Thursday, January 31, 2013

Aquaculture view: Increasing the emphasis on quality assurance for raw materials used in aquaculture feed production

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.

January - February 2013

Increasing the emphasis on quality assurance for raw materials used in aquaculture feed production

The high price and relative volatility in the supply of some feedstuffs are forcing aquaculture feed manufacturers to play with an increasingly diverse portfolio of ‘economical’ raw materials. Larger manufacturers often need to source the required high volumes of certain raw materials from multiple suppliers. Small manufacturers due to their lesser needs may be able to source from single suppliers but, at the same time, may be even more at the mercy of capriciousness of the markets. To maintain their competitiveness, formulators must formulate feeds to lower or narrower essential nutrient specifications to minimize costs but they must ensure that the feeds can sustain high growth, feed efficiency, health, and product quality of the animals at the farm. The production of highly nutritious and cost effective feeds with an increasingly wide array of feed ingredients obtained from different suppliers is clearly not an easy task. This is certainly keeping some feed formulators awake at night.

Sourcing of raw materials from different countries, manufacturers or brokers arguably results in greater probability for significant variations in the quality of the raw materials purchased. The high price of certain feedstuffs (for example fishmeal) may also incite (unscrupulous) suppliers to adopt deceptive practices, such as product adulteration (for example blending less expensive raw materials with more expensive raw materials). Some recent experiences I had in the field and as well as recent discussion with experts indicated that variability in the nutritive quality and adulteration of feedstuffs are not a thing of the past. In this very complex context, quality assurance (QA) plays an extremely important role.

QA usually involves the definitions of specifications for the purchasing of the raw materials and for the inspection and analysis of these raw materials as they are received at the feed mill. Most, if not all, aquaculture feed manufacturers have adopted some sort of QA process and invest very significant financial and staff resources in this. The main emphasis of QA systems in place is on chemical composition, mainly on proximate analysis (crude protein, crude lipids, crude fibre, etc.), of the raw materials. Relatively little emphasis is placed on direct measurements of individual nutrient or contaminant levels due to the often prohibitive cost of this type of analysis. Near Infrared Reflectance Spectroscopy (NIRS) is widely used by most aquaculture feed manufacturers around the world to obtain rapid and generally accurate estimation of the proximate and individual nutrient levels of batches of raw materials.

Relatively little emphasis is placed on assessment of the nutritive value of different batches of raw materials. There is some experimental evidence that significant variability exists in the digestibility and bio-availability of the individual nutrients of different batches common aquaculture feed ingredients. Fishmeals, feather meals, meat and bone meals and DDGS often come to mind as ingredients that can vary quite significantly in terms of digestibility and nutritional quality. However, variability in digestibility and nutritive value is not only limited to these ingredients.

I find it unfortunate that so few research efforts are invested by aquaculture nutrition researchers on these issues that are so important to the aquaculture feed industry. Better research and more data would really help guide QA efforts of aquaculture feed manufacturers. For example, NIRS is highly dependent on the availability of high quality raw data on the composition and nutritive value (for example amino acid digestibility) of different raw materials so that reliable calibration of the instruments can be done. This is one area where academic research groups could play a very important role and yet are virtually absent.

Other rapid but more direct ways of assessing the nutritive value of different batches of raw materials are also required. Pepsin digestibility is probably one of the most widely used tests to estimate digestibility of protein. However, there is some controversy as to the proper concentration of pepsin to be used and the applicability of this type of tests to different aquatic animal species and different raw materials. There is very limited published experimental (animal) studies examining the reliability of pepsin digestibility assays and defining their limitations. Other in vitro tests, such as pH-stat protein digestion assays have been developed but they also suffer from a lack of standardisation and lack of validation. Right now, efforts are really disparate and different groups are proposing very different approaches. There should be systematic and concerted efforts on this topic.

Turning away raw material shipments is not always feasible in the current climate. It is perhaps more important for feed manufacturers to learn how to better identify and determine the consequence of variability in composition and learn how to safely and appropriately use raw materials that differ from the established specifications. This is another important role in which academic research laboratories could play a role.

I am sometime feeling that too much reliance on ‘laboratory tests’ to assess quality of raw materials may result in a certain ‘lost of touch’ with reality. It is my experience that frontline QA personnel and general feed production staffs are not always highly aware of how different raw materials should look, smell and feel like. These are primary indicators that something may not be ‘right’ with the quality of raw material received. Clearly, more training of front line staff is needed.

Finally, how unfortunate is the fact that the techniques commonly used by feed manufacturers for QA are not currently taught in most academic institutions? I wonder how many aquaculture nutritionists have been properly trained in the use of NIRS equipment or have received basic training in feed microscopy? How can we expect to progress as an industry if the new blood does not have the proper academic background and training?
Am I so far in left field? Any feedback? Let me know by email:, or leave a comment below

Torben Svejgaard, chief executive officer, BioMar Group

Born in 1955, Torben Svejgaard is chief executive officer of the BioMar Group, headquartered in Denmark. At 57 years he is an economist with close to 30 years’ experience in B2B businesses with the first 25 years in the food ingredient area. From 1985-1991 he was marketing assistant and marketing manager at Aarhus Olie - speciality vegetable oil products and soy protein concentrates.
Then from 1991-2008 he held different upper management positions within Danisco (now Dupont), a world leader in functional food ingredients plus biotech products for feed, biofuel and technical purposes.
From 2004-2008 member of Executive Committee, that is the top management team of the company. Since 2008, he has been Group CEO of BioMar, one the biggest fish feed producers with a turnover in excess of €1 billion in 2012.

This interview appeared in January February 2013 edition of International Aquafeed magazine

Will farming other species of fish follow the salmon example?

In my view, there is no doubt that fish farming will become more and more professionalised over the coming years. And it needs to if demand is to be met in a sustainable way as well as in a cost-efficient way.
You can see this happening for other species not just from a feeding point-of-view but also in farming. But it would be fair to say salmon is where there has been the greatest progress and where professional farming has been taken the furthermost. Let me add that this doesn’t mean that salmon is a superior fish!
Other species will follow but at different speeds and in different ways.
Tilapia in the USA for example, has developed two distinctive markets – a frozen market, primarily supplied by China, and a fresh market supplied mainly from Central plus the northern part of South America. As a result tilapia now has two different market prices and two sets of demands being placed on it.
With a further professionalism of fish framing demands to fish feed suppliers will also increase, and we feel in BioMar that we are well prepared for that.

Carp is a widely consumed fish species in China. Is carp likely to challenge fish species in western/developed countries?

I don’t think so. Based on my experiences from the food ingredient industry, people are conservative about their food products choices and I would be very surprised if carp, which is a quieter species than other, became a more commonly consumed fish in developed countries.
Would that decision have anything to do with a fish species being a herbivore or a carnivore?
Herbivores are by far the largest portion of fish species in the world while carnivores are in the minority. However, the future direction for demand will not be dependent on whether a fish species is herbivore or carnivore but whether the consumer likes the fish in question and to what extent we can develop a cost-effective production system for that species to meet growing demand.
Comparatively, we have many different species of fish being farmed today – when compared to chicken and pigs. There is a clear need to choose those species that can be grown in a cost-efficient way.

Does that mean fish has to be cheaper than chicken in the consumer’s eyes to increase demand?

While in some supermarkets you will find fish cheaper than chicken, the difficulty of the comparison is to understand the cost of protein ratio between the two protein sources. A relative price might mean something, but this is not a mathematical choice in the eyes of the consumer. The consumer - at least the ones with a certain income level - is not asking, “Should I feed my family on chicken or fish this evening?” and basing that choice on what the price comparison is.
While, chicken is also very efficient in converting feed into protein, fish is generally more efficient. With rising commodity and protein prices in our raw materials the relative cost advantage of fish over chicken will increase.
I think it’s important to understand that consumers do not based their buying decision on price alone despite the cost efficiency achieved in the production process greatly influencing the price of the end product. Most shoppers buy fish because of the virtues of fish in itself, not because it’s cheaper than chicken.

There is much discussion about achieving a production breakthrough one kg of fish protein from one kg of feed. Is this a fair objective or is reducing the use of fishmeal in diets a more critical issue?

Feed conversion is not about achieving 1:1, but about the retention of energy and protein by a fish species that gives it its efficiency. Assessment based on kg in and kg out is a little artificial.
On the question of fishmeal, the salmon industry, for example, is a net fish protein producer – we have reduced protein fishmeal in diets to between 10-15 percent down from 30 percent over time an extended period of time. However, that’s not the goal in itself. If we take responsibility-sourced fishmeal and fish oil then we can make an upgrade from other materials that would not have been sold as food products – otherwise these products would have been wasted. That’s a rational objective for our industry and we should try to demonstrate that to consumers.

There’s much talk about the challenge of feeding nine billion people on the planet by 2050. Will fish play a central role in meeting this challenge?

Fish will play a role in feeding the nine billion people by 2050. And this should be one of the roles of professional fish farming, but we must also realise that this is only possible, if the industry does it in a sustainable way both from a broad environmental point of view and from an economical point of view. If the industry does not make sufficient profit, the needed growth will not happen. But farming can contribute to saving the world. We all know our industry can do that.

New! IAF article: Overview of the shrimp feed industry in China

With more than 50 years of culture history in China, shrimp is important seafood the country. Nowadays, the Chinese shrimp industry has caught the world’s eyes, for its largest production and export, as well as the potential Chinese domestic market with a population of more than 1.34 billion.
The main species cultured in China are Penaeus vannamei, P. chinensis, P. monodon, P. japonicus, P. merguinsis and P. penicillatus, of which more than 70 percent comprised the white leg shrimp, P. vannamei.
Dong Qiufen, Peng Zhidong, Zhang Song and Yang Yong give an overview of shrimp feed industry in China.

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31/01/13: Sequencing the salmon genome; FAO looks at fish genetics; visit us at IPPE

Sequencing the salmon genome is due for completion in 2013. The Research Council of Norway is encouraging researchers to use information from the salmon genome to enhance understanding of the mechanisms behind the traits and biology of this valuable production species. Three projects have been granted a total of NOK 41 million for this purpose.

Genetic technologies to improve fish production says FAO. A new report by the UN department says that traditional and modern breeding techniques are needed to increase food production in aquaculture.
Fisheries experts from more than 13 countries opened the first of two consultations today that could herald new ways of reducing hunger and poverty by cataloging and improving aquatic genetic resources for food and agriculture. Most farmed fish have not been domesticated the way that farmed crops and livestock have been, so farmed fish remain very similar to their wild relatives. The meeting will consider the benefits of genetic improvement by using traditional breeding techniques as well as modern genetic technologies to increase growth rates, reduce inputs and improve the cost-effectiveness of aquaculture.

We're at IPPE in Atlanta, USA. Come and visit us on booth 1700.
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Genome (Photo credit: TheEverlastingFallout)

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

New! IAF article: Spray-dried plasma from porcine blood in diets for Atlantic salmon parrs

In the International Aquafeed article today Enric Gisbert PhD, Research Scientist, IRTA-San Carlos de la Rápita, Spain and Javier Polo, APC Europe SA, Granollers, Spain look at spray-dried plasma from porcine blood in diets for Atlantic salmon parrs.

Since the late 1970s, Atlantic salmon aquaculture has grown into a global industry that annually produces over 1.4 million tonnes of salmon with an estimated value of US$7,812 million according to 2012 FAO statistics. The growth of salmon aquaculture has been accompanied by a continuous improvement in feed formulation and technology to maximise growth and survival of salmon at different stages of development. The search for new and alternative feed ingredients and formulations continues in order to ensure sustainability of this industry. 
A major challenge for the aquaculture feed production industry is to identify and validate stable, predictable and high quality sources of alternative proteins for the manufacture of aqua feeds. In this context, any satisfactory alternative feed ingredient must be able to supply comparable nutritional value at a competitive cost. Global recognition that terrestrial animal by-product meals, especially non-ruminant blood meals and blood products, represent the largest and largely untapped safe source of animal protein available within the international aquafeed industry. 
Despite the fact that blood meal and blood products have been shown to be cost-effective nutrient sources for farmed fish and shrimp, it was estimated that less than five percent of total global manufactured aqua feeds (21 million tonnes in 2005) contained blood meal (2–5% average dietary inclusion level). Blood meal is mainly used as a cost-effective source of highly digestible animal protein, as a fishmeal replacer, and as a pellet colouring agent. 

Read the article online here.

30/01/13: Nofima studies aquaculture legitimacy; assistance for POMS hit oyster farmers; FAO sea cucumber guide

Nofima has announced plans for a three year research project into the legitimacy of aquaculture. The NOK 4.2 million project will examine the aquaculture industry at local level and conditions that influence access to area in the coastal zone.

Oyster farmers hit by Pacific Oyster Mortality Syndrome (POMS) in Hawkesbury, New South Wales, Australia have been offered an assistance package by the NSW Primary Industries Minister, Katrina Hodgkinson. Growers suffering finanacial hardship can apply to have their licence fees waived for up to 12 months. 

More information...

The FAO had released a new guide on commercially important sea cucumbers. teh document details the 58 species of sea cucumber that are exploited in artisanal and industrial fisheries around the world.

This Three-Rowed Sea Cucumber (Isostichopus ba...
This Three-Rowed Sea Cucumber (Isostichopus badionotus) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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Alltech feed survey finds significant growth in Africa and aquaculture

 The world is producing 959 million tons of feed and has increased its production by at least four percent in the last year, according to the 2013 Global Feed Tonnage Survey released today by Alltech. Alltech assessed the compound feed production of 134 countries in Dec. 2012 through information obtained in partnership with local feed associations and Alltech’s sales team, who visit more than 26,000 feed mills annually.

“The 2013 publication of the annual year-end assessment by Alltech is being released as an industry outlook resource for the new calendar year and will hopefully allow governments, non-governmental organizations and the greater public to appreciate the value that the feed industry is generating globally,” said Aidan Connolly, vice president of Alltech and director of Alltech’s annual Global Feed Tonnage Survey.

Among the 134 countries assessed in Alltech’s survey, China was reaffirmed as the chief producer of feed at 191 million tons and an estimated 10,000 feed mills. Consistent with late 2011 assessments, the United States and Brazil followed with 179 million tons produced by 5,251 feed mills and 66 million tons produced by 1,237 feed mills respectively. Overall, a 26 million ton increase was observed in BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China) year to date.

Asia continues to be the world’s number one producing region at 350 million tons. However, Africa exceeded Asia in percent growth over 2011 results, increasing its tonnage nearly 15 percent from 47 million in 2011 to 54 million in 2012.

Globally, the survey identified 26,240 feed mills, with North America and Europe serving as home to more than half of them. The Middle East was estimated to have the largest feed mills, with an average of more than 63,000 tons produced per mill. Sixty percent of feed produced globally is pelleted, with percentages particularly high in Europe.
When analyzed by species:
  • Poultry continues to dominate with a 43 percent share of the feed market at 411 million tons, likely due to religious and taste preferences as well as cost. It grew by approximately 8 percent over 2011 estimates. Sixty percent of all poultry feed tonnage is dedicated to broilers, with the rest fed to egg layers, turkeys, duck and other fowl.
  • The pig feed sector matched poultry’s 8 percent growth, moving to 218 million tons globally.
  • The ruminant feed market, comprising dairy, beef and small ruminants, grew more than 13 percent between late 2011 and December 2012, and now requires 254 million tons.
  • Equine feed tonnage increased almost 17 percent to 10.8 million tons.  
  • Aquaculture is the fastest growing species sector by tonnage with growth greater than 55 percent since 2011.
  • Pet food represents 20.5 million tons, 40 percent of which are produced in the United States, but Brazil continues to make considerable advances in this sector.
“As we look to the demands of the future, chiefly the feeding of 9 billion people by 2050, these survey results should stir optimism and resolve within our feed and food industries,” said Dr. Pearse Lyons, president of Alltech. “Our global feed industry is rising to the challenge, and we’re seeing growth across the board. Moreover, we’re seeing it in some particularly key areas– BRIC, Africa and aquaculture.”

Global feed production has traditionally been difficult to quantify because many countries lack a national feed association. For this reason, Alltech began in late 2011 to leverage its global presence to obtain a finer estimate of the world’s feed tonnage. The results of the annual year-end assessment are announced in January as an industry outlook resource for the new calendar year.

Connolly presented the 2012 Alltech Global Feed Tonnage Survey findings at a joint meeting of the International Feed Industry Federation and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in Oct. 2012.  The meeting identified the need to collect more detailed information, a request to which Alltech responded, engendering a deep appreciation for what the feed industry is delivering worldwide.

More information...

Pellets for Rabbits Français : Granulés pour lapin
Pellets for Rabbits Français : Granulés pour lapin (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
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Tuesday, January 29, 2013

29/01/13: Shrimp production in Nigeria; baby barra released in Australia; olive oils and fish feed

Plans are underway to develop Nigeria's shrimp production potential. Fisheries Society of Nigeria and Winrock International have developed a programme targeted at the shrimp sector. The programme is aimed at aquaculture development, diversification of the finish mono-product base and generating jobs.

Around 30,000 baby barramundi have been released into Lake Kununurra, Western Australia as part of a AU$700,000 project to boost recreational and commercial fishing in the region.
The barramundi have been grown in tanks in Broome since they were spawned in November 2012.

This article presented to the International Atherosclerosis Society looks at alternative lipid sources in fish such as olive oils. It also discusses the relationship between fish consumption and cardiovascular diseases.
Barramundi (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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Headquartered in the famous historical and cultural city of Yangzhou, P. R. China, Muyang Group has since its founding in 1967 grown into a prestigious group corporation, whose activities cover design, development, fabrication and installation of the machinery and engineering of the following industries such as feed manufacturing, grain milling, environment protection, food processing, bulk solids handling and storage, steel structure building as well as industrial automation.  Click on the image to visit the Muyang website.

Monday, January 28, 2013

28/01/13: Canada special

Today's blog is Canada-themed. Enjoy.

Last week we reported that the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) allowed salmon infected with ISA to be processed for harvesting for the first time. It appears that this move signals a change of policy. In this article Patricia Ouellette, a regional programme officer at the CFIA tells CBCNews about the change in direction.

Two aquaculture companies on the Coast have become the first farms in the world to be certified to produce organic sablefish and white sturgeon. Totem Sea Farm plans to put its first organic sablefish on the market in February, and Target Marine Hatcheries will have organic caviar and sturgeon meat ready for sale this month.
In order to produce organic fish, both companies had to meet standards laid out in the new Canadian Organic Aquaculture Standards manual, put in place in April 2012.

The fifth annual Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture Scholarship for Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada has been awarded to Brandon Fitzpatrick. The scholarship is valued at $1,000 and is awarded to a student from Newfoundland and Labrador graduating high school and pursuing a post-secondary education. The scholarship was created to promote and create awareness of the province’s fishing and aquaculture industries among youth.
“Fostering an understanding of the province’s fishing and aquaculture industries with youth is an important initiative of our government,” said Minister Dalley. “This year’s recipient of the Fisheries and Aquaculture Scholarship showed real talent and enthusiasm. Brandon’s essay was well researched and well written. Young people are the future of the seafood industry in Newfoundland and Labrador, and I commend Brandon for taking the initiative to learn about the province’s fishery. I offer him my sincere congratulations and wish him well in his future studies.”

English: Map of Canada
English: Map of Canada (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
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Friday, January 25, 2013

Novel product to produce algae on the farm

LGem is one of the world's top three producers of marine Phytoplankton Nannochloropsis Gaditana. Since 2008, the company has delivered the best quality in sterile conditions, while also improving its production technology.

At Aqua 2012 in Prague, the Dutch company LGem presented the innovative GemTube photo-bioreactor. The east-to-operate GemTube system makes it possible for hatcheries and nurseries to produce large volumes of high quality algae at low cost. It uses a revolutionary patented technology with waves to create stable culture conditions and to prevent fouling, GemTube photo-biorecators are suited to fragile algal species and are available at culture volumes from 500 to more than 20,000 litres.
More information...
Click on the image to visit the LGem website

Video: Integrated multi-trophic aquaculture

Developing new techniques for the evolution of aquaculture-based seafood is the goal of the Integrated Multi-Trophic Aquaculture (IMTA) program based out of the St. Andrews Biological Station and the University of New Brunswick in Saint John.

Under the leadership of Dr Shawn Robinson (DFO) and Dr Thierry Chopin (UNBSJ), the program team promotes the practice in which the by-products (wastes) from one species are recycled to become inputs (fertilizers, food) for another so that the entire operation becomes more socially acceptable, economically profitable and environmentally benign.

The concept revolves around fed aquaculture (e.g. fish, shrimp) being combined with inorganic extractive (e.g. seaweed) and organic extractive (e.g. shellfish, deposit feeders) aquaculture to create balanced systems.

The research has been ongoing in the Bay of Fundy with the salmon industry for nine years.

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25/01/13: Oyster disease in Australia; BioMar sells shares Sjøtroll and more...

This opinion piece on the growing role of farmed fish published on The New York Times caught my attention this morning. It not only examines how aquaculture production is increasing but also the possible consequences of reducing fishing.

Pacific Oyster Mortality Syndrome disease has been detected in the Hawkesbury River, New South Wales, Australia.
This is the third time the disease has been detected in the region In late 2010 it was detected in the Georges River and shortly after in Sydney Harbour.
DPI Aquaculture Manager, Ian Lyall, said that consumers can still be confident in the quality of oysters in the market place. “Pacific Oyster Mortality Syndrome only affects Pacific oysters. The Food Authority and NSW Health have confirmed the disease poses no risk to human health,” Lyall said.

BioMar has agreed to divest its 50.71 percent ownership interest in the Norwegian fish farming business Sjøtroll Havbruk. The buyer is Norway-based Lerøy Seafood Group, one of Norway's leading salmon farming businesses. The agreement is subject to ordinary terms and conditions, including to authority approval.
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Chargrilled oysters
Chargrilled oysters (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Event: AlgaeWorld MENA Summit

Extensive research on algae has spurred a trail of development plans in the MENA region. In years to come, algae's potential as a renewable and cost-effective biofuel will be propelled into global markets. With such optimistic worldwide market prospect, many influential industry players are quick in entering the MENA region to gain their grounds and establish partnerships.

Offering optimal growth conditions of vast deserts with plentiful sunshine, wastewater and carbon dioxide, MENA is definitely the region to break into in preparation for the upcoming sustainable biofuel phenomena.

Stay competitive with the latest knowledge and technology. Attend the AlgaeWorld MENA Summit in Dubai,  February 25-26, 2013, to keep in step with developments, especially in the MENA region where rapid advancements and projects are taking place, such as the Algae Biorefinery Project in Saudi Arabia.

Hear directly from Prof Radhouan Ben-Hamadou, Research Associate, Centre of Marine Sciences Deputy Director, UNESCO-International Centre for Coastal Ecohydrology, as he sheds light on the Algae Biorefinery Project in Saudi Arabia, allowing you access to in-depth knowledge and implications of this high-profile strategy in the industry.

Among industry leaders speaking at the summit is Qatar Airways Group, who is a partner in the Qatar Advanced Biofuel Platform consortium with Qatar Petroleum, Qatar University Science and Technology Park, and Rolls-Royce, accentuating the airline's position and experience in sustainable aviation biofuels.

Captain Dr H.C. Chris Schroder, Head of Corporate Social Responsibility, Environment & Fuel Projects, Qatar Airways Group will address alternative feedstocks, costs and technology.

Other experts speaking at the summit include:
  • New York University Abu Dhabi
  • Murdoch University
  • Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research Aquaculture
  • CSIR Biosciences
  • UAW University
  • University of Mansoura
  • Qatar University
  • MBD Energy Limited
  • Eldorado Biofuels
  • UOP Middle East Co
  • AlgaEnergy
Check out the comprehensive agenda here

Register today to attend this all-important event and witness the potential impact that algae can have on your business. Network with key industry players from upstream algae production to downstream end-users and build your contacts for potential business development strategy.  

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Thursday, January 24, 2013

24/01/13: Thursday news round-up

Annamalai Jeyakumari has won the 2012 Peter Howgate Award for young fish technologists. The EUR 500 prize has help her to attend specific training on 'encapsulation of fish oils' under Dr. Utai Klinkesorn, Assistant Professor in Department of Food Science and Technology, Faculty of Agro-industry, Kasetsart University, Thailand.  Jeyakumari works as a Scientist in Central Institute of Fisheries Technology (Indian Council of Agricultural Research) in Cochin, Kerala, India.

Bizarre headline of the day: Ripen bananas with shrimp shells.
Researchers in China have come up with a secondary banana coat made from discarded shrimp shells.
A hydrogel coating made of chitosan, derived from crustacean shells, can prevent a banana from becoming overripe for about two weeks, according to Xihong Li, lead author of a new banana study reported this week at the American Chemical Society's annual meeting.

Stellar Biotechnologies, Inc. has successfully achieved a commercial-scale aquaculture system that sustains the complete life cycle of multiple generations of the Giant Keyhole Limpet (Megathura crenulata), the scarce marine source for Keyhole Limpet Hemocyanin (KLH).
Stellar has developed a controlled, land-based aquaculture system that supports the life cycle of the mollusk through all its stages and now, for the first time, boasts multiple generations producing commercial quantities of pharmaceutical grade KLH.
"This isn't just about increasing Stellar's KLH manufacturing leadership -- which we've clearly done," said Frank Oakes, Stellar President and CEO. "This is about controlling the lifecycle of the source animal, allowing Stellar to grow new generations of limpets spawned by parents that have never seen the ocean, thus ensuring that the pharmaceutical industry has ample supply of GMP grade KLH, made under controlled conditions, while protecting survival of a wild species."
Brandon Lincucum, Stellar Aquaculture Manager, said, "This is the culmination of more than ten years of highly-specialized development work involving a range of disciplines. We've set the benchmark for KLH manufacturing and we're proud to represent these new aquaculture and environmental milestones as well."
English: The fleshy foot of a Giant Keyhole Li...
English: The fleshy foot of a Giant Keyhole Limpet (Megathura crenulata) found in a tidepool at San Pedro. Also on Flickr. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
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Wynveen International BV is a dutch company, leading in the fields of design, production and erection of both complete feed production plants for farm animals, fish, shrimp and pets, as well as its key equipment and systems. Wynveen International has a long history in manufacturing equipment for the feed industry. Click on the image to visit the Wynveen website.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

New! IAF article: Profitable aquafeed moisture control

Our International Aquafeed article today is on moisture control in feeds. This technical article by John Robinson, President, Drying Technology Inc, USAlooks at the economic importance of monitoring moisture levels in aquafeeds.

Aquafeed producers are losing about $4 to $10 per ton of product produced in terms of lost production, higher energy consumption and lowered product quality. These losses can be recovered by substituting a more effective moisture (MC) sensing and control technology for currently used traditional MC sensing and control.

Click on the image to read the article

 You can also browse the International Aquafeed archive online for free.

23/01/13: Cooke Aquaculture allowed to process ISA salmon; new mycobacteriosis research; Nutreco visits Ghana

Cooke Aquaculture has been given the go ahead to process salmon infected with ISA under new guidelines from the Canadian. Food Inspection Agency (CFIA). This is the first time a Canadian farm has been allowed to process fish infected with the disease.
About 240,000 salmon from Cooke Aquaculture's quarantined Coffin Island Farm near Liverpool, Novia Scotia will be transferred to New Brunswick for processing.

Mycobacteriosis in fish is a disease that is difficult to detect and often underdiagnosed. Information about the effects of this disease on the fish farming industry has been limited. However, Adam Zerihun's doctoral research into mycobacteriosis has led to the development of two methods of diagnosis based on real-time PCR and immunohistochemistry respectively.

A delegation from Nutreco is visiting Ghana is with the potential of investing in the country's poultry and aquaculture feed industry. Nutreco has a large aquafeed plant in Egypt but is open to new ventures in Africa as Europe is still suffering financially.

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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Tuesday, January 22, 2013

22/01/13: Philippines protects farmers against extreme weather; sustainable aquaculture in the Med; Norwegian salmon processing plant gets BAP status

The Philippines is devising a programme on how to prepare the farming community in protecting itself more effectively against extreme weather conditions.
The aim of the programme is to protect the gains and livelihood of farmers and fishermen, as well as public investments like irrigation systems, post-harvest facilities and farm-to-market roads.

Sea bass and sea bream are the most consumed fish species in the Mediterranean. Aquaculture production of the species is forecast to double from 2010 to 2030. However, the green credential of Mediterranean aquaculture has been called into question. 
In the face of these criticisms, an EU-funded project has been set up to explore ways to make to make Mediterranean aquaculture more sustainable. The first stage of the Aquamed project is mapping the aquaculture capabilities of the 16 Mediterranean countries.
More information...

Vikenco AS, Norway is Europe’s first salmon-processing plant to achieve Best Aquaculture Practices (BAP) certification from the Global Aquaculture Alliance.
Currently, Vikenco is Europe’s only processing plant with BAP certification.
“To meet increasing demands from existing customers and to enter new markets, Vikenco in recent years has had a strong focus on quality management in all levels of business,” said Line Skov Pettersen, the company’s quality assurance manager. “Through determined effort and a strong focus in all areas, Vikenco is proud to be the first European salmon producer to obtain BAP certification. This is a great achievement and enables Vikenco to provide safe quality salmon to an increasingly quality-conscious market.”
Artificially incubated chum salmon
Artificially incubated chum salmon (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
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New! IAF article: Chicken viscera in fish feed formulation

The first article from International Aquafeed January/February 2013 is on chicken viscera for fish feed formulation by M.G Imam, Bau Chi State University, Nigeria.

Fish as a source of animal protein has played an important role in the nutritional budgeting of many nations. Fish production is becoming a very important source of valuable protein food. Fishmeal is the major protein source in aquaculture feeds. However, the supply of fishmeal is not growing worldwide and the price is often high, so the replacement of fishmeal with cheaper protein sources is needed. Chicken viscera are among such protein sources replacing fishmeal. Viscera are the large organs inside the body: such as the heart, lungs and stomach. Research findings has revealed that certain chicken visceral organs such as heart contain over 80 percent protein of excellent quality while traditional fishmeal normally contain 60 – 80 percent high quality protein.

Click on the image to read the article

To view the whole magazine online or download it as a PDF, click here.
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Monday, January 21, 2013


From small-town entrepreneur to worldwide leader  With a little ingenuity and a lot of hard work, brothers Joe and Louis Wenger founded Wenger Mixing Company in a small Kansas (USA) town in 1935. They went on to design a machine that blended molasses with dry feedstuffs and produced pellets in 1948.
Theirs was the first extrusion cooking system and the basic technology for all commercial extruders used today.  The Wenger brothers' novel idea created a worldwide industry. And, seventy-five years later, Wenger Manufacturing, Inc. is still a family-owned business committed to groundbreaking innovation in the extrusion market.
Click on the image to view the Wenger website.

21/01/13: SAV virus detected at Mainstream Norway site; cod aquaculture handbook; Arctic char PhD

Mainstream Norway has detected SAV virus in fish at the farming site Tuvan in Langefjorden, Finnmark, and is consequently suspecting PD at this site.
The Norwegian Food Authority and the other farming companies in the region have been informed about the situation and the site is quarantined. Mainstream is now in close cooperation with the Food Authorities developing a plan for harvesting of the site.
 The Tuvan site contains approximately 580,000 fish. The fish has an average weight of 2 kg, and harvest was originally planned for third quarter 2013.

Nofima has published a free handbook on capture-based aquaculture for cod. The book, written in Norwegian, is based on decades of research and outlines the equipment and procedures required to succeed with this new form of capture.
Capture-based aquaculture involves catching wild animals and then keeping them alive or feeding them until they are harvested.
More information...

International Aquafeed readers may have seen our Expert Topic on Arctic char in the new issue. (If you haven't, what are you waiting for? Take a look here). On first inspection, this species seemed like a bit of a left field choice to cover as our first Expert Topic of 2013 but it is attracting growing interest in the aquaculture industry.
Today I learnt that the University of Aberdeen is offering a PhD Research Project on 'Investigating the basis of rapid phenotypic evolution in European Arctic charr using population genomics'. The  studentship will investigate the genetic, ecological and physiological basis of rapid phenotypic evolution in Scottish and Icelandic Arctic char.
Arctic char Salvelinus alpinus fjeldørred NONE
Arctic char Salvelinus alpinus fjeldørred NONE (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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Friday, January 18, 2013

International Aquafeed January/February 2013 available now

The first issue of International Aquafeed is at the printer and online now. Print subscribers will receive a hard copy soon but in the meantime, head over to to view the whole magazine online. 

We've made a few changes to the magazine for 2013. In addition to our nutrition and formulation features we are broadening our focus to include fish farming technology. We have some really exciting features in the pipeline on this topic including IMTA, oxygenation systems and nets and cages. 
You will also notice that the magazine is longer - thanks to our BioMarine Business Convention supplement. This event was well-received in October so we thought we'd provide a special report on the main findings.

The Arctic char expert topic was one of the most interesting topics in this issue. I knew nothing the fish before researching the features so it has been a revelation to learn about the potential of this cold-climate loving species.

We are lucky to have an International Aquafeed exclusive in this issue. Peter Cotteau and Tim Gossens of Nutriad share their latest results on the impact of additives on reducing the economic impact of disease on shrimp production.

Torben Svejgard, chief executive officer, BioMar Group, is our interviewee this issue.  International Aquafeed publisher, Roger Gilbert gets Torben's views on changing consumer tastes and protein sources.

I would live to hear your feedback on the magazine so please get in touch with me, Alice Neal at

International Aquafeed Jan/Feb 2013

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Amazing deep sea photos

I usually post a video on Fridays but today I have chosen these stunning photos by Alexander Semenov published in Time magazine.

Semenov, a graduate of Moscow State University, is a zoologist who works at the White Sea Biological Station (WSBS) in northwestern Russia, a major base for marine science research and sustainable coastal management. “When I had the opportunity to go diving and see all these things with my own eyes, it was like a dream come true,” he told Time magazine. “This is another universe, very close to us.”

Dendronotus Frondosus is one of the most common nudibranch varieties. Its unusual appearance is caused by the tree-shaped skin growths covering its body.

Click here to see them all.
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EU compound feed production in 2012: stable vs. 2011

The compound feed production in the EU-271 in 2012 reached an estimated level of 151.9 mio. t, i.e. the same volume as in 2011 and 2010, according to the preliminary statistical data provided by FEFAC members.

While pig feed production dropped by 2 percent, cattle and poultry feed have seen their production grow respectively by +1.5 and +1%. As a consequence, poultry feed consolidated its position of leading segment of EU compound feed production slightly above pig feed.

The most important factors which have weighed on the EU feed demand in 2012 were the still fragile economic situation of the pig sector and soaring feed material costs.

Among the largest producing countries, Germany and UK performed rather well, with annual growth slightly above 2 percent, while France and Poland remained stable and Spain, Italy and The Netherlands saw their production fall at rates between -1 and -2%. Production of poultry feed in Southern Europe was affected in particular by the implementation of the new welfare standards for laying hens.

The high cereal prices over the last two years contributed to improving the competitive market position of industrial compound feed production vs. home mixing. However, this gain was offset to a certain extent by the development of alternative pig feeding strategies based on roughly grinded feed and liquid feeding.

As a result, Germany’s position as leading EU country in terms of total compound feed production before France was strengthened, with Spain scoring third place.

The final estimate and detailed breakdown of the 2012 results will be presented on the occasion of the XXVI FEFAC Congress on 5-8 June 2013 in Cracow.
Market Outlook for 2013
FEFAC market experts foresee a stabilisation in poultry feed production, a further reduction in pig feed production (-1%) and a slight increase in cattle feed demand (+1%).
Further market uncertainties are linked to the impact of the implementation of the new group-housing requirements for sows. Overall, compound feed production is expected to remain unchanged vs. 2012.

The demand for agricultural commodities is expected to remain high in 2013, with the main consequences of maintaining quotations at a high level. The quotations for agricultural raw materials increased significantly during the second half of 2012. With prices expected to stay high, the average cost for supply of feed materials could be higher in 2013, as compared to 2012. After two major crop failures for soybean in South and North America, a record harvest for soybean is expected in Brazil in 2013, but its positive impact may be undermined by the storage and logistics issues it could trigger. On the cereals side, the uncertainty is still important regarding the quantity and quality of the next harvest, due to bad weather conditions in major exporting countries.
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