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Thursday, 08 August 2019 08:47

Turkish company awarded ACS certification

Sursan Su Urunleri AS, a fish production company based in Turkey, became one of the first companies awarded Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ACS) certification for farmed seabass, seabream and meagre. The two farms operated by Sursan share this accomplishment with Nireus, a Greek farm which received ACS certification at the same time. The certification for all four farms were carried out by independent Conformity Assessment Body Acoura. The certification guarantees the products are produced in a socially and environmentally sustainable manner. Since receiving certification on June 5, 2019, producers of seabass and seabream have responded enthusiastically with a strong demand for ACS certified products. High demand for ACS certified products has driven more farms to schedule audits to the new standard. Farms in Turkey, Greece, Spain, Croatia and Albania have all undergone audits since Sursan received ACS certification. 

Wednesday, 07 August 2019 08:44

Using big data in aquaculture

The use of big data is becoming increasing accessible in aquaculture with systems like Manolin, XpertSea and Jala offering services that could revolutionize practices within the industry. These platforms aim to offer services that improve the management of farming activities. Within the production process for aquaculture, huge amounts of site and operation specific data is generated, and platforms like XpertSea offer services that streamline this data. Using Big data farmers can obtain health information on the animals they raise, monitor disease outbreaks and water quality and several other pertinent sources of information. Additionally, the use of artificial intelligence may also result in increased productivity with algorithms boosting feed conversion rates and methodologies that can detect when fish are experiencing increased biological stress.

EM4 19 News Int FFeed DSC3385Skretting, the world’s largest producer of feed for farmed fish, has committed to a deal with insect breeder Protix that could see up to 5.5 million servings of salmon containing insect meat brought to the market per year. Aquaculture production is expected to grow by 30 million tonnes in the near future. Sustaining this growth will require an additional 45 million tonnes of raw materials for feed, creating a potential ’protein’ gap between feed production capacity and demand for farm-raised fish. One potential way to bridge this gap is through insect protein. Not only could insects help bridge the protein gap, it will do so sustainably, contributing to a circular bio economy. A new Protix insect production facility in Bergen op Zoom, the Netherlands, breeds insects that convert vegetable residual flows into sustainable protein, contributing to a future-proof, circular bio economy.

EM4 19 News warm oceans biomass lostThe world’s oceans will likely lose one-sixth of their fish and other marine life by the end of the century if climate change continues its current trajectory, a new study finds. Every degree Celsius that the world’s oceans warm, the total mass of sea animals is projected to drop by 5% according to a comprehensive computer-based study by an international team of marine biologists at the American National Academy of Sciences. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Changes special report on global warming already estimates that as of 2017, human activities were responsible for global mean temperature rise of one degree Celsius above preindustrial levels. Unless reductions are made by the world’s leading carbon emitters the world will likely warm by two degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels by 2100.

Histamine food poisoning – also known as scombroid fish poisoning – could increase in Europe if trading trends continue, according to new researcher. Histamine food poisoning is akin to an allergic reaction caused by eating fish containing a high concentration of histamine. Scombroid fish like tuna and mackerel are commonly implicated with the poisoning. Histamine poisoning typically results in the immediate onset of symptoms after the meal. Symptoms may include headache, hot flashes, rash, nausea, palpitations and diarrhea. Histamine contamination generally occurs because of inadequate refrigeration of fish and can occur at any stage of the food production chain. Once contaminated the disease cannot be destroyed by cooking, smoking or freezing.  

In June Spanish consumers were able to buy the first tins of tuna bearing the AENOR Conform Responsibly Fished Tuna logofrom Spanish distributors shelves. The seal affirms to consumers that the product comes from a sustainable, socially responsible source. The certification logo only goes on products containing tuna fished by vessels certified under the Responsibly Fished Tuna Standard and belonging to a Comprehensive Fishery Improvement Program (FIP). The FIP ensures that vessels and their crews maintain the highest standards in environmental conservation. This certificate guarantees that the fish which distributors are marketing and consumers are eating have been caught by companies and vessels held to social, labor and maritime safety standards above what the law currently requires.

EM4 19 News Int Safadar DSC0230NEWPolskie Stowarzyszenie Przetwórców Ryb (PSPR), the Polish Association of Fish Processors, has expressed concerns with the current Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certification process in an open letter from the organization’s president, Jerzy Safader. The origin of PSPR’s grievances with MSC certification occurred in January 2015 when the eastern Baltic cod (the main stack targeted by the Polish fleet) paid EUR 60,000 for MSC certification, only for the certificate to be suspended in December that year. The EUR 60,000 was never paid back, inciting fury amongst many of the processors.  Frustration with the lost money and miscommunication between the MSC representatives and Polish fish processors, however, is not the only topic of concern PSPR has raised with MSC certification. 

The Polish fish processors also argue the costs of acquiring MSC certification are unfairly placed entirely on processors and that the certification is an ineffectual means of ensuring sustainable fisheries.   The PSPR argues MSC certification is not actually voluntary, and it is a barrier to the market if producers do not have the certificate. Most retailers demand processors have MSC certification, yet they play no role in bearing the cost of acquiring the credential. PSPR contends that if MSC certificates are to remain the standard of verifying sustainability throughout Europe then the cost should be shared amongst each participant in the chain of production, not just fish processors. The cost after all is not insignificant. Certification can reduce profitability of a company by as much as 11% thanks to the cost of logo and fees incurred.

EM4 19 News LifeGateOver 730 tonnes of plastic end up in the Mediterranean each day. The level of pollution in the Mediterranean poses a major threat to fisheries and the ecosystems in the region. Home to over 7.5% of known marine species, the continued contamination of these waters could endanger numerous organisms. One organization, however, might have the solution to this plastic crisis in the Mediterranean.

Estonia’s economy has grown 4.5% in the first quarter of 2019 with a new GDP totaling €6.7 billion. The country’s economic growth has been broad based with expansion of the fishing sector among the contributors to the improving economy.  The exports of goods, which grew by 9.6% in the first quarter, the fastest pace recoded in the past two years, is one of the biggest contributors to the country’s healthy economy.

Fish processing continues to be a notable industry in Estonia. In 2017 Estonia processed 51876 tones of fish, mainly frozen saltwater fish but also fish fillets in batter, and canned sardines, sardinella, brisling and sprats. Exports totaled €146 million with the largest markets in Ukraine, Belarus, Denmark and Finland.  In 2017 approximately 5% of Estonia’s aquaculture production was exported. The species responsible for this exportation were mainly European eel, rainbow trout and European crayfish.

The European Union, Denmark, Norway and other major fishing nations like The United States, China and Russian Federation met in Ottawa on 29-30 May to discuss the prevention of unregulated fishing in the Arctic. The aim of the meeting was to begin preparatory work for enforcing the Agreement to prevent Unregulated High Seas Fisheries in the Central Arctic Ocean which was ratified earlier in 2018. The agreement is the precautionary approach by ten countries to manage high seas fish stocks in the Central Artic Ocean. The agreement covers approximately 2.8 million square kilometers, an area roughly equal to the size of the Mediterranean Sea. Climate change has brought this issue afront by melting the ice that traditionally covered the high seas of the central Artic Ocean year-round. The melting of this ice makes the region accessible to fishing.

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