Research
OSLO, Norway - Three months after Atlantic salmon were stocked in a new closed containment system, testing shows that the fish are adapting well, Cermaq reports.
Wisconsin Sea Grant received funding from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Sea Grant College Program to examine and overcome three critical barriers to the growth of land-based Atlantic salmon production in the Great Lakes region.
Humane production practices can play a key role in expanding the market for farmed fish and seafood in the US but it is vital that consumers are aware of them, says a study.
U.S.-based biotechnology company White Dog Labs (WDL) has announced that independent testing by the Center for Aquaculture Technologies in Canada (CATC) has demonstrated the potential benefit of ProTyton, a single-cell protein (SCP), to shrimp farming. 
Three researchers at Norwegian salmon and trout farming company Cermaq will be defending their doctoral degrees this fall.
Research efforts are underway in Canada to look at how epigenetics may have the answer to improving salmon survival rates in hatcheries.
The national office of Sea Grant has announced $11 million in grants for 22 projects across the United States with the goal of advancing the development of a sustainable aquaculture industry in the country.

Aquaculture is a $21-million industry in the state of Wisconsin where the University of Wisconsin Sea Grant Institute was one of the Sea Grant programs selected for the funding.

The Wisconsin project, “Overcoming barriers to support the growth of land-based Atlantic salmon production in the Great Lakes region,” will receive approximately $245,000 in federal funds during its first year, according to a release from the Wisconsin Sea Grant website.

The total budget for the two-year project, including both federal and non-federal matching dollars, is approximately $773,000.

Researchers will focus on two key issues that have hindered the continuing growth of the land-based salmon industry in the United States: fish health and fish flavour.

“Land-based salmon aquaculture is growing by leaps and bounds in North America. This research study is very exciting because it is really going to help the industry,” said Greg Fischer, facility operations manager at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point Northern Aquaculture Demonstration Facility. “We are working in close concert with private partners that are doing this type of aquaculture right now.”

Researchers say the farmed salmon must have a “flawless” flavour profile to fix the flavour problem with some farm-raised salmon tasting “off” or musty, the article states.

“This project will help to ensure that Atlantic salmon harvested have the very best flavor profile: succulent, buttery-rich and mild,” said Dr. Steven Summerfelt, chief science officer at Superior Fresh,the largest Atlantic salmon aquaponics facility in the world.

The impact of the research is expected to go far beyond the Wisconsin market.

Read the full story here.
Shrimp farming practices have improved over the past 18 years such that imported shrimp no longer deserve their bad reputation, a study says.

Professor Dave Little and Dr Richard Newton, of Stirling’s Institute of Aquaculture found that shrimp have become much safer to eat as exporting countries meet the safety demands of importers more effectively.  

The team, which included researchers from the Shanghai Ocean University, lamented that imported shrimp is still seen as being of low quality by some consumers and this is sometimes reflected in the mainstream press, and on the internet.

"Imported farmed shrimp are no less safe than any other seafood product,” said Dr Newton. “Consumers would need to eat more than 300g of shrimp per day to exceed the acceptable daily intake for antimicrobials.”

The study team reached their conclusion after examining 18 years of data in EU’s Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed. They found that the number of “alerts” about imported shrimp declined significantly despite the rise in volume in shrimp imports.

Almost 80 per cent of the world’s farmed shrimp comes from the waters of China, Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia and Indonesia, according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization.

Humane production practices can play a key role in expanding the market for farmed fish and seafood in the US but it is vital that consumers are aware of them, says a study.

“Adopting humane practices in aquaculture and avoiding the use of antibiotics directly addresses consumer concerns about eating more fish and seafood. Humane slaughter practices may even make farmed fish and seafood more attractive than wild-caught choices,” says Arlin Wasserman of food industry consultant Changing Tastes, which co-authored the study with market research firm Datassential.

The study, Humane Aquaculture: Opportunities on the Plate, says humane production practices influence the choices of both the US consumer and also individuals responsible for menu and purchasing decisions in the US foodservice industry.

The study found that half of consumers and half of decision makers on what goes on the menu are more likely to purchase fish and seafood that is humanely harvested. More than half of all consumers and decision makers also believe that humanely produced fish and seafood is likely to be higher quality, taste better and have better texture.

“Increasing the attractiveness of farmed fish and seafood can create meaningful opportunities over the next several years,” says Wasserman.   

In an earlier study, Changing Tastes found that US consumers are on trend to reduce about 20 percent of beef consumption by 2025 because of animal welfare issues and antibiotic use. They plan to replace it with fish and seafood.

“US consumers now have the same concerns about eating fish and seafood, probably because of what they know about meat and poultry,”  says Marie Molde of Datassential.

Here are the other findings of The Humane Aquaculture study:

•    US consumers and decision makers are most aware and concerned about live slaughter and antibiotic use for both wild capture and farmed fish
•    Consumers are much less aware of other production practices, like stunning, transport, and clipping. Consumer and operator concern about humane treatment increases once they become aware of these practices

“While adopting humane practices and eliminating antibiotic use can improve the US market for fish and seafood, not making improvements may pose a risk to the industry’s reputation and the appeal of farmed fish and seafood,” Wasserman added.
Japanese researchers accomplished the complete cycle of culturing eels for the first time in the world in 2010 and now they're making efforts to make the technology commercially viable.

To put the technology to commercial use, scientists at the Research Center for Self-Sustained Eel Culture in Japan are looking into whether artificially developed young eels, known as elvers, can be raised to adulthood in farming pools just as in ordinary culturing methods where caught juvenile eels are raised in pools, reported The Asahi Shimbun.

They distributed a total of 300 elvers to two private farming companies, where they will be raised under different conditions until they grow enough to be shipped.

“Through the commercial farmers’ pool cultivation processes, we will see what kind of challenges remain in connection with eels’ food, the farming environment and other factors,” Keisuke Yamano, 54, director of the center, was quoted as saying.
A new study focused on Sydney rock oysters has found that the oysters are getting smaller due to coastal acidification.

A Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) study carried out by Scottish and Australian scientists at two commercial oyster farms in Wallis Lake and Post Stephens, both in the mid-north coast of New South Wales, confirmed that the oysters’ diminishing size and falling population is due to acidification from land and sea sources.

While the Sydney rock oyster research project focused on Australian aquaculture, lead author Dr Susan Fitzer warns that seafood lovers around the globe could begin to find smaller and smaller oysters on their plates because of the increasing acidity of seawater.

“The first thing consumers may notice is smaller oysters, mussels and other molluscs on their plates, but if ocean acidification and coastal acidification are exacerbated by future climate change and sea level rise, this could have a huge impact on commercial aquaculture around the world,” said Fitrzer, a NERC Independent Research Fellow at the University of Stirling in Scotland.

Increasing amounts of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere from fossil fuel combustion, land-use change and other human activities result in increased CO2 being absorbed by the ocean.  That combination of CO2 with seawater makes the water more acidic, said another study, The US West Coast Shellfish Industry’s Perception of and Response to Ocean Acidification.
The USDA is funding a study that seeks to find out what causes Vibrio levels to rise in farmed oysters, a bacteria that causes foodborne illnesses in people who eat raw or undercooked shellfish.

Dr Bill Walton of Auburn University will focus his study on oysters raised using off-bottom farming technique. The technique involves raising the baskets of oysters from the water once a week to air-dry them to prevent barnacles and other invasive species from attaching themselves to the oysters. Walton will find out whether an oyster farm’s geographic location, handling practices, and choice of equipment affect Vibrio levels in these oysters.

“Through his project, Walton should generate valuable data for Gulf Coast oyster farmers, who focus on producing exceptional oysters for high-end markets, such as upscale restaurants that offer the farmed bivalve mollusks on the half shell,” Auburn University said in a press release.

The USDA has given more than $450,000 for the three-year research project.

Researchers at the University of Stirling in Scotland have launched a study to look into the effects of a camelina-oil-based diet on farmed Atlantic salmon.

The farmed salmon will be fed a new feed solution that contains oil extracted from camelina crop that was genetically modified make health-beneficial Omega-3 fish oils.

Current industry practice involves feeding farmed fish with feed containing marine fish oil, sourced from the sea, and vegetable oil. Supply from the wild fisheries is, however, unsustainable.

The new study will determine if Omega-3 fish oils coming from the GM camelina plant will be a worthwhile substitute. The researchers will compare the performance of the fish fed the new feed solution in terms of weight and growth of the fish, with farmed salmon fed a standard diet.  They will also compare their tissue and molecular samples.

Plant scientist Professor Johnathan Napier, who developed the GM plants at Rothamsted Research, and fish nutritionist Professor Douglas Tocher, of Stirling’s Institute of Aquaculture, will jointly lead the study. Dr Monica Betancor, a Research Fellow at Stirling, will also play a crucial role by checking on the health of the fish and collecting data.

The potential for using Camelina sativa as a substitute for fish oils and fishmeal in aquaculture feeds has been explored in recent years. In April 2017, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency approved mechanically extracted camelina oil for use as a feed ingredient for farmed salmon and trout.
A startup is developing fish feed ingredients derived from black soldier fly (BSF) that will not only provide fish with sustenance but also boost their health and overall wellbeing.

Entomics Biosystems Ltd of Cambridgeshire, England says merely drying insects (in this case BSF) and milling them into powder misses many of their potential nutritional, health and wellbeing benefits. A proprietary bioprocessing technique that Entomics developed, which it calls "metamorphosis," boosts the nutritional and functional benefits of such insect-derived feeds.

"There are several benefits to this process," explains Miha Pipan, Chief Scientific Officer and company co-founder, in an article published in the University of Cambridge website. Benefits range "from affecting the gut's microbiome and trying to preserve a healthier bacterial community there, to training immune systems to make livestock more resistant to disease challenges and at the same time reduce the need for veterinary medicines, antibiotics and vaccines.”

“We are currently focusing our efforts on developing functional insect meals for Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar), in particular in our meals' ability to stimulate salmonid immune system strengthening and overall wellbeing,” said the Entomics team, whose members are University of Cambridge graduates.

They are currently working with partners including the University of Stirling to validate and test their products in the field.

Entomics CEO and co-founder Matt McLaren noted how the world is looking for more sustainable sources of feed. “I think increasingly there's a recognition that it's not just about basic nutrition, but it's about overall health," he says.

"We're trying to take a promising, sustainable ingredient of the future – these insect-derived feeds – and trying to add a bit of biotechnology or science focus to it, to really enhance what the effect is in the end application and reduce reliance on traditional antibiotics and veterinary medicines."

There are several efforts currently looking into developing fish feed out of BSF because fish feed derived from fishmeal is deemed unsustainable.

Financial support for projects that improve fishing and farming systems globally is available from Sea Pact, an innovative alliance of seafood industry leaders.

The group said projects that are in line with Sea Pact’s mission and fall within the following 12 broad categories are prime for consideration:

Gear or Farm Improvements
Species Research and Data Collection
Research to Improve Farming Practices
Fisheries Management
Regional Aquaculture Management
Technology
Fishery Habitat Restoration
Wild Stock Enhancement
Fisheries Conservation
Fisheries Improvement Projects
Aquaculture Improvement Projects
Communication/Education

“Preferential consideration” will also be given to projects in the areas of:

•    social responsibility
•    aquaculture
•    fisheries management
•    traceability
•    special species of interest: squid
•    special regional area of interest: Great Lakes freshwater fisheries

Initial Letters of Interest from those who want to apply for funding are due by 20 August 2018. Select organizations will be asked to submit full project proposals around mid-September, with Sea Pact aiming to announce its grant recipients in late 2018.

Application guidelines can be found here.


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