There’s plenty of environmentally suitable areas around the world for marine aquaculture but factors other than space availability could limit its development, a study suggests. The study, Global estimation of areas with suitable environmental conditions for mariculture species, defined “suitable areas” as those that can support the physiological needs of farmed species for sustainable mariculture production. The study estimates that 72,000,000 km2 of ocean would be environmentally suitable to farm one or more species. About 92 percent of the predicted area or 66,000,000 km2 is environmentally suitable for farming finfish, 43 percent or 31,000,000 km2 for molluscs and 54 percent or 39,000,000 km2 for crustaceans. The University of British Columbia study team, led by Muhammed A. Oyinlola, suggests that suitable mariculture areas along the Atlantic coast of South America and West Africa appear to be most under-utilized for farming. “Our results suggest that factors other than environmental considerations are currently limiting the potential for mariculture expansion in many areas,” says the study. The limiting factors include: the socio-economics of producing countries, including capacity and political instability; technology, its availability and cost effectiveness; trades; aqua feed availability; aquaculture development-related policies and competition for space within countries’ exclusive economic zones (EEZs), for instance — shipping, oil and gas, as well as tourism — all play major roles in the development of mariculture operations and their future expansion. The results reflect those of an earlier study, Mapping the global potential for marine aquaculture, conducted by UC Santa Barbara researcher Rebecca Gentry, et al.
After 10 years of research Nofima scientists have finally “cracked the code” to produce sterile farmed salmon.  Inducing sterility in farmed salmon will make them unable to interact genetically with wild salmon populations."In practice we don’t touch the genes, but affect a protein that is necessary to enable the fish to produce gametes,” said senior researcher Helge Tveiten. They have not seen any indications that the fish will become sexually mature or develop the urge to migrate in order to spawn. Paving the way for the research was a previous study carried out on zebra fish, which identified a few genes that are decisive in the development of gametes. “The salmon we have researched do not develop gametes, and will never be sexually mature,” Tveiten added. “We see a tiny egg sac in the female fish, but no eggs are formed. The male fish develops what appears to be normal sexual organs, but they don’t have sperm cells.” Tveiten’s work is part of the SalmoSterile research project financed by the Research Council of Norway. The project is a collaboration between the Norwegian Institute of Marine Research (NIMR) and several major industrial companies, including AquaGen.
A scientist at Fisheries Oceans Canada (DFO) has developed a diagnostic tool that could be used to rapidly diagnose early signs of infectious disease in fish.
Microalgae are promising alternatives to fishmeal but their limited availability and high price prevent feed industry from using them, according to a Norwegian study.
A study translated into dollars and cents the economic gains from various seafood labels, including “certified organic” and locally grown.
Researchers at Auburn University are ready to field-test a vaccine against the deadly columnaris disease that can affect nearly all freshwater fish species and causes millions of dollars in annual losses in catfish aquaculture alone. Lab trials over the past seven years have shown the Auburn vaccine has outperformed the only vaccine currently available on the market, the researchers said. It also targets the two types of bacteria that cause columnaris disease, Type I and the more destructive and more prevalent Type II. Currently available vaccine on the market addresses only Type I.In vaccine trials of Nile tilapia and catfish, the vaccine increased survival rates by 66 and 17 percent, respectively, over the currently available vaccine, reported the Auburn University College of Agriculture paper. Field-testing of the vaccine is funded by a $321,000 grant from the US Department of Agriculture. It will take place in 400 acres of Auburn University ponds. “At this point in our research, we need data on a larger scale to successfully commercialize the vaccine,” research team leader Cova Arias told the Alabama Newscenter. “We will use this most recent grant to fulfill our gap of information.”
Responding to strong market demand for sea cucumbers in China, Alaska- and Washington-based researchers are developing hatchery and grow-out techniques for the indigenous giant red sea cucumber (Parastichopus californicus).
Farmed salmon contains fewer environmental pollutants than its wild counterpart, according to a Norwegian study that’s been described as the biggest research of its kind so far. The study involved 100 samples of wild salmon caught in the sea in Northern Norway, and 100 samples of farmed salmon.
The demographics and purchasing behaviour of seafood consumers present a host of challenges and opportunities, says Matt Lally, Manager, Analytics and Insight for Nielsen Perishables, a consultancy firm on fresh seafood for the marketplace.
Over the past 14 years, the aquaculture industry has seen a roughly 80-percent decline in the amount of pond space dedicated to catfish, from a peak of around 80,000 hectares in 2002 to about 25,000 hectares in 2016.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reached a milestone in May with its first harvest of an all-female generation of mature sablefish. This is a landmark achievement as it makes the farming of this tasty, buttery fish on a commercial scale within the grasp of US fish farmers. The fish harvested weighed an average of 5.47 lbs each, for a total of a whopping 20,227 kgs (roughly 44,593 lbs).
Good news to tilapia aficionados: tilapia has always been good for you.  A study showed tilapia’s Omega-6 to Omega-3 (n6:n3) ratios is relatively low compared to normal US diets. This disproves the “worse than bacon” allegation made in 2008 that was based on a study conducted by a research team that exaggerated its interpretation of how tilapia’s n6:n3 ratios were bad for the health.
The permitting process allowing commercial fish farming in the Gulf of Mexico has been in place for a little over a year now but no one has applied for a permit, acknowledged the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) recently.
Sea lice have long been a research focus at Fisheries and Oceans Canada's (DFO) St Andrews Biological Station (SABS). Recently, studies have focused on the ecology of their early life history stages, non-chemical methods to reduce their incidence, and genetic selection of sea-lice-resistant Atlantic salmon. These elements have been, or are being studied, in an attempt to combat sea lice outbreaks in near-shore ocean caged fish.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is beginning the early stages of work towards opening up federal waters in the Pacific Ocean to aquaculture operations but some are concerned that developing regulations before an industry is established may prevent growth.
As wild fish stocks are being harvested to capacity and global demand for seafood continues to grow, some sectors are espousing that land-based salmon farms are the answer. At present, most land-based farms operate for smolt production. So how economically viable is it to raise salmon on land through harvest size? And what are the implications?
Mike Meeker has been farming rainbow trout off of Manitoulin Island in Canada's Lake Huron since 1984. A self-described "pioneer" in the business, his first net pen was hammered together with logs he cut in the bush and floated on oil drums. He's come a long way since then. As the managing director and part owner of Blue Goose Foods, he oversees two pen sites that each produce a million pounds of trout a year.
The final report published by the Michigan state "Quality of Life" departments concludes an 18-month process, in which the Departments of Agriculture and Rural Development, Environmental Quality, and Natural Resources, considered two applications for net pen trout farming in Lakes Michigan and Huron. (See story in ANA Jan/Feb 2016.)
Alaska, the United States’ top producer of wild seafood, is just in its infancy when it comes to farming it. Current and prospective farmers are looking at the technology and equipment used in Maine, where farming of shellfish and seaweed have been a commercial success for years.
Why not Alaska?  That’s a question that Alaska shellfish and seaweed growers are starting to ask themselves.  The $6-billion seafood industry in the state produces more seafood than the rest of the US combined.  Indeed, if Alaska were a country it would be in the top 10 for seafood production, yet almost all of that comes from the wild fishery.
The livelihoods of oyster farmers in British Columbia, Canada are at risk from a norovirus outbreak that has sickened hundreds in three provinces and forced the closure of nine shellfish farms as of March.
Dynamic and informative industry seminars and speakers, business development networking events, and facility site tours are just some of the reasons to add this event to your busy schedule.
Canola oil could someday become a common ingredient for salmon feed. At the moment, raising fish rich in Omega-3s means supplementing their feed with fish oil. Researchers at the Norwegian Institute of Food, Fisheries and Aquaculture Research (Nofima) said preliminary results of their study show Omega-3 oil derived from canola is safe to use as ingredient in salmon feed. Canola is a vegetable oil derived from rapeseed, which is rich in the marine fatty acid DHA. Results of the Nofima study show salmon given feed containing Omega-3 Canola had the same Omega-3 levels as salmon fed with fish oil. Gene expression analyses showed that effects depended on the amount of oil, not the type of oil, the study says. Feed producer Cargill is developing a new type of canola oil for use in fish feed.
FeedKind protein, a new fish-feed ingredient touted to reduce aquaculture’s use of fishmeal, is expected to reach the market in 2019 once commercial production begins at Calysta Inc’s Tennessee facility.
The US aquaculture industry faces numerous hurdles: a negative image, a difficult regulatory environment and, crucially, a shortage of educated, skilled workers.
As aquaculture continues to produce an increasingly larger portion of seafood consumed in the world, it also becomes a larger and more lucrative market. In recent years that market has attracted the attention of a variety of big grain trading companies that have sought to diversify their products. Companies such as Archer Daniels Midland (ADM), Bunge Ltd and Terra Via shared with Aquaculture North America (ANA) why they wanted to become a part of the aquaculture market.
Hoopers Island Oyster Co of Maryland has been named as distributor for Australia’s Hexcyl Systems. The Hexcyl system is designed for the Australian long-line method of oyster growing and was awarded a 2017 Australian Good Design Award. “We were looking to change methods of growing oysters from the bottom-cage method we were using to transition to a better quality oyster,” says Hoopers Island managing partner Ricky Fitzhugh. “We thought the Hexcyl was a better quality product. We started to order some of the equipment and through a representative coming here to see us and seeing what we were about and how we were involved in the equipment side of it, they thought it would be a good fit for us to distribute them as well.” Hoopers Island manager of equipment and product sales Sean Grizzell says the Hexcyl system’s simplicity is one of its best features. It takes very little time to assemble the system. “Each product in the market has some sort of assembly required. No jigs nor other tools needed. It allows you to be efficient putting it together.” At 25 liters, the larger basket size of the Hexcyl system also allows flexibility to producers, says Grizzell. “You can change the stocking density to the level of quality of oyster you want. You can stock them heavy or you can stock them light, depending on what kind of market you’re in.”
An aquaculture veteran was honoured with the first Atlantic Canada Aquaculture Award at a gala event in St Andrews, New Brunswick in October. Skretting International’s Gary Taylor was recognized for his contribution to the success and growth of salmon farming on Canada’s east coast. Taylor, a resident of St Stephen, praised the salmon farming industry when he accepted the award. “I tell young people, ‘Boy you’ve picked a good industry,” he told the crowd of more than 100 industry representatives from around the world who attended the Atlantic Canada Fish Farmers Association’s 30th anniversary gala. “It’s something to be proud of. Everyone in this room deserves a hand for the great industry we have developed.” Taylor graduated from the Aquaculture Technician Program at the New Brunswick Community College in St. Andrews in 1981. He immediately began his career in Dark Harbour Grand Manan, where he became the first site manager in New Brunswick. In 1988 he joined feed company Skretting International. “We have such a great industry here. It’s a story to tell. We’ve got the best protein in the world that’s the least intrusive on the environment,” he said. Larry Ingalls, ACFFA Chair, said Taylor’s professionalism, commitment, hard work and passion for the industry deserved to be recognized. “Gary has been involved with many innovations as the industry has evolved to what it is today, one of the most significant economic drivers in Atlantic Canada…. We’re proud that he is the inaugural recipient of this award.”
Seafood and produce packaging manufacturer Seaca Packing and A.A. Childs Brokerage have teamed up with Packaging Products Corporation (PPC) in New Bedford and Miami to further expand the market reach of their plastic corrugated boxes for seafood along the entire East Coast and beyond. SeaCa partnered with A.A. Childs Brokerage in 2016 to introduce their 100-percent recyclable alternative line to the northeast seafood markets. The latest union comes at a time when plastic corrugated boxes are gaining support in the seafood industry as both a 100-percent recyclable alternative to wax and offering cost savings abilities along the entire shipping chain with its lightweight yet durable construction, said the companies in a statement. “The industry is now asking questions about plastic corrugated, which is good,” said Ted Heidenreich, President of PPC. “Our reach and experience in packaging for the seafood industry allows us to introduce the many advantages of plastic corrugated when compared to wax and foam boxes so seafood shippers can make informed decisions.”
Merck Animal Health says it has created a mobile solution for recording data from vaccination controls in the field. The AquaVac Audit app allows customers to audit the vaccination event in a format that’s easily analyzed and provides greater insight on areas for improvement, says Merck. The company’s Animal Health’s aquaculture team developed it specifically for its customers. “As the app becomes more popular, we are confident that customers will save time and money as the information is automatically uploaded with reports produced at the touch of a button,” said Camilla MacDonald, Technical Manager. “All data will be saved on a cloud based server, which is maintained by our app partners and where site managers or fish health managers can access the information when they want.” Merck Animal Health is known as MSD outside the United States and Canada.
Sæplast is introducing its DXS335 PUR transport container for seafood. Its polyurethane insulation will help keep fish and ice chilled at the proper temperature to ensure top quality, said the company.    “Improperly stored fish will spoil and can become unsafe for consumption. Quality starts at the point of harvest, as soon as the fish is taken out of the water. The benefits and savings are enormous using Sæplast PUR boxes with slurry ice,” it added. The DXS335 can be ordered in a custom color with colored logos and can be outfitted with a variety of tracking options including barcodes, QR codes and RFID tags.
A water-treatment product used in the oil and gas industry may soon find its way into the aquaculture industry. Sorbwater Technology and Blue Ocean Technology, both of Norway, have partnered on a new project that seeks to explore the potential of using the former’s Sorbfloc flocculent product in aquaculture. “We work mostly within the oil and gas industry, but the last half year we’ve also been targeting the aquaculture industry,” said Sorbwater Technology CEO Svein Egil Steen. After signing the partnership deal with Blue Ocean Technology, testing was soon underway to see how well Sorbfloc would work in tests on water in Blue Ocean’s facilities. The flocculent product is applied to waste from aquaculture processes and is able to separate leftover feed, feces and other contaminants from the water, which can then be safely discharged, says Steen. Further testing of the product will be conducted in another facility. If experiments prove successful, the product will add to the green and cost-efficient water-treatment options currently in use in the aquaculture industry. The challenge, from Sorbwater’s perspective, is adapting their products and scaling up the volume to meet the needs of the industry’s needs. “We have mostly worked on oil and gas, so our chemistry has been aimed at that,” says Svein. “So we have changed the chemistry to adapt to different contents – instead of hydrocarbons, it is now feces and feed leftovers and things like that, so it’s reengineering the flocculent to fit into this market. The biggest challenge is finding the right chemistry, or engineering the chemistry to fit the system.”
MSD says it has created a mobile solution for recording data from vaccination controls in the field. AquaVac Audit app allows customers to audit the vaccination event in a format that’s easily analyzed and provides greater insight on areas for improvement. MSD Animal Health’s aquaculture team developed it specifically for MSD customers.
With a jump in speed and improved stability over its predecessor, Inspector 2.0, the recently released robotic submersible developed by California-based SeaDrone Inc, offers fish farmers another way to observe their pens and other underwater facilities without having to get wet themselves.
Israeli startup AquiNovo said “proprietary materials” that can be fed to fish to accelerate their growth will hit the market in 2020.
Aquionics has opened a new sales and service center in Charlotte, NC to meet increasing demand for ultraviolet (UV) disinfection technology in industrial and aquatic applications.
A US-based company specializing in developing barcode traceability and labeling systems has developed a product for the aquaculture industry.
A Florida cooperative brings oyster farmers together to share experiences, get support and have a guaranteed place to sell their product, at a guaranteed price. The Panacea Oyster Co-op is a collaborative enterprise borne out of a desire to strengthen and revitalize oyster farming in Florida’s Apalachee Bay and other parts of the estuary. By bringing together individual farmers to work towards a common goal, the co-op has brought its members collective benefits. Its efforts are paying off, for the co-op has been championed by US sustainable seafood investment forum, Fish 2.0. The co-op was formed two years ago by a group of classmates at the Wakulla Environmental Institute’s Oyster Aquaculture program. While working on separate aquaculture operations, an Australian equipment supplier suggested that they consider forming a cooperative. It didn’t take much convincing; the group voted Rob Olin as CEO and, later, as chairman of the board. “We just cobbled a team of very diverse but incredibly talented professionals together for the business side,” says Olin. “I think we’ve attained our goal, which is to provide our members with everything they need — support in terms of accounting, legal, finance, operations, and advertising and marketing. So all they have to worry about is growing the perfect oyster. We now have a pretty substantial juggernaut.” A for-profit co-op The co-op provides seed, ongoing training, technology and a guaranteed place to sell their product, at a guaranteed price. They also help them make effective business plans. A key difference with many co-ops, Olin notes, is Panacea’s for-profit nature. “We have to have investors to build the infrastructure we needed. We have to have enough money to buy the marina to house everything. We had to have an actual structure for a USDA loan, so in that way we’re different.” As CEO and chairman, Olin is the decision-maker for a lot of day-to-day issues, however, larger questions regarding operations or philosophical changes are made with the 30 members of the co-op. The rancher members and the board of directors both meet once a month, in additional to an annual shareholders’ meeting. “We’ve been able to enhance the rancher’s performance by way of the financial allowance and economies of scale that we bring to the table,” says Olin. “This is brand new. And like anything you do that’s brand new, it’s like walking into a hotel room when the lights are off. You stumble around and you find your way and you start to get a rhythm, then you start to elevate your performance, and from that elevation you move on to perfect performance. We’ve been able to cover so much ground as a team that we could never have gotten done as any one individual.” The co-op also benefits from their location, next to Florida’s Spring Creek, the largest freshwater spring in the world. The pure spring water flows through and mixes with the saltwater, making up North America’s most diverse estuary. Olin says this allows for algae to thrive, which feeds the oysters and allows them to grow more quickly. The location also has two tides per day, which keeps nutrients moving in and out. “When you’ve got oysters that rely on filtering more than 50 gallons of water per day, giving them the mega nutrients that our waters do, that allows them to grow faster than anywhere else on the planet.” The farming operations are centered around the Apalachee Bay, which is part of the same estuary as the Apalachicola Bay. Farmers in the Apalachicola Bay harvested as much as 100 million oysters per year five years ago, but this has gone down to less than five million now. Olin hopes Panacea’s efforts to resurrect the oyster industry in Apalachee Bay will inspire farmers in the Apalachicola Bay. “We’re putting the money, capital and effort back into building the infrastructure into Apalachee Bay,” says Olin. “Hopefully folks in Apalachicola Bay will see the magic that happens from this reintroduction of oysters – a totally different way to harvest and they’ll embrace it and start doing it over in their own bay and bring back that incredible potential that they once had.” Panacea Oyster Co-op was one of the winners of the recent Fish 2.0 competition. The co-op’s ability to organize people and motivate them to commit to a shared endeavour has been a key factor behind its win, says Olin. Part of the appeal for many in the oyster farming industry is the independence and freedom it allows, but the co-op has convinced its members to give up some of that freedom for the greater good. “It’s kind of like the old west,” says Olin. “You’ve got a bunch of independent water cowboys and cowgirls. They can make their own agenda for the day because they can adjust to the tide, wind, temperature and current. They don’t especially like to be collaborators or joiners. But here, because the old ways—commercial fishing and commercial oyster harvesting—were gone forever, they saw hope in this new technology, this new way of doing things. And they committed, even though it went totally against their natural instincts and they’re building something much bigger than themselves.” Vision The goal of the co-op is to establish their model as a prototype that can be adapted in different areas, either as satellite operations, or the co-op can provide its services as mentors and consultants. The important thing is to help the industry get firmly established. Oysters are the ideal panacea not only to help supply the world’s growing need for food but also to keep the waters healthy, says Olin. “Oysters are essential for the survival of 3,000 aquatic species. They’re the original filters in the aquarium. Take the filters out, the aquarium dies. Put the filters back, the aquarium comes back to life. The best thing we can do is put filters back in the aquarium. The best way to do that is through aquaculture. The best way to make sure coastal communities see it is through this collective collaboration of a co-op.”
As one of only two farms to produce the species in Quebec, Raymer Aquaculture has a strong foothold in the local market.
Early efforts invested into building natural, organic processes pay off for British Columbia’s Creative Salmon.
With a background in engineering and several years in aquaculture, Matt Clarke noticed the lack of innovative technical solutions and support services in the industry. To address that need, British Columbian Matt and his wife Heather Clarke co-founded Poseidon Ocean Systems in 2015 – a full-service aquaculture engineering and support company that specializes in infrastructure design, development, supply and installation.
Interest in aquaponics is growing, but the success rate is not exactly stellar. Greener Scenes Aquaponics (GSA) in Brazil, Indiana, is one of the few that has found commercial success. Their journey from small proof-of-concept to commercial success was exciting, to say the least.
Terry Brooks, president of Golden Eagle Aquaculture of Agassiz, British Columbia, says he has the formula to fine-tune coho farming in land-based closed containment systems. “We can do this all day long and provided we don’t outstrip the demand we will be fine,” says Brooks, who got directly involved in the company two years after Golden Eagle acquired the operations from Swift Aquaculture in 2014.
Massachusetts-based biotech company KnipBio has unveiled a fish feed derived from microbes instead of wild-caught fish or agricultural crops.
The first commercial scale indoor Atlantic salmon RAS facility in the US is up and running in Northfield, Wisconsin. 
Sessions and workshops at Asian-pacific Aquaculture 2017 will cover all aspects of aquaculture in Malaysia as well as southeast Asia. 

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