growth’ to deliver


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growth between now and 2025. The new strategy is aimed at enhancing the competitiveness of the Irish seafood sector to capitalise on the growing demand for seafood, both domestically and internationally. BIM said its approach reflects the challenge of growing market uncertainty and places greater

emphasis on product differentiation, value creation and profitability. Launching the strategy, the minister for Agriculture, Food and Marine, Michael Creed, said: ‘I welcome the publication of this strategy document and its focus on delivering growth in Ireland’s seafood sector, which currently contributes €1.15 billion to Ireland’s GDP and supports more than 14,000 jobs, mainly across Ireland’s coastal communities. ‘I am pleased to say the seafood sector is strongly supported by my department and the European Union with a funding programme of €240 million from the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund.’

Grieg shines as Q1 volumes and sales jump GRIEG Seafood beat all earnings forecasts for the first quarter of 2018 on the back of considerably higher output, recent figures show. The company harvested 11,433 tonnes in Q1 2018, up 34 per cent on the 2017 Q1 figure of 8,522 tonnes. While the average industry spot price was down NOK 5.36 per kg on 2017, for Grieg Seafood the price achieved was only down by NOK 2.70 per kg. This, said the company, was mainly due to high harvest volumes towards the end of the quarter, when the spot price was at its highest. The resulting operating revenues for the first quarter of 2018 were NOK 1,493 million, a five per cent increase on last year. Operating costs/kg were down by NOK 1.00 in the quarter, mainly as a result of higher harvest volumes, in addition to a more stable biological situation. The lower costs, combined with strong price achievement in the quarter, resulted in an EBIT/kg of NOK 14.20, down compared to NOK 15.40/ kg in Q1 2017. The company’s EBIT (operating income) before fair value adjustments was NOK 162.1 million in Q1 2018, up from NOK 131.5 million in Q1 2017. In Shetland, which has faced biological challenges for some time, EBIT was -7.1 million NOK, a significant improvement on the same quarter last year (-14.4 million NOK). The industry is collaborating to mitigate the challenges and Grieg Seafood is cooperating closely with the other farmers in the region. Extended fallowing time, the use of cleaner fish and the monitoring of algae are measures to be prioritised going forward, said the company. Overall, Grieg said its goal was to maintain an annual production growth of a minimum of 10 per cent until 2020. Furthermore, the company aims to keep production costs at or below the industry average. Grieg expects to harvest approximately 21,400 tonnes in Q2 2018. For 2018 as a whole, the company expects to harvest approximately 80,000 tonnes, which corresponds to a 28 per cent increase over 2017. Right: Higher output

World’s longest ship fish farm plan rejected A PLAN to build a giant salmon farm on what would have been the world’s longest ship has been rejected by the Norwegian Directorate of Fisheries. The proposal had been put forward by the fish farming company Pure Atlantic, which had applied for 45 salmon development licences. Pure Atlantic had intended to spend three billion kroners (£275 million sterling) building a 520m

long and 92m wide ship, which would house the fish farm. It would have been powered by wind turbines, using computer driven sails and capable of producing up 50,000 tonnes of salmon a year. The Norwegian Fisheries Directorate said in a letter last month that following a detailed assessment it was turning down the application because the plan did not contribute significant innovation. But it did add that the company could appeal the decision. The ship would have operated outside Norway’s 12-mile nautical limit, but would have been inside its 200-mile economic zone, which is why approval from the Fisheries Directorate was required.

04/06/2018 17:15:15

World News

NEWS... Bill will destroy industry, say South African farmers MEMBERS of the aquaculture industry in South Africa are up in arms over the government’s proposed new Aquaculture Development Bill (ADB), which is to be tabled in parliament soon. They say the bill will destroy the industry through overregulation and red-tape instead of developing it, according to a report by Business Insider South Africa. Controversy also surrounds the inclusion of crocodile farming in the aquaculture sector. The draft bill was released for public comment in May, after being stuck in limbo for more than two years. Nicholas James, owner of Rivendell Tilapia Hatchery outside Grahamstown and a freshwater fish consultant, said the bill will destroy the freshwater aquaculture industry because of the additional regulations required. The ADB will also deter new entrants into the

market ‘because they will have to get a licence from the government before they can do anything’. He added that the cost of enforcing the bill was not justified by the size of the sector and had everything to do with control and nothing to do with development. The result is that instead of creating new jobs and new developments, the ADB will stifle it. ‘The government is going to spend millions to patrol and control a very small industry.’ He cited the example of a R5 million aquaculture farm that was recently opened near Livingstone in Zambia. ‘That kind of investment will never happen here, because the regulatory environment is so bureaucratic.’ Both the Aquatic Association of South Africa, Aquaculture SA and the SA Crocodile Industry Association (SACIA) have made numerous appeals to the Above: Trout farm in Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) not to go ahead with South Africa. the bill, but without success. As it stands, the law requires various levels of licensing for any activity where there is human intervention in raising aquatic organisms, even if it is only protecting them from predators. Breeding ornamental fish is also included.

Protestors cleared from Marine Harvest site PROTESTORS occupying a Marine Harvest site at Swanson Island, British Columbia, were ordered to leave by the BC Supreme Court on May 18. The court has also set June 25 to hear an application by Marine Harvest for a broader injunction order, following aggressive and bullying behaviour towards its staff. ‘In Canada, everyone has the right to peaceful protest, but not when it interferes with legitimate activities or crosses the line into aggressive, bullying behaviour,’ said Jeremy Dunn, Marine Harvest director of Community

Above: Jeremy Dunn

World news.indd 11

Relations and Public Affairs. ‘We asked for a court injunction after our employees endured many months of aggressive protest activities and Marine Harvest made numerous attempts at dialogue with protest organisers, which were rebuffed,’ he said. ‘Our staff must be able to work in a safe environment, free of harassment and intimidation,’ said Dunn. Marine Harvest was previously granted an injunction against activists who were occupying its Midsummer Island salmon farm in December 2017. In delivering that decision, the BC Supreme Court was clear that those occupying the worksite had harassed Marine Harvest employees, had tampered with Marine Harvest equipment, and at times the number of occupiers had significantly outnumbered the number of workers at the site. The injunction specifically required Ernest Alfred and Karissa Glendale from the Namgis First Nation to vacate the farm.

• Fish Cage Nets – Nylon & HDPE • Predator Solutions • Net Service Plant • Treatment Tarpaulins • Lice Skirts • Supplier of LIFT-UP • Wrasse Hides


04/06/2018 17:16:51

World News

Fly meal firm raises further funding

Above: Jason Drew

FLY farmer and waste-to-nutrient pioneer AgriProtein has raised a further $105 million in funding, marking a new high in investor appetite for the insect protein sector. The latest investment, together with additional local project finance for a series of its alternative feed plants in Africa, the Middle East and Asia, puts South African based AgriProtein on track to deliver its ambitious factory roll-out plans.

Jason Drew, AgriProtein co-founder and CEO, said: ‘This is a significant vote of confidence in a growth industry producing a sustainable protein for use in animal diets. ‘It reaffirms our position as the leading up-cycler of waste-to-protein and brings us the financial resources for further global expansion.’ The company is building a global business through its circular economy strategy: up-cycling organic waste to tackle food security and waste disposal challenges, while helping conserve wild fish stocks. AgriProtein uses black soldier flies and their larvae to convert organic food waste into a high protein alternative to fishmeal suitable for fish, poultry, pigs and pet food. Drew said: ‘We need to see waste differently – as a resource – particularly food waste. A growing population, scarce water and land resources, and declining natural fish stocks make this more critical than ever.’ AgriProtein has fly farm projects under development across the world to produce its flagship product,

MagMeal. The company has expanded its R&D capability, hiring new staff and building chemistry and genetics labs. It has also hired senior staff from engineering and waste management backgrounds to increase its project roll-out capacity. The company is focusing initially on the aquafeed market, where demand is increasing year on year to satisfy growing consumer appetites for farmed fish. Worth more than $114 billion in 2017, aquafeed is predicted to grow by a factor of 2.5 in just eight years to nearly $290 billion in 2026. ‘There is simply not enough marine material left in the oceans to meet fishmeal demand in aquafeed, let alone in feed for poultry, pigs and pets,’ said Drew. ‘Along with algae and bacteria, new, disruptive sources of protein like our own are needed to close the feed gap and, in the process, help repair the future of the planet.’ In January 2018 AgriProtein was named a Global Cleantech 100 company for the second year.

Japan’s Nissui in prawn farm project THE Japanese seafood giant Nissui has bought a $25 million stake in the Australian fish farming Seafarms group (SFG) to help it develop one of the world’s largest prawn farms. The Seafarms group’s existing prawn farming operations are in the state of Queensland and produce more than one-third of total domestic production of farmed prawns in Australia, where, said Nissui, the required environmental standards create high barriers to entry. The $1.5 billion Sea Dragon project will create 10,000 hectares of black tiger prawn ponds in Australia’s Northern Territory. ‘Nissui decided to proceed with its investment in SFG when it was satisfied that its proposed new large scale prawn farming project in Northern Territory of Australia, known as Project Sea Dragon, would obtain the necessary government approvals for the development,’ the company said in a statement. ‘It is also of strategic significance for Nissui to secure a differentiated farmed prawn business base and products.’ Through this equity participation, Nissui said it will market the black tiger prawn products from Project Sea Dragon exclusively in Japanese, Australian and New Zealand markets, on top of potential global distribution through the Nissui Global Links network.


World news.indd 12

Nissui Group, which also owns the Caistor Seafoods (formerly Sealord) fish processing operation near Grimsby in the UK, will distribute in Japan and the Oceania region approximately 2,000 tonnes a year of black tiger and other prawns sourced from SFG’s existing Queensland prawn farming operations. It added: ‘Despite a declining trend in the Japanese prawn market, expansion in the

United States, Europe and China supports substantial demand for farmed prawns due to its stable quality, quantity and price.’ Nissui said it pursues ‘sophistication of aquaculture business’ as one of the major themes in its marine products business and has already started a feasibility study of onshore farming of vannamei shrimp for eating raw in Japan.

Above: Expanding market for prawn products

The 04/06/2018 17:17:09

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All the latest industry news from around the world

Cooke Aquaculture to create 100 new jobs

COOKE Aquaculture is to create up to 100 new jobs in the Canadian province of New Brunswick with support from the provincial government. New Brunswick premier Brian Gallant said: ‘Cooke Aquaculture is a great example of how New Brunswick’s workforce and know-how can help businesses grow. ‘Your government’s multi-year economic growth plan is focused on investing to help New Brunswick-based businesses to compete in markets around the world.’ The company, which also has several sites in Orkney and Shetland, as well as freshwater operations on the Scottish mainland, currently has more than 1,300 employees at various locations in the province. The new jobs are expected to

be marine site workers, technicians and managers, logistics experts and truck drivers. Twenty-five of the new positions will be created at the company’s office in Saint John, while the remaining 75 will be spread across Cooke Aquaculture’s head office in Blacks Harbour, and at operations in St George and Grand Manan. Company CEO Glen Cooke said: ‘It is a tribute to the success of our recent acquisitions that we are able to continue to create new jobs here in New Brunswick. ‘These new employees are needed to help us reach our latest growth targets and we are very pleased to be able to add so many of them as part of our operations in rural New Brunswick.’

To support the creation of these new jobs, Cooke Aquaculture is eligible for an investment of up to $1.9 million from Opportunities NB, which is a Crown corporation that provides support services for businesses across the province. Up to $990,000 of this funding comes in the form of payroll rebates, which are performance based and only disbursed to a company once it has created and maintained the jobs for one year and provided proof of salary levels and employment. It is estimated that creating up to 100 jobs would contribute $25 million in additional payroll over five years and $80 million towards the province’s GDP over that same period.

China at centre of new salmon fraud claims A NEW salmon fraud scandal has hit China. Following allegations a few weeks ago that unchecked Nordic salmon was being smuggled into the country through Vietnam, there are now claims that farmed trout from an area in neighbouring Tibet (known as China’s Qinghai province) is being passed off as European bred salmon. According to a survey by the Chinese state broadcaster, up to a third of salmon sold in China is actually rainbow trout and the claim has led to demand for clearer labelling. Gu Zhongyi, a nutritionist at Beijing Friendship Hospital of Capital Medical University, told the website ‘Traditionally, salmon refers to Atlantic salmon, and it is different from trout. It is common for trout to be sold as Atlantic salmon, though. ‘Labelling should be regulated so consumers know whether they have bought Atlantic salmon or trout.’ It is claimed that dealers are repackaging Tibetan trout and labelling it as imported European and South American salmon. The country of origin is often listed as Norway, Denmark or Chile.

Right: Rainbow trout

US tightens tariffs on Chinese shrimp THE Southern Shrimp Alliance in the United States has called on Washington to impose additional tariffs on imports of certain types of Chinese seafood, in what many people fear could lead to a trade war between the two countries. The alliance has submitted a letter to the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) supporting the request made by Senator John Kennedy of Louisiana that shrimp and crawfish imports from China be included in the proposed ‘remedial action’ in a bid to reduce the level of some Chinese imported goods. The letter has additionally requested that all merchandise produced through Chinese aquaculture be subject to additional tariffs as part of any action.

The letterWorld adds: ‘Further, the Southern Shrimp Alliance observed that the news.indd 13


04/06/2018 17:17:30

News extra – Farmed Fish Health Framework

‘Momentous’ plan will grow

the industry

Minister unveils 10-year strategy to address biggest challenges


HE Scottish government is to work in tandem with the country’s fish farmers to address health challenges and help the industry grow sustainably, rural economy minister Fergus Ewing announced last month. As he opened the Aquaculture UK exhibition in Aviemore on May 23, he unveiled a ‘momentous’ 10-year Farmed Fish Health Framework, that aims to not only enable growth but also minimise impacts on the environment. The framework has seven work streams which will deal with fish health issues and review sea lice protocols. A separate work stream will be set up to cover wild and farmed fish interactions, and will include representatives from both sectors. A chairman has been appointed and will be announced soon. Ewing was the final witness before the Rural Economy and Connectivity (REC) committee which is now considering its recommendations, before delivering a report in the autumn. He told MSPs at the session, on May 9, that the publication of the health framework, which will tackle high levels of mortality, was imminent. The health framework was produced by the Farmed Fish Health Working Group, established in December 2017 and co-chaired by Marine Harvest Scotland managing director Ben Hadfield and head of science at Marine Scotland Colin Moffat. Transparency and open communication will be key principles in the framework, which states that maintaining high levels of fish health requires further strategic planning and coordinated action, and it will provide the


News Extra Health.indd 14

focus and mechanism to do this. It will also ensure that the ‘right people, organisations and resources come together’ to respond to health challenges. And the working group will present an annual update to the Scottish government and parliament of the progress it is making. The main objectives are to improve fish health, share information about mortality, disease and parasite levels, support innovation in fish health management, and identify areas where the regulatory framework could be improved. The work streams delivering these objectives are: information flow and transparency; gill health; sea lice; cleaner fish; production cycle and on-farm management; licensing regime and medicine use; and climate change and ocean acidification. The working group, which includes fish farming businesses, trade groups, the Scottish Aquaculture Innovation Centre, vets, and regulators, acknowledges a deterioration in farmed fish survival in Scotland in the years up to and including 2017. ‘The industry understands that it makes business sense to produce healthy fish and that doing so depends on the marine and coastal environment,’ the framework says. ‘Producers recognise that sustainable growth can only come as a consequence of continuous improvement in biological performance. They also understand their responsibilities to uphold the highest standards of welfare in how they care for their fish.’ For the first time, farmers will collate annual mortality rates by cause for the whole sector, developing a ‘national approach to data sharing’ to promote openness and transparency. This approach will include site by site reporting of key statistics such as sea lice and mortality, and an action plan to reduce mortality. Marine mortality On gill health, described by the working group as the ‘most significant contributor to increasing marine mortality’, the framework’s aim is to better understand the environmental factors that contribute to gill disease, support research, establish best surveillance practice, and convene workshops on, for example, net cleaning.

There are clear reporting mechanisms with transparency and open communication embedded as key principles

04/06/2018 17:08:45

‘Momentous’ plan will grow the industry

Above: Fergus Ewing talks to a BBC film crew at Aquaculture UK. Aviemore.

Tackling sea lice, the framework notes that strategies have evolved and are now less based on medicines and are more balanced. But this has created new problems, with treatment such as physical removal of lice increasing the need for fish to be handled, a contributory factor in mortality. The aim of the framework is to continue improving the control of sea lice on farms and potentially reduce interactions with wild fish. It will review Scotland’s voluntary sea lice compliance policy, including reporting requirements and intervention thresholds, and make recommendations to ensure it remains fit for purpose. It will launch a study to look at the health and environmental benefits of consolidation of existing farm sites, and create a ‘sea lice modelling and farm connectivity action plan’ to identify optimal sites. The other work streams will focus on meeting industry demand for cleaner fish and setting up an international forum for sharing cleaner fish husbandry. The Production Cycle work stream will look

News Extra Health.indd 15

at continuing the practice of putting larger smolts to sea to shorten farming cycles and allow more frequent fallowing. On the licensing regime and medicine use, the work stream will explore new treatment technologies, including alternatives to well boat treatment, looking at well boat discharge. And it will encourage the development of new medicines, ‘with the aim of increasing treatment flexibility and allowing the potential to explore treatment rotation...within environmentally sustainable limits.’ The climate change and ocean acidification work stream will determine how best to measure changing climatic conditions in Scotland, leading to an annual mapping exercise. Ewing said some of the above actions are already underway and others require further development, ‘but all are important to endure the sustainable growth of aquaculture in Scotland’. The public don’t know about the massive investment the industry makes in meeting these challenges, he said, and it was time they did. ‘The framework must now translate into action and deliver tangible progress,’ he said in a foreword to the report. ‘There are clear reporting mechanisms with transparency and open communication embedded as key principles. I expect to be kept fully updated, beginning with an update in three months detailing clear timelines for delivery on the identified work streams. ‘This will ensure the momentum and drive exists to achieve real and concrete gains throughout the ten-year lifetime of the framework.’ FF Aquaculture UK report starts on page 28


04/06/2018 17:09:02

Farm visit – Marine Harvest

Minister opens ‘magnificent’ hatchery £26.5 million Inchmore is investment in the future of Scottish aquaculture


ARINE Harvest’s new £26.5 million recirculation hatchery in Inchmore, Glenmoriston, was officially opened on June 1 by rural economy minister Fergus Ewing, who hailed it a ‘magnificent investment’ for Scotland and the future of the aquaculture sector. In front of local councillors, members of the community, the construction team, and the Fort William based company’s staff, present and past, he said the new facility, along with the feed plant on Skye and the processing factory in Rosyth, were ‘clear demonstrations of the confidence Marine Harvest have in Scotland’. ‘It’s a great day for the west Highlands,’ said the minister, adding that the hatchery, which will produce 800 tonnes of fish a year, would contribute directly to the further sustainability of the sector. ‘As we know, there have been recent challenges and recently the industry and the Scottish government have announced a fish health framework. We’re working as a team; we are already overcoming many of the challenges and I’m confident we’ll overcome the


Inchmore.indd 16

remainder. I also think it’s relevant to say that the investment here, as well as being an enormous investment, will help sustain the local economy, increasing the employment to 18 jobs, excellent jobs, well remunerated and interesting jobs, and contributing directly to producing the most nutritious food of all, namely high quality Scottish salmon that is revered around the world.’ John Richmond, Marine Harvest’s freshwater manager and the brains behind both this plant and its sister facility in Lochailort, said it would produce just under half of Marine Harvest Scotland’s fish. ‘Over 12 million fish will start their lives here and I hope that what we have provided will be a comfortable home for them before they move on to our seawater production facilities,’ he said. The first eggs arrived in the new Inchmore hatchery before Christmas and production had started before construction was fully complete. The staff, said Richmond, had done ‘a great job working through this difficult time to protect the health and welfare of our fish’.

Left: Fergus Ewing unveils the plaque. Above: Ben Hadfield with the Minister and John Richmond. Right: Former chief engineer Peter Crook with Marine Harvest’s Steve Bracken. Bottom right: Richmond, the Minister, Hadfield and Inchmore manager Owen Davies in Fry B.

04/06/2018 17:06:26

Minister opens ‘magnificent’ hatchery

Marine Harvest Scotland managing director Ben Hadfield also praised the staff, and acknowledged the role played by the man who built the original hatchery on the site 40 years ago, and who was invited back to see its replacement. ‘Today is a very proud day for us – the team here and all Marine Harvest have done an exceptional job,’ he said. ‘I’m very pleased that Fergus Ewing, the Cabinet Secretary, is opening this for us. ‘He’s a strong supporter of the industry and a strong supporter of sustainable growth, and making salmon and the economy of Scotland everything they can be. ‘I’ve just been introduced to a gentleman called Peter Crook who I haven’t met before. He founded the first hatchery here in 1978 and, first of all, I applaud him for picking a great location. ‘It was a great hatchery and performed extremely well for us during that time and I’m sorry that in the end we had to bulldoze it but we needed the space.’ Crook, former chief engineer at Marine

Inchmore.indd 17

This will “ help sustain

the local economy, increasing employment by 18 jobs


04/06/2018 17:06:46

Farm visit – Marine Harvest

Above: Xxxx

Over 12 “million

fish will start their lives here and I hope that what we have provided will be a comfortable home for them


Inchmore.indd 18

Harvest, said his Inchmore had been built for a quarter of a million smolts, in the days when the goal was to produce a total of 1,000 tonnes of salmon a year. The hatchery was producing around 40 tonnes before making way for the new plant. ‘This was by far the biggest hatchery in Scotland then,’ he said, as he was about to enter its vast successor, also now the country’s biggest hatchery. Inchmore mark two will produce its 800 tonnes of fish a year in four batches, including five to six million fry and parr and five to six million smolts. Currently, there are over seven million salmon stocked, and hatchery manager Owen Davies said the first batch, of about one million parr, were due to be graded and vaccinated in mid-July, before being transferred to freshwater loch sites. Then, around November, the first smolts from Inchmore – about one million at around 100g – will be transported by lorry to Kyle, then by wellboat to farm sites. The Inchmore fish will mostly supply the company’s high energy sites, such as Mull and the new farm being built at Rum. Inchmore covers 13,500m2 – the expanse of two football pitches – and holds 4.6 million litres of water in the fish tanks (two Olympic size swimming pools), while there are 17.7 million litres (seven swimming pools) in total in the RAS system. This vast volume of water is almost completely recirculated, with only 1.5 per cent new water volume per day. Seven miles of process pipe are laid underground and there are another seven miles of building services pipe. Inchmore has been constructed with some 9,000m3 of concrete, most of it batched off site, and 730 tonnes of structural steel. Suspended above all this technical mastery is the visitors’ gallery,

a glass encased corridor accessed directly from the foyer and running almost the entire length of the building. This enables visitors, including customers and school parties, to watch the process without going through the disinfection procedure.

04/06/2018 17:07:14

Minister opens ‘magnificent’ hatchery

The fry and smolt tanks can be viewed from here and there is also a platform looking out through glass on to the vaccination area. Waste from the plant is treated until it forms a paste and is then distributed to a network of local farmers. Every stage of the process has built-in back up in the event of anything going wrong. If there is an issue they can shut down an area and carry on operating. There are four RAS systems for egg and alevin incubation, and four RAS systems for the fry and smolt, Fry A and B and Smolt A and B. The RAS systems have mechanical filtration using drum filters, fixed bed biofiltration and fine solids capture, trickling tower biofiltration and CO2 degassing, ozone injection for dissolved solids removal and oxygen injection. It might be far removed from Peter Crook’s hatchery, but as he said, the ‘raison d’etre’ of Inchmore mark one had been to meet production growth at the time, and the new hatchery will be doing just the same. FF

Left: Drum filters; John Richmond explains how the RAS system works. Above: Crowds gather in the foyer for the official opening. Opposite: Fergus Ewing inspects the eggs.Opposite below: Ian Roberts, Marine Harvest’s new communications and business development director.

Community welcomes support THE building team at Inchmore, led by Marine Harvest construction manager Stephen McCaig, put time aside during their schedule to transform an old school building in the community. Angie Yair, of the West Glenmoriston Community Company, said locals had been trying for several years to make better use of the building. The plan was to turn part of the school into an affordable home and part into a hub, where residents could hold meetings and classes, and which would serve as a base for Care in the Community. Now, with funding and labour supplied by Marine Harvest, the project has been completed. McCaig’s subcontractors were deployed to see the project through, and Marine Harvest had ‘made it happen’, said Yair, a retired midwife and district nurse. The old school house will also be used as a resilience centre, with SSE putting in a generator that can be switched on during power cuts. Angie’s husband, Peter, said the community and Marine Harvest managed to work together by talking to each other – ‘they’ve been very good to us’, he said. Earlier, Marine Harvest freshwater manager John Richmond thanked the community for putting up with the commotion as the hatchery was being constructed. ‘All this construction has been very noisy, disruptive and relentless for

Inchmore.indd 19

the past few years so I must thank our neighbours for their tolerance and understanding as we’ve been building the farm here. We are very nearly there –we’ve still got a little bit to do- but I hope very soon to finish construction and return the glen to a more peaceful environment.’

Above: Angie Yair with what’s left of the cake she made for the occasion.Above:


04/06/2018 17:08:03

Trade Associations – SSPO Comment


What’s all the fuss about? Underpinning When politics provenance

Independence blueprint may have turned out to be too independent

Tgets personal I D

To this strand of thinking the report adds a lot of sound but conventional ecoHE Sustainable Growth Commission (SGC), chaired by SNP stalwart, econnomic advice, including highlighting the benefits of increased inward migration omist and former MSP Andrew Wilson, concluded that Scotland could become a successful small nation if it ever decided to secede from the UK. and of raising skills to drive up economic performance. Most of this comes down to having a clear strategy for industrial developHowever, achieving that successful status would take many years and require wholesale changes in the government’s industrial, economic and social ment and sensible economic and social policies, and to making sure that both are properly resourced and well managed. policies, found the commission’s report, published on May 25. The report takes the occasional sideswipes at the projected damaging effects Moreover, it would incur a painful period of transition impacting on public ofdepend Brexit, but theprovenance Scottish politiofcaltheir context these views are to besensed expected. finances, the provision of public services and the quality of life for major parts on in the products she quickly an aut may not be politically correct to say so at Disappointingly, there were no real attempts to identify Scottish economic of the population. dience response and moved to safer comedic material: there are some present but farmed Atlantic salmon would upsides of Brexit, and there are some. Political and economic pundits picked at the report and tried to decide things you just don’t joke about! not have become Scotland’s leading food geon’s refusal toall support Withdrawal Bill, considers because of claimedfor establishing and maintaining Part B of the report theitsblueprint whether it shouldon beyour regarded as aoftriumph oropti a politi cal gaff. So, what’s the the EPENDING degree natural However, her remark left me asking myself whether we think enough export without the Crown Estate’s positive (but temporary) ‘power grab’ ofmanagement devolved powers, looks increasingly sound of public finances. Much of this analysis is again sound fuss about? mism, the spring-through-summer period about the underpinning of the provenance of Scottish farmed fish – and engagement with aquaculture development a timebut when Scotland’s nati onal forgconventi onal and refl ectsinterests what will lie be in seen by many as a rather centrist Essenti ally, the document has three main parts. Part Aunstatesmanlike. is concerned withAtraisof 2018 is likely to be perceived either as for me that’s farmed salmon. back in the 1980s. ing close effecti relatiinonships withtothe the approach, some cases theUK, politi calScotti right sh of the SNP’s and Scottish governing thethe potenti albefore and performance ofas the Scotti sh economy. Part and B deals withve working calm the storm or the dawn There is no doubt that Scottish provenance is important to our indusNow, aquaculture is a significant part of the government’s approach likecurrent gesture politi ment’s positi on.cs. the recommended framework and strategy for sustainable public finances. And looks that heralds a sunlit day. portf try – it gives us the edge in all our key markets. agency’s marine leasing olio and is reguThe Westminster andbe Consti Affairs Se-in the report’s underlying However, it on would hard tuti to fional nd much fault Part C setsthe outever viewspresent on the monetary policy and financial regulati on frame-Public Administrati Against background of the Provenance can be defined in various ways but most people will agree larly celebrated by the Crown Estate’s Scottish has just reported that,reasoning. in a survey of 1,000 people, fewer analysis and work that would be required Scotland were to secedelect andCommitt establishee a wholly Brexit negoti ations and the ifrange of ongoing that it goes beyond the appearance and sensory qualities of the final Marine Aquaculture Awards event. This year’s than 0.1 per cent think the Overall, Westminster and the Holyrood governments my view is that the document is a solid piece of work, albeit with free-standing nation onal economy. politi cal attacks the details of the Europeproduct: flavour, texture, visual presentation and product consistency event in Edinburgh on the 11 June was the work well Personally, am surprised gure was as high as that there are distinctive some Isignifi cant flaws.the Theficommission’s argument some (Withdrawal) ways, Part C is the interesti ng,cal since it presents littletogether. new anInUnion Bill least 2017-19, politi are always key factors in consumer appeal but provenance is about usual highly successful showcase for Scottish that! large country economic models that are regionally constraining, and that there thinking. It outlines a proposal to retain the Briti initially and then uncertainti es abound. The shape of things tosh pound much more. aquaculture and atowards rare opportunity for indusBoth administrati entrenched in doing their own thing in country to gain hoped for, some economic magic in making yourself a small move progressively Bank and a Scottions sh areisdeeply come is anything but clear.establishing a Scottish Central Itprobably refl ectsillusory, a wider concept of quality assurance, including: try to join together to mark its success. their own way, and prospects synergies seem rarely tobenefi beconsumer considered. but for economic ts simply does not stand up. currency. The febrile atmosphere is affecting both the whereby is grown and processed; the professional The in Crown is presently at the centre Yet both administrati are place challenged thefish same policy issues – which there There are plenty ofthe large advanced countries in are regions with fact,Scotti isEstate theshapproach outlined Eddie George (former governor of ons the UKThis, and the governments in by conjoint integrity of the producti on and processing methods; and the small quality, of further devoluti on discussions between the health welfare, educati economic and onally highon, GDP/capita, andgrowth, there are economically successful the Bank of England) discussions upthe to the 2014service, Scottishsocial excepti and wholly separateduring areas.the Both seem to running be commitment and care of the people involved – the professional UK government and Scotti sh government. The so on. What’s will groweconomic over time countriesthese whichchallenges have pockets where performance is decidedly skills, referendum, andreserves is like that adopted in Ireland, following itsmore, inde- in Scotland, spending their ofhistorically public goodwill and experti se,These passion andsituati dedicati on oftothe producers themselves. long-term future of key Scottish functions re- as income and expenditure controls are increasingly devolved the below par. are not ons where the size of the country is the key pendence. there is an underlying feeling that eventually In Scotland our ‘place of producti on’ gives us a huge natural advanmains unclear and professional experti se could Scotti government. By contrast, A cal andprice B concentrate areshmore immediate consideration. there will be aParts politi to pay. on matters which tage because sh focus inadmission, theon pristi ne coastal watersand of recomsome of be squandered the process of organisati onal the media conti nues to concentrate its themuch Additi onally, onwe thegrow SGC’sfiown of its advice and to theinproblems of today. PartSturA sets out theMeanwhile, perceived strengths Forrelevant many voters, First Minister Nicola the most beauti ful and wild scenic areas of the world, and our brand is change. and politi cal ‘tragedies’ thatinmight already mendations Part Ahappen and Part or B ofhave the report could be (but have not been) and weaknesses of the Scottish economy, using mainlypersonal GDP/capita as the index protected by its PGI the Crown Estate’s core expertise and unfolded. The threat to Shona Robison’s (shaky) position as Scotti sh sh government. implemented under thestatus. present devolved Scotti ofBoth economic strength. Likewise, adopti the Scotti sh Code Good Practiwith ce the the Marine Aquaculture Awards Health Secretary or to the Indeed, recent resignati ononofof Amber Rudd asFinfi Home several polices highlighted insh the report wouldofseem at odds It argues (inevitably perhaps) that aare ‘bigimporadvanced-country economic model’ allied with the industry’s deep commitment to a range of independent tant in maintaining the disti ncti ve coherence Secretary are examples. Scottish government’s current direction of travel and with the political leanings such as the UK’s is constraining and not optimum for Scotland. It contends quality assurance programmes, the RSPCA fish welfare of Scotland’s aquaculture beaa‘small independent Bringing the issues down to this personal suits public including and offarm signifi cant facti onslevel of the SNPthe support. that Scotland would be betterand off ifititwould adopted advanced scheme, builds on thereport, underlying of ourplanned statutory regulatory tragedy ifcountry they became casualti esfound of politi calargued)media demand for soap opera. However, if fails properly to strength address Thus, the commission’s which was seemingly to fuel a drive economic model’ of the type (it is in 12 small advanced systems assure ourcproducti systems. change. which the report adopts as comparators. the underlying issues, which reflto ect systemati failuresonon inindependence, our sysfor a second Scotti sh referendum may have turned out to be countries Finally, skills,those experti se,relate passion andtodedication of our farmers This year’s Awards event was hosted by tems of government, rather going wellthe beyond that more independently minded thansolely expected. Left: Amber Rudd. can be demonstrated in abundance day in and outNicola – andSturgeon they actress, writer and comedian Jo Caulfield, an MPs and MSPs. It may prompt challenging questions about the Scottiday sh government’s cur-were Opposite: showcased by the recent event. inspired choice by whoever made the booking. The Rudd farrago offrent ers a case in point. Asprogress partawards of its routi ne clear national industrial strategies policies and limited in pursuing However, being wholly objecti ve and forward She was very funny and entertaining and kept work, the UK Home Aff airs Select Committ ee exposed an apparentand everyone’s goal of sustainable economic growth. looking, it is this third of where the Scotti shOffi industry has greatest scope for the proceedings going with a swing. Only once FF ly long-standing failurearea in public on inthat’s the what Homeall ce. And, at provenance theadministrati heart of things, the fuss is about! systemati c development. That is not to say that our industry’s skills did she stray, when she wondered what ‘proveJudged on any terms, the handling of the Windrush generation of and professional expertise are not of theit highest calibre, but it is to nance actually meant’. immigrants is a national public scandal, although it now appears recognise thatpoliti our vocati educational and training structures, and In a room full of folk whose livelihoods has been an open secret among elected cians onal for years. Given the adversarial nature of British politics, Rudd’s resignation was 12 inevitable; her lack of knowledge of the basic aspects of her brief was wholly damning.

Do we think enough about what gives the industry its edge in key markets?

Failures in our systems of government go well beyond individual MPs or MSPs

should “beWeorganising our training and education provisions much better

Unawareness of a problem is no defence against failing to deal with it

20 28 SSPO.indd 12

Phil Thomas.indd Thomas.indd 28 20 Phil

Recommendations could be (but “ have not been) implemented under the present devolved Scottish government ” 03/07/2015 14:31:33

04/06/2018 16:35:55 17:21:38 09/05/2018

Trade Associations – British Trout Association

Our man in Brussels UK input into Europe aquaculture group will endure post Brexit BY DOUG MCLEOD


N late May, while some of the aquaculture community were recovering from the excitement of Aquaculture UK in Aviemore, others among us were preparing for and participating in the 50th anniversary AGM of the Federation of European Aquaculture Producers (FEAP) in Paris. As well as the benefits from cross border networking, the proceedings included the usual discussions of the ‘commissions’, ranging across species (freshwater and salmon) and areas of interest (environment and fish health and welfare). Participation in these groups is always worthwhile, in my view, as they represent international fora, where the differing contemporary experiences of numerous national industries are frankly explained, compared and discussed. This year represents a significant time of change for FEAP, with the widespread desire among the membership to see a reinvigorated organisation making more of an impact in Brussels (particularly at the European Commission), and the creation of the Aquaculture Advisory Council as an additional interface for the sector with the European institutions (commission, parliament and parliamentary committees). All this combined with the potential destabilising result of Brexit on UK influence on, and input into, aquaculture decision making and policy issues, such as the review of the Water Framework Directive and veterinary medicine regulation. However, UK influence in FEAP will be enhanced in the future as a result of the election of Jamie Smith of the SSPO (Scottish Salmon Producers’ Organisation) being elected chairman of the Salmon and Large Trout Commission. Here, he will be able to place issues of importance to the Scottish salmonid industry on the agenda of this group’s meetings. In addition, the retirement of Courtney Hough, FEAP secretary-general, must rank as an end of an era event. He has been a part of the Brussels ‘furniture’ for more than two decades and his departure will mark a significant loss of institutional memory, knowledge and insight. The search for a replacement has begun, with the only fixed criterion within the extensive portfolio of required skills and characteristics being that he or she cannot be British – another Brexit impact. Turning to another wider industry issue, the UK has an unenviable record of low productivity (output/worker), ranking in the lowest third of OECD countries. It has also experienced a relative deterioration in recent years, with current productivity no higher than before the global financial crisis of 2008. The UK government and devolved administrations continue to address the issue with a conspicuous lack of success. Recent initiatives include £5.6 million from the Chancellor for the ‘Be the business’ scheme, plus a Treasury commitment of £20 million for a pilot to help small businesses in manufacturing supply chains adopt digital technology. These measures aim to reduce the long tail of ‘zombie’ companies with limited productivity. A study by the Centre for Cities research organisation has identified that top UK productivity is concentrated in cities in the south east of England, with 90 per cent of private companies in the bottom third for productivity being businesses supplying goods and services to local markets.

BTA.indd 21

I wondered whether the productivity of fish farming companies was an exception to urban productivity bias since 2008, so I reviewed the annual Scottish Fish Farm Production Surveys. The productivity data (tonnes of production per person employed) indicated that salmon farming was not immune from the apparent rural blight on productivity, with tonnes per person declining from 135 in 2008 to 126 in 2015 and 110 in 2016. Trout farming, however, indicated a more positive situation, with tonnes per person rising from 54.4 in 2008 to 68.2 in 2015, before a decline in 2016 to 66.9. This is a subject which I believe deserves significantly more study and analysis – particularly as we approach Brexit and there will be a need for compelling arguments for continued public sector support for innovative research and development for the aquaculture industry. I expect to carry out more extensive research in future months. FF

Above: Jamie Smith

He will be able to place issues of “importance to the Scottish salmonid industry on the agenda ” 21

04/06/2018 17:05:30

Scottish Salmon Producers’ Organisation

Brexit means...? How the salmon farming sector will meet burgeoning international demand post-EU BY ROBBIE LANDSBURGH OF THE SSPO


HE success of Scottish salmon exports has been a talking point in business and political circles of late. As the UK’s largest food export, with more than 55 markets, the salmon sector has much to offer the discussions about international trade. As things stand, the UK government intends to leave both the single market and the customs union as part of a hard Brexit. While this intended arrangement is an attempt to satisfy the government’s ‘red lines’ on issues such as free movement of people, contributions to the EU budget and the ongoing jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice, it has led to significant problems in the negotiations, particularly around the unresolved issue of the Irish border. That is something we cannot control and an issue we at SSPO have not taken a position on. What we can do, alongside planning for every eventuality, is work on the basis that an agreement will be reached and that, as part of the new arrangements and relationship with the EU, the UK will pursue its own independent trade policy.

What does this mean in practice? First of all, it means that the UK has to successfully transition current EU trade agreements with other third countries so that they continue to apply to the UK after Brexit, ensuring continued mutual preferential access and minimal disruption to global supply chains. We continue to monitor developments on this. It also means that the UK will have to identify key markets for exports and imports and enter into talks with their trade negotiators to remove tariffs and technical barriers to trade. The aim is that trading with other countries will become easier, cheaper and lead to an economic boost. It also envisages the UK assuming a fully independent role within the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and using this role to promote multilateral, rules-based free trade (a stated aspiration of this UK government) independently of the EU, at a time when some worry that free trade may be under threat.

Above: View of Skye from Harris in the Outer Hebrides.


SSPO - June.indd 22

This is not an easy task. The European Commission has been the negotiator-in-chief for much of the UK’s international trade for decades, along with the other member states, and the UK will have to quickly develop the capacity and expertise to negotiate beneficial agreements. All of that is before the tough task of negotiation begins in earnest! That is not to say that setting up a successful trade apparatus and regime is unachievable. Those negotiating on the UK’s behalf need to know, however, what the priorities of key economic sectors are and why they matter, in order to deliver positive results. Scottish salmon producers are good at exporting; our recent overseas sales figures and position within the food and drink industry are testament to that. There are 55 countries where Scottish salmon is growing in popularity because of its quality and provenance.

04/06/2018 17:03:28

Brexit means...?

Successful exporting of Scottish salmon is a highly efficient process, taking account of the many additional veterinary and food safety checks to prove conformity with local food standards regulations. The paperwork and customs duties arise because there is currently no significant trade agreement between the EU and these markets. Scottish salmon already delivers strong export performance in many countries, but the sector could undoubtedly do more at lower cost and with less hassle and paperwork with improved trade arrangements. Salmon companies have excellent knowledge and practical expertise of international trade. They understand what their priorities are and where they would like to see better access. The SSPO will be working hard to bring these to the government’s attention in the coming months. By leaving the single market and customs union, the UK’s independent trade policy

SSPO - June.indd 23

will be more flexible and will offer opportunities further afield. It may, however, cause trading difficulties with our existing EU partners and it could mean that while we are more nimble as a trading nation outside the EU, we lose the capacity and the bargaining chip of a huge market by leaving the bloc. We can forecast, prognosticate and try to second guess the outcome of this, while stress testing various scenarios (which we are doing), but we will never know for sure until it happens. Looking ahead to March 2019, it’s clear that there is concern, anxiety as well as optimism. The salmon industry and the SSPO will continue to plan for every eventuality while lobbying for the best opportunities to see Scottish salmon capitalise on the burgeoning international demand for high quality farmed fish. FF

are 55 countries where Scottish salmon is “There growing in popularity because of its quality and provenance ” 23

04/06/2018 17:03:44

Shellfish - SAGB conference


Passion to succeed Small businesses need a more enabling environment


CAPACITY audience at the 2018 Shellfish Association of Great Britain (SAGB) annual conference enjoyed talks from an international line-up of speakers from the farmed and wild capture shellfish industries. Held in Fishmongers Hall, London, from May 1-2, the event opened with the Drummond Lecture, given by Libby Woodhatch, chair of the IFFO RS (responsible supply) governing board. Looking at the past, present and future of the shellfish industry, Woodhatch spoke of the passion to succeed that is evident in small family businesses. With a plea to legislators to take shellfish farming and catching seriously, she spoke of the need for a more enabling environment to help companies survive and thrive. ‘Major issues such as water quality, lack of basic infrastructure, export certification, and the uncertainties that come with Brexit, especially border delays, free trade agreements (FTA) and tariffs, are all hampering business development,’ she said. UK fisheries minister George Eustice covered some of these points in his keynote speech, in which he spoke of the Brexit transition arrangements between the UK and the European Union, which will start in March 2019 and last until the end of 2020. The minister assured delegates that the interests of the shellfish sector, which exports 60 per cent of its product to the EU, would not be traded off during negotiations. He also spoke of talks underway to find a replacement for the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) grants to help develop the UK’s growing aquaculture industry. ‘Aquaculture is a key part of our plans,’ he said. Brexit was also top of the agenda on day two, when Netherlands embassy agricultural counsellor Tim Heddema spoke about the Dutch perspective on future seafood trade with the UK. ‘It feels like we are losing our best friend,’ he said. ‘However, the UK should be able to strike a balance, given the country’s dependence on the EU market, but first you need to find common ground on trade and customs. Outside the Union you


Shellfish.indd 24

cannot expect to enjoy the same benefits as those inside,’ he warned. Paul Silcock of Cumulus Consultants told delegates about a current project to identify the potential impacts of Brexit on trade flows in the UK shellfish sector. The findings will be reported in July 2018. ‘We aim to identify the various trade flows and to assess specific potential risks to them under different scenarios arising from the UK’s departure from the EU,’ he said. Silcock explained that in the absence of a formal UKEU FTA or customs union covering shellfish species, Most Favoured Nation (MFN) tariffs will be applied to UK exports of shellfish sold into the EU-27. In the absence of UK-third country FTAs, tariffs will also apply to shellfish sold into the UK, and to shellfish sold outside the EU. As an example, he cited the three per cent tariff applied by the EU to mussels from Norway, and the EU MFN tariff of 10 per cent applicable to countries not benefiting from formal agreements. Mike Berthet from the Global Aquaculture Alliance (GAA) spoke about the benefits of focused marketing and third-party certification for shellfish businesses. ‘It’s all about the security of ‘trust’, both in the product and the brand, and this cannot be over emphasised,’ he said. ‘To be BAP certified is to prove your commitment to the environment, social integrity, and the health of the animal and the consumer.’ GAA is currently offering SAGB members a preferential rate for Best Aquaculture Practice (BAP) certification, which includes excellent marketing support, more than 200 endorsers worldwide and no logo licensing fee. Berthet announced that Fowey Shellfish Co and Offshore Shellfish were currently undertaking the certification process. Marcus Coleman, chief executive of Seafish, spoke of the challenge facing the seafood industry, in light of falling UK seafood consumption figures. ‘The value of sales is going up but not the volume. Older generations

04/06/2018 17:02:13

Passion to succeed

Opposite from top:

Libby Woodhatch; George Eustice; Marcus Coleman. Above:

Fishmongers Hall, London.

are eating plenty of seafood, but we are still not reaching enough young people,’ he said. However, Seafish is tackling the issue with successful campaigns such as Seafood Week and its consumer brand, Fish is the Dish. ‘The key role of our consumer work is to convince consumers to eat more fish, more often, and whether it’s a fillet or a finger, fresh, frozen or tinned, it’s all good,’ said Coleman. He also spoke of the importance of the recently published Seafood 2040 strategy for England, which aims to help realise the full potential of the seafood industry. A brand new initiative, Shellfish Week, is planned for March 2019 (www.shellfishweek. and Coleman urged delegates to ‘get on board and help to recreate the success of Seafood Week’. Asking the industry to be more proactive in general, he said that Seafish has £8 million in levies to spend. ‘It comes from your industry, so please help us to shape the way we help you, and make seafood the way forward,’ he said. Johnathan Burney, director of Marine for Natural England, spoke about the issue of Pacific oysters (Crassostrea gigas) breeding and smothering natural habitats. Pacific oysters spreading into Marine Protected Areas (MPA) is a particular concern for his organisation, and future applications for licences to grow oysters will be considered on a case by case basis. However, he urged industry not to fear MPAs but to work with the authorities to find local solutions.

Shellfish.indd 25

Burney is keen to see native oyster restoration succeed and applauded initiatives such as those in the Solent and ongoing work by the Blue Marine Foundation. Shellfish as a healthy option, shellfish in the retail sector, and the power of shellfish festivals were also covered in the packed two-day agenda. FF

Older generations are eating “ plenty of seafood but we are still not reaching enough young people ”


04/06/2018 17:02:30



Home truths

Fish consumption patterns changing faster than we think


HE good news is that UK consumers spent £7.7 billion on fish and seafood in 2017. This is up 16.7 per cent from 2016. Of this, £3.73 billion was spent at retail for home consumption, an increase of 5.1 per cent. These figures come from a new study commissioned by Seafish. The problem with measuring consumption by value is that values can change quite rapidly due to either rising or falling prices, as well as such things as currency fluctuations. Volume gives a much better indication of changes in consumption and, according to Seafish, high prices meant that multiple retail sales fell by 3.2 per cent year on year to 316,000 tonnes. This includes chilled, frozen and ambient such as canned. Of these, only chilled and fresh fish showed an increase, with sales rising by 11.8 per cent. By comparison, ambient sales fell by 42 per cent, frozen by 24 per cent and shellfish by 14 per cent. These very broad figures are difficult to translate into an appreciation of how consumption patterns are changing. Seafish has also quoted figures from Defra which relate to consumption per person. This is an interesting development because in the past, the Defra figures have been largely ignored by the wider industry, probably because declining consumption is not something that anyone wants to hear. Now they confirm what is happening elsewhere. The latest Defra figures for at-home fish consumption were published last month and were not great. Consumption fell in the last year from 144g to 135g per person per week. This equates to every person in the UK eating three portions of fish less per year than a year ago


Martin Jaffa.indd 26

and 13 portions less than in 2006, when consumption last peaked. Seafish attributes this recent decline to be in direct proportion to rising prices but I am not so sure. For many years, fish consumption patterns have been something of a roller-coaster ride. In the 1970s, for example, consumption fell to just 118g per person per week. This low coincided with the height of the cod wars between Britain and Iceland. It is therefore not always about price. While it is of concern that at-home consumption has fallen to 135g per person per week, the underlying trends may be a lot worse. The Defra figures include all fish and seafood bought for home consumption. This includes frozen and ambient as well as fish ready meals. If fresh and chilled fish, the section which is seemingly doing well, is considered separately, then consumption is less than 30g per person per week. This equates to just less than one portion of fish per person per month, far short of the two portions of fish per week. If all at-home fish consumption is included, then consumption works out at about one portion per person per week. However, this has to be offset against the fact that sales of fish eaten out of the home is increasing. What appears to be happening is that consumers are happy to eat fish cooked for them out of the house but less happy to cook fish at home for themselves. This is noticeable at the supermarket, where counters are

Above: Shopping habits are changing.

04/06/2018 17:00:49

Home truths

Consumers are happy to eat fish “ cooked for them out of the house but less happy to cook for themselves ” shrinking in size as consumer visits decline. Even packs of chilled fish are not as widespread as they used to be. The question is how much are prices now affecting consumption as Seafish has implied? Around 2012, the fall in consumption appeared to stall and then picked up slightly before appearing to stabilise. At the time, fish counters were offering significant discounts on some fish species, especially cod. This was in part to persuade consumers that they could return to eating cod and haddock after previous claims that they should be avoided. Older consumers bought much more fish than usual and apparent consumption stabilised. However, while sales of cod increased, salmon started to falter as prices rose. Inevitably, the higher price of salmon began to take effect and the recent falls are likely to be enhanced due to rising prices in the retail sector. It is important to recognise that these price changes are simply masking the underlying changes that now affect patterns of fish consumption. I was once told by an industry stalwart that consumption has risen and fallen at various times in history and that there is nothing really new in

Martin Jaffa.indd 27

what is happening to consumption now. I am not so sure. Shopping habits are changing, and these will have a major impact on fish sales. This will be more so than on any other of the foods eaten today. The biggest change is the decline of the wet fish counter. Consumers have appeared to prefer fish in prepack for several years now, but as the UK public moves away from making a weekly shop in the large supermarket to the much smaller express store, the range of fish on offer is likely to shrink as fish will have to fight for limited shelf space. Consumers like eating the Big Five species – cod, haddock, salmon, tuna and prawns - but in the future, the Big Five may be all that is on offer. Seafish has said that while consumers are comfortable with their favourite species, there is so much more they could eat. This is unlikely unless there is a radical rethink on the way that fish is presented to consumers because they will never choose to eat what they cannot see. Fish consumption is changing. It may not be that long before fish is something that is eaten out of the home and never cooked in the home. It may happen even quicker than we think. FF


04/06/2018 17:01:07

Aquaculture UK – Introduction

Biggest and best Aviemore show sets new record as industry confidence soars


OR two days, in glorious May sunshine, Scotland’s aquaculture industry gathered in the Highlands with international colleagues, competitors and customers, to showcase the products, innovation, services and expertise that will drive the sector’s future growth. Aquaculture UK 2018 was officially opened on May 23 by Fergus Ewing, Cabinet Secretary for the Rural Economy and Connectivity. He repeated his support for the Scottish industry, saying it provided 12,000 jobs, many of them well paid, and workers in the sector were the backbone of their Highlands communities. He told delegates assembled outside the main exhibition tent, at the Macdonald Resort in Aviemore, that it was very important that this message is delivered ‘loud and clear’. ‘Aquaculture UK provides a unique opportunity for the industry to get together to discuss innovation, sustainable growth and the challenges for the future,’ he said. ‘I believe there are 2,400 registered delegates and 200 exhibitors, and that this therefore marks and demonstrates the growing success of the sector,’ he said. The exhibition this year was some 40 per cent bigger than the previous event in 2016, with a reported 60 companies taking stands for the first time – representing the current dynamism of the industry, in Scotland and in Norway, Iceland, the Faroes and Denmark, countries which had a stronger than usual presence than in past shows. There was a noted focus on innovation within the sector, as aquaculture companies increasingly embrace new technology to address health challenges and promote expansion. Ewing used the occasion to launch Scotland’s Farmed Fish Health Framework, a 10-year plan to grow the industry sustainably, and he hit back at anti-farming campaigners. The nation’s salmon farmers have come under persistent attack from environmental groups, some Green politicians and the angling lobby, and the industry is currently the subject of a parliamentary inquiry. ‘I cannot think of a sector which is on the receiving end of so much undeserved, negative criticism whilst at the same time there is so little credit given for the demonstrable and proven success that you deliver,’ he said.

marks “andThisdemonstrates the growing success of the sector

Above and clockwise: Fergus Ewing cuts the ribbon and opens the exhibition; Marine Harvest’s new communications and business development director Ian Roberts with business support manager Steve Bracken; LiftUp’s stand; Morenot; Ewing with the industry’s new publication; Dave Hutchens of W&J Knox. Left: French supplier Faivre.


Aviemore - Intro.indd 28

In front of the already large crowds attending the two-day show, he held up the pocket size guide to salmon farming, ‘Reported versus Reality’, published recently by the industry, and told delegates to hand it out, ‘to counteract the unfounded smears and attacks we see repeated all too frequently in our mainly metropolitan press’. Aquaculture UK also hosted the Scottish Aquaculture Awards, and several seminars were held in the conference tent alongside the exhibition. Over the next few pages we bring you some of the highlights of a memorable Aviemore, followed by news of further innovation in the global industry. Please also visit Fish Farmer’s video footage, a first for the magazine, filmed by in house photographer Angus Blackburn ( BaByFZx-XhA). FF

04/06/2018 16:59:35

Biggest and best

Women needed to unlock growth She said she had had both female and male role models and mentors throughout her career and, along with the other speakers (Hadfield, Sheila Voas, chief veterinary officer for Scotland, and Ruth Clements, head of veterinary programmes at Benchmark), she agreed a mentoring scheme might help women’s progress. Voas suggested that female aquaculture professionals could ‘muscle in’ on the existing Women in Agriculture mentoring group, or set up their own bespoke network. She believed that there was not necessarily a deliberate bias against women in the workplace but rather preconceived ideas about gender roles. ‘We need to create an environment in which people can develop and show they are the right people for the job,’ she said. Her advice to women in the industry was to challenge unconscious bias, believe in themselves – and always wear comfortable shoes! The seminar chair, Heather Jones - CEO of the Scottish Aquaculture Innovation Centre, which sponsored the Fish Site organised event alongside Scottish Sea Farms and Ocean Matters, said 77 per cent of the staff in her organisation were female. She predicted that in 10 to 15 years’ time, every business in aquaculture would have a much more balanced workforce. Clements revealed that Benchmark was already embracing flexible working practices and had developed a diversity programme to address the gender pay gap. And Hesketh-Laird said companies that really wanted diversity put policies in place, offered training, unpicked unconscious bias, intentionally ensured recruitment was gender equal, and championed diversity at all levels of their business.

THE aquaculture industry needs more women ‘quite urgently’ at senior levels to get the full potential out of businesses, said Marine Harvest Scotland managing director Ben Hadfield at a Women in Aquaculture meeting in Aviemore on May 24. Hadfield was one of four panellists taking part in a discussion on gender equality, held in the conference tent at the Aquaculture UK exhibition and drawing a capacity crowd. He said that during the recent parliamentary inquiry into salmon farming, the industry had the opportunity to defend itself. Although the team had done well, ‘what let us down was the fact that we looked like what we were – five middle aged men in suits’. While he said there were no actual barriers to diversity and that innovation and technology had removed the obstacles for women on farm sites, the operational sector was still male dominated. ‘We need women to enter farming roles, as farm managers, as area managers as production managers and – ultimately – as managing directors of the companies,’ he said. ‘It’s not to say it should be a free ride or an easy ride for women – diversity is no substitute for ability – but if you have diversity and you have ability then it’s an open door and I genuinely think the industry would benefit from that in terms of its governance.’ Later, he admitted that the morning’s discussion had got him thinking that Marine Harvest should put a structure in place to help recruit more women into farming roles. If he had a choice between equally good male and female candidates for the same job, he said he would ‘choose diversity’ with the aim of strengthening the team. And ‘it would be nice to have a female MD here in Scotland’, he said. Julie Hesketh-Laird, the recently appointed chief executive of the Scottish Salmon Producers’ Organisation, said that from what she had seen of the industry so far, aquaculture companies such as Scottish Sea Farms and Marine Harvest were ‘doing very well and far better than the UK average’ on equal pay. The industry wanted to unlock growth and why would it do that without half the population – ‘diversity makes really good business sense’. Top: Sheila Voas; Ben Hadfield. Above: Julie Hesketh-Laird

Aviemore - Intro.indd 29


04/06/2018 16:59:57

Aquaculture UK – Cleaner fish

Numbers game

Experts consider how to meet growing demand for farmed wrasse and lumpfish


HERE was standing room only and people listening from outside the conference tent during the cleaner fish seminar held on the second day of the Aviemore show. An expert panel led by Scotland’s foremost authority on cleaner fish, Jim Treasurer, had been assembled for a question and answer session, which covered egg production, closing the lifecycle, health and welfare, improving survival and re-use. Taking part were Sonia Rey Planellas of the Institute of Aquaculture, Richard Prickett of Dorset Cleaner Fish, Chris Hempleman of Scottish Sea Farms, Angela Ashby of Fish Vet Group, and Andrew Davie of the Institute of Aquaculture. Over the last few years, cleaner fish had become an integral part of sea lice management, said Treasurer, and since 2014 lumpfish had been introduced, on top of wrasse, but with only increased numbers in the last two years. By 2020, it was estimated that Scotland would need 10 million cleaner fish, while Norway’s requirements will be closer to 50 million – an underestimate, Treasurer thought. Future demand will depend on the ideal stocking ratio of species- currently, production figures are 15 lumpfish for every wrasse - and the stocking density of cleaner fish to salmon in pens. An estimated four million lumpfish were reared in the UK in 2017 – in hatcheries in Scotland, England and Wales – along with 300,000 ballan wrasse. The wrasse fishery, meanwhile, was around two million split roughly 50:50 between Scotland and England. In Norway, about two million ballan wrasse were reared, mostly by Marine Harvest. To meet the demand for cleaner fish, farmed production needs to be ramped up, but Treasurer said it was very encouraging that there are 10 hatcheries in the UK rearing cleaner fish and 43 in Norway. Hatcheries The panel was asked how the sector can secure lumpfish egg production and whether the UK should have its own broodstock or depend on importing eggs. Richard Prickett said UK hatcheries buy in eggs from Iceland or Norway but we need our own supply at some point. In Canada, for example, Memorial University collects broodstock from all the main salmon companies in the area

Left: Richard Prickett and Angela Ashby. Above: Jim Treasurer and panellist Sonia Rey Planellas.


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and is the holder and supplier of all the eggs. And Norway supplies its own eggs of course. But in the UK, the lumpfish broodstock fishery was very poor and therefore not a major source of eggs. Chris Hempleman agreed that the UK should develop its own broodstock capability from F1 generators, and said a more domesticated broodstock would improve the efficiency of the species. This can be done, said Andrew Davie, and Otter Ferry on Loch Fyne was trying to close the lifecycle. But we’ve only been farming lumpfish for two to three years and know next to nothing about the environmental aspects and what they require. ‘We need to do this because we’re missing a trick. We can improve, we can work with selection with these animals, we’ve got a two year turnaround and can make rapid improvements.’ He said work was also being done on identity traits, to improve disease resistance and so on, but researchers needed a lot of support from the industry. Alastair Barge of Otter Ferry, who was in the audience, confirmed that his hatchery had in fact closed the lumpfish cycle but the challenge was the egg quality and keeping the fish alive. They produced 60 fish but lots of the eggs had sucker deformities in the first stab; in the second stab, all the broodstock died in the course of the grow-out season. ‘This is not going to be easy and should be done in more than one place – we should be producing three times as many, so we need three places to produce them.’ Planellas said transport was a big problem so anything that reduced transport times would be good. Moving on to ballan wrasse, Treasurer said broodstock survival was very good, with good quality eggs, but the species’ production cycle was more complicated than that of lumpfish. Prickett asked how production could be increased rapidly: ‘I’ve been rearing quite a number of species over the years and with cleaner fish I’ve never found a more interesting but complicated species than the ballan wrasse and I’ve never found an easier species than the lumpfish.’ Marine Harvest’s cleaner fish production manager Paul Featherstone and his team at Machrihanish had done fantastic work (see next page), and closing the wrasse lifecycle was happening, but it was happening too slowly and it may be three to five years before production targets were met.

04/06/2018 16:54:56

Numbers game In the south of England, the pressure on the wild wrasse fishery was an issue, Prickett said, a lot of people were up in arms and this was not reflecting well on the salmon industry. He suggested that lumpfish could take the place of wrasse more and there did not necessarily have to be a 50/50 split between the two species. In the future, probably more lumpfish than wrasse would be deployed and it would just be the big companies like Marine Harvest using wrasse, he predicted. Hempleman called for strong investment in solving the bottlenecks in wrasse production and said there had to be more effort to increase the numbers of all cleaner fish – ‘it’s up to us to push on the farm side’. Wrasse is a species that doesn’t want to be rushed, said Davie, and we have to accept its slow production cycle. There was a two to three year lag between understanding how to make a step change and then realising that step change. Featherstone, in the audience, said plenty of wrasse broodstock were spawning now in Machrihanish but the big problem was weaning the wrasse, and it was that that was ‘stopping us producing the numbers we’d like to produce’. Some 60 to 70 per cent of the fish were lost at the weaning process. On a more positive note, he confimed that this year the hatchery had produced its own F1 after six years, a breakthrough he described as a ‘step in the right direction which we hope will help in the weaning’. It was a very slow process indeed with wrasse but he was confident the industry would get the numbers in the end. He said shortage of hatchery and nursery space was another problem. One way to overcome the weaning issue was to produce a lot more larvae. ‘If we got more space to produce more larvae, the losses would still be there but the numbers would be greater because we’d have more fish. ‘There is insufficient nursery capacity in the UK and insufficient larval rearing capacity. We’re overwhelmed with larvae, we have millions, but don’t know where to put them. It’s a great shame. The F1 generation will be a game changer – but again we’re short of space.’ He said they were working closely with the Institute of Aquaculture on selective breeding programmes but it was very early days. Asked by the RSPCA’s John Avisienius what were the causes of the wrasse losses, Davie said it was natural to lose a lot of animals in weaning and wrasse were very picky eaters. There were now some tailored diets but sorting out weaning diets properly would help. Featherstone said there was no cannibalism, as had been suggested, but they starve themselves in the transition from artemia to dry diets, which was partly a learning process. Deployment Davie said it had taken six years to get F1 broodstock to spawn in captivity and they were not aspiring to move genuinely to selective improvements with wrasse (it was different with lumpfish), but to just ensure there is genetic diversity. The panel was then asked about the evolution-

Cleaner Fish.indd 31

ary aspects of sea lice, and about worrying anecdotal reports that they were becoming paler as they adapt to the cleaner fish; Hempleman said there were some naturally pale lice. ‘But I’ve got my fingers firmly crossed that they haven’t worked out how to recognise a wrasse coming after them at this stage, but I wouldn’t be surprised, sea lice are pretty smart creatures.’ Davie pointed out that research from his colleague Armin Sturm showed that pigmentation change was natural, but he cautioned that ‘they are parasites and they are designed to adapt’. Marine Harvest’s farming operations director, Gideon Pringle, warned that the pigmentation issue needs looking into because it was a sign that the environmental interaction was changing. He suggested the industry start measuring for lice changes. ‘We’ve been seeing a lot of variation out there but we aren’t actually measuring it. But I think we should absolutely expect the lice to adapt very, very quickly and that will be a major threat to the fish, as will the other methods we are using at the moment: Hydrolicers, freshwater – definitely freshwater. I think we’ll see rapid resistance there.’ He suggested that the industry formed a group to focus on using all the tools at its disposal and ‘mixing all strategies at all times’. ‘We’re not actually doing this at the moment – we are tending to do either what’s easiest or what works the best and I think we’ll rapidly lose a lot of these tools.’ He said the industry should start measuring changes in lice pigmentation because there was a lot that could be done in changing salmon pigmentation and ‘we have some ability to light up or make lice stand out a bit more’. ‘We’re at the point in the industry where we’ve never had so many methods against sea lice – let’s not burn them all out at once by everyone using one at a time.’ Health and welfare The panel was asked if there was any interaction between wrasse and lumpfish when they are stocked together, and Hempleman said he hadn’t seen any increased mortality when they were mixed. They tended to occupy different spaces in the pens. Davie said the two species behaved very differently, with wrasse site specific and lumpfish all over the place, but there were no negative issues in mixing them. Angela Ashby agreed and said there had been no concerns raised at the farms she visited. Asked about the transmission of diseases from cleaner fish to salmon, Ashby said while there were some diseases they both got, there was no evidence that cleaner fish were infecting salmon, as far as she was aware. There was always a risk, in co-culturing any species, though, of disease passing between the two, and she flagged up the fact that AGD is shared between salmon, wrasse and lumpfish. On the subject of re-using cleaner fish, Hempleman said that considering they were a scarce and expensive resource and the industry wanted to expand their deployment, if we could re-use them, we should. Ashby said the industry needed to make sure it was using all its tools against sea lice in a responsible way and needed guidelines for what is best practice in

I’ve got my “fingers firmly crossed that they haven’t worked out how to recognise a wrasse coming after them


04/06/2018 16:55:32

Aquaculture UK – Cleaner fish transferring fish. ‘We need more understanding on viruses that may be a risk to salmon…and basic sensible biosecurity principles.’

Right: Lumpfish - not many are recovered.

High mortality Ruth Layton of Benchmark highlighted the high mortality rates for cleaner fish, with low numbers recovered from cages at the end of a production cycle. Ashby said it was very early days still, particularly with lumpfish – ‘we’re trying to run before we can walk. We’re expecting the site guys to deal with a whole new species that even experts don’t know much about. ‘Unfortunately, there have been a lot of health challenges, not quite ideal husbandry practices…and, as a result, the attrition rate has been pretty high.’ Companies were getting more aware that keeping them alive is about keeping them happy, she added, ‘but it’s not been a great first couple of years.’ Planellas said that in Norway many of the lumpfish survived now, but Gideon Pringle said Marine Harvest Scotland had almost zero survival of this species. ‘We don’t recover anything…and can’t find evidence that Norway is recovering anything better than we are. We need to get better at it a lot quicker.’ Treasurer said lumpfish vanish because they decompose very quickly and pass through the net more quickly than wrasse. Ashby said the sector knows the things it’s getting wrong- such as transferring fish that aren’t healthy, like lumpfish with severely deformed suckers, or transferring wrasse before there are hides in the pens – simple mistakes that are easily avoided. And she warned that treatments can destroy lumpfish stocks, so systems were needed that didn’t hasten their demise. Comparing this with wrasse, Hempleman said some sites had recovered 75 per cent of the ballan wrasse Scottish Sea Farms had put in, but that can dwindle away to nothing if they are not handled properly. It was extremely important that from day one that there was a ‘massive focus’ on best practice. ‘If there’s a change of behaviour, if there’s anything happening with the cleaner fish, then we go and have a look straight away to find out what’s happening…it’s understanding the critical points that risk your cleaner fish, that’s where you need to focus if you want to have any survival.’ Davie said a lot more had been learnt about wrasse from research and projects, than lumpfish – simple things such as what food they want.

‘If you start caring for them in the cages they do a lot better,’ he said. ‘No one has answers for lumpfish yet…but we can learn from the wrasse. It has been a game changer how they settle into the cage environment. Similar work is starting this year with lumpfish so in due course we’ll hopefully start getting answers.’ Cleaner Fish Biology and Aquaculture Applications, edited by Jim Treasurer, is available from http:// FF

We’re at the point where “we’ve never had so many methods against sea lice – let’s not burn them all out’

Machrihanish milestone as farmed wrasse spawn A MAJOR milestone in wrasse culture was reached last month at the Marine Harvest hatchery in Machrihanish, with the first spawning of farmed fish. Andrew Davie, of the Institute of Aquaculture, who has spearheaded wrasse research in collaboration with the Marine Harvest site, along with the company’s Paul Featherstone and Lindsay Sherriff, said: ‘It has taken eight years of collaborative research and development and six years’ waiting and watching these fish to get to this point.’ The wrasse project has been a combined research initiative between Marine Harvest, Scottish Sea Farms and the Institute of Aquaculture since 2012. More recently, co-funding has come from the Scottish Aquaculture Innovation Centre and BioMar. Featherstone said the FI generation of broodfish were initially selected in 2012 from the progeny of wild broodstock. ‘This means we have now closed the ballan wrasse cycle by producing the first ever farmed generation of wrasse. ‘Over the years, we have had many problems and issues with the culture of the ballan wrasse but I would hope that this F1 generation will prove


Cleaner Fish.indd 32

from farmed fish origin broodstock, was a ‘massive breakthrough’. ‘No one else has been able to do this and it’s a step closer to full biosecurity, full security of supply of cleaner fish within the hatchery so we’re not then dependent on wild caught. ‘It’s not about the sustainability of wild caught, it’s more about the security of having a disease free population of broodstock that we can go forwards with and open up the whole to be a game changer, as indeed has been the case breeding programme. in other species of farmed fish. ‘It will mean we can then select for delousing fish ‘We haven’t had all that many fertile eggs as yet and then we’ll be able to use less cleaner fish in but a number of them have hatched and are lookthe future.’ ing very healthy. Next challenge is to see how they Earlier this year, Marine Harvest won planning feed on rotifers and artemia. consent to build a new wrasse hatchery at Machr‘However, the way the young broodfish are ihanish, to help meet the growing demand for behaving does bode well for the future. The fish can farmed cleaner fish. only become bigger and more fecund as the years Once completed, the 20,000 sq ft plant is expectprogress. ed to produce around 800,000 wrasse a year. It will ‘So these F1 broodstock are very valuable and be located adjacent to the existing Machrihanish I am very optimistic that they will be the key to wrasse hatchery, which produces around 200,000 increasing production over the next few years into farmed wrasse annually, in its joint farming prothe levels that the industry will demand.’ gramme with Scottish Sea Farms. Scottish Sea Farms’ head of fish health, Ralph Marine Harvest is also developing Anglesey Bickerdike, said for Scotland to be the first in the Aquaculture in north Wales, as another hatchery world to produce a viable larvae, and therefore fish for rearing wrasse.

04/06/2018 16:58:03


Aquaculture UK – Mort removal

- a fast mover Former diver develops six-minute mort collection system


ICK Bower last worked in the aquaculture industry on Scotland’s Right: Mick Bower with west coast about 15 years ago, as a diver, but when he wanted to the ROV. test his company’s new ROV mort collector his old contacts were quick to offer help. He has designed a system involving a remotely operated vehicle attached to a collection cage, that when dropped into a pen, hoovers up dead fish. His year-old company, Underwater Contracting (UCO), now has six of these mort collectors - or Foovers – in Scottish farms, with another two to be delivered soon, and possibly several more following a successful two days in Aviemore. Since its launch last year, the system has completed more than 1,000 dives in commercial operations in Scottish waters. The unit can cram 350kg of fish into the cage – about 85 large salmon or to 30m at the centre, so there is a lot more risk around 2,000 smolts. It also scoops up ‘thousands’ of cleaner fish. of decompression.’ The Foover works fast, said Bower. It takes one minute to plunge 30m UCO is now researching other potential appliinto the depth of the pen, just three minutes to collect 150 morts, and cations for the Foover, including removing feed another minute to return to the surface. The sites where the system is and fish waste from underneath fish pens. FF currently operating report that the whole process takes no more than six minutes in total. A 10-pen site in 25m of water with an average amount of morts can be NET SERVICES rendered mort free in under three hours. SHETLAND LTD The patent pending Foover is easily installed on board typical workboats with deck space of less than three metres square, and can be deployed and recovered from the pen using the workboat crane. It is easy to control with a joystick from the wheelhouse of the boat, said Bower, and a monitor displays information from inside the pen. UCO rents out the Foover, and has units at Marine Harvest and Grieg farms on the west coast, in Shetland and, shortly, in Orkney. Bower expects further orders from Norway following Aquaculture UK, and perhaps in Chile, too, after a serious enquiry. UCO trains farm staff to operate the Foover, and can also supply its own operator. Bower said they prefer to rent the units so they can maintain and update them, as the technology evolves. As well as collecting morts, the Foover has several other functions, including carrying out net inspections, cleaning the cages (but not the nets), and the pipes that lead back to the feed barge. Bower said customers are mostly using the Foover for mort removal, but once they’ve had it for a while they can see what else it can do. The trend is for farmers to use one unit per area, which may be three or four farms. He worked as a diver in the late 90s until 2004, when he moved into the oil and gas industry, as a diver, then an operations manager. He is based in Aberdeen but also spent time working in Abu Dhabi, again as a diver and ROV manager. He had the idea for his Foover seven years ago, after working closely in ROV technology, and when he decided to return to Aberdeen (after be«Supplier of groundbreaking net technology in OF1» coming a grandad) he dipped his toe into the aquaculture industry again. The people who had been farm managers when he last worked on the west coast were now area managers and they allowed him to perform trials at their sites. Bower said the Foover doesn’t necessarily replace divers but it can reduce the amount of time spent underwater, which ‘carries inherent risks’. ‘When I was a diver, the cages were 20m deep but now they are closer DELIVERING THE DIFFERENCE

Cages are “now closer

to 30m at the centre so there is a lot more risk of decompression





UCO.indd 33


04/06/2018 16:53:50

Aquaculture UK – Awards

Marine Harvest’s prize night Capacity crowd cheers impressive line-up of industry winners


ARINE Harvest scooped the top prize of best aquaculture company in the Scottish Marine Aquaculture Awards on May 23. At a packed ceremony with more than 600 guests, staged on the first night of the Aquaculture UK exhibition, companies and individuals were recognised in 12 different categories. The event was compered by Dougie Vipond, former Deacon Blue drummer and presenter of the television show Landward, and attracted representatives from the finfish and shellfish sectors from across the UK and further afield. Marine Harvest also won the Community Initiative award, for its Isle of Rum development initiative, which has included building homes for staff. And it was awarded the Innovation accolade, picked up by seawater manager David MacGillivray, for pioneering enivro nets for circular pens, which the company says have had impressive results, with pilot projects on Skye and the Western Isles. Marine Harvest Scotland managing director Ben Hadfield said: ‘We are delighted to have won these awards, which are testament to the skill and dedication of our whole team at Marine Harvest. ‘We produce top quality salmon, which is in huge demand across the world, often in challenging conditions, and it is fantastic to see our hard work recognised.’ Scottish Sea Farms’ Sarah Last was named Finfish Farm Manager of the Year, the second time a female farm manager has triumphed, after Marine Harvest’s Rosie Curtis was honoured in the last Scottish aquaculture awards, staged three years ago in Edinburgh. The best shellfish farm manager was Robert Lamont of Loch Ryan Oyster Fishery Company. Meanwhile, Stewart Graham, managing director of Gael Force Group, beat a formidable line up of industry leaders – including Marine Harvest’s Steve


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Bracken, former SSPO chief executive Scott Landsburgh, and Kames Fish Faming’s Stuart Cannon – to win the Outstanding Contribution to Industry award. Graham has been one of the driving forces behind the vision to grow the industry and double its value by 2030 and he co-chairs the Aquaculture Industry Leadership Group. Cannon, who has been in the sector since 1972, was later named the People’s Choice winner of the night, a first time award voted for by people in the industry in the run up to the show. Aquaculture Supplier of the Year was won by the Mull based family business Inverlussa Marine, while the Business Development Award was given to AKVA group Scotland, which has grown and diversified its range of offerings over the last two years. The Rising Star award – which was open to emerging talents under 35 – was presented to both Lynne Frame, hatchery specialist at Scottish Sea Farms, and Scott MacKay, who has enjoyed a meteoric rise at AKVA. Carly Daniels of the National Lobster Hatchery in Cornwall collected the Stewardship and Sustainability Award for her work on a project that is investigating the potential of culturing lobsters in unique growing systems. And the Aquaculture Seafood Product of the Year was won by the Scottish Shellfish Marketing Group for its quick-to-cook moules frites, developed in partnership with Morrisons. Susan Tinch, event manager of Aquaculture UK, said: ‘We’re thrilled about how well combining the awards with the Aquaculture UK exhibition for the first time went. ‘It’s been a sell-out and the atmosphere was electric. We look forward to delivering an equally exciting ceremony in the near future as a tribute to how the industry has evolved.’ Matt Colvan, sales and marketing director of organiser 5m Publishing, said: ‘We were very happy about the unprecedented industry engagement with the awards and by the incredible standard of the applications and nominations. ‘It was a fitting celebration for a sector that is going from strength to strength.’. FF

A fitting “celebrati on

for a sector that is going from strength to strength

Above: Winners Ben Hadfield of Marine Harvest; Sarah Last of Scottish Sea Farms; Jason Cleaversmith of AKVA; and Gael Force’s Stewart Graham. Left: Stuart Cannon of Kames wins the People’s Choice award.

04/06/2018 16:52:37

Marine Harvest’s prize night

Bright future SCOTTISH Sea Farms’ Lynne Frame is a shining example of how much can be achieved, and contributed back to the business, when those opportunities to train and develop are grabbed with both hands. Her SSF interview – for a position within the environmental team – was done by Skype from New Zealand, where she was working on a mussel farm after graduating from the University of Edinburgh with a BSc in chemistry. The interview resulted in a job offer, but for an alternative role within the supply chain team. She has since gone on to spend as much time, if not more, in other producing countries as she has in Scotland, gaining valuable insights. When SSF committed to building its £40

million plus freshwater hatchery at Barcaldine and was looking to build up the team in this area, Lynne was offered a year’s secondment to one of SSF’s parent companies, Lerøy in Norway, which had already established two similar facilities. ‘I had not long come from experiencing one side of aquaculture in New Zealand, to experiencing another side in Scotland, when I was presented with the opportunity to see how things were done Norwegian style,’ said Lynne. ‘I had to go for it.’ There, Lynne immersed herself in the world of recirculating aquaculture systems, feeding information back to the freshwater team via a dedicated page that she set up on SSF’s internal messaging system.

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Meteoric rise Just as that transfer was drawing to a close, another opportunity came up – with SSF’s parent company, SalMar, to observe the set-up of its new RAS facility in the Arctic Circle. ‘Mum threatened to hide my passport,’ said Lynne. Now back home in Scotland (to her mum’s delight), Lynne is using those insights in preparation for the opening, in November, of the company’s own RAS facility, where she is expected to assume a key role. She is also contributing with other industry and academic partners on a collaborative project to explore the risk factors around Saprolegnia which, if successful, could have a huge bearing on freshwater performance. Most notable however, is the depth of freshwater understanding that Lynne has built up as a result of her travels. ‘The more bright young things like Lynne that come into salmon farming, the more exciting the future of the sector will be,’ said the company.

AKVA’S Scott Mackay started his career in 2006 as an apprentice electrician working for SSE, eventually winning the ‘apprentice of the year’ award for his outstanding work. He joined AKVA in 2012 as an electrician and, after just one year, was promoted to senior engineer, a recognition of his commitment and drive to offer the company’s customers ideas and solutions to enhance their businesses. When an opening arose for an operations manager Above: Lynne Frame and Scott Mackay in 2014, Scott’s outstanding people management skills and ability to lead and inspire staff (who were often an exceptionally high standard twice his age) made him of quality, productivity and calm stand out from other candidates professionalism to the role. and he was an easy choice for the As part of a major restructuring, in position, said AKVA. 2017 Scott was promoted to operaAged only 24, he was already responsible for a staff of more than 18 tions director of AKVA, moving from a hands on management approach and revenue in excess of £2 million. In the role, he reduced staff turno- to more strategic leadership, ensurver within the operations arm of the ing that those in his team have the tools and are empowered to meet business by 45 per cent, resulting the organisations goals. in a much improved consistency He has been a strong advocate of of service, along with a significant staff training and development and reduction in cost to the business. ensures that HSE is at the top of the He also oversaw the development agenda. of AKVA’s rental business, which Now in charge of 26 staff, he has now accounts for 25 per cent of helped oversee a major transition in total revenue. the business, with new workshops Staff numbers have grown by a in Stornoway and Argyll placing enfurther 20 per cent and at any given gineers closer to customers. Scott’s time engineers in his team can be vision, values and behaviour will found across the west coast, Northern Isles and Western Isles, servicing ensure his future is very promising, said AKVA. customers’ needs and bringing


04/06/2018 16:52:53

Aquaculture UK – Aqualine and Steinsvik

Better together

Leading Norwegian equipment suppliers join forces


WO familiar names in Norwegian aquaculture, Aqualine and Steinsvik, are now able to supply turnkey solutions for sea based fish farms following a tie-up that combines the best of both companies. Since February this year, they have both come under the umbrella of Norwegian investment firm Kverva Technology, which bought 100 per cent shares in Steinsvik in 2017 and recently acquired a 91 per cent stake in Aqualine. The businesses will continue to focus on their respective fields of expertise. This is very important, said Stig Domaas Forre, chief commercial officer at Aqualine, because ‘to survive in the aquaculture industry, you need to be a specialist’. However, they will be able to collaborate through shared research and development, and provide complementary products to their global customers. Individually, Aqualine and Steinsvik are leading technology providers and together they have a projected turnover of more than NOK 1.5 billion. The new group – which also includes RAS specialist AquaOptima, bought by Steinsvik last year - will be able to supply all services to the industry, including cage and mooring systems, Midgard cage net systems, feeding technology, monitoring systems, cameras, barges, recirculating aquaculture system (RAS) smolt plants, and parasite controls, such as the Thermolicer machine. The joint venture between Aqualine and Steinsvik is a complex process and could take one or even two years until it is completed. ‘But already we’re working together officially and we’re doing quotes for turnkey projects together officially,’ said Forre. Steinsvik has grown rapidly from 2004 when the former owner, Bjørn Apeland, bought the company. At this stage, the turnover within fish farming, was around NOK 5 million; today, Steinsvik generates more than NOK 1 billion. Steinsvik’s Scottish sales base in Fort William was established about 10 years ago.


Aqualine.indd 36

Forre said the new partners are now discussing where to establish new facilities in Scotland. Earlier this year, Innes Weir, who has 30 years’ experience in the aquaculture industry, was appointed to run the Fort William office to give the company a ‘reboot’ in the UK. ‘You have to be present in the market in order to grow it,’ said Forre. ‘We see big potential in the Scottish market.’ Forre said the company - which is the biggest supplier of cages worldwide and one of the three biggest suppliers in Norway - can supply equipment for any kind of farm site, whether sheltered or high energy. He believes competition in the supply chain is healthy - ‘it is good for fish farmers to have competition’ – and said they all produce slightly different products anyway. ‘The industry is growing here enough to accommodate us all,’ he said, adding that the requirements of the new Scottish Technical Standard, which must be met by 2020, are increasing demand for new and upgraded equipment. Every year, the company invests up to five per cent of its turnover in research and development to continue to improve its products, said Forre. One result of this investment is the company’s 3D virtual reality system, which was attracting the crowds to its stand in Aviemore.

You “ have to be

present in the market in order to grow it

04/06/2018 16:50:46

Better together

Opposite: Aqualine’s busy stand. Above: Stig Domaas Forre talks to a customer; a cut out section of the Midgard cage.

Forre said this was a very useful training tool as it teleports the user inside the fish cage, from where they can ‘dive down’ and inspect the mooring system and check the net (although it is not used as a substitute for certification bodies’ inspections). A farm worker in Chile, for example, can use the virtual reality goggles and have a discussion with a technician logged on to the system in Norway on how to install a component. When Fish Farmer tried out the technology in Aviemore, it was possible to be transport-

ed, by squeezing a joystick, not just to the bottom of the cage but actually underneath it. If there were any tears in the net we could have spotted them. Aqualine is soon to run a virtual reality training course for Cooke employees in Orkney after it supplies its Midgard net cage system, described as escape proof, at a high energy site. ‘If it’s to be an escape proof system, people need to know how it works,’ said Forre. FF

CUSTOM MADE CAGE NETS The difference is in the details

Perfect fit from day 1 and throughout its life Solid solutions Reduced risk of escape

www. • Telephone: 00 47 73 80 99

Aqualine.indd 37


04/06/2018 16:51:06

Aquaculture UK

United we serve THE acquisition of Egersund Net by Akva Group in May, for a reported 750 million NOK (£68.50 million), will strengthen both companies’ offerings to the aquaculture industry. The deal seals a close collaboration between the two firms, which recently agreed that Egersund would be represented by Akva in all export markets outside Norway. ‘Egersund Net complements Akva’s product and service offering, by adding nets and moorings to the portfolio,’ Akva Group said. Akva will be able to serve its customers more effectively and develop better solutions for the entire breeding cycle, while Egersund Net’s technology, products and expertise will be given access to a broader geographical area through Akva’s global presence and distribution channels. The acquisition will give the new group an estimated revenue of NOK 2.7 billion, and EBITDA of more than NOK 300 million. In Aviemore, the two companies shared a central stand, the success of their venture evident in the numbers of visitors seen by both groups throughout the show. Akva Group Scotland announced earlier this year that it had forged a closer partnership with Egersund, representing all its products in Scotland as well as in export markets. The move gives Akva the potential to expand the number of service centres it has in Scotland, including a service centre for Shetland, where Egersund had recently taken over Grading Systems . Jason Cleaversmith, Akva Scotland’s general manager, said: ‘With our service centres located throughout all the main aquaculture producing regions, this


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Above: Close collaboration

will allow us to not only have a local presence, but to respond quickly and efficiently to customer needs and further develop our best in class customer experience.’ During Aquaculture UK, Akva launched its new feeding system that enables feed from any silo to be sent to any cage without manual handling. Called Flexible Feeding, the system will create higher feeding capacity as well as save time, said the company. The system is described by Akva as ‘a revolutionary’ new add-on concept to the well-known Akvasmart CCS Feed System. It makes the entire feed logistics and calibration more efficient and allows easy access to different feed types and pellet sizes, said Akva senior vice president of technology and development, Trond Severinsen. Flexible Feeding can be adapted to both new and existing feed barges. Several rebuilds and new installations are already in operation in Norway, and two big feed barges are being delivered in 2018.

04/06/2018 17:23:24

Aquaculture UK

Inverlussa builds on awards success AFTER being named Aquaculture Supplier of the Year at the Scottish Aquaculture Awards in Aviemore, Mull based Inverlussa Marine Services is now looking to build upon this success by further investing in the business. One of Scotland’s leading workboat operators, the company won the award in recognition of the quality of service it provides to customers. Employing 70 people, predominately from the Highlands and islands, Inverlussa has seen significant growth in recent years. Its vessels are built to meet the specific requirements of the aquaculture sector and in the last three years alone the number of craft in the fleet has doubled. This included taking delivery of two specially designed 25.5m work vessels in 2017, which went straight into service for fish farm customers. Ben Wilson, Inverlussa managing director, said the award was testimony to the hard work and dedication of the workforce in providing the best quality service to Scotland’s growing and economically important aquaculture sector. ‘This award recognises the hard work all our crew and shore staff do on a daily basis,’ he said. ‘The service we provide to our customers is our key focus, which is delivered by a talented workforce.’ Wilson added: ‘For the future, we intend to continue with our investment programme – including the acquisition of new vessels and providing staff with the highest level training – so that we can deliver innovative solutions to the market and meet the ever changing requirements of our customers.’

Inverlussa is also committed to supporting the local Mull community and earlier this year the company launched a Youth Training Programme for school leavers, encouraging them to build a career with a local island company. Wilson said: ‘We are determined to encourage local employment, training and support here in Mull. ‘Aquaculture is a vital industry to Scotland’s fragile west coast communities. It is sustainable and provides a quality product in global demand, which means the sector offers great career prospects, as well as opportunities for local economic growth.’

Above: Inverlussa’s Kiera Fiona.

Extra deck space makes Damen vessel farm friendly A NEW fish farm support vessel was unveiled last month at Damen Shipyards, ahead of its delivery to Norway, where it will be used in delousing operations. The 43m, 499 tonne utility vessel 4312 is the result of extensive discussions with the global fish farming industry, said Damen. It has a large expanse of deck space, which can be used for a wide variety of supporting services for fish farms. This first UV 4312 will be fitted with the latest chemical-free delousing installation, the Optilicer, and offers the ability to service more farms across larger areas and in more open waters. The vessel, the Volt Processor, was commissioned by the Norwegian company Volt Service and, following the open day at Damen’s Gorinchem yard, sailed for Norway, where it is being fitted with modular delousing equipment. Remøy Management was closely involved in the development of the project and will manage

the vessel. In Aviemore, Damen’s sales manager, Mike Besijn, said the Dutch company makes 120 boats a year but aquaculture is a new market. The utility vessel is ‘a very simple design with plenty of deck space for two cranes’ said Besijn, which makes it ideal for fitting the Optilicer that Volt has installed on board. Also, there is an anti-heeling system so two cranes can be used at the same time without destabilising the boat.

Volt Services said the vessel had been fitted with Optimar’s Optilicer 4XL delousing system and would operate along the entire west coast of Norway and occasionally in the UK. The vessel, which builds on the development work that went into her smaller predecessor, the UV 2410, features a low freeboard, easy access to the waterline on both sides, a large hold and removable railings for hose-handling operations. The standard UV 4312 also comes with a diesel-electric configuration that provides an efficient, flexible power supply for the 750kW propulsion installation and for the deck equipment when moored within farms. Remko Hottentot, Damen sales manager for Norway, said: ‘We see the greatest potential in the globally fast growing aquaculture industry. The multi-functional potential for the vessel was reflected at our open day by the attendance of representatives from a wide variety of companies from different countries.’

New cage hardware range launched

Above: Good fit for aquaculture

CROSBY Europe is expanding its Trawlex range to meet the specific needs of the aquaculture industry. The range of profile chain, connectors and components has had a footprint in the fishing industry since 1971 and a long track record of producing high quality hardware, designed to withstand the rigours of heavy use. While many components were already in use in the aquaculture industry as well, the company has now expanded the brand offering, with a full range of hardware designed specifically for aquaculture. Crosby Trawlex Aquaculture range is completely certified to highest standard NS9415 by DNV GL,

Aviemore Bits.indd 39

as demanded by the sector. The first phase is being launched in the North Sea/ Atlantic region, developed for cage mooring systems that are in widespread use in Scotland, the Faroe Islands, Norway, Sweden, Finland and Iceland. ‘The new range includes shackles, profile chain, connector plates, and masterlinks,’ said Rob Van Put, regional director at Belgium based Crosby Europe. ‘There are standard items that Crosby Trawlex already had in its product range, but there is also new equipment, such as the new mooring shackles and mooring plates that have been designed specifically for these applications.’ ‘The strength and durability of our mooring system components, including the possibility to downsize the Trawlex Profile Chain, will lead to lower operating costs for our end users. We have looked at the challenges users face and have incorporated innovations to make handling easier for them, such as the unique fin on the mooring shackle, which allows one person to assemble the shackle’s nut and bolt without any difficulty.’


04/06/2018 16:49:29

DISCOVER NUTRIAD’S AQUA HEALTH PROGRAM Nutriad’s aqua team works together with researchers and producers around the globe to develop an innovative range of health promotors and optimize their application under today’s challenging production conditions. Based on natural ingredients, these specialty additives reduce the impact of diseases and parasites on the productivity of fish and shrimp. Today, our aqua-specific product lines SANACORE®, APEX®, Aquaculture UK – Nutriad AQUASTIM® and BACTI-NIL®, are advertorial applied in premium brands of functional feeds for fish and shrimp. Feed is much more than just nutrition.

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Results under laboratory and field “ conditions demonstrate high efficacy ”

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04/06/2018 16:45:36

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04/06/2018 14:17:06

Aquaculture UK

When you need to ask – Askvik Electric filter clears lice from discharge water


YOUNG company with bags of commercial and aquacultural experience - that’s Askvik Aqua. Based in Hjelmeland, Norway, and founded in 2015, the management team total more than 100 years of aquaculture experience. They include chairman Nils Viga (33 years), senior technician Per Hausken (25 years), R&D/technical manager Rune Eritzland (12 years), and managing director Steffen Kildal, with more than 18 years in aquaculture under his belt. The company involves itself in all aspects of aquaculture, including self-developed technology, aimed at improving critical aquaculture processes. One of the big successes from that list is the electrostatic lice filter for discharge water. Full scale, third party tests (by Fromas Fiskehelse) in 2017 and 2018 have found the electro filter is up to 100 per cent effective on all sea lice development stages. Askvik is working on two new systems with Pure Shipping and Flatsetsund Engineering, to be installed this month. Further success has been reported by client Bremnes Seashore, with a complete electro filter installation in 2017, which handles water from two Thermolicers.


Askvik.indd 42

Below: Askvik’s electric filter has been trialled aboard Bremnes’ Eva Elisabeth. Opposite: Innovative filter technology.

Delousing on the Bremnes vessel, the Eva Elisabeth, with the Thermolicer, immobilised or killed 100 per cent of lice in the discharge water. ‘It has taken a year to develop the electrostatic filter from the first sketch to the finished full-scale plant, and the product is basically fully developed and ready for market,’ said Kildal, who was at Aviemore with representatives from Pure Shipping and FLS.. ‘We have very good results in killing lice and fatally damaging egg strings,’ he added. The first electro filter went into operation with Bremnes in July 2017 and Kildal says that having a professional partner in the aquaculture industry had been invaluable to the development process. ‘We sourced from south-west Norway, fresh lice in various stages, for use in the tests, and we have invested significantly in design, materials, components and management. ‘There is also a repeat effect on eggs in egg

04/06/2018 16:43:44

When you need to ask – Askvik strings so that larvae die after hatching.The electro-pulse damages the eggs even when they are packed together.’ Kildal went on: ‘Not only does the filter have a large capacity, but it can be easily adapted on barges and other vessels.’ The electro filter treatment is compatible with and works with water supply in closed systems. Working with client Bolaks, electro filter systems were installed for all four intake pipes for its closed system, and two deliveries are due as part of the new Askvik projects in quarters two and three this year. These are pre-engineered, scaled and modified to fit different closed cage technologies. And no copepod infestations have registered after installing the electro filter. Other innovative technologies the company are working on include: The Fish Stop 400 This effectively stops fish escapes to the sea. With a pulse generator and a strategically placed electrode gate, it means accidents during sorting, moving or vaccinations cannot lead to living fish escaping to sea. It even gives flood protection at land facilities. The Askvik Fish Cleaner A treatment pool solution now under develop-

electro-pulse damages the eggs “evenThewhen they are packed together ”

ment by Askvik Aqua, this is a high capacity electro technical delicing system, with a projected kick off for the project in quarter three this year. It is efficient but gentle on the fish, meaning injuries, mortalities and stress levels are all reduced. It is a fast and affordable method to wipe salmon free of lice by use of electro pulses, and fish are then returned to the water 100 per cent parasite free, the company says. If the fish cleaner is used in conjunction with the electro filter, it gives both biologically and economically a very beneficial total solution, bringing about an improved delicing effect compared to existing solutions of between 70-95 per cent. Askvik Aqua thinks it is more than playing its part in the race for innovation, and working with Eidsfjord Sjofarm, and in cooperation with Rolls-Royce, Akva Group, and Sterner, it is now developing a unique closed fish farm where the fish will be protected from external impacts. Askvik has its own vision of the future and has applied for four development licences as Forza Askvik. It describes its concept as ‘the open pen fjord farming of the future, with no direct fish handling, a reduced escape risk, reduced risk of operator injury, reduced use of heavy machinery, and reduced overall costs’. FF

Pure delousing that’s gentle on fish PURE Shipping and Flatsetsund Engineering (FLS) shared a stand at Aviemore with the hope of breaking into the Scottish market. The Norwegians have developed a delousing system that provides total collection of lice, now with the addition of a new filtration method that ensures all discharge water is purified before it is released back into the sea. With the new system, pump water is sucked back and treated on board. This suction ensures that all lice are collected in the filter. ‘No lice and no eggs will be released back into the sea – it’s an electric filter system made by Askvik Aqua,’ said Pure Shipping’s Jan Eirik Nordseth. The new filter is being fitted to Pure Shipping’s boat Lautus and will be operational on July 1, said Nordseth. The filter is relatively small and doesn’t use much seawater. ‘This one suits our ship best,’ said Nordseth.

Askvik.indd 43

Pure Shipping recently signed a new contract for the boat in the north of Norway, near the Lofoten Islands, when a collective of six farmers got together to share the service. The contract is for two years – one year’s contract and one year’s option, said Nordseth. FLS has a 90-94 per cent efficiency on delousing and 100 per cent efficiency on cleaning the louse and eggs in the water. The mortality rate is very low - just 0.017 per cent, said Nordseth - because there is little handling during delousing. And the fish return to eating straight

after treatment. The FLS delouser can be used at any temperature, it is easy to disinfect and gives full control over the biomass. All features are monitored and controlled via a touchscreen in the control room. The system works by low water pressure of 0.2-0.8 bar – enough to dislodge the lice. Each line operates separately with the FLS module based design, so farmers can increase the system’s capacity by combining multiple lines. Nordseth has five FLS lines fitted to two boats and Pure Shipping uses its own crew to operate the system. The company had received enquiries from many Norwegian farmers, he said. The new electric filters have been available for fitting to the FLS system since last autumn.

Above: Pure Shipping’s boat, Lautus


04/06/2018 16:44:04

Malin Marine – Advertorial

Scottish boat journey Graham Tait, managing director of Malin Marine, talks to Fish Farmer about the company’s move into aquaculture – and the decision to bring a workboat to Aviemore! FF: What is the history of Malin Marine? GT: The original company was started in 1899 as Henry Abram & Sons, a family business in Glasgow, dealing in mainly marine heavy lift and shipping, which required marine engineering support. In 2002, Malin Marine Consultants was born to provide marine engineering support directly, including naval architecture to clients. FF: Why the move into aquaculture? GT: In the mid-1980s, my family had a salmon farm in Shetland on the west side, which is now operating as mussel farms, so it is by no means a new industry for us. Malin Marine are based in Aberdeen, and when the downturn in the oil and gas industry happened, we were minded to diversify into other areas with existing skills. Due to my previous experience in fish farming, we were fully aware of the opportunities in aquaculture and with our large fabrication facility on the Clyde, an opportunity presented itself.

based on developing a good long-term relationship with clients and being based in Scotland can do no harm. After all, our manufacturing facility is only a few hours’ transit away from where the clients’ sites are located. It’s like we’re on the doorstep.

FF: Have your vessels been adapted for that market? GT: We cover the concept and detailed design in-house, using our own draughtsmen, engineers and naval architects. We can design and build the steel hull so that when the customer gets in touch, we can look at the operational requirement before finalising the end product. Going forward, we will look at some standardisation to reduce delivery time. We are now looking at two new scaled up workboat designs specifically for aquaculture, which are a good bit bigger with more payload and crane capacity. FF: Is being a Scottish company important? GT: We are very proud that our workboats can be designed and built in Scotland. Launching ships on the Clyde may indeed become a resurgent activity we hope! In aquaculture we feel the procurement process is

Left: Hull construction. Above: 3-D design. Opposite: Stand at Aquaculture UK; delivery to Aviemore.


Malin PED.indd 44

FF: Getting your workboat to Aviemore to be your ‘display stand’ must have been quite an undertaking? GT: Our core business is heavy lift so, yes, it was a big challenge but it shows what can be done. We had a special trailer from our fabrication yard at Renfrew on the Clyde and it took a few weeks to arrange the special permits from the transport authorities, police and local authorities. We left Renfrew at 9am and made Perth early afternoon, then left early evening for Aviemore. This is really the maximum size that can be transported by road so I’m sorry for anyone who happened to get stuck behind us! The vessel is now back in Glasgow and will be launched shortly to head north again by sea. FF: And when you arrived? GT: The local authorities in Aviemore and everyone at Aquaculture UK couldn’t have been more helpful. To get a vessel, 5.5 metres wide, and 16.2 metres long into a 3.5 metre entrance isn’t easy! We had support from local contractors in Aviemore and the venue was very cooperative in making it happen, even to make a few

04/06/2018 16:41:39

Scottish boat journey

We wanted Malin Marine to become known in the aquaculture industry

from industry we can design and build standardised workboats, but with configurations to suit client needs. Our vessels meet all requirements for the UK MCA Workboat code and Lloyds and we are now looking to what customers will require in the years ahead. For more information contact: 01224 288 918, workboats FF

‘adjustments’ to the entrance gate! Taken the vessel to Aviemore was an investment which we feel was a good one. FF: Do you think it was worth it. GT: The reaction to taking the vessel to Aquaculture UK has been great. We’ve made lots of good contacts with potential customers. Our pictures and comments have been received well on the ever important social media outlets. And for Malin Marine, it was good to see the huge potential there is for our company in aquaculture. We wanted Malin Marine to become known in the aquaculture industry and we’ve succeeded in doing that hopefully. FF: How do you see the future? Any plans to take a double decker bus to the moon? GT: The company has lots of experience in the marine, renewables, offshore and defence industries, plus other engineering work such as vessel retro fits, structural engineering, vessel repairs and ship conversions, port and harbour work and marine civils. With feedback

Malin PED.indd 45


04/06/2018 16:42:02

Innovation – Ace Aquatec



Dundee based inventor adds biomass camera and delouser to technical repertoire


COTTISH aquaculture’s multi-award winning company director, Nathan Pyne-Carter, has a well deserved reputation as an innovator, with several game changing products under his belt. So it comes as a surprise to learn that his background is not in engineering or physics but in the arts. He studied at Cambridge University and worked for several years as a screenwriter before turning his talents to solving fish farmers’ problems. Hollywood’s loss is the Highlands’ gain, and Pyne-Carter’s company, Ace Aquatec, is now firmly established as a leading supplier of advanced equipment in Scotland and, increasingly, around the world. Fish Farmer visited him at his new headquarters on Dundee’s City Quay just after what was a very successful Aquaculture UK show for the firm, in what is turning out to be a memorable year. In April, Pyne-Carter learnt that he had won a prestigious Queen’s Award for Enterprise in the innovation category, which takes him to Buckingham Palace later this month, and is the latest public recognition of his creative flair.


Ace.indd 46

The Queen’s Award was specifically for Ace Aquatec’s development of seal deterrents, but any of the company’s offerings would probably have been eligible. Acoustic seal deterrents were Ace Aquatec’s first foray into the aquaculture sector, and when Pyne-Carter took over the company in 2012, the ambition was to improve and develop new systems with partner company Neptune Sonar. His anti-predation inventions have now diversified into electric nets and electric fish. Another development, the humane electric stunner, saw off Norwegian competition to win Aqua Nor’s coveted innovation award last year, and he has also been busy devising the world’s first 3D biomass camera, and a still under wraps delouser. If he was in Norway he would almost certainly be working on development licence concepts, but fortunately for Scotland his ideas are applied first to local challenges. He is particularly excited about the BioCam. ‘Everywhere we’ve been, all over the world, they are calling out for a more accurate biomass measuring system,’ said Pyne-Carter. It is, he said, the only genuine 3D underwater time of flight camera that exists in the world. Several companies have tried to develop it and failed. Pyne-Carter said it was the one idea that nearly didn’t make it, after they hit the ceiling with the technology. ‘We just weren’t getting the resolution in the unit out of the available LED technology at the time so we took a pause and carried on with everything else. ‘We had a small feasibility grant from Smart Scotland for £100,000 and we’ve just been waiting for the technology to become available to allow us to complete that project.’ In partnership with ToF technology firm, Peacock Technologies, they now have been able to

looked “We at what

could be improved, and the issues really were the stress on the fish and the price tag

04/06/2018 16:39:09

Ideas man

Above: Natahn PyneCarter and head of sales and marketing Mike Forbes at Seafood Expo in Brussels in April. Opposite: Pyne-Carter with ADDs and the new biomass camera (centre) in his Dundee office.Right: Well located on City Quay.

finish it. ‘Time of flight works by sending out a pulse of green spectrum light underwater that travels up to five metres. It waits for the return of the light, and using that can create a full 3D rendering of the fish because it is producing X, Y and Z co-ordinates, which is the height, width and depth.’ Farmers will save money because they won’t waste so much on feed and will be able to harvest at a very accurate rate. ‘Now, they might roughly know there are 3kg fish in there but they send them to harvest, are paid for 3kg fish, but they’ve actually produced 3.5kg fish so they’ve wasted a whole lot of feed and they’re not going to be paid for 3.5kg. ‘This will give much more accurate measurements, there and then, so they’ll be able to pull out the 3kg fish not the 3.5 ones or they’ll be able to know that in two weeks’ time they’ll have 3kg fish so won’t over feed. ‘Also, in lice outbreaks and disease they’ll see a drop in the weight if there’s a problem so they’ll be able to bring in the Thermolicer a week in advance.’ The patented BioCam has been trialled at Wester Ross and will be further tested at Loch Duart. Fifteen systems are currently in manufacture at Dynamic EMS in Fife and when they are ready, next month, they will be sent out for two-month trials and then onto a full term rental. ‘All the major companies in Scotland will get

Ace.indd 47

one to run their own tests, then internationally, including New Zealand, Chile and Norway.’ He has developed a fruitful working relationship with Dynamic EMS, which also makes the stunner and will be building the sea lice machine as well. This much awaited invention will be modular in design and considerably cheaper than existing technical solutions, which is all Pyne-Carter wants to reveal for now. ‘The idea was to look at what systems were currently on the market and what were the downsides to those systems. We looked at what could be improved, and the issues really were the stress on the fish and the price tag.’ They are now in the process of building the first prototype for Scottish Sea Farms to test, and this should be delivered in the next couple of months. For several new large scale innovation projects outside the company’s usual scope of technological offerings, he is looking at European money,


04/06/2018 16:39:25

Innovation – Ace Aquatec

via Horizon 2020. For Pyne-Carter the creative process begins by ‘keeping an eye on what technologies are available in different spaces’ and thinking how he can apply them. He listens to farmers and talks to his consultants and engineers about what new concepts are out there, then immerses himself in the academic papers to see if it’s feasible to apply it to an aquaculture setting. ‘Usually, we use a series of consultants who we’ve worked with before and they tend to be quite heavily into the aquaculture space. Then we’ll go to an assembler to get that built and we then bring it to the market.’ Scottish Sea Farms has had a long association with Ace Aquatec and also trialled the electric stunner, which Pyne-Carter recently sold to New Zealand for the first time, to chinook salmon farmer Sanford. ‘The key thing internationally is proving the quality is improved by using this machine because I think, historically, people have always believed that electric stunning causes damage. ‘In the past, you used to get blood spotting because the muscles would contract and that would cause the backbone to snap and you’d


Ace.indd 48

get bleeding into the flesh. So we spent about £1 million developing electronics that use a whole range of different parameters that enable us to correct that. ‘Flesh analysis work was done at Bristol University after we got a BBSRC grant. That work allowed us to establish a few pilot systems in the market place and gain the market’s trust that it’s a system that’s going to improve quality, not cause damage.’ Scottish Sea Farms and local Shetland subcontractor Agmatek were also involved in the seal deterrents, helping to develop the housings to protect them from the weather. Ace Aquatec has worked with Marine Harvest as well on the deterrents and developed the electric fish for them. And the company has worked with Cooke on the electric nets. ‘With the electric net we seemed to get very good conditioned avoidance from the seals when they touched the electric field,’ said Pyne-Carter. ‘But it’s a very expensive system to produce so we wanted to localise it and reduce the cost so we created a fish that behaves like a mort and sits in the bottom of the net.’ When the seal touches the ‘fish’ it gets a shock that’s paired with an acoustic deterrent device. The range of ADDs includes the mid frequency 10-20khz US3, a sonar device (new this year) which will allow the deterrent to sit silent and then just respond to the approach of seals, and the low frequency RT1, which makes noise outside the sensitive hearing range of

I’ve always “taken the approach that if you’ve got someone good who’s doing a different technology, why compete against them

04/06/2018 16:40:10

Ideas man porpoises so will hopefully be permitted on protected sites. Pyne-Carter said there had been an upsurge in sales of seal deterrents in light of the proposed US ban on imports of products that involve harming mammals, due to come into force in five years’ time. But he has not sold deterrents yet to Norway, whose farmers face the same ban if they continue to shoot seals. He has about 230 deterrents around Scotland at the moment on rental and he is looking to double turnover this year. ‘We used to sell systems but it’s hard to get people to take on a whole range of different equipment – with quite an expensive face value. ‘The electric net costs about £50,000 for us to build so it’s not practical to sell that, but if we can create our own rental pool of all these different systems and take them around all the farms, then it becomes much more of a philosophy like the insurance companies use.’ He said he can see the day when no seals are shot at fish farms, with a combination of systems in place and good husbandry. ‘It’s just about having the right practices – that’s why we went down the route of the electrics, we didn’t just want to have the acoustics. ‘You can have seals that are naturally deaf just due to old age, and one seal in a population of 100 can still do a lot of damage in a night. ‘So while most sites can be protected with acoustics, it pays to have a fall back like an electric net or an electric fish to be able to respond to every situation. ‘But it’s about having a company that’s monitoring and looking after your problem and that’s what we’re trying to do.’ He has a small team but Ace’s portal has been transformative, he said, in how they

manage the rented deterrents, enabling them to access data on every farm. ‘When we didn’t have this, if we had a report back that the seal deterrents weren’t working we’d be wondering if it was the sound patterns not working, but since we’ve had this, we see that usually it’s just the generator that’s dropped out.’ They can also switch on and off different rotations of pre-defined sound patterns via the portal, and change them every minute or hour, week or month. And they have new sounds emerging all the time from academia which they can upload onto the system. Ace Aquatec has been producing deterrents since 2004 but Pyne-Carter began investing in an innovative approach to the problem in 2012. Now this has improved efficacy rates, and can manage the seals issue for farming companies, he feels he has a good export package and, for the first time, he will be going to the Aqua Sur exhibition in Chile in October. ‘We’ve held off until now, when we’ve established best practice in the Scottish market. It’s really the whole management of the seal issue we want to export because that’s where we’re different from what everyone else is doing.’ Different they may be, but Ace Aquatec is not above collaborating with competitors. ‘I’ve always taken the approach that if you’ve got someone good who’s doing a different technology, why compete against them, why not try to combine the technology,’ said Pyne-Carter. ‘I think there’s more to be gained from working together; the world’s a big place and there are a lot of fish in the sea!’ FF

Above: BioCam, the world’s only genuine

3D underwater time of flight camera, says Ace. Opposite: Ace-

Aquatec HQ in Dundee.

Dynamic approach to ‘unique’ customer DYNAMIC EMS, based in Dalgety Bay, is the contract manufacturer that mass produces Ace Aquatec’s prototype systems into commercial products. With an annual turnover of £8-9 million, it has many other customers and builds a variety of electronic systems to their specifications. Dynamic’s Steve Mercer, who has worked with Ace Aquatec for the last few years, described the company as ‘unique’. ‘They know what they’re doing but they don’t know about mass production ,’ he said. So Dynamic’s role is to act as the catalyst. ‘We can add value but we don’t design the product.’ Dynamic’s core competence is building circuit boards. The electric stunners are configured in the factory, each customised, with different power supplies fitted to suit different species. The company currently has an order for five stunners and each will take one week of man hours to assemble, but about eight weeks to procure from scratch. Components such as water inlets, floating rings, gaskets, flanges and ducting are bought in. Mercer said that over the next two to three years, some 70 stunners have been budgeted for.

Ace.indd 49

Dynamic EMS makes the biomass camera and will be building the new sea lice machine, too, while Ace Aquatec’s acoustic seal deterrents are made by Yorkshire company, Neptune Sonar.

Above: Building the stunner


04/06/2018 16:40:27


Giant leap Individual farming concept will remove ‘lice collectors’ and cut mortality rates by 75%, says inventor


NEW farming concept based on sensor recognition of individual fish will reduce the need for sea lice treatment and cut mortality rates by up to 75 per cent, claims one of its inventors. The iFarm, developed by the engineering expertise of Oslo based BioSort in partnership with salmon farmer Cermaq, is now hoping the Directorate of Fisheries will approve all 10 of its licence applications. Late last year, the team learnt that the iFarm was within the scope of the Norwegian development licences system, but that only four licences would be approved. They appealed because, as BioSort CEO Geir Hauge said, ‘we think we have very good reasons for why 10 are needed’, and expect a decision soon. In the meantime, the system is undergoing further small scale trials in sea pens, having proved itself in the first round of tests. ‘We’ve done enough initial trials to assure ourselves that this is all doable, but a lot of this will be developed within the development licence scheme because we really need a large scale setting to get enough exposure of a variety of biological and environmental variations,’ said Hauge. The iFarm will transform fish farming from stock management to individualised farming, say BioSort and Cermaq, by monitoring each fish in the pen without handling. ‘The key feature is that we can follow each individual fish, which is primarily done by looking at the spot pattern on the fish and some other features,’ said Hauge. ‘Then we can build a library of the individuals that live in the pen.’ In the iFarm, salmon are kept deeper in the cage, below the lice level, by a cage ‘roof’. When they periodically head to the surface to fill their swim bladder, they are directed, via a funnel, through a chamber fitted with cameras and sensors. This can detect sea lice, disease, lesions and others aspects that affect the health and welfare of the fish. And, crucially, it is possible to then separate the fish that need treatment- for example, against sea lice.


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‘We believe we can do a lot on sea lice with the combination of keeping the fish below the sea lice belt with this roof cage,’ said Hauge. ‘But also when you have healthier fish with less handling then the fish are less receptive to lice. ‘A lot of the lice are on a few fish in the beginning – what you call lice collectors, fish that attract a lot of lice and are the basis for further growth of lice in the pen. If you can remove those early it makes a big difference.’ Hauge is one of three former employees of Oslo listed Tomra, a global developer and supplier of high tech sensor systems, behind BioSort, the others being Svein Idso and Bernt Saugen. This is their first aquaculture venture. ‘We developed the iFarm project and were ready to talk to people about it two and a half years ago,’ said Hauge. ‘We visited several fish farmers and other players in the industry, both to learn more and also to find a partner, specifically to apply for these development licences. ‘We got a fantastic reception everywhere we went. There are people who have spent their whole career in the industry, and obviously we haven’t, so they would talk about this being a moon landing or a paradigm shift. And they started generating their own ideas. ‘We’re helped by the fact that our approach is so radical; that in itself creates interest because it’s so different.’ The concept took about a year to develop and a year and a half ago they started the first small scale

Above: BioSort founders Geir Stang Hauge, Svein Idso and Bernt Saugen; how the iFarm will look. Left: Control of growth rate and fish welfare indicators during small scale tests

04/06/2018 16:36:16

Giant leap

There are “people who

have spent their whole career in the industry who talk about this being a moon landing

trial in pens with 2,000 fish. ‘Last year the trial lasted for nine months, and that included three rounds of new fish because we wanted to have fish that had not earlier been exposed to the sea.’ They are now preparing to run a new small scale trial with 18,000 fish, the length of which will depend on the results – ‘in these trials you learn things and make improvements,’ said Hauge. ‘We have proven with 2,000 fish that this works but we have also learned that it’s not straightforward. There are different ways of attracting the fish - the way you arrange the geometry and the way you use light, for example, and feed. ‘We have been experimenting and will continue to do so, in terms of the geometry and the size of the openings, adapting to their preferences as much as possible.’ As well as fine tuning the components and observing how the fish behave in the iFarm, the digitisation and machine learning software must be perfected to improve the precision of the system. Hauge said the next step will be large scale trials with 150,000 fish per pen, but for this they will need those development licences. The iFarm is designed for circular pens but can be used in square cages too, and BioSort has had several enquiries regarding closed containment versions –‘like the Marine Harvest egg’- or land based farms. But Hauge thinks the big advantage of the iFarm is that it will allow the industry to grow within the existing infrastructure inshore. A lot of the new

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initiatives, such as ocean farms, are very expensive, but once this system is installed, the cage looks much the same as it does now. ‘We focus on being able to create both the sensor technology and the surrounding equipment to a very affordable price level. We are sure this will pay for itself within the first production cycle.’ These are still early days for the iFarm, and the hope is to get started this autumn with the bigger project, supported by the development licences. ‘We need many cycles of production so we’re talking five or six years before we have a commercial product,’ said Hauge. He is confident the technology will have health and welfare benefits well beyond reducing lice counts. ‘Before we started focusing so much on the lice, when we started developing this product, our first focus was really fish health and disease detection, and to reduce mortality. We’ve been talking about that for two and a half years and now it has a very big focus, at least in Norway.’ He said the Norwegian fisheries minister, Per Sandberg, recently called a ‘crisis meeting’ with the food safety authority, fisheries directorate, and all the federations of farmers and equipment suppliers. He said they had to do something about the mortality rates, which for the first three months of this year were 30 per cent higher than last year. From January to March, some 13.6 million salmon and trout died. The average in Norway last year was about 20 per cent, and that’s been quite normal for many years, said Hauge. ‘This is what we looked at first – we believe and Cermaq believes that we can reduce this at least by 50 per cent, maybe up to 75 per cent. That will also imply a tremendous improvement of fish welfare.’ That might sound crazy, he admits, but is possible, by removing infection carriers and also reducing the handling involved in the current treatment methods. While there are a lot of companies working on solutions to solve sea lice, there are very few initiatives to reduce mortality, he said. ‘That’s what we saw and that really was the starting point for our farm initiative.’ FF


04/06/2018 16:36:37


Funnel vision Automated sea lice counting that’s kinder to fish – and farmers

D Above and opposite: Fishency’s full scale test in January; Flavie Gohin and her colleague, chief technology officer Emek Seyrek.


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EVELOPING treatment methods is only part of the battle against sea lice - farmers also need a good tool to evaluate the efficiency of their pest control strategies. Flavie Gohin, CEO of Stavanger based start-up Fishency Innovation, believes her company has come up with such a tool which, she predicts, will be a key element in tackling parasites on salmon farms. The SmartFunnel focuses on monitoring and prevention rather than treatment, by counting sea lice automatically. Today, sea lice counting is performed manually, which is labour intensive, samples too few fish and provides poor data, said Gohin. An automated sea lice counting system will give access to extensive statistics, which will enable farmers to optimise treatments, lower sea lice infections and reduce environmental impacts. The SmartFunnel collects visual data from fish as they pass through, continuously monitoring the fish, without handling them, and storing extensive information on sea lice levels in each cage. ‘We capture pictures of the entire fish. We know we have competitors but they can see only one side,’ said Gohin.

‘The fact that we can get very close to the fish means we don’t need to develop a super advanced camera technology – we can just use what’s on the market today.’ Gohin, a French born former naval architect, moved to Norway 11 years ago and has worked as an engineer in the oil and gas industry. ‘It makes sense to go into aquaculture from oil and gas – it’s marine engineering still, the same environment, the same challenges, and on the technical side there are similarities,’ she said. ‘I got the opportunity in the aquaculture industry for a few jobs and really liked it; then I had the chance to start my own company in the industry.’ Fishency worked with salmon farmers to develop the first SmartFunnel prototype and

04/06/2018 16:34:47

Funnel vision

know this can work and “theWetechnology is available ”

this went through a full scale sea trial at a Norwegian farm in January. ‘It was in the water for a month and the goal of the prototype was first to show that the fish were passing through. If you don’t have fish in the funnel you don’t get results. ‘We had a lot of fish and we knew it was not just luck so we could learn a lot about fish behaviour. Fish behaviour is very important and we need to be in the sea to have a real test. ‘We focus on a solution that has to be simple to maintain, simple to handle for the fish farmer, we don’t want to create more work for them. That’s also why it’s important for us to be at the farm as often as possible and be in contact with them.’ Gohin said they have already started developing the second prototype and a team has been assembled to work on the machine learning software to inspect the sea lice. ‘The plan now is to optimise the system and make it work better, but we know this can work and the technology is available.’ Fishency Innovation has just three staff in house and they work with partners and suppliers. The team will grow but they need to find further investment. Gohin managed to bring SmartFunnel to a wider audience when she appeared at the NASF (North Atlantic Seafood Forum) innovation day in Bergen in March.

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‘It was very good exposure and people are getting to know us,’ she said. ‘I had a chance to meet some of our competitors and also some potential partners.’ She said they are getting encouraging feedback and she is confident that in a year’s time Fishency will have a system ready to commercialise. ‘We need money to develop the first generation of the product and then more money to really scale up early next year. The goal is to develop the next generation once the first one is released, to be a bit more automated. ‘And also we have the vision to develop the SmartFunnel as a fish welfare platform – while you have a picture of a fish you can start to do a lot of different things and get a lot of different information. ‘For now we focus on sea lice counting because it’s where there is a need, but you can integrate a lot of sensors around the platform that are related to sea lice – salinity, water temperature are the easy ones. ‘We will also integrate the biomass measurement, it has to be done to be able to get the size of the sea lice and so on. ‘The goal is to develop a data service for the fish farmer to improve fish welfare and to be more productive and to reduce the impact on the environment. That is ambitious but we have to be ambitious. ’ After the oil and gas sector, Gohin finds the aquaculture industry ‘super refreshing’. She loves working with animals, and also likes the fact that people are open to innovation. ‘We are welcomed with open arms by fish farmers. They are willing to help us, not always giving access to their cages but at least listening to us and giving feedback. ‘I’m a bit surprised – it’s easy to have access to people compared to other industries – they are an innovative and friendly industry. ‘They are aware they need to be less traditional to increase productivity. It’s a good time for Fishency to come into the industry because there are a lot of opportunities.’. FF


04/06/2018 16:35:08


‘Sky is the limit’ for sea lice counter Oil industry technology adapted for exciting aquaculture applications around the oil and gas operations. ‘And then, nearly three years back, we were asked by some people in the aquaculture industry if we could use our camera system for detecting and counting sea lice.To be honest, we hadn’t thought about that.’ Erdal wasn’t at the meeting – a ‘social gathering’, but when his colleagues told him about the conversation the next day he thought, ‘wow, that’s a brilliant idea!’ They made a project proposal and applied for funding from FHF (the Norwegian Seafood Research Fund). Then, with three of the major Norwegian salmon farming companies, they tested all their existing cameras on sea lice detection, in three consecutive projects over a fairly short time.This was done in laboratory conditions and there was also some initial testing in a small tank and in the sea. ‘At the end of 2016, we concluded that this was actually a very interesting and reliable method of detecting and counting sea lice,’ said Erdal. ‘We could observe the sea lice and also distinguish between the different stages of the sea lice, which is crucial, of course. DEVICE that could help transform fish ‘What’s unique with our technology is that we’re not using morphology health on farms was developed following or shape or size [as with] a traditional camera, we are using the spectral a chance meeting between Norwegian information in the reflected light. oil and gas engineers and representa‘So that means we look at the spectral information in every pixel we tives from the aquaculture industry. The SpectraLice is an automatic sea lice counter receive and if we can then recognise a certain pattern, we can say, okay, this is the skin of the salmon, however this pixel is actually a sea lice. that offers continuous counting without handling ‘So it’s a spectral identification of the sea lice and that is unique compared the fish, using hyperspectral imaging technology. As well as counting, it can differentiate between to the other solutions that I’m sure others are working on as we speak.’ At the beginning of May, Ecotone entered into a pilot with two farmers the lifecycle stages of lice development, and has Leroy and the smaller Masoval Fiskeoppdrett, moving on from the prototype the potential to detect disease in its early stages. project that was begun in February 2017 and is due to end in July this year. The company behind SpectraLice is Trondheim ‘Based on the results of the prototype we decided this is still very interestbased Ecotone, a spin-off from the city’s NTNU ing so let’s move on and develop a fully commercial system.We need more (Norwegian University of Science and Technolocameras, we need more experience, we need more validation of the results, gy). ‘We were established in 2010 and the basic idea with both manual counting and perhaps some other verification method. ‘So we have now signed a pilot agreement in which we will install two then was to use a hyperspectral camera for mapping of the seafloor,’ said Ecotone CEO Ivar Erdal. times four camera systems - eight different cameras in total.’ Erdal said the level of accuracy detecting sea lice with this imaging remains They were working on a system to scan bioto be established. logical features such as corals, or sedimentation ‘We have set a goal that during the pilot study we should be at least as accurate as manual counting. But of course the sky is the limit. It’s all about seeing what the camera technology is capable of doing and delivering. ‘In the pilot study we hope to learn a lot, first of all about the operation – where do you put it in the pen? At what depth? Should we move it around during the course of the day? Should we move it around during the year? How do the salmon behave to the camera and the special lights? ‘We have already seen that the salmon behaves differently over 24 hours, which is not a big surprise, so the thing is to see where it can be best positioned and if there is a need to move it around.’ Although the technology is already very advanced, Erdal thinks it has much more scope, offering a unique insight into the fish by observing them so closely.

A Above: Ivar Erdal. Below and opposite: The SpectraLice prototype.


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04/06/2018 16:33:09

‘Sky is the limit’ for sea lice counter

‘We’ve seen already – because we had three different prototypes out in different farms – that there’s a lot of information you never had before. For instance, the distribution of lice on the fish – we know we can record the number of salmon without sea lice at all, the number of salmon with one sea lice, the number of salmon with two, and so on. ‘And we also observed how that changes after a delousing activity in one cage during the prototype project.We could observe the changes in sea lice distribution on the fish.’ He said they will most likely put a camera in different cages for the pilot, but also two cameras in one pen to see how they interact, and whether they give the same results or there are differences between them – ‘that’s the goal of the pilot period – to fine tune the precision of the system’. Farmers have already made it clear that, once commercialised, they wouldn’t want to move cameras around so they will be designed on a camera per cage basis. ‘If we ask the farmers they say definitely yes, put one in each cage – we asked them from the very beginning because that would make a huge difference, having one camera that moves around or one in each cage,’ said Erdal. ‘It’s been unanimous, everybody said we need a camera in each cage, we’re not going to move it around and from one cage to another and all the work related to that.They really want to develop them in one cage, and obtain solid statistics on sea lice development in each cage.’ This might increase costs but there would be big savings in treatments, Erdal believes – ‘we think this will be a win-win situation for them doing that’. Ecotone is now starting to build the units for the pilot study and plans to put them out in the cages in August. Erdal believes about nine months should be adequate for testing all the different features. The company, which currently has 10 employees, should be able to ‘deliver a fair amount of counters over a short period’, he said. ‘But we can’t build them on Monday and deliver them on Wednesday – that’s something we’re working on in parallel now, looking at all our suppliers

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What we see for the camera system in the future is also to look at the fish health altogether and contractors so we are able to scale up production once we come to a conclusion on the pilot.’ Erdal, a chemical engineer by training whose work has mostly involved delivering products to the oil industry, has moved fast in his new sector. He was at the Aqua Nor exhibition in Trondheim last year, and Ecotone was chosen to compete in the NASF (North Atlantic Seafood Forum) Seafood Innovation awards in March. ‘The industry is doing a lot of work and our small contribution to this is to develop an automatic sea lice counter device, which I think will be very vital for them in order to make the appropriate action at the right time. ‘What we see for the camera system in the future is not only to do registration of sea lice, but also to look at the fish health altogether. ‘This is a spectral camera that is very sensitive to colour changes and we’re able to discern things like fish wounds and diseases.We are aiming at the next step, to develop the software and the registration to look at diseases and wounds and, in that respect, to register the very early stages of the fish wellness.Today you don’t see anything unless you pick a fish up from the water. ‘This is my first aquaculture project and it’s very interesting, I must say.’ FF


04/06/2018 16:33:29


Close brush

Intelligent cleaner can sweep nets daily and spot areas of concern


MAGINE a cleaner so smart it can be left to its own devices to keep everything shipshape, and at the same time cast a watchful eye over its surroundings. If such technology was available and affordable, surely every home and office would snap it up. But for fish farmers, the future is closer to hand as trials of the autonomous Remora net cleaner get underway. Created by Stavanger based company Mithal, the Remora is a compact device that sits inside the pen and cleans the net daily. The ‘intelligent’ cleaner uses brushes instead of water pressure to sweep the net clean, reducing the risk of damage. It can also inspect the net at the same time, with software that can identify ‘areas of concern’, such as a hole or patches where there is a little more growth. The farmer can check the integrity of the net and its cleanliness digitally, and compare pictures of a given location with the previous day or week.

Left: Brushing technique - Leiv Midthassel (left) and colleague Lars Martin Ranheim. Above: The Remora.


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The Remora, backed by Innovasjon Norge, is still in the prototype stage and Mithal founder Leiv Midthassel said there is a ‘little bit of refinement to do before we crack on with the test’. This will be conducted at a Marine Harvest site in the Rogaland region, starting this summer, and will involve placing a cleaner in one half of the net, leaving the other half without treatment. Digital analysis will then demonstrate the efficiency of the brushes. ‘The hope is that we’re going to be providing them with excellent data of how much growth there has been on the part of the net that hasn’t been treated and then compare that to the one that has been receiving the brush,’ said Midthassel. If all is working well, the machine should just sit in the net and clean automatically. Midthassel said at the moment they are developing the system on the basis of one unit per pen. The unit is linked with a tether to the net, and it can report back data to the control system on the feed barge. ‘It could be moved but we’re not entirely sure it’s going to be capable of handling two nets at the moment,’ he said. ‘It depends on the efficiency of the brushes; if it’s sufficient to clean it [a pen] every other day then we could possibly see that it could be used in two nets. ‘But at the moment we’re having a speed limit, if you like, on this device, which makes it capable of covering a 160m diameter net in seven hours. ‘You could foresee it has the potential to go to another one, but then you’d need somebody there to handle it. At the moment, that’s not our thinking. We’re thinking we’re better off with having one permanently installed and avoiding the handling.’ One of the benefits of an automatic intelli-

04/06/2018 16:31:19

Close brush

gent cleaner with farms going further offshore is that it demands little manpower. ‘The other benefit is that you prevent the growth from occurring rather than removing the growth as it has occurred,’ said Midthassel. ‘Because when you do remove the growth, as you typically would do today with the high pressure hosing, you’ll create a bit of a cloud of debris that’s going to be floating back into the net; that has the potential of influencing the health of the gills of the fish. ‘So, in that sense, there is also the health issue concerned with this more gentle method of preventing growth. ‘Also, we’re hoping to see that it will eliminate the need for any copper coating [anti-fouling] to prevent the growth.’ The device is 80cm wide and 1.20m in length. The Mithal team is looking at slightly shortening the length but the width, which is the cleaning area, will remain the same. Midthassel said the Remora will be competitively priced – ‘slightly more than traditional cleaning with high pressure, we think, but less than the combined cleaning and inspection’ even if every pen in the farm is fitted with one. ‘We’re going to be marketing it as a service, renting it out, so that means the farmer doesn’t have to concern himself with the maintenance, that’s taken care of, so it’s a hassle free operation for them.’ Midthassel’s background was in the oil and gas sector, and also in other industries such as aviation and shipping, before his foray into fish farming. ‘I draw upon the experience I’ve had from those industries and combine them for the aquaculture industry. ‘We have done one job previously, just to

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It can also perform other “ measurements, which could be very useful for the farmers ”

get familiar with the farmers and understand their predicaments about how they run their operations, and that’s how we came up with the idea.’ In their first aquaculture assignment, they used an ROV to inspect the deployment of anchor lines on a new farm. ‘We thought we were going to be very efficient and provide them with an excellent service, but we found out that our equipment wasn’t that well suited. ‘But we saw that there was a bigger potential in eliminating the vessel and crew needed to clean the net as they do today with high pressure hosing.’ The Mithal team is small – just four full-time employees and consultants – which Midthassel said is sufficient to complete the test, although they will start ‘manning up’ if the results are positive. ‘We’re also trying to investigate opportunities to participate in some studies - there are a few going on into gill health. ‘We are talking to IRIS (International Research Institute of Stavanger) and we’ve been talking with Blue Planet, an organisation founded by several of the farmers interested in deploying some kind of marine surveillance programme for analysing the water quality in the fjords

and understanding a little bit more about the lice and how it develops and how it forms.’ The good thing about Remora, he said, is that is has a lot of computer capacity, it is equipped with ‘some really advanced CPUs and GPUs’. ‘There is potential to include virtually every kind of sensor that’s out there, so we are looking to make it a sensor platform as well; while it’s doing its cleaning, it can also perform other measurements, which could be very useful for the farmers.’ He expects the Marine Harvest trial to take less than a month – ‘it will depend on how much growth we’re seeing on the other side of the net that’s not being serviced by the brush’. And then decisions can be made about commercial production. For now, the focus is on Norway but Midthassel said he would be interested in serving the Scottish market as well in the future. FF


04/06/2018 16:31:37

Innovation – Precision farming

Count on us

Canadian company creates ‘smart bucket’ that can track and manage stocks

A The first “step is to

use machine learning and artificial intelligence to help the industry acquire accurate data

Above: Valérie Robitaille, CEO and co-founder of XpertSea. Top: XperCount: the ‘magic bucket’; assembling the XperCount magic bucket at the lab. Below: The XpertSea platform includes the XperCount magic bucket and a data and analytics portal Photos courtesy of XpertSea


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CANADIAN company is harnessing sophisticated technology to make aquaculture more cost efficient and help feed the world – with a device resembling a simple bucket. XpertSea is combining artificial intelligence, computer vision and machine learning to improve aquaculture companies’ stock management. The Quebec City based firm believes that outdated technologies, such as the hand counting of aquatic organisms, results in major financial losses and waste, as aquaculture producers overspend by an average of 20 per cent in feed alone, and seafood survival rates can be as low as 50 per cent. XpertSea claims it can solve this technology gap so that farms and hatcheries can track and manage their aquatic populations with greater speed, accuracy and insight. Founded by Canadian scientist Valerie Robitaille and US engineer Cody Andrews, both graduates of the Maine Maritime Academy, XpertSea has developed a platform that counts early-stage aquatic organisms such as shrimp larvae and live feed. The XperCount is a smart IoT device that connects to a portal where customers can access data and analytics from any device, anywhere. As of 2017, XpertSea’s customers in 48 countries have counted more than 17 billion organisms and uploaded over 100,000 counting sessions to the data portal. But as Robitaille, CEO of XpertSea, explained to Fish Farmer, this impressive system is contained within a plastic bucket, albeit a very clever one. ‘You just put the organisms into the container and then you have a lid that has all of the electronics,’ she said. ‘You have a touch screen and you put the lid on the container and then you just pick the species you want to analyse. We are able to count, size, image, and give other types of quality metrics about the organism in the container. ‘All this information then goes to a web based platform, where producers can go and consult the information and have access to the quality of the organisms, and recorded day to day monitoring growth and other relevant production information.’ She and Andrews first applied their technical ingenuity to aquaculture after they were approached by a shrimp farmer. ‘When we started looking into the market, especially in South East Asia and South America, we realised how it was a very big industry and a growing industry but it had very big pains in terms of managing production and quality control of production. ‘We thought that was a great fit for our technology and a great place to start so that’s when we developed the first system. The cold water industry is a bit more industrialised, but with the bulk of aquaculture, which is a lot of the warm species, there’s a big, big issue with the accuracy of data. ‘We’re working with producers who sometimes have up to 200 per cent error on their stocking density and cannot do any growth assessment. They do zero adjustment to feeding because they know it’s not possible. ‘All the technology is as good as your data sets, so the first step is to use machine learning and artificial intelligence to help the industry acquire accurate data and information about the production so then this can be leveraged and we can get a great insight on how to improve the industry.’ There is currently just one size of bucket available but the volume of water in the device can differ, said Robitaille. ‘For example, microalgae might only be 250ml but if you’re doing shrimp larva or juvenile you might go up to 5 litre or even 10 litre. But we have plans on designing different sizes because we’re getting more and more demand for a larger system and for a lot of different species.’

Apart from shrimp, the system can currently be tailored to hatcheries - trout, tilapia, even salmon. ‘We have an application for counting eggs, sizing eggs, but also counting alevins and fry, and now we’re developing an application to try and get the weight information of the animal, and weight distribution.’ Europe hasn’t been the big focus so far but Robitaille said they are starting to have customers in Italy and France, though not yet in the big salmon countries. ‘They are definitely a great fit for us in our plans for the future. ‘We have a few producers here in Quebec that we’re developing the offering with and we want to make sure it’s complete and working well before we start pushing commercialisation of it. That’s our plan for 2019.’ Adapting to the salmon market is about data collection – ‘we’re using a lot of artificial intelligence to develop our product so we have to make sure we have a good representation of what’s out there in the field,’ said Robitaille. XpertSea’s team has been able to expand recently to 30, thanks to a new funding round in April, which raised $10 million from Aquaculture investors Aqua-Spark, Obvious Ventures and Real Ventures. Mike Velings and Amy Novogratz, co-founders of Aqua-Spark, said: ‘The smartest route to excellent aquaculture and healthy fish is reliable data, which has been sorely missing in the industry to date. ‘XpertSea is the first company with a successful product to focus on smaller organisms suitable for hatcheries, which is where the farming process begins.’ FF

04/06/2018 16:29:56

Innovation – Feeding

In the pipeline Waiting list for novel valve invented in a garage


RITTANY based Sebastian Termet developed the prototype of a new valve in his garage after being approached by fish farmers to find a system to distribute feed better. That was two years ago and the valve, now patented, has become an entire feeding system, Multizone, with a rotating feeder and up to eight separate tubes taking feed in precise dosages to individual pens. The system can also clean pipes and oxygenate water. The dosing machine, called DosAir and produced by Westair, has a three-way outlet and can be adapted to specification, with a maximum eight silos. The system works with an internal pipe pushing the feed through a bigger pipe, leaving the inside of the tube clean. At its official launch at the Seafood Expo in Brussels in April, Henri Herledan, business manager, showed Fish Farmer an eight-way outlet valve and said the company could do ‘100 or more’. He described the concept as ‘very simple’ and cost effective because it only required one main pipe. It uses a software programme called Novafish that can tell how much oxygen is in the tank, the temperature of the water, and how much feed is needed. The software is all linked to a phone or tablet or laptop so the farmer has information in real time. The little machine is placed in the tanks, more than one in each tank, and can blow feed 12m. The machine at the head of the main pipe can blow 200m, and can be used for pellets between 2mm and 12mm. The main pipe is stainless steel so sea proof, and this feeds the secondary pipes. The farmer decides which part of the tank to feed and can close part of the pipe if he doesn’t want to feed those fish.

is very simple and “The concept cost efffective ”

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Above: Christine Perrot Cornu, Henri Herledan and Claire Corp of Westair.

A little feed is blown initially and spread through the system, with the effect of dispersing the fish so they all get enough to eat. Small farmers feeding by hand needed an automatic system but the system is good for every size of farm, said Christine Perrot Cornu, marketing manager, and huge companies are interested – it can be adapted. She said they have a waiting list of 20-25 people, and there is interest from Norwegian salmon farming companies, and from the Faroes, and Scotland, as well as from sea bass and sea bream farmers in the Mediterranean. Westair already has a customer in northern France, farming trout, who has installed a whole system. Reports so far are that it is working very well. Cornu said Brittany has been a big support, awarding the Westair team funding to develop the product. The company, which employs 11 people, is now industrialising, and has a workshop, and an R&D department, and is working on projects all the time – each one customised. Apart from fish farmers, there has also been great interest from the offshore industry in the cleaning facility, said Cornu, who worked in Fraserburgh for seven years, for a net company. Food processors are interested, too, because the DosAir system is ‘ultra-hygienic’. FF


04/06/2018 16:30:10

Innovation – Israel

Going with the flow Single mooring submersible cages minimise impact on seabed


N Israeli team has developed a submersible cage system that is currently rearing sea bream on a commercial basis but could be adapted to farm salmon. Created by GiliOcean Technology, the concept – called Subflex because it’s like a submarine and it’s flexible, said the company’s Karin Karter Gavriel – is based on a row of connected cages inside a super cage. It is moored with a very heavy anchor – specially designed for the purpose and weighing 25 tonnes or 70 tonnes with the shackles – and cannot only be submersed to a depth of 40m but can turn 360 degrees. The anchoring holds the large structure in place but its turning facility means all waste is dispersed across a much wider area. The single point mooring offers constant movement, which is good for water flow and for combating disease. GiliOcean CEO Josef Melchner, a marine biologist with 15 years’ farming experience, has described the system as a natural habitat for fish farming, with superb water conditions and high oxygen saturation in the ocean depths. Fish can be grown faster and healthier and without antibiotics because of the water quality, and the fact that parasites almost don’t exist in the open ocean. The company was first established in 2010 but it was only last year that the first commercial offshore farm was launched, producing bream for the Israeli market, where demand is high. Already, there has been interest in the Subflex from producers in South East Asia, the US and Europe. The first farm is currently anchored 15km off Ashdod’s Port in the south of Israel, an exposed location that saw waves of up to 11.34m in January, said Gavriel, when Fish Farmer visited the company’s stand at the Seafood Expo in Brussels in April. They put in fingerlings a year ago and the first fish will be ready to harvest this June. The structure has eight cages, but the system could take up to 12 Left: Ron Shavit and Karin Karter Gavriel in Brussels. Above: The cages in the sea off the coast of Israel. Opposite: Aerial view gives an idea of the scale.


Israel.indd 60

or even 14. Five out of the eight cages are stocked with fish and a sixth is about to be stocked, as part of a gradual process. The system can be tailored to customer requirements. For instance, any size of cage can be used, either circular or square, and any type of netting. There is a maximum capacity in the current farm for 2,200 tonnes of fish a year, but they are producing 1,700 tonnes in the eight cages. It takes just nine minutes to submerge the cage if there is a storm ahead and about two hours to bring it back up again, giving the fish time to acclimatise. Air is pumped into the back hoses, making the cages buoyant so they return to the surface. And the whole system can still rotate around its moorings when it’s submerged. The team have been doing this manually- divers open a valve, let water in and bring it down- but it is possible to do it automatically. They submerged the Israel farm, which the company’s Ron Shavit says is not so much a trial but a commercial operation, six times in the last year. The longest period was for 12 days in a row during bad weather. They expect to submerge it between 45 and 60 days a year in the Mediterranean. He said the growth rate of the sea bream was good, the fish were healthy no antibiotics had been used, and there is superb water exchange. Of special interest is GiliOcean’s biomass estimation camera, still under development but now in its finishing stages. It is showing up to 98 per cent accuracy, said Shavit. The camera, embracing smart technologies, can be sold separately but the company is interested in building the whole package, and has also designed the software programme that controls the system, the feeding, everything in fact. The biomass estimation camera knows the size of fish at any time and so can gauge how much to feed them. If you are a big producer, said Shavit, a saving of even one per cent can be a big money saver. He said these kinds of systems are mostly made by Norwegians but the Israelis want to compete in this market of precision farming, with machine

04/06/2018 16:23:42

Going with the flow

With “salmon

perhaps the first step is to try a site that’s nearer the shore

learning and big data analytics. They will target the Mediterranean market first with the biomass camera – warmer water areas such as Turkish and Greek farms, where there is a lot of potential. But in terms of technology ‘the salmon market is definitely our next goal’, he said – ‘we’re working on the machine now and in six to 12 months we will have something for the salmon market’. The biomass camera can be adapted to salmon by changing the sensors and that is the next step, the company said, confirming it had seen a lot of interest from salmon companies, and from investors in Norway, but also from Scotland. Because of sea lice problems these producers are interested in the submersible facility of the Subflex, but because salmon have to surface to fill their swim bladders, new technology would need to be introduced, bringing oxygen by bubbles or a balloon. GiliOcean has its own team of engineers and there are many ways to solve this problem, said Shavit, adding that they are working on technology

to pump air into the cages. But the pump would have to be submerged with the whole system – that’s still a way ahead, he said, but it can be done. ‘If you’ve got a really exposed site and need to submerge, it is potentially difficult, so with salmon perhaps the first step is to try a site that’s nearer the shore and can therefore be managed more easily while we are working on the technology,’ he said. The camera is heavy because it needs to be submerged with the Subflex farm, but Shavit said if it is sold separately it can be adapted to be lighter and therefore cheaper. The Stingray biomass camera costs $1,000 but the Israeli one is a fifth of the price, he said. The technology is similar, based on lasers, but Shavit claims greater accuracy for their version, 98 per cent with sea bream. He said a Norwegian concept such as SalMar’s Ocean Farm 1 cost $60 million to build and can produce 6,000 tonnes. Three Subflex farms can produce the same quantity but at a third of the price. But their model, he said, is aimed more at the mid-scale farmers while the Norwegians’ target is the big guys. GiliOcean has entered into a joint venture with an investor – the project is called Open Sea Aquaculture- but they are farming the fish themselves. ‘It looks very promising and we’re looking to expand to other countries with other joint ventures,’ said Shavit. FF

Submerged salmon by summer says Badinotti THE Italian aquaculture supplier Badinotti is adapting its submersible pens for salmon farmers, after developing the technology in sea bream and bass farms in the Mediterranean. The new model – Oceanis III – combines Oceanis I, which floods the sinker tube with water and then re-fills it with air, and Oceanis II, which is pulled down by filling a steel chamber beneath the centre of the pen with air. The salmon version would need to submerge the larger

Israel.indd 61

size pens typical to this sector, which Badinotti claims it can do. The system is awaiting a patent and the launch date is expected over the summer. Badinotti marketing manager for Europe and the Middle East, Alessandro Ciattaglia, told Undercurrent News recently that being able to submerge a salmon pen had a number of benefits. ‘It can help against sea lice, because the lice are worst closest to the surface. And when there is an algal bloom – particularly seen in Chile –

that tends to be in the metres up by the surface as well.’ Although sea bass and bream pens are often submerged for several days, this presents problems with salmon, which need to surface periodically to fill their swim bladders. Badinotti is reportedly working now on a ‘diving bell’ system of air pockets. The technology can be retro-fitted to most existing plastic pens, and can be done to just one pen at a full site, to illustrate the advantages, said Ciattaglia.

‘It’s a relatively small investment, and it works with all the logistics and technology they Above: Badinotti’s stand at Aquaculture UK might already have, such as cameras, sensors, and so on.’


04/06/2018 16:24:33


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04/06/2018 14:17:52

Processing and Retail News

Young’s sales continue to rise Young’s Seafood is continuing to enjoy sales growth, both in the UK and in its new markets in the United States. coated fish contract THE company has wins have contributed reported turnover for a significant step in the second quarter of delivering our run rate its financial year (JanEBITDA outlook. Market uary 1 to March 31) of ‘Progress with sales £136.3 million and an leader growth in the UK and EBITDA (earnings beUSA demonstrate both fore interest, tax and The success of our the continued demand brand with contract depreciation) of £5.5 for our products and wins...continues to million, maintaining the international drive frozen growth year-on-year growth. growth potential of Young’s financial year our brand.’ runs from the end of Britain’s largest each September. frozen and chilled Above: Bill Showalter CEO Bill Showalter seafood producer said: ‘Young’s remains gression underpinned label and in exports processor Five Star was put up for sale the clear market lead- by cost management. continues to drive Fish, which has anby its private equity er with sales growth frozen growth. ‘The success of our nounced the probable owners last month and in chilled and frozen ‘Long term, natural brand with contract closure of its Grimsby is understood to be delivering EBITDA pro- wins in retailer own white fish, salmon and site with the loss of attracting considerable interest, especially almost 500 jobs. Young’s is taking on from other private at least 200 people to equity businesses. Young’s Seafood is widely reFIVE Star Fish, the seafood business The Japanese corpo- handle this new work. ported to be taking over the M&S which is threatening to close its rate giant Mitsubishi, But it ran into a lot of coated business and is increasing Grimsby site with a potential loss flak a few weeks ago which has a food the size of its Grimsby workforce of almost 400 jobs, has reported division, has also been when it announced it accordingly. a significant increase in its losses was ceasing producnamed as a possible Five Star said the pre-restrucdespite a large rise in turnover. tion at its Pinneys contender. turing operating loss increased by The secondary white fish procesYoung’s recently won salmon plant at 20.5 per cent as a result of higher sor is a wholly owned subsidiary of Annan in Scotland, a major coated fish administration and distribution Boparan Holdings. where 450 people are contract, thought to costs. The latest figures from Compaemployed. be M&S, from rival It also says that its main customnies House show that Five Star made a loss of £17.2 million for the ers are the UK’s leading supermarkets and their strength, combined year to July 29, 2017, compared with competitive pressure within with a loss of £6.5 million for the the industry, represents continuing previous year. risks, which could result in lost This was in spite of a near £6.5 million or 10.7 per cent rise in turn- sales to key competitors, impacting YOUNG’S Seafood has over to £57.521 million after it won on revenue and profits. announced The sharply rising cost of fish, a major Marks & Spencer coated the launch of which is affecting all seafood fish contract from Grimsby rivals three new processors in the UK, seems to be Seachill two years ago. premium behind some of the problems. ‘The current period result fish products, Five Star began a 45-day consulincludes restructuring costs each targeting tation with staff in Grimsby last of £14,633,000 (2016: loss of the specific needs month over the potential closure £6,505,000),’ the company’s acof the more choice of the site. counts report says. Fillets and Lightly ‘This consultation period has not driven frozen food Two months ago, Five Star Breaded Chunky shopper. yet concluded and, as a result, the announced that the losses from Cod Fillets (250g), They are: Young’s future prospects of the company its Grimsby site were financially containing two of Gastro Jumbo Beer are uncertain,’ the company report unsustainable and warned that Young’s 100 per cent Battered Argentinian added. closure was under consideration. natural cod fish fillets Red Shrimp (220g), wrapped in signature which contains wild crispy batter or golden caught sweet and succulent Argentinian breadcrumbs. The products, availaRed Shrimp wrapped ble in ASDA from June, in Young’s signature meet the consumer Gastro beer batter; need for a premium, and Young’s Lightly chunkier product. t Battered Chunky Cod

Scale of Five Star losses revealed

New premium products launched

Processing News.indd 63

Marel joins Iceland Ocean Cluster

THE international seafood and food processing equipment company Marel has joined forces with the Iceland Ocean Cluster in a bid to build a stronger network, create new business opportunities and promote innovation. The Ocean Cluster concept, established a few years ago, is based on the idea of bringing people together from different parts of the marine sector to nurture connections between entities for the mutual benefit of all parties. One important consequence of this level of cooperation is the collective creation of more value from marine resources. For the fish processing industry, this means creating more value out of each fish caught, and Marel said it was proud to support the Iceland Ocean Cluster’s goal of 100 per cent utilisation. The Cluster’s reach also stretches beyond Iceland as last November it signed a memorandum of understanding with Seafood Grimsby and Humber. But Marel, which has just announced a 14 per cent increase in Q1 sales, is the first technology supplier to enter into an agreement.


04/06/2018 16:21:02

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Opinion – Inside track

How will we look in 20 years’ time? BY NICK JOY


OW that the Scottish parliamentary inquiry has concluded, and while we await the result, hoping that sense will prevail, maybe we should turn our heads to what we hope we will achieve in the long term. When I started in this industry, farms and companies were small and there were many of them. Innovation and entrepreneurship were rife but then so were problems, both financial and technical. We had hoped that this was a solution to a lot of the world’s problems but that also we would create a new, vibrant industry in the countryside. It is not surprising that the industry has become dominated by a few players, and likely to be fewer in the future as risk, cost of entry and capital demand are hard for smaller companies. When you add the overweening, counter-productive and disproportionate regulation, the small company, with no specialised department to deal with it, is immediately at a disadvantage. But is this the way we really want to go? The signs of pressure on inshore sites make it even more likely that small companies will not enter.This may also be highly counter-productive as our industry’s saving grace in Scotland has been the employment in fragile areas. Why would companies continue to use labour from small communities that are hard to service when the sites are so far offshore? This is one of the many issues which we need to address. A mature industry does not have to be the sole province of large corporations. Do we really want to be a one size fits all industry, competing entirely on cost and worried solely about volume? Innovation is key to any industry’s future but so is the range of company size and product.The chicken industry went down the cost leading route. The length of time it takes to grow a chicken now is below 38 days for these companies. For a while it appeared that this was the future until they bred chickens with too big breasts for their legs and their legs broke.Then people started to realise the impact of this chase for the bottom. Nowadays, there are a range of chicken companies serving narrow and wide niches. I have found one called Sutton Hoo Chicken. Its slogan is ‘free in the field’ and, yes, its chicken is more expensive. On the other hand, you get a good number of meals out of one. Sorry, I may have slipped into advertising there.The point I am making is that there are opportunities created by having companies all chasing the bottom price. One good reason for having small niche companies is that it is less easy to categorise the industry; perhaps the media will develop a more sophisticated approach to the salmon sector if it appears that there are a range of styles of farming. So what could our industry look like in 20 years? I hope we will see the advent of farming onshore. No, not salmon, as I think that is a total waste of time and money, but new species or older ones that have not done so well until now.


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Let’s not “ prevent smaller businesses starting where the larger ones have left

I hope that we start to reinvent the shellfish sector, which has stayed pretty static for the last ten years. Seaweed farming will come but I wonder if that will be that quickly. Mostly, I hope we see entrepreneurship come again, getting the consumer to realise how the sea can be farmed. I don’t expect salmon to be knocked off the top spot, nor do I want it to be. Farming at sea has only just started.We are the pathfinders. I accept that big business will want to develop where it can, but let’s not prevent smaller businesses starting where the larger ones have left. A society that still depends on hunter gathering can hardly be described as sustainable. I do not mean to suggest that we cannot have hunter gathering, but that farming is a more measured and measurable approach. As long as we make sure that the regulation surrounding the sea matches that which we have for land, at worst, then new and innovative farmers will appear and who knows what an amazing industry this will be then. FF

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The joined meeting of the European Aquaculture Society and World Aquaculture Society

For more info on the TRADESHOW : For more info on the CONFERENCE : and

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