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Volume 10 Issue 1

January/February 2009


Spanish hatchery ready to expand Despite faltering European markets this Castellón producer of bass, bream and meagre sets itself up for future expansion. Ideally located within 100 kilometres of 80% of its customer base, Spain’s Piscicultura Marina Mediterranea SL. (better known as Piscimar) is a bream, bass and meagre hatchery with wide-ranging production flexibility and considerable expansion potential. For more on this innovative facility go to feature story beginning on page 18. A small wellboat receives smolt delivered to the boat by helicopter.

SMOLT TRANSPORT Possibly the most stressful point in a farmed salmon’s life, and arguably the most stressful period for a hatchery manager, smolt transport can make or break a year’s worth of painstaking work leading up to this point.

By alan dykes

nlike terrestrial animal transport, the moving of fish requires a complete life support system in order to transfer them successfully. The secret to good smolt delivery, apart from the prerequisites of healthy, well smolted fish, is firstly, the understanding and provision of a good life-support system and secondly, and perhaps even more importantly, stress avoidance. Smolts have to be transported by some means. Even if a hatchery lies beside a sea water farm, it still needs to pipe the fish into the cages. The most common methods used in smolt transport are helicopter buckets or fiberglass tanks atop trucks/ boats and well boats. Each has its advantages and disadvantages and depending on the distance from the hatchery to the sea water site, and the geography between them, one type or another may be the preferred choice, or even a combination of all three.


continued on page 20

Canadian fisheries society develops sterile and all-female kokanee for sports fishery By Theresa Godin

he Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC (FFSBC) was created as an independent, non-profit organization with the mandate to provide fish culture, science and marketing services that support freshwater recreational fishing and the conservation and restoration of wild freshwater fish in British Columbia, Canada. Over the last 15 years most jurisdictions in North America have been observing a downward trend in fishing license sales. In order to reverse this trend and ensure a thriving recreational fishery, FFSBC is developing new freshwater


Freshwater Fisheries Society staff hold sterile female kokanee from Ten Mile Lake.

stocks and technologies to provide anglers with a diversity of angling opportunity and to help conserve native fish populations. Kokanee are thought to be a good species to provide anglers with an alternative to brook trout and rainbow trout, especially during the summer months when fishing for these other species becomes more difficult and when families take more time for recreational activities. Some of the challenges we face with current kokanee fisheries and with the development of new fisheries include high precocious male maturation rates, stunting in systems with continued on page 6

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Big new hatchery slated for Chile AquaGen Chile SA is preparing to introduce its first broodstock into the company’s newest salmon and trout hatchery. The facility is described as the country’s most modern egg-production facility, designed to produce enough eggs both to meet both the national demand and also eggs for export in the future. It is to have a long-term production capacity of 150 million eggs a year, with 90% of them Atlantic salmon and 10% rainbow trout. Company general manager Svein Sorvik is cited as saying the new 7,000-square-metre, land-based facility has involved an investment of US$12-million. AquaGen Chile is quoted as saying it plans to supply Atlantic salmon eggs for Europe and trout eggs for countries such as Peru, Turkey and Iran. The facility will require a staff of 30.

Pond worms save fish farmer time, money and effort

Photo courtesy NOAA

A marine worm species discovered on a fish farm at Berry Springs near Darwin in northern-central Australia is being hailed as a cheap and effective way to remove pond sludge. Barramundi farmer Adam Body discovered the red-coloured blood worm when emptying a fish pond at the site a couple of months ago. During the clean-up he discovered that there wasn’t any black sludge to remove – only lots of holes, each containing a blood worm. Body is cited as saying the worms’ work saved him time and money and he was able to turn the pond back over to fish much faster, a benefit he hopes to pass on to other fish farmers.

Subscriptions Tel. +1.250.478.3973 • Fax +1.250.478.3979

Capamara Communications Inc. Volume 10, Issue 1 JAN/FEB 2009 Editor Peter Chettleburgh

Science Editor David Scarratt Regular Contributors Quentin Dodd, Alan Dykes, Diogo Thomaz, Siri Elise Dybdal, Eric Roderick, Mary Nickum John Mosig

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Publisher, Peter Chettleburgh Art Direction/Production, James S. Lewis Hatchery International is published six times a year by Capamara Communications Inc. The authority for statements and claims made in Hatchery International is the responsibility of the contributors. Reference to named products or technologies does not imply endorsement by the publisher. A subscription to Hatchery International (six issues) is $27.85 per year in Canada (including GST) or $29.95 per year in Canada (including HST), $US27.85 in the United States and $US38.64 overseas. Send cheque or Visa number to Subscription Department, Hatchery International, 4623 William Head Road, Victoria, BC. Canada V9C 3Y7 Fax orders to +1.250.478.3979 Or subscribe on our website at

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Next Editorial Deadline The deadline for editorial copy is January 20th, 2009. Contact the Editor, Peter Chettleburgh at +1.250.478.3973 for details. E-mail to Material may be submitted electronically with prior arrangement with the editor.

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Farms to breed eels off coast of Mauritius

The Development Bank of South Africa (DBSA) and Ripple Fishing International (RFI), a major fishing company, have signed a $20-million (USD) agreement to finance the creation of sea farms for breeding eels in the coastal regions of Mauritius A report from the area notes that during the signing ceremony in the capital a few weeks ago, DBSA’s senior investment officer remarked that the accord is not only the first one concerning a regional aquaculture project, but also the first initiative to breed eels in the waters off southern and eastern Africa. The first phase of the project is expected to be completed in two years, bringing annual production up to about 2500 tons, mostly to be exported to Japan, China and Taiwan and European countries.

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Hatchery makes big difference to NSW tourism Australian anglers and other local residents began laying plans for a fullscale protest in New South Wale’s Snowy Mountains after the state government announced plans to close the trout hatchery at Jindabyne. And the ensuing rally was large and loud enough that it persuaded the state government to scrap that particular part of the budget-cutting program. A spokesperson for the NSW Council of Freshwater Anglers said that the closure plan was a bad decision for the future of the thriving tourism and sports fishing sectors in the region. “Our report says that trout fishing generates $70 million in the area,” spokesperson Steve Samuels is cited as saying. “It’s the catalyst for 35,000 visits and it’s responsible for creating 700 jobs in the region. “The cost of running the hatchery every year is less than a million dollars, so if you look at that, the return on investment is at least 80-fold.”

NZ commission okays NIWA hatchery sale The Commerce Commission in New Zealand recently cleared a bid by members of the South Island salmon industry to buy the state operated Silverstream Hatchery. The National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research Ltd (NIWA) decided to sell its research site on the Kaiapoi River, north of Christchurch, and a group of six companies (Mount Cook Salmon Ltd., Akaroa Salmon NZ Ltd., Island Aquafarms Ltd., High Country Salmon Ltd., Benmore Salmon 2001 Ltd., and Sanford Ltd.) bid on it. The Silverstream hatchery sells fertilised salmon eggs and salmon smolts on commercial basis to salmon farmers and recreational groups, and the commission decided the sale wouldn’t lessen competition.

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Aquasearch Ova ............................................. 42 Aquatec-Solutions ......................................... 14 Aquatic Eco-Systems Inc. ...............................7 BernAqua........................................................... 45 Biomar A/S /Larivee..........................................5 Clarity Water Treatment Systems AS ....... 11 Colorite Plastics Company ......................... 16 Coppens International BV .......................... 16 Department of Fisheries, Western Australia.......................................... 31 Dolphin Fiberglass Products, Inc ............. 33 EMF Metal Fabrications Inc ........................ 30 Emperor Aquatics Inc. .................................. 37 Erwin Sander/IFFT ......................................... 25

Ewos Canada Ltd. ..............................................6 Faivre Sarl ......................................................... 31 Finn-Aqua Consulting .................................. 23 Fresh Flo Corp.................................................. 11 Hydrotech AB .................................................. 19 I.A.S. Products Ltd .......................................... 13 Icy Waters Ltd. ................................................. 42 Impex Agency Hoerning Aps .................... 17 Instrument Control Systems Inc. .............. 33 Jim White & Associates ................................ 21 Keeton Industries Inc. .................................. 27 LaMotte.............................................................. 29 Loligo Systems ApS ...................................... 33 Madan Ma’agan Michael ............................. 42

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Skretting Canada ...........................Back cover Smith-Root, Inc. .............................................. 40 Storvik Aqua AS .............................................. 17 Syndel................................................................. 29 The Freshwater Institute ............................. 44 Tidal Enterprises Ltd ..................................... 41 Troutlodge Inc. ............................................... 42 United Food Technologies AG .................. 23 Universal Marine Industries, Inc. .............. 21 Water Management Technologies, Inc. ....8 Waterco Limited ............................................. 15 Western Chemical ......................................... 29 World Aquaculture 2009 ............................. 44 YSI Inc. ................................................................ 22

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NEWS BRIEFS Louisiana Blues

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Blue crawfish Malaysian baffle aquaculture university kickstarts hatchery-aid researchers program

Researchers at the Northwestern State University’s aquaculture research centre in Louisiana are baffled by a strange crustaceous phenomenon: crawfish that constantly turn blue. Staff and students at the centre began a research project last summer placing ordinary brown-red Louisiana crawfish in aquaria. But four months later, more than 60% of the crawfish were vivid blue and stayed that way right through molts. Other scientists have offered various reasons for the dramatic colour change, including diet, the light spectrum, or, since the crawfish are housed in a blue tank, perhaps as a means of camouflage. More and more researchers are zeroing in on tanks and their colours and patterns as potentially having a major influence on how stable and viable the juvenile fish are inside the containers. The blue crawfish sell for $25 a piece in the aquarium trade.



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MARA Technological University in Malaysia has allocated RM60 million ($16.5 million USD) for a biotech aquaculture project that will create 200 opportunities for entrepreneurs using the mentor-mentee approach with Global Hi-Q Biotech, a pioneer in hi-tech aquaculture based on biotechnology. Some 200 entrepreneurs will be picked as mentees for Global Hi-Q and each receive MARA loans of RM300,000,. Each will be given 15 to 20 ponds to operate and use as hatcheries to grow fish. Global Hi-Q, whose grouper aquaculture project at Pulau Pangkor produces about six million fish fry annually, will not only act as technical assistant but would also help market the fish to Japan, Taiwan and China. R esistance Training

Colorado fish division works on WD-resistant trout After a long struggle, the Colorado Division of Wildlife in the United States is hoping it will see some good results from about 20,000 trout it planted out at three different spots along the lower Blue River north of Silverthorne. The fish were some of the progeny of a program it has been conducting to breed the Hofer strain of trout with elevated levels of resistance to the deadly Whirling Disease. The crippling disease wiped out rainbow trout across the state after the spores were accidentally introduced in a shipment of fish from an outside state hatchery in the late 1980s. Big Oil Opts


Big Fish

Saudi firm to invest $300m in fish-farming Saudi Arabian investors are reportedly planning to pump large sums into developing aquaculture projects not only in the region, but in depressed areas of Asia and Africa. The Saudi-based National Prawn Company (NPC) intends an initial investment of $300 million (Dh1.1 billion) to start large-scale fish production in Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries. The aim, says the report, is to farm kingfish, cobia, barramundi, mahi and milkfish with aquaculture installations on waste coastal desert land. “We’re looking at fish farming in various GCC countries,� the company is reported as saying. “There are a lot of opportunities to develop unused desert land in coastal areas in the region. We’re also looking at viable projects in African countries which have deserts adjoining coastal regions.�

Photo courtesy NOAA

Enhance Now

Report calls for overhaul of state’s hatcheries A new report from the California Trout advocacy group warns that waterways in the state need to be restored - in part through hatcheries - to prevent nearly two-thirds of the state’s most prized native salmon, steelhead and trout species from going extinct by the end of the century. The just-released study, which identifies some of the many hazards the fish face in the wild, also calls for a sweeping overhaul of the operation of the state’s hatcheries, as well as strengthened law enforcement against poaching. While expressing strong concern about how hatcheries have tended to undermine the “fitness� and survivability of many stocks, the study says that in the case of the state’s coastal coho steps need to be taken rigorously to protect the few watersheds in which the fish still reside or that “have the potential to support coho in the future.� In the case of those watersheds, the report adds: “Recovery hatcheries should be developed, and large-scale restoration projects need to be implemented immediately.� Shrimp Ahead

Indian gov’t gives in on shrimp broodstock imports After years of pressure from the Indian fish-farming sector, the Agriculture Ministry has finally given in and raised the green flag for the import and cultivation of Litopenaeus vannamei (white shrimp) into the country. A “separate notification carries the guidelines for hatchery production and culture of the species,� says the media report, adding that permits for importing broodstock would come from the Coastal Aquaculture Authority (CAA). I n f o r m a t i o n E x c h a n ge

Fish culture workshop slated in Illinois

The meeting is coming together for the 2009 Cool Water Fish Culture Workshop to be held at the Rend Lake Resort in Whittington, Illinois, January 11-13. It’s being organized by the Southern Illinois University Carbondale campus’s Fisheries and Illinois Aquaculture Center. The program, which is designed to encourage a broad-based exchange of information on everything from hatcheries, feed and feeding, to water quality, disease management, waste control and general husbandry practices, is also expected to include tours of local aquaculture facilities such as SIUC’s recently remodelled wet lab.

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sterile and all-female kokanee continued from page 1

spawning habitat and introgression into the wild. In an attempt to provide kokanee fisheries while minimizing some of these impacts, FFSBC has been developing sterile and all-female kokanee stocks. Sterile Kokanee For the past six years we have been producing sterile (3n) kokanee for stocking into a limited number of lakes for assessment and to provide new fisheries. Performance

data collected to age 4+ indicate that growth and survival of sterile kokanee is comparable to that of their non-sterile (2n) counterparts unless lake environments are harsh. Between 2004 and 2008, equal numbers of 2n and 3n fish were differentially marked and annually stocked into a small oligotrophic lake. Another more productive lake was stocked annually with only 3n kokanee. Size-at-age of 2n and 3n kokanee stocks was similar but growth was slow for both groups in the low productivity lake. Sterile fish have the potential to

attain larger sizes in more productive systems as indicated by the sizes of kokanee in Ten Mile Lake (Fig. 1). The relative numbers of sterile and non-sterile kokanee sampled over four sampling periods were similar, indicating that these stocks had similar survival (Fig. 2). Furthermore, the use of sterile kokanee increases the proportion of immature older age class fish in the population, potentially improving fishing quality: over 80% of fish older than age three that are available to anglers were sterile females. Sterile males still develop secondary sex characteristics and exhibit false spawning behavior by age two. For that reason, the use of mono-sex female sterile kokanee (AF3n) could improve the fishery, reduce maturation mortality and further reduce the risk of stunting and introgression. Development of an all-female kokanee stock In December 2005 and 2006 trials were undertaken to masculinize kokanee, the first step in producing all-female fish. Three replicates of mixed sex eggs/ alevins were immersed in one of four concentrations of methyltestosterone (MT) close to the time of hatching. All experimental groups showed 100% sex reversal, a much higher success rate than in other salmonid species where XX male brood stocks are maintained for all-female production.

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Sterile female kokanee gonads with atretic eggs.

The next step was to rear these kokanee and spawn them with females. Control and MT treated fish were reared to age two at Clearwater Trout Hatchery (CWH) when more than half of the fish were mature by mid September. Six mature males from control groups and 38

What are Kokanee? Kokanee are landlocked sockeye salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka). They are known by other names such as kickininee, little redfish, silver trout and blueback. Natural populations are found in major systems from California to Alaska and in Asia, with the most widespread abundant populations in British Columbia, Canada. The preferred food is zooplankton which they strain through fine gill rakers on the gills, but they will also eat plants, insects, and freshwater shrimp when available. Like many other anadromous species, kokanee die after spawning. Spawning takes place in inlet streams or along lake shores where clean gravel and moderate water flows or upwelling groundwater occurs. The average size of adult kokanee is 20-25 cm (8-10 in.) and 0.1-0.2 kg (0.2-0.4 lbs). The maximum length is 60 cm and maximum weight is 4.5 kg.


JANU ARY/ F E BR U ARY 2009 >> 7


Figure 1. Graph of mean weight (g) of kokanee caught at different ages in Monroe (low productivity) and Ten Mile ( high productivity) lakes.

Immature female gonads from all-female progeny group produced from crossing an XX male with a female.

Figure 2. Graph of relative catch of 2n and 3n kokanee sampled by gill net over three and a half years in Monroe Lake.

mature males from experimental groups were crossed with females from Meadow Creek (one-to-one-crosses) in an attempt to produce some all-female kokanee families, verifying the existence of and the viability of XX males in the experimental groups. Family groups were reared separately until they could be sexed. Forty-seven percent of the males crossed from treated groups produced all-female progeny, demonstrating that all-female, and all-female sterile kokanee stocks can be developed. The challenge in developing an all-female kokanee brood

is that XX males and XY males appear to be similar phenotypically. In other species XX males have occluded gonoducts and/or develop the gonads of both sexes (hermaphrodites). For more information on the Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC visit their website at Theresa Godin is a Research and Development Biologist with the Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC. Email:

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Australian hatchery gathers more evidence on pesticide pollution Fish, horses, poultry all affected says hatchery owner By John Mosig

he sorry saga of Sunland Fish Hatcheries in Noosa, Queensland continues. Since Gwen Gilson’s letter in the last issue of Hatchery International the situation has deteriorated. The new manager of the neighbouring macadamia nut farm Spraying in the macadamia orchard adjacent to Sunland Fish Hatchery reportedly sprayed (Gwen Gilson Photo) pesticides on days when chemicals by methods which demonstrably Gwen’s smudge fires indicated the drift is fail to protect adjacent aquatic animals. across her land and hatchery. And when He quotes scientific literature, which the manager saw Gwen taking video demonstrates deformity impacts on evidence of this, things became less than frog embryos at extremely small dosescordial. around 0.5mg/L. He says, “The levels of There are two distinct fish related chemical required to cause the clinical syndromes observed that have been impacts observed appear to be below the attributed to the spraying: one of nervous limit of current testing capability.” Hence system toxicity, and another of embryonic residue data are unable to demonstrate the deformity. Further batches of this season’s presence of miniscule amounts at this time. larvae have been observed convulsing, and However the convulsing and deformed once again responded to administration larvae are clear indicators that exposure is of atropine, strongly implicating occurring. organophosphate exposure as the cause. It is Dr Landos’ view that “the clinical The treated larvae survive, the untreated syndrome observed is likely to be related larvae die. to agri-chemical exposure of broodfish, Bigger picture eggs and larvae. The events described and photographed by Gwen are entirely But as this saga unfolds, it becomes consistent with known toxic mechanisms more than just an issue of the damage to of the chemicals being legally sprayed on one fish farm. There are indications that neighbouring macadamias.” this could be a public and environmental The case has highlighted the strong health matter of major proportions. In the possibility that bass are being contaminated last 18 months Gwen has lost two horses in the wild (prior to movement to the to an unidentified illness and recently hatchery), suggesting these chemicals her Welsh mountain pony displayed are entering the wider environment. The similar symptoms: loss of co-ordination decline of fish species that frequent the and balance. The local vet prescribed a freshwater creeks around the horticulture course of Atropine injections. Atropine areas, is of grave concern, given that the is the antidote to organophosphate habitat, water quality and fisheries catch poisoning.  Gwen said, “Penny responded regulations are of a high standard. Why are to the first injection. She required five daily the fish disappearing? injections of Atropine, recovering more The bass broodfish have effectively after each one.” The reality is, the vet told been chemically sterilized- so no new Gwen, that Penny would only respond stock recruit to the river. Dr Landos urges to Atropine if she was suffering from urgent controlled testing of the chemicals organophosphate poisoning. on broodfish, eggs and fish larvae to review Poultry in the region appear to also the safety of these chemicals. This kind be affected; eggs hatch with malformed of toxicity was not considered when the chicks, a mare has aborted her fetus and chemicals were first registered. Gwen and her neighbours have given up Interestingly one of the chemicals, trying to breed chickens and ducks. carbendazim, was voluntarily removed Dr Matt Landos, an aquatic from registration in the USA in 2001 veterinarian, is continuing investigations over concerns of reproductive impacts into the issue at Sunland. His concern is on humans. Yet in Australia its use is twofold. Firstly, a viable fish hatchery’s promoted by state governments. It could livelihood is allegedly being destroyed, well be we are missing something here. through the sanctioned use of agri-



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CONTROVERSY More evidence

Deformed yellowbelly fry.

Case officer appointed The Department of Primary Industry has appointed a case officer, Russel Scholl, to be a working party for this case. Russel replied in writing that, “Departmental officers are finalising reporting on residue analysis of a number of samples which have been submitted. Results to date indicate that there were no pesticides detected that could be implicated in the fish deaths or the abnormalities that have been reported.” “As you would no doubt be aware, under the National Registration Scheme, the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) has the lead role in assessing and registering all agricultural and veterinary chemicals and approval of product labels. The APVMA is responsible for ensuring that the necessary risk assessments are undertaken for agricultural chemicals by way of negotiated contracts with relevant Australian Government agencies.” “At this point in time,” he continues, “I am unable to offer further details on individual aspects of the incident as the department understands that legal action has been instigated between the parties involved in relation to the matter.”

To add to the anecdotal evidence are the comments of professional fishers Errol “Jimmy” Lindsay and wife Julie. They have been fishing Noosa River waters for 40 years and have seen the ups and downs of the seasons over that span. But since the mid 1990s they have noticed their harvests falling away noticeably. Not so much in the lower reaches of the system, which is totally tidal and marine, but the fish that utilize the fresh and brackish reaches of the Kin Kin Creek arm have all but disappeared. Jimmy said “We used to net hundreds of kilos of bass and mullet in season, now we’re lucky to get a dozen bass and the mullet have disappeared altogether.”

If there is any doubt that this is a health issue that warrants the deepest scrutiny, consider Gwen’s latest email to Hatchery International: “Gilson Road is 500 meters long. The first person on the left died of cancer, the next neighbour had a brain tumour, the third neighbour died of bowel cancer, my neighbour the next property and the next one also on the left now has cancer and Bernie (Gwen’s manager) has had his first (cancer) op. and is waiting for the results.” John Mosig is a regular contributor to Hatchery International. He may be reached at Gwen Gilson can be reached at:

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Different take Gwen’s take is somewhat different: “It was not very clever for the EPA to test the water in Lake Cooroibah 14 months after the contamination on my hatchery, 18 km away at least from the source, claiming water completely free of OP. They should be testing where the chemicals drain into the creeks, which feed the Noosa River System. By their own admission, OP breaks down within days! So their test is misleading or at best of no help. I … am appalled that the macadamia industry only mentions two chemicals and say they only spray four times a year… My spray dockets show a very different story.”

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Another observation Native fish pioneer Warrick Reakes has no such reservations. In the mid 1980s, in partnership with a cotton grower based at Burke in Western NSW, he was ready to produce silver perch (Bidyanus biyanus) in commercial volumes. Intending to utilize the huge flood mitigation storage reservoirs filled at high river levels and stored to irrigate the cotton crops, he and his partner ran into stiff opposition from other local cotton growers. Their problem hinged on the threat aquaculture was seen to their agricultural practices, namely the use of pesticides. In short, should a large-scale aquaculture operation become established in the region they might have to curtail their spraying. In this arid region – 354mm (14 inches) annual average rainfall – the drainage water from the cotton fields is re-cycled through the reservoirs. The cotton farmers’ fear was that pesticide residues would show up in the fish, leaving them open to claims for compensation. Some testing identified endosulfan and tripyrifos in wild fish in the cotton run-off area, confirming the inability of agriculturalists to contain the spray to land only. The matter became academic that autumn when a freak 525mm (21”) rainfall wiped out Warwick’s cottonfarming partner. But as Warrick put it, “You can’t catch a yellowbelly (Macquaria ambigua – the predominant species in the harsh environment of outback Australia) within cooee of the cotton growing regions. The funny thing was we never found any major fish kills. They just disappeared.” Anecdotal though this is, it ties in with the pattern of reproductive failure found at Gwen Gilson’s hatchery.

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Scotland’s Landcatch takes swing at Chilean stance on imported eggs ith Infectious Salmon Anaemia (ISA) running rife in Chile, arguments are being put forward by some producers there that the country should shut down imports of eyed eggs as part of a plan to halt the spreading outbreaks. Caught in the middle of this is Landcatch Ltd., the specialist international salmon breeding company, which has a hatchery and marine-farms in the country and which is one of several companies which bring in millions of eyed eggs from overseas. In its case the eggs come from its Scottish hatcheries, for the company’s own uses and for sale to other producers. The Chilean stance on egg imports has led to the company coming out with what it terms “the strongest possible health and quality statement,” not just supporting its own supply of eggs to the disease-stricken farmers, but also suggesting that the overall egg-import program from proven disease-free sources in Europe is likely to be the eventual solution to the crisis, not a contributor to the problem. Speaking shortly after releasing the statement, Landcatch business development director Alan Stewart told Hatchery International that he thinks there’s a very good chance the situation will get worse in Chile before it gets better. This could throw increased emphasis on eyed-egg imports from land-based facilities in Europe which have been shown to be disease-free.


Landcatch’s Barcaldine site north of Oban in Scotland.

“There’s a very high level of infection here,” Stewart told Hatchery International “and we believe there’s a high likelihood there will be a short supply of domestic eggs and a high rate of infection in the hatcheries (using marine broodstock).” Stewart also took the opportunity to note that all Landcatch’s hatcheries are land-based, and in the United Kingdom have been demonstrated to be free of the ISA virus. He said it’s from land-based, disease-free facilities outside Chile that the solution to the country’s ISA epidemic will come. And he continues to fight demands for a Chilean ban on all imports of eyed salmon eggs. Stewart said Landcatch hatcheries produce about 50 million eyed eggs a year in each hemisphere, and he acknowledged that “a significant portion” of the company’s Scottish eggs go to Chile. Landcatch’s main competition for the egg-import market there, said Stewart, is from the Norwegian producers AquaGen and Salmon Breed, and AquaGen particularly produces “very strong competition” for Landcatch. Stewart emphasized though that from his point of view the numbers involved in the imports are irrelevant to the debate. He said the point is that Landcatch has been successfully supplying salmon eggs to customers in

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JANU ARY/ F E BR U ARY 2009 >> 11

NEWS statements have been made which suggest otherwise.â&#x20AC;? â&#x20AC;&#x153;Such statements are totally incorrect,â&#x20AC;? stated Stewart. â&#x20AC;&#x153;As an extra precaution however, Landcatch will screen all its 2008 broodstock for ISA to give our customers full confidence in our health status.â&#x20AC;? â&#x20AC;&#x153;In fact, Scotland is the only country to have successfully controlled ISA, a status which has been achieved through health regulations that have been rigorously applied and adhered to.â&#x20AC;? â&#x20AC;&#x153;I fully recognize that these statements are strong and direct,â&#x20AC;? added Stewart in his statement. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I believe the current situation justifies such clarity and directness, however, and I make no apology for adopting such a stance.â&#x20AC;? â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Quentin Dodd

ISA found in Chilean hatcheries Chileâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Sernapesca fisheries authority is keeping quiet about the extent of the spread, but it has reportedly confirmed the discovery of the Infectious Salmon Anaemia virus in an unidentified number of the salmon industryâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s freshwater hatcheries and facilities, as feared by Landcatchâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Alan Stewart (see separate story). Sernapesca says it is doing its best to respond to the detection of the virus in the hatcheries as quickly as it can. An official of the agency is cited as saying though that it needs to ensure all the necessary preliminary data is collected before it can fully assess the entire risk posed from the virusâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s detection in the facilities.

Aging Canadian hatchery to get much needed facelift life. Officials of Canadaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans have confirmed that the agency is to put money into providing the ageing unit with some updated facilities, to make life easier for both fish and staff alike. According to information from the department, the work is to be spread out over a number of years and will include a brand-new mechanical shop, wet laboratory, resurfacing of the fish-holding troughs; and creation of an isolated

Vietnamese launch sturgeon breeding program According to recent reports from Vietnam, sturgeon farming and breeding for the production of both caviar and sturgeon meat is becoming increasingly popular. Whatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s more, experts say the country has many areas conducive to breeding this high-value fish. Realising the growing demand for both sturgeon meat and eggs, says one report, the Ministry of Agriculture

incubation room for the reception and disinfection of salmon eggs. Also on the list are: improving the overall water quality for the fish; replacing some of the outdoor rearing troughs with more fish-friendly tubs or tanks; and providing covers for more of the holding facilities. The Quinsam Salmon Hatchery, which is located on the Quinsam River, tributary to the famous Campbell, opened in 1974 and has produced prodigious amounts of the areaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s famous chinook salmon â&#x20AC;&#x201C; as well as other species of Pacific salmon and steelhead trout. â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Quentin Dodd and Rural Development began a pilot breeding project in the northern provinces of Hai Duong and Lao Cai in 2005. The next year, some companies began to breed sturgeon in the Central Highland province of Lam Dong. And that was followed last year by the Ho Chi Min City-based Ha Quang Company successfully hatching nearly 200,000 sturgeon eggs imported from Russia. The young fish were then raised in cages at Tuyen Lam Lake. A Russian expert is being quoted as saying heâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s amazed at the rate of growth the fish are managing to achieve in parts of Vietnam, with juvenile fish in the Central Highlands attaining an average weight of 2.7 kgs in just 18 months, compared to four years in Europe.

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Chile for more than 20 years and it has absolutely â&#x20AC;&#x153;no doubt whatsoeverâ&#x20AC;? concerning its proven health and quality track record with its 2008/2009 supplies. â&#x20AC;&#x153;There is obvious uncertainty (in Chile) surrounding the current health status of some supplies of imported eggs to Chile,â&#x20AC;? he said in his nine-point statement. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I wish to make it absolutely clear, therefore, that no such uncertainty exists concerning Landcatch eggs from Scotland.â&#x20AC;? â&#x20AC;&#x153;I also believe that a considerable amount of misinformation is circulating in Chile at present concerning the general health status of salmon stocks in Scotland.â&#x20AC;? Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s to clarify that and to make it â&#x20AC;&#x153;absolutely clear,â&#x20AC;? he said, that Scotland and the whole of the United Kingdom are free of ISA, â&#x20AC;&#x153;irrespective of whatever

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The Compact Hatchery

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Smolt down, ova up in Scottish salmon hatcheries The Scottish Fish Farms Annual Production Survey for 2007, published by the Fisheries Research Service, shows that smolt production in Scotland decreased, while there was an increase in ova laid down to hatch. Smolt production in Scotland during 2007 fell by over 2.7 million to 38.1 million - a decrease of 6.6% compared to 2006. Production was dominated by S1 smolt, with over half (59.5%) being S1, and the remainder being S½ smolts (40.5%). There was no production of S1½ or S2 smolts. Farmers estimate putting 34.9 million smolts to sea in 2008. There has been a decrease in the number of sites producing smolts since 2006. The number of sites producing less than 101,000 smolts has decreased by one, and there has also been a decrease of one in the number of sites producing more than 100,000 smolts. The number of sites producing in excess of one million smolts

per year increased by one, with a decrease in the number of sites producing between 501,000 and one million smolts per year. Just under 84 million ova were stripped in 2007, an increase of almost 23 million (38%) on the 2006 season. The number of ova laid down to hatch was 75.3 million, an increase of over eleven million (17.6%) on the 2006 figure. Projected estimates for 2008 suggest that a similar number of ova were laid down to hatch, and that fewer smolts will be produced in 2008, followed by an increase in 2009. In 2007, a total of 32.3 million ova were exported. Exports of ova to other EU member states decreased by 96% to 0.16 million in 2007, but trade with Chile increased by over 5 million ova or 19%. Overall, exports increased by 3% on the 2006 figure. – Siri Elise Dybdal

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Landcatch ready to expand Scottish smolt output andcatch Ltd. recently announced that it’s ready and equipped to increase production by up to eight million smolts a year in line with the potential expansion of salmon output from Scotland.   “We’re currently producing five million smolts a year, giving us a healthy share of Scotland’s 42 million smolt output,” said Hugh Currie, chairman of the Argyllbased company. “With a relatively modest investment, however, we could produce an extra four million smolts a year from our site at Barcaldine, north of Oban. Equally, if we felt a more serious investment was justified, by the rising demand from Scottish producers, we could easily produce eight million smolts a year through Barcaldine.”   The company’s rationale in releasing these projections at present is to encourage the Scottish industry to think progressively in light of the current slowdown in salmon production elsewhere in the world.   “Scottish salmon output has been pretty static at around 145,000 tonnes a year for quite some time,” said Currie. “All current indications, however, are that the world is heading for a shortage of salmon over the


next few years, a prospect which we believe Scotland is well equipped to help alleviate. As an industry, we have sufficient sea site capacity to support a 25% expansion in total tonnage. That’s surely a potential which must be explored over the next few months.   “Responding to changing market conditions, however, will inevitably involve a commitment from companies at the egg and smolt level and a similarly positive view of growth potential from those operating at the production end of the industry.”   “Our message, therefore, is that we’re ready to explore expansion opportunities and that we have the site, expertise and production licences already in place to deliver healthy, high quality smolts from land-based tanks for the Scottish industry.”   Current production by Landcatch Scotland and Landcatch Chile totals 65 million salmon eggs in Scotland and 45 million eggs in Chile. Landcatch Scotland produces 5 million smolts plus parr while Landcatch Chile produces 3.8 million smolts. Both companies produce smolts which can be made available as S1s (spring smolts) and SOs (autumn smolts).


JANU ARY/ F E BR U ARY 2009 >> 13

By Diogo Thomaz


Fry Intelligence and Bullwhips Dealing with crisis in the Mediterranean seabass & seabream sectors Decisions made at the hatchery level two years ago can have long lasting effects on the viability of a company, or even an entire industry. arine fish hatcheries are the starting point of a long production chain that in the Mediterranean takes 16-22 months before the final product goes to market. This means that whatever happens today in the marketplace will reflect the outcome of decisions made 16-22 months ago, when the fish were stocked in hatchery larval tanks.


Today’s sector crisis

From the decision to stock sea bass or sea bream eggs in larval tanks to the day the final product reaches the supermarkets, 20 to 24 months go by where the larvae are weaned, grown into fry, stocked in tanks or sea-cages, harvested, packed and distributed. Stocking decisions have thus long-term impacts on the sustainability of a company or even of an entire industry.

The year just passed was one of the worst for the aquaculture sector in the Mediterranean, from Portugal to Turkey, with market prices for bass and bream reaching levels that didn’t even cover feed costs. The situation has not improved in spite of some attempts to control it; in fact we have seen further degradation of the market that is now resulting in company closures and a general gloom in the industry. The credit crisis has not helped, especially in an industry with production cycles of 18 to 24 months.

The role of hatcheries in the production cycle

 he fish being sold in late Year 3 and early Year 4, T which are very much the object of the price crisis, were stocked in late Year 1 and during most of Year 2. So, if today’s crisis is due to over-production then its cause was stocking decisions made two years ago and not necessarily recent market strategies of today’s sales departments; today’s behaviours are an effect of wrong decisions taken two years ago, not the cause of today’s crisis.

The considerations above are to an extent oversimplified as for example the poor producer prices of 2008 have forced many farmers (those that could) to delay sales and so cages are quite full nowadays and few companies are stocking. So hatcheries are forced to reduce continued on next page

 lso, we see that fry produced throughout Years A 3 and 4 – years when the crisis is raging – will eventually be sold at reasonable market prices, after the crisis subsides. This is an important observation for the following reason: as noted above, the market proved to be quite supply price inelastic, much lower producer prices having little effect on demand levels; If this elasticity pattern is also valid when supply is limited (something we don’t know for sure) then this means that the market will continue to demand similar quantities of ready-made fish, even if producer prices are much higher than normal (say 6-7€/kg). This means that options today to reduce hatchery production levels (many companies are adopting such decisions) may have big opportunity costs later on,

As mentioned above, hatcheries determine the volumes of fish that will be produced over a long period of time as they are at the start of the production cycle. Therefore, the number of larvae stocked today will determine the costs incurred by the industry for the next 1.5 to 2 years and the volumes of fish going to market in 16-24 months. Figure 2 is a diagram of a crisis in the market and through it we can see the link between fry production and the impact of the crisis. The arrows in the figure represent the producer prices and the blue colour represents the normal values (for bass and bream this would be somewhere between 4€ and 5€/ kg). The crisis in this diagram starts showing as a down pressure on prices by the middle of Year 3, getting more intense as we go towards the end of that year Y1 Y2 Y3 and remaining very low until the middle of Year 4, when they start recovering and return to normal in the second half of Year 4. What I attempt to show with the colours of the production batches in the diagram is which batches (on-growing and fry) are more affected by the crisis and we can make two interesting observations here: Diagram of an industry crisis in the bass and bream industry.


when prices get back to normal and supply is limited due to limited fry production today.


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THE BUSINESS OF HATCHERIES continued from page 13

Photo courtesy of NOAA

Abalone males just not performing in California breeding project â&#x20AC;Śjust not interestedâ&#x20AC;Ś alifornia-based efforts to breed rare abalone for release in the wild are being stalled by a ubiquitous inability to find males able to and/or interested in spawning. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Everything is in place for outplanting to be a reality,â&#x20AC;? says California Sea Grant biologist Hunter Lenihan of UC Santa Barbara, who is currently trying to spawn black abalone in captivity. â&#x20AC;&#x153;But, ah, the agony of abalone,â&#x20AC;? says Tom McCormick of the Channel Islands Marine Resource Institute, who is working on captive breeding of white abalone. Before the problem with male fertility surfaced, McCormick had planned to release about 150,000 white abalone larvae at three sites in the Channel Islands National Park. It would have been the first white abalone restocking effort on the West Coast, one that eventually could lead to releasing not just larvae, but young adult abalone to help replenish decimated populations. â&#x20AC;&#x153;During the past two weeks we tried spawning the white abalone three times,â&#x20AC;? McCormick says. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The females performed well each time, giving us over 10 million eggs. Only once did we get a little bit of sperm; it yielded very low fertilization rates.â&#x20AC;? Not just captive but also wild black and white abalone have â&#x20AC;&#x153;issues.â&#x20AC;?


â&#x20AC;&#x153;Our surveys up and down the coast indicate very few male black abalone have ripe gonads,â&#x20AC;? Lenihan says. Black abalone is an intertidal species that NOAA Fisheries has recommended be listed as in danger of extinction. White abalone, a deep-water species, is already on the endangered species list. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The wild white abalone that are left are so few and far between that they are functionally sterile,â&#x20AC;? says shellfish pathologist Jim Moore of UC Davis and a co-investigator on the California Sea Grant project. â&#x20AC;&#x153;They canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t contribute to future generations.â&#x20AC;? Like any good fertility clinic, the scientists plan to change the malesâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; diet. It is also possible that disease, or even disease-resistance, has reduced their fertility. However, McCormick suspects that feminizing endocrine disrupting compounds may be to blame. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Endocrine disrupters, such as the bisphenol A in your plastic water bottle, are being released into the aquatic environment in large quantities, and we really have little idea how they affect the reproductive cycle of many invertebrates,â&#x20AC;? he says. Gabriela Navas, an undergraduate at UC Santa Barbara, is now studying the topic. ~ Courtesy California Sea Grant News

production levels this year. Indications are that Mediterranean production of fry in 2008 did not differ much from 2007, perhaps 10% lower, but expectations are that in 2009 production will go down significantly. This may result in significant opportunity costs in a couple of years when the demand is there but product is not available. Of course, many companies today are worried mostly about being in operation in two to three years, something that todayâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s credit crisis and consequent cash-flow limitations determines that they must cut costs and so, cut production. Also, the global crisis may lead to loss of consumer power that will reduce fish consumption, although aquaculture fish is one of the cheapest foodstuffs available in the market todayâ&#x20AC;Ś

Business intelligence What we have in the Mediterranean aquaculture sector these days is a typical example of the bullwhip effect, something that can be easily demonstrated when you play the Beer game (learn about it here: Distribution_Game and play here: http:// The beer game simulates a supply chain and shows how delays in information transmission regarding supply and demand at the various levels of a supply chain can lead to enourmous discrepancies in demand and supply at all levels with resulting swings between excessive offer (what happens now in the bass and bream market) and excessive demand relative to the available offer (opportunity costs that will happen in two to three years with hatcheries cutting production in the next year). The beer game shows this happening even in supply chains with delays of just a couple of monthâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s between production and final consumption. Imagine what can happen if these delays are much longer! Basically there is only one solution to this game: information intelligence.

In fact, the scenario above places great responsibility on hatchery managers, as effectively they control the whole market! It also shows how important it is that there is some form of understanding of what will be the consequences, in two years, of the fry production decisions made today.

Need for Fry Councils This means that hatchery managers require a significant amount of business intelligence, data from other producers on species being stocked, quantities, amounts of fish in the cages at different stages of development, etc., in order to make the best fry production decisions. I would go to the point of suggesting that there should be regular fry production meetings (â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;the Fry Councilsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;?) within the industry that would serve as an internal industry regulator. This way, we could prevent variations in production of ready fish that will lead either to price crisis, as we are going though now, or to losses of opportunity as I forecast we will go through in two to three years. As these decisions should be coordinated throughout the Mediterranean these councils should be all-inclusive and should be seriously taken by all in the industry. Perhaps organizations such as the Federation of European Aquaculture Producers should promote these Fry Councils. Similar solutions have been adopted by the salmon producers in Norway with proven results. Diogo Thomaz, PhD, MBA, is a Technical and Business Consultant for the Aquaculture Industry, based in Athens, Greece. After six years as R&D project manager at Selonda Aquaculture SA he now heads RealSales Ltd, a sales and consultancy company that helps businesses expand their opportunities in export markets. He can be contacted at: Diogo Thomaz, Tmolou 35, Athens, 16233, Greece, Email:, www., Phone: +302107652021, Fax: +302107650951, Mobile: +306937214668.

hatchery SNAPSHOT





Last fall students from a local high school helped out at the Sheldon Jackson fisheries enhancement hatchery in Sitka, Alaska. Along with the annual egg sort of pink and chum eggs, the students also helped with sampling â&#x20AC;&#x201C; all part of the program that keeps this modest re-stocking facility ticking along under the capable direction of hatchery manager Daniel Goodness.


JANU ARY/ F E BR U ARY 2009 >> 15


Classical music soothes fish at feeding time




Greek researcher extols benefits of Mozart in hatchery setting any humans like reduced lighting and a little light classical music while they’re enjoying supper with friends and family. This has also shown to be the case for other vertebrates such as cattle, cows, pigs and poultry. Now it seems that fish react much the same way too – and it evidently assists the digestion as well. According to a professor of applied hydrobiology in Europe various kinds of fish show clear signs of benefiting from some soothing music at feeding time. The benefits include reduced stress, improved growth and better utilization of the food given them.


Mozart and the other a well-known piece by an anonymous composer – on juvenile carp, he feels confident in suggesting that hatchery operators should be playing a little light classical music to their captive fishy audiences. “I feel confident,” he told Hatchery International, “that it will have good effect with their hatching and their brain as it’s developing.” He confirmed though that the fish again held true to pattern: the music calmed them, they ate better and grew faster with the aid of the underwater music – in a light setting set specifically for their species and stage of development.

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Sofronios Papoutsoglou and some of the rainbow trout juveniles used in the Greek music experiments.

Dr. Sofronios Papoutsoglou, a member of the Faculty of Animal Sciences at the Agricultural University of Athens, Greece, told Hatchery International that his studies lead him to believe that very young fish particularly benefit from some light classical music, and he has concentrated on juveniles in recirculation systems for his most recent trials. He suggested that perhaps hatchery operators should play some light and soothing music not only to their hatchlings and juveniles, but also to their broodstock at spawning time. Papoutsoglou and his colleagues first wrote a paper on the subject following a study to evaluate the effects of music on common carp (Cyprinus carpio) growth and physiology in 2006. That was with large fish of about 500 grams but since then he has worked only with young fish, including carp and trout that had only just hatched and weighed less than a gram. Some months ago the group published another study on the effect of musical stimuli on gilthead bream (Sparus aurata)– again under different light intensities and also in recirculating water – and the results were again consistent: growth and digestion improved and stress levels associated with feeding were reduced. Papoutsoglou said that now, with another paper about to be published on the positive results of a couple of pieces of classic music – one by Wolfgang Amadeus

They also happened, says Papoutsoglou, to prefer the anonymous composer’s music to Mozart’s violin-based RomanzeAndante from K525, known as Eine Kleine Nacht Musik. In particular, said Papoutsoglou, he and his colleagues found that the music had “a very, very strong anti-stress effect on the fish’s physiology,” assessed by looking at their blood and other parameters. That was discovered in dairy cattle years ago, noted Papoutsoglou, adding that farmers who milked their cows to soothing music in the barns found they gave milk more easily and in larger quantities. In the research group’s study on seabream, Papoutsoglou and his colleagues notes that care was taken to ensure the background noise of equipment such as pumps and aerators in all tanks was set at 121 decibels, compared to the music, which was transmitted at 140 dB. Papoutsoglou also confirmed the fish didn’t have to listen to Mozart every day. They were played his work from Monday to Friday throughout the trial period, but had the weekends off. “Mozart’s music was chosen because it is characterised by pure and single sounds, rhythms and melodies of relatively high frequencies and exerts a calming and almost clear anti-stress effect on humans,” he and his co-authors explain in the Journal of Fish Biology. – Quentin Dodd

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New advanced rearing facility houses seventy-five 15 cu.m. FRP raceways, each with individual feeding regime using computerized feed system.

Revamped Canadian hatchery replaces oil with geothermal heating system Photos by Jennifer Bowes and Scott Watson

t’s been a huge, drawn-out process which has cost some $17 million, but the Dorion Fish Culture Station run by the Ontario provincial government in Canada has recently been restored as the centrepiece of the government’s efforts to sustain native fish species in the Great Lakes and northwestern Ontario. The three-year expansion project doubles Dorion’s production capacity and utilizes an innovative energy-efficient geothermal heating system which draws heat from the hatchery’s spring water supply as the heat source. The hatchery also utilizes an upgraded heat-recovery ventilation system as well as innovative air dehumidification systems to provide a vastly improved and healthier work environment for the employees and better conditions for the fish. The system is also designed to prevent the buildings and equipment from developing serious condensation problems which have been experienced at Dorion and other provincial fish hatcheries. Scott Watson, the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources’ fish-culture policy and program coordinator, who oversaw the massive upgrade on behalf of the agency, said that the sophisticated new geothermal heating system is one of the main innovative features of the revamped facility. It uses a series of heat-exchangers, pumps and other pieces of equipment to draw heat from spring water and maintain it at a nice even temperature. Watson explained that the system has spring water from the hatchery’s head pond fed into it and the inherent heat from that is concentrated through a series of heat exchangers which also pass the heat to a glycol solution. The glycol solution is then


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in turn pumped to the various rooms in the facility to heat them. “Basically it’s similar to having a boiler that heats a solution for pumping through your facility,” said Watson, “except that in this instance, instead of oil-fired heat being picked up and passed along the heat is picked up by a liquid solution using heatpump technology.” Watson said that one possible perceived drawback to the system is that the lower the temperature of the water coming into the facility, the more that has to be pumped through the system to draw off what heat is in it before it is pumped back to the headpond. That part of Ontario can experience very cold and icy weather – with sizable dumps of snow – at times in winter. “We do pump a lot of water,” he acknowledged. “As the water temperature is so low, you have to pump a lot more to extract the BTUs from it.” “In the winter, approximately 1,600 litres of spring water per minute are pumped for heating use. This amount of water represents about 10% of the operating flow requirement for the hatchery, and must be returned to the head-pond after passing through the primary heat exchanger, so as not to impact the water supply requirements of the fish culture operation.” “In the warmer, more humid time of year, spring water is also used in the building ventilation system to dehumidify incoming air by providing natural coolant to cooling coils in the air-handling unit.” Watson said that fortunately the water doesn’t have to travel over a long distance from or to the pond, which is a mere 10 metres or so from the newly-upgraded early-rearing building containing the new heating system.


JANU ARY/ F E BR U ARY 2009 >> 17

feature The new system significantly reduces the amount of fossil fuel the hatchery used to have to burn to heat the facility. Now the only remaining requirements for fossil fuel at the Dorion facility are the emergency back-up generator and the vehicles. Watson said the conceptual design was an internal process within the ministry, aided by H.K. Yoshida and Associates of Mississauga, Ontario, and E. R. Broughton Associates of Niagara-on-the-Lake. The detailed engineering design and construction administration services were provided by SNC Lavalin Inc. of Winnipeg, Manitoba. The general contractor for the reconstruction project was Tom Jones Corporation Ltd. of Thunder Bay, Ontario. In addition to the additional enclosed building for protecting fish and staff from the elements, the operation also has a specialized isolation facility to reduce health risks to the fish from wild spawn collection, and a waste treatment program for the water discharged from the hatchery. – Quentin Dodd

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PISCIMAR Spanish hatchery ready to expand production of bass, bream and meagre when market returns By colin ley

deally located within 100 kilometres of 80% of their customer base, Spain’s Piscicultura Marina Mediterranea SL. (better known as Piscimar) is a bream, bass and meagre hatchery with wide-ranging production flexibility and considerable expansion potential. Bream output in 2008 totaled close to 13m fry plus a small, but definitely worthwhile, quantity of meagre. In addition, the company is set to produce three million to four million bass for next season. Total output could easily be more, however, as the three species are being produced from slightly less than one third of the company’s 43,000 sq metre land-based site close to Burriana, a small town located about 65 km north of Valencia in the Castellón province. “We’re currently using about 13,000 sq metres of our available site, so we have ample space to expand, subject to market requirements,” said Fernando Giménez Ricarte, Piscimar’s general director. Currently, of course, the Spanish market is somewhat over-supplied with bream and bass while the market for meagre is still in its infancy in the country. “We could produce a lot more bream and bass if required, but that’s clearly not what is needed at present,” said Fernando. “Over-production in other parts of the Mediterranean region, coupled with the economic pressures which are affecting just about everywhere at present, means this is a time to be patient as producers.” “The situation with meagre in Spain is a little different, in that consumers aren’t yet that familiar with it as a species. While it’s hopefully a fish which will develop fairly soon into a popular item here, the bulk of the meagre grown in Spain at present is exported to Portugal, France and Germany.”


Visual grading to remove non-viable fish from the next production stage. This batch has been given a mild anesthetic.

Great location Founded in 1999 with major shareholder backing from Gesfesa Valencia SL, a property development company, Piscimar is the only Spanish hatchery on the Mediterranean coast. It’s a great location for the company, given that such a high percentage of the farm’s annual output ends up being on-grown in sea cages within 100 km of Burriana. After being established and equipped for the hatchery business, Piscimar produced its first fish at the beginning of 2003. Since then, the company has developed into a strong producer of bream; is set to return to bass production next season after three years out of the species, and has added meagre to its breeding portfolio. “Bream and bass production fits together quite well during the pre-growing stages, effectively commanding our attention from September to April of each production cycle,” said Fernando. “It’s perfectly possible to handle both species within the farm at the same time, although to date we haven’t chosen to do that.” “Meagre also fits well into our system in that the species spawns later, running from the end of April through to the end of August.” “In a difficult market, such as we have at present, it’s obviously a benefit to be able to draw income from as many species as possible.” Ultimately, of course, on-growers are looking for product quality from their hatchery suppliers, a consideration which always over-rides other market requirements.

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Profile “We’ve been sourcing DHA-enriched algae from Japan for the past year, in fact, and the performance has been really good.” Dry feeds are primarily sourced from Skretting’s production plant at Burgos in northern Spain, another technical link which has worked well for the company in recent years. “We have a good relationship with Skretting,” said Fernando. “They understand our requirements and provide us with essential feeding consistency, delivering good levels of protein and vitamins, vital ingredients for the way in which we wish to run our business.”

standard regime Fernando Giménez Ricarte, Piscimar’s general director, checks progress in an early growth tank.

Computer-based technology is used to monitor water temperatures and flow rates.

Proof of quality While accepting that everyone in the business claims to produce quality stock, Fernando, and Piscimar’s technical manager Piero Benedetti, believe they have some genuine distinctives which underpin the work being done at Piscimar to establish and maintain their own high level breeding credentials. “One of the points which we’re particularly careful to maintain is our water quality,” said Piero. “Our original intake is drawn from three boreholes at a constant water temperature of 19°C. Once in our system the water in passed through a series of biological and mechanical filters and then committed to a totally enclosed recycling process.” “We actually maintain five separate closed water systems within the farm, one for each part of our production process. This minimizes any possible risk of contamination being transferred from one system to the next.” “Another water-based benefit of the recirculation technology is that it’s possible to warm our recycled water to a constant 24/25°C by using a heat-exchange process. As a result, we only have to actually spend money heating water for a relatively brief part of our production period.” “Being able to operate a cost-effective hatchery system at 24/25°C is a real

bonus for us in that it allows us to achieve optimum growth rates throughout our production process.” The farm’s water recycling and control processes are also good for the local environment. “We only take in about 5-10% new water each day to replace natural wastage from the system,” said Piero. “Even then, the water we return to the sea is always cleaner than what we took out in the first place. Although our objective is to achieve the most hygienic and productive water conditions possible for our stock, the fact that our process is so clean is inevitably good for us in terms of our relationship with local authorities.” The farm’s water outflow is still checked once a month, however, just to ensure that standards are maintained.  

Live feed from Japan & USA Another key technical focus for the farm is the quality and consistency of the feed which it uses, both live feed and dry crumbed rations. “We operate our own live feed production unit, fueling it with algae from Japan and Artemia from the USA,” said Piero. “In each case this gives us a highly reliable quality of supply at a cost-effective base.”

Live feed production at Piscimar. Key ingredients come from Japan and the USA.

“We’re definitely pleased with what we’ve achieved at Burriana and confident that we’re running a high level production unit. We’re also ready for further expansion, as and when the market is ready to start growing again, of course. Hopefully, that won’t be too far into the future.”

The standard regime for bream at Piscimar involves approximately 30 days of development within the larval unit, based on live feeding; 20 days in the weaning unit, where feeding is moved gradually from live to dry; a nursery stage which takes the species to between 1 and 1.5 grams, followed by a pregrowing stage where stock are taken to a saleable 10-12 grams. “While the hatchery and weaning stages follow reasonably standard time periods, we are able to ‘play’ around a little with growth rates during the nursery stage,” said Fernando. “It’s clearly important to have stock ready to go to sea when on-growers want them, not before. The more successful we are at hitting the right marketing points in the season the more successful we are as a company.” Within this process, grading is a pretty relentless operation. “We grade stock every three to four weeks,” said Fernando. “This both minimizes the risk of cannibalism within the stock and ensures that our customers get fish which are ready to start performing to their full potential from day one of entering their new sea cage environment. That, in reality, is what One of Piscimar’s five water recycling systems. This one supplies the first stage of the production process. our business is all about.”

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SMOLT TRANSPORT Continued from page 1 Pre-Transport Under the category of Pre-Transport there are a multitude of factors to consider: These include the formulation of plans, communication with the sea sites, contingency plans and the like. Making sure that all necessary equipment is available and well serviced is a critical element at this stage. The smolts should be checked for latent infections, and the mortality records for the previous month, along with historical treatments, vaccinations, smolt readiness and handling logs should all be checked as well. Once all the pre-transport logistics have been taken care off then the smolts enter the transport stage itself. As can be seen from the accompanying flow diagram this can be variable in terms of the form of transport as well as the number of stages. In the most simplified stage the smolts would be placed directly into helicopter buckets, tanks aboard a boat/truck or directly into a well boat. From there, the most simplified process would be discharge directly into the sea cages. However, owing to geography and the placement of the hatchery this may only be the first stage in the transport process where after the fish are discharged into a well boat for a further journey to the sea site. It is vastly preferable to have a hatchery situated by the sea so that smolts can be discharged directly into the wellboat for this reason.

Transport equipment The equipment available for smolt transport has historically been very varied, but with the advent of dedicated service providers for fish transport the equipment has become relatively standardized. Tanks

for road transport are generally 3 m3 in volume, made of fiberglass and are fitted with mucon valves for fish discharge. They are normally fitted with false or sloping bottoms and are made in such a way as to channel the last fish out of the exit valve with minimum fuss. Helicopter buckets are probably the most standardized piece of equipment as they are designed and owned by the helicopter companies themselves. The buckets used can carry the equivalent of a full 3 m3 transport in a small volume at high density, but for a very short duration. Each bucket carries itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s own oxygen supply and automatically discharges the fish into the water by means of a spring loaded float lever. More than any other form of transport, it is critical that there are contingency plans available in the event that the helicopter is unable to fly owing to weather or poor light. The most common method of final delivery to the sea site is now the well boat. Well boats have evolved considerably over the past 15 years. Current well boats now have well capacities of 500 - 1000 m3, are fitted with moveable bulkheads so as to pump out the fish without reducing the water level and are fitted with sophisticated monitoring equipment to monitor fish behavior, O2, CO2, etc., They commonly also have water conditioning equipment such as ozonation systems, protein skimmers and CO2 de-gassers.

Helicopter discharging parr into freshwater cages.

Discharging smolts from truck tanks into a wellboat.

Manual loading transport truck.

Life support systems The most critical element of all these transport systems is the life support system. At its most basic this involves water and oxygen. If fish are transported in freshwater then this water should be from the same Loading fry into small raft mounted transport tank.

A helicopter carrying a full load of smolts.

Helicopter flying parr into freshwater loch from transport truck.

Loading and counting smolts onto a transport truck.


JANU ARY/ F E BR U ARY 2009 >> 21

COVER FEATURE Flow process options for smolt transport Pre Transport Preparation - Health Checks - Plans & Communication - Contingency - Equipment - Smolt readiness - Starvation

Loading of smolts - Transport tanks - Helicopter bucket - Well boat

Transfer to - Well boat - Transport tanks

Transfer to - Well boat

Discharge to sea-water cages

Discharge to sea-water cages

Discharge to sea-water cages

Loading smolts into a wellboat from a truck.

Discharge to sea-water cages

Salmon cages in northern Spain receive smolts from transport tanks aboard a ferry.

source as the water the fish were of waste products like ammonia. supplied with in the hatchery. It Ammonia production should should be clean and preferably normally not be a problem if the between 4 -12 deg C. Lower than fish have been starved for long this and the fish tend to lie on the enough prior to transfer. bottom whilst higher temperatures Starvation time depends largely lead to over use of oxygen and upon fish size, temperature and the corresponding increases in metabolic means of transport but a standard products such as CO2 and ammonia. within the industry is between 48 If being discharged directly into and 72 hours. Starving the fish sea-water within a well boat then too long can also cause problems the fish should be passed over a however, and can lead to the fish Sorting smolts at loading. de-waterer so as not to introduce mobilizing its own protein stores freshwater into the well. This can and leading to an increase in lead to dangerous mixing zones and ammonia production. unstable water chemistry in the well Ammonia can be a more and should be avoided at all costs, serious problem in closed well especially if the freshwater has a high transports by well boat as the aluminum or heavy metal content. pH of sea-water means there is Oxygen supply should be an increased fraction of the toxic sufficient for the anticipated journey form of ammonia present. Loading time and there should be at least densities are also dependent on fish half again carried as an emergency size, temperature and transport back up. With short transport times time. Industry standards are 300such as those involved in helicopter A large modern equipped well boat operating in Scotland. 400 Kg/m3 for short 20 minute transports the build up of CO2 helicopter transports, 50-100 Kg/ and ammonia is not an issue. With m3 for transport by road when the longer truck transports and also closed well transports in duration is under 10 hours and the temperature is less than well boats these issues become more important. 8 degrees C and between 25-50 Kg/m3 for transport by Aeration should be provided in addition to oxygenation well boat. There is a lack of scientific research in the field in road transport tanks. Aeration serves a two-fold of fish transportation and many of the practices have been purpose, the first of which is to help blow off excess CO2 arrived at through experience. produced by the fish and the second to maintain well mixed water to ensure that there is no localized build up continued on next page

As can be seen in the diagram to the left, there may be multiple handling, transport methods and discharges in one single smolt transport. The simplest is when the fish are loaded onto one transport container and from there discharged direct to sea. The most complicated would be for example where fish were transported from the hatchery to transport trucks by helicopter bucket perhaps due to road loading restrictions into the hatchery, and from there transported to a harbour and discharged to a wellboat and then from the wellboat into the cages.

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COVER FEATURE Stress avoidance One of the most important success factors for ensuring successful transfer and survival at sea, after ensuring that the fish are fully smolted of course, is stress avoidance. The fish is under severe physiological stress during smoltification and in fact the cortisol levels measured in salmon undergoing the smoltification process are some of the highest measured in the animal kingdom. If the fish are stressed prior to or during the transport then the seawater transfer can be severely compromised. The fish responds to stress by producing adrenaline and

cortisol. Adrenaline disturbs the ion transport mechanisms at the gill membrane and both it and cortisol can cause temporary changes in gill permeability. An action such as lowering the tank level, dip-netting the fish or any other type of handling can lead to a disturbance in electrolytes for as much as 24 hours after the event. If the fish is not given time to recover before encountering a second stressful event then this affect is cumulative. The direct effect of this stress response is a reduced ability to fight pathogens, suppression of the inflammatory response and impairment of the immune response. If one accepts that the smolt is “naturally” stressed at this

time and then considers the processes involved in moving the fish into it’s new home in a sea site then it is easy to understand why smolt transports can often go wrong.

Good husbandry Some of the things that we can do to reduce stress in fish at this time are really basic husbandry practices. The first and foremost is that we should only transport fish which are healthy and which are physically robust. There should be no scale loss, damaged gills or fins and the fish should be fully smolted. There should be no active or latent disease condition or parasite burden. Any treatments or vaccinations should have taken place with enough time for the fish to recover. The use of chemicals immediately prior to sea-water exposure can be extremely hazardous. MS-222 for example if used prior to sea-water exposure can cause extremely high mortality. For this reason any treatments should ideally be carried out at least a week prior to transport. There should not be any handling at all prior to the day of loading and once the fish are put on starve then they should be left well alone until the day of loading. Water chemistry is also critical in the week prior to transport and spates of aluminum rich waters can have an extremely disastrous affect on the outcome. If the hatchery has a history of heavy metals then it would be wise to ensure that all incoming water is polished by using something like silica. Feeding and nutrition is important and it is a good idea to have the fish on an immune system boosting diet for at least a month prior to transport.

Cumulative stress An example of how stress is cumulative and its affect on subsequent performance and survival of delivered smolt was proven in Norway where they used an older well boat without moveable bulkheads for a bus-stop delivery to five different farms. Each delivery meant that the well was lowered to remove the fish and the subsequent mortalities from each successive delivery were; 2.4%; 2.6%; 6.3%; 8.1%; 13.3% and 19.3% respectively. The same affect has also been observed owing to weather where the mortality was much higher in deliveries which had experienced significant wave heights. It has been proven through cortisol measurements that the most stressful part of smolt transport is during loading. The actual transport itself is relatively stress-free and the discharge only moderately so. If fish can be loaded in a stress-free manner then a successful outcome is almost ensured. A low stress loading is very dependent on the speed of loading. It has been proven that it is the last fish loaded which have the highest levels of cortisol and for this reason it is extremely important that the primary loading is as fast and smooth as possible. In the case of short well boat journey times it is important to wait for at least four hours before discharging in order to allow the fish to recover. In order to reduce the stress caused by transport it is critical that the primary loading is performed as quickly and smoothly as possible and that the journey segments are reduced as far as is practically possible. Discharge should be a discrete event and stressors such as bad weather should be avoided by taking planned reactive measures such as sheltering or changing routes. Fish should be transported in stable and optimum water conditions at all times. Direct observation of the fish through inspection hatches or video cameras (don’t open hatches on transport tanks as this stresses the fish) is more important than any modern technology available, as is a thorough understanding of fish behavior and water chemistry. In the end, if the fish are loaded and transported by personnel who have a lack of understanding in these crucial factors then a whole years work can easily be destroyed in as little as a few hours. For this reason, the last crucial point in smolt transport is that the fish are accompanied by someone who has spent the previous six to twelve months caring for them.


JANU ARY/ F E BR U ARY 2009 >> 23


The challenges of spawning Really Big Fish How a seemingly little issue can cause tuna-size problems

Dr. Christopher Bridges prepares for action at sea pen in the Med.

t’s the little things that can slow a would-be fish breeder’s progress almost as much as the larger hurdles, according to one of the lead researchers in an European project to spawn and eventually culture northern bluefin tuna (NBT) in the Mediterranean. Dr. Chris Bridges has been heavily involved in coordinating the efforts of several companies and research facilities scattered around Europe that have been working on the project. And he told Hatchery International in interview recently that one of more unexpected hurdles the researchers have had to cross is trying to identify precisely which fish have been used during the spawning and egg-production process, and having access to the right ones at exactly the right time. Bridges said that of course the researchers foresaw that and have tagged the individual fish for identification purposes, But there’s a problem with that: the fish clearly don’t like the researchers approaching them too closely and they swim away very quickly if a diver gets too close. “These are pretty good-sized fish, they’re about 150 kgs each and they’re not like goldfish – and they can break your arm or leg if they hit you with their tail when they swim away,” said Bridges. “These fish can swim at 90 km/h.” Bridges, who has done a good deal of swimming with the big fish said that a diver might be able to come within about a meter of the fish but only briefly – and that’s not enough to overcome one of the small snags the researchers have come across: they need to be able to clean off the coloured identification tags in order to read them and identify the fish properly. Bridges said that once the tags are installed, they eventually become covered and unreadable from the algae and waste material in the water. With the fish so skittish, there’s no way to clean them. So the only alternative is to find a tag that rejects biofouling. Work is underway to do that, trialing material extracted from marine sponges, which has been developed for use on the bottom of ships. “It’s a collaboration between a farm in Germany and some of the bio-pharmaceutical people at the HeinrichHeine University (in Dusseldorf ), so we’re going to have three different tags in Spain and Malta and Italy, on different plates in with the tuna.” And Bridges added that this is just one of the numerous outstanding problems the researchers are trying to overcome to bring together a successful tuna-breeding program for the aquaculture industry. – Quentin Dodd


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t’s been a long time coming, but the snook research scientists and enhancement team at Florida’s Mote Marine Laboratory scored an important breakthrough in spawning the popular marine game fish some months ago, and studies continue into how best to help rebuild depleted stocks in the state’s Sarasota Bay. According to a senior researcher involved in the program one thing being considered is the eventual development of alternate freshwater fisheries for the hardfighting warm-water fish. But Kevan Main, who is looking into best methods and requirements for spawning snook in captivity, said for now one of the ways that Mote keeps an eye on how successful its plant-out efforts have been is through the annual Snook Shindig.


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The Shindig is a two-day catchmeasure-tag-and-release fishing competition designed to monitor overall snook stocks in the bay and especially the ones released into the bay from Mote’s hatchery facilities. Main said that while this year’s Shindig was the 10th annual event, the research lab has only been putting out survivors from its breeding programs for the past three years or so. According to figures from Mote, the facility has put out about 52,000 juveniles in that time, aimed at seeing how they survive and whether the hatchery fish could add to the already-depleted population.

Big advantage One of the big advantages of the ongoing recreational fishery on the species is that it has enabled researchers to know where the fish are in the bay and at what time of year. She said snook in the wild tend to stay comparatively close to shore, spawning and breeding in shallow water and then often visiting lower reaches of the rivers and the brackish water in tidal estuaries. For the invitation-only fishing contest participating anglers are issued special activity permits to catch pretty much any size fish and hold them temporarily in live tanks as part of the October research project in the bay. Points are awarded according to length and other considerations, such as whether the fish have tags to show they were hatchery-bred – and points are deducted for any dead fish. Some 70 anglers took part in this year’s contest and caught 198 fish – right around the 200 average – but none of catch turned out to be hatchery raised. Usually between one and 5% are hatchery fish, according to the laboratory, and scientists from the facility have said that the size and age of the fish caught in the past indicate that the hatchery fish are surviving to spawning age and have the potential to help replenish wild stocks.

Cracking the code Last year, Mote scientists claimed they had “cracked the code” on spawning snook in captivity by – for the first time – using ambient-atmosphere manipulation to


JANU ARY/ F E BR U ARY 2009 >> 25


Juvenile snook.

Adult snook.

induce their broodstock to reproduce in the tanks two months earlier than their usual spawning season of May-August in the wild. Main said the offspring were raised to fingerlings and then put into Sarasota Bay later in the year, but senior scientist Dr. Nate Brennan and his colleagues have started testing a different and fairly novel method of developing the fish to fingerling size for release. They’re keeping the juvenile saltwater fish in freshwater ponds at Mote for several months to give the little carnivores a better chance of survival in the wild.

The fish do well in the ponds, he said, but they are not expected to breed there, since although they do enter freshwater frequently, they are a marine species and tend to use estuaries for breeding. The species is native to Atlantic coastal waters from southern Florida and Texas down to Rio de Janeiro in Brazil and one of the largest types grows to a maximum 140 cms (4ft7inches). Highly carnivorous – and also cannibalistic – the snook’s diet is dominated by smaller fish and crustaceans such as shrimp and sometimes crab.

Lucky anglers donate trophy bass to Texas broodstock program t the Freshwater Fisheries Center in Athens, Texas the hatchery has come up with some fairly novel ways for anglers to make a solid contribution to the recreational fishery. Among other things, it encourages anybody catching a largemouth bass “lunker” of 13 pounds (5.9kg) 5 or more to bring it to the facility and turn it over for use in the fingerling-production program. The hatchery, which hatches and produces well over three million largemouth bass fingerlings a year has its own holding aquarium called the Lunker Bunker, where the donated fish are kept until they’re used to add their generous growth genetics to the breeding program. The big females are then properly tagged and returned to their captors for


ONLINE AQUACULTURE DATA MANAGEMENT putting back into the wild. And perhaps not surprisingly, the hatchery also has its own Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame, where there are replica mounts of some of the biggest and best record-holder fish caught in the state. All donors apparently receive a replica of their donated fish. After all, you have to have something to hang over the fireplace and honour your contribution to the hatchery – and the fishery.

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Huon ramping up smolt production from new recirc hatchery in Tasmania ustralian salmon producer Huon Aquaculture has been ramping up production lately following development of a large new recirculation hatchery situated on the edge of Tasmania’s South West Wilderness. Dave Cahill, in charge of Huon’s freshwater operations, said that the $7-million (AUD) facility is expected to add significant strength to the company’s position as a major salmon producer in Tasmania.


State-of-the-art According to Cahill, the state-of-the-art facility was designed to produce some 1.5 million 100-gram fingerlings a year, but Huon now believes it could well outproduce that by some 20% when running at full capacity. That’s an additional 300,000 or so fish, said Cahill, adding that the facility is already running at an annual production level of around 1.3 million juveniles. He noted that besides producing its own salmon eggs and juveniles, Huon also has arrangements with various other hatcheries to obtain eyed salmon eggs for grow-out. Cahill noted that the salmon-farming sector in Tasmania has a serious issue with grilsing in April and May each year, because of the home-grown stock it’s restricted to using. Imports of eggs or broodstock are totally banned, said Cahill, and the stock being used tend to mature early.

The state-of-the-art facility was designed to produce 1.5 million 100-gram fingerlings a year, but Huon now believes it could outproduce that by some 20% when running at full capacity.

Water temp… In the incubation section of the operation, he said, the temperature is regulated to vary between 2 and 1˚ C, while it is 15-17˚ in the rest of the facility. This flexibility allows the company to broaden its spawning season and ultimately provide its customers with the fish they want at the time they want them – on a year-round basis. Cahill said that the new hatchery is carefully designed for grading the developing juvenile salmon through a series of stages while also minimizing the amount of handling the young fish receive. As soon as they’re ready for feeding, he said, the tiny fry go from the incubation section into 20 three-metre tanks for two to three months. They then go into 10 sixmetre tanks for a couple more months, prior to going into the 12 big nine-metre smolt-development tanks set outside the new building. Hatchery schematic showing layout of tanks. Huon installed a no-handling grading and transfer system which connects the tanks. over


JANU ARY/ F E BR U ARY 2009 >> 27




Grading efficiency Cahill explained that Huon installed a nohandling grading and transfer system which connects the sets of different-sized tanks. The system is fitted with an Apollo grading machine from Denmark, and the pipes are attached to an Aqua-Life Products pump from the United States. The pump is powerful enough to push all the different sizes of fish through a six-inch pipeline between the tanks. The system is designed so the fish can be directed to bypass or to go through the grader as desired, to send undersized ones back to their original tank, and pass the larger ones through to their new tank.

Milk truck tankers The system also enables staff to pump the outgoing smolts directly through, without handling, into a fleet of three converted milk tanker-trucks run by a local contractor, for their journey to the ocean sites. Cahill said that the largest outside tanks have individual covers and lighting which allows the company to manipulate the smolting process. The smallest three-metre tanks inside are polyethylene, while the bigger ones are concrete, fitted with a liner to ensure a smooth, non-

abrasive surface for the fish. Each of the hatcheryâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s water-recirculation systems has its own filtration system to remove waste and solids from the water. Discharge

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US fish strain registry documents key characteristics of wild and domestic populations Trout, catfish, sturgeon, paddlefish By chesTer r. fiGiel, Jr.

he National Fish Strain Registry (NFSR) is an internet-based program that assembles information on the life history, genetics, reproduction, and behavior of wild populations and domestic strains. It was originally developed in the 1970s as a trout-management tool, with the idea that managers require essential information on strain history, post-stocking performance, habitat requirements, and genetic profiles to effectively manage fish populations for both sustained public use and genetic conservation. In the past, fish from readily available populations were shipped throughout the country and stocked indiscriminately into many fisheries. Today the long-term detrimental impacts of this practice on natural resident fish populations are well documented. As managers became aware of the genetic consequences of mixing adapted- and non-adapted populations, the need for detailed information for all managed fish populations increased dramatically. Comparative information on performance, behavioral- and genetic traits of candidate populations was not often available to the fisheries management personnel who made the decision on which population was used in a production or management program. In addition, rapid growth of commercial aquaculture since the mid-1970s reinforced the need for detailed performance information to support decisions on which


strain would be most successful in a specific production situation. A centralized database was needed to make strain characterization and performance information readily available. In 1994, the US Geological Survey and the US Fish and Wildlife Service undertook a joint project to catalog the strain characteristics and performance information of managed fish populations, both cultured and wild, into a single database. Harold Kincaid and others developed the resulting database, named the National Fish Strain Registry to provide standardized data for each reported population of a species. Types of information in the NFSR include: broodstock history, life history, behavior, reproduction, stress tolerance, disease resistance, culture, post-stocking performance, habitat preference, and genetic profile traits. Resource managers of imperiled species as well as professionals working on non-fish aquatic species recognize the importance of this type of information for natural resource conservation management. For example, genetic information on distinct population segments would assist in determining the best management strategies for augmenting the populations from established hatchery broodstock. Enhancement of the NFSR includes components of cryopreservation of gametes, genetic evaluation of captive and wild stocks, and links to the National Wild Fish Health database and the GIS database. This will broaden the scope of the database and be responsive to the needs of the mission of the US Fish

and Wildlife Service and its partners to conserve and protect aquatic resources. Currently in the NFSR, there are 527 strain records representing over 35 fish species mainly from the Salmonidae (inland trout), Ictaluridae (catfish), Acipenseridae (sturgeon) and Polyodonidae (paddlefish). More specifically, the database has information on 67 strains of rainbow trout, 38 strains of brook trout, and 26 strains of brown trout. Additionally there are data on 47 strains of channel catfish and 43 strains of sturgeon (lake, shortnose, Atlantic, and gulf ). The NFSR database is available for use by public and private producers as well as resource managers of federal, state, and tribal governments. In order to access the NFSR website, submit a request via email to NFSR managers, Chester Figiel, Jr. ( or Nicole Rankin ( Once registered, users can access the page at Chester R. Figiel, Jr., PhD, is a fish biologist with the US Fish and Wildlife Service at the Warm Springs Fish Technology Center in Warm Springs, Georgia.

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Better luck in 2009 says Aussie tuna czar

Clean Seas Tuna sounding confident

Australia’s Clean Seas Tuna company under chairperson Hagen Stehr is said to be sounding confident it will produce southern bluefin tuna (SBT) fingerlings next year, according to a report on the shareholders’ annual general meeting in mid-November. Stehr was quoted as saying that the Japanese university engaged to help the company had already made a number

of recommendations on how to improve the breeding program at Clean Seas’ Arno Bay hatchery. The male tuna are mature, the company’s report stated, and it now has “sufficient knowledge and experience to ensure the males spermiate as and when required.” In the meantime though the company admitted it needed to develop its larval-rearing techniques for tuna, as

New research seeks solution to caviar conundrum …just when is the right time to harvest … igh-level researchers at several institutes across five western US states are looking into a number of different ways to help the aquaculture industry produce better white-sturgeon caviar – and also to assist conservationists to restore endangered runs in rivers. Dr. Barbara Rasco, a professor in food sciences at Washington State University, said the multidisciplinary project has the added benefit of aiding sturgeon farmers assess much more precisely the stage of maturity of female sturgeon. The objective, said Rasco, is to help the farmers pick just the right time to harvest the highly-valued roe, not just for sale as top-quality caviar, but also to get the best production and survival rate for stock enhancement programs. At present, said Rasco, many sturgeon farmers continue to have difficulty with just the initial hurdle of how to assess the correct gender of comparatively small sturgeon. They need to do that as early as possible in order to remove the less profitable males from the process. After that, said Rasco, the goal is to aid the caviar farmers by finding the less invasive and most accurate way of checking the precise stage of maturity of the roe in the females, to ensure that the eggs are harvested when their quality is at its best. It can take a sturgeon farm anywhere between about six and eight years to bring a female sturgeon to the point of ovulation, Rasco noted, and if the exact point of optimal maturity is missed and the eggs are left too long, the mother will reabsorb them and the harvest will be lost. Alternately, she said, if the eggs are taken too early, they may be too soft and lose their crucial crisp “texture” in the mouth once they’re been cured in the caviar-making process. The loss of texture will seriously decrease the quality and value of the product. Rasco said the study is sponsored by the Western Regional Aquaculture Consortium and funded by the Department of Agriculture through the consortium’s

it had done for yellowtail kingfish and mulloway. In September the company partnered with Japan’s Kinki University in Higashi-Osaka City, which has the only hatchery in the world to close the northern bluefin tuna lifecycle. The university’s recommendations were reportedly on larval-rearing tank specifications, larvae feed type, and heat and light conditions. “Clean Seas is currently implementing those recommendations ahead of our planned January to March 2009 SBT spawning,” Stehr is reported as saying.


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offices at WSU. It has researchers in Montana, Idaho, Oregon, Washington and California working with the industry on different kinds of techniques and technology. Some are using ultra-sound spectroscopy; others are using endochronology; still others are monitoring the polarization index which keeps an eye on the movement of the embryo. Also being studied is the balance of chemicals in the egg, loosely described as the “chemical fingerprint of the egg,” in order to monitor the maturation process. Rasco said that this method uses a probe and shortwave near-infrared technology and is not nearly as invasive as taking egg samples by making an incision into the wall of the fish’s belly and through that into the yoke sack. “If we know more about the reproductive biology of the sturgeon, we can provide this information to conservation biologists and fish and wildlife programs, and they may be able to use this to help with restoration of some of our wild stocks,” Rasco said. In the end, she added, the best method may prove to be a combination of different things uncovered in different areas of the study. She also said that the study, which has been funded through 2010, could eventually have effects upon sturgeon fisheries worldwide. Some of the collaborators in it, she said, are located in Central Asia.

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The international research project is investigating whether wrasse can be bred and used as an effective method of sea-lice control – an alternative to the present use of chemicals such as Slice.

BREEDING WRASSE European researchers investigate best ways to culture cleaner-fish …still a long way to go

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Photos courtesy Villa Organic

er Gunnar Kvenseth, managing director of Norway’s Villa Organic salmon-farming company, is wrestling with the problem of breeding wrasse. Kvenseth, who is also responsible for research and development at the company, said he’s working alongside staff at the NAFC Marine Centre at Scalloway in the Shetland Islands, as a part of an international research project to see whether wrasse can be cultured and used as an effective method of sea-lice control – as an alternative to the present use of chemicals such as Slice. But Kvenseth said that after years of research into the idea of breeding and using wrasse as cleaner-fish for salmon, it’s clear there’s still a long way to go. The first and foremost problem according to Kvenseth, is getting the little fish through the juvenile stages. “It’s a marine species, so of course you have all the problems associated with rearing the juveniles,” he said. “They only produce extremely small eggs and extremely small larvae and the larvae have to be fed algae, rotifers and artemia, and then it’s usually a very difficult thing to wean them from live food to dry feed.” Kvenseth said that last year he and his colleagues at Villa Organic managed to produce about 5,000 ballan wrasse (Labrus berggylta), which he acknowledged wasn’t a large number. He said though that the objective is not to produce a lot of fish, but more to look at the nutritional requirements of the fish and work out the best diets for growing them to a size where they can be put to work keeping down lice infestations in sea cages. He noted that there are many different kinds of wrasse in different parts of the world. “Ballan are the toughest and they’re very efficient on big salmon,” said Kvenseth, explaining why ballan were chosen for the project. “They’re also one of the most active of the species at low temperatures during winter. They remain active right down to about 3°C.”



JANU ARY/ F E BR U ARY 2009 >> 31

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For wrasse to be most effective at removing lice from salmon a farm must keep the pens very clean so the fish aren’t diverted into eating worms, crustaceans and other things growing on the nets.

Trouble is it’s also quite difficult to find the small ballan in the wild. “At about 12 cms, they’re about a year old in the hatchery, but probably two to three years old in the wild,” he said, noting that some ballan he and his colleagues at Villa put out with salmon last year at about 12 cms are about 15 cms long. “That’s a very nice grazing size,” said Kvenseth, adding that the experiment, showed how very effective wrasse are at keeping salmon clean of lice, especially Lepeoptherius salmonis (known as Lep), which is a major problem for farmed Atlantic salmon. “The objective of the project is to try out different protocols and create a protocol on how to produce the wrasse,” said Kvenseth, adding that the findings so far are that wrasse grow better at slightly elevated water temperatures of about 12-13°C. “We haven’t discovered the best conditions yet,” he said. “There’s still a lot of work to do.” Kvenseth said that one other challenge he and his colleagues have had to contend with is trying to determine the most efficient rate for stocking wrasse into the salmon pens. If too few are put in they may not be able to keep up with the growing lice on the fish; while if too many are put in, they may starve. And he also noted that for the fish to be most effective the fish farming company must keep the nets very clean or the wrasse will be diverted into eating worms, crustaceans and other things growing on the nets. For companies such as Villa which are trying to operate as organically as possible and not use chemicals, Kvenseth, that can be an extra challenge and sometimes nets have to be changed quite often to ensure they are kept clean. -



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Send us a couple of hundred words and a photo(s) of an innovation or invention in use at your hatchery or re-circ facility and we’ll send you a hundred bucks if the editors print it in Hatchery International. Send it to:

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Norwegian producer reacts to BKD infection

Official restrictions were, however, enforced both at the land and sea sites. The bacterium was found as part of an intensive quality control system. This includes the sampling of brood fish several times before stripping and individual autopsy and sampling of all parent fish during stripping. In a press release, Aqua Gen said it had immediately acterial Kidney Disease (BKD) has been found in ceased producing eggs from the affected brood fish group. broodstock at Aqua Gen’s site in Hemne, Norway. All production of ova from the broodfish group has Prior to this time though, a considerable volume of eggs had already been produced and incubated. But due to the been stopped. uncertainties related to the health status of the parent According to the Norwegian Food Safety Authority, populations, these eggs will not be released to the market. the discovery of BKD at Aqua Gen’s facilities is only remaining brood fish groups at Hemne will be connected to the brood fish site on land. It1 has14/11/08 been Anuncio Origo 17x26cm:Maquetación 14:35 The Página 1 subjected to thorough analysis before a final decision will decided that all eggs from this group will be destroyed.


be taken after consultation with the National Veterinary Institute and the Food Safety Authorities. The Aqua Gen system has back-up capacity to compensate for the loss of eggs as a consequence of the loss of one production site. Back-up groups located at each of the remaining production plants in addition to separate security groups have been mobilized and compensatory production has been initiated. The removal of eggs produced at Hemne in the 08/09 season will affect some customers that have ordered eggs for delivery. However the total planed amount of eggs to be delivered from the Aqua Gen system will not be affected, the company claimed. – Siri Elise Dybdal

Gene-sequencing gives boost to BKD breakthrough

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small team of salmonid scientists from various parts of the United States has aided in a breakthrough related to Bacterial Kidney Disease (BKD). And the principal investigator on the Renibacterium salmoninarum (the bacterium that causes BKD) genomesequencing project said recently that follow-up work on that program has led to some extremely promising data in connection with the ailment in chinook and sockeye salmon. Dr. Mark Strom, a microbiologist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Northwest Fisheries Science Centre in Seattle, Washington state, said the groundbreaking sequencing of the BKD-bacterium genome also aided a colleague to press ahead with important work on the potentially-fatal ColdWater Disease bacterium in trout. Following the successful mapping of the entire BKDbacterium genome, said Strom, he and Dr. Dan Rockey, a microbiologist at Oregon State University, were able to begin looking at ways of attacking the effectiveness of the BKD bacterium. By deciphering the entire genetic code or DNA of the BKD-bacterium, Strom said, the scientists can determine which of the bacterium’s proteins may be exposed on its surface. The proteins, if used in a vaccine, may cause the fish’s immune system to attack, thus reducing the effectiveness of the bacteria. Strom said only one vaccine has been developed for BKD, and he described that as being “relatively modest” in its effectiveness. What the scientists hope to do, he said, is to develop a new fish vaccine against BKD, or, perhaps better still, find a way of using the BKD genome information to generate a therapeutin – apart from the standard type of antibiotic. The therapeutin, said Strom, would aid the fishes immune system to interfere with the BKD bacterium, in its ability to infect in the first place and/or in its ability to grow once the infection has taken place. As things stand, Strom said, BKD isn’t a significant problem for Atlantic salmon though it can be a major problem for some Pacific species, mainly for sockeye and chinook salmon and also, to some degree for coho. It can cause mortality rates of up to 80% in hatcheries if there’s an outbreak. That’s a serious issue for enhancement and restocking hatcheries, especially for those working to rebuild endangered runs in the Pacific Northwest, he said. He said that by completing the sequencing of the BKD-bacterium genome, he hopes that scientists working in other areas will look for an increased array of genes in the code with regard to various other pathogens. Most recently, he said, Greg Wiens – an immunologist with the USDA – completed mapping of the entire genome for Cold Water Disease in trout. “That’s a big problem for trout aquaculture,” he said, “and at his laboratory he’s working with another microbiologist on developing a more effective vaccine with that information.” – Quentin Dodd



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JANU ARY/ F E BR U ARY 2009 >> 33


Worldwide collaboration the key to tuna success says European researcher â&#x20AC;Śless competition, more communication needed With teams of researchers in several parts of the world trying to uncover the most efficient way of bringing tuna breeding to a commercial scale, there needs to be much better communication Dr. Chris Bridges between the different groups, says one of the leading participants in a European program. Dr. Chris Bridges, who works out of the Heinrich-Heine University in DĂźsseldorf, Germany, indicated to Hatchery International that all of the groups â&#x20AC;&#x201C; in Europe, Australia and Japan â&#x20AC;&#x201C; seem to have run into many of the same problems at different times in their programs. And he said heâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s really hopeful that all those involved will see the benefit of much more open transparency with their counterparts regarding the results of their research. He indicated that he hopes a broadbased collaborative agreement could be reached between all parties, along the

lines of the one signed recently between Hagen Stehrâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s team at Clean Seas Tuna in Australia and scientists from Kinki University in Japan. To date, Bridges suggested, he feels there has been too much secrecy, and that has not helped steer the groups past some of the obstacles theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re still encountering and struggling to overcome. He noted that although the European Unionâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s SELFDOTT Project was successful in producing many times more Northern bluefin tuna eggs and larvae than the massively-publicized earlier spawning at Stehrâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Southern Bluefin Tuna (SBT) operation, the final result had been precisely the same: there had been no survival at all after a very short period into the juvenile stages. Bridges noted that the object of developing the species is to try to help the aquaculture industry move in a new and potentially very lucrative direction, in the face of continually escalating demand for tuna and serious declines of stocks for harvesting in the wild.

Model boat used to collect sea-going eggs In the extra large pens used to hold marine broodstock, egg collection requires creative thinking

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Remote controlled model boat was equipped with small aquarium net and sent off to collect fertilized amberjack eggs floating on waterâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s surface at large facility in Malta.

n Europe, one of the main research experts who has helped a number of companies overcome obstacles in production is Dr. Robert J. Vassallo-Agius. He works for the Maltese government and has been involved most recently in projects involving Northern Bluefin Tuna (NBTs) and kingfish. Both species arenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t easy to manage during spawning and Vassallo says that various companies have come up with different ideas for collecting the fertilized eggs which float to the surface at spawning time. He knows of one company with spawning pens so large that it uses a small rowboat with one person to row and another to net the floating eggs. Vassallo, who is resource manager of aquaculture at the Malta Centre for Fisheries Sciences, said one other novel idea used by a fish-breeding company in Malta is a remote-control boat. The small boat, estimated to be about 60 cms long x 20 cms wide, was simply a model bought from a hobby store, said


Vassallo. Malta Fish Farming Ltd., the owner-operator of the private facility, attached a small fine-mesh net to the front of the little boat and used it to scoop up amberjack eggs and bring them to staff members waiting at the side of the 12m pens. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The [25 x 15cm] net is tied to the boat so that the top quarter is above water,â&#x20AC;? explained Vassallo. â&#x20AC;&#x153;It was just a trial this year and hopefully weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re going to try something more reliable or robust.â&#x20AC;? One of the main problems, said Vassallo, was that the model was very hard on batteries and could only be operated for about five minutes before they had to be replaced â&#x20AC;&#x201C; perhaps because of the extra draw and weight from the net. He noted, however, that the system had worked so well with the amberjack that the boat and net had scooped up all the eggs within 30 minutes, half the time the company had thought the task would take by other means.

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Overproduction the solution to predation at world’s biggest minnow farm Arkansas hatchery turns out extra fingerlings to feed pesky birds, snakes, mink and turtles

Minnow holding facility.

redators are literally eating into Jamie Anderson’s minnow and goldfish hatchery and fingerling business in central Arkansas in a big way. Anderson, who is now vice-president for the sprawling Anderson Minnow Farm which his greatgrandfather W.L. Anderson and grandfather I.F. Anderson founded more than 50 years ago, said in interview recently that the operation has a major problem with all kinds of wildlife chomping down on the vast numbers of fish that the hatchery, nursery and farm operation produce each year. It’s not just the birds, said Anderson, whose father Neal is now president. It’s the frogs and snakes, and it’s the turtles and mink, and it’s the muskrats and raccoons. The list sounds almost endless. And Anderson made it clear that because of the nature of the operation, he doesn’t really see much of a solution on the horizon. All he can do, he indicated, is to continue to over-produce, turning out extra fish to ensure he has enough on hand to satisfy his customers’ orders. Anderson said the operation hatches more than one billion golden-shiner minnows and roughly 120-150 million goldfish a year, along with smaller amounts of black and pink fat-head minnows (the pink ones are also known rosy reds). To house that many fish even on a temporary basis requires a lot of outdoor ponds.


Only perhaps about 25% of the fish make it to the point of being sold though. Anderson said there are nearly 330 ponds outside the family fish farm’s hatchery, varying in size from about half-an-acre to 45 acres. The average is about 10 acres and it’s impossible to protect nursery waters that size with nets against the birds, or to prevent the widely-varied fish-eating wildlife from penetrating the system of some 250 miles of levees which hold the ponds. And it’s not like the fish are able to hide very much in the depths of the ponds. On average, the ponds are only about 2.5 feet deep. Anderson said the hatchery building, which services the outdoor ponds is about 120 long by 80 feet wide and fully enclosed. It houses some 140 individual hatching tanks as well as two raceways that the staff use to obtain eggs from the broodstock, for putting into the smaller, 200-gallon incubator tanks. The incubator tanks are fed with freshwater and oxygen and the entire facility is temperaturecontrolled at 70°F, with the water usually at 71°F. Anderson said though that the water temperature in the hatchery can be moved up or down to speed up or slow down the hatching process, as desired. “It’s a six-day cycle,” said Anderson. “You put the eggs in on, say, a Monday and they hatch on the following Sunday. Then we clean out the tank, disinfect and scrub down, and it’s ready for the next batch.”

Vice-president Jamie Anderson shows off a few of the millions of fish reared at the Arkansas minnow farm each year.

Aqua Max Hatchery.pdf



The steel-frame, metal clad hatchery building is well insulated and heated as necessary with propane-gas overhead heaters. Outside, the temperature can range from up to about 105°F (40C) in summer all the way down to freezing in winter.

The steel-frame and metal-siding building is well insulated and is heated as necessary with propane-gas overhead heaters. Outside, the temperature can range from up to about 105°F in summer but all the way down to freezing in winter, though the periods of extreme cold don’t last long – usually. “Normally it’s not below freezing for more than about three, four five days at a time, and then back up to the 30s,” said Anderson. The operation also tries to keep fish densities down to minimize the oxygen depravation and help the fish through difficult times. “Our stocking densities aren’t high enough to cause much of an oxygen problem on any kind of a constant basis,” Anderson said. “The shiners are at about 150-250,000 head per acre. At 150,000 they grow quicker and larger. It’s the same with the fat-heads.” Anderson said the goldfish are “really all over the scale” based on the size they’re to be sold at. A “really very light” density of about 40,000 an acre is used to grow the fish as fast as possible to seven or eight inches for sale to aquariums and ornamentpond operators. The smallest “feeders” go out at about .75 inches to bait shops and retailers, for use in stocking recreational fisheries.

By comparison, the shiners usually go out into the market at about 7.5 inches and the fat-heads at anywhere between 1.5 and four inches. Anderson said the operation in central Arkansas, can go through very dry seasons with very little rainfall, but then get deluged with periods of very heavy rainfall. “We try to store that as much as possible with the levees,” he said, noting though that there’s also a scattered collection of 44 15-100hp, deep-well pumps that can deliver large quantities of water from an underground aquifer if needed. Anderson said that when the shiners go out from the hatchery to the initial nursery ponds on the site, they’re so small they can be stocked at about two million per acre. After that, they go as juveniles to the growout ponds at lower densities, for developing for sale. The company, which claims the title of the largest bait-minnow producer in the world, produces fish for sale all year round, shipping out gigantic numbers of deliveries by air across the United States. It has a peak season from March 1 to the end of July when most sales are made, and during that time it employs about 40-45 people. C








– Quentin Dodd

PROMOTION ! THE SUCCESS OF YOUR BUSINESS MAY DEPEND ON IT. Promote your new product, service or people in Hatchery International!

SEND US YOUR PRESS RELEASES If your company has recently developed a NEW PRODUCT that’s applicable to the fish hatchery sector, then please don’t hold back! Send us a press release explaining it’s usefulness to hatcheries and we’ll consider previewing it in the showcase section. You can email details of your NEW PRODUCT to or send it in by mail/post (include a product photograph) to: “NEW PRODUCTS” HatcheryInternational, 4623 William Head Road, Victoria, BC, V9C 3Y7, Canada


8:41:16 AM

JANU ARY/ F E BR U ARY 2009 >> 35

36 >> JA N U A RY /FEB R U A RY 2 0 0 9


Water Use Options for Fish Hatcheries By Genny West

There are several ways of using water resources for aquaculture. The methods are neither new nor complicated, and we will summarize the three different strategies to provide a clearer understanding of when water reuse may be beneficial.

Flow-Through In traditional flow-through aquaculture, water passes through the culture system only once, and is then discharged back to the aquatic environment. The flow of water supplies oxygen to the fish and carries dissolved and suspended wastes out of the system. Water quality within the culture system is maintained by the flushing of contaminants and by replacing all the system water before dissolved oxygen concentrations drop below minimum acceptable limits, or contaminant concentrations (i.e. ammonia, solids, and carbon dioxide) can accumulate beyond maximum acceptable limits. Because flow-through systems count on the exchange of water to flush contaminants from the system, high inflow rates are required and equivalent high discharge rates are generated. Treatment of both influent and effluent is often required to ensure that water quality is suitable and safe for fish culture and discharge back into the environment. Because of the high flow rates, extensive treatments are often cost prohibitive and minimal environmental control is possible within the culture system. Temperature control is minimal and is often only possible through the use of systems that recover heat from the effluent flow. Flow-through systems were a popular and cost effective approach for aquaculture when water sources were plentiful and competing demands for the water were low. However, sustainability principles, increasing competition for limited supplies of high quality water, and the need for improved control of culture conditions are now encouraging partial reuse or recirculation technologies as alternatives to traditional flow-through methods.

Partial Reuse Aquaculture Systems (PRAS)

A large modern flow-through culture system.

temperature, which may be more economically altered than in a flow-through system due to the lower flow rate. Partial reuse rates from 50% to 90% of the total flow have been employed, depending on stocking densities, feed loads, fish sensitivity to unionized ammonia, and solids-flushing methods, although reuse rates of 50-75% are most common.

Recirculating Aquaculture Systems (RAS) Recirculating aquaculture systems incorporate additional treatment technologies beyond those used in PRAS, allowing for significantly greater quantities of water to be reused. Recirculation systems afford a level of control well beyond any other technology application in aquaculture and provide significant production and economic benefits. Recirculation systems are typically used where new water supplies are limited or expensive (e.g. high pumping costs), the risk of introducing pathogens or contaminants into the system with influent water is high, where effluent disposal capacity is limited, or where operators require strict control over the water quality and temperature within the fish culture system. Such systems are characterized by increased technical complexity, high capital costs, and in some applications higher operating costs. However, because RASs allow optimum culture conditions to be maintained year round, independent of fluctuations in water supply, quality and ambient temperature, fish growth rates may be accelerated allowing more or larger fish to be produced in the same amount of time. In a well designed RAS, production benefits will outweigh the additional costs, resulting in a lower net cost of production. The last few years have revealed limited water resources for

Partial Reuse Aquaculture Systems use water treatment processes to allow a portion of the culture discharge water to be recycled back into the culture tanks. For aquaculture facilities faced with limited water resources, sustainability issues, or a requirement for improved control over culture conditions, reuse technology is the next step in the technological evolution of modern aquaculture systems. When compared to flow-through systems, PRAS offer significant reductions in water consumption, effluent discharge volumes, and potentially energy consumption. Reuse technology allows new facilities to be located where there are limited water resources, and allows existing facilities to increase production with the same water supply. With reduced water use, influent treatment and effluent treatment become more economical. As such, disinfection of influent water for biosecurity protection becomes possible, and the impact of the facility on the environment may be better mitigated. In addition to these benefits, water quality and temperature become easier to control which may have production benefits. Partial Reuse Systems focus on the use of a few, simple treatment technologies to provide significant reductions in water use. These typically include gas-balancing and oxygenation, may also include solids removal and disinfection, but do not normally include ammonia removal through biofiltration. Those water quality parameters for which treatment is not provided are maintained within acceptable limits by flushing and replacement of a portion of the system water. Water A large RAS. The biofilter is located at the far end of the building. temperature is dependant on influent water


JANU ARY/ F E BR U ARY 2009 >> 37

Partial re-use systems. The towers beside each tank have a CO2 stripper in the upper portion and a low head oxygenator below.

many government facilities as well as commercial growers. Some hatcheries have been forced to tighten their systems and reduce the amount of water used, which creates the need to seriously consider retrofitting a traditional flowthrough hatchery to include water reuse- or recirculation equipment. It comes down to sustainability of aquaculture: a common desire we all want to achieve.

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Genny West, Engineering Technologist, for PRAqua, Nanaimo, BC, Canada, is a regular contributor to â&#x20AC;&#x153;Nuts and Bolts.â&#x20AC;? She may be reached at genny@

1.800.939.3659 (504)837.5575 fax: (504)837.5585 Biofilter of a large recirculation system.

38 >> JA N U A RY /FEB R U A RY 2 0 0 9


Disinfecting Recirculating Aquaculture Systems: Post-harvest cleaning By Thomas Waldrop, Michael Gearheart, and Christopher Good

aintenance of recirculating aquaculture systems is an extensive process that must be performed rigourously from initial stocking to final harvesting and system shutdown. System maintenance and the related water quality monitoring procedures are usually the central focus during normal production cycles. Less emphasis tends to fall on the no-less important discharge-monitoring procedures required at the end of a production cycle, when harvesting is completed. Disinfection is of paramount importance before the next production cycle is started. System disinfection includes removal of organic buildup, addition of disinfectant chemicals, and their subsequent neutralization before discharge into the hatchery effluent. Disinfection protocols also require water quality monitoring procedures to ensure that charge permit limits are not violated. Staff at The Conservation Fund’s Freshwater Institute (TCFFI) have worked proactively to address the requirements of end-of-cohort disinfection for their 70,000 gallon (26.67 m3) RAS. Developing standard operating procedures and utilizing both basic- and advanced monitoring techniques have contributed to successful system sterilization, and neutralization and monitoring of the discharged wastes. The practical and conservative approach described here ensures that chemicals involved in final disinfection pose no threat to the downstream environment beyond the hatchery fence. Important components of this type of operation include: • The need for thoroughly cleaning and disinfecting the RAS between cohorts; • Familiarity with the chemicals involved, their properties, and their potential toxicity to workers; • Protecting workers from the potential hazards of strong disinfectants; • Ensuring adequate disinfection, and complete neutralization of disinfectants before their discharge from the system; • Flushing the cleaned system at a controlled rate in order to minimize environmental effects downstream; • Monitoring the resulting downstream water quality; • Identifying critical water quality limits and ensuring that they are not exceeded.



Drum Filter

De-energize power to drum filter as a safety precaution. Remove filter screen panels and soak in mineral remover. Flush screens to remove residual mineral remover. Power-wash all surfaces, including the float-switch cavity. Replace Drum filter screens prior to disinfection.

Radial Clarifier

Drain clarifier and power-wash all internal and external surfaces.

Pump Sump

Drain and power-wash interior and exterior surfaces, float-level switches, cavities, and pump intake screens.

LHO Sump

Remove sediment from cone bottom. Drain sump tank and power-wash interior and exterior surfaces. Brush and clean distribution plate.

UV Chamber

De-energize power to UV lights. Remove UV lights and power-wash all internal surfaces of UV chamber. Follow manufacturer’s recommendations and instructions to clean quartz tubes, replace UV lamps, gaskets, O-rings, and pinconnectors as needed.


Drain biofilters as much as possible and power wash all exposed exterior and interior surfaces. Enter confines spaces with caution. During disinfection and neutralization, the sand bed will be fully expanded to ensure total exposure to disinfectant- and neutralizing chemicals.

Annular space

Remove and clean annular space windows. Clean interior surfaces of annular space. Replace windows. Increase flow to annular space during disinfection to remove accumulated solids.

Microbial growth in recirculating aquaculture systems Aquaculture systems can support the growth of bacteria, parasites, fungi, viruses, and algae, which may become concentrated in recirculating systems. Both obligate and opportunistic pathogens have the potential to proliferate in RASs due to long water retention times, low make-up water rates, and repeated contact with system surfaces. Such increases in pathogen abundance can function synergistically with high fish densities and sedimentation, and increase the risk of infection and disease outbreaks. In addition to any water retained between production cycles, each component of the system: sumps, filters, clarifiers, tank surfaces, even the insides of pipes, present a location for microorganisms, pathogenic and non-pathogenic alike, to propagate and flourish.

Cleaning Protocols Staff at each facility should develop their own cleaning protocols based on their system’s requirements and resources. At TCFFI, tanks and components are brushed and cleaned on a weekly basis to remove and reduce organic buildup, but even with routine cleaning, ozonation, and UV irradiation, it is still necessary for thorough disinfection between cohorts to maintain effective biosecurity. Following final harvesting, the tank and all system components are drained as fully as possible to expose their surfaces for cleaning. The interior and exterior surfaces of each tank are brush-cleaned and power-washed. This removes organic material and helps remove biofilm that would prevent disinfection agents from contacting and sterilizing the surfaces. Table 1 lists the physical cleaning process for each system component. Once physical cleaning is completed, the RAS is ready for disinfection using a chlorine-based treatment.

Cleaning Procedure

Table 1. Cleaning procedures prior to disinfection.

Chemical Additions It is recommended that individual aquaculture facilities develop their own disinfection and neutralization procedures, basing their treatment regime upon their biosecurity requirements, culture system volumes, equipment compatibility, and local regulations. Disinfectants can pose serious health risks to workers, so staff at each facility must establish worker safety protocols before using these chemicals. TCFFI disinfects their RAS with 90 lbs (40kg) of granular chlorine disinfectant containing 65% calcium hypochlorite (CaClO2) as the active ingredient. This creates a concentration of approximately 100 ppm chlorine (Cl2) that is recirculated throughout the RAS for two hours. No water is added or discharged during this disinfection event: the entire system must be 100% contained during disinfection and neutralization. After disinfection, 135 lbs (60 kg) of sodium thiosulfate (Na2S2O3) is added to


JANU ARY/ F E BR U ARY 2009 >> 39

neutralize the chlorine – a 1.5:1 ratio of Na2S2O3 to granular chlorine. Additional Na2S2O3 will be added if water chemistry tests show that residual chlorine remains in the system. In the past, TCFFI has used up to 2 lbs of Na2S2O3 to completely neutralize 1 lb of granular chlorine. It is important that during chlorination, neutralization, and flushing all pumps and circuits are activated to ensure all internal pipe surfaces are disinfected and neutralized, and no disinfection products are left behind. Disinfectant and neutralizer should be added in a location that will help ensure adequate mixing and proper distribution of chemicals throughout the entire system. Due to chemical toxicity and respiratory hazards associated with using these chemicals, TCFFI personnel are required to wear proper protective equipment including gloves, aprons, and full-face air purifying respirators equipped with suitable cartridges. Plentiful ventilation is also supplied to the room and all non-pertinent, non-protected personnel are kept from entering during this potentially hazardous event. Personnel should be cautious

Monitoring Disinfectant and Neutralizer TCFFI hatchery- and water chemistry personnel have found the Hach 9184sc Chlorine Analyzer to be an effective tool for rapidly monitoring chlorine concentration while disinfecting and neutralizing the RAS. The sc100 controller and flow through cell of the analyzer can be placed in a convenient and representative location for monitoring chlorine concentrations. Using a peristaltic pump set to deliver approximately 300 ml/min of water from the RAS side-box, and with the controller located so that staff can monitor chlorine concentrations from a safe distance; the analyzer lets the hatchery manager know when the targeted disinfectant level has been reached, and when it has been neutralized effectively. For added confirmation that target chlorine concentrations have been met, both chlorine test strips and the DPD (N,N-diethyl-p-phenylenediamine) method (Hach Method 10070) are used to double-check. The test strip method is rudimentary, so more accurate measurements should be obtained via the DPD method. To get an indication of neutralizer concentration, TCFFI measures both sulfate- and sodium sulfite concentrations with Hach’s SulfaVer4- and Sulfite test kits, respectively. Adding sodium thiosulfate to the RAS may reduce dissolved oxygen concentrations, so DO is monitored in the RAS with an Advanced Hach LDO® Process Dissolved Oxygen Probe connected to the same sc100 controller as the Hach 9184sc Chlorine Analyzer. Allowable chlorine, sulfate, and DO levels (as well as all other parameters that will be monitored subsequently) are determined before the treatment water is discharged. Table 2 lists TCFFI’s water quality limits that must not be exceeded during the disinfection and neutralization process. Once the disinfection and disinfectant neutralization criteria have been met, and concentrations have fallen below the preestablished limits, the water can be released for further treatment such as solids clarification and settling prior to discharge.

Power washing the experimental tank.

At TCFFI a 2% discharge rate (based on total recycle flow), takes approximately 48 hours to flush the entire volume once. At a 4% discharge rate, flushing the system once takes approximately 24 hrs. If the 2% flushing rate is not a detriment to the effluent water quality, it can be increased to 4%. Previous monitoring of disinfection events at TCCFI has showed that effluent TSS peaks at approximately 15 mg/l 18 hours after flushing starts, and slowly decreases to 5 mg/l in the last sample (4 days post flushing). We hypothesize that this increase in suspended solids may be caused by the pre-cleaning process, when the system is drained for several days, which allows solids in the discharge piping to settle and dry. Once flushing resumes, these solids may be liberated and cause the increase in TSS.  So far at TCFFI, all the cleaning events have been concluded successfully without exceeding effluent-discharge limits or listed tolerances in the receiving waters.




Measurement Method




SulfaVer4 (Hach)

USEPA Drinking Water MCL




DPD (Hach)

USEPA Drinking Water MCL




SM 2540





Salicylate (Hach)





Digital Sensor





Digital Sensor



Table 2. TCFFI water quality discharge limits.

Flushing When analysis determines that flushing can proceed, the water is discharged slowly. TCFFI uses a 2% flushing rate to avoid unfavorable effects on water quality downstream of the hatchery outfall. As treatment water is released, make up water can be slightly increased to other on-site culture systems. This results in a higher total effluent discharge, which further dilutes any remaining disinfection chemicals before they enter the receiving waters. Once flushing begins, downstream water flow is continuously monitored at a location between the RAS and the NPDES outlet for the analytes listed in Table 2. Monitoring the discharge before it reaches the outlet allows the flow rate to be reduced if a constituent value would otherwise be exceeded. Analyses are done as quickly as possible in order to identify whether system flushing is compromising receiving-water quality. Because some analyses (e.g. for TSS) can take up to two hours, visual observation of the water flow is made frequently. Should either analysis or visual observation show that a parameter is near or exceeds the established limit the discharge rate can be adjusted.

The main experimental tank at the Fresh Water Institute.

Summary The benefits for being proactive and meticulous with RAS cleaning procedures are numerous. Following weekly cleaning procedures is a preventative maintenance measure that helps eliminate mass proliferation of undesirable microbial communities and waste products in the system during production cycles. Having a detailed approach for cleaning, disinfecting, and neutralizing all system components between cohorts further promotes a healthier environment for future stocks. Approaches such as those taken at TCFFI also help ensure that the hatchery operates efficiently, worker health is protected, and stringent discharge limitations are not jeopardized. Thomas Waldrop, Michael Gearheart, and Christopher Good are with The Conservation Fund’s Freshwater Institute. Shepherdstown, WV. For more information contact Thomas at: Disclaimer: Use of trade, product, or firm’s names is for descriptive purposes only and does not imply endorsement by the authors or Hatchery International.

40 >> JA N U A RY /FEB R U A RY 2 0 0 9


SHOWCASE Dutch catfish hatchery sells recirc systems too


Concrete technology comes to Wyoming The tanks, which are part of the second stage of the 50-year-old hatcheryâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s expansion program, measure 10 feet high and 36 feet across. They have walls eight inches thick, and were built to help boost the hatcheryâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s trout production.

The Octaform concrete-form company of British Columbia in Canada is completing a contract with the Wyoming Game and Fish Department, to expand its Dan Speas State Fish Rearing Station. A spokesperson for Octaform said that in comparison to some of the companyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s other projects the fish-hatchery contract serves more as a demonstration for other potential customers. Salesperson Jaret Breckenridge said that he went in for just two days to instruct the main construction crew on how to install the prefabricated forms, and help them get started on building eight new tanks. The tanks, which are part of the second stage of the 50-year-old hatcheryâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s expansion program, measure 10 feet (3m) high and 36 feet (10.9m) across. They have walls eight inches thick, and were built to help boost the hatcheryâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s trout production. Breckenridge said Octaform prides itself in how easy its wallconstructing forms are to work with. The forms come in kits that allow the building crew to construct walls up to 16 ft (5.0m) high, working in sections that go in two-inch (5cm) increments from a breadth of four inches (10cm) up to 12 (30cm) and even 24 inches (60cm) across. This permits, said Breckenridge, construction of tanks up to a very broad width of some 250 feet (75m), for a wide range of purposes, from city water-treatment facilities to tanks of various configurations for agriculture and even car washes. Breckenridge said that the durable stay-in-place PVC forms â&#x20AC;&#x153;provide an optimal environment for plant and fish production.â&#x20AC;? â&#x20AC;&#x153;The smooth, non-abrasive walls are gentle on fish and ideal for warm or cold and salt or fresh water species,â&#x20AC;? says the company. !NINNOVATIVE NEWPRODUCTFROM3MITH 2OOT THEGLOBALLEADERINELECTROFISHINGTECHNOLOGIES


Started in 1985 as an African catfish fingerling hatchery, the Fleuren and Nooijen Viskwekerij BV aquaculture and consultancy now touts itself as the biggest producer of African catfish fingerlings in Europe. But partner and technical manager Paul Nooijen said the company, which operates out the rural township of De Rips, in the Netherlands is now rushed off its feet working on other projects and programs. This includes designing and installing water-recirculation systems and acting as a consultant to catfish growers. Specializing in designing filters using polypropylene, the company is now a dealer for 2H Kunststoff, Hewitech and Munters, the largest producers of these materials in Europe. The company also notes that it has systems for aeration towers, which include sprayers for â&#x20AC;&#x153;perfect water distributionâ&#x20AC;? and the degassing of hatchery systemsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; water. Nooijen said the design and construction of complete turn-key aquaculture recirculation systems is second only to the companyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s work as an African-catfish producer. The company, which recently installed a new waterrecirculation system for zebra-fish at the University of Leidenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s biology department, has been involved in development of a broad range of hatchery and recirc systems. The companyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s own hatchery produces some 1.8 million catfish a year. Fingerlings go out to customers in the Netherlands, Germany, Ukraine, Bulgaria, the United Kingdom, Nigeria and Israel. Fleuren & Nooijen recirculation systems are now in operation in the Netherlands, Germany, and Switzerland, as well as the Ukraine, Israel, Nigeria, Benin, Costa Rica and a number of other parts of the world. The company still remains quite small, employing just six people, managed by three partners. Willy Fleuren, who founded the company in 1985 is now in charge of purchasing and sales, frequently working overseas in conjunction with other industry partners for the company. Nooijen, with his extensive technical expertise, designs and builds fish-farming systems, including the hatchery systems. Bert-Jan Roosendaal is responsible for the companyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s own hatcheries in the Netherlands near Einhoven. The initial hatchery now produces some 1.8 million African catfish juveniles a year.

Quick test for Koi Herpes Virus





Europeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Bio-Art NV/SA company has developed a quick on-site detection device using BluSpotÂŽTechnology for virtually instantaneous detection of the deadly Koi Herpes Virus (KHV). According to information from the Belgian company the hand-held device gives test results within about five minutes. A statement on the program says that one of the biggest problems in the koi or carp aquaculture sector is the spread of pathogens as a result of the international fish trade. As a result, says the report, rapid detection and reliable identification of pathogens is crucial for aquaculture operators as an extra tool for biosecurity strategies. The manufacturer states that the main features of the BluSpot technology are that it features the same performances as automated laboratory methods without the need of laboratory equipment, is â&#x20AC;&#x153;well-standardizedâ&#x20AC;? and not open to dubious interpretation; and has a sensitivity described as being â&#x20AC;&#x153;equal (to) laboratory methods for serological diagnosis.â&#x20AC;?


JANU ARY/ F E BR U ARY 2009 >> 41

SHOWCASE New Optical DO and DO/TGP probes from Point Four Optical dissolved oxygen (DO) measurement is gaining popularity when compared to the classical electrochemical, membrane-covered electrolyte containing sensors. Such sensors have served well for decades, but the optical DO sensors demonstrate a number of advantages. Point Four Systems Inc. has now released a new optical DO probe, named the Lumi4TM. This sensor can also be combined with the Total Dissolved Gas Pressure (TGP) sensor for use on either a handheld meter, the PT4 Tracker, or a stationary system, PT4 ION. While other optical oxygen sensors use fragile optical fibres, a single light channel, or two different LEDs, the Lumi4 TM has a mechanically and thermally stable symmetrical

Schematic diagram of Lumi4 DO/TGP probe

design. It measures the optical phase-shift between the blue and red light pulses providing an accurate indication of oxygen concentration, says Point Four. These probes have been used for a number of years in the medical and pharmaceutical fields. They measure the partial pressure of oxygen (pO2) just as classical sensors do, but do not consume any oxygen from the water, and therefore do not require a minimum water flow.

sensor stops working. Lumi4 TM does not suffer from this problem, says Point Four, because it has no membrane and no electrolyte; rather, it has a robust solid sensor cap. The cap will tolerate low- to medium damage to the sensor cover, and is specified for operating pressures up to 12 bar, and temperatures up to 130oC (266oF). User-friendliness is critical, adds the company. Simple maintenance can be done in the field with minimum downtime. If the sensor cover should need to be exchanged, twist it off, replace it with a new one, then re calibrate. Calibration can be done in air; there is no anode to clean, no electrolyte to store, and no membranes to handle. The Lumi4 TM has outputs for 4-20 mA, 485 Modbus, and will connect directly to the PT4 Tracker or PT4 ION. When combined with the TGP sensor, a single probe will measure DO, TGP, and temperature. This allows the user to monitor these critical parameters to prevent supersaturation (Gas Bubble Trauma) or low DO, with only one probe and minimal servicing. For more information contact Trudy Dowla:

Lumi4 DO probe

Measurements can be displayed as % air saturation, concentration in mg/l, ppm, or even as ppb. The measurement range is 0.05% to 300% air saturation (0.004 ppm to 25 ppm). The most common malfunction of traditional membrane & electrolyte sensors is caused by mechanical damage to the membrane. Small defects on the membrane become apparent only when the electrolyte starts to leak and the

New rotifer feed from BernAqua Correlation between temperature and growth

y=0.7595x - 18,09 R2 = 0,8707

500% 400%

Cover Your Investment!

300% 200% 100% 0% 25






Temperature (˚C)

BernAqua recently released a new product for the hatchery market. Called w3Algae, the company describes it as a high quality rotifer feed based on Chlorella (Chlorella pyrenoidosa and Chlorella spp). “These algae are known to have a very high content of active enzymes, vitamins and minerals,” says a technical report from BernAqua, “including the well known vitamin B12 complex. W3Algae is also enriched with natural anti-oxidants such as Vitamin E and Vitamin C.” According to BernAqua, the Chlorella cells are dried minutes after their harvest using a proprietary technique that the company says ensures inactivation of autolysis (enzymatic) processes, the preservation of all nutritional characteristics and the total elimination of all bacteria and viruses. W3Algae is not blended with yeast cells. “It is pure and is only supplemented with the right amount of natural vitamins like tocopherols and vitamin C to avoid oxidation processes,” says BernAqua. “W3Algae does not contain chemical additives.” “The operator can reach complete cell separation in just a few minutes of blending and the suspension remains stable in water for a long time if no water-borne or air-borne bacteria contaminations take place.”

F eeding regime

According to BernAqua, results obtained in trials performed until August 2008, provided a clear view of the right protocol to be used with w3Algae and indicated that the use of 0.6g to 1g per million rotifers (daily) resulted in best growth, when fed at 4 to 6 rations per day. The amount of food given is strongly related to culture conditions and can only be fully determined by the farmer. The accompanying graph shows a regression line between the temperature and the growth of the rotifers with a correlation R²=0.87. “This observation,” says BernAqua, “has a strong impact on establishment of the right rotifer feeding regime. High temperatures (up to 29.5°C) ensure faster growth and better feed utilization. The same observation explains much of the variability seen in growth performance (from 140% to 500%).” In conclusion, the BernAqua report notes that “w3Algae helps hatcheries increase their rotifer productivity, improving the stability of results and at the same time ensuring better fry quality. For more information on BernAqua and its products go to:

Custom bird covers for farms, hatcheries and fish ponds – give us your application details and we will build to suit your needs. Full production facility with experienced staff. Bulk mesh available – Our Vancouver BC warehouse is well stocked. Experienced in Large projects Tidal Enterprises offers complete bird netting systems and bulk netting to efficiently and economically exclude pest birds from all types of objects, openings and structures. Our experienced staff is available to access any project you have. 250-756-7595

42 >> JA N U A RY /FEB R U A RY 2 0 0 9




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Fertilized eggs, larvae and juveniles available for aquaculture, restocking and research.

Coho and Donaldson Steelhead Eyed Egg Availability December - April

AquaSeed Corporation 2301 NE Blakeley St, Suite 102 Seattle, WA 98105 USA Tel: 206-527-6696 â&#x20AC;˘ Fax: 206-527-6779 â&#x20AC;˘ Email:

Acadian Sturgeon and Caviar Inc. 214 King Street East Saint John, NB E2L 1H3, Canada   r      UFMGBY rDDFBQB!BDBEJBOTUVSHFPODPN


JANU ARY/ F E BR U ARY 2009 >> 43



SHOWCASE New drumfilter from Hydrotech Hydrotech of Sweden recently announced the introduction of its new HDF2010 drumfilter. According to Hydrotech’s Sales Manager Dr. Henrik Mortensen, the new unit has a few more filter panels than the company’s earlier HDF2408, but can be shipped in a standard HC container which was not possible with the other.   According to Hydrotech, the HDF2010 has a 22.6 m2 filtration area, allowing capacities over 1000 l/s. It still features the patented Hydrotech cell based filter panels and can be supplied to aquaculture facilities in freshwater, saltwater and even tropical saltwater versions.   Hydrotech develops, manufactures and sells a variety of filter systems. The systems

are used in more than 6000 installations around the world, says the company, including waterworks, process plants, fish farms and sewage treatment plants. See for more information.

New pre-filtration device uses centrifugal effect Australian-based Waterco markets the MultiCyclone, a new pre-filtration device which the company says helps save water and prolongs the life of any filtration system. The MultiCyclone works on the basis of centrifugal water filtration. Waterco says that there are no moving parts to wear and tear, and no filter media to clean or replace. The company describes the process used by the MultiCyclone in the following way: • Incoming water enters 16 hydro cyclones tangentially, generating a strong centrifugal effect.

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cyclone’s wall, and then spirals down to the sediment chamber. • The filtered water migrates towards the center of the hydro cyclone where the flow reverses and spirals upwards through the outlet. Accumulation of sediment can be visibly monitored through the MultiCyclone’s clear sediment chamber. According to Waterco, the filtration efficiency of the MultiCyclone has been tested by feeding 5 to 80 micron dust particles through the device and analyzing the percentage of dust particles trapped in the sediment bowl. “The laboratory test revealed that the Multi Cyclone was effective in filtering particles sized 40 to 80 microns,” notes the company. For more information go to

44 >> JA N U A RY /FEB R U A RY 2 0 0 9


The Conservation Fund Freshwater Institute presents

Water Reuse for Intensive Fish Culture July 6â&#x20AC;&#x201C;10, 2009 Bar Harbor, Maine USA COURSE DESCRIPTION This five-day course presented by The Conservation Fundâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Freshwater Institute (Shepherdstown, WV) will cover the fundamentals of design and management of water reuse systems. The course will be taught in Bar Harbor, ME between July 6-10, and the nearby USDA National Cold Water Marine Aquaculture Center in Franklin will host the site visit for the course. This facility is a state-of-the-art fish culture center based on system design concepts covered in the course. Over the week, the following subjects will be taught: â&#x20AC;˘ Carrying Capacity â&#x20AC;˘ Gas Conditioning â&#x20AC;˘ Culture Tank Design â&#x20AC;˘ Biofiltration â&#x20AC;˘ Solids Control â&#x20AC;˘ Fish Health/Biosecurity â&#x20AC;˘ Ozonation and UV â&#x20AC;˘ System Maintenance â&#x20AC;˘ Design Case Studies: Partial Reuse & FullyRecycle Systems

a blue revolution to feed the world B 6N  ' * " ' . !  ' % % . LDGA9IG69:8:CI:GÂ&#x2122;K:G68GJO!B:M>8D

LOCATION The Atlantic Oakes Resort & Conference Center 119 Eden Street Bar Harbor, ME 04609 USA


INSTRUCTORS Steven T. Summerfelt, Ph.D., P.E., Director of Aquaculture Systems Research

6HHD8>6I:HEDCHDGH 6FJ67>DÂ&#x2122;6fjVXjaijgZ:c\^cZZg^c\HdX^ZinÂ&#x2122;8daZ\^d9ZEdh\gVYjVYdh#8VbejhKZgVXgjo >chi^^ijidKZgVXgjoVcdEVgV:a9ZhVggdaadGjgVa>CK:9:GÂ&#x2122;>ciZgcVi^dcVa6hhdX^Vi^dcd[6fjVXjaijgZ:Xdcdb^XhBVcV\ZbZci HZXgZiVg^V9Z9ZhVggdaadGjgVa!EZhXVN6XjVXjaijgVH:96GE6Â&#x2122;HZXgZiVg^V9Z:Xdcdb^V9Za:hiVYd9ZKZgVXgjo8db^h^dcKZgVXgjoVcd9ZAV 8dbZgX^Va^oVX^dc6\gdeZXjVg^V8DK:86Â&#x2122;8dchZ_d9Z9ZhVggdaad9ZaEVeVadVeVc8D9:E6Â&#x2122;;jcYVX^dcEgdYjXZKZgVXgjo;JCEGDK:G H^hiZbVEgdYjXidI^aVe^VKZgVXgjoÂ&#x2122;CVi^dcVa6fjVXjaijgZ6hhdX^Vi^dcd[<jnVcVÂ&#x2122;6hdX^VX^dcCVX^dcVa9ZEgdkZZYdgZh9ZAVgkVh9Z8VbVgdc6CEA68 ;jcYVÂ d>chi^ijidYZEZhXVYd:hiVYdYdG^dYZ?VcZ^gd;>E:G?Â&#x2122;8ZcigdYZ>ckZhi^\VX^dcZh7^daÂ&#x2039;\^XVhYZaCdgdZhiZ!H#8#8>7CDG 8dchZ_dCVX^dcVaYZ8^ZcX^VnIZXcdad\Â&#x2020;V8DC68NIÂ&#x2122;>chi^ijidEda^iÂ&#x201A;Xc^XdCVX^dcVa>ECÂ&#x2122;Jc^kZgh^YVYCVX^dcVa6jiÂ&#x2039;cdbVYZBÂ&#x201A;m^XdJC6B 8Zcigd>ciZgY^hX^ea^cVg^dYZ8^ZcX^VhBVg^cVh8>8>B6GÂ&#x2122;Jc^kZgh^YVY6jiÂ&#x2039;cdbVYZ7V_V8Va^[dgc^VHjgJ678H Jc^kZgh^YVY?j{gZo6jiÂ&#x2039;cdbVYZIVWVhXdJ?6IÂ&#x2122;Jc^kZgh^YVY6jiÂ&#x2039;cdbVYZCjZkdAZÂ&#x2039;cJ6CAÂ&#x2122;HZXgZiVgÂ&#x2020;VYZ:YjXVX^Â&#x2039;cEÂ?Wa^XVH:E 6hdX^VX^Â&#x2039;cCVX^dcVaYZEgdYjXidgZhYZEdhiaVgkVhYZ8VbVgÂ&#x2039;c6CEA68Â&#x2122;8db^iÂ&#x201A;YZHVc^YVY6XjÂ&#x2020;XdaVYZa:hiVYdYZHdcdgV8DH6:H 8db^iÂ&#x201A;:hiViVaYZHVc^YVY6XjÂ&#x2020;XdaVYZH^cVadV8:H6H>CÂ&#x2122;8ddeZgVi^kVGZ\^dcVaYZE^hX^XjaidgZhZGVc^XjaidgZhYdKVaZYdBVXVXj8DDE:G8G6BB6

Brian J. Vinci, Ph.D., P.E., Director of Engineering Services Christopher M. Good, D.V.M., Ph.D., Aquaculture Veterinarian REGISTRATION Deadline: May 1, 2009 (limited enrollment) Tuition: $850 ($950 after May 1) Visit

FOR MORE INFORMATION contact: Margarita Carey, (304) 876-7924, mcarey@conservationfund. org

For More Information Contact: Conference Manager â&#x20AC;˘ P.O. Box 2302 â&#x20AC;˘ Valley Center, CA 92082 USA Tel: +1.760.751.5005 â&#x20AC;˘ Fax: +1.760.751.5003 Email: â&#x20AC;˘

February 15-18, 2009


Washington State Convention Center

For your own subscription to Hatchery International complete form and fax it back to +1.250.478.3979



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International Association of Aquaculture Economics and Management Latin American Chapter WAS National Aquaculture Council Striped Bass Growers Association US Shrimp Farming Association US Trout Farmers Association

For More Information Contact: Conference Manager: P.O. Box 2302 â&#x20AC;˘ Valley Center, CA 92082 USA Tel: +1.760.751.5005 â&#x20AC;˘ Fax: +1.760.751.5003 Email: â&#x20AC;˘

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JANU ARY/ F E BR U ARY 2009 >> 45

perfection is a generous attention to detail

finest hatchery feeds

BernAqua NV Hagelberg 3 B-2250 Olen Belgium T +32 14 282520 F +32 14 282529

Member of the Evialis group

46 >> JA N U A RY /FEB R U A RY 2 0 0 9

EVENTS 2009 J anuar y 2 0 0 9 Indaqua 2009, January 21-23, Bhubaneswar, India, 1st International Congress on Aquatic Animal Health Mgmt. January 27-28, Tehran, Iran



Catchy slogan, simple system the brainchild of California aquaponics entrepreneurs Backyard production unit grows fish and veggies under one small roof


By Quentin Dodd

Seafood Summit 2009 Hilton San Diego Resort, 
San Diego, California 
February 1-3,

ish don’t fart. It’s a catchy phrase, and it’s also a truism which a pair of Californian entrepreneurs are successfully using as a slogan to help boost an alreadygrowing interest in their indoor, self-contained aquaponics units. The simple systems are designed for growing warm-water species such as tilapia and an accompanying multitude of different vegetables. Colle Davis and – to a lesser extent – his wife Phyllis love to point out that the attention-grabbing phrase derives from one of the concerns about ruminant food animals such as cows: which do indeed fart. And the emissions contribute large quantities of methane gas to the global climatechange mix, especially in cattle-rich countries such as the United States. Where the Davises feel their aquaponics (fish-and-vegetable growing) systems have a big advantage over similar ones is that Davis discovered a top-secret “weapon” which was the key to success as far as he was concerned: a special type of patented pump. Davis, who admits to having worked on the system for some 36 years before launching the Portable Farms™ Ltd. company and trademark last summer, said nearly all those years were spent trying to get past one big stumbling block: Every one of the small pumps he tried for the waterrecirculating system would eventually

Aquaculture America 2009 February 15 - 18, Seattle, Washington,

MARCH AquaVIV Asia 2009 March 11-13, BITEC, Bangkok. International Boston Seafood Show March 15-17, Boston, MA, National Shellfisheries Association Meeting March 22-26, Savannah, GA, Aquaculture Insurance & Risk Mgmt. Conference March 26-27, Dubrovnik, Croatia, www.conference. Fishing & Aquaculture Exhibition – Middle East March 30-April 1, Dubai World Trade Centre, Dubai, UAE

APRIL Scottish Aquaculture - A Sustainable Future
 April 21-22, The Edinburgh Conference Centre                   Heriot-Watt University, European Seafood Exposition, April 28-30, Brussels, Belgium,

M AY Aquaculture Canada 2009 May 10-13, Nanaimo, Canada, Aquarama 2009 May 28-31, Singapore, World Aquaculture 2009 May 25-29, Veracruz, Mexico,


clog with solids such as fish waste, and then simply and unexpectedly burn out. Now, said Davis, he’s discovered a patented pump that doesn’t clog and burn out, and also allows the warmwater fish to be lifted out and the tank easily cleaned of any accumulated solids. The pump’s’ manufacturer reportedly only sells to the Davises and one other unidentified company. As with other aquaponics programs, said Davis, the objective of the integrated, recirculating system is to grow vegetable-eating warm-water species such as catfish and tilapia in a closed-circuit system which uses the nutrient-rich outflow water from the fish tank, to grow herbs and vegetables. Davis said he began working on the puzzle of designing a highefficiency aquaponics systems because he wants to help under-nourished people in developing areas of the world, many of whom suffer from severe health problems and ProteinEnergy Malnutrition (PEM) which could be cured by eating more fish. The Davises’ Portable Farms™ system kits are so compact that the smallest one can be fitted into a small backyard greenhouse measuring just six by eight feet. That will grow, says Davis, about 100 pounds of fish a year. The kit comes with an initial supply of 50 three-quarter-inch fish for growout – and some 400 plants such as lettuce, peppers, herbs,

May 10-13, 2009



ILDEX India 2009 July 2-4, Pragati Maidan, New Delhi, India,

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Genomics in Aquaculture Bodo, Norway, July 5-7,

Keynote Speaker: Dr. Barry Costa-Pierce, University of Rhode Island Making Aquaculture Part of Our Culture: Aquatic Foods and the Localvore

33 Annual Larval Fish Conference July 22-27, Portland, Oregon, rd


Plenary Speakers: Dr. Richard Beamish, Fisheries and Oceans Canada The Importance of Aquaculture and Hatcheries to Fisheries in British Columbia as our Climate Changes

Aquaculture Europe ’09, August 14-17, Trondheim, Norway, Aqua Nor 2009, August 18-21,Trondheim, Norway, American Fisheries Society AGM August 30-September 3, Nashville, Tennessee,


26th Annual Meeting of the AAC 26e Réunion Annuelle de l’AAC Partners:

Mr. Tim Davies, Redcorp Ventures Ltd. Navigating Sustainable Development

General information/ Renseignements généraux: Conference Coordinator: Joanne Burry Tel: 709-437-7365 Email:

Second International Workshop on Biology of Fish Gametes, September 9-11th, Valencia, Spain.

DECEMBER Northwest Fishculture Conference, Dec. 1-3, California

tomatoes, strawberries or peas, and/ or bunches of colourful flowers such as roses. The vegetables can start to be harvested within about 30 days. The “medium-sized” kit, which seems to be the most popular and measures 10 by 20ft, comes with initial feed supply for the baby fish. It grows a stock of some 200 based on the company ratio of one gallon of water for each fish. The largest of the Portable Farms™ is 20 by 30 feet and is designed more for commercial production of both fish and vegetables. What’s more, said Davis in a recent interview, the greenhouse systems can easily be solar-powered and fully automated, using minimal amounts of domestic water. The whole object, said Davis, is to be as environmentally-friendly and sustainable as possible, while supplying family, friends, neighbours and others suitable quantities of vegetables and nutritious protein – from fish that don’t fart and foul up the atmosphere. The smallest kit costs $1,999, with the medium-sized one at $2,999. Phyllis Davis said since the program was launched in June and started drawing some publicity, increasing numbers of people have been beating a path to their door in Escondido. So far, calls had come in from 110 countries, some from charitable social-aid programs; and the numbers are going up every day.

Canadian Aquaculture Industry Alliance

Sessions Planned: 1. Aquaculture Certification and Traceability – Global and Local Solutions 2. Fish Welfare 3. Application of Genome Science to Sustainable Aquaculture 4. First Nations’ Opportunities and Challenges in Aquaculture Development 5. Aquatic Invasive Species 6. Integrated Multi-Trophic Aquaculture 7. Alternative Finfish Aquaculture 8. Alternative Shellfish Aquaculture 9. Freshwater Aquaculture 10. Aquaculture Education and Training 11. The Human Dimensions of Aquaculture 12. Aquaculture Innovation and Market Access Program (AIMAP) Update 13. Ecosystem Approaches: Strategies, Tools and Techniques to Meet the Challenge of Sustainability A. Strategies for an EBA Approach B. Tools for an EBA Approach C. Techniques: the Nuts and Bolts for an EBA Approach 14. Environmental Interactions: New Perspectives A. New Perspectives on Predator Protection B. New Perspectives on Closed Containment C. New Perspectives on Sustainable Feeds D. New Perspectives on Sea Lice

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š Training of vaccination teams and production staff. š Data collection š Analysis/site assessments š Collecting field performance data š Cross protection studies/isolation and identification

ith W ood

E F I K ?  8 D < I @ : 8 1  ( $ / . .$ , + + $ +0 - -  ›  @ E K < I E 8K @ F E 8 C 1  " ( $ 0 ' )$ , - - $ +0 - -

Lifestage Diets for Fish速

Eastern US Sales & Distribution Facility in


Portland, Maine



Sales - West Coast Tel: 1.800.962.2001

Sales - East Coast Tel: 1.877.221.2429

Hatchery International Jan/Feb 2009