Fish Farmer November 2022

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Fish Farmer NOVEMBER 2022


Taking care of your fish

The global market in 2022 UNAFFJORDABLE?

Reaction to Norway’s new tax

Little wonders

ASSG Conference

The bleke: ice age survivor

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Editor’s Welcome Welcome


orld demand for farmedprovince salmon is the afarmers wanttotothe �tle ierra del Fuego, the southernmost ofstrong Argen�and na, has good claim produce more. The key obstacle is getting consent for new or expanded “The end of the world.” marine fish farms. Earlier this month the regional legislature of the province voted to ban open net This month, a look at the government’s planning application in to salmon farming. Comingwe on take top of the Danish decisionprocess last autumn Scotland and in particular the stage of the process that has seen a in curtail any further growth of fish farming at sea, and the ongoing struggle of the industry number of applications fail over the past few years – getting consent from the local Canada to resist the closure of farms in the Discovery Islands, it is clearer than ever that the authority. Does this represent democracy in action or a barrier to progress? And could fish farming industry needs to make its case in order just to stay in business. the long, expensive undertaking be reformed without jeopardising the right of local It’s not all gloom, however. At the North Atlan�c Seafood Forum – held online this year people to have their say? – The Norway’s Prime Minister Solberg belief that including investmenta in the blue November issue alsoErna focuses on reiterated fish healthher and welfare, report from economy is a route to saving the environment, not harming it. Also at the NASF, chief Nofima on a study that shows salmon are very sensitive to the potentially dangerous gas execu� ves sulphide and analysts alike were agreement hydrogen (H2S), even in in small doses. that the industry’s biggest challenge is finding ways to the world’s growing for their product –what arguably, that’shave a good Legislators in meet different jurisdictions aredemand increasingly recognising scientists problem to have. been arguing for some time – that fish are sentient beings. This has implications for our In this issue report on thewelfare NASF and present the rst part a preview of Aqua obligation towe safeguard fish and,also particularly, forfihow fishofare slaughtered. In Nor the 2021, one of the industry’s biggest tradeofshows. UK, terrestrial animals have a number legal protections where slaughter is concerned – What’s happening in aq could thisissue be extended to farmed fish? Sandy Neil explores the issues. The July also features a profile of Norcod, currently the front runner in the race to in the UK and around th We also feature an ice age survivor, bleke, or dwarf which hasanadapted revive the cod farming industry. Find outthe why Norcod’s Chiefsalmon, Execu�ve, Chris� Riber, to What’s happening in aquacu a life entirely its access believes this �in mefresh theywater have abecause model that works. to the sea was cut off thousands of years w in the UK and around the wo ago. The focus blekeon came to extinction a restocking programme it. being Now We also twoclose aquaculture projects in Guatemala and The Bahamas saved that are JENNY HJUL –– EDITOR JENNYbefore HJUL EDITOR there are proposals to Kvarøy use theArc� knowledge that initiative to farm bleke commercially. supported by Norway’s c, and onfrom the “Øymerd” project which is se� ng out to JENNY –– EDITOR JENNY HJUL HJUL EDITOR In this issue, you can also read about the impact that Norway’s plan for a “resource tax” create a fish farm based on a floa�ng concrete island. Steve Bracken SSC’s record results Stewart Graham The final sessions on fish farmers is already having on the industry; and Rabobank’s analysts give their view Nicki Holmyard looks at the shellfish farmers’ ba�le against tubeworm and this issue also on the global market in seafood. features special industry reports on Breeding and Gene�cs, Transport and Logis�cs and Steve Bracken SSC’s record results Stewart Graham The final sessions Meanwhile, Scotland’s shellfish producers held their annual conference Oban last salmon farming sector in Scotland, when it was to he focus this month isto on Europe, where the internati T HE is coincidence that pictures andin videos of unhealthy Sno Fish Farmer went press, there was sti lltold no offi cialonal Li�ing and Cranes. month. On page 30, Nicki Holmyard reports onwere the and onfor the awards forinto be the subject ofScotti a be parliamentary inquiry, embraced the industry willproceedings soon gathering the joint (European salmon sent to news outlets just as the Scotti sh news from the shScotland, parliamentary inquiry 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 best shellfish. opportunity this would provide to explain how it operated. Aquaculture and WAS Aquaculture Society) parliament went back to work at (World the start of month. These farming, conducted earlier this year by thethis Rural Economy Best wishes, be the subject of aSociety) parliamentary inquiry, embraced industry willsent soon be gathering the EASinto (European salmon were to news outletsfor just asjoint the Scotti shthe news from the Scotti sh parliamentary inquiry salmon Current trends In good Julie Hesketh-Laird The had nothing to hide and, if given fair hearing, Meet thehealth new chief exe conference, to be staged over five days in theait southern images had this litt le to doprovide with theto current state of Scotland’s ficould sh and industry Connecti vity (REC) committ ee. MSPs have now heldFrench five Robert Outram opportunity would explain how operated. Aquaculture Society) and WAS Aquaculture Society) parliament back to work at (World the start of month. These farming, went conducted earlier this year by thethis Rural Economy Best wishes address much of the criti cism levelled against it. city of Montpellier. As well as highlighti ng the latest technological farms where sea lice levels are in decline and, in fact, at a fi vemeeti ngs, in private, to consider their report and we must be Current trends In good Julie Hesketh-Laird The had to hide and, if given fair hearing, Meet thehealth new chief executiv conference, to benothing staged over days in theaof southern images had litt le to do with thefive current state Scotland’s ficould sh and industry Connecti vity (REC) committ ee. MSPs have now heldFrench five Robert Outram Fish Farmer supported this but at times salmon advances in our fast moving sector, Aqua 2018felt willthat alsohas feature year low (htt p://scotti pati ent. However, waiti ng forview, their recommendati ons been address much of the criti cism levelled against it. city ofngs, Astolevels well asare highlighti ng the latest technological farms -Montpellier. where sea lice in decline and, inwe fact, at abe fivemeeti in private, consider their report and must farmers were being drowned out bywhich theREC noisier elements offarming the sessions on emerging markets and look atinvolves the role ofthe fishusual This latest propaganda campaign, all made harder by leaks from within to anti -salmon Fish Farmer supported this atthe times salmon advances in our fast moving sector, Aqua 2018felt willthat alsohas feature year low (htt p://scotti pati ent. However, waiti ng forview, theirbut recommendati ons been angling lobby, which had called foras the investi gatiRural on. But asngs the farming in alleviati ng poverty. Increasingly, industry meeti anti -aquaculture suspects, came Holyrood’s Economy acti vists. The latest of these (see our news story on page 4) farmers were being drowned out bywhich theREC noisier elements offarming the sessions onpropaganda emerging markets and look atinvolves the role fishusual This campaign, allofthe madelatest harder by leaks from within the to anti -salmon sessions progressed, and eventually farmers’ voices were heard, are broadening their scope, tackling subjects such asthat thethe social and Connecti vity committ ee returned the summer recess we to makes grim reading for the industry asfrom itgati suggests committ ee angling lobby, which had called for the investi on. But as farming inThe alleviati ngof poverty. Increasingly, industry ngs anti -aquaculture suspects, came as Holyrood’s Rural Economy activists. latest these (see our news story onmeeti page 4) became more opti misti c.into Weand now believe that MSPs, perhaps with acceptability of aquaculture the contributi on it makes to global consider its draft report the future of salmon farming. members have been willing to listen to those campaigning to sessions progressed, and eventually farmers’ voices were heard, are broadening their scope, tackling subjects such asthat the committ social and Connecti vity committ ee returned the summer recess we to makes grim reading for the industry asfrom it suggests ee Serving Worldwide Aquaculture Since 1977 food security and saving the planet, aindustry move that is toanti welcomed. the excepti on ofvaluable one or two Greens cahoots with -farming Those who want toWe shut down thein asbe shut down this sector, rather than to those who operate became more misti c. now believe that MSPs, perhaps with acceptability ofopti aquaculture and the contributi on ithave, makes toexpected, global consider its draft report into the future of salmon farming. members have been willing to listen to those campaigning to Also investi gati ngacti initi aties, veswhich inregard thenow developing world, Harrison campaigners, will, on balance, the industry in a Dr favourable stepped their viti involve the within it.up food security and saving the planet, a45 move that is tobreaching welcomed. the excepti on ofvaluable one or two Greens cahoots with anti -farming Those who want to shut down thein industry asbe expected, shut down this sector, rather than tohave, those who operate Meet the the team Fish Farmer: Volume Number 11 Meet team Charo Karisa of WorldFish writes about the farming potenti al inthe Fish Farmer: Volume 44 Number 07 light. They will hopefully see that farmers take their environmental biosecure environments of farm sitesindustry to snatch photographs in Of course, such stories may be inaccurate and, in any case, Also investi gati ng initi ati ves in the developing world, Dr Harrison campaigners, will, on balance, regard the in a favourable stepped acti vitiish es,and which nowculti involve breaching the within it.up their Editorial Advisory Advisory Board: Editorial Board: Nigeria, both in catf ti lapia vati on. Contact us responsibiliti es seriously and that businesses will only ever invest in the hope of fi nding incriminati ng evidence against farmers. One committ ee’s fi ndings are not binding. Scotland’s fi sh farmers Contact us Charo Karisa of WorldFish writes about the farming potenti al in light. They will hopefully see that farmers take their environmental Steve Bracken, Bracken, Hervé Hervé Migaud, Migaud, Jim Jim Treasurer, Treasurer, biosecure environments of131 farm sites tosomething snatch ingame Of course, such stories may be inaccurate and,photographs inofany case,ngthe Steve In Scotland, the summer has been aofwaiti Tel: +44(0) 551 1000 What’s in a name? Dr Nick Lake Phil Thomas growth that is sustainable. Tel: +44(0) 131 551 1000 campaigner fi lmed himself searching, unsuccessfully, for dead have always been fortunate to have the support their minister, Nigeria, both catfish and tilapia culti vati on.against responsibiliti seriously and will only ever invest Chris Mitchell, Mitchell, Jason Jason Cleaversmith Cleaversmith the hope of fies nding incriminati ng businesses evidence farmers. Onein committ ee’s fiin ndings are not binding. Scotland’s fish farmers Fax:ee +44(0) 131 551 7901 Chris while the parliament is inthat recess and thethose members of Holyrood’s Fax: +44(0) 131 551 7901 If the committ members, especially who have yet to of Phil fi sh at a Marine Harvest site. Another said he saw ‘hundreds’ Fergus Ewing, to grow sustainably. In Scotland, the summer has been something of a waiti ng game What’s in a name? Dr Nick Lake Thomas growth that isfibeen sustainable. and Hamish Hamish Macdonell Macdonell Email: editor@fi campaigner lmed himself searching, unsuccessfully, forto dead haveRural always fortunate have the support of their minister, and Economy and Connecti vity committ ee conti nue weigh up Email: visit aparliament farm, like tothe learn more about theagainst of infested salmon in awould pen, but we only have his word that But itsalmon should not go unchallenged that some MSPs onsubject the REC while the isroutram@fi in recess and members of Holyrood’s If the committ ee members, especially those who have yet to Editor: Robert Outram fi sh at a Marine Harvest site. Another said he saw ‘hundreds’ of Fergus Ewing, to grow sustainably. the evidence in their inquiry into salmon farming. We don’t expect Editor: RobertRural Outram Head Offi ce: Special Publica� ons, Fe� esto Park, their we have plenty of good stories in our May Even and Connecti vity committ ee conti nue weigh up Head Offi ce: Special Publica� ons, Fe� es Park, of theinquiry, professional vets and biologists who manage theissue. welfare of committ ee, with their own agendas against the growth of a Economy farm, like to learn more about the ofthetime infested salmon in go awould but we only have his word against that Buttheir itsalmon should not unchallenged that some MSPs onsubject the REC report unti l pen, the autumn but hope the MSPs are using the Designer: Andrewvisit Balahura 496 Ferry Road, Edinburgh, EH5 2DL bett er,farms they could head to Highlands later this month, where 496 Ferry Road, Edinburgh, EH5 2DL We the evidence in their inquiry into salmon farming. don’t expect Designer: Andrew their Balahura these on a daily basis. industry, are in breach of the Code of Conduct for MSPs. As they wefully have plenty of good stories in ourgrowth May toinquiry, become acquainted with the facts about fithe shissue. farming. of the professional vets andagendas biologists who manage welfare of committ ee, with their own against the of theEven Commercial Manager: Montpellier report Dr Marti n Jaff a Doug McLeod meet the aquaculture industry en masse at Scotland’s theirthey report unti l the autumn but hope the MSPs areas using theittiis, meit Ifthey the is proud of its high standards, itsalmon says are inwill aindustry positi on to inflthe uence the future course of farming, Commercial Subscriptions bett er, could head to Highlands later this month, where This month also sees reti rement of Marine Harvest’s longest JaniceManager: Johnston these farms on a daily basis. industry, are in breach of the Code of Conduct for MSPs. As they Subscriptions to become fully acquainted with the facts about fi sh farming. biggest fi sh farming show. must mount aaquaculture much more robustWe defence oftrouble itself, through its and of businesses vital Scotland’s economy, we have a right Janice Johnston Subscrip� onsto Address: Fish Farmer Montpellier report Dr Marti n Jaff a Doug McLeod they will meet the industry en masse Scotland’s serving employee, Steve Bracken. had no Subscrip� ons Address: Fish Farmer If the isto proud of its high standards, as itsalmon says itcollecti is, it ng are in aindustry positi on inflthe uence the future course ofat farming, This month also sees reti rement of Marine Harvest’s longest We will certainly be at Aquaculture UK inindustry, Aviemore and look jjohnston@fi representati ve body, the SSPO, than it has done to date. The to know who they are, and we hope the through its Magazine Subscrip� ons, Warners Group warm tributes from his friends and colleagues to mark the biggest fi sh farming show. Publisher: Alisterserving Benne� Magazine Subscrip� ons,economy, Warners Group must a much more robustWe defence itself, through its and ofmount businesses vital toBracken. Scotland’s we have a right employee, Steve had noof trouble collecti ng forward toand, seeing many of you there too. campaigners, we now see, willrest stop at nothing, representati ves, will pressure the parliament toand investi gate before Publica� ons plc, The Mal� ngs, Publisher: Alisterrepresentati Benne� milestone along with of the industry, thefarmers team We will certainly be at Aquaculture UK in Aviemore and look 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 toyou fiBourne ght back. the to REC report isStreet, published. West Street, Bourne Farmer wish him all the very best for the future. West forward seeing many of there too. campaigners, we now see, will stop at representati ves, will pressure the parliament toand investi gateatbefore Rising stars Marti nBrown Jaff a Orkney anniversary Janet milestone and, along with the rest of thenothing, industry, thefarmers team Fish Lincolnshire PE10 9PH Lincolnshire PE10 9PH should prepared to fivery ght back. the RECbe report published. Farmer wish himisall the best for the future.

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


Janet Machrihanish Orkney farm Marti nBrown Jaff a visit Advisory Board: Steve Contact Tel: +44(0) us 131 551 1000 MeetEditorial the team Fax: +44(0) 131 551 7901 33 Bracken, Scott Landsburgh, Hervé Steve Bracken, Scott HervéLandsburgh, Migaud, Editorial Advisory Board: Steve Tel: +44(0) 131 551 1000 Migaud, PatrickJim Smith and Jim Hervé Patrick Smith, PatrickMigaud, Smith, Treasurer and Fax: email: +44(0) 131 551 7901 Bracken, Scott Landsburgh, Hervé Steve Bracken, Scott HervéLandsburgh, Migaud, jhjul@fi Treasurer, Wiliam Jim Treasurer and Dowds William Dowdsemail: William Dowds Marti nofJaff a era Vaccines New player Dawn new Migaud, PatrickJim Smith and Jim Hervé Patrick Smith, PatrickMigaud, Smith, Treasurer and Editor: Jenny Hjul jhjul@fi 07/11/2022 14:26:54 Treasurer, Wiliam 12/07/2021 Jim Treasurer and Dowds William Dowds William Dowds Head Office: Special Publications, Dawn Marti nofJaff a15:32:14 Vaccines New player new era

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Fish F armer

In the November issue... News

What’s happening in the UK and around the world

Processing News


Update from the processing sector



Martin Jaffa

Salmon Scotland


Hamish Macdonell



Nicki Holmyard



Sandy Neil



Vince McDonagh

Bleke Salmon


The ice age survivors

Seafood Marketing


Vince McDonagh



Robert Outram

The Global Market

48-53 54-58

Report from Rabobank

Fish Health and Welfare Industry Diary

All the latest aquaculture events, conferences and courses

What’s New

Monthly update on industry innovations and solutions

Aqua Source Directory

62 63 64-65

Find all you need for the industry



Nick Joy

32 4




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Building Stronger

Striving to be your supply partner of choice. Building stronger and better quality of equipment remains our driving motivation as a supply partner, supporting our customers in their aims for improved safety, security, and sustainability, all of which count towards the growth of a healthy, nutritious, and superior class of seafood. #BuildingStronger

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WESTER Ross Salmon founder Gilpin Bradley and Bakkafrost Scotland were among those honoured at the Highlands and Islands Food and Drink Awards 2022, held on Friday 28 October at the Kingsmills Hotel, Inverness. Bradley, Managing Director of Wester Ross Salmon for 32 years, has been named Ambassador of the Year.The judges said of him: “He turned this small company into the top salmon producer in Scotland in terms of quality, provenance and price, making it the gold standard for Scottish salmon. He also made Wester Ross an extraordinary export success story, taking on a platoon of US salespeople to sell Wester Ross Salmon into the top restaurants, delis, and retail outlets across the United States. “He has been a fantastic ambassador, not just for Wester Ross Salmon but for Wester Ross as an area, for the Highlands and Islands, and for Scottish salmon in general.” Bradley said: “I am incredibly honoured to have received this award and delighted that it will give me further opportunities to promote awareness of these awards, the sector, and it’s importance to the economy of the Highlands and Islands throughout the coming year in my position as Ambassador. “The resilience, innovation and passion within the Highlands and Islands food and drink industry never fails to impress and inspire and I offer my congratulations to all of the winners and finalists.” Gilpin Bradley sold Wester Ross to Mowi early this year, and he is now Business Development Director – Farming, Scotland, at Mowi. Aquaculture was well represented in a number of other awards this year. Bakkafrost Scotland, formerly The Scottish Salmon Company, won the award for best Primary producer, as well as being the joint winner in the Sustainability category, sharing it with Kintyre-based Beinn an Tuirc Distillers. The judges said of Bakkafrost Scotland: “This business nurtures a positive culture of continuous improvement and best practice – integral to their sustainable development.”

The foodservice award went to Salar Smokehouse, based on South Uist.The judges said: “Each and every product… is handled and produced with care, as well as being uniquely made in a hand-built kiln to produce the signature flavour and taste this business’s consumer base has grown to know and love.” Shore – The Scottish Seaweed Company was the winner in the Retail category for its Shore Seaweed Chips. The judges said: “The winner of this category demonstrated a clever marketing strategy and even started their own beach cleaning programme across Scotland to heighten awareness. This product has also helped to bring a unique and distinctive flavour into the mainstream market for the first time.” The Highlands and Islands Food and Drink Awards, now in its 17th year, showcase and celebrate excellence and achievement in the food and drink industry in the Highlands and Islands. Chair of the judging panel, Elaine Jamieson, Head of Food and Drink and Life Sciences at Highlands and Islands Enterprise, said: “Selecting the winners was a difficult task for the judging panel. The quality of products, the degree of innovation and the drive on sustainability shone through the entries and was really exciting to see. It was particularly positive to see a large number of entries for the eatery categories given the difficult trading conditions during the pandemic and the awards truly celebrated the return of the region’s hospitality industry. Of course, the backbone of all of this is the people who work in the sector, and the awards is an important occasion to celebrate them.” The other award winners were: Best Brewed: Windswept Brewing Company – Windswept Brewing Barrel Aged Range Best Distilled: Highland Liquor Company – Seven Crofts and Seven Crofts Fisherman’s Strength Best Whisky: Tomatin Distillery – Cù Bòcan Single Malt Food and Drink Tourism Experience – Downright Gabbler Independent Retailer – Bùth Bharraigh Supply Chain – Williamson Foodservice Eatery – IV10 Restaurant – Harbour Kitchen Young Ambassador – Ella Moxon, Midge Bite Café Judges Award – Left Coast Culture

Photo: Chris Watt

Photo: Chris Watt

United Kingdom News

Gilpin Bradley, Bakkafrost Scotland honoured at Food and Drink awards

Top: Gilpin Bradley (centre) with Nicky Marr, host (right) and Margi Campbell, Saffrey Champness (sponsor, left) Above: (From left) Hamish MacDonell, Salmon Scotland; Ian Laister, Managing Director of Bakkafrost Scotland; Su Cox, Communications and New Business Development Director, Bakkafrost Scotland; and Nicky Marr.

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07/11/2022 15:05:21

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07/11/2022 09:08:57



Industry body in call for action over empty homes

REVENUE from licensing fish farms could be used to help tackle the housing shortage on Shetland, according to industry body Salmon Scotland, which wants around £10m of the

Above: Shaheena Din

revenues from farm licensing to be ring-fenced for the benefit of coastal and island communities. Shaheena Din, national project manager for the Scottish Empty Homes Partnership, said: “The figures show that empty homes are very much a problem in Shetland, with over 550 longterm empty properties that could be brought back in to use, increasing supply and providing a boost for the local economy. “We support the campaign by Salmon Scotland to raise the issue of housing in rural areas and hope that action can be taken in Shetland that will help address the concerns of their members.”

Damage to Shetland cable cuts island off FiSH farmers were among the businesses and households in Shetland finding themselves cut off from communications on 20 October after the south subsea cable between the islands and the Scottish mainland was damaged. Phones, the internet and iT links were affected. Colin Kupris, iT Operations and infrastructure Leader with Scottish Sea Farms said: “One of our local providers, Shetland Telecom, was able to restore service around 4am, bringing our Girlsta Hatchery and Gremista processing facility back online. “Thanks to their efforts in the early hours, our own in-house iT and data team were then able to extend that connectivity out to our wider network, with Pundsvoe, Gonfirth and Setterness shore bases coming back online around 11am and our Scalloway processing facility by 12 noon... the Shetland Telecom team will go down as the heroes of the day.” Right: Colin Kupris

SSF vet shortlisted for award

Above: Alison Brough

A fish vet with salmon producer Scottish Sea Farms has been shortlisted as one of three finalists in the prestigious British


Veterinary Association (BVA) Young Vet of the Year awards. Alison Brough, who joined the company in February this year, faced stiff competition from a total of 105 nominations across the UK. Also shortlisted for the award, which is sponsored by Zoetis, are Kirsty French, a small animal vet working at a veterinary practice in Milton Keynes, England; and Hannah Hunt, who works with small animals, horses and farm animals at a practice in Aberystwyth, Wales. The winner will be announced at a gala dinner at the London Marriott Hotel in Canary Wharf, London, on Thursday 17 November.

Sea lice ‘loophole’ claims dismissed by regulator CLAIMS that Scotland’s salmon farmers are using a loophole to avoid reporting sea lice numbers have been dismissed by the industry and by the regulator, Marine Scotland. A report from conservation lobby group WildFish claimed that the grace period allowed ahead of the point at which the fish are slaughtered – known as the “withdrawal period prior to harvest” – has been extended for longer than necessary to avoid mandatory counts. WildFish – formerly known as Salmon & Trout Conservation – says that this rule has been exploited by a number of fish farm companies to claim an exemption for as long as 25 weeks. The report, Scottish Salmon: Harvesting, sea lice and disease, gives examples from the public record including farms operated by Cooke Aquaculture, Scottish Sea Farms and Loch Duart. Reporting sea lice counts on a weekly basis has been mandatory since the policy was introduced by the Scottish Government with effect from March 2021. A spokesperson for Marine Scotland said: “Sea lice management is an integral part of sustainable practice and we have strong legislation and policies in place with regards to sea lice monitoring and enforcement. “There are currently over 200 sites producing Atlantic salmon in sea water in Scotland and the vast majority are reporting as they are required. “There is a legal requirement for farms to have satisfactory measures in place for the prevention, control and reduction of sea lice. “There is no guidance on a ‘withdrawal period’, although it is expected to be as short as reasonably possible for stocks slated for harvest. Where it is

not known which stocks on a site are to be harvested, then a ‘withdrawal period’ may be utilised for a short period of time, but it would not normally be applied on a site until it was necessary.” The WildFish report also criticises the industry for carrying out harvesting over a period of several months even where a farmed fish population is suffering from diseases. In contrast, WildFish says, the Norwegian Food Safety Authorities can order that all the fish at a given site must be culled as a matter of urgency if they are suffering from disease or high levels of parasites such as sea lice. WildFish also says that a pre-harvest mortality rate of 24%, according to publicly available figures, is not acceptable.The organisation, which continues to support recreational catch-and-release angling for wild salmon, has long called for open-net fish farming to end in Scotland. Tavish Scott, Chief Executive of industry body Salmon Scotland, responded: “‘WildFish’ have again made it clear they have little understanding of our business, despite our members remaining open to engaging directly with them. "Respectfully, the organisation, its membership, and wild fish would be better served by them attending to the pressures of fishing for sport and other humaninduced impacts affecting critical freshwater habitats.”

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07/11/2022 15:06:43

Six more supply chain members join Salmon Scotland ANOTHER six supply chain businesses, ranging from foam moulders to vets, have joined Salmon Scotland, the trade body representing Scotland’s farm-raised salmon sector. The firms cover a geographical spread from Dumfriesshire to Shetland, and across the central belt from Broxburn to Cumbernauld. The Scottish Salmon Producers’ Organisation rebranded as Salmon Scotland in October last year, and at the same time opened its ranks to supply chain business, reflecting the fact that the industry’s economic contribution to Scotland is not limited to the fish farmers themselves. A total of 41 companies are now members of the trade body and Salmon Scotland estimates that the sector as a whole adds £760m each year to Scotland’s economy. Membership has more than tripled since the start of the year as Salmon Scotland undergoes significant organisational growth. The organisation’s ongoing expansion includes Scottish, UK and international firms, Salmon Scotland said, cementing the sector’s international reach and reputation for excellence. The new members are: • Moulded Foams • Intership • Ocean Farm Services • VAI Consulting (VetAqua) • Packaging Solutions Scotland • Solway Transport

Above: NSK Ship Design, Intership wellboat

Tavish Scott, Chief Executive of Salmon Scotland, said: “Our continued expansion shows just how vital the success of farmraised salmon is to our economy. “While our producers in coastal communities are at the heart of our sector, the supply chain extends well beyond this to cities and towns across Scotland and beyond. “Thousands of jobs in a huge array of different roles all contribute to the extraordinary success of Scottish salmon, which is more important than ever as the economic storm clouds gather. “Salmon farmers who care for their fish daily and produce a healthy, nutritious product that is renowned around the world can only do this because of the dedication and hard work of so many companies that are part of the Salmon Scotland family.”

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07/11/2022 15:08:04


Scottish salmon production hits record level

Above: Frxxxx

PRODUCTION of Atlantic salmon in Scotland last year was 205,393 tonnes, a 7% increase on the 2020 production total and the highest level of production recorded in Scotland. The figure comes from the Scottish Fish Farm Production Survey 2021, published by the Scottish Government.The survey

is based on data from fish farmers. The survey also shows that mortality continues to be a problem, with smolt survival for the 2019 input year class at 74.4%, down from 77.5% for the 2018 class. Mortality figures include culled fish and escapes. There were increases in the production

of grilse and year-2 salmon but a decrease in the production of year-0 salmon and pre-salmon during 2021.The number of staff directly employed on the farms decreased by 135. Overall, there was an increase in the productivity of tonnes produced per person from 117.9 to 137.4. The estimated harvest forecast for 2022 is 189,693 tonnes. The trend towards concentrating production in larger sites was maintained, with 87% of production being concentrated in the sites producing over 1,000 tonnes per annum.The number of active sites producing salmon continued to fall, with 212 in 2021 compared with 231 in 2020 and 255 in 2012. The production of rainbow trout increased by 8% in 2021 to 8,156 tonnes and was directed at the table (94%) and restocking (6%) markets.The total numbers of staff employed by the sector increased by 12 to 146.There was an overall decrease in the productivity of the industry to 55.9 tonnes per person. The Scottish Fish Farm Production Survey 2021 can be viewed online at and more details will appear in the Fish Farmer Yearbook 2022, coming out in December.

Scottish Sea Farms offers cost-of-living support for staff SALMON farmer Scottish Sea Farms has announced a package of costof-living support payments for its employees to help ease the impact of higher fuel bills and food prices this winter. Scottish Sea Farms employs just under 680 people across Scotland, including at sites on the mainland, Shetland and Orkney, and 30 at its head office in Stirling. The package, totalling £750 for each employee, will be paid in three instalments. In October and November, £250 will Above: Jim Gallagher be added to monthly salaries. There will be a break in December, when the company traditionally rewards its employees with an end-ofyear bonus, followed by a third payment of £250 in January 2023. UK inflation hit a 40-year high of 9.9% in September, and while the Westminster Government has announced an energy price guarantee, fuel prices have already risen sharply this year. Scottish Sea Farms Managing Director Jim Gallagher said: “The challenge facing all employers is how to help employees meet the


increased cost of living while also safeguarding long-term business viability. “Across each area of our company, costs continue to rise to levels not previously seen before. The price of fish feed – one of our single largest outlays annually – has risen by 43% this year alone. Over the same period, the cost of oil and diesel has increased by 71% and utilities by 125%. “The pressure on household budgets is every bit as real and we hope that the extra monthly support will go some way towards helping our employees with rising household costs and bills, which have become a huge cause for concern.’” All those employed by Scottish Sea Farms before or from 1 October 2022 will receive the cost-of-living support payments, starting this month and subject to the normal salary deductions. Anyone starting employment after this date will be eligible from the first day of the following calendar month.



For more information visit:


UK News (subbed).indd 10

07/11/2022 15:11:15

Cooke Aquaculture Scotland sees profits fall THE Scottish operation of Canadian-owned Cooke Aquaculture has reported profits down by nearly a quarter for 2021, despite increased turnover. Cooke Aquaculture Scotland saw turnover increase by 3.5% in the year to 31 December 2021, to £176.71m (2020: £170.72m). Profit before tax, however, was £25.89m (2020: £34.2m), a fall of 24.3%. The main factor appears to have been the rising cost of sales, which was up 10.9% to £133.46m (£120.34m). Just over half (55%) of sales went to Europe (non-UK), with 32% in the UK and 13% going to the rest of the world. In 2021 the company, which is a wholly-owned subsidiary, paid a dividend of £6m (2020: £79.8m). Directors’ remuneration totalled £485,382 and the highest paid director received £225,453 in 2021. The directors said: “Fish numbers remain healthy and we continue to look to grow the number of fish through new sites and improved health.” Earlier this year planning permission was granted for a new salmon farm site at East Moclett in the north of Orkney.

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Farming and fisheries minister survives Sunak reshuffle MARK Spencer MP, who was appointed as Minister of State with responsibility for farming and fisheries under the Liz Truss premiership, has kept his job in new Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s reshuffle. Spencer was appointed as Minister for Food on 7 September under Environment Secretary Ranil Jayawardena. After a tumultuous few weeks in government, which saw the abrupt fall of Liz Truss, Jayawardena was replaced by the former Health Secretary Therese Coffey, but Mark Spencer remains in place. Spencer succeeded Victoria Prentis as Minister for Food. He is a Conservative MP, representing the constituency of Sherwood. His ministerial

responsibilities encompass farming, food and fisheries, including managing the progress of the Westminster Government’s gene editing bill, and liaison on farming and fisheries matters with the devolved administrations.

Above: Mark Spencer MP

UK News (subbed).indd 11


07/11/2022 15:14:24


Mowi’s Salmon Wagon raises funds for good causes FISH farmer Mowi’s “Salmon Wagon” food truck has raised more than £7,000 for local charities in Scotland on its return after the Covid-19 pandemic. The Salmon Wagon has been touring Highland and Island communities, serving salmon burgers and noodle salads at community events, with 100% of the proceeds going to nine good causes. The initiative raised £7,318

over the summer in the course of a trip covering more than 4,000 miles. Jayne MacKay, Community Engagement Officer at Mowi Scotland, said: “We built the Salmon Wagon in 2019 to engage with our local communities and raise funds for the causes closest to their hearts. Since then, we have attended numerous events around Scotland and been lucky enough to support a

range of charities and causes vital to communities. “It is humbling to see the work being done at local level around the country and we are delighted to be able to help and support those in need through donations to – this year – food banks, mental health anad children’s charities, and other great causes.” One of the events attended by the Salmon Wagon

was the 2022 Camanachd Cup Final in Kingussie, for the Highland sport shinty. Proceeds from the truck on the day were donated to Mikeysline, an Invernessbased charity that provides text-based and face-to-face support for people of all ages who are struggling with their mental health. Emily Stokes, Chief Executive Officer of Mikeysline, said: “Not only did we benefit greatly from the funds raised, which will help us further develop our mental health support and suicide-prevention services in rural areas of the Highlands, but also from the profile and awareness raising through the event, given the numbers attending and the profile of the event itself. “It was a fantastic day and an amazing fundraiser for us.” Applications will open in January 2023 for those looking to have the Salmon Wagon attend their event next summer. For more information and to sign up for the newsletter, please visit

Left: Mowi’s “Salmon Wagon”

Loch Long farm proposal blocked by National Park Authority PLANNING permission for an innovative semi-closed salmon farm at Loch Long, on Scotland’s west coast, has been refused. On the advice of its officers, the Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park Authority has refused the application for a new fish farm at the foot of Beinn Reithe. The Authority’s Convenor, James Stuart, said: “This application is for development within a National Park and it is our view that such a nationally important landscape is not the appropriate location to host development of such an industrial scale and where the risk of an escape of farmed fish could impact on designated water courses.” Stuart Hawthorn, Managing Director of the developer, Loch Long Salmon, said the National Park Board had “missed an opportunity” to use the Park’s resources to benefit local communities and support sustainable practices in aquaculture. The Loch Long proposal would have involved a semi-closed containment system, using technology the firm said had been endorsed by government agencies and by local elected representatives. Despite this, James Stuart said the approach was seen as too risky to try out in such a sensitive location. See Planning, page 44.


Above: Loch Long

UK News (subbed).indd 12

07/11/2022 15:15:25

SAIC offers £500k for innovation projects

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Post your vacancy on for only £225 (+vat) per job posting. Contact Janice Johnston 0044 (0) 131 551 7925

Fish Farmer

Above: Heather Jones

THE Sustainable Aquaculture Innovation Centre (SAIC) has opened a new funding call for collaborative innovation projects. More than £500,000 will be split between successful project proposals designed to future-proof Scottish aquaculture and support sustainable growth while minimising its environmental impact. Collaborative research teams involving experts from across the sector, along with Scottish Higher Education Institutions, are invited to submit their applications by 7 December. SAIC said that ongoing discussions across its network and members pointed to a strong pipeline of opportunities that could progress into funded projects. In each proposal, research teams must demonstrate meaningful and measurable impact for the sector. They should also align with SAIC’s three priority innovation areas: • addressing environmental and health challenges, • unlocking additional capacity in the sector through new technology or processes to secure sustainable growth, or • a focus on shellfish and other non-finfish species. Projects should be ready to begin next spring and must be completed by July 2024. Heather Jones, CEO of SAIC, said: “Particularly during challenging times, it is important to continue supporting innovation that will help to shape the future of aquaculture. Collaborative research and knowledge sharing is helping to drive the whole sector forward, making it more efficient and more sustainable so that it can continue to fulfil the rising demand for high-quality protein for years to come. “We look forward to receiving a range of proposals representing all parts of the sector, including initiatives that address the impact of climate change on farming conditions, as well as projects closely linked to the aims of the Farmed Fish Health Framework – a collaboration between the sector and the Scottish Government.” For more information and to complete an application form,visit:


• Breeding and Genetics • Shellfish • What’s New page For more information on opportunities for advertising with editorial content around these subjects please contact: Janice Johnston 0044 (0) 131 551 7925 Copy deadline - Friday 25 November

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UK News (subbed).indd 13


26/10/2022 14:54:39

07/11/2022 15:16:03


European News

Deal with SalMar gives Mowi control of Arctic Fish

Above: Arctic Fish farm

MOWI is set to take a majority stake in Icelandic salmon breeder Arctic Fish. It is Mowi’s first significant move into aquaculture in Iceland. Mowi recently warned that the controversial Norwegian ground rent tax announcement last month might force the international salmon giant to invest more outside Norway. Mowi said it had been following Arctic Fish for a number of years and was impressed with its staff and progress. So it is possible that this deal may have been in the making before the tax proposal was disclosed. It has acquired 51.28% of the shares in Arctic Fish, which were owned by Norway Royal Salmon, which is to be taken over by SalMar. Now SalMar has agreed to sell the NRS Arctic Fish holding to Mowi for NOK 115 per share, corresponding to NOK 1.88m (£158m). SalMar already has extensive salmon interests in Iceland through its ownership of Arnarlax. Located in the Westfjords, Arctic Fish is listed on Euronext

Seafood industry ‘creates NOK 120bn’ for Norway Norway’s seafood industry is worth NOK 120bn (£10.1bn) to the country’s economy and contributes NOK 34bn (£2.9bn) in taxes. Those are among the findings of a report prepared by consultants Menon Economics with research institutions Nofima and Norce. The study found that last year the industry grew by an extra 13,000 jobs, with an estimated 106,000 people working directly in or indirectly with the sector. The estimate for the industry’s contribution is based on the “ripple effect”, the report says. Jonas Erraia, Partner at Menon Economics, said: “The seafood industry fared well throughout the pandemic compared with other industries, but nevertheless experienced a demanding 2020. We now have the results from 2021, and we see that the industry has been boosted and is setting new records regarding value creation, exports and employment.” Value creation in the industry increased by NOK 11


Growth Oslo and is one of Iceland’s most successful salmon farmers. It has licences for 10 ASC-certified locations with a total of 27,100 tonnes of maximum permitted biomass, as well as a further 4,800 tonnes in the application process. The company expects to slaughter 10,600 tonnes of salmon by gutted weight in 2022. Mowi CEO Ivan Vindheim said: “The Icelandic salmon adventure has only just begun and faces formidable development and growth in the coming years. “We are therefore very happy to have the opportunity to take part in this. Icelandic fjords offer very good biological conditions for salmon. “Arctic Fish’s geographical presence and competent organisation fit very well with Mowi’s current business and strategy. Together with Mowi and our toolbox, as well as a strong financial position, Arctic Fish and its other owners are very well equipped for an attractive growth journey going forward for the good of the local communities.” The transaction is subject to approval by the European Commission as well as some other ordinary implementation conditions. The settlement will be financed in cash using Mowi’s existing drawing rights. Meanwhile, SalMar has received EU approval for its plan to acquire its salmon farming rival NTS and the NTS subsidiary Norway Royal Salmon. The European Commission said it had decided that SalMar’s decision to buy a controlling stake in NTS ASA was in accordance with EU competition legislation and that the same applied to the merger with NRS. SalMar, which also owns a half share in Scottish Sea Farms, said regarding the takeover: “Despite uncertain framework conditions for SalMar, NTS and NRS due to the Government’s new tax proposals, the strategic and operational justifications for going ahead with the transaction remain, which has strong support from owners, employees and the local communities we are part of.”

billion (£0.9bn) from 2020 to 2021. In 2019, value creation was slightly higher than in 2021, but last year’s value creation is nevertheless at a historically high level. Employment effects from the industry are the highest in recent times. Around 3% of the Norwegian Government’s tax revenues derive from the seafood and related industries, the report says. Project manager Roy Robertsen, Senior Scientist at Nofima, said: “The seafood industry is one of Norway’s most important regional industries. The industry is represented throughout the entire country, but it is in Western and Northern Norway that seafood production is most important regarding value creation and employment. Few industries have grown more than the seafood industry in the last 15 years.” The report concludes that Ålesund is the most significant municipality in Norway for value creation in the seafood sector, with many producers and suppliers based there.

European News (subbed).indd 14

07/11/2022 15:24:03

Cermaq reins back investment despite high profits

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Above: Cermaq’s FlexiFarm




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THE Norwegian arm of the salmon farming giant Cermaq has unveiled “good results” for last year, but says it is freezing investment worth NOK 400 million (£33m) and, with it, 300 new jobs in northern Norway. Mitsubishi-owned Cermaq Norway reported profits of NOK 1.7bn (£143m) for 2021. The company said part of that surplus would have been used for investment at various locations in Nordland, but in an obvious swipe at Norway’s ground rent tax plan, it said that with so much uncertainty around, it could not go ahead with that ambition. Managing Director Knut Ellekjær said: “2021 was a good year both operationally and market-wise with high demand and high prices after the pandemic. We also had little sickness and incidents throughout the year. Without our 600 skilled salmon farmers throughout the value chain, we would never have been able to deliver such results of a turnover of just under NOK 6bn [£511m].” He said, however, that he was worried about the future of Norwegian farming, growth and jobs. Since 2015, Cermaq has invested over NOK 5bn (£425m) in Norway in hatcheries, slaughterhouses, fleets, boats and new technology for more sustainable operations. This had created 212 new Cermaq jobs in Nordland and Finnmark, but the figure was even higher if stated as “man years”. Ellekjær continued: “We did not buy new licences in the auction in October due to the unpredictability of framework conditions. We were to invest another NOK 4bn [£340m] in post-smolt facilities in Hasvik, expansion of the slaughterhouse in Hammerfest and operating investments in Nordland. “However, the proposal for a new tax model has put an end to that and with it 300 new jobs in northern Norway. The activity along the coast stops and it is already affecting ordinary people and local communities. He concluded: “Cermaq is positive about contributing, but it is crucial that the new tax regime does not weaken the industry’s competitiveness. The Labour Party’s goal is to double value creation in aquaculture by 2030, but this proposal does not do that. “We lack a clear industrial policy direction and predictable framework conditions that provide basis for investment and jobs in District Norway.”

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European News (subbed).indd 15


07/11/2022 15:24:31


NEWS IN BRIEF Salmon Evolution chief quits SALMON Evolution CEO Håkon André Berg has resigned due to “personal family matters”. The board of directors of the land-based salmon farmer has acknowledged his decision and has appointed Chief Financial Officer Trond Håkon SchaugPettersen as interim CEO with immediate effect. Berg will be available for the company during a transition period and the board is immediately starting the process of recruiting a permanent replacement.

Berg said: “It’s been a real pleasure leading Salmon Evolution through this very exciting period of time, where we have gone from being a small startup to a large company with about 60 employees and a global presence. “I firmly believe that the company is in a unique position and it has not been an easy decision to make. However, due to certain personal family matters, I have come to the conclusion that stepping down from my position as CEO is the best solution for both my family and the company.” He will continue as a board member of Salmon Evolution. The company has built its first production facility strategically located at Indre Harøy on the Norwegian west coast, and is developing ajoint venture in South Korea. Left: Håkon André Berg

Hiddenfjord achieves BAP status FAROESE salmon farmer Hiddenfjord has been accredited by Best Aquaculture Practices (BAP), having met the international body’s standards for environmental impact, social responsibility, food safety, animal welfare and traceability. Hiddenfjord is also already certified by Global GAP. Atli Gregersen, the company’s CEO, said:“We are committed to farming and producing salmon in the most sustainable, responsible and ethical way. We have known for a long time that our salmon is farmed and produced according to the highest standards. Our BAP and Global GAP certifications will help assure our customers that this is, indeed, true.” Above: Atli Gregersen

Tycoon hints at return to fish farming FRØY Kapital AS, the investment business set up by NTS founder and former CEO Helge Gåsø, has splashed out just over NOK 377m (£31m) buying 2,265 tonnes of salmon biomass permits in the

Above: Helge Gåsø


latest auction round for Norwegian fish farming permits. Earlier this year, Gåsø lost out in a dramatic power struggle with SalMar over control of NTS and Norway Royal Salmon, its main salmon operation. Helge Gåsø is thought to have between five and six billion krone (around £500m) available for investment once he sells his shares in SalMar. Frøy Kapital plans to raise up to NOK 10bn (£854m) in what it describes as “coastal value creation” but it will also look at other investment projects.

Norway’s salmon industry calls for revaluation of licences

Above: Norwegian salmon farm

NORWAY’S two main seafood employer organisations have approached the Government calling for a new valuation of farming licences for this year. Seafood Norway (Sjomat Norge) and Seafood Companies (Sjomatbedriftene) believe the current rules are unclear and have caused headaches for businesses and their auditors. They believe there is an obvious need to put in place new and clearer guidelines. Geir Ove Ystmark, CEO of Seafood Norway, and Robert Holmøy Eriksson, Managing Director of Seafood Companies, jointly highlighted the Centre Party’s national board request that “…government ensure that the valuation of farming permits as a basis for wealth taxation does not affect locally owned companies disproportionately”. They said: “We have always been concerned that the valuation of the farming licences as a basis for wealth taxation must ensure that the total tax burden does not affect the privately owned companies disproportionately,and that the diversity of ownership in the aquaculture industry is maintained. “ “We are therefore happy with the decision of the central government in the Centre Party, and think this is a wise decision, Eriksson added. Ystmark said there was little doubt there had been so-called valuereducing conditions this autumn. He added: “The fact that you have a very unclear set of regulations that no one understands how to practice, and that at the same time you transfer the entire discretionary assessment to the actors, is very problematic. “Here we can experience as many different judgments as there are privately owned companies. There is therefore an obvious need for us to quickly put more clarifying guidelines in place.” The two organisations had previously approached the Ministry of Finance calling for change, but so far they had met with little response. “Seafood Norway and the Seafood Companies have now again asked the Ministry and the Directorate of Taxes to sit down with the industry and the auditors to come up with a template rule. “Such a rule must be in place well in advance of the tax determination for 2022. We have clear expectations that we will quickly get started with this work and that we will soon be invited to talks,” the joint statement concluded.

European News (subbed).indd 16

07/11/2022 15:25:38

EU more dependent than ever on seafood imports SEAFOOD consumption in much of the European Union is falling – and the trading bloc now depends on imports for an ever increasing amount of its requirements, according to new data. The European Fish Processors and Traders Association (AIPCE-CEP) says in its annual report that self-sufficiency levels are sinking to an historic low. The report says two key factors are the UK’s withdrawal from the EU and lower catches by the EU’s own fleet. The UK, through Scotland, was a large producer of Atlantic salmon and provided the EU with a major source of farmed fish until Brexit. This trade now, of course, counts as an import for the EU. Of the total supply, 12.5 million metric tonnes in 2021, imports accounted for 9 million metric tonnes, or 72%, while the EU’s domestic supply dropped to 3.5 million metric tonnes. For 2022, AIPCE is forecasting a further 7% decline in total supply, which could hit a floor at 11.6 million tonnes, with both imports and domestic production weakening. The report says that although the worst direct effects of the Covid-19 virus appear to have eased (at least in Europe), many related supply chain issues have hindered a return to pre-pandemic trading conditions. Cargo costs, for example, are still at high levels. It adds: “While aggregate economic activity is returning to more normal levels in 2022, supply is lagging demand in many sectors, resulting in significant inflationary pressures. “Those are now accompanied by unprecedented energy price increases as a result of Russian actions in Ukraine. “These also impact other raw material and input costs in global food markets. The EU sanctions against Russia make it more complex to source seafood material from Russia. Businesses are likely to face a period of significant uncertainty, further complicating planning and investment decisions.” The report stresses: “With ever more European consumers looking for healthy and tasty food from natural resources, the seafood sector has a positive outlook. The analysis shows that third-country imports are ever more important to meet consumer demand.”

Aker BioMarine reports higher Q3 sales KRILL harvesting company Aker BioMarine has reported higher sales and profits for Q3. Sales for the three months to 30 September totalled US $67.9m (£60m), up from US $61.9m (£54.8m) in Q3 last year. The adjusted EBITDA ended at $18.8m (£16.6m), compared with $14.7m (£13m) 12 months ago while the operating profit emerged at $6.4m (£5.6m) against a loss of $2.2m (£1.9m). The company said: “Aker BioMarine delivered higher sales growth and EBITDA, which was driven by improvement in all segments compared with the same quarter last year.” The Qrill segment – Aker’s functional feed additive, derived from dried krill – reports especially strong figures, with high sales volumes and prices for Qrill Aqua. CEO Matts Johansen said: “We have significantly improved our Antarctic krill harvesting and so far this year, the production of krill meal is above 50,000 tons, which is 23% above last year.”

Aker BioMarine is also a leading biotech innovator developing krill-derived products for consumer health and wellness, as well as animal nutrition. Other highlights reported by the company included: •An 11% sales in the Ingredients segment, up 11% while sales in the Brands segment rose by 10% from same quarter in 2021. • The offshore production volume was 12,737 metric tonnes, 77% above Q3 last year. Aker BioMarine said it was targeting revenue growth of 8%12%, with an adjusted EBITDA margin of 23–26%. The company expects to see lower revenue growth, but at the same time higher margins.

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Above: Marseille harbour


European News (subbed).indd 17


07/11/2022 15:26:33


Norway continues to smash seafood export records NORWAY’S fishermen and fish farmers notched up another record last month as seafood exports hit NOK 15.4bn (£1.29bn), the largest value ever for a single month. Once again, farmed salmon was the main driver. The total is 27% higher or NOK 3.3bn (£277m) higher than October last year and NOK 727m (£60.5m) up on this year’s September figure. The export total for 2022 so far is NOK 123.9bn (£10bn). Norwegian Seafood Council CEO Christian Chramer said: “Norwegian seafood exports experienced historic growth in October. The value of NOK 15bn is not only a solid record. This means that every single day this month we exported seafood worth just under NOK 500m [£342.7m] . “These are enormous numbers and show how important this industry is to Norway.” October proved to be another record month for salmon, with exports up 5% in volume terms to 133,105 tonnes and the value

increasing by 27% to NOK 10.6bn (£892m) on a year ago. Seafood Council Paul T. Aandahl explained: “The most important contribution to the increase in value is increased price. “In addition to increased export volumes, the Norwegian krone is weakening and we have increased further processing of salmon in Norway, which also contributes positively. “The proportion of fillets is still increasing compared with last year. If we convert to round weight, fillet products accounted for around 15% of exports in October.” Poland, with its large salmon processing industry, was the main market, followed by the United States, helped by a strong dollar exchange rate, said Aandahl. Farmed trout exports totalled 5,019 tonnes in October, down by 18%. But the value increased by 15% to NOK 465m (almost £39m) with the US, Thailand and Japan the main markets.

Grieg reports higher harvest for BC, but costs also up NORWEGIAN-owned Grieg Seafood is expecting higher third quarter harvests, but is also facing higher production costs, the company said in a trading update. The harvest total for the July to September period will be 22,900 tonnes, 2,400 tonnes higher than a year ago, with the British Columbia business performing particularly well. However, production costs in the province were considerably higher than at its Norwegian farms. The regional breakdown is (Q3 2021 figures in brackets): • Norway Rogaland 6,800 tonnes (6,300 tonnes); • Norway Finnmark 8,200 tonnes (9,900 tonnes); and • British Columbia, Canada 7,900 tonnes (4,300 tonnes).

• The average production costs per kg (Q3 2021 figures in brackets) are approximately: Rogaland NOK 51.8 (NOK 46.5); • Finnmark NOK 48.1 (NOK 45.5); and • British Columbia CA $10.10 or NOK 77.6 (CA $8.50). Bergen-based Grieg said its production costs in British Columbia were affected by biological challenges including a seasonal algae outbreak. The full Q3 report was due to be published on 11 November. Meanwhile, Grieg has appointed Jennifer Woodland, who has held several roles in the Canadian fish farming industry, as its Managing Director for British Columbia. She is also highly experienced in working with Canada’s First Nation communities. Woodland is a former Chairman of the Canadian Aquaculture Industry Association,

and was previously CEO of Nuu-chah-nulth Seafood LP, a role she held for more than six years. Woodland said: “My passion is sustainable food production, Indigenous reconciliation, and rural economic development. “The core values of Grieg Seafood align with my passions and personal commitments. I am excited to work with the talented team at Grieg Seafood BC and the First Nations communities in which they operate, to see positive developments for the salmon farming sector in British Columbia.”

Norway’s Finance Minister hints at salmon tax amendments NORWEGIAN Finance Minister Trygve Slagsvold Vedum has suggested that he is open to amending his controversial ground rent tax plans for the salmon industry. Vedum, who is also leader of the Centre Party (also known as the Liberal Party) in the Labour-led coalition Government, made the disclosure in an interview with the left-wing news site Klasskampen (“Class struggle”). However, he did not spell out what changes he is considering.There is speculation he could raise the production threshold at which the tax is paid, possibly as high as 10,000 tonnes. The Minister said he hopes the SV or Socialist Left party, also part of the coalition, will go along Above: Trygve Slagsvold Vedum with any changes he


might propose. He said there had been “a lot of noise” over his tax proposals, which were no longer part of the normal budget. Full details of how the tax will operate will not now come into effect until the spring. But the country does need some form of a basic rent tax, he insisted. Vedum’s proposals have now been submitted for general consultation, with a deadline of 3 January 2023. His comments to Klasskampen is the first indication that the Government is feeling industry and political pressure over the ground rent proposal. Major companies including Mowi, Cermaq and SalMar, have shelved or cancelled investment plans worth billions of krone and which would have brought in a great deal of extra tax revenue. The Centre Party is influential in many coastal areas where fish farming takes place and its local mayors have strongly registered their opposition to a ground rent tax. The shares of Mowi, SalMar and other big salmon players rose between 3.9% and 6% on the Oslo Bors following the reports that Vedum may ease back on the tax proposals.

European News (subbed).indd 18

07/11/2022 15:29:15

Arnsten, Steinvik take CEO and CFO roles at SalMar SALMON giant SalMar has a new Chief Executive and a new Chief Financial Officer, following the surprise departure of both the previous incumbents. The new CEO is Frode Arntsen, who has been part of SalMar since 2017 as Executive Vice-President for Sales & Industry. He has worked in the seafood industry since 2000 and has previously held various management positions at a number of seafood companies. He has replaced Linda Litlekalsøy Aase, who resigned as CEO after just five months in the post. Aase, who took over from SalMar founder Gustav Witzøe in May, has been a member of the SalMar board of directors since 2020. No reason has been given by the company for her departure. SalMar board Chairman Gustav Witzøe said: “SalMar is one of the leading and most efficient salmon producers in the world. “The company has delivered a solid operational performance during Aase’s

tenure as CEO. We thank Aase for her time and effort at SalMar. “I would like to express my personal gratitude to Aase for her effort as CEO. At the same time, I am pleased that we have found an experienced replacement. I am comfortable that Frode Arntsen will continue to safeguard and develop SalMar as a leading supplier of salmon produce.” Ulrik Steinvik is the company’s new CFO. His predecessor, Gunnar Nielsen, resigned in September, despite having been at the company for less than six months, announcing that he was returning to the Faroe Islands as Director of the local energy company Effo. Steinvik, who took up his post as from 27 October, has been working with SalMar since 2006, holding several

leading positions in the executive management team. Most recently he was Director of Business Improvement. Frode Arntsen said: “I am pleased that Ulrik Steinvik has accepted the role as SalMar’s new CFO. Ulrik and I have worked closely together in the management group for years and I look forward to continuing our close cooperation. Ulrik’s extensive experience and expertise will be valuable in the further development of the company.” Before Steinvik joined SalMar, he worked at Arthur Andersen Norway and Ernst & Young from 1998 to 2006. He graduated from the Norwegian School of Economics and Business in 2002 and is a Norwegian state authorised public accountant.

Clockwise from top left: Frode Arntsen; Linda Litlekalsøy Aase; Gunnar Nielsen; Ulrik Steinvik



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Up to 99% clearance of adult sea lice* Significant decrease in AGD*

the prevention and treatment of fish parasites, such as lice and AGD *

McDermott et al., (2021) Novel use of nanofiltered hyposaline water to control sea lice (Lepeophtheirus salmonis and Caligus elongatus) and amoebic gill disease, on a commercial Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) farm in Aquaculture Reports and Jakobsen and Powell., (2021) Effective bath treatment with ion-modified sea water in 6 hours in Norwegian Fish farming.

We solve Growth Challenges

European News (subbed).indd 19


07/11/2022 15:30:27

Forever Oceans farmed kanpachi makes successful commercial debut

OFFSHORE fish farmer Forever Oceans says its first commercial harvest is proving a success in restaurants on America’s west and east coasts. Forever Oceans produces kanpachi, otherwise known as yellowtail or amberjack (Seriola rivoliana), in offshore farm sites in waters around 100m deep. The first commercial batch, from Panama, has now been harvested and more sites are being developed in Indonesia and Brazil. In California, Forever Oceans kanpachi is being featured in several menu items – including sushi tacos and Fresh Catch entrées – at all 13 locations of Pacific Catch, a west coast fish house that prioritises sustainability. On the east coast of the US, Forever Oceans is working with distribution partner ProFish and gaining menu placements among notable restaurants

throughout the greater Washington DC region, as well as a number of establishments in Virginia. Forever Oceans CEO Bill Bien said: “We’re thrilled by the reception we’ve received from chefs and restaurateurs, and are so proud to be showcased at a growing number of fantastic restaurants on both coasts. “We’ve long known about the versatility and quality of our fish, and how it performs both raw and cooked and with a broad range of cuisines and flavours. Seeing how a variety of world-class chefs are now working with

Forever Oceans kanpachi really brings its attributes to life.” Forever Oceans uses state-of-theart engineering to farm in oceanic conditions, and a suite of other technologies, including satellitecontrolled robotics, near-field communications, AI-driven cameras,and a feed management software platform, to manage its sites remotely. Left: Fresh Catch with kanpachi tomato confit style, miso, butter broccolini and crab mashed potatoes Below: Forever Oceans Panama enclosure

Photo: Forever Oceans

Photo: Pacific-Catch

World News


Proximar’s Mt Fuji hatchery gets first egg batch PROXIMAR Seafood has placed the first eggs at its hatchery in Oyama, near Mount Fuji, Japan. The company said some 125,000 eggs were inserted in this first batch and the ova arrived at the hatchery in excellent condition. The eggs were supplied by Benchmark Genetics from its StofnFiskur breeding programme in Iceland. These have shown great performance in land-based facilities, Proximar said, including AquaMaof’s R&D facility in Poland. Dharma Rajeswaran, Chief Operating Officer at Proximar, said: “After meticulous preparations, it is wonderful to finally initiate production. The team is ready, the facility is perfect, and we have everything we need to provide ideal


hatching and growth conditions.” Proximar said the egg insertion marked the starting point for farming of Atlantic salmon in Japan, giving the company a significant first mover advantage. Proximar will insert similar batches into the hatchery each month going forward,

Above: Unpacking eggs

enabling continuous harvest from the middle of 2024. Proximar CEO Joachim Nielsen said: “The moment we have all been waiting for has finally arrived. I see it as a great achievement of our organisation and suppliers to complete the facility in accordance with the ambitious timeline, considering issues such as Covid-19 and global shortage of raw material. “The production start is a major milestone for the company and a significant step towards providing the Japanese people with sustainably produced seafood.” Earlier this year, Proximar entered into an agreement with one of Japan’s largest distribution companies, the Marubeni Corporation, which has also invested capital in Proximar.

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07/11/2022 14:58:28

ASC reports 20% increase in certified sites worldwide THE number of farm sites certified under the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) scheme grew by 20% last year, according to the ASC’s Annual Report 2021. In the organisation’s first ever annual report, the ASC reveals that it now sets the standards for around 2,000 farm sites, covering 49 species. ASC-certified production now exceeds 2.5 million tonnes annually. During 2021, ASC-certified farms made 2,780 improvements across the 11 standards in the areas of environmental performance (1,800), social responsibility (893) and legal compliance (87). By the end of the year, the availability of ASC-certified products grew by 10% compared with the previous year, bringing more than 20,000 ASC-labelled products to consumers, with over 275,000 tonnes sold. Global retail markets continued to demonstrate a strong preference for salmon and shrimp, which account for 70% of ASC-labelled product weight. Moreover, demand is rising for other important regional species, such as trout, seabass and seabream.

There was strong uptake of ASClabelled products in southern European markets and an increased strategic focus on bringing key species to US and UK markets. ASC CEO Chris Ninnes said: “We are proud to publish the first Annual Report, which celebrates not only the growing recognition for responsible aquaculture around the world, but also reaffirms our commitment to continued progress. “While 2021 challenged the ASC’s innovation to continue promoting our programme and ASClabelled products, we found new ways to reach our audiences, drive improvements to our systems and invest in our organisation.” In 2021, 67 assessments of Conformity Assessment Body (CAB) performance were conducted covering 92% of defined target areas and to address incidents. The number of CABs in the ASC programme grew to 14, representing 184 auditors worldwide qualified to evaluate farms against ASC’s strict environmental and social requirements.

CAT in contract to develop Arctic char broodstock

Ohad Maiman steps down as Kingfish Company CEO

Above: Arctic char

GENETICS specialist the Center for Aquaculture Technologies (CAT) has teamed up with Canadian fish farmer Icy Waters to work on a breeding programme for Arctic char. Icy Waters, based in Whitehorse, in Canada’s Yukon Territory, is a fully integrated aquaculture business producing Arctic char (also known as charr) and char ova for other farmers. CAT will apply genomic analysis to Icy Waters’ two founder populations of char, selecting the best traits from both in order to create an improved broodstock. Icy Waters General Manager Doug Hotson said: “Developing sustainable food and protein sources continues to be a key economic factor for many countries around the world. Aquaculture is poised to be an increasingly important contributor to this landscape. With the rise of recirculating aquaculture systems (RAS), the benefits of growing

char relative to other salmonids continues to gain interest, given their natural preference for higher densities.” He argues that Arctic char is gaining momentum as an alternative to other commercially successful farmed salmonid species such as salmon and trout. Klara Verbyla,Vice-President of Genetics at CAT, said: “CAT is delighted to be partnering with Icy Waters to optimise and accelerate their genetic improvement programme. With the growing appetite for Artic char, it is an exciting and opportune time for the CAT breeding team to partner with Icy Waters to accelerate the rate of genetic gains for key traits in Arctic char to improve efficiency, production and quality. We look forward to working alongside Icy Waters to bring premium Arctic char to the global market.” The facilities include an integrated hatchery with a quarantined broodstock production unit and egg incubation room. Ongrowing takes place in a fully separate tank farm next to the federally inspected processing facility. The Center for Aquaculture Technologies is a joint US-Canada operation with facilities located in San Diego, California, and in Victoria and Souris, Prince Edward Island, Canada.

OHAD Maiman, the founder of yellowtail fish farmer The Kingfish Company, has stepped down from his role as Chief Executive of the business. The surprise announcement came just days after Kingfish announced a big rise in sales and successfully completed one of the final hurdles for its recirculating aquaculture system (RAS) farm project in the US state of Maine, with planning approval from the local community of Jonesport. In a letter to staff, Maiman said he would transition from his role as CEO into an advisory position where he will continue to support Kingfish as “an active founder”. He also pledged continued support for the US development, “providing counsel to management and then board, and remaining committed to Kingfish’s ongoing success”. The letter to staff continued: “Building The Kingfish Company over the last seven years from a PowerPoint presentation to a sector leader as founder/CEO has been an honour and a privilege. “I am immensely proud of how far we have come in proving the business case for land-based yellowtail kingfish, and grateful to have had the chance to work with some of the most talented and capable professionals in the business. “As the company developed through the startup and scaleup phases, and has reached a mature significant operational scale... I have decided that now would be a good time to hand off the CEO role, and have worked closely with the board to ensure a smooth transition.” Executive Chairman Hans den Bieman will serve as interim CEO while the search takes place for a long-term replacement. A former CEO of Marine Harvest, he has worked closely with Maiman since the beginning of the company and is also the owner of Sealand Aquaculture. Den Bieman said: “This is a natural evolution for a founder who has brought the company to a strong and healthy position, and as interim CEO I will work closely with Ohad through this Top: Ohad Maiman Above: Hans den Bieman transition period.”

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07/11/2022 14:59:13


Atlantic Sapphire shares plunge on Oslo Stock Exchange after mortalities warning

SHARES in land-based salmon farmer Atlantic Sapphire plunged by 40% on the Oslo Stock Exchange in a single day, after it told investors that it was reducing its revenue forecast for the second half of the year. The company now expects Q2 revenues to be lower than expected, and more in line with those of the first six months, due to mortality issues. Atlantic Sapphire said in a statement to the Oslo Bors on 16 October that higher

mortality had forced the Miami, Florida, salmon farmer into an early slaughter. The share prices fell to NOK 7.73 at one point, a fall of 78% in just six months. The company said it was carrying out an investigation into the mortality problem, which took place in certain fish tanks, so it can take additional corrective measures. The Stock Market announcement said: “Due to above-normal and increasing mortality in certain systems, fish from these systems have been harvested earlier and at a lower average weight than originally planned. “The company’s average harvest weight in the second half of 2022 is therefore expected to be around 2kg HOG (heads on gutted). The company still expects to receive an average premium price of approximately US $12 per kg for its Bluehouse Salmon (superior 3kg+ fish). “The revenue for the second half of 2022 is estimated to be around the same level as in

the first half of 2022. “The Company continues to investigate the cause of the above-normal mortality in certain fish systems to be able to take further corrective actions and minimise future mortality.” The statement continued: “As highlighted in the August 2022 Operational Update, the company is in the process of upgrading the farm infrastructure (including the intake water pre-cooling system) to ensure temperature stability and improved biological performance. “The Company’s harvest guidance of 800,000–1,000,000 fish in the second half of 2022 remains unchanged, and the biomass gain and harvest volume expectations for 2023 are not impacted by the early harvest.” It concluded: “The Q3 2022 Operational Update will be released on or around November 15 2022, when the company will share more details on its operational performance.”

Kwan steps up to CEO role at Barramundi JAMES Kwan has been appointed as Chief Executive Officer at Barramundi Group, replacing Andreas von Scholten, who is stepping down from the top job to become a board director at the company. The Barramundi Group is headquartered in Singapore and has fish farms in Singapore, Australia and Brunei. The company recently announced that it was looking for a buyer for its loss-making Australian business after attempts to find a “strategic partner” for its ambitious plans to grow in Western Australia appear to have stalled. Kwan has more than 15 years of senior management experience, predominantly within the marketing and food and beverage sectors. He has been with Barramundi Group as a member of the Executive Management Team since December 2019, first in a role as Chief Marketing Officer, and from June 2020 also overseeing the farming and processing operations in Singapore. Earlier in 2022, Kwan took on a concurrent role as General Manager Singapore, with responsibilities spanning broodstock, grow-out, processing and commercial operations. He is credited with creating the company’s Kühlbarra brand and laying the foundation for its e-commerce business. Kwan said: “I thank the board for the trust placed in me to lead the company at a juncture where it is continuing to execute


on strategic and tactical operational changes that will lead us towards profitability. “On the commercial front, we need to re-assert our brands, innovate and excite the market once again with creative offerings that have defined our earlier successes. “The megatrend towards food security and the demand for responsibly produced proteins has only strengthened through the pandemic. Our position as a leader in sustainable barramundi aquaculture in Asia remains unchanged, and our Company remains poised for strong future growth being at the doorstep of the world’s next growth engine. I have enjoyed working with Andreas these past three years and I welcome his decision to join the board.” Von Scholten has been the company’s CEO since November 2019 and will take up his new role as board director with effect from 1 January 2023. He said: “It has been a privilege to serve as CEO of Barramundi Group since November 2019, and I look very much forward to continue working with James and the company in my new role as Director. The company has been through a major transformation in recent years and is now progressing well on the strategy leading to profitability. Top: James Kwan Above: Andreas von Scholten

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07/11/2022 15:00:11


Mount Cook set to build first land-based salmon farm in NZ

Help from the Government

T Above: Mount Cook Alpine Salmon land farm concept illustration

NEW Zealand is about to get its first land-based salmon farm. With government support, Mount Cook Alpine Salmon Farm has unveiled plans to construct a prototype facility in Twizel, Canterbury, which will double the company’s capacity to between 6,000 and 8,000 tonnes. The new farm will be a hybrid facility that will use a part flow-through system designed to optimise energy use through gravity-fed water and renewably sourced energy. Nutrients from the salmon operation will be collected to support an aquaponics crop, taking a circular approach and generating value from a zero-value waste stream. This will link to a wetland area that will further purify the water, the company said. The New Zealand Ministry for Primary Industries Sustainable Food and Fibres Futures (SFF Futures) Fund has pledged NZ $6.7m (£3.38m) towards the NZ $16.7m (£8.42m) project. Steve Penno, Director of Investment at the Ministry of Primary Industries, said: “Demand for healthy, sustainably produced aquaculture products continues to grow and landbased salmon farming will enable New Zealand to boost the supply of this high-quality, high-value product.” He said the project was in line with the Government’s aquaculture strategy, which outlines a sustainable growth pathway to an additional NZ $3bn (£1.5bn) in annual revenue. “Land-based projects are a key pillar of the aquaculture strategy, which relies on innovation across the sector. “This project is an excellent example of smart thinking to explore what land-based farming could look like for New Zealand, based on next-generation salmon farming techniques.” Mount Cook Alpine Salmon CEO David Cole said his company was delighted to be involved with the project. He added: “There are always risks associated with innovative projects like this, and government support helps cushion this risk and accelerate outcomes.” “Despite the difficult market conditions over the last few years, our customers love the taste of our unique freshwater King Salmon and demand continues to exceed our supply. This co-funding enables us to expand our production capacity through a new way of farming that has the potential to be a game-changer for the company and the aquaculture sector in New Zealand.”

here is no shortage of challenges when it comes to trying to make a successful business in the current climate, so it is important to be aware of potential sources of help and support. Established and time-served traditional operating working models may no longer have been sufficient to navigate changes in regulations, workforce and operation so improvements may have had to have been introduced. Where any move from traditional practices have taken place, it is often innovation, creativity and technology that has been injected into the process, with new or enhanced methodologies to solve new problems. To the layman, fish farming may seem as if it relies on the same processes and actions that it has for decades past. However, the implementation of marine technology, pest and environment control and improved processes to increase harvest efficiency, is a way in which creativity and innovation can improve your business. There are typically limitations to off-the-shelf solutions. Often, systems have to be adapted and reimagined to make them functional and suitable for use in each unique location and differing areas of breed stock. This is where time, effort and expenditure can be applied to come up with processes, systems or tooling that help maximise activity, to keep it at the level of throughput that is required to be sustainable as a business.

Stephen McCallion Founder & CEO, ZLX Business Solutions These activities can be considered as overhead costs, as they entail going beyond normal working practices to find new, effective, sustainable solutions. Where development has taken place, there is help in the UK through HMRC to soften the blow of that expenditure. Where development has been applied, there are mechanisms available through the tax rebate system to claim back some of the outlay. Support is available to navigate this legislation and make sure that any applicable rebate reaches its maximum potential. Visit the site below for more information, contact the ZLX team to discuss further at or go online to

“Creativity and innovation can improve your business”

World News SUBBED.indd 23


07/11/2022 15:00:48

Processing News



Mowi, Sainsbury’s are winners at the UK ASC awards Salmon producer Mowi’s Consumer Products arm has been named UK Retail Supplier of the Year in the Aquaculture Stewardship UK awards. Supermarket chain Sainsbury’s won the title of UK Retailer of the Year.

Above (From left): Olivia Brett, Product Technologist – Fish, Sainsbury’s; Jonathan Jordan, Senior National Account Manager, Mowi;

Alyson Anderson, Product Technologist, Sainsbury’s; David Parker, Head 0f Aquaculture & Fisheries, Sainsbury’s; Lorraine Gallagher, SC Market Development Manager, UK & IE; Robin Brown, Head of Technical & Development, Mowi; Chiara Beghini, ASC European Regional Manager THIS was the first time the retail supplier category has been included in the ASC UK awards. The award recognises the work involved from the supply base to drive sustainability within the supply chain. Dougie Hunter, Technical & Operations Director for Mowi, said: “Mowi is committed to providing its customers with a leading third-party certification that recognises companies that go above and beyond regarding social and environmental criteria. The ASC standard helps Mowi build trust with leading retailers such as Sainsbury’s that rightfully expect top quality and responsibly raised seafood. It’s great to be recognised for the exceptional work Mowi does to bring Sainsbury’s salmon to the table.” Sainsbury’s Aquaculture and Fisheries Manager Dave Parker said: “We are delighted to have won ASC UK Retailer of the Year. We know how important it is for our customers and colleagues that products are responsibly sourced, and it is testament to the efforts and progress

our teams have made. This year we were the first supermarket to have 100% ASC-certified fresh Scottish salmon, which we hope gives our customers confidence that our fresh seafood is high quality and responsibly sourced. We’ll continue to work closely with our suppliers and the ASC to ensure food is sourced responsibly from all perspectives.” This year, the awards event was held in Aberdeen, at the Maritime Museum. George Clark, MSC Programme Director, UK & Ireland, said: “We are very pleased to welcome back our friends at the ASC to join us for our annual awards. Holding our ceremony in Scotland this year provided a great opportunity to recognise the region’s importance as a source of certified wild-caught and farmed seafood. It’s been fantastic to see more ASC-labelled products become available to shoppers in the UK over the past year, thanks to the hard work of Sainsbury’s and Mowi.” The ASC estimates that demand for ASC-certified, labelled products in

the UK is growing at more than 51% annually. ASC CEO Chris Ninnes said: “These awards recognise not only the significant commitment that it takes for a retailer to convert its entire farmed seafood category to responsibly produced aquaculture, but also the dedication of one of its major suppliers to meet these commitments. This takes collective hard work throughout the supply chain to deliver certified seafood on a daily basis.”

Holding our ceremony in “Scotland this year provided a great opportunity to recognise the region’s importance as a source of certified seafood

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07/11/2022 15:34:15

Young’s Seafood adds mussels to Gastro range LEADING UK fish and seafood company Young’s has added a new product to its premium Gastro range that features Scottish rope-grown mussels. Young’s Gastro Scottish Mussels in a Creamy Garlic & White Wine Sauce comes in a 450g pack and serves two. The company said: “Served in a deliciously creamy sauce packed full of garlic and white wine, it’s perfect when served as a main course alongside crusty bread for an at-home date night. The new recipe, which is the first shellfish product in the Gastro range, is microwaveable in just seven minutes, making it ideal for consumers looking to cut back on their oven usage due to rising energy costs.”

The product retails at £4.00 and will be available at the Iceland retail chain. Young’s has also launched a new cod offering in the Gastro range. Creamy Garlic Topped Cod Fillets come in a 350g pack in two 175g servings, available in Tesco at RRP £4.00. Meanwhile the existing Gastro Atlantic Salmon Puff Pastry Parcels, topped with a creamy spinach and mature cheddar sauce, are now listed in Sainsbury’s. The new product launches and listings follow a period of significant growth for the Young’s Gastro brand, which saw sales up 17% vs August 2019, growing to £72.5m (recorded by Kantar), with the brand welcoming over 916,000 new shoppers.

Paul Craft, Chief Commercial Officer for Young’s owner, Sofina Europe, said: “As consumers increasingly seek products that can recreate a dineout experience at home, we have looked to build on our position as the number-one brand in premium fish by developing an expanded range that offers even more restaurant-style flavours at affordable prices. “The introduction of our new Scottish Mussels and Garlic Topped Cod Fillets recipes to the Gastro range means we can offer consumers more choices to achieve that restaurant experience at home at a time when many are having to cut back on the number of times they dine out.”

Seafood challenging turkey for festive dinner choice

Above: Salmon Wellington

SEAFOOD dishes such as salmon Wellington are challenging the traditional turkey as the centrepiece of the British Christmas dinner, according to research from supermarket chain Tesco. Tesco’s Christmas Report 2022 says that, while turkey remains the UK’s number-one festive choice, nearly a quarter (23%) of households will not be serving it this Christmas. Of those, 27% will skipping the traditional roast turkey for the first time. Younger people are even more likely to go against the turkey tradition, with 32% opting for an alternative. Tesco says that consumers will be going for a variety of options including seafood, meat and plantbased alternatives. Seafood is also set to feature strongly. Prawn cocktail, a retro classic for British consumers, is

the choice for 14% (up from 11% last year) while 10% are set to pick smoked salmon (up from 5%) and 7% lobster or scallops. This Christmas, the report says, getting together with friends and family will see celebrations for the big day itself being a bigger affair compared with 2021. On average, people are planning to have six people around the table for Christmas dinner, up from five last year and rising to seven amongst 18- to 34-year-olds. One in 10 (10%) UK adults will be sitting down to Christmas dinner with 10 or more guests. When it comes to festive gatherings, the big Christmas night out looks set to be replaced by the big Christmas night in this year. Almost half (47%) of UK adults plan to have fewer nights out this year than last, with only a quarter (23%) saying they plan to go out more.

Above: The new Gastro Scottish Mussels

Salmon listeria alert in Norway THE Norwegian Food Safety Authority has issued an alert after listeria bacteria was discovered in smoked salmon. The listeriosis infection is caused by the bacterium Listeria monocytogenes. So far the infection has been found in only four people. The samples were taken between February and August this year (2022). The four people are aged 50 to 90, two women and two men, and they live in Nordland, Trøndelag, Oslo and Viken. All have been treated in hospital. Bacteria with the same genetic profile have been detected in samples from all four patients. In addition, there is one suspected case where the final clarification of the test result is awaited. Last month, French retail chain LeClerc was forced to pull one of its main smoked salmon products following the discovery of listeria in smoked salmon products, also of Norwegian origin. Processors and food health authorities have recently expressed concern over what they say has been a notable rise in contaminations involving other retailers over recent months in Europe and elsewhere. Three of the four patients in this latest incident have been interviewed by the Norwegian Food Safety Authority. They all said they had eaten smoked salmon or smoked trout in the time before they became ill, with two of them eating smoked salmon from the same producer. During the investigation, bacteria was found in a low concentration in a product from this manufacturer. The routine sample was taken in connection with the Norwegian Food Safety Authority’s monitoring programme for readyto-eat products in 2022. The Institute says listeria is usually transmitted through food, especially refrigerated foods with a long shelf life that are eaten without further heat treatment. The people at most risk from an infection include the elderly, pregnant women and those with weakened immune systems.

Processing News - Nov 22 (subbed).indd 25


07/11/2022 15:34:55


Friends, but no facts The Loch Hourn objectors’ model is simply not backed by evidence. By Dr Martin Jaffa


he anglers’ bible to salmon fishing in Scotland is The Rivers & Lochs of Scotland by the late Bruce Sandison. Although this includes details about every river and loch in Scotland, there is no mention of the River Arnisdale, since is not open to the public and remains the private domain of the proprietor. Sandison does refer to such private waters saying that all the rivers from Loch Alsh in the north to Loch Hourn in the South, remain closed to the public.


The local “community” group, Friends of Loch Hourn (FOLH), managed to persuade the planning committee to reject an application for a modification to the salmon farm in Loch Hourn based on concern for wild fish. The data they used to suggest a connection between salmon farming and a threat to wild fish was, however, based on catch data from other rivers that is impossible to substantiate because it is not published. Although the main objection to the farm is likely to be more related to NIMBYism than the protection of wild fish, FOLH commissioned a model to show the impacts of sea lice on wild salmon. Given that any model only reflects the inputs, a model that begins with the assumption that salmon farming has a negative impact on wild fish will have findings that reflect that view. The report commissioned by FOLH begins by stating that the correlation between salmon farms, sea lice and the decline in wild salmonids is well-established in the scientific literature and therefore the model will reflect this. However, the link between sea lice, salmon farms and the declines of wild salmonids has been far from established in the scientific literature. Marine Scotland Science, in its summary of the science on sea lice, can only cite two papers linking salmon farming and wild salmon declines, and one of those is accompanied by the statement that the authors stressed that the decline on the west coast did not prove a causative link with aquaculture. The second paper was written by authors with very close associations to anti-salmon farming critic Alexandra Morton and although the authors say there is a link, the graphs they provide suggest otherwise. Not surprisingly, the results of the FOLH modelling suggest that any change to the existing farm would tip the distinct populations of Loch Hourn salmon and trout towards extinction. They add that sea lice from the Loch Hourn farm already represent a high risk to migrating smolts, but with additional sea lice emanating from an expanded farm, this risk becomes critical. FOLH state that modelling the impact of sea lice on wild fish is one of the most accurate ways to assess the risk of harm. Of course, they are bound to say this given that they commissioned a modelling company to produce a model for them. Actually, all these models show is how any inert particles released into the sea by a salmon farm will disperse with the currents and wind. Sea lice are not inert particles and exhibit a clear behaviour that such models do not consider. I would argue that modelling is, indeed, the best way to assess the risk to wild fish from sea lice. The best way would be

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07/11/2022 15:38:56

Opposite from top:

Percentage infestation of sea lice on sea trout, Loch Hourn 2013-2014; Percentage infestation of sea trout with increasing numbers of sea lice, Scotland 1997-2019 Above: Loch Hourn and the Ornsay lighthouse

to conduct a large-scale smolt release programme where half the fish are given an anti-lice treatment and half are left untreated as a control. The Irish Marine Institute has already conducted such a programme and found that the difference between the two groups is around 1%. The risk, therefore, is minimal. Unfortunately, objectors such as FOLH simply choose to ignore such evidence. I would like to offer another way of assessing the impacts of sea lice on wild fish. This is the sea lice monitoring programme run by the west coast fisheries trusts and paid for by Marine Scotland Science. This programme has been running from 1997 up to the present day and has monitored sea lice on sea trout, as a proxy

The link between sea lice, salmon farms and the declines of wild salmonids has been far from established

for wild salmon, as salmon migrated away from the area in days, if not hours. Over the years, the fisheries’ trusts have monitored about 100 different sites, including Loch Hourn. This site was netted for fish once in 2010, twice in 2013 and three times in 2014. In total, they caught 87 sea trout from which they counted numbers of sea lice. I have put the results into graphical form from which it is possible to see that over 90% of the sea trout caught were lice-free. Many of the sites sampled in this monitoring programme were only sampled for a short length of time before moving on to sample elsewhere. The reasons for this are either because the fish caught had such low infestation levels or the site was difficult to sample due to its physical nature. Most of those in the second group of sites were only sampled once, whereas Loch Hourn was sampled in three different years. Although the farm was well established by 2010 (the loch was first farmed in 1987), it would seem that the local fisheries’ trust decided that sea lice were not a problem in Loch Hourn so went elsewhere to find lice levels that would support their claims against salmon farming. However, as I have shown from the 23 years’ data, the majority of fish sampled across the whole of the west coast are lice-free or carry only a low-level infestation. FOLH claims about the negative impacts of salmon farming on wild fish in Loch Hourn are simply wrong. The planning application has gone to appeal, so we’ll soon see whether the appointed Government Reporter agrees or not. See The Planning Maze, page 44.


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07/11/2022 15:39:36


Who speaks for the community? The loudest voices don’t always represent the majority. By Hamish Macdonell


ack when I used to cover politics, we used to call it an “Astroturf campaign” – that is, a fake grassroots campaign. The term describes a campaign delivered almost exclusively online, while giving the impression of being well connected and deep rooted throughout the community. The reality is that although these campaigns are noisy, vociferous and appear to come from many motivated people, they are driven by a couple of savvy activists behind keyboards. This is the world we live in now and I’m not sure any of us – least of all those who have to decide what a “community” wants – have really come to terms with it. When Professor Russel Griggs gave evidence to MSPs earlier this year on his review of salmon farming regulation, this was an absolutely key part of his evidence. In fact, it can be argued that his comments on this issue and the crucial question of who actually speaks for any community go right to the heart of the future of salmon farming in Scotland. Professor Griggs told the Rural Affairs, Islands and Natural Environment Committee that, in many parts of rural Scotland, there was an “economically active part and an economically inactive part”. Generally, while the active part wanted development to provide jobs and income, the inactive parts wanted an unspoilt rural idyll.


He said: “It is clear that the ‘anti’ voice in some places is very well funded and resourced, unlike the local voice, perhaps. Therefore, there is a need to bring some balance to that situation so that we understand that, when we are listening to voices, it is not the loudest voice that should get its way, but the voice that speaks on the basis of evidence.” This is the nub of it: it should not be the loudest voice that gets its way, but the true voice of the community as a whole. We have all heard these loudest voices, many times. They tend to be articulate, intelligent, motivated conservatives (with a small “c”) who have the time and the resources to sign petitions, lodge objections and give the impression that their supporters are more numerous than they actually are. Indeed, anti-farming petitions lodged in this country are often signed by activists from thousands of miles away who have absolutely no stake in the communities in question. And I’m sure it is the same for petitions in other jurisdictions too. But it goes deeper than that. There have been several occasions in the last couple of years when anti-farm activists have launched what they claimed would be mass mobilisations of protesters. One was supposed to bring forth a “flotilla” of anti-farming boat users onto the water. In the end, there were three canoes and five people. Another promised buses would be hired to bring hundreds of demonstrators to a conference. Not a single bus arrived. Another promised demonstration, this time outside parliament, and drew one

Left Keyboard warriors can wield a kot of influence Opposite: Loud voices risk drowning out the views of the community

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07/11/2022 14:28:49

It should not be the loudest voice that gets its way, but the true voice of the community

person – the organiser. You would think this would prove the point that the anti-farming lobby is the personification of a fake grassroots campaign, but our elected representatives still waver. They are uncertain because of the sheer number of emails that drop into their inboxes and because those who shout loudly shout very loudly indeed. The letters pages of the local papers in the areas where we farm provide a perfect snapshot of this. This is where the retired, idyll-seeking objector is most comfortable. This is an environment they have been living in for years. So when someone speaks up for the other side, for the silent majority who need jobs and income and a thriving, working community, it causes a long and sustained backlash from the keyboard activists. But occasionally, just occasionally, someone comes along with comments that sum things up just perfectly. A letter in the West Highland Free Press in October did just that. Seumas MacLennan, from Skye, related a tale about a relatively new incomer lamenting that her neighbour, a crofter, had decided to tear down a tired, broken-down old stock fence and replace it with one that actually worked. It was such a shame, she complained because the old one had been “so scenic”. Mr MacLennan wrote the same attitude was prevalent in the “unfathomable” negativity towards salmon farming. “Arguing with the anti-salmon farming

lobby, which itself is a tiny number of very vocal individuals, is like arguing with anti-vaxxers and flat-earthers,” he wrote. The key here is the same as in Professor Griggs’ comments – “a tiny number of very vocal individuals”. We really do represent the silent majority. It can be very hard to remember that amid all the sound and fury, but we do and that is what we have to keep reminding our elected politicians. There are ways this can be expressed. Some salmon farming companies have organised local referendums. These have the advantage of providing a clear evidence base of local support, but they are not risk-free. Referendums can mobilise the “tiny number of very vocal individuals” from outside the area, and these are often people with the time and resource to spend spreading misinformation and sowing confusion. Yet, most times when local votes have been held, the true voice of the community has been heard and the fish farm developments have been supported. There is one other problem that comes from this division of local opinion: polarisation. As far as the anti lobby is concerned, there is no room for compromise, no space for discussion and no other valid view than their own. This, again, is a feature of our world where social media pushes people to the extremes. But there should be space for nuance and appreciation that there are grey areas. Locals should be able to ask questions, they should be able to say they are unsure and want to hear both sides, and they should be able to make up their minds without being shouted out. The same is true of our politicians, local and national, who hold the key to resolving this impasse. They need not just the time and space to make up their minds, but the information and knowledge to do so. That is why we have been trying to get as many of them as possible out to farms, so they can ask questions and make up their own minds, properly and independently. All we want is for them to listen, take proper soundings and not be distracted by shouts from the sidelines, however loud, insistent and intolerant they may be.

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07/11/2022 14:29:20


‘In this together’ Scotland’s seafood industry faces challenging times, but huge opportunities. By Nicki Holmyard

We are all in this together” was a fitting theme for the Association of Scottish Shellfish Growers (ASSG) annual conference and trade show, which returned to Oban in October following a pandemic break. Embracing the wider aquaculture world, the event featured representatives from marine finfish, shellfish and seaweed, who spoke about the opportunities and challenges for their sectors. Rural Affairs Secretary Mairi Gougeon opened the conference by outlining the Scottish Government’s aims for aquaculture development, along with plans for the financial, regulatory, licensing, innovation and research backup necessary to achieve it. “It is fitting that the event begins on the same day as the launch of our first Strategy for Seafood, which affirms the importance of the sector and sets out how we are supporting industry to contribute to achieving our Blue Economy aspirations,” she said. “In 2019, the industry directly contributed £560m Gross Value Added to the national economy, as well as providing 2,406 jobs. The wider contribution to the national economy is even greater if the supply chain from grower to plate is taken into account.” Crown Estate Scotland chair Amanda Bryan spoke about balancing the organisation’s role as the coastal water landlord, delivering stewardship of the marine estate while providing economic returns to the nation. Seaweed cultivation continues to generate interest from producers and investors for its potential in feed, fertiliser and pharmaceuticals. Dr Kyla Orr, Director of Kelpcrofting, admitted that there was a “lot of hype” about the industry, whereas in reality greater effort was needed to make it a viable commercial opportunity. “We went from thinking we could do anything with our seaweed, to realising there were no processing companies in Scotland. Also, as volume sales go up the price comes down, so we concentrated on developing our own products, which we call ‘sea vegetables,’” she said. Along the way, she discovered that seaweed is not all good news, and that biofouling species such as snails, hydroids, bryozoans and small crustaceans can be “smelly when cooked and introduce issues with allergens”. Orr also found that products can exceed the recommended daily allowance of iodine and heavy metals such as cadmium, and that preprocessing is needed to reduce concentrations. She has a pickled kelp salad under development and hopes to attract a manufacturer, but acknowledged that niche products are not a recipe for long-term financial stability. Stephen Cameron, Managing Director of the Scottish Shellfish


Marketing Group (SSMG), whose members produce oysters and mussels around the coast of Scotland, explained that the past two years had been “tough” for the sector and the current economic situation was making it tougher. Increases in the cost of utility bills, transport and packaging were difficult to pass on to customers and he was being called upon to find ever more cost efficiencies. In addition, consumers are thinking harder about where to spend their money and the chilled seafood market in the UK continues to contract. On a more positive note, 2021 was a record year for shellfish production in Scotland and Cameron hoped that the momentum could be maintained. Michael Tait, MD of Shetland Mussels and Chair of SSMG, agreed that the damage to industry caused by Brexit, Covid-19 and high inflation had been considerable and was ongoing. He also looked at the benefits of shellfish farming, which is sustainable, regenerative, has low environmental impact and a low carbon footprint, provides multiple ecological services and is a low cost source of healthy, nutritious protein. Tait called for better understanding of the changing environment in which shellfish farms are situated, through monitoring, modelling and marine spatial planning, to

This page from top: Amanda Bryan; Michael Tait; Stephen Cameron; ASSG judges: (from le�) Linda Wood, Nicki Holmyard, Dr Eleanor Adamson and Alex Adrian

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help the sector develop further in harmony with other marine users. Dr Gregg Arthur, University of the Highland and Islands, gave an update on the ShellVolution project, which is seeking ways to develop the productivity of the mussel farming sector in Shetland and wider Scotland to enable it to reach a target of 18,000 tonnes by 2037. Considering the monetary value of the ecosystem services and biodiversity gains associated with shellfish farm sites was one of the subjects covered by NatureScot Director Dr Cathy Tilbrook, while Dr Amy McGoohan, University of Edinburgh, spoke about her project to map the Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) of shellfish companies. The results of her studies will have the potential to influence government food policy. Consumer perceptions of seafood products and the trust placed in retailers to ensure they are sustainably and responsibly produced was outlined by Linda Wood from Marks & Spencer Plc. Woods spoke of her desire to increase the offering of local, low-impact species, and called for greater innovation in shellfish product development to attract new consumers. Rory Campbell, BIM, gave an overview of the Irish industry, explaining that the value of rope mussels had not increased for many years, while oysters had increased in volume and value over the past decade due in part to pursuing a market in China. However, he warned of the dangers of developing one main market, as exports to China continue to be affected by the pandemic Climate change was also having an effect, with rising sea levels causing oyster farmers to move their trestles further up the beach in order to gain access. Sea temperatures had peaked at 30°C during the summer and were linked to an increase in the number of harmful algal blooms occurrences. A National Strategic Plan for Sustainable Aquaculture to 2030 aims to build resilience and competitiveness, green transition, social acceptance and greater consumer awareness of shellfish. Salmon Scotland’s CEO, Tavish Scott, and Head of Technical, Ian Berrill, gave an overview of the Scottish salmon industry. Scott said that producing food because the world needs it is a powerful argument and considerable efforts continue to be made to maintain a world-class industry. However, in 2011 Scotland had a 9.5% share of worldwide production, but this has now dropped to 6.9%. Scott believes that regulators and industry should be ready to take advantage of opportunities for growth, such as the recent pulling of investment in Norway due to a proposed 40% tax on companies producing over 5,000 tonnes of salmon per year. “Iceland jumped on this opportunity; why couldn’t we?” he said.

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The highlight of every ASSG conference is the keenly fought competition to find the Best Scottish Shellfish, with 2022 winners announced as: Best Gigas oyster – Colonsay Oysters; Best native oyster – Caledonian Oysters; and Best Mussels – Inverlussa Shellfish (see picture). Nick Lake, Executive Director of ASSG, said: “I was delighted to offer a wide-ranging programme looking at opportunities for greater collaboration between the sectors. We all share the marine space and need to ensure that our activities within it are managed sustainability. In bringing everyone together, I believe we can learn from each other and catalyse a productive future for aquaculture.”

This page, clockwise from top: The winners of the annual Best Sco�sh Shellfish awards, announced at the conference, were (pictured, from le�): Best Gigas Oysters – Andy Abrahams, Colonsay Oysters; Isle of Colonsay; Best Mussels – Cameron McLean, Inverlussa Shellfish, Isle of Mull; and Best Na�ve Oysters – Judith Vajk, Caledonian Oysters, Barcaldine; Rory Campbell; Mairi Gougeon.

In 2019, the industry directly contributed £560m Gross Value Added to the national economy


07/11/2022 14:53:55



The final cut Rearing animals for protein requires slaughter, but attention is increasingly focused on ensuring that it is done humanely. By Sandy Neil 32

K law now says fish are sentient creatures – just like farmed land animals – but that does not automatically mean the law requires the use of humane slaughter methods. Given that all or most of the salmon and trout farming sector in Scotland already uses stun-and-bleed slaughter methods as standard, does the law need to change? Is there enough oversight of what happens in practice – for example via RSPCA Assured? As media focus zoomed inside the Houses of Parliament on Tuesday 18 October, onto the dying government of Prime Minister Liz Truss, outside in a corner of Parliament Square, animal welfare campaigners focused on dying fish. On a day on which it was hard to make a splash at Westminster, artist Isabelle Cotier unveiled a travelling mural highlighting the unnecessary suffering of farmed fish at slaughter. Two images appeared on the mural – one of human characters sleeping atop giant fish, and another of five figures drinking tea underwater inside a sea cage. Cotier explained: “I want to remind the viewer that fish are creatures with their own agency who deserve respect like any other animal. Art is a great tool to help combat difficult subjects. I hope people will develop their own narratives hidden within the drawings and begin to question fish farming with an open mind.” The artwork supported The Humane League UK, an organisation aiming to end the abuse of animals raised for food. After chickens, fish are the second most farmed species in the country, its website said, with 77 million slaughtered each year – more than pigs, cows, sheep, turkeys and ducks combined. The League’s “Forgotten Fish Campaign” explains: “UK law recognises that fish are sentient. However, they still have virtually no protections in law. Millions of the UK’s farmed fish risk highly painful deaths. The Government has the power to give farmed fish the same safeguards as animals farmed on land. “When farmed animals aren’t protected by the law, they are left vulnerable to mistreatment. Undercover investigations have shown fishes having their gills cut while still conscious, being clubbed repeatedly over the head,and suffocating for prolonged periods of time before death. This is an excruciating way to die. The Government can stop this. Fish deserve better and cannot be forgotten anymore.”

Making progress on welfare A few weeks before, to mark 2 October, World Day for Farmed Animals, the Royal

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Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) celebrated the successes over the last year in improving farm animal welfare. “Conscious consumers are increasingly applying an ethical lens to what they put in their shopping baskets and their mouths,” it said. “This provides an opportunity to improve farm animal welfare and make a huge difference to over one billion animals that are raised for food in the UK each year.” Looking back, the RSPCA’s Head of Farm Animals, Dr Marc Cooper ,added: “From new subsidy payments for farmers delivering higher welfare standards, to progress on methods of production labelling, a reduction in animals slaughtered without pre-stunning, and even more businesses taking proactive steps to show their commitment to farm animal welfare in the produce they sell, it’s been a year that has seen some substantive progress for millions of farm animals.” The RSPCA also welcomed the UK Government passing the “landmark” Animal Welfare (Sentience) Act in the spring, which formally recognises vertebrate animals as sentient beings. The Act, the RSPCA explained, will “ensure that animal sentience is taken into account when developing policy

Opposite: Salmon processing

This page from top: Ace Aquatec’s

humane stunner uses electric shocks to stun rather than percussive stunning; Isabella Cotier art ‘Fish-Disposal’ and outside the Houses of Parliament

across government, through the creation of an Animal Sentience Committee (ASC), which will be made up of animal experts from within the field. By enshrining sentience in domestic law, any new legislation will have to take into account the fact that animals can experience feelings such as pain or joy.” Launching the bill, Animal Welfare minister Lord Goldsmith said: “The UK has always led the way on animal welfare, and now that we’ve left the EU we are free to drive for the highest standards of animal welfare anywhere in the world.” An EU law on the Protection of Animals at the Time of Killing (PATK) states that fish are to be spared avoidable pain, distress or suffering. However, no specific rules for slaughter methods are prescribed. The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) guidance 2018 says that for humane killing, fish must be stunned and the stunning must continue until death occurs. However, before the UK Government gets too cocky, the domestic legislation only provides a framework for stronger welfare laws – it doesn’t guarantee them. “This new legislation is very far from a panacea for the many welfare challenges faced by animals,” argues Dr Huw Golledge, Chief Executive and Scientific Director of Universities Federation for Animal Welfare (UFAW) and its sister charity the Humane Slaughter Association (HSA). “The Act does not mean that the welfare of sentient animals is automatically protected. It simply means that ministers must give ‘all due regard’ to possible negative impacts of new legislation on animal welfare, leaving scope for ministers to conclude that other factors outweigh animal welfare considerations. Furthermore, there are no specific provisions for humane stunning and killing of aquatic species. “As members of the ASC are to be appointed solely by the Secretary of State, the committee could lack independence or the requisite expertise. It is essential that the majority of members appointed to the ASC are scientists with relevant expertise. Then the Act represents a real opportunity for science to play a fundamental role in the improvement of animal welfare in the UK.” Devolution also complicates things, an RSPCA spokesperson explained: “It’s vital the Welsh Government acts to give sentient animals the same recognition within devolved law, as with UK law. The Sentience Act does not apply in Scotland. However, Scotland has its own Animal Welfare Sentience Committee, which was set up to make sure animal sentience is taken into account when making laws.” The trade body for fish farmers in Scotland, Salmon Scotland, told us: “Before legislation on animal sentience was passed, salmon farmers were already slaughtering their livestock as humanely as possible.

Fish are creatures with their own agency who deserve respect

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While the Act is an important development, it will not, in practical terms, affect the protection we afford our fish at slaughter because they are already world-leading.”

Crabs have feelings too Importantly, the Act recognises invertebrates such as decapod crustaceans (crabs, lobsters and prawns etc.) and cephalopod molluscs (octopus and squid etc.) as sentient. In the EU, PATK doesn’t include invertebrates, though Swiss law does now protect certain crustaceans – for example, crabs and lobsters – which must be stunned before boiling. The RSPCA says adding decapod crustaceans and cephalopods, which had originally been left out, “was thanks to a report by LSE, which recommended banning harmful and barbaric practices like declawing and cutting the tendons on crabs, preventing the sale of live crabs online sent through the post to untrained handlers, and banning distressing slaughter methods, such as boiling alive and dismemberment without effective stunning first. “Despite this progress, other legislation that promises to improve the welfare of farm animals has completely stalled. For example, the Kept Animals Bill, which will see an end to live exports, has seen little or no progress. The RSPCA believes there is absolutely no reasonable justification to subject an animal to an unnecessarily stressful journey abroad simply for them to be killed or fattened for slaughter.” The RSPCA aims to see at least 50% of all farmed animals in the UK reared to higher welfare standards by 2030. “This ambitious target means that the charity is working harder than ever to promote higher welfare farming, including encouraging farmers to sign up to the RSPCA Assured scheme,” it said. “Unfortunately, farmed fish still have no detailed legislation to protect them at the time of killing, unlike terrestrial farm animals. However, our own RSPCA welfare standards for Atlantic salmon and rainbow trout require the use of humane slaughter methods and have detailed requirements to better safeguard fish welfare at the time of killing. Positively, other certification scheme standards used in UK aquaculture generally have at least basic requirements concerning fish slaughter – but there is more to do. The issue is that standards only apply to the farms and fish reared under the scheme, and scheme membership is voluntary. Therefore, we believe the


welfare of all farmed fish should be protected by specific legislation. “As a minimum, legislation should include the need to stun prior to slaughter, as slaughter without stunning causes significant suffering, as well as the banning of cruel killing methods, such as asphyxiation. We also believe it should be a requirement that all equipment used in the slaughter facility is fit for purpose, that all personnel involved are trained and competent and that all phases of the process are covered by CCTV. We would also like to see the introduction of species-specific guidance in all UK nations to cover the various practices involved in the slaughter process, such as fasting, crowding, equipment operating parameters and transportation, where appropriate, and where the evidence is sufficiently developed.” A spokesperson for Salmon Scotland says: “Scottish salmon farmers already meet the highest animal health and welfare standards anywhere on the globe. 100% of Scottish salmon are stunned prior to slaughter and all our harvest stations are certified by RSPCA Assured.” RSPCA Assured inspects the welfare of animals from birth right through to slaughter. “We’ve developed a set of detailed welfare standards for farmed Atlantic salmon and farmed rainbow trout,” it says. “These

We are free to drive for the highest standards of animal welfare anywhere in the world

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cover all the key areas affecting fish welfare, including water quality, stocking density, handling, health, slaughter and wider environmental impact.” How are fish killed? “The killing of fish (often referred to as ‘harvesting’) can be split into five stages: grading, fasting, crowding, transport and killing,” explains the Humane Slaughter Association (HSA), a UK charity promoting the humane treatment of all food animals. “Grading occurs on a number of occasions throughout the life of fish to ensure they are kept in groups of similar size. Fasting for 72 hours serves to clear food and waste materials from the fish gut. Crowding of fish reduces the area available and enables them to be lifted out of the water more easily. The first three stages are carried out by farm staff at the growing site. “The next stage, transport, is carried out by specialised staff. The final stage, killing, is either done by farm staff or a dedicated killing team. Killing teams will work at one dedicated site or travel around the farms. Traditional methods of killing fish include: removal from water, exposure to extreme cold, exposure to carbon dioxide or bleeding. These methods take several minutes for the fish to become insensible and can cause suffering. Recently developed methods involve stunning and killing the fish. This can either be two separate procedures of stunning and killing or one action that stuns and kills. Fish can be stunned/killed with either electricity, anaesthetics or a percussive blow to the head. “For a method of stunning to be humane, it must render the fish unconscious without fear or pain and that condition must last until death occurs. This can be done by either percussive or electrical stunning. Humane stunning methods can also kill the animal if they are of sufficient magnitude to disrupt brain function until the fish dies (usually from lack of breathing).”

Meeting RSPC standards The RSPCA strictly requires – as with all farmed animals – that fish are pre-stunned prior to slaughter. “There are a number of slaughter methods used in aquaculture,” it says. “Methods such as the use of carbon dioxide, suffocation in air or on ice, or bleeding the fish without stunning are all unacceptable on animal welfare grounds. We believe that the only method of slaughter that’s acceptable in terms of animal welfare is percussive stunning followed by bleeding.” A spokesperson for Salmon Scotland says: “All farm-raised Scottish salmon are stunned and slaughtered in seconds, in harvest stations that are independently certified by the RSPCA and covered by CCTV to ensure that humane slaughter standards are met or exceeded.” The RSPCA explains: “For RSPCA Assured

Opposite: Crustaceans such as crabs and lobsters are now considered to be sen�ent Below: The BAADER 101 bleeding unit

members, annual farm, facility and slaughterhouse audits by specially trained scheme assessors (some of which are unannounced) allow a good level of oversight, which can also be increased if necessary. However, as a charity dedicated solely to improving animal welfare, we are continually working with RSPCA Assured members, academics and specialists to look at further ways to better monitor fish welfare. “Although CCTV in slaughterhouses isn’t currently required in legislation for fish, we believe this should be installed in all facilities. We also strongly support the implementation of routine inspections of slaughter facilities by government bodies, to bring them in line with the fish farms themselves, which already undergo regular inspections. Under the RSPCA standards, CCTV is currently in place in some areas. However, we will be expanding this to cover all areas of the harvest station in the next publication of our standards.” The RSPCA welcomed Food Standards Agency (FSA) figures that showed a reduction in animals slaughtered in slaughterhouses in England and Wales without pre-stunning, from an estimated 94 million in 2018 to 25.4 million in 2022. These statistics refer to mammals – principally cattle, sheep, pigs, horses and goats – and poultry, but not fish or other seafood. For seafood, welfare and quality are on the same side – stressed fish taste worse and go rancid quicker, according to a study in Food Science, published in January 2016. Researchers showed that meat from stressfully slaughtered fish may have a shorter shelf life – and a worse taste – than fillets from quickly killed fish. “Correct stunning has been demonstrated to improve flesh quality,” says the Humane Slaughter Association. “Besides the premium for animal welfare accreditation, stunning can benefit the industry by improving appearance (by reducing ‘soft’ flesh, bruising and scale loss) and shelf-life when compared to traditional harvesting systems. Mechanical/electrical stunning also improves the working conditions for staff and can reduce the chance of repetitive injuries.” Advances are also being made by new technology. The Humane Slaughter Association says: “During the slaughter process, the time the fish are held out of water can be minimised by applying the stun in water, in the case of electrical and chemical stunning. In the case of new percussive stunners, the fish’s natural behaviour can be exploited by encouraging them to swim into the stunner. At present there are commercially available electrical and percussive stunners for salmon and trout. Further research is underway for these and other species to improve animal welfare, productivity and quality with these and new stunners.” The HSA also pointed to possible new laws in the pipeline. The UK may extend mammal and poultry rules for fish slaughter – so, for example, this could mean limits on food withdrawal pre-slaughter, rules on how far they can be transported and a requirement to provide backup stunning equipment at the site. All this doesn’t necessarily mean wholesale change for the UK salmon industry, but it could well mean that existing best practice could, in future, be enforceable.

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Taxing times Has the Norwegian Government gone too far with its latest plans to tax fish farming? By Vince McDonagh


he daily headlines make depressing reading – a struggle to get a GP appointment, hospital A&E departments sending patients away, food inflation running at over 10% and an increasing number of people sleeping rough. However, this is not Britain – it is a snapshot of Norway today, a country of just six million people reputedly enjoying one of the highest living standards in the world and a welfare system to match. The latter, however, is costing a lot of money. It was against this background that the Labour-Centre Party coalition Government decided last month to balance a rising fiscal deficit with a tough budget that sent shockwaves through the country’s salmon industry. The sector was braced for higher taxes, but not a 40% levy on revenue that will heap billions onto their costs. Salmon shares plummeted on the Oslo Stock Exchange;


Above: Trygve Slagsvold Vedum Below: Norwegian salmon farm Opposite: Norwegian salmon

companies hit back by shelving huge investment programmes and the big operators boycotting a salmon permit auction that is normally oversubscribed. Most people, including those in the opposition Conservative Party, think the industry should be contributing more, but not in the juggernaut manner that Finance Minister and Centre Party leader Trygve Slagsvold Vedum is proposing. Figures vary widely, but some estimates suggest the new tax, if it is approved by parliament, will cost the industry more than NOK 5bn krone, equivalent to around £425m, each year.

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The aquaculture industry is considered a risky industry

The main concession is that farms with a production capacity of less than 5,000 tonnes will be exempt, although it appears to be possible that this figure may change. Vedum seems to be bowing to intense pressure. He has told a left-leaning news website, Klasskampen, that he is willing to consider amendments. His proposal still has to get through the Storting, Norway’s Parliament, and, given growing opposition even from within his own party, it is not a foregone conclusion any longer. The industry says it wants talks with the government. The proceeds, says the Government, will be split evenly between the national exchequer and those coastal communities where aquaculture activity takes place. Land-based salmon companies will be exempt. The irony is that almost four years ago, the Labour Party, when in opposition, came out firmly against a 40% land tax plan recommended by an independent committee set up by Erna Solberg’s Conservative government. She also vetoed the proposal. Labour said it wanted a tax based on output or on how much of a fjord a farm took up. So much for that promise. Norwegian politicians of all colours are sometimes duplicitous when they talk about aquaculture. On one hand they publicly laud its enterprise, job creation achievements and phenomenal export success. But at the same time they view it as a huge cashfilled safe, ready to be raided when the fiscal going gets tough. The industry cannot escape blame either. The Norwegian press has been full of stories about the huge fortunes of salmon barons such as SalMar’s Gustav Witzoe and Mowi’s John Fredriksen, while billions are paid out in dividends to shareholders, many of them living outside the country. Profit margins from salmon farming are pro-rata appreciably higher than those in other Norwegian industries, including energy. The view among many politicians and the wider public is that salmon companies are

FINAL details have still to be agreed by the Government, but this is how the ground rent tax (or “resource rent” tax) is expected to operate. As accountancy firm Ernst & Young explains: “The Ministry proposes to design the resource rent tax as a cash flow tax. If introduced, income and investments will be taxed on an ongoing basis in the year in which they are earned/incurred. “When determining income, one model is proposed for salmon and another for trout and rainbow trout. It is proposed that revenues from salmon shall be determined on the basis of a norm price to counteract tax motivated pricing. The norm price will be set on the basis of prices for salmon on a public exchange. For rainbow trout and trout, there are no listed commodity prices, and therefore the income will be based on actual sale prices.” The pricing model for salmon could act to the disadvantage of some companies if they are tied into fixed-price contracts. These could be for a lower rate than the “norm price”, Ernst & Young says, leading to an effective tax rate of more than 40% for the companies concerned. The resource rent tax will apply to income from commercial licences for production of salmon, trout and rainbow trout in the sea for consumption, regardless of how the holder of the licence is organised. The resource rent tax will not affect production at landbased facilities or development

licences unless such a permit is converted to an ordinary licence for fish consumption. The effective rate of the new tax will be 40% revenue from fish farming activities. The term “ground rent” is linked to the utilisation of natural resources such as land and coastal sea area by business. It can also apply to agriculture. The Storting has previously defined ground rent tax as a form of property tax to the state for what are described as scarce natural resources. The Norwegian Government estimates that the new tax should generate tax revenues of NOK 3.65–3.8bn (around £0.3bn) annually, but some critics have put the figure far higher. The tax revenue is to be distributed equally between the state and the municipal sector. According to the Government, only the largest players in the farming industry will pay the tax. Those producing less than 5,000 tonnes are likely to be exempt, according to the initial proposals, and it has since been hinted that this threshold could go up to 10,000 tonnes. According to the initial proposal, approximately 65–70% of aquaculture companies are not affected by the new rules. This group represents a significant number of the companies operating in the aquaculture industry, but these companies account for a relatively small proportion of the fish farming industry in total, representing between 15% and 17% of the total biomass.

Above: Norway’s Parliament, the Storting

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using Norway’s natural land and water, resources that essentially belong to the people, so they should pay for the privilege. These are emotional arguments. The main question now is whether the ground rent tax plan will seriously damage what is, after oil and gas, the country’s second most important export industry. Fewer than 50 years ago salmon farming was largely a cottage industry activity spread thinly along the coast. Growth since the 1970s has been staggering. Norway today is by far and away the world’s largest producer of Atlantic salmon with more than 50% of global output. While it is not going to lose that leadership any time soon, the Government ambition of 50 million tonnes by 2050 may not be achievable. Giants such as Mowi are warning it may take future investment elsewhere. The company has major operations in Scotland, Canada, Chile and Ireland, although there is speculation that Iceland could be the main beneficiary over time. But that threat could depend on whether these rival countries (Chile in particular) decide to go down Norway’s tax path. Scotland First Minister Nicola Sturgeon might do well to take note. And Norway, with fewer biological issues and more


SalMar has warned of major consequences for its future investment plans

efficient operational record, is by far the most profitable country for international fish farming companies. That industry leaders are angry is not in doubt. Independent fish breeder Geir Wenberg, talking to website, described the move as a scandal, adding that Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre and Finance Minister Vedum do not realise what they have done to the industry. Mowi CEO Ivan Vindheim says the Government has badly miscalculated and has urged it to look again at its plans, adding that it cannot go ahead with its investment programme under the current situation. SalMar has warned of major consequences for its future investment plans. Other big names such as Leroy, Cermaq and Norway Royal Salmon have shelved some very important spending decisions. Union shop stewards, normally loyal to the Labour Party but worried about the jobs of their members, have called for Fisheries Minister Bjørnar Skjæran to resign. There is anger on the other side too.

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Torgeir Fylkesnes, parliamentary leader of the SV or Socialist Left Party has accused the salmon companies of acting “threateningly” with their investment cuts. Interestingly, the right wing FrP or Progress Party, which normally joins the Conservatives in coalition, has remained relatively muted on the salmon tax issue, concentrating its firepower on health, electricity prices, and law and order. Usually when a government introduces a controversial new tax there are a lot of

angry words and threats, and this may happen with the ground rent tax. If the industry can wean some concessions from the Government, the issue may settle down with many investment programmes restored. Salmon shares have fallen far too low so should start to climb back. The likes of Mowi and SalMar could turn to other countries such as Iceland and Scotland, but that may be some years away. There is unlikely to be a great rush towards land-based farming, largely because it is not yet profitable. The days of wine and roses in the salmon industry may well be over.

Above: Norwegian salmon steaks Opposite from top:

Norwegian salmon farm; Ivan Vindheim; Bjørnar Skjæran

TAX TAKING MOST OF OUR REVENUE - NORDLAKS SALMON company Nordlaks, which brought the giant offshore platform HavFarm 1 from China to Norway two years ago, estimates that around 85% of its income will be swallowed up in taxes and fees if the ground rent tax proposal goes through. Using its accounts for 2021 as a base, it has calculated that it would have paid almost NOK 518m (£43.4m) in taxes that year under what is now being proposed. With the help of Ernst and Young, the company has broken down the figures on its website and they make for intriguing reading. They include an increase in production tax, the introduction of a new natural resource tax and the ground rent tax. These taxes are in addition to company tax, wealth and dividend tax, as well as other taxes and duties. The wealth tax is specific to privately owned companies, which is why some owners are selling out or moving to areas of the country where the tax does not operate.

Government’s proposal for the state budget for 2023. Nordlaks adds: “The aquaculture industry is considered a risky industry. Biology, nature and the market are unpredictable and can cause rapid changes in companies’ profitability. A tax rate of 85% of the operating profit means that the company’s cash flow, the ability to build up equity, is significantly weakened. “It also means that the company’s ability to withstand poor operational results (deficits) is reduced. Operating situations or market situations that lead to losses have greater and longer-lasting consequences for the company’s solvency and liquidity. This will affect decisions about the allocation of capital by retaining profits as a buffer against potential future losses.”

Operating profit: NOK 614,090,851 (£52m) - Corporation tax (income tax): NOK 143,557,258 (£12m) - Basic interest tax (large bottom deduction): NOK 204,746,898 (£17m) - Fees and other taxes: NOK 16,660,820 (£1.4m) = Result (before finance costs): NOK 249,125,875 (£21m) - Wealth tax (including dividend tax): NOK 153,000,000 (£13m) = Annual result, before finance: NOK 96,125,875 (£8m) Total tax: NOK 517,964,976 (£43.4m) Total tax against operating profit: 84.35% NB: All NOK-Sterling conversions are approximate Nordlaks says the calculations are based on the Government’s consultation proposal as well as tax and duty rates from the

Above: Nordlaks Børøya processing plant

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Back from the brink An ice age survivor could be Norway’s next farmed fish. By Robert Outram


veryone knows that Atlantic salmon spawn in freshwater and make their way to the sea as adults. In fact, however, there are small communities of landlocked salmon that never make it to salt water. Now, a Norwegian company is looking to farm one type of freshwater Salmo salar. Success would represent an amazing turnaround for a fish that, half a century ago, was teetering on the brink of extinction. The bleke (also spelled “bleka”, from the Norwegian word for “pale”) is a dwarf salmon that spends its adult life in the Otra river system and the Byglandsfjord, a freshwater lake in southern Norway. When ocean levels rose after the last ice age, Atlantic salmon entered the lake, but as the climate changed the Byglandsfjord became cut off from the sea. Now the adult bleke live in the lake, which at 33km2 and a depth of 167m is a sizeable body of water. The bleke formed a regular part of the diet for locals until two environmental threats nearly wiped the whole population out. First, a hydroelectric dam built in 1905 made many of the spawning grounds inaccessible; then, from the 1950s onwards, acid rain from the industries of northern Europe wreaked further havoc. By the early 1970s it was estimated that there were only around 200 breeding adults left. Bjørn Barlaup, research director at independent research institute


Above: Bleke ready for


Opposite from top: Atle Kristoffersen; Margit Dale

NORCE, says: “A local rescue operation was launched with assistance from the environmental authorities to obtain a brood stock for the local fishery at Bygland. After numerous failed attempts to save the population, the bleke looked doomed.” In the end only eight females and eight males provided the basis for hatchery operations. This brought the bleke back from the brink of extinction. Barlaup says: “In the five decades that followed, the bleke has benefited from a coordinated action plan based on management decisions including cultivation efforts with stocking of fry and eggs, and multiple habitat restoration efforts focusing on spawning habitats and water quality. “Today, 50 years after the population collapse, the continuous and ongoing rescue efforts have taken us a long way towards the goal to restore a self-reproducing and harvestable bleke population. If this goal is

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achieved, the bleke may regain its previous position as an important part of local culture, with positive implications for recreation, tourism and business development.” Otteraaens Brugseierforening (OB), which represents hydroelectric businesses in the Otra river system, has a duty to release 100,000 juvenile bleke each year. OB owns the hatchery Syrtveit Fiskeanlegg, where the bleke are produced, working in collaboration with the University of Bergen. Each year, approximately 100,000 bleke eggs are placed at potential spawning grounds in Byglandsfjorden. In addition, spawning gravel has been laid down at appropriate locations, and OB has introduced minimum flow rules for the period when the eggs are in the gravel. Bleke are now caught again (and eaten) by locals – and now Fyri, an aquaculture venture, aims to raise bleke for the restaurant trade. Bleke are small – typically coming in at 30cm in length and weighing just 200 grams – so unlike seagoing salmon they are usually served as a portion fish. Fyri partner Atle Kristoffersen says: “My dream and target are that restaurants worldwide will know about this unique fish and that customers shall seek out restaurants to enjoy this great product. “I also picture enthusiastic chefs telling the unique story of the bleke while the guests can have a look at the fantastic, healthy fish and dream back to the very long journey it has been on since the ice age.” He explains: “The ambition is to produce the bleke and make it available so the rest of the world can taste this fantastic fish that holds a unique old history. Since the fish has a limited growth in the wild, we plan to produce it up to a portion size. We plan to produce the fish in a top, modern RAS [recirculating aquaculture systems] facility in a sustainable way where we reuse the same crystal-clear water that the fish normally lives in. “In my opinion, bleke taste very different and unique compared with all other fish. I would say the taste reminds me more of white fish than red fish, even though the bleke is a red fish.” Fyri is an independent company, jointly owned on a 70/30 basis by FishCo Holding and Oslo-based biotech company Tempogene, respectively. FishCo also owns Baring Farsund, which is developing a RAS salmon farm in Farsund, southern Norway. If Fyri gets the necessary approvals in place, the aim is to produce the bleke in a landbased RAS facility. Kristoffersen explains: “Today we have access to Syrtveit Fish farm, a flow-through plant that has cultivated the bleke for over 30 years. The employees at the facility have important experience that we want to bring further with us into the project. In addition

I picture enthusiastic chefs telling the unique story of the bleke

to this, it already has a great infrastructure with water supply/water intake, drainage and building stocks that can be reused.” He is confident that bleke will be a suitable fish for RAS production: “There are several advantages to using freshwater in RAS production and we do believe there is an advantage of not producing the fish larger than a portion size. “New and unknown challenges related to the commercial production of the bleke may appear, but we are prepared for these potential challenges and see it as a benefit that we can take advantage of, and use the tools that are already in place and have been developed through traditional salmon farms since the bleke is also a salmon fish. “Throughout the latest 30 years of production of the bleke at the facility in Setesdalen, a high level of experience and competence of hatching and feeding of the fish has been built, resulting in a very high survival rate of the fish during this phase.” He is also confident that this unique variety of Atlantic salmon will appeal to restaurateurs looking for something new. Local celebrity chef and blogger Margit Dale agrees. She says: “The bleke salmon is a unique fish. It was originally a seagoing salmon that was trapped in the Byglandsfjord after the last ice age. During thousands of years, it has evolved for a life in freshwater. The water in the Byglandsfjord is the purest drinking water, a good base for a great taste. “The taste of the bleke salmon is not ‘muddy’ like the brown trout. I think it has something to do with the fact that the bleke eats plankton in free water and does not go to the bottom to hunt for food like the trout.” She adds that bleke would represent a different dining experience: “The bleke salmon differs from the seagoing salmon in many ways. It is smaller in size, finer in texture and it tastes a bit milder. “Traditionally the bleke was served as a portion fish either fried, cooked or smoked. But it has many areas of use. It is delicious served raw as a ceviche or sashimi, grilled, in soups or even in salads.” Kristoffersen says, however, that the aim is about more than providing a new option for restaurant menus: “Not only will the bleke be produced as a food fish in a modern and sustainable way, but we will also take on important sustainable responsibility, ensuring that the bleke as a wild fish will have a safe future in case it should be threatened with extinction.”

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Model campaign

Photo: Norwegian Seafood Council

The Norwegian Seafood Council is targeting South Korean and Thai consumers for its latest marketing drive. By Vince McDonagh


t is a marketing budget the size of which other salmonexporting countries can only dream about. The Norwegian Seafood Council is spending more than NOK 170m (almost £15m) this autumn, promoting its biggest seller – salmon – with a big focus on Thailand and South Korea. And it will be using the Thai-Norwegian actress and supermodel Urassaya Sperbund – popularly known as Yaya – to spearhead the salmon campaign. The Seafood Council and the salmon industry get together to decide jointly where and how the money should be spent. The amount is distributed among various countries throughout the year, but a large proportion of the investment is usually directed to specific markets. Last year it was Spain, Italy and France that received the big money. Now the two Far East countries are in line for special treatment. With slogans such as “salmon for every occasion”, South Korean


and Thai consumers will be urged to choose Norwegian salmon for more meals, more occasions and in more varieties than the classic sushi/sashimi dishes. The campaign will take the form of traditional methods such as shop and TV advertising in addition to more creative ideas such as “salmon on a camping trip”. The Seafood Council said A-list celebrities such as Sperbund will front the drive. Mia Sætre Bernhardsen, who is a project manager in South Korea, and who has worked closely on the autumn’s salmon campaign, says: “Norwegian salmon is suitable for most occasions and preparation methods. “The slogan ‘Norwegian salmon is always right’ will be important for this autumn’s

Above: Yaya Sperbund with salmon and chef Opposite from top: Seafood tom yum; Salmon on barbecue grill

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big salmon investment in South Korea as surveys show that many Koreans have a limited repertoire of salmon dishes. So in order to get them to eat more salmon, inspiration is needed.” Ideas for salmon meals for every occasion will be available “in buckets and buckets”, she adds. “There will be salmon for parties, salmon on everyone’s dinner table and salmon on camping and glamping trips, as camping and glamping are really trendy in South Korea these days. “That’s why we’re going to set up a campsite in the heart of Seoul. “Well-known influencers and chefs will be found at the campsite. There they will conjure up delicious salmon dishes that suit outdoor life with simple kitchen facilities.”

Targeting the female consumer The main and most important target will be mothers between the ages of 30 and 45 because even though the traditional family structure in Korea is changing, it is still women who do the majority of the food shopping. Bernhardsen says: “We will also inspire the target group through advertising on digital surfaces, in shops and e-commerce, on TV and with the active use of influencers.” This latest investment is the largest that the Seafood Council has ever made promoting salmon in South Korea. NOK 17m (£1.4m) will be spent in Korea while NOK 15m (£1.25m) will fund the campaign in Thailand, the largest amount yet to be spent on the two countries. Asbjørn Warvik Rørtveit, who is the Seafood Council’s representative in Southeast Asia, says the most important goal in Thailand was to raise awareness about salmon as a Norwegian product. In Thailand, there are still a number of people who believe that salmon comes from Japan, but if Rørtveit’s plans go as he wants, it will be Norway that most people associate with the pink fish.

The Council hopes that this will, in turn, contribute to increased demand and increased sales. He says there will hardly be a place where Norwegian salmon is not visible during the campaign period – from metro and railway stations, to retail chains, restaurants, TV, YouTube and a range of social media. In addition, the campaign will be supported by PR events involving Sperbund, who is well known as a model, presenter, influencer and the face of several major cosmetic brands.

Building on success The Seafood Council says last year’s salmon campaigns in southern Europe were very successful, a success reinforced by strong co-operation with the retailers, which resulted in several large grocery chains running campaigns in parallel with that of the Seafood Council. Both Bernhardsen and Rørtveit are encouraging exporters to South Korea and Thailand to do the same, making use of the Council’s Business Initiative scheme. This is a platform where Norwegian exporters and their partners can apply for financial support and advertising material for various types of marketing of Norwegian seafood. Nordlaks was one of several exporters that did just that in connection with the Spanish campaign last year. Before it started, it received an enquiry about campaign cooperation from one Spanish customer. “Norwegian salmon is a seal of quality for Spanish consumers, which is why the customer, a large retail chain, wanted to use the trademark ‘Seafood from Norway’ in their own salmon campaign,” says Karoline Mikalsen Sørstrøm, a marketing specialist at Nordlaks. Sørstrøm & Co. then made use of the Seafood Council’s scheme with business initiatives, and, together with the grocery chain, ran their own salmon campaigns in parallel with the Seafood Council’s. It increased both the impact and the reach of our own campaigns, says Sørstrøm. As a result of the good campaign results last year, Nordlaks’ Spanish customer wants to continue the collaboration this year. “Together we will therefore run an even bigger campaign this year – also through the Business Initiative scheme,“ says Sørstrøm.

To get them to eat more salmon, inspiration is needed

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The final hurdle The local authority stage is where most aquaculture applications fail, so can the system be reformed? By Robert Outram


ccording to local legend, the Asrai are a race of fairies living in the seas around Scotland. Rather like mermaids, they have a reputation for tempting unwary fisherfolk to a watery grave. In early 2020, myth and magic collided with the mundane world of planning applications when a group calling itself the Friends of the Flodigarry Fairies lodged an objection to a proposed fish farm in the north of Skye. The Friends claimed that the seagoing sprites were in fear for their lives should the Organic Sea Harvest farm site be placed too near their home. The planning application was rejected by Highland Council, although the planning authority insisted that the interests of fairies were not the deciding factor. Those opposing fish farming applications would argue that there are many more serious reasons to object to a new farm site. It is clear, however, that the local authority planning stage is the most difficult and least predictable stage of the consent process. Proposals for a new or expanded marine fish farm in Scotland are required to satisfy four competent authorities: Crown Estate Scotland, which manages inshore waters; Marine Scotland; the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA); and the local planning authority. Many other bodies – such as NatureScot and Historic Scotland, which look after the natural and built environment respectively – also get the chance to comment on the proposal. In most cases, by the time an application reaches the planning authority, the other authorities will already have cleared it. That final hurdle, however, has been shown in the past few years to be the hardest. Organic Sea Harvest was keen to add a third site to its existing two salmon farms off Skye to ensure that it could continue to produce while allowing fallow periods for its cages.


Below: Flodigarry, Isle of Skye

Opposite from top:

Loch Hourn; Fish delivery at Mowi’s Loch Hourn site; Ornsay Lighthouse on Loch Hourn

It was unsuccessful in its Flodigarry application, both at the local authority stage and in its appeal to the Scottish Government, and put forward an alternative application for a farm at Balmaqueen. This application, too, was knocked back by eight votes to six at Highland Council’s North Planning Application Committee in January 2021. Organic Sea Harvest appealed again, but, once more the planning committee’s decision was upheld, despite support for the proposal from local MP Ian Blackford and the Staffin Community Trust. Appeals Division Reporter Sue Bell explained that the proposed farm’s “proximity and hence prominence in the foreground, in a seascape that is otherwise free of permanent, man-made structures, would detract significantly from the feelings of wildness and tranquillity that can currently be experienced.”

Hourn of a dilemma This year, Mowi’s application to expand its existing salmon farm at Loch Hourn, was also rejected, albeit for different reasons. The salmon producer had applied to Highland Council for permission to add another cage and increase biomass at the site by 10% to 2,750 tonnes. This represented a scaling back of its original plans to increase production at the site,

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Photos above & right: Mowi

but even so it was met by fierce objections from a campaign group, the Friends of Loch Hourn. Loch Hourn is a sea loch on the west coast of Scotland running between the peninsulas of Glenelg to the north and Knoydart to the south. The loch is 14 miles long and situated in one of the wildest, least-inhabited areas of mainland Scotland. The Friends of Loch Hourn (FOLH) is described as “a not-for-profit organisation run by members of the local community”. Established in 2020, Friends of Loch Hourn has more than 100 members including, its website says, “residents, landowners, fishermen and others with a strong connection to the affairs affecting the marine ecology of Loch Hourn”. The Loch Hourn protest campaign was, however, more professional than that description might suggest. For example, FOLH commissioned a consultancy, MTSCFD Ltd, to produce a report to illustrate how expanding the existing Loch Hourn farm would affect the numbers of sea lice through which migrating smolts would have to pass. The loch’s fjord-like geography means that it has a comparatively low flushing rate. According to the MTS-CFD report, if the farm was expanded, even assuming that sea lice numbers in the pens were restricted to the industry’s own acceptable threshold of an average of 0.5 female lice

per farmed fish, densities at the mouth of the loch would exceed two lice per square metre. This, the authors say, would be enough to threaten the health of wild smolts and young sea trout. FOLH said: “…if Mowi’s plans are approved, it would tip the distinct populations of Loch Hourn salmon and trout towards extinction.” It should be noted that Dr Tom Scanlon, the report’s author, is an engineer and an expert on hydrodynamics, not a marine biologist or a sea lice expert. The assumptions about lice are based on previous research papers and did not involve any data gathering from Loch Hourn itself. Mowi’s proposal was not opposed by the relevant government agencies. Marine Scotland confirmed that the stocking density was “acceptable”, NatureScot said that it would not have a significant impact on biodiversity, and the SEPA assessment of the risk to protected species and seabed habitats posed by the application concluded that it would not pose any significant risk. Mowi argued that the farm had been at the site for many years and that swapping the existing facilities for fewer, larger pens would bring a number of benefits, including improved fish welfare. Officers at Highland Council recommended that the members approve the application – but, instead, at the North

Man-made structures would detract significantly from the feelings of wildness

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Planning Applications Committee on 15 June, the members voted to block it. FOLH was understandably delighted and presented the decision as a “David vs Goliath” victory – making use of an Edinburgh-based PR firm to spread the news of its win. Since then, Mowi confirmed it would be appealing against the decision. Stephen MacIntyre, Head of Environment at Mowi Scotland, said: “We believe the decision to refuse planning permission was not consistent with development plan policy nor a proper assessment of the application and Environmental Impact Assessment Report.” He added: “We acknowledge that the planning application resulted in a mix of positive and negative feedback from local residents about the farm that has been operating near the Arnisdale community for the past 30 years. Notwithstanding, we expect that development decisions that affect the livelihoods of many local families be evidence-based when considering social, economic and environmental sustainability.”

The system is weighted towards those who are averse to fish farming in any form

Park Authority’s Officers had recommended that the application be refused. After the hearing the Authority’s Convenor, James Stuart, explained that the board had been concerned that a national park was not the right setting for an industrial development and also the technology proposed – a semi-closed containment system with an impermeable membrane separating the fish in the pens from the marine environment – was untried and too risky for a site of such sensitivity. Stuart Hawthorn, Managing Director of the developer, Loch Long Salmon, described the decision as a “missed opportunity” to ensure Scotland benefited from new technology that could actually benefit the environment. Not all decisions have gone the protestors’ way, however. In Orkney, an application by Cooke Aquaculture for a new salmon farm site at East Moclett, off the island of Papa Westray in the north of the islands, was approved in September this year. The six-cage site will be based in Orkney’s North Sound, with permission for up to 3,850

New tech? No thanks More recently, the application by Loch Long Salmon for a new fish farm at the foot of Beinn Reithe, on Loch Long, was turned down by the Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park Authority (see News, page 12). Again, the application had received no objections from statutory agencies, but failed at the planning stage. In this case, the National


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tonnes of biomass. The council’s decision was despite a group of campaigners under the banner of the No East Moclett group. A report from an economics consultancy, published shortly before the hearing, had detailed the aquaculture sector’s positive impact on wages and economic growth on the islands, and this may have helped to seal the win.

Is reform possible?

Opposite from top:

Loch Long illustra�on; Loch Long map; Papa Westray, Orkney

This page from top:

Stewart Hawthorn, Managing Director, Loch Long Salmon; Neil Manchester, Kames; Professor Russel Griggs; Beinn Reithe graphic showing how the Loch Long farm would look

The report prepared for committee members ahead of Highland Council’s hearing on Loch Hourn quotes Scotland’s national Planning Policy (2014) document: “…The planning system should not duplicate other control regimes such as controlled activities regulation licences from SEPA, or fish health, sea lice and containment regulation by Marine Scotland.” Nonetheless, it is hard not to see duplication when it is so difficult to separate local factors – such as the impact on the immediate environment and visual amenity of the area – from the wider environmental issues overseen by agencies such as SEPA, NatureScot or Marine Scotland. Clearly, local democracy matters, but it’s also valid to ask how local councillors and their officers can look at complex scientific and environmental issues that have already been addressed by specialist agencies, and come up with a different answer. Neil Manchester, Managing Director of Kames Fish Farming, which farms steelhead trout on the west coast and Skye, says: “The planning consent system is a major issue for the industry. We’ve not been able to develop new sites. “Any company looking to develop a new aquaculture site must apply to four competent authorities – Crown Estate Scotland, Marine Scotland, SEPA and the local authority. It also needs to consult with all other major stakeholders such as NatureScot and district salmon fishery boards [associations of fishery owners, including representatives of salmon anglers]. “That’s as well as the general public, who can pounce on any one of these four applications. So you have to fight on many fronts.” Fish farming is not given any special status in Scotland. As Manchester puts it: “A planning application for a fish farm stands alongside an application for a garage extension or a greenhouse. “In contrast, the Norwegian model is a one-stop shop, separating aquaculture

applications from the normal planning process.” The four-stage system in the UK means, that, effectively, one person can lodge four objections at no cost. Manchester says: “We would not want to lose local democracy, but the proportion of failed applications shows that the system is weighted towards those who are averse to fish farming in any form.” In his report for the Scottish Government on aquaculture regulation, published earlier this year, Professor Russel Griggs found the Norwegian system compared favourably to Scotland’s. The report said: “The [Norwegian] location consent process incorporates a number of related components within a coordinated system… cooperation between industry, science input and the regulatory authorities is seen as essential. “In simple terms, this means that when an applicant wants to start or enlarge a finfish farm, they apply though a single portal. Those in that portal then manage the process with other regulators and interested parties with the person in the portal acting as the project manager. The result is one single consented document covering all aspects and for a single length of time across all bodies involved.” Griggs recommended the adoption of a single consenting document that would involve all the parties concerned – including the relevant planning authority. The report goes on: “While I recognise the professionalism of the local authority planners, there is an option in the Marine (Scotland) Act 2010, Section 63, that provides for fish farming not to be deemed a development under the Town and Country Planning (Scotland) Act 1997. This Order can only be made with the consent of local authorities for their relevant waters. This essentially means that local authorities can give up their planning rights to the Scottish Government in respect of aquaculture, should they think that appropriate.” Griggs stresses that even if a local authority chooses this option, it could still be designated a statutory consultee and would have an input into the consenting process. Will Griggs’ proposals be adopted? The Scottish Government has committed to publishing its Vision for Aquaculture by the end of this calendar year. Mairi Gougeon, Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and Islands, warmly welcomed the Griggs Report when it was published, but she will also be aware of the need to placate the SNP-led Government’s Green coalition partners – who are no friends to marine fish farming – and also Scotland’s local authorities, who have already complained about centralising power in other policy areas. Local democracy matters – but a Byzantine, expensive consenting system does nobody any favours. Perhaps worst of all, it makes it all but impossible for smaller, entrepreneurial businesses to grow, since only the largest operators have the resources to fund a planning application. Also – as the Loch Long decision shows – it makes it harder to pioneer new technology in aquaculture. In the long run, that means Scotland will fall behind other producers unless the system can be reformed.

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Bouncing back A report highlights how the world trade in seafood has recovered after the pandemic year. By Robert Outram


he global trade in seafood came back strongly in 2021 after a year in which the pandemic had shut down many of its outlets. And premium aquaculture – salmon and shrimp – was the biggest winner as the sector returned to normal. Rabobank’s report Global Seafood Trade shows that in 2021, the value of the global seafood trade grew by US $13bn, reaching a new peak of more than US $164bn (all values given are in US $ unless otherwise stated). The bank’s analysts expect this strong rebound to endure through 2022 as the world continues to emerge from the Covid-19 pandemic. Major markets such as the US and Europe have fully recovered, the report says, while China is gradually returning to pre-pandemic import levels. Fish is one of the world’s most traded food commodities, with demand expected to increase another 15% in the next decade. The most traded animal protein, seafood has a trade value 3.6 times the size of beef, five times that of pork and eight times the size of the global poultry trade. As Rabobank’s World Seafood Map shows (see pages 52–53), the scale and scope of global seafood trade is enormous. Two huge markets are the prime drivers of growth right now, argues Novel Sharma, Analyst – Seafood at Rabobank: they are the US and China.

Imports rising for the US The US is the fastest-growing market for seafood imports, with demand driven by health- and sustainability-conscious consumers, particularly among millennials and baby boomers. Sharma says: “Seafood trade in the US recovered more than


expected in 2021 due to a combination of sustained at-home consumption and strong foodservice recovery. “These factors led to peak imports for many species and an increase in import market share of high-value species. We expect long-term seafood demand to continue rising in the US.” Demand in the US has not been matched by an equivalent increase in production, despite efforts by the aquaculture industry to promote growth and reform the regulatory system to make it easier to approve new offshore farms. Instead, the US is becoming increasingly reliant on imports, especially for premium seafood species: shrimp, salmon, lobster and crab. Total seafood imports for the US were valued at $28bn in 2021 – that’s up by around $10bn from 2013. Rabobank estimates that, pre-pandemic, shrimp and salmon imports had compound annual growth rates (CAGR) of 2% and 9% respectively. The impact of the Covid-19 lockdowns brought about a shift from foodservice to retail as consumers started preparing more seafood-based meals at home. Shrimp was the big winner here, with import values rising by 27% in 2020 and a

Below: (L) China seafood imports 20132021: High value species drove import growth in China pre-pandemic and during the post-Covid rebound, 2013–2021; (R) US seafood consump�on growth driven by shrimp, salmon and high-end crustaceans, 2013–2021. Opposite from top left: Salmon share of

imports: Who’s buying salmon (2013–2021); China percentage of imports to 2021: China’s appe�te for high-value shellfish driving increased market share 2013–2021; US percentage of imports by species: High-value, premium species are capturing import and stomach share in the US, 2013–2021; China’s middle class are increasingly turning to high-end seafood products

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further 24% in 2021. Salmon imports by value contracted by 3% in 2020 – because prices fell – but recovered last year, up by 27%. Although Rabobank expects the long-term upward trend for seafood imports for the US to continue, in the short term it sees the value of imports coming down from the 2021 peak and normalising over the next few years.

China: plans to grow domestic aquaculture China is one of the most important seafood markets. While much of its production comes in the form of freshwater fish such as carp, the country has a growing middle class with an increasing appetite for premium seafood products. Wild catch and aquaculture production do not satisfy local demand, leaving China increasingly reliant on imports, especially for premium species such as shrimp, crab and salmon. The country’s latest plan for national fishery development aims to expand aquaculture production to meet domestic demand. “In the short term, we do not expect a significant increase in volumes, and therefore we anticipate limited impact on trade flows,” says Sharma. Pre-pandemic, between 2013 and 2019, the total value of China’s seafood imports rose from around $8bn to $18bn, representing a CAGR of 14.5%. The premium species of shrimp, crab and says, the growth in domestic aquaculture – including growth in salmonids grew by 27%, 35% and 11% respectively. farmed marine species – is not enough to counteract that fall in China’s long-distance fishing fleet is declining and, Rabobank production. Hence, the gap between China’s supply and demand looks like it is here to stay. With a continuing policy of strict anti-Covid measures, Chinese imports took a hit during the pandemic and have not fully recovered to 2019 levels. As of 2021, China’s imports stood at $17bn by value, the third highest globally, and three million tonnes by volume, the second highest. During 2020, China’s seafood imports contracted by 17.5% compared with the previous year. In 2021 they grew by 15.6%, but still did not reach pre-pandemic levels. (Feature continues p52).

We expect long-term seafood demand to continue rising in the US

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Above: The Global Seafood Trade Map


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THE GLOBAL SEAFOOD MARKET set out a plan for this. It includes the intensification of production with the help of initiatives such as recirculating aquaculture systems (RAS), genetic selection and ambitious offshore fish farming projects – as reported in Fish Farmer over the past few years. Rabobank does not see these developments impacting the balance between supply and demand significantly in the short term, however.

Salmon: market needs more volume

Above: Europe is the world’s biggest consumer of salmon Opposite from top:

Shrimp is now the world’s number one seafood product in terms of world trade; Seafood processing plant, northern China

Rabobank says the depressed level of imports is not due to reduced demand, but is a result of China’s import restrictions and strict sanitary checks. Sharma says: “For now, Covid-19 restrictions will continue to impact the market. However, we expect these measures to be temporary and imports should return to normal levels in the long term.” Meanwhile, the Chinese Government aims to increase domestic production. In the 14th Five-year Plan for National Fishery Development, China’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs

Up until the pandemic, the trade in farmed salmon had been growing rapidly, Rabobank reports, driven by increased demand in Europe (the “EU27 + UK”) and the US. Between 2013 and 2019, trade in salmonids worldwide grew by $4.8bn, representing a CAGR of 4.8%. In 2020, the year the pandemic hit, the salmonid sector shrank 8.4% by value year on year, although in the US the decline was less steep, at 3.3%. 2021 saw salmon’s trade by volume up by 5% and 19% respectively. For the EU27 + UK, higher demand and higher prices saw the trade value shoot up 14%, the highest year-on-year increase since 2016. In the US, salmon imports were up by a massive 27%

Call for a fair deal A study of the world trade on “blue foods” says some people are being left behind DESPITE the scale of the global trade in seafood, there are concerns that its benefits are far from fairly distributed. Social, economic and political barriers are preventing millions of people from benefiting, according to a study of the sector carried as part of the Blue Food Assessment, a joint initiative that has brought together over 100 scientists from more than 25 institutions around the world. The research, published in the journal Nature Food, is titled Rights and representation support justice across aquatic food systems. Marine and freshwater foods, or blue foods, sustain livelihoods for up to 800 million people worldwide. The study, covering 195 countries, has revealed that despite generating more than $424bn globally, the benefits of the aquatic foods sector are distributed unequally. The sector supports both jobs and affordable nutrition, as well as wealth-based benefits in the form of revenues. However, social, economic and political barriers mean that countries most in need of welfare-based benefits tend to be excluded from


the wealth-generating benefits. The international team of authors further highlighted a tension, in which the pursuit of wealth benefits risks undermining the vital gains to human welfare from aquatic foods. For example, in some countries export-led economic growth could undermine the jobs supported by, and nutritional quality of, current fisheries and other aquatic food systems. Social, economic and political barriers were found to prevent benefits from being distributed to people more equally. For example, lower-income countries produce

Above: Fish market, Ghana

and consume fewer aquatic foods, despite employing more people. The study also found that policies often fail to account for gender-related constraints despite evidence that greater equality for women supports more affordable food. The authors of the study call for urgent action to ensure the most marginalised people, communities and countries have more opportunities to benefit from aquatic foods in terms of trade, income and nutrition. “Current ongoing crises – from conflicts to pandemics – have only exacerbated global inequalities

and blue food systems are more vulnerable than ever,” says Professor Christina Hicks from Lancaster Environment Centre, Lancaster University, and lead author on the paper. “However, with fairer and more just access and rights, blue foods also present the opportunity to level the playing field, allowing more people to participate in and benefit from this rich and diverse sector.” The authors argue that policies based on principles of justice and human rights, with inclusive decision-making processes that accounted for drivers of injustice, could support more just outcomes for aquatic food systems.

“Blue foods also present the opportunity to level the playing field”

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year on year. “Post-pandemic, the salmon trade’s value has been fuelled by high prices due to increasing demand and restricted supply growth. Expansion of volumes will be essential for continued growth,” cautions Sharma. Can salmon go still further? The Rabobank researchers are sceptical that the prices seen last year and in the first half of 2022 could go any higher – meanwhile, the opportunity to grow volume with traditional farming technology looks limited. The report also suggests that innovative approaches such as recirculating aquaculture systems or offshore aquaculture “…are not likely to impact trade even in the medium term.” Rabobank concludes: “It will be some time before we see large shifts in salmon trade.”

Shrimp: rise to dominance Shrimp is the most traded seafood species, with short production cycles that enable exporters to respond quickly to demand changes. The big winners in this game have been shrimp producers in India and Ecuador, which have been quick to meet growing demand. Globally, the shrimp industry grew by $7.6bn in terms of international trade between 2013 and 2021. Shrimp imports to the US have been growing by 5.4% annually, but even this is dwarfed by China’s import growth, which has been 27% CAGR between 2013 and 2021. China is now the world’s biggest consumer of shrimp. The Chinese market did falter during 2020, contributing to a global contraction of 4.8% in the shrimp trade. For 2021, Chinese shrimp imports were $4.8bn – an improvement on 2020, but still below pre-pandemic levels. According to Rabobank, the shrimp trade is now at an inflection point. Following record demand and supply in 2021, prices have been dropping since the second quarter of this year. Demand and prices have come down while costs (feed, freight, energy) are still high, impacting farmer profitability. “This falling demand is likely to cause a short-term trade decline,” says Sharma. “Still, we do believe in shrimp industry growth. The sector is supported by strong, long-term demand, given shrimp’s position as a healthy and convenient seafood product with universal appeal.”

Post-pandemic, the salmon trade’s value has been fuelled by high prices

Cost-effective bulk packaging The S Bin provides an economical and greener alternative to EPS boxes


almon processing companies are the main users of polystyrene boxes in the aquaculture sector, using approximately 8 million boxes per annum. The S Bin provided by Packaging Solutions Scotland Ltd (PSS Ltd), provides a very costeffective alternative to EPS (expanded polystyrene) salmon boxes. Used in closed logistics loops, the S Bin can reduce packaging costs by more than 50% claim PSS Ltd. In a climate of everincreasing costs, that is an option few can chose to ignore. On a trip rental basis, PSS Ltd can meet the customer’s needs, with the customer only paying for what they use. For a typical pallet of salmon of 24 poly boxes and a one trip wooden pallet, the packaging costs are around £60 or approximately 12p/kg. Using rented S Bins, the cost of packaging based on 400kg capacity bins is approximately 6p/kg* In addition to the cost saving on packaging, the carbon footprint is also

massively reduced. An independent study has demonstrated a reduction of 78% CO2 using S Bins in place of polystyrene boxes. The benefits do not stop there. The efficiencies in filling and emptying the bins are attractive, and with less man hours required to handle the bins the production costs at both primary and secondary processing facilities can be

significantly reduced. For more information on how the S Bin can help your business contact Packaging Solutions Scotland Ltd on or visit www. *includes typical washing costs

Above: left Versatility of S Bin, Right Filled S Bins

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Photo: Terje Aamodt © Nofima

Smells fishy Salmon have a sensitive nose when exposed to toxic gas, research has shown. By Reidun Lilleholt Kraugerud


ydrogen sulphide (H2S) poses an acute fatal risk to salmon that are farmed in facilities using recirculated seawater. Scientists have now found how sensitive the fish actually are to the gas. In land-based fish farms, salmon live in fresh water until they become smolt. Once smoltified, they are transferred to seawater. When this seawater is recirculated in a closed facility on land, the water passes through a biofilter where the water is purified. However, H2S gas can quickly form in the biofilter, causing the fish to die. It is only in recent years that the production of larger salmon in land-based facilities has developed, and H2S has become an important research topic. Little knowledge exists about why the gas is formed and almost no knowledge about what it does to the fish. However, the pieces are now starting to fall into place. Nofima’s Carlo C. Lazado has led a project in which scientists have exposed salmon to short- and long-term H2S in the water. The fish were exposed to doses of zero, 1mg and 5mg H2S/l water respectively. The fish that were exposed for only one hour were analysed after 24 hours. The fish that were chronically exposed to H2S over a period of four weeks were analysed after zero, two and four weeks. The trials were done at brand-new facilities at Nofima’s research station at Sunndalsøra in single recirculating aquaculture system (RAS) units. These units, where there is one recirculating unit for each tank, made it possible to investigate


There are more groups of genes in the nose that respond to H2S than in other organs

the consequences of different operational changes at a system level. In addition, these systems require relatively fewer fish to support the biomass necessary for the RAS unit to operate optimally. Two weeks after H2S exposure, the fish were exposed to a crowding stress test in order to evaluate how fish with an H2S exposure history reacted to a secondary stressor relevant during production. The

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analysis of this data tells us a lot about how H2S exposure affects fish welfare and their ability to cope with stressful situations. The analyses showed how many genes in the various organs were activated during and after the fish were exposed to H2S, and the number of genes activated indicates how sensitive the organ is. The trials show that the nose is the organ that reacts most strongly to the gas during chronic exposure to H2S. The scientists also investigated gills and skin, which, like the nose, are part of the first-line defence that is in contact with the water. The skin was the most sensitive organ during short-term trials, but least sensitive during long-term trials. “There are more groups of genes in the nose that respond to H2S than in other organs. These include genes linked to stress, tissue repair and the immune system. Previous research we have conducted suggests that the gene activity in the nose’s immune cells has some similarities with how the immune cells in the human nose react to H2S. We also found an increased number of mucous cells in the nose of H2S -exposed fish indicating signs of irritation”, says Lazado. After a long period of exposure, salmon can also change their behaviour, and the scientists noticed some visible skin colour changes especially near the head and mouth. Some fish died in the group that was exposed to the highest level (5mg/l) over time.

Photo: Kevin S�ller © Nofima.

Photo: Terje Aamodt © Nofima

Nose and skin are sensitive to H2S

No problems coping with low levels “We see that salmon cope well when exposed to low levels over time and that the peaks cause the problem. The aquatic environment in a RAS is dynamic, so there will always be a certain amount of H2S present. The knowledge we now have about how the short- and long-term levels affect fish health makes it possible to carry out risk assessments during production,” says Lazado. However, he believes this depends on whether you have fast and reliable measuring tools that can detect minute

Above: Carlo C. Lazado’s hydrogen sulphide trials inaugurated the new “one-tank-one-RAS” infrastructure at Nofima in Sunndalsøra Below left: Hydrogen sulphide is hazardous to humans as well as fish and other animals Opposite from top: Salmon smolt in

recirculated seawater react quickly and strongly to H2S gas; Hanna R. Alipio (pictured, centre) won the student poster award at Aquaculture Europe 2022, held in Rimini in September, for the research in this project, H2Salar.

levels and at the same time measure very high levels. Lazado confirms that companies developing more sensitive sensors have shown great interest in the project. Other good news for operators of RAS facilities is that hydrogen peroxide is an emergency solution that can reduce the level of H2S in less than half an hour. The Danish scientists working on the project found this out. The research has been conducted in collaboration with the Norwegian Institute for Water Research (NIVA) and the Technical University of Denmark. The Research Council of Norway has funded the project. In the project, the scientists have minimised the need to use trial fish in accordance with 3R guidelines (“replace, refine and reduce” the use of laboratory animals). The research is also associated with the activity in the research centre CtrlAQUA SFI.

Reidun Lilleholt Kraugerud is Communication leader, Aquaculture, with Nofima, a leading food research institute, based in Norway, which conducts research and development for the aquaculture, fishing and food industries.

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Fish Welfare & Health Fish Farmer brings you all the latest Fish Welfare & Health news and updates VAF Feed Blocks promote health and growth Cleaner fish across Scotland and Norway are feeling the health and welfare benefits of World Feeds’ innovative VAF Feed Blocks. Studies have recorded steady and healthy growth rates, as well as considerably reduced cataract prevalence in lumpfish – increasing their operational window and efficacy as sea lice hunters. Ballan wrasse have displayed exceptional colouration and general physical condition after being fed consistently on a VAF Feed Block diet. Many sites have noted minimised need for medications and restocking of cleaner fish due to improvements in health and condition and, crucially, significant reductions in mortality rates.

Rare parasite forces Grieg into mass cull of juvenile fish

Grieg Seafood is being ordered by the Norwegian Food Safety Authority to slaughter around a million young salmon in the north of the country. The directive follows the discovery of a rare parasite known as Spironucleus salmonicida, which causes systemic infections in salmonid fish. The outbreak affects eight individual cages at two locations in Finnmark containing up to a million fish. The source of the parasite is thought to be the water intake of the freshwater plan, which started last autumn and continued into the spring of this year. The current generation at the facility does not appear to be infected.

New role for Kemin’s Pruvost

Sales Manager Emmanuel Pruvost, who has developed sales for three years in Mediterranean countries on marine fishes and salmonids for Kemin Aquascience™, will now also serve North European salmon feed leaders. Kemin AquaScience™ contributes to worldwide sustainable aquaculture solutions in aquafarming, feed production and fishmeal stabilisation. Pruvost is an agronomist with over 25 years of experience in animal nutrition. His experience has helped to develop a robust distribution channel strategy and customer needs analysis, which provides the company with valuable insights from the Middle East, Africa and Europe. Now he is ready to build a partnership with salmon feed leaders in the north of Europe. Emmanuel can be reached at: Find out more about Kemin AquaScience™ at:


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Produced in the UK by

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

To find out more contact: +44 7817 099 334

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Wrasse hatchery hits milestone

Mowi’s Anglesey hatchery has deployed 500,000 farmed ballan wrasse for the year so far. The wrasse are being reared as cleaner fish to help keep the company’s salmon farms free of sea lice. The company has hailed the milestone as a great achievement, especially considering that the team at the hatchery, acquired from Ocean Matters in 2019, is quite new. It is also a major step in Mowi’s journey towards supplying all its ballan wrasse from a farmed source. Dougie Hunter, Managing Director of Ocean Matters Ltd & Dorset Cleanerfish Ltd, said: “This is a great achievement from everyone at Anglesey hatchery and our colleagues at the Machrihanish broodstock site who supply the larvae.”

Krill diet ‘improves sea bream larvae survival’, study finds

Markers may hold key to diagnosing four important diseases

Sea bream larvae fed on a diet including krill show increased survival rates and enhanced growth. The findings come from a study by researchers at KAUST (the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, Saudi Arabia); Stirling University, Scotland; and Universidad de Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain. The larvae were fed a diet including 7% krill phospholipids (marine lipids that contain omega-3 fatty acids) and their performance was compared with another group fed on a diet featuring soybean lecithin lipids. Omega-3 fatty acid composition in the body was highest in the larvae fed 7% and 9% krill oil phospholipids, the study found.

Researchers are hoping to develop non-lethal testing for four major salmon diseases in a Scottish-based study. The programme involves experts from the University of the West of Scotland (UWS), WellFish Diagnostics, Bakkafrost Scotland, Vertebrate Antibodies Limited (VAL) and the University of Aberdeen’s Scottish Fish Immunology Research Centre. During the five-month feasibility project, the consortium will investigate immunological biomarkers for pancreas disease, complex gill disease, bacterial infection and cardiomyopathy syndrome (CMS) in salmon. In a second phase of the project, they will use these biomarkers to develop a commercially available “high throughput” blood-testing platform based on WellFish Diagnostics’ existing rapid clinical chemistry-based health assessment kits. See WellFish, page 59

Doing the job without jabs A company based in Buenos Aires, Argentina, is working on an oral vaccine for fish that could significantly reduce the need for antibiotics and handling in aquaculture. FeedVax, which is developing an alternative to injected vaccines, is supported by impact investor Conservation International Ventures. It will start by focusing on Streptococcus in farmed tilapia, but says its platform is flexible and scalable enough to apply to many other species in due course. The FeedVax team (pictured left) is led by infectious disease specialist Dr Max Wilda. For each dose of oral vaccine, the company estimates that 0.4g of antibiotics could be replaced in tilapia production.


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Fish health monitoring – it’s in our blood Biomarkers can help us to take a more pro-active approach to fish welfare


hilst Paisley is not universally recognised as a centre of fish health excellence, this may be about to change with the complete refurbishment of a ground floor suite at the University of the West of Scotland (UWS) campus in PA1. WellFish Diagnostics, a spinout company from UWS, is at the vanguard of both the use and development of blood chemistry biomarkers as rapid, non-lethal indicators of fish health and welfare. As with terrestrial vertebrates, the blood of fish contains a wide variety of electrolytes, minerals, enzymes and other proteins (the biomarkers) the presence of which serve to maintain physiological homeostasis – a key component and indicator of health and welfare. Upsets to this balance normally indicate that something might be wrong. Practitioners in the worlds of human and terrestrial veterinary medicine have been using these biomarkers for decades as indicators of the health status of their patients. Until recently, however, their routine use in aquatic veterinary medicine has been very limited, with PCR, histology and microbiology being the preferred tools of the trade. Scientists at WellFish, in collaboration with industry partners, have elucidated sets of biomarker signatures which are characteristic of a number of fish health profiles and, as such, are indicative of them. These include the transition into and out of challenge with SAV as well as very early indication of challenge by waterborne gill irritants such as micro-jellyfish. It has also been recognised that shifts from normal biomarker profiles (and WellFish know what “normal” looks like) can also be attributed to factors other than infectious disease, including both nutritional and environmental influences. These revelations have been made possible through the development of a large and robust database of case information, the power of which is beginning to suggest that, rather than reacting to issues when they arise, there is much merit in gaining insight into them beforehand. This effectively means monitoring health rather than simply diagnosing disease.

Above: The WellFish laboratory in Paisley

Monitoring changes in homeostasis, through biomarker assessment, provides farm managers with additional insight into the health status of the stocks in their care, allowing them to execute or delay interventions in ways that optimise outcomes. By encouraging the routine assessment of these biomarkers in fish stocks, as is currently the case for gill swabbing and lice counting, WellFish is beginning to establish blood biochemistry as the gateway tool that helps managers to decide whether additional techniques, such as PCR, are required. This positions clinical biochemistry as a new and essential application in the world of integrated fish health management.

This effectively means monitoring health rather than simply diagnosing disease

Rapid fish health assessment for aquaculture through blood-based clinical chemistry analysis Talk to us about support for your health and welfare management programme. Contact Chris Mitchell – | +44(0)7769 330540 University of the West of Scotland, Paisley, PA1 2BE, Scotland

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Cut consumption, cut emissions, cut costs

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NabCat 1480 HYBRID

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Industry DIARY The latest aquaculture events, conferences and courses NOVEMBER 22 WORLD AQUACULTURE 2022

OCEAN BUSINESS The hands-on Ocean Technology Exhibition and Training Forum.

Southampton, United Kingdom April 18-20, 2023

Singapore November 29-December 2, 2022


Darwin, Northern Territories, Australia May 29-June 1, 2023

JUNE 23 DECEMBER 22 ALGAEUROPE 2022 Conference about Science, Technology and business in the Algae Biomass Sector.

SEAWORK Seawork is a “one stop shop” providing access to the commercial marine and workboat business.

Southampton, United Kingdom June 13-15, 2023

SEPTEMBER 23 AQUACULTURE EUROPE 2023 The European Aquaculture Society’s annual conference focuses on “Innovative Solutions in a Changing World”.

Vienna, Austria September 18-21, 2023

SEAGRICULTURE USA 2023 2nd International Seaweed Conference USA.

Portland, Maine, USA (TBC) September 2023 (TBC)


San Antonio,Texas, USA February 18-21, 2024

Rome, Italy December 13-15, 2022

MAY 24



SEAGRICULTURE ASIAPACIFIC 2023 1st International Seaweed Conference AsiaPacific.

Online February 8-9, 2023


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


Santiago de Compostela, Recinto FIG-Silleda, Spain March 28-30, 2023


Panama City, Panama April 18-21, 2023


SEAGRICULTURE EU 2023 12th International Seaweed Conference EU organised since 2012.

Trondheim, Norway June 21-22, 2023


Trondheim, Norway August 22-25, 2023 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 2024 it promises to reach even further across the broader aquaculture markets in both the UK and Europe.

Aviemore, United Kingdom May 14-15, 2024

JUNE 24 AQUA 2024 -

Stavanger, Norway June 24-28, 2024

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What’s NEW Monthly update on industry innovation and solutions from around the world FISA invests in new technology for UHMWPE netting IN order to meet growing demand from the Mediterranean and Chilean aquaculture markets, FISA has invested in the newest-generation Karl Mayer knotless Raschel technology, with the plan to increase its production of Ultra High Molecular weight polyethylene (UHMWPE) knotless netting. With the intention of continuing to offer its customers high-quality products, FISA continues to work in alliance with Avient Corporation, formerly DSM, and its Dyneema product. FISA also uses the Dyneema fibre for other netting products, such as braided knotted nets, twisted knotless nets and its newest antipredator nets technology, the Xtracore+ product line.

Mowi Scotland orders two new landing craft MACDUFF Ship Design is pleased to announce that Mowi Scotland Ltd has selected Skagen Ship Consulting and Macduff Ship Design as main contractor and designer for two new 18.5m landing craft service vessels for aquaculture support services. The vessels are a development of the “Geraldine Mary” and “Helen Rice” hull forms, with a revised arrangement to match the specific operating profile of Mowi Scotland. Alongside this, they offer flexibility for future aquaculture roles. Skagen Ship Consulting will be responsible for the delivery of the design and equipment package with the vessels built in their entirety at Etkin Marine in Turkey.

Moen Marin fleet goes green NORWEGIAN boat builder Moen Marin says that close to 80% of the new builds it expects to deliver this year will be powered by either hybrid electric or fully electric systems. The company has seen this market trend develop very rapidly. Moen Marin only sold its first hybrid diesel-electric vessel in 2019, but is now finding that customers want to reduce their own carbon footprint. The hybrid and electric vessels are also quieter, creating a better working environment for the crews. Meanwhile, the Norwegian Seafood Federation has said that the country’s aquaculture industry could be all-electric as soon as 2030. See Moen Marin, page 60.

Calysseo’s FeedKind protein plant starts operations THE world’s first industrial-scale facility to produce FeedKind®, a protein ingredient that needs no animal or plant matter to produce, has switched on. Calysseo, a joint venture between worldwide animal nutrition leader Adisseo and protein innovator Calysta, will initially produce 20,000 tonnes of protein per year from the facility in Chongqing, China. With startup operations complete, the fermenter will become world’s largest single-protein production facility. FeedKind protein, grown using a mix of oxygen, nitrogen and methane, is nutritionally rich and non-GMO. The first deliveries of FeedKind Aqua® will be made to customers soon, making it the first alternative fermented protein to address the sector at scale.

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Clynav contains pUK-SPDV-poly2#1 DNA plasmid coding for salmon pancreas disease virus proteins: 5.1 – 9.4 µg. Legal category POM-V in UK. For further information call Elanco Animal Health on +44(0)1256 353131 or write to: Elanco UK AH Limited, First Floor, Form 2, Bartley Way, Bartley Wood Business Park, Hook RG27 9XA, United Kingdom. For further information consult the product SPC. Clynav, Elanco and the diagonal bar logo are trademarks of Elanco or its affiliates. © 2021 Elanco or its affiliates. Use medicines responsibly Advice should be sought from the Medicine Prescriber. PM-UK-21-0435 – 04.2021 - RLH Clynav contains pUK-SPDV-poly2#1 DNA plasmid coding for salmon pancreas disease virus proteins: 5.1 – 9.4 µg. Legal category POM-V in UK. For

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further information call Elanco Animal Health on +44(0)1256 353131 or write to: Elanco UK AH Limited, First Floor, Form 2, Bartley Way, Bartley Wood Business Park, Hook RG27 9XA, United Kingdom. For further information consult the product SPC. Clynav, Elanco and the diagonal bar logo are trademarks of Elanco or its affiliates. © 2021 Elanco or its affiliates. Use medicines responsibly Advice should be sought from the Medicine Prescriber. PM-UK-21-0435 – 04.2021 - RLH

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07/11/2022 14:39:22


All change By Nick Joy


’m going to guess that you’ve noticed that things are changing rather quickly. You can tell the time by how fast each Prime Minister leaves post. Whilst it’s undoubtedly amusing, it is also becoming really quite scary. These people are supposed to be the best we have, and if that’s true then we are in deep trouble. The distance between those who govern for any party and the electorate has grown greater and greater. The people who govern us have lost touch with the things that we normal people do every day. They listen constantly to advisers; but advisers advise, they don’t do. So their grip on how things are done is theoretical rather than actual. It is my belief that what made the human race so successful as a species was the mix between the thinkers and the pragmatists. Both valued each other and both realised that nothing is achieved without both. You cannot simply think something to make it happen, but there is no good outcome without planning. Then came the weird idea that everyone should wish to go to university. This idea was born out of people who saw little value in the people who do stuff. People like me who have not been to university have a different perspective. I don’t regret not going and I don’t feel I have missed out at all, except for the huge amount of socialising and drinking that my daughter educated me about when she was a student at Glasgow Uni. My entire time in education was spent wondering about what the fish were taking today and whether that bird I saw was a merlin or a sparrowhawk. My love of the sea derived from being allowed to go creeling with the guys, my heroes, who fished from Eday in the Orkney Isles. My parents could never understand how a boy who wanted to stay in bed all day would get up at three in the morning to catch the tide and go with the creelers. I don’t decry the need for a significant proportion in society to learn the theories behind everything, but without the people who want to do stuff there will be nothing to eat. We have to see value in each other. The problem has been exacerbated by the increased division between town and country. When people talk nowadays about a four-day working week, it makes me scream with laughter. Who would feed the fish, or the sheep or the cattle? We have known for a long time that we are eating beyond our means. I used to give talks in the 2000s about how many times we are exceeding our food producing footprint. This is not news, nor is the advent of climate change. What is new is that there are a number of governments that are acting in a manner that will undoubtedly result in people having a lot less food to eat, if not starving. We have been living for the last 50 years in a period of unprecedented stability for the human race. I fear we are about to enter the precise opposite and the people who lead us appear not to have the slightest clue how close to the edge we are. The Dutch Government is buying out farmers in order to reduce production, loudly supported by Justin Trudeau of Canada, who


I have learned that government has very little idea about the effect of its actions

is suggesting they will follow suit while his own government wishes to bring the salmon industry ashore. Being a land and sea farmer most of my life, I have learned that government has very little idea about the effect of its actions. Look at the situation in Sri Lanka where, in September, inflation hit 70% and people were very close to starvation. The President had to flee the country, but not the advisers who encouraged the policies that caused the catastrophe – policies that are espoused by the West. For farming it is easy to reduce production, but slow to increase it. At the moment we have the twin pressures of veganism and the drive to reduce carbon emissions pressing on both agriculture and aquaculture. In agriculture, the sheep flock has reduced by about 20% over the last decade or so and the beef herd is now doing the same. The land on which these animals are grown can’t generally be used for crops so that is food production that will not be replaced. This is merely one example. So, we have just got a new Prime Minister. If the sorts of problems that have hit Sri Lanka hit here too, then I foresee a revolving door of Prime Ministers and governments for some considerable time.

Nick Joy OPINION_SUBBED.indd 66

07/11/2022 16:04:24

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Turning conventional approaches...

upside down Clynav brings fresh hope in the fight against pancreatic disease Clynav™ will turn the way you see PD control upside down. Clynav is like no other PD vaccine - it uses Elanco’s unique DNA plasmid technology and has become the leading choice for PD protection in Norway. Clynav is delivered intra-muscularly without the need for an adjuvant.

So, with Clynav, you can rest assured of excellent PD protection without the risks associated with conventional vaccines. Take back control of PD with Clynav. It will change your point of view, for good.

Take control

Clynav contains pUK-SPDV-poly2#1 DNA plasmid coding for salmon pancreas disease virus proteins: 5.1 – 9.4 µg. Legal category POM-V in UK. For further information call Elanco Animal Health on +44(0)1256 353131 or write to: Elanco UK AH Limited, First Floor, Form 2, Bartley Way, Bartley Wood Business Park, Hook RG27 9XA, United Kingdom. For further information consult the product SPC. Clynav, Elanco and the diagonal bar logo are trademarks of Elanco or its affiliates. © 2021 Elanco or its affiliates. Use medicines responsibly Advice should be sought from the Medicine Prescriber. PM-UK-21-0435 – 04.2021 - RLH

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