Saturday, May 31, 2014

Dr Pedro Encarnação, Biomin

Dr Pedro Encarnação is Portuguese and a marine biologist. He did his undergraduate work at the University of Algarve, Portugal, in 1994 followed by a masters in aquaculture - before working there as a research associate until 2000. Later on he  gain his PhD in animal and fish nutrition at the University of Guelph, Canada, which he completed in 2005.. In 2005 he joined Biomin in Austria before re-locating to Singapore in 2006 as its aquaculture specialist. 

How did you come to work for one of the leading ingredient suppliers when at that time aquaculture was not a significant activity for the company?

Biomin being a livestock company saw the opportunity in aquaculture and that it could transition its livestock concepts to apply to aquaculture.
We started in the sector as ‘a one man show’ with the thought that I would be supporting the existing sales team. It soon became clear we needed to expand and specialize in the aquaculture field if we were to succeed in this transition of technology. We had to develop a strategy in aquaculture so Biomin formed an aquaculture department. Since then we have been adding more aquaculture specialists to our group in the R&D department and also technical sales people in countries such as Thailand, Indonesia, India, China and Vietnam.

That must have been difficult to try to  establish a specialist aquaculture supply business starting with just a concept?

As I said, when I joined Biomin the focus was on livestock. Then we started doing tests and carrying out aquaculture research in our R&D center in Austria which focus on biotechnology, but we also needed a center to do in vivo tests with the animals. To do that we needed an aqua research centre - which proved essential - and I was asked for a plan and that led to establishing our Aquaculture Center for Applied Nutrition (ACAN) facilities in Bangkok where  we conduct trials and research with fish and shrimp. .
We had to go into aquaculture in the right way and this was my plan, we needed to develop our concepts  looking at specific solutions for the aqua industry
Prior to this we were not seen as an aquaculture company. Also in the philosophy of the company and the research background I had, allowed us to focus on the industry from a research and development foundation and then to go into the field and apply our findings. We had to show what we could do. With sound research and development behind us we could propose projects and work with farmers and businesses to look and  achieve solutions. For example, the most recent challenge is to help overcome EMS in shrimp farming, that is a big challenge and we are working on it to see if we can help the industry to overcome this constrain.

How important is research and the feed industry when it comes to improving the performance of aquaculture farms?

Research is very important, but the impact of its results in the field are even more important. I’m a fish nutritionist and I recognize that in Asia, nutrition and feed quality have allot of room for improvement. There is a need for us to work with feed millers, to push for research outcomes that can be applied and can improve the performance of the feeds. With regard to feed mills, we’ve been focusing on inefficiencies and trying to develop feed additives that can improve profitability while improving nutrition and health of the animals. To a feed formulator  additives are often seen as added expense, but we have to change this mind set and work with the industry to show that feed additives can be a usefull tool to create more flexible formulations and can improve the efficiency of the diets. Mycotoxin binders/deactivators can reduce the negative impact of mycotoxin in some ingredients, phytogenics and organic acids can improve feed efficiency and reduce pathogen challenges in the animal gut Enzymes can improve utilization of certain nutrients and anti-nutrients, free amino acids can improve the aminoacid balance in the diet.
The salmon industry is a good example of where concepts have been successfully applied and salmon farming is now comparable with chicken and swine production in terms of overall efficiencies. That’s not the case in Asia with freshwater species; only shrimp farming is comparable.
Without sound science behind production systems the industry is inclined to go from boom-to-crash. This tells us there is still a lot that can be improved – educating farmers to take on new concepts that enhance their performance is one of them.

What is the key reason for poor performances in aquaculture?

In many countries and especially in Asia the focus on costs and “my feed is cheaper is a good reason!” Farmers still focus too much on price of feed and feed producers follow that, but they need to focus on efficiencies and outcomes. It’s not what feed costs, but what is the cost of production. How much does it cost me to produce a kg of fish? That means you have to look at more than feed price; you have to look at conversion, growth rates and the environment. It’s all about profitability and we call this ‘nutri-economics’ where you look at what is nutritionally required, what are the correct characteristics needed in the feed and how we utilize them to achieve maximum biomass gain? Then there’s the economics, the measure and maximizing of profitability. Profitability is mainly driven by crop yield and price of shrimp and fish sold in the market. By using simple economic modeling, it is possible to calculate feed value under different production scenarios. Sometimes optimization of performance and profit is not achieved  when least cost is applied. Reducing nutrient density will lower price of feed ($/kg) but can result in lower feed efficiency and can increase the cost of feeding ($/kg fish produced), so ultimately profit is lost. . Then there’s the environment: if you create problems outside the pond that means you probably have problems within your ponds.

Can you give me an example?

Excreted phosphorus is a good example. You need about 0.5-0.6 percent available phosphorus in a diet, but when you’re using cheaper raw materials that have high levels of unavailable phosphorus you will end up with levels of total phosphorun in your feed of more than 1.2-1.4 percent; this leads to more then 50 percent being released into the environment which can cause algae blooms in your ponds. Ingredients with phospurus in more available form or products  that allows more phosphorus to be digested is what’s needed here. To improve the FCR we need to reduce the amounts excreted.
Take a 400 tonne/ha Pengasius farm with a feed conversion of 1.6. That farm will supply  640 tonnes of feed to their 1 ha pond.  Considering a  dry matter digestibility of 75 percent, it means that  25 percent, or 160 tonnes will be released as feces . Reducing FCR from 1.6 to 1.5 through improved feed formulation and digestibility will mean you’ll not only need less feed (40 tones) to produce the same amount of fish, but you will also reduce the amount of feces and nutrients that it is released to the environment 
We need to optimize farming not go for the cheapest feed costs.
It’s all about efficiencies. We have to work on improving our overall efficiencies.
There are limitation on raw materials and using alternatives ingredients brings challenges to formulators. They should know well the composition and the available raw materials and make use of efficient additives to improve the performance of their feeds.

Are there too many species of fish to focus on? Should we be more selective in the species we attempt to farm?

We need strategies and solutions to grow our industry. Aquaculture is more risky than farming other livestock species as it largely depends on the species and the individual focus of the industry involved. Salmon is the stand-out example of controlled feeding, environmental management and adoption of new technologies across regions.
The problem is aquaculture is leading to a growing variety of species being farmed. To counter this means that industry has to be prepared to collaborate in order to focus on a range of species that have the highest potential. That currently includes salmon, Tilapia, Shrimp/Prawn and catfish.
If we focus on these high-potential species we can develop and compete with pigs and poultry as a supply of renewable, sustainable protein for consumers. Lots of fragmented effort dilutes them  and delays an outcome. If we look at cows, pigs or poultry, we see that they have been domesticated over thousands of years. That should tell us that we can’t start with several new species all at once in fish farming. The industry should focus on few of those species that have higher potential and develop a sustainable and efficient production with strong marketing promotion.

What are the key factors holding us back?

We need to reduce the risk of disease in our farmed fish stocks. We also need to develop strong fish farming management. We need to inform the public of the benefits of fish as being more efficient in delivering food protein and high-quality nutrition. We need to improve our water management as water in many parts of the world is a limited resource. We need to develop marine and brackish water aquaculture as we do not have to rely on fresh water as beef and chicken farming need to.
Fish should be an important part of our diet. In the America’s and some  EU countries, for example, fish consumption is low while in countries such as China and Indonesia the percentage of fish in the human diet is high. The economic logic is that where fish forms a significant share of food supply, we will see growing demand for more fish, not from fisheries but from aquaculture.
Growing incomes and population will also mean greater demand for terrestrial animal protein, but will those sectors be able to meet demand? Fish is a great alternative.
In Asia we eat whole fish – not fillets. Consumers see the quality of fish when they buy it whole. Fish is the center of a meal. If you eat fish this way it is delicious and that’s why Asians love it. They see it’s really fresh and they appreciate fish more than meat. That’s something we can learn from in the West.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

29/05/14: Todd Fisheries Launches New Enterprise During Aquaculture UK

Todd Fisheries Technology designs, manufactures and installs the highest quality recirculation systems and components for the aquaculture and shellfish industries.

Todd Fish Team at Aquaculture UK 2014
Designed with your working practices and the needs of the fish in mind and using the best quality of materials their systems are robust, easy to operate and energy efficient.  Todd Fisheries Technology aims to deliver cost effective solutions which enable you to create the optimum conditions for your livestock. Happy and Healthy Fish mean higher profits for your business.

With the recent launch of their newly designed website ( and help from
the Entrepreneurial Spark acceleration programme their team has been able to push to the forefront in the manufacturing of Shellfish Holding and Depuration systems. With their can-do attitude, innovative spirit and strong communication skills they are hoping to bring about 'The Shellfish Revolution' - an industrial movement focusing on the development of an environmentally and socially responsible seafood industry.

Here is what owners Errin and Keith Todd had to say:

Our vision is to revolutionise the seafood industry.  How? – Through Innovation, Communication with the real experts – the fishermen, and continually upping our game. Let’s do it better.  Let’s be environmentally and socially responsible.  Let’s ensure our customer service is 1st class.

UK seafood is world class. Our team will help you ensure your catch is the best quality throughout the supply chain.  Our system components are sourced in the UK and made in the UK. Buy British – your fish deserve the best.

Team Todd have developed equipment which is innovative, reliable, robust, hassle free and importantly cost-effective.  You will be the judge.  Let us know what you think!"
The Aquaculturists
This blog is maintained by The Aquaculturists staff and is supported by the magazine International Aquafeed which is published by Perendale Publishers Ltd.

29/05/14: Setting the Standards for Salmon Vaccination

Robert Wittmann visiting International
Aquafeeds booth at Aquaculture UK
Aqualife and the University of Stirling's Institute of Aquaculture are organising a mini-conference on salmon vaccination on June 11, 2014 in Stirling, Scotland.

With just two weeks notice the organisers have informed IAF that its the first time for several years that the vaccination sector in aquaculture is coming together to discuss standards and a way forward for a more co-ordinaries approach for salmon.
Robert Wittmann, operations manager at Aqualife says companies leading in the field, such as Pharmaq, MSD, Salmon Vaccine, Marine Harvest and Novartis, to name a few, have registered their interest in participating.
"There is no standard for vaccination procedures, but getting it wrong can have major negative consequences for fish welfare and the quality of the end product," say Mr Wittmann.
Speakers representing the main producers of salmon vaccines, farming companies, fish health professionals and vaccination companies will lead the discussion on the issue of Salmon Vaccination - Setting the Standards.
Please email or speak directly to Sally on +44 1786849141 to register.
The Aquaculturists
This blog is maintained by The Aquaculturists staff and is supported by the magazine International Aquafeed which is published by Perendale Publishers Ltd.

29/05/14: Aquaculture UK 2014 - 'Biomass Control'

International Aquafeed attended a talk given by Herman Kristjansson, Managing Director of Vaki, as  part of the opportunities and Challenges for Scottish Aquaculture conference on day two of Aquaculture UK 2014. 

Kristjansson’s talk titled Biomass Control – a major challenge forward, identified Biomass control as a key challenge for Scottish fish farmers.  Vaki’s new frame Biomass Daily (which is placed inside cages) allows companies to monitor fish accurately on a daily basis providing measurements of exact weight and numbers. Kristjannson believes this technology should be used all the way from hatching to harvest as a way of overcoming the difficulties.
The Aquaculturists
This blog is maintained by The Aquaculturists staff and is supported by the magazine International Aquafeed which is published by Perendale Publishers Ltd.

29/05/14: Steen-Hansen - Book on Fouling to be launched in the UK
After a successful year in the Norwegian market (more than 7000 copies distributed), a UK version of Den lille Groeboken is now launched at Aquaculture UK, Aviemore: The little Book on Fouling (UK/ Shetland – Ireland)

The 60-page, high-quality booklet (A5) is distributed free of charge – and is objective and non-commercial.

Book on Fouling covers key aspects related to fouling as an increasing problem in modern aquaculture: Species and species recognition – conditions fueling fouling – invading species – geographical distribution of the various species (and potential distribution) – wrasse ABC and much more.

The booklet can be found here as a free resource:

Book on Fouling is a result of cooperation between Steen-Hansen Aquaculture and various research institutions in the UK and in Norway.

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

29/05/14: FAIVRE

An Innovating Manufacturer

In the 1950's Claude FAIVRE was originally a miller who then became a fish farmer. He missed the mechanization associated with milling, so he decided to build machines that would make the work of fish farmers less difficult. So he created the first automatic calibrator for trout known as "The Calibromatic". Continuing to be inspired by the mill he adopted the idea of using pipes to transport fish, So, the foundations of fish farming mechanization were built - starting its story in 1958 it continues to this day.

FAIVRE boasts an international presence in more then five continents and thirty countries, using its next generation factory to cut, weld and fold steel with laser precision. Working in collaboration with its 3D engineering design department it is able to provide its customers with the best customizations and quotes possible

Learn More About FAIVRE here

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

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Aquaculture UK 2014 see Novartis award presented at gala dinner

Today International Aquafeed attended a series of six conference at Aquaculture UK 2014, hosted by Novartis, featuring talks by PhD and Masters students from Scottish universities. 

Their research touched upon important aquacultural topics and all were competing for the chance to visit Prince Edward Island, Canada, the home of Novartis' fish vaccination centre.

And IAF can announce the winner of the Aquaculture UK 2014 Gala Dinner and prize giving ceremony which has just come to an end! By coincidence it was the presenter we had listened to and decided was the most appropriate for us to report on here. 

The winner is Ms Marie Smedley and we present here a brief synopsis of her presentation which was a particular highlight for us.

Entitled 'Nutrition as a tool to improve performance in Triploid Atlantic salmon (salmo salar) in freshwater and seawater production' - by Marie Smedley, Institute of Aquaculture, University of Stirling.

Marie is completing a PhD study into Atlantic salmon Triploids. Sponsoring this study were Biomar and Marine Harvest Scotland. 

Triploids are sterile fish which have three chromosomes in their genetic make up and can be seen as sustainable to farm commercially. The fish are still not perfect because they display reduced tolerance to sub-optimal environments, she told her audience. 

However, she understands that it is not a sustainable solution in terms of cost to farm on a larger scale.

Marie believes that Triploids and phosphorus to be a winning combination; she explained to us that their phosphorous requirement must be met from the diet and cannot be met by freshwater or seawater environments. 

Bactocell - a product from Lallemand - was also used and had a positive effect on mitigating malformation development of vertebrae and jaw growth and was used after phosphorus.

Triploids in the study grew faster in general as opposed to the diploid salmon. The growth was marked after the first four months, then it was 20-30 percent faster in freshwater and 10 percent faster in seawater, compared to normal diploid fish and normal conditions

Tomorrow is the final day of Aquaculture UK 2014 at the MacDonald Resort in Aviemore. It's been an eventful day in this beautiful part of Scotland!

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

Aquaculture UK

Come along and meet the team behind The Aquaculturists and International Aquafeed magazine today at Aquaculture UK 2014 in Aviemore, Scotland . Find us at stand 81

Aquaculture UK - what is happening right now!

Friday, May 23, 2014

23/05/14: SalMar - Results for the first quarter 2014

SalMar achieved its strongest ever operational EBIT in the first quarter 2014 as a result of record high salmon prices. Although biological challenges once again had an impact on earnings during the period, the company's ongoing programmes are now bearing fruit and are leading to a steady improvement in underlying operational performance. SalMar made an operational EBIT of NOK 485 million during the period, a rise of NOK 137 million from the previous quarter and a substantial NOK 250 million more than in the corresponding period last year.
The result is due to high salmon prices, but we are also seeing indications of improved operating performance and reductions in underlying costs from some of our farming segments," says SalMar's CEO Leif Inge Nordhammer. "At the same time, the biological situation remains challenging. The growing intensity of salmon lice infestation and increasing resistance to treatment that we see ahead could affect fish growth rates and harvesting plans in coming quarters, with attendant consequences for costs."

The average price of salmon was 32 per cent higher in the first quarter 2014 than in the same quarter last year. SalMar's gross operating revenues rose to NOK 1.6 billion, up around NOK 350 million from the first quarter 2013. In total the Group harvested some 27,800 tonnes of salmon during the period (23,200 tonnes). As a result, operational EBIT per kg in the quarter came to NOK 17.45 (NOK 10.14).

All the fish farming segments posted satisfactory results, although regional differences remain considerable. Operations at SalMar Central Norway and the Rauma segment were affected by biological and logistical challenges, with EBIT per kg closing the quarter at NOK 19.35 and NOK 15.68 respectively. SalMar Northern Norway, on the other hand, posted a record EBIT per kg of NOK 21.05.

The Sales and Processing segment is now able to keep PD-infected fish in holding pens prior to harvesting, which has improved production efficiency. However, lower than normal harvesting volumes reduced capacity utilisation. The segment's results were also negatively affected by the Group's fixed-price contracts, which accounted for 35 per cent of the total harvested volume during the period. From sales revenues of just under NOK 1.4 billion in the period, the segment made an operating loss of NOK 28 million. Contracts are expected to account for approx. 40 per cent of volume in the coming quarter.

The current average weight of the fish transferred to the sea in the spring of 2013 is lower than the corresponding 2012 generation had at the same point last year. Although this will have an impact on the volume harvested in the coming quarter, the overall level is still expected to be slightly higher than in the first quarter.
Based on the estimated standing biomass at the close of the period, the global output of Atlantic salmon is forecast to grow by around 7 per cent in 2014 as a whole. SalMar is experiencing strong demand in all the company's core markets, and expects the salmon market to remain strong for the rest of the year.

SalMar is keeping its harvesting forecast unchanged, and still expects to harvest 133,000 tonnes in Norway in 2014. Norskott Havbruk (Scottish Seafarms) expects to produce a total of 25,000 tonnes in 2014, with SalMar's 50 per cent share coming to 12,500 tonnes. 

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

23/05/14: Panabo City conducts Tilapia hatchery seminar

Pursuant to s35 of the Aquaculture Act 2001, Applications are invited from suitably qualified individuals/companies to undertake farming of aquatic animals in a manner that involves regular feeding and or the farming of algae within the waters of the Boston Bay aquaculture zone (excluding Bickers Isles sector) located within the Aquaculture (Zones — Lower Eyre Peninsula) Policy 2013. A total of 16 hectares will be made available.
The Aquaculture Tenure Allocation Board (ATAB) will consider all applications received and provide advice on the allocation of the released hectares. The assessment process will take into consideration the applicable criteria and the assessment guidelines which are included in the attached Invitation to Apply document.  This document also includes a lease application form.
Completed applications with attachments and fee must be submitted on the prescribed form and address the applicable criteria. The application must be received by PIRSA Fisheries and Aquaculture by 5pm Friday 20th June 2014. Application forms and further information can be obtained from Mrs Emily Mellor, Senior Adviser, Aquaculture Policy, Planning and Environment Unit, Fisheries and Aquaculture Division Primary Industries and Regions SA on (08) 8226 2214 or email or from the PIRSA website:

English: Australian flag seen flying in Toowoo...
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The Aquaculturists
This blog is maintained by The Aquaculturists staff and is supported by the magazine International Aquafeed which is published by Perendale Publishers Ltd.

23/05/14: Scottish Salmon Promotional Video

SSPO is at the centre of salmon farming’s industry-wide initiatives and public communication, acting as a trusted source of information, a strong industry voice and a focus through which industry leadership and objectives can be channelled.

Set up in 2006 as an industry organisation for Scottish salmon farming, SSPO encompasses 80% of the tonnage of Scottish salmon production and all members participate in the Code of Good Practice for Scottish Finfish Aquaculture.  The organisation plays a central role in representing the industry on political, regulatory, media and technical issues in Scotland, the UK, EU and internationally.

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

23/05/14: Modern Apprenticeships are great investment in long term future for salmon farming and local jobs” claims SSPO boss

Over 80 people are now enrolled on Modern Apprenticeships in the salmon farming industry in Scotland. 
This latest good news follows an independent review which reports that the industry contributes up to £1.4 billion to Scottish economy.
Chief executive of the Scottish Salmon Producers’ Organisation, Scott Landsburgh, said:
“This is a very positive week for salmon farming in Scotland.  Not only has the industry been independently recognised for its economic value but we can also show the impact our industry is having on local communities in which our salmon grow.
“The number of people enrolled on Modern Apprenticeship (MA) programmes has grown steadily over the past few years, with the vast majority based in the Highlands and Islands where long term career opportunities can be difficult to find.”    
Cameron Jones, Modern Apprentice in Aquaculture for
Scottish Sea Farms

“Training and development is key to ensure our industry grows sustainably and that’s why industry has not restricted opportunities to school leavers alone.  There are a number of options available to people of all ages.  One of our member companies also enrolls employees on National Progression Awards in aquaculture, enabling candidates to use their experience of the sector as a path to further study to advance their career.”
Manager for Scottish Sea Farms Foreholm site, Chris Kelly, began his career in salmon farming almost 25 years ago, working on farms near his home in Shetland at weekends and during school holidays.
Aged 16, Chris was offered an Apprenticeship SVQ Level 2 in Aquaculture through his first employer, Viking Salmon, which ran in conjunction with the North Atlantic Fisheries College (NAFC) in Shetland. Chris joined Scottish Sea Farms in 1999 as a farm worker before being promoted to manager at the Flotta site 12 years ago. Chris said:
“It wasn’t until I began training people who were new to the industry that I realised just how much knowledge I had picked up throughout my career. It was one of the reasons why I decided to return to NAFC ten years ago to formalise what I learned by working towards an SVQ Level 3 in Aquaculture.”
Since then, Chris has helped train up a new generation of salmon farmers including Cameron Jones, originally from Plockton, a small village on the West Coast of Scotland.  Cameron is in his second year of a Modern Apprenticeship in Aquaculture with Scottish Sea Farms.
Cameron enjoys the Scottish rural lifestyle and researched the programme to find out exactly what career opportunities farming salmon in Scotland could offer. Scottish Sea Farms quickly responded to his application and offered him an apprenticeship based in Shetland. Cameron said:
“It was far too good an opportunity to miss and although it meant moving miles from home I just went for it!”
He began his apprenticeship in June 2013 at Mangaster site near Brae, Shetland and attended college each month to learn the theory behind Aquaculture, focusing on the importance of working safely, and understanding the different roles and responsibilities of industry employees. Cameron has since completed the course work for SVQ Levels 2 and 3 ahead of schedule and commented:
“I have really enjoyed the MA Aquaculture. It has given me huge insight into the industry and opened the door to a number of career opportunities. I’ve really enjoyed learning how to farm and how to work with the team at Mangaster.

“When I graduate, I'd like to move closer to home and continue to work full time for Scottish Sea Farms.  I've looked into university courses in Aquaculture and it is possible to do a degree part time, so I would look to apply next year and see if I get in, this would give me a huge boost in the industry.”
The Scottish salmon farming industry employs almost 2500 people in Scotland.  Many more local business, suppliers and service providers benefit from ongoing capital investment and industry spend on service provision. 
The Aquaculturists
This blog is maintained by The Aquaculturists staff and is supported by the magazine International Aquafeed which is published by Perendale Publishers Ltd.