News
Halifax, N.S. -based seafood company Clearwater Seafoods has announced strong results in its third quarter of 2018.
The National Aquaculture Association is calling on young farmers to apply for the Mike Clark Aquaculture Farmer Leadership Program.
Maynard, Mass.-based biotechnology company AquaBounty announced its financial results for the third quarter and nine months ended Sept. 30, 2018.
The Wild Rose Fish Hatchery in Wild Rose, Wis., has developed an exhibit dedicated to the long history of the lake sturgeon (Acipenser fulvescens) in the area.
AquaBounty Technologies says it expects to start commercial production of its AquAdvantage genetically modified salmon in early 2019.

A $1.52-million loan (C$2 million) it secured from the Province of Prince Edward Island, Canada will help it complete the construction of a 250-metric-ton production facility on its Rollo Bay site, where the GM salmon will be raised. The site includes an R&D hatchery and a broodstock facility.

“This loan should enable us to complete construction of the growout facility at Rollo Bay by the end of this year and to commence commercial production of our innovative AquAdvantage Salmon in early 2019,” said Ronald Stotish,  AquaBounty CEO. “This facility will demonstrate the superior economics that AquAdvantage brings to land-based recirculating aquaculture systems.  We are very grateful for the support we have received and continue to receive from the Province of Prince Edward Island.”

Roughly 20-30 technical jobs will be created once the facility is in operation, the company said.
China ranks first in farmed fish output thus its efforts toward aquaculture sustainability can be seen as good news for consumers around the world.

China has produced more farmed fish than the rest of the world combined since 1991. But “in recent years China aquaculture aimed for production increase to satisfy the market demand, and didn’t pay much attention on aquaculture regulating and governance, water-resources saving and environment protection,” acknowledged Dr Xinhua Yuan, a senior aquaculture officer at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).

The country’s strategies to improve efficiency and sustainability in the sector could mean a large reduction in growth for its aquaculture industry but also enhanced seafood quality for consumers.

The policy changes, laid out in its Five-Year Plan (2016 - 2020), “will enhance consumer confidence on aquaculture products from China, as more and more fish will be produced in ecological and environment friendly models,” Dr Yuan tells Aquaculture North America (ANA).

“Green” farmed fish will be offered at higher prices because of the higher costs of producing them, but “consumers are willing to pay the increased prices, because the awareness on ecological and environmental issues is improving worldwide,” he says.

While these efforts could significantly curtail the growth of China’s aquaculture industry, Dr Yuan believes these will not challenge the general fish supply in domestic and international markets. “China has huge fish production, and the adoption of new policy on greener aquaculture and new technology are carried out step by step,” he says.

Modernization, professionalization, and the emergence of intensive and semi-intensive farms made the crustacean sector the fastest growing aquaculture segment from 2010 to 2016, according to RaboResearch, citing FAO statistics.

Between 2010 and 2016, the global aquaculture industry nearly doubled its value, increasing by $100 billion. Crustaceans represented 28 percent of the total industry value growth over the period. Beyhan de Jong, Associate Analyst Animal Protein, says that shrimp has been a key driver of that growth.

“Major changes to farm design, nurseries, water processing ponds, using better genetics and many other improvements are done to prevent EMS outbreaks,” she said.

De Jong notes that while other regions have suffered from disease outbreaks, India and Ecuador became the main producers and exporters of shrimp and many farmers in those regions have shifted from extensive farming to intensive farming.

For the growth to continue, de Jong says the industry should look at digitalization, which could help reduce costs, improve real-time business and apply more strategy in supply planning, purchases and sales. It will also improve traceability, which is important to consumers. The application of next-generation genetic enhancements will help. Recirculating aquaculture systems could also become a major player in the future, she said.

Another potential issue, de Jong says, is supply and demand. The supply currently exceeds demand, and with lower prices and tight margins, it may be challenging to attract investment. However, this could be an opportunity for processors to create new products and to work on innovation and value creation.
The ability to adapt and innovate is crucial in ensuring the future of the marine ingredients industry, said IFFO’s President Eduardo Goycoolea at the opening of IFFO’s 58th Annual Conference in Rome on Monday.

Goycoolea speaks amidst renewed pressure for the industry to embrace more sustainable practices, and the push for aquaculture to reduce its reliance on marine-derived fish feed ingredients.

“As an industry you have adapted your products to ensure the success of the aquaculture industry, but as resources continue to become scarcer, more innovation will be needed. There are huge opportunities in producing further new marine ingredients from our oceans, your future is in your hands, be true to your name,” he told participants.

Dr George Chamberlain, President, Global Aquaculture Alliance, said marine ingredients are “the gold standard”  but agreed with Goycoolea  that “supply needs to increase through by-products and the development of new innovative sources.”

The IFFO conference wraps up Wednesday.
Canada’s new federal minister responsible for regulating the aquaculture industry on Thursday indicated radical change is coming in the way Canada manages Atlantic salmon farming.

In 2010, management of aquaculture became the responsibility of the federal government as per a Supreme Court decision (Morton v. British Columbia) in 2009. The significance of that decision was that it declared that fish (and shellfish) farming was in fact a “fishery” and gave exclusive authority to the Government of Canada for the management of that "fishery." Prior to 2010 provinces were responsible for managing most to all of aspects of the industry, including licensing and regulating the industry around production, animal health, compliance and enforcement.

At the launch of the International Year of the Salmon in Vancouver, BC on Thursday, Minister Jonathan Wilkinson said that is about to change. He said the government is looking at area-based management of the industry, which will include “tenuring decisions” on farm sites in the province of British Columbia.

“This is a new departure with respect to how we are actually addressing aquaculture going forward. It is also an area where expect to work collaboratively with our partners in the province and with First Nations communities because it is obviously a critical issue for many of them,” Wilkinson said.

BC Premier John Horgan said the area-based tenuring that Minister Wilkinson is advocating is a “sea change in how we look at issuing tenures in our oceans.”

“From the provincial perspective we have a modest responsibility for anchoring tenures. About 10 percent of the activity is the responsibility of the province, (but) the remainder of what happens in the water column, the fish, the animals, what they eat, what medicines they require, are a federal responsibility.

“Minister Wilkinson and I are working cooperatively on two orders of government to ensure that when we’re talking to communities, when we’re working face to face, nation to nation with indigenous peoples as well as with industry, that we’re very candid with what we’d like to see with the industry, we’re harmonizing the tenures now between federal and provincial governments. These are very positive steps forward but we’ve got a lot more work to do,” he said.

Wilkinson has not indicated how the new management approach will look like as discussions are still in progress.

Salmon faming is a contentious issue in some First Nation communities in BC. Beginning June 2022, applications for new or renewal of fish farm licences in the province will have to meet two new criteria before the province approves them: consent from local First Nations that own the territories, and a stipulation from the federal Fisheries Department that the farm won’t endanger BC wild salmon.

Bob Chamberlain, the elected chief councillor of Kwikwasut’inuxw Haxwa’mis First Nation in the Broughton Archipelago said his council “is now getting closer to finalizing a set of recommendations” for a transition plan for the industry in the Broughton archipelago.

He said they have been exploring “a transition plan for the industry that is not going to further impact the wild salmon, but at the same time is respectful of the overall operations.”

“We feel confident that with the support of the provincial government and the federal government that we’ll be able to arrive at a set of recommendations for an agreed-upon transition plan for the industry,” he said.



UK retailer Marks & Spencer has launched an interactive website that answers one of the questions often asked by today’s consumers: where is my food sourced?

On the site, consumers can find out where the seafood it sells comes from; the farming or capture method used and other sustainability-related information for every farm or fishery.

The retailer offers a wide range of products -- from fish fillets to pre-made salads, sandwiches and ready meals – that feature 11 farmed species from eight countries. Ninety-seven percent of the suppliers are third-party certified.  The type of farming method they used is also indicted, for instance net pen farming or suspended rope grown, and each type is explained to the consumer.

For wild catch, the website lists 47 marine species across 71 fisheries, accounting for every kind of seafood that M&S uses in its product lines.

“Transparency is an important part of the trust that our customers and stakeholders put in us - that’s why we’ve published this smart tool which lays bare our whole fish supply chain, wherever it is in the world, and however it is fished or farmed,” said Hannah Macintyre, the company’s marine biologist.
The Provincial Government of Newfoundland and Labrador is investing around $500,000 (C$588,000) to boost employment opportunities in the province’s aquaculture industry.

The fund, which was disbursed to the Newfoundland Aquaculture Industry Association (NAIA), will be used to develop “labor market information tools and products.”

“The development of labor market tools specific to aquaculture will further help build the industry and create the jobs needed to support a bright future for Newfoundlanders and Labradorians,” said Al Hawkins, Minister of Advanced Education, Skills and Labour, who announced the grant at NAIA’s Cold Harvest Conference and Trade Show in St John’s on September 26.

The funding comes at a time when the Canadian aquaculture industry is suffering from a labor shortage. Latest data from the Canadian Agriculture Human Resources Council indicates that there is an 11-percent vacancy rate in the industry and millions of dollars in lost revenue because of the labor shortage.

The initiative builds on over $396,000 provided to NAIA to support the development of an Aquaculture Recruitment and Retention Strategy.

“Through this initiative with the provincial government we will be positioned to succeed in providing additional year-round employment to dedicated farmers of the sea in rural coastal communities,” said Mark Lane, Executive Director, NAIA.
Growing more of seafood locally and growing the jobs and food security that come with it are critical to “chip away” at the United States’ $15-billion seafood trade deficit, according to Chris Oliver, head of NOAA Fisheries.

“It’s the perfect time to highlight NOAA’s larger ‘Blue Economy’ initiative as an important guiding force for our seafood future,” Oliver wrote on NOAA’s website, in celebration of October as National Seafood Month.

“Despite the historic success of our wild-capture fisheries, we import almost 90 percent of the seafood we consume, at least half of which is farmed. We would like to shift that dynamic and farm more seafood here in the United States,” he said.

He said aquaculture is a growing priority for the agency and for Congress and both are actively promoting and expanding marine aquaculture.

He cited a number of actions that support the advancement of seafood farming in the US, including NOAA’s work with US Senator Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) for the introduction of  the "AQUAA Act" legislation (short for Advancing the Quality and Understanding of American Aquaculture). The legislation, if passed, is expected to streamline the permitting process in aquaculture and fund industry R&D efforts.
Aquaculture development in the waters of Gulf of Mexico will have to wait further after a federal judge in New Orleans ruled that NOAA does not have regulatory authority to regulate aquaculture in the area. NOAA said it is considering whether to appeal the ruling.

“It is important to note that this ruling is not a prohibition on marine aquaculture, either nationally or in the Gulf of Mexico, and we will continue to work with stakeholders through existing policies and legislation to increase aquaculture permitting efficiency and predictability,” said Jennie Lyons, NOAA Public Affairs Deputy Director.

But uncertainty and lawsuits around who’s in charge has kept businesses from applying for permits. It will be three years this January 2019 since NOAA opened the federal waters in the Gulf of Mexico to fish farming. It will allow up to 20 industrial facilities and collectively 64 million pounds of fish to be produced each year in giant net cages in the Gulf of Mexico.

“Given conflicting court decisions and the desire for regulatory certainty, NOAA supports congressional efforts to clarify the agency’s statutory authority to regulate aquaculture,” said Lyons.





The newly elected chief of the Wei Wai Kum First Nation in Campbell River, British Columbia is noncommittal about the future of salmon farms operating in his people’s traditional territories but signalled his openness to dialogue with the industry.

Chris Roberts, who was elected as Chief Councillor in April, told members of the BC Salmon Farmers Association at the Seafood West Summit on Friday that there’s a lot of work to be done in terms of engagement.

“Dialogue is required and that’s going to happen under my leadership with my council. “We’re certainly willing to engage and sit down when we can. It’s a highly politically contentious issue in my community and being an elected community leader I want to assure my people that I’ve got their best interest. But I’m open minded,” he said.

Beginning June 2022, British Columbia will only grant tenures to fish farm companies that have agreements in place with the First Nation territories they operate in or propose to operate in, and who have satisfied Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) that their operations will not impact wild salmon.

Roberts said he was glad to find out from a wild salmon summit he attended the previous week that wild salmon face “a myriad of things,” such as changing ocean conditions, upstream developments, sewage seepage. “It was reassuring to see that that conversation includes other things and not just the salmon farming industry being the ‘culprit’,” he said.  

He acknowledged he will need some time to educate himself on the science and practices that have improved within the aquaculture industry. He also said he is confident the industry will continue on this path of improvement. “But our First Nations people, some of them firmly believe that the impacts of your sector are significant.

“Let’s walk down a pathway together to either validate or dispel, to move forward based on facts of what’s happening in the ocean… We are pleased to sit down with the industry operating in our territories, their agencies such as the BCSFA to explore what it is that needs to be done to achieve a common ground and how we would all work together,” he said.
2019 has been declared the International Year of the Salmon.

Launched by the North Pacific Anadromous Fish Commission and the North Atlantic Salmon Conservation Organization (NASCO), the project sets out to protect salmon by bringing countries together to share knowledge, raise public awareness and take action.

An expedition aboard a Russian ship from Vladivostok to Dutch Harbor is one of the project's highlights.  Dr Dick Beamish, Emeritus Scientist, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, told participants Friday at the conclusion of Seafood West Summit 2018 in Campbell River, BC that the expedition could result in new research that will make the discoveries scientists need to actively forecast salmon abundance. “The expedition will make discoveries that will impact how we do salmon research in the future,” he said.

Beamish will be joined by 17 other scientists in the privately-funded exhibition.


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