Thursday, May 14, 2015

14/05/2015: The aquafeed interview

First published in International Aquafeed, March- April 2015

Aas, Nils Einar  1966, born in Oslo, Norway, Norwegian citizen. International sales and marketing executive, from the beginning of 2014 Sales Director at Aker BioMarine, responsible for sales and marketing of Qrill, Antarctic krill meal, to aquaculture applications across the Asian continent.

Mr Aas holds a master¹s degree in business administration from the Norwegian School of Management, and has an additional executive education from IMD in Lausanne, Switzerland. After working as a sales manager for industrial alginates in Europe and Asia, he was sales director and vice president in Norske Skog, a world leader in publication paper. Following this he worked for the French industrial company Veolia, as managing director for their Norwegian subsidiary for sanitary cleaning and waste treatment.
Aas was junior national skating champion twice in the eighties and a member of the national speed skating team until 1989. From 2010 through 2013 he served as secretary-general of the Norwegian Skating Association.

There are substantial health benefits derived from krill products. Can you tell us about the range of krill based products that Aker BioMarine offers and any latest scientific innovations? 

Antarctic krill lives in the coldest and most pristine waters on Earth, free of contaminants and environmental pollution. And did you know that krill is one of the largest biomasses in the world? We harvest krill and use it to produce krill meal and krill oil as an ingredient for aquaculture feeds, pet food and for human consumption with great health benefits.
There are three of our products I’d like to highlight. Firstly, Superba is our product for human consumption.  The red krill oil is rich in omega-3 fatty acids EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid). In studies, Superba increases the Omega-3 Index faster and more efficiently compared to other marine sources. Krill oil has well documented health-promoting properties within heart, brain, joint, and inflammation. I actually have Superba with every meal in the office, and so do my colleagues. 

Secondly, Qrill Aqua is our krill meal product for fish- and shrimp feed. Krill meal is dried Antarctic krill. Just like for humans, the highly bioavailable phospholipid Omega 3 fatty acids, the powerful antioxidant astaxanthin and high quality proteins speed up growth, improve filet yield and quality, as well as the fish’s heart health. The product has become an increasing relevant ingredient as the industry faces scarcity of fishmeal and fish oil.  This is the product that I am personally responsible for across the Asian market. Qrill Aqua contains a range of essential nutrients for shrimp and fish, including essential amino acids, feed attractants, phospholipid fatty acid, astaxanthin and cholesterol. Numerous studies document increased growth and higher efficiency with diets that contain krill. 

Thirdly, Qrill Pet provides all the listed health benefits to our dogs. We have launched Qrill Pet in Europe and it will soon also become available in the US and other markets. Just like krill has numerous health benefits for humans fish, and shrimp, research indicates health benefits for pets’ vision, brain, cardiovascular, coat, liver, and kidneys. The krill phospholipid omega-3 also has a positive effect in regulating food intake in obese animals and an added value – and as for humans, it will prevent your dog from having a fishy breath after its meal.

Harvesting krill in a commercially viable and environmentally sound way is challenging. What eco-friendly technology is used by Aker-BioMarine to achieve this? 

As the largest krill supplier in the world, our proprietary eco-friendly technology is paramount to our activities. Working in the Antarctic’s fragile ecosystem we are entrusted to care for and responsibly handle this bountiful, but not unlimited, resource. Our vessels, Antarctic Sea and Saga Sea, use Pelagic trawls with our Eco-Harvesting System. The system’s hose (between the trawl and the vessel) ensures that the fishing net stays underwater during the entire operation. 

This minimises interactions between the net and surface predators, especially seals and birds, as the net is not hauled and shot. At the opening of the net, a fine mesh screen excludes unwanted by-catch when harvesting krill, the vessel moves very slowly in the water. This allows fish species caught in the net to easily swim out.
This method also ensures that the products we produce are of the highest quality as the krill is swiftly processed. Although our technology is recognised as the industry-leading standard, we are always looking to see how we can improve to work as sustainably and eco-friend ly as possible.

How does Aker-BioMarine seek to achieve long-term sustainable development with regards to krill harvesting? 

With opportunities come responsibilities, especially for us working in the Antarctic’s fragile ecosystem. Besides our Eco-Harvesting, we also work closely with key stakeholders to achieve long-term sustainable krill harvesting. As the largest krill-supplier in the world we have a very strong interest in protecting the Antarctic environment.

International conventions limit the catch. The Convention of the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) is an international treaty that oversees krill fishing with 24 members including six countries that fish for krill. In advance of each season our vessels notify CCAMLR about our fishing area and potential catches. 

Aker BioMarine takes its certification as seriously as its technology. As of today we are the only Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certified krill supplier. The certification is done by MSC assesses the fishery management, its impact on the stock and on species dependent on krill, while monitoring the wider eco-system. You can recognise this certification by a distinct blue eco-label on our products. We really encourage others to also become MSC certified. 

Protecting the krill and the pristine waters in Antarctica is a collective responsibility. Aker BioMarine has many partnerships with regulatory authorities, NGOs and environmental researchers including WWF Norway. They advise us on how to develop the fishery in the most sustainable manner, and have brought scientists and experts into the conversation. So now we have introduced standards such as 100 percent observer coverage on our ships and satellite tracking on our vessels.  

An extended version of this interview can be found on the Aquaculturists blog.

Read the magazine HERE.

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

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

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