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Fish Farmer VOLUME 41


MAY 2018

Serving worldwide aquaculture since 1977





First female fish farm boss talks about male mentors

SSPO chief on how she plans to win over the critics

Gearing up for Scotland’s biggest aquaculture show

Industry speaks out as inquiry draws to a close

May Cover.indd 1

09/05/2018 18:15:21


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Contents 4-14 News

What’s happening in aquaculture in the UK and around the world

16-22 Parliamentary inquiry


Fair hearing

Contents – Editor’s Welcome

48-49 Brussels

Salmon market robust

50-55 Brussels

New processors’ group

The final sessions


HE salmon farming sector in Scotland, when told it was to be the subject of a parliamentary inquiry, embraced the opportunity this would provide to explain how it operated. The industry had nothing to hide and, if given a fair hearing, could address much of the criticism levelled against it. Fish Farmer supported this view, but at times felt that salmon farmers were being drowned out by the noisier elements of the angling lobby, which had called for the investigation. But as the sessions progressed, and eventually farmers’ voices were heard, we became more optimistic. We now believe that MSPs, perhaps with the exception of one or two Greens in cahoots with anti-farming campaigners, will, on balance, regard the industry in a favourable light. They will hopefully see that farmers take their environmental responsibilities seriously and that businesses will only ever invest in growth that is sustainable. If the committee members, especially those who have yet to visit a salmon farm, would like to learn more about the subject of their inquiry, we have plenty of good stories in our May issue. Even better, they could head to the Highlands later this month, where they will meet the aquaculture industry en masse at Scotland’s biggest fish farming show. We will certainly be at Aquaculture UK in Aviemore and look forward to seeing many of you there too.

24-27 SSPO

Meet the new chief executive

56 Book review

Focus on cleaner fish

28-29 Comment Phil Thomas

30 BTA

Doug McLeod

57 Aquaculture UK Introduction

58-59 Aquaculture UK Chris Mitchell

32-33 Shellfish

Janet Brown

Fish Farmer is now on Facebook and Twitter

Meet the team

Contact us

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

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Cover: Alison Hutchins, Dawnfresh farming director, on Loch Etive. Picture: Scott Binnie

Head Office: Special Publications, Fettes Park, 496 Ferry Road, Edinburgh, EH5 2DL


Welcome - May.indd 3

Martin Jaffa

36-41 Farm visit

Dawn of new era

43-45 IoA careers Stirling students

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Tel: +44 (0) 1371 851868 UK Subscriptions: £75 a year ROW Subscriptions: £95 a year including postage- All Air Mail

69 Aquaculture UK Meet the team

81-82 Aquaculture UK Awards

91 Retail & Marketing News Eat more fish

92-93 Aqua Source Directory

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34-35 Comment

Find all you need for the industry

46-47 Brussels


94 Opinion

By Nick Joy


09/05/2018 18:05:09

United Kingdom News


MSPs visit salmon farm as part of inquiry Chapman (Con, North East Scotland), Richard Lyle (SNP, Uddingston and Bellshill) and Jamie Greene (Con, West Scotland). The committee’s deputy convenor, Gail Ross (SNP, Caithness, Sutherland and Ross), toured a Marine Harvest site in a separate visit last month. The visit came two days before the whole committee met to hear from producers. The MSPs were shown around Marine Harvest’s Gorsten site Above: Jon Gibb, of the Lochaber District in Loch Linnhe.They Salmon Fishery Board, talks to the MSPs learnt how the fish are A GROUP of MSPs The five politicians fed and how nets are from the Rural Econalso met anglers during cleaned, as well as disomy and Connectivity the day-long tour. cussing seal deterrent committee visited Committee convenor measures. salmon farming opEdward Mountain, Con- Before that, they had erations on the west servative MSP for the seen Marine Harvest’s coast at the end of Highlands and Islands, Lochailort recirculaApril, as part of the was joined by John tion hatchery. ongoing inquiry into Mason (SNP, Glasgow Earlier in the day, the the industry. Shettleston), Peter MSPs were taken to

the River Lochy, where they met local fishery stakeholders, including ghillies, local club anglers and local fishery biologists. They then heard about the ground breaking work of Drimsallie hatchery in Lochaber, where a project is underway to replenish Highland rivers with wild stocks. Marine Harvest’s business support manager Steve Bracken said: ‘We were very pleased they had taken the time to come and visit, not just the Lochy Drimsallie hatchery, but Lochailort recirculation hatchery and Gorsten sea farm. I think they would have had a good overview of the relationship between wild fisheries in the Lochaber area and ourselves.’‘ REC report: Page 16

Lift 2,500-tonne farm limit says Sepa THE Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (Sepa) supports the lifting of the 2,500 tonne limit on fish farms, MSPs were told. Sepa said that new environmental modelling techniques have given them ‘the necessary confidence to remove the cap’, which currently restricts production levels to 2,500 tonnes per site. The agency sent its submission to Scotland’s Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform (ECCLR) committee, and then informed members of the Rural Economy and Connectivity (REC) committee. Sepa said the new depositional zone regulation (DZR), developed in 2016, meant production levels could be assessed on a site by site basis. ‘Up to now, the 2,500 tonne cap reflected the appropriate level of precaution given the


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degree of uncertainty in risk assessments for large farms with the then available modelling techniques,’ said Sepa in its submission. ‘The revised version of the depositional model, coupled with hydrodynamic modelling and more extensive monitoring, provide us with the necessary confidence to remove the cap.’ At more exposed sites, ‘waste impacts on the sea bed will normally be much less severe than elsewhere; and the risks of disease and, hence, medicine usage, are also likely to be lower’. Removing the cap might encourage producers to ‘consider re-locating to, and consolidating production at sites that have the greatest capacity to cope with farm wastes’. ‘The proposals are designed to deliver increased protection of the environment through enhanced modelling and monitoring. We do not envisage disadvantages from this,’ said Sepa.

MH seeks to expand capacity on Muck MARINE Harvest is hoping to increase capacity at its farm on Muck by 1,000 tonnes. The Inner Hebrides farm was opened four years ago as part of an £80 million expansion by the firm, and is one of a number of larger, more exposed sites. The company has submitted an application to Highland Council to increase production from 2,500 tonnes to 3,500 tonnes, with the addition of two new farm pens. If approved, the expansion would create three new jobs, adding to the fish farm’s fulltime workforce of six on the island, which has a population of 38. New houses were built on Muck to accommodate staff. Marine Harvest business support manager Steve Bracken told the Press and Journal: ‘The opening of the fish farm off Muck in 2014 gave a real boost to the island in terms of both jobs and houses. ‘We opened the fish farm after an extensive consultation process which clearly showed support for our plans.’ The proposed expansion has been welcomed on the island, with locals reportedly saying the fish farm ‘had been of great benefit to the island community’. As well as building new homes, Marine Harvest has also made improvements to the jetty. Earlier this year, the company was granted planning permission for a salmon farm off another of the small isles, Rum. It is expected to create 12 new jobs.

Above: Isle of Muck

09/05/2018 16:42:36

All the latest industry news from the UK

Farm by farm sea lice data published (ECCLR) committee, in March. Landsburgh told the REC committee that the information, published with a three-month time lag, takes sea lice reporting to a new level. Salmon farmers want to produce healthy fish and keep lice numbers as low as possible, the SSPO said on its website. ‘Regular detailed health checks of farmed salmon are made at least once a week and lice numbers and the life stages of any lice are recorded. Sharing information about farming Above: New level activities with other farmers greatly helps SCOTTISH salmon farmers published farm by the overall control of sea lice on farms and in farm sea lice data for the first time on May 2, production areas. following a commitment made earlier in the ‘Farmers control sea lice using a range of year. techniques. These have been developed by the Scottish Salmon Producers Organisation salmon farming industry as an integrated sea (SSPO) former chief executive Scott Landslice management strategy. The strategy encourburgh told the ongoing inquiry into salmon ages preventative techniques such as keeping farming, by the Rural Economy and Connecfish of only one age group in a farm and fallowtivity (REC) committee, that the information ing farms after each production cycle.’ would be made available on the organisation’s Salmon farmers also use cleaner fish, such as website every month from now on. wrasse and lumpfish, as biological controls, as Producers agreed at the end of last year to well as medicines, which can be prescribed by a publish sea lice data on a farm by farm basis vet, and they increasingly deploy new technolfrom 2018, building on existing reporting ogy – warm water flushing, for example. activities that have been in place for a number ‘This integrated approach to sea lice manageof years. The move was announced by the ment ensures that farmers in Scotland co-ordiSSPO during an evidence session of the Ennate their lice control strategies for maximum vironment, Climate Change and Land Reform effectiveness,’ said the SSPO.

Loch Duart thanks communities for support LOCH Duart thanked the communities where it farms last month by hosting two receptions – one Above: Alban in Scourie in Sutherland, and the other in Uist in the Hebrides. Managing director Alban Denton and Loch Duart staff met community leaders, owners of local hotels, shops, restaurants and B&Bs. The company updated the community on its work and plans for the future, and answered questions. ‘It gives Loch Duart

a chance to thank the community for its support,’ said Denton. ‘This support includes the accommoDenton dation and delicious food provided by local hotels, restaurants and B&Bs for our customers and suppliers. The biggest benefit provided by the local community is, of course, is providing a home and community for our wonderful staff.’ Loch Duart employs more than 115 staff and makes a significant contribution to the north west Scotland economy.

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UK news.indd 5


09/05/2018 16:43:28

United Kingdom News

Queen’s Award for Scottish Ace

Go ahead for Skye organic farms

be held later in the year. DUNDEE based company Ace The award is presented at the Aquatec has received a prestigwinning company’s premises by ious Queen’s Award for Enterone of the Queen’s representprise in the innovation category, atives, and winners can then fly it was announced on April 21. the Queen’s Award flag at their The company’s managing director, Nathan Pyne-Carter, said the main office. Pyne-Carter said: ‘It’s a great award is specifically for growth honour to receive the Queen’s and innovation in seal deterrent Award. We were recognised for systems, recognising significant the technology innovation of our investment in research and seal deterrents, and also for the development, and benefits to the role our research and developaquaculture industry from those ment has played in the growth of developments. the Scottish economy. In particular, it recognises the ‘Animal welfare is an incredibly importance of innovation for important issue, and we’re proud growth in the economy, and reduction in conflicts with farms as to be playing a part in helping our aquaculture a result of cutting customers excel edge technology. in this area with The Queen’s a more humane Award for Enterapproach to predprise, announced ator deterrence. every year on ‘I think our the monarch’s success shows the birthday, marks aquaculture and outstanding fish farming indusachievement by try is committed UK businesses. to increasing Winners are effectiveness withinvited to a royal out compromising reception at BuckAbove: Nathan Pyne-Carter on animal welfare.’ ingham Palace, to

HIGHLAND Council has given the go ahead to two organic salmon farms off Skye. The farms were approved despite objections from campaigners concerned about their environmental impact and effect on the landscape. The company behind the applications, Organic Sea Harvest (OSH), aims to produce salmon in as organic and natural an environment as possible in 24 circular cages of 120m each. The development will create seven new jobs at each farm, which Highland councillor Kirsteen Currie said ‘is seven families that could be living in that area’. ‘That is a community centre, that is a school, the knock-on impact of well placed, sustainable employment has to be balanced with the environment. ‘This application does have due regard for the environment in that area – views don’t pay the bills I am afraid.’ Alex MacInnes, a director of Organic Sea Harvest, said the company had spent four years trying to get planning permission

and would operate under ‘very, very rigorous standards’. The application for the sites, at Tote and Culnacnoc, received backing from Staffin Community Trust (SCT), which said the farms could create 50 new jobs, and would provide a major opportunity to revitalise the area by attracting new families. The proposal involves fish farming roles, along with direct community benefit and infrastructure investment at Staffin’s harbour. OSH has also agreed to make annual payments to the SCT, which will result in at least £140,000 becoming available for further investment in the community. The company plans to produce and package locally branded salmon in Staffin before wholesaling to major retailers as organic Skye salmon. This could create 38 jobs, as well as further indirect supply and service jobs.

Scientists make omega-3 breakthrough A MAJOR discovery that could ‘revolutionise’ the understanding of omega-3 production in the ocean has been made by an international team of scientists. Led by the University of Stirling, research has found – for the first time – that omega-3 fatty acids can be created by many invertebrates inhabiting marine ecosystems, including corals, worms and molluscs. The breakthrough challenges the generally held principle that marine microbes, such as microalgae and bacteria, are responsible for virtually all primary production of omega-3. Lead scientist Dr Oscar Monroig, of the Institute of Aquaculture, said that the findings strongly suggest that


UK news.indd 6

aquatic invertebrates may make ‘a very significant contribution to global omega-3 production’. ‘Our study provides a significant paradigm shift, as it demonstrates that a large variety of invertebrate animals, including corals, rotifers, molluscs, polychaetes and crustaceans, possess enzymes called ‘desaturases’ of a type that enable them to produce omega-3, an ability thought to exist almost exclusively in marine microbes,’ said Monroig. Certain omega-3 fatty acids are considered essential for human

health, particularly in western countries with a high prevalence of cardiovascular and inflammatory diseases, for which omega-3 oil supplements are commonly prescribed. Natural sources of omega-3 in human diets include oily fish, such as salmon. Omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA have been shown to have a positive effect on blood count levels, infant development, cognitive health

and the immune system. The new research is therefore not only likely to impact the scientific community, but also the general public and various industries involved in the production of omega-3 in food and supplements. ‘These findings can revolutionise our understanding of omega-3 long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids production on a global scale,’ said Monroig. First author of the study, Dr Naoki Kabeya, of Tokyo University

of Marine Science and Technology, visited the Institute of Aquaculture after receiving a fellowship from the Marine Alliance for Science and Technology Scotland (MASTS). Kabeya said:‘Since invertebrates represent a major component of the biomass in aquatic ecosystems such as coral reefs, abyssal plains and hydrothermal vents, their contribution to the overall omega-3 production is likely to be remarkable.’ The research also involved Stirling’s Professor Douglas Tocher, and members of an international con-

sortium of scientists, including Dr David Ferrier, of the Scottish Oceans Institute at the University of St Andrews. Ferrier said:‘It was very surprising to us to see just how widespread these genes were, particularly in animals that are so common and abundant in the sea. ‘It is also intriguing that these genes seem to be jumping between very different organisms, such as from plants or fungi into an insect and a spring-tail, by a process of horizontal gene transfer.’ The paper, Genes for de novo biosynthesis of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids are widespread in animals, was funded by MASTS.

09/05/2018 16:44:06

All the latest industry news from the UK

£800,000 project targets gill health academic and industry team to A PROJECT worth almost advance our understanding of £800,000 has been launched complex gill disease in Atlantic by Scottish Sea Farms and feed salmon and to develop innovative company BioMar to target gill surveillance tools and nutritional health in farmed salmon. solutions.’ The £798,400, two-year initiaProfessor Sam Martin, of the tive, part funded by the Scottish University of Aberdeen, said: ‘The Aquaculture Innovation Centre gill being a complex organ is cen(SAIC), will develop innovative ditral to fish health and wellbeing. agnostic tools to precisely moni‘Using new molecular approachtor the gill condition of salmon in Above: Heather Jones seawater pens, along with devising new feeds to es in this research project, we hope to be able to speed up diagnosis and assess how nutrition can promote optimum health and welfare. improve gill health in salmon.’ It is hoped the research, which also involves Ralph Bickerdike, head of fish health at Scottish the University of Aberdeen and Marine Scotland Sea Farms, said: ‘As responsible farmers, we Science, will help address one of the biggest are constantly exploring new ways to further health problems affecting farmed salmon. improve the welfare of the salmon in our care The diagnostic tools will enable farmers to – and this cross-sector collaboration has the fine-tune their husbandry practices to the conditions of the local marine environment, aided by potential to do exactly that. ‘By increasing our understanding of gill health rapid response modelling of risk factors. Heather Jones, CEO of SAIC, which is contrib- and the different factors affecting it, this research uting £284,000 of the cost, said: ‘As the first of a will help identify ever more effective approaches suite of gill health projects being funded by SAIC, to protecting our salmon against this key environmental challenge.’ we are delighted to support the experienced

Marine Harvest buys Seahorse boats MARINE Harvest Scotland has bought the fleet of Seahorse Aquaculture – and taken on the company’s four employees to crew the vessels. The three boats – The Nitrox, David Andrews and Tie Venture 111 – will be deployed in a variety of farm service roles. Marine Harvest Scotland seawater production manager David MacGillivray said: ‘I’d like to welcome our new boat crew to the company. ‘I’m sure with their great experience gained at Seahorse Aquaculture this will lead to our new colleagues having an opportunity to progress their careers within MHS, continuing the very important work they carry out.’

Colin Bell, the owner of northwest Highlands based Seahorse Aquaculture, said: ‘I would like to thank Marine Harvest, and in particular Arthur Campbell, for their support over the years and wish them every success for the future.’ The Nitrox will mainly be used for cleaning and disinfecting fallowed farm sites in preparation for receiving the next generation of fish. The tug David Andrews will be used for towing pens and barges, while Tie Venture 111 will be based in Harris and Lewis, being used mostly as a site service boat.

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Above: Seahorse Aquaculture

Scottish seafood ‘key to prosperity’ SCOTLAND’S First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, hailed the ‘astonishing growth’ of seafood and whisky exports to China during a visit to Beijing. Scottish seafood – mainly farmed salmon – continues to be Scotland’s chief food export to China, valued at £50 million in 2017, up 12-fold in ten years. Whisky, meanwhile, is worth £61 million. Promoting Scottish industries was the key objective of the trip, which also took in Shanghai and Hong Kong. Scottish farmed salmon exports to China were valued at £44 million last year, according to HMRC. ‘The astonishing growth in Scottish food and drink exports to China in recent years is testament not only to the high quality of our food and drink produce, but also a stark reminder of the huge

Above: Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon

opportunities open to us in the Chinese market,’ she said. ‘There is no doubt that, for a country of five million people, Scotland punches well above its weight in terms of international brand recognition and cultural influence. ‘Making the most of these strengths is absolutely key to our future prosperity – but it can have much wider benefits as well. ‘The more we can strengthen our overseas links and deepen our relationships, the more opportunity we have to promote our values of social justice.’

Visit us at K U Aquaculture D STAN NO. 173


09/05/2018 16:44:27

European News


Norway salmon exports show April rise

NORWAY’S salmon farmers saw their export earnings rise by nine per cent during April, the latest figures from the Norwegian Seafood Council show. Overseas sales last month totalled 74,000 tonnes, a volume increase of four per cent, but the value more than

more or less the same as in 2017. But volumes are up by five per cent. The average price for the first four months of 2018 is NOK 62.74 per kilo compared to NOK 64.99 for the same period last year. So April 2018 seems to have been a very good month for the fish doubled to NOK 5.3 billion, up by NOK 442 farming industry. Paul T. Aandahl, million. analyst at the NorweThe average price gian Seafood Council, for fresh whole said: ‘Despite a good salmon last month price trend so far this was NOK 68.52 per kilo, compared to NOK year, the price in the first three-month pe63.56 in April 2017. riod is down by 2.25 So far this year the country has exported kroners on last year. ‘Global demand 320,000 tonnes of growth and fasalmon to a value vourable exchange of 21 billion kroner,

rates have not been enough to outweigh the negative price effect resulting from increased supply. ‘The decline in prices is primarily due to increased offerings from Norway.’ Meanwhile, exports of farmed trout continue to pick up. Sales for the first four months of 2018 have totalled 13,600 tonnes, worth NOK 883 million, a volume rise of 24 per cent and a revenue increase of two per cent. Sales last month totalled 3,800 tonnes, worth NOK 246 million, with the US, Belarus and Japan the main markets.

Call for ‘oil tax’ on Norwegian fish farmers THE Socialist Left, or SV, party in the Norwegian parliament (Storting) has called on the government to impose an oil industry style tax on the country’s fish farmers. The party has submitted a document which proposes that the industry should pay an unspecified amount per kilogram of salmon, which has been described as a form of production fee and also dubbed by critics as a ‘fish farming oil tax’. However, the move, which the government is duty bound to consider, is unlikely to gather support from most of the main parties in parliament. And the industry has come out strongly against the plan. Geir Ove Ystmark, the CEO of


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Seafood Norway, which represents both fish farmers and conventional fishing companies, said the aquaculture industry fluctuated greatly at different times, arguing that the tax burden should not be based

on a few years of high returns. ‘We would like to remind the government that salmon and trout farming are cyclical industries which operate in a highly competitive global market.’ He pointed out that aquaculture companies already contributed to the municipal authorities in the areas where they were based. Ystmark warned: ‘Norway is not the only country which has good natural advantages for salmon and trout farming. ‘If there are increased costs at home it could lead to investment being moved abroad. It is not given that Norway will always be in the strong position it is today’.

SalMar plans second giant platform THE Norwegian fish farmer SalMar is planning to build another huge offshore platform possibly twice the size of Ocean Farm 1, which was brought in from China last summer. The move follows SalMar’s acquisition of 51 per cent of the shares in the Stavanger based company MariCulture, which is involved in the development of fish farms and fish farming equipment. The two businesses have signed a partnership to develop a new offshore aquaculture concept called Smart Fish Farm that can operate in the open sea. MariCulture has applied for 16 development licences which, it is hoped, will permit the project to go ahead. The company said the huge new platform should be able to withstand wave heights of up to 15 metres. Norway’s Directorate of Fisheries will first have to approve the development licences and both SalMar and MariCulture say they are hoping for an early decision. The entire project is likely to cost at least 1.5 billion kroners (£135.5 million). SalMar said model testing will be carried out at the Sintef Ocean Laboratory in Norway, which is the largest research organisation in Scandinavia. Gustav Witzøe, the 25-year-old billionaire and controlling owner in SalMar, said: ‘We aim to make the deep water sphere a global research laboratory for the open sea, in cooperation with NTNU (Norwegian University of Science and Technology) and other leading research communities.’ The plan is to establish the platform in the Norwegian Sea off the Trøndelag coast.

Above: Artist’s impression of the planned new SalMar platform

09/05/2018 16:45:49

All the latest industry news from Europe

New CEO speaks of growth plans OLAV-Andreas Ervik, SalMar’s new CEO, has spoken of his excitement at taking over the reins one of the world’s leading salmon farming companies. He was appointed last month after Trond Above: Olav-Andreas Ervik Williksen unexpectedly announced his resignation as chief executive. The move followed the Chinese arrest of a Norwegian citizen, once linked to SalMar, over allegations of salmon smuggling, although the two episodes have not been directly linked. The authorities in Beijing believe that Vietnam is becoming a major conduit for smuggling of several commodities, of which salmon is one of the largest and thought to be worth tens of millions of US dollars. Williksen has been CEO since late 2016, during which time he has overseen considerable growth in sales and profits. SalMar enjoyed its best ever year in 2017. A statement said the board regretted his decision to be released but added that he will be available to the company for the next six months, the period of his notice.

We need to farm more fish, says EU chief EUROPEAN Fisheries Commissioner Karmenu Vella has expressed his determination to support and develop aquaculture within the EU. He said that fish farming within Europe was starting to emerge from stagnation and it was now time to help it expand. ‘Forty years ago, the famous French commandant Jacques-Yves Cousteau stated: ‘We must plant the sea and herd its animals, using the sea as farmers instead of hunters’,’ said Vella. ‘His vision is now becoming reality. In 2014, for the first time in history, humans consumed more farmed than wild caught fish. And this is just the beginning; the world population is forecast to reach 10 billion people by 2050 and demand for protein is expected to grow by 70 per cent. This will create an increasing appetite for ocean derived food. Seafood is not only very healthy but, in some parts of the world, essential to fighting hunger and malnutrition. If we are to get more seafood, it has to come from farming. After more than a decade of stagnation, it is encouraging that EU aquaculture is finally starting to grow again.’ Above: Karmenu Vella

Political backing for Iceland aquaculture PLANS to expand Iceland’s still fledgling aquaculture industry have received overwhelming backing from one of the country’s leading political groups. The liberal-conservative Independent Party, which is largely supported by fishing businesses, passed a resolution at its annual assembly stating: ‘Aquaculture is an increasing part of the Icelandic fisheries industry, which offers increased opportunities for value creation.’ The move was adopted unanimously. The government is currently working on a long term plan to develop Iceland’s fish farming sector over the next decade, but it is a move which has divided opinion in the country, particularly from sports fishing groups and some sections of the conventional fishing industry. Most coastal communities, however, say they would welcome investment because it creates jobs in areas of unemployment. The Independent Party said it saw no reason why a consensus on aquaculture growth should not be achieved.


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European News.indd 9 6/11/13 14:15:00


09/05/2018 16:46:11

European News

€1.5m boost for Irish ventures The main recipients FIVE Irish fish are: Donegal Fish, processing and aquawhich is receiving culture companies in the Donegal region €881,542 as part of are to receive almost an overall investment of €2,938,474 for an €1.5 million to help their businesses IQF filleting producgrow. tion project; Ocean The funding (toFarm, which is to get talling €1,492,002) €282,908 as part of a was announced last €707,270 project for month by the govthe upgrade of salmernment chief whip, on farm technology, Above: Joe McHugh Joe McHugh, who plus a further €1,925 said: ‘I am delighted towards organic to announce that Donegal has certification. received a huge investment boost Racoo Shellfish is to receive from the government and the €184,750 as part of an overall European Union to sustain and investment of €461,876 for the develop the hugely important construction of an oyster grading seafood and aquaculture industry facility; Atlantic Bluestack Oysters in the county. has received €31,859 as part of an ‘Donegal is leagues above overall investment of €79,647 for other parts of the country when phase one of the development of it comes to seafood and aquaan oyster farm. culture, and it is impressive to Finally, Jade Ireland Seafood see such a strong backing for the has been granted €38,925 as growth of these industries, both part of an overall investment of from our own government and €155,700 to develop markets in from Europe.’ China, Hong Kong and Taiwan.

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European News.indd 10

Norway PM hails aquaculture success NORWAY’S prime minister, Erna Solberg, has said the country needs to develop an aquaculture industry that can deliver food and economic values within an acceptable footprint. She was speaking at the Havbruck 2018 conference, which gathered the fish farming industry, along with researchers and politicians, for key discussion on future policy. The main theme of this year’s conference was ‘Aquaculture in society’. Solberg said of fish farming: ‘The industry has been a huge success. It creates important jobs and sets off major ripples among communities along the coast. ‘Preliminary calculations from Sintef for last year show that (fish) farmed activity contributed over 62 billion kroner in total GDP value creation. ‘In 2017, the aquaculture industry exported one million tonnes of fish worth NOK 67.7 billion. ‘There has been an adventurous development with a high production of salmon since the start of the 1970s. ‘Challenges have been met and a large proportion of these are solved, using research based knowledge production. ‘Through successful vaccination programmes, many diseases have been combatted, and the industry supplies seafood, production expertise and world-class technology.’ But there were challenges ahead, especially over the environment, feed production and fish welfare, she argued. ‘There are conflicts associated with coastal fishing, wildlife interests, conservation interests, outdoor life and tourism that affect access to the farm areas and, not least, the acceptance of the industry’s environmental impact. ‘We need to further develop an aquaculture industry that can deliver food and economic values within an acceptable footprint. ‘An important part of this - and as is the case today - is the definition of what sort of footprint from aquaculture is acceptable to society.’ She cautioned that there were no industries which had a zero impact. But education, research and technological development should help to reduce any impact and create a better industry. Above: Erna Solberg

Salmon biomass up NORWAY’S fish farmers are stepping up their production of salmon in expectation of growing demand. Seafood Norway (sjomatnorge. no), the industry body that represents most companies in the business, said the biomass or volume of salmon in cages at Norwegian fish farms, as measured by weight, rose by four per cent year on year in March. This represents an increase on

the previous month, when the biomass was up by three per cent year on year.

09/05/2018 16:46:34

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09/05/2018 12:14:37

World News


Marine Harvest CEO debates farming future with BC critic access to food, overfishing by other countries. We have to consider the effect of global warming and why some (spawning) rivers are doing better than others. It’s hard to know the impact of farms, but we haven’t found a wild salmon with a disease that came from farmed salmon, yet. Suzuki: We see the world through the psychological lenses of our values and beliefs. If you are an indigenous person, you see the world in a radically different way from someone who is a business person. The other problem is we haven’t done the science. How the hell are we going to have any consensus when we are so ignorant?

Above: Alf-Helge Aarskog

Above: David Suzuki

BRITISH Columbia’s salmon farmers continue to come under pressure from environmental groups and First Nation protesters, some of whom have occupied farms. Although the value of salmon farming to BC rose 37 per cent between 2013 and 2016, and the industry supports 2,966 direct jobs and 2,716 indirect jobs, the sector remains in an uncomfortable spotlight, according to the Vancouver Sun. The newspaper invited Marine Harvest CEO Alf-Helge Aarskog and Canadian environmental activist David Suzuki to debate the issues. Below is an edited account. Why is it so hard to find a consensus on the risk salmon farms pose to wild salmon? Aarskog: The decline or increase in salmon stocks is very hard to predict, because you have to take into account what happens in the ocean,


World news.indd 12

Suzuki: That is how the fish farms have justified themselves in the first place. They say, don’t worry about what’s coming out of there, we will just move them where they can’t do any harm.

After a large Atlantic salmon escape, Washington state has banned ocean based Atlantic salmon farming. Have their lawmakers made an evidence based decision? Aarskog: There were mistakes made by the fish farm there and that shouldn’t have happened. Escapes like that are not good for anybody and least of all the salmon farmer. We can only concern ourselves with our practices and our record on How can we reconcile the different conclusions escapes in the past five years has been tremendously good. in studies of sea lice by scientists backed by Suzuki: Absolutely, they have. Why would we industry, government and environmental groups? Aarskog: What we can do is continue to manage allow an alien species when we already have five sea lice and we already have extremely small num- species of salmon here? bers of sea lice when the small fish migrate into the ocean. Sea lice are natural, but what we have Are we any closer to moving this industry on to to do is make sure the numbers of sea lice are as land? low as they can be and we do that with success. Aarskog: A lot of money is being put into land We are open and transparent about our numbers; based salmon farming these days. There is one in they are published regularly. Miami and a few others in Europe and so far no Suzuki: It’s very clear that DFO (Fisheries and one has succeeded because the costs are so high. Oceans Canada) is acting like a cheerleader for The oldest one is in Denmark and it has been the salmon farming industry and they have totally bankrupt three times. Instead, we are looking at ignored their responsibility to protect the wild technologies for closed systems in the ocean. salmon. Suzuki: The one land based Atlantic salmon farm in BC is a desperate attempt by the KwakwaHow seriously should we regard warnings about ka’wakw people to say ‘you’ve wiped out our salmon runs and we are terrified by what is happening transfer of viruses between farmed salmon and in the Broughton’. They at least want to try to wild salmon? Aarskog: There are parallels we can see from our show that it could be done on land. experience in Norway. We have never seen any disease transferred from Atlantic farmed salmon What does the future hold? to wild salmon and not the other way around Aarskog: About 70 per cent of the planet is either. covered by water and two per cent of what we eat Suzuki: If you believe in the precautionary comes from the ocean. It is just more efficient to principle, we should take that risk very, very produce fish in the ocean and it’s far less carbon seriously. intensive than any protein produced on land. We need to move more food production into the ocean and really take advantage of that system. The advisory council [set up by minister Lana Popham] suggested moving fish farms from sen- If you think about it, fishing is the equivalent of hunting for all of the meat we need. Obviously sitive locations to waters further removed from that isn’t going to work, so we need to take more migratory routes of wild salmon. Is this a way control of the oceans, not less. forward for salmon aquaculture in BC? Suzuki: These aren’t fish that are going to feed Aarskog: It’s worthwhile to consider locations the world’s hungry. Atlantic salmon is a high-end for farms. There is a moratorium on new farms product. And they are carnivores … in order to right now, but if that was lifted we could look at grow them you have to feed them fish and if you places that are farther from migratory routes. do get them to eat plant based feed they don’t Relocation is possible and we are willing to look taste like anything. What is the point of that? at that.

09/05/2018 16:53:52

All the latest industry news from around the world

US go ahead for GM salmon facility THE company behind the world’s first genetically modified salmon has won approval from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to rear its fish in the American state of Indiana. AquaBounty Technologies, which set up in Prince Edward Island, Canada, in 1996, had applied to the US authorities for a supplemental New Animal Drug Application (NADA). The firm had been granted approval to import and sell its AquAdvantage salmon in the United States in 2015 but not to produce its salmon. The company was prohibited from importing the eggs necessary for producing genetically engineered salmon at the facility because of a requirement in the FDA’s current appropriations law. The FDA approval now approves domestic production at a land based facility near Albany, Indiana. The FDA is required to review NADAs for safety and effectiveness, and because AquaBounty met these and other statutory requirements, the application was approved. Until now, only AquaBounty’s facility on Prince Edward Island, where the salmon eggs are produced, and the company’s grow-out facility in Panama, where fish hatch from the eggs and grow to maturity, could be used for producing AquAdvantage salmon. The approval, announced on April 26, does not

authorise the production or grow-out of AquAdvantage salmon in any other domestic or international facilities. The Indiana facility as currently configured has a production capacity of 1,200 tonnes per year and was designed to allow significant expansion. With the facility now approved, commercial production of AquAdvantage salmon awaits only official labelling guidelines by the FDA. AquaBounty CEO Ron Stotish said: ‘This is another milestone in our journey to bring our healthy and sustainable salmon to consumers. ‘We are very pleased the FDA has continued their rigorous, science based review process and approved our application on its merits. ‘Our Albany facility is within a few hours’ drive of major markets in Indianapolis, Chicago, Detroit, Cleveland, Columbus, Louisville, and St Louis, providing us with tremendous opportunity for growth. ‘We still have work to do before we can start production, but we take great pride in this latest accomplishment.’ AquaBounty claims its salmon can grow twice as fast as conventionally farmed Atlantic salmon, reaching adult size in 18 months as compared to 30 months. The product also requires 25 per cent less feed to grow to the size of wild salmon, and could have a carbon footprint of up to 25 times less, the company has said. The first GM salmon were sold in Canadian supermarkets last August, after the GM product was approved for sale in the country in 2016, making it the first genetically engineered animal to enter the food supply.

Above: Ron Stotish, president and executive director of AquaBounty technologies

Chilean salmon deal on the cards A BIG South American salmon farming deal could be on the horizon. The Chilean website reports that Empresas AquaChile has made a $200 million plus offer to buy the salmon farming arm of rival company Friosur, which is family owned by three brothers. Friosur is also in the conventional fishing business where hake, hoki and giant squid are among its prime catches. As for aquaculture, the company harvests Atlantic salmon on a year round basis in the fjords of the Ayasen region of Chile, where both its cultivation and processing operations are based. Its principal markets are the United States, Brazil and other parts of Latin America. It produces around 20,000 tonnes of salmon a year. Empresas AquaChile, with sales of $632 million and profits of almost $59 million a year, is two thirds owned by the Puchi and Fischer families. Its activities are divided into three business segments – salmon, trout and tilapia. Its food division also includes the production of fish feed. The company holds marine, river and lake aquaculture concessions on the Chilean and Costa Rican coasts and it exports products to the Americas, Europe and Asia. This is the second time in ten years that AquaChile has made a bid to buy Friosur’s salmon business.Last month, Aquachile agreed to list on the Oslo Stock Exchange in an effort to raise capital for future acquisitions. The figure mentioned at the time was $200 million.

World news.indd 13

The new name for sea lice skirts for the fish farming industry Working together with Scottish Sea Farms to produce the strongest and most effective sea lice skirts on the market today.

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09/05/2018 16:54:21

World News

Nutreco invests in Nigeria farm growth

Above: Support for aquaculture in Nigeria.

THE feed group Nutreco has acquired 100 percent ownership of Skretting Nigeria, which has until now been a joint venture with the shareholders of local fish farming operation Durante. With a fast growing population that is already in excess of 180 million people, and a tradition of eating fish, Nigeria offers considerable potential for aquaculture growth. Furthermore, the government has increased its support of the industry in recent years by reducing the importation of frozen fish into the country. Together, these circumstances have encouraged farmers to both ramp up their production and also diversify from culturally important catfish farm-

ing into producing tilapia. To aid the West African country’s advancement, Skretting has built a strong foothold in the market over the last 12 years; principally by helping local producers overcome the industry’s major challenge of securing access to the high quality feeds that will allow fish farmers to get their products to the size that consumers want. Some three years ago, this commitment was further augmented through the establishment of the Skretting Nigeria fish feed business and a new feed plant in Ibadan. ‘While Nigeria has endured some economic challenges in the last couple of years, we believe that with Skretting

Nigeria becoming wholly owned by Nutreco, the market will have the further reassurance that we are committed to the development of the Nigerian aquaculture industry,’ said Rob Kiers, managing director of Skretting Africa. Seyi Adeleke-Ige, general manager of Skretting Nigeria, said: ‘We wanted to produce the feeds here in Nigeria so that they would be readily available to local farmers. That has been the focus of Skretting Nigeria over the past three years and the five-fold increase in our production in that time to more than 20,000 tonnes shows that it was the correct strategy. Today, the market is growing quickly and that is attracting a lot of investors to the industry.’

Prawn farmers fear white spot spread THE white spot disease which badly hit prawn farmers in Queensland, Australia, late last year looks to have spread further to the Brisbane area. While the authorities are waiting for the results of further tests, five new cases of the virus have been found in crabs and prawns in the northern Moreton Bay area, near Brisbane. Queensland’s fisheries minister, Mark Furner, said he was waiting for more tests to be completed before making any decision about the future of the movement control order. ‘This is the same area that positive results were found in 2017. But we have received results back from the southern Moreton Bay area and all samples were negative for white spot syndrome virus, so that area is clear.’ Acting chief biosecurity officer Malcolm Letts


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said Biosecurity Queensland was currently wait‘It’s important that we complete testing ing for results from the Brisbane and Logan River from all sites before we make any decisions area before taking the next step. about our white spot disease strategy moving forward,’ he said. ‘These initial results have been discussed with key seafood industry groups and we will continue to work closely with them throughout this process.’ Biosecurity Queensland is also conducting surveillance for white spot disease along the east coast of Queensland with results expected in June. White spot disease is a highly contagious viral infection that affects shellfish. It cost fish farmers in Queensland millions of dollars last year, threatening the future of many businesses. While it is not harmful to humans, the disease is deadly to prawns. Above: Deadly to prawns

09/05/2018 16:55:41


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09/05/2018 12:15:50

News focus – Parliamentary inquiry

Minister fights for farmers

environmental impact. Marine Scotland’s Alastair Mitchell said every new farm and every expansion plan undergoes a major assessment, while Mike Palmer said the regulatory agencies are constantly looking to review assessments they make, to ensure there is sufficient environmental protection to support growth. But this did not reassure John Finnie, the Green MSP for the Highlands and Islands. He suggested that the ‘precautionary principle’ should be applied, with an immediate moratorium on expansion, based on the industry’s challenges. This was rejected by the Cabinet Secretary, who said government was already doing what Finnie asked it to do. ‘Since this government came to power we have tightened up the regulatory framework. A moratorium is not justified, we already apply the precautionary principle.’ Mike Palmer agreed, saying ‘the precautionary principle is alive and kicking and something we very much cherish.’ COTLAND’S rural affairs minister, Fergus Ewing, repeated his determiReferring to the recent decision by the industry to publish farm by farm nation to see the country’s salmon farming industry meet its growth sea lice data on the SSPO (Scottish Salmon Producers Organisation) website, targets, as he answered questions from MSPs in the final session of their Stewart Stevenson asked why it was necessary to only give data three months investigation into the sector. Ewing said: ‘I’m a very strong and public ad- in arrears when Norway published such information in real time. vocate for the sector in Scotland,’ acknowledging that it had come a long way Ewing said the industry wanted to be as transparent as possible but was not and was not standing still, as suggested by an earlier parliamentary inquiry. quite as up to date as Norway. The information would be published for every The Rural Economy and Connectivity (REC) committee was taking evidence, farm on a monthly basis. in its sixth and final hearing, from Ewing, the Cabinet Secretary for the Rural But Stevenson wanted to know what the government was doing to help the Economy and Connectivity. Joining him were Mike Palmer, deputy director, industry raise its game, while Jamie Greene (West Scotland, Con) said he found Aquaculture, Crown Estate, Recreational Fisheries, EMFF and Europe Division, the language used ‘quite troubling’. Marine Scotland; Alastair Mitchell, head of Aquaculture and Recreational ‘Why is the industry being allowed to mark its own homework? Why is govFisheries, Marine Scotland; and Charles Allan, head of Fish Health Inspectorate, ernment not taking leadership in regulating this important data?’ he asked. Marine Scotland, Scottish Government. Ewing said the government ‘have been leading and will continue to lead’ and Ewing said significant developments were underway in the industry, including had made it clear to the industry ‘that we require transparency’. He said he looking at the current consenting regime, and how the different regulatory hoped the REC committee would recognise the progress that is being made. bodies mesh with each other; agreeing to sustainably manage the capture of ‘It’s heartening to hear the industry is listening and acting and improving the wild wrasse; and addressing health issues through the Strategic Framework for level of data, but we’re on a journey and that journey hasn’t ended yet.’ Farmed Fish Health. John Mason (Glasgow Shettleston, SNP) said he had found his recent visit The latter, he said, would publish a document relatively soon but he would to Lochaber with other committee members very helpful and noticed the not be drawn on an exact date, although the committee convenor, Edward ‘healthy’ relationship between farmers and wild fisheries interests there. But Mountain (Highlands and Islands, Conservative), said it would be useful to have the same could not be said of other regions. The committee had been getting this when the REC drew up its own report. ‘very opposite views’ from the two sectors. The health framework would include commitments to publish annual mortalFergus said he was about to set up a new ‘interactions’ group of experts, ity rates by cause, and working groups would be set up to tackle specific areas. including from the angling lobby. They will be tasked with looking at all the The minister was taken to task again by Mountain over comments he made evidence of salmon farming’s impact on wild salmon and their work will be about doubling growth during a speech at the Brussels seafood expo recently. completed as quickly as possible. Ewing reassured the MSPs that he didn’t accept growth at any cost and that Kate Forbes (Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch, SNP) asked about how closed is must be sustainable growth. That reality is not lost on the sector, he added, containment systems could mitigate environmental concerns and what supwhich has a vested interest in the environment. port the government could offer to the industry in terms of innovation. But he stressed the importance of salmon farming to the Scottish economy Mike Palmer described the technology required as cutting edge and said deand said he hoped that, despite some ‘un-evidenced’ criticism during the velopment in this area was still ‘quite speculative’. There was also a consensus course of the inquiry, concerns could be addressed ‘without conflict’. that energy use is high. Further work was needed and while the sector was Staying on the subject of growth, Peter Chapman (North East Scotland, Con) very interested, this couldn’t be rolled out on an industrial scale yet. asked if the government had adopted industry targets without assessing their Gail Ross (Caithness and Sutherland, SNP) asked about Sepa’s recent decision to allow farms greater biomass if they were in more offshore locations. Mitchell said the move was ‘happening now in an incremental way’, with farms on the small isles and parts of Orkney that wouldn’t have been possible 10 years ago. Norway had developed offshore concepts faster by spending ‘hundreds of millions of pounds’ and Scotland couldn’t support that level of investment. Lib Dem MSP Mike Rumbles (North East Scotland) asked about creating a single regulatory authority but Ewing said although he was ‘keen to see what emerges from this inquiry’ regarding any future approach to planning, this was not his priority. Returning to Norway, Jamie Green wondered if that nation’s top-down approach would be a model for Scotland to adopt. Ewing, perhaps tiring of hearing about Norwegian prowess, said if the committee could identify examples of where Scotland could learn more from Norway he would happily follow them up, and might even be able to justify a ministerial trip to the country. Convenor Mountain brought the session, and the REC’s evidence gathering, to a close by quoting Ben Hadfield, the Marine Harvest Scotland boss, who had said the week before that farmers had a ‘moral responsibility’ to get it right. As a committee the REC now also had a moral obligation to consider all the ‘excelAbove: Fergus Ewing giving evidence to the REC inquiry on May 9 lent’ evidence provided, in written submissions as well as verbally. FF

Government stands firm on sustainable growth plans in final committee hearing


a journey and that journey “We’re onhasn’t ended yet ”


REC Evidence.indd 16

09/05/2018 17:28:45

News focus – Parliamentary inquiry

Future lies in bigger, offshore sites Salmon farmers give MSPs insight into how industry works BY VINCE MCDONAGH


HERE is now a strong case for accelerating the relocation of older, sheltered Scottish fish farms to larger and more open coastal locations. That was one of the main developments when the Scottish parliament’s Rural Economy and Connectivity (REC) committee inquiry into salmon farming heard evidence from salmon farmers on May 2. The two-hour long hearing, mainly upbeat in tone, also brought a firm commitment to sustainable long term growth and an acceptance that biological issues remain the main challenges. The committee debated a range of subjects, including sea lice, diseases, escapes and the lack of suitable housing for staff. There was also agreement that although companies were working closer together to tackle many of the problems, more collaboration was needed – and that the hand of collaboration should be extended to wild fish interests. The industry was represented by a strong line up of Scott Landsburgh, former chief executive of the Scottish Salmon Producers’ Organisation; Ben Hadfield, managing director of Marine Harvest Scotland; Craig Anderson, chief executive of the Scottish Salmon Company; Grant Cumming, managing director of Grieg Seafood Shetland; and Stewart Graham, group managing director of Gael Force Group. The convenor, Highlands and Islands MSP Edward Mountain (Con), said that Scottish fish farming had made tremendous progress and gained much knowledge since its early foundations, and asked if there was now a case for relocating some of the original farm sites to less environmentally sensitive areas. Grant Cumming replied that such a transition was already underway, adding: ‘Where we once had 33 sites, that number has now been reduced to 17. Technology has moved on, which means we are now able to move into more open waters, and bigger, cleaner areas, which is proving to be beneficial.’ Craig Anderson said his company had been formed from several small operators, with ‘miniscule’ 700 to 800 tonne sites. The company was closing some of these down and moving to more exposed sites. And Ben Hadfield agreed, saying the trend to have fewer, larger farms in areas that are less sensitive could help to reduce potential conflicts. ‘A startling fact is that Norway produces about 1.2 million tonnes of salmon and has 250 active farms, while we [Scotland] produce 170,000 tonnes, give or take, and have 207 active farms. Our farms are fundamentally smaller – Sepa policy has kept farms small. We have farms that produce 2,500 tonnes that could sustain 5,000 or 6,000 tonnes.’ Stewart Graham cautioned that offshore could be a hostile environment to work in, challenging for fish and salmon farmers, and any relocation must be ‘a progressive process, moving slowly forward’. In reply to Banffshire and Buchan Coast MSP Stewart Stevenson (SNP), Hadfield said fish farming had brought significant economic benefits to Scotland. Marine Harvest Scotland had an annual wage bill of £47 million and employed 1,200 staff. He pointed out that the development of new technology within the industry had also led to a structured career path and steady wage progression. Anderson said his company’s annual wage bill was £16 million and had also led to improved training and education. ‘We feel that while taking out, it is very important to put something back,’ he added. Landsburgh said the SSPO had contributed more than £1 million to local community organisations, with those groups being invited to bid for support. West Scotland MSP Jamie Greene (Con) was met with a confident and united response when he asked if Scottish salmon stood out against the competition. Cumming said: ‘Yes, there is a premium for Scottish salmon and our standards are very high.’ Anderson pointed out that Scotland was noted for the pure quality of its salmon and Hadfield added: ‘We have the highest welfare standards – Scottish

REC Evidence.indd 17

salmon trades at between 50 and 60 pence a kilo over Norwegian salmon. It is of very high quality and very desirable.’ Landsburgh said that at a poll at the Brussels seafood show, seven out of 14 judges voted Scottish salmon to be the best in the world. The panel spoke of the large number of accreditations within the industry, on top of those demanded by the retail sector. But they all had one thing in common – maintaining high standards. The companies agreed the recent mortality rate was too high, but said it was much lower than that of some sections of agriculture, where the issue was hardly raised. But mortality levels were being brought down. In similar vein, the panel said the industry was working hard to reduce the number of fish escapes, stressing there have already been some notable successes. Hadfield, who has a science background, told the committee on at least two occasions that some of the claims made against the salmon farming industry were not supported by sound scientific evidence. He said the industry in Scotland had very good regulations and it was ‘frustrating to listen to comments that we don’t have that because we do’. Cumming said sea lice was a huge problem right across Europe, but pointed out that it was worse in the south of England and in countries like France than in the salmon farms of Scotland or Norway. Hadfield thought that while there were issues, the effect of lice on wild fish had been overstated. Seal culling The threat by the United States to ban seafood imports from countries that supported shooting seals was raised by MSP Gail Ross. This met with the unified response from the panel that their companies were working hard to reduce the number of shootings to zero. They said the gun was being replaced by physical (netting) barriers and acoustic deterrents. Cumming said the change was not just because of the US threat, but because his company felt it was the right thing to do. FF

We have “farms that

produce 2,500 tonnes that could sustain 5,000 or 6,000 tonnes

Above: Marine Harvest’s Ben Hadfield at the REC committee hearing


09/05/2018 17:02:42

News focus – Parliamentary inquiry

Scope for farm growth on other coasts, suggests Highland Council planner


HE lead planning officer at Highland Council has called for the long standing moratorium on fish farms on Scotland’s east and north coasts to be reviewed by the Scottish government. Mark Harvey, giving evidence to the Rural Economy and Connectivity (REC) committee at Holyrood on April 18, said it was a ‘strange situation’ that Scotland had three coasts and yet all the focus in aquaculture was in the west. There were very few moratoriums for planners and a basic review should be carried out to revisit the ban, which was introduced in the late nineties. The REC committee turned the spotlight on regulatory bodies in the third of its evidence sessions. Also appearing were Anne Anderson of Sepa (Scottish Environment Protection Agency), Alex Adrian of Crown Estate Scotland, and Cathy Tilbrook of SNH (Scottish Natural Heritage). Tilbrook, replying to a question from John Mason, the MSP for Glasgow Shettleston (SNP), about plans to double production, agreed with Harvey that there was ‘no reason’ not to look at the moratorium on Scotland’s north and east coasts again, so long as there were safeguards in place. But she said SNH was concerned about the sector’s expansion plans. With innovation to overcome some issues – such as sea lice and containment -there might be much more scope for growth, she said, acknowledging that the industry was doing a lot on innovation. ‘But at the moment it’s difficult to look at growth targets without knowing the environmental impacts.’ Alex Adrian wondered if growth would be ‘doubling with more of the same or by different means’, and suggested that managing the sector required ‘an agility to move with changing circumstances’. A fundamental part of a management plan is


REC Evidence.indd 18

review, he said, giving farmers flexibility to adapt and undertake changes to remain sustainable. Harvey, who revealed that his council had just approved proposals for two salmon farms off Skye, said farms brought unique employment opportunities to areas not otherwise supporting employment growth. However, he was concerned about a lack of strategic planning. ‘The industry has set a challenge to themselves but nobody knows the capacity of Scottish waters to absorb that level of activity.’ He was struck by Norway’s ‘traffic light’ system where red is not just stop but draw back – ‘that’s very relevant to Scottish experience’. There were parts of the west coast where there is too great a loading; these should perhaps be red areas and ‘we need to move them to areas we might categorise as green’. Asked to identify where such over concentrations were, he said there were a large number of farms south of Skye, which was ‘perhaps worth looking at further to see what capacity it has in environmental terms’. But there were also areas that haven’t had lots of applications and it was more important to identify the green areas where development could take place. Harvey said the sector is ‘about 30 years too late’ in such strategic planning and should have these answers by now – ‘we have an awful lot of catching up’. However, he didn’t agree with Lib Dem MSP for North East Scotland Mike Rumbles’ idea of an overarching regulatory body to improve the planning process. ‘I’d say we do have the overarching framework – the planning system – but we don’t use it very well. If you create one huge regulator it might not work.’ He said fish farm applications are accompanied by environmental statements and went through much higher levels of control than most planning applications – ‘it’s not that it’s not regulated’. Where the planning system is weak, though, is in the lack of information about environmental interactions. He did agree with Rumbles that there should be an overarching approach to fish farm developments across the Highlands rather than looking at applications on an individual basis. But he insisted the existing planning system was appropriate, although local authorities maybe needed to provide greater regulatory clarity. He said it was ‘late in the day’ and the industry shouldn’t get Left: Highland Council into a five-year discussion period where nothing is done. Alex Adrian said the regulatory framework didn’t recognise the circumstances planner Mark Harvey fish farms operate in, and while regulators recognised the issues, they didn’t have the right tools to address them: ‘We have the right pieces but they haven’t been put together in the right way.’ The marine environment is dynamic and management should be more adaptive, with better collaboration between the industry, regulators and government. The SNH, however, believed there had been progress in recent years, with the move to focus on pre-application discussion leading to a decrease in applications meeting problems. Identifying at a very early stage what the constraints might be – ‘so we can steer developers away from sites where there may be the most problems’ – was something the SNH embraced, said Tilbrook. Asked by Edward Mountain, the REC convenor, whether the current regulatory framework protected or enhanced the environment, Tilbrook said: ‘I couldn’t say it has enhanced. I think to most extents it hasn’t degraded it because we have safeguards in place.’ Anne Anderson said there were elements of the regulatory framework that worked well, but there was always room for improvement, and Sepa was conducting a review, due to be published shortly. FF

09/05/2018 17:03:17

News focus – Parliamentary inquiry

Scottish salmon standards ‘very high’, committee told ’We can’t change basic sea temperatures, but we can minimise the impact’


STRONG defence of Scotland’s record on the regulation of its aquaculture industry was put up by the team giving evidence at the Rural Economy and Connectivity (REC) committee on April 25, writes Vince McDonagh. The committee was told by convenor Edward Mountain that during a video link the previous evening the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) had claimed that Scotland’s regulatory regime was poor when compared to other countries such as Norway. But Heather Jones, chief executive of the Scottish Aquaculture Innovation Centre, argued: ‘Scotland’s regulatory system is up there as being among the best.’ She said the New Zealand government, for example, had looked at fish farming around the world and concluded that Scotland had one of the strongest set-ups. She added that the UK retail sector had also found it had ‘very, very high standards’ in regard to fish and water quality. James Withers, chief executive of Scottish Food and Drink, said in answer to Scottish Green Party MSP John Finnie (Highlands and Islands) that Scotland’s claim to possess pristine waters was correct and critically important to its aquaculture industry. Elaine Jamieson, head of Food and Drink at Highlands and Islands Enterprise, also agreed standards were high, adding that innovation was playing a big part in achieving positive outcomes. Just before the questions got underway the convenor expressed disappointment that the product retail sector was not putting anyone up in person, although it had agreed to given written evidence. The two-hour long session covered issues ranging from why Scotland had fallen back in the world production league to tackling the international issue of sea lice and working on the need for great innovation. The panel was asked: ‘Is it true that Chile has a better regulatory system than Scotland, but its monitoring and maintenance of that system was extremely poor, and did Scotland need to look more at outcomes rather than methods?’ Jones replied: ‘Chile has had multiple major health challenges which has put pressure on stocks.’ This had led to some Norwegian companies pulling their investments from the country, whereas in Scotland the regulatory system was quite stable. Asked if too rapid expansion could lead to problems, Withers said production was fairly static at present although its world share had fallen from 11 per cent to seven per cent over the last few years. Growth, he said, needed to be carefully planned in order to maintain Scotland’s pristine water reputation. He also hoped for a stronger relationship in future between the industry and the regulatory bodies. The committee members then turned to problems with the planning application process in the Highlands and islands. Withers agreed there had been issues, but felt a nationally based system might be more effective in future. Jamieson said her experiences with planning had been mixed but there had been some very good integrated approaches with growth and sustainability at their heart. Asked why fish farming was not taking place around the entire Scottish coast, Jones said there were good reasons why there were no farms on the east coast. The main one was because the west coast was far better sheltered

REC Evidence.indd 19

Above: Heather Jones

than that part of Scotland fronting the North Sea. She pointed out that in Norway, Iceland and the Faroe Islands aquaculture was generally concentrated in the western areas of the countries. And in reply to MSP Finnie who asked if growth was being pursued at the expense of high standards, she said: ‘All regulations in Scotland are enforced.’ Later, she said that caution may be a reason why Scottish growth has lagged behind other countries. Meanwhile, Caithness and Sutherland MSP Gail Ross (SNP) raised the threat to Scottish salmon exports to the United States over seal culling. Salmon farmers have four years to stop shooting seals or face a US ban on imports, following legislation in America regarding the welfare of mammals. Jones said a lot of innovative work was now being carried out by Scottish companies on developing acoustic deterrent devices which, when completed, could become a major export success, selling to salmon farmers around the world. The session then turned to fish mortality and welfare with Withers pointing out that compared to agriculture, fish farming was a relatively young industry. But no industry could have a future without adopting zero tolerance to mortality and disease issues. Fish farmers realised there were challenges and were ready to meet them by embracing world class production standards. Highlands and Islands MSP Kate Forbes (SNP) asked if the current level of mortality in fish farming was more acceptable when compared to other food sources. Jamison said the short answer was that the industry was not satisfied with current mortality rates, but significant investment was now being made to address the issue, with businesses and other bodies working in cooperation. John Mason (SNP Glasgow Shettleston) asked the panel if Scotland should follow Norway on tackling sea lice. Jamieson said farmers were talking to various companies about finding innovative ways to deal with the problem. And in the past 12 months some areas had seen a significant reduction in lice infestation. Jones thought sea warming could be a major cause, adding that when fish are placed into a sea water environment there was always a risk of lice. However, a recent study in Ireland had found that the mortality rate for wild salmon infected with lice was just one per cent. ‘We can’t change basic sea temperatures, but we can minimise the impact.’ On research and innovation, Withers said Scottish companies and institutions were working together to meet many of the biological challenges that continue to face the industry. Growth ‘Is the industry becoming obsessed with growth?’ asked Finnie. Withers replied: ‘I am obsessed with growth and I only want it to stop when it becomes damaging to the environment.’ Jamieson added: ‘We should not underestimate what this industry has done for the social fabric and rural economy. This investment has brought high quality jobs and growth in employment, as well as new career opportunities.’


09/05/2018 17:04:54

News focus – Parliamentary inquiry

Setting the record straight Companies use written submissions to REC committee to defend salmon farming


Martin Gill, head of Fisheries and Aquaculture, Acoura ACOURA is a Scottish based company that owes its initial existence to the development of the farmed salmon industry in Scotland. Originally called Food Certification Scotland, the company was created as a result of the decision early on in the sector’s development to produce their farmed salmon according to recognised product quality standards that include full traceability, and which allow independent inspection and confirmation of the quality of Scottish farmed salmon production practices when set against its competitors. This ability to demonstrate the provenance and quality of Scottish farmed salmon product and production methods has been one of the major factors behind the success Scottish farmed salmon commands in both the UK and wider international markets today. For 21 years, despite occasional open tender renewal processes, Acoura has held the contract to inspect and certify members of the Scottish Salmon Producers Organisation against the Label Rouge French standard and, more recently, the Code of Good Practice for Scottish Finfish Aquaculture. In addition, the Scottish farmed salmon industry also participates in a number of other voluntary international standards that are delivered mostly by Acoura, as well as other certifiers, and which are recognised in both the domestic and international market. (For example GlobalGAP, Aquaculture Stewardship Council, Global Aquaculture Alliance Best Aquaculture Practice, Protected Geographic Indication, Traceability standards, RSPCA Assured and others.) Acoura carries out several hundred farmed based audits annually on Scottish producers; this covers close to 100 per cent of all Scottish based salmon farms at least annually, and in some cases visits are carried out more often. In my experience, and we are active in most aquaculture production regions globally, this constitutes some of the most rigorous independent oversight of aquaculture practices, let alone farmed salmon production, in place, in any country, globally The industry has always, in my experience, through its technical committees with whom we interact, striven to ensure that Scottish farmed salmon continues to be produced using industry best practice in a sustainable way, that minimises environmental impact, ensures high animal as well as social welfare standards are in place, and demonstrates clear traceability and provenance of what is acknowledged as a world class, healthy, high quality food product.


Ben Wilson, managing director, Inverlussa Marine Services INVERLUSSA Marine Services, based on the Isle of Mull, provide specialised service vessels to the Scottish aquaculture industry. We are one of many within the supply chain which relies on the fish farming sector in Scotland. Inverlussa employ over 70 full time staff and crew, almost all living in the Highlands and Islands. Our family business was started in 2006 with one workboat; today we operate 11 vessels, 10 of which are working for Scottish fish farm companies. Last year, we invested just under £8,000,000 in two new fish farm workboats- this increased our workforce by eight new skilled crew. I am a passionate supporter of fish farming for a number of reasons, the most important being, there is no other industry that supports rural fragile communities in the Highlands and Islands as fish farming does.


REC Submissions.indd 20

Left: Martin Gill. Below: Ben Wilson.

The majority of our staff support families and therefore support these rural communities’ schools, hospitals and shops. We invest heavily in our crew and have taken on a number of school leavers, whom we have supported through apprenticeships, and have retained as highly skilled well paid individuals. This allows young people within these rural communities relatively unique opportunities for highly skilled labour in an otherwise relatively limited employment market, restricted to predominantly fishing and hospitality. At Inverlussa, we are just one example of numerous aquaculture support businesses that are contributing significantly to not only the Scottish economy but, more importantly, directly to remote communities. The Scottish aquaculture industry has invested hugely in the management of sea lice and other disease challenges over the last few years. At Inverlussa, we partner closely with farming companies to provide marine vessels for a range of duties, one of these being mechanical delousing treatments. The innovation seen in marine vessels and delousing equipment in the last few years has been unprecedented and we at Inverlussa are very happy to be supporting and facilitating this innovation. I believe it would be hard to find any other industry within Scotland that provides the same scale of socio-economic benefits as fish farming does.


Migdale Smolt and Migdale Transport MIGDALE Smolt started trading in Bonar Bridge in 1989. Bonar Bridge is in Sutherland, which has been designated a low employment region for many years now. Migdale has been providing high quality salmon smolts exclusively in freshwater pens for various marine customers who, in turn, grow them into Atlantic salmon. At this time, Migdale Smolt has 17 full-time employees and two part-time. Gross staff pay is in the region of £600,000, capital investment annually around £160,000, annual expenditure on suppliers (134) and services is around £2.5 million, of which 69 per cent is spent in the Highlands, 22 per cent in the rest of Scotland and nine per cent in the UK. Migdale Transport started trading circa 2006 and commenced moving live smolts first of all for Migdale Smolt, then expanded to providing live smolt, trout and cleaner fish transportation for external customers. We currently have nine HGV units with

09/05/2018 16:40:36

Setting the record straight specialist equipment trailers and drivers, and two well-boats at sea, each of which operate two crews of four, plus two administration staff, resulting in a total currently of 18. Gross staff pay is in the region of £900,000, capital investment annually around £450,000, annual expenditure on suppliers (175) and services is just over £2 million, of which 42 per cent is spent in the Highlands, four per cent in the rest of Scotland, 24 per cent in the UK and 30 per cent elsewhere. Points to make in addition are: frequent contributions and support for local community causes; existing detailed plans for major expansion; positive intent to increase employee numbers; and high confidence in future developments.


Finlay Oman, commercial director W&J Knox W&J KNOX, based in North Ayrshire, are producers and suppliers of netting and rope products to the salmon farming industry. We are one of the many downstream businesses involved in the supply chain to this vibrant industry, employing over 60 people directly, with a further 60 dependent on our existence. Manufacturing of nets has continued on our site since 1778. We have a manufacturing partnership with one of the world’s largest producers of ropes and netting. Based in India, they have a 22-strong research and development department working on fibre technology, continually improving and developing new materials to face the future challenges of operating in more exposed locations. Through this partnership, Knox has developed net designs that offer high resistance to predator attacks, using either a combination of materials or a single layer of specially designed netting that has different textures from inside to out. The relatively smooth surface on the inside is said to be fish kind, but the rough knots on the outside are irritating to seals. The companies who have invested in this technology have seen the level of seal attacks on these nets drop to almost zero. The larvae from sea lice on wild salmon and trout will easily find hosts at a salmon farm if they have unrestricted access to the water column within the pens. Polyester skirts have been developed that block easy access for the larvae, as they tend to be in the top 5m of the water column. However, effective blocking can sometimes have a negative effect on the availability of oxygen. Our Indian partners have developed a new design of material that has no visible holes and yet provides the porosity of netting of around 160 microns. This special weave is currently on trial in Scotland and is showing a great deal of promise, with oxygen levels mid-way between the ambient and previous technology. The benefit of this material will be increasingly evident as the biomass in the pen increases. The industry is still relatively young and, despite

REC Submissions.indd 21

all the orchestrated negative attacks on the industry by those with vested interests in wild salmon (riparian owners and the Alaskan salmon ranchers, funded by the likes of the Packard Foundation- grants-and-investments/grants-database/wild-salmoncenter-4/), the industry has grown to become one of the main producers of healthy protein, and is also among the most important food exports for the UK. There are many technology companies springing up and basing themselves in the Highlands of Scotland due to salmon farming, bringing with them remuneration levels not normally seen in these areas. This is allowing remote communities to survive, with an influx of young families, who support the local schools, shops, Post Offices, garages, engineering companies and so on. The knock-on effect is massive and extremely important. We mustn’t allow Scotland to be viewed as a theme park by wealthy retirees, who have no dependence on the local economy.


Tim Wallis BSc PhD, Ridgeway Biologicals INFECTIOUS diseases are a threat to all farmed animal species, including fish, through pathogen evolution and adaptation. We need to be vigilant to identify new disease threats as soon as possible and respond accordingly. The Scottish salmon industry, as a whole, is extremely proactive by continuously monitoring fish health and quantifying pathogen loads and threats on farms. By doing this, companies can respond rapidly to new pathogens. We are directly involved in disease monitoring and are able to provide rapid vaccine solutions to new threats; this by working closely with all the main salmon producers in Scotland. We manufacture and supply autogenous vaccines, which are bespoke vaccines, formulated to the specific requirements of each farm. Such vaccines can be manufactured and supplied within 12 weeks of detection of pathogens on farms, and this strategy enables the rapid deployment of vaccine, thereby protecting fish from new threats without the undesirable recourse to antibiotics. This strategy is widely adopted by the aquaculture industries of Scotland in accordance with the industry aims of maintaining animal health and welfare, with minimum impact on the environment and reduction in antibiotic usage.


Alastair Barge, Otter Ferry Seafish OUR company has been part of the aquaculture industry for 50 years and I personally have worked in the sector and lived on the west coast for 40 years. We were part of, and witnessed, the extraordinary growth and success of the salmon industry. We set up a salmon hatchery in 1972 and developed land based (close containment) salmon farming in 1977. We have since pioneered halibut farming and, more recently, successful cleaner fish cultivation. The industry is young and has grown very quickly from nothing to an extremely successful multi- million pound business, creating valuable, well paid jobs in very remote areas. The extraordinary contribution to the Highlands economy is beyond dispute. There is suggestion that expansion can come from containment systems, which is a simplistic view and not an immediate option, but certainly it should be evaluated. I would make the following points. a) The recirculation systems are very novel and unproven in saltwater. To justify them financially, they require to operate at five times the stocking density of the cage system, which has welfare issues. b) The flow through pump systems and the recirc systems are both heavy users of power and require a lot of space on land. c) Solid floating containers have their attraction but much development is required to translate design into functional production units in very harsh environments. Basic good practice of loch management agreements and fallow periods have been extremely successful in the past at reducing parasite burdens, but more sites are required to allow more effective fallow periods at the same time as increasing overall production. Increasing site biomass has been a convenient way for regulators and farmers

is “noThere doubt

in my mind that without this industry none of us would be in these islands today


09/05/2018 16:40:55

News focus – Parliamentary inquiry


Marks and Spencer FARMED salmon is our most important seafood raw material by both volume and value. We use approximately 10,000 to expand the industry. This has been done by increasing the number, size and tonnes per annum of depth of cages. The fish and fish farm biologists (without pressure from finance whole, conventionally departments), in conjunction with regulatory scientists, should work closely to farmed salmon, 100 per determine the optimum biomass for loch systems. cent of which is produced in The basic rules of livestock production would suggest more sites of lower bio- Scotland, which makes us a significant procurer of mass, to allow good fallowing programmes, would overcome health problems Scottish farmed salmon. whilst expanding overall production capacity. In 2006, we launched ‘Lochmuir’- our Code of Scotland is recognised as a well regulated area to develop salmon farming Practice for the farming of salmon that is unique and aquaculture. It protects the environment, the farmer, and helps to mainto M&S and which we developed with our single, tain the positive image of the Scottish food and drink brand across the world. conventionally farmed salmon supplier, Scottish Sea Farms. Lochmuir has become a signature brand for M&S ‘FISH FARMING WAS OUR SAVIOUR’ because it is trusted by customers and is associKatrine Johnson, Cooke Aquaculture Scotland, Unst, Shetland ated with high quality and great taste and we use MY family have been fortunate to have been involved in salmon Lochmuir salmon in all our products containing farming in our island since the mid 1980s and I have to say this salmon, excluding organic salmon lines. industry has been the reason we have been able to enjoy our We are proud of Lochmuir salmon because it has life in the home and island we love. become an iconic product and a great success story The first year of salmon farming in Unst was in 1985- two for M&S. Our customers tell us it’s a great eating cages in Uyeasound, holding 7,000 smolts. The enterprise was experience, gaining their trust through its high qualstarted by my husband and his uncle, along with his family, to ity, sustainability credentials, Scottish provenance supplement their croft. This was followed in the next few years and UK sourcing. by more start-up fish farms, along with a couple of hatcheries. These By sourcing Scottish salmon, we also help to crefish farms all remained under private local ownership until 1995 when the first ate jobs in rural communities where employment hatchery and sea sites were purchased by an outside company. opportunities can be less readily available. In terms of securing the future of the industry in the island, this was a great We are concerned about how contentious the success, providing capital and expertise to help develop the business. Since issues in Scottish salmon farming are and how then we have seen this small croft subsidising scheme develop way beyond polarised and vocal the stakeholder debate has initial expectations. become. Negative publicity like we have seen Today, all of the fish farm sites in the North Isles of Shetland are under the ownership of one family owned multi-national company, still with family values in recent months could undermine consumer confidence in Scottish salmon over the medium at heart, much like our own in the islands. This has brought many benefits to term and risks undermining business and investor the business, local communities and its residents. confidence too. The waters around our islands here in the north of Shetland are regarded It is our view that the future success of the indusas some of the finest in the world for the production of farmed salmon. The waters are clear and temperatures are steady throughout the year. Over recent try is dependent on a positive public perception, so there may be a role for the Scottish government years it can’t be denied that there are more challenges than there were in acting as a convenor of stakeholders to help develthe early days, but the industry is constantly moving forward, researching and op lasting solutions to secure the future sustainable developing. Global demand is at an all-time high for the superior product which is grown development of the industry in Scotland. It is already the case that Scottish salmon farming on our sites. Who could have imagined the worldwide appeal of this healthy, operates in a strict regulatory environment, with affordable food? very stringent governance and planning processes, The onsite staff have many years’ experience in the industry and are trained which means that compliance can be expensive, to a very high standard in fish care and health, along with boat handling and time-consuming and at times onerous for farmers. daily site maintenance. Many have taken part in Modern Apprenticeship Therefore, we need to ensure there is an approtraining provided by the local North Atlantic Fisheries College. The company is priate balance found between maintaining strong also committed to encouraging children in the community to learn about the regulation in Scotland whilst not stifling industry industry and consider it as a future career. The spin-off support services to fish farming within Shetland and beyond are investment and innovation in the salmon aquaculture sector, which might risk the industry falling immeasurable. Well-boats, site service boats, ferries, local supply companies, behind its salmon competitors such as Norway and local college, transport, both of the feed and final product, plus many more Chile. jobs, create a vast array of employment with a wide ranging skill set which is To this end, we wonder whether a review of the required to support the industry. planning and farming consent process could be The company is actively involved in and provides financial support to many community groups and projects within the islands. It is also extremely support- undertaken, to determine the potential to improve efficiencies and costs of production in Scotland, as ive to staff members in supporting community led projects. There is no doubt in my mind that without this industry none of us would be this might help Scottish salmon farmers to be more globally competitive in the future. in these islands today… fish farming was our saviour – long may it remain.


REC Submissions.indd 22

09/05/2018 16:41:17

the World’s Fastest Net Cleaner







MPI.indd 23 1

09/05/2018 01/05/2018 12:16:48 10:16:14

Scottish Salmon Producers Organisation

Salmon’s new

champion SSPO chief Julie Hesketh-Laird intends to win over rather than silence sector’s critics


HIGH profile job representing Scotland’s salmon farmers would be a daunting prospect in any circumstances, but against the background of parliamentary inquiries and a hostile press, who in their right mind would want to take on the challenge? Julie Hesketh-Laird, the new chief executive of the Scottish Salmon Producers Organisation, must have known she was going to be landed in the middle of a political storm, so what does that say about her? ‘It says that I’ve got huge confidence in this salmon industry,’ she said, talking to Fish Farmer in Edinburgh last month. ‘I did a lot of investigating the industry before I joined it and I think it has a really bright future and is a fantastic industry Scotland should be proud of.’ With nearly 14 years at the Scotch Whisky Association, which she left as acting chief executive, she comes to salmon farming with plenty of experience championing iconic products. But, as she points out, whisky has been around a lot longer than farmed salmon. ‘Salmon is catching up but the whisky industry is a very mature industry, 500 years and 100 plus years in a commercial sense, so I guess we’re at a much different point in the SSPO.’ She also has a much smaller team now – seven compared to 40. Her priority is growth, to ensure the industry can meet increasing demand, but

Left: Hesketh-Laird at Ardmair, Wester Ross Salmon’s farm. Above: In Shetland, where she visited Scottish Sea Farms and Cooke Aquaculture sites, with the SSPO’s David Sandison (second right).


SSPO - Julie.indd 24

first she needs to change perceptions about its sustainability. To achieve that, she intends to win over rather than silence the critics. ‘The SSPO can help the industry deliver a longer term, more balanced approach to telling the industry’s story and setting out the enormous change that’s taken place over the last decade and more. ‘Some of the negative press that’s around is a little out of date – there’s been consolidation, the supply chain has grown, consumer demand has grown, investment has taken place, tens of millions of pounds have gone into research and organisations such as SAIC (the Scottish Aquaculture Innovation Centre) have been set up to help funnel funding into focused projects that are agreed on by the industry – all those things have happened over the last 10 or 15 years. ‘Let’s be realistic, this is a really serious industry that wants to stay here for the long term and it’s not going to be a message that will easily change

09/05/2018 16:37:51

Salmon’s new champion

overnight, communicating positive news will take time. ‘We want to put together a long term approach towards getting more balance in the way that the industry puts itself across. That’s one of my priorities at the SSPO – working with members to see how we can develop our thinking on that. ‘There’s no silver bullet – it will take a lot of work and support from the companies too.’ There may in the past have been different opinions within the industry about how to tackle negative publicity, but Hesketh-Laird said the way forward was greater transparency. This month the SSPO began publishing farm by farm data on sea lice and will continue to up date the information, with a three-month time lag, on its website. ‘On a voluntary basis our companies are now coming together to publish sea lice and mortality data on a farm basis. It’s not a legal requirement to do that, it goes beyond compliance. That in

SSPO - Julie.indd 25

itself is a really positive sign that the industry wants to be more open and transparent.’ The salmon companies realise that responsible production is essential – ‘people buying salmon want to be assured by the industry that it is as sustainable and as wholesome and as healthy as it can possibly be’. ‘We live in a world where consumers expect to be able to take that for granted, and not have to check up and work hard to find that information. ‘I’m hearing really positive points from the industry around sharing of data and being transparent about production processes. I see all the signs that the industry is moving in absolutely the right direction on all of that.’ Hesketh-Laird took up her role in March, bang in the middle of the Rural Economy and Connectivity (REC) committee’s investigation of the Scottish salmon industry and just as a previous inquiry, by the Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform (ECCLR) committee, published its damning report into the sector’s environmental credentials. But she sees these political processes as a starting point from which production can grow. ‘It’s a hugely important moment for the industry and the recommendations of the environment committee are important – in influencing future regulation and legislation. ‘They’re an opinion from politicians…and the government will need to

I think we’ve got a good chance of looking back on the inquiries as a pivotal moment


09/05/2018 16:38:11

Scottish Salmon Producers Organisation

work its way through each of them and decide whether there are recommendations there that they want to take forward.’ But what of the claim that much of the report is informed by people with vested interests, who don’t know what they’re talking about? Hesketh-Laird said: ‘We live in a democratic society and people who have put evidence into the environment committee have every right to voice their opinion, and the environment committee, of course, has its own opinion, based on the evidence that it’s got. ‘It’s for the industry now to lay out its case, to ensure that the correct information is out there. Yes, it’s frustrating to see information out there that we don’t agree with or data that we don’t recognise. ‘It’s our job to speak for ourselves and make sure that politicians, the media and all other interested parties are well informed with the correct data and facts. That’s the ground that the SSPO and the industry needs to own more confidently. ‘Yes, we will want to take on some of the areas that we perceive are false in data terms, but it’s not my style to want to be adversarial and fight about the data. ‘I’m always happy to sit down with our critics and try and understand their point of view – and then it’s for us to get the right facts out there in a measured way so that people and politicians and, in this case, the government can decide itself going forward what it wants to do in terms of regulating the environment.’ Hesketh-Laird may speak like a diplomat but, unlike her former colleague in the whisky association, David Frost, she has had no formal training in diplomacy, but she has worked in trade bodies all her life. ‘Those that are most successful work well with organisations where there are points of disagreement. What I’d like to do is try and identify more readily the points that we can agree on and build on those and work together consensually. ‘I joined the whisky industry at a time when Sepa and the Scottish government were at odds on a whole range of environmental issues and we down with them, got the right people in the sat right rooms at the right levels, with some commitment to fix things and started to build that positive agenda.


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‘The work I did in the whisky industry was seeded from trying to find points of agreement. That’s not to say you ignore the points of disagreement because you have to tackle them. ‘Finding common ground is the first important point and everybody I’ve met within the regulatory framework and the wild fisheries interest want to grow Scottish salmon.’ That suggests she hasn’t yet met everybody in the wild fisheries lobby because bodies such as Salmon and Trout Conservation Scotland, which prompted the parliamentary inquiries, have shown no interest in talking to salmon farmers. Perhaps Hesketh-Laird is the one to change that impasse, finding the positive wherever possible, even in the environment committee’s report. ‘Its clear premise is it wants to support and is supportive of the salmon farming industry,’ she said. ‘That’s a really good starting point from which we can all work. ‘If we can start from there I think we’ve got a good chance of looking back on the inquiries as a pivotal moment where we are able to develop a collaboration.’ She can’t speak for those who would like to shut down the industry in its present form, but said she is beginning to meet ‘stakeholders like them’. ‘They’ve got a valid viewpoint of their own and are entitled to have an opinion on the way the environment around their own interest is handled. I’m planning to sit down and meet with all of them – we have some dates in the diary – so this conversation can begin. ‘The work I was referring to in the whisky industry began from a flashpoint moment of bad press and awful meetings with government officials. ‘You can spend a lot of effort disagreeing and fanning flames but what actually makes progress is a kind of calm and considered conversation.

09/05/2018 16:38:37

Salmon’s new champion

away in Scotland “Hidden is an absolute gem of a sector that really powers lots of coastal communities

‘I’m always willing to sit down with those that disagree – not to say we’ll always agree with the points they make. But understanding their concerns is really important to make sure the industry builds itself as sustainably as it can.’ As to growing the industry, Hesketh-Laird said while people will argue about the numbers, the target of doubling production shows ambition. ‘We can work with the art of the possible and that’s what the industry will surely do. It’s an industry that seems to want to stretch itself and there’s a lot of merit in having big audacious goals like the industry has set itself. ‘That drives innovation, it drives good thinking, it drives investment in science, it drives investment in kit and equipment.’ Growth may come from new players as well as the existing ones; Hesketh-Laird’s arrival at the SSPO coincided with the approval, in April, of two organic salmon farms off Skye. The SSPO has already been in contact with the company, Organic Sea Harvest, and would like to see them brought into the fold. ‘Despite the political uncertainty around salmon farming, those that are in the sector and even those outside at the moment want to get in, so they see a shining future for Scottish salmon. ‘It’s a capital intensive industry and it’s great that companies like Organic Sea Harvest are wanting to contribute to the growth of the sector and willing to put up the investment. They must see a long term opportunity there. ‘There must be room for new players in every industry – it’s that that drives new thinking, brings new ideas and keeps the dynamic of any industry mobile and vital.’ The SSPO is uniquely representative of its sector, far more than other trade associations – even whisky, speaking for more than 90 per cent of the salmon produced in Scotland. In fact, only one company, Grieg Seafood, remains outside the organisation, following a dispute several years ago, before the current managing director, Grant Cumming, took over. Does she think Grieg will be re-admitted under her tenure? ‘There’s nothing to think about, I’d love to have them on board,’ she said. ‘It would be great to be as representative as we possibly can, I’d love to have them on board.’ She has seen for herself the extent of salmon farming’s impact on the Scottish economy, having visited farm sites in Wester Ross and on a trip to Shetland, days into the job.

SSPO - Julie.indd 27

‘It was a real eye opener, not just seeing the sites but everywhere I went, meeting hotel owners and people in the local shops who were telling me, my brother works in salmon farming or my parents. ‘Everybody I met had some connection with the salmon farming industry or their business relied on the salmon farming industry.’ Salmon’s new champion has already made her first media appearance, on BBC Radio’s You and Yours, and welcomes the spotlight on the sector. ‘It’s the UK’s number one food export and we need to talk that up. It’s an industry Scotland can be proud of, I’m proud of it. ‘This is an industry that puts its money where its mouth is on innovation in a way I haven’t seen in other parts of the food and drink industry. ‘I watched the One Show back in November and it exposed some difficulties the industry is going through, but the underlying message was that, hidden away in Scotland, was an absolute gem of a sector that really powers lots of coastal communities. ‘That’s the message that came out of the One Show for me. A lot of people probably had no idea it was such an important industry, and it’s tucked away in Scottish lochs. ‘I’m amazed at how much community support comes from companies, how much supply chain support comes from companies, if you map out the jobs all over the UK, from hatcheries in Anglesey to supply chain jobs in the south east of England. ‘Every part of the UK has a stake in Scottish salmon, that’s the message I’m getting from the visits and work I’m doing, and it’s our job to tell that story; no one else will tell it for us.’ FF

Opposite top: Hesketh-Laird visited Shetland soon after taking on her new role. Above: In Wester Ross.


09/05/2018 16:38:59

Trade Associations – SSPO Comment


Underpinning When politics provenance

gets personal 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 depend on the provenance of their products she quickly sensed an aut may not be politically correct to say so at


present but farmed Atlantic salmon would not have become Scotland’s leading food EPENDING on the yourCrown degreeEstate’s of natural optive export without positi mism, the spring-through-summer period engagement with aquaculture development is likely to be perceived either as back of in 2018 the 1980s. theaquaculture calm beforeisthe stormcant or aspart the dawn Now, a signifi of the that heralds a sunlit day. agency’s marine leasing portfolio and is reguAgainst the ever present background of the larly celebrated by the Crown Estate’s Scottish Brexit negotiations and the range of ongoing Marine Aquaculture Awards event. This year’s political attacks on the details of the Europeevent in Edinburgh on the 11 June was the an Union (Withdrawal) Bill 2017-19, political usual highly successful showcase for Scottish uncertainties abound. The shape of things to aquaculture and a rare opportunity for induscome is anything but clear. try to join together to mark its success. The febrile atmosphere is affecting both the The Crown Estate is presently at the centre UK and the Scottish governments in conjoint of further devolution discussions between the and wholly separate areas. Both seem to be UK government and Scottish government. The spending their reserves of public goodwill and long-term future of key Scottish functions rethere is an underlying feeling that eventually mains unclear and professional expertise could there will be a political price to pay. be squandered in the process of organisational For many voters, First Minister Nicola Sturchange. Both the Crown Estate’s core expertise and the Marine Aquaculture Awards are important in maintaining the distinctive coherence of Scotland’s aquaculture and it would be a tragedy if they became casualties of political change. This year’s Awards event was hosted by actress, writer and comedian Jo Caulfield, an inspired choice by whoever made the booking. She was very funny and entertaining and kept the proceedings going with a swing. Only once did she stray, when she wondered what ‘provenance actually meant’. In a room full of folk whose livelihoods

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dience response and moved to safer comedic material: there are some things you just don’t joke about! geon’s refusal to support the Withdrawal Bill, because of its claimed However, her remark left me asking myself whether we think enough (but temporary) ‘power grab’ of devolved powers, looks increasingly about the underpinning of the provenance of Scottish farmed fish – and unstatesmanlike. At a time when Scotland’s national interests lie in forgfor me that’s farmed salmon. ing close and effective working relationships with the UK, the Scottish There is no doubt that Scottish provenance is important to our indusgovernment’s approach looks like gesture politics. try – it gives us the edge in all our key markets. The Westminster Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs SeProvenance can be defined in various ways but most people will agree lect Committee has just reported that, in a survey of 1,000 people, fewer that it goes beyond the appearance and sensory qualities of the final than 0.1 per cent think the Westminster and the Holyrood governments product: flavour, texture, visual presentation and product consistency work well together. Personally, I am surprised the figure was as high as are always key factors in consumer appeal but provenance is about that! much more. Both administrations are deeply entrenched in doing their own thing in refl ects a wider quality assurance, including: their own way, and prospectsItfor synergies seemconcept rarely toof beconsumer considered. the place where the fi sh is grown and processed; the professional Yet both administrations are challenged by the same policy issues – integrityeducati of the on, producti on and processing the health service, social welfare, economic growth, and methods; and the quality, commitment and care ofwill thegrow people so on. What’s more, in Scotland, these challenges overinvolved time – the professional skills, experti se, passion and dedicati on of the as income and expenditure controls are increasingly devolved to theproducers themselves. In Scotland our ‘place of production’ gives us a huge natural advanScottish government. tagenues because we grow fiits sh focus in theon pristi Meanwhile, the media conti to concentrate thene coastal waters of some of the most beauti fulhappen and wild areas of the world, and our brand is personal and political ‘tragedies’ that might or scenic have already protected by its PGI status. unfolded. The threat to Shona Robison’s (shaky) position as Scottish Likewise, adopti the Scotti sh Code of Good Practice Health Secretary or to the recent resignationonofofAmber RuddshasFinfi Home Secretary are examples. allied with the industry’s deep commitment to a range of independent quality assurance programmes, the RSPCA fish welfare Bringing the issues downfarm to this personal level suits the public including and scheme, builds on the underlying media demand for soap opera. However, if fails properly to strength address of our statutory regulatory systems ourcproducti systems. the underlying issues, which reflto ectassure systemati failures on in our sysFinally, skills,those experti se,relate passion andtodedication of our farmers tems of government, going wellthe beyond that solely Left: Amber Rudd. can be demonstrated in abundance day in and day outNicola – andSturgeon they were MPs and MSPs. Opposite: showcased the recent event. The Rudd farrago offers a case inby point. As partawards of its routi ne However, being wholly objectian ve and forward looking, it is this third work, the UK Home Affairs Select Committ ee exposed apparentof provenance where industry has greatest scope for ly long-standing failurearea in public administrati on in the the Scotti HomeshOffi ce. systemati c development. That is noton to of say that our industry’s skills Judged on any terms, the handling of the Windrush generati and professional expertise are not of theit highest calibre, but it is to immigrants is a national public scandal, although it now appears recognise thatpoliti our vocati educational and training structures, and has been an open secret among elected cians onal for years. Given the adversarial nature of British politics, Rudd’s resignation was inevitable; her lack of knowledge of the basic aspects of her brief was wholly damning.

Unaware“ness of a

should “beWeorganising our training and education provisions much better

problem is no defence against failing to deal with it 03/07/2015 14:31:33

09/05/2018 16:35:55

When politics gets personal

But while she may have been the guardian of the Home Office immigration policy, responsibility for the delivery of the immigration service is down to her officials, and a specific responsibility will rest with the Home Office’s accountable officer (AO). Sir Philip Rutnam has been the permanent secretary at the Home Office since April 2017 – so, I assume, he is the AO in question. I therefore hope that, separate from the ongoing political brouhaha, someone is asking Sir Philip some key questions. What went so fundamentally wrong in the Home Office’s work? Why was nothing done about it? Why was the problem (and solution) not explicitly brought to the attention of the Home Secretary? Oh, and before you say, ‘the problem started well before Sir Philip’s appointment’, let me make clear that an AO on appointment takes on the burdens and responsibilities of their office. Thus, they shoulder whatever organisational or operational problems come from the past, as well as any new problems that may emerge in the future. Moreover, unawareness of a problem is no defence against failing to deal with it; there is a well defined clarity about where the management buck stops! Most AOs, early in their tenure, strive to get a full understanding of their department and to identify any problems that exist. They also seek to build effective communication systems, providing them with insights across their organisational landscape – because, like it or not, they are ultimately responsible for everything that is being done. In the absence of any better understanding, it can only be assumed that Sir Philip either did not undertake a normal process of management due diligence or that he failed to act on the evidence that emerged from it. Either way, it looks as if he has some important questions to answer, and as a matter of urgency. Good government needs politicians with strategic vision and a grasp of the broad picture, but it also needs ‘delivery machinery’ that works effectively in providing public services. Current evidence suggests that our government systems are failing at both levels and in ways that will ultimately provoke a voter response. FF

Phil Thomas.indd 29



AT BU 19 Y 77






Fish Farmer VOLUME 39



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Prince Charles drops Harvest

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in on Marine


awaited Industry launches long Vision for 2030


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A new way to recruit generation

Under control

Norway – Research Council

the next

The environment is more stable and the fish use less energy adapting to it

Under control

Above: Project participants at the centre’s opening. Right: CtrlAQUA scientists. Photos by Terje Aamodt/Nofima.

Joint approach between scientists and industry to address challenges of closed-containment systems


our Norwegian research institutions, two outside Norway and several industry partners from technology and the aquaculture industry have started operations at a centre for innovation in closed-containment systems. The centre, CtrlAQUA, has been given NOK 200 million and eight years to reach its goal of making closed-containment systems for salmon up to one kilogram. Innovations in closed-containment, where the salmon is separated from the outside environment by a tight barrier, can be important for the further development of the industry,


helping to address challenges such as sea lice, diseases and escapes, as well as reduce production times. Closed systems can be land-based, where water is recycled, or sea-based, in which large floating tanks receive clean water from depth. In CtrlAQUA, the research will deal with both approaches. The main focus of the centre is innovation in closed-containment systems for the most vulnerable periods of the salmon production cycle, such as the first sea water, post-smolt, phase. The centre will also contribute to better production control, fish welfare and sustainability

in closed-containment farms. This will happen through the development of new and reliable sensors, minimising environmental impact through recycling of nutrients and reducing the risk of escape, and diseases transmission to wild stocks. Senior scientist Bendik Fyhn Terjesen, from Nofima, who is the director of the centre, said that closed-containment systems for salmon up to one kilogram have further advantages than simply preventing lice and escapes. ‘We can control the environment in which the fish lives in a closed-containment system. The environment is more stable and the fish

use less energy adapting to it. This means that the salmon has more energy available for growth and good health.’ Closed systems for strategic phases in salmon farming can help to make the Norwegian vision of an eight-fold growth in value creation from aquaculture possible, and lead to an increased number of jobs and the production of healthy seafood. In the centre there will be three departments: technology and environment, led by Dr Fyhn Terjesen; preventative fish health, led by Harald Takle, also from Nofima; and fish production and welfare, led by Lars Ebbesson of Uni Research. CtrlAQUA is one of 17 Centres for Research-Based Innovation (SFI), a major programme created by the Research Council of Norway. The primary goal of the SFI programme is to strengthen companies’ capacity for innovation, and to develop leading industry relevant research. Nofima is accompanied by five solid institutions in CtrlAQUA: Uni Research, the University of Bergen, the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, the Freshwater Institute in the US and the University of Gothenburg in Sweden. The University of Bergen will have principal responsibility for research education at the centre. The total budget for CtrlAQUA will be

NOK 196 million, spread over eight years. Industrial partners from the supplier industry are Krüger Kaldnes AS, Pharmaq Analytiq, Pharmaq AS, Oslofjord Ressurspark AS, Storvik Aqua AS and Aquafarm Equipment AS. Participants from the aquaculture industry are Marine Harvest ASA, Grieg Seafood ASA, Lerøy Vest AS, Cermaq Norway AS, Bremnes Seashore AS, Smøla klekkeri og settefiskanlegg AS, Marine producers Norway AS and Firda sjøfarmer AS. The formal opening by the Research Council took place at the end of May at Nofima, Sunndalsøra. Norwegian fisheries minister Elisabeth Aspaker, present at the ceremony, said the goal of the CtrlAQUA SFI is perfectly compatible with the government’s ambitions for the aquaculture industry. ‘I have great expectations for the achievements of CtrlAQUA. Even though eight years is a long time, it is urgent that we find solutions to reach the goals. CtrlAQUA is an important part of this.’ The director of innovation in the Research Council, Eirik Normann, presented the SFI plaque to Fyhn Terjesen, saying: ‘You have put together a very strong consortium. I want to point out that the committee that evaluated the application was fascinated by the innovation that the concept brings with it, and it believes that the centre will probably produce important innovations within aquaculture.’ FF

NOFIMA FACTS With 360 employees and customers from 49 different countries, Nofima’s turnover in 2014 was £527 million The company is currently engaged in 620 projects worldwide. Nofima has several laboratories and pilot plants, which it uses for research, including: BioLab – an accredited contract and research laboratory; NAMAB – a flexible minifactory; and Patogen Pilot Plant – Europe’s first highsecurity production hall. Nofima carries out research for the fisheries, aquaculture and food industries, including: breeding and genetics; capture-based aquaculture; fish health; and consumer and sensory sciences. Each year Nofima organises several symposia, courses and seminars in which its scientists share their expertise.


Research Councilt.indd All Pages

07/11/2016 12:50:03

November Cover.indd

09/07/2015 09:41:56



Fish Farmer is the UK’s leading aquaculture magazine, this highlyregarded magazine has been serving the aquaculture industry for almost 40 years and enjoys a worldwide distribution.

For more information visit: 29

09/05/2018 16:36:23

Trade Associations – British Trout Association

Growing the business Novel processed products will further strengthen retail market BY DOUG MCLEOD


HERE are numerous reports from within the industry that the UK trout farming sector – from fry and fingerlings through portion and large, including raw, smoked and processed – is enjoying a buoyant period. This reflects the winning combination of robust demand across the retail market, strengthening prices throughout the supply chain and lower than expected upward pressure on production costs. And, in my opinion, there is every chance that the outlook for the future will continue to be equally positive, indeed potentially even better. In recent articles, I have highlighted the cost reduction benefits likely to be enjoyed through the introduction of cutting edge technology, along with automation and digitalisation, from drones for remote monitoring to robotic handling systems. When the positive impacts on operating costs of these innovations are linked with strong market demand for the product, there is more than a hope for improvements in the bottom line of trout operations. The EUMOFA report on the Polish trout industry that I examined in an earlier piece in Fish Farmer (January 2018) illustrated what is possible, even in a mature, apparently stable, market: ‘Indeed, the Polish industry appears to have succeeded in achieving the ‘Magnificent Seven’ of expanding production while increasing both exports and imports, growing the processing sector, raising both local consumption and prices across the food chain and maintaining the producers’ share of that food chain value added!’ The UK may not be able to replicate the acrossthe-board success achieved in Poland; however, given the support of the producers, I expect to enjoy the appearance of a number of novel processed products over the next few years, which will further strengthen the retail market. And the likely upsurge in nationalism following Brexit will also probably contribute to even more strength in the marketplace for UK sourced products. Although only three trout products featured in the entrants for the Seafood Excellence Global Awards contending for the prize in the best


BTA.indd 30

retail section at the Brussels Seafood Expo in April, they were original in presentation – Ice Cured Arctic Umami Rainbow Trout, either natural, cold smoked, or gravad, from Finland. The term ‘umami’ is new to me, but I’m reliably informed (by Wikipedia) that this is the fifth taste after salt, sweet, sour and bitter, and is classified as ‘savoury’ (parmesan cheese is reported to be the most umami ingredient in western cooking). Readers who recall the article I published last year on the multitude of value added trout products being introduced across Western European markets will perhaps also remember that the growth in this market segment was driving trout to previously unknown heights of profitability, with the French trout industry being characterised as ‘the most dynamic sector of the seafood market in France’. My prediction is that UK processors will have noted these trends and will be developing new products for the domestic market, further improving the outlook for British trout farmers and their sales. Maybe even including some umami taste sensation! FF

Below: Taste sensation

is every chance that the outlook for the “There future will continue to be equally positive ”

09/05/2018 16:34:26

Untitled-2 31

09/05/2018 12:18:35

est aquaculture Looking further afield there are also interesting insights – ASSG SG and SSPOTrade – to Associations into oyster growing around the globe and also an t topics of the day overview of the Hungarian aquaculture industry, which is ors respectively. beginning to evolve from production of carps to higher Shellfish value predatory fish.We hope you enjoy all the changes. FF d we hope you’ll

Rob Fletcher News Editor


has 0 years of the stry. Now ournalist, er food magazine.

ry Board


ons aculture


Paul Wheelhouse is Scotland’s Minister for the Environment and Climate Change and is an MSP for the South of Scotland.

Janet Brown works to support and promote all aspects of sustainable shellfish culture and restoration via The Shellfish Team and edits The Grower.

World’s rst oyster city The some otherfiside of thein pond Put mussels China eager to learn quality anditmarketing aslearn they launch centre of ‘culture’ Reducing salmon liceabout before starts – can bivalves help? Can the Association ofinfection Scottish Shellfish Growers anything from 8 the way America’s East Coast Shellfish Growers Association is organised?


ORTUNE favours the brave – but also those with some time to spare when an invitation arrives at very short notice. Would I be r Robert B Rheault more commonly willing to travel to the–Rushan International known as ‘Skid’ Rheault (Rheault being Oyster Forum to tell the audience about the Left: Branded oysters as pronounced ‘row’) or Bob – set up the oyster industry in the UK? seen in Hong Kong airport East Coast Shellfish Growers Association With just three weeks in hand, once I had the en route to Qingdao. ols (ECSGA) in 2004 and has been its executive essential visa, there was not a lot of time for Right: Some of the invited director on, for but six years. d preparati having never been to China speakers for the Rushan Skidnot became involved inI wanted the ideatoof an up. asit was an opportunity pass International Oyster sociation because he had been working as an More crucially, the chance to learn something at Forum. From left Dr oyster farmer in a state without an aquaculfirst hand of the Chinese shellfish aquaculture Maria Haws, Dr Steven ture industry at the time Rhode Island. industry was something to –jump at, not least for Robert, Dr Aude Jouaux, rectory the‘I copy had to be very active on the state level to it could provide! Prof Ximing Guo, Dr Janet get things going,’ he said. ‘I established a state The forum was being jointly sponsored by the Brown. Opposite - clockwise growers’ association with a few allies, started asurer, Steve Bracken, Herve Miguad, Sunilvia Kadri and-Ken Hughes Chinese Academy of Sciences, the Insti writing an industryQingdao, newsletter sentCity it to all from top left: Pictured with tute of Oceanology, theand Rushan n: Andrew Balahura the Mayor of Rushan City, the state legislators, brought inindustry, guest speakers government and the Publisher: local oyster led by host of the magnificent wds wdowds@fi Alister Bennett from other states where things were going ere-mail: Ocean Seed Company. Fax: +44 (0)Qingdao 131and 551Fronti 7901 editor@fi banquet, from left to well whereinput narywas a negative word was The specialist being organised by no right, Dr Kwang-Sik Choi, .com www.fiheard. Eventually we got some traction and Prof Ximing Guo, Dr Maria regulations thatEH5 were2DL holding back ettes Park, 496fixed Ferrythe Road, Edinburgh NTEGRATED -trophic Haws, themulti Mayor, Mr industry.’ er’, P.O. Box 1, the Crannog Lane, Lochavullin Industrial Estate, Oban, Argyll, PA34 4HB aquaculture (IMTA) aims Gong Ben Gao, Dr Janet 0) 1631 568001This led on to a larger consortium, with a to reduce the environBrown, Dr Steven Robert, number of growers getting together at various Clockwise from top right: of world £95 including postage. All Air Mail. mental impacts of monDr Aude Jouaux, Droyster; ECSGA meeting; meetings and the idea of establishing an East oculture of fish byRobert farming them in rietors Wyvex Coast MediaShellfish Ltd by Headley Brothers Ltd., Ashford, Kent ISSN 0262-9615 Pierre Boudry, Dr Guofan Dr B Rheault. Growers Association was banassociation with fiZhang; lter feeding molluscs, Australian style died about. They had seen how well organised and so remove particulate waste the Pacific Coast Shellfish Growers Association suspended baskets, made m material and algae to utiliselocally; dissolved Dr Wu Fucun (PCSGA) had become, how effective they could nutrients. A further possibility has been(co considered organiser with Prof be in meetings with regulators, how they - that of pest control. It sounds ideal: why not use Ximing) the siphoning holds the more focused government research dollars toward power of mussels or other bivalves to take out the traditi infectional ousongrowing key problems – they wanted that. stage of the sea louse, Lepeophtheirus salmonis? cages for local oysters; While setting up the ECSGA, Skid continued This is a free swimming planktonic stage, the copepodid. Sinceasthe size Rushan oyster served to run his own company, farming and marof this infective stage is around 500μm, it is within at thethe range of parti banquet; partcle keting oysters trading as Moonstone Oysters size that can be taken up by mussels, although theirofnormal diet of the audience of phyto280 working out of Narragansett, Rhode Island, plankton is much smaller. delegates at the forum. and he is still an adjunct faculty member in Initial trials carried out in the University of Maine demonstrated that the University of Rhode Island’s Department mussels in experimental situations did indeed take up the copepodids. of Fisheries and Aquaculture. He established They were found in the stomachs of mussels but also in other parts of the East Coast Shellfish Research Institute the mussel, but the main point was that they were clearly being removed and has been successful in attracting several from the water column. Researchers further north, in New Brunswick, Canada, looked at a wider 12 range of filter feeding bivalves and also looked at the effects of temperature, shellfish individual size and whether the sea lice were presented on



22 32

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ASSG.indd 22 ASSG.indd 32

their own or in association with phytoplankton. The species of bivalves used were basket cockles, (Clinocardium nuttallii), Pacific oysters substantial federal research grants to address critical industry research (Crassostrea gigas), mussels (Mytilus edulis and priorities. M galloprovincialis and their hybrids) and Pacific How has the ECSGA grown and is it still growing? scallops (unconfirmed hybrids of MizuhopectWe grow in membership by about 10 to 20 per cent a year and we en yessoensis x Patinopecten caurinus), which had a sharp increase this past year, but we still only have a small fracwere obtained from commercial growers in tion of the industry as members. Of the estimated 1,300 farms on the Vancouver Island, British Columbia. East Coast, we only have about 15 per cent. The nature of the industry For the trials, bivalves were placed individually is such that many farmers are very small, part-time operations who in two litre containers with 450 copepodids in won’t pay dues. There are few large farms, and several of these believe 750ml of water. they don’t need to join an association. They can hire their own lobbyist. All four species were found to ingest the What are the main issues facing ECSGA? larvae, and temperature was not a significant We spend a lot of time and energy dealing with shellfish sanitation factor. Large shellfish individuals ingested far issues. Vibrio parahaemolyticus control seems to dominate much of my more than small. time. We are also trying to rectify the trade war with the EU so we can lesser scientist than Prof Ximing Guo, the primary instigator of thewere system Of the species investigated, scallops restore some of the lucrative connections we had in EU markets five for producing triploid oysters via to tetraploidy. found take in greater numbers of larvae, but years ago. We are trying to get acknowledgement for the ecosystem I later learnt that the event under discussion for some time but sizehad for been size the cockles consumed the most. services we provide through nutrient credit trading, and we are conthen they realised that accommodati ng experiments, the size of thethe forum envisaged In separate shellfi sh were stantly working to improve water quality and expand harvest areas. would become more difficult as the tourist season hit Rushan. theof found to consume between 18 to 38Hence per cent Are there different chapters in the ECSGA or are members mainly short notice. the copepodids presented to them. While the oyster folk? It was daunting to present an account farming in the UK, where total bivalves took of in the larvae regardless of whethWe represent about 60 per cent clam farms, 40 per cent oyster farms production of Pacific oysters 2,166 tonnes inpresent 2016, inor a country where er was phytoplankton was not, they took and there is a nascent mussel industry. total annual production ofinoysters was more thanon 4.8ofmillion tonnes. a far higher proporti phytoplankton I have heard you talk at conferences about the importance of lobbyAnd this was alongside presentati onswere frompresent. France (64,200 tonnes) Auswhen both ing – what do you advise? tralia (3,029 tonnes), Korea This (268,973 and to thefindings US (25,296 couldtonnes) be related fromtonnes). much It is really important to ensure that the regulators don’t put you out of These figures, just for producti of Pacifi c oyster, are from FAOlice 2016; the olderonwork on the behaviour of sea larvae, business. If you are not involved the process of writing the regula3 itinwas production in the US for Crassostrea virginica some four times greater. where shownisthat the copepodids can tions, then the law of unintended consequences dictates that they will The talks, however, gave take an interesti picture of each I manevasivengacti on when theycountry. detect the probably hurt you if you don’t protect yourself. You need to participate aged to speak about nativefeeding oystersfltoo, was This that evasive for all that ow fiand eld the of airony bivalve. bein the scientific research, the public outreach and the education of your I had learnt in the past about Chinacan introducing exoti c species with gay haviour actually be viewed in this YouTube legislators. By demonstrating the growth in green jobs, the sustainable 08/02/2013 11:24:01 abandon, when it comes toclip, oysters they are growing their native species, seafood production and the ecosystem benefits, we can enlist the help as is Korea. How can this be applied in the commercial of politicians when the regulators get crazy, or if we have a need of reIn China, the concentrated effort is in C. gigas north of the Yangtse, situati on? This is more complicated. The then first search dollars. Educating the legislators is a constant task. There is huge the Portuguese oyster, C. angulata (also a natiof veLspecies despite its comissue is the larvae salmonis are positi vely turnover and they know nothing about your industry. If you don’t have mon name), and then C. hongkongensis in the phototactic and will far be south. found at greater concentime to do it then you need to pay someone to do it for you. This is why There were many interesti ngons snippets. Mariametres Haws, talking about trati in theDr surface of the sea. Above: Mussels busy professionals are members of trade associations. shellfish onScallops; the west coast ofThis America, menti oned have the antagonism with aqbehaviour would to be accommoOpposite page: Is export a major interest for your growers? uaculture there, which must havefor been a curiosity to the audience. dated by the placement of Chinese the shellfi sh but Pacifi c oysters We are experiencing an explosion in the market for oysters right Prof Ximing Guo focusedthis on the US east coast,with where the culture of C is easily possible suspended culture. now, so there is not a lot of surplus production to send overseas, but virginica is growing very fast and there is increasing interest in growing And how effecti ve is it likely to be? disease resistant triploids, now accounti for 50 cent eastern oyster Much of theng work on per IMTA andofalso on this production. potential control of sea lice has been carried Dr Aude Jouaux gave a fascinati ng insight into the states cultureofofthe theUS. French out in the north eastern oyster, particularly with respect to their quality and marketing, thus cover-



52 06/03/2015 10:29:56

05/02/2018 15:55:48 09/05/2018 16:32:11

World’s first oyster city

ing the use of conditioning before sale. She also explained the still important use of wild caught spat on the Atlantic coast alongside the hatchery produced diploid and triploid oysters. Dr Michael Dove of the New South Wales Department of Primary Industries provided a contrast since, while C gigas is their major product, there is considerable interest in the native species. In his state, they only permit culture of triploid Pacific oysters, and there is considerable interest in boosting production of two native species, Saccostrea glomerulata (Sydney rock oyster), and, more recently, Ostrea angasi (the Australian flat oyster). Apparently, Captain Cook said of the Sydney rock oysters when he arrived: ‘Oysters are small and plentiful and most sweet to the taste.’ I agree. But all these species have diseases, despite control systems, and Dove’s department is breeding oysters for disease resistance. They had a pedigree based breeding programme for the Sydney rock oyster by 2014 (having started in 1997) of seven generations, 36 per cent heavier than controls and reaching market size a year earlier, but this had an impact on the meat quality. So they changed to selecting for traits. Meanwhile, the oyster herpes virus, which they refer to as POMS, is a serious problem for the Pacific oyster. First detected in 2010, it took three years to spread 40 miles because of controls in place for the QX disease of the Sydney rock oyster. The final presentation on overseas culture was from Dr Kwang-Sik Choi of Korea, who had the least reason to be overawed by the Chinese production figures as Korea is in second place in terms of volume, and also produces high quality oysters, but also relies largely on wild spat collection. The Chinese speakers told us what they were looking for from our presentations; while their production is huge, the relative value is not so great and Rushan is concentrating on branding and aiming to produce high quality oysters. Their

ASSG.indd 33

talks covered aspects of marketing and described experience with species that had been successfully branded. After a magnificent banquet, hosted by the local Communist party head and the city mayor (who spoke excellent English), the next morning the whole contingent went to visit the sights of Rushan. It was a cold and blustery day and the one thing we didn’t see was oysters being grown. However, we did see the Australian style suspended bags, produced locally, the huge wealth of seafood varieties processed, and the vineyards. The wine was excellent and we enjoyed delicious deep fried Rushan oysters with it as perfect accompaniment. The closing ceremony that afternoon finally revealed the objective behind our visit – nothing less than the establishment of the first oyster city of the world. It was not always easy to follow the interpreters, but the plans appeared to be very complex: to develop Rushan Oyster City based on the culture of oysters in all senses of the word ‘culture’, with research and development at the core, displays of oysters, colourful fields and gardens, and an oyster themed recreation centre. These were some of the elements I picked up but it will be fascinating to see how it all develops. My only concern was to what extent the farmers themselves had been involved in the initiative, which seemed to rely greatly on their hard work providing the product. FF

My only concern was to what extent the farmers themselves had been involved


09/05/2018 16:32:34




of quality Product - rather than origin - differentiation would be of more interest to consumers


NOTHER year, another Brussels show has been and gone. Apparently, there were more than 1,900 individual stands this year. Getting around them all is a mammoth task, but one that is fortunately unnecessary since separate interest groupings tend to be located together, much reducing the wear on the shoe leather. There are many certainties during a visit to the show. One is that most companies take the same stand space year after year and hence no show guide is required to find old friends. The other certainty is that a visit to any stand will bring assurances that the fish caught/produced/sold is of the highest possible quality. Yet, it is unclear what this actually means. Quality is really about what the buyer or consumer wants. Not everyone wants what the producer might call the highest quality. It is wasteful, for instance, producing premium quality salmon loin and then chopping it up to make a salmon burger. But everyone will hope to have the highest quality fish. Now, the Norwegian research agency Nofima is hoping to examine how very different customer groups demand different quality attributes. It is hoping to uncover whether the value of salmon can be increased in ways other than producing more or cutting costs. Nofima is joining with the University of Stirling in the four-year project, imaginatively named Qualidiff.


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Qualidiff says that quality isn’t just about how salmon tastes. It can be about how much fat it contains, what type of fat or its colour, cut or packaging. Quality can also be linked to eco-labels, origin or brands. In fact, as already suggested, quality is about what the buyer or consumer wants. This means that quality can be as different as the number of consumers in the world. It also means that it can be difficult to translate the idea of quality into a higher reward. Origin has been the main source of quality differentiation for salmon, although whether this is more perceived than real is unclear. In the early 1990s, the Scottish salmon industry took out an advert in the Grocer magazine stating that 72 per cent of consumers preferred to buy quality salmon from Scotland and 76 per cent were prepared to pay a premium to buy it. When it came to making the decision in stores, though, consumers were more driven by the price than the origin. In fact, the unwillingness of consumers to dig deep into their pockets was the main reason for the EU-Norway trade dispute that featured during much of the 1990s. The problem was that when faced with a single fillet, most consumers were unable to identify its origin and whether it was worthy of a higher price. Most of the differentiation depended, much as it does today, on what store the salmon was sold in. When taste tested, there was very little difference between any salmon, irrespective of its origin. Over the years, only one example of differentiation based on origin has been apparent. In France, smoked salmon is differentiated by origin, with different manufacturers and stores following the same formula. Each smoked salmon is typically available in three varieties, Norwegian (blue packs), Scottish (red packs) and Irish (green packs), with a defined price structure where Norwegian is the cheapest, Scottish the next and the most expensive being Irish. It does seem that the price structure is based on the amount of salmon available, with the smallest production being the most expensive. The

Above: The Scottish pavilion at Seafood Expo Global

09/05/2018 16:29:41

Questions of quality


evidence that people will pay more for fish that is sustainably produced

shortage of salmon in Europe appears to have eroded this differentiation over the last year or so. An alternative approach would be for individual companies to differentiate their salmon away from national origin, and there has been some success in this strategy. However, niche specialist salmon is generally sold in stores that specialise in niche products and attract consumers who want such products. It is unlikely that such specialisation will work in the mainstream. And if every company adopted this niche approach to quality, then it would no longer be niche and those consumers who might have been prepared to pay a premium would no longer do so. Some supermarkets already have a tiered structure of sales in place for salmon. Value, premium and organic are all niche, with far fewer packs available than the standard product. Interestingly, value, standard and premium could all come from the same fish, with the point of quality differentiation just being the way the fish is cut up. There is an expectation that labelling will help promote differentiation, especially with the introduction of eco-labels. But there is very little evidence that consumers will pay more for fish that is sustainably produced. They expect that as a matter of right. In fact, it is likely that consumers don’t even notice the presence of such labels. Having now watched the retail sector for the last 20 years, I am not sure that there is much to be learnt from this four-year project; certainly, it is unlikely to revolutionise the salmon market. Of course, there will always be a few companies that benefit from a focus on quality, whatever that means. In the days before stock market listing and the rise of market analysts, salmon was available in Europe in large quantities. I often described fish counters being a ‘sea of pink’. Those days are long gone but the availability of so much salmon meant that the market required differentiation. It wasn’t quality that was differentiated then, but products. This is of much more interest to consumers, but the current high price of salmon has made such differentiation unviable. Differentiating on quality is a much less attractive proposition, except for the niche specialists. . FF

Martin Jaffa.indd 35


09/05/2018 16:30:09

Farm visit – Loch Etive

New dawn for

trout farmer

Scotland’s first female fish farm boss recounts her rise to the top


LISON Hutchins may appear surprised to find herself Scotland’s first female fish farming director – she still smiles at the title – but there was nothing accidental about her rise to the top. After she landed the role as Dawnfresh Farming boss last November, she wanted a few months ‘to feel comfortable in the job’ before announcing it to the world, and the news seeped out eventually in March. By the time Fish Farmer visited Hutchins at the trout producer’s Loch Etive site, she was giving every impression of being born to the task- on top of the daily challenges and with an obvious rapport with her staff. She succeeds Stewart Hawthorn, who has left to pursue his own projects, which include going into business with his wife, selling net cleaners. When Hawthorn was brought back to Scotland from Canada (where he was managing director of Grieg Seafood in BC) in 2016, Hutchins made it clear she was after his position. Farming operations development manager at the time, she had, in fact, applied for the promotion when Gideon Pringle vacated the post to return to Marine Harvest Scotland. ‘For whatever reasons – experience reasons probably- they got Stewart in and it was like it was a knock back, but I felt it was important to make it clear that’s what I wanted,’ said Hutchins. She said the company were great about it - ‘they said, we don’t want you to go anywhere, we see the potential in you as well and we want to support you, and if we bring someone in we want them to mentor you. I think part of Stewart’s remit coming in was that. ‘I think it’s important to make it clear to yourself and to make it clear to everyone else what you want to do in your career.’ She admits she was taken aback at the speed of her subsequent progress, although she believed her dreams were achievable. ‘I felt that at some point Stewart would ultimately move on but in five years, eight years – I didn’t expect it to be quite so soon, just over a year. So I


Farm Visit - Dawnfresh.indd 36

Left: Alison Hutchins. Above: At Loch Etive. Opposite: The Etive 4 site. Photographs: Chris Lavis-Jones; Scott Binnie

think it was the timing that was more of a surprise than the actual being asked to take it on.’ Hawthorn taught her about budgets and strategy, and ‘to support your team to the best of your ability to make sure they can do their job to the best of their ability’ ‘Always think about the fish and always think about the staff- that was great advice and every day I go back to that – if there’s talk on strategy or political talk I go back to the ‘you have to look after your staff, you have to look after your fish’.’ Hutchins is originally from Glasgow and her interest in fish came from watching David Attenborough programmes and visiting sea life centres as a child. ‘I thought going diving would be fantastic but how do you get a career and money out of it to support myself and my family? But I saw there was an industry that could cater for that.’ She started doing marine biology at Stirling but switched to aquaculture, completing both her BSc and masters, before doing research jobs to bring in some money. She did consider an academic path but it was not for her. ‘I seriously considered it but I really wanted to be hands on and make a difference. And the academic route would have been very lab based and that’s

09/05/2018 16:24:36

New dawn for trout farmer

I’ve “ genuinely

not come across anyone who’s said you shouldn’t be doing that because you’re a woman

very regimented and that’s great if you’re of that nature that thrives in that environment. ‘But I love talking to people and I love being out and about and being in the thick of it and I didn’t think that was a good route for my personality.’ Hutchins has planned her professional journey from the start, and Hawthorn was the latest in a line of distinguished role models, following Pringle and, at the beginning of her working life, Ben Hadfield, now the managing director of Marine Harvest Scotland. ‘My first job was for Marine Harvest as environment and quality assistant manager, working with Ben – you could say he was my first mentor. ‘Part of my job was doing environmental impact assessments. Ben had created a consolidation plan for Marine Harvest at that time, the regulations had changed and they were looking at the environmental impact regulations and needed a lot more focus and emphasis on what the current status of the environment was. ‘It was all about getting rid of smaller, unproducAfter Marine Harvest, she took an unusual sidestep, joining the Scottish tive sites and making larger sites.’ Environment Protection Agency (Sepa). That was back in 2006, and Hutchins said she ‘I spoke to Ben about that – I said this is the path I want to do, do you think learnt a lot about farming and the theory behind this is a good opti on for me. And he said it would give me a great breadth of the operations from Ben (‘a natural leader’). knowledge.

Farm Visit - Dawnfresh.indd 37


09/05/2018 16:24:58

Farm visit – Loch Etive ‘It brings in other types of experience and gives you an insight into how regulations are made and enforced.’ She said recent criticisms of the organisation, particularly in the ECCLR (Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform) committee report on aquaculture’s environmental impact, were about perceptions. ‘Sepa have changed a lot…it used to be you had local officers who came out and you’d see them every year and know them by name. It would be a long standing relationship with your local officer but that’s changed.’ Asked if it’s an advantage to have worked there, Hutchins said: ‘Sometimes I play the ‘well I’ve worked for Sepa’ card – I think it does. I do get the ‘well Alison you know how it works in Sepa’ – I get that a lot.’ She said the balance between the industry and regulators changes all the time, but the conversations now in the industry are very similar to the conversations they’ve always had. ‘Farmers are dealing with the same problems and it’s about making sure you’re farming in a good environment, making sure you’re not messing up the environment, that’s definitely not changed.’ She admits that farmers, her included, find it frustrating when their environmental credentials are misunderstood by the anti-farming lobby, and the regulators. ‘That’s why we went into fish farming because we liked working in this environment.’ She was in Sepa for about three years before

If you’re “looking to

take this career route, find yourself a good mentor and stay in touch with them




R T 19U7Y IC 7 E



Fish Farmer VOLUME 39



Serving worldwide aquaculture


since 1977

in on Marine Prince Charles drops Harvest


Industry launches long Vision for 2030



Time to comply with Technical Standard


the Scottish




A new way to recruit generation

Under control

Norway – Research Council

the next

The environment is more stable and the fish use less energy adapting to it

Under control

Above: Project participants at the centre’s opening. Right: CtrlAQUA scientists. Photos by Terje Aamodt/Nofima.

Joint approach between scientists and industry to address challenges of closed-containment systems


our Norwegian research institutions, two outside Norway and several industry partners from technology and the aquaculture industry have started operations at a centre for innovation in closed-containment systems. The centre, CtrlAQUA, has been given NOK 200 million and eight years to reach its goal of making closed-containment systems for salmon up to one kilogram. Innovations in closed-containment, where the salmon is separated from the outside environment by a tight barrier, can be important for the further development of the industry,


helping to address challenges such as sea lice, diseases and escapes, as well as reduce production times. Closed systems can be land-based, where water is recycled, or sea-based, in which large floating tanks receive clean water from depth. In CtrlAQUA, the research will deal with both approaches. The main focus of the centre is innovation in closed-containment systems for the most vulnerable periods of the salmon production cycle, such as the first sea water, post-smolt, phase. The centre will also contribute to better production control, fish welfare and sustainability

in closed-containment farms. This will happen through the development of new and reliable sensors, minimising environmental impact through recycling of nutrients and reducing the risk of escape, and diseases transmission to wild stocks. Senior scientist Bendik Fyhn Terjesen, from Nofima, who is the director of the centre, said that closed-containment systems for salmon up to one kilogram have further advantages than simply preventing lice and escapes. ‘We can control the environment in which the fish lives in a closed-containment system. The environment is more stable and the fish

use less energy adapting to it. This means that the salmon has more energy available for growth and good health.’ Closed systems for strategic phases in salmon farming can help to make the Norwegian vision of an eight-fold growth in value creation from aquaculture possible, and lead to an increased number of jobs and the production of healthy seafood. In the centre there will be three departments: technology and environment, led by Dr Fyhn Terjesen; preventative fish health, led by Harald Takle, also from Nofima; and fish production and welfare, led by Lars Ebbesson of Uni Research. CtrlAQUA is one of 17 Centres for Research-Based Innovation (SFI), a major programme created by the Research Council of Norway. The primary goal of the SFI programme is to strengthen companies’ capacity for innovation, and to develop leading industry relevant research. Nofima is accompanied by five solid institutions in CtrlAQUA: Uni Research, the University of Bergen, the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, the Freshwater Institute in the US and the University of Gothenburg in Sweden. The University of Bergen will have principal responsibility for research education at the centre. The total budget for CtrlAQUA will be

NOK 196 million, spread over eight years. Industrial partners from the supplier industry are Krüger Kaldnes AS, Pharmaq Analytiq, Pharmaq AS, Oslofjord Ressurspark AS, Storvik Aqua AS and Aquafarm Equipment AS. Participants from the aquaculture industry are Marine Harvest ASA, Grieg Seafood ASA, Lerøy Vest AS, Cermaq Norway AS, Bremnes Seashore AS, Smøla klekkeri og settefiskanlegg AS, Marine producers Norway AS and Firda sjøfarmer AS. The formal opening by the Research Council took place at the end of May at Nofima, Sunndalsøra. Norwegian fisheries minister Elisabeth Aspaker, present at the ceremony, said the goal of the CtrlAQUA SFI is perfectly compatible with the government’s ambitions for the aquaculture industry. ‘I have great expectations for the achievements of CtrlAQUA. Even though eight years is a long time, it is urgent that we find solutions to reach the goals. CtrlAQUA is an important part of this.’ The director of innovation in the Research Council, Eirik Normann, presented the SFI plaque to Fyhn Terjesen, saying: ‘You have put together a very strong consortium. I want to point out that the committee that evaluated the application was fascinated by the innovation that the concept brings with it, and it believes that the centre will probably produce important innovations within aquaculture.’ FF

NOFIMA FACTS With 360 employees and customers from 49 different countries, Nofima’s turnover in 2014 was £527 million The company is currently engaged in 620 projects worldwide. Nofima has several laboratories and pilot plants, which it uses for research, including: BioLab – an accredited contract and research laboratory; NAMAB – a flexible minifactory; and Patogen Pilot Plant – Europe’s first highsecurity production hall. Nofima carries out research for the fisheries, aquaculture and food industries, including: breeding and genetics; capture-based aquaculture; fish health; and consumer and sensory sciences. Each year Nofima organises several symposia, courses and seminars in which its scientists share their expertise.

Research Councilt.indd All Pages

07/11/2016 12:50:03

November Cover.indd


09/07/2015 09:41:56



Fish Farmer is the UK’s leading aquaculture magazine, this highlyregarded magazine has been serving the aquaculture industry for almost 40 years and enjoys a worldwide distribution.

For more information visit: 38

Farm Visit - Dawnfresh.indd 38

moving to the Scottish Salmon Company, then called Lighthouse Caledonia and run by the Norwegian Oddgeir Oddsen. ‘I wanted to use the knowledge from seeing it from a regulator’s side and take that back into the industry and say this is how we can grow and develop. ‘It was almost translating it, between what the regulators were looking for and what our company provides. That still exists to this day, that translation between what the regulators are looking for and what operators are submitting to them.’ She was appointed a development officer with a brief to expand – at existing sites and by seeking new sites. ‘It was when fish farms were going through the audit and review process so they were moving from the Crown Estate into local authority, about 20102011. That actually created a lot of difficulties in moving forward with new site developments or existing site developments. ‘The first thing you do is say, can I make what I’ve got bigger or better, because it’s a lot of money and time and expense to go and look for a new location, so you always start with what you have and look at what’s possible there. ‘The audit and review process was very cumbersome and bureaucratic and that really became a big frustration in developing licences. ‘It held us back to the point where I was like, well I’m not sure how much I’m going to be able to achieve in this time scale. And I started looking at what else I could do to get different experience for me for my career.’ She became self-employed for a couple of years, doing freelance audits for Freedom Foods. ‘That took me out to loads of fish farms and I saw lots of different operations and learnt to do invoices! I genuinely underestimated how much other stuff goes into being self-employed.’ When she came back to fish farming in July 2013, joining Dawnfresh, she said she had acquired regulatory experience and knowledge about developing new sites, as well as an insight into the financial experience. However, she still ‘had to very consciously get a lot more awareness’ into the financial side of the business and the day to day operations. ‘I knew coming into this company, if that was the career path I wanted to

09/05/2018 16:25:33

New dawn for trout farmer

a realisation that I’m the only woman there. I don’t always notice or it’s becoming less frequent. ‘It hasn’t been a barrier though – if you let it bother you it could bother you. But why would it, going into a meeting? We’re talking about the same interests – it’s what we’re talking about rather than who it is that’s talking. ‘I’ve genuinely not come across anyone who’s said you shouldn’t be doing that because you’re a woman. I’ve only ever come across positive people wanting to help you get to where you want to be. This industry is very positive.’ Her advice to other women is to put the time in, be flexible and be completely clear with everyone. ‘You have to be able to ask for help and assistance and say to people, this is what I really want to do, can you help me get there. ‘The only other piece of advice I’d say is, if you’re looking to take this career route, find yourself a take, I would have to get that experience. Ideally, it would be part of the job and I’d get it organically but sometimes you have to go and get that experience off your own back. ‘If you’re lucky enough the company will allow you to do it within your role but then you also have to be prepared to accept you have to learn that experience in your own time.’ She admits that from her first job in Marine Harvest she had a goal to run a company herself. ‘I’ve thought about this question quite a few times recently and I guess it has been there, it’s been how do I get into management and how do I get into roles where I have a bigger level of influence. ‘And then, as that’s gone on and I’ve achieved going into these sorts of roles, it’s then actually, how do I become director, how do I get to that point.’ She doesn’t think she would have got there any faster if she’d been a man. ‘Personally, the route I’ve taken, I think it would have been very similar because it’s been a fast route. I’m 40 next year and my goal was to reach it before 40. ‘I set myself a time period and there were times I thought that will never happen, maybe it should be 50, it should be 60, and things take you by surprise.’ She was less conscious of being a woman becoming the director, and more of not having been a site manager or production manager, and following a more obvious career structure. ‘It’s been a different pathway to get to this management level role and it’s interesting because I think there are more women in support roles and health roles rather than site managers. ‘I think site staff genders will change – I think it’s more a hangover from having to lift heavy feed bags. I had the opportunity to go and work on a site, straight in as an assistant manager on a fish farm when I left university. ‘I turned it down because I didn’t think I was strong enough to do the physical work. That’s only 15 years ago – I was worried, I’m not the tallest even of women [she has size three feet].’ She sees the industry changing, with a lot more women employed in various roles. ‘Occasionally, I’ll go into a meeting and I’ll look round the room and there is

Farm Visit - Dawnfresh.indd 39

Above: Akva feed distributors on the feed barge at Etive 6. Left: Alison Hutchins at Etive 4.



09/05/2018 16:26:23

Farm visit – Loch Etive

Below: On the loch, travelling between farm sites.

good mentor and stay in touch with them, hang on to them and keep going back to them for advice. ‘It’s a small industry and I love that you can phone up anyone and just say, I need help with this or what do you think about that. I think that’s important because that’s what keeps the industry working - picking up the phone and saying, do you feel the same way about this, what do you think about that. ‘Women should mentor other women but men should mentor women because just now there are a lot more men in those roles. ‘So it is about men recognising good candidates, whether they are male or female, whether they are young or old, and providing them with any help and assistance they’re looking for.’ Hutchins said the more women see other women in top roles, the more confidence they will have. She also stresses the importance of a supportive family, in her case her husband, who is also a fish farmer. So, is she his boss?

‘No, only at home!’ she laughs, explaining that he works for another firm. ‘You have to share – bringing up children [aged seven and ten] with two professional people working is just about not beating yourself up and being present in the moment when you’re together. For me, it’s been very important to have that supportive husband so it is a partnership and we’re both working in it together. ‘Women take career breaks for family, it just happens, guys don’t have the babies, women have the babies. Through my career I’ve had to think what do I do now and that’s not something a Stewart Hawthorn can mentor you through.’ They live in Cairndow, a village with a strong fish farming tradition, and many of their friends also work in the industry. Hutchins said it’s close enough to the sites, and to Uddingston, where the company is headquartered, but there is a lot of car travel. Before she took on her new job she asked the whole family what they thought, because it would affect them all. She explained the positive and the negative aspects and they were 100 per cent for it. ‘I’d love to see more women coming into the industry, I’d love to see more women having the confidence to take on higher management roles.’ The difference between men and women, she said, is that men will take a risk with a new role, whereas women worry they lack the necessary experience. ‘A guy will say, yes I can do that role, no problem, give it to me, but a woman will say, I don’t know everything about financial awareness and I need to learn about this and that. ‘If you feel you can do it, just do it, don’t hold back.’. FF

Engaging with the local community ALISON Hutchins said she would love to expand in Loch Etive but this would have to be done sensitively, with community acceptance. ‘It’s important to see jobs stay in the area. I live in a very small village which has 100 people in it and relies heavily on aquaculture and the supply chain of aquaculture. ‘Everything we do here we think, would this create an extra role. But from a business perspective it has to be worthwhile operationally. We would have to bring more expansion to create more jobs.’ She wants to embrace innovation and said just because they are trout farmers, they are not that different to salmon producers and don’t intend on being complacent. She would also like to try out some of the mechanical delousers such as the Thermolicer, although there is no need for one at the moment, and she is in constant touch with colleagues in


Farm Visit - Dawnfresh.indd 40

other companies, comparing notes about the various sea lice remedies. She has worked hard at developing good relations with the local council and makes regular visits to update them. ‘It’s just talking about what we’re doing, and if you go along and speak to them when you’re not planning to do anything it’s all the better. ‘It’s about being able to go and see people on a daily basis, it makes the conversation a lot easier if you know them and it makes even difficult conversations easier. ‘It makes it easier for them to express their concerns to you. So if they do have concerns it’s not a conflict concern, it’s, Alison, talk to me about this. ‘The last thing you want is for it to end up in a planning process and then you’re dealing with concerns at that level. You’ve gone so far down the line, spent so much money and effort, and it’s really counter-productive. How does she deal with the local opposition to the farm, from outspoken groups such as the Friends of Loch Etive? ‘They’ve become part and parcel of the daily activities, a normal part of the consideration of what we’re doing. ‘You do your best – you invite them out to see your feed barge and you engage with them where you can. Sometimes that’s not easy to do and sometimes it’s not taken up but sometimes it is. ‘We had members of the community who were not happy about the feed barge so we took them out to see it,

gave them a tour and talked about the company. ‘Whether or not they then have a better level of acceptance, they’ll certainly have a better level of appreciation. There are people who will never ever change their minds.’ Dawnfresh sends out a letter once a year to politicians, both local and national, with Highlands and islands constituents, giving them an update and inviting them to the sites. Some have taken up the offer to visit – MSPs Donald Cameron and John Finnie, for example – which can only help the drive for ‘constant communication’. ‘There’s a lot of misinformation about aquaculture and even going to the community council meeting it’s people saying, I didn’t realise that. You have to be very careful in this role and don’t assume that everyone knows everything. Either reiterate or re-explain.’ Hutchins said they don’t get many requests to come and see what they’re doing but ‘it’s when you’re trying to expand – it’s the point of change that creates the discussion’. A relatively new initiative is to put on tasting events in the community village hall and invite the community council. They have proved a success so far and she plans to do much more of these kind of demonstrations. They don’t have a formal community programme, but sponsor the local shinty team, and have given kits to the rugby team. ‘We will do as much as we can [community wise] and some of that is [beneath the radar] – the guys do beach cleans all the time because that’s where they work but they don’t think twice about it.’

09/05/2018 16:28:09

New dawn for trout farmer

Hard work keeps lice under control DAWNFRESH farm manager Greig MacPhail said they haven’t had to treat for sea lice for six months, due to cold weather, a lot of rain and good prevention methods. ‘The guys worked hard last year to keep on top of it,’ he said. He has been there for two years and in his first year there was no rain and they had to treat all winter, right up until March 2017. There are 25 people working at Loch Etive, on four farms, two large ones – Etive 6 and Etive 4 – and two smaller ones. They put in large smolts of around 300-400g, delivered by Migdale Transport’s well boat, which is usually spotted in the loch once a month, moving fish around. Alison Hutchins said the method of maintaining a very low lice threshold, constant monitoring and then zapping a pen at the first sign of a problem tends to keep lice loads under control before they spread. ‘You can do that on this scale,’ she said but gives credit to previous farm director Gideon Pringle for pioneering the methodology, which has been deployed by bigger operators, such as Marine Harvest, where he now works. She is ever conscious of the environment though and said having the weather on your side or not is a big factor. The Akva feed barge, acquired three years ago, is stationed at Etive 6, which has eight pens of 80m. The barge is still kept pristine by site manager Martin Collins who, his colleagues joke, would sleep on board given the chance. Hutchins said they might consider getting a second barge but at the moment the company is ‘taking a pause’ while she gets used to her role and then will review all the options. Community relations are very important and another barge would mean getting the neighbours on board. So, at present, the trout in Etive 4 – known as Airds Point – are fed from a boat.

Farm Visit - Dawnfresh.indd 41

MacPhail said seals have recently become a problem here, with about six or seven of them regularly hanging around the pens. Above: Meercat workboat They tend to nibble on the morts, which puts the at Etive 4. other fish off their feed and so growth is lost. There is a seal scarer, which he doesn’t have much faith in – ‘it works for about a month and then they get used to it’. But however bad the problem gets he won’t resort to guns, and it has been at least three years since Dawnfresh applied for a shooting licence. ‘I don’t believe in shooting seals – we’re in their environment, not the other way around,’ he said.


09/05/2018 16:28:28

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09/05/2018 12:19:42

Stirling careers fair

Learn the ropes, students told Industry leaders offer recruitment tips as they recall their own professional routes


HE boss of Scotland’s biggest salmon farming company told students they were more likely to get a job in his company if they’d had work experience on a farm. Ben Hadfield, managing director of Marine Harvest Scotland, said he had his first job at 15, in a water purification plant, and went back there every summer, earning £10,000 a year. Job seekers would catch his attention if they had learnt the ropes, he told his audience at the Institute of Aquaculture’s careers day, held in April. The aquaculture industry ‘was just getting started’ and the sector of the future was going to need a lot more engineers, water chemists and biologists, said Hadfield, the keynote speaker at the event – which attracted record attendance this year. The industry needed ‘make it happen people’ and while degrees and doctorates were a great start, they were not enough. ‘Work in the industry – and I do mean work!’ he advised. Spend two years in a hatchery, processing, feed production, feeding fish. It was also important to live where the job was based and not try to commute from a city. He encouraged the youngsters to ‘be vocal…never offer a criticism without offering a solution…and be a people person in order to lead’. ‘If you want to grab my attention with your CV for me to give you a management job, you need an MSc, you’ve got to work hard, you’ve got to take on responsibility for a crop of fish or a key activity within farming, then do four years of technical management, then you can have my job.’ He revealed to his young audience that he had grown up by a stream in Manchester ‘obsessed with fish’, and had taken just 14 years to rise from being a masters student to the boss of Marine Harvest Scotland. The company is on a recruitment drive, as it ramps up production next year, opens new sites, and its feed plant becomes operational at the end of the year. This, said Hadfield, had run over budget and would now cost £120 million, not £93 million as planned. The company’s Jayne Mackay, manning the Marine Harvest stand at the careers fair, said key managerial positions at the new plant, on Skye, had been filled and they were now recruiting technical roles. The jobs were being filled by a mixture of local people, some returning to the area, and outsiders. Iain Berrill, from the Scottish Salmon Producers Organisation, told students who were trying to get into the sector but were worried about being over

IoA Careers.indd 43

Above: Staff at the Marine Harvest stand Photo: Marine Harvest

qualified: ‘Don’t be afraid to start at the bottom.’ Average pay in the industry was around £28,000 and an assistant farm manager could earn £30,000. Jason Cleaversmith of Akva said in today’s world you were likely to have multiple jobs and that the aquaculture industry was ‘so young, with immense scope for growth and innovation’. He said young people should not be afraid to change direction, as he had done, but he warned about trying to be someone they weren’t. He recounted his ordeal during an interview for Oxford University, pretending he was interested in philosophy and poetry, when what he really liked was sport – it’s better to be yourself and ‘be confident in you!’ he said. Other speakers at the careers day, organised by the Aquaculture Students Association, included Philip Lyons of Coppens, the nephew of the late Pearse Lyons who established Alltech in 1980. He said his advice to young people was the same as his uncle’s advice to him: follow your passions, go


09/05/2018 16:21:50

Stirling careers fair

If you want to grab my attention with your CV you’ve got to work hard, you’ve got to take on responsibility

outside your comfort zone, be flexible, be ready to travel, challenge yourself every day – ‘don’t get it right, get it going’. Meanwhile, James Deverill, the Scotland commercial director of feed company Cargill, and – like many of the event’s speakers- a Stirling alumnus, advised Above: Students hear the youngsters: ‘If a job is in front of you, take it and use it as a stepping stone. from industry leaders, Very few of us get that dream job straight away.’ including Akva’s Ralph Bickerdike, of Scottish Sea Farms, said he had always had a ‘deep inJason Cleaversmith terest’ in fish and the marine environment, and began his studies at Plymouth (pictured with president with a BSc in marine biology. He wanted to do applied science and after a PhD of the ASA Athina at St Andrews, a post-doc position led to a job at the feed company BioMar. He Papadopoulou), and ended up working there, changing roles several times, for the next 13 years. visit farm companies ‘Your skills will take you in a certain direction,’ he said, adding that the indussuch as Dawnfresh, represented here by fish trial position taught him how to relate to people professionally. health manager Richard From there he was appointed head of fish health at Scottish Sea Farms. Hopewell. The student During the course of his career so far the industry has become much more organising team’s technical, he said, and it is critical to the continued success of the sector to Carolina Fernandez and have people who can manage this. Elizabeth Buba (top). Chris Mitchell of Pharmaq outlined his career path, from how his interest Opposite: Sam Houston in fish was sparked when he went from Sussex to work on a west coast of talks to a student on the Scotland salmon farm. SAIC stand. He also got ‘vital’ hands on experience working on a trout farm in Yorkshire in the mid-80s, learning how to farm fish and becoming familiar with the terminology of the industry. For a while, he moved between Plymouth, where he was studying, and


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Aberdeen, as he undertook a research project in Scotland – a 12-hour drive in a Ford Escort Mk 1. His career path took him first to the Marine Lab in Aberdeen, where he had a spell as a fish health inspector, travelling around the west coast. ‘It was a great introduction to the industry, travelling round Scotland, talking to the farmers, learning a huge amount, standing on the side of fish rearing facilities and having conversations about stock.’ But the job eventually became more enforcement than advice oriented and he moved on to Landcatch. Generally, if you work for a small company the range of things you’ll be asked to do is quite wide, but if you work for a big company you’ll probably be quite focused in what you do, he told the students. Mitchell, who has something of a reputation as one of the industry’s best communicators, said part of his role at Landcatch, where he was a technical sales manager, was to come up with eye catching ads to sell the products and explain to laymen about genetics and so on. ‘We’re not that good as an industry conveying technical things we do to a non-technical audience

09/05/2018 16:22:21

Learn the ropes, students told and we need to get better at it,’ he said. He joined the pharmaceutical company Pharmaq six years ago and continues trying to explain aquaculture to the wider world. He told a story about attending a conference where Dame Sally Davies, the chief medical officer for England and Wales, said that fish farmers in Scotland were ‘shovelling’ antibiotics into fish. He had a word with her afterwards, telling her she was wrong. ‘She sort of took it on board but actually she didn’t because she carried on trotting out this stuff out about antimicrobial use in fish which was bad for the industry and incorrect.’ While production has gone up, antibiotic use has gone down. Then, at a conference she hosted recently to launch a fund for innovation to reduce the use of antimicrobials in food producing animals, she changed her mind. Dame Sally said: ‘Do you know what, they vaccinate fish!’ She had visited a fish vaccination process. So, it took time but the message about fish farmers vaccinating fish got through at last to Davies, said Mitchell. Tom Ashton of Xelect co-founded his company

with Ian Johnston, his tutor from St Andrews, in 2012 following his PhD looking into genetic variation in farmed salmon. They built the business from the ground up, offering a genetics service for finfish and shellfish farmers. He said while genetics is fundamental to aquaculture growth, finding the best broodstock for farming, at present some 85 per cent of production is not using genetics. However, the situation is changing fast and Xelect is pioneering support for aquaculture through selective breeding programme management, and offers services such as genotyping, triploidy testing, flesh quality analyses and pathogen detection. Ashton said he needs highly skilled staff – he has taken on a scientist with a human genetics background- but a breeding programme manager also needs people with experience of aquaculture and an understanding of fish. All staff have to adapt from an academic mindset, which has given them the skills, to a sharp commercial focus, which is essential for a small company like Xelect. FF

Developing young aquaculture talent access into management and “It’syouquick get to see the whole business ”

THERE were 14 stands at the Aquaculture Careers Day, with Marine Harvest, the Scottish Salmon Company, Scottish Sea Farms, and Dawnfresh among the producers present, alongside the Scottish Aquaculture Innovation Centre (SAIC) and MSD Animal Health. Sam Houston, a recent PhD student at the Institute of Aquaculture, has just been made a Knowledge Exchange Office at SAIC, which involves distributing EMFF funding. He is on SAIC’s junior executive development programme, along with 10 to 12 other young people in the early stage of their careers, and has been instructed in skills such as preparing an ‘elevator pitch’ so he can talk to clients effectively. He is now on a one-year contract at SAIC having worked there since completing his PhD in February. Dawnfresh Farming had a well manned stand, with some of its younger employees explaining to potential recruits the company’s graduate programme, aimed at identifying the next generation of aquaculture talent. During the 18-month programme, participants get involved in all areas of the company – from hatchery and juvenile production to feed planning, stock planning, and regulatory compliance, and at the end they are expected to have acquired the ‘attitude, aptitude and skills’ to move into a management role. Dawnfresh’s Matthew Anderson joined the company’s graduate scheme after graduating in 2014 with a degree in aquaculture, realising that the fish farming industry was ‘going to be massive’. Two recruits – the other was Marcos Garcia, now working for Marine Harvest in Anglesey – became the first intake. Matthew is now assistant manager at Tervine on Loch Awe, the freshwater site, which produces around 850 tonnes of trout. He found the training scheme invaluable, progressing straight from there into a management role. ‘It’s quick access into management and you get to see the whole business, from hatcheries, to on-growing and harvesting, and the commercial side,’ he said. Barry Thomson, the Scottish Salmon Company’s HR man, said there was great interest from students throughout the careers day. ‘Lots of students are finishing in August and we’ve got vacancies all over the place, from Edinburgh [the company headquarters] to the farm sites.’ The careers day had been ‘100 per cent’ more productive in terms of interest and enquiries than other recent local careers fairs he had attended. ‘We’ve spoken to many more kids today and they’re so interested.’ The president of the Aquaculture Students Aassociation, Athina Papadopoulou, said more than 150 people had registered at this year’s event and she was ‘overwhelmed’ by the support.

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09/05/2018 16:22:40

Brussels – Seafood Expo Global 2018

Let’s go Scotland! Minister welcomes salmon sector’s growth


COTLAND’S salmon farmers were given wholehearted backing by rural affairs minister Fergus Ewing as he championed their plans for growth during a speech on the first day of the Brussels seafood expo last month. Seafood is very important to Scotland, and food and drink are the most rapidly growing sectors of the economy, with Scottish salmon worth £600 million in exports last year, said Ewing, Cabinet Secretary for the Rural Economy and Connectivity, at a reception at the Scottish pavilion on April 24. ‘We fully support the plans for sustainable growth that the Industry Leadership Group have to double production by 2030. ‘But we don’t just want growth for growth’s sake. We want that growth because of what it can do in providing to the world the most nutritious food that there is with the lowest carbon footprint, and from the country that has the freshest marine environment.’ The minister’s comments came as the salmon industry in Scotland undergoes an investigation by MSPs, and they were welcomed by the large turn-out of Scottish producers, suppliers, retailers and processors at the evening event. Ewing said he had spent the day in meetings with the Scottish salmon companies and they were ‘a real credit to Scotland’. ‘I for one am absolutely determined that the success of yesterday


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is going to be redoubled tomorrow as you continue to provide farmed salmon of the top quality all over the world.’ Some 21 Scottish companies took stand space within the Scotland pavilion in Hall 9 this year, while an additional 21 firms were attending independently, all hoping to secure millions of pounds of new business. Last year, Scottish firms identified new opportunities worth a predicted £33 million, a figure they were aiming to exceed at this year’s exhibition. The minister met key political figures and influential international buyers interested in sourcing fish and seafood from Scottish companies. ‘It’s great to have the opportunity to showcase Scotland’s world famous seafood products to buyers across the globe, at what is the biggest annual event in this industry,’ he said. ‘Scottish seafood exports were worth £944 million last year – making a big contribution to a record £6 billion year for food and drink exports. ‘That’s largely down to the endeavours of some great Scottish companies who catch, grow and process fantastic Scottish products. ‘In spite of the uncertainty being caused by Brexit, our message in Brussels this week is that Scotland is very much still open for business - with the EU and other international markets.’

“oneI foram

absolutely determined that the success of yesterday is going to be redoubled tomorrow

09/05/2018 16:07:25

Let’s go Scotland!

Clockwise from top: The Scottish pavilion; Jim Gallagher (second left) with his Scottish Sea Farms colleagues; the SSPO’s David Sandison and Veronique Ehanno; Fergus Ewing at the Scottish reception; Marine Harvest’s Steve Bracken (right)with Ivor Johnson of Johnson Marine. Pictures: Scott Binnie

Later he told Fish Farmer that it was a ‘team effort’ to grow the salmon farming industry and that the producers were determined to tackle disease challenges together and had had considerable success, with one farmer telling him disease was down more than 80 per cent on the previous year. But this message wasn’t getting out – ‘they realise they have a communication challenge’, said Ewing, adding that he was working in a ‘co-production’ with the sector through the Fish Health Management Framework. They know they need to farm sustainably and demonstrably overcome the challenges, and he was confident they would do that. ‘I’m determined to give what leadership I can to make sure that no matter what challenges are thrown at it you double growth,’ he said at the reception, organised by Seafood Scotland. ‘Let’s do it…let’s go Scotland!’ Patrick Hughes, head of Seafood Scotland, which coordinated the Scottish delegation, alongside Scottish Development International, said: ‘In 2017, Scottish seafood exporters added around £176 million of new business, some sparked by meetings that take place at the key expos in Brussels, Tokyo and Boston. ‘The Scottish shellfish, salmon, white fish and pelagic producers and growers that invest in coming to Brussels are serious about doing business. ‘They will have the opportunity to meet influential buyers from all over the world, who are seeking reliable supplies of clean, sustainable and traceable fish and seafood – and Scotland can meet that brief better than most. ‘The impact will show in next year’s figures – but, put simply, what happens here over three days will have a significant impact on incomes, jobs and local communities across Scotland.’ FF

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09/05/2018 16:08:23

Brussels – Seafood Expo Global 2018

Scotland open for business, says seafood chief


ISH Farmer caught up with Patrick Hughes, head of Seafood Scotland since January 2017 and at his second Brussels expo. He said it was an ‘uncertain time’ with Brexit and there was a question mark over what will happen to the funding network beyond 2019. But Scotland Food and Drink issued a strategy last year to double the value of the sector to £30 billion by 2030 and now they have to think about how they are going to achieve that. Seafood Scotland is launching its own seafood strategy action plan in May, said Hughes, and this will spell out what needs to be done in terms of market development and bringing in skills. ‘A lot of companies are struggling to find labour and have concerns about future recruitment,’ he said. In the north east of Scotland, 70 per cent of workers in the sector are migrants, and this goes up to 90 per cent in some areas. ‘How do we retain them post Brexit and how do we turn these jobs into a more skilled workforce?’ The sector has to use innovation and technology to reduce its reliance on labour, and the future will be about employing fewer people but in better jobs. Scottish salmon is a premium product – it has a strong provenance message and is sought the world over. The industry has to satisfy the demand

without disappointing people, but it has got to be an ‘organic growth’. ‘The export partnership is all about sustainability and responsibility – these words are now in the sector’s psyche,’ said Hughes. It took great strides to get to the level of third party certification, such as GAA’s BAP (best aquaculture practices), which the Scottish Salmon Company had now secured. From the consumers’ point of view, it may look like a crowded landscape as far as standards go but from a business point of view they are key to securing business. For example, the Scottish Salmon Company is exporting to the US market, and from a business to business perspective, having accreditation is critical. Hughes is from Belfast and after studying in Aberdeen he ended up staying in Scotland. He has worked in vegetable processing, salmon processing, and in white fish processing - focusing on the food service sector. And he worked for Highlands and Islands Enterprise as a food and drink consultant, developing farmers markets, before coming back full circle Above: Patrick Hughes. to the seafood sector. Right: Spain’s Juan He said it was good for Seafood Scotland to have its own seafood action Ignacio Montfort and plan, which the team has been working on since last summer. Riku Isohataia of Finland ‘We’ve had a lengthy series of engagements to see what worked well and discuss their markets see what could work better.’ with Søren Martens of These took the form of a series of engagement dinners involving 150 comFish Pool. panies, from the small players to the large salmon farmers such as Marine Harvest and the Scottish Salmon Company. Hughes said it was a helpful exercise in laying out all the issues in the sector and the results will be published shortly. In Brussels, Seafood Scotland wanted to promote the message that Scotland is open for business – ‘a lot of business takes place at the expo, it’s not just about networking,’ said Hughes.

Tartan trademark taste of things to come THE Scottish Salmon Company used Brussels to launch its new Label Rouge Tartan Salmon, which chief executive Craig Anderson said differentiates it from its competitors. Aimed at the European market, it is the company’s best quality product. ‘We’re premiumising it,’ said Anderson, adding that market research was undertaken in France’s second biggest city, Lyon, a ‘fishy city’, before they decided to trademark Tartan Salmon. The company launched its Lochlander Salmon in Boston earlier in the year for the North American market and for the Far East, and Anderson believes IP ownership is an increasingly important part of the seafood business in world markets and we’re likely to see more of it in the future. The Scottish Salmon Company’s exports have risen significantly in the past year, and 60 per cent of its salmon is now sold overseas. Anderson said ‘brand recognition saves a lot of potential embarrassment. With new territory you


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need to know your brand is protected in that market.’ The company’s Native Hebridean Salmon, unveiled in Brussels in 2016, has won awards for innovation, and visitors to the company’s stand were given samples to taste, thanks to chef Robbie Zaal, otherwise known as Dokter Sushi. Anderson was due to appear before the Rural Economy and Connectivity committee shortly after the expo, as part of its inquiry into the Scottish salmon farming industry. He said: ‘I’m absolutely delighted they have given me the chance to give the perspective of the Scottish Salmon Company and the Scottish salmon industry to the committee. ‘We want to be transparent and open and always have been. For the first time the industry is working in unison – we are friends at sea and competitors in the market. I would challenge any other food business to match that.’

Above: Su Cox and Craig Anderson with the Scottish Salmon Company’s tartan Salmon.

09/05/2018 16:09:36

Brussels – Seafood Expo Global 2018

Salmon market surprisingly robust says DNB DESPITE the volatility of salmon prices, the robustness of the market has surprised analysts, DNB’s Alexander Aukner told an audience of producers and traders at the DNB/Fish Pool seminar on the eve of the Seafood Expo. Aukner, an equity analyst at the Norwegian bank, said the ‘super cycle’ is set to continue, prices are at a record high for the time of year, and the market has to re-evaluate what a high salmon price is. ‘Muted’ supply growth of between five and seven per cent was predicted for the year ahead, with the industry expecting volumes of 2.4 million tonnes in 2018. ‘We’re struggling to see where the supplies will come from,’ he said – Norway and Chile, mainly, while ‘fantastic’ new players, such as Iceland, would take time to develop. Looking at factors that could change global supply, he listed the regulatory/political risks in Norway and Chile if there were changes to the current framework. Another risk, if not to the supply or price, but to the share price, would be increased taxation on salmon farmers. And new technologies –‘if they work’ - could also affect supply. Land based farming is the biggest and most credible ‘threat’ when it comes to supply from new technologies (or regions), he suggested, mentioning Atlantic Sapphire, which is investing millions in closed containment salmon farming in Miami. But it will be some time before there is any evidence that this has worked. Several projects are ongoing, but most are still on the drawing board and it would be well into 2022–2025 before meaningful output hits the market. Turning to where demand might come from, he forecast one million tonnes of new demand over the next 10 years, principally from China (with a possible 420 million middle class consumers) and the US, if these markets matched current EU per capita consumption levels. There is much potential in new markets, with new regions accounting for 29 per cent of consumption in 2017, compared to 17 per cent in 2002. He observed that retail initiatives drive new growth in seafood, and in the UK, for instance, the trend was for more ready-made meals. Juan Ignacio Montfort, of the Spanish seafood company Copesca & Sefrisa, said in Spain, where fish consumption is high and there are 20 to 30 species in fishmongers, salmon is popular with people who don’t want to ‘do the work’ preparing fish. It is a great product for millennials but, he said ‘take care with the price because they may not want to work but they are not stupid!’ Salmon ‘disappears’ when prices go up and once the market is destroyed by high prices it takes three to four months to build it up again in Spain. People will substitute smoked salmon with something different, like cheese, but with fresh salmon the substitute is other species of fish. Montfort said to win market share for his brand he didn’t rely on marketing but on quality - by consistently delivering a very good product year after year. Asked which country’s salmon was the best, he said salmon is like wine, and you can find good and bad wines in all areas. ‘It’s the same with salmon, but it is either good or very good – there is no bad salmon in Norway,’ he told his mostly Norwegian audience. Dag Sletmo of DNB said salmon’s success story is not only about production but about markets, and new export countries were a driver for growth. Mature markets can be revitalised by new products and channels, but it was China’s new channel – Alibaba – that had the ‘wow factor’. This online superstore, bigger than Amazon and eBay combined, is still in its early days but concepts like this will drive market growth, make people rethink their market strategies and help level the playing field by lowering barriers to entry. Outlets such as Alibaba and Amazon provide simpler and cheaper ways for smaller producers to distribute fish, said Sletmo. ‘Innovative retailers will be the winners.’

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Salmon is like wine, and you can find good and bad wines in all areas


09/05/2018 16:09:59

Brussels – Seafood Expo Global 2018

Wrasse get passports to travel to show

Brussels briefs Andrew Mallison, who is working out his six months’ notice as director general of IFFO, was in Brussels to attend the GAA (Global Aquaculture Alliance) meeting, as an observer, ahead of taking on the role as the organisation’s new executive director. Mallison is preparing to relocate to Boston for the GAA and said he is ‘very excited about the new challenge’. He replaces Wally Stevens, who has been in the post since 2007. IFFO is in the process of recruiting a new director general. Johan Kvalheim, formerly of MSD Animal Health, was meeting potential new clients at the expo, after launching his own seafood business earlier in the year with three partners. Called Star Seafood, it will be specialise in exporting salmon and trout to European markets, and involves former executives from Norway’s biggest salmon exporter, Coast Seafood.

Above: Gilpin Bradley with the wrasse ‘passports’ on the Wester Ross stand


ESTER Ross Salmon boss Gilpin Bradley was taking no chances this year with his precious cargo of wrasse, attending Seafood Expo for the second time. Last year, he transported the live fish, along with a variety of other marine life found around the farms, by train – first class, of course. It was quite an operation and inevitably the wrasse, displayed on the Wester Ross stand in the Scottish pavilion, stole the show. This led to enquiries about documentation for the cleaner fish, so this time, to ensure their smooth transit, Bradly secured individual passports for each of them, courtesy of Marine Scotland. They were air freighted, via Inverness and Heathrow, arriving in good health. Two were in the tank on the Wester Ross stand, while another two kept a nearby display of crabs company. The wrasse deserved the special attention because of the work they have done keeping Wester Ross farms treatment free for the past four years. Bradley, sporting a rosette with the words ‘All natural’, said since introducing the biological solution to sea lice, the company has not had to use any medicines or mechanical tools. ‘Operational practice has a big impact on options for using novel treatments – the use of cleaner fish lends itself to the way we operate, which is very labour intensive. ‘Looking after fish health for us is looking after the wrasse – if their needs are met, the salmon will perform well.’ Nicolas Holmes, the fish health manager at West-


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er Ross, said they check for sea lice once a week, in line with other producers, and report to the SSPO. A combination of a low stocking density and low stress farming practices result in less stressed fish. There is a one per cent stocking density of wrasse, all of which come from local wild stocks. ‘Once the fish are in the sea we leave them there so stress levels are as good as they can be.’ There is no AGD (amoebic gill disease) on the farm either, said Holmes, who advocates a ‘holistic’ approach to fish health management, with smaller cages of 15m square and hand feeding also playing a part. ‘We hand feed so we’re observing the fish twice a day every day of the year therefore it’s obvious if there is a problem.’ He believes the successful methods at Wester Ross – which produces 2,000 tonnes – could be replicated on a larger scale with very careful management. Bradley told an STV crew visiting the stand that Scottish salmon is worth more to the UK economy than the landed value of the UK fishing industry. ‘Sixty five per cent of the stand space in the Scottish pavilion is Scottish salmon, either producers or processors of salmon – it’s critical to the success of Seafood Scotland. And the Scottish government is 100 per cent behind us.’ Bradley, in common with other Scottish producers, would like to grow, in order to keep up with demand. He now sells 60 per cent of his salmon outside Europe, with 50 per cent going to the US. There is also a focus on Asian markets.’

Steven Rafferty, the former managing director of Skretting, was reconnecting with his fish farming contacts after starting work as director of a new aquaculture division within oil and gas giant Global Aquaculture. The company has diversified into offshore farming designs and created SalMar’s Ocean Farm 1 concept, the huge semi-submersible structure moored off the coast of central Norway. Scotland born Rafferty said that after 10 years living in Norway, he is now moving to London, where Global Maritime has a base and from where he will apply the company’s offshore expertise to growing the aquaculture industry. Steve Bracken, Marine Harvest Scotland’s business support manager, was attending what will probably be his last Brussels show, before his retirement this summer. He has been going to the expo for more than a decade, in his current role, but has been with the company for 41 years, which makes him the longest serving employee. Former Dawnfresh Farming boss Stewart Hawthorn was at the show in his capacity as owner and director of Trimara Services, which markets the New Zealand made AutoBoss net cleaner in Scotland, and also handles UK sales of Skaginn seafood processing equipment. Ace Aquatec’s Nathan Pyne-Carter was just back from New Zealand, where he sold two of his electric stunners, one to New Zealand King Salmon and the other to Sanford. It’s the first business for the company in New Zealand and Nathan said there was a lot of interest when Sanford’s stunner was being fitted to its new barge. He had just announced news of his prestigious Queen’s Award for Innovation, and revealed that he will be going to Buckingham Palace on June 20.

09/05/2018 16:11:42

Brussels – Seafood Expo Global 2018

‘It makes sense to buy Pinneys’ says St James Smokehouse boss THE owner of the award winning Scottish salmon company St James Smokehouse said speculation that he was planning to buy Pinneys was correct. Brendan Maher said he and his factory manager, Leo Sprott, had spent 10 hours at the factory in Annan, which Young’s Seafood has put up for sale. ‘We spent 10 hours there looking at it and getting a feel for the building, and to see if we can change the way they operate and make it more efficient,’ Maher told Fish Farmer during the Seafood Expo show, where St James Smokehouse was exhibiting as part of the Scottish pavillion. He said it made perfect sense to take on Pinneys because they both do smoked salmon and were both based in Annan, with many of their staff interchangeable over the years. Maher, who set up his business in 2003, said his goal then was to be as good as Pinneys, ‘the Rolls Royce of smoked salmon, the benchmark’. ‘Fast forward and we’re doing better than them,’ he said, suggesting Pinneys had made a mistake in only having one customer, Marks & Spencer, which ended its contract recently. Maher said the company also lost its focus of being the Rolls Royce of smoked salmon when it decided to diversify into other products.

Contrary to previous reports, he said he wouldn’t be able to retain all 450 staff at the site, but hoped to employ a maximum of 100. ‘No company on planet earth could retain 450 there and remain profitable,’ he said. St James Smokehouse currently employs 100 staff in Scotland and a further 50 in the US, where Maher has set up another smokehouse in Miami, spending £7-8 million on the project. He described it as a ‘cool’ smokehouse, more like an Apple store than a fish facility. He said he wanted people to drive past and then go in and ask for an iPhone 10 because they thought it was an Apple store. ‘I’ve built an Apple store! It’s not your usual stinky fish factory. It’s minimalist, serene with lots of glass… and a terrace of orange trees.’

Above: Brendan Maher


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09/05/2018 16:12:09

Brussels – Seafood Expo Global 2018

Time for Plan Bee at Loch Duart

Above: Loch Duart’s Alban Denton (centre) with colleagues and friends

IT was bees rather than salmon than caught Fish Farmer’s eye on Loch Duart’s stand. The company, which farms in Sutherland and the Hebrides, is working in partnership with Plan Bee – Biodiversity Champions, to preserve Britain’s honey bee populations. Bee hives have been installed on its Sutherland and Uist locations, as part of the project. Loch Duart’s Andy Bing said there are very few bees in north west Sutherland so the initiative is partly to pollinate plants and partly to educate schoolchildren. This was not about aquaculture, he said, but community benefit – ‘we are committed to environmental sustainability not only in the seas where salmon is raised but in the communities where people work.’ The company’s brand ambassador, chef Patrick Evans, has even devised a honey glazed Loch Duart salmon recipe. Bing said Loch Duart wanted to be ‘as open and transparent as possible’ and was committed to engaging with the communities where it farms. They recently showed three ghillies and a head stalker from the local salmon river around the farm. They hadn’t been to Loch Duart before but have family members who work there and were fascinated, said Bing. He said people in the community had no idea about the glamorous places Loch Duart salmon ends up in, with Rick Stein and Raymond Blanc both customers. ‘It’s very important in the current political climate to make sure everyone knows what we do. We have to think of more practical ways of being more transparent and open. We’re a small company, and can only do what we can. We just have to go out and do our job well.’ Bing and Loch Duart managing director Alban Denton agreed there was a lot of positivity in the industry. Asked about Fergus Ewing’s speech at the Scottish reception the previous night, Denton said: ‘It’s difficult not to be happy with what Fergus said, he was very positive and supportive and realistic about the challenges and the need for them to be navigated.’ He said everyone wants sustainable growth in the industry and every business should have ambitions, but they don’t just have to be ambitions to grow; companies can also be ambitious about being more sustainable, or about doing more things for the community.


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Steering Scottish interests Trawlerman Jimmy Buchan on giving processors a new voice at Brexit table SEAFOOD processors have a new voice to ensure their interests are protected in Brexit, Fergus Ewing announced at the Scottish reception in Brussels. That voice is Jimmy Buchan, known throughout the industry, and he is spearheading the recently formed Scottish Seafood Processors Federation. ‘We have seen Brexit unfold and we haven’t been invited to the table,’ Buchan told Fish Farmer. ‘We’re creating history here. For many years processing bodies talked about having one body but there was no impetus.’ The two existing processing associations – the Scottish Seafood Association (SSA) and the Scottish Pelagic Processors Association - are two different sectors, although they both represent processors. Buchan told a recent meeting that, 18 months into Brexit negotiations, processors hadn’t made one statement or made one demand. This appears to have provided the necessary motivation and the two bodies, as well as a few independent companies, agreed that they had to work together. Buchan’s role in the SSA, which he has represented since last year, meant he was an obvious choice to lead the new group in the interim, until a board is put together and official appointments are made. But it would be a surprise if someone better came along to replace him. He said he was ‘proud’ to have been asked to lead the federation and would be happy to take it forward. A familiar face as the star of the BBC series Trawlermen, he has more than 40 years’ experience as a fisherman and skipper, as well as a political track record, having contested Banff and Buchan (unsuccessfully) for the Conservatives in 2010. He said he hoped the federation’s board would be in place within weeks – ‘we have to move swiftly. We need good representation of all sectors exporting Scottish seafood – salmon, white fish and pelagics. ‘If all are covered under one group, when that voice speaks, it speaks with authority and the backing of the collective processing group.’ Buchan said the new group would engage both with the Scottish and Westminster governments, to raise processors’ concerns about Brexit. ‘Devolution means the business environment is controlled by the Scottish government, but Westminster still has authority on access to markets, and migration of course. ‘Post Brexit we’ll still need migrant workers but they shouldn’t just have to come from the EU. If particular countries have expertise in, say, fish filleting or shucking scallops, we should target them and get them here.’ He acknowledged that a lot of people in the UK don’t want to work with fish, but insisted there are good careers to be had in seafood processing. Continued next page Right: Jimmy Buchan

09/05/2018 16:15:45


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Visit us at AquaCulture UK 2018 Stand No. 149

09/05/2018 12:20:27

Brussels – Seafood Expo Global 2018

‘We’ve created an environment where we have high level seafood but we need the people to produce that, at the right cost. ‘It’s not just about using knives on the factory floor – there are jobs in IT, marketing, new product development, machine maintenance. There are lots of skills in factories that need skilled people. ‘There is a lot of automation now, which will help the sector to remain competitive. We must go to automation and robotics.’ He went to Iceland recently to see what they are doing in this area. They faced the same recruitment problems Scotland does now, and part of how they solved that was through investing heavily in developing technology such as robotics. ‘And that doesn’t mean losing jobs because people are needed to create and then maintain the robotics.’ Buchan also warned that Scotland should develop more routes to market – by opening up Prestwick airport, for instance, so that not everything has to go through Heathrow. ‘Also, post Brexit we shouldn’t depend on the Channel Tunnel. The French can hold producers to ransom on a whim and I would encourage the government to resurrect sea freight to Europe, from Rosyth for example.’ [The decision to close the freight ferry service from Rosyth to Zeebrugge in Belgium was announced just as Seafood Expo was getting underway. The route had continued to make losses, said operator DFDS Seaways.] The vision to grow Scotland’s food and drink sector to £30 billion meant meeting demand from international markets, said Buchan. ‘We must make sure the door is not ajar but kept wide open and welcome for our processors to get fantastic seafood into Europe. There are 500 million people in Europe, it’s our core market.’ He said he understood why the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation wanted to

exit the EU, and insisted that processors supported their vision. ‘We need more raw material. But from this side of the table we have to sell that raw material. That’s where a successful Brexit will be. We want everyone to collectively work and stop bickering and try to make a success of it. ‘It’s about communities in rural coastal areas. It’s an opportunity to get life back into those areas.’

We must make sure the door is not ajar but kept wide open

Family team mussel in on new markets FISH Farmer sat down with the Holmyards of Offshore Shellfish after a long second day at the show, during which they had been looking at equipment, meeting potential new customers, sizing up innovative shellfish products and bumping into old friends. The Scottish pavilion was a reasonable substitute for being back in Scotland, which Nicki and John left four years ago to set up their venture off the south west coast of England, after 20 years farming mussels in Loch Etive. Now based in Brixham, their pioneering venture – which involves their younger son George and daughter Sarah - has transformed

Left: The Holmyards and Owain Wynn-Jones (right), head of market development


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into a fast growing enterprise, with the future full of possibilities. The UK’s first large scale offshore rope cultured mussel farm, it uses rope and anchor technology adapted by John and George, and a float designed by John and made by Fusion Marine, to cultivate the native blue mussel, Mytilus edulis, on suspended ropes off Lyme Bay, South Devon The Holmyards have just taken delivery of a new boat, the 25.6m Holly Mai, named after John and Nicki’s granddaughter. The vessel can carry 50 tonnes compared to the six tonne capacity of their existing boat, the Alysée (the name of their first granddaughter). This amounts to two truckloads (of about 22 tonnes each) which, said John, is a good day’s work The boat is built to withstand the poor weather that can hit the exposed farm, as it has the space to bring in the whole harvest very quickly if necessary. John said it is the first of several vessels they will buy, with the next due to be commissioned next year, so it’s in place when production steps up. The 15.2m Alysée meanwhile – described by John as a ‘Swiss Army knife kind of boat’ that does everything – was designed for putting in anchoring systems but doubled up as a harvester. They use screw anchors from New Zealand and the little

boat, built to accommodate the hydraulic anchor drill, will be used mainly in this role now. John said they have only built a quarter of the farm - 200 lines - but they have permission for 800 lines altogether. So it’s still a long way to full production – maybe four to five years, he reckons. ‘We’ve solved the bulk of the technical issues, and sorted out the biological problems – we know how to grow them. So we’re confident now to carry on growing the farm.’ Brussels was partly to look at market opportunities – currently most of the crop is sold, in one tonne bags, to the Netherlands. John said they would like to develop the UK market, which is tiny at the moment but dumping loads of mussels on to it is not the way to do this. ‘The UK consumer needs something new in front of them and we’re working on that,’ he said. Most mussels are sold through supermarkets that outlet is ‘not saturated but it’s getting fairly wet’, said John. The food service sector is one they feel is neglected and that’s what they will be targeting. There is also talk of processing their own product in the future, to develop the UK market. Nothing new has been done for a long time, said Nicki – ‘we want to see what the younger generation might want’.

09/05/2018 16:17:01

Brussels – Seafood Expo Global 2018

Great Danes

But RAS experts must look beyond salmon DENMARK has pioneered recirculating aquaculture systems and Danish RAS experts are currently very busy, selling their technology to Norway, Scotland, Canada, Chile, the Faroe Islands – wherever salmon is farmed. ‘That’s because the salmon companies have the money to invest in post smolt facilities and there is a lot of interest in this, especially in Norway where they can utilise their licences in a better way with stronger fish and shorter grow-out times,’ said Jesper Heldbo, director of AquaCircle, a Danish knowledge cluster with recirculating aquaculture systems. But he warned that the Danes were perhaps too focused on salmon and there are other species out there. ‘They can still do salmon but they should do both. If they keep focusing on salmon their competitors will creep up on them. The world moves on.’ Heldbo, who was with the Danish Fish Tech Group – which represented more than 30 suppliers exhibiting in Brussels, said other countries were developing their RAS technology and Denmark needs to ‘take the next step - there are lots of fast followers’. The Danish companies are doing very well and their turnover is high, but now other countries such as Australia are snapping at their heels. ‘I fear that the salmon industry will break their necks in five to ten years.’ He was concerned about the generic problems associated with RAS, such as energy costs, and said a lot must be spent improving the technologies. ‘Why are we not solving these problems with solar panels? A German RAS company is now using solar panels. And there is a lack of knowledge about what’s going on in the biofilter units – you need to monitor the gasses.’ If nitrogen levels, for instance, get too low, ammonia is produced and it kills the fish, he explained. There have been some big losses in RAS systems – the Danish company

Above: Jesper Heldbo

If they keep focusing on salmon their competitors will creep up on them

Atlantic Sapphire lost 250 tonnes and about a month ago Marine Harvest lost 500 tonnes in a unit in Norway, he said. ‘I’m worried about the technology for producing post-smolts. In saltwater it takes time for the bacteria in the biofilter to fully adapt. They are building systems on the basis of freshwater technology, don’t have all the answers.’ However, Danish technology remains at the forefront for now and is behind the companies building massive land based salmon plants in the US and Norway. Heldbo would like to see the Danes move into new species, such as tilapia, and in May he was due to go to Brazil with a group called Greenlapia. The plan was to provide the key elements of RAS technology such as raceways, with the rest of the equipment sourced locally. Those involved in this venture include Oxyguard (Heldbo’s firm), CM Aqua and Aller Aqua.


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09/05/2018 16:19:30

Book review - Cleaner Fish Biology and Aquaculture Applications

Timely tome Wealth of technical data likely to be incorporated into husbandry protocols By Dr Ralph Bickerdike the perspective background to the rise of cleaner fish. This gives in-depth reviews of the biological aspects in the key species, including the rearing of ballan wrasse, annual reproductive cycles in wild caught goldsinny and rock cook, and hatchery management of lumpfish, with deployment of both wrasse and lumpfish. There is a wealth of useful technical data representing significant investments from publicly funded research, as well as from the aquaculture industry, presented across the chapters for collective benefit, that will be referred to and incorporated into husbandry protocols for many years to come. The following eight chapters, Advances in cleaner fish science, describe the latest learnings and experiences in cleaner fish nutrition and feeding practices, population genetics of cleaner fish in the wild, and cleaner fish health, immunology and vaccinology. Our understanding of the critical health issues that can affect cleaner fish has indicated they have highly complex immune systems and that developed vaccines have shown good protection against some of the key pathogens. But this is an area that requires further investments in research and development to keep pace with the increased use of cleaner fish. The important subject of cleaner fish welfare is also addressed, with practical Operational Welfare Indicators (OWI) suggested as morphological, behavioural, physiological and environmental. The use of OWIs should be adopted in routine protocols by all producers of cleaner fish and when deployed with farmed salmon. Although much of the book is dedicated to cleaner fish raised in hatcheries, Edited by Jim Treasurer there is still a lack of availability of sufficient cleaner fish of farmed origin, parPublished by 5m Books, hardcover, ticularly wrasse species, to meet the demand by the salmon farming sector. 464 pages, £150 The requirement for wild caught wrasse for use in aquaculture remains and therefore exploitation of the fisheries must be sustainable, even though it ITH the recent rise and almost exponencan represent a minor fraction of total wrasse caught for bait by commercial tial growth in the use of cleaner fish as an fishermen. effective biological control for ectoparaLumpfish production in hatcheries is still dependant on wild caught broodsites of farmed salmonids, it is very timely stock for supply of roe and fertilised eggs. In chapter 17, the fisheries for that a new book has recently been published. cleaner fish species in Europe are outlined, with the management measures Titled Cleaner Fish Biology and Aquaculture Appli- described by the competent authorities in different countries. cations, this landmark publication brings together The final section, Cleaner Fish Developments in Countries, provides national contributions from more than 60 world renowned perspectives and statistics from Norway, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Iceland, researchers and professionals, and fish producers the Faroes, Canada and Chile. providing insights of the latest research findings and These developments have been driven by the search for non-medicinal applied knowhow. approaches to sea lice control and where cleaner fish can, as part of Integrated The book has four main sections with comprePest Management strategies, provide a natural and effective alternative. hensive reviews in 25 chapters, covering the main Many of the national initiatives are underpinned with research showing that topics of cleaner fish, including biology and reprowe are still at an early stage in the application, but where all parties continue in ductive physiology, hatchery rearing, wild catch and collaboration to find innovative solutions for optimising the husbandry condisustainability issues, transport, and improvements tions for welfare and effectiveness of cleaner fish. in deployment protocols for fish welfare, as well as While the authors intended this book to be a discussion point in the improvefor optimisation for use as a biological control in the ment of cleaner fish as a sea lice control, to prompt further dialogue, developmajor salmonid farming countries. ment and collaboration, which it clearly does, the sheer depth and volume of Concluding insights into the future of cleaner fish new knowledge contained within should not be underestimated. are provided by the editor, Jim Treasurer of FAI AqWith the content being peer reviewed by recognised experts in the field, uaculture, Ardtoe. A useful set of technical sheets we can be assured as to the credibility of the detail, as well as oversight of the can be found in the appendix, which summarise the most recent published work. key rearing parameters for each species of cleaner This book is expected to become a cornerstone aquaculture text for cleaner fish. fish hatchery managers, farmed salmon producers, researchers, regulators, The first section, Biology and rearing of wrasse students and enthusiasts alike. and lumpfish, consisting of nine chapters, provides Dr Ralph Bickerdike is head of Fish Health and Technical at Scottish Sea Farms. FF

Cleaner Fish Biology and Aquaculture Applications



Book Review.indd 56

The sheer “depth and

volume of new knowledge contained within should not be underestimated

Above: Welcome information for the industry.

09/05/2018 15:58:14

Aquaculture UK

Industry set for biggest show yet

Record Aviemore exhibition gets ready to open doors


ORE than 160 companies will descend on the Highlands resort of Aviemore later this month, as Aquaculture UK gets underway. The show, which runs from May 23-24, is set to be 50 per cent bigger than the previous event in 2016, said the organisers, with expanded space for stands, both inside and outside. ‘Activity has ramped up as we near the show, the response to the event has been great and we are seeing increased numbers of exhibitors and visitors,’ said Susan Tinch, event manager. The main focus for most is the exhibition floor, with about 60 per cent of exhibitors being UK businesses, and the rest from Europe, Asia, the Americas, and Australia. A series of seminars has been organised to run alongside the exhibition, the highlight of which promises to be a session on cleaner fish, on May 24. A panel of eight experts, including Jim Treasurer, the former research director of FAI Ardtoe Marine Laboratory, aims to identify current technical issues with cleaner fish husbandry and deployment. Other panel members are Carolina Gutierrez Rabadan, Marine Harvest Scotland; Sonia Rey Planellas, Institute of Aquaculture; Chris Hempleman, Scottish Sea Farms; Richard Prickett, Dorset Cleaner Fish Ltd; Andrew Davie, Institute of Aquaculture; and Allan MacMaster, FAI Aquaculture, Aultbea Hatchery. Also on the second day of the exhibition, delegates are invited to a networking breakfast promoting gender equality in aquaculture, with theme ‘Supporting the future of aquaculture by encouraging diversity in the workforce’. Staged by 5m Publishing’s Fish Site, the breakfast will offer an opportunity for delegates to network informally and share ideas with a panel of senior industry

representatives. These will include Ben Hadfield, managing director of Marine Harvest Scotland; Sheila Voes, chief veterinary officer, Animal Health and Welfare, of the Scottish government. Heather Jones, CEO of the Scottish Aquaculture Innovation Centre (SAIC); and Ruth Clements, head of veterinary programmes of Benchmark Animal Health (owner of 5m Publishing). SAIC is holding its own event, ‘AQUAVATION – the Above: Visitors at the Ripple Sessions’- which will take place on May 23, 2016 show in Aviemore. fand will showcase some of the projects SAIC has funded to date. FF



Vi St Cul sit u an tur s d e at No UK .3 2 31 01 8

We have arrived…

New partners to fight sea lice. Solutions for fast and effective hydrogen peroxide treatments Sales: Scotland Helm Great Britain Ltd Edinburgh Tel : +44 0131 248 3633, Mail:

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Sales: Norway, Faroe Islands, Iceland Helm Skandinavien AS +47 904 18 292,

Evonik Resource Efficiency GmbH +49 6181 59 12439


09/05/2018 16:03:37

Aquaculture UK

On the


Fish Farmer catches up with Mike Sutherland, founder and CEO of Highland Aqua Team FF: When did you start Highland Aqua Team and where do you operate? MS: I started the company which was, and remains, very much a family business in 2010 with five people hand vaccinating salmon. Now we operate with 36 people throughout Scotland, Norway and the Mediterranean. Part of this growth has come from our net washing business, based in Muir of Ord, which currently washes over 500 nets per year. FF: In 2017 you ventured into machine vaccination. What was the driver for this? MS: Several reasons really. We recognised the high and consistent quality that machines can deliver, as well as the clear reduction in the risk to operators of self-injection. So, in the interests of both safety, as well as quality, we looked to see how machines might form part of our service. FF: How was that received by your customers? MS: At first, reluctantly. Our industry sometimes suffers from ‘first mover’ nervousness, given that the cost of getting things wrong is often pretty high. But recently we have seen a surge in interest as confidence is building with experience. FF: Traditionally, machine vaccination has necessitated plant and equipment being installed permanently in hatcheries. How does the Highland Aqua Team offering differ here? MS: We have invested in a mobile semi-automated device, the NFT 20, which has been designed and produced by Pharmaq Fishteq in Nesna, Norway. The machine is fully transportable and relatively light by industry standards.

recognises the size of each fish and adjusts the injection site accordingly, giving an accuracy of over 98 per cent. Software updates are communicated via the internet or via backup software which we always carry around with us.

FF: How have you adapted this technology for the Scottish industry? MS: Well, rather than carting the vaccination machine from site to site, we decided to make a fully self-contained mobile unit which can be driven from location to location, with no requirement for unloading. FF: Can you say a little more about how that works in practice? MS: Essentially, each mobile unit consists of an 18-tonne truck with a customised container on the back. In the container we have fixed two NFT 20s, an anaesthetising unit, as well as a holding tank. The inside of the container is lined with a ‘food safe’ lining, while the compressor is housed in a sound proof box. All the customer needs to supply is water, oxygen and electricity to power the machines. The machines operate in tandem in the container and together will vaccinate about 16,000 fish per hour. The visual intelligence software


Chris Mitchell.indd 58

Top: Operators handling fish to be machine vaccinated. Above: Mobile unit inside which the equipment is housed. Opposite: Image analysis.

FF: When fish handling equipment is moved from site to site, health managers, quite reasonably, have concerns about biosecurity. What assurances can you give that this risk has been adequately addressed with your system? MS: We have thought about this and, of course, there is plenty of existing expertise in the industry on which we have been able to draw. Perhaps the leaders in this field are the Fish Vet Group and we asked them to come and assess our procedures. They swabbed various high-risk points before and after our disinfection process and were able to give us a clean bill of health on

09/05/2018 15:56:55

On the road

We have seen a surge in “interest as confidence is building with experience ” FF: What plans do you have for the immediate future with the NFT 20? MS: Pharmaq Fishteq has introduced some modifications to the NFT 20 following feedback from the industry and these are being incorporated on to our machines just now. However, given the high level of interest in our mobile system we have decided to invest in a brand-new rig for the forthcoming season. Currently, 50 per cent of our vaccination business is conducted using the machines and we are being encouraged by our customers to increase this. They see huge advantages in the way that high throughput serves to reduce the amount of fish handling as well as the time fish spend in preparation for vaccination so improving health and welfare in freshwater. FF: Will we see you at Aquaculture UK in Aviemore? MS: Actually, you won’t as my other half and I are taking a long overdue holiday. But my sons, Colin and Gary, will be attending with our rig (stand OS10) and will be hosting demonstrations of the machines over the course of the two days. Pharmaq will also have a new NFT 20 on its stand (99). FF

this basis. I also take comfort from the fact that NFT 20s are used a lot in the Mediterranean without seizing up, which means that freshwater and disinfectant must be able to reach ALL parts! While we perform a thorough ‘all pipes’ disinfection with Halamid and Sureclean at the end of each day, once the machine is moved off-site and back to our base, we dismantle, disinfect and then reassemble prior to any further deployment. FF: Nowadays, there is often a requirement to vaccinate fish with more than one product simultaneously. How adaptable is the NFT 20 in this respect? MS: Our machines can inject vaccine that is supplied to the injector heads from either of one or two sources, meaning that we can co-inject simultaneously where necessary. Changeover from one system to the other can be done on site and involves 10 minutes and a spanner!

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• • • •


stand O10 at AquacultureUK 59 HIGHLANDAQUATEAM_2018_ver2_fulllpage.indd 1

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09/05/2018 15:57:15

Aquaculture UK


New generation

FLS delousing system Markets leading green delousing solution for salmon lice removal.

Egersund Net is a part of Egersund Group, founded in 1952. Egersund Net started net production in the early 1970s and was turned into a separate company in 1996. Since then, Egersund Net has established itself as one of Europe’s leading suppliers of seine nets and services for the fish farming industry.

Meet us at stand UC3

OUR COMPETENCE - YOUR SAFETY Visit us at Aquaculture UK Aviemore


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17/03/2017 14:13:49

Marine solutions that work for you Visit us at Aquaculture UK Stand No. 197 We design, build, repair, convert and mobilize vessels for the maritime industry including offshore, renewables, marine infrastructure and aquaculture. It is our aim to offer you the best solution through creativity, cooperation and flexibility. In other words, we work together. Neptune. Marine solutions that work for you.

T +31 (0)184 621 423 60

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09/05/2018 12:21:18

Aquaculture UK

Hydrotech filters The smartest way to purer water


30 years in Aquaculture Phone: +46 (0)40 42 95 30

Netwax E4 Greenline from NetKem Netwax E4 Greenline offers excellent protection against fouling on pen nets Netwax E4 Greenline is developed for antifouling treatment of pen nets under “green” licences. The special active ingredient is approved by IMO and listed by OMRI for use in ecological agriculture. “Green” licences

The Norwegian government has issued special licences for aquaculture with emphasis on reducing strain on the environment.


Institute for Marketechology, Switzerland. Approves products used in ecological agriculture.


Organic Materials Review Institute, USA. Lists products for use in organic food production.

Visit us at Aquaculture UK - STAND No. 111

Slalåmveien 1, NO-1410 Kolbotn, Norway - Ph.: +47 66 80 82 15 -

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09/05/2018 16:02:15

Aqua Farming Solutions – Advertorial

Good vibrations Aqua Farming Solutions using the power of nature


Dutch company is harnessing the power of nature by converting the mechanical energy stored in water into kinetic energy to produce waterjets that will ultimately prevent the reproduction of sea lice and marine growth on nets. Aqua Farming Solutions (AFS), based in Wieringerwerf, created the technology with a team of Dutch inventors several years ago. Although the concept was based on the already well established technology of ultrasound, the team were able to re-invent and customise the technology for various purposes relating to water treatments. It took them more than twelve years and resulted in a 100 per cent environmentally friendly technology for water treatments such as legionella prevention, the cleaning of ballast water and for the hulls of ships and barges. AFS take its inspiration from the Serbian-American inventor, physicist and futurist Nikola Tesla, who said ‘If you want to find the secrets of the universe, think in terms of energy, frequency and vibrations’. There has always been energy present in water, lots of it, but the AFS secret lies with its technology’s ability to convert this mechanical


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energy into kinetic energy by producing vibrations that lead to constant Below: Inertial Nano rapid changes from high to low pressure. This in turn creates bubbles cavitation by AFS that implode like tiny supernovas and induce microscopic water jets. These water jets are able to eliminate unwanted organisms between 0.2 and 0.7 mm, thus stopping the reproduction of sea lice and at the same time preventing the marine net growth. There have previously been several attempts to use ultrasound within aquaculture, but the technology on its own has not proved to be powerful enough. Because of the revolutionary nano-cavitation technology used by AFS, the resonators are now more than 20,000 times more powerful than before. The resonators are placed in the cage during set-up in a process custom designed for every user, depending on the shape and circumference of the cage. The resonators are able to create nano-cavitation up to 45 meters away, in a parabolic shape, with 100 per cent power straight forward and with the water jets eliminating all A B A cells and seeds of biofouling between 0.2 and 0.7 mm. The resonators can be attached to the frame as single units, twin units, triplets and so on, or with three, four or six resonators installed inside a C-Dome (a ball shaped floating device which is placed in the middle of the cage and attached to the frame with ropes). Whatever the user prefers, for AFS nothing is impossible. There are several methods used when cleaning nets, and pretty much all of them include handling the nets in one way or another, as well as causing stress for the fish. If used in the wrong way both high pressure and mechanical net cleaning can lead to damage on the netting itself, which increases the risk of escapes. Both methods will release various organisms hiding in the fouling which may expand the problems further

Basic cavit B A

09/05/2018 15:50:48


Good Vibrations

If you “ want to find the secrets of the universe, think in terms of energy, frequency and vibrations

with parasites and diseases and also lead to fragments of growth ending up among the fish, causing problems with gills. Several methods used today actually end up recirculating the same harmful stuff they are designed to eradicate. Numerous laboratory tests and reports published by well known institutions confirm the effect of cavitation on ectoparasites like sea lice, and AFS’s own trials, both completed and ongoing, along with feedback from its own clients, confirm the effect on marine growth in addition to ectoparasites. Depending on the site situation and location, the AFS resonators led to up to a 95% reduction in biofouling on





Inertial Nano cavitation by AFS A Compression

C Extreme Compression

E Extreme Compression Collapsing

B Expansion

D Extreme Expansion

F Extreme Compression Jetting




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the nets. The direct economic cost for controlling biofouling within aquaculture has been estimated to be as much as five to ten per cent of overall production costs. Ultrasound and nano-cavitation can make a substantial difference within aquafarming as it is an environmentally friendly, sustainable, low cost and low maintenance solution that is 100 per cent natural. It starts with vibrations and ends up with nano-cavitation bubbles that create water jets that act like a high pressure cleaner working 24/7. With these results, AFS will soon be making waves as well as vibrations within the aquaculture industry, and attendees at this month’s Aquaculture UK in Aviemore will have the opportunity to discover the new technology for themselves. Find out more about the project by visiting the company’s website at or by visiting the team at stand 280 at Aquaculture UK. FF








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09/05/2018 12:22:04

Acta Marine – Advertorial

Chartering vessels at predictable costs Workboats to support the future of the aquaculture sector


CTA Marine is an independent maritime service provider, which is well established in the United Kingsom.The company is a trusted partner to clients worldwide, working on offshore and coastal water projects in the oil and gas, dredging and construction, offshore wind market and, increasingly, the aquaculture market. Acta Marine works in the aquaculture market with the true belief that fish farming will provide solutions for the food deficit caused by the growing global population. Established in 1970, Acta Marine is backed up by more than 45 years of experience. At the core of the company is a team of more than 150 dedicated personnel. Having extensive history and experience in a variety of markets, the team has acquired an extensive skill set that can be put to use in the fish farming market. As a family owned business, the focus is long-term, building strong relationships with clients. Within the aquaculture market, Acta Marine saw a growing need for fish farm applications, such as maintenance of nets and materials, deployment of anti-licing installations, and mooring support. These activities can be performed easily with Acta Marine’s workboats. They have a minimum deck load of five tonnes/m2 and large deck spaces of up to180m2. The firm’s larger DP Multicats are even equipped with positioning systems, which make Acta Marine’s vessels cut out for fish farming projects and diverse supporting operations. Since 2014, Acta Marine’s Coastal Hunter and Sara Maatje VIII (respectively, a 2209 Multicat and a 35m long multi-purpose vessel) have been providing

Clockwise from top: Coastal Hunter performing antilicing duties; operations near fish pens with Acta Marine’s multi-purpose vessel; Acta Marine’s Multicat in the colours of the client.

fish farming support in Scotland to one of the world’s largest seafood companies . Coastal Hunter has been extensively used as a mooring support vessel and Sara Maatje VIII has been utilised as a lice treatment vessel. Acta Marine’s DP Multicats are capable of staying at safe distances (thereby reducing the risk of damage to the fish farms) and several Multicats are installed with two cranes, and therefore are highly effective for net handling duties. Furthermore, Acta Marine vessels and crews have extensive experience in diving support and offshore construction projects, making them a perfect solution for fish farm related projects. The company’s extensive fleet of workboats also includes shoalbusters and crew transfer vessels. For further information, the website www. The company will be exhibiting at Aquaculture UK in Aviemore, on stand 100, where staff will be on hand to explain more about how they can provide for the aquaculture industry. FF

As a family owned “business, the focus is

long-term, building strong relationships with clients

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09/05/2018 15:40:16

Gael Force – Advertorial

Call SeaQure-ity! Setting the standard for moorings


T’S almost three years since Gael Force Group launched its complete aquaculture mooring system – SeaQureMoor. And while popularity and trust has grown in the end-to-end mooring system since its inception, there is far more to Gael Force’s aquaculture mooring services than just high performing ropes, buoys and anchors. Of course, Gael Force’s experience in designing and specifying mooring systems goes further back, with a track record second to none in the Scottish aquaculture market and a history of strong working relationships with fish farm operators throughout the industry spanning over 30 years. Not only that, the company’s mooring equipment stock holding at their two locations in the Scottish Highlands and Central Belt, along with a capacity for fast delivery, are key additional benefits, which make Gael Force’s moorings offering so keenly favoured by many in Scotland. The Scottish supplier’s total commitment to the industry to deliver fish pen and feed barge moorings which meet the new Scottish Technical Standard (STS) was the initial impetus for the development of SeaQureMoor, and today the STS remains at the core of the aquaculture mooring services that Gael Force provides. Gael Force is part of the steering group which devised the STS, and continues to sit on that group, meaning it is well placed to understand


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the requirements of the standard. Integral to its end-to-end service, Gael Force assists fish farm operators with their preparations in becoming compliant to the technical standard. Sales director Jamie Young says that this is where strong partnership comes into its own, and where real added value can be found: ‘Assisting in enabling the industry to meet compliance to the imminent Scottish Technical Standard requires more than simple box ticking. We ensure that through our own internal management procedures, we can confidently assure each customer is meeting full compliance from the start of the process. Working through the STS, Gael Force delivers compliance and assurance that each step in design, manufacture, supply, installation, and ongoing maintenance is met by the farmer. ‘This closed loop approach and close partnership with our customers means Gael Force retains responsibility for the moorings throughout the cycle. This process starts at the first stage when the farms are seeking planning, therefore it will normally be years before the fish even enter the water. It is this unique working relationship, with all departments, and often external contractors, spread over a long period with many departments in fish farming companies, that gives Gael Force the advantage in supporting STS compliance in all farms by 2020.’ Young was also keen to point out that Gael Force’s role in providing robust and secure containment will continue to be vital in the growth of Scottish aquaculture, key to the industry’s ambitions to increase production levels over the coming decade: ‘Working to compliance is critical for industry growth. Our own track record, proven calculators and product supply, show that achieving the highest of standards in containment has endlessly been met by our Moorings Team,

Working to “compliance is critical for industry growth

09/05/2018 15:35:57

Call SeaQure-ity!

Clockwise from top: Gael Force speedy delivery; Jamie Young explains the SeaQureHold anchor; Gael Force’s mooring systems; The SeaQureLink.

but we must always ensure we continue to develop and improve on all we do. Any loss of fish in the industry is devastating for a producer and its farm, and will also have a negative impact on the wider industry - something that none of us wish for. ‘Making significant investment, we have completed a cycle on an exposed Scottish west coast site, gathering real time loads at 14 points across a site using load cells, as well as gathering tide and weather data, allowing us to analyse in full the actual forces seen on pen and barge moorings. This data is a world first, and having it confirms that what Gael Force does in mooring calculations is correct and delivers secure and safe mooring systems.’ Further evidence of Gael Force Group’s focus and commitment to developing safe and secure containment systems is apparent in its recent acquisition of leading fish pen manufacturer Fusion Marine. The two combined forces recently announced that they have immediately began investing in the research and development of a completely new fish pen and product review of the existing pen range, showing that Gael Force is leading the way and taking total containment to the next level. You can find out more about Gael Force Group’s exciting new product developments on stands 69 and 315 at Aquaculture UK. FF

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09/05/2018 15:38:24

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09/05/2018 12:22:52

Aquaculture UK

Highland fling Fish Farmer gears up for its biggest show of the year


HE Fish Farmer team will be out in force at the Aquaculture UK event in Aviemore later this month and editor Jenny Hjul and the sales team of Dave Edler and Scott Binnie look forward to welcoming you on Stand 7. It will be an opportunity to touch base with plenty of familiar faces, as well as to connect with those new to their companies or to the industry. Although the ‘face’ of Fish Farmer for many years, William Dowds, has taken a more relaxed role on health grounds, he will still be very much in evidence at Aviemore and there are strong rumours that a kilt will once Above: The Fish Farmer team, Jenny Hjul, Dave Edler and Scott Binnie again be included in his packing case! Advertising team leader Dave Edler said that the Aviemore event is very much the highlight of the 2018 sales cycle for the title: ‘With the magazine being based in Scotland, this is very much our ‘home’ event, and planning for these two days has very much dominated the first two quarters of the year. After 40 years of continuously representing the aquaculture industry, we regard ourselves as its champion, protector and occasional critic. We are as passionate about this industry as any of our fellow exhibitors and we encourage you to visit our stand and take time for a chat.’ We look forward to seeing you in Aviemore. As well as giving away copies of this issue, we will also be handing attendees the souvenir issue produced to mark the magazine’s 40th You can find out more about Fish Farmer by anniversary last year, which has a raft of stories tracing the evolution of visiting the company’s website at fishupdate. the industry. com or by visiting stand 7 at Aquaculture UK.

After 40 years of continuously representing the aquaculture industry we regard ourselves as its champion, protector and occasional critic



BOOTH #233


+31 630 98 74 73

DAMEN.COM ADV18 053 Aquaculture UK 190x130.indd

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07.05.2018 10:41:10


09/05/2018 15:31:05

Pentair-Vaki – Advertorial

Pent up aeration



Flowmeter assemblies come in 4 variations; 7 flowmeter,

6 flowmeter, 5 flowmeter and 4 flowmeter versions. Each assembly features an oversized manifold with a pressure gauge and air

Unique pod-based approach allows control of compressed airflow to bolt to the pen walkways, for a stand-alone unit. Each panel control panel. Sturdy galvanized mounting legs ship with each unit


includes a mort tube. A mort tube controls the flow of air for


BY DAVE EDLER mort removal. convenient

The 5 flowmeter variation is for circular pens, and ships with pipe clamps to bolt to the large pipe handrails of the circular pens. For square pen installation, the flowmeter units are spread evenly among the net pens, usually one panel per pen. Each flowmeter panel services a single aeration platform to fully control air entering each site’s sea pen.


±3% F.S.


100 PSIG/6.9 Bar Minimum


stand at Aquaculture UK in Aviemore Flow RateISITORS to the Pentair 3–12 SCFH later this month will be spoilt for choice with the range of Configurations 4 thru 7 Manifolds expertise available, as leading figures from the Norwegian, US Mountingand Options or gather SquareinPen UK arms of theRound company the Highlands resort to impart their knowledge. There will also be a large amount of ‘kit’ on display, including many new product lines, as the company enters an exciting new phase in its development. Gareth Hammond, the company’s UK based customer consultant, takes up the story: ‘We’ve recently delivered new sea pen aeration systems in Norway and Canada and we’re about to dot the ‘I’s’ and cross the ‘T’s’ on a deal here in Scotland with a major operator in the region. ‘This follows on from the expansion of our already successful ‘Biomass daily system’ which now has installations in New Zealand, Canada and Tasmania.’ The Pentair Sea Pen Aeration System (SPA) is a flexible and robust dissolved oxygen management platform. A unique pod-based approach allows the flow of compressed air to be controlled and balanced throughout the sea pen site. Each pod can be strategically placed throughout the pen at specific depths to compensate for conditions and optimise




dissolution. The system can accommodate any number of sea pens at any one site with no limit on flowmeter panels or diffuser assemblies. The Pentair sea pen plankton mitigation system is a fully balanced air flow system to evenly Typical placement of a flowmeter panel on distribute air among all the pens a walkway compressed central to serviced sea pen. at one site. The main reason for an aeration system on a sea pen site is to promote greater water upwelling and movement across all the Inline 3–12 SCFM Flowmeter x 7 net pens on one site. Moving low density algae/ Flowmeter Panel plankton water from below helps dilute the Pressure Gauge 0–100 psi CBM algae/plankton density in the water inhabited by the fish within the Manifold pens to a reduced level. Oversized Inlet Ball Valve There are many different strains of algae/ Condensate Drain Ball Valve plankton that pose different threat levels to the well-being of the fish. As such, different air Walkway Grid Fastener x 4 flowmeters to flJ-bolt ows can be dialled into the control the delivery of air within each pen’s diffuser assemblies. This air control allows the site operator to mitigate different harmful plankton species, for each pen, based on the plankton’s Mort Tube Air Control Globe Valve unique motility. Because air is one fifth oxygen, a side benefit of up to 1.0 mg/L of dissolved oxygen increase has been documented, in Walkway Pipe Handrail conjunction with the Flowmeter mitigationPanel/Manifold of plankton Stand blooms. Two more of the products that the team at Aviemore will be looking to showcase are the ‘VAKI Smart Flow’ and the ‘VAKI Pico Counter’. The Smart Flow system gathers and stores information about all measured fish, for easy Above: Gareth Hammond comparison of sizes and numbers. This in turn AERATION Top left: Round pen. facilitates thePLATFORM optimisationOVERVIEW of every operation Left: Diffuser platform. as the various devices can be controlled and AERATION PLATFORM Opposite: Sea pen fine-tuned electronically in order to provide aeration. Material of Construction Powder Coated Steel the desired output. The system can be used to regulate density control and users Diameter 6.5 can ft/2benefi m t from a higher quality of operations. 3 x 9" or 12"/76 x 229 mm or 305 mm Diffuser A uses VAKI computer The PicoSize counter rubber membrane disc diffusers vision technology originally developed for Design Airflow9" 0–10 scfm/0–283 lpm counting fry, smolts and juvenile fish. The fish lpm areDesign pumpedAirflowthrough12" a scanner 0–18 wherescfm/0–510 an B Height ft/1.2 imaging line(Hanging) scanning camera is 4used to m grab a silhouette sh. These kg Weight image of every single 41 filbs/18.60 silhouettes are then analysed and used for counting andAND size estimation. FEATURES BENEFITSAll fish images are stored and can be used for verifying the count. • Lightweight for easy installation and removal • Designed not to snag or tear nets

• Removable membrane disc diffusers make for easy VAKI - PED.indd 70

maintenance or replacement

09/05/2018 15:26:50






















Pent up aeration

Information about the count can be saved automatically to the cloud. A chart indicates the numbers of fish counted during the entire count and is used to select a timeframe for further analysis. The screen displays images of fish passing the camera for each one-second interval. The Pico counter is available for fin fish, lumpfish and shrimp. Hammond encouraged those visiting the trade show to make a point of visiting the Pentair stand: ‘This will be a rare chance to interact with

our team of experts from around the globe. Our UK based clients, and those from further afield that have come over, will find this a unique opportunity to view our products close-up and to discuss with a specialist in the field exactly how they can benefit their business’. You can find out more about the project by visiting the company’s website at or by visiting them on Stand 149 at Aquaculture UK. FF

SEA PEN AERATION As well as new installations in Norway and Canada, SOLUTIONS (SPA) “ we’re about to complete one in Scotland WHAT IS THE PENTAIR SEA PEN AERATION SYSTEM?


The Pentair Sea Pen Aeration System is a flexible and robust dissolved oxygen

management platform. A unique pod-based approach allows the flow of compressed

air to be controlled and balanced throughout each sea pen site. Each pod can be

strategically placed throughout the pen at specific depths to compensate for conditions and optimize dissolution. The system can accommodate any number of sea pens at any one site with no limit on flowmeter panels or diffuser assemblies.


The Pentair sea pen plankton mitigation system is a fully balanced air flow system to evenly distribute compressed air among all the pens at one site. The main reason for an aeration system on a sea pen site is to promote greater water upwelling and movement across all the net pens on one site. Moving low density algae/plankton water from below helps dilute the algae/plankton density in the water inhabited by the fish within the pens to a reduced level. There are many different strains of algae/plankton that pose different threat levels to the well-being of the fish. As such, different air flows can be dialed into the flowmeters to control the delivery of air within each pen’s diffuser assemblies. This air control allows the site operator to mitigate different harmful plankton species,

VAKI unique BIOMASS for each pen, based on the plankton’s motility.DAILY Because air is 1⁄5 oxygen a

side benefit of upBiomass to 1.0 mg/L dissolved increase has been With a Vaki Dailyof frame placedoxygen permanently in each cage,documented, fish are continually measured with pinpoint accuracy. For every site and every cage, the daily overview of average weight, in conjunction with the mitigation of plankton blooms. size distribution, condition-factor and growth is available 24/7. Pentair has assembled a team of experts with diverse backgrounds in aquaculture, with decades of research and commercial industry application experience. Accurate information, real time data and reliable overview. Trust in a team that’s here to help you—ASK US! • +1 407.886.3939

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©2018 Pentair Aquatic Eco-Systems, Inc. All Rights Reserved.


09/05/2018 15:27:19

MSD Animal Health – Advertorial

Mapped out Comprehensive survey of pancreas disease in farmed salmon


SD Animal Health has undertaken a comprehensive survey of pancreas disease in farmed salmon in Scotland. One of the key findings of the Scottish Pancreas Disease (PD) Mapping Project is that blanket vaccination appears to have resulted in a significant reduction in positive results. The results of the project also suggest that herd immunity and improved husbandry practices may also be proving effective as pancreas disease has now fallen down the list of most prevalent diseases found in farmed salmon, although it remains a continued risk. The year-long study by MSD Animal Health, working in collaboration with producers of farmed salmon in Scotland, undertook survey work across 96 sites in Scotland, covering the Western Isles, Orkney and Shetland (the Northern Isles) and along the west coast. The survey covered both vaccinated and unvaccinated populations to evaluate vaccine efficacy comparing comprehensive historical data collected since 2008 and a similar mapping project completed in 2015 with the recent findings. PD Mapping Project 2015 Figure 1. 1. PD Mapping Project 2015 findings Figure Figure 1 illustrates the findings from the project in 2015. SAV 2 (Salmonid alphavi2. Positive virus: Active, circulating viral infection. rus) was dominant in the Northern Isles and 3. Positive antibody and positive virus: Mid to late stage infection. northern region and SAV 1, 4 and 5 in the south PD Mapping Project 2018 4. Positive antibody only: Previous infection. west, indicating a north/south divide between subtypes The methodology used was similar to that of the 2015 project, was to assess the prevalence of Serology samples were the predominant diagnostic methodwhich used duringalphavirus the survey. (SAV) Samples taken at key periods during production Salmonid andwere neutralizing antibodies, which the indicated a challenge has been present. PD Mapping Project 2018 when thewas SAVidentified, infection pressure was likely to be most present. which of the six subtypes of The methodology used was similar to thatWhere cycle positive SAV the virus was subtyped to determine The results from the recent project compared with the 2015 data of the 2015 project, which was to assess the SAV were found. This has enabled the mapping project team to provide the most comprehensive view prevalence of Salmonid alphavirus and neutral- shows huge geographical changes regarding PD spread and SAV subyet of the geographical distribution of SAV subtypes. types. When looking back at Shetland Isles for example, along with SAV ising antibodies, which indicated a challenge 2, subtypes 1 and 5 are now present. West Coast regions are being has been present. Where positive SAV was to all four subtypes shown in Figure 2. Resultsexposed of samples can highlight theasfollowing: identified, the virus was subtyped to determine which of the six subtypes of SAV were found. 1. Negative virus and antibody: No exposure to the site to PD at that precise moment in time The Northern Isles (Orkney and Shetland) This has enabled the mapping project team to 2. Positive virus: Active, circulating viral infection. • The effect of long-term blanket vaccination shows evidence of a provide the most comprehensive view yet of 3. significant Positive antibody positive virus: Mid to late stage infection. reductionand in the viral load with a reduced amount of the geographical distribution of SAV subtypes. 4. positives. Positive antibody only: Previous infection. • It shows that the virus is being kept at a level that is not causing any Results of samples can highlight the following: significant levelthe of clinical disease. diagnostic method used during the survey. Samples were 1. Negative virus and antibody: No exposure Serology samples were predominant • In the sites surveyed, there was no evidence of any to the site to PD at that precise moment taken at key periods during the production cycle when theSAV SAVsubtypes infection pressure is likely to be most being found. in time present.

Blanket vaccination appears to have resulted in a significant reduction in positive results


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09/05/2018 15:21:35

The results from the recent project compared with the 2015 data shows huge geographical changes regarding PD spread and SAV subtypes. When looking back at Shetland Isles for example, along with SAV 2, subtypes 1 and 5 are now present. West Coast regions are being exposed to all 4 subtypes as shown in Figure 2. Mapped Out

Figure 2. Figure 2. PD Mapping Project 2018 – Major changes of SAV geographical distribution

‘The data we have received and been able to compare with historical data collected since 2008 strongly suggests that blanket vaccination is proving effective in limiting outbreaks. The table showsand an excellent example of the reduction in The Northern Islesbelow (Orkney Shetland) ‘We have detected positive antibodies in fish positive results in the Northern Isles comparing historical data. With Figure 1. PD Mapping Orkney and Shetland being a proven hotspot for PD, it is clear to see the populations where vaccination has taken place Project 2015 findings.  ofThe effectvaccination of long-term blanket shows ofthat a significant reduction in suggesting herd immunity is developing. benefits a blanket approach leadingvaccination to herd immunity andevidence Figure 2. PD Mapping This, combined with better husbandry practicdriving down the viral loading on sites. the viral load with a reduced amount of positives. Project 2018 – es, is providing positive outcomes for farmers Major changes of in terms of the impact that PD causes. The Western Isles SAV geographical ‘It iscausing importantany never to be complacent • The detected 1,4 andkept 5 in positive samples. distribution. Figure 3.  PDItmapping shows project that the virus SAV is being at a level that is not significant level ofwith regard to pancreas disease and MSD Technical • Antibodies were found on a number of sites where fish had been Reduction of positive clinical disease. SAV results in the Services and AQUAVAC Monitoring Services vaccinated. Northern Isles provide a solid platform from which to monitor thesubtypes movementbeing of SAV found. subtypes around sites Westcoast Inmainland the sites surveyed, there was no evidence of any SAV and regions.’ • Antibody positive and negative virus returns were found on vaccinatThe table below shows an excellent example of the reduction in positive results in the Northern Isles You can find out more about the project by ed sites. comparing historical data. With Orkney and Shetland being a proven hotspot for PD, it is clear to see the  1,2These resultssamples may also influenced by improved fish husbandry practices the the company’s website atand msd-ani• SAV and 5 positive were be detected on unvaccinated sites. visiting benefits ofadopted a blanket vaccination approach leading to herd immunity and driving down theonviral loading or by visiting them stand • One company which has blanket vaccination since 2010 effect of “herd immunity” amongst the fish. on sites. 169 at Aquaculture UK. FF found it resulted in a zero return for detection of PD in the recent survey time points. • These results may also be influenced by improved fish husbandry practices and the effect of ‘herd immunity’ among the fish.

Liam Doherty, aqua technician at MSD AH said: ‘MSD AH is grateful to all those across the three regions in Scotland who worked with us to conduct our major PD mapping project over the past year. ‘The results have enabled us to produce the most comprehensive mapping of PD subtypes across 96 sites covering both vaccinated and unFigure 3 3. Reduction of positive SAV results in the Northern Isles vaccinated populations. Figure

The Western Isles 

MSD - PED.indd 73


The PD Mapping project detected SAV 1,4 and 5 in positive samples. 09/05/2018 15:24:31

Advanced Aquacultural Technologies – Advertorial

Bring me sunshine

Modular rotating biological contractor improves efficiency with less energy cost


N the spring of 1988 Dr and Mrs Gary Miller broke ground for Advanced Aquacultural Technologies Inc (AAT) by creating a small, 14.6 m x 19.5 m recirculated aquaculture system (RAS) facility in Syracuse, Indiana, USA. The facility was designed to be a demonstration facility and was construct-

Left: Striped bass + white bass = sunshine bass. Above: Concrete tanks and trickling filters. Opposite (top): Gary Miller at the prototype filter. (below): Doc Miller’s fish & Seafood Co.


AAT - PED.indd 74

ed inexpensively utilising above ground lined swimming pools and trickling filters. The building housed two production systems, each containing three progressively larger pools for a total production capacity of 33.4 m3 with a carrying capacity of 120 kg/m3. A small 0.32 m3 capacity system was included to provide quarantine for incoming fingerlings. Before the facility was completed, it was contracted to provide research and training for the staff of a large agriculture corporation that was interested in diversifying into aquaculture. Their target species was the sunshine bass; the reciprocal cross of the hybrid striped bass. These are produced with female white bass (Morone chryspos) and male striped bass (Morone saxatilis). The sunshine bass had just been recognised as a potential aquaculture species and the customer wanted to produce a high valued product that was not likely to have its value driven down by mass production. Once the woes of the new start-up were behind them, AAT and their client learned how to grow sunshine bass together. Sales to the Chicago wholsesale distribution market began in the spring of 1990. With the demonstration facility occupied by a private project, a new facility was started in late 1990. This larger facility (15.8 m x 34.1 m) was built with

09/05/2018 15:19:52

Bring Me Sunshine concrete tanks. There were two production systems in the same three-step configuration as before, each containing 47.2 m3 and provided with a 3.7 m x 4.9 m x 2.7 m trickling filter with 1.8 m of medium depth. The medium provided 226 m2/m3 for a total surface area of 7,370 m2. With a design flow rate of 1.7m3/min and capable of 2.3m3/min these systems were designed to carry 120 kg/m3. As sales expanded in the Chicago wholesale market, they also expanded directly to the fresh seafood needs of high end restaurants across northern Indiana and southern Michigan. Initially, the product processing was provided by the company’s wholesale accounts in Chicago. As AAT grew, it became burdensome to wait for product processing before returning to Indiana. After all, AAT’s clients’ trucks in Chicago had first priority over theirs. In 1994-5 it was decided to design and construct a sister company, Doc Miller’s Fish & Seafood Co., to improve its efficiency in restaurant distributions and to provide a retail outlet for its neighbours. This company became a full line fresh seafood processor, purchasing product from Norway to Tahiti. In 2000, just as the company began planning for a major expansion into the Indianapolis market, it became apparent that a significant economic downturn was approaching. Coupled with the realisation that family health issues were becoming significant, the decision was made to step away gracefully. In January 2001 distribution into the wholesale market and restaurants was terminated. In February of that year the retail store was also closed. The processing and distribution company was shuttered. The business direction of the farm changed from providing fish to the fillet market to providing fish to the live-haul market. This relieved the company of the burden of maintaining a truck fleet and allowed the use of the fish production to challenge equipment that was being developed. The most significant unit developed was a modular rotating biological contractor (RBC). Although the trickling filters had performed as designed and never needed servicing the entire time that they were in operation, previous work by Dr.Miller proved that an RBC could perform the job more efficiently. One of the trickling filters in the larger production building was dismantled and the medium was reshaped into 1.8 m diameter wheels to be used in a prototype RBC. Additional medium was also added to create an assembly with the same surface area as was provided by the trickling filter. The assembly consisted of 12 shafts, each 1.8m long, connected end to end along the trough. The trough was constructed with a 2.1 m diameter by a sequence of 0.6 m sections connected in sets of three (one stage) and separated by a bulkhead for a total of 12 stages. Each bulkhead provided an orifice for water passage and a bearing block to support the connected shaft ends. Bulkheads were also provided at each end to contain the water and provide connectivity to the plumbing. Each shaft contained 1.2 m of medium and a 0.3 m paddle wheel, which was driven by the water being pumped (four stages) or by air. It was later determined that by removing the paddle wheels and rotating the shaft with a variable speed gear motor, higher rotational speeds and

AAT - PED.indd 75

smoother operation were achieved at less energy cost. Also, it allowed for more medium per stage and the potential for fewer stages per assembly. Once the RBC was sufficiently acclimatised, it was operated under identical conditions as the sister system with the trickling filter. The RBC outperformed the trickling filter by the sixth stage. The trickling filter provided a contact time of only 30 seconds compared to the 30 minutes provided by the RBC. The only way to improve the performance of a trickling filter is to make it taller. This increases the contact time per pass, but also increases the pumping cost of lifting the water. The RBC is continuously self-aerated and self-cleaning. By the stages being sequentially connected, the bacteria tend to adapt to the waste from the previous stage, thus improving the water quality. If the RBC is designed into a facility initially, the head difference to the water level in the tanks can be a matter of centimetres, thus dramatically reducing the energy requirements of lifting the water to the top of a trickling filter. Even though the RBC is self-cleaning, the bacterial floc which is washed off of the medium tends not to be shredded as it is with a filter containing loose medium. This provides for better settling characteristics and fewer suspended solids to irritate the fish. Find out more about the RBC by visiting the company’s website at or by visiting them on stand 163 at Aquaculture UK. FF

By “ removing

the paddle wheels and rotating the shaft….. higher speeds and smoother operation were achieved


09/05/2018 15:20:13

Nauplius Workboats – Advertorial

Shipshape and above board Innovation and legislation make a top team


Dutch company based in Groningen is heading for a bright future after securing a contract for three new 27 metre landing utility vehicles (LUVs) from DESS Aquaculture Shipping in Norway. This adds to the company’s long term contracts with Marine Harvest in Scotland. Nauplius Workboats was launched in 2013 and has been working as an engineering and project office for the maritime sector over the past five years. Together with its sister company, Argos Engineering, set up seven years earlier, Nauplius has built up a track record of complete ship building projects along with some conversions of vessels in the range of 16 to 100 metres. With


Nauplius Workboats.indd 76

a collaborative global working style that puts an emphasis on teamwork and trust, Nauplius has the capacity to work with any size and to oversee the entire process. All three of the LUVs for DESS Aquaculture feature one of Nauplius’s recent design innovations, a full-length work deck that spans from bow to stern. This enables better workflow efficiency, resulting in higher productivity and return on investment (ROI). Gerrit Knol, technical director at Nauplius, told Fish Farmer: ‘The N009 (Askival) was the first in its range with the unique combination of complete work deck space on the fish pen side. ‘In the present day, we are starting the build of these bespoke 27 metre vessels. It’s an extended design development to suit the exact requirements of the client.’ The standard Nauplius N009 has been designed from scratch, with its most demanding requirement being the craft’s ability to land on slipways. At the same time, the 1907 LUVs (N009 and N010) remain full option workboats with a variety of deck and internal arrangements. They offer unrivalled visibility from the wheelhouse while retaining the full length workdeck. Surroundings and operations can be monitored at close watch. Rigged with the latest technology, the vessels offer best practice performance in every aspect:- navigation, safety, operational control and redundancy. Nauplius choose and implement systems that best match their clients requirements, while at the same time engaging in a constant dialogue with legislators. All of this is to the benefit of the clients, as they ensure that all installed systems will comply with legislation for years to come. As marine engineer Jaap van den Hul-Kuijten said: ‘Keeping a keen eye on future legislation in the design phase directly contributes to the ROI. Post build conversions and alterations always include productivity stops and implementation costs. The time we invest in legislation research helps to keep our clients happy in both top and bottom line.’ Nauplius keeps itself informed in all developments on working vessels and looks to keep improving on its design and engineering based on practical information from the workforce. Knol tells us: ‘My father is an inland waterway skipper. When I was a boy I helped out on my father’s ship. Our staff members have the same capacity – they can sketch and also help build in a machine room.’

Above: Gerrit Knol. Left: Launching of Askival by floating crane. Opposite (top): Askival on route to the quay in Groningen for outfitting mechanics and finalising the landing utility vessel. Below: Casco transported to the custom build. sandblasting tent.

09/05/2018 15:18:03

Shipshape and Above Board

ABOUT NAUPLIUS WORKBOATS Launched in 2013 Nauplius Workboats (Groningen, Netherlands) has been working as an engineering and project office for the maritime sector since its launch in 2013. Argos Engineering Together with its sister company - Argos Engineering, founded in 2006Nauplius built a track record featuring both complete ship building projects and conversions in the range of 16 to 100+ metres. Work ethos Nauplius Workboats is known to be able to work at any site and any part of, or overseeing the entire, process. The collaborative global working style emphasizes teamwork and trust.

Keeping “a keen eye

on future legislation in the design phase directly contributes to the ROI

One of the Marine Harvest boats, the 858, is going to be named ‘Beinn Dearg’ in tribute to a mountain in the Inverlael area of the Highlands of Scotland. It will be completed with two cranes and will offer comfortable and spacious accommodation for both the crew and boarding parties. There will be six beds, sanitary amenities and a fully equipped pantry, making working and resting a most enjoyable experience. Building started in March and the vessel is due for delivery before the end of the year. Knol will be attending this year’s Aquaculture UK in Aviemore as Nauplius looks to make further inroads into the Scottish market, and he is certainly bullish about the future: ‘Nauplius Workboats’ order portfolio is growing in pace with the firm itself. The growth in aquaculture and offshore energy parks offers

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a healthy future outlook. We love to keep exploring and to offer solutions that will outlast the 21st century!’ You can find out more about the project by visiting the company’s website at or by visiting them on stand 100 at Aquaculture UK. FF

1907- N009 Askival AT A GLANCE • Designed for aquaculture site duties • Large workdeck with full ship’s length area on the fishpen • Heavy knuckle boom crane with 1.480 kg @ 15,09 mtr

• Short delivery times • Custom built • Easy access slipways • Operating range: 60 nautical miles • 2 beds/ complete crew amenities


09/05/2018 15:18:27

Mørenot – Advertorial

Net capital New ownership could see stock market listing for netting company fish collectors and other equipment to fish farms worldwide. In addition, the business offers services such as washing, repair, coating/antifouling treatment, databases and consultancy services. New owners and new aquaculture CEO For Mørenot, 2018 will be a significant year in other aspects too. This spring, it was confirmed that FSN Capital had acquired Mørenot, with the business’s current owners- third and fourth generation descendants of the founders- re-investing and retaining a material stake in the company. With backing from FSN Capital, Mørenot will look to further consolidate the market, both in Norway and internationally. In the long term, a listing on the stock market may be the next natural step.


HIS spring, the Mørenot group is celebrating 70 years as a leading fishery (and later on also aquaculture) equipment supplier. However, the company’s history as a manufacturer goes back even further to 1917, when a factory was established in Hildre - a village with a thousand-year-long tradition as a fisheries community. Sunnmøre Fiskevegn Fabrik specialised in gill nets, long lines and netting. It was sold in 1925 to businessman Olaus Rogne, and his descendents continued to run the operation until the fusion with Mørenot in 1986. Today, the Mørenot Group consists of companies with leading positions in the international market as suppliers to customers in fisheries, aquaculture and marine seismic. The aquaculture segment of the company, Mørenot Aquaculture, produces netting and nets in nylon and Dyneema, customised moorings, and delivers de-lousing tarpaulins, top nets, dead


Morenot - PED.indd 78

From furniture to aquaculture For Mørenot Aquaculture, there are also exciting new changes. Jan Eskil Hollen has recently taken over as CEO following Bente Lund Jacobsen. Hollen, an economist with a Masters degree from Glasgow- giving him a strong personal connection to Scotland- has long leadership experience. He gained great business understanding through his work for some of Norway’s most successful business brands. For the last five years, he worked for the children’s furniture producer Stokke. In addition, he has 10 years’ experience in leadership positions, including export, in Orkla, a leading supplier of branded consumer goods to the grocery, out of home, specialised retail, pharmacy and bakery sectors in Norway. Hollen announced his ambitions for further growth in Scotland: ‘I was really excited by the prospect of working for Mørenot Aquaculture, particularly with the new owners FSM Capital, as there is an ambition to grow further and become a global company’ ‘The business has a big footprint in Norway, and are currently well-established in Shetland and Scotland with Net Services (Shetland/Scotland). But we would like to see further growth here, which we hope to achieve through our new purpose built factory for production and services, in the Isle of Harris. ‘This will be a very positive platform for further growth in Scotland’ Mørenot Aquaculture also has a new sales director, Kennet Brandal, who has 25 years’ experience in the industry. He said: ‘It is important to me that those closest to me have this background. Our next move will be to look into different aspects of the business, with focus on how to grow it in the future. Innovation is also a clear target area when taking the company forward.’ Hollen, meanwhile, says that he has been on a rapid learning curve:

was really “I excited by the prospect of working for Morenot….. there is an ambition to grow further and become a global company

09/05/2018 15:15:21

Net capital

‘So far, I have spent time learning about the business, and have visited our facilities in Spain. I will also be going to Canada and Scotland/Shetland. It is important for to me to meet as many of our staff as possible. There are 280 employees in Mørenot Aquaculture and I have met about half so far.’ The aquaculture CEOis also looking forward to being present in Aviemore at the end of May and meeting the customers. In Scotland, he thinks Flexilink grids is a product with great growth potential: ‘To be able to increase licences or get new ones in some of our markets, it has been necessary to look at offshore and semi-offshore locations. Flexilink is an important product, which is particularly suited for exposed sites.’

Above and below: New Scalpay factory (Isle of Harris) under construction. Opposite: CEO Jan Eskil Hollen

on regardless,’ said Iain Macleod of Net Services (Scotland) – part of the Mørenot Group. ‘Despite being the coldest winter in 30 years, work continued in the outside space to enable us to continue to deliver to customers. ‘You have to play the hand you are dealt. It was very important to keep going. It shows the dedication and commitment of the staff and is a huge credit to them. ‘The new building is the same size but more appropriately laid out. It was a blank canvas and gave us the opportunity to make a better laid-out building with more floor space, more storage and room for more stock, as well as hopefully creating two to three new jobs’. You can find out more about the project by visiting the company’s website at or by visiting them on stand 111 at Aquaculture UK. FF

A new factory on the Isle of Harris Mørenot’s new factory building in the Isle of Harris includes the construction of net servicing facilities, together with a production area, offices and associated ancillary accommodation. The site is expected to officially open in August/September this year. The company experienced some challenges in the last year, as a fire destroyed the original factory shortly after the acquisition of the site in April 2017. ‘The fire in April damaged the factory and it had to be completely demolished. This was very difficult as we had prior commitments to mend and deliver nets. But it was important to carry

Morenot - PED.indd 79


09/05/2018 15:15:51




DELIVERING THE DIFFERENCE ® Morenot.indd 80 09/05/2018 12:23:34

Aquaculture UK – Awards

Prize night Countdown to Scottish industry’s big celebration

Above: The 2015 Scottish Marine Aquaculture Awards, held in Edinburgh


HE high achievers of Scottish fish and shellfish farming will soon be celebrated at the 2018 Scottish Marine Aquaculture Awards. Some 38 companies, individuals and initiatives are up for awards, run for the first time by Aquaculture UK. The organisers said they were overwhelmed by both the number of entries and standard of the submissions received. The awards are a unique opportunity to recognise individuals, companies or organisations that have made the most significant contribution to the UK’s aquaculture industry since 2015, when the awards were last staged. A range of companies – from start-ups to established names – and their representatives have made the final shortlist, with nominees chosen on the basis of their high standards of innovation, responsibility in their approach to business and their environmental sustainability. The winners will be announced at a special ceremony, hosted by Dougie Vipond, on May 23, the first night of the Aquaculture UK 2018 exhibition in Aviemore. The awards include prizes for innovation, business development, stewardship and sustainability, and there will be an inaugural set of awards recognising the contributions made by the shellfish sector and the industry’s rising stars. Entries were encouraged from individuals, companies and other organisations involved in the UK aquaculture industry, no matter how large or small, who:

Aviemore Awards.indd 81

Visit us at Aquaculture UK Aviemore



09/05/2018 15:12:45

Aquaculture UK – Awards

• Employ the highest standards of aquaculture husbandry; • Supply aquaculture products to local, national and international markets; • Farm with a high level of environmental awareness and deliver a high quality product. The Best Aquaculture Company Award will be announced on the night and the industry can vote online for the People’s Choice award from the list of nominees, The winner of this award will also be announced at the awards presentation. Susan Tinch, event manager of Aquaculture UK, said: ‘The quality of the entries across all the categories this year was exceptional and the judges took over a day to deliberate, before selecting the final nominees. ‘The Scottish Aquaculture Marine Awards have established themselves as a key date in the industry’s calendar and Aquaculture UK is delighted to provide a platform highlighting all the excellent work taking place. We are all looking forward to a fantastic night on May 23.’ FF

We are all looking forward to a fantastic night on May 23

Above: The 2015 winners; Marine Harvest’s Rosie Curtis was named Farm Manager of the Year.


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Skretting – Advertorial

Sprint finish Providing the best start in life


KRETTING has developed a new starter diet, Nutra Sprint, aimed at establishing higher levels of performance among young salmonids Launching in 2018, Skretting’s Nutra Sprint is a high-performance diet that supports first-feeding fry, contributing to the improved performance of hatchery systems globally. This latest solution incorporates technology from more than 25 years of feed innovation at Skretting, as well as invaluable commercial input from hatchery and farm managers. Because early nutrition has a significant impact on later life stage performance, Nutra Sprint contains a unique combination of ingredients that are specifically tailored to support the maturation of fish digestive systems as well as the building blocks for cell membrane development. Pioneering R&D Nutra Sprint was developed by Skretting Aquaculture Research Centre (ARC), which has conducted pioneering research into the functionality of the different nutrients in fish and shrimp feeds over the course of the past three decades. A significant part of this commitment is to provide the best starter feeds possible for these species. To further ensure that it provided a first-feed with functionality suited to the specific needs of salmonid hatchery managers, Skretting ARC made the delivery of Nutra Sprint its number one R&D priority in 2017 and left no stone unturned in the development process. An important part of this work was the confirmation that the inclusion of specific nutrients in the right quantities and combinations leads to significantly improved fish performance in this early development stage. To further fine-tune the product and make sure that it remained easy to use, a series of extensive trials were conducted at Skretting’s Lerang Research Station. It also underwent a number of performance evaluations in commercial hatchery systems. ‘Together, these assessments provided conclusive evidence that with Nutra Sprint hatcheries can expect to produce faster growing, healthier


Skretting - PED.indd 84

fry in the crucial first-feeding stage. From a practical fish farming perspective, the main outcome is that the juvenile salmonids that enter the next phase of on-growing are robust and ready. The hatcheries are essentially setting the fish up for life by giving them the best possible start,’ says Jamie Johnston, hatchery technical sales advisor at Skretting UK. Stability in the water While significant emphasis was placed on optimising fish growth rates, equal attention was given to Nutra Sprint’s physical properties and its stability in hatchery water systems. As water quality is essential for early growth and

09/05/2018 15:06:38

Sprint finish

The hatcheries are…..setting the fish up for life by giving them the best possible start

has a direct influence on feed performance, Nutra Sprint is produced using novel in-line water stability monitoring. This confirms consistent quality and makes sure that the micro-pellets maintain their form. Consequently, the diet behaves in a stable way in the tanks, which makes them highly accessible to the young fish. It also reduces the need for unnecessary water quality maintenance.

For further information, contact Jamie Johnston on 07867 502867 or visit Skretting on stand number 139 at Aquaculture UK. FF

Complete programme Delivered in 0.5mm, 0.7mm and 1mm pellet sizes, Nutra Sprint is used in the production of fry from approximately 0.18 to 3.5 grams. It replaces Nutra XP and completes Skretting’s range of global salmonid feeds. Johnson adds: ‘We are very excited about the long-term benefits that this latest innovation will bring for fish farmers throughout the world. With Nutra Sprint working alongside the freshwater diets and the Supreme transfer diets, followed by Prime and Express in the final seawater grow-out

Skretting - PED.indd 85

stages, Skretting is providing a complete feeding programme for salmonids that is focused on growth and performance’.


09/05/2018 15:06:57

nnovative range of health promotors ngredients, these specialty additives cific product lines SANACORE®, APEX®, ed is muchNutriad more–than just nutrition. Advertorial

Parasites lost Health promoting feed additives to support the prevention of parasite infections


OMMERCIAL aquaculture species suffer from a variety of parasites which cause important economic losses. The curative approach based on the use of chemicals and drugs to combat parasites once the outbreak is detected is increasingly hampered by the development of resistance and the increasing regulatory restrictions. Functional nutrition through the inclusion of health promoting feed additives is nowadays a widespread strategy for preventing and minimising the impact of parasitic infestations. Through continuous research and innovation, Nutriad has gained understanding of fish-parasite interactions and has developed unique and efficient functional feed additives to battle parasites. The company’s health promoting feed additives (Sanacore GM, Apex Branchia or Apex Aqua) are based on combinations of synergetic natural compounds, such as phytobiotics, immune-stimulants and organic acids, that can work through multiple mechanisms against a broad spectrum of parasites.

The synergistic combinations of phytobiotics and organic acids provide anti-parasitic action against intestinal, skin and gill parasites, whereas immune modulators reinforce animal immunity and induce alterations in composition and thickness of the mucus that leads to a better protection from the parasite. Well documented results, including laboratory and farm trials, demonstrate high efficacy to lower the prevalence and severity of endoand ecto-parasitic infections affecting cold-


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09/05/2018 16:58:55

Parasites Lost

and warm-water species, as well as overall improvements in fish health and performance. Nutriad’s team of aqua experts work handin-hand with producers around the globe to identify and resolve bottlenecks in aquaculture productivity by the application of innovative functional feed additives. Nutriad delivers products and services to more than 80 countries through a network of its own sales offices and distributors. This

of aqua experts works hand-in hand with “The team producers around the globe ”

is supported by four application laboratories and five manufacturing facilities on three continents. Find out more about the project by visiting the company’s website at or by visiting the Nutriad team on stand OS32 at Aquaculture UK. FF


ua V St Cu isit an ltu us d re at No U .O K S 201 32 8

Power up your aquafeed too. 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®, AQUASTIM® and BACTI-NIL®, are applied in premium brands of functional feeds for fish and shrimp. Feed is much more than just nutrition.

Interested? Visit our booth #12 at EAS 2017, October 17-20, Dubrovnik

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All our products are designed to withstand the harsh weather and currents of the North Atlantic, and can be tailor made for your specific needs.

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Aquaculture UK

'working' isn't the mark.. ..something that works is! At Nauplius Workboats we go all in to deliver the best solutions for specific maritime conditions. Whether we build a survey vessel, crew tender, barge or utility vessel, operational peek performance should be facilitated at any time, all the time. That's why workable is one of our resident KPI's. Like to know how we can contribute to your maritime operation? Just drop us a line, we're happy to show you around @ Nauplius Workboats HQ.

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04.05.2018 13.40.03 04.05.2018 13.40.03 09/05/2018 12:32:49

Processing and Retail News

Unite to boost consumption says Seafish

Samherji in major processing investment

The UK seafood industry has been urged to unite if it wants to boost fish consumption creating prosperity, bringing job opportunities, contributing to sustainable communities and improving the health and wellbeing of the public. Seafish says it has worked closely with its three industry panels, in the 2018-2021 corpo- which represent the stagnant consumer seafood industry from rate plan. demand for seafood catch to plate, to The plan sets out and strong competition identify the issues and from other proteins, has a bold vision for a thriving seafood sector. challenges that matter been recognised as an Increased consumption most. important issue for the As well as working to is a key factor, which seafood industry. increase consumption, will bring benefits beIt is one of the key Seafish will address four yond the supply chain, challenges for Seafish other challenges over the next three years: • Changing landscape THE private equity company Sun Capital Part– a changing political, ners, whose portfolio includes the women’s economic and regulatofashion chain Bonmarche and the UK bed maker ry landscape as the UK Dreams, is reported to be considering a bid for exits the EU; Young’s Seafood. The current private equity • Safe and skilled owners announced last month that Britain’s largest seafood business was workforce – competbeing put up for sale. No price tag has been mentioned but it is expected ing with other food to fetch around £300 million. production sectors for Young’s has been owned by Lion Capital, Bain Capital and HPS Investaccess to a suitably ment Partners for the last ten years. skilled workforce, while The Daily Telegraph reported that Sun Capital Partners was weighing up addressing complex whether to bid, adding that a number of private equity businesses could challenges around be in the frame. THE call came from Seafish, the public body supporting Britain’s £6 billion seafood sector, as it published its new three-year corporate plan. This focuses on the UK government’s advice that people should eat more fish. Recent research conducted by Seafish revealed that 72 per cent of adults do not know that they should be eating two portions of seafood a week, one of which should be oily. This, coupled with

Fashion chain owner ‘eyeing Young’s’

Catch to plate

Plan will bring benefits beyond the supply chain

SAMHERJI, Iceland’s largest fishing company, is investing more than 20 million euros modernising its fish processing facilities at two key sites. workplace safety; The company has • Good source and engaged the high-tech supply – sourcing susequipment company tainable seafood in an increasingly competitive Valka to carry out the work, which will take global market, alongplace at its sites in side continued public Dalvik by 2019, and concern over practices that compromise human upgrade its technology at its plant welfare and the enviin Akureyri by the ronment; middle of this year. •Deep insight – sucThe deal includes cessfully accessing data, information and knowl- numerous machines for the fillet producedge that will ensure tion that cover the the sector is equipped to understand a chang- entire production process. ing environment.

Processor boosts ‘responsibility’ team Salmon and rum ‘married’ ities dedicated to driving YOUNG’S Seafood has sustainability in the strengthened its corpobusiness. rate social responsibility Grimsby based team with the appointYoung’s said Moffat ment of a leading will be promoting and marine biologist. developing sustainable He is Cameron Moffat, fisheries and farms for who is joining Young’s Above: Cameron Moffat new species. from the Marine StewHe brings an array of ardship Council (MSC). experience in marine conservaHe was previously a project tion. This includes managing a support officer with the MSC and grant fund for developing world, has taken on a significant role, small-scale fisheries to carry out designed to drive forward the improvement projects, as well as company’s responsible seafood assisting in the development of strategy, which has been running seaweed standard materials. for several years. ‘Young’s is already at the front On joining the UK’s top selling of sustainable practices and fish seafood business, Moffat will play welfare; it’s an impressive, forward a key part in overseeing the envithinking business with an exciting ronmental effects of the seafood future,’ he said. supply chain. ‘There is a huge opportunity to He plans to work closely with the grow the company’s sustainable leadership team and he will also practices even further.’ have a broad range of responsibil-

Retail News.indd 91

for royal wedding ABERDEEN based salmon specialist John Ross Jr is marking the May 19 wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle by launching a celebration smoked salmon that marries rum with smoked salmon. The Original Rum Cured Smoked Salmon, which is presented in a bridal white pack, draws on a 160-yearold recipe using rum and sugar cane to create a unique and distinct flavour.

The new product will be available in 90 Waitrose stores across the south east of England, UK independent retail stores, retailers across Europe and online at www.johnrossjr. com from April 23 until the end of May, or until stocks last, priced at £5.99 for 150g. The product made its first appearance since the 19th century at the Coronation Festival, a 60th anniversary of the Queen’s coronation in July 2013.

ISI buys Spanish seafood supplier ICELAND Seafood International (ISI), which bought a major Irish fish processing business two months ago, is to acquire Icelandic Iberica, one of the most important suppliers to the Mediterranean market. Founded in 1996, Icelandic Iberica’s pre-tax profits for 2018 are projected at €4.7 million. With its extensive product range and processing capacity in Spain and Argentina, the company has seen strong growth in sales and profit in the last few years.


09/05/2018 16:57:48

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Opinion – Inside track

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advocacy BY NICK JOY


F you don’t mind I would like to start with defining the terminology that I am going to use just to ensure clarity. The dictionary definition of ‘advocacy’ is public support for, or recommendation of, a particular cause or policy. By public, I believe that it means in public rather than the public acting. So advocacy would cover environmentalists, conservationists, welfare activists and many more categories. One of my friends (who is a lot older than me) was involved in the early development of environmental activism, when it was a bunch of amateurs gathering together to try to save the world. It is now a career choice and, from what I understand from those involved, quite a tough ladder to climb. However, there has been and continues to be a cynical use of advocacy by those who wish to be perceived as environmental, or whatever righteous cause they can espouse to support their true purpose. Of course, the current inquiry into salmon farming is why this particular subject has become my focus for the last while. While I do not in any way criticise those who wish to support their industry, the wild salmon and sea trout sector continue to cloak themselves in conservationist colours. They advocate change to our industry based on their argument that they are trying to conserve the stocks. But it is impossible to argue that conserving stocks is going to be achieved by catching them on a hook. It is even harder to argue that, when you look at the money generated by the wild fish that they are catching. One high profile salmon farming critic is known to have travelled around the smokehouses of Scotland trying to encourage them to buy Alaskan salmon in the 1990s. I have no evidence to suggest that the person concerned was doing anything but trying to get the smokehouses to stop using farmed salmon. However, it does beg a particularly large question as at that time several US trusts and foundations were discovered to have paid huge amounts of money to ‘de-market’ farmed salmon. Salmon farming is a relatively new industry and has evoked, and no doubt will continue to evoke, strong feelings. I have no issue about that at all as I am not known for my lack of opinions! But when a review is happening of any industry, and opinions as well as facts are sought, there has to be some way of evaluating what the advocates of a particular view are saying. Clearly, scientific information is going to be central. All statements by advocates for and against an industry require to be backed up by evidence that will withstand scientific scrutiny where possible, certainly when damning statements are made. My issue is with the usual discounting of industry statements, because the industry is how we make money and therefore we must all be biased. Opponents of the industry do not have to go through the same process.


Nick Joy.indd 94

It is “ impossible

to argue that conserving stocks is going to be achieved by catching them on a hook

If you have a critical view of any industry, your history, associations and definitely the source of your income should be declared. I believe strongly that this would clarify and balance out the debate. Most importantly, it would demonstrate to those who have to make decisions from this review exactly why a certain person is making the points that are being made. My call is for a register of interests to be drawn up for every review of an industry. All people wishing to make comment would need to declare their interests. This should not deter the passionate critic, but will serve to disclose those who are trying to damage one industry for the benefit of another. 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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Fish Farmer Magazine May 2018  

Serving Worldwide Aquaculture Since 1977

Fish Farmer Magazine May 2018  

Serving Worldwide Aquaculture Since 1977