Fish Farmer November 2021

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Fish F armer NOVEMBER 2021

MADEIRA 2021 Meeting is back on the menu

GILL HEALTH

Addressing the threats

AUSTRALIA

Plans for the sector

Containment

SHELLING OUT Innovative projects

Seals, salmon and scarers

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Welcome

Editor’s Welcome

TA

ierra Fuego, southernmost of Argen� na, has good claim to the �tle �erdel nearly twothe years of peering atprovince each other on screen, theaaquaculture industry “The end of the world.” is cau�ously returning to in-person events. Last month the European Aquaculture Earlier the regional legislature of the Europe province(AE2021), voted to on banthe open net Societythis heldmonth its annual conference, Aquaculture salmon farming. Coming on top of the Danish government’s decision last autumn to Portuguese island of Madeira. curtail any further growth of fiaway, sh farming sea, andin the ongoing of theAE2021 industry in The pandemic has not gone but asatreported this issue ofstruggle Fish Farmer, Canada to resist the closure of farms in theevents Discovery Islands, it is clearerbrought than ever that the shows that it is possible to run large-scale safely. The conference together fiaquaculture sh farming industry needs to make its case in order just to stay in business. professionals and academics from across Europe and beyond, and provided It’s not all gloom, however. the North Atlan�c Seafood Forum –students held online networking opportuni� es forAt seasoned professionals and aspiring alike.this year – Meanwhile, Norway’s Prime Minister Erna Solberg reiterated her belief that investment in the with blue in the UK we are also seeing face-to-face events returning. In parallel economy is a route to saving the environment, not harming it. Also at the NASF, chief the COP26 conference, which brought world leaders, campaigners and climate experts to execu� vesthis and analysts alike were in agreement that the industry’s biggest challenge is Glasgow month, Salmon Scotland also addressed sustainability issues with a panel fidiscussion nding ways to meet the world’s growing demand for their product – arguably, that’s a good in the city on how to make packaging for the industry more environmentally problem to have. friendly (see page 10). In this issueevent, we report on the NASFwas andfollowed also present the by firsta part of on a preview Nor The panel on 3 November, that day recep� hosted of by Aqua Salmon 2021, onewhich of theincluded industry’sanbiggest trade shows. Scotland, address by Mairi Gougeon, Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs in What’s happening in aq TheSco� July sh issue also features a profishe le ofpraised Norcod,the currently front runner in theon” race to fish the Government, in which “hugelythe signifi cant contribu� that in the UK and around th revive the farming industry. out why Norcod’s Chief Execu�ve, Chris�an Riber, What’s happening in aquacu farming is cod making to the Sco�shFind economy. believes they have a model that works. of new fisheries ministers: in Norway, w in the UK and around the wo The lastthis few�me weeks have seen the appointment We also focus on two aquaculture projects in Guatemala and The Bahamas that are being JENNY HJUL – EDITOR JENNY HJUL – EDITOR Bjørnar Skjæran, part of the incoming Labour-led administra�on; and in Canada, Joyce supported by isNorway’s c, and onscep� the “Øymerd” project which is se�ng out to Murray, who �pped toKvarøy take aArc� rather JENNY HJUL JENNYmore HJUL –– EDITOR EDITOR cal view of fish farming. create a fi sh farm based on a fl oa� ng concrete island.and Predator Protec�on, and the As reported in our feature ar�cles on Containment Steve Bracken SSC’s record results Stewart Graham The final sessions Nicki Holmyard looks at the shellfi sh farmers’ ba� against tubeworm andtothis issue Salmon Interac�ons Working Group, the industry islemore than ever having make its also case in features industry onquarters. Breeding and Gene�cs, Transport and Logis�cs and Steve Bracken SSC’s record results Stewart Graham The final sessions the face special of cri�cism fromreports different salmon farming sector in Scotland, when it was to he focus this month istopictures on Europe, the internati T HE is coincidence that andwhere videos of unhealthy Sno Fish Farmer went press, there was sti lltold no offi cialonal Li� ing and Cranes. Meanwhile, fish health is also a theme forbethe issue, with a feature on the topic the theNovember subject ofScotti a be parliamentary inquiry, embraced industry willsent soon gathering the (European salmon were to news outletsfor 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 HE is coincidence that andwhere videos of unhealthy Sno Fish Farmer went press, there was sti lltold no offi cialonal and a report from the Gill Health Conference. opportunity this would provide to explain how it month. operated. Aquaculture Society) and WAS (World Aquaculture Society) parliament went back to work at the start of this These farming, conducted earlier this year by the Rural Economy Best wishes, be thewere subject ofthat a be parliamentary inquiry, embraced industry willand soon gathering for the EASinto (European salmon sent to news outlets just asjoint the Scotti shthe news from the Scotti sh fiparliamentary inquiry salmon I hope you enjoy reading this month’s magazine you ndhide some food for thought. Current trends In good Julie Hesketh-Laird The industry had nothing to and, if given aof fair hearing, could Meet thehealth new chief exe conference, to be staged over fi ve days in the southern French images had litt le to do with the current state Scotland’s fi sh and Connecti vity (REC) committ ee. MSPs have now held fi ve Robert Outram opportunity this would provide explain how it month. operated. Aquaculture Society) and WAS (World Aquaculture Society) parliament back to work atto the start of this These farming, went conducted earlier this year by the Rural Economy address much of the criti cism levelled against it. city ofngs, Asto well asand, highlighti ng the latest technological farms -Montpellier. where sea lice are in decline and, inwe fact, at abe five- Meet meeti in nothing private, tolevels consider their report and must Current trends In good Julie Hesketh-Laird The had hide if given fair hearing, thehealth new chief executiv conference, to beto staged over days in theaof southern images had litt le do with thefive current state Scotland’s ficould sh and industry Connecti vity (REC) committ ee. MSPs have now heldFrench five Best wishes, Fish Farmer supported this but at times salmon advances in our fast moving sector, Aqua 2018felt willthat alsohas feature year low (htt p://scotti shsalmon.co.uk/monthly-sea-lice-reports). pati ent. However, waiti ng forview, their recommendati ons been address much of the criti cism levelled against it. city ofngs, Astolevels well asare highlighti ng the latest technological farms -Montpellier. where sea lice in decline and, inwe fact, at abe fivemeeti in private, consider their report and must Robert Outram farmers were being drowned out bywhich theREC noisier elements offarming the sessions on emerging markets and look atinvolves the role ofthe fishusual This latest propaganda campaign, all made harder by leaks from within to anti -salmon Fish Farmer supported this atthe times salmon advances in our fast moving sector, Aqua 2018felt willthat alsohas feature year low (htt p://scotti shsalmon.co.uk/monthly-sea-lice-reports). pati ent. However, waiti ng forview, theirbut recommendati ons been angling lobby, which had called foras the investi gatiRural on. But asngs the farming in alleviati ng poverty. Increasingly, industry meeti anti -aquaculture suspects, came Holyrood’s Economy acti vists. The latest of these (see our news story on page 4) farmers were being drowned out bywhich theREC noisier elements offarming the sessions onpropaganda emerging markets and look atinvolves the role fishusual This campaign, allofthe madelatest harder by leaks from within the to anti -salmon sessions progressed, and eventually farmers’ voices were heard, are broadening their scope, tackling subjects such asthat thethe social and Connecti vity committ ee returned the summer recess we to makes grim reading for the industry asfrom itgati suggests committ ee angling lobby, which had called for the investi on. But as farming inThe alleviati ngofpoverty. Increasingly, ngs anti -aquaculture suspects, as Economy activists. latest thesecame (see ourHolyrood’s newsindustry storyRural onmeeti page 4) became more opti misti c.into Weand now believe that MSPs, perhaps with acceptability of aquaculture the contributi on it makes to global consider its draft report the future of salmon farming. members have been willing to listen to those campaigning to sessions progressed, and eventually farmers’ voices were heard, are broadening their scope, tackling subjects such asthat the committ social and Connecti vity committ ee returned the summer recess we to makes grim reading for the industry asfrom it suggests ee Serving Worldwide Aquaculture Since 1977 food security and saving the planet, aindustry move that is toanti welcomed. the excepti on ofvaluable one or two Greens cahoots with -farming Those who want toWe shut down thein asbe shut down this sector, rather than to those who operate became more misti c. now believe that MSPs, perhaps with acceptability ofopti aquaculture and the contributi on ithave, makes toexpected, global consider its draft report into the future of salmon farming. members have been willing to listen to those campaigning to Also investi gati ngacti initi aties, veswhich inregard thenow developing world, Harrison campaigners, will, on balance, the industry in a Dr favourable stepped their viti involve the within it.up food security and saving the planet, aindustry move that is tobreaching welcomed. the excepti on ofvaluable one or two Greens cahoots with anti -farming Those who want to shut down thein asbe expected, shut down this sector, rather thanthe tohave, those who operate Meet the team Charo Karisa of WorldFish writes about farming potenti al inthe Fish Farmer: Volume 44 Number 07 Volume 44 Number 11 light. They will hopefully see that farmers take their environmental biosecure environments of farm sites to snatch photographs in Of course, such stories may be inaccurate and, in any case, Also investi gati ngacti initi aties, veswhich inregard thenow developing world, Harrison campaigners, will, on balance, the industry in a Dr favourable stepped viti involve breaching the within it.up their Editorial Board: Nigeria, both in catf ish and ti lapia culti vati on. Editorial Advisory Advisory Board: responsibiliti es seriously and that businesses will only ever invest in the hope of fi nding incriminati ng evidence against farmers. One committ ee’s fi ndings are not binding. Scotland’s fi sh farmers Contact us Charo Karisa of WorldFish writes about the farming potenti al in light. They will hopefully see that farmers take their environmental biosecure environments of farm sites tosomething snatch photographs ingame Of course, such stories may be inaccurate and, inof any case,ngthe Steve In Scotland, the summer has been a waiti Steve Bracken, Bracken, Hervé Hervé Migaud, Migaud, Jim Jim Treasurer, Treasurer, What’s in a name? Dr Nick Lake Phil Thomas growth that is sustainable. Tel: +44(0) 131 551 1000 Tel: +44(0) 131 551 1000 campaigner fibeen lmed himself searching, unsuccessfully, for minister, dead haveboth always fortunate to have the support of their Nigeria, catf ish and tilapia culti vati on. responsibiliti seriously and will only ever invest the hope of fies nding incriminati ng businesses evidence against farmers. Onein committ ee’s fiin ndings are not binding. Scotland’s fish farmers Chris while the parliament is inthat recess and thethose members of Holyrood’s Chris Mitchell, Mitchell, Jason Jason Cleaversmith Cleaversmith Fax: +44(0) 131 551 7901 Fax: +44(0) 131 551 7901 If the committ ee members, especially who have yet to fi shthat at aEwing, Marine site. Another saidofhea saw ‘hundreds’ Fergus toHarvest growhas sustainably. In Scotland, the summer something ngminister, game of Phil What’s in a name? Dr Nick Lake Thomas growth isfibeen sustainable. campaigner lmed himself searching, unsuccessfully, for dead have always fortunate tobeen have the support ofwaiti their and Rural Economy and Connecti vity committ ee conti nue to weigh up and Hamish Hamish Macdonell Macdonell Email: shfarmermagazine.com Email: editor@fi shfarmermagazine.com visit aparliament farm, like tothe learn more about the of infested salmon in awould pen, but we only have his word against that But itsalmon should not go unchallenged that some MSPs onsubject the REC while the isroutram@fi in recess and members of Holyrood’s If the committ ee members, especially those who have yet to fi sh at Marine site. Another said hefarming. saw ‘hundreds’ Fergus toHarvest grow sustainably. theaEwing, evidence in their inquiry into salmon We don’tof expect Editor: Outram Editor: Robert 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� es Park, of theinquiry, professional vets and biologists who manage theissue. welfare of committ ee, with their own against the growth of Head Offi ce: Special Publica� ons, Fe� esto Park, visit a Economy farm, like toagendas learn more about the subject ofthetime infested salmon in go awould but we only have his word against that Buttheir itsalmon should not unchallenged that some MSPs on the REC report unti l pen, the autumn but hope the MSPs are using the bett er,farms they could head to Highlands later this month, where 496 Ferry Road, Edinburgh, EH5 2DL 496 Ferry Road, Edinburgh, EH5 2DLWe the evidence in their inquiry into salmon farming. don’t expect Designer: Balahura Designer: Andrew Andrewtheir Balahura these on a daily basis. industry, are in breach of the Code of Conduct for MSPs. As they wefully have plenty of good stories in ourgrowth May toinquiry, become acquainted with the facts about fithe shissue. farming. of the professional vets andagendas biologists who manage welfare of committ ee, with their own against the of theEven Doug McLeod Montpellier report Dr Marti n Jaff a meet the aquaculture industry en masse at Scotland’s theirthey report unti l the autumn but hope the MSPs areas using theittiis, meit Ifthey the is proud of its high standards, itsalmon says are inwill aindustry positi on to inflthe uence the future course of farming, Commercial Commercial Manager: Manager: 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 to become fully with the facts aboutof fish farming. biggest fish acquainted farming show. must mount aaquaculture much more robust defence itself, through its and of businesses vital toBracken. Scotland’s economy, we have a right Janice Janice Johnston Johnston Montpellier report Dr Marti n Jaff a Doug McLeod they will meet the industry en masse at Scotland’s serving employee, Steve We had no Subscrip� ons Fish Farmer Subscrip� ons Address: Fish Farmer If the isto proud of itsAddress: high standards, as itsalmon says itcollecti is, it ng are in aindustry positi on inflthe uence the future course oftrouble farming, This month also sees reti rement of Marine Harvest’s longest We will certainly be at Aquaculture UK in Aviemore and look jjohnston@fi jjohnston@fishfarmermagazine.com shfarmermagazine.com representati ve body, the SSPO, than it has done to date. The to know who they are, and we hope the industry, through its warm from his friendsdefence and colleagues tohave mark the biggest fishtributes farming show. Magazine Subscrip� ons, Warners Group Magazine Subscrip� ons, Warners Group must mount a much more robust of itself, through its and of businesses vital to Scotland’s economy, we a right serving employee, Steve Bracken. We had nonothing, trouble collecti ng forward toand, seeing many of you there too. campaigners, we now see, will stop at representati ves, will pressure the parliament toand investi gate before Publisher: Benne� Publisher: Alister Alisterrepresentati Benne� milestone along with rest of the industry, thefarmers team We will certainly be at Aquaculture UK in Aviemore and look Publica� ons plc, The Mal� ngs, Publica� ons plc, The Mal� ngs, vethey body, the SSPO, than itthe has done tothrough date. The to know who are, and wethe hope industry, its at Fish warm tributes from his friends and colleagues to mark the should be prepared to fi ght back. the REC report is published. Farmer wish him all the very best for the future. West Street, Bourne West Street, Bourne forward toand, seeing many of the you there too. campaigners, we now see, will stop at representati ves, will pressure the parliament toand investi gateatbefore Rising stars Marti nBrown Jaff a Orkney anniversary Janet milestone along with rest of thenothing, industry, thefarmers team Fish Lincolnshire Lincolnshire PE10 9PH should prepared to fivery ghtPE10 back. the RECbe report published. Farmer wish himis all the best9PH for the future.

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

Meet thebybyteam Printed JJ Thomson Printed in in Great Great Britain Britain for for the the proprietors proprietors Wyvex Wyvex Media Media Ltd Ltd Thomson Colour Colour Printers Printers Ltd, Ltd, Glasgow Glasgow ISSN ISSN 0262-9615 0262-9615 Editorial Advisory Board: Steve Tel: +44(0) 131 551 1000 Contact us Meet the team

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

Janet Machrihanish Orkney farm Marti nBrown Jaff a visit

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Contents

Fish F armer In the November issue... News

What’s happening in the UK and around the world

Processing News

22-23

Update from the processing sector

Comment

24-25

Mar�n Jaffa

Salmon Scotland

26-27

Hamish Macdonell

Shellfish

28-29

Nicki Holmyard

Gill Health

30-33

Conference report

Australia

34-35

Vince McDonagh

Salmon Interactions

36-37

Government’s response to the Working Group

Transport

38-39

Vince McDonagh

Aquaculture Europe 2021 Report from the EAS Conference

Containment & Predator Protection The debate over seal scarers

Fish Health and Welfare 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

48-51

60 62 64-65

Find all you need for the industry

Opinion

66

Nick Joy

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40-46

54-57

Latest developments in the field

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6-21

40

54

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United Kingdom News

NEWS...

SSF hopes ‘home-grown’ eggs will mean healthier fish

Above: The Scottish Sea Farms Incubation unit

SCOTTISH Sea Farms (SSF) has taken delivery of the first batch of salmon eggs grown from selected stock from its own marine farms. The company hopes that the “home-grown” eggs will produce a more robust generation of salmon better able to cope with climate change and with marine conditions in Scotland. The Scottish salmon industry typically imports salmon eggs that are then grown in freshwater hatcheries. For the Barcaldine hatchery, SSF has been working with breeding specialists AquaGen to select from the best-performing stock at SSF’s own farms. SSF Head of Fish Welfare Dr Ralph Bickerdike said: “Ultimately, we’re seeking to match the right stock to the right conditions in order to maximise fish welfare. As climate conditions

continue to change – and with that the marine environment – we’re acting now to help ensure future stocks can withstand those changes.” The initiative aims to maximise fish welfare once at se by improving overall robustness to Scottish marine conditions and increasing resistance to the health challenges that the changing environment can give rise to – in particular gill health, which is now thought to be one of the biggest challenges facing farmed salmon globally. Bickerdike said: “Climate change presents challenges to livestock farmers of all kinds. For salmon farmers, this summer’s record high temperatures and lower-than-average rainfall have given rise to increased incidence of gill health issues.

“At some farms fish stocks have been able to overcome such challenges and bounce back to full health. At other individual farms we’ve seen significant losses, indicating that some salmon are naturally more resistant than others.” AquaGen Scotland Managing Director Andrew Reeve said: “Stock selection is an ongoing process. Just as the climate continues to change, so too does the best breeding to withstand those changes. “Having selected the best-performing fish from SSF’s marine farms, we’re now able to apply the latest technologies and approaches to identify the key traits that have helped these superior-grade fish continue to thrive in the Scottish marine environment.” AquaGen and SSF hope to collect a set of genomic data as soon as three years from now, which will help to identify genetic traits that can improve survival rates. The two companies are also collaborating with the University of Aberdeen, feed specialists BioMar, Marine Scotland Science and the Sustainable Aquaculture Innovation Centre to increase understanding of how seasonality and location influence gill health and how farmed salmon respond to these challenges. SSF said the insights into breeding for improved resistance to gill health challenges would be shared with other producers of farmed salmon in Scotland and overseas. Meanwhile, the first eggs bred from SSF salmon are due to be delivered to Barcaldine Hatchery in early 2022, and are scheduled to be transferred as smolts to the company’s marine farms around Scotland’s west coast and Northern Isles from Q1 2023.

Loch Duart salmon on the menu at COP26 DELEGATES at the COP26 Climate Change conference in Glasgow tucked into Scottish salmon from independent producer Loch Duart. The choice of a farm based in the north west of Scotland was part of the remit for the conference’s caterers, Compass, that 80% of food served should be sourced locally from producers in Scotland.The company’s salmon was supplied to COP26 by Campbells Prime Meat Ltd. Mark Warrington, Managing Director at Loch Duart, said: “Loch Duart is immensely honoured to have our salmon on the menu at COP26, which is addressing the issues of climate change that face us all. It is especially relevant to Loch Duart, which has always had a small-scale farming approach to raising its salmon based on natural, non-medicinal methods.” Above: A Loch Duart farm

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08/11/2021 15:38:42


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United Kingdom News

Hybrid workboat helps Scottish Sea Farms go greener A new hybrid workboat for Scottish Sea Farms (SSF) should help the company to cut its carbon emissions. The 15 metre catamaran Laurence Knight can run on electric or diesel power, but with batteries capable of supporting operations for five

to six hours at a time its power source will be mainly electric. The workboat was commissioned by Mull-based boat operator Inverlussa Marine Services from Norwegian yard Moen Marin and went into service this month on Scotland’s west coast.

Above: The Laurence Knight

Inverlussa Managing Director Ben Wilson described the delivery of the new boat as “a massive milestone”. He added:“There are similar hybrid vessels in Norway and we thought it was the right time to introduce this technology to our Scottish customers, who are committed to lowering their environmental impact.” SSF estimates that the new vessel will help achieve CO2 savings of around 234 tonnes a year, as well as potentially cut fuel costs by up to 50%. The batteries have a total capacity of 244kW hours, and can drive cranes and all other energy requirements. As soon they need recharging, the boat’s two generators kick

in automatically, and they can also be recharged from shore power. With the new boat, data can be collected from the batteries for analysis back on shore to help increase efficiency. The batteries have a typical life expectancy of 16 years and are also completely recyclable. The water used to cool the batteries is also used to help heat the boat’s four cabins. SSF’s Regional Director for the Mainland, Innes Weir, said: “If we can operate a hybrid system that is completely electric, with generators just used for recharging batteries, we can roll it out across our estate, on the barges and other energy-rich areas we want to hybridise.”

New model will reveal salmon farms’ impact on environment A consortium of research organisations in Scotland is developing what is hoped will be a more accurate way of predicting how salmon farms interact with their surrounding environment. The new model is intended to help inform decisions on future farm locations and the development of existing farms, and to enhance the sector’s overall sustainability. The Scottish Government has promised reform of the licensing system for salmon farms and a new “spatially-based risk assessment framework” for Scotland is currently being developed, so clarity regarding the impact of salmon farms will be critical. The Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS), Scottish Salmon

Producers Organisation (SSPO), Sustainable Aquaculture Innovation Centre (SAIC),and the University of Dundee are exploring how the model used to understand the interaction between fish farms and the seabed beneath them – known as NewDEPOMOD – can better reflect the physical and ecological

conditions in different parts of Scotland. The project builds on the work undertaken over the last two years by SAMS, SSPO,and SAIC – in consultation with SEPA, the Scottish environmental regulator – with the addition of expertise in environmental fluid mechanics and sediment transport dynamics from the University of Dundee. Researchers will mimic the hydrodynamic conditions and sediment bed characteristics in different types of waters in Scotland – from sheltered sea lochs to more exposed coastal waters with rocky, sandy or muddy seabeds.They will then model the settling, deposition,and resuspension of waste matter from fish farms to see how they will react within these environments.

SSPO rebrands as Salmon Scotland THE body representing Scotland’s salmon farmers has changed its name. As from 1 November, the Scottish Salmon Producers Organisation is now Salmon Scotland. Along with the name change, Salmon Scotland has a new logo incorporating the saltire and a depiction of a classic salmon fillet. The change of name reflects the organisation’s mission to represent not only farmers, but also the wider supply chain in the salmon industry. Tavish Scott, Chief Executive of Salmon Scotland, said: “This

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is a logical evolution of our trade body. Our reach and role is already wider than just Scotland’s salmon producers. So this subtle but important name change reflects our responsibility to speak for and champion the interests of people, businesses and companies across Scotland’s salmon sector. “There are businesses and companies working in the salmon sector in every part of Scotland – in each parliamentary constituency – so it is essential that we reflect that in our name and our activities.”

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08/11/2021 15:39:17


All the latest industry news from the UK

Hebridean salmon scoops Great British Food Award THE Scottish Salmon Company’s (SSC) Native Hebridean Smoked Scottish Salmon has won a prestigious Great British

Food Award 2021 for Best Smoked Fish & Seafood, while Kames Fish Farming was “highly commended” in the Fresh Fish & Seafood

category for its Scottish Steelhead Trout. Highly commended in the Smoked Fish & Seafood category were The Pished Fish Company for its Smoked Salmon Gilltong, and Loch Fyne Oysters for its Loch Fyne Bradan Rost hot smoked salmon. The Great British Food Awards celebrate the best of British artisanal produce in the food and drinks industry. This year’s award winners were announced on 29 October. Chef Jack Stein said: “My winner is the Native Hebridean Smoked Scottish Salmon. There were some strong contenders for the number-one spot and it was hard to call, but when it came down to it this just had the best flavours. “Being bred from wild island salmon gives this fish such a lovely texture. I thought the flavours

were great – really good seasoning and really well smoked with a good smoke ring... for me this was the perfect smoked salmon.” The winner in the Fresh Fish & Seafood category was Osborne & Sons (Shellfish) Ltd, for its cooked cockles. One of the judges for this category said: “I couldn’t stop eating them... we should treasure producers like this.” Regarding the Steelhead Trout from Kames, one of the judges said: “A really delicious flavour profile, sea trout are magnificent fish and superior to salmon in my eyes.” Morecambe Bay oysters – “the perfect oyster” – from Loch Fyne Oysters were also highly commended. Left: The Scottish Salmon Company’s Native Hebridean Smoked Scottish Salmon

Hatchery’s first native oyster spat released THE first stock of native flat oysters from Orkney Shellfish Hatchery has been released into the sea as part of a local restoration project. Orkney Shellfish Hatchery (OSH) is a multi-species aquaculture hatchery supplying premium shellfish products to the restoration and farming markets, The latest release, which saw more than 11,000 of Orkney Shellfish Hatchery’s land-grown, premium native oyster spat planted into the sea on the west coast of Scotland, was orchestrated by a Scottish restoration project dedicated to replenishing depleting shellfish stocks in Scotland’s seas. OSH said the project aligned with the hatchery’s mission “to become the market-leading producer of the highest-quality native oyster spat” and supported its continued focus on aiding the restoration of Europe’s shellfish stocks, which have fallen dramatically. Dr Nik Sachlikidis, Managing Director of the Cadman Capital Group’s Aquaculture portfolio, of which Orkney Shellfish Hatchery forms a part, said: “Since inception in 2017 we have invested heavily into the latest hatchery technologies and biosecure systems in

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UK News v2.indd 9

a bid to ensure we only produce the highest-quality shellfish products. Not only does this ensure that our products are given the very best chance of wild survival, but it also mitigates the risk of adding further diseases to our seas.

“Seeing the first release of our native oyster spat into the ocean is a huge milestone for our team and hatchery, and is just the start of many releases we hope to do alongside restoration projects on a global scale.”

Above: Orkney Shellfish Hatchery’s first stock of native flat oyster spat released into Scottish seas

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08/11/2021 15:39:39


United Kingdom News

Panel event says seafood industry must ‘move as one’ to make packaging sustainable

SEAFOOD producers and processors need to work together to make the industry’s packaging more sustainable. That was the message from Salmon Scotland’s panel discussion event “Packaging: Overcoming the Challenges”, held – appropriately – in Glasgow while COP26 was also addressing sustainability issues on a global scale. Chaired by Atholl Duncan, Chair of Salmon Scotland, the panel were:  Andrew Bett, Managing Director, Salar Pursuits, and a former executive with packaging multinational Mondi group;  Dr Clare Cavers, Senior Projects Manager, FIDRA – a not-for-profit organisation working with industry to reduce plastic and

chemical pollution;  Ed Ley Wilson, Head of Aquaculture, Aquascot Ltd – a processor based in the Highlands and supplier to Waitrose;  Donald Buchanan, Head of Processing, Scottish Sea Farms; and  Conan Busby, Cargo Business Development Manager, Edinburgh Airport. Salmon Scotland’s sustainability charter, A Better Future For Us All, commits the sector to “work towards using 100% reusable, recyclable or biodegradable packaging”. At present, however, the default form of packaging for shipping chilled fresh salmon is expanded polystyrene boxes. This has the advantage of being light, rigid and a good insulator, but it also means that the packaging is single-use

and can contribute to plastic pollution. The challenge for the industry is to find an alternative that is practical and can ensure acceptable levels of quality and hygiene. Scottish Sea Farms’ Buchanan said: “Our primary concern is food safety – added to which we have to be as environmentally responsible as we possibly can.” FIDRA’s position, Cavers said, was that we have to move away from single-use packaging. She stressed: “We aren’t intending to demonise the salmon industry – or polystyrene boxes. But it’s time to examine them.” Craig Gillespie, Operations Director (Scotland) with packaging business Moulded Foams, pointed out that polystyrene is recyclable and that it accounts for more of the total plastic recycled in Europe than any other kind of plastic. The problem, however, is that while polystyrene is recyclable it is not always recycled – that can depend on the end customer and on how good the infrastructure for recycling is. Andrew Bett said that Mondi had been working with the Norwegian salmon industry to develop an alternative insulating box based on paper fibres and starch. Trials had started, he added, just before the Covid-19 pandemic hit. Flatpack paper boxes also have another

Above: (From left) Andrew Bett, Dr Clare Cavers, Atholl Duncan, Donald Buchanan, Conan Busby and Ed Ley Wilson Left: Clare Cavers and Atholl Duncan Opposite from top: Ove Thu, Organic Sea Harvest CEO; OSH’s compostable packaging

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08/11/2021 15:40:29


All the latest industry news from the UK advantage, he noted – when they are returned empty they take up much less space than moulded polystyrene. The panel agreed that a sustainable solution would require innovative thinking. The willingness to change was there, but any change would have to be workable. As Buchanan put it: “We have to move together as one.” Packaging with less CO2 Meanwhile, independent producer Organic Sea Harvest (OSH) also chose COP26 to unveil another sustainable packaging solution, which it says will reduce the company’s net greenhouse gas emissions. The fully compostable packaging, called CF422, will contain less than half the amount of CO2 in normal packaging, reduce the need for energy at the packing stage and eliminate the issue of microplastics, while still ensuring food safety and storage time. Organic Sea Harvest organic salmon portions in the new packaging are expected to be available in early 2022. CF422 will be sourced from CELNOR Eco Packaging Ltd, a company offering plastic-free, compostable biomaterial packaging. The material is purpose-grown and sourced in the EU. The material used is partly made of calcium carbonate – the same substance found in eggshells – so it decomposes harmlessly.

Organic Sea Harvest CEO Ove Thu commented: “Today’s packaging and transportation of food must change to reduce the emission of greenhouse gases… We have been invested in finding a better way to package our frozen salmon portions. We can now announce we have found a solution, which will be made available to retailers and their customers. “We have worked with CELNOR before and the CF422 packaging we’ll use is not used anywhere else in the industry. We are delighted to be able to offer our customers and retailers a flavoursome, organic product in environmentally friendly packaging.”

SSF engineer wins Digital Professional award AN IT engineer at Scottish Sea Farms (SSF) has been recognised with an award for his innovative fish-counting application. David Lipcsey has been named Digital Professional of the Year at The Herald Digital Transformation Awards 2021, after using his programming skills to create software to help Above: David Lipcsey count fish coming into the harvest station at the SSF processing and packing facility at Scalloway, Shetland, where he was working as a supervisor. The application enables the processing team to adjust the flow as and when necessary to minimise stress and maximise animal welfare. Lipcsey programmed software that was able to capture images of the flow of fish by “listening” to signals from the harvesting system. The app feeds this data back to the wellboat.The skipper can see on a tablet exactly how many fish are going into the harvest station at any given time and increase or reduce the flow as necessary to ensure a smooth flow, minimise stress and further enhance farmed fish welfare.

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08/11/2021 15:40:55


European News

NEWS...

Ex-farmer appointed Norway’s new Fisheries Minister

Above: Bjørnar Skjæran

A 55-year-old former dairy farmer has been named as Norway’s new Fisheries and Seafood Minister. Bjørnar Skjæran, now a full-time Labour politician, replaces Conservative Odd Emil Ingebrigtsen who has held the post for almost two years. Skjæran had been widely tipped for the job. His appointment was announced as the country’s new Labour-Centre party coalition formally took over from Erna Solberg’s Conservative government at a ceremony in the Storting, Norway’s parliament. Labour leader Jonas Gahr Støre, who is now Prime Minister, finally formed a left-leaning administration five weeks after Norway’s general election. The new government is expected to broadly follow the previous administration’s approach to aquaculture, although the industry is likely to face higher taxes and tougher environmental regulations. Bjørnar Skjæran has a business background and went into farming in 1986 when he bought a herd of dairy cattle. He later launched his own transport business, but has been a full-time politician since 2011 and one of two deputy Labour leaders for the past two years. “We will provide the resources to create

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greater value and more full-time jobs, as well as lead the effort to stop plastic pollution in the sea,” he pledged. Another businessman, Jan Christian Vestre (also Labour), is the new Minister of Trade and Industry, a department that also makes important decisions on fishing and aquaculture. Seafood Norway, the industry employers’ body, has broadly welcomed the new Labourled coalition government’s strategy for the sector. The plan includes a commitment to encourage investment and innovation, and increased funding – generated by the aquaculture sector – for local authorities. The organisation’s CEO, Geir Ove Ystmark, said Seafood Norway sees a strong investment plan for export industries, along with a green shift and profitable jobs. “Seafood is designated as a key in all these aspects and thus undoubtedly becomes a sunrise industry in our country... the incoming government has seen the enormous opportunity this industry has to build new green industry and create many more jobs along our coast.” The government’s plan, known as the the Hurdal platform, also provides for simplification and facilitation of business activity, which Seafood Norway had called for.

Good times rolling again for salmon THE good times are finally returning to Norway’s beleaguered fish farming sector, according to new figures. Akvafakt, the organisation that documents the country’s aquaculture production, said the standing biomass of salmon was increasing while more fish were being exported, with September likely to set a new record. Akvafakt said in its latest monthly report that there were currently 819,000 tonnes of salmon in the sea. The figure was 3% up on the same period last year, although some way short of the all-time record of 844,000 tonnes recorded last November. Prices too are also continuing to rise, with Statistics Norway reporting an average export figure of NOK 59.53 per kilo for week 42, up by 2.1% on week 41. These figures will underpin the belief that unless a future wave of the Covid-19 virus forces further lockdowns, the worst looks to be over. The hospitality trade is almost back to normal in most European countries, with restrictions now at a minimum. It also reports that feed sales for salmon rose by 5% a year ago to 236,000 tonnes, the highest figure so far. Salmon exports are also setting new records, with 156,000 tonnes going to overseas markets, a volume rise of 22%. As reported last month by the Norwegian Seafood Council, the value was up by 30% to NOK 7.8bn. Trout farms, however, are finding life tougher, with the standing biomass down by 2% to 40,000 tonnes and exports down by 8% to 8,200 tonnes. Despite this, trout prices are rising by 15% year on year.

Above: Salmon fillets

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08/11/2021 15:42:10


All the latest industry news from Europe

Cermaq Norway hits NOK 1.2m despite Covid

Lerøy and SalMar report large Q3 harvest increases TWO of the biggest names in Norwegian salmon farming have reported large increases in their third-quarter harvest figures. SalMar and Lerøy Seafood are coowners of Scottish Sea Farms, but because the Scottish company is classed as an “associate business”, output details will not be released until the full third-quarter reports are published. Lerøy said in an Oslo stock exchange announcement that it slaughtered 56,400 tonnes of salmon and trout between July and September against 44,200 tonnes during the same period a year ago. The harvest volume is divided by 15,700 tonnes (7,900 tonnes in

Q3 2020) on Lerøy Aurora, 22,900 tonnes (22,000 tonnes) on Lerøy Midt and 17,800 tonnes (14,300 tonnes) on Lerøy Sjøtroll. Trout accounted for 8,400 tonnes, up from 7,500 tonnes. Lerøy also owns Havfisk, one of Norway’s largest fishing fleets. Its catch volume was 12,300 tonnes, against 11,100 tonnes 12 months ago, of which 3,400 tonnes were cod. SalMar’s third-quarter harvest also rose sharply and is forecast to total 52,100 tonnes against 37,100 tonnes in Q3 2020. Its central Norway operations produced 34,200 tonnes while its farms in the north of the country harvested 15,500 tonnes and Icelandic Salmon 2,400 tonnes. Meanwhile, Norway Royal Salmon, which is now part of the NTS group, announced a slightly higher Q3 harvest of 11,200 tonnes, of which 8,300 tonnes came from Norway and 2,900 tonnes from Iceland.

JAPANESE-OWNED fish farming company Cermaq earned NOK 1.2bn (£104.5m) from its Norwegian business last year, greatly boosting its value. Knut Ellekjær, who heads the operations in Norway, described 2020 as a challenging year, but added that he was happy with the outcome. Cermaq is the world’s fourth largest producer of farmed salmon and one of the world’s largest seafood businesses. Cermaq has fish farms in Norway, Chile and British Columbia, Canada. The company was originally owned by the Norwegian state, but was sold to the Japanese industrial

giant Mitsubishi in 2014 for almost NOK 9bn (£770m). Cermaq said it increased its salmon harvest output in Nordland and Finnmark last year by 4% to 73,000 tonnes. Norway accounts for around 40% of global production. However, a combination of factors including the shutdown of the international hospitality trade due to Covid-19 meant that salmon prices fell with turnover down by 11% to NOK 4.1bn (£357m). Thanks to cost reduction methods and improved biology, the Norwegian business was nonetheless able to report an unchanged operating profit of NOK 1.4bn (almost £122m).

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08/11/2021 15:42:34


European News

Hydroniq wins wellboat cooler contract

Above: Cemre Seistar illustration by Salt Ship Design

NORWEGIAN company Hydroniq Coolers has won a contract to deliver the marine cooling system to two wellboats being built by Turkey’s Cemre Shipyard. Cemre is building the two wellboats – respectively, newbuilds 76 and 77 – for Norwegian wellboat company Seistar Holding. The larger of the two vessels will be the world’s largest live fish carrier. Hydroniq Coolers will supply its hull-integrated “Rack” seawater cooling system to the two wellboats. The Rack cooler is integrated into the hull below the main engine room of the vessel, where it reduces temperatures in

the ship’s engines and other auxiliary systems through use of seawater, but without taking up valuable engine room space. Developed by Salt Ship Design, the two wellboats will be equipped with circular fish tanks. The vessels will be 69.9 metres and 110 metres long, respectively. The bigger vessel will have a storage capacity of 8,000 cubic metres and a deadweight of approximately 12,000 tonnes. The smaller vessel will have a load capacity of 2,200 cubic metres. Jan Inge Johannesen, sales manager at Hydroniq Coolers, said: “Some would argue

that size doesn’t matter, but everyone in the maritime and aquaculture industries will admit that it is always fun to be involved with the biggest projects. “We at Hydroniq Coolers are no different and we look forward to delivering a seawater cooling system that is a perfect fit for these very different vessels.” Hydroniq Coolers will manufacture and assemble the equipment at its headquarters outside Aalesund, Norway, and deliver it to Cemre Shipyard in Turkey. Hydroniq Coolers is owned by Norwegian investment company SMV Invest AS.

Dismay over permit limits for Eidsfjord’s platforms A 270-metre long futuristic fish farming vessel known as the Eidsfjord Giant has been awarded less than half the number of development permits it had applied for. The company, Eidsfjord Sjøfarm, which is part of the Holmoy group, originally applied for 17 permits, but Norway’s Directorate of Fisheries has granted just seven.The company said it needed more time to study the decision and decide what it will mean for the business. The saga goes back to 2017 when Eidsfjord Sjøfarm submitted an application for development licences for the Eidsfjord Giant that was initially rejected by the Directorate on the grounds not enough innovation was involved. The then-Fisheries Minister, Odd Emil Ingebrigtsen, thought differently and decided that the project should be considered for development licences. Eidsfjord Sjøfarm said at the time that the project involved significant financial investment that would lead to jobs and innovation. The Eidsfjord Giant is a closed farming concept that prevents salmon lice and other parasites accessing its six large containers, and has a separate treatment plant for organic emissions.

Above: The Eidsfjord Giant

Samherji to expand salmon farm in Iceland SAMHERJI is to expand its land-based salmon farm at Öxarfjörður in north-east Iceland at a cost of almost £8.5m – or one and a half billion Icelandic kroner. The country’s largest integrated fishing and seafood company said this should raise production to about 3,000 tonnes a year.

Above: Jon Kjartan Jonsson

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The expansion, which should take about 12 months to complete, is a precursor to a much larger project to build a 40,000-tonne geothermalpowered salmon farm at Reykjanes in the south west of the country. It is also part of the company’s intention to grow its still relatively modest aquaculture business. Some of the new equipment and components at Öxarfjörður will be used as a test bed for the Reykjanes project. Samherji owns Iceland’s largest fishing fleet and fish processing operation, and has extensive overseas interests including in the UK. Samherji Fiskeldi’s managing director, Jon Kjartan Jonsson, said planning work was nearing the completion stage so construction should start shortly, with completion expected within a year or so. As part of an associated carbon offset scheme, the company is planning to carry out land reclamation and forestry planting work. When up and running, fertiliser from the plant will be used for the land reclamation and forestry work. Jonsson described it as a “fairly large project”, stressing there was also a need to improve sea vessel and cleaning facilities and support systems. With permits running out, it was important to get started, he added. The enlarged farm would also benefit the economy in that part of north-east Iceland by providing jobs and strengthening the local community, he said.

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08/11/2021 15:43:05


All the latest industry news from Europe

AKVA revenues and profits hit by Covid and cyber-attack

AQUACULTURE technology group AKVA has reported Q3 revenues for 2021 down by 8% year on year, with net profit down 22%. Europe and the Middle East (outside the Nordics) and the group’s land-based business were among the few bright spots. The company said the major cyber-attack in January of this year had a negative effect, as had the travel restrictions imposed as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, which made it difficult to move employees between countries. The curbs on travel have now been largely lifted, the company added, and the order book is looking strong. Revenue for Q3 was NOK 738m (£64m) (Q3 2020: NOK 806m/£69.9m), while earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) decreased from NOK 105m (£9.1m) in Q3 2020 to NOK 79m (£6.8m) in Q3 2021. Net profit decreased from NOK 36m (£3.1m) last year to NOK 14m (£1.2m) in Q3 2021. For AKVA’s Sea Based Technology division, revenue for Q3 2021 ended at NOK 603m (£52.3m) (Q3 2020: NOK 694m/£60.2m). EBITDA and earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) for the segment in Q3 ended at NOK 70m (£6.1m) (Q3 2020: NOK100m/£8.7m) and NOK 29m (£2.5m) (Q3 2020: NOK 60m/£5.2m), respectively. The related EBITDA and EBIT margins were 11.6% (Q3 2020: 14.4%) and 4.7% (Q3 2020: 8.6%), respectively. Order intake for the division in Q3 2021 was NOK 563m (£46.8m), up 0.7% on Q3 2020. Revenue in the Nordic region ended at NOK 338m (£29.3m), down 23.9%; in the Americas region, revenue was NOK 140m (£12.1m), down 25.1%; and for Europe and Middle East it was NOK 125m (£10.8m), up by 98%. The Land Based Technology division reported revenues for the quarter of NOK 115m (£10m), up 19.8% on Q3 2020. EBITDA was NOK 7m (£606,784), from zero in Q3 2020. AKVA’s Digital division saw revenue up 25% to NOK 20m (£1.7m) with EBITDA slightly down at NOK 3m (£260,026), from NOK 5m (£433,335). No dividends were paid for the quarter. The company said: “Despite a challenging first half year of 2021 with negative effects from both the cyber-attack and the Covid-19 restrictions, the long-term fundamentals remain unchanged… the Group is fully financed to execute on the organic growth strategy.” Earlier this month the Group announced a partnership with a new strategic investor, Israel Corp, which has invested NOK 636.9m (£55.2m) in AKVA.

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European News v2.indd 15

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08/11/2021 15:43:33


European News

Grieg announces 45% rise in Q3 sales

GRIEG Seafood today unveiled an outstanding third-quarter performance, with Shetland making a major contribution. Putting its troubles behind it, the company announced a 45% jump in turnover to NOK 1,331m (£114m) from NOK 917m (£79m) this time last year. Operating profit before production fee and fair value adjustment was NOK 149m (£12.8m) against a loss of NOK 14m (£1.2m) a year ago. This, said Grieg, was mainly thanks to high prices in British Columbia, Canada, and lower costs. Grieg said Shetland delivered a good performance with earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) reaching NOK 53m (£4.5m). The Shetland harvest this year will total

77,000 tonnes and 90,000 tonnes next year. It said the UK competition authorities are expected to decide on the Shetland sale to Scottish Sea Farms by 15 December. Grieg CEO Andreas Kvame said: “Thanks to the hard work of my colleagues across the company, Grieg Seafood has delivered one of our best third quarters ever. “Biology has continued to improve and stabilise, with increased survival across the regions compared to last year. The market was surprisingly strong considering the large volumes harvested in the industry during the quarter, which would normally cause lower prices. “We are experiencing the advantage of an in-house sales

and marketing organisation, which sold all of our fish for the second quarter in a row, and their work on integration between sales and production to optimise price performance.” He continued: “Moreover, we have secured value-added processing capacity for part of our volume in Norway as a step towards repositioning the company in the market. “Operationally, British Columbia was again a highlight during the quarter, with stable production and high average harvest weights. “We continued the positive trend of reduced impact by harmful algae blooms. We experienced the full advantage of the region’s close proximity to a strong US market, where we achieved high prices.” He said Finnmark (Norway) performed well, with good production, good fish health and welfare, and few biological challenges. September marked the best production month the region has ever seen. Finnmark has taken measures to reduce the risk of winter ulcers during the coming winter, such as avoiding two winters at sea in the farming areas with the coldest temperatures. Access to value-added processing capacity will also

contribute to better price achievement should there be downgrades. But performance in Rogaland, Norway, was impacted by downgrades caused by pancreatic disease (PD), affecting both cost and price achievement. Grieg’s experience is that fish groups harvested after a shorter time spent at sea have a reduced risk of PD and need fewer sea lice treatments, strengthening confidence in the company’s postsmolt strategy. The fish in Rogaland needed fewer sea lice treatments, continuing the positive trend from earlier years. Biology in the region stabilised towards the end of the quarter. The fish in Grieg’s Newfoundland freshwater facility are growing well and on schedule. CEO Kvame concluded: “Shetland continued to deliver a profit, as the region has done since the turnaround. The sale is expected to be approved by UK authorities during the fourth quarter. “It will allow us to concentrate focus, resources and investments on our production regions with the most potential for profitable growth – Norway and Canada. Grieg Seafood’s focus on sustainability remains.”

Nordic Halibut on track despite Q3 losses NORDIC Halibut’s plans for a new 9,000-tonne land-based facility are still on track, but it is not making a profit yet, its 2021 thirdquarter results show. The company announced an operating deficit of NOK 9.7m (£832,248) compared with NOK 3.3m (£283,170) this time last year. Pre-tax losses were NOK 10.5m (£900,930) compared with NOK 4.4m (£377,530) in Q3 2020, but operating revenues or sales have more than doubled from NOK 7.3m (£626,290) a year ago, emerging at NOK 16.1m (£1.38m) Above: Halibut sashimi this quarter. The harvest volume, heads on gutted, for the quarter is also considerably higher at 135 tonnes, compared with 68 tonnes in the same period last year. Later it was announced that Nordic Halibut had entered into a term sheet NOK 100m (£8.58m) overdraft agreement with an unnamed

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Norwegian bank on attractive terms. The company said it was expecting a total harvest volume for the full year of around 540 tonnes. Its forward target is 4,500 tonnes by 2026 and 9,000 tonnes by the end of the decade. Nordic Halibut is also reporting rising demand for its fish along with a strong biological performance. Investment in a third sea site and at the on-growing site at Averoy are progressing according to plan, says the report. It was earlier this year that Nordic Halibut signed an agreement with a number of landowners for a new facility in the More and Romsdal region, enabling it to ramp up production to 9,000 tonnes a year. This move, said the company, was important in that it significantly takes the risk out of future production cycles by spreading output across a number of locations.

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08/11/2021 15:44:07


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08/11/2021 11:53:26


World News

NEWS...

Canada’s new Fisheries Minister is controversial choice JOYCE Murray, an avowed opponent of open-net salmon farming, has been appointed as Canada’s new Fisheries Minister. She takes over from Bernadette Jordan, who lost her seat in the recent Canadian general election. Jordan won few friends in the fish farming sector when she tried to shift aquaculture in British Columbia to a land-based system by forcing companies in the Discovery Islands region to end their activities. She cited calls from First Nations groups to justify the decision. Joyce Murray, who represents Vancouver in British Columbia, has been an MP since 2008 and is on record to supporting antifish-farming groups by signing a petition calling for an end to

open-net farming in the province, an industry that supports thousands of local jobs. However, the Canadian Aquaculture Industry Alliance has issued a diplomatic statement congratulating Murray on her appointment. The alliance said: “Our members would like to welcome the Honourable Joyce Murray as the new Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and Canadian Coast Guard, and express their enthusiasm to work together to realise the opportunities for Canada through sector development. “According to the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization, the global and domestic demand for seafood continues to increase 7% to 10% a year. The new Government

has committed to ensuring that Canada is positioned to succeed in the fast-growing global sector of the blue economy.” Meanwhile, Mowi has temporarily closed one of its facilities in British Columbia, in a move that it says has been forced on the company by the Canadian Government’s decision

last year to end open-net fish farming in the Discovery Islands. The affected site is the Dalrymple hatchery, near Sayward on Vancouver Island. Mowi Canada West said the decision over the Discovery Islands was continuing to challenge the business and was having lasting implications.

Above left: Joyce Murray Above: Discovery Islands, Bri�sh Columbia

Huon Aquaculture shareholders agree JBS takeover deal SHAREHOLDERS in Australian salmon farmer Huon Aquaculture have voted in favour of a takeover bid from multinational meat processor JBS. In an online meeting on 29 October, Chairman Neil Kearney set out the case for accepting the offer, which values Huon at around A$550m (£300m) means shareholders would get $3.85 per share. More than 99% of shareholders voted in favour of the offer, putting the takeover beyond doubt. A potential competing offer from

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businessman Andrew Forrest, through his Tattarang investment vehicle, failed to materialise. Forrest had criticised the deal on the grounds of environmental sustainability and animal welfare. Huon is based in Tasmania, where the future sustainability of fish farming at sea is the subject of fierce debate. JBS – whose parent company is based in Brazil – has also come in for criticism by environmentalists. Kearney told Huon shareholders: “Some have been critical of JBS and Huon’s approach to sustainability and animal welfare. We have sought to proactively address these criticisms … in relation to JBS practices, JBS SA, who are the parent company of JBS Australia, have unequivocally advised us, most recently in an announcement made yesterday to the ASX [Australian Stock Exchange], that it supports the principle of ‘no pain, no fear’ and animal welfare across its global operations.”

CEO and co-founder Peter Bender also assured shareholders that industry forecasts expected world demand for salmon to exceed supply, and he noted that prices had rebounded 36% since the depressed levels of 2020, and were expected to remain solid through 2022. JBS, meanwhile, assured Huon staff that the acquiring company was looking to grow the business sustainably, not cut jobs. Welcoming the shareholder vote, Kearney said: “Today’s overwhelming shareholder support for the JBS transaction will secure the future of Huon, the company’s dedicated workforce and the hundreds of Tasmanian businesses that work with us. Not only is it a great outcome for shareholders, it’s the right outcome for the business.” Above: Neil Kearney Left: Peter Bender, CEO Huon Aquaculture

www.fishfarmermagazine.com

08/11/2021 15:48:59


All the latest industry news from around the world

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THE WORLD OF AQUACULTURE

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legislation, Sarah Brenholt, Campaign Manager of Stronger America Through Seafood, said: “The expansion of American aquaculture is an opportunity for federal lawmakers to address some of the most critical challenges we face, including climate, economic,and food security. Establishing an offshore aquaculture industry would spur economic growth and create new jobs at a time when we need them most.” Senator Roger Wicker (Republican, Mississippi) said: “Aquaculture is the fastest-growing food production sector, but the US lacks a comprehensive, nationwide system for permitting in federal waters. This deficiency prevents the development of aquaculture farms, leading to more seafood imports. Our legislation would establish national standards for offshore aquaculture, enabling US producers to create jobs and meet the growing demand for fresh, local seafood.” Brian Schatz (Democrat, Hawaii) said: “Hawaii’s diverse aquaculture produced over US$80m of finfish, shellfish and algae in 2019. At the same time the movement to restore native Hawaiian fishponds such as those at He‘eia and Maunalua continues to develop momentum.This bipartisan bill would increase federal support for both.” Marco Rubio, who represents Florida, said: “Marine aquaculture presents an enormous opportunity for Florida’s economy and for the food security of our nation.”

EXTREME

A trio of US senators from both major parties have jointly brought a bill before the US Senate that aims to revitalise the US aquaculture sector. Democrat Brian Schatz and Republicans Roger Wicker and Marco Rubio introduced legislation at the end of October to support the development of an offshore aquaculture industry. The bipartisan bill, the Advancing the Quality and Understanding of American Aquaculture (AQUAA) Act, aims to increase production of sustainable seafood through the raising of fish in federal waters, which its advocates say is the most environmentally friendly means of protein production. The bill’s supporters also said it would create opportunities for new US jobs. The bipartisan AQUAA Act would establish National Standards for offshore aquaculture and clarify a regulatory system for the farming of fish in the US exclusive economic zone. The bill would also establish a research and technology grant programme to fund innovative research and extension services focused on improving and advancing sustainable domestic aquaculture. In practice, the Act would need to be passed by both houses of Congress and be approved by President Joe Biden. During his presidency, Donald Trump signed an executive order to promote aquaculture, but so far its effect has been limited. Welcoming the latest draft

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Above: Marco Rubio

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28.04.21 10:24 08/11/2021 15:45:10


World News

Wave energy project could power feed barges Over the next two years, FEED barges at marine fish Carnegie will design, install and farms may be running on wave operate a scaled demonstrator power in the near future of the technology just offshore if a project to explore the from its headquarters and technology proves successful. research facility in North Australian company Carnegie Fremantle, Western Australia. Clean Energy has been awarded The A$3.4m project will be funding to test its MoorPower delivered with funding support wave energy generator as a from the Blue Economy CRC potential power source for and in close collaboration offshore moored vessels. with a consortium of partners MoorPower is a wave energy including two of Australia’s product designed to offer a largest aquaculture companies, solution to the challenge of Huon Aquaculture and Tassal securing clean and reliable Above: Impression of the MoorPower system aboard a feeder barge Group. Academic and industry energy for offshore activities, partners include DNV GL Australia, Advanced Composite Structures reducing reliance on diesel generation. Its initial target market is offshore vessels such as feeding barges for the aquaculture sector, but Australia, the University of Tasmania, Climate KIC/Australian Ocean Energy Group, AMC Search and the University of Queensland. the future market is broader, the company said, including many other The project is supported by A$1.35m cash from the Blue Economy offshore operations that require energy. CRC, A$265,000 cash from Carnegie and A$1.8m of in-kind support Funding to show whether the concept works has been provided by from all the project partners. the Blue Economy Cooperative Research Centre (CRC).

Maine court finds in favour of Nordic Aquafarms over mudflat

Above: Penobscot Bay, Maine

A court ruling in favour of Nordic Aquafarms, over disputed title to a mudflat, has removed a major hurdle for the company’s plans to build a salmon farm in Maine. Nordic Aquafarms, which also operates recirculating aquaculture systems farms in Norway and Denmark, is in the final stages of achieving permits for a 54-acre site near Belfast, Maine, in the north-eastern US. The investment is estimated at US$500m (£366m). The land-based farm will contain the entire production process, from hatching to final production and harvesting. Nordic Aquafarms hopes to

begin production this year, but this had been delayed by a lawsuit brought by two plaintiffs, Jeffrey Mabee and Judith Grace, who claimed ownership of the area below the high water mark. The Bangor Daily News has reported, however, that the judge in the case, in a 49page written decision, has concluded that Mabee and Grace did not have title. The intertidal flats are critical for the planned farm, as the pipes carrying seawater to and from the farm will need to be sited there. The plaintiffs are reportedly considering whether to lodge an appeal against the ruling.

Aker BioMarine to restructure finances AKER BioMarine, the biotech innovator and Antarctic krill harvesting company, is planning to restructure its finances next month after reporting a somewhat flat third-quarter performance. The company will hold a Capital Markets Day on 1 December, when it will outline its strategy to improve growth and earnings. Aker said it had agreed on a new financing structure with its current bank group and one new bank entering the syndicate. Total offshore production was

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World News v2.indd 20

7,195 metric tonnes for the quarter, 17% below the same period last year.The season ended in the first week of October when the last vessel left for maintenance and upgrades in Montevideo, Uruguay. Aker BioMarine has reported an adjusted EBITDA of US$15m (£11m), against $27m (£19.8m) for Q3 2020. The company’s net turnover fell by $8m to $62m (£45.4m) while net profit was positive at $13.5m (£9.9m). Net cash flow was also positive at $7.3m (£5.3m). Above: Aker BioMarine support vessel

www.fishfarmermagazine.com

08/11/2021 15:45:28


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08/11/2021 11:55:09


Processing News

Kingfish Company strikes deal with retail chains Netherlands-based aquaculture business the Kingfish Company has signed deals with retail groups in Italy and France to distribute its Dutch yellowtail product.

Above: Kingfish Company CEO Ohad Maiman

IN Italy retail group Conad will sell Kingfish’s product nationwide. The Kingfish Company, which produces yellowtail kingfish at a landbased recirculating aquaculture system

facility, will sell its product under Conad’s own brand, Percorso Qualità. It will be marketed as Ricciola Kingfish – “ricciola” being the Italian name for kingfish. Conad is an Italian

leader in the retail sector, reporting 15% market share in 2020. Kingfish has also entered into an agreement with Auchan, which is one of France’s main supermarket chains,

with 1,985 outlets. Its products will be on the shelves as from this month. Current annual production capacity at its Kingfish Zeeland facility in the Netherlands is 1,500 tonnes of high-quality and high-value yellowtail kingfish. Expansion is underway and capacity in the Netherlands will reach 3,500 tonnes in the second half of 2022. In the US, permitting for the company’s 8,500-tonnes capacity facility is progressing as planned, with production start scheduled for the second half of 2023.

It will be “marketed as Ricciola Kingfish

Kingfish Maine’s farm will be similar to the system operated by the parent company in the Netherlands, using the same

advanced technology solutions to minimise the impact of effluent. Yellowtail kingfish (also known as ricciola, hiramasa or greater amberjack) is a premium fish species, well known in Italian and Asian fusion cuisines. The Kingfish Company’s shares are listed on the Oslo Euronext Growth Exchange. In September this year the company reported that turnover for the first half of 2021 grew by 95%, year on year. from €1.946m to almost €3.8m this time, but net losses were €3.56m.

Research gives new meaning to ‘fish-net’ stockings Waste material from fish processing could be used to create one of the key components in the production of textiles. A team of Scottish researchers is exploring a new bio-based process that uses enzymes to create adipic acid, a precursor to nylon. Plastic experts from Impact Solutions; biotechnology researchers from the University of Edinburgh led by Dr Stephen Wallace; seafood producer Farne Salmon, part of Labeyrie Fine Foods; and the Industrial Biotechnology Innovation Centre (IBioIC) are exploring the feasibility of a more environmentally friendly, circular approach to the production of synthetic clothing. The project involves taking waste material generated as part of fish processing and using biological enzymes to extract the fatty components of the fish waste. Through advanced molecular biology, genetically modified bacteria can then turn the fatty components into a mixture of adipic acid and useful byproducts. The feasibility study marks the beginning of an important step towards finding a sustainable, bio-based alternative for the production of adipic acid, which is typically derived from petrochemicals, which involves a significant impact on the environment. Waste nitrous oxide is one of many byproducts of the process, with some reports stating that

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it could be more harmful to the climate than CO2, the researchers said. In addition to nylon, adipic acid is used in a range of products including polyurethane-based items such as building insulation and furniture cushioning, as well as cosmetics, lubricants, pharmaceuticals, and food additives and flavourings. As much as 492,000 tonnes of waste is

created annually by the UK’s fish processing industry – comprising fish remains, oils and wastewater collected in cleaning processing plants. Currently the waste must go through either expensive and energy-intensive treatment and separation, or be used in low-value products such as animal feed or fertiliser, but this new process could uncover alternative uses for the waste material.

www.fishfarmermagazine.co.uk

08/11/2021 15:16:37


Processing News

Young’s adds a touch of spice to salmon ern twist to the YOUNG’S Seafood more well-known is bringing a touch Eastern-inspired of Asian spice to flavours such as salmon. The company sweet chilli. has introduced a new Kay Woods, product to its chilled Buyer at Asda, said: range with the “Salmon is one launch of its Red Thai of the favourite Infused Salmon. fish species for The new launch our shoppers, so comes as Young’s we are excited to reports that sales Above: Young’s Red Thai Infused Salmon have introduced this of salmon have been Red Thai Infused Salmon product, giving our soaring. customers a new option to suit different types Launched in Asda, the salmon comes in a Thai of meals at home.” marinade infused with flavours of garlic, papriMarina Richardson, Marketing Controller at ka, chilli, coconut milk, lemongrass, coriander Young’s Seafood said: “This new product gives and parsley. shoppers yet another way to enjoy delicious, The 220g pack contains two boneless fillets, healthy salmon. Over the past year we’ve seen which can be cooked in the oven in just 21 shoppers eating at home more often, and the Red minutes and are high in omega 3. Thai Infused Salmon works well as it can satisfy The innovative product was developed as the both lunchtime and evening meal occasions. Grimsby-based company revealed an £88m “Investment into NPD at Young’s is a key priincrease in salmon sales, up 25%, over the past ority for us as we continue to drive the market 12 months. across chilled and frozen, and this latest launch Research by Young’s also showed that 70% of is another great demonstration of our shoppers are seeking inspiration when cooking industry-leading innovation.” fish, with Asian and Oriental flavours being The Red Thai Infused Salmon is available in some of the most popular for seafood dishes. Asda and retails at £3.50. It says the red Thai marinade gives a mod-

Seafood industry in recruitment drive SCOTLAND’S seafood industry has launched a recruitment campaign to help fill vacancies in the processing sector. UK Government agency Seafish is collabora�ng with the Sco�sh Seafood Associa�on on the “Sea A Bright Future” campaign, which will run across radio and digital channels throughout November, including a four-week YouTube campaign. Jimmy Buchan,

CEO of the Sco�sh Seafood Associa�on, said: “Scotland’s seafood is amongst the best in the world and is a source of na�onal pride. We need people to come and help us put this amazing seafood on tables all over the world. “We’re a busy industry and we’re about to experience an even busier period in the run-up to Christmas, so it’s essen�al we find the right candidates for the roles.”

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Processing News v2.indd 23

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08/11/2021 15:17:01


Comment

BY DR MARTIN JAFFA

Solving the salmon riddle To help conserve wild fish, farmers need to contribute more than funding alone

T

HIS month the editor had asked me to write about the Sco�sh Government’s response to the Salmon Interac�ons Working Group (SIWG). From day one I was never a great fan of this forum, especially because its remit began with acceptance that salmon farming has an impact on wild fish numbers. I think there is s�ll much to debate before subscribing to this theory. For example, I am s�ll wai�ng for anyone from to explain how the graph below demonstrates salmon farming is responsible for the decline of, in this case, sea trout numbers. The graph is constructed from official government catch data for sea trout from 1952 when records first began. It is clear that sea trout catches were in decline for the 30 years prior to the commercialisa�on of salmon farming. Could it be that the decline a�er the 1980s was due to the same causes as before the arrival of salmon farming. It seems no one wants to discuss such possibili�es simply because they do not support the “salmon farming is to blame” narra�ve. This graph should have been fundamental to the discussion of SIWG, but it refused outright to even consider it. In my opinion the previous industry administra�on, which par�cipated in SIWG, was more concerned about being seen to be working with the wild sector rather than resolving the issues. The most recent issue of Fish Farmer (October 2021) includes an ar�cle

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Comment_Martin Jaffa v2.indd 24

about the common purpose of co-opera�on. This suggested that the �me for rehashing old arguments has passed and that it is �me for something new – and that is farmed and wild salmon interests working together to find out what’s really happening to wild salmon. Unfortunately, the two examples cited in the ar�cle to support this new approach are not examples of working together, nor are they likely to uncover what’s really happening to wild salmon. I believe they are nothing more than examples of the salmon industry being taken for a ride. The first example is the West Coast Tracking Project, the aim of which is stated in the ar�cle as finding out what happens to juvenile salmon when they leave their rivers and head out to sea. It is claimed that the big difference with this project is that it will be part-funded by the salmon industry to the tune of £1.5m over three years. Part-funding wild fish projects is not new. A number of years ago, the industry provided half the funding for a Marine Scotland Science sea lice smolt project. The project was ill-conceived from the outset and failed to produce any results at all. The salmon industry played no part other than to provide funding. The West Coast Tracking Project in my view also offers li�le value in determining what is happening to wild salmon. The project is really intended to show that migra�ng wild salmon pass near salmon farms and thus are perceived to be at risk. The findings will then be used to back up claims that various salmon farms should not be located along any iden�fied migra�on route. This is despite the fact that the Sco�sh Environment Protec�on Agency told

Above: Atlan�c salmon Left: Sea trout catches,

Outer Islands and West Highlands, 19522014 (compiled from government sta�s�cs)

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08/11/2021 15:24:17


Solving the salmon riddle

the Scottish Parliament’s Rural Economy and Connectivity Committee that sea lice from salmon farms are not responsible for the decline of wild fish numbers. This is not surprising, given that smolts are likely to be in the vicinity of any salmon farms for a very short time only. This is supposed to be an example of the wild and farm salmon sectors working together, but the salmon farming industry’s only role is to cough up £500,000 every year for three years. Otherwise, they are not involved in the project at all. A recently released video by the Atlantic Salmon Trust (AST) that explains the project talks about the AST’s partners – Marine Scotland Science and Fisheries Management Scotland. The salmon industry is clearly not considered a working partner, just a source of cash. The second example is the Wild Salmon Support Fund, which will provide another £1.5m to support wild salmon projects over the next five years. The fund is managed by Foundation Scotland and Fisheries Management Scotland. I understand the salmon farming industry’s involvement is minimal. The fund recently announced its first awards to five projects amounting to £70,000. I have tried to find out the rationale for these projects and have struggled to do so. In my opinion these projects do not achieve any real purpose. They are not going to help safeguard the future of wild salmon and sea trout. I am not even sure why some were even considered, let alone approved. I would rather have seen significant funding directed at a meaningful project that had direct relevance to understanding wild salmon and sea trout interactions with salmon farming. Unfortunately, there was a missed opportunity to investigate what happens to a loch system when a salmon farm is removed. The closure of the Loch Ewe farm provided unique access to monitor the loch’s wild fish recovery – if there was any recovery at all. Such a project would have

been in the interests of both the wild and farmed sectors. While co-operation between the wild and farmed sector is important, I have yet to be persuaded away from the idea that working together will only be a success when both parties are seen as equal partners, rather than one being as just seen as a source of money. There is a lot of expertise within the salmon farming sector, but it is rarely sought. In my view that is because the wild sector continues to believe that salmon farming is to blame for the disappearance of wild salmon and sea trout from the west coast. This distrust was apparent during the first meeting of the wild salmon strategy group last year. My understanding is that much of the time was spent “discussing” whether the salmon farming industry should be part of the group’s membership. I have often heard it said that only those involved in wild salmon fisheries have sufficient understanding of wild salmon to be able to know what’s best for the fish. I would disagree: it is this same understanding that is the reason that wild salmon and sea trout stocks are in so much trouble. It is not money that the salmon farming industry should be pumping into wild salmon fisheries, but their expertise and their open-mindedness to wild fish conservation. FF

I would “ rather have seen significant funding directed at a meaningful project

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Comment_Martin Jaffa v2.indd 25

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08/11/2021 15:26:34


Salmon Scotland

BY HAMISH MACDONELL

Chain reaction The SSPO’s rebrand is more than just a change of name

YOU have to make it relevant to them: how does it affect them in their own cons�tuencies.” That was the assessment of one coastal MSP with salmon farms in her cons�tuency, sugges�ng ways to get other MSPs and MPs enthused about the sector. Like me she knew it had always been a problem for us. We never had an issue engaging with parliamentarians in the areas where we farm. They were very aware of the economic bulwark our farmers provide, o�en in fragile, remote areas. They knew about the jobs and the good pay that went with them, the supported communi�es and the infrastructure provided. However, it was a much harder job ge�ng those in non-fish-farming areas to sit up and take no�ce. It was almost a case of “out of sight, out of mind” for most of them. So we changed tack and tried a new approach. We undertook a detailed piece of work, mapping the Sco�sh salmon-farming supply chain across the whole of Scotland and then we went out to tell our parliamentary representa�ves about it. That mapping exercise was revealing. It showed there are around 3,600 companies in Scotland working with our salmon producers, with many more outside Scotland. These range from small business service and waste management firms to boat builders and fabricators. Many show the synergies between sectors. There are 270 businesses in North East Scotland working with salmon farmers, many of these already work with the offshore oil and gas industry or with the caught-fish sector. There’s a company in Aberdeen supplying oxygen to our farmers in Shetland – oxygen that has been in short supply recently because of the needs of oil rig decommissioning work. However, even in the Central Belt the supply chain is substan�al. There’s obviously the DFDS transport hub at Larkhall, where much of our fish goes before being packed for onward transport, but there are also feed producers, boat builders and innova�ve tech companies. In total there are more than 250 in the Lothians, 190 in

26

Hamish MacDonnell Salmon Scotland v2.indd 26

Glasgow, 150 in Central Scotland and 180 in Mid Scotland and Fife. The mapping exercise was really instruc�ve for us, but it was eye-opening for MSPs and MPs. Suddenly parliamentarians who had binned every previous briefing sent to them by the sector were finally si�ng up and taking no�ce. “You mean it affects me?” they were saying. Some may think – perhaps uncharitably – that this tells us something not terribly pleasant about the nature of our poli�cians. I’d argue that it just tells us what we already know about parliamentary democracy. The only thing that really ma�ers is ge�ng re-elected and that means that the cons�tuency (or, in Scotland, the region) is all important. All we did was tap into that. Over the last six months we have sent cons�tuency-, regional- and Sco�sh-wide briefings to every MSP. On the back of that we have arranged visits to supply chain companies in the South of Scotland, in the Lothians, Mid Scotland and Fife. Other MSPs are being taken out to farms, so interested have they become in the economic effects of salmon farming and its supply chain. I hope that this will provide the missing piece of the jigsaw. In the past, when

Opposite: Sco�sh salmon Left: The Sco�sh Parliament

www.fishfarmermagazine.com

08/11/2021 15:18:41


Chain reaction

The name change is a reflec�on of our ambi�on to represent more than just our producers

salmon farming has come up for debate in the Sco�sh Parliament, there has been more heat than light. I hope that by ge�ng more MSPs engaged, by giving them informa�on that they can relate to and by showing what we and our supply chain partners actually do, more MSPs will rise to support us rather than cau�ously si�ng on their hands, as has been the case too o�en in the past. However, there is another side to this. At the same �me as the supply-chain lobbying effort was underway, a parallel ini�a�ve was going on behind the scenes. It involved the SSPO talking more closely to key supply chain companies and working out not just where our interests intersected, but what we could do to help further their

www.fishfarmermagazine.com

Hamish MacDonnell Salmon Scotland v2.indd 27

interests. The result is there to see on our new logo, our new name and our new approach. The Sco�sh Salmon Producers Organisa�on has gone. Salmon Scotland has risen in its place. The name change is a reflec�on of our ambi�on to represent more than just our producers – although they will always remain at the absolute heart of what we do – it is also an acknowledgement of the modern world. As the mapping exercise showed, there is not a cons�tuency in Scotland that isn’t touched posi�vely by salmon farming. We have supply chain companies in every corner of this land. As a result, what we do and, crucially, how we are governed and regulated, ma�ers in every town, village and community. Our change, from the Sco�sh Salmon Producers Organisa�on to Salmon Scotland, is an a�empt to capture and promote that new reality. It is a logical progression and one we believe will bring greater benefits and security to all involved, but also a clearer and more unified voice. Salmon is one of the biggest economic drivers in the Sco�sh economy. Salmon is the UK’s biggest food export and the UK shopper’s fish of choice. We want every part of the country to feel pride in that record and share in that success. By becoming Salmon Scotland, we believe we have taken the first big step in making that a reality. FF

27

08/11/2021 15:19:07


Shellfish

BY NICKI HOLMYARD

Fresh ideas

Two recent projects illustrate the incredible potential of shellfish farming

I

N the past few months a couple of interes�ng oyster and mussel research projects have caught my eye. One was a study into the benefits of for�fying bivalve shellfish with micronutrients, and the other was a French project that used undersized and waste mussels to generate methane to produce energy. Vitamin Bullets[1]. Microencapsulated Feeds to Fortify Shellfish and Tackle Human Nutrient Deficiencies, by David Willer and David Aldridge, uses as its star�ng premise the fact that more than two billion people around the world are micronutrient deficient, according to the World Health Organiza�on (WHO). Around 33% of children and one in six pregnant women are thought to be lacking in vitamin A, although there are regional varia�ons. In Ghana more than 76% of children are vitamin A deficient, leading to mortality and blindness; while in India 85% of the popula�on are vitamin D deficient, which is a major factor in cardiovascular diseases, osteoporosis and rickets. More than 40% of the popula�on in the US are also said to be Vitamin D deficient. In an effort to help tackle this major human health challenge, the researchers sought to demonstrate a cheap and effec�ve way of integra�ng micronutrients into the food supply. They point out that for�fying food such as rice and milk with micronutrients has long been undertaken in the interests of enhancing public health, but shellfish have not been used as a medium before. However, the market is rapidly growing for bivalve shellfish, which are acknowledged as being an inherently sustainable source of protein. In

28

Nicki Holmyard SHELLFISH v2.indd 28

China alone produc�on has grown 1,000fold since 1980, where the annual per capita consump�on is around 36kg. The poten�al exists to expand bivalve aquaculture significantly, and more than 1,500,000km2 has been iden�fied for sustainable low-cost development, par�cularly around the west coast of Africa and India, where bivalves including the green mussel (Perna viridis) are a staple food for the poor. Willer and Aldridge realised that postharvest depura�on offered the ideal opportunity to introduce microingredients into the gut and surrounding �ssue of bivalves, and they chose Pacific oysters (Magallana gigas) for their ini�al research. During depura�on, shellfish are held in tanks where they filter purified water for up to 48 hours, which removes bacteria from the gut. If targeted micronutrients in microcapsules were added to the tanks, they would be ingested by the shellfish and poten�ally offer significant health benefits to anyone ea�ng them. Recent chemical engineering innova�ons have made mass produc�on of microcapsules simple and cost-effec�ve, and they can be stored for more than a year in a sealed dry container. The challenge for the researchers was to get the formula�on right, find out if oysters would eat them, and ascertain whether inges�on would lead to elevated micronutrient levels in the flesh. Their novel microencapsulated capsule needed to be tailored for op�mal size, shape, buoyancy and palatability. An oyster’s natural diet is phytoplankton, the size of which ranges from 10μm to 400μm. A 100μm capsule was considered to be small enough to avoid excessive rejec�on in pseudofaeces, but large enough to be retained in the stomach for sufficient �me to allow it to be digested. The results showed that oysters, fed vitamin A and D microcapsules at a 3% ini�al dosage

Above: Mussel farms, France Left: Curry with green mussels

www.fishfarmermagazine.com

08/11/2021 15:28:18


Fresh ideas

for just eight hours, had elevated �ssue vitamin content, so that a serving of just two such oysters would provide enough to meet the recommended daily allowance. Analysis of the pricing structure found that for�fica�on at this level could be offset by a small (0.9%) increase in retail price. Next steps include further research and industry trials to ascertain how to scale up the technology and how well it works with other bivalve species, including clams and mussels. Human studies are also needed to measure the bioavailability of the delivered nutrients. The exci�ng part is that for�fied bivalves could make a real contribu�on to the global food system and global health by helping to tackle nutrient deficiencies in a cost-effec�ve and simple manner.

The “ poten�al

exists to expand bivalve aquaculture significantly

ically rich byproducts have been spread on the foreshore, where they are removed by the �de. However, concern about the long-term impact on the coastal environment, pollu�on of the water and inconvenience to other users of the beach have led local authori�es to consider banning this prac�ce. The mussel industry is therefore in need of alterna�ve solu�ons to deal with mussel waste. The Methacoque project, started in 2017, sought to exploit this poten�al by developing a dry anaerobic diges�on process capable of turning mussel byproducts into methane to produce energy. A collabora�on between Cul�mer France SAS, a mussel and oyster farmers’ co-opera�ve, and local research ins�tu�ons, the project showed that mussels could be a good source of methane. In turn, this led to a FLAG project, in which Cul�mer undertook a pilot to establish whether adequate volumes of shellfish biomass could be turned into the fa�y acids required to yield methane as energy. The pilot plant is able to process 50kg of undersized mussels per day and turn them into methane, which is currently sold to external methane produc�on plants. 50kg of mussels produces 0.63m3 of methane, which is equivalent to 0.75l of gas, or 6kWh of electricity. In the long Turning waste mussels into energy term this ac�vity is seen as a poten�al new source of income. The French use a number of different methods It is hoped that this project can be reproduced in other mussel farmto produce mussels, including on longlines and ing areas in France, and also be applied to the treatment of organic ra�s, seeded on the seabed, and the consum- waste from other fisheries, fish farms and food processors. As well as er’s favourite, which are grown on wooden benefi�ng seafood producers financially, it would enable them to cut bouchot poles in the inter�dal zone. Bouchot their environmental footprint by reducing waste, while contribu�ng to mussels are small and plump with a dis�nc�ve the circular economy by producing methane that could be used, for orange colour, and are sold within strict size example, for hea�ng. FF parameters, which means shells less than 12mm thick or 4cm long will be discarded. FOOTNOTE Losses also occur in the washing, sor�ng, [1] Willer DF and Aldridge DC (2020) Vitamin Bullets. Microencapsulated Feeds grading and packaging process, which results to For�fy Shellfish and Tackle Human Nutrient Deficiencies. Front. Nutr. 7:102. doi: 10.3389/fnut.2020.00102. in broken mussels. Tradi�onally, these organ-

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08/11/2021 15:28:42


Gill Health

ILL

GILLS Gill disease involves a complex mix of factors, as the 2021 International Gill Health Conference, held online last month, made abundantly clear

T

HE Gill Health Ini�a�ve was set up in 2012 to share informa�on on what was already emerging as a serious issue for the fish farming industry. A biennial Interna�onal Gill Health Conference is part of the Ini�a�ve, but the event scheduled for 2020 had to be postponed because of the Covid-19 pandemic. The conference took place on 26–27 October, but as an online event, with par�cipants from around the world, including Europe, South America and Australasia. The event began with an interna�onal update on the state of gill health. Gill Health Ini�a�ve Chair Chris�ne Huynh, Co-Director with Nau�lus Collabora�on, gave an overview of the situa�on in Tasmania, where gill disease posed as much of a threat as ever. While the main treatment remains the same – bathing fish in fresh water – the management approach management has changed, Huynh said, with technology increasingly being used to monitor and analyse the situa�on. Huynh said: “We s�ll don’t really have an answer. We should not be trying to solve this on our own: we need to collaborate with scien�sts in waste water, engineering, computer science to help find solu�ons.”

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Ole Bendik Dale, Sec�on Leader, Aqua�c Biosafety Research, Norwegian Veterinary Ins�tute, gave an update on the situa�on in Norway and also concluded: “Gill health is a larger challenge than ever for the fish farming industry.” Angela Ashby, Head of Clinical Services with PHARMAQ Analy�q in the UK, outlined some of the major challenges. Amoebic gill disease (AGD) is a significant challenge, she said, but so is complex gill disease (CGD) where two or more factors combine – typically AGD plus another pathogen or a water-quality issue. She added that gill damage had also been observed in rainbow trout, with no obvious cause so far. Patricio Bustos, General Manager, ADL Diagnos�cs, Chile, said that AGD was a major problem for the industry in Chile and can be exacerbated by the presence of heavy metals from runoff. Chile has a lot of volcanoes, which means that metals such as iron, aluminium and copper o�en enter the sea. Harmful algal blooms are also a problem, he said. Ashby introduced the segment on integrated health management. She stressed a holis�c approach was necessary. As she put it: “We can never view any health issue in isola�on.” For example, treatments for sea lice can be problema�c if the fish being treated are also suffering from poor gill health. Mul�ple health pressures can add up to a serious challenge, she added: “The impact of concurrent factors can be greater than the sum of their parts.”

Top: Salmon gills Above: Chris�ne Huynh Left: Integrated Health Management panel (clockwise from top): Angela Ashby, Petra Quezada-Rodriguez and Mark Powell Opposite from top: Nutri�on panel (clockwise from top le�): Sam Mar�n, Director, Sco�sh Fish Immunology Research Centre, University of Aberdeen; Eioin Costelloe; Mar�n HuunRøed; Javier Gonzalez; Victoria Valdenegro; Rainbow trout gills are also vulnerable

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Ill gills

She drew parallels with chronic obstruc�ve pulmonary disease (COPD) in humans, where any physical exer�on can cause problems. For fish, Ashby said, gill disease can add to stress and anything else that contributes to this – such as handling during treatment – can be dangerous. Fish with gill disease also require a higher level of dissolved oxygen and find it harder to process CO2. Ashby said: “It is important to know the state of gill health for your fish before undertaking any husbandry events.” She also stressed: don’t forget your cleaner fish! They can also suffer poor gill health. Her key messages were: • compromised fish health affects all aspects of fish life and complicates management of other health issues; • we need to know the state of gill health for effec�ve health management; • we need to consider the impact of treatments on gills and remember to support fish during treatments in the presence of pre-exis�ng gill damage; • we need to improve understanding of how co-infec�ons/concurrent diseases impact the fish; and • we need to strive for proac�ve health management: priori�sing health in produc�on plans and inves�ng in treatment resources. Brit Tørud of the Norwegian Veterinary Ins�tute described a project to iden�fy and deal with salmon gill pox virus at a hatchery – despite what was apparently thorough cleaning and disinfec�on of the hatchery, the virus returned persistently. Cleaning needs to be thorough, and while perace�c acid, a disinfectant which breaks down quickly and harmlessly a�er use, is effec�ve as a disinfectant, �me needs to be allowed for the equipment to dry completely. Carlo Lazado, a senior scien�st with Nofima, talked about a project to examine the effec�veness of disinfec�on strategies and risks to fish health from the disinfectants themselves. Nofima found that perace�c acid had some nega�ve impacts on gill health, but these were not serious or permanent. Nofima also looked at ozone as a disinfectant. This is effec�ve especially for freshwater facili�es, but with seawater, ozone can interact with bromide – a

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Gill Health Conference v2 .indd 31

common and harmless substance – to create bromines, which are toxic. Bathing in fresh water is known to be effec�ve against the parasite associated with AGD, Paramoeba perurans. Mark Powell, General Manager, Marineholmen RASlab AS, described research into a technique using nanofiltered seawater as a treatment for AGD as an alterna�ve. Under laboratory condi�ons, nanofiltered seawater proved affec�ve at controlling cultured Paramoeba perurans and as a bathing treatment for infected fish. The technique was rolled out to trials on the coast of Ireland and was shown to be effec�ve, Powell said, as well as being more than 30% cheaper that bathing fish in reverse osmosis fresh water obtained from seawater. The treatment was also 90% effec�ve in removing sea lice, he added. Also on integrated health management, Petra Quezada-Rodriguez, an aqua�c animal health PhD, with the Commonwealth Scien�fic and Industrial Research Organisa�on (CSIRO) in Australia, talked about her research into the use of chloramine. A panel discussion a�er this session considered, among other ques�ons, whether the reasons that gill disease has become such a serious problem are

“notWebeshould trying

to solve this on our own – we need to collaborate

KEY MESSAGES

 Gill disease is a complex issue, subject to many factors, and tackling it will require collabora�on and informa�on sharing, both interna�onally and between different scien�fic and professional disciplines.  Treatments for other issues, such as sea lice, can be problema�c if the fish are also suffering from poor gill health. It will be important to be aware of the state of gill health before undertaking any process involving handling.  The ill effects of salmon gill pox virus appear to be linked to fish stress and associated high levels of hydrocor�sone.  Func�onal feed addi�ves – for example, to boost the immune system or help produce protec�ve mucus – can play a part in promo�ng gill health.  As well as amoebic parasites, hydrozoans (“micro jellyfish”) can threaten gill health. Opera�ons which dislodge biofouling, such as net cleaning, can be a problem.

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Gill Health

well understood yet. It was agreed that this is s�ll unclear and more collabora�on is needed to share data and insights. The nutri�on session looked at how func�onal feed addi�ves can help combat gill disease. Eoin Costelloe, a PhD student with the University of Aberdeen, talked about a study to iden�fy gene�c markers to indicate which individuals benefit most, in gill health terms, from func�onal feed regimes. Victoria Valdenegro, a scien�st with BioMar in Australia, talked about the link between func�onal feed addi�ves and healthy, protec�ve mucus. Her research showed that two alterna�ve func�onal feeds were linked with greater survival rates compared with a control group fed on a basic diet. Javier Gonzalez, Director of Research with Swiss-based feed addi�ve business Nuproxa, and Mar�n Huun-Røed, a Product Development Manager with Mowi Feed AS in Norway, both said that nutri�on could help as part of an integrated approach to gill health. Gonzalez said that func�onal nutri�on had been shown to support immune response, control inflamma�on, combat oxida�ve stress, support an�microbial resistance, and promote regenera�on and revascularisa�on. Huun-Røed also stressed the role of nutri�on, but warned: “Func�onal feed is not a silver bullet… we should not over-promise and under-deliver.” A panel discussion on nutri�on took ques�ons from a�endees, including whether the nutri�onal approach targeted AGD or focused on promo�ng good general gill health. As Huun-Røed explained: “We focus more on the host, not on the pathogen.”

Healthy vs damaged gills

Vascular lesions

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We should “think about the fish first, not regula�ons first

Top: Models panel (clockwise from top le�): Barbara Nowak, Niels Bols, Kris�n Schirmer and Anita Solhaug. Above: Cnidaria scyphozoa Left: Healthy vs damaged gills Below left: Vascular lesions Opposite from top: Lucy Fry, Mowi; Marit Amundsen; Kim Thompson, Moredun

Another ques�on was whether the reduc�on of wild-caught marine ingredients in aquafeed,may have impacted gill health. “This is a good ques�on,” Valdenegro responded, “But what is important is what nutrients we are giving the fish, independently of the source of the raw materials used.” She added that, for key nutrients such as Omega-3, the most sustainable approach is to take this from a variety of sources, not a single source. In a session on host-pathogen interac�ons, experts discussed how the biological threats typically associated with gill disease impact the host’s immune system. The presenters were Kim Thompson, Principal Inves�gator in the aquaculture research group at the Moredun Research Ins�tute; Anne Berit Olsen, Veterinarian Scien�st, Norwegian Veterinary Ins�tute; Mona Gjessing, Veterinarian and Researcher, Norwegian Veterinary Ins�tute; and Mai Dang, PhD student, Ins�tute for Marine and Antarc�c Studies, University of Tasmania. The Norwegian Veterinary Ins�tute’s research indicated that salmon pox disease, caused by the salmon pox virus, also involves high levels of hydrocor�sone, which are associated with stress in salmon. The implica�on is that salmon pox is stress-related as well as viral. On day two, Daniel Carcajona, Aquaculture Innova�on Officer at the Sustainable Aquaculture Innova�on Centre, introduced the discussion on integrated health management. Professor Karin Pi�man from the University of Bergen also explained her work on developing a standardised gill health tool. Fabian Grammes, Senior Researcher with Aquagen, talked about a study on gene�cs and resistance to gill health disease. Could gene�c markers indicate which strains of salmon could be bred to increase resistance? Grammes said it looked as if gene�c informa�on could be used to breed be�er resistance, but ideally it should be based on analysis of closely related groups of fish and on data from field condi�ons, not lab tests. Lucy Fry, Regional Health Manager, Mowi, said that hydrozoans – also known as “micro jellyfish” are now recognised as a factor in gill disease. Related to jellyfish and corals, hydrozoans are part of the Cnidarium phylum and their life cycle includes a polyp stage and a free-swimming “medusae” stage. The la�er is the most dangerous to fish. Hydrozoans can cause significant gill damage and poten�ally complicate other gill infec�ons such as AGD. Because of their size there is also a risk of them causing significant internal damage to fish by ge�ng into their diges�ve systems. Hydrozoans cannot be detected by the naked eye, but microscopic analysis is helping Mowi to map out their presence on the company’s sites – around 10% were found to have experienced significant blooms of different hydrozoan species since monitoring began 12 months ago. The study to which Fry referred was based on data from Mowi’s farms at Greshornish and Rum, which had both experienced mortali�es related to gill disease. Daily water quality surveys found high

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08/11/2021 15:30:47


Ill gills

Stewart, University of Glasgow; and Rosa Allshire, Ins�tute of Aquaculture, University of S�rling. This was the first Interna�onal Gill Health Conference to be en�rely online and indica�ons are that it may be the last in this format – the board is currently considering proposals for an in-person or hybrid event next �me. The 2021 Interna�onal Gill Health Conference was organised by SAIC Events in collabora�on with the Norwegian Seafood Research Fund, BioMar, Aqua Pharma, Mowi, Cargill, Patogen and the Sco�sh Salmon Producers Organisa�on (now Salmon Scotland). FF seasonal levels of hydrozoans and the closely related gooseberry jellyfish, which do not s�ng but can none the less cause serious gill problems. A BREAKOUT session focused on the BREEZE ini�a�ve, one of the Mi�ga�on ac�ons taken included aera�on and projects supported by the European Union’s EIT Food Innova�on ac�ve lice skirt management – dropping the skirt programme. BREEZE involves a collabora�on between Aqua Pharma to keep jellyfish out and raising to avoid jellyfish Group, technology business Pulcea, the Norwegian University of Science being trapped in the pen. & Technology, and S�rling University’s Ins�tute of Aquaculture to Nina Bloecher, Senior Scien�st, SINTEF Ocean, develop a sea lice treatment using a combina�on of hydrogen peroxide also focused on hydrozoans and other cnidarians, and sound waves. par�cularly regarding the increased risk to fish during Pulcea’s sound treatment creates bubbles that form in the sea lice, net cleaning. killing them without harming the fish. In combina�on with hydrogen Cnidarians contribute to biofouling on nets, but as the peroxide, the process has been proved to be safe for fish, as Pulcea’s study showed, cleaning disperses them into the water Rachel Brown explained. in a pen. Meanwhile, Aqua Pharma’s Tom Candy added that the project was Bloecher said that the industry needed to be also developing a way to speed up the decomposi�on of the hydrogen aware that fish were at greater risk of gill disease peroxide into oxygen and water – a process that it is hoped will soon be during and immediately a�er net cleaning. There patented. needs to be investment in be�er net cleaning So how is this relevant to gill health? One of the problems associated equipment, she said, and more frequent cleaning with poor gill health is that fish are extremely vulnerable to stress, would mean there was less chance for biofouling to so mechanical lice treatments that involve handling fish can lead to build up. Improved an�-fouling coa�ngs would also mortali�es. help, she said. In contrast, the BREEZE treatment can take place in a pen at sea, with In the Q&A session, Karin Pi�man noted that operators a tarpaulin to contain the hydrogen peroxide. The unit that emits the had been focused on what the authori�es require – for sound waves is lowered into the pen and the fish can be treated without example, delousing programmes – rather than on fish moving them onto a wellboat. health. As she put it: “We should think about the fish The acous�c energy generated by Pulcea’s device, Brown said, is a first, not regula�ons first.” sound audible to humans but not to fish, and trials on salmon have The session on modelling in order to understand shown no ill effects or impacts on behaviour. Because the burst of sound gill issues – chaired by Barbara Nowak, Associate only lasts for a few minutes, the impact on the marine environment, Dean, University of Tasmania – included presentaincluding marine mammals, is believed to be small, but the BREEZE team �ons from Niels Bols, Professor Emeritus, Univerhave been monitoring the extent to which the sound travels at sea. sity of Waterloo; Anita Solhaug, Senior Scien�st, Brown added: “If all goes to plan, we should have a product that we Norwegian Veterinary Ins�tute; and Kris�n Schirmer, can start trialling early next year.” Head of Environmental Toxicology Department, Eawag, Swiss Federal Ins�tute of Aqua�c Science and Technology. The penul�mate session, on epidemiology and monitoring, ranged from a . comparison of the accuracy of diagnosis using gill scoring, histopathology and PCR tes�ng to a Chilean study looking at seasonal and other factors in AGD. The presenters were Anne�e Boerlage, Epidemiological Researcher, SRUC; Ela Król, Lead Researcher, University of Aberdeen; Patricia Noguera, Senior Histopathologist, Marine Scotland Science; Laura Gonzalez-Pobleté, University of Valparaiso; Morten Lund, Senior Health Advisor, Patogen; and Liv Østevik, Veterinary Pathologist, PHARMAQ Analy�q AS. Østevik’s research iden�fied a link between mechanical delousing, using water jets, and gill damage, although as only small amounts of gill �ssue were affected it was unclear exactly what the clinical implica�ons were. Finally, the SAIC prize for best presenta�on in the Early Career Research session went to Marit Amundsen of the Norwegian Veterinary Ins�tute for her study on local and systemic immune response to salmon gill pox virus infec�on. The other presenters in this session, which was chaired by Chris�ne Huynh, Above: BREEZE trials were David Persson, Norwegian University of Life Sciences; Kelly Joann

IT’S A BREEZE

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08/11/2021 15:31:06


Australia

Coming up, Down Under Aquaculture production in Australia took a hit during the pandemic, but a report predicts growth over the next few years BY VINCE MCDONAGH

E

VERY Christmas Eve before the pandemic struck Australians would descend on big city seafood markets in their tens of thousands buying up salmon, prawns and almost every type of edible fish traders had to offer. The tradi�onal roast turkey dinner, once so beloved of 1950s Bri�sh migrants, disappeared long ago in a country that swelters under temperatures of 35O°C or more in December. What most of those fish addicts probably didn’t realise is that almost half of what they bought over the fes�ve period was farmed. Yes, Australia is a major player in aquaculture, although most of what it produces stays at home. And it is now poised for huge growth according to recent studies.. It is not just a recent development. Australia’s indigenous people have been cul�va�ng eels and crayfish for centuries.

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Because the country is so far away and so vast, we in the northern hemisphere tend to overlook it as a producer, but the recent takeover ba�le involving the Tasmanian salmon farmer Huon brought its importance sharply into focus. The growth of Australian aquaculture has been driven largely by increased produc�on of salmonids and a declining trend in wild-caught produc�on. More recently the aquaculture sector has been broadening the composi�on of species produced – with increased emphasis on prawns, abalone, oysters and finfish varie�es

Above: Fish market Opposite: Prawn

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08/11/2021 14:58:50


Coming up, Down Under

including barramundi and kingfish. However, the effects of Covid-19 have brought a temporary setback. During the past 18 months tough restric�ons on movement mean Australians have almost been prisoners in their own homes and the pandemic has led to the first annual contrac�on in aquaculture for 60 years. Aquaculture now accounts for more than 45% of seafood produc�on. According to a recent report by broadcaster ABC, Australians consume 350,000 tonnes of seafood a year – or 15kg (33lbs) for every man, woman and child. The industry was worth AUS $1.4bn in 2018 and its most popular products were salmon, tuna, oysters and prawns. Now the federal government wants to double that figure over the next six years although given the con�nuing presence of Covid that might be a li�le ambi�ous. According to the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Science (ABARES), fisheries and aquaculture is forecast to recover slowly but steadily at 1.6% average annual growth to $3.21bn over the next four years. Compared with the previous ABARES forecast in early 2020, this es�mate represents a cumula�ve reduc�on in Gross Value Product (GVP) of $1.9bn over the period 2020/21 to 2024/25. That means about two-thirds of a year of GVP value will have been lost over the fiveyear projec�on period due to the range of external shocks impac�ng the sector between 2019 and 2020. ABARES says the forward projec�on for the industry is uncertain in the medium term because of unknowns regarding global economic growth. Much of the farmed fish produced in Australia is eaten by Australians. The ABARES report says exports of salmonids have tradi�onally been low because most produc�on has been targeted at the domes�c market. However, higher produc�on volumes, rising global demand and greater market diversifica�on are all expected to contribute towards increased exports over the forecast period. In the year up to the pandemic in early 2020 salmonid exports were the highest on record (up over 60% in volume and value terms compared with 2018/19), despite a reduc�on in interna�onal freight due to global COVID-19 travel restric�ons. This increase has been a�ributed to a nota-

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Australia - Vince v2.indd 35

Aqua“ culture now

accounts for more than 45% of seafood produc�on

ble increase in produc�on, a decline in domes�c demand from the food services sector and diversifica�on into various export markets. Prices should also start to rise in the next year or two. Much of the focus by farming companies will be on exports, with Japan and Southeast Asia the main targets. However, Bri�sh consumers can also expect to see Australian salmon in the shops following the new trade deal with the UK. Deteriora�ng rela�ons between Canberra and Beijing over Australia’s decision to build nuclear submarines, among other issues, means China can probably be ruled out, at least in the medium term. Australian exports of salmonids have tradi�onally been low because most produc�on has been targeted at the domes�c market. Despite this, in the 12 months before Covid struck (2019/20) salmonid exports were the highest on record (up over 60% in volume and value terms compared with 2018/19). ABARES says higher produc�on volumes, rising global demand and greater market diversifica�on are all expected to contribute towards increased exports over the forecast period. Australia’s two largest fish farming states are Tasmania (salmon) South Australia (tuna) , with Queensland and New South Wales (prawns) coming up on the rails. The federal and Tasmanian governments recently agreed to work together on a framework that could see the development of offshore aquaculture in the state. Project Sea Dragon, a plan by the Seafarms group to build the world’s largest prawn farm in the Northern Territory, is expected to progress despite setbacks as a result of Covid. The project has been hailed by government leaders as a game-changing booster for the Territory’s ailing economy. As in most other parts of the world, aquaculture down under has its cri�cs. Broadcaster ABC says there are mixed views on sustainability, especially following the publica�on of Toxic, a book by acclaimed author Richard Flanagan, which argues that salmon farming is not as clean or green as claimed by the industry, but is in fact environmentally damaging. Billionaire and mining magnate Andrew Forrest opposed the takeover of Huon by Brazilian meat processing giant JBS on environmental grounds. The arguments will probably intensify, but it will not stop millions of Australians heading for the fish markets on Christmas Eve. FF

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08/11/2021 15:03:23


Regulation

Missing in action What has happened to wild salmon populations – and how can they be protected?

T

HE Salmon Interac�ons Working Group (SIWG) report was published in May 2020. As reported in the October issue of this magazine, the Sco�sh Government’s response to it came out in October this year, around a year and a half later. The reason for the delay might not simply be related to the effect of the Covid-19 pandemic. Poli�cally the SIWG is something of a hot potato. It is beyond debate that the numbers of wild salmon have fallen drama�cally over the last 50 or 60 years and this con�nues to be a cause for concern. Salmon face a number of challenges, but the SIWG was asked to focus on risk in par�cular – the interac�on between wild and farmed salmon. Many argue that the presence of salmon farms poses a threat to their wild counterparts. In par�cular, there is concern over sea lice, which can grow in numbers when there are farmed fish and which can also affect migra�ng wild salmon; over diseases, especially when fish stocks are moved from one region to another; and over escaped fish interbreeding with wild salmon. Farmed salmon are bred to grow faster and larger, and they may also be selected for increased resistance to diseases, but they are likely to lack some of the traits necessary for survival in the wild and this disadvantage might be passed to their offspring. The SIWG brought together representa�ves from the wild salmon lobby, represen�ng conserva�on organisa�ons and fisheries management bodies, as well as the fish farming industry. The group was chaired by Shetlander John Goodlad who, as a former salmon farmer and an adviser on the wild salmon issue to the Prince of Wales’ Interna�onal Sustainability Unit, arguably had a foot in both camps. Goodlad told Fish Farmer: “I would like to pay tribute to both sectors – the wild salmon sector and the fish farmers – for their work on the report.” He broadly welcomes the Sco�sh Government’s response: “Although it took longer than expected, it has gone further than many expected.” He added: “I was broadly pleased – the Government has agreed to take ac�on on sea lice, with SEPA [the Sco�sh Environment Protec�on Agency] as the lead body; and on escapes. “I would add two qualifica�ons: first that the response must be followed up with ac�on in the near and medium term; and also that it is really important, now, that the Government addresses all of the other pressures that are impac�ng on wild salmon.” The SIWG report called for the reform of Scotland’s finfish aquaculture regula�on. In response the Scot�sh Government is proposing that SEPA takes on more powers as the lead regulator, while District Salmon Fishery Boards will con�nue to be statutory consultees. SEPA’s oversight of the sector will include applying a new “spa�ally based risk assessment framework”, which is s�ll in the process of being drawn up. A consulta�on on the framework is expected by the end of this year. Exis�ng fish farms could also be forced to relocate if their

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posi�on is seen as posing an unacceptable risk to wild salmon. Tavish Sco�, Chief Execu�ve of Salmon Scotland (formerly known as the Sco�sh Salmon Producers Organisa�on), also welcomed the Sco�sh Government’s response, but added that the salmon industry was “puzzled” by the announcement of a shakeup of the regulatory regime while the working group considering ways to improve it was s�ll ongoing. Sco� said: “The Sco�sh Government appointed Professor Russel Griggs to undertake a thorough review of fish-farm regula�on. Professor Griggs is s�ll taking evidence and has not even published his first report. “Yet, despite this, ministers have decided to give SEPA a key new regulatory role. “We will con�nue to have a dialogue with ministers on this and other aspects of the report while remaining commi�ed to working with conserva�on bodies to find out what is really happening to Scotland’s wild salmon stocks.” Salmon Scotland has commi�ed to inves�ng £1.5m in projects, through the Wild Salmonid Support Fund, to protect wild salmon and to inves�gate what is behind the decline in numbers. One of the key projects is a study, organised by the Atlan�c Salmon Trust, to track juvenile salmon as they head out to sea from fresh water. Sco� told Fish Farmer: “We are all a�er the same thing – to understand what is happening to wild salmon popula�ons and to gather scien�fic evidence. It has worried us that there is currently a lack of evidence. “The pressures come from a combina�on of factors – which the Sco�sh Government has already iden�fied – but we all need to understand, based on evidence, what policies are required to address them.” He hopes that the Wild Salmon Strategy report, which is

Above from top: Wild Sco�sh salmon; Tavish Sco�; Russel Griggs; John Goodlad

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Missing in action

yet another delaying tactic, and its endorsement of the fundamentally inadequate Salmon Interactions Working Group’s report, amount to conclusive confirmation that it has no intention of introducing meaningful reform. We have reached the end of the road.” The debate is clearly far from over, but with the Griggs review, a new framework to guide planning, the Wild Salmon Strategy and a review by Crown Estate Scotland into how marine leases should be allocated all expected within the next few months, the regulation of aquaculture in Scotland could look quite different by this time next year. FF

We are all after the “ same thing – to understand what is happening to wild salmon

expected to be published in December this year, will shed more light on the issue. Last year the SIWG report acknowledged 12 “high level” pressures on salmon populations in Scotland – of which interaction with fish farms was just one. Others included exploitation (illegal and legal netting, rod and line; predation by birds, fish and marine mammals; disease and sea lice; genetic introgression (escapes); habitat and water quality; climate change; barriers to migration; and the impact of human activity at sea including inshore fisheries and offshore renewable energy installations. The Missing Salmon Alliance – a consortium that includes the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust, the Atlantic Salmon Trust, the Angling Trust with Fish Legal, The Rivers Trust and Fisheries Management Scotland – is developing a “Likely Suspects” framework to help identify key factors. On its website the Alliance states: “There are a number of candidate “suspects” that impact on salmon survival, ranging from the obvious (e.g. being eaten by something) to the less obvious (e.g. poor feeding due to water temperature changes). We all hold opinions as to which “suspects” are probably responsible for salmon losses, but salmon management actions need support based on more than just strength of opinion.” The salmon industry and some conservation bodies appear to be making efforts to find common ground, but meanwhile others are taking a harder line. On 13 October the Salmon & Trout Conservation Trust – which is not a member of the Missing Salmon Alliance – set out its new position: “…all open-net salmon farming in Scotland must now be brought to an end as soon as possible.” Andrew Graham-Stewart, Director of Salmon and Trout Conservation in Scotland (S&TCS), said: “We have engaged with successive Scottish governments and regulators for over 20 years in efforts to persuade them to introduce effective regulation of salmon farming, particularly to protect wild salmon and sea trout from the devastatingly negative impacts of sea lice proliferation. “The response has been little more than lip-service while enabling the industry to expand production exponentially, exacerbating all the environmental problems associated with open-net farming. Scottish Government’s recent announcement of a two-year review of regulation,

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08/11/2021 15:14:28


Transport

BY VINCE MCDONAGH

Must fish fly? Two contrasting strategies from Faroese farmers highlight a debate about how to get fresh fish to overseas markets

S

ALMON are meant to swim, not fly! With these words Atli Gregersen, owner of the Faroese fish farming company Hidden�ord, sparked off a major debate inside the industry a�er he stopped shipments by air, deciding instead to move everything by sea. He conceded that salmon farming has a low CO2 impact compared with other proteins, but noted that, at the end of the produc�on process, when the fish is loaded onto an aircra� its greenhouse gas emissions – measured by weight of salmon produced – are doubled. Hidden�ord, which has achieved a 94% cut in emissions in just 12 months, says it can s�ll get its salmon on store shelves within 10 to 15 days. Yet on the same island archipelago, Bakkafrost – whose CEO Regin Jacobsen is equally passionate about the environment – is purchasing its own aircra� to fly salmon to the US and beyond. So who is right? Depending on which (scien�fically factual ) side of the argument you take, the answer is probably both. This year, with climate change once again high up on the league table of global concerns, the salmon debate has taken on a new significance. Fresh fish is a highly perishable commodity so it makes sense to get it to its des�na�on as soon as possible, par�cularly when long distances are involved, which means air freight. Iceland has proved, however, that sea transport can offer a be�er and cheaper alterna�ve on short and medium routes. Earlier this year shipping company Eimskip launched a fresh salmon service

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from Reykjavik to the US and Canada, following a series of trials. They were so successful they have now expanded into a regular weekly consignments, and now includes whitefish such as cod and haddock. Eimskip reported at the �me: “Quality tests have passed all comparisons and the par�es have already begun to look at distribu�on to places at a greater distance from the ports of discharge, even as far as Miami and Los Angeles.” CEO Vilhelm Már said the service was crea�ng value for its customers and providing a more environmentally friendly op�on at the same �me. However, Iceland (and to a lesser extent the Faroe Islands) is within a reasonable distance of North America. Norway and Scotland are further away from that market – and from their markets in the Middle and Far East. At the moment air transport is the only prac�cal op�on for fresh salmon for that kind of distance. This hasn’t stopped leading Norwegian salmon breeder and processor Roger Hofseth praising Hidden�ord for its principled stance. He told online financial journal E24 Næringsliv that the company deserved a lot of respect. “We share Hidden�ord’s visions and its move will help change the market in a more environmentally friendly direc�on,” he said. Hofseth has some interes�ng and unorthodox ideas on the environment, such as pu�ng a fish farm inside a mountain or an abandoned mine to reduce some of the issues around tradi�onal farming methods. Hofseth also believes the widely held belief, par�cularly among consumers, that fresh is superior to frozen is quite wrong. New technology has revolu�onised the quality of frozen fish in the last few years, he told E24. It is the main reason why he bought the company Icefresh, which has led the way in this development. Icefresh, Hofseth says, freezes

Top: Hidden�ord scene Above: Part of Railgate Finland’s cross Asia route; Hidden�ord CEO Atli Gregersen; Regin Jacobsen Left: Vagar Airport, Faroe Islands

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08/11/2021 14:56:23


Must fish fly?

94% emission cuts without loss of profit or quality

It was a challenging decision for us

total air freight emissions by up to 50% through lower weights and other means. He says Bakkafrost can fly chilled salmon directly to its processing plant on the US east coast, avoiding truck emissions to and from the port and at hubs such as Heathrow in the UK. Thus, a salmon alive in then Faroe Islands in the morning can be served on a Manha�an dinner plate the following evening. The arguments over how much environmental damage is caused o�en comes down to seman�cs. Ships are not always light on pollu�on either. And most cargo planes carry other goods as well, so if salmon is not on board it will be replaced by something else. Norway sends around 100,000 tonnes of seafood by air every year and it may be possible to reduce eventually that figure by up to half the fish directly a�er slaughter; the fish is then sent to the market and thawed by the customer. if customers are prepared to accept longer journeys. He considers products treated with Icefresh For his part the Hidden�ord boss believes there technology to be of a higher quality than airis nothing more to prove, with the first results borne-shipped fresh fish. showing a 94% reduc�on in CO2 emissions. “It is about the fish being ‘blood fresh’, which Gregersen said: “It was a challenging decision allows us be�er control of the bacteriology for us: we knew it could mean lower prices and during shipping,” he argues. a much higher risk because of reduced flexibility Frozen fish could be transported by sea, so if in reaching faraway markets. customers on the other side of the world can “But ethically it is absolutely the right decision. be persuaded to accept Hofseth’s argument, then the number of flights could be drama�cally If we claim that we want to be a truly sustainable reduced over �me. But it may not be that easy. company, we must take responsible ac�ons.” He admi�ed some customers had been scep�cal, Bakkafrost’s Jacobsen believes aircra� will which he expected, but sales figures were conalways be necessary and says by inves�ng in �nuing to grow, which was encouraging. FF its own cargo aircra�, the company will reduce

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HIDDENFJORD announced a few weeks ago it had almost eliminated its transport-related CO2 emissions, exactly a year a�er the company stopped using all air freight and began relying on ocean-going ships to deliver salmon. The move made Hidden�ord the world’s first salmon producer to rely solely on sustainable, low-emission transporta�on methods. CEO Atli Gregersen said the task had not been easy, but the 94% reduc�on was achieved without sacrificing profit or quality.

Is rail still on track? TWO years ago there was a great deal of excitement over plans by rail consultant Micael Blomster and Railgate Finland to send fresh salmon from Norway to China by train. The planned route was due to start in early 2020 at the port of Narvik and end 12 days later in Xi’an ,China, using specially refrigerated trucks. Along with drama�cally cu�ng emissions, it would have also lead to an 80% reduc�on in costs. Hopwever, the coronavirus outbreak and the tough travel restric�ons it brought with it put paid to the idea. With a new China to Oslo rail freight service carrying non-refrigerated goods about to start, there are hopes the salmon project can also be revived within the next year or two.

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08/11/2021 14:57:08


Aquaculture Europe 2021

Back in business Madeira proved to be the perfect location for the EAS to reconvene BY ROBERT OUTRAM

T

O say the least,it’s been a strange and challenging time for us all. For those involved in aquaculture, particularly in the academic world, the European Aquaculture Society’s (EAS) annual conference in October represented something like a step towards normality, with an in-person event on Madeira. Aquaculture Europe 2021 (AE2021) had the theme “Oceans of Opportunity” and Madeira, a Portuguese island surrounded by hundreds of miles of the blue Atlantic, provided the ideal backdrop for that message. The venue had been chosen prior to the arrival of Covid-19, but it turned out to be an inspired choice.The regional government had put a great deal of effort and thought into finding the right balance between ensuring the safety of islanders and visitors, and supporting Madeira’s vital tourist industry.

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Now, “ people have

realised that there is a life with Covid

AE2021 saw just over 1,400 delegates attending, making it the biggest event yet for the EAS apart from Berlin,back in 2019. Alistair Lane, Executive Director with the EAS, says:“Overall I was really pleased, as were a lot of people. It was the first time for a long while that this many people had been able to get together. “There were 943 abstracts submitted, close to a record and only behind Berlin, and 560 were presented orally.” The pandemic did place some constraints on the event, but it provided a case study on how large in-person events can take place under the current conditions.The rules required 75% capacity and face coverings for meeting rooms, social events took place out of doors wherever possible and there were mandatory lateral flow Covid tests at the conference in addition to Portugal’s own entry requirements. Professor Hervé Migaud is EAS President (2020–2022) and Production Research Group Leader at the Institute of Aquaculture, University of Stirling. He says:“People were asking us,:‘Is it going to happen?’ It was great to see that they trusted us. “Now, people have realised that there is a life with Covid.We can meet face to face.The authorities in Madeira did a fantastic job. For example, the testing facilities at the hotel and the Madeira Safe app were excellent.” Participants from 57 countries attended AE2021, including just under 250 students, who took part in a dedicated workshop and special events and excursions during the week. A total of 943 abstracts were submitted for conference presentations and 560 of these were presented orally in the 39 conference sessions.A further 383 Eposters were presented online and on several viewing stations in the conference area. The trade show allowed 80 companies to present their products and services to the sector, and included a special pavilion of Portuguese companies presented by the Ministry of the Sea. The opening ceremony also included an opportunity to thank former EAS President Professor Gavin Burnell of the University College, Cork, Ireland, for his contribution to the work of the society over many years. As current President, Hervé Migaud presented

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08/11/2021 14:47:54


Back in business

Top: Student Spotlight finalists (from le�) Dean Porter, Rafaela Santos and Sandra RamosJúdez with Hervé Migaud Above: The President’s recep�on Opposite: from top: The opening plenary session; Welcome drinks; Protesters

the Society’s Distinguished Service Award to Professor Burnell, who was a board member between 1990 and 2004, and President between 2018 and 2020. He has also been editor of the EAS journal, Aquaculture International, for the past 20 years and continues to work with EAS even after retirement. Migaud said, presenting the award:“Gavin is one of those special persons who continues to give without counting to further the objectives of EAS and expand our community.” Of course, the aquaculture sector has its critics and the opening ceremony was also marked by a small protest by groups in Madeira who want to see fish farming around the island either curtailed or moved further offshore. It was not the first demonstration on this topic on the island, although the autonomous regional government has been very supportive of the industry. The conference also featured the annual Student Spotlight Awards, with three shortlisted aquaculture students presenting a summary of their papers at the opening plenary session.The three finalists, UK, and had been previously selected by the EAS Board of Directors from all the abstracts submitted by students through appraisals. Each had three minutes to present their work, which was then voted on by the 700 delegates at the session. Dean Porter of the University of Aberdeen presented on a study on rainbow trout diet, looking at how the gut responds to different feed ingredients, carried out at the Scottish Fish Immunology Centre in association with Skretting. Sandra Ramos-Júdez of the Institute of Agrifood

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Research and Technology (IRTA) in Spain presented on an experimental technique to control the maturation of larvae for flathead grey mullet to improve the success of spawning. Rafaela Santos of CIIMAR/CIITAB in Portugal presented on quorum-quenching Bacillus sp., a microbe that can protect fish from Edwardsiella tarda infection and modulate the immune system of gilthead sea bream. Rafaela Santos was declared the winner and was presented with a cash prize of €300 to complement the €300 already given to each of the finalists. Among the special sessions at AE2021 were the final workshop of the EU Horizon 2020 MedAID Project, with the collaboration of PerformFish; and workshops organised by the EAS Thematic Group on Percid Fish Culture, the Mediterranean Aquaculture Product Environmental Footprint Stakeholders event and the HiSea demonstration of high-resolution water quality data services. At the end of the scientific session on Marine Spatial Planning & Conservation, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature organised a special round table discussion with invited contributors on aquaculture and marine conservation, dedicated to novel approaches reconciling aquaculture development projects with the conservation objectives of marine protected areas. This year’s conference also included the EU Blue Invest Day, a forum for innovation and investment for aquaculture within the EU Green Deal. Migaud says:“The idea of Aquaculture Europe is to bring different sectors together – academics, industry, investors and funders. It’s what makes these events unique.There is something for everybody!” Aquaculture Europe 2022 will take place in Rimini, Italy, over 27–30 September 2022.As well as the regular conference elements, it will also feature a “RAS@EAS Workshop” focusing on recirculating aquaculture systems. It will be the first time this has featured as an in-person event, although there was a RAS workshop at the all-online conference earlier this year. Migaud is confident that there will be a lot of interest in next year’s event: “We know a lot of people who could not come to Madeira, but who have said they will be at Rimini,” he says. Sponsors for AE2021 were BioMar (Gold Sponsors), SPAROS Student Group Sponsors EU Blue Invest (session sponsor) and the Portuguese Ministry of the Sea, the regional government of Madeira, the Madeira Promotion Bureau and the Regional Research and Innovation Agency, ARDITI. FF

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09/11/2021 10:03:58


Aquaculture Europe 2021

Photo: No�lo Plus

Show me the money The Blue Invest workshop highlighted what can happen when ideas and investors get together

A

QUACULTURE Europe 2021(AE2021) included no fewer than 560 in-person presentations of papers, as well as 383 Eposters presenting online. Topics covered the whole range of aquaculture, from selective breeding through nutrition to disease control and the engineering aspects of open ocean sites. Climate change was also on the agenda, with research that showed the impact of global warming on a variety of species and environments, including European sea bass in the Mediterranean, clams in the coastal waters of Italy and salmon suffering from low oxygen levels in Eastern Canada. Recirculating aquaculture systems (RAS) play an ever-increasing role in aquaculture, and the session on RAS issues included an update on the Robust Smolt project in Scotland from European Aquaculture Society (EAS) President Hervé Migaud, and studies on disinfection techniques and the microbiome used in biofilters. The final plenary session ended with the presentation of the AE2021 Poster Awards.The chairs of each of the conference sessions made an evaluation of the Best Student Poster and Best Poster of their sessions.These were then reviewed by the AE2021 programme co-chairs Maria Teresa Dinis and Sachi

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Kaushik, who made their overall selection for each. The AE2021 Best Student Poster Award went to Laura Ballesteros Redondo (University of Rostock), with co-authors Harry W. Palm, Lukas Reiche and Adrian A. Bischoff for their post entitled “Apocyclops panamensis as live feed for Sander lucioperca larviculture.” The AE2021 Best Poster Award was presented to Paulo Gavaia (University of Algarve), Marisa Barata, Catarina Oliveira,Ana C. Mendes, Florbela

Above: SEASAM underwater drone Opposite from top: BlueInvest (from le�): David Basse�, Catherine Fideres and Lorella de la Cruz; Paulo Gavaia Best Poster; Best Student Poster Laura Ballesteros

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08/11/2021 14:50:43


Show me the money

Soares, Pedro Pousão-Ferreira and Elsa Cabrita for their post entitled “Skeletal Deformities in Aquaculture-produced Greater Amberjack Seriola dumerili.” The awardees were presented with a prize of €300 and a voucher kindly given by Springer (publishers of the EAS journal, Aquaculture International) to select a publication from their collection. Investing in innovation The EU BlueInvest innovation forum was a new feature for Aquaculture Europe, bringing together entrepreneurs, corporates investors and stakeholders from the blue economy to explore new possibilities for the aquaculture sector in Europe. The session was moderated by Catherine Frideres, Senior Manager at PwC Luxembourg. Opening the workshop, Lorella de la Cruz, DG MARE with the European Commission, explained the context and stressed that supporting innovation in aquaculture is part of the EU Green Deal and the Farm to Fork strategy, recognising that – among other considerations – the aquaculture sector has a smaller carbon footprint that other forms of farmed animal protein. Among other targets, the EU is looking to achieve a 50% reduction in antibiotics use, a significant increase in organic aquaculture and growth in algae (seaweed) cultivation. Environmental performance and animal welfare are also important factors. BlueInvest supports these aims, Frideres said, by helping to bring investors and innovators together. Migaud also gave an introductory presentation, stressing the role of the EAS and its members in helping to drive innovation in aquaculture in all aspect,s from aquafeed and engineering to animal welfare and genetics. The workshop also heard from David Bassett, Secretary General of the European Aquaculture Technology and Innovation Platform (EATiP), an international non-profit association dedicated to developing, supporting and promoting aquaculture and, especially and specifically, technology and innovation in aquaculture in Europe. EATiP is encouraged by, but independent of, the EU. Bassett said that one of the biggest challenges for funding was bridging the gap between the initial startup stage and commercial operations – since aquaculture businesses, unlike terrestrial farmers, don’t own land, there is limited security for lenders or investors, and it is difficult for all but the largest businesses to find funding for growth. As he said, though, a solution must be found because “there is no green without blue!” The workshop also heard – online – from Vincent Favrel, representing the European Commission’s European Climate, Infrastructure and

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“There is no green without blue!”

Environment Executive Agency (CINEA), who explained how the BlueInvest initiative fitted into the EU’s Green Deal. The scale of the European Maritime, Fisheries and Aquaculture fund is huge – with €797m under direct management and €5,311bn under shared management.Aquaculture projects funded by the EMFF include, Bassett said, a smart system for feeding control (Blue Smart), shellfish farming modules for open waters (Open Mode), underwater sensor networks for monitoring and surveillance (Seastar) and an autonomous underwater vehicle with artificial intelligence for subsea inspections (SEASAM-AI, from Notilo Plus). Under the umbrella of the EU there are a wide variety of funding sources and an important role for BlueInvest is simply to help make innovative businesses aware of what is available. Bassett stressed:“We try to simplify the application process as much as possible.” De la Cruz added that the EU was also looking at ways to support more sustainable food producers through procurement policy – for example, in catering for schools and colleges. Co-investment programmes are also making investment funding available to businesses in some countries outside the EU – for example, in Norway, Switzerland and the UK. The workshop also saw “reverse pitches” from three spotlighted investor organisations focusing on environmental impact: NVI Investors, Blue Pioneers Fund and SHIFT Invest. Finally, to give a flavour of the kind of investment opportunities that exist in aquaculture, there were pitches from a range of innovative businesses:

Algonomi, which is looking to create new feed ingredients from microalgae that feed on CO2;Aquaponics Iberia, which is looking to produce local, tasty fish and vegetables from hydroponics, applying “circular economy” principles; sustainable energy startup Innovakeme, which is looking to combine offshore wind energy with fish farming; NovaQ, which uses microbial management to improve filtration in RAS systems; and Next Tuna, which aims to be the first RAS company to successfully grow tuna juveniles for aquaculture producers. FF

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08/11/2021 14:51:05


Aquaculture Europe 2021

Spotlight on Portugal The host country for AE2021 is raising its game

C

OULD Portugal become Europe’s next salmon producer? That was one of the intriguing possibilities raised by Pedro Encarnaçao, Director of Aquaculture with Portuguese retail group Jerónimo Martins Agri-business (JMA) at the second plenary session. Pedro Encarnação is an aquaculture expert with extensive experience around the world. He has a degree in marine biology and a PhD in fish nutrition. In 2005 he moved to Asia as Technical Director for Biomin (biotech in animal nutrition). After 10 years in Asia he returned to Portugal to join JMA as its Aquaculture Director to develop the group expansion

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in what is a new area for the company. His main topic at AE2021 was “vertical integration” – in other words, why is a retailer like JMA running fish farms? Jerónimo Martins was founded as a small store in Lisbon in 1792. It is now one of the country’s biggest retailers, with more than 4,000 stores in three countries – Portugal, Poland and Colombia. Vertical integration is part of the group’s philosophy, ensuring that the company has control of delivery and quality for as much of its fresh produce as possible. Encarnaçao explained that the mission of JMA’s aquaculture business was threefold:  secure a sustainable supply of fish products through aquaculture with high quality and sustainability;  stimulated innovation and production development for new species that are adapted to consumer preferences; and  promote a close co-operation and integration with existing operators on the Above: Pedro Encarnação identification of consumption and producBelow: Fish farm, Madeira tion technology trends. Opposite from top: Riccardo Santos; Fish farm in He summed up: “We supply to one client, Portugal which is us!” Per capita, the Portuguese are Europe’s biggest consumers of seafood – perhaps not surprisingly for a nation with such strong maritime traditions – but aquaculture in Portugal is still very fragmented, with much of the sector made up of small producers. Encarnaçao said: “Most of the aquaculture in Portugal is semi-intensive and there is little opportunity for expansion.” The conditions around Portugal’s coast also present challenges, with powerful Atlantic storms and sea temperatures that are too low for some species. JMA’s aquaculture operations are mostly through two businesses: Seaculture, which operates farms in Sines, on Madeira Island, and in Alicante (Spain) for the production of sea bream and sea bass; and a partnership with Madeira-based Marismar, which farms sea bream. As Encarnaçao explained, Madeira is ideal for sea bream production, with calm bays and a stable 18–24°C temperature range.

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Spotlight on Portugal

in order to increase production efficiency and sustainability. For the long term, Santos added, marine spatial plans would ensure that “there is enough sea for everyone”. Portugal’s aquaculture sector produced 14,000 tonnes in 2019 and delivered €18.5m in revenue The minister explained how aquaculture had made use of technological developments, including offshore engineering technologies, recirculation systems and multitrophic models to develop sustainably. Santos has been a long-term friend and supporter of EAS and a key figure, not only nationally, but also as an MEP and Member of the Committee on Fisheries of the European Parliament. FF

JMA’s customer research has found that there is a consumer preference for fresh, locally produced fish even though fish from, say, Greece or Turkey may be cheaper. JMA’s latest projects, however, include investment in Mediterranean Aquafarm, an aquaculture business in Morocco in which JMA has taken a controlling stake. The company is also investing in a new project in the Algarve, in the south of Portugal, which is planning for an initial capacity of 1,000 tonnes of sea bass and sea bream, Encarnaçao said. And while Portugal currently imports its salmon from elsewhere, he said the north of Portugal offered possibilities for home-grown salmon production offshore, with the chance to grow a whole new industry for the country’s aquaculture sector. Proximity to market is a major priority, he added, with the product ideally shipped from harvest to consumer in 24 hours. JMA is also exploring an integrated multitrophic aquaculture project combing seaweed and bivalve shellfish production. Sustainability is a key issue for the group. Encarnaçao said that the Farm to Fork philosophy stressed access to healthy, sustainable and safe food; tackling climate change; protecting the environment and preserving biodiversity; fair trade principles; and increasing the use of

organic farming. For the aquaculture business, he added, “sustainability” meant, among other things, monitoring the environmental impact, shorter supply chains, reducing waste, and reducing the use of antibiotics and chemicals in treatments. It had even led to the company investing in submersible pens in order to minimise the visual impact of marine farms. Minister of the Sea More insights into Portugal’s approach to aquaculture also came from Portugal’s Minister of the Sea, Ricardo Serrão Santos, who spoke during the third and final plenary session. Declaring “we have to bet on aquaculture”, he gave a passionate speech about the importance of the sector as an alternative to traditional forms of fish supply. Portugal recently approved its third National ocean Strategy 2021-2030, which has an Action Plan with 185 measures. The plan recognises that aquaculture needs to gain more weight in a context where national fisheries production is insufficient to supply consumption, in a framework of sustainable management and exploitation of living marine resources. The goals, for aquaculture, are: • implementing national roadmaps for offshore and recirculation aquaculture, and stimulating research, development and innovation activities; • giving priority to the development of sustainable and circular aquaculture, both in the open sea and in transitional and inland waters, and stimulating multitrophic and closed-loop production; and • promoting the digitalisation of the fish chain, both via traditional fisheries and aquaculture,

We have to bet on aquaculture

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A taste of Portugal ThrouGhouT the four days of the event, the Ministry of the Sea stand in the conference exhibition area enabled visitors to get to know the various entities and services working for the future of aquaculture in Portugal and Madeira. represented at AE2021 were:  Directorate General for Maritime Policy/ Mar 2020 operational programme, regarding funding opportunities;  Directorate General of Natural resources, Safety and Maritime Services, on the licensing rules  Portuguese Institute for Sea and Atmosphere, promoting research projects; and  Docapesca, covering trade and marketing. The Ministry of the Sea also promoted a food tasting, serving gilthead sea bream, European sea bass and meagre, all products from Madeira’s aquaculture sector. Attendees also had a chance to sample Madeira’s famous fortified wine!

Above: Madeira wine on offer

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Aquaculture Europe 2021

Don’t just feed, nourish Keynote speeches tackled the need for diversity and good nutrition in food production, and why “ocean literacy” matters

D

R Shakuntala Haraksingh Thilsted is the Global Lead for Nutrition and Public Health at WorldFish, part of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research. Earlier this year she was named as the winner of the 2021 World Food Prize for her ground-breaking research and landmark innovations in developing holistic, nutrition-sensitive approaches to aquatic food systems. Dr Thilsted played a key role in the development of the WorldFish 2030 research and innovation strategy:Aquatic Foods for Healthy People and Planet, and she is a member of the Steering Committee of the High Level Panel of Experts on Food Security and Nutrition of the United Nations Committee on World Food Security. Dr Thilsted was not able to present in person at the opening of AE2021 as she was in quarantine in the US, preparing to accept her World Food Prize. She stressed that, for many people in the world, after many years of progress in helping people escape from hunger, the pandemic had brought about a worse situation. Hunger has not gone away so the world needs solutions. The United Nations Food Systems Summit, held in September 2021, identified aquatic food as one of the seven priorities for action. Dr Thilsted stressed the importance of recognising the diversity of aquatic foods and aquatic systems, from oceans and freshwater ecosystems to labbased settings. However, she added:“Present food systems fail to recognise the diversity of aquatic foods.” The kind of opportunities she has been championing in her role at WorldFish,include polyculture in village ponds and water tanks, in Bangladesh and elsewhere, using diverse indigenous species. Combining aquatic and terrestrial production, and multitrophic aquaculture, also hold great promise, she said. In order to feed the Earth’s growing population, Dr Thilsted added, we need to know more about, for example, nutrients in aquatic food and also about food safety and contaminants. She also said that there was an important role for women and young people in food production. She said: “Half of workers in aquatic food production are women, but gender barriers still remain.” Dr Thilsted left the conference with six key messages: • a paradigm shift to ensure that aquatic foods, including fish, are produced and consumed by all, especially the poor and vulnerable; • diversity in species and size to optimise production, productivity and nutritional quality of aquaculture; • successful aquaculture transformation must build on evidence from sound disaggregated data and research; • public policies that advocate for aquaculture to nourish nations must be driven by science-led solutions and interventions; •increase in strategic instruments and investments in aquatic food

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systems to enable sufficient diverse, nutritious and safe aquatic foods and products for all; and • diversify and grow the participation of women and youth in aquatic food systems. Ocean literacy The final plenary session at AE2021 was delivered jointly by Dr Laurie Hoffman (in person) and Dr Gesche Krause (online), both of the Alfred Wegener Institute in Germany. The theme was “Creating narratives for sustainable marine food systems – matching ocean literacy, transformation needs and societal priorities”, and Drs Hoffman and Krause brought together two different perspectives focusing on how to change human relationships with the ocean. As Krause put it: “Societal priorities determine opportunities. If we want to reduce plastics pollution or ensure food security, we need narratives to answer these questions.” She added: “We need an interdisciplinary dialogue between natural sciences and social sciences.” As Hoffman explained, their first case study to explore how this could work in practice involved seaweed aquaculture. Despite the great potential of seaweed worldwide, in practice the overwhelming majority of production is in Asia. At the Alfred Wegener Institute a project, “Mak-Pak” has been exploring seaweed-based packaging as an alternative to plastics.While the idea is a novel and perhaps strange concept, the team working on the project found that if the narrative was presented in the right way, consumers had a favourable response. Krause said: “We asked what other interdisciplinary narratives can we create as we strive for sustainability.This project shows that we can create new narratives for the future.” FF

Above from top: Dr Shakuntala Haraksingh Thilsted; Dr Laurie Hoffman; Dr Gesche Krause

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08/11/2021 14:54:12


SCAN ME “Find out more about the new trials with BUTIREX in Aquaculture”

Unique protected sodium butyrate for aquafeed

The gut health revolution www.novation2002.com

Managing aquaculture risk

In-depth knowledge of the industry makes Sunderland Marine an invaluable resource for fish farmers

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ith farmed fish under increasing threat from environmental conditions – including algal blooms caused by excess ocean nutrient load and tropical storms fuelled by rising sea temperatures – few industries are as prone to the effects of climate change as aquaculture. Establishing and maintaining a successful fish farming business therefore requires careful planning and risk management; and this, in turn, relies on a profound knowledge of the industry and the threats it faces. However, Sunderland Marine understands that not every company with interests in fish farming is an expert in the field. Venture capitalists and insurance brokers, for example, may depend on dedicated third-party support to inform decision-making and calculate the scale of risk in their aquaculture portfolios. Sunderland Marine’s aquaculture risk management division has provided support for global aquaculture clients since 1986. It comprises a team of highly qualified specialists who offer research, risk profiling, consultancy and training services. Customers benefit from access to latest industry knowledge; remote or on-site surveys for identifying risks; benchmarking and remediation advice for managing these risks; impartial consultancy on the terms, conditions and coverage of their policies; and bespoke training on a broad range of aquaculture, insurance and loss adjusting topics. In addition to its in-house experts, Sunderland Marine draws on a

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network of consultants from the commercial and academic sides of the industry who share information and advice regarding specific issues identified during site surveys. For more information on our aquaculture risk management services, please visit sunderlandmarine.com and search for “risk management” or contact Duncan Perrin, Aquaculture Manager, at duncan.perrin@sunderlandmarine.com Left: Duncan Perrin, Aquaculture Manager at Sunderland Marine Below: Offshore aquaculture

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Containment and anti-predator protection

Making waves Sound waves are a non-lethal way to deter seals, but there is a debate over their use

I

T’S a simple ques�on fish farmers face: how do you keep the salmon in and predators such as seals out? The solu�ons, however, are many and complex, each with their own advantages and disadvantages that have to be weighed up carefully against harm, cost and other factors. New net and scarer technologies are being developed all the �me, all claiming to offer answers, and new research papers have to be kept on top of. All the while two drivers con�nue relentlessly: consumer demand for salmon and the natural cycles of predator and prey. Seals can each eat 3–7kg (6.6–15.4lb) of food per day, depending on the species. Holes bi�en through nets have let hundreds of thousands of farmed fish escape into the wild. Salmon Scotland (formerly, the Sco�sh Salmon Producers Organisa�on) said that from May 2019 to May 2020 more than half a million farmed salmon in Scotland died as a result of seal a�acks, either directly from a physical a�ack or indirectly from stress arising from being subjected to an a�ack. In one such predator a�ack on 31 December 2020 at a Skye-based farm, 52,000 juvenile salmon were lost. The Portree site, managed by the Sco�sh Salmon Company, was due to have new “seal-proof” ne�ng technology installed by the end of January. What can be done? This month we look at where containment and protec�on are now. The biggest pressure facing Sco�sh fish farmers at the moment comes from more than 5,000km away in their second biggest market, the US, and its upcoming ban on impor�ng salmon from countries that kill or injure marine mammals. The story started back in 1972 when the US passed a landmark conserva�on law called the Marine Mammal Protec�on Act (MMPA), which prohibits

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ac�vi�es that harass (i.e. injure), hunt, capture or kill marine mammals. It protects cetaceans such as whales, dolphins and porpoises, pinnipeds such as seals, and sea o�ers. Fi�y years later, on 1 January 2022, an amendment will come into force that will impact countries from Scotland to Samoa. The new rule will prohibit the US from impor�ng fish and fish products from fisheries that cause inten�onal or incidental “mortality and serious injury of marine mammals”. The clock is �cking closer and closer to midnight on New Year’s Eve. From 1 January 2017 each producer na�on was given exactly five years to apply for and receive a “comparability finding” for each of its fisheries

Above: Seal catching a salmon Below: OTAQ’s SealFence system Opposite from top: Dolphin; the GenusWave TAST system

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08/11/2021 15:08:50


Making waves

scarers”, deter seals from a�acking pens by emi�ng an unpleasant sound underwater as an alterna�ve to the use of lethal force. A range of ADD-type products is available from manufacturers including OTAQ, Ace Aquatec and GenusWave. Although ADDs offer a non-lethal solu�on, campaigners have called for them to be banned, arguing they cause hearing damage to acous�cally sensi�ve

British Made Cage Nets In Nylon & Dyneema Predator Exclusion Nets Anti Foul Coatings expor�ng to the US, confirming that each complies with the new law. If the na�on fails, it will lose the US as a customer. America is the world’s largest importer of seafood, buying about $20bn of product every year. The US was the second largest market for Sco�sh salmon in 2019 with sales worth £179m, and in 2020 sales were worth £104m, down 40% due to the Covid-19 pandemic. It’s a loss Scotland’s economy could ill afford. The need to comply will affect around 150 fish farms in Scotland. Before the deadline the Sco�sh Government must prove this higher standard of aquaculture welfare is on the statute book and being enforced. The spotlight has been focused on the ways fish farms reduce seal preda�on, such as licensed shoo�ng and non-lethal acous�c deterrent devices (ADDs). These devices, also known as “seal

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Containment and anti-predator protection

cetaceans, such as whales and porpoises. In June this year a study carried out by the Sco�sh Associa�on for Marine Science (SAMS) found the “wall of sound” created by conven�onal ADDs targeted at seals could harm porpoises up to 28 kilometres away. Studies of the effects of ADDs have typically focused on single devices. The SAMS research modelled the cumula�ve effect of all the ADDs known to be deployed un�l recently by 120 fish farms along a stretch of the Sco�sh coast from Cape Wrath to the Clyde. In March this year Salmon Scotland announced that no ADD devices of the type deemed to be harmful to marine mammals were being used by its members, so the SAMS study arguably does not reflect current prac�ce. Anne Anderson, then Director of Sustainability at the SSPO/Salmon Scotland, said at the �me: “All devices the sector does not have total confidence in, with regards to the harming of protected species, have been turned off and removed from the marine environment… the Sco�sh salmon farming sector is commi�ed to, where necessary, only using acous�c devices that have been scien�fically proven to be compliant with the US Marine Mammals Protec�on Act.” Since Marc, the salmon farming sector has gone further. Fish Farmer has been made aware that Salmon Scotland’s members have more recently agreed to stop using any ADDs – new or old genera�on – unless and un�l Marine Scotland can confirm that they can be used without harm to marine mammals, and also whether they will require a European Protected Species (EPS) licence. So as of now the ADDs operated by the big aquaculture operators have been switched off, although it should be noted that ADDs are also used by other industries, such as offshore energy. A spokesperson for Marine Scotland set out the organisa�on’s posi�on: “Acous�c deterrent devices are one of the tools used by the aquaculture sector to manage seals. They have a range of applica�ons in European waters – for example, including in rela�on to offshore wind farm construc�on. The technology is constantly evolving and we are fully suppor�ve of the rapid innova�on that is taking place. “We will work closely with the sector and relevant stakeholders to ensure that the aquaculture industry can address the risks associated with seals interac�ng with finfish farms through a range of non-lethal methods, while ensuring that marine wildlife is provided with protec�on afforded through our environmental obliga�ons.” Wildlife charity Clyde Porpoise CIC claims that even more up-to-date ADDs generate an unacceptable level of underwater “noise”. Earlier this year Clyde Porpoise carried out its own acous�c tes�ng in the Firth of Clyde and it says that the results show even the ADDs introduced in recent years are unacceptable.

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have “noWe concerns about compliance going forward

The organisa�on stated: “The acous�c data indicate there is no significant difference between 2019 and 2021 ADD signal outputs (i.e., frequency content). Based on this evidence we dispute any asser�on from operators that this ‘new-genera�on system’ used in 2021 is somehow more compliant than ADD outputs used in 2019… the ADD source levels are well above the 120dB value advised by Marine Scotland to cause disturbance and warrant immediate applica�on for EPS licence.” Marine Scotland has declined to comment as the concerns raised by Clyde Porpoise “are currently part of an ac�ve inves�ga�on”. So how can a new genera�on of ADDs deter seals without collateral damage to cetaceans? Aquaculture technology businesses, such as Ace Aquatec and GenusWave, claim they have the answer: “startle” devices that target seals when they approach rather than relying on a “wall of sound”. Nathan Pyne-Carter, Chief Execu�ve of Ace Aquatec, explained how its an�-predator technology works: “Ace Aquatec’s acous�c startle response devices were first developed in 2001 by John Ace-Hopkins with a key difference over alterna�ves: they made a discrete noise when triggered by the presence of a seal, which created an acous�c startle response (ASR) in the predator. This was a major departure from alterna�ves on the market, which relied on a permanent fence of sound. “Over the years we have refined our ASR systems, adding lower-frequency transducers that play sounds outside the hearing range of cetaceans such as porpoises, and thanks to Sco�sh Government grants totalling nearly £1m, we have been able to create a highly modular an�-predator approach with intelligent triggering as well as electric startle response (ESR) systems. “The ESR devices include a submerged electric net, an electric fish that sits on the mort sock, and surface electric fences to prevent seals breaching the surface net and becoming trapped in a pen. The triggering devices u�lised a combina�on of thermal imaging and advanced image-recogni�on technology to automa�cally iden�fy and track seals or non-target species. The ra�onale of the ESR technology was to complement the acous�c systems by crea�ng sensi�sa�on (an avoidance of habitua�on) and a condi�oned avoidance response to the general area of preda�on. “It is the same intelligent systems that have recently been shortlisted for the Global Aquaculture Alliance’s Innova�on award.” Compliance with the Marine Mammal Protec�on Act is clearly a key issue. Pyne-Carter said: “NOAA has a website where the characteris�cs of deterrent devices can now be plugged in to assess the compliance of a device (albeit the website is a work in progress and cer�ficates are provisional pending final approval). Unlike tradi�onal barrier systems that rely on a con�nuous fence of sound, Ace Aquatec’s systems rely on the opposite: an effect of a rapid pulse las�ng no more than a few milliseconds, which creates a startle response that is hard-wired into the mammalian nervous system and cannot be overcome with learning. “This necessarily means we have the lowest duty

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08/11/2021 15:11:11


Making waves cycle (the �me where sound is played compared with when it is not), the lowest acous�c energy output (average volumes across the emission) and a targeted frequency that is responsive to marine mammals’ sensi�ve hearing thresholds. Beyond this, every ASR and ESR device used is connected to the internet, allowing all transmission to be monitored and recorded for inspec�on. Furthermore, the development of our intelligent triggering systems allows marine wildlife around the farms to be counted and tracked. All of these combined mean that we currently receive a pass for all variants of our equipment on the NOAA deterrent portal (cer�ficates are provisional un�l the final model is approved) and we have no concerns about compliance going forward.” This is also the approach adopted by GenusWave. The company’s founder, Steven Alevy, said: “Targeted Acous�c Startle Technology (TAST) is an innova�ve technology that leverages Mother Nature to safely ‘�ckle’ an animal’s startle reflex – a natural bio-reflex innate to all mammals. A specific frequency – tailored to each species – triggers an ins�nc�ve flight response and naturally condi�ons the targeted animals to avoid the protected area.” Ini�ally funded by the Sco�sh Government to provide an animal-friendly method to keep seals at bay, the TAST technology was developed at the University of St. Andrews. Alevy says that TAST is the only acous�c seal deterrent approved for use by the Aquaculture Stewardship Council, and TAST meets all the rigorous demands of the US Marine Mammal Protec�on Act. The technology is currently being used by

NOAA off the coast of Alaska in some of the most environmentally sensi�ve waters in the US. As he explains: “TAST broadcasts a specific frequency. In response seals demonstrate clear avoidance condi�oning, an uncontrollable flight response is triggered and condi�ons the animals to avoid the area. Seals do not habituate to the reflex and repeated exposure only leads to increased responsiveness. “ADDs make preda�on worse. Conven�onal ADDs operate on the premise that causing pain will deter animals. This is now proven to be ineffec�ve over the long term. Published research has established that seals habituate to the deterrent sound of the ADDs, and that ADDs can cause hearing damage and harm non-target species. “Peer-reviewed research published in the journal Animal Conservation shows that, unlike ADDs, the Targeted Acous�c Startle Technology can be used to deter seals without adversely affec�ng whales and porpoises.” All these new technologies will come at a cost, but the manufacturers hope it will be paid for by the value of the fish not lost to seal a�acks. FF

Above: Common porpoise Opposite from top: The Ace Aquatec RT1; Ace Aquatec’s Chief execu�ve, Nathan PyneCarter

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Ace Aquatec – Client content

Stunningly effective Humane smolt stunner helps hatcheries target new markets

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ce Aquatec’s humane smolt stunner can help the aquaculture sector further reduce its carbon footprint by conver�ng waste into a natural, healthy and safe ingredient for pet food products and fish oils. Using Ace Aquatec’s award-winning in-water Humane Stunner Universal (HSU) technology, the Humane Culling System (HCS) stuns smolt and juveniles without using chemicals, thus transforming a costly by-product into a sustainable fish source. It has applica�ons for salmon broodstock and across fishery by-catches. Fish due to be culled for quality reasons are typically treated with a chemical anaesthesia, rendering them unsuitable for consump�on. They are then incinerated and end up either in landfill or in ensilage bins. By removing the need for chemicals, the smolt stunner provides a more ethical way of disposing of excess smolts at hatchery facili�es, as well as producing an omega-rich protein that can be harnessed for new revenue streams. Demand for premium pet food has soared since the pandemic as pet owners choose healthier diets for their companion animals. Salmon offers a more sustainable source of protein for pet food than the wild fish that is tradi�onally exploited for this market and, with Ace’s pioneering technology, is now a viable alterna�ve. Meanwhile, the health benefits for humans of omega 3 fa�y acids, present in fish oil, are well documented and this market is �pped for significant growth, with increasing demand among the growing 65-plus demographic. The global fish oil market size was valued at $1,905.77m (around £1,379m) in 2019, and is es�mated to reach $2,844.12m (£2,059m) by 2027. Ace Aquatec adapted its humane electric stunner with a cull rather than stun se�ng for smolts. Juvenile fish are pumped into the entrance chute of the stunner, from where they fall directly into the water of the stun tube. The electric field in this water ensures that the fish lose consciousness immediately and never recover. The water is pumped at a rate for transpor�ng the fish to the final dewatering grid over a period of about 40 seconds. The fish then fall into a harvest tub while the water is recirculated by an integrated water pump. Ice can be used in the harvest tub in order to preserve the fish. Trials have shown that up to one tonne of smolts can be processed per hour, with 100% stun/kill rates. The amount of waste from average hatchery facili�es is between 5%- 8% of total produc�on, but with Ace Aquatec’s smolt stunner enabling culled fish to enter the pet food chain, waste can be reduced to less than 1% of produc�on.

Currently, Scotland produces approximately 55 million smolts a year; with 5% (excluding natural mortality) culled at an average cull weight of 35g; that is 105 tonnes of fish waste annually. Farmers want to see their fish go to use, rather than going to waste, and Ace Aquatec’s self-contained, transportable smolt stunner offers them an opportunity to reduce waste across their smolt grow out. Jarl van den Berg, General Manager of Hendrix Gene�cs in Scotland, a leading salmon smolt produc�on and breeding company, partnered with Ace Aquatec and New Zealand King Salmon in the development of the smolt stunner. “This is the best solu�on in the market in terms of animal welfare standards and environmental impact,” he said. “The stunner will set a new sustainable standard for the rest of the industry to follow as it has improved our environmental footprint and more importantly allowed us to use the fish for value-added purposes.” The Ace Aquatec smolt stunner is now being rolled out worldwide. FF

Above: Ace Aquatec’s Humane Culling System at Hendrix Gene�cs Below: The HCS Stunner

is the “bestThissolu� on in the market

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08/11/2021 12:04:29


SIMPLICITY STRENGTH STABILITY High quality cage nets and robust mooring solutions made for the harsh conditions of the North Atlantic

Specialized in the tough high energy sites Vonin.indd 53

08/11/2021 12:05:35


Fish health and welfare

Focus on the

fish

Health and welfare are more important than ever, for economic and ethical reasons

F

ISH health and welfare has long been a priority for all responsible producers in aquaculture, but there is now more of a focus on this issue than ever before. Partly this is due to a growing consensus among the scien�fic community that fish experience pain and distress in much the same way that mammals do. It also reflects a growing awareness on the part of consumers about where their food comes from and the ethical implica�ons of how it is produced. The Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC), one of the leading bodies se�ng ethical and environmental standards in aquaculture, already has standards for health and welfare, but it has just concluded the first phase of a consulta�on on a revised set of welfare indicators. Launching the consulta�on – which closed at the end of last month – ASC Standards Co-ordinator Janneke Aelen said: “We are seeking to ensure that the Fish Welfare content [in the ASC’s Farm Standard] is prac�cal, auditable, implementable and achieving its intent to improve animal welfare.” The scope of proposed changes includes:  housing – including water quality and stocking density;  feeding;  health – scoring body condi�on; and  behavioural indicators. The revised standard will also require that producers draw up and implement a site-specific animal welfare management plan including risk assessment, mi�ga�on strategies, monitoring and staff training.

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The ASC recognises that aquaculture involves many different species – much more than terrestrial farming – and so indicators such as water quality and stocking density will have to take account of the needs of different species, as well as environmental condi�ons. For example, while there will be outer boundaries set for stocking density, op�mum density will have to be assessed by producers through observing health and welfare indicators. The ASC is approaching the ques�on of slaughter step by step. While most farmed salmon are stunned before slaughter, this is not true of all species in aquaculture and the ASC is way about imposing an industry-wide requirement for stunning. As a first step the ASC proposes ending slaughter prac�ces that cause “extremely impaired welfare” – in other words, inhumane slaughter methods. Examples likely to be banned for ASC-cer�fied producers include asphyxia�on, the use of CO2 and salt baths/ammonia. Phase 2 of the new rules is likely to see the exclusion of slaughter by ice slurry, although live chilling, if carried out humanely, is likely to be allowed. Following the ini�al consulta�on, the ASC hopes to publish a detailed dra� for consulta�on in September 2022. Meanwhile, in Scotland change is also under way. In October last year Marine Scotland set out priori�es for a “refreshed” Farmed Fish Health Framework. The framework, which is an important guide for policy, will focus on the causes of fish mortality, the impacts of climate change and the development of new treatments. The Sco�sh Government’s Chief Veterinary Officer, Dr Sheila Voas, was appointed as Chair of the steering group reviewing the framework. So how has it gone so far? Dr Voas told Fish Farmer: “The Farmed Fish Health Frame-

The ASC is “approaching

the ques�on of slaughter step by step

Above left: Sturgeon farm Left: Dr Sheila Voas Opposite from top: The MV Kallista Helen; The VAKI Density Control system

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Focus on the fish

work provides a truly collabora�ve forum to help resolve challenges facing the sector. New addi�ons to the steering group include the Veterinary Medicines Directorate and Marine Scotland climate change experts to ensure we have the right exper�se on hand to address our key areas of focus. “We have made considerable progress since the new steering group convened in December last year. The Sco�sh Salmon Producers Organisa�on [now Salmon Scotland] is in the final stages of iden�fying and ranking major disease concerns and the main causes of fish mortality to inform key risk areas that we can help address for improved health outcomes.” Meanwhile, the last few months have seen a lot of ac�vity on the health and welfare front. For the salmon sector the problem of sea lice is one of the most serious – and costly – facing farmers. A major new weapon in the war against lice is now in commercial use in Norway, in the form of the CleanTreat system from Benchmark Animal Health. The CleanTreat delicing system, used in combina�on with the company’s pes�cide Ectosan, involves trea�ng salmon in a closed tank and then applying a water purifica�on process that the company says removes all traces of the pes�cide. Ectosan has already been effec�vely approved for use in the EU – at least in principle – by the European Commission, and in September it was awarded the highest level of cer�fica�on for sustainability by the ASC. The ASC’s review concluded that CleanTreat

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merits a score of “zero” – the best possible ra�ng – for environmental impact. Ectosan is based on the neonico�noid imidacloprid, which has been associated with the decline of bee and other insect popula�ons. Imidacloprid is banned in the EU for most agricultural uses and members of the European Parliament voted to bar its use as part of the CleanTreat system, but so far the Parliament has not been able to overturn the European Commission’s ruling. Despite specula�on about where CleanTreat/Ectosan might be trialled next, there has so far been no formal applica�on to have it approved for deployment outside Norway. Also on the sea lice front, Ocean Kine�cs and ScaleAQ have just completed the installa�on of an innova�ve thermolicer treatment system on Mull-based Inverlussa Marine Services’ new mul�-purpose vessel, the MV Kallista Helen. The 26-metre boat, built by Ferguson Marine in Port Glasgow, is on long-term lease to Sco�sh Sea Farms in Shetland and the work has been carried out at the Morrison Dock in Lerwick.

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Fish health and welfare

The boat has been designed to minimise fish handling and maximise fish welfare, with the bespoke thermolicer giving Sco�sh Sea Farms the ability to swi�ly address sea lice levels, in order to maintain good fish health. John Henderson, Managing Director of Ocean Kine�cs, said: “We were delighted to have the opportunity to work with ScaleAQ on the design and manufacture of key elements of the thermolicer for Sco�sh Sea Farms, and we are really pleased with how the project has gone. It is now fully tested and the system has proved to be very efficient and highly effec�ve. “The pipework has been constructed for a swi� and smooth journey for the fish, and a sophis�cated filtra�on and separa�on system ensures that the sea lice are not released back into the marine environment.” Sco�sh Sea Farms’ Shetland Area Manager, Robbie Cou�s, said: “This is the first vessel where we’ve built the boat to suit the system rather than building the system to suit the boat, and the benefits are clear. “From a straighter, wider pipe layout that creates a gentler experience for the fish to a bespoke shelter deck that protects the equipment and offers greater seaworthiness and crew safety, we’ve had total input from start to finish – led throughout by our Engineering and Project Manager, Keith Fraser – on how and where everything should be.” Fish handling is also an important aspect of health and welfare, and one of the shortlisted entrants for the Aqua Nor Innova�on Award was the Density Control system from VAKI, part of the MSD Animal Health group. The system, which operates within the VAKI SmartFlow system, monitors, controls and automates fish density to maximise fish welfare, so that moving fish for vaccina�on, grading or coun�ng can be carried out with minimum distress to them. The academic world has also been focusing on fish health. For example, a group of aquaculture researchers in Scotland is aiming to develop a simple and cost-effec�ve mass tes�ng tool that could significantly enhance fish health and wellbeing by quickly and proac�vely detec�ng and differen�a�ng between a range of cardiac condi�ons in salmon. The consor�um will seek to be�er screen and characterise the heart health of salmon by studying specific blood biomarkers that indicate the presence of cardiomyopathies such as heart and skeletal muscle inflamma�on, cardiomyopathy syndrome and pancreas disease. Assessing the diseases with high precision is difficult with current diagnos�c techniques, par�cularly when they are at their early stages. Bringing together experts from the University of Glasgow, University of

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Edinburgh, Cooke Aquaculture Scotland, Life Diagnos�cs Ltd, Moredun Research Ins�tute, Benchmark Gene�cs Ltd and the Sustainable Aquaculture Innova�on Centre, the project aims to deliver a new tool that is simple to use for fish health professionals and easily deployable at fish farms, and brings immediate and prac�cal advantages in disease preven�on, earlier treatment, stock management and breeding for disease resistance. The researchers will collect and analyse salmon blood to track changes in relevant biomarkers from fish at a variety of Cooke Aquaculture Scotland sites and trials of Benchmark Atlan�c salmon strains over the next few months. The University of Edinburgh will assess the samples for cardiac disease, determine the health status of the fish and provide valida�on data of the diagnos�c tests. The tests – which should return results in as li�le as 45 minutes – could help producers to understand how fish are affected and inform best stock management choices, as well as iden�fying fish with greater physiological resistance to cardiomyopathies. Philippe Sourd, Senior Veterinarian at Cooke Aquaculture Scotland, said: “The aquaculture sector is science-led and as responsible salmon producers we are constantly looking at prac�cal innova�on that maximises fish health and welfare. This project could equip us with the tools to conduct meaningful popula�on health screening at pen or farm

Above: Fish farm, Thailand Below: Salmon steak Opposite from top: Fish farm, Canada; Bernt Mar�nsen

The Farmed Fish Health “ Framework provides a truly collabora�ve forum ”

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Focus on the fish

level, which will further increase our understanding of salmon cardiac health pa�erns.” In the private sector, last year two of the best-known names in fish health came together when PHARMAQ Analy�q, part of the Zoe�s Group, acquired FishVet Group. Now, FishVet has officially rebranded as PHARMAQ Analy�q. The acquisi�on more than doubled PHARMAQ’s capacity in terms of histopathology. customers will now have access to analyses from its experts in laboratories in Norway, Scotland, Ireland and Chile. At the same �me, the new company PHARMAQ Analy�q will be moving its business and service provision to a new customer portal, iWise. Announcing the name change, PHARMAQ said: “A rapidly growing and challenging market is making ever increasing demands on delivery performance and exper�se. We are proud to have become an even stronger and more relevant partner for the aquaculture sector, sharing the common goal of promo�ng improved fish health and welfare.” In October the company also announced the appointment Bernt Mar�nsen as the new Senior Vice-President of PHARMAQ. Based in Norway

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

Mar�nsen is a graduated veterinarian from the Norwegian College of Veterinary Science and has more than 25 years of experience in the aquaculture industry. He holds a PhD in therapeu�cs for fish. Glenn David, Zoe�s Execu�ve Vice-President and Group President, Interna�onal Opera�ons, Aquaculture, BioDevices and Pet Insurance, said: “Mar�nsen’s business acumen and recognised exper�se, combined with his academic background as veterinarian, will posi�on him as a strong contributor to drive the growth of environmentally safe and efficacious products to the aquaculture industry.” With more ac�vity than ever on the health and welfare front, he will have plenty to do. FF

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.

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Fish Welfare and Health v2.indd 57

57

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Pharmaq– Client content

Being Isolated

Isolating specific strains is a key control point in disease prevention

BY CHRIS MITCHELL

T

he period between 2012 and 2018 saw a steady increase in the prevalence, in Norway, of Yersiniosis or Enteric Redmouth (ERM) in farmed Atlantic salmon, and not just in freshwater where this disease is traditionally encountered. Outbreaks in seawater began to emerge in the latter part of this period, suggesting a strong link between disease in production fish at sea and smolt origin, and indicating that, in many cases, the condition is carried with stock from the hatchery to the marine farm. Over the last three years however this situation has been effectively reversed through vaccination and, according to the

A 2 1.8 Vaccine

1.6

Field

OD 405 nm

1.4 1.2 1 0.8 0.6 0.4 0.2 1.6 1

0.1

0.01

0.001

0.0001

Bacterial dilution (OD 600 nm)

OD 405 nm

Above right: Salmon smolts CAPTION: Each graph illustrates a serological comparison between a trout Above: Rainbow Right: Chris Mitchell B bacterial isolate derived from the field (red) with one used in a vaccine Left: Each graph 1.6 (blue). In chart a) the two isolates are closely matched serologically illustratesand a serological 1.4 comparison between a in chart b) they are not. NB. The examples shown are for illustrative bacterial isolate derived purposes1.2only and are NOT derived from Yersinia data. from the field (red) with Vaccine one used in a vaccine 1 na Field (blue). In chart a) the ccine 0.8 two isolates are closely y and matched serologically 0.6 and in chart b) they ve are not. NB. The 0.4 examples shown are for illustrative purposes 0.2 only and are NOT 0 derived from Yersinia 1 0.1 0.01 0.001 0.0001 data. Bacterial dilution (OD 600 nm)

58

Pharmaq Ltd - PED.indd 58

B

1.4 Fish Health Report 2020 (Sommerset et al) the 1.2 is now effectively under control. disease Like many bacterial diseases of fish, Yersiniosis1can readily be, and has historically been, treated 0.8 with antibiotics under veterinary supervision. However, for reasons that are well 0.6understood by readers of this publication, the use of antimicrobials as a treatment for 0.4 infection must be, and indeed is, viewed as the remedy of last resort. 0.2the UK, the vaccination of rainbow trout In against Yersiniosis has enjoyed a long and suc0 cessful track record with the first ERM vaccines 1 0.1 0.01 0.001 being developed in the late 1970s. These, Bacterial dilution (OD 600 nm) and newer products, have greatly reduced the reliance on antibiotics in trout species for this condition. More recently research has honed our understanding of vaccine use revealing that, just as antibiotic selection must be informed by isolate sensitivity, it turns out

OD 405 nm

0

www.fishfarmermagazine.com

08/11/2021 12:08:06


Being Isolated

The taxonomy of these organisms is both complex and evolving

that a parallel dynamic operates with Yersinia vaccines. It is now widely understood that Enteric Redmouth can be brought on by any one of a suite of quite different strains and biotypes of the causa�ve agent Yersina ruckerii and that fish can only successfully exploit a vaccine that closely matches the strain by which they are challenged. A wide study of strains and biotypes commonly found in Sco�sh aquaculture (Ormsby M.J. et al) found a clonal dis�nc�on between strains associated with Atlan�c salmon (19) and those isolated from rainbow trout (5). Broadly speaking, disease in rainbow trout is normally a�ributed to strains of Yersinia designated as 01a whilst disease in salmon by those designated 01b. The implica�on is that for a fish to respond well to a vaccine for ERM, the closer the serological match between the isolate in the vaccine and the one causing the problem, the be�er. That said, the taxonomy of these organisms is both complex and evolving. Phylogene�cs apart though, if you are concerned about the risk of ERM occurring on your site the advice is, as always, to discuss your situa�on with your veterinarian who will be able to recommend an appropriate prophylac�c solu�on going forward. Chris Mitchell is Sales Manager, Pharmaq Ltd REFERENCES Sommerset I, Bang Jensen B, Bornø B, Haukaas A and Brun E (Eds.). The Health Situa�on in Norwegian Aquaculture 2020. Published by the Norwegian Veterinary Ins�tute 2021 Yersinia ruckeri Isolate Recovered from Dis-

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Pharmaq Ltd - PED.indd 59

eased Atlan�c salmon (Salmo salar) in Scotland Are More Diverse than Those from Rainbow Trout (Onchorhynchus mykiss) and Represent Dis�nct Subpopula�ons. Applied and Environmental Microbiology. October 2016 Vol 82 No. 9 pp 5785-5794 FF

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INNOVATIONS ACROSS THE CONTINUUM OF CARE We are committed to help fish farmers and veterinarians to keep fish stocks healthy. Our broad R&D capabilities place us in a unique position to serve their needs throughout the continuum of fish healthcare.

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59

28/10/2021 15:54

08/11/2021 12:09:54


Products and services

What’s NEW Monthly update on industry innovations and solutions from around the world BioMar names Huijsmans as Marketing Director, Salmon

Getting up close and hands on

AT Collins Nets we have been manufacturing our range of hand nets for over 35 years. Now the leading supplier to many Scottish, English and International fish farms, our stainless steel dip nets are a strong, reliable and trusted method of hands on surveying. Constructed from marine grade 316 stainless steel tube and bar, these dip nets are lightweight and very strong. Our dip nets are available with a choice of handles and mesh sizes, or as sperate components. Further details and easy ordering available at www.collinsnets.co.uk

Mowi tests show Garware fabric is an effective barrier against Caligus larvae EXPERTS at Mowi’s research centre at Huenquillahue, Chile, have been evaluating the performance of Garware’s latest generation X12 lice skirt fabrics as barriers against Caligus larvae. The sea louse Caligus rogercresseyi is one of the most serious parasites affecting the Chilean salmon farming sector. The tests, carried out in conjunction with the Austral University of Chile, found that the Garware fabrics blocked 99.6% of the larvae in their Nauplii stage of development and 99.7% of larvae in the Copepoditos stage. Mowi concluded Garware X12 is recommended as a barrier against caligus larvae and also allows the passage of water flow, helping to maximize natural oxygenation. The researchers said: “The effectiveness tests of the fabrics… have brought good results and we are considering them within the non-drug management alternatives for the control of this parasite.” www.garwarefibres.com

60

What's New - Nov 21.indd 60

AQUAFEED business BioMar has announced the appointment of Marcel Huijsmans as Marketing Director for the group’s Salmon division. Huijsmans joins BioMar from Hendrix Genetics, where he has been Director of Communications and Marketing for the last 12 years. The new position, BioMar said, has been established to ensure strong leadership on delivering agile product development to meet customer needs, together with a rigorous and focus on customer value and sustainability. Paddy Campbell VP, Salmon Division in BioMar said: “With 20 years of experience within the food industry and agriculture/ aquaculture businesses, across various categories, ranging from potato products to fresh meat and today animal genetics, Marcel brings a wide range of competences within product and concept development, market dynamics and research.” www.biomar.com

£2m fit-out completed at European Marine Science Park

FOUR marine science cluster companies are expanding into new workspace at the European Marine Science Park at Dunstaffnage, near Oban. This follows completion of a £2m fit-out of the ground floor of the Park’s Malin House by Highlands and Islands Enterprise. Malin House was completed in 2012 and is home to 10 marine sector companies. The new laboratories and offices were designed in consultation with those companies and the work was carried out by local contractor, TSL Ltd. Patogen AS, Tritonia Scientific Ltd and Oceanium have already leased some of the new space, along with Shetland firm Ocean Kinetics, which is expanding into Argyll. Image: Anita Eriksson (operations manager) and Siv Høgberg Iversen (project/startup manager) of PatoGen, in the new lab space. www.hie.co.uk

SSC chooses Boris Net for bird protection

FOLLOWING highly successful sea trials, Boris Net has received a large follow up order for its innovative High Pole Bird Net system, from the Scottish Salmon Company. MD John Howard says the Scottish Salmon Company managers were looking for a system that should “…be as light and easy as possible for staff to work and maintain offshore whilst being effective in bird control”. The system utilises 100mm square mesh netting with a low visual impact. The material used is new to the market and lightweight with high strength and practically no stretch, which means the system is easy to tension on site in minutes. John Howard added: “We have had to work within strict time limits, which we are always pleased to report we met with time to spare!” www.borisnet.co.uk

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08/11/2021 14:34:49


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Coming in the next issue... DECEMBER ISSUE • Breeding and Genetics • Fish Handling • Lifting & Cranes

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

For more information on opportunities for advertising with editorial content around these subjects please contact: Janice Johnston 0044 (0) 131 551 7925 jjohnston@fishfarmermagazine.com

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Industry Diary

Industry DIARY The latest aquaculture events, conferences and courses DECEMBER 21 AQUACULTURE AFRICA 2021 Alexandria, Egypt December 11-14, 2021

APRIL 22

AUGUST 22

SEAFOOD EXPO GLOBAL WAS NORTH AMERICA & AQUACULTURE CANADA /SEAFOOD PROCESSING St John’s Newfoundland, Canada. GLOBAL www.seafoodexpo.com/global

Fira, Barcelona, Spain April 26-28, 2022

August 15-18, 2022

WORLD AQUACULTURE 2022 Qingdao, PR China TBD

SEPTEMBER 22 FEBRUARY 22 AQUACULTURE 2022 San Diego, California, USA February 28 - March 4, 2022

MAY 22 AQUACULTURE UK 2022

AQUACULTURE EUROPE 2022 Rimini, Italy September 27-30, 2022

MARCH 22 2022 SEAFOOD EXPO NORTH AMERICA/ SEAFOOD PROCESSING

Boston, Massachusetts, USA March 13-15, 2022

NOVEMBER 22 Aviemore will once again be the venue for this biennial 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 2022 it promises to reach even further across the broader aquaculture markets in both the UK and Europe.

RASTECH CONFERENCE

LACQUA22

Panama City, Panama November 14-17, 2022

Aviemore, United Kingdom May 3-5, 2022

RAStech 2022 is the venue for learning, networking and knowledge sharing on RAS technologies, design and implementation across the world.

Hilton Head Island, SC, USA March 30-31, 2022

WORLD AQUACULTURE 2022 Singapore November 29-December 2, 2022

WORLD AQUACULTURE 2021 Merida, Mexico May 24-27, 2022

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08/11/2021 14:35:58


Events

Adisseo online seminar tackles feed issues

Fish International returns to Bremen

GERMANY’S leading seafood industry trade show, Fish International, is coming back to Bremen in February next year. Taking place between Aquaculture_quarter_127x165.qxp_Layout 1 21/05/2020 16:11 PageSunday 1 13 and Tuesday 15 February 2022, this biennial event will feature innovations from producers, retailers and the catering and hospitality industry, as well as discussion on trending topics such as aquaculture and sustainability. Fish International will bePage accompanied by a parallel event, GASTRO Aquaculture_quarter_127x165.qxp_Layout 1 21/05/2020 16:11 1 IVENT, which represents the north German restaurant and hospitality sector, which provides a forum for the latest developments in hospitality, catering, canteen catering and the hotel sector. The venue for both will be Messe Bremen, the conference venue at the heart of Bremen. The fair will also include a forum to discuss the future of recirculating aquaculture systems (RAS), and a discussion on the challenge posed by cell-grown and plant-based alternative “seafoods”. “BLUE is the new green”: interior designers might not agree, but that New exhibitors for 2022 include frozen food specialist Pickenpack is the theme of an online seminar being hosted by feed additives group Seafoods, wholesaler Zeelandia van Belzen and importers including H&F Adisseo on Tuesday 23 November. Handelskontor and EWA Wessendorf. The seminar is the second edition of Aqu@Event, a series that launched in March this year. Topics at the November event include fish health, white faeces syndrome in shrimp, feed cost efficiency, digestive performance and farm care. Dr Peter Coutteau, BU Director Aquaculture at Adisseo, says: “Challenging times are here to stay and we need novel technologies and insights for aquaculture producers to enhance their sustainability and economic resilience.” All talks will be subtitled and followed by a liveSCOTLAND panel discussion with AVIEMORE, the speakers, during which the audience will be able to ask the speakers questions. The webinar also features booth” with have informa19 a-“virtual 21 MAY 2021 tion kiosks around issues in aquaculture nutrition and health. Find out more online at www.aquaevent-by-adisseo.com/en

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08/11/2021 12:13:01


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Opinion – Inside track

What’s in a word? BY NICK JOY

I

N last month’s edition the definition of sustainable investment for the blue economy was discussed (“A question of definition”, Fish Farmer October 2021). As sustainability is one of my favourite topics I felt that I should add my ha’penny worth! I can hear my children yawning at the very thought. When we first put “sustainability” on our stand in Brussels, it was the only stand with the word on it. By the time I stepped down it was on every stand. I was invited to Norway to give a talk to some of the industry leaders on the subject. It is engraved deeply on my memory because one of those industry leaders said, and I quote directly: “All very interesting, but none of our customers are asking for it!” It seems unbelievable that so little time ago anyone actually said that, let alone an industry leader. It was especially weird as his customers, in some cases, were the same as ours. It has been such a bugbear of mine that it was the central theme of an annual talk I gave at Plymouth University. My fear for sustainability was that it would become an abused term like the word “quality”. When I was young, a hell of a long time ago, Quality Street sweets were called that because “quality” meant “good quality”. Very soon the marketeers got hold of it and implied that there were various levels of quality, which meant that defining quality became more muddied and unclear. So I feared for “sustainability” and I still do. In those days sustainability had a very simple Oxford English Dictionary definition: “That which does not deplete natural resources”. It is such a clear and precise definition, but – surprise, surprise – that is not what the word is taken to mean now. We have mealy-mouthed definitions like “the quality of being able to continue for a long time” (Cambridge English Dictionary) or “the use of natural products or energy in a way that does not harm the environment”. How and why this happened could fill a book. The fact is that sustainability is about the environment and how we use it. It is a simple concept that if we misuse the basic materials we have on this Earth, then our grandchildren will run out. The problem was people worried that it might affect their field. So the social scientists got involved and insisted that it must include sustainability for human beings too. In other words if it affected the human population negatively, then it wasn’t sustainable; and then the money people got involved, insisting that if you didn’t have profitability, then the ventures would fail and so that wasn’t sustainable. And so “People, Planet, Prosperity” came about or “triple bottom line sustainability”. It was all incredibly well meaning, but horribly diluting. I am not suggesting that the intention was to dilute the meaning, but nonetheless it happened. The strength of the word is its simplicity, and environmental sustainability trumps the rest. If people or profits suffer, there will still be enough resources for future generations. If the environment suffers, there will not. Some corporate responsibility statements have diluted the word even further. With a simple word that means something simple it is easy to see if someone is doing it or not. If it is a combination of things, then it is easier for companies to argue that one thing conflicts with another.

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“isThethatfact

sustainability is about the environment and how we use it

Yet if I said to you now that we can’t achieve sustainability because otherwise profits will suffer, you would rightly point out that profitability is irrelevant to sustainability. Profit is utterly irrelevant if there’s nothing to eat. Not that profitability is irrelevant, but “sustainability” is about natural resources and using them in a renewable way. Bringing this back to aquaculture, there are so many ways that aquaculture is more sustainable than many food-producing industries. From the use of fishmeal to zero-input farming, aquaculture has a range of practices that are sustainable to various degrees. Things like seaweed farming are very high on the scale, but even that is not completely sustainable. It suffers from – for example – the need for floats, transport to market and many other things. So the aspiration to be sustainable can guide a business but, like all of the best ideals, it is not achievable. Those who do not like this dilute the concept. Saying “we are striving for sustainability” does not cut the mustard in today’s world, but neither does diluting the meaning of the word. The difficulty for most producers is the plethora of people who think they understand their world better. So the virtue signallers cling onto words like sustainability and think that everyone should achieve it. Thus, industries and government bodies feel they need to dilute the word. For us as an industry sustainability must be central to what we do or we won’t have businesses, not just because regulators will shut us down, but – much more importantly – because we won’t have sites on which to farm. FF

www.fishfarmermagazine.co.uk

08/11/2021 15:12:38


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