The big story in catfish aquaculture two years ago was that US farm-raised catfish production was able to meet demand for the first time since 2013. A year prior to that, in 2016, the industry saw annual sales of catfish farmed in the United States reach $386 million, a 7.2-percent growth over the average annual sales during the last five years.
Nordic Aquafarms has announced plans to build a land-based Atlantic salmon farm in California to be close to the regional markets it plans to serve.
According to a peer review conducted by Fisheries and Oceans Canada, farmed salmon that carry and transfer the deadly Piscine Orthoreovirus (PRV) pose a low risk to wild Fraser River sockeye salmon in British Columbia.
The Canadian Federal Court has ruled that juvenile farmed salmon in B.C., must be tested for piscine orthoreovirus (PRV) before being introduced to open net pens.
ARLINGTON, Va. – Nonprofit organizations Conservation International and Ocean Outcomes (O2) are teaming up to create a more sustainable seafood supply chain.
On August 31, Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) released a report on the Live Gene Bank, a program designed to help prevent the extinction of Atlantic salmon in the inner Bay of Fundy. The report confirmed the presence of European farmed salmon genes in the area and touched off a conflict over who to blame for their presence.
Farmed salmon is by far the most important finfish species grown in Canadian aquaculture, accounting for about 90 percent of volume and value of total finfish produced.
The B.C. provincial government and First Nations in the Broughton Archipelago of B.C., have decided to not renew the leases of 17 salmon farms owned by Marine Harvest Canada and Cermaq in the area.
AquaBounty has joined forces with Aquaculture R&D company, The Center for Aquaculture Technologies (CAT), to apply CAT’s patented sterility technology in AquaBounty products.

The decision means AquaBounty will be moving from using triploid induction technology to gene editing to ensure fish sterility.

The two companies signed an agreement whereby both will co-fund CAT’s research which is using gene editing to produce a sterile finfish for use in aquaculture. CAT will hold the patents and AquaBounty will receive a non-exclusive, royalty-free, license to those patents and the technology. The development work will be performed at CAT’s facility in San Diego.

“We are delighted to work with AquaBounty to develop this technology and realize its potential in aquaculture,” Dr. John Buchanan, chief executive officer of CAT.

“Although AquaBounty has been very successful in routinely achieving levels approaching 100 per cent sterility using triploid induction technology, we are very pleased to be working with CAT and using their innovative gene editing approach to ensure 100 per cent sterility genetically,” said Ronald Stotish, chief executive officer of AquaBounty. “Sterility of farmed fish has many environmental and production benefits and we believe this project has a broad range of potential applications in the industry.”

CAT operates two laboratories: its research hub in San Diego, Calif., and the world’s only Level 3 certified pathogen containment, private aquaculture research facility located on Prince Edward Island in Canada. Owing to the expertise of its team and the unique versatility of its labs, CAT is enabling the aquaculture industry to achieve efficient production growth without endangering the natural environment.
When Aquaculture North America (ANA) first asked me why my family got involved in farming seafood on land using recirculating aquaculture systems (RAS) and what potential benefits we saw, I had to take a step back because not only are there multiple levels to the answer, the answer has also been evolving over time as we continue learning about RAS.
Seventy-two percent of the 30 fish processing facilities audited in British Columbia are not compliant with permit conditions and the province says there is a need to strengthen requirements for fish processors in order to protect the marine environment.

The sector-wide audit was conducted after the online publication in November of a video by diver Tavish Campbell that shows fish blood and waste being pumped out of a salmon processing plant in Brown’s Bay near Campbell River.

Results of the audit, released on Wednesday, shows the majority of non-compliances with permit conditions were administrative, such as failing to post signage, but there were a few fish processors that exceeded volumes and the quality of fish processing effluent discharged, than is allowed under their permits.

“This audit clearly tells us more work needs to be done to ensure our coastal waterways are safe for all wild fish stocks,” said George Heyman, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy. “The industry has been largely operating under an outdated permitting regime, going back several decades. We are taking immediate steps to ensure permits are updated and strengthened at fish processing facilities throughout BC.”

The ministry recommends modernizing existing permits to include additional environmental protection provisions, such as more rigorous discharge requirements and increased monitoring, and requiring fish processing facilities to update their update their standard operational procedures to reduce the volume of effluent discharged into the environment.

Salmon and trout producer Cermaq has released its quarterly sustainability results on key indicators related to fish health for the first quarter of 2018.

The company said the key takeaway on sustainability performance from the quarter includes survival rates spanning from 92.5 - 97.3 percent on a 12 month rolling basis, with the highest level achieved for trout in Chile.

In fish health performance, use of antibiotics in Q1 was reduced by 70 percent in Chile compared to the same quarter last year. In Canada, the use was “further reduced” to 9 grams of antibiotics per tonne of salmon harvested within the quarter. The fish harvested by Cermaq Norway in the quarter did not receive any antibiotics, it added.

Average sea lice levels at Cermaq sites worldwide were within regulatory limits, “with the exception of a few sites in Canada where the levels exceeded the regulatory limit and have continued doing so,” said the company. It added that the situation “is being addressed by all available means, including early harvesting and by treatment with hydrogen peroxide.”

Cermaq also reported one incident of escapes in Chile, where 6,284 fish, weighing 2.9 kg each on average, escaped its operations due to ripped nets.

The company started publishing quarterly sustainability results in early 2016.

The Norwegian Government rejected a giant fish farm concept to be housed in what could have been the world’s largest ship because the idea was not innovative enough.
Viewed by locals as “dirty trash fish,” a non-profit helps tilapia win the hearts and minds of Hawaiians

There has been no stopping the success and progress of Kohala Mountain Fish Company (KMFC) in Kapaau, Hawaii since operation began in late 2014. The operation is situated on, and jointly owned by, the Kohala Institute. The not-for-profit institute promotes connection to traditional Hawaiian lands and their sustainable use, with the goal of creating a better world.

Before KMFC got going, tilapia farming in the state was extremely limited, notes KMFC General Manager/Head Biologist John Oliva. “Tilapia in Hawaii did not have a very good reputation,” he explains. “It was viewed as a dirty trash fish… It has taken some work by KMFC and others like Denise Yamaguchi from the Hawaii Food and Wine festival to win hearts and minds here. Our products have received much praise in the marketplace for their presentation, flavor and fat content, allowing us to get a higher market price from the target customer base.” Currently, Kohala supplies whole fresh fish to distributors in Oahu and to restaurants as far away as New York.


In harmony with the values of the Kohala Institute, the operation is designed to be as environmentally friendly as possible. Tilapia was chosen as best for integrating with all the sustainable aspects of the Kohala operations, in addition to being the most easily acquired and easy-to-rear fish, with a fast growth rate and great market versatility. Water for the fish is sourced from a spring inside nearby Kohala Mountain and after flowing through the fish farm, it’s filtered through water cress tanks and settling ponds before moving into various gardens and macadamia nut orchards. Fish farm sludge is composted with processing waste and Institute green waste to fertilize cattle pastures.

KMFC uses a batch harvesting method and a stocking density of 60 kg/m3, with egg-to-harvest timelines of six to nine months. The hatchery has 10 recirculating 600-gal round broodstock holding tanks, three 1,000-gal spawning tanks, 12 McDonald upwelling hatching jars and 24 self-contained 150-gal fry-rearing tanks. The nursery consists of 36 1,000-gal round tanks on three recirculating systems. Grow-out occurs in 47 30,000-gal round tanks, operating as completely flow-through to completely recirculated.

No antibiotics or other substances are used to farm the fish, and the feed is all “certified sustainable” from Ewos. Oliva’s relationship with Ewos began over a decade ago when he was the manager of a salmon hatchery in Alaska. There he found Ewos outperformed other feeds and he formed a great relationship with the Ewos feed rep. He says all the Ewos feeds have been useful at KMFC, but especially the #00 micro diet. “[It] has reduced mortalities in our swim-up fry (first feeding) by about 50 percent over the #0 feed and…a doubling in growth rate.”

It’s in KMFC’s feed trials in the grow-out phase, however, where Oliva says Ewos’ knowledge in fish nutrition and feed manufacturing has been particularly valuable. KMFC’s fish are red tilapia, and in Oliva’s words, “we wanted something that would make their color pop. We had Ewos add some astaxanthin to the feeds, which has the additional benefit of providing antioxidants to the diet. The fish responded beautifully with color and vigor.” A colour change in the flesh (desired by some customers) is achieved through longer feed duration and higher amounts of astaxanthin. KMFC’s latest trial involves feed higher in protein and fat to produce fish that really smoke well, and initial results look promising, Oliva says.


It was critical from the start for KMFC to be an integrated operation — from egg to processing — because Hawaii has strict importation rules, Oliva adds. This arrangement also circumvents the increasing threat of tilapia lake virus (TiLV) reaching the islands. Having a processing facility is “necessary to be able to sell and market the amount of tilapia we are producing and will be producing,” says Oliva. “We have 1 million lbs of fish ready now and we hope to have at least moved 3 million lbs through the system by years’ end. With the completion of our fish processing facility slated for March, we will be looking to bring our satellite co-op farms on board. We provide the technical and biological expertise, the seed stock and feed to the farmers, so we will be able to control the quality and consistency.”

 In addition, KMFC will expand its hatchery and nursery, and add 40 more grow-out tanks. The firm will start shipping its production to mainland wholesale distributors and also start producing whole frozen fish and fillets (including a very small frozen fillet for the USDA farm-to-school program). “We even have interest in our product from buyers in South Korea,” Oliva reports.    

Over his nearly 30 years in aquaculture, Oliva has seen consumer attitudes fluctuate, and notes that the times where consumer perception is down were usually a result of unsubstantiated rumors started by a person or group with an agenda. When a fish farmer or the industry in general can address legitimate concerns with scientific truth however, he notes public attitudes become positive. Oliva believes the future is bright for aquaculture as the need for healthy, sustainable protein grows.

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.
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