Liza Mayer

Liza Mayer

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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.

Supporters of salmon farming in the State of Washington are urging Governor Jay Inslee to veto the bill that would ban salmon aquaculture in the state.

HB 2957, which the state legislature passed on Friday with a vote of 31-16, will end state leases and permits for Atlantic salmon operations when current leases expire in 2022.

The Washington Fish Growers Association (WFGA) called the decision “Ill-conceived and politically motivated rather than based on the best available science.”

The bill now awaits Gov Inslee’s signature, who earlier has expressed support for the bill.

“We are appealing to Governor Inslee, a strong believer in science, to use his veto powers to put this nonsensical, punitive legislation to rest,” said Dan Swecker, Executive Director of the WFGA.

Canadian company Cooke Aquaculture, which has hired a number of lobbyists to help campaign against the bill, is threatening to sue the state under the North American Free Trade Agreement to recover its $76 million investment in Washington should the bill pass.

Joel Richardson, vice president for public relations at Cooke said earlier that “Cooke, as a Canadian foreign investor, has a credible claim for mandatory arbitration under NAFTA, which would compensate Cooke for our $70-plus million investment in Washington state, plus damages.”
The Washington State Legislature on Friday voted to pass HB 2957, which would end state leases and permits for Atlantic salmon operations when current leases expire in 2022.

The Senate passed the bill on a 31-16 vote and it now heads to Gov. Jay Inslee for signing, who earlier expressed his support for the bill.

The bill’s passage signals defeat for Cooke Aquaculture, which has fought hard against it. ““We are deeply disappointed in the action taken by the Legislature today and the potential impact it could have on Washington’s 30-year salmon-farming industry and the more than 600 rural workers and their families that rely upon salmon farming for their livelihoods. Our employees remain our top priority, and we wish to extend our thanks and appreciation to the many lawmakers who have consistently advocated on their behalf during this process,” said the company’s Vice President of Public Relations, Joel Richardson.

He said that as an immediate next step, Cooke Aquaculture Pacific will take the time it needs to fully evaluate its operations and investments in Washington and explore all options available to it.

Earlier, several concerned scientists wrote an Open Letter to the Washington Legislature asking for the opportunity to provide a science briefing prior to a vote on House Bill 2957. Aquaculture industry officials have also urged lawmakers to base their decision facts rather than anti-farming propaganda and misinformation.
Difficulty in securing permits in federal waters is holding back mariculture development, according to Dr Jerry Schubel, the president and CEO of the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, California.
Legislation that would ban Atlantic salmon farming in the state of Washington did not pass the House Agriculture & Natural Resources Committee.

Cooke Aquaculture Pacific applauded the demise of SB 6086 and says it will seek to amend HB 2957 in Senate to protect salmon farming’s rural workforce. It believes SB 6086’s demise “effectively dooms the bill for the legislative session.”

“We thank the members of the committee for their wisdom in not advancing this job-killing measure, and we want to thank the committee chair, Rep. Brian Blake, in particular,” said Joel Richardson, vice president of public relations for Cooke Aquaculture Pacific, the sole operator of Atlantic salmon farms in Washington after purchasing the state’s 30-year farming facilities in 2016.

“Banning the state’s 30-year salmon farming industry because of the regrettable accident at Cypress Island last summer would eliminate the hundreds or rural jobs directly and indirectly supported by these farms and would do so without scientific justification. As the Department of Fish & Wildlife has concluded, the escaped fish pose no threat to wild salmon and banning farmed salmon would not add a single wild salmon back in Puget Sound – but it would needlessly terminate the livelihood of hundreds of Washington rural families.

In testimony before the committee yesterday, Richardson explained that the fish escapement at Cypress Island was not larger than several other previous escapements that occurred when Washington’s salmon farms were held under domestic ownership – none of which resulted in attempts to ban the industry or cancel the farms’ leases. Similarly, previous pipeline explosions, refinery accidents, oil spills or floods of raw sewage that occurred within Washington also did not prompt efforts to ban the domestic companies responsible, even though those incidents resulted in demonstrable harm to fish and/or humans.

“For these reasons, Cooke, as a Canadian foreign investor, has a credible claim for mandatory arbitration under NAFTA, which would compensate Cooke for our $70-plus million investment in Washington state, plus damages,” said Richardson.

After successfully halting the progress of SB 6086, Richardson said Cooke will now take this message to the Senate as it considers House Bill 2957, which is substantially similar to SB 6086. Richardson said the company will seek to address concerns about the potential for farmed salmon to interbreed with native salmon by offering an amendment that restricts salmon farms to raising single-sex female fish.

“Our amendment would completely mitigate the already low risk of interbreeding and colonization between farmed and wild salmon, while preserving our industry and the 600 direct and indirect jobs our industry supports,” Richardson said. “We believe this is a win-win solution, and we are hopeful that a majority of the Senate will find this solution to be a sensible one, not just for Cooke but for all agriculture and marine-based industries in Washington.

Aquaculture industry players are urging lawmakers deciding on the fate of salmon farming in Washington State to base their decision on facts rather than anti-farming propaganda and misinformation.

At the sidelines of Aquaculture America 2018 in Las Vegas Wednesday, Jim Parsons, the president of the National Aquaculture Association, told Aquaculture North America (ANA) that the occurrences in the legislature are driven by emotion rather than science.”

“That’s not something we want to see. From NAA’s standpoint it has to be driven by science, and misinformation and emotion can be problematic,” Parsons said, adding that escapes have happened before and numerous studies have been done on them that show no ill effect from an ecological standpoint.

The Washington Fish Growers Association (WFGA) is calling on lawmakers to vote down any bans on the farming of Atlantic salmon in Washington state waters.

“Given the significant importance of the aquaculture industry to Washington’s rural communities, lawmakers must ensure that both science and economic benefit are front and center,” said Dan Swecker, WFGA’s Executive Director.

Swecker noted many proven science facts that have also been reinforced by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW).

1.       Atlantic salmon do not inter-breed with Pacific salmon.

2.       Scientists have never observed any Atlantic salmon escapees spawning on the West Coast of North America.

3.       If Atlantic salmon escape from net pens, they do not eat other fish or their natural foods. When their stomachs are examined, they are empty and they perish.

4.       Salmon are raised in a disease-free quarantined hatchery, vaccinated against saltwater diseases, and certified disease-free before they are shipped to net pens. No example of the transfer of disease from farmed salmon to wild fish has ever been documented by a regulatory agency in Washington.

Swecker, a former state senator from Rochester, and one of the pioneers in salmon aquaculture in Washington, also asked members of the Senate Natural Resources Committee at a February 19 hearing in Olympia to understand the significant benefit of aquaculture to the state’s economy.

The Association of Washington Business (AWB) shared those views. Mary Catherine McAleer of AWB told legislators to consider the impact of these family wage rural jobs in high poverty areas before they cast a vote to ban the farming of Atlantic salmon.

Tony Schuur, chairman of the board of the California Aquaculture Association, believes Cooke Aquaculture, the company at the center of the fiasco, didnt do their job but he also believes the regulators didnt do their job. The whole event is a manufactured debacle. And those people that are responsible, I am certain under law are responsible, should be held accountable. As for the new legislation required, I dont see that it is (required), its regulatory overkill, Schuur told ANA.

Salmon and trout producer Cermaq says the survival rate for its fish for the full year 2017 ranged from 94 percent to 96 percent in its farms in Norway, Chile and Canada. In fish health performance, none of the fish harvested in Norway in the last quarter of 2017 had received antibiotic treatment, it said. In Chile and Canada, the use of antibiotics was reduced from the same quarter last year. The company said it aims to further reduce its use of antibiotics. Cermaq also reported it had no escapes in the last quarter of 2017, neither so far in 2018. In terms of Occupational Health and Safety, the company said performance remains strong, with a global absence rate of 2.2 percent. Cermaq started publishing quarterly sustainability results in early 2016.
Japan’s biggest trading house Mitsubishi Corp expects to post its first record profit in 10 years due mainly to the rebound in prices for resources and also to its active management of its subsidiaries like Cermaq. Company president Takehiko Kakiuchi, who assumed the role in April 2016, believes in active involvement in Mitsubishi’s subsidiaries that are expected to help raise Mitsubishi's corporate value. For instance, after acquiring the Norwegian salmon farmer for $1.4 billion in 2014, Mitsubishi sent a chairman and a project development representative to manage the company, reported Nikkei Asian Review. Since 2016, it has had another six officers there, including a sales executive. Cermaq logged a deficit of $65.16 million (7.2 billion yen) in the fiscal year through March 2016, but it more than recovered the following fiscal year with a $136.66 million (15.1 billion yen) surplus the following fiscal year, said the paper. Th
A bill calling for a ban on salmon farms in Washington State has received support from Gov. Jay Inslee and the state Senate.
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.

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.

Early efforts invested into building natural, organic processes pay off for British Columbia’s Creative Salmon.
The salmon escape incident at Cooke Aquaculture’s farm near Cypress Island in Washington State could have been avoided if Cooke Aquaculture had properly maintained the nets, according to a state investigation.

The company was fined $332,000 for the release of thousands of Atlantic salmon in August, the Washington State Department of Ecology announced Tuesday.

The incident invited new scrutiny on the industry and intensified concerns over the effects of foreign fish on wild Pacific salmon native to the area.

Previous estimates, based on Cooke's reports, put the number of escaped fish at 160,000, but the state probe put the number of escaped salmon at 250,000.

The state investigation also found Cooke poorly cleaned and maintained the nets, failed to follow repair protocols, and paid insufficient attention to engineering.

“This investigation confirms Cooke Aquaculture was negligent in operating its net pen,” Ecology Director Maia Bellon said in a statement. “What’s even worse is that Cooke absolutely could have – and should have – prevented this incident.”

Cooke Aquaculture has issued a statement denouncing the results of the state investigation, saying that it was "incomplete, inaccurate and conducted by investigators with limited experience in aquaculture or net-pen operations.

Cooke Aquaculture issued scathing press release today pre-empting the official announcement of the findings of the investigation into the collapse of the company's salmon net pens in Washington State, due today at 11 am PST.
Jeremy Dunn, executive director at the BC Salmon Farmers Association (BCSFA), is leaving the association to move over to Marine Harvest Canada beginning May 1.

BCSFA said it is now searching for his replacement.

Dunn will be joining Marine Harvest Canada's Public Affairs division. He will replace Ian Roberts, Marine Harvest's Director of Public Affairs, who announced his transfer to Marine Harvest Scotland's operations earlier this month.

 “The past four years with the BCSFA has been an incredible experience and introduced me to the talented women and men working in BC and the global seafood sector,” says Dunn. “This experience has led me to want to become involved on a deeper level, and I’m excited to join Marine Harvest. I can’t thank the board of directors enough for their guidance, leadership and support.”
Shrimp disease issues in China have dragged down sales of Hawaii’s shrimp broodstock for the second year in a row, data from the US Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) show.
NOAA Sea Grant recently announced awards of $9.3 million in research grants for 32 projects to advance the development of a sustainable marine and coastal aquaculture industry in the United States.
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.

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