Pending US tariffs on $200-billion worth of Chinese imports has opened conversations on who will win or lose in the trade spat. But according to the NRF, American families and workers would be the clear losers.

“The latest list of $200 billion of products to be subject to tariffs against China doubles down on a reckless strategy that will boomerang back to harm US families and workers,” said the National Retail Federation (NRF).

“The threat to the US economy is less about a question of ‘if’ and more about ‘when’ and ‘how bad.’ Tariffs on such a broad scope of products make it inconceivable that American consumers will dodge this tax increase as prices of everyday products will be forced to rise. And the retaliation that will follow will destroy thousands of US jobs and hurt farmers, local businesses and entire communities,” the association said.

The US decision to impose higher tariffs stems from China’s “unfair” and “harmful” industrial practices that restrict trade between the two countries. Under the plan, the US will levy 10-percent tariffs on a lst of imports from China. The list includes a wide range of seafood that goes to China for reprocessing and then imported back into the US for the local market.

Tariffs on seafood

Increasing tariffs has its share of supporters, however. Some US shrimp suppliers believe the tax will help curb oversupply. Some tilapia producers believe the tariffs will make trade with their Chinese counterparts more equitable.

“It’s about time we did something to level the playing field as it were, through the shrimp and tilapia, two of the major seafood coming out from China. Cannery is a government-subsidized industry in China. They keep the prices low to keep competition out,” commented Bill Martin, president and CEO of Virginia-based Blue Ridge Aquaculture.

Martin noted that as a live-tilapia supplier, the tariffs issue has no impact on Blue Ridge Aquaculture, known as the world’s largest producer of indoor-raised tilapia. “But we hope down the line when we start to process fish this will give us a level playing field,” he told Aquaculture North America (ANA).

He is confident the tariffs will not have much of an impact on US tilapia prices. “I would be surprised it if it will be much of an increase. Central America suppliers and Brazil are moving into tilapia in a big way, Chile is moving into it in a big way. I expect that void to be filled very quickly [by them].”

The planned tariffs will be finalized in late August after the public-comment period. Martin is hopeful the trade spat will be short term and a deal will be struck before it will have any impact.

NRF is meanwhile urging the Trump administration to strike a deal with China.

“The administration has been pursuing tariffs now for months and we still don’t know what the endgame is. Now is the time to get back to the negotiating table with China while working through a global coalition that shares our concerns. The way things are shaping up, it may be too late, but we hope the administration changes course before we lose the momentum from tax and regulatory reform and return to an era of high prices, job loss and negative growth in our economy,” the group warned.
Marine Harvest’s operational earnings fell by roughly 12 percent to €175 million ($205 million) in the second quarter (Q2) of 2018 compared to Q2 2017.

The Norwegian salmon producer harvested 78,5000 tonnes of gutted weight equivalent, which is lower than the total harvest volume of 82,000 tonnes predicted. 

The company will release its complete Q2 2018 report on 22 August.

Aquaculture’s crucial role in feeding the world’s growing population is underscored yet again in the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization’s (FAO) biennial report, “The State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture.”

Global fish production peaked at about 171 million tonnes in 2016, of which aquaculture accounts for 53 percent (excludes non-food uses) or 80 million tonnes, with first-sale value of $231.6 billion.

With 5.8 percent annual growth rate since 2010, aquaculture continues to grow faster than other major food production sectors. In 2016, aquaculture production increased by 4 million tonnes over the previous year.

In contrast, capture fisheries production was at 90.91 million tonnes, relatively unchanged since the late 1980s. This shows aquaculture has been responsible for the continuing impressive growth in the supply of fish for human consumption, says the report.

Fish consumption is also at an all-time high at 20.3 kg per capita in 2016 versus just under 10 kg per capita in the 1960s. The report attributes this too to increased production via aquaculture.

By 2030 the world will eat 20 percent more fish (or 30 million tonnes live equivalent) than in 2016. Aquaculture production that year is projected to reach 109 million tonnes, a growth of 37 percent over 2016.

The projected increase in global fish consumption raises concerns over sustainability of fish farming and fisheries, however. The United Nations warns future growth will require continued progress in making aquaculture and fisheries more sustainable. For instance, the sectors can improve efforts in reducing the amount of fish being discarded at sea or thrown out post-capture by using discards and trimmings to produce fishmeal, it said.
Fish farmers are learning vauable lessons as they get their feet wet in ocean farming.

Proponents behind a yellowtail kingfish experimental ocean farm in New South Wales, Australia found out the hard way the destruction biofouling could inflict on ocean pen structures.

Huon Aquaculture of Tasmania and the New South Wales Department of Primary Industries, who are behind the ocean farm, acknowledged that barnacles and mussels believed to have been introduced from a nearby port damaged one of the sea pens and caused 20,000 fish to escape early this year.

“This was an unexpected problem and to develop the equipment needed to address this problem will take time,” Pender Bender, CEO of Huon Aquaculture, told ABC News.

Huon is working with an American manufacturer to design new net cleaning equipment and said it will not install additional pens in the meantime.

Initial results of the five-year kingfish research project have otherwise exceeded expectations. The kingfish (Seriola lalandi) grew to market size faster than expected and there were no issues with feeding or pathogens.

The 62-hectare research site is situated six-km from land. It is subject to some of the roughest sea conditions in the world, but while it has so far withstood swells up to six meters and some waves up to 11-meters high, the proponents are not taking any chances so they’ve bolstered the structures further, the report said.

Marine Harvest says it has finalized its acquisition of Northern Harvest, a salmon farmer on the East Coast of Canada.

The Norwegian salmon producer received a "No-Action Letter" from the Canadian Competition Bureau on 22 June, which meant the company could proceed with closing the transaction.

Northern Harvest is a fully integrated operation; it has its own broodstock, smolt/hatchery, farming sites and processing operations.

It is expected to harvest 19,000 tonnes of salmon this year. It has currently 45 farming licenses in Newfoundland and New Brunswick and has applied for additional 13 farming licenses.

Marine Harvest, which announced in December its intention to acquire the Canadian company, said at that time: “The potential acquisition supports Marine Harvest's long-term strategy of being a world leading and integrated producer of seafood proteins.”
US Senator Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) has introduced a legislation that aims to streamline the permitting process in aquaculture and fund industry R&D.

“Aquaculture is the fastest-growing sector of the agriculture industry,” Wicker said. “This bill would give farmers a clear, simplified regulatory path to start new businesses in our coastal communities. The "AQUAA Act" (short for Advancing the Quality and Understanding of American Aquaculture) would also fund needed research to continue the growth and success of this important industry.”

Over 90 percent of the seafood in the United States is imported, 50 percent of which is derived from aquaculture. Currently, the United States does not have a comprehensive, nationwide permitting system for marine aquaculture in federal waters, and there are no aquaculture farms in federal waters.

The AQUAA Act would establish an Office of Marine Aquaculture within the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which would be charged with coordinating the federal permitting process. Additionally, a permit would be established through NOAA that would give an individual the security of tenure necessary to secure financing for an aquaculture operation.

The legislation would also maintain environmental standards and fund research and extension services to support the growth of aquaculture in the United States.
The first harvest of Atlantic salmon from the first commercial-scale land-based aquaculture facility in the United States is set to hit the market on July 4.

Superior Fresh, LLC harvested 2,000 lbs HOG (head-on-gutted) Atlantic salmon during the last week of June.

Brandon Gottsacker, president of the Northfield, Wisconsin-based company, has a lot to celebrate as it took a lot of hard work to get to this point.  “Concept to harvest took approximately three and a half years. Facility design began in early 2015 and construction commenced in early 2016. There were a lot of lessons learned along the way. The largest lesson is truly understanding the relationship between the Fish House and the Greenhouse and optimizing both simultaneously,” he told Aquaculture North America (ANA).

He added: “There are no other facilities that are currently growing Atlantic salmon in the United States let alone in conjunction with a commercial greenhouse.”

Superior Fresh’s Atlantic salmon weighs approximately 8.5 lbs as HOG fish. The initial harvest will be sold in all the Wisconsin-based Festival Foods grocery stores.

“We plan to harvest Atlantic salmon and steelhead every week of the year in order to make sure that the freshest product is available to the consumer,” said Gottsacker.

The aquaponics component of the business is anticipated to produce about 4,500 lbs of leafy greens and herbs a day. 

A joint decision-making process will decide the fate of salmon farming British Columbia’s Broughton Archipelago effective immediately.
The United States imported more than 6 billion lbs of seafood valued at more than $21.5 billion in 2017, the highest on record, while exporting more than $3.6 billion lbs valued at about $6 billion, data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) shows.

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and others in fisheries are looking at new strategies to cut the deficit, including increasing the amount of aquaculture-based farming, said Jennie Lyons, a NOAA spokeswoman.

Earlier this year, Ross said the deficit represents “untapped” potential opportunities in the nation’s aquaculture industry. “Expanding our nation’s aquaculture capacity presents an opportunity to reduce America's reliance on imports while creating thousands of new jobs,” he said.

Twenty salmon operations in British Columbia's Broughton Archipelago whose tenures expired on June 20 were given new lease on life for another four years.

Within those four years the fish farms will have to meet two new criteria or have their tenures cancelled by June 2022: consent from local First Nations that own the territories and a stipulation from Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) that the farm won’t endanger BC wild salmon.

Until such an agreement is in place, the farms are operating on a month-to-month basis. The 20 tenures that expired account for 17 percent of the 120 finfish aquaculture tenures across British Columbia. Marine Harvest holds 11, Cermaq holds eight, and Grieg Seafood holds two. There are 23 tenures in total in the area.

Discussions between the First Nations in the Broughton territories and the salmon industry are ongoing. A BC Agriculture Ministry official said the choice of year 2022 as the deadline for new agreements aligns with the current renewal date of the substantial majority of fish licences (95 sites or 79 percent of the all tenures in BC) issued by DFO. “The province also felt it would be a reasonable time for the industry to try to meet those expectations [the two new criteria], or to give them time to transition away from those sites,” he said.

British Columbia salmon farmers say they have not been consulted on policy changes governing applications for new fish farm licenses or renewal of expiring leases.
Oyster farmers in British Columbia can now access a million-dollar fund that will support this year’s oyster stock re-seeding efforts.

The $1.3-million BC Oyster Recovery Fund will also support a marine norovirus pilot research survey that will monitor the travel patterns of pathogens through Baynes Sound. Another project it will fund is research that could lead to the development of an early warning system for pathogen transfer.

“Oyster growers in our province work hard to support their families in coastal communities,” said Lana Popham, Minister of Agriculture. “Right now, they need our help, and the BC Oyster Recovery Fund will provide key supports for the sector to address the recent challenges they have faced, and will increase consumer confidence in our amazing oysters.”

“We are grateful for the assistance provided by the Ministry of Agriculture to help farmers recover from the impacts of environmental issues beyond their control,” said Darlene Winterburn, executive director, BC Shellfish Growers Association. “This emergency funding will go a long way to build confidence and to provide stability for our farmers. The research will benefit everyone who lives on BC's coasts.”

Project aims to start first commercial farming of Signal crayfish in Canada
Interest is growing in Canada’s “other weed” — seaweed, that is.
Burrowing shrimp infestation will devastate oyster growers’ businesses and habitat for dungeness crab and eel grass if the ban on the pesticide imidacloprid remains, according to oyster growers in Washington State.

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