Saturday, June 30, 2012

Dave Conley, Executive Director, Aquaculture without Frontiers, Canada

Aquaculture without Frontiers (AwF) is a registered charity whose mission is to promote and support responsible and sustainable aquaculture to alleviate poverty and enhance food security for disadvantaged people. It is an organisation of global volunteer aquaculture professionals who network; who are passionate about aquaculture and its ability to engage, train and feed the disadvantaged; and who create initiatives, projects and programmes. Executive Director Dave Conley speaks to International Aquafeed about AwF and the challenges it faces.

This interview appeared in the November December 2012 edition of International Aquafeed magazine

How does AwF define responsible and sustainable aquaculture?

Responsible and sustainable aquaculture is using appropriate technology for the given situation so that it enhances fish production without negative effects or impacts on the resources used. Because AwF teaches basic aquaculture principles for very challenging situations, we encourage using the KIS principle – Keep it Simple.

How does AwF operate on a practical level?

To date, AwF has been a project sponsor, directing donations received to supporting projects reviewed and approved by our Technical Advisory Group. We normally provide project funding in the range of US$ 10,000-15,000 for multi-year projects. We collaborate with other NGOs to leverage their resources when possible. For example, we collaborated with the Marine Biological Lab in Woods Hole, MA to help develop an Aquaculture Learning Center (ALC) in Marigot, Haiti. Novus International provided significant help with this project via AwF.

What do you consider AwF’s greatest achievements or successes?

AwF’s greatest achievement to date has been its ability to survive. What I mean by this is that we have been able to keep going in the face of funding challenges resulting from the global economic meltdown beginning in 2008. Donations have dropped off significantly while project submissions have increased. This has forced us to look at how we operate and try to come up with a better solution.
If anyone was to look at our list of current and completed projects on our website they would find that we have managed to do a lot with very little. Imagine what we could do if we could attract significantly more funding.

What are the biggest challenges aquaculture faces?

In the developed world, it is definitely public education and acceptance as a significant component of the food production industry. The lack of knowledge about aquaculture by the general public is contributing to a dysfunctional regulatory environment in many developed countries. Government regulatory agencies appear to be challenged when it comes to leading or enabling the development of the industry. There are many groups with perspectives and interests that are opposed to the rational growth and development of aquaculture.
In the developing world, it is transferring knowledge and appropriate technology to people so that they can apply it to feeding themselves and their families and communities. Governments of developing world countries do not have the resources to do this directly, but by collaborating with organisations such as AwF, it may be possible to enable the responsible and sustainable development of aquaculture.

How is AwF responding to these challenges?

AwF has been going through a re-think of how we operate. The original vision of Michael New was to use volunteers to train the world’s poor and disadvantaged but in recent years we have gone off course in that we have become a funding organisation rather than a working organisation putting our volunteers directly into the field.
AwF has over 300 volunteers representing a wide range and depth of aquaculture expertise, knowledge and wisdom. To date, we have not been able to utilise this tremendous fund of intellectual capital in any significant manner.
I think we have found a solution – Aquaculture Learning Centers (ALCs). These will be demonstration farms where appropriate aquaculture technologies will be displayed. Courses will be given by our volunteers who will also mentor the local staff. ALCs will sell fish to graduates and provide ongoing tech support and knowledge transfer. The objective is to get the ALCs to become financially self-supporting and run by the local people whose welfare is most improved by the success of the enterprise.
From my observations and discussions with people who work in international development I have learned that when the funding stops the projects die; there is no incentive to continue because the people have not taken ownership of the project. The ALC model is meant to change that. Right from the get go, the people that will benefit from our help will be directly involved in constructing and staffing the ALCs. It will function as a business and we will train them in business skills as well as aquaculture skills. The end goal is to have the ALCs become financially self-sustaining within two to three years.
In the larger picture, we see linking the ALCs via modern technologies so that they can share experiences, lessons learned, and best practices so that they leverage the knowledge they have collectively to do more. Given the advances in mobile wireless communication in developing countries, the ALCs will become hubs for knowledge and technology transfer to surrounding communities. Think of them as broadcasting centres that can also be used by other NGOs to educate people about all sorts of topics from nutrition and food preparation using solar or biogas stoves to water filtration and public hygiene. The possibilities are endless.

What do you think the future of the organisation is?

The future of AwF, as we are now envisioning it, is to become an enabler to teach people in developing countries how to improve their lives using aquaculture technologies but also collaborating with other NGO groups and local governments to provide a suite of complementary skills to significantly improve quality of life and food security.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Video: Octopus steals camera

It's Friday, so here's a YouTube treat...

Octopus steals a camera (while it's filming). 

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IAF Article: Effects of mycotoxins on aquafeed

The dangers of mycotoxins to humans are well documented. In recent years there had been a growing body of research dedicated to studying the effects of mycotoxins on aquafeed.  In this International Aquafeed article from International Aquafeed Jan/Feb 2010, Pedro Encarncao of BIOMIN examines recent updates on mycotoxins.
Read the full article here.
Space-filling model of the viomellein molecule...
Space-filling model of the viomellein molecule, a mycotoxin produced by various fungi. Colour code (click to show) : Black: Carbon, C : White: Hydrogen, H : Red: Oxygen, O (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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Daily Digest 29/06/12: sterile fish; Scotland; opposition to new fish farms;

  • I found this article about creating sterile farmed fish really interesting.  According to research conducted in by Nofima in Norway, the advantages of raising sterile fish include better tasting meat and the prevention of escapee fish mixing genes with their wild cousins. 
  • New fish farms often face opposition from local residents.  In New Zealand, plans for a kingfish farm in Katikati have reached the Environment Court.  The go ahead for the site hinges on whether or not fish are livestock.  Read more... 
  • Scotland to learn from Norwegian approach to fisheries management says Scottish Fisheries Secretary Richard Lochhead.  Read more...
Have a great weekend.
English: A fish farm by the coast of Storfjord...
English: A fish farm by the coast of Storfjorden as seen from by the Riksvei 650 near Liabygda in 2008 August. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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Event: Offshore Mariculture Conference 2012

The provisional programme for the Offshore Mariculture Conference 2012 has been announced.

The line-up includes presentations on key policy and research updates together with practical offshore farming operations, latest innovations and products and case studies from Turkish fish farmers.

The conference will be chaired by Neil Sims, Co-Founder and Co-CEO, Kampachi Farms and sessions at the Conference will include the following:
  • Planning and development: international case studies
  • Species and feed
  • Integration with other technologies and new approaches to farming
  • Innovative case technologies
  • Husbandry and site services
  • The Turkish offshore sector - planning, execution and success stories

Neil Sims

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Thursday, June 28, 2012

IAF article: Redefining mineral requirements

From the International Aquafeed archives today...

We bring you 'Redefining mineral requirements' by Dan Leeming, a PhD student who works with IAF's Editor, Simon J Davies at the University of Plymouth, UK.

Read the full text here.
English: University of Plymouth Coat of Arms
English: University of Plymouth Coat of Arms (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
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Daily Digest 28/06/12: Loblaw; Scotland; salmon; BioMarine;Cooke Aquaculture


The Aquaculturist is back.  Sit back, relax, here's the news:
  • Marine experts praise Loblaw Seafood's purchase efforts.  The aims to buy all of its seafood products from sustainable sources by next year.  Read more...
  • The Global Alliance Against Industrial Aquaculture (GAAIA) calls for a ban on farmed salmon in Scotland.  The demand comes following a Freedom of Information request made by the organisation which revealed that over 300 seals were killed during salmon farming in Scotland in 2011 and 2012.  Read more...
  • Cooke Aquaculture's hatchery plans are unclear according to the Digby Courrier.  Despite gaining $25 million from the Nova Scotia government to finance the expansion, it is unknown where and when the facility will be built.  Read more...
  • Roger Gilbert form Perendale Publishers talks about the BioMarine Conference in London, October 2012.  Watch video...
What do you think...
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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)

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

IAF Article: Flaked versus pelleted feeds

The advantages of flaked versus pelleted food is often discussed in aquaculture but very rarely do we hear about the pros and cons of different types of food for home aquaria.  
In this article from International Aquafeed Jan/Feb 2012, Pablo Tepoo, founder of New Life Spectrum (Fish Food Forum), USA discusses the merits of different feeds for fish hobbists.
Read the full article here.

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Deutsch: Flockenfutter für alle Zierfische Deu...
Deutsch: Flockenfutter für alle Zierfische Deutsch: Fish feed flakes for all ornamental fish (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Daily Digest 26/06/12: Marine Harvest; Fukushima; catfish and more...


  • New CFO at Marine Harvest.  Jørgen Kristian Andersen will step down as CFO at the end of July. Ivan Vindheim will take up the position from August 1, 2012.  More information about Marine Harvest...
  • Seafood sales to resume in Fukushima for the first time since March 2011. Tests on two types of octopus and one type of shellfish found no radioactive substances.  Read more...
  • Vietnamese catfish exporters have been warned that redirecting their produce towards the US is an unwise move.  Read more...
  • The Fisheries Council of South Australia has announced a draft management plan and summary report for the Commercial Marine Scalefish Fishery.  There will be a public consultation period until September 2012.  Read more... 
  • Research: Toxins produced by algae lead to deviant behaviour and changes in brain activity in salmon.  Read more...
 What do you think...

I'm off on a site visit tomorrow but will be back and ready to sniff out some news on Thursday.

English: Live Fish Carrier Aqua Boy, Norwegian...
English: Live Fish Carrier Aqua Boy, Norwegian live fish carrier working for Marine Harvest on the West coast of Scotland IMO Number: 8101379 MMSI Number: 258192000 Callsign: LKYK Length: 40 m Beam: 10 m (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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Monday, June 25, 2012

AQUA 2012 early registration deadline approaching

With over 1000 abstracts submitted and over 100 exhibitors confirmed, AQUA 2012 is promising to be the biggest international Aquaculture event this year.

The early registration deadline is June 30th. Register online on or on

IAF Article: Effects of dissolved oxygen on fish growth

Today I've been reading about the effects of dissolved oxygen on fish growth by Yovita John Mallya, Kingolwira National Fish Farming Centre Fisheries Division,  Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism, Tanazia. 

Orignially published in International Aquafeed Jan/Feb,  2012,  r ead the full article here.
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Dissolved Oxygen Meter. Hanna Instruments HI 9...
Dissolved Oxygen Meter. Hanna Instruments HI 964400. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Daily Digest 25/06/12: RAS; aquaculture in the US; lobsters unsold in Vietnam

  • Cell Aquaculture has signed a deal with the Fisheries Development Authorities, Malaysia to build a 250 tonne high density RAS facility.  Read more...
  • Have a read of the IBISWorld report into fish and seafood aquaculture in the US.  The report predicts that after the downturn following the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, fish and aquaculture revenue will slowly improve over the next five years.  Read report...
  • Lobsters left unsold in Vietnam as demand from China falls.  Read more...
What do you think...
The Deepwater Horizon oil spill. McNutt headed...
The Deepwater Horizon oil spill. McNutt headed the Flow Rate Technical Group who determined the extent of the spill. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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Friday, June 22, 2012

IAF Article: Monitoring pond water quality

The proper management of pond water plays an essential role in the success of aquaculture projects. 
In this article from International Aquafeed March/April 2012, Elisabeth Mayer, BIOMIN, examines ways to monitor water quality to help ensure healthy fish and shrimp.
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Česky: Pitná voda - kohoutek Español: Agua potable
Česky: Pitná voda - kohoutek Español: Agua potable (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Daily Digest 22/06/12: Shrimp satellite images; broodstock training; EU fisheries; USDA catfish

  • These NASA satellite images show how shrimp farming has changed a Pacific coastal landscape over 25 years. Have a look...
  • ACP-EU updates: key upcoming meetings, trade issues and fisheries.  Read more...
  • USDA catfish inspection programme repealed by US senate.  Watch video...

Have a great weekend.
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Milkfish broodstock in cages
Milkfish broodstock in cages (Photo credit: Roberto Verzo)

Thursday, June 21, 2012

IAF Article: Impact of rising feed prices

As making fish feed on site has been in the headlines today, I thought I'd share this article from the International Aquafeed archives.  It examines the impact of rising feed ingredients prices on aquafeeds and aquaculture production and is taken from a book on the subject (more details in the article).

What's more, it's co-authored by the International Aquafeed associate editor, Krishen J Rana, Sunil Siriwardena and Mohammed R Hasan.
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English: Salmon feed production in a factory i...
English: Salmon feed production in a factory in Stokmarknes, Norway (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Daily Digest 21/06/12: suspected virus in Canada; homemade tilapia feed; tainted seafood exports from Vietnam


Today I have been reading about...
  • The FDA has warned Vietnam about tainted seafood exports.  The country is the world's biggest exporter of pangasius.  Read more...
  • Tilpaia consumption is on the rise the world over.  The Uis tilapia farm, in Namibia, is keeping up with increasing demand, and costs, by producing its own fish feed on-site.  Framers are using brine shrimp as an alternative to buying in feed.  Read more...
  • Oh dear, it has been reported that the Canadian Food Inspection Agency is back at a Cooke Aquaculture farm in Nova Scotia after suspected ISA outbreak.  Read more...

What do you think....

English: Extruded feed pellets
English: Extruded feed pellets (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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Wednesday, June 20, 2012

IAF article: Soybean products in aquafeed

In light of the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership report into I thought I'd revisit this article from International Aquafeed Jan/Feb 2012.

With an ever increasing demand for farmed fish, finding viable alternatives to fishmeal is imperative.  This article, by T. H.Bhat, M. H.Balkhi and Tufail Banday (Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology of Kashmir) examines the use of soybean products in aquafeeds.

The world demand for seafood is increasing dramatically year by year, although an annual upper limit of 100 million tons is set so as not to exhaust  reserves. It is for this  reason that  there is a considerable move towards modernising and intensifying fish farming. T o be economically viable, fish farming must be competitive, which means that feed costs amongst others must be carefully monitored as the operational cost goes 60 percent for feed alone. Therefore selection of cheaper and quality ingredients is of paramount importance for sustainable and economical aquaculture. Identification of suitable alternate protein sources for inclusion in fish feeds becomes imperative to counter the scarcity of fishmeal.

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Daily Digest 20/06/12: shellfish; fisheries management; fishmeal fisheries report

  • Shellfish from Misamis Oriental tested positive of the paralytic shellfish poison according to the latest bulletin released by the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resource, Philippines.  Read more... 
  • Living in the UK?  Here's you chance to get involved in inshore fisheries management.  Read more...  
  • The Sustainable Fisheries Partnership has released its annual overview of fisheries used for fishmeal and fish oil. None of the 28 fisheries studied scored an A rating in all areas but 62.4 percent made the B1 category, meaning the stocks are in good shape.  Read more...

At the shellfish shop
At the shellfish shop (Photo credit: tuey)
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Tuesday, June 19, 2012

IAF Article: Keeping salmon pink naturally

The Salmon Special Daily Digest got me thinking about this article from International Aquafeed (IAF) March/April 2012. 

Written by the IAF editor, Prof Simon J Davies, it looks into how to keep salmon pink naturally.


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English: Three fish. The top is a male Chum sa...
English: Three fish. The top is a male Chum salmon, the middle is a female Chum salmon and the bottom is a female Pink salmon (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Daily Digest 19/06/12: Salmon special


There seems to be more news surrounding salmon than any other species.  This year, the Aquaculturists has followed the development of the IHN virus outbreak in Canada with interest, IAF magazine has reported on how to keep salmon pink naturally and the debate concerning the effect of farmed fish on their wild cousins continues to go on.

Last week, the Aquaculture Stewardship Council announced it was taking over salmon certification.
The news certainly stirred up strong emotions in the Coastal Alliance for Aquaculture Reform (CAAR) who claim the Aquaculture Stewardship Council certification process is too weak to protect wild salmon.  Read more...

In the scientific field, Nofima has released a report into the effects of vacuum on the fish.  According the company's results, exposure to low-pressures during vacuuming does not harm the species.   Read more...

However, for consumers, salmon is as popular as ever.  In fact, salmon stocked in Aldi, UK has won a British Frozen Food award for Retail Product of the Year for 2012.  The supermarket's 'Northern Catch® Select' Large Salmon Wellington with a Cheese & Dill Sauce scooped the top prize.  Read more...

What do you think...
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Salmon fry hatching.
Salmon fry hatching. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Second Premium sponsor for EAS

Having enjoyed the support of MSD Animal Health as its only Premium sponsor for some years, the European Aquaculture Society (EAS) is pleased to announce that SINTEF Aquaculture and Fisheries will become its second Premium Sponsor from July 1, 2012.
While EAS actively targets sponsors for its annual Aquaculture Europe event, the Premium Sponsors show their support of the society ‘as a whole’ – and specifically of its objectives – with a financial contribution that allows EAS to offer reduced membership fees for young persons and for those working in relatively low income countries.
The President of SINTEF Fisheries and Aquaculture, Karl Almås, (picture) is pleased to show SINTEF’s support for EAS. “Collaboration and participation in EAS is important to us in SINTEF as it is an industrial organization with a strong research focus which is vital to us and our research partners in EU. This sponsorship makes clear our commitment and we look forward to strengthening our work in EAS through this agreement”, says Almås.
The EAS President Elect (becoming President in September), Kjell Maroni is also pleased to have a second Premium Sponsor, especially one from Norway. “It is very good to have a technology oriented research institute as SINTEF from Norway on board as a Premium sponsor. EAS need the contribution from Premium sponsors as an important basis for the economy in addition to normal members”, he said. “Premium sponsors are also important to make EAS more known in the aquaculture industry in Europe” he added.
As Premium sponsors, SINTEF will be promoted through the EAS web site and its publications, but also at the AQUA 2012 (September 1-5 in Prague) and AE2013 (August 9-12 in Trondheim).

Monday, June 18, 2012

IAF Article: Feed management for carp

With the news that there may be a new Asian carp plant opening in Illinois, I thought we'd take a look at an International Aquafeed article on feed management for the species.

This feature, written by R Ramakrishna, explores the feed management of three species of carp in India.

English: Whiskered Tern Chlidonias hybridus in...
English: Whiskered Tern Chlidonias hybridus in Kolleru, Andhra Pradesh, India. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
It was first published in International Aquafeed Jan/Fen 2012.  Read the article as it appears in the magazine here or scroll down for just the text.

Daily Digest 18/06/12: water quality; Asian carp plant plans; marine reserves


Today I've been looking at...
  • SmartAqua's latest blog post about the importance of water quality in aquaculture.  The very mention of water quality tends to put people to sleep but this is a fascinating read. Read more... 
  • American Heartland Fish Products plans to build a processing plant for Asian carp in Illinois.   According to a local news report, the plant could create a market for a fish that has traditionally invaded parts of the Mississippi and Illinois Rivers.  Watch video... 
  • AU$100m not enough to compensate for Australian marine reserve networks says the Commonwealth Fisheries Association.  The organisation is concerned about the impact the Australian government's plans for sea parks will have on the fishing industry.  Read more...
What do you think...

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NATIONAL WATER QUALITY LABORATORY - NARA - 551597 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Friday, June 15, 2012

IAF Article: Trout Focus, the UK

Here's the last report in The Aquaculturists Trout Focus from International Aquafeed magazine.
I hope you've enjoyed the articles this week and got a good insight into this fascinating species.
There are a few more trout pieces which didn't make it onto the blog - you can read them here.
For the final feature, I've chosen the UK perspective, written by David Bassett of the British Trout Association.
English: Extruded feed pellets
English: Extruded feed pellets (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Daily Digest 15/06/12: sea cucumbers; New Zealand aquaculture strategy; Russian MSC certification


Today I've been looking at aquaculture legislation.  These stories caught my attention because they highlight the importance of debate and dialogue about aquaculture management:
  • Application to grow sea cucumbers in Baynes Sound, Canada debated.  Read more...
  • King Salmon New Zealand supports government aquaculture strategy.  Read more...
  • Third Russian fishery gains MSC certification. 

Have a great weekend.
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espardenya a la costa mediterrània
espardenya a la costa mediterrània (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Thursday, June 14, 2012

IAF Article: Trout Focus, Denmark

In the fourth part of our trout special, International Aquafeed magazine gots an insight into trout in Denmark.
For this perspective, we were lucky enough to speak to Brian Thomsen, Director, the Danish Aquaculture Organisation.

As ever, click here for the story as it appears in the magazine or scroll down for just the text.
English: Rainbow Trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss)
English: Rainbow Trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

14/06/12: IFFO; Alltech; Australia; Mekong Delta; Maria Damanaki


This is what's taken my fancy today...
  • EU approves human health claims for food enriched with organic selenium, such as Sel-Plex from Alltech.  Alltech website...
  • Fresh call from the National Farmers Federation, Australia for a national register of foreign purchases of Australian rural land and water.  Read more... 
  • Sustainable fish farming project in the Mekong Delta, Vietnam comes to an end.  Read more... 
  • EU Commissioner Maria Damanaki discusses sustainability and growth for EU maritime and fisheries policies in Malta.  Read more...

Tell us what you think...
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My Tho, Mekong Delta, Vietnam
My Tho, Mekong Delta, Vietnam (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Kofi Annan speaks at AquaVision 2012

Kofi Annan told delegates at AquaVision 2012 in Stavanger, Norway, that Aquaculture has the potential to contribute to reducing world hunger.

The former Secretary-General of the UN was the main speaker at the show, directly addressed the food security challenges of the coming decades.

The conference explored ways in which aquaculture can contribute sustainably to feeding the growing world population.

More information...

English: Mr. Kofi Annan, former General Secrat...
English: Mr. Kofi Annan, former General Secretary of the United Nations. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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