Friday, July 31, 2015

31/07/2015: Senate report on aquaculture calls for national database and transparency

Environmental groups are raising concerns about a new federal report on Canada’s $1 billion aquaculture industry, saying the study appears to be focused on ramping up production at the expense of the environment, as reported by Michael Macdonald from the Canadian Press.
A spokeswoman for the Atlantic Salmon Federation, which is opposed to the use of open-net pens in salmon farming, says the Senate report released Thursday calls for more research instead of tougher regulations and enforcement.

“We cannot wait years for research to give us the data and then have changes implemented,” Sue Scott said in an interview from St. Andrews, N.B.

“Research is important but we have known for about 15 years about the impact of (farmed salmon) escapees on wild Atlantic salmon. We’ve been out there with the data and it hasn’t made much of an impact on the government or the industry to improve operations.”

Scott said ocean-based salmon farms require more transparency and less self-regulation.

The Senate’s three-volume report offers 10 recommendations, including a call for a new federal Aquaculture Act and more research on finfish aquaculture and the impact of pesticides used on sea lice.
Photo by ©Julia Manzerova on Flickr
“The science is still lacking on a number of topics,” Sen. Elizabeth Hubley told a news conference in Ottawa.

“This is particularly so in relation to transfer of pathogens from aquacultured to wild salmon.”

The Senate’s standing committee on fisheries, which studied the industry for 18 months, is also calling for a national database that would offer the public access to information about every aquaculture operator in the country.

Read more HERE

The Aquaculturists
This blog is maintained by The Aquaculturists staff and is supported by the
magazine International Aquafeed which is published by
Perendale Publishers Ltd

For additional daily news from aquaculture around the world: aquaculture-news

31/07/2015: Wild salmon could be off the menu if ministers go ahead with proposed plans to ban coastal netting

Scotland’s salmon netters are nervously waiting to hear if ministers will impose a restriction on killing any salmon outside river estuaries, reports David Ross of the Scotland Herald.

The move is being considered in an attempt to assess wild salmon stocks and ensure European environmental directives are being observed.

After two centuries of netting round Scotland's coasts, those in the industry have expressed concern at the prospect of the move being more than a temporary measure to allow accurate information to be gathered on salmon numbers. 
They also argue it would affect the ability of the public to buy wild salmon as it is illegal to sell any caught by a rod. Farmed salmon would be the only other option.

The company which will be most affected is Scotland’s largest netting operation, the Scottish Wild Salmon Company, also known as Usan Salmon Fisheries of Montrose.

Usan director George Pullar said prohibitions of netting outside river estuaries would effectively end his company’s operation right up the east coast and round to Thurso.

“It will mean that if this comes into force the only way most will be able to pay for wild salmon will be if they pay for a day’s fishing on a river," he said.

"There will still be little netting in estuaries and there will still be activity in England, but there will be very little access to wild salmon for Scottish consumers.”

Angling interests, however, have welcomed the prospect of such a restriction.

Writing in The Herald today, Richard Lochhead, Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs, Food and Environment, says any prohibition on killing salmon outside river estuaries would only be in force until the true state of wild salmon stock had become clear.

Interested parties have been given 28 days to raise objections to the move and have until August 19 to do so.

Mr Pullar said the reduction in potential access to Scottish wild salmon would come despite the fact that for the past two and a half years the product has been protected by the European Commission, in the same way as Parma ham, Melton Mowbray pork pies and champagne.

The fish was granted protected geographical indication (PGI) status, meaning it has a particular quality attributable to its place of origin. It meant salmon caught in other countries could not be packaged, sold or advertised as Scottish wild salmon.

Mr Pullar said that they had been told that if Mr Lochhead agrees to the prohibition, it would be temporary. There would also be fair compensation given they have the heritable rights to net and are not selling them.

He said: “What can we do? It is about the EU, which seems to protect us with one hand then restricts us with the other. But we very much want to work with the Scottish Government to modernise the legislation.”

Others hope any prohibition will be for a longer term. 

Hughie Campbell Adamson, Chairman of Salmon and Trout Association (Scotland), said recently: “The proposed banning of coastal salmon netting is a milestone – indeed the most significant change to the regulations on the exploitation of salmon in the last 200 years.”

One Highland hotelier, who preferred to remain anonymous, said that without the salmon caught by the netters, she would have to take wild salmon off her menu and serve farmed salmon. But added: "Mind you there are other people who catch salmon in nets, but rather unofficially." 

Read more HERE.

The Aquaculturists
This blog is maintained by The Aquaculturists staff and is supported by the
magazine International Aquafeed which is published by
Perendale Publishers Ltd

For additional daily news from aquaculture around the world: aquaculture-news

31/07/2015: Alltech to return to aquaculture event Aqua Nor

Global animal health and nutrition leader Alltech has announced that it will be returning to the international Aqua Nor event, August 18-21, 2015, in a press release received today.

As part of the Fiskeriforum Vest (Western Norway) stand, D-338, Alltech will partner with the newly acquired Produs Aqua AS to showcase its latest custom nutritional solutions and services. The Aqua Nor event is held biennially in Trondheim, and attracts between 15,000-20,000 visitors from more than 50 countries around the globe.

“Aqua Nor provides us the opportunity to further establish our presence in Norway following our acquisition of Produs AS and Produs Aqua AS,” said Patrick Charlton, Alltech European vice president. 

“Alltech’s new business base in Norway will build on the growth already gained in the market with Produs Aqua. We see tremendous opportunity for ongoing innovation in the farmed fish feed business, and Aqua Nor will provide us with the perfect platform to meet many of Norway’s important aquaculture players.”

The Aqua Nor event is significant for Alltech as it will be the first time whereby Alltech and Produs Aqua will showcase post the acquisition announcement together. Alltech will be represented by Mr Charlton; Jorge Arias, Alltech global aqua director; and Magne Kolstad, managing director, Alltech Norway (formerly Produs AS & Produs Aqua AS) along with a team of global and local scientists and nutritionists. Alltech encourages all interested parties to visit its team of experts at stand D-338.

Aqua Nor 2015 will host an estimated 400 exhibitors representing more than 600 manufacturers and suppliers from across the globe. Current challenges and developments in the fields of aquaculture technology, fish feed, fish health, quality assurance, environmental protection and distribution will be discussed by industry experts at the event, and Alltech will be there to provide solutions and address many of these key topics.

“While there is a sea of opportunities for the aqua industry to grow, we must also stay ahead of challenges such as wild stock overfishing, fish oil shortages and dead zones in the world’s oceans and lakes,” said Becky Timmons, global technical director of Alltech Algae.

Alltech’s solutions for aqua consist of natural, nutritional solutions tailored to address challenges impacting modern aquaculture production and profitability, providing customers with an advantage in the competitive marketplace.

“Aqua Nor is the perfect opportunity for Alltech to continue to actively expand its Norwegian operations in the agriculture and aqua industries. We aim to be the number one choice for Norway’s farmers, whether they are on land or at sea,” said Mr Charlton.

For more information on Alltech read HERE.

The Aquaculturists
This blog is maintained by The Aquaculturists staff and is supported by the
magazine International Aquafeed which is published by
Perendale Publishers Ltd

For additional daily news from aquaculture around the world: aquaculture-news

Thursday, July 30, 2015

30/07/2015: Cobia: The next big thing? Panama

First published in International Aquafeed, May-June 2015
You cannot mention cobia without involving the name of Brian O’Hanlon.

Some regard Brian O'Hanlon as an overnight success story with his Open Blue cobia from Panama hitting menus in the USA. Typically of such success stories, though, it has taken many long, hard years tackling obstacles head-on to achieve such ‘overnight’ status.

Originally from Long Island, O’Hanlon knew from an early stage in his life that he wanted to be in aquaculture. His father was wholesaling fish, the family had a long history in the industry and the business got into his blood. Even in the early stages of his career he was experimenting with a 2000-gallon tank in his parents' basement, endeavoring to grow red snapper.
Some 17 years ago O’Hanlon met up with Daniel Benetti from the University of Miami and managed to secure a position on one of Benetti’s courses. This helped focus his intentions, but many years of frustration due to prohibitive US regulations that made growth impossible ensured that he would have to work outside the USA if he was to achieve his dream.

It was not until 2009 that O’Hanlon finally moved to Panama where he acquired Pristine Oceans, another deep-ocean cobia farming venture, and created Open Blue. 

Benetti is a believer in cobia in that he has often said that they are as close to a perfect species as he has ever seen. This has been a long quest by Benetti and he has been the reason many people have got excited about this species.

Having finally started production in 2012, offshore cobia producer Open Blue has been ramping up its volumes and promoting and marketing the product since then and has been offering product every week of the year. From small beginnings, production is now very commercial, with one seafood wholesaler in New York reportedly selling fillets direct to the public at US$16.95 per pound.

Over the years O’Hanlon has always been strong about not being caught in the commodity business, so he has invested heavily in ensuring that his fish is getting to high-end markets. Logistically, harvesting is organised to link to air transport and ensuring that the quality is consistent.

To further add value, the group have recently completed a brand new hatchery in Panama and are hoping to expand production through value-adding in their new factory. Additionally, they have secured Global GAP certification, and are now considering ISO 90001 and BRC standards.

Open Blue is ambitious: the fish is farmed eight miles from the coast, in cages of 6,400 cubic meters. The cages are submerged 30 feet under the sea surface, and are each anchored to a submerged mooring grid with 40 anchors of 1.5 metric tons each. The anchors reach 220 feet deep. To alert boats of the cages’ presence, the buoys are fitted with lights and transponders which will alert any approaching ships. Each cage can take 50,000 fish, or 130-150t, creating a pen density of 20 kilos per cubic meter.

Benetti and O’Hanlon are to be congratulated for their work on cobia to date, and both of them would rather that they were able to do this in the USA, but due to regulations and bureaucracy this is not allowed. It is a dilemma facing many so-called developed countries, and whilst many of them talk the talk at various world conventions they have failed to see the opportunity that is being missed. So whilst mining and drilling are seemingly allowed carte blanche, opportunities in the quest for sustainable quality seafood are cast aside.
Benetti and many scientists have argued for the past several years that such open-ocean fish-farming is the environmentally sensitive way of saving the world's seafood demand, because from a food production angle it creates a higher yield with a lower impact.
Feed is an important research element as, like salmon, cobia are predators that need fishmeal in their diet and with cobia being big fish-eating fish there is a need to have a limited impact on the ecosystem. Benetti is experimenting with a fishmeal that is part soy mix part protein. A fact which is often forgotten when people complain about fish feed ratios is that it takes ten pounds of wild fish to produce a pound of large fish in nature, hence aquaculture is many times more sustainable than nature itself. 

This is why we are seeing feed organisations like the BioMar Group recently signing a Memorandum of Understanding with leading Chinese feed producer Tongwei Co. Ltd to establish a Joint Venture dedicated to producing and selling high performance feed for aquaculture in China. The product range for the new Joint Venture factory will include starter and grower feeds for marine and fresh water species such as sea bass, sea bream, cobia, turbot, bass, grouper, trout, sturgeon, tilapia, eel, and shrimp. 

The simple question that fish farmers will always ask is about the speed of turning their investment from an output of dollars to an input of dollars, and clearly if you were starting a fish farm and you could raise ten-pound fish in one year, or another fish species that takes two years to grow one pound, the decision is obvious.

Marketing is still the key as the fish is not well known but surely it is the dream of any good chef to find something that’s reliably sourced year-round and grows quickly and sustainably and tastes delicious! So hopefully it is just a timing issue before it becomes a staple in all restaurants.

One major word of caution - not every venture is going to be successful. In the USA a freshwater facility in Virginia which was producing farmed cobia had to close. Research efforts were not enough to enhance commercial aquaculture of freshwater cobia and demonstrate its technical and economic feasibility. The fish simply did not grow as fast as it should have and the partnership involved closed down the operations.

Read the magazine HERE.

The Aquaculturists
This blog is maintained by The Aquaculturists staff and is supported by the
magazine International Aquafeed which is published by
Perendale Publishers Ltd

For additional daily news from aquaculture around the world: aquaculture-news

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The Aquaculturists
This blog is maintained by The Aquaculturists staff and is supported by the
magazine International Aquafeed which is published by
Perendale Publishers Ltd

For additional daily news from aquaculture around the world: aquaculture-news

30/07/2015: School Food Standards prompt 18 percent increase in UK schools serving sustainable fish

One in six UK primary schools are now serving MSC certified sustainable fish to students according to a report published today by the Marine Stewardship Council. Over 500 schools have become MSC certified in the past year, an 18 percent increase in schools offering their pupils demonstrably sustainable fish. The MSC attributes the change to the new School Food Standards which came into force in January this year.

Henry Dimbleby, one of the authors of the School Food Standards said: “This report highlights the impact of the School Food Plan on the sourcing of fish in schools. It shows a strong start, though there is still a long way to go. Thousands more school pupils eating sustainable fish, supporting sustainable fishing and learning how to protect the marine environment: that’s a fantastic legacy to leave our children.“
 “The evidence is clear: eating fish, and particularly oily fish, is good for developing brains and bodies. But while feeding children well today, we also need to protect their future. That’s why we recommended sustainably-sourced, MSC certified fish...”

Toby Middleton, regional Program Director at the MSC said: “We’ve seen a significant increase in schools serving MSC certified fish and a renewed interest in oily fish. Under the School Food Standards, schools are required to serve oily fish every three weeks and they recommend MSC certified fish. With the Standards coming into force in January we’ve seen renewed commitments from LEAs and their suppliers coupled with a real shift in attitudes toward sustainable fish sourcing.”

Improvements from 2014
In the first MSC End of Term Report, in 2014, it was clear that there was a wide range in adoption of MSC labelled fish on school menus. The northern and midland LEAs performed particularly well, with the South East lagging behind and the South West performing poorly. In the 2015 report, the South East region has improved significantly adding 209 certified schools while Midlands LEAs have continued their drive for sustainable seafood sourcing with a further 164 schools joining their already high-performing area. The combined effect is a 33 percent increase in sales of MSC certified fish into the education sector suggesting that the increase in MSC certified schools is matched by a further increase in fish consumption.

Schools in Devon have also this year made the first steps towards progress in the South West. Despite being home to three MSC certified fisheries (for hake, sardines and mussels), the South West has had no MSC certified schools until late 2014. The newly certified schools are around Torbay in Devon.

Visit the MSC site HERE.

The Aquaculturists
This blog is maintained by The Aquaculturists staff and is supported by the
magazine International Aquafeed which is published by
Perendale Publishers Ltd

For additional daily news from aquaculture around the world: aquaculture-news

30/07/2015: Latest Industrial Auctions

11th of August: Online auction inventory (cooling, doors, hygiene equipment) former meat processor Verba Vlees BV in Scherpenzeel (NL)

Viewing day
10th of August
From 9:00 till 13:00 hrs
Holleweg 18
3925 LW Scherpenzeel (NL)

18th of August: Online auction food processing machinery, bakery and catering equipment in Oirschot (NL)

Viewing day
17th of August
From 9:00 till 17:00 hrs
De Stad 10
5688 NX Oirschot (NL)

26th of August: Online auction fish and meat processing machinery in Urk (NL)

Viewing day
25th of August
From 10:00 till 15:00 hrs
Hoornse Hop 6
8321 WX Urk (NL)

1st of September: Online auction machinery and inventory former meat processing factory in Gelsenkirchen (DE)

Viewing days
26th of August (From 9:00 till 16:00 hrs)
27th of August (From 9:00 till 13:00 hrs)
Moorkampstrasse 12
45883 Gelsenkirchen (DE)    

23rd of September: Online auction machinery and inventory for the fish processing industry due to outsourcing production Haasnoot Vis in Katwijk ZH (NL)

Viewing day
21st of September
From 9:00 till 15:00 hrs
Rijnlandkade 1
2222 AE Katwijk ZH (NL)

The Aquaculturists
This blog is maintained by The Aquaculturists staff and is supported by the
magazine International Aquafeed which is published by
Perendale Publishers Ltd

For additional daily news from aquaculture around the world: aquaculture-news