Fish Farmer November 2020

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Fish F armer NOVEMBER 2020


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09/11/2020 10:58:53 20/08/2020 11:54


Editor’s Welcome


ext year we will be celebra�ng the 50th anniversary of offshore fish farming in Scotland, and ahead of that the Sco�sh Salmon Producers’ Associa�on has published an ambi�ous blueprint for a successful, sustainable industry for the coming decades. The SSPO’s Vision document makes some bold commitments on the environment – for example, pleading to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2045 – and also on wider issues such as diversity in employment and improving fish welfare. Another important strand in the document is transparency. It’s more important than ever that the industry is prepared to communicate openly and frankly with the public, and to get its message across to governments and lobby groups. This has been, and con�nues to be a challenging year for the sector and in this issue, we What’s happening in aq look at some of these challenges, from the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic to the problems of in the UK and around th containment and fish health. We also explore how cu�ng edge technology is being used What’s happening in aquacu to help tackle those issues. in the UK and around the w Figures so far published by the big producers JENNY EDITOR JENNY HJUL HJUL –– show EDITOR that, in the salmon sector, produc�on volumes are holding up well but market prices are s�ll problema�c. Apart from the JENNY HJUL –– EDITOR JENNYa� HJUL EDITOR pandemic, in the UK the Brexit nego� ons con�nue. And meanwhile, the world of Steve Bracken SSC’s record results Stewart Graham The final sessions aquaculture is wai�ng to see what a Biden presidency means for producers in the United States and for those who are expor�ng to that country. Steve Bracken SSC’s record results Stewart Graham The final sessions salmon farming sector in Scotland, when it to It’s a fascina�ng �me for me to start out as editor of this magazine, and I where look forward towas he focus this month istopictures on Europe, the internati T HE is coincidence that and videos of unhealthy Sno Fish Farmer went press, there was sti lltold no offi cialonal be thewere subject ofScotti a be parliamentary inquiry, embraced the building on the excellent work of my HE predecessors, Jenny Hjul and Dave for Edler. industry will soon gathering the (European salmon sent to news outlets just asjoint the Scotti sh news from the shScotland, parliamentary inquiry into salmon farming sector in when itEAS was tosalmon he focus this month istopictures on Europe, the internati T is coincidence that andwhere videos of unhealthy Sno Fish Farmer went press, there was sti lltold no offi cialonal opportunity this would provide to explain how it operated. Aquaculture and WAS Aquaculture Society) parliament went back to work at (World the start of month. These farming, conducted earlier this year by thethis Rural Economy be the subject of aSociety) parliamentary inquiry, embraced industry willsent soon be gathering the EASinto (European salmon were to news outletsfor just asjoint the Scotti shthe news from the Scotti sh parliamentary inquiry salmon Current trends In good Julie Hesketh-Laird The had nothing to hide and, if given fair hearing, Meet thehealth new chief exe Best wishes, conference, to be staged over five days in theait southern images had this litt le to doprovide with theto current state of Scotland’s ficould sh and industry Connecti vity (REC) committ ee. MSPs have now heldFrench five opportunity would explain how operated. Aquaculture Society) and WAS Aquaculture Society) parliament back to work at (World the start of month. These farming, went conducted earlier this year by thethis Rural Economy address much of the criti cism levelled against it. Robert Outram city of Montpellier. As well as highlighti ng the latest technological farms where sea lice levels are in decline and, in fact, at a fi vemeeti ngs, in private, to consider their report and we must be Current trends In good Julie Hesketh-Laird The had to hide and, if given fair hearing, Meet thehealth new chief executiv conference, to benothing staged over days in theaof southern images had litt le to do with thefive current state Scotland’s ficould sh and industry Connecti vity (REC) committ ee. MSPs have now heldFrench five Fish Farmer supported this but at times salmon advances in our fast moving sector, Aqua 2018felt willthat alsohas feature year low (htt p://scotti pati ent. However, waiti ng forview, their recommendati ons been address much of the criti cism levelled against it. city ofngs, As well asare highlighti ng the latest technological farms -Montpellier. where sea lice in decline and, inwe fact, at abe fivemeeti in private, tolevels consider their report and must farmers were being drowned out bywhich theREC noisier elements offarming the sessions on emerging markets and look atinvolves the role ofthe fishusual This latest propaganda campaign, all made harder by leaks from within to anti -salmon Fish Farmer supported this atthe times salmon advances in our fast moving sector, Aqua 2018felt willthat alsohas feature year low (htt p://scotti pati ent. However, waiti ng forview, theirbut recommendati ons been angling lobby, which had called foras the investi gatiRural on. But asngs the farming in alleviati ng poverty. Increasingly, industry meeti anti -aquaculture suspects, came Holyrood’s Economy acti vists. The latest of these (see our news story on page 4) farmers were being drowned out bywhich theREC noisier elements offarming the sessions onpropaganda emerging markets and look atinvolves the role fishusual This campaign, allofthe madelatest harder by leaks from within the to anti -salmon sessions progressed, and eventually farmers’ voices were heard, are broadening their scope, tackling subjects such asthat thethe social and Connecti vity committ ee returned the summer recess we to makes grim reading for the industry asfrom itgati suggests committ ee angling lobby, which had called for the investi on. But as farming inThe alleviati ngof poverty. Increasingly, industry ngs anti -aquaculture suspects, came as Holyrood’s Rural Economy activists. latest these (see our news story onmeeti page 4) became more opti misti c. We now believe that MSPs, perhaps with acceptability of aquaculture and the contributi on it makes to global consider its draft report into the future of salmon farming. members have been willing to listen to those campaigning to sessions progressed, and eventually farmers’ voices were heard, are broadening their scope, tackling subjects such asthat the committ social and Connecti vity committ ee returned the summer recess we to makes grim reading for the industry asfrom it suggests ee Serving Worldwide Aquaculture Since 1977 food security and saving the planet, aindustry move that is toanti welcomed. the excepti on ofvaluable one or two Greens cahoots with -farming Those who want toWe shut down thein asbe shut down this sector, rather than to those who operate became more misti c. now believe that MSPs, perhaps with acceptability ofopti aquaculture and the contributi on ithave, makes toexpected, global consider its draft report into the future of salmon farming. members have been willing to listen to those campaigning to Also investi gati ngacti initi aties, veswhich inregard thenow developing world, Harrison campaigners, will, on balance, the industry in a Dr favourable stepped their viti involve the within it.up food security and saving the planet, aindustry move that is tobreaching welcomed. the excepti on ofvaluable one or two Greens cahoots with anti -farming Those who want to shut down thein asbe expected, shut down this sector, rather thanthe tohave, those who operate Meet the team Charo Karisa of WorldFish writes about farming potenti al inthe Fish Farmer: Volume 43 Number 11 light. They will hopefully see that farmers take their environmental biosecure environments of farm sitesindustry to snatch photographs in Of course, such stories may be inaccurate and, in any case, Also investi gati ng initi ati ves in the developing world, Dr Harrison campaigners, will, on balance, regard the in a favourable stepped acti vitiish es,and which nowculti involve breaching the within it.up their Editorial Advisory Board: Nigeria, both in catf ti lapia vati on. responsibiliti es seriously and that businesses will only ever invest the hope of fi nding incriminati ng evidence against farmers. Onein committ ee’s fi ndings are not binding. Scotland’s fi sh farmers Contact us Charo Karisa of WorldFish writes about the farming potenti al in light. They will hopefully see that farmers take their environmental biosecure environments of farm sites tosomething snatch ingame Of course, such stories may be inaccurate and,photographs inofany case,ngthe Steve Bracken, Hervé Migaud, Jim Treasurer, In Scotland, the summer has been aofwaiti What’s in a name? Dr Nick Lake Phil Thomas growth that isfibeen sustainable. Tel: +44(0) 131 551 1000 campaigner lmed himself searching, unsuccessfully, for minister, dead have always fortunate to have the support their Nigeria, both catf ish and tilapia culti vati on. responsibiliti seriously and that businesses will only ever invest in the hope of fies nding incriminati ng evidence against farmers. One committ ee’s fiin ndings are not binding. Scotland’s fi sh farmers Chris Mitchell, Jason Cleaversmith while the parliament is in recess and the members of Holyrood’s Fax: +44(0) 131 551especially 7901 If the committ ee members, those who have yet to of Phil fi sh at a Marine Harvest site. Another said he saw ‘hundreds’ Fergus Ewing, to grow sustainably. In Scotland, the summer has been something of a waiti ng game What’s in a name? Dr Nick Lake Thomas growth that isfibeen sustainable. campaigner lmed himself searching, unsuccessfully, forto dead haveRural always fortunate to have the support of their minister, and Hamish Macdonell Economy and Connecti vity committ ee conti nue weigh up Email: visit aparliament farm, like tothe learn more about theagainst of infested salmon in awould pen, but we only have his word that But itsalmon should not go unchallenged that some MSPs onsubject the REC while the isroutram@fi in recess and members of Holyrood’s If the committ ee members, especially those who have yet to fi sh at a Marine Harvest site. Another said he saw ‘hundreds’ of Fergus Ewing, to grow sustainably. the evidence in their inquiry into salmon farming. We don’t expect Editor: RobertRural Outram their we have plenty of good stories in our May Even and Connecti vity committ ee conti nue weigh up Head Offi ce: Special Publica� ons, Fe� esto Park, of theinquiry, professional vets and biologists who manage theissue. welfare of committ ee, with their own against the growth of visit a Economy farm, like toagendas learn more about the ofthetime infested salmon in go awould but we only have his word against that Buttheir itsalmon should not unchallenged that some MSPs onsubject the REC report unti l pen, the autumn but hope the MSPs are using the Designer: Andrew the Balahura bett er, they could head to the Highlands later this month, where 496 Ferry Road, Edinburgh, EH5 2DL Wefor evidence in their inquiry into salmon farming. don’t expect these farms on a daily basis. industry, are in breach of Code of Conduct MSPs. As they their wefully have plenty of good stories in ourgrowth May toinquiry, become acquainted with the facts about fithe shissue. farming. of the professional vets andagendas biologists who manage welfare of committ ee, with their own against the of theEven Commercial Manager: Montpellier report Dr Marti n Jaff a Doug McLeod meet the aquaculture industry en masse at Scotland’s theirthey report unti l the autumn but hope the MSPs areas using theittiis, meit Ifthey the is proud of its high standards, itsalmon says are inwill aindustry positi on to inflthe uence the future course of farming, bett er, could head to Highlands later this month, where This month also sees reti rement of Marine Harvest’s longest these farms on a daily basis. industry, are in breach of the Code of Conduct for MSPs. As they Subscriptions Janice Johnston to become fully acquainted with the facts about fi sh farming. biggest fi sh farming show. must mount aaquaculture much more robustWe defence oftrouble itself, through its and of businesses vital toBracken. Scotland’s economy, we have a right Montpellier report Dr Marti n Jaff a Doug McLeod they will meet the industry en masse Scotland’s serving employee, Steve had no Subscrip� ons Fish Farmer If the isto proud ofreti itsAddress: high standards, as itsalmon says itcollecti is, it ng are in aindustry positi on inflthe uence the future course ofat farming, This month also sees rement of Marine Harvest’s longest will certainly be at Aquaculture UK inindustry, Aviemore and look representati ve body, the SSPO, than it has done to date. The toWe know who they are, and we hope the through its warm tributes from his friends and colleagues to mark the biggest fi sh farming show. Magazine Subscrip� ons,economy, Warners Group must mount a much more robustWe defence itself, through its and ofve: businesses vital toBracken. Scotland’s we have a right Sales Execu� serving employee, Steve had noof trouble collecti ng forward toand, seeing many of you there too. campaigners, we now see, willrest stop nothing, representati ves, will pressure the parliament toand investi gate before milestone along with of the industry, thefarmers team We will certainly be at Aquaculture UK inat Aviemore and look Publica� ons plc, The Mal� ngs, West representati vethey body, the SSPO, than itthe has done tothrough date. The to know who are, and wethe hope industry, its at Fish Stephenwarm Hannah tributes from his friends and colleagues to mark the should be prepared toyou fivery ght back. the to REC report isall published. Farmer wish him the best for the future. Street, Bourne seeing many of there too. campaigners, we now see, will stop at representati ves, will pressure the parliament toand investi gateatbefore Publisher: Alisterforward Benne� Rising stars Marti nBrown Jaff a Orkney anniversary Janet milestone and, along with the rest of thenothing, industry, thefarmers team Fish Lincolnshire PE10 9PH should prepared to fivery ght back. the RECbe report published. Farmer wish himisall the best for the future.

Conte Conten 4-15 4-14 News 4-15 4-14 News

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


16-21 16-17 16-22 Industry pioneer News Extra platform Parliamentary in 16-21 16-17 16-22 Industry pioneer News Extra platform Parliamentary inquir 22-23 18-19 24-27 Salmon market SSPO 22-23 18-19 24-27 Salmon market SSPO

Robert Outram

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Cover: Salmon farm, sunset

Tel: +44 (0)1778 392014

ons: £75 a year nowSubscrip� on @fishfarmermag Fish Farmer isUK ROW Subscrip� ons: £95 a year including Facebook and Twitter Fish Farmer is now postage on - All Air Facebook andthe Twitter Contact us Meet team

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


Janet Machrihanish Orkney farm Marti nBrown Jaff a visit Advisory Board: Steve Contact Tel: +44(0) us 131 551 1000 MeetEditorial the team Fax: +44(0) 131 551 7901 Bracken, Scott Landsburgh, Hervé Steve Bracken, Scott HervéLandsburgh, Migaud, Editorial Advisory Board: Steve Tel: +44(0) 131 551 1000 Migaud, PatrickJim Smith and Jim Hervé Patrick Smith, PatrickMigaud, Smith, Treasurer and Fax: email: +44(0) 131 551 7901 Bracken, Scott Landsburgh, Hervé Steve Bracken, Scott HervéLandsburgh, Migaud, jhjul@fi Treasurer, Wiliam Jim Treasurer and Dowds William Dowdsemail: William Dowds Marti nofJaff a era Vaccines New player Dawn Migaud, PatrickJim Smith and Jim Hervé Patrick Smith, PatrickMigaud, Smith, Treasurer and 3 new Editor: Jenny Hjul jhjul@fi Treasurer, Wiliam Jim Treasurer and Dowds William Dowds William Dowds Head Office: Special Publications, Dawn Marti nofJaff a era Vaccines New player new Designer: Andrew Balahura Fettes Park, 496 Ferry Road, Editor: Jenny Hjul Advertising Manager: Team Leader: HeadEdinburgh, Office: Special Publications, EH5 2DL Designer: Andrew Balahura Fettes Park, 496 Ferry Road, Dave Edler 09/11/2020 16:48:18 Advertising Manager: Team Leader: Figure 9. Development of salmon nominal catch in sou

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

36-39 32-35 34-35 43-45 Wild salmon Cleaner fish decl Orkney IoA careers 36-39 32-35 34-35 43-45


Fish F armer In the November issue... News

What’s happening in the UK and around the world

Processing News


Update from the processing sector



A vision for Scotland’s salmon farming industry



Mar�n Jaffa



Hamish MacDonell



Vince McDonagh

Covid-19 Update


Sandy Neil



Nicki Holmyard

Atlantic Sapphire


Vince McDonagh

Gene Editing


Breeding in resistance to sea lice

Fish Welfare and Health


New ways to tackle fish diseases and parasites



Fresh thinking, new technology

What’s New

Monthly update on industry innova�ons and solu�ons

Industry Diary

All the latest aquaculture events, conferences and courses

Aqua Source Directory Opinion



Nick Joy


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09/11/2020 11:07:52

United Kingdom News


Scottish salmon production breaks record SCOTTISH salmon production recorded its biggest ever numbers in 2019, according to the latest figures from the Scottish Government. The Scottish Fish Farm Production Survey for 2019 showed that the sector farmed 203,881 tonnes of salmon last year, an increase of 30.7 per cent on 2018. In 2019, production of Atlantic salmon increased by 47,856 tonnes (30.7 per cent) to 203,881 tonnes, the highest ever level of production recorded in Scotland The total number of smolts produced in 2019 increased by 4.3 million (9per cent) to 51.4 million, this is the highest annual smolt production recorded in Scotland The total number of staff employed in marine salmon production during 2019 also increased by 185 to 1,651 staff. Hamish Macdonell, Director of Strategic Engagement at the Scottish Salmon Producers Organisation (SSPO), said: “These figures show what a great success story Scottish salmon continues to be. Our farmers achieved record production levels in 2019, employed more people and exported more around the world. In doing so, they injected significant sums into many of


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Top: Fergus Ewing Above: Atholl Duncan

Scotland’s most sparsely populated rural areas and boosted the economy as a whole.This is a sector we can all be proud of.” Commenting on the Scottish Fish Farm Production Survey 2019, Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing said:“The latest figures show record levels of salmon being produced by fish farms with the finfish sector on track to achieve its sustainable growth target of 210,000 tonnes by 2020. “With increased jobs and stock across all farmed fish I congratulate the sector for its efforts, delivering unprecedented production of this nutritious, quality seafood and creating more highly paid, highly skilled jobs in many of our most remote and fragile

communities. “I look forward to salmon maintaining its place as Scotland’s biggest food export, as a key contributor to our food and drink success story which in turn is supporting the wider supply chain.With the impact of coronavirus (COVID-19) and threats from Brexit, we will do all we can to support the sector and the benefits it brings, working to drive improvements in research, innovation and regulation to deliver further sustainable growth.” While 2020 has been an exceptionally challenging year due to coronavirus, the sector has ensured that all staff have been protected with a variety of safety measures and farming has continued.As a result of all these efforts production is estimated to grow again this year, to around 207,000 tonnes, according to the Scottish Government statistics.While exports have been severely hampered by the impact of coronavirus, sales within the UK market have grown this year. Atholl Duncan, chair of SSPO, commented:“Today’s figures demonstrate the importance of salmon to the Scottish economy, particularly as the country emerges from the challenges of Covid.” Earlier this year statistics from HMRC showed that exports of fresh Scottish salmon had also achieved a record high, with an increase of 26 per cent to 94,000 tonnes. More details from the Scottish Fish Farm Production Survey will be reported in the Fish Farmer 2021 Yearbook, coming out next month with the December issue of this magazine.

New focus for Marine Scotland’s Farmed Fish Health group GOVERNMENT agency Marine Scotland has set out priorities for a ‘refreshed’ Farmed Fish Health Framework: the causes of fish mortality, impact of climate change and development of treatments. The steering group for the 10 year framework, a collaboration between the aquaculture sector and Scottish Government and its advisers, will be chaired by The Scottish Government’s Chief Veterinary Officer Dr Sheila Voas. The steering group will be reformatted, Marine Scotland says, with other stakeholders feeding in their areas of expertise through a new workshop approach. The key priorities for the framework will be: • developing a consistent reporting methodology for collection of information on the causes of farmed fish mortality, and providing survival data; • addressing the impact of climate change and ocean acidification, including real-time monitoring of plankton and mapping climatic conditions around Scotland’s coasts; and • encouraging the development of new medicines with the aim of increasing treatment flexibility. Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing said:“I am delighted that Dr Voas has agreed to chair the redesigned Farmed Fish Health Framework Steering Group. “Sheila is a much respected figure within animal health and is ideally placed to bring a fresh perspective to aquatic animal health, and promote linkages between animal and aquatic health, including the Scottish Animal Welfare Commission. “The Farmed Fish Health Framework’s focus on fish health and securing a sustainable future for Scotland’s top food export is crucial, and it is ideally placed to contribute to wider work aimed at sustainable economic recovery.” The Farmed Fish Health Network was originally set up Above: Sheila Voas in 2017.

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09/11/2020 11:08:41 03/12/2019 16:48

United Kingdom News

Scottish Sea Farms makes case for Wester Ross site SCOTTISH Sea Farms says that its proposed facility off Wester Ross will take full account of the needs of the Wester Ross marine protected area (MPA). Responding to an objection lodged by the Scottish Wildlife Trust, Scottish Sea Farms’ managing director Jim Gallagher said: “It’s absolutely right that sensitive habitats and species be protected and we’ve taken great care from the outset to ensure there’s no overlap between the proposed farm and priority marine features such as the maerl beds and other marine plants and animals they are home to. Several of our farms are already located in marine protected areas – our nearby farms at Tanera and Fada included – proving that, with responsible and sympathetic farm Above: Jim Gallagher management, both can co-exist.” Scottish Sea Farms has applied for permission for a site close to Horse Island in the Summer Isles, which lies within the Wester Ross MPA in north west Scotland. The original proposal has been scaled down to eight pens with a biomass of 1,100 tonnes, in compliance with the introduction of a new modelling system from the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA). The original proposal had been for 14 pens and a biomass of 1,973 tonnes. The Scottish Wildlife Trust argues that the proposed farm would damage several fragile protected features within the Wester Ross Marine Protected Area, including maerl beds, northern feather stars

and kelp forests. Dr Sam Collin, the Scottish Wildlife Trust’s living seas manager said: “The site proposed by Scottish Sea Farms is entirely unsuitable due to its proximity to important protected habitats. These plans pose a serious threat to marine wildlife, stores of blue carbon, and the local creel fishing industry.” The company stresses that a full and thorough environmental impact assessment has been prepared by independent environmental consultants Aquatera, with full consideration of the MPA, and will be made publicly available at the next stage of the consultation process. It adds that when MPAs were first designated in Scotland, in most cases in areas where the marine habitat was deemed to be in good condition, many were at sites where salmon farms were already operating. Gallagher said: “Our aim is to deliver a win-win outcome for the Summer Isles community: the creation of highly skilled, highly paid jobs and modern apprenticeships, while at the same time protecting its healthy marine environment for generations to come.” Scottish Sea Farms says the new site will create six new full-time jobs, with recruitment from the local community wherever possible, and one to two modern apprenticeship positions, as well as benefiting the local economy.

Biotech company aims to turn pollution into fish feed A UK biotech business is developing a process that could turn industrial emissions into fish and animal feed. The company, Deep Branch, has secured investment of €2.5 million from the European Innovation Council Accelerator fund to scale up the sustainable generation of protein that could transform food production and supply chains. The funding will go towards building

Above: Marc van Doorn (L), and Peter Rowe


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a new facility at the Netherlands-based Brightlands Chemelot Campus, a hub for circular chemistry and chemical processes, which Deep Branch expects to be operational by Q2 2021. The REACT-FIRST project uses microbes to convert CO2 from industrial emissions into a new type of single-cell protein, called Proton. Deep Branch is using this to create a low carbon animal feed with a nutritional profile that is comparable with fishmeal, generally considered to be the gold-standard protein source in aquafeed. Proton can be produced year-round, reducing the impact of any seasonal fluctuations in price or yield. REACT-FIRST is supported by grant funding from Innovate UK, an agency of the UK government, and brings together 10 consortium partners from industry and academia. The project aims to gather valuable data about the cost, digestibility, nutritional quality and carbon footprint of Proton. Working in conjunction with re-

newable power company Drax, as well as a consortium of industry leading partners, the technology has already been proven on a smaller scale, Deep Branch says. This latest funding will enable Deep Branch to scale up increasing production to enable animal feed manufacturers to expedite performance testing of the new protein. Deep Branch was one of only two UK companies to be shortlisted for the EIC programme. Peter Rowe, CEO of Deep Branch, said: “Setting up the pilot plant represents an important next step in finding the perfect recipe for Proton that meets the requirements of feed producers. “We’ll be undertaking further trials with BioMar and AB Agri, two leading animal feed companies that support the salmon and poultry farming industries. “Thanks to the EU’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation support, we can expand our production capacity to match the volumes that feed producers need to run these trials.”

09/11/2020 16:25:57

All the latest industry news from the UK

Major salmon genetics study launched

Above: Wild salmon

ONE of the most comprehensive studies of wild Atlantic salmon genetics has begun in Scotland to gauge the impact of any interbreeding between wild and farm-raised salmon. The study has been launched in response to a recent escape of farm-raised salmon and will be managed by the wild-fish conservation body Fisheries Management Scotland, supported by Government scientists from Marine Scotland Science, and funded by Mowi Scotland. The multi-year study of 115 sites aims to confirm wild salmon’s current genetic profile and to track for the potential of genetic changes should interbreeding of farmed and wild salmon occur. In late August, Mowi Scotland confirmed that 48,834 farm-raised salmon escaped from its aquaculture facility in the Firth of Clyde after becoming detached from its seabed anchors during a combination of strong weather events. Since the escape, Fisheries Management Scotland has been working with member District Salmon Fishery Boards and Fisheries Trusts,

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as well as angling associations, to monitor the situation and mitigate where possible. Escaped farmed salmon have been caught by anglers in multiple rivers across Loch Lomond, Ayrshire, Clyde, Argyll and in rivers in northwest England. The priority for Fisheries Management Scotland and their members has been to ensure that any farmed fish are removed from the rivers, humanely dispatched, and scale samples submitted to enable accurate identification, and Mowi has committed to support these actions. Dr Alan Wells, Chief Executive of Fisheries Management Scotland said: “We are very disappointed that this escape has occurred. The Carradale North farm is a new development, and we are all agreed it is not acceptable for such escapes to occur. It is crucial that lessons are learned, and that appropriate steps are taken to avoid such escapes happening in future. “We have welcomed Mowi’s commitment to work with us and to fund a comprehensive genetics study that will help us better understand the potential impacts. We will continue to engage with

Troutlodge’s Handley moves on to new role

UK trout egg producer Troutlodge is looking to recruit a new EMEA regional sales manager following the announcement that Jon Handley is leaving to run Berkshire Trout Farm. Handley will continue as Troutlodge’s UK distributor. The company described Handley’s move as “an opAbove: Jon-Handley portunity he could not resist”. He has 30 years’ experience in aquaculture and will be running the largest trout farm in the UK, supplying both Brown Trout and Rainbow Trout for restocking and Rainbow Trout for smoking. It has the capacity to hatch 10 million eggs per annum. the industry and regulators, Keith Drynan, General Manager of with a view to improving the Troutlodge commented: “We wish Jon all situation for wild salmon and the best with his new venture. Although sea trout.” we are going to miss his contribution Ben Hadfield, COO of Mowi to our sales team, we welcome Jon with Scotland said: “I would like great confidence to our distribution to thank Fisheries Managenetwork. With his technical skills and our ment Scotland and their trout genetics, we believe mutual success member District Salmon is guaranteed.” Fishery Boards and Fisheries Troutlodge, part of Hendrix Genetics, Trusts for their efforts to is the world’s leading supplier of eyed remove these fish from rivers Rainbow Trout eggs and specializes in across the Firth of Clyde, and the production of all-female and triploid (sterile) eggs.Troutlodge maintains four apologise for any disruption strains of Rainbow Trout that allows and concern this escape has caused all those with an inter- supply of Rainbow Trout eggs every week of the year. est in wild salmon. We have learned the root cause of the escape – system anchor lines crossing and resulting in friction failure – and acknowledge our responsibility to quickly learn from this event to prevent it from occurring again.” This new and comprehensive study of genetic introgression aims to add to the understanding of one of the potential pressures on Scotland’s wild salmon which are approaching crisis-point. The Scottish Government has identified a range of high-level pressures on wild salmon to also include: over-exploitation, predation, invasive species, habitat loss and quality, and inshore commercial fisheries.


09/11/2020 16:26:19

United Kingdom News

Bluefin tuna freed after raiding Scottish fish farm

Above: Bluefin tuna

A Bluefin tuna, thought to weigh up to 47 stone (300 kg) has been has been set free after it became trapped in a fish farm in the Outer Hebrides owned by the Scottish Salmon Company. The huge fish broke through the nets at the Loch Roag site, apparently chasing after mackerel. The tuna was captured by a member of staff and returned to open water. The company, bought by the Faroese Bakkafrost Group last October, said they found a small tear in the net caused which was made when the predator broke through at speed. The net has been repaired and no salmon have escaped, but the Scottish Salmon Co plans to fit stronger nets to avoid a repeat incident. Warmer seas have brought a marked increase in the number of Atlantic bluefin tuna operating in Scottish west coast waters in

recent years and there have been reports of similar incidents in the past. Atlantic bluefin tuna were once common in British waters but numbers declined steeply between the 1940s and 1990s. The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) says the bluefin, the largest of the tuna species, is considered an endangered species and are heavily overfished. They are regarded as a very strong predators, which is why one was able to break through the nets at Loch Roag last week. Able to live for up to 40 years, tuna are particularly prized in Japan where they are used for sushi and can fetch huge prices. One Tokyo buyer paid a record US $3 million for a 612 lb tuna last year. The WWF fears that stocks are being overexploited and are in danger of collapse unless urgent action is taken.

Scottish Government calls for £62m in fisheries support SCOTLAnd should receive at least £62 million annually to replace the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) from next year, according to Fergus Ewing, Cabinet Secretary for Rural Economy and Tourism in the Scottish Government. Ewing raised the issue at an EU Exit Operations meeting last week and has now written to Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, George Eustice, seeking clarity on how UK Government funding for this sector will operate from next Above: George Eustice January, when the UK’s withdrawal agreement with the sea area. He adds that, in addition to Brexit, European Union comes to an end. Scotland’s seafood sector has been hard hit In the letter, Ewing points out that Scotland by the Covid-19 pandemic, with the loss of generates 14% of EU aquaculture production export and food service markets. and 9% of EU sea fisheries landings, and is reThe letter goes on: “The loss of EU funding sponsible for managing 10.9% of the European comes at a time when the biggest risk to


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Scotland’s seafood industry is the UK Government’s Brexit proposals. The harm Brexit will impose on the people and economy of Scotland must be minimised as far as possible. The alternative is to see our seafood industries facing potentially crippling delays and additional costs, which could prove devastating for jobs and exports and have wider repercussions for the marine sectors and the fragile communities which rely on these sectors.” The EMFF is the fund for the EU’s maritime and fisheries policies for 2014-2020 and covers, among other things, help for local fishing industries to transition to sustainable models, help for coastal communities to develop their economies and aid for sustainable aquaculture projects. The fund is used to co-finance projects, alongside national funding.

09/11/2020 16:27:01

All the latest industry news from the UK

Global innovation award for University of Stirling researcher’s shrimp project UNIVERSITY of Stirling postdoctoral researcher Simão Zacarias has been named as the winner of the Global Aquaculture Alliance’s Innovation Award for 2020. Zacarias edged out two other finalists Above: Simão Zacarias — Pablo Berner of Nuseed and Mark animal-welfare circles, Luecke of Prairie contentious — shrimpAquaTech — to win the hatchery practice of competition, which was unilateral eyestalk sponsored by Lineage ablation. His research Logistics. All three debunked the notion finalists were featured that the practice in GAA’s Global results in higher Aquaculture Advocate egg production and in September and showed that it actually presented on October escalates disease 8 at GAA’s GOAL vulnerability. Zacarias 2020 conference, held proved in laboratory virtually for the first testing that postlarvae time ever this year. and juveniles from nonZacarias’ work ablated Pacific white zeroed in on the shrimp broodstock common — and, in showed higher survival

rates when they were challenged with two key diseases. He also proved that a similar egg production rate can be attained without resorting to eyestalk ablation by giving broodstock, in their pre-maturation stage, high quality, nutritious feed. “It is an honour to win this prestigious award, mainly as the first African to get it. This award reminds me to never give up in chasing my dreams even when they seem impossible,” said Zacarias. “I also think that this award is a direct message to the shrimp and aquaculture industry as a whole to keep adopting stronger animal welfare practices.”

Missing workboat found sunk off Lewis A drifting fish farm workboat has been found sunk five miles east of Lewis after breaking her moorings during heavy storms over the weekend of 31 October-1 November. Although the 19 metre long vessel has all the appearance of a D-Day style landing craft, the MV Tiffany of Melfort, was built in Devon for the trout company Kames Fish Farming just two years ago at a reported cost of £1 million. The incident is a serious setback for the company which said it was devastated by the news. It had been tied up near a trout

farm in Loch Pooltiel, by Glendale in north west Skye, when the storm struck. A Coastguard alert was issued to shipping in the area to keep a sharp lookout for the drifting vessel. An inspection will now be carried out to assess the extent of damage and establish if the MV Tiffany of Melfort can be salvaged.

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09/11/2020 16:27:42

European News


Danish Aquaculture hits back at restrictions THE body representing Denmark’s fish farming industry has hit out strongly against government plans to curb further coastal based expansion. In October, Environment Minister Lea Wermelin introduced two new bills to restrict growth in the offshore sector “in order to protect the marine environment”. She said she wanted to see more fish farming take place in fresh and salt water dams on land rather than in open pens at sea. The first bill removes the option of offsetting the environmental impact of a proposed fish farm development by various mitigating measures. The second piece of legislation brings regulation of fish farming under the country’s Environmental Protection Agency. Currently, responsibility is divided Above: Lea Wermelin between that agency and local authorities. Now the chairman of Danish Aquaculture, Niels Dalsgaard, has criticised the proposals as totally misguided and has called for a meeting with the minister. He said Denmark’s aquaculture industry was already producing food in a healthy, climate friendly and environmentally efficient manner. He declared: “I find it worrying that the Minister of the Environment does not want to listen to the profession or the Ministry of the Environment’s own conclusions in the latest aquaculture review… these bills will openly slow down all development in the aquaculture sector. There is a lack of professional evidence.” Dalsgaard pointed out that Denmark’s aquaculture companies had been leaders in a number of technological developments including the supply of large trout smolts to


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fish farms. By restricting sustainable development at sea, he said, the minister was also removing a large part of the basis for land-based facilities which she claimed she wanted to promote. Her proposal made no sense, either environmentally or as a business policy, and it testified to a complete lack of understanding and respect for the entire industry’s value chains, its exports and employment contribution, particularly in rural areas. Dalsgaard accused the minister of overlooking some important points in her efforts to promote sustainable fish farming. Both the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) standard and the organic label ensure that stricter considerations have been taken into account for the environmental and sustainable aquaculture with several Danish aquaculture farms working according to these standards. He said: “I would like to know why the Minister of believes that neither ASC certification nor the eco-label to be sustainable? Overall, we want to see a diverse sector, but with this initiative will not only stop development at sea, but also the development of organic farms.” Dalsgaard added: “I believe that the Minister of the Environment owes us a meeting so that we can discuss these bills. Danish Aquaculture points out that the country’s fish farms produce just 0.06 per cent of the total nitrogen output in its waters and 0.5 per cent of nitrogen output on land, yet it contributed 1.5 billion kroner (£182 million) in export revenues..

Norwegian salmon exports hit record level NORWAY exported 120,000 tonnes of salmon during October. Converted into whole fish, the volume was 138,674 tonnes which is the highest export volume yet for a single month. Low prices meant the value at NOK 6.5 billion (£527 million) fell by NOK 124 million (£10.1m), down two per cent compared with October last year. The export price per kg was NOK 48.57 (£3.96), six per cent lower than the same month last year. Norwegian Seafood Council analyst Paul T. Aandahl said the Asian and Israeli markets suffered the most from reduced volumes, the latter affected by increased competition from Chile. Sales were also affected by continuing reduced demand from the restaurant sector. So far this year, Norway has exported 920,000 tonnes of salmon worth NOK 58.3 billion (£4.75 billion), the same volume as a year ago, while the value fell by NOK 522 million (£42.6 million) or just under one per cent. Farmed trout exports rose again last month to 7,100 tonnes, up by six per cent in volume. The value at NOK 371 million (£30 million) is running at the same level. Belarus, Japan and Ukraine remain the largest markets for Norwegian trout. So far this year, 60,000 tonnes of trout worth NOK 3.2 billion (£260 million) were sold abroad. This represents an increase in volume of 27 per cent, while the value increased by NOK 275 million (£22.43 million), or nine per cent. The Seafood Council said that despite a challenging month overall exports remain at a high level. The total, including white fish such as cod and haddock and pelagics like herring and mackerel totalled NOK 10.4 billion (£852 million), down five per cent on a year ago. Nevertheless, the figure is the third highest value yet for a single month..

09/11/2020 16:40:32

was positive in the third quarter of both 2020 and 2019.The contract share was 53% in the quarter compared with 41% in the third quarter of 2019. Price achievement was negatively impacted by the size proďŹ le.The third quarter harvest volume was 16, 114 tonnes gutted weight (19, 634 tonnes).Volumes were negatively impacted by challenging biology and early harvest.â€? On the disease issues, Mowi explained:“The cost level in our Scottish operations is affected by the biological situation... the salmon harvested in Q3 2020 had elevated costs related to biological issues in both the

Above: Ivan Vindheim

third quarter and prior periods including algal bloom, CMS (cardiomyopathy syndrome) , PD (pancreatic disease) and lice. The cost items which increased from the comparable quarter were mainly feed and health related, the company said: “Production in the third quarter improved compared with the corresponding quarter of 2019. Incident based mortality losses amounted to â‚Ź4.3 million mainly related to algal bloom, CMS, storm and treatment losses (â‚Ź8.8 million in 2019).“ Mowi chief executive Ivan Vindheim said:“Our operations have been running close to normal despite further Covid-19 restrictions... although retail sales are strong, our earnings are impacted by falling prices as a result of lower net demand.â€? Mowi reported global operational revenues of â‚Ź958 million (â‚Ź1,023 million) in the third quarter of 2020. The board has decided not to pay a third quarter dividend.

European Federation elects ďŹ rst female LARA Barazi-Yeroulanos has been elected as president of the Federation of European Aquaculture Producers (FEAP). She is CEO and president of the board of Kefalonia Fisheries, Above: Lara Barazibased in Kefalonia, Yeroulanos Greece. Barazi-Yeroulanos holds a Master’s degree in Public Policy & International Trade and Finance from the Kennedy School of Government/Harvard University and a BA in Economics from Columbia University. She has been Vicepresident in FEAP since 2018. The first woman to be elected to the post, she will serve for the next three years. FEAP represents 22 national fish farming associations from 21 countries, all in Europe but not all within the European Union. % FAI 00




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MOWI Scotland continued to be affected by a series of biological problems during the third quarter of this year, but improvements are on the way.. The world’s largest farmed salmon producer has published its Q3 results which show, as expected, it achieved a global EBIT of â‚Ź80 million, against â‚Ź148 million for the corresponding period last year. Its Scottish operations produced an EBIT of â‚Ź5.6 million against â‚Ź26.2 million in 2019, the equivalent of â‚Ź0.35 per kg (â‚Ź1.34 in 2019). Mowi said reduced earnings from the third quarter of 2019 were due to low prices from Covid-19, as well as lower volumes and increased cost on challenging biology, including an algal bloom which affected several of its farms in the Argyll region. It said: “The overall price achieved was 23 per cent above the reference price in the quarter (20 per cent above). Contribution from contracts relative to the reference price


Mowi Q3 results show high volumes, lower earnings


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09/11/2020 16:41:29

European News

Norway Royal Salmon takes earnings hit COVID-19 is set to take quite a toll on the performance of salmon farming companies this year, the Q3 figures from Norway Royal Salmon indicate. NRS was the first of the big producers to publish its 2020 third quarter results and the company announced an operational EBIT of 35 million in Norwegian kroner NOK (£2.8 million), and an EBIT of NOK 4.21 per kg.The corresponding earnings figures for the July to September period last year were NOK 131 million (£10.6m) and NOK 19.60 (£1.59) per kg, falls of 73 per cent and 78.5 per cent respectively. Given the impact of coronavirus on the restaurant and catering trade in Europe, the results were not unexpected and the company was in positive mood. It also said it plans to strengthen its stake in its

Above Charles Høstlund

Iceland investment. CEO Charles Høstlund said the market price of salmon has, as normal, been seasonally low during the summer months, but had also been impacted by the pandemic and high production costs. He added: “We have had good growth throughout the quarter, and by starting to harvest a new generation we expect lower production costs in the next quarter. NRS has a

Irish mussel and oyster farmers offered Covid-19 aid ROPE mussel and oyster farmers in Ireland will get extra support to help cope with the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. Ireland’s Minister for Agriculture Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue, announced a package in October that will provide a fixed, oneoff payment of between €6,800 and €16,300 to each eligible oyster farming business and between €1,300 and €9,000 for rope mussel producers. The funds come from the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund Programme 2014-20, co-funded by the Government of Ireland and the EU. Explaining the scheme, McConalogue said: “Rope mussel and oyster farmers were significantly impacted in the first half of 2020 by the market access and price difficulties caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. While these issues eased as the first wave of the pandemic passed, the impacts of lost sales and production left a lasting financial burden on these aquaculture enterprises. Rope mussel farmers suffered a 34% fall in sales between February and June, while oyster farmers suffered a sales drop of 59%. The continued viability of these SME enterprises is jeopardised.” Applications are invited for early November with a view to paying successful Above Charlie McConalogue applicants this year.


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strong financial position with NOK 1,103 million (£89m) in unutilised credit facilities at the end of the third quarter. After the end of the quarter, NRS was offered NOK 800 million in an increased loan facility with a sustainability term loan, which will further increase the group’s financial headroom. Farming posted an operational EBIT of NOK 42.3 million (£3.42 million) compared with NOK 138.7 million (£11.2 million) in the corresponding quarter last year, down 69.5 per cent. Harvest volumes were up by 42 per cent to 10,058 tonnes, gutted weight. For 2020, the harvest volume is expected to be 32,500 tonnes gutted weight and for 2021 the harvest volume is estimated at 40,000 tonnes, an increase of 23 per cent on 2020.The estimated smolt put to sea for 2020 is 10 million smolts.

AKVA launches ‘toughest’ feed barge AKVA Group has launched what the company says is its toughest barge yet. The feed and service barge AC800PVDB was built for Arctic Offshore Farming AS, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Norway Royal Salmon, which is constructing a new farm at Fellesholmen west of Tromsø. The vessel, AC800PVDB, will act as a joint feed and service barge for the farm, which is set to be populated in the summer of 2021. It is over 64m long and built for extreme conditions with a total tonnage of 800 metric tons, and uses brand new environmentally friendly waterborne feeding technology. Kent Ims Borsheim, Project Manager in AKVA group said: “This is the toughest barge AKVA group has ever made and it can handle ‘weather from all sides’.” The barge represents a shift to extremely low energy consumption compared to air transport of the feed, AKVA says.

Ace Aquatec sets up operations in Norway SCOTTISH-based aquaculture technology supplier Ace Aquatec is branching out with the opening of a new division in Norway. Based in Marineholmen in Bergen, the company’s Norwegian division will be led by regional manager Preben Imset Matre, BS Marine Biology & Aquaculture, who was previously head of Norway operations at aquaculture supplier Aquabyte. Ace Aquatec has doubled in size over the past year and counts some of the world’s leading brands, including Scottish Sea Farms, Grieg Seafood, New Zealand King Salmon, Cooke Aquaculture, Sanford, Loch Duart and Denmark’s Musholm as customers. Preben Imset Matre said: “Ace Aquatec is a market leader in aquaculture technology in the United Kingdom and has an impressive track record of innovation and product development.

Above Preben Imset Matre

Their highly ethical and sustainable technology empowers fish farmers to improve and safeguard fish health and welfare without harming other marine life - something that is increasingly important in Norwegian aquaculture.” The company will be rolling out its modular, mechanical sealice removal system in Norway in the first quarter of 2021 and will be launching a new 3D biomass camera

system, for monitoring fish growth and welfare, later in the year. Ace Aquatec CEO Nathan Pyne-Carter added: “The decision to expand into Europe and open an office in Norway was a logical step in our business growth strategy. Norway is home to some of the largest and most sophisticated farmed salmon producers in the world, as well as the best competence centers for research and development work, so it’s critical that we meet clients where they live to service them most effectively.” Earlier this year, Ace Aquatec announced the opening of its first office in Chile. It has also received financial backing received backing from Dutch aquaculture specialist investor Aqua-Spark and Scottish technology entrepreneurs, and co-founders of 4J Studios, Chris van der Kuyl CBE and Paddy Burns.

09/11/2020 16:41:52

All the latest industry news from Europe

Sande Aqua plans land-based salmon farm in Norway football pitches. A plan to build It has access to Norway’s largest water, is close to a land-based regional airport and salmon farm at Sande plans to build a cost of more a deepwater quay. than five billion Sand Aqua kroner (around chairman Stein-Inge £400 million) Above: Billund Aquaculture will Larsen said the one has been undesign the farm thing the world would veiled. Sande Aqua is the company behind need in future was food and the location the company had chosen the ambitious project, which is initially expected to produce around was ideal for salmon production. “We are a nation founded on 33,000 tonnes a year (including salmon and salmon farming – it is 6,000 tonnes of one kilogramme our future,” he told the state broadpost smolt fish) when completed. caster NRK. That figure could eventually double The company hopes to start to more than 65,000 tonnes. construction towards the end of Sande Aqua has just signed a 2021. In the meantime it is planning design agreement with Billund two rounds of capital raising ahead Aquaculture, a business that has of building work. considerable experience in RAS He said getting all the agreements farm design and a presence in more in place had been hard work, but than 20 countries. there had been good co-operation The location is Gulen in the with the local municipality.The Vestland county region on Norway’s facility is expected to employ up to south west coast.The ultra-modern 80 people in the local area. facility will be the size of almost 10

Arctic farm business selects three for Women in Aquaculture NORWAY’S Kvarøy Arctic has welcomed three new team members as part of its international Women in Aquaculture programme, which aims to provide hands-on training opportunities for women building careers in aquaculture. The family-owned salmon farm, based on the Island of Kvarøy along Norway’s Arctic Circle, launched the programme in May 2020. Participants get the opportunity of ‘a fully immersive and collaborative work experience’ with full relocation expenses, accommodation, and professional compensation for their work. Marwa Mechlaoui is the first scholarship recipient to start at the

facility, with the other two working remotely and joining when travel restrictions permit. Marwa is Tunisian and a student of aquaculture working towards a PhD at the Arctic University of Norway. The other two recipients are Natalie Van Wyk, a South African with a post-graduate diploma in Aquaculture from the University of Stellenbosch, and Hannah Krohn, a Senior at the University of California, Berkeley studying Marine Biology and Environmental Sciences. Kvarøy Arctic CEO Alf-Gøran Knutsen said: “We were thrilled to receive interest from around the world when we announced this idea in May. It also shed light on the variety of barriers women face as they pursue work in this field. We’re committed to creating a more inclusive work environment and hope our leadership inspires others to do the same.” Above: Marwa Mechlaoui with Alf-Gøran Knutsen

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04/09/2020 12:40 09/11/2020 11:10:01

World News


Samherji takes 50% stake in US seafood business Aquanor

Above: Thorsteinn Már Baldvinsson

ICELANDIC seafood giant Samherji has “formalised” its partnership with US importer and distributor Aquanor, acquiring a 50 per cent stake in the business. Boston-based Aquanor Marketing, Inc has been one of Samherji Group’s leading customers for more than a decade. Samherji has provided a significant share of Aquanor’s imports in seafood products during this period. Aquanor focuses primarily on fresh North Atlantic species including Arctic char, cod, haddock, salmon and oysters under the Aquanor and WiAnno brands. The acquisition was finalised in October. Eric Kaiser will continue in his position as President and CEO of Aquanor, and following Samherji’s investment Orri Gústafsson will join Aquanor from Samherji as Vice President of Business Development. Beyond vertically integrating their current fresh seafood business, this new partnership will expand Aquanor’s focus to include the frozen cod and Arctic char markets in the US. Production of Arctic Char has increased significantly in Iceland


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in recent years and Samherji’s fish farming arm is currently the single largest producer of char in the world. Production is expected to further increase in the coming years. Samherji’s CEO Thorsteinn Már Baldvinsson said: “Aquanor Marketing is a well-run family-owned business and the owners share our values and vision. This investment will allow us to continue our growth in the US, an important market for us that will become even more important in the future due to changes in demand related to the pandemic. Despite these tough circumstances we are looking forward to growing together with Aquanor.” Also in October, it emerged that Samherji has taken a stake of more than 30 per cent in shipping and logistics company Eimskip, a major shipper of frozen and chilled seafood throughout Europe and the Nordic region. The stake was acquired through Samherji Holding ehf, a company affiliated with the Samherji Group. Samherji said the company will make a takeover offer to all Eimskip’s shareholders.

Benchmark Genetics signs ova deal with AquaCon THE Iceland arm of Benchmark Genetics has signed a five-year contract to supply salmon ova to fish farmer AquaCon in the US. The contract involves deliveries of genetics to the land-based facilities that AquaCon are planning to build in Maryland, with around 40 million ova due to be delivered over the five-year period.The farm will produce Atlantic salmon for the North American market. The ova will be supplied by Benchmark’s Icelandic company StofnFiskur. AquaCon cites security of supply as the reason for picking Benchmark. The StofnFiskur facilities on south-west Iceland are land-based and not located near any offshore fish farms, while its intake water, both freshwater and seawater, comes from boreholes and is entirely pathogen-free, Benchmark says. Geir Olav Melingen, Commercial Director at Benchmark Genetics, said:“As a leading supplier to land-based farming, we have gradually gained comprehensive experience in securing deliveries to destinations all over the world. Since we keep our broodstock on land and thereby have full control over the maturation and spawning, we are in the position to produce and deliver ova to customers every single week of the year.” He added that all energy used by the company for broodstock and ova production in Iceland comes exclusively from renewable sources. Pål Haldorsen, CEO of AquaCon, said;“We have chosen to secure genetics at an early stage, as we consider ova as a key strategic success factor of our ambitious growth plans.” He added:“Our production plan presupposes regular deliveries of ova throughout the year, and Benchmark Genetics has a production model for land-based broodstock that makes us confident that we will receive deliveries following our plans”. AquaCon is headquartered in Oslo, Norway, and shortly plans to go public. Benchmark Genetics is part of the UK listed group Benchmark Holdings plc.

Top: Ova different stages Above: Kalmanstjörn

09/11/2020 16:42:33

All the latest industry news from around the world

Seafood Expo events postponed due to pandemic programme in Barcelona. The TWO of the biggest seafood event was formerly held in trade shows, Seafood Expo Brussels for several years. North America and Seafood Liz Plizga, group vice-presExpo Global, are to be postident, Diversified Communiponed until later in 2021 because cations, said: “We have been of the Covid-19 pandemic. closely monitoring the world Diversified Communications, health situation, governorganiser of the events, made ment regulations and travel the announcement in the light restrictions while carefully of what it called “the continued considering the concerns that magnitude of the public health have been addressed to us by and safety issues caused by customers and attendees. It Covid-19.” has become evident that it was Seafood Expo North America/ necessary to reschedule these Seafood Processing North Amerevents.” ica will now be held in mid-July The programme for 2022 2021, with the exact dates still events is currently scheduled to be determined, at the Boston for the same time frame as Convention and Exhibition in past years: March 2022 for Centre. The show will, however, Top: Scotland stand at previous Expo event Seafood Expo North America/ host its first online conference Seafood Processing North America and April 2022 for Seafood Expo programme during the week of 14 March 2021. Global/Seafood Processing Global. Seafood Expo Global/Seafood Processing Global, originally schedMeanwhile, the Norwegian organisers of Aquanor, one of the largest uled for April 2021, will be held over 7-9 September 2021 at the Gran trade shows dedicated to aquaculture, has announced next year’s Via venue in Barcelona, Spain. The event – which is the world’s largest event would go ahead in August as planned but as a “hybrid” event seafood trade show – will feature a comprehensive exhibit hall with with virtual and online elements. suppliers from around the globe and introduce its first conference

Cermaq Canada and Kuterra GAA defends Cooke over trout plan for Puget Sound agree smolts deal THE Global Aquaculture comprehensive third-party audited last year to verify Cermaq Canada has agreed a deal to supply smolts to Kuterra, a land-based salmon farming business based on Vancouver Island. Cermaq has announced it has signed a longterm contract with Emergent Holdings LLC, the lessee and operator of Kuterra Salmon. Kuterra’s operations are located in ‘Namgis First Nation traditional territory on northern Vancouver Island, near Port McNeill, British Columbia. David Kiemele, Managing Director with Cermaq Canada, said:“We have been providing our smolts to Kuterra since 2014, but this agreement marks the formalisation of the arrangement and greater business certainty for all organisations involved.We are happy to be in a position to be able to support a fellow local farmer and food supplier.” He added:“The recent Covid-19 pandemic has illustrated how important local food security is and emphasizes the importance of working together for the benefit of local communities and the province.” Emergent Holdings LLC, a private investment partnership, began leasing and operating the Kuterra facility in 2019. Jacob Bartlett, CEO with Emergent said:“It made sense to formalize the purchase of smolts from Cermaq Canada as we have been happy with the quality of the smolts provided, and the overall health, growth and performance of the smolts provided to-date.The agreement will run from October 2021 through to October 2024 which will ensure business continuity and the ongoing supply of high-quality salmon for our farm.”

News MASTER.indd 19

Alliance has stepped in to defend Cooke Aquaculture in its bid to switch from farming Atlantic salmon to steelhead trout in Washington state’s Puget Sound. In a letter submitted to Washington state’s Department of Ecology, GAA commended the New Brunswick-based company for its history of responsible aquaculture. Cooke Aquaculture is seeking permission to switch from salmon to trout at four of its net-pen sites in Puget Sound. The proposed change has proved controversial, attracting criticism from the Wild Fish Conservancy, an environmental lobby group based in Washington state. The WFC has partnered with outdoor apparel company Patagonia and its subsidiary Patagonia Provisions to mount a campaign against net-pen farming in Puget Sound. The GAA said: “As a global leader in responsible aquaculture and a leading proponent of the world’s largest and most

aquaculture certification that no antibiotics were used. program, Best Aquaculture Steelhead trout are exempt Practices (BAP), Cooke from a law passed in March Aquaculture is well positioned 2018 that aims to phase to ensure that all-female, out not-native species in sterile steelhead trout (also Washington’s marine waters called rainbow trout) is raised by 2022. in a responsible manner The GAA commented: with minimal impact to the “Cooke Aquaculture’s surrounding environment.” decision to raise all-female, Cooke Aquaculture has sterile steelhead trout is a achieved four-star BAP responsible solution that status, one of only three preserves jobs and contributes salmon-farming companies a healthful food to the in the world to do so at the community.” time. Four-star BAP status is the highest designation in the BAP program, representing that a combination of a company’s processing plants, farms, hatcheries and feed mills are BAP certified. GAA said it applauds Cooke Aquaculture for its work to greatly reduce the use of antibiotics. A number of its salmon Above: Steelhead trout hatcheries and farms were


09/11/2020 16:42:53

World News

East Coast Seafood achieves new BAP standard

THREE seafood production facilities in the US have become the first to be certified to the new Best Aquaculture Practices (BAP) Chain of Custody (CoC) Standard. East Coast Seafood has successfully certified three of its facilities — Seatrade in New Bedford and Lakeville, Massachusetts, as well as Maine Fair Trade in Prospect Harbour, Maine. The new standard allows facilities that re-pack or re-label farm-

raised seafood products from BAP-certified processors or re-processors to maintain traceability and ensure integrity of the BAP star status. A CoC facility may carry forward the BAP logo from a BAPcertified processor or re-processor. “BAP is very well recognised and respected by most major food retailers and distributors across the United States and Canada, and this certification puts East Coast Seafood in an exclusive club of North American companies that can re-pack BAP products for our customers,” said Bob Blais, senior vice president of East Coast Seafood. “We thank Global Aquacultural Alliance for working with East Coast Seafood to develop this programme.” “The new BAP Chain of Custody Standard is still in pilot phase and has not yet begun its accreditation or benchmarking process,” said Greg Brown, SVP operations and strategic development for BAP. “We are also finishing the development of alternative criteria for the food safety, social accountability and environment responsibility pre-requisites. So it is GAA’s hope to finalise the CoC Standard by the end of this year.” The BAP CoC Standard was created to support BAP market endorsers along with BAP supply and production chains to allow for the re-packing and re-labelling of BAP certified products while assuring BAP logo use integrity. This standard will allow for increased BAP presence in the market by offering a certification option for cold storage, third party re-packing and/or re-labelling facilities and distribution partners in BAP seafood supply chains. The BAP program is based on independent audits that evaluate compliance with the BAP standards developed by GAA.

AquaBounty presses ahead with GM salmon investment AMERICAN land-based salmon farmer AquaBounty is moving closer to scale production of genetically modified (GM) salmon, while recording a small loss on trading in Q3 of this year. AquaBounty has started harvesting conventional salmon in Indiana as part of the testing process for its land-based Recirculating Aquaculture System (RAS), but

it plans to use that to lay the groundwork for its “AquAdvantage” GM fish programme. AquAdvantage is based upon a single, specific molecular modification in fish that results in more rapid growth in early development. The company reported revenue in the third quarter of 2020 at $68,000, as compared to no revenue in the same period of the prior year, and a net loss of $3.6 million. Also in Q3, AquaBounty

raised gross proceeds of $31.6 million through an underwritten public offering of 12.65 million shares of common stock at a price of $2.50 per share. After an exhaustive nationwide search spanning approximately 230 sites, the company identified Mayfield in Graves County, Kentucky as the leading site location for its planned large-scale farm designed for the AquAdvantage salmon (AAS). Sylvia Wulf, Chief Executive Officer of AquaBounty said: “Given our strong balance sheet, the impending first-ever commercial harvest of AAS and the planned construction of our next farm, AquaBounty is in a better position than ever to drive long-term value for our shareholders and become a major domestic supplier of fresh, sustainable salmon.” In early November the company hit a setback, however, when a court in California ordered the US Food and Drug Administration to re-examine the environmental risks of allowing genetically modified salmon to be grown in the United States.The FDA had previously determined that the risk of GM salmon escaping from the AquaBounty facilities was very small. Left: AquaBounty farm, Albany Indiana


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09/11/2020 16:43:32

All the latest industry news from around the world

American Aquafarms set to buy Maine Fair Trade lobster site AMERICAN Aquafarms is to buy the Maine Fair Trade lobster facility on the US East Coast where it plans to build a land-based salmon farm. The company announced it has reached agreement to acquire the site for an undisclosed figure. The plan is to construct a fish farm, a hatchery and a processing plant eventually capable of producing up to 30,000 tonnes of salmon. American Aquafarms said it would be using next generation technology such as “eco-pens” to address some of the challenges faced by tra-

Above: Part of the lobster faciltiy

Mowi appoints Villaroel as COO, Americas

ditional fish farms. This will include the use of environmentally-friendly closed farming system. Although a US business, Aquafarms has a strong Norwegian background. It is less than two years old and the CEO is Mikael Rønes who founded the cod farming business Norcod. The company says on its website that it is “currently funded through an investor group from Norway, and at the moment it does not require external capital”. Rønes said the fish produced there would serve the US market, thus radically reducing the carbon footprint caused by having salmon flown in from Norway or elsewhere in Europe. The company also plans to work with the local fishing community, including lobstermen, adding that the project would create new employment opportunities for local people. It said it was already developing a workforce strategy plan for both skilled and unskilled employees. “We look forward to continuing our work with the town of Gouldsboro,” Rønes added. The Maine Fair Trade Lobster facility is currently one of the largest lobster processing facilities on the US East Coast and work will continue there until the sale is completed.

MOWI has appointed Fernando Villarroel as chief operating officer, farming Americas and also announced an organisational shake-up for its Faroese operation. Above: Fernando Villarroel Mowi Faroes will now come under the group’s COO farming, Scotland and Ireland, Ben Hadfield. Fernando Villarroel was previously managing director of Mowi Chile and has held a variety of executive positions in the farming industry. Between 2007 and 2017 he was chief operating officer, then managing director with Cermaq Canada. He holds a degree in Auditing and Management from the Universidad Austral of Chile. Following the moves, the Mowi Group management team now consists of: Ivan Vindheim, CEO; Kristian Ellingsen, CFO; Øyvind Oaland, COO farming Norway; Ben Hadfield, COO farming Scotland, Ireland and the Faroes: Fernando Villarroel, COO farming Americas: Ola Brattvoll, COO sales & marketing; Atle Kvist, COO feed; Catarina Martins, chief technology officer and chief sustainability officer; and Anne Lorgen Riise, chief HR officer.

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09/11/2020 16:43:51

Processing News

Young’s packaging hits green target Young’s Seafood has met all its 2020 targets for packaging reduction ahead of its end of year deadline. The company is celebrating a major milestone in reducing its environmental impact and promoting sustainable business practices

IN 2018 Grimsby-based Young’s committed to significant cuts in its use of paper packaging and reducing plastic packaging by 10 per cent, including the removal of all black plastic by the end of 2020. This was part of a broader strategy to ensure that 100% of all packaging is reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025. It has now achieved those targets early, successfully removing over 170 tonnes of unnecessary paper

packaging and 300 tonnes of plastic packaging in the process. In order to reduce its use of paper, Young’s launched a large-scale initiative to review the packaging of its Simply Breaded and Chip Shop standard and extra-large product ranges. By reducing the size of the cartons, without compromising on product quality or size, Young’s was able to eliminate 170 tonnes of unnecessary paper packaging annually.

To achieve the company’s targets on plastics, which are linked to the UK’s Plastics Pact, it undertook a review of its entire product range, including own label offerings. Major successes included eliminating over 40 tonnes of non-recyclable black plastic from the Gastro range by moving to a recyclable paperboard tray, a medium it has used across its fish pie range for more than 15 years. In addition, Young’s, which also has a major Scottish operation, was able to replace 127 tonnes of other plastics with recyclable materials, including its Scampi bags. Young’s success has been down to its focused strategy which comprises of five distinct components: redesign, remove, reduce, reuse and recycle.

Helen Nickells, Head of Packaging Development at Young’s said: “We are hugely aware of our responsibility to bring great tasting seafood to the nation’s table in a sustainable way and reducing our use of packaging is a vital part of this. “The packaging reduction we have achieved to date, specifically our efforts across the Simply Breaded and Chip Shop ranges, has also allowed us to generate additional environmental benefits including taking 256 lorries of the roads and significantly reducing our carbon footprint. She added: “This is not the end of the road by any means, the results to date are brilliant, but we must not lose site of the journey ahead. Our next course of action will be tackling

Baader takes majority stake in Skaginn GERMAN processing machinery supplier Baader has announced plans to acquire a majority shareholding in Skaginn 3X, its Icelandic compe�tor next year. Both companies are leading players in food processing engineering. Baader is one of the biggest providers of machinery for salmon processing, while Skaginn is known for its chilling and freezing solu�ons as well as food processing. The transac�on is subject to customary closing condi�ons and approval of relevant authori�es. Petra Baader, execu�ve chairwoman, Baader, said: “We are happy to announce this joint venture and look forward to jointly offering our customers an even broader scope of superior solu�ons over the en�re processing line.” Ingólfur Árnason, owner and CEO of Skaginn 3X said: “The combina�on of the long-standing Baader engineering prac�ces and our deep roots and exper�se in Icelandic fisheries, will boost our joint development and innova�on.” Árnason will con�nue to serve as CEO of Skaginn 3X supported by his current management team, the companies said in a joint statement. A�er closing, a joint sales company will coordinate global sales ac�vi�es with the exis�ng Baader infrastructure, integra�ng also the Skaginn 3X sales force. Un�l closing and comple�on of the integra�on of Skaginn 3X, contacts and responsibili�es in sales and distribu�on will remain unchanged. Above: Petra Baader Right: Ingólfur Árnason


Processing News.indd 22

More progress promised not the end “ofThistheisroad by any

means, the results to date are brilliant, but we must not lose site of the journey ahead

functional films which are currently nonrecyclable and a more complex material to replace. We are also well on our way to ensuring that all our branded paper packaging is from FSC or PEFC certified sources, which we anticipate to be completed by March 2021.”

Cooke adds Mariner Seafood to its menu COOKE Aquaculture is back on the acquisi�on trail a�er moving to buy US fresh and frozen seafood company Mariner Seafood. Based in New Bedford, Massachuse�s, Mariner has an interna�onal reach and processes a broad range of farmed and wild-caught fish. Its brands include MarSelect and GO WILD. The deal was completed through Cooke’s processing division, True North Seafood. Glenn Cooke, CEO of Cooke Inc said: “It has long been a dream of our family seafood company to have a presence in the number one value fishing port in the na�on, New Bedford.” Mariner currently has a workforce of 170 and the company is capable of processing over 8,000 metric tons of seafood product between a 32,000 square foot headquarters and a 14,000 square foot salmon processing facility on the New Bedford waterfront. Mariner has faced difficul�es over the past three years since losing a major supply contract in 2017. The company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in September this year. The acquisi�on was allowed to go ahead a�er a federal judge in Massachuse�s ruled last week that True North would be permi�ed to buy Mariner out of bankruptcy.

09/11/2020 16:23:26

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Principal advantages Efficiently clean nets and lice skirts without damage and with minimal waste spread Prepared for up to 250 bar pressure and 750 L/min facilitated for pressure below 100 bar Robust components and rugged design Easy to operate with automated functions Open construction, easy to maintain and disinfect Thrusters propulsion (no damages from wheels/ tracks) Graphic visual presentation Advanced control system prepared for autonomous operation

AKVA - FP.indd 23

09/11/2020 11:10:45


Green light for change Scotland’s salmon farming industry has set out a bold plan for the future BY ROBERT OUTRAM


cotland’s salmon farmers have unveiled an ambitious vision statement, placing sustainability at the heart of the industry’s future. The document, A Better Future For Us All, commits the industry to achieving net zero greenhouse gases (GHG) before 2045; to becoming 100 per cent reliable on renewable energy; and to working towards 100 per cent biodegradable/recyclable materials in packaging. The document goes beyond environmental sustainability alone, however, committing the sector to achieving key targets in fish health and welfare, community support, diversity employment and maintaining the highest standards for the product itself, Scottish salmon. Tavish Scott, the incoming chief executive of the Scottish Salmon Producers Organisation, hailed the document as “momentous” and “ground breaking”. He said: “We already have an incredibly good environmental story to tell with a low carbon footprint, low freshwater use and great feed conversion rates. But, by publishing this document today, we declare our commitment to go further and meet even more exacting standards in the years to come. “We lead the world in many aspects of farming salmon. We also enjoy a well-deserved global reputation for producing the world’s best salmon. But this document shows our commitment to stay out in front, evolving the way we farm to make sure our environmental and sustainability credentials remain the best in the world.” On the environmental front, the commitment to “net zero” in (GHG) and switching to renewable energy includes introducing electric vehicle (EV) charging points to support the transition of the producers’ own business travel and personnel fleet vehicles to renewable journeys. The commitment to “green” packaging will mean developing new


SSPO Vision.indd 24

ways to package chilled product to replace, for example, the expanded polystyrene currently used to transport seafood by air freight. The environmental aims set out in the vision statement also encompass the treatment of waste, both in terms of recovering organic fish waste and also in identifying and adopting secondary uses for all by-products, from infrastructure to organic matter. The document

This document shows our “ commitment to stay out in front

09/11/2020 16:19:04

Green light for change

Top: Sco�sh salmon far, Left: Tavish Sco� Right: Renewable energy

also says producers will ensure that 100% of their feed ingredients are obtained from sustainable sources, that freshwater hatcheries will be upgraded to mitigate projected drought conditions because of climate change and that all fish farm infrastructure waste which washes up on Scottish shores will be collected, regardless of its origin. The document also commits to protecting the reputation of the Scottish salmon brand, though 100 per cent traceability and through promoting the nutritional and health benefits. The SSPO plans to commission an updated review of the nutritional benefits of our farmed salmon and to work with government and other bodies to encourage consumers to make seafood a bigger part of their diet. On fish welfare, the industry intends to develop, in partnership with Government, independently validated ways to measure the welfare of its fish, and to establish a ‘living a good life’ standard for all fish under producers’ care which adds to existing high welfare standards at Scotland’s fish farms. The document commits to zero escapes and to investing in recirculating aquaculture systems, wellboats and existing pen infrastructure upgrades to improve fish welfare. Improving treatments, including medications, and understanding the impact of climate change on fish health are also priorities. The industry’s relationships with local communities, staff and suppliers are also part of the vision statement. The document says salmon producers will work with the Scottish government to establish a direct community funding model. which ensures host communities benefit from farms’ success, including making EV charging points available to the public. For the industry’s workforce, the vision statement commits to establish a sector code on diversity, equality, training, and development,

SSPO Vision.indd 25

with measurable commitments and goals. The industry will also work with the public sector to help provide housing for employees – often a challenge in the areas where fish farms are located – and to ensure that people are able to gain the relevant qualifications they need to progress. The paper states: “Our focus is to be an employer of choice across all levels.” Another theme in the paper is transparency. The industry has faced its chare of criticism in Scotland, and the SSPO believes that more can be done to inform the public, from making its regulatory data more accessible online to potentially establishing a “visitor experience centre” to show how a salmon farm works. Overall, the paper adds up to a far-reaching plan that will require a number of policy initiatives – not to mention investment in technology – to make it happen. If those aims are achieved, it should ensure the sustainability of the salmon farming industry for many years to come. Atholl Duncan, Chair of the SSPO, said: “Scotland’s recovery from the Covid pandemic has to be green, it has to be sustainable and it has to be led by successful global brands. This new vision for the Scottish salmon sector reflects our commitment to meet all those requirements. We can help harness the potential of the blue economy to drive forward the green recovery that Scotland wants to see.” He added: “Next year marks the 50th anniversary of the first commercially harvested farmed salmon in Scotland. This vision will take us forward into the next 50 years.” FF See also SSPO, page 28.


09/11/2020 16:19:30



eat little fish Fishmeal is likely to remain a key element in aqua feed for some time


e�er Johannessen, Director General of IFFO, the interna�onal trade body that represents the marine ingredients industry, recently highlighted that marine ingredients such as fishmeal and fish oil will con�nue to have an important role in the nutri�on of farmed fish, despite the rising interest in novel feed ingredients. He said that modern aquaculture has been built on the use of tradi�onal marine feed ingredients and that the con�nued expansion of farmed fish produc�on will depend on its ready availability and its profile of essen�al nutri�on. Currently, about 3.5 million tonnes of fishmeal are used in aqua feed produc�on every year. Mr Johannessen says that even the most op�mis�c produc�on forecasts for novel feeds range from 100,000 to 600,000 tonnes, leaving a significant shor�all that can only be met with marine ingredients. Professor Kevin Fitzsimmons from the University of Arizona, wri�ng in SeafoodSource, says that there is an alterna�ve to Mr Johannessen’s view as the reality is that there is not enough wild caught fish to feed the world. He says that a World Bank study indicates that the oceans will not be able to keep pace with demand and fish catches are already declining. He adds that novel ingredients that are free of marine elements, and provide the same essen�al nutrients, that farmed fish require are rapidly replacing fishmeal and fish oil without sacrific-


Martin Jaffa.indd 26

ing quality or nutri�onal benefits to consumers. Professor Fitzsimmons goes on to describe examples of these novel feed ingredients, such as insect producer ‘Pro�x’, a company that is backed by Rabobank to con�nue scaling up its newly opened insect factory, claimed to be the largest in the world. However, it seems that the insects will be fed with fish trimmings to increase the omega 3 fa�y acid content of the insect meal. This seems to contradict the claims of Professor Fitzsimmons that these novel ingredients have a nutri�onal profile that meets the needs of the fish without sacrificing quality. Arguably, these trimmings could be fed directly to the fish. Of course, Professor Fitzsimmons has a vested interest in that he is chairman of the “F3 Challenge”, a mul�-stage contest to innovate and sell fish-free feeds to the aquaculture industry. The problem with the F3 Challenge is that it does a disservice to the fish farming industry. It implies that aqua feeds need to be free of marine ingredients because fish farming is the reason for declining global fish stocks. Unfortunately, Professor Fitzsimmons is mixing messages about stocks of fish for human consump�on and those of forage fish. Forage fish, also known as ‘bait fish’ or ‘prey fish’, have for long been harvested for uses other than for human consump�on. This is because these fish tend not to make good ea�ng. They were ini�ally harvested for use as fer�liser, and s�ll are, with fishmeal fer�liser being sold in UK supermarkets and garden centres. When terrestrial farming started to become intensive, fishmeal began to be recognised as a superior feed ingredient. Today, 20% of fishmeal produc�on is s�ll used to feed pigs and poultry. As demand for fishmeal for aqua feeds increased, the price rose making it less economic to feed to pigs and poultry. If Professor Fitzsimmons is correct, however, reducing the use of fishmeal for aqua feeds will cause prices to come down, making fishmeal a more a�rac�ve op�on for pig and poultry farmers. Taking fishmeal out of aqua feeds will simply transfer its use to terrestrial farming and so cu�ng fishmeal use in aqua feeds will not mean that less forage fish will s�ll be harvested. They will just be used by others.

Left: Pe�er Johannessen Above: Shoal of mackerel

09/11/2020 15:41:37

Big fish eat little fish

Removing marine ingredients from aqua feeds will not mean less fish will be harvested. One aspect of novel feed ingredients that Professor does not mention is price. At the recent Recirculating Aquaculture Salmon Network conference in October 2020, the feed company Skretting reported that the price of insect meals is now getting close to that of fishmeal. However, if fishmeal usage in aqua feeds is reduced then the price will fall as demand falls, making it cheaper to use than novel ingredients like insect meal. The pressure to use fewer marine ingredients in aqua feed comes mainly from the environmental sector, which sees modern aquaculture as the industrialisation of the seas. Whilst they condemn the aquaculture industry for using marine ingredients, they appear to turn a blind eye to the use of fishmeal in terrestrial agriculture. Why using marine ingredients to feed pigs and poultry, animals that have never come across fish in their lives, is not considered a problem, but feeding fish to salmon,


Forage fish, also known as bait fish or prey fish, have long been harvested for uses other than for human consumption

Martin Jaffa.indd 27


carnivorous fish that naturally eat fish in their diet, is, remains a complete mystery. At the same time, there is even less willingness to highlight the use of fish in pet foods. About three million tonnes of wild fish gets fed to pet cats and dogs around the world every year. Many of these feeds are species-specific, rather than generic fish so fish which are caught for human consumption are also specified for pet food. In one instance, one US pet feed manufacturer listed Bluefin tuna in one of its products, even though the fish is considered endangered. Pet food is unlikely to be attacked for using fish because it is clear that most pet owners want the best for their animals, and this comes at any price. Most forage fish are fast-growing, fast-reproducing species. There is little demand for them from consumers. These species have been harvested over many decades and while there is always some annual variation in the amount of fish caught, the harvest has been generally reliable. It is therefore likely, as Mr Johannessen suggests, that fishmeal will remain a readily available and cost-effective ingredient in aqua feeds for some time yet. FF


09/11/2020 15:42:07

Scottish Salmon Producers’ Organisation

Scottish Salmon A Better Future For Us All BY HAMISH MACDONELL

2020 Vision

November 2020

Explaining the thinking behind SSPO’s Vision paper


t started in a nondescript conference room deep within an Edinburgh hotel, just over a year ago. Fish farmers, managers in the supply chain, vets, engineers, company bosses: all were divided up between tables and told to come up with ideas. The aim was simple – they were there to create a vision for Scotland’s farmed salmon sector. Next year marks the 50th anniversary of the first commercial harvest of salmon in Scotland. All those present at our first mee�ng in Edinburgh last year were asked to stand on the shoulders of those early pioneers and come up with something equally visionary to take us forward into the future. The next stage in this process was, if anything, more important. This was another conference room get-together but this �me it was not the managing directors and chief execu�ves holding sway. It was a mee�ng of the young people in Sco�sh salmon farming. These are the individuals who will be there in 20, 30 years’ �me. They are the ones who will not only have to live, work and implement the vision, but jus�fy it to their children and grand-children, and to themselves. That was not all. The process of drawing the vision together also involved hearing from – and taking on board – concerns raised by wider stakeholders, including some cri�cal of the sector. Both these steps were crucial and this session drew out even more ideas, all of which had to be boiled down to a series of pledges and commitments to which the current leaders in the sector then signed up. But the crucial feature of this document – now published as A Better Future For Us All – is that it is not simply an environmental blueprint. There is hardly a major company or sector that has not announced environmental commitments and pledges in the last few years, eager to surf the wave of green ac�vism coursing back and forth through western democracies. That is not what this Sco�sh salmon sector document is. It is much more than that, and deliberately so. The environment is key to this document – that much is clear from even a cursory glance – but it goes much wider and delves much deeper into our sector. There are five key sec�ons. The environment is one, but equal to it are the sec�ons on fish health and welfare, product, communi�es and people. This is about sustainability in a rounded, holis�c sense. The document is also ambi�ous, scarily so in some places. For instance, as a sector we have now promised to work towards an end to all nonrecyclable packaging.


Hamish MacDonnell.indd 28

Everyone who works in the sector knows that a huge amount of work has been done over the last few years in reducing the number of polystyrene boxes used to transport our fish. Reusable plas�c bins are now a common sight as salmon is moved between processors. But we also know that, as yet, there is not a realis�c alterna�ve to polystyrene boxes for long-distance travel, par�cularly in aircra�. We do not know what the answer to this puzzle is, but we are promising to find a solu�on to it. That is a key feature of this work. We do not have all the answers but what we do have is a sector with a strong history of innova�on and the tenacity to find solu�ons. This document also commits our sector to ending fish escapes, to obtaining all of our feed from sustainable sources and to work towards complete renewable energy use. But it is in the communi�es and people sec�ons that this document may have the greatest visible impact on the ground, including pledges to establish electric vehicle charging points, local housing and direct community funding. This vision for the sector was due to take us into COP26, the United Na�ons Climate Change Conference, which was to be held in Glasgow this month. That event has been postponed for a year, giving us 12 months to promote the ideas at the heart of this document ahead of that summit. The Covid-19 pandemic, which caused the postponement of the COP26 event, has helped bring the aims and commitments of this document into sharper focus. It has become fashionable in poli�cal circles to compare the recovery phase from the pandemic with the period a�er the Second World War. “This is our 1945 moment,” poli�cians will say. That may be a piece of exaggerated poli�cal shorthand but it is undoubtedly true that every

Above: The SSPO document “A Be�er Future For Us All” Right: Training the next genera�on of fish farmers

12/11/2020 11:10:54

2020 Vision

country and government will be looking to realign, reset and drive forward with recovery from next year onwards, in a way that is both successful financially and environmentally sustainable. It is with this in mind that the terms “green recovery” and “blue economy” are being used more often in the corridors of Holyrood now than ever before. In all levels of government, there is a recognition that, for our 1945 moment, Scotland needs leadership and that has to come from successful, environmentally friendly, sustainable sectors. This vision document shows that Scotland’s salmon farmers share that ambition. Indeed, it is no coincidence that the document itself is subtly coloured between green and blue. This is about both the green recovery and the blue economy, in equal measure.

Hamish MacDonnell.indd 29

So much has changed since those early crofting fish farmers anchored the first pens offshore along the west Highland sea lochs 50 years ago. Our sector is so much bigger, so much better and, instead of a large number of individual farmers, there are now multi-national companies involved, bringing innovations and best practice from around the world to our shores. Yet there is much in the ideals and the ambitions expressed in this vision which those early farmers would recognise. The terms “green recovery” and “blue economy” might raise amused eyebrows among crofters but those early pioneers would undoubtedly empathise with the aspirations and the enthusiasm of this new vision. It is a vision rooted in the futures of those who work in the sector. It is a vision for Scotland in general but also for the communities where we farm and the marine environment which we share with others. And if we are going to have a “1945 moment” – when Scotland seeks inspiration and leadership to lead it through this pandemic and into a sustainable, responsible and secure future – this seems like a very good place to start. FF See also Sustainability, page 24

The document is also ambitious, scarily so in some places


09/11/2020 15:45:06

Exporting to China


China toughens

regulations for imported fish Companies exporting to the People’s Republic are facing more paperwork


hina remains an important market for all the big salmon producing countries – and Norway in particular. But in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, the authorities in Beijing are tightening up their seafood regulations to prevent infected fish (whether with coronavirus or anything else) getting into the country. The Norwegian Seafood Council has just published new guidance on what it all means for exporting companies. What goes for Norway will also apply to other northern regional salmon producing countries. The Council says the Chinese authorities will only permit the import of fillets, chops and whole salmon from facilities where pancreatic


China - Vince.indd 30

disease (PD) / SAV, infectious salmon anaemia (ISA) and Gyrodactylus (commonly known as salmon fluke) are not suspected or detected. The producers must be able to guarantee freedom from these diseases in a self-declaration, and the self-declaration must therefore be sent with prior notice before a certificate for such products can be applied for in China. In China, farmed fish is often consumed without heat treatment. The Chinese authorities are now requiring producers to take this into account with their own – written – control and risk assessment. The Norwegian Food Safety Authority does not, however, require companies to present analysis results that show that fish products being exported to China have been examined for Listeria monocytogenes (a virulent pathogen which can prove fatal to humans) as part of their prior notification. It is the manufacturer’s responsibility to ensure that farmed fish are safe to eat without further heat treatment. If producers are informed that, for example, mackerel or other fish are eaten without heat treatment, they must include this in their risk assessments. The Food Safety Authority is warning that if companies choose not to comply with the Chinese requirements, it will consider measures against the company in question. Slaughterhouses must have routines that ensure that there are no salmon lice on fish that is being exported.

09/11/2020 16:06:33

China toughens regulations for imported fish

Above: Freshly prepared delicious baked sushi Left: Fresh Norwegian salmon

It is also the responsibility of any company producing for human consumption to register. This can be done via the Norwegian Food Safety Authority’s form service (MATS). The Norwegian Food Safety Authority regularly sends updated lists to the Chinese authorities. The next list will be sent this autumn. Approval for export to China is valid for four years. Approved seafood producers must check the Norwegian Food Safety Authority’s form service (MATS) that they want renewal of approval one year before the approval period comes to an end. Although exports to China have dropped back over the past couple of months, the country remains a key potential growth market for Norwegian salmon. The Seafood Council reports: “2020 has so far offered extraordinary circumstances for trade and consumption. It has therefore been important to make adjustments in investments to meet the needs of the market.” Chinese consumers know a great deal about salmon and Norwegian salmon in particular. This can also lead to a more vulnerable position in the event of market events. This autumn the Seafood Council is working on the following projects: • Maintain the reputation and ensure that facts about Norwegian salmon are available to consumers. • In the fourth quarter, it is planning to launch a major PR and media investment with a focus on digital channels

China - Vince.indd 31

Although exports to China have “ dropped back over the past coupke

of months, the country remains a key poten�al growth market

• The Seafood Council says it will ensure and prioritise that Chinese consumers are exposed to and have easily accessible information about the qualities of Norwegian salmon. Meanwhile, while sales to China may be down, Norway saw encouraging overall growth in salmon exports during September. They totalled 118,000 tones and were worth NOK 6.1 billion (£ ), a volume increase of three per cent and a two per cent rise in value. So far this year, the amount of exported fresh and frozen fillets has increased by 18 per cent. Summer sales were hit by continued disruption to the global restaurant sector, but seafood council analyst Paul T. Aandahl says the sector is back to pre-holiday levels. While there have been signs of recovery, salmon price levels remain sluggish.Various analysts are suggesting that the approach of Christmas when demand in Europe and North America reaches its peak should see a price pick up. Christmas is followed in Asia by the Chinese New Year which normally also brings a spike in demand, but this fell flat in 2020 because much of the country was locked down during the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic. China appears to have recovered well from coronavirus, so the 2021 holiday is likely to trigger higher demand. It would appear salmon exporters, whether from Norway or elsewhere, may have a lot to gain provided they stick rigidly to China’s tough new regulations. FF


09/11/2020 16:06:53


Riding the

Second Wave The resurgence of the pandemic threatens producers and their customers in hospitality BY SANDY NEILL


hrough the early autumn, we have watched the second wave of the coronavirus roll towards us from a distance, growing in size all the �me. In October, like the first surge in March, we saw the wave draw up to a terrifying height, threatening to wreck hospitality businesses across the United Kingdom and Europe, and so too foodservice sales of Sco�sh farmed salmon. The country has yet to be hit by the crest of this second wave, so it is too early to survey the full extent of the damage it will wreak. But, given the experience of spring 2020, we can perhaps begin to see where it will break the hardest, and cause most devasta�on. In par�cular, we can look again at the hit to the domes�c and export markets of Sco�sh farmed salmon, an industry worth £2 billion to Scotland’s economy. When the first wave rose up in the spring, on 23 March the UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson ordered all but essen�al businesses – those selling food – to shut up shop un�l further no�ce. While many food shops could move their


Sandy Neil feature.indd 32

core business online, it was not so easy for full service restaurants, pubs, cafes, and hotels – social industries reliant on customers paying them a visit. Sales at pubs, restaurants, cafes and hotels across the UK plunged by £30 billion during the first lockdown, according to the trade associa�on UK Hospitality. Revenues fell by 87 per cent between April and June compared to the same period last year. The figures, collated by data provider CGA, showed sales for the three-month period came to £4.6 billion, £29.6 billion lower than in 2019. Phil Tate, CGA’s group chief execu�ve, called these figures the “…clearest picture yet of the calamitous impact of the pandemic on hospitality”, resul�ng in a “virtual wipeout of sales” for the second quarter.

09/11/2020 15:49:06

Riding the Second Wave

The closure of dining-out op�ons meant that popular foodservice channels for seafood almost disappeared. Consumer spend on seafood out-ofhome (OOH), once worth £1 billion in April 2019, was worth just £200 million in April 2020, Seafish’s COVID-19 Seafood in Foodservice report stated. Visits for seafood OOH declined by 83 per cent that month. Demand for salmon is divided into two segments: retail and foodservice. The UK lockdown may have seen the foodservice sector shut down completely, but retail sales in general boomed, so much so that recorded seafood sales at UK retail outlets passed the £4 billion mark for the first �me in the 52-week period ending 11 July. However, avenues for retail sales are diminishing. A record number of shops closed on UK high streets during the first half of this year as the coronavirus lockdown hit many stores hard. Some 11,120 chain store outlets shut between January and June, according to research by the Local Data Company and accountancy firm PwC. The final total could even be higher. Researchers did not count outlets that had

Sandy Neil feature.indd 33

yet to reopen a�er the coronavirus lockdown ended. Many never will. The data includes shops, hospitality chains, and services such as post offices and banks, but it does not include small independent businesses. Retailers and hospitality chains are con�nuing to restructure their businesses, cu�ng stores and many thousands of jobs to survive. Many have done deals with landlords to reduce rent bills, but billions of pounds in rent s�ll remains unpaid. The government’s ban on evic�ons means these arrears have only been postponed. Another key factor is business rates. Retail and hospitality firms don’t have to start paying this tax again �ll April next year. They say if it isn’t extended, it could deal a final blow for the viability of many stores. An even bigger challenge arose this autumn. October proved to be a fast-moving month in the UK, with four different countries figh�ng the onslaught of coronavirus on four different fronts. Wales and Northern Ireland both brought in strict na�onal lockdown rules, while in England and Scotland a system of �ers was set up to target lockdowns in areas where the virus was spreading fastest. By the end of that month, in England at least, it was clear this strategy wasn’t working. In Scotland, as in England, the rule of six applied: a maximum of six people from two households could meet together in hospitality venues, either indoors or outdoors but not in private homes. Yet infec�ons were s�ll accelera�ng. Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced “tough but necessary ac�ons”: in par�cular, all licensed hospitality businesses, were forced to close in the most populated part of the country, the Central Belt (which includes the Left: Nicola Sturgeon ci�es of Edinburgh and Glasgow), for 16 days from Friday 9 October. Hotels Below: Social distancing serving meals to residents were exempt and takeaways and deliveries were no�ce permi�ed. Licensed premises across the rest of Scotland were temporarily banned from selling alcohol indoors, and subject to a 6pm curfew on indoor service. The Sco�sh Government announced a £40 million package to help the ailing hospitality industry, which was described as “totally derisory” by industry leaders, while Paul Waterson of the Sco�sh Licensed Trade Associa�on warned that two-thirds of premises could shut, affec�ng 25,000 jobs.

The economic support offered to premises doesn’t “ come close to compensa�ng the businesses and means jobs are being lost and livelihoods ruined ”


09/11/2020 15:49:38


Above: Arlene Foster Right: London’s Nigh�ngale Hospital for Covid-19 Opposite from top: Boris Johnson, Mark Drakeford, Calum



Sandy Neil feature.indd 34

Willie Macleod, UK Hospitality execu�ve director for Scotland, said: “This is a total catastrophe. Sco�sh hospitality is already on the brink and unable to look ahead with any degree of confidence… it is likely to be the final straw for many that were only just hanging on. We are going to see businesses fold and many jobs lost.” Groups represen�ng Scotland’s hospitality industry – UK Hospitality (Scotland), the Night Time Industries Associa�on Scotland, The Sco�sh Beer & Pub Associa�on and The Sco�sh Licensed Trade Associa�on – have embarked on legal ac�on to seek a judicial review of the shutdown. The group’s spokesperson, Paul Waterson, said: “We understand and en�rely support the goal of suppressing the virus, but our sector is at breaking-point. “Despite having more mi�ga�on measures than other sectors and the vast majority of operators going above-and-beyond in ensuring customer safety, our sector has been repeatedly targeted without consulta�on and without the evidence. “Anecdotal evidence is not the way to go about making government decisions and the sector should not be used as a balance to uncontrollable risks in other far less regulated and un-monitored sectors.” Waterson said that evidence recently published in Northern Ireland shows that the closure of hospitality only has an “0.1-0.2 impact on the R number” (the rate at which the virus spreads). He added: “The economic support offered to premises doesn’t come close to compensa�ng the businesses and means jobs are being lost and livelihoods ruined. Any measures must be propor�onate and be backed up by evidence; we do not believe that is the case here… the ba�le is now on to save the hospitality sector.” Meanwhile, as from 2 November each area of Scotland has been placed at one of five levels. The lowest level – zero – is almost like normal life. However, no area has been placed in this �er. In level one, which applies to Highland, Moray, Orkney, Shetland and the Western Isles, up to six people from two households can meet outdoors or at a pub or restaurant, and hospitality premises have a 10:30pm curfew. In �me, six people from two households will be able to meet indoors, but that is not permi�ed right now. In level two, pubs and restaurants can only serve alcohol with a main meal, and must close indoors at 8pm and outdoors at 10:30pm. No in-home socialising is allowed, and up to six people from two households can meet outdoors and in hospitality se�ngs. Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire, Angus, Argyll & Bute, Borders, Dumfries & Galloway, Fife and Perth & Kinross will be in level two. In level three, cafes, pubs and restaurants will be allowed to serve food, but no alcohol can be sold, and they must close at 6pm. All leisure and entertainment venues are closed at this level, and no non-essen�al travel is allowed out of a Level 3 area. The “rule of six” and the rules regarding in-home socialising for level 3 (and 4) are as for levels 1 and 2. The areas currently in this �er include Glasgow and much of west and south west Scotland, the Central Belt,

Edinburgh and the Lothians, Falkirk, S�rling, and Dundee. Under level 4, schools would remain open but all non-essen�al shops, as well as pubs and restaurants, would be closed. At the �me of wri�ng, no part of Scotland is in the highest level. Is a na�onal lockdown ahead in Scotland? At the end of October, public health expert Professor Linda Bauld of Edinburgh University told the BBC’s Good Morning Scotland: “You can see from the figures in Scotland that the case numbers are levelling off. We are making progress. The ques�on I would ask is the progress quick enough?” Looking ahead, Professor Bauld said: “We need to con�nue to expect these infec�on rates to go up and I think that the government strategy in Scotland is to keep an eye on the situa�on over the next week or two. My feeling would be unless we see improvements, par�cularly in some parts of the Central Belt, we really, realis�cally, could be looking at level 4, which we want to avoid but would be necessary, essen�ally just to avoid these preventable deaths escala�ng even further.” She also cau�oned that in order to get the R-number (reproduc�on rate) below one it is possible the exis�ng measures will not be sufficient. The latest es�mate for Scotland is that the R-number is between 1 and 1.3, a slight fall on the previous es�mate. In Northern Ireland, First Minister Arlene Foster announced a tough new four week ‘circuit breaker’ beginning on Friday 16 October, forcing a complete closure of the hospitality sector, apart from deliveries and takeaways. Pubs, restaurants and cafes across Northern Ireland have closed their doors to sit-in customers un�l at least Friday 13 November. “This is now endgame for many in the hospitality industry,” said Colin Neill from Hospitality Ulster. “We understand that obviously health comes first, but I think it’s fair to say the hospitality industry has done more than any other industry to step up with measures. We have a health crisis, we accept that, but we also now have a hospitality crisis. What happens in four weeks if the rate [of infec�on] hasn’t come down?” The NI Takeaway Associa�on said many takeaway food businesses will find it very difficult if there is a reduc�on of passing trade from the restric�ons on local hospitality businesses. The associa�on’s director, Michael Henderson, said exis�ng takeaways will also find it difficult to compete. Trade NI, an alliance of Hospitality Ulster, Manu-

09/11/2020 15:50:35

Riding the Second Wave facturing NI and Retail NI, warned a new lockdown on business would cripple Northern Ireland’s economy and could mean a further 40,000 or more redundancies before Christmas.” In Wales, First Minister Mark Drakeford announced a 17 day lockdown beginning on Friday 23 October, which closed “non-essen�al” retail and hospitality businesses like pubs and restaurants, banned household mixing, and urged residents to work from home wherever they can. Supermarkets and food shops remained open, but were not allowed to sell “non-essen�al goods”, provoking a fierce debate. The Welsh Government also banned tourists travelling to the country from coronavirus hotspots in England. In England, a new three-�er system of restric�ons came into force on 14 October based on differing infec�on rates in local areas. But by the end of the month the system was manifestly failing. Jeremy Farrar, director of the Wellcome Trust, said on Twi�er that the UK had surpassed the “reasonable worst-case scenario”, outlined by government scien�sts in September, with the country’s R number well above 1, indica�ng the virus is spreading. “The best �me to act was a month ago but these are very tough decisions which we would all like to avoid. The second-best �me is now,” he wrote. The UK recorded 274 deaths Friday 30 October and 24,405 cases, bringing its total to 46,229 and 989,745 respec�vely. Professor Calum Semple, a member of the government’s Scien�fic Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) and a consultant respiratory paediatrician, said �ghter restric�ons were needed to slow the spread of the virus. “It’s a slightly slower growth than in the spring, but like a super tanker, it’s really moving now,” he told BBC Radio 4 on Saturday 31 October. The spread of the virus had to be stopped, or the NHS would be overwhelmed, the government’s advisers warned. Some hospitals would run out of capacity in a fortnight, and many more would not be able to take any more pa�ents by Christmas. Earlier in October Boris Johnson had said a na�onal lockdown was like “turning out the lights.” In a drama�c U-turn on Saturday 31 October, he announced that England would go into a second na�onal lockdown for a month, star�ng on Thursday 5 November un�l at least Wednesday 2 December,

in the hope measures could be eased by Christmas. As in March, non-essen�al shops and hospitality were ordered to close, and ci�zens were ordered to stay at home, save lives, and protect the NHS – but schools and colleges were to remain open. Last year was a record-breaking year for Sco�sh farmed salmon, both in terms of produc�on and export volumes. According to the Sco�sh Fish Farm Produc�on Survey for 2019, Sco�sh salmon farmers produced 203,881 metric tonnes of fish and exported 94,000 tonnes overseas. This represents increases of 30.7 per cent and 26 per cent, respec�vely, on the previous year, and are the highest annual volumes ever recorded by the sector. Exports reached their highest ever value of £618 million, up 22 per cent on 2018, according to HMRC sta�s�cs (see UK News, page 6, for more on the Produc�on Survey). That was 2019. When the first wave of coronavirus arrived in the spring of this year, export markets for Sco�sh salmon crashed. “Pre-coronavirus, 80 per cent of Sco�sh seafood and shellfish was exported, with the remaining 20 per cent des�ned for UK food service and retail,” reported Seafood Scotland, the industry’s na�onal trade and marke�ng body, back in May. “With the export market at a stands�ll, the sector is now completely reliant on the UK market to keep afloat, and even within this segment the food service sector is opera�ng at minimal levels.” Exports were down 33 per cent in the first six months of the year against the same period in 2019. James Park, head of insights at the Scot�sh Salmon Producers Organisa�on, said: “Reduced access to markets and the

FOUR NATIONS, FOUR APPROACHES ENGLAND: Three-tier regional system replaced by a national lockdown until at least 2 December. Hospitality venues and “non-essential” shops close but schools and colleges remain open. Meeting socially indoors or in private gardens is banned. SCOTLAND: Five-tier system applies (levels 0 to 4). Many parts of the country (including Edinburgh, Glasgow and the central belt) are at level 3, with bars and restaurants open but alcohol-free, and closing by 6pm. Scotland-wide, the “rule of six” applies and no socialising inside private homes is permitted. WALES: A 17-day “firebreak” – with all hospitality venues and non-essential shops closed – was due to come to an end on 9 November. It is currently unclear what measures will follow this. NORTHERN IRELAND: A four-week “circuit breaker” began on 16 October, with hospitality venues shut down apart from deliveries and takeaways.

Sandy Neil feature.indd 35


09/11/2020 15:55:47


closure of many foodservice outlets as Covid-19 spread across the world ini�ally limited exports of whole, fresh Sco�sh salmon.” In the bumper year of 2019, the EU accounted for 56 per cent of the volume of global Sco�sh salmon exports, and 52 per cent of the value. Gradually, lockdowns began to li� cau�ously across the EU in May and June, and then the UK in July. Salmon exports picked up again and almost doubled from April to June to £49 million, but there remained a shor�all on last year’s figures – in June exports were s�ll down by more than 10 per cent on the same month last year. In October, like the na�ons of the UK, European countries began locking down again, one by one. France, Sco�sh salmon’s largest export market at £221 million, is now facing one of Europe’s biggest coronavirus surges. A�er city-wide lockdowns in Marseille and Paris, President Macron announced a France would enter a second na�onal lockdown, for at least four weeks un�l 1 December. This will be re-evaluated every 15 days. Anyone leaving their home will need to complete a paper or digital form explaining their reason for doing so. As in spring, acceptable reasons for leaving the house are likely to include going to work, medical appointments, caring for others, shopping for essen�als or exercising in areas close to home. Private and public gatherings are banned, and places where people may gather are closed, including cinemas, theatres, museums, bars and restaurants. Supermarkets and other shops considered “essen�al” will stay open. The French government expects a contrac�on in gross domes�c product (GDP) of 11 per cent in 2020. In neighbouring Germany, the sixth largest export market for Sco�sh farmed salmon valued at £22.8 million in 2019, Chancellor Angela Merkel said her country had to “act now”, and called for a major na�onal effort to fight the spread of coronavirus. “Our health system can s�ll cope with this challenge today, but at this speed of infec�on it will reach the limits of its capacity within weeks,” Merkel said. Germany introduced “lockdown light” measures with �ghter restric�ons on people’s movements, though not as tough as the French regime, to run from 2 November un�l 30 November. Bars, cinemas and clubs will be closed, restaurants will be limited to delivery and carry-out service, and people will only be allowed to meet outside with members of another household in groups of no more than 10. Tourism will also be temporarily stopped.


Sandy Neil feature.indd 36

In the Republic of Ireland, the fourth largest export market for Sco�sh farmed salmon worth £25m in 2019, Prime Minister Michael Mar�n announced a complete six-week lockdown, closing all non-essen�al shops, bars and restaurants, beginning on 20 October. Elsewhere in Europe, Poland now has its highest level of restric�ons to date, with public gatherings banned, most schools closed and restaurants and cafes only offering take-away service. The country, which spent £10.3 million on Sco�sh farmed salmon last year, reported 21,629 new coronavirus infec�ons on 30 October, a record in its crisis so far. Belgium, an export market for Sco�sh farmed salmon worth £13.9 million in 2019, suffered one of the highest death rates per capita in the world during the first wave of the pandemic. As infec�ons rose again this autumn, bars, cafes and event halls in the Belgian capital Brussels were shut down for at least a month from on 8 October. While restaurants in Brussels remained open, drinking alcohol was banned in public spaces. Nevertheless, Belgium now has the highest infec�on rate in Europe: there were 1,600 infec�ons and 8.4 deaths per 100,000 people in the two weeks leading up to the start of November. At the �me of wri�ng, more than half the

Like many food and drink “ producers… our focus shi�ed increasingly to retail ”

09/11/2020 15:56:39

Riding the Second Wave country’s 2,000 intensive care beds are taken up with Covid-19 pa�ents. On Friday 30 October, Prime Minister Alexander de Croo imposed a second na�onal lockdown, ordering all non-essen�al shops and businesses to close from Monday 2 November un�l the middle of December. He said: “The pressure on our hospitals is huge. These are last-chance measures.” Outside Europe, the USA (the second largest export market for Sco�sh salmon last year, valued at £179 million) reported over 99,000 new Covid-19 cases on Friday 30 October, a global record for daily infec�ons. The country is now recording a new case every second. Total infec�ons across the country have surpassed 9.1 million, more than any other country in the world, and so far more than 230,000 Americans have died. Early signs indicate the second wave across Europe and North America has already caused a great deal of damage to the fish farming sector. Farmed salmon prices flatlined at some of their lowest levels in the week ending Friday 30 October, as the European countries returned to lockdown. Norway’s Fearnley Securi�es also warned that the second wave looks set to delay the recovery of farmed salmon spot prices. The profiwork firm reported: “We expect prices to li� from the low NOK 40s by year-end, but SalmoFix lower our spot price es�mates for Q4 2020 and 2021 by 14 per cent and 9 per cent ... made by professionals [respec�vely].” for professionals! That puts Fearnley’s es�mate for the fourth quarter of 2020 at €4.6 per kilogram, and 2021’s average at €5.5/kg. The firm’s report also states: “Retail demand is s�ll yet to make up for the hit on foodservice FishFarmer Magazine 92 x 130 mm_B.indd 1 29.10.20 and while we expect limited supply growth in 2021, we struggle to see demand return above pre-Covid levels with prevailing lockdowns and pandemic-driven demand destruc�on. For prices to recover to €6/kg levels or more, demand in are needed in 2021.” So how successfully are Sco�sh salmon farmers riding the second wave so far? It’s too early to tell, said Su Cox, director of The Sco�sh Salmon Company: “Like many food and drink producers, although foodservice remains important, our focus shi�ed increasingly to retail during the early stages of the pandemic. Retail sales have remained busy and con�nue to be a priority. “Export sales have returned as some countries have successfully come out of lockdown and at this stage it is too early to speculate whether new lockQuality chain available for downs in some markets will have a las�ng impact. fast worldwide delivery Airfreight availability con�nues to be restricted with Stud Link, Open Link associated high costs. Above: James Park, and second hand “Our priority throughout has been the health and Su Cox safety of our employees. As key workers, we put Opposite: French chain available in numerous measures in place from the start of the restaurants closed, sizes from 19 to Customers ge�ng pandemic to ensure our staff were safe and able to 102mm diameter served takeout food con�nue their vital role in food produc�on. We’re New York, Angela proud to be part of the wider Sco�sh aquaculture +44(0)1446 781092 +44(0)7974 208373 Merkel tackling Covid-19 sector which is providing one million healthy meals in Germany a day to consumers across the UK.” The truth, though, is that no one yet knows what state they’ll be in a�er the second wave of coronaThe link between you and your maritime solutions virus has hit. Will they surf it, or sink? FF


Secure Your Stock

Sandy Neil feature.indd 37



09/11/2020 15:57:41



Claw of the land Orkney Shellfish Hatchery is using a land-based hatchery to grow lobster larvae


ver the five years that I conceived, then managed, Seafood Scotland’s award-winning Seafood in Schools project, we reached several hundred thousand children, through interac�ve workshops and projects. They got to see and handle fish and shellfish, and to taste it. Our aims were to teach them where it came from, how it got to their plate and why ea�ng seafood is good for one’s health. Every child a�ending a workshop was asked to fill in a ques�onnaire, to enable us to see how much they had learnt. We read every single one, and my all-�me favourite quote was from a primary pupil, whose main takeaway was: “Lobsters are badass!” I am not sure how he gained that impression, but perhaps hearing about its carnivorous nature and the power of its claws le� their mark! The European lobster (Homarus gammarus), also referred to as the clawed lobster, may be badass, but their stocks are vulnerable, and UKbased projects have been working to help restore them over the past few decades. The Na�onal Lobster Hatchery (NLH) in Padstow, which celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2020, has run several successful projects to this effect, releasing more than 20,000 juvenile lobsters each year since it was set up. NLH’s Lobster Grower project developed a sea-based culture system to ongrow juveniles in compartmentalised lanterns suspended from a longline system. This enabled lobsters to grow to around hand-size with no ar�ficial feed input, before being released back into the sea. The researchers reasoned that the ability to release bigger and stronger animals


Shellfish.indd 38

Below: Lobster larva Right: The hatchery

would give the lobsters an even be�er chance of reaching adulthood. The UK’s clawed lobster industry is small in comparison with its counterparts in Canada and the United States, but it s�ll contributes more than £32 million to the economy every year for a catch of around 5,000 tonnes. This makes it an important source of income for many small-scale fishermen and an important area for research. Cul�va�ng lobster larvae is a complex process that uses “berried” (egg bearing) females captured from the wild and kept in seawater tanks un�l they spawn. Each female can carry up to 40,000 eggs and the resul�ng larvae are moved to conical upwelling rearing tanks and fed on microplankton, un�l they reach their third moult, which takes two to three weeks. Lobster larvae go through four moult stages, during which they develop vital body parts. At first, they loosely resemble prawns, but a�er the third moult, they start to take on a recognisable lobster shape. At this stage, juveniles need to be separated into individual rearing compartments, as their increasingly aggressive territorial behaviour makes them liable to a�ack each other. The industry-standard rearing system is the Aquahive, which comprises cylindrical containers with circular trays divided into individual sec�ons. Each unit can house up to 4,000 juveniles and facilitates easy feeding with a formulated feed. Ocean on Land Technology holds the patent for Aquahive. This sister company to the Orkney Shellfish Hatchery (OSH), is part of Cadman Capital Group’s Aquaculture Division. The two companies work closely together to supply clawed lobster hatchery solu�ons for lobster stock enhancement projects, both at the juvenile stage and at larger body sizes. Their services encompass hatchery and farming

09/11/2020 15:46:10

Claw of the land

It is all “a work in

progress, but work that is showing successful results

equipment, systems, feeds and consultancy. Ocean on Land Technology ‘s most recent innovation is a plug and play hatchery-in-abox, which provides a complete clawed lobster hatchery solution within a 20ft or 40ft shipping container, depending on customer needs. It incorporates units for broodstock holding and maturation, and for larval and juvenile clawed lobster development. All customers need to do is to plug in to the main electrical supply and connect sea water to the filtration systems. A major benefit is that this system can be placed in sensitive locations where planning consent may be limited for fixed buildings, and it can be easily relocated. OSH recently announced plans to produce clawed lobsters on land, using the hatchery-ina-box, after taking delivery of its first lobster broodstock. The company operates as a multi-species hatchery and also produces native flat oysters (Ostrea edulis) and lumpfish. A range of specialised feeds is produced to complement the hatchery shellfish products, along with microalgae that are phototrophically grown and highly concentrated. The microalgae can be utilised for culturing oysters and other filter feeding species, or included in custom design feed formulations.

Shellfish.indd 39

“We are excited to launch our clawed lobster production project, as we begin to introduce a second species to the hatchery. As well as culturing clawed lobsters, we will continue to refine our techniques and technologies in order to produce specialist shellfish in a world-class facility,” Dr Nik Sachlikidis, Managing Director of Cadman Capital Group’s Aquaculture Division told Fish Farmer. Cadman Capital Group took over the OSH just over three years ago and has invested heavily to rebuild and expand the facilities, installing cutting edge new recirculation systems, remote monitoring and alarm systems, back-up systems and a high grade wet laboratory. “As a research and development facility for the wider aquaculture market, Orkney Shellfish Hatchery has also made significant investment into its biosecurity protocols, efficiency measures and the development of feed solutions to optimise the growth and health of its shellfish,” said Sachlikidis. He explained that OSH is currently working to prove the various systems in the hatchery-in-a-box, and to demonstrate that recent changes to the Aquahive will allow the production of larger-size, more robust lobsters for restocking programmes. Feed trials and feed management systems are also being refined. “It is all a work in progress, but work that is showing successful results. Our oyster programme for example is ready to be scaled up to commercial size in 2021,” he said. A project is also planned for next year, examining the changing economics of lobster farming. As Sachlikidis puts it: “All our work is geared towards the efficient and sustainable practice of cultivating shellfish on land, in order to replenish the UK’s seafood stocks, as well as support the global aquaculture industry.” FF


09/11/2020 15:46:47

United States

Miami marvels

Atlantic Sapphire is celebrating its first harvest in Florida BY VINCE McDONAGH

of the world’s leading salmon producing countries, is also being targeted. It has teamed up with Publix supermarket chain in the state to offer salmon in many of its stores. Recep�on so far has been more than encouraging. For example, The Chef’s Warehouse, a purveyor of high-quality ar�san ingredients for chefs, is one of the first partners to receive the premium Bluehouse SalmonTM product. It said: “We are thrilled for this historic moment in our industry and eagerly await the first shipment to arrive at our warehouses. The sustainability model, coupled with domes�c produc�on, makes this a no brainer for our chef customers. Within 48 hours from harvest, we will provide the foodservice community the freshest and incredibly clean tas�ng salmon that compares to no other.” The company has also secured the key US water permits to produce up to 90,000 tonnes on-site, and has a targeted harvest volume of 220,000 tonnes by 2031. Johan Andreassen, Atlan�c Sapphire’s CEO, effused: “We knew we had the poten�al to have an enormous impact on the salmon industry, and


t is best known as the home of Disneyland, NASA’s rocket launches and man-ea�ng alligators. Now Florida, America’s sunshine state, has just launched another poten�ally world bea�ng product – fresh salmon. A few weeks ago the fish farming company Atlan�c Sapphire realised a ten-year-old vision with the first commercial harvest of USA raised Bluehouse SalmonTM from its new land based facility in Miami. Salmon farms are normally associated with cooler climes, so the development marks a ground-breaking moment for the US seafood industry. For the first �me Americans will be able to buy fresh salmon this Christmas, not only raised in their own backyard, but also in the warmest state of the Union. The people behind Atlan�c Sapphire say that because of its ample supply of both fresh and salt water, Florida is the perfect place to raise fresh salmon. And it is reaching consumers at a frac�on of the carbon footprint of fish flown in from northern Europe. While Atlan�c Sapphire has strong Scandinavian roots, one of its appeals is that it is exclusively an American enterprise. The journey began in the village of Hvide Sande, Denmark several genera�ons ago, but the US project first emerged in 2010 when it iden�fied Florida as the ideal loca�on for an RAS (recircula�ng aquaculture system) land farm. The size of the first produc�on has not been disclosed, but is thought to be rela�vely modest. In the weeks following the first harvest, Atlan�c Sapphire will steadily increase weekly volumes to stores, catering outlets and others. Canada, one


Atlantic Sapphire - Vince.indd 40

Above: Atlan�c Sapphire CEO Johan Andreassen holding Bluehouse Salmon from the first harvest Top: Atlan�c Sapphire employees celebrate first harvest Right: Bluehouse Salmon

09/11/2020 16:14:08

Miami marvels

Atlantic Sapphire - Vince.indd 41




Bluehouse brings a new “ThelevelMiami of purity to the product ”

Heavy Duty and COMFORTABLE


with much of the seafood imported into the United States, we wanted to continue to make a positive contribution by seeking out a location that would reduce the carbon footprint of salmon available in the North American market. “Today we’re proud to finally start serving Americans delicious Bluehouse SalmonTM with a quality and freshness they have not experienced before.” Johan Andreassen and Bjorn-Vegard Lovik founded Atlantic Sapphire a decade ago. The pair originally established Villa Organic — the first Norwegian organic salmon farming company with a vision to lead the salmon industry towards a more sustainable future. With conventional sea fishing unable to meet consumer demand, the team envisioned an even better alternative and worked to create a commercial pilot of Bluehouse in Denmark. Their vision to lead the salmon farming industry towards a more sustainable future didn’t stop there. With a successful pilot run in Denmark under their belts, Andreassen and Lovik worked to identify the perfect location for full-scale Bluehouse production in the United States, ultimately choosing Florida. The company says its revolutionary Bluehouse serves as the equivalent of a greenhouse. Fish are given ideal conditions to thrive with a 95 per cent water-to-fish-ratio and the ability to swim against strong currents as they would in the wild. It states: “As the first of its kind, the Miami Bluehouse brings a new level of purity to the product with water sourced from the Floridian Aquifer — an ancient artesian aquifer that naturally purifies water through limestone rock. “As such, the water has never been exposed to man-made contamination, like microplastics. Ten years in the making, cutting edge technology yields a product that not only helps alleviate the pressure on wild fisheries, but also eliminates environmental concerns associated with conventional salmon farming; the harvest serves as a pivotal moment in shaping the industry towards a greener tomorrow.” Many Americans have always been conscious about their health, but because of Covid-19 they are now turning increasingly to high nutrition foods such as salmon, a recent report from research agency Hartman shows (‘Catching them young’, Fish Farmer October 2020). The Bluehouse message is that its salmon is not only heart healthy but is also ocean safe, free of antibiotics and hormones. Despite huge oceans flanking either coast, the US continues to import 80 per cent of its seafood. The Atlantic Sapphire message that Bluehouse Salmon is 100 per cent home produced will no doubt resonate with the American consumer. FF

Manufacturing in France since 1964




09/11/2020 16:14:28

Genetic editing

Gene genius Rewriting fish DNA could help build resistance to sea lice BY ROBERT OUTRAM

R Above: Sea lice Right: Gene edi�ng


Gene Editing.indd 42

esearchers at Norwegian ins�tute Nofima are inves�ga�ng whether gene edi�ng could provide an answer to problem of sea lice. The Nofima team, along with partners from the UK, US, Canada, Sweden and Australia, will be using the gene edi�ng technology CRISPR to try and build resistance to lice into Atlan�c salmon. They believe that gene�c differences between Atlan�c and Pacific salmon could explain why several species of the la�er are una�rac�ve as hosts for sea lice. A typical salmon farm contains many poten�al hosts for lice and provides ideal condi�ons for the lice to mature and reproduce. Salmon farms can therefore promote the mul�plica�on of lice. If the number of sea lice a�ached to farmed salmon and the ability of the lice to mature and reproduce could be suppressed, the reduced numbers of lice would benefit both farmed and passing wild salmon. Researchers believe that a solu�on to the sea lice problem in Norway may lie across the Atlan�c. “It is no exaggera�on that the knowledge we create in this new project could transform the Norwegian aquaculture industry if Atlan�c salmon can be made to be highly or completely resistant to lice”, said senior researcher and project leader Nick Robinson in Nofima. He added: “If we can reveal the differences in the gene�c code that cause lice to be a�racted to Atlan�c salmon, or that makes the skin of North American salmon a bad place for sea lice to se�le and develop, then it may be possible for us to use that informa�on to make Atlan�c salmon resistant to sea lice, and have be�er health”. The project will make use of the CRISPR-Cas9 “gene�c scissors” process, de-

veloped by Emmanuelle Charpen�er and Jennifer Doudna, who this year were awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for their discovery. The gene�c code influences the func�on and development of all living things. Differences in the gene�c code make Atlan�c salmon more a�rac�ve hosts to lice than coho or pink salmon. Such differences, for example, could result in the produc�on of chemical a�ractants by Atlan�c salmon but not by coho, or result in an effec�ve defensive response of the salmon skin to newly-a�ached lice in pink salmon but not in Atlan�c salmon. The research aims to find the gene�c basis for these differences between Atlan�c and North American salmon species. Professor Ross Houston of the UK’s Roslin Ins�tute, whose team will work closely with Nofima on this and other parts of the project, explained: “CRISPR-Cas9 is s�ll a rela�vely new technology in the aquaculture research, but can allow for very precise and targeted changes at specific genes in the salmon genome known to be involved in cross-species varia�on in resistance to lice and the success of its use depends on the type of change

09/11/2020 16:16:32

Gene genius that is needed and on the posi�on and code of the gene to be edited.” The CRISPR-Cas9 tool makes it possible to make targeted changes to the gene�c code. For instance, CRISPR-Cas9 could be used to delete a few base sequences of the code to disrupt a gene’s func�on. But an intense research effort is needed, first to determine which genes could be edited to have the desired effect, and secondly to be able to successfully make the desired edits. The researchers will find and measure the chemical components that each salmon species releases. Then they will test how sea lice react to each of the unique chemicals released by Atlan�c salmon, and reveal which of them are semiochemicals that can a�ract or repel lice. If the researchers succeed in carrying out gene edi�ng in the laboratory, the salmon must be thoroughly tested up to adult size in closed facili�es to inves�gate how effec�ve the change is, and to reveal any poten�al unwanted side effects. Robinson emphasizes that this project will not make gene�cally edited fish available to industry and that further tes�ng will be needed. They will also consider risks of sea lice adap�ng to the changes in the salmon, and how this would be best prevented. The researchers will follow the so-called RRI (responsible research and innova�on) guidelines. Robinson said: “We will invite NGOs and others who are interested in seafood produc�on to get input on what social and moral consequences the research and possible implementa�on could have for Norwegian society. With such input, we can

adjust the work underway and create a responsible plan that balances animal welfare, ethics and law.” The project will be led by the Norwegian Fisheries, Aquaculture and Food Research Ins�tute – Nofima, and involve close collabora�on with the research partners Roslin Ins�tute (University of Edinburgh, UK), the Ins�tute of Aquaculture (University of S�rling, UK), Rothamsted Research (UK), the University of Melbourne (Australia), University of Prince Edward Island (Canada), Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences (USA), University of Gothenburg (Sweden), and the Ins�tute of Marine Research (Norway). Benchmark Gene�cs and Salmar are industry partners. FF

The knowledge we create in this new project could transform the Norwegian aquaculture industry

78SAV E %




For more information visit:

Fish F armer



SSPO Chair Atholl Dunc



Vince McDonagh


Nick Joy

Brexit deja vu



Hamish Macdonell

ff09 Cover.indd 1 14/09/2020 14:49:51

Gene Editing.indd 43


09/11/2020 16:13:04

World Feeds – Advertorial


Designed specifically for lumpfish and wrasse, the feed blocks are produced using bespoke machinery, designed by the in-house engineering team. The company employs unique extrusion processes to produce so� and malleable blocks that are highly diges�ble and a�rac�ve to the cleaner fish, formulated using the highest quality, sustainably sourced marine ingredients. They encourage and facilitate natural grazing behaviour, and studies with opera�ons including Loch Duart and GIFAS have shown considerable benefits to general health and welfare, as well as reduc�ons in cataract development and mortality rates. To complement these pioneering feed blocks, VAF produces innova�ve feeding sta�ons designed for prac�cality and to maximise efficiency. The VAF Manual Line Deployment (MLD) system, which is made from Marine grade stainless steel SS316 and includes 11 metres of black polysteel rope spliced with an SS316 carabiner, can be easily loaded midst global upheaval and the effects of Covid-19, UK-based feed direct from the pack in situ at the pen. Once loaded, the MLD can be manufacturer, World Feeds Ltd, has been hard at work ensuring deployed in the op�mum posi�on and lowered to the required depth that its well-laid plans for 2020 have been able to proceed as for feeding. The unique yellow float indicator included with each MLD uninterrupted as possible. This year marks a major milestone for unit floats back to the surface once the block has been consumed, the company, as its factory in the heart of Yorkshire has undergone an making it simple for users to know when a new feed block is required. extensive redevelopment that promises to increase produc�on output They are currently in the final stages of developing a fully automated, capacity tenfold. self-powering feeding sta�on that could become invaluable for more The company specialises in aqua�c nutri�on and supplies a wide vari- remote fish farms. ety of uniquely formulated, complete diets to some of the largest public Of course, with the inevitable growth in demand for its cleaner fish aquariums in the world - feeding vast mul�-species marine exhibits with feeding systems, the company has sought to grow in order to accommotailored feeds, delivered via innova�ve forms of presenta�on. date and supply. The 2020 redevelopment of its produc�on site is part Innova�on is a key driving force for World Feeds and it has been cruof a major investment for World Feeds. The new factory and packing cial in the development of its aquaculture feed range, Vita Aqua Feeds facili�es have been designed specifically around the company’s par�cu(VAF). Launched into the global market in 2019, its dis�nc�ve grooved lar ethos and processes, in order to increase efficiency and produc�vity, feed blocks are designed for cleaner fish and targeted at one of salmon greatly increasing produc�on output. farming’s biggest issues – the control of sea lice. VAF is a pioneering The company has developed new machinery (not pictured for conand innova�ve solu�on to this problem and one that looks to revolufiden�ality reasons), designed as ever by its in-house engineers. This �onise the way cleaner fish are fed, looked a�er and managed in global means it can produce its unique aqua�c feeds on a much larger scale, aquaculture. and to far greater efficiency, within a strictly high-care environment.

in the future

Major developments for cleaner fish management



VAF - World Feeds - PED.indd 44

09/11/2020 16:17:29

Investing in the future

Above left: A VAF Cleaner Fish Feed Block Below left: The main production floor (minus their most sensitive machinery) Right: VAF feeding systems in use at Loch Duart, Scotland

The new facilities are subject to carefully devised training, cleaning and production management protocols (in line with UK government guidance re. Covid-19) ensuring that products and practices are to the absolute highest standard and meet industry requirements. World Feeds’ innovation extends even deeper into its asset management with an internally programmed, semi-automated stock system, further maximising efficiency across departments. This investment is a major factor for the development and growth of VAF – and World Feeds Ltd as a whole – and the business is already looking ahead with great optimism towards the next stage of development. VAF’s impact on Norwegian aquaculture is poised for further expansion as it welcomes Ireland-based company, PTAqua, on board as distributors in the region, focusing on wrasse feed and potential hatchery applications in the future. “We are delighted to be working with the PTAqua team in Norway.” says World Feeds’ Managing Director, Peter Kersh. “We feel it’s a great alliance and a great meeting of minds in terms of our ethos and approach to nutrition and feeds. PTAqua have established a strong position as a bona fide supplier of specialist feeds and we are excited that, in working together, we can bring new technical products to the market to help resolve an issue which the industry has been wrestling with for many years.” FF



VAF - World Feeds - PED.indd 45 45

09/11/2020 16:17:50

Fish welfare and health

In the swim

Producers are tackling fish health issues with the aid of technology BY ROBERT OUTRAM


infish farmers have an obliga�on to safeguard the health and welfare of their stock. Unfortunately, fish of all species are subject to disease, parasites and other health issues, and – just like humans – where they are living together in large numbers those risks are magnified. Fish health is an important considera�on for regulators as well as the industry, and it plays a big part in the industry’s reputa�on – good and bad. A good indica�on of the priori�es as viewed by government came last month with the refreshed focus announced for Scotland’s Farmed Fish Health Network. This group, set up under the auspices of Marine Scotland, has outlined its key priori�es as: • developing a consistent repor�ng methodology for collec�on of informa�on on the causes of farmed fish mortality, and providing survival data; • addressing the impact of climate change and ocean acidifica�on, including real-�me monitoring of plankton and mapping clima�c condi�ons around Scotland’s coasts; and • encouraging the development of new medicines with the aim of increasing treatment flexibility. For fish farmers the key health risks include: sea lice; infec�ous salmon anaemia (ISA); pancrea�c disease; gill health; rising sea temperatures and resul�ng algal blooms; and fish stress. Possibly the highest profile of all these issues is the problem of sea lice. Atlan�c salmon are par�cularly vulnerable to Lepeophtheirus salmonis, a parasi�c crustacean that feeds on fish mucus, blood and skin. As well as the damage and distress caused by the lice themselves, lice can also be the vectors for infec�ous disease. The classic treatment for lice involves chemicals that are powerful enough to kill the crustaceans but not the fish. This is far from ideal, for a number of reasons: toxic chemicals can damage the fish and inhibit growth; the fish cannot be sold for human consump�on un�l several weeks a�er treatment; lice can develop (and inherit) resistance to specific chemicals; and, in sea-based farms,


Fish Health.indd 46

the chemicals clearly pose a risk to other marine life. One alterna�ve is to use “moult inhibitor” agents which prevent the lice from shedding their exoskeleton, as they need to in order to grow and survive, but this can also cause harm to other marine crustaceans in the wild. The use of cleaner fish to feed on the parasites, par�cularly lumpfish and wrasse, is also common now but it does not offer a complete solu�on. Finding an alterna�ve solu�on for sea lice is, therefore, a major priority for the aquaculture industry. One approach is to look at containment. Sea lice swim at rela�vely shallow levels, so various approaches to close or semi-closed containment, or sea lice skirts, have been shown to be effec�ve in protec�ng the fish. Water can be pumped from lower levels into the pens, although this of course requires energy and can also require oxygena�on, as there is less oxygen at lower depths. There are a number of poten�al engineering solu�ons related to this approach. AKVA has developed The Tu+benet, a lice preven�on concept that works by keeping fish well below the tradi�onal sea lice belt that is in the upper water column (top 5-10m). This is achieved by installing a large cylindrical passageway in the centre of a cage, from which tarpaulin hangs and protects our salmon from lice infesta�ons when they swim to the surface to fill their swim-bladders. Fish feed is delivered by way of subsurface feeding tubes, and cleaner fish welfare is safeguarded

Top left: Checking salmon gill. Left: Nathan Pyne-Carter. Top right: Vaccina�on process. Right: Sea lice

09/11/2020 15:27:53

In the swim

by using tailor-made hides specifically for Tubenets. The technique has been trialled in Norway and, now, has been introduced at Mowi Scotland’s farm at Mowi Scotland’s farm at Port na Cro, in Argyll and Bute. Gareth Siney, farm manager at Port na Cro, told Fish Farmer in July this year: “At the moment, we use lots of different tools to tackle sea lice such as water pressure and using cleaner fish that naturally pick the sea lice off our salmon. But this technique is the first that is proac�ve by essen�ally trying to avoid sea lice being present in the water in the first place. How it works is that the Tubenet provides a barrier at the surface of the water crea�ng a separa�on between our fish and where sea lice naturally gather.” Ace Aquatec is also developing a sea lice removal system that uses mul�ple methods within a single containerised unit. This mul�-technique approach minimises the risk of lice developing resistance over �me; something that can happen with solu�ons relying primarily on a single removal technique. With gentle fish handling at the heart of the design, Aquatec’s system includes unique elements designed to minimise fish stress. The company

Fish Health.indd 47

Finding an “alterna� ve solu�on for sea lice is a major priority for the aquaculture industry

also says that its easy integra�on with exis�ng vessels is expected to improve reac�on �mes to lice outbreaks. Ace Aquatec’s managing director, Nathan Pyne-Carter, said: “We are in the final stages of tes�ng with our partner and we hope to deploy a pilot system early next year.” Another non-chemical currently being explored by a number of separate groups of researchers is vaccina�on, to give salmon resistance to sea lice infesta�on. The Global Aquacultural Alliance recently reported in its blog (Evaluating the efficacy of a candidate vaccine for Atlantic salmon against sea lice, 19 October 2020) on a study carried out at the Aquaculture Research Sta�on in


09/11/2020 15:28:32

Fish welfare and health

Tromsø, Norway into a candidate vaccine based on a protein, ribosomal protein P0. The researchers compared a control group, a group treated with injected vaccine and a group treated with the injected vaccine and an immunisa�on bath. The findings suggest that vaccina�on did not no�ceably reduce the number of live sea lice, but did have a significant impact on the ability of female sea lice to reproduce, which would reduce the parasite popula�on. Another vaccine study is being funded by the Sco�sh Aquaculture innova�on Centre into the possibility of an orally administered vaccine that targets mucal immunity. Partners include S�rling‘s Ins�tute of Aquaculture, BioMar; the nanopar�cle company SiSaf; and experts in vaccinology, Tethys Aquaculture. The consor�um also draws on the exper�se of vaccinologists at the Moredun Research Ins�tute and academic fish immunologists from the University of Maine in the United States. The new approach to oral vaccina�on will deliver the vaccine via specially developed feeds that aim to improve fish resistance to parasites using advanced nanopar�cle technology. Innova�ve bio-engineering tools will also target sea lice by triggering strong immune responses in the skin of fish, rather than delivering it through the bloodstream alone. Sharing approaches employed to control �cks in agriculture, the new vaccine aims to directly target the proteins important for the parasite’s survival. Vaccina�on is also being used in the fight against pancrea�c disease (PD), and one of the most interes�ng developments is a DNA vaccine, Clynav, developed by Elanco. This is the first DNA vaccine to have been authorised for veterinary medicine in Europe, and the signs so far are that Clynav is able to protect fish without the vaccine injuries or deforma�on side-effects that other PD vaccines have been dogged by. It has only been available in Scotland since 2019. Controlling the disease will be important – only last year, up to 500,000 fish


Fish Health.indd 48

were slaughtered in Norway as a result of an incorrect diagnosis of PD in a laboratory. Infec�ous salmon anaemia (ISA) is perhaps the fish farmer’s biggest headache. Outbreaks in Norway, Scotland, Canada and Chile over the past couple of years have meant many thousands of fish have had to be slaughtered and there is currently no effec�ve treatment, so preven�on is the only means of controlling the disease. This summer, the Norwegian Food Safety Authority ini�ated a probe into the rising number of Infec�ous Salmon Anaemia (ISA) outbreaks along the Norwegian coast. More than 15 confirmed cases were logged in the first half of this year, and the spread of the disease is giving cause for concern. Addi�onal suspected infec�ons are also under inves�ga�on. Troms and Finnmark appear to be the worst hit regions, although areas towards the south of the country have been affected by the disease.

Warmer seas as a result of global “warming are not good for Atlan�c salmon ”

09/11/2020 15:29:02

In the swim Typically, ISA may appear as a systemic and lethal condi�on characterised by severe anaemia and haemorrhages in several organs. It first appeared in the 1980s and has been linked, variously, to intensive fish farming prac�ces or to warming sea temperatures, among other causes. Warmer seas as a result of global warming are not good for Atlan�c salmon, or any other fish that prefers colder waters. Not least, higher temperatures encourage the growth of toxic algal blooms, which have been a problem for farmers in many loca�ons, including Chile, Canada, Norway and Scotland. A report from seafood database Kontali found that that an algal incident that affected a number of fish farms in the north of Norway last May cost the sector up to NOK 2.45 billion – or almost £170 million. The loss in dead fish at 14,500 tonnes was also worryingly high, the equivalent of about 6.5 per cent of the biomass of Norland and Troms, the two regions most heavily affected, it says. For those companies that were affected, Kontali has calculated that algae bloom, which lasted for more than three weeks, led to a loss of 22 per cent of the operators’ harvest poten�al. Kontali was also cri�cal, no�ng that algae monitoring prior to the incident could have been a lot be�er. As a result, when mortality occurred, the ability to handle large volumes of dead fish in such a short �me and over such a vast area of coastline was insufficient. The report said: “Challenges in grinding and ensiling the dead biomass quickly enough had consequences for the u�lisa�on as residual raw material.” The algae bloom has led to an intensified focus Top left: Sea lice a�ached on surveillance and con�ngency plans from both to salmon. Left: Harald businesses and government. Norway’s seafood T. Nesvik. Top right: Algae. Below: Checking a salmon minister, Harald T. Nesvik, announcing extra funding to tackle the issue, said: “We need to have be�er knowledge and be be�er prepared if future a�acks occur, especially in the early stages of an algae bloom… the algal bloom in Northern Norway in the spring hit the aquaculture industry and the local

Fish Health.indd 49

communi�es hard, and a lot of money was lost.’ While the ability to deal with an algal bloom when it happens may be limited, it does suggest that the aquaculture needs to play its part in reducing carbon emissions and helping to mi�gate the effect of global climate change. Fish stress is another risk, which means that careful a�en�on to fish handling techniques is a must. Changes in water quality, transfers and treatments can all lead to stress related mortality. But here too, a novel approach may pay dividends. Tecnovit, an animal food supplement business based in Spain, is using a naturally-grown extract to help fish get through stressful environments. Seretec uses an Opun�a ficus indica extract that accelerates the synthesis of Heat Shock Proteins (HSP), helping aqua�c species respond to recurrent repeated stressful challenges. It can be applied both in feed and by immersion, which provides 72 hours of stress protec�on while aiding in cell repairing. The la�er promotes the return to a normal growth profile. Exploring the alterna�ves to typical chemical and an�bio�c-based treatments is already having an impact on the aquaculture industry. An ongoing record of the Sco�sh salmon sector shows that volumes of medicine administered went down significantly between 2015 and 2019. Use of deltamethrin (an an�-louse treatment) for example went down from 11kg to 3kg over the period. Meanwhile, the annual NORM-VET report on an�bio�cs use in Norwegian aquaculture finds that in 2019, only 16 prescrip�ons were issued for Norwegian salmon farming, the lowest ever recorded. The data means that 99 per cent of Norwegian salmon were produced completely without an�bio�c treatments. The figures represent a 77 per cent reduc�on in the use of an�bio�cs compared with the previous year, and a 99 percent reduc�on since the late 1980s. Dr Ørjan Olsvik, professor in medical microbiology at the University of Tromsø, Norway a�ributed the progress made by Norway’s aquaculture industry to “…fish health, good living condi�ons, a lot of cold, fresh sea water, good quality feed and feeding procedures, and extensive use of vaccines against bacterial and viral diseases, as well as excellent and dedicated veterinarians who are specialized in cold salt water aquaculture.” The aquaculture industry in Norway used 222kg of an�bio�cs, compared with 4,673kg used in Norwegian land animal farming. The UK is also one of the European leaders in reducing an�bio�c use for animals in aquaculture and agriculture, while another major salmon-producing country, Chile, has declared that reducing an�bio�cs is an important target for the industry. Around the world, the industry is taking its responsibili�es for fish health and welfare seriously. FF


09/11/2020 15:29:22

SkaMik 1.5

– highest effect by mechanical delousing in 2018, 2019 and 2020- to date

The use of SkaMik 1.5 has been closely monitored and followed up by veterinarians to document fish welfare, efficacy and behaviour related to treatment with SkaMik 1.5. Through full scale trials and regular operations, it has been documented that SkaMik 1.5 removes virtually all salmon lice – regardless of sea lice stage. The method is widely applied on a large range of fish size, and has shown to be a successful treatment option on salmon weighing down to 740 g. In addition you have minimal growth loss - short starvation period and the fish commence feeding immediately after delousing. And most important; fish welfare is extremely good.

In our documentation The Fishwell standard (Noble et al., 2018) was applied to score the extent of external strain. The main finding was low to moderate loss of scale. We also have no findings of acute injury or other observations of significant abnormalities. SkaMik 1.5 is designed to meet aquaculture’s stringent requirements for fish welfare, low mortality, efficiency and profitability during delousing operations! Moem Marin.indd 50

09/11/2020 11:12:45

VAKI - Advertorial

HIGH LEVEL OF EFFICIENCY AND ACCURACY VAKI VAKI provides flexible service The Smart Flow System enables the users to gather and store information about all measured fish for easy SMART comparisons of size and number. This facilitates the optimization of every operation as VAKI devices can be FLOW and fine-tuned using Smart Flow in order to achieve high levels of efficiency and accuracy. optionscontrolledfor clients Market Leading Customer Care Package


The Customer Care Package (CCP) provides registered customers benefits including preferential service, free updates and exceptional discounts on new software and hardware upgrades. “Another big COUNTER benefit of the CCP are the routine service checks, during which we log into the VAKI EXEL counters to check the software is up to date and the counter is properly set up,” said Andri » 99% service accurate counting Kárason, manager for VAKI. “We also check previous counting sessions and generate a » Information from the counter count quality validation. If the VAKI team spot anything that could be an issue in the future, they controls the recommend thegrader required preventative maintenance to ensure a good count quality.” VAKI CLOUD » High capacity over 250.000 With the CCP,–VAKI proactively has the service team in contact with customers to ensure 50g fish/hour the best possible after-sales support to make sure that the customers don’t have any start-up issues, and that also makes it even easier for them be in touch if they run into any problems. Clients can always count on VAKI´s support, whether it is through on-site visits or through remote channels.


» High precision grading » Electronic adjustment of size settings and grader tilt » Specially designed inlet for maximum spread of fish

Celebrating new challenges

VAKI FISH PUMP » Very gentle on fish – fish in water at all times » Max. Pump head (THD) 12m » Max. Pump suction 3m » RemoteTop:control Gareth Hammond, Area Manager working

on site in UK Above: Andri Kárason, Service Manager

VAKI SMART FLOW VAKI SMART GRADER » High precision grading » Electronic adjustment of size settings and grader tilt » Specially designed inlet for maximum spread of fish

This past year has brought a new Covid-19 challenge that no one anticipated, with the service team having to adapt to a new reality. “There have been some incidents where we would have preferred to have been able to send our own service people to sites, but with good remote support and cooperation with our partners in these areas we are able to work successfully on the issues that our customers had,” said Andri. “We have always been strong on the remote support side of things, and that has come in very handy during these circumstances, as we have had to work more with our customers to work out some issues which would have normally required on-site visits.” While VAKI´s suite of services is strong, the service team are always looking to make improvements. “We actively listen to the feedback from customers and ensure it reaches our development team to make our products and support services even better for our customers,” said Andri.

HIGH LEVEL OF EFFICIENCY AND ACCURACY The Smart Flow System enables the users to gather and store information about all measured fish for easy comparisons of size and number. This facilitates the optimization of every operation as VAKI devices can be controlled and fine-tuned using Smart Flow in order to achieve high levels of efficiency and accuracy.


VAKI EXEL COUNTER » 99% accurate counting » Information from the counter controls the grader » High capacity – over 250.000 50g fish/hour


VAKI FISH PUMP » Very gentle on fish – fish in water at all times » Max. Pump head (THD) 12m » Max. Pump suction 3m » Remote control

P51.indd 51


09/11/2020 15:36:51


Protect and

survive Keeping fish safe and in place is increasingly a high-tech endeavour BY ROBERT OUTRAM


torm Ellen hit the west coast of Scotland on the evening of Wednesday 19 August. The storm caused widespread disruption in Scotland and throughout the UK and Ireland; not least for Mowi Scotland’s salmon farm at Carradale North, off Kintyre in south west Scotland. A combination of high summer tides and the force of the storm caused the farm, consisting of 10 circular net pens containing 550,000 salmon, to shift its position by 800 metres after becoming detached from its seabed anchors. Two of the pens were damaged allowing 48,834 salmon – the number was verified in an inventory after the pens had been secured – to escape. As well as informing Marine Scotland and other relevant parties about the incident, the company’s immediate priority was to secure the fish pens in place until Storm Ellen subsided, and to safeguard staff, contractors and fish stock. How had it happened? Mowi’s incident investigation revealed that system mooring line failure at the southern end of the pen group was identified as the root cause of the incident. Inspection and testing of recovered ropes showed failure due to abrasion – two or more lines coming in contact with each other after gradual bedding in of sea anchors over time. Abrasion between crossing lines weakened them and resulted in breaks during Storm Ellen. This led to a “domino effect”, with several other mooring lines failing. The pen system was then moved by the waves, tide and winds during the storm. Carradale North was only installed five years previously, and was designed to meet or exceed the Marine Scotland Technical Standard for Scottish Finfish Aquaculture (the “Scottish Technical Standard”). The mooring lines installed were specified following independent modelling


Containment - Intro.indd 52

analysis, the company says, and were rated at approximately double the strength required. Meritxell Padrisa, Mowi’s production director promised action to address the issue: “Our farmers work in some of the most challenging weather conditions to raise one of the UK’s most popular foods. As we continue to explore exposed locations at sea, we must ensure we continue to keep our staff and our livestock protected and safe. Mowi will continue to invest heavily in the right people and the best equipment to ensure we step up to the weather challenges that these exposed locations will deliver us, as well as the future challenges that climate change will also bring.” The incident shows that containment measures, even when they are shown to meet the level that regulations and good practice require, can sometimes face extreme challenges. The issue is not just damage to the infrastructure or the economic loss resulting from escaped fish stock. The mixing of farmed and wild fish is taken very seriously by regulators and environmental groups. The report (May 2020) from the Salmon Interactions Working Group, a body set up by the Scottish government, recommends that the benchmark for retaining farmed fish in

Above: Fish farms designed for stormy conditions. Above right: Walk around inspection

09/11/2020 15:31:58

Photo: Carradale North

Protect and survive

anchors that will provide addi�onal security at eight of the company’s most exposed fish farms. • A new approach to moorings analysis using an independent moorings analysis company that draws on the experience of qualified naval architects. • Increasing the frequency and intensity of sub-surface mooring inspec�ons with remote operated vehicles at all farms in the most exposed loca�ons. • In combina�on with sub surface mooring inspec�ons, Mowi’s most exposed farming loca�ons will increase the frequency and intensity of physical moorings inspec�on pre and post winter, carried out by a third-party specialist moorings firm. produc�on facili�es be set at 100 per cent. It also recommends that operators have an escape mi�ga�on plan in place before stocking, and that “…appropriate fines, propor�onate to the incident and scale of the escape, should apply to escapes of fish.” Concern is not limited to Scotland, and the issue has also sparked calls for ac�on in Norway. In October, fisheries and seafood minister Odd Emil Ingebrigtsen announced a crackdown following a large number of escapes over the last two years. He said: “The farmers will now have to pay when fish escape. We are �ghtening the requirements to ensure they pick up a large part of the bill.” Norwegian companies will also be required to report to the Directorate of Fisheries as soon as they suspect an escape. They will have a legal duty to implement measures to catch any escaped salmon. All this will certainly place even greater pressure on farms to ensure that their containment is up to coping with even extraordinary condi�ons. In the mean�me, following the Carradale escape, Mowi Scotland took immediate ac�ons to ensure this event does not repeat itself, and to ensure it meets its policy of zero fish escapes. Some of these commitments include; • Immediate inspec�on of all farming loca�ons to ensure system integrity and to bolster mooring lines and anchors where needed prior to this winter’s storm season. Mowi has now purchased £240,000 in addi�onal moorings and

Containment - Intro.indd 53

As we con�nue to explore exposed loca�ons at sea, we must ensure we con�nue to keep our staff and our livestock protected and safe

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09/11/2020 15:32:41

Photo: AKVA Group


• Assessing the use of GPS tracking equipment a�ached to pen infrastructure to act as an “early warning” of pen movements outside the range that would normally be expected due to �dal or wind influences. Systems will be installed at two exposed loca�ons and if proved effec�ve, will be rolled out to other exposed farms and barges. • Implemen�ng a dedicated equipment management system allowing full overview and control of technical equipment including scheduling of all site maintenance and servicing requirements. Ben Hadfield, COO Farming Scotland, Ireland & the Faroes with Mowi commented: “Prior to the Sco�sh government report that recommended aquaculture companies look to expand into exposed regions located in deeper water with stronger currents, Mowi began this evolu�on with developments at Carradale North and isles of Colonsay, Muck and Rum. These regions provide excellent and sustainable loca�ons to grow fish, bringing with it massive benefits that include reduced environmental impact as well as social and economic ac�vity to rural regions threatened by depopula�on. That said, we fully acknowledge our responsibility to learn quickly from these events that challenge the security of our livestock to ensure we achieve our policy of zero fish escape.” Meanwhile, acknowledging the concern of the poten�al for gene�c introgression amongst wild salmon, a comprehensive study has been launched and will be managed by the wild-fish conserva�on body Fisheries Management Scotland, supported by Government scien�sts from Marine Scotland Science, and funded by Mowi Scotland. The mul�-year study of 115 sites aims to confirm wild salmon’s current


Containment - Intro.indd 54

gene�c profile and to track for the poten�al of gene�c changes should interbreeding of farmed and wild salmon occur. As Mowi points out, the Carradale North salmon were being harvested for market when the escape occurred. The fish were sexually immature, and thus not likely to spawn with wild salmon this autumn. This new and comprehensive study of gene�c introgression aims to add to the understanding of one of the poten�al pressures on Scotland’s wild salmon – not just farm escapes. The Sco�sh government has iden�fied a range of high-level pressures on wild salmon to also include: over-exploita�on, preda�on, invasive species, habitat loss and quality, and inshore commercial fisheries. Preven�ng escapes is not the only containment issue. It’s also important, of course, to prevent predators ge�ng in and with pens in the open sea this can be a challenge. In October, a bluefin tuna, weighing anything up to 47 stone (300 kg), had to be retrieved and released a�er breaking through nets in the Loch Roag site operated by Sco�sh Sea Farms. With global warming, tuna are being sighted more frequently in northern waters, but one of the biggest predator threats to farmed fish is marine mammals, par�cularly seals. Here, while protec�ng marine mammals is an important considera�on in any event, the strongest pressure to address containment and protec�on issues is coming not from European, but from US legisla�on. The Marine Mammal Protec�on Act became law in 1972 but it’s a more recent amendment, due to come into force on 1 January 2022 that is driving change. The amendment prevents the import into the US of fish and fish products from fisheries that cause inten�onal or incidental “mortality and serious injury of marine mammals.” The US market is a significant one for Sco�sh (and Norwegian) salmon, so compliance is a must. Clearly the legisla�on rules out seal culling with guns, but what about less deadly means of deterring predators? Non-lethal op�ons can also be problema�c and wildlife campaigners have strongly cri�cised acous�c deterrent devices (ADDs) which they say can cause hearing damage, especially to marine mammals with par�cularly sensi�ve hearing, such as dolphins, porpoises and minke whales.

Top left: Net damage from a seal. Top right: Predator deterrent. Above left: Muck farm Bottom: Ben Hadfield

One of the biggest predator threats to farmed fish is marine mammals

09/11/2020 15:33:12


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09/11/2020 11:14:00


It will be for the Sco�sh Parliament to bring in legisla�on in �me for 2022, to regulate what can and cannot be used, in order to safeguard exports to the US. Last year the parliament’s Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Commi�ee concluded that ADDs are both harmful and ineffec�ve. This doesn’t necessarily mean that a blanket ban is on the cards, however. The US Na�onal Marine Fisheries Service (known as NOAA) has issued dra� guidance, published in August this year, to indicate what sort of deterrent approaches might be seen as acceptable. As reported in October’s Fish Farmer (“NOAA’s arc”, page 60), this rules out such aggressive means as firecrackers and chasing with vessels. For acous�c devices, the NOAA advice proposes dividing them into two categories; • Those emi�ng sound below 170dB in volume (such as whistles and air horns); and • Louder devices with more impact (in other words, underwater acous�c transducers). It’s important to note that the first category of low energy devices may be run con�nuously, the more powerful category may only be used as “startle” devices, in other words to be triggered for very short bursts in response to a predator approaching the facility. One of the companies developing compliant ADDs is Dundee-based Ace Aquatec, which has produced a low-frequency system (1-2 kHz) for protected sites – where marine mammals like dolphins and whales are seen as being at par�cular risk – which have a minimal impact on non-target species. It also has a mid-range ADD at 10-20 kHz, which emits randomised, computer-generated sounds in order to prevent predators becoming habituated to the device. An important element in the system is a thermal imaging camera to automa�cally trigger the deterrent when a seal is approaching; meaning the system only ac�vates when needed. As the company’s CEO Nathan

Top: A vessel responded to Carradale incident Above: The SSPO’s Anne Anderson

is that we should eliminate rather “Our philosophy than treat the problem ” 56

Containment - Intro.indd 56

Pyne-Carter explains, Ace Aquatec is also developing a system that will “learn” to iden�fy predators by sight – using machine learning in combina�on with a high-tech camera – to dis�nguish between, say, the head of a seal and that of a dolphin (or a human swimmer). An alterna�ve system was rolled out earlier this year by GenusWave. Targeted Acous�c Startle Technology (TAST), developed at St Andrew’s University, uses a low-frequency pulse to deter seals when they approach without, the company says, harming or distressing other marine mammals. TAST has been approved for use on Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) cer�fied farms. Meanwhile, a review of ADDs generally was announced in July this year, a�er discussions with Marine Scotland, the Sco�sh Government agency responsible for aquaculture. The risk assessments will be done in conjunc�on with Marine Scotland, and its officials will then assess the informa�on produced by the sector and decide whether European Protected Species (EPS) licences might be required for some sites in the future. While fish farmers are required to have regard to the welfare of marine mammals in the areas in which they operate, they are also required to protect their fish stock from predators. Anne Anderson, sustainability director at the Sco�sh Salmon Producers Organisa�on, said: “It is cri�cal that, like any farmer, salmon farmers have a suite of deterrents, each of which offers a different protec�on against preda�on, par�cularly as they have a statutory duty to care for the welfare of their fish.” She added: “This move shows that the salmon farming sector is serious about its long-term

09/11/2020 15:33:37







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sustainability and its commitment to openness and transparency. It also reinforces the sector’s call for robust and intelligent regula�on to enable it to operate, plan and grow sustainably.” Meanwhile, the very concept of containment is being rethought, as the sector explores innova�ve approaches. An increasing number of landbased farms are being built around the world, from North America to Norway, and even for offshore farms other models are being tried out. One example is Loch Long Salmon (LLS), a joint venture between Trimara Services and Simply Blue Aquaculture, which plans to create semi-closed faming systems to grow fish from smolt transfer through to harvest size. The first farm is planned for Loch Long, in the Loch Lomond Na�onal Park. The aims of the semi-closed system are to exclude sea lice – a major problem for sea-based farms – as well as to catch and safely dispose of organic waste, and generally maximise the health and welfare of the fish. Semi-closed systems have already been tried, with success, in Norway as a means to prevent the growth of sea lice. As Stewart Hawthorn, director of LLS, put it: “Our philosophy is that we should eliminate rather than treat the problem.” Semi-closed systems operate with an impermeable barrier separa�ng the enclosures from the surrounding sea. Seawater is pumped from a deep level – below the zone in which sea lice typically swim – and if necessary the water can be oxygenated. Other systems go even further, replica�ng the total containment of a land-based facility in an offshore system. Norwegian company Hauge Aqua has been granted a license to build its futuris�c “Egg” closed farm in Lang�orden, Western Norway, where conven�onal salmon farming is not permi�ed. The Egg, if the technology passes a number of tests, could be established and running in four years. Meanwhile FishGLOBE, another


Containment - Intro.indd 58

closed containment system based in Norway, has already produced two genera�ons of salmon. The creators of FishGLOBE say their system protects the fish from lice, prevents escapes and also prevents the build-up of organic waste on the seabed. The FishGLOBE system is constructed of tough polyethylene and takes in water pumped up from a deep level, again ensuring that sea lice are not introduced to the container. The technology to manage the flow and ensure the water is correctly oxygenated is key, the developers say. Closed or semi-closed systems have clear advantages, although they do require more energy – for example, to control the flow of water – so to be seen as truly sustainable they also need to be powered by a sustainable energy source. Aquaculture never stands s�ll, and fresh thinking on containment and fish protec�on could provide the answers to some of the industry’s biggest challenges. FF

Top: Carradale cages taken in July 2020 Left: Stewart Hawthorn. Above: FishGlobe’s closed fish farms

09/11/2020 15:34:09

FishGLOBE – Advertorial

A global game changer

The innovative closed floating fish farming system FishGLOBE is proving its excellence


ishGLOBE, the ground-breaking closed floa�ng fish farming system has now been in opera�on for two genera�ons outside of Stavanger, Norway and the results are be�er than its developers could have imagined. The technology is also giving fish farmers the tool they need for sustainable growth! FishGLOBE is a fully closed fish tank for salmon, design to produce postsmolt (up to 1kg). The first commercial version is 3500m3 and has a capacity of 75 kg/m3 – higher than any other closed system. The hope and aim in designing and building the globe was to help the industry to handle some of the big challenges: achieving be�er fish welfare, elimina�ng lice or the need for lice treatment and preven�ng escapes. As a bonus, the system also enables collec�on of the sediments, therefore reducing the environmental impact on the �ords. The globe is built in polyethylene (HDPE), a strong and flexible material. It is a complete closed unit – the top is covered - and gives high HSE (health, safety and environment) and welfare for the operators all year long. There are six inlet pipes taking water from a deep level, below the sea lice belt. The flow and circula�on are economically calculated from CFD (computa�onal fluid dynamics) analysis and the flow is one of the main reasons for the great results that have been achieved. Par�cles are li�ed up to the technical deck from bo�om, giving 100% control of the feeding process, meaning the fish can be fed with extreme precision, giving premium growth results. The flow is also crucial for op�mizing O2 levels and ge�ng rid of the

FishGlobe - PED.indd 59

CO2. With three water changes per hour, the flow and the fish welfare are the best in class. No other closed containment system can show such excellent water flow and – best of all – that also way it is also possible to go up to 75 kg/m3. As a postmolt produc�on unit, a globe represents a very wise investment for fish farmers. It will give good flexibility as it is an autonomous and movable unit. The results from the first two genera�ons show that FishGLOBE delivers on its promises, as well as producing growth that has exceeded the developers’ expecta�ons. If the cost is compared with other investment – such as a postsmolt facility onshore – the globe shows a significantly lower required investment and is biologically safer than, for example, RAS (recircula�ng aquaculture systems). FishGLOBE is the production unit of tomorrow and it is already commercially available to help farmers to cope with the greatest challenge of them all – growing production in a way that is flexible and sustainable. FF

The best “thing of all

is that we have our technology in opera�on and can prove our excellence

Above: The Fishglobe 3.5K live in opera�on in Lyse�orden- Norway


09/11/2020 15:36:09

Products and services

What’s NEW Monthly update on industry innovations and solutions from around the world

Deep Trekker launches multi language controllers

Canadian robotics company Deep Trekker has launched new firmware allowing users to choose the language they want for their controller. Users will be able to opt for English, Spanish or Norwegian for Deep Trekker’s DTG3 and REVOLUTION inspection vehicles. Making use of Deep Trekker’s innovative BRIDGE technology, the update builds upon the existing advanced algorithms for seamless communication and enhanced operations. Deep Trekker’s vehicles are on the leading edge of submersible technology. Solving harsh environmental situations with fully assembled, tested and ready to use remotely operated vehicles (ROVs), pipe crawlers and utility vehicles, Deep Trekker gets eyes underwater in minutes.

The right tools to manage fish eggs

MANAGING fish eggs is a delicate process and requires the right tools. The FIAP profibreed Fish Eggs Count Plate allows for quick counting of eggs and is easy to use. The FIAP profibreed Egg Tweezers, meanwhile, are ideally suitable for sorting out dead fish eggs. You can trust profibreed for premium quality, reliable and durable products.

Xelect and Petuna’s cutting edge breeding program to ‘climate proof ’ fish

GENETICS experts Xelect and Tasmanian fish farming business Petuna are collaborating to breed temperature-tolerant salmon, improving performance as water temperatures increase. The Xelect team worked alongside Petuna to develop a sophisticated genetic toolkit that routinely assesses warmer water resilience, and creates cumulative performance gains every generation. Xelect’s senior breeding programme manager Dr. Marie Smedley commented “Working with Petuna we’ve made significant advances this year, and we are both looking forward to seeing what happens next in our journey together”. Find out more about the benefits of breeding programme management at

RS Aqua provide real time current data to salmon farms

RS AQUA has supplied the first real-time current profiler into Scotland for use with Innovasea’s real-time Aquaculture Intelligence system. The profiler is a Nortek Aquadopp Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler (ADCP). Nortek ADCPs are world leading, but are generally deployed independently and record data internally. Innovasea’s system streams data to the salmon farm manager’s phone or PC, displaying current speed and direction in real time at multiple depths. It also shows a projection of how feed pellets will be affected as they fall through the water column, bringing a new level of efficiency to feeding practices. Tel: +44 (0) 2394 004 540 Left: Real Time Pellet Trajectory Model (Smartphone App)


What's New -Nov 20.indd 60

09/11/2020 12:01:14

Looking to


Post your vacancy on for only £199 (+vat) per job posting. Contact Janice Johnston 0044 (0) 131 551 7925

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09/11/2020 11:16:37

Industry Diary

Industry DIARY The latest aquaculture events, conferences and courses MARCH 21



AQUACULTURE EUROPE 2021 Madeira, Portugal October 5-8, 2021

Guayaquil, Ecuador, March 22-25, 2021



Aquaculture Europe 2020 will now be an ONLINE event. The basic format of the event will stay the same as ‘normal’ Aquaculture Europe meetings, with morning plenary sessions and then breakout parallel sessions for oral and Eposter presentations.

(Previously, Cork, Ireland) April 12-15, 2021


Seawork is Europe’s leading commercial marine and workboat exhibition, providing businesses the opportunity to showcase their products and services to an international audience. Southampton, Mayflower Park, UK, 15-17 June, 2021 Visit


RAStech 2021 is the venue for learning, networking and knowledge sharing on RAS technologies, design and implementation across the world.

Hilton Head Island, SC, USA November 3-4, 2021



Aviemore will once again be the venue for this bi-annual trade fair and conference. It is undoubtedly the most important aquaculture exhibition held in the British Isles. The show has a tremendous following and with increased investment for 2021 it promises to reach even further across the broader aquaculture markets in both the UK and Europe.

Aviemore, United Kingdom May 19-21, 2021



This show will be the largest aquaculture trade show in the Western Hemisphere and one of the largest anywhere in the world with nearly 200 booths! This is your opportunity to inspect the latest in products and services for the aquaculture industry.

San Antonio,Texas, USA August 11-14, 2021


The event will be held in Singapore this year with involvement from countries throughout the Asian-Pacific region and around the world. Aquaculture is growing rapidly in the region and therefore 2021 is the perfect time for the world aquaculture community to turn its focus here. Singapore June 14-18, 2021

Industry Diary.indd 63

Surabaya, Indonesia September 7-10, 2021

WAS North America & Aquaculture Canada 2021 This World Aquaculture Society event will feature hundreds of world class speakers and delegates from around the globe.

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

November 15-19, 2021

DECEMBER 21 AQUACULTURE AFRICA 2021 Alexandria, Egypt December 11-14, 2021

FEBRUARY 22 AQUACULTURE 2022 San Diego, California, USA February 27 - March 3, 2022

APRIL 22 WORLD AQUACULTURE 2022 Qingdao, China April 25-28, 2022


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09/11/2020 11:29:11

Opinion – Inside track

As others see us BY NICK JOY


ne of the benefits of coming towards the end of one’s career is the ability to look back at how the industry has performed. For a change, I’m not talking about farm performance but about how well we respond to some of the reasonable – and unreasonable – criticism that we face as an industry. In the early stages of our facing the press, the Scottish Salmon Growers Association, as it was then called, was run by William Crowe, a robust defender of the industry. In those days criticism was less focussed and less well funded. Even so, William’s view was to confront the critics head on and his style was to get the opponent on the back foot as quickly as possible. With hindsight (which is all too easy) it might be that this way was too combative, but we were finding our feet as an industry. The general view of those in the farms’ top management was: “This is our industry organisation’s job, so let them get on with it”. It never seemed to occur to anyone that if we worked on our image, our industry organisation’s job would be so much easier! Then the organisation came under the tutelage of Lord Lindsay. Criticism had become more focussed and vociferous. There were now much more dedicated and well-funded people opposing our industry. We became much more amenable to discussion and compromising. It could be argued that this strategy encouraged the critics but that would be too simple. There is little doubt that the political climate was much less favourable, not just because the industry had grown so much but also because we had not cultivated our friends in high places as well as we might have. During this period our organisation began building bridges, but also gave away some ground that has taken a long time to get back. Some might say we have never got it back. The truth is that in the political environment ‘what ifs’ are a waste of time. The decisions were made and the industry continued to thrive, albeit in a foetid atmosphere at times. The major companies were still relatively uninvolved and seemed to feel that the industry’s image was none of their concern. In fact some of them seemed genuinely outraged that anyone should dare to think ill of them. It has been enjoyable to watch the change as the industry has grown of age. As a food producing industry we will always face our critics, but neither of the approaches taken previously are useful in isolation. Since those days the major companies have got involved in showing various audiences that we are connected to our communities; that we produce healthy, good food; and that the stories suggesting we are anti-environmental are significantly overblown. Of course there will be issues, escapes will happen and in a developing industry, health issues will rise and fall. The point is that there is a much better and more level playing field when everyone contributes. To that end, it is so good to see that a mixture of confronting criticism and discussing with critics is being used now. Both have their place in trying to get others to see reason. With the Scottish parliamentary elections coming up in May next year, trying to get the parties see the value of what we do is critical as well. I would add it is very heartening to see that Tavish Scott has joined the Scottish Salmon Producers’ Organisation as chief executive, not just for his management skills but also for his knowledge and understanding of the political scene. The key aim for him and all the team will be to get the public to see


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As a food “producing

industry we will always face our critics

our industry in a more realistic light: to see the value of our commitment to our local areas; to understand that our fish are the telltales of our local environment; and to realise that we are farmers trying to learn how to farm better without the benefit of centuries of hindsight. Once when I was sitting on the board of SSPO, we were discussing the value and cost of PR. Graeme Dear, the then managing director of Marine Harvest, felt it necessary to point out that Marine Harvest was the largest contributor to the SSPO’s funds. He said: “Without us, none of this would happen, Joy!” I replied as MD of Loch Duart: “But we make you look good, Dear!” This was a time of the beginning of understanding about how to present ourselves and I hope Graeme will forgive me recounting that. There is no doubt that the smaller companies benefitted from the funding contributed by larger companies but there is also no doubt that the smaller companies often had a better image. We will only be a strong diverse industry when we appreciate that strength, and the advantages we all bring to the message. It is very heartening to look at some of the industry PR these days and see how far it has come. Long may it stay that way! FF

09/11/2020 16:07:46




Madeira, Portugal October 4-7, 2021


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