Sunday, September 30, 2012

Aquaculture view: Commercial aquaculture nutrition and commercial feed formulation

Aquaculture view

Aquaculture view is a column in each edition of International Aquafeed magazine (IAF), written by Dominique P Bureau.

Part of the IAF editorial panel, Dom has a PhD in Nutritional Sciences from the University of Guelph, Canada.

Today he teaches various undergraduate and graduate courses on animal nutrition and agriculture at the University of Guelph. Between 2007 and 2009, he coordinated the “Paris Semester”, a study abroad program for undergraduate students at the University of Guelph.

He serves on a number of international committees, including the US National Research Council Committee on Nutrient Requirements of Fish and Shrimp.

See all of the Aquaculture view columns here.

September - October 2012

Commercial aquaculture nutrition and commercial feed formulation

My favorite parts of scientific meetings or industry workshops are the coffee breaks! They are a great opportunity to interact with industry professionals and colleagues to discuss the different talks, exchange perspectives and gather information about emerging challenges.  As an academic, I love getting honest feedback from professionals working in the real world to help shape my research programme and keep it in tune with the needs of the industry.
I am very glad to have been approached by the editorial team of International Aquafeed to develop a column on ‘Commercial aquaculture nutrition and feed formulation’ for each issue of the magazine. The main goal of this column will be to briefly discuss nutritional and feed formulation issues of importance to aquaculture feed manufacturers and aquaculture producers and hopefully initiate an informal dialogue between academic researchers and industry professionals. 
I will attempt to bring insights acquired through working at the interface of academic and commercial aquaculture nutrition and feed formulation for several years.  There will be no promotion of products (isn't there enough of that already?).  Instead, this column will focus on concepts, recent progress, potential solutions, and the gaps in our knowledge and R&D needs.
Please don't hesitate to send me ideas, suggestions, and questions that may help keep this column factual, informative and relevant to the needs of the aquaculture and feed industries.
Dom Bureau

Rethinking fishmeal and fish oil replacement terminology and R&D efforts
High and rising fishmeal and fish oil prices represent significant challenges for aquaculture feed manufacturers and have a sizeable impact on the production costs of many aquaculture products. Larger and highly specialised aquaculture feed manufacturers may have the R&D capabilities to address this challenge but smaller ones or those working on a variety of species and production environments mainly rely on scientific and technical literature and focused R&D efforts. 

Fishmeal and fish oil replacement in aquaculture feeds has been the focus of thousands of scientific studies and hundreds of papers have been published on this issue over the past four decades. Despite these decades of intensive research effort, both fishmeal and fish oil remain very important, quasi essential, components of most commercial aquaculture feeds.  It is my belief that the state-of-the-art is less advanced than it should be and than what required by the aquaculture feed industry.

It is unfortunate that the results of a large proportion of the studies are very difficult to translate into practical solutions in the field. How meaningful is knowing that ‘a protein source can replace 50 percent of the fish meal of the diet’ if the experimental feeds contained at least 25 percent fishmeal whereas most commercial feeds now contain lower levels that this? A certain degree of fishmeal replacement (50 or 75% fish meal replacement) is absolutely meaningless without knowing the level of fishmeal in the control diet, the quality of the fish meal being replaced and careful characterisation of the nutritional composition and digestibility of nutrients in the ‘alternative’ ingredient studied.  Moreover, feed formulation relies on a combination of numerous complementary ingredients (nutrient sources) and as such, the fishmeal replacement of a given protein source alone is largely irrelevant.

Aquaculture nutrition researchers often tend to forget that ‘fishmeal (and fish oil) replacement’ is not a true ‘parameter’ in itself.  Ideally, this type of antiquated terminology should be abandoned. R&D efforts should ideally be a lot more pragmatic and focus on ‘what the animal requires’ and ‘how can we cost-effectively and safely meet the requirements of the animals’. Progress is therefore highly dependent on a ‘balanced’ understanding of the nutritional requirements of the animals and nutritive value and limitations of different feed ingredients and feed additives available on the market. 

Increasing collaboration between feed manufacturers, ingredient suppliers, fish producers, and research organisations has been instrumental in improving the quality and relevance of fish nutrition research in the past few decades.

Many aquaculture feed manufacturers are investing heavily in R&D activities and have established their own research facilities to test their commercial feed formulations, determine the effect of feed composition/nutritional specifications and feed ingredients on growth and feed efficiency of animals grown under commercial-like conditions. This has probably resulted in improvement of the cost-effectiveness of the feeds available to aquaculture producers. However, limited amount of information from these efforts trickles down to the global aquaculture nutrition community since the information generated is generally proprietary and is closely guarded from public disclosure for competitive advantage.

Nonetheless, a healthy, arm-length, relationship with different industry stakeholders can truly help commercial relevance of academic research efforts in aquaculture nutrition and help this field meaningfully progress to address current and future challenges, including those related to fishmeal and fish oil replacement.

Francisco Saraiva Gomes, Aquaculture Business Unit, Novus International

Francisco Saraiva Gomes leads Aquaculture Business Unit at Novus International. After graduating in Marine Biology in Lisbon, he obtained his doctoral degree at Auburn University, USA and has worked in several positions related to aquaculture and marine biotechnology.
Novus specialises in health and nutrition micro ingredients and functional technologies including antioxidants, amino acids, enzymes, probiotics, prebiotics and mycotoxin binders. The company focuses in four main platforms: Performance Nutrition; Therapeutic Nutrition; Feed Quality and; Consumer Values.

This interview appeared in the July August 2012 edition of International Aquafeed magazine

Why is the aqua market so important in the Novus Strategy?

Last year I had the privilege to address the plenary of the world aquaculture society in Natal, Brazil. There I expressed my view that the aquaculture forecasts are an underestimate. Currently, aquaculture is predicted to increase to 220 mmt of production by 2050, from our current 60 something level today.
These estimates fail to incorporate technology development. Actually they assume that the gains in efficiency in aquaculture will continue to occur at a slower rate than in more sophisticated industries such as poultry. This is a mistake, because aquaculture’s efficiency is increasing every day.
Moreover, it is inaccurate to assume that aquaculture is comparable to poultry; aquaculture is a new platform for human development. Its applications go way beyond meat production per se. Algae is a good example. Algae culture is in many ways a spinoff of highly tech aquaculture sectors. If agriculture is the platform of land, aquaculture is the platform of water and it is essential for mankind to steer this new platform to fundamental sustainability, socially, environmentally and economically.
Aqua is important for Novus simply because we recognise how important it will be to feed the world.

What are the two majors issues Aquaculture is facing in the horizon 2050?

Sustainable nutrition will be a key issue affecting the development of the industry as a whole. To produce all this biomass we need to devise a sustainable sourcing for the raw materials that will be used for feed.
The fishmeal an oil dependency is perhaps the most significant issue, but surely not the only one. We must not be deaf to the criticism invoked about transferring millions of mt of soy produced on land onto the water. Soy is certainly a solution but will it be the only solution in the long term.
Alternative proteins must be investigated and algae, single cell protein or insect protein are no longer the science fiction cases they were 10 years ago. Not only, that but it seems more and more likely that feeds will be the preponderant vehicle to prevent disease in aquaculture.
Without proper health management, there will be no industry. The importance of feed also relates to species and culture systems. We need to learn more about the nutritional requirements of our animals so that we can design feeds that are more efficient, so that they are better absorbed. Conversion of feed is something so paramount to the industry that it affects everything from offshore licensing, to design of recirculated systems, to financial profitability and so on.
Offshore farming is perhaps the other big topic. The potential of the oceans to provide us with food is enormous. I’m convinced that the sustainability of the human species depends on farming the oceans. But the oceans are an extremely sensitive ecological compartment of the planet. We now know that in spite of the gigantic size of the oceans, we have actually been able to change their chemical properties as whole! This is by all measures an incredible fact.
So now we know how destructive we can really get if we do not pay attention. Should that prevent us from moving forward? I believe it should not. The only real alternative we have is not whether we should farm the oceans but how do we farm the oceans.
And there again, feeds and sustainable nutrition will have a major role. Salmon farming is the largest marine cage industry in the world. The two main environmental criticisms are one related with feed waste accumulating in the bottom of the oceans and the other related with biosecurity. Aqua feeds are definitely the solution for the first and a major supporting pillar for the second.
Sometimes the industry still falls on the trap of defending its sustainability by engaging in the argument “what we’re doing is the best alternative available so…?”. Actually, the world does not want to hear that, we are expected to give not the best available but the sustainable one. And if none of what we are using is the sustainable strategy, then we must recognise that somewhere in the world there will be growing voices of dissatisfaction.

What role does Novus intend to play in the aquaculture strategy horizon 2050?

Our goal is to be the referential provider of health and nutrition technologies in the industry. Size, revenue and profit all matter of course and we do have ambitious goals well before 2050. But I believe our legacy will be complete if in 2050, we could be recognised as one of the silent partners of a truly sustainable industry that in the space of a century went from virtually nothing, to the largest provider of animal protein in the world.

Can you elaborate on the role of Novus in aquaculture as a water platform?

Our role covers the entire value chain of aquaculture production from raw materials to harvest. Within that value chain, we focus on five key platforms: Feed Cost Reduction, Functional Feeds, Health through Nutrition, Optimised Raw Materials and Sustainable Practices. We do not provide the feed, the same way we do not provide raw materials or the culture systems. What we do is to optimise such raw materials or processes. This role allows us to be at the cornerstone of the development of the industry.

This year Novus is actively participating to the 2012 BioMarine summit in London. What do you expect or what do you see as a practical outcome for your aquaculture Think-tank?

I would like us to come out of that session with a structured document. One that could be published as a three to five year roadmap and could be considered as an agenda for a more in depth debate and discussion on how to drive marine aquaculture towards sustainability.

Friday, September 28, 2012

28/09/12: Turkish fish exports; indoor aquaculture; abalone trafficking

  • Turkish fish exports to the USA were up 88 percent in the period January-August 2012, compared to the same time last year.  Read more...
  • An indoor aquaculture facility with the capability to produce 17 million pounds of fish a year could be coming to Montgomery County, New York State, USA.  If given the go-ahead, 'Project Aqua' would create 175 jobs and receive more than $175 million in initial private investment.  Read more...
  • An abalone trafficker in New South Wales, Australia has landed the toughest sentence in the state's history for fisheries offences.  The 55-year-old man was sentenced to four years in jail and a AU$1000 fines after being convicted on four counts of abalone trafficking and one count of threatening an fisheries officer.  Read more...

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English: Blacklip abalone ( Haliotis rubra ), ...
English: Blacklip abalone ( Haliotis rubra ), still alive, harvested from the south coast of New South Wales (NSW), Australia. Scale: shell length = 12.3 cm. Due to over-harvesting, abalone are subject to a strict bag limit of two in NSW (with a fishing licence), and may only be taken if over 11.7 cm. Français : Ormeaux (Haliotis rubra) (Hauteur = 12.3 cm) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Video II: Commercial catfish farm

Check out this video of a commercial catfish farm in Malaysia.  The noise when the fish break the water is incredible.

Video: Catfish farm

For the Friday video this week we're off to a catfish farm.  This very relaxing video documents the journey from fingerling to full size fish over the course of four months.

Event: Seafood Barcelona

Visit the GLOBALG.A.P. Booth at Seafood Barcelona, October 15-17, 2012, Hall 1- Booth No 2021
Stop by and get latest information on the GLOBALG.A.P. Aquaculture Standard. The GLOBALG.A.P. Aquaculture Standard sets criteria for legal compliance, food safety, animal and workers' welfare as well as environmental and ecological care.
The current Version 4 is the result of four years of research and consultation. Throughout the four-year period, feedback from 500 stakeholders worldwide was obtained, making the standard focused on consumers’ needs yet achievable on the farm. 
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Barcelona visto desde el Parc Güell
Barcelona visto desde el Parc Güell (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Thursday, September 27, 2012

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Event: 5th Algae World

Join the 5th Algae World Asia, November 7-9, 2012, Singapore

Press release:

5th Algae World Asia is devoted to analysing the latest development in algae technology, advancements in research, commercialisation solutions and much more.
For starters, at this conference in Singapore, you'll meet and learn from Assoc Prof. Lee Yuan Kun of Department of Microbiology, National University of Singapore (NUS) as he presents session on "Bottleneck in Outdoors Photosynthetic Productivity: Why is Algal Production Expensive, the Way Forward". You'll also hear Shilpa Ramani, scientist and global project leader, Novozymes South Asia Pvt Ltd deliver a paper entitled "Enzymatic Technology to Produce Fuel Ethanol, Fine Chemicals, and Protein from Seaweed".
Algae World Asia 2012

Next, given that the industry is marking milestones with the development and commercialisation of algae-derived products, particularly in the Asia Pacific region where the diverse market is growing immensely, we have lined-up these top experts and their sessions on high value added ingredients from algae:
  • Commercialisation of Algae Derived EPA rich Omega 3 Oil
    Mr. Matthew Caspari, Founder & Managing Director Australia
    Aurora Algae Pty Ltd.
  • Commercial production of Astaxanthin by large scale cultivation of Haematococcus pluvialis - Prospects and Concern
  • Cultivation and production process adopted by leading
    producers - both open raceways and closed systems;
    problems faced in both systems
  • Research & Developmental work in astaxanthin production,
    processing and its applications
    Dr. Sebastian Thomas, Technical Advisor
    Parry Nutraceuticals

    View more details in the Conference Schedule

    And if you're seeking an in-depth course on producing High Value Products from Algae, do sign up for the separately bookable "Algae Harvesting & Extraction of Bio-Compounds for Production of High Value Ingredients" workshop led by Dr. Chen Shulin, Professor, Department of Biological Systems Engineering, Washington State University on 7 November 2012 from 14.00 - 17.30 hrs.
  • Register your team now to benefit from the above and much more! In short, this summit is an excellent opportunity to
  • Receive a broad perspective of Asia's Algae sector
  • Learn the views of the Algae experts
  • Engage in key business networking sessions

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27/09/12: Ocean acidification; Ethoxyquin; shrimp exports

  • NOAA grants $1.6 million to study the effects of ocean acidification on commercial fisheries.  Ocean acidification occurs when the sea absorbs carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.  Ocean acidification can affect the growth of shells and skeletons on species including scallops and coral. Three new research projects will receive funding to examine the effects of ocean acidification on fisheries, and the coastal economies that depend upon them.  Read more...
  • Earlier this week reported that Japan may stop importing shrimp for Vietnam due to its strict Ethoxyquin rules.  Today we learnt that Japan has refused to import shrimp from the Odisha region of India for the past two months for the same reason.  This is obviously having a dramatic impact on the farmers who export 60 percent of their shrimp to Japan.  Read more... 
  • However, things aren't all doom and gloom for the Vietnamese shrimp farming industry: Shrimp exports are predicted to total $2.5 billion in 2012.  Read more...
English: Traditional shrimp curry as prepared ...
English: Traditional shrimp curry as prepared in Benagli Cuisine (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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BioMar is ready with feed to combat deformities in fish larvae and fry

BioMar announces the eminent launch of the first feed range with a probiotic bacteria approved for use in all fish species in the European Union. The most significant benefit of the new LARVIVA products with probiotics will be a reduction in the occurrence of deformities in fish larvae and fry.
Just a few days after the European Food Safety Authority published the approval of the use of the probiotic bacteria strain Pediococcus acidilactici MA18/5M in feed for all fish species, the fish feed supplier BioMar is now ready with a new product range, LARVIVA Pro, which will include this revolutionary innovation.

“The effect of this probiotic strain on deformities in fish larvae and fry is now well- documented, and we are very pleased to be the first, who can launch a feed, which will have such a big impact on the production economy in the hatcheries”, says Michel Autin, Technical Director from BioMar.

LARVIVA ProStart is the first feed in the new product range. It is an agglomerated early weaning diet, which can partly substitute artemia, but equally important it has proved to be the most efficient way to deliver the probiotic bacteria to the gut of the fish. In the fish gut the probiotic bacteria has a beneficial impact stabilising the gut flora and it prevents the development of an inflammation, which has been identified as the cause of the costly spinal deformities. At the same time the presence of the probiotic bacteria improves mineral uptake in the early life stages and the final result is a higher share of well conformed fish.

Michel Autin (left), Technical Director for BioMar West Med with Mathieu Castex, Product Manager at Lallemand SAS presented the results of the research leading to the approval of Bactocell at the AQUA 2012 in Prague

P.acidilactici MA18/5M, which is also known under the commercial name Bactocell®, is not unknown to hatcheries across the world. Many hatcheries have actually used the same bacterial strain in the rearing water in the production of rotifers and artemia, primarily to stabilise the culture. However, when applied in this way only a minor amount of the beneficial bacteria seems to end in the fish gut. With LARVIVA ProStart it is easier to secure that the larvae receives a sufficient amount of the probiotic bacteria.

“Part of the research work which led to the favourable EFSA-opinion for P. Acidilactici MA18/5M was done using trial versions of the new LARVIVA products with probiotics. We have in these trials obtained an excellent documentation for the performance and especially we have very good results regards to the effect of the feed on the occurrence of deformities in fish larvae and fry”, says Michel Autin. He explains that depending on the general rearing conditions and the protocol used, the reduction in deformities has been up to 50 %.

For those farmers who already have a relatively low occurrence of deformities this might actually mean that they can drop the labour consuming and costly hand sorting of the fry – and for all hatcheries it will mean a reduction in the share of discarded fish and therefore an improved production economy. On top this Michel Autin mentions improved fish welfare as a side benefit, which of course is difficult to quantify in economic terms, but nevertheless contributes to a more sustainable aquaculture production.

Michel Autin explains that in order to get the full benefit from the inclusion of probiotic bacteria on deformities, it is important to start from first feeding with a feed with probiotics and to continue throughout the initial growth stages. BioMar is now able to propose a full feed programme with probiotics for hatcheries including in addition to LARVIVA ProStart, the weaning diet, LARVIVA ProWean, and the classic INICIO Plus fry feed. A version of INICIO Plus with probiotics has actually been sold with great success since 2009, but so far that feed was only approved for use in salmon and trout – now BioMar will make it available to all customers.

BioMar expects the addition of probiotics and the improved recipes of the early weaning and weaning diets will become an immediate success as the market demand is there. “We are in the fantastic situation that our production capacity for the LARVIVA ProStart range for the coming months is almost fully booked with pre-orders from customers, who have participated in the trial activities. They have quickly realised that the saving potential is tremendous”, says Michel Autin. BioMar estimates that the lost income and production losses related to deformities to be at least 20 mio EUR per year alone in the Mediterranean area.

In a final comment Michel Autin notes that the scientific evaluation from the EFSA’s panel validated the efficacy of P. acidilactici MA18/5M for all fish species. This means that the effect is evaluated to be generic across fish species. “We have together with the producer of Bactocell, Lallemand SAS, customers, and research centres tested it with Mediterranean fish species, but the results fit perfectly with the results obtained in trout and salmon as well as trials with tilapia, so this is really a breakthrough innovation not only for European fish farming.”

While the P. acidilactici MA18/5M is approved for its documented effect on deformities several research projects continue to investigate other benefits of the use of probiotics in fish feed including a possible effect on the immune response. 

More information...

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Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Join International Aquafeed at ISRMAX India 2012


IAI AquaCulture Expo 2012.  The events is a global exhibition and conference on the aquaculture and fishing industry.  IAI AquaCulture Expo invites exhibitors from all over the world to launch, exhibit, and promote new products and services from aquaculture and fishing industry. 

We provide a platform for corporate, institutions, organisation, individuals to showcase their products or services from the fields of aquaculture technology, fish feed, fish health, quality assurance, training, funding, fish farmer networks, grading, equipment, storage, processing, packaging, environmental protection, distribution, consultancy, insurance and much more.

The dome of the Jama Masjid.
The dome of the Jama Masjid. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

26/09/12: Salmon special

Another salmon special today.
  • Scottish scientists are close to finding the gene which could create 'perfect' salmon.  Experts at Landcatch Natural Selection, Argyll, Scotland hope to be the first in the world to pin down the gene that determines how susceptible individual Atlantic salmon are to certain diseases.  Read more...
  • Nofima, Norway is currently studying how the genes and feeding can influence how salmon convert short omega-3 fatty acids into long ones.  Omega-3 acids are essential for human health so salmon with the ability to produce high levels of omega-3 are valuable to aquaculture.  Read more...
  • Aquaculture Awareness Week in Campbell River, Canada has been hailed an success by organisers.  Events included a fish farm tour and a dinner.  Read more...
Look out for the salmon expert topic in the November/December 2012 issue of International Aquafeed magazine which includes a talk with Mary Ellen Walling of the BC Salmon Farmers Association.
Salmon eggs in different stages of development...
Salmon eggs in different stages of development. In some only a few cells grow on top of the yolk, in the lower right the blood vessels surround the yolk and in the upper left the black eyes are visible, even the little lens. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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Tuesday, September 25, 2012

25/09/12: ISA research; Ethoxyquin; Linde Gases

  • ISA virus infects salmon from within according to new research.  The study, conducted by the Norwegian Veterinary Institute and the Norwegian School of Veterinary Science, found that the relationship between disease and host is crucial to understanding how the virus turns into an infection in salmon.  Read more...
  • Ethoxyquin content may keep Vietnamese shrimp outside of Japan.  For shrimp to enter the country, the level of Ethoxyquin, an antioxidant used in animal feed, must be lower than 0.01 ppm.  The Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers has responded by saying it is unreasonable to require such a low Ethoxyquin content. In most of the countries, the allowed Ethoxyquin content levels are between 75 and 150 ppm. Japan is the biggest importer of Vietnamese shrimp so the decision could have large financial implications.  Read more...
  • Linde Gases, a division of The Linde Group, has announced the opening of their state-of-the-art Innovation Centre for Aquaculture, a pioneering R&D and testing unit located at Ålesund in Norway. The centre was formally opened by Norway's Vice Minister of the Ministry of Fisheries and Coastal Affairs, Kristine Gramstad, at an inauguration ceremony on September 20, 2012.  More information...
shrimp-heads-dau-tom (Photo credit: Phú Thịnh Co)

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VIV China contractor calls time early

VIV China 2012 an overall success but disappointment as contractor calls time early.

The most successful VIV China exhibition yet, came to an early close when the contractor to the VNU organisers decided to begin removing equipment prior to noon on the third and final day of the show - despite the organisers strenuous efforts to the contrary.

Business was still being done when chairs and tables were being removed from stands, corridor carpets coming up and the electricity being shut off by contractor Dragon Link. Exhibitors had to scramble to protect their exhibits and visitors had to negotiate hazards in order to continue.

"We're a lighting company," said one European exhibitor. "There's not much we can do when there's no power!"

Other exhibitors were also unimpressed claiming that the show was for three days and the last day was important to them. However, one Chinese exhibitor told The Global Miller that it was the exhibitor's prerogative how long to stay, but to pull up the carpet and force exhibitors to leave was not acceptable.
VIV exhibitor Produmix, in Hall W2 at Beijing's New Exhibition Centre, tries to carry on business as usual at midday of the least day of the show as carpets and stand equipment disappear around them

Mr Yao Jian Ping of a Guangzhou company called Wangchuan Xuwu, and a Chinese visitor to the show on the last day, also expressed reservations. "Its a pity it's closing early," he said through an interpreter.

"It's quite disappointing but quite common in China and this is better than what happens at most shows," he said as carpet disappeared behind him. "

VNU, the organisers of the event, did their best to delay the contractor's actions but could not stop the breakup. They told The Aquaculturists that this was the most successful of all VIV China exhibitions held to date with between 12,000 and 14,000 visitors in total and over 400 companies exhibiting. While 2008 was considered the most successful, this was looking to exceed that although final figures would not be available for some time.

Other exhibitors told The Aquaculturists they had experienced a good response and had done good business.

Monday, September 24, 2012

24/0912: Koi virus in UK, Ukrainian aquaculture laws; Cooke Aquaculture expands


Hope you had a great weekend.  Some of the team are in Beijing for VIV China.  Look out for reports from them over the next few days.  meanwhile, here in the UK, we've been on the hunt for some aquaculture news...
  • Koi herpesvirus outbreak confirmed at UK fishery.  Movements of fish into, out of and within the fishery in Beccles, Suffolk have been restricted, following the confirmation of the disease.  Read more...
  • The Ukrainian parliament has approved new aquaculture laws.  The laws will map out plans for aquaculture development and the legal framework for bodies involved in it.  Read more...
  • Cooke Aquaculture invests in wild seafood.  The aquaculture operator plans to launch a new range including haddock and halibut under the name of Jail Island Seafood in early 2013.  Read more...

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Melanogrammus aeglefinus
Melanogrammus aeglefinus (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

VIV China: Wild caught fish still to play a critical role in feeding people in the run up to 2050

'Wild catch' has a wrong image, says Gorjan Nikolik, Associate a director Animal Protein with Rabo Bank International in Singapore.

It's being seen as if we are robbing nature and as a result is in decline, he told an international audience attending a one-day International China Summit on the day preceding the opening of VIV China, which is taking place in the New China Exhibition Centre in Beijing.

"The sector is changing and is dynamic and should be compared with forestry rather than an exploitative operation. "We can remove a certain amount."

He said that where pressure had been applied to a fishery and the fishing operations were substantial there was a vested interest in maintaining stocks, managing the resource and adopting regulations to control over fishing. He pointed to fisheries in North America, Australia, Japan and others where regulations controlling industry meant that industry could invest in larger vessels, operate securely with quotas and become profitable and sustainable businesses.

Mr Gorjan Nikolik of Rabo Bank International (right) with the editor of International Aquafeed, Professor Simon Davies at the International China Summit in Beijing this weekend
"Unfortunately, that is not the norm. Throughout Asia and Africa in particular there is still a need for regulation. Anywhere where you have small artisan fisheries you have damage to sustainability. We are doing a good job in several places but more needs to be achieved."

Without the development of aquaculture over the past 40-50 years, there would not have been any growth in fish consumption, he told the audience of 300 representatives from the intensive livestock industries. He said aquaculture now makes up about half of all fish processed for human consumption.

While wild capture fish would not increase in the years ahead, aquaculture would see the total fish producing industry increase by four to six percent growth for the next four to five years. However, after that growth would decline to about three percent per year.

He says the FAO forecasts the world needing between 20 million to 25 million tonnes of fish by 2020? That's a one-third increase in less than a decade; a target that is unlikely to be met, he suggested.

However, Mr Nikolik does see fish playing an increasing role in the human diet as the world addresses the food needs of nine billion people by 2050. He says the are some 300 species of fish worldwide that are currently included in the human diet of which some 50-60 species are of primary importance. While the west and Japan have a preference for marine species in their diets, China in particular enjoys fresh water species and carp in particular. Sixty percent of the world's aquaculture takes place in China and the majority of the fish produced is carp.

When compared with terrestrial animals, fish are particularly efficient in converting feed into flesh. While the feed conversion rate for pigs is now around 2.5:1 and poultry at 1.8:1 and leader in the animal world, tilapia records 1.6:1, shrimp at 1.5:1 and salmon at 1.1:1. The latter is the most advanced and may soon achieve a 1:1 conversion rate!

"Why is it possible for fish to achieve these extraordinary conversion rates?" he posed rhetorically.

Fish live in a world where there's little effect of gravity and as a result expend no energy to fight gravity. Therefore there is no need to build massive bone structures to support their weight. In addition, fish are endothermic - meaning they need to expend no energy to warm their bodies.

"Everything they eat goes into motion and growth. Also they have high fecundity, meaning they have lots of offspring." Pigs might be able to achieve an impressive 27 piglets per year, but fish can produce 50,000 eggs twice a year with mortality rates of between two and three percent," he adds.

Other factors that Mr Nikolik feels with swing the balance in favour of fish is the impossibility of diseases moving across the species barrier as can happen between testerial animals; "There is no disease that can move from fish species to a human." The structure of the resource also favours fish such as salt water, "which can't be used for anything else"; many land-based fish farming operations do not need fresh water supplies; a minimal CO2 and methane gas emission contribution is also an advantage over terrestrial species.

For aquaculture to achieve its potential, the industry needs huge investments. It's an industry that is fragmented, ranges from the developed to developing countries, has no global or regional marketing policy and is uncoordinated. There are currently too many species being farmed and resources into research and development is spread too thin, he adds. "We haven't even chosen the species to focus on," he told the audience.

Mr Nikolik says terrestrial animal production systems have been developed over 2000 years while aquaculture is less than 40 years old and for some species just 15 years old. While aquaculture does offer a valuable source of protein for the human diet in the decades ahead, it has many obstacles to overcome with the access to resources such as coast line allocation, being limiting factors.

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Friday, September 21, 2012

Meet the International Aquafeed team

English: Beijing CBD 2008-6-9 Jianwai SOHO, Yi...
English: Beijing CBD 2008-6-9 Jianwai SOHO, Yitai Center, CCTV ‪中文(简体)‬: 北京中央商务区夜景(可见央视新址、建外SOHO等) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
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Video: Trout farm

Today we take a trip to a trout farm.  Owner, Jim Taylor kindly gives a tour of his Cedar Crest Trout Farm in Ontario, Canada.

21/09/12: prize for Cermaq; award for nutreco CEO; NOAA report

  • Congratulations are in order for Cermaq.  The company has won the 2012 IR-Stockman prize in the small and medium sized business category.  The jury praised Cermaq's equal treatment of market participants, transparency and credibility in its information, and the environmental and social responsibility.  The IR-Stockman prize is awarded by the Norwegian Society of Financial Analysts to listed companies in Norway which  best to inform the financial community.  Read more...
  • NOAA has released its annual statistics report on US fisheries.  Highlights include:U.S. commercial fishermen landed over 10 billion pounds of seafood valued at more than $5 billion.
    The 2011 totals represent the highest overall commercial landings totals since 1994.
    Dutch Harbor-Unalaska, Alaska and New Bedford, Massachusetts remain the top commercial fishing ports.  Read the full report...
  • Nutreco's retiring CEO Wout Dekker has been made an Officer of the Order of Oranje-Nassau.  The award is given to people who have made a special contribution to society.  Knut Nesse will take over Dekker's role as CEO. 

English: A poached Salmon on ice with a garnis...
English: A poached Salmon on ice with a garnish of lemon. From an NOAA tsunami conference reception. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Event: Offshore Mariculture programme

An opportunity to shape the future of Offshore Aquaculture!

The programme at the Offshore Mariculture Conference will include an important plenary discussion on ‘The Governance of mariculture in International Waters’ which will feature Neil Sims, Kampachi Farms, Harald Rosenthal, Programme Chair: Aquaculture Forum Bremerhaven, Germany and Alessandro Lovatelli, Aquaculture Officer, FAO. With input from the conference delegates, international developmental actions will be specified and agreed on together with a clear indication of the important role an international organisation should assume or be responsible for.

The aim will be to formally adopt a statement that will be a ‘call to action’ for agencies to start to develop the governance structure for aquaculture in International Waters.

Delegates from more than 25 countries and from as far and wide as Australia to Indonesia to The Lebanon have already confirmed their places at the 4th Offshore Mariculture Conference. Fish farmers, suppliers, industry organisations, researchers and manufacturers will all come together to discuss the latest research on what to farm, to be updated on the latest technologies and research and also to learn from the experiences of those already farming offshore.  Furthermore the three largest fish farming companies in Turkey have signed up to attend along with other fish farming organisations from across the world.

80% of fish farms in Turkey are located offshore

Following two days of technical conference, participants will have the opportunity to participate in a visit to one of Turkey’s largest and most successful producers, Camli/Pinar who are based in Izmir.

The visit will incorporate a tour of a processing plant in Işıkkent, İzmir, with a presentation on their processes and methods. Delegates will be able to discuss the presentation over a buffet lunch before travelling to the Çeşme hatchery. From here, delegates will be taken to view the offshore fish farming cages, where there will be opportunity to explore the cages in detail and to participate in a question and answer session with the farming managers.

The Conference will be chaired by Neil Sims, Kampachi Farms, and the full conference programme is now available to view online here.

The Conference will be held in Izmir, Turkey on 17-19 October 2012 and will be supported by the Republic of Turkey Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Livestock, the Central Union of Turkish Aquaculture Producers as well as the European Aquaculture Society, the European Technology and Innovation Platform, the Global Aquaculture Alliance and the Federation of European Aquaculture Producers.

More information...

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19/09/12: EU IMTA project; MSC responds to GSSI plans; farms to merge in Noway

  • Today we got some exciting news about a new EU partnership between fish producers and researchers points the way towards more sustainable aquaculture.  The four-year IDREEM (Increasing Industrial Resource Efficiency in European Mariculture) research project will develop integrated multi-trophic aquaculture (IMTA) with the aim of improving European aquaculture efficiency and safeguarding long-term sustainability. The €5.7 million project, is set to start in October 2012 and will be coordinated by the Scottish Association for MarineScience (SAMS) and delivered in collaboration with fourteen industrial and research partners from across Europe.  Read more...
  • Morpol and Marine farms to merge in Norway.  The decision is part of plans to reduce operational and administration costs.  Read more...
  • The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) responds to Global Seafood Sustainability Initiative (GSSI) proposals.  The GSSI is a multi-stakeholder network which aims to create a benchmarking tool for industry quality assurance schemes.  MSC has released a statement saying they welcome the plans in principle but with some provisions.  Read full MSC comment here.
    European Union
    European Union (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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Tuesday, September 18, 2012

18/09/12: Nofima swim tunnel; EU automated feeding system; BC Aquaculture Awareness Week

  • Swim tunnel can help keep salmon fit.  Researchers at Nofima, Norway have found that exercising salmon can increase quality and profitability.  The team built the tunnel to imitate the conditions fish experience when they are captured from the wild.  This is often a stressful process which can lead to a reduction in the quality of the fish.  Nofima scientists hope to use the tunnel to explore better ways to catch and handle fish.  More information...
  • New automated feeding system to aid juvenile fish production in Europe.  The EU ALFA project aims to regulate and control the production of mircoalgae for use in aquaculture.  Read more...
    English: A modern well-boat picks up salmon re...
    English: A modern well-boat picks up salmon ready for slaughtering at Norwegian Aquaculture Center in Toft, Brønnøy, Norway. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
  • BC’s salmon farmers are celebrating in the River City this week: raising the banner on the second annual Aquaculture Awareness Week in the area. “Our members work every day to contribute to this community – and yet, there are many things people don’t know about aquaculture,” said Mary Ellen Walling, Executive Director of the BC Salmon Farmers Association. “Our goal during this week each year is to focus on building the understanding and pride in one of our key drivers in the community.” Aquaculture Awareness Week kicked off Friday with a special dinner at the local Seniors’ Centre and a surprise barbecue today that raised over $1,700 for the Campbell River Food Bank. The public should keep watch for contests and tour opportunities. All of this adds to the ongoing engagement that the association and its members has with events throughout the year.
Fish hatcheries supply juvenile fish (and shellfish and crustaceans) for the aquaculture industry. They are important economically as they provide opportunities for genetic improvement of broodstock, are productive out of season and avoid dependency on juveniles caught from the wild. The availability of live food organisms in the water determines the success of fish farming. Formulated feeds cannot sustain the food requirements of the fish so micro-algae are cultured in hatcheries. Among the most important parameters regulating algal growth are nutrients, temperature and light. As the use of manpower is expensive and prone to error, the EU project ALFA aimed to develop fully automated systems, one for northern Europe powered by electricity and another for more southerly countries supported by solar powered units. Both photobioreactors are designed for the stable growth of algae by using illumination and control of other variables including nutrient content, pH and water carbon dioxide (CO2) concentration. The project team also developed a novel optical algal monitoring system to ascertain quality and growth rate of the algae. Added value came with several features. The system was linked to a newly developed continuous rotifer production system (CROPS). Rotifers are zooplankton and therefore will provide an additional source of food for the juveniles. An automatic harvesting system was also incorporated so algal food can be controlled and maintained at levels of usage or the excess stored. Two full-scale complete systems were built and tested in Greece and Norway. Not only was performance evaluated but adaptations were made to optimise output according to local conditions. The data were then compared with a stochastic model incorporating the random variables. Aquaculture is a highly important sector in the European economy, providing jobs and revenue and aiding conservation of fish species. Deliverables from ALFA optimise conditions for live food production for fish hatcheries as well as reduce manpower requirements.

Read more at:
A European project, ALFA, has developed a state-of-the-art automatic system to control the most important variable parameters in live feed production for fish hatcheries. The systems were geared to suit conditions for aquaculture in Greece and Norway.

Read more at:
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Monday, September 17, 2012

17/09/12: good news for Norwegian farmed fish; aquaculture grows in the Philippines; MDS lab gets a new name

Welcome back.  Hope you all had a great weekend.  We've been busy putting the final touches to our 2013 (!) editorial line-up.  I can't tell you anything just yet but we've got some great new ideas in the pipeline and look forward to sharing them with you soon.

As it's Monday morning, I thought I'd start the week with a positive-themed blog post:
  • We haven't featured a story on norway for gaes so I was really pleased to find this news on fish monitoring by NIFES.  Working on behalf of the Norwegian Food Safety Authority, the organisation conducted an investigation into the content of legal and illegal medical residues, heavy metals and other environmental contaminants in farmed fish. The good news is that only low levels of such substances were found.  Good news or consumers, great news for Norwegian fish farms.  The study is part of an annual programme of monitoring which has been in place since 1988.  Read more...
  • Over to the Philippines now, where the Philippine Information Agency reports that aquaculture continues to grow in Northern Mindanao.  Aquaculture, which makes up 40 percent of the region's total fishery production, grew by 7.4 percent, from 15,886.80 metric tons in last year’s second quarter to 17,059.01 metric tons in the same period this year. Read more...
  • Intervet Norbio Singapore Pte. Ltd. takes a new name and adopts a sharper focus on product development.  The R&D laboratory will now be known as MSD Animal Health Innovation Pte. Ltd. to reflect the laboratory’s parent company, Merck Animal Health.  It is the only facility in the Asia-Pacific region which focuses on warm water aquaculture.  Merck Animal Health (MSD Animal Health outside the United States and Canada) bought the laboratory in 2009.   Read more...

English: Fish farm and floating building at No...
English: Fish farm and floating building at Norwegian Sea Farming Center ‪Norsk (bokmål)‬: Oppdrettsanlegg og den flytende bygningen på Norsk Havbrukssenter i Toftsundet, Brønnøysund (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
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Friday, September 14, 2012

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Continuing the salmon theme...

I seem to have salmon on the brain at the moment.  Maybe it's because I'm currently researching salmon feed articles for the Nov/Dec issue of International Aquafeed magazine... Anyway, salmon stories are coming at me left, right and centre.  So I thought I'd share one more before leaving you alone to enjoy a salmon-free weekend.

Over the last few years there have been numerous reports in the UK press about increasing demand form China for British products (this story on Scottish whisky is a good example).  Now this trend is spreading to, you guessed it, salmon.  This BBC article is a fascinating overview of the growing trend for Scottish salmon (which we all know is pretty tasty stuff) in China and the dilemma this causes for Scottish producers, government and environmentalists. 

It's a long article so grab a cup of tea, a biscuit and get settled- it's worth it.
English: A salmon rose, part of a sashimi dinn...
English: A salmon rose, part of a sashimi dinner set. Taken on 24 Jan 2006 by blu3d. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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Video: BBC sustainable Scottish salmon?

The Friday video this week comes from the BBCCountryfile presenter John Craven investigates the sustainability of Scottish salmon.  Unlike most other discussion on the subject, which is incredibly biased, this video takes an open-minded and balanced approach to a complex issue.  So I was really pleased to discover this video and it certainly helps that Craven is a childhood hero of mine!

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14/09/12: North America Special

Today we're focusing on North America, with a mixed bag of stories:
  • Cooke Aquaculture feed barge sinks off Meteghan, Canada.  The 12.9m vessel sank 500m offshore on Thursday September 13, 2012, causing no injuries.  According the Digby Courrier, divers will try to refloat the barge later today (September 14, 2012).  Read more...
  • British Columbia's annual Aquaculture Awareness Week will take place between September 17-21, 2012.  The purpose of the week is to increase the understanding and pride in one of  BC's key industries.  Learn more...
  • New Brunswick residents angry over sea lice secrecy.  The province's access to information commissioner has denied public access to records on  sea lice counts at individual salmon farms in the bay of Fundy.  Larry Lack and Lee Ann Ward, who made the application, have claimed that the decision is tantamount to privatising parts of the sea. However, the Atlantic Farmers Farmers Association, which released the genera data, has stated that releasing information about specific farms could affect the ability of farms to compete.  Read more...
English: Sea lice, L. salmonis, on farmed Atla...
English: Sea lice, L. salmonis, on farmed Atlantic salmon, New Brunswick, Canada (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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Thursday, September 13, 2012

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13/09/12: news round up

  • Another day, another story about Scottish salmon.  This time round, Loch Duart has hit the headlines over its plans to develop three farms off the Eastern Shore, Canada.  Local press has reported that the company's expansion application will not be harmed by recent criticism over the level of pesticides  used to control sea lice.  Read more...
  • Nigerian aquaculture industry sets high targets.  According to Godwin Emakenemi, Dickem Farm (the largest fish farm in Lagos State), the country has the potential to produce four million metric of fish a year, creating five million jobs.  At present Nigeria imports large quantities of frozen fish from Europe, South America and the Far East.  Read more...  
  • Ghana's fisheries sector is to benefit from a cash injection of 50 million dollars from the World Bank and a 3.5 million dollar grant from the Global Environment Fund.  The money will be used to finance training and education.  Read more...
  • And finally, Aker proposes to merge with Aker Biomarine.  Read more...

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Ghana Nigeria Locator
Ghana Nigeria Locator (Photo credit: Wikipedia)