Danish processor Boco Seafood, produces salted cod and processes ling, saithe, and Alaska pollock in its two factories, one in Denmark and the other in Portugal.
However, Boco Seafood recently announced the closure of its Danish factory, citing high costs of cod, mostly imported from Norway. The costs of Atlantic and Pacific cod, available from the US, are coming down, the company said, and its Portugal factory will remain open.
Following a revision in the way mackerel stocks are measured by scientists, the 2019 harvest quota for the Norwegian mackerel fishery more than doubled from the level set late last year.
The International Council for the Exploration of the Seas (ICES) sets European fishery quotas after an assessment of stock size. New calculations have led ICES scientists to raise the stock size estimate from 2,35 million tonnes to 4,2 million tonnes, enabling a quota increase by 450.000 tonnes to the new level of 770.358 tonnes.
In March 2019, the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) revoked its certification of the Norwegian mackerel fishery, and fishermen are hopeful that ICES’s new, larger quota will induce MSC to reinstate the fishery’s certification.
The International Conference “Aquaculture Today & Tomorrow” that took place in Verona on May 16-17 was organised by EUROFISH in collaboration with the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (GFCM), the Italian Ministry of Agriculture, Food, Forestry Policies and Tourism, and the Italian Fish Farmers Association (API). The conference hosted 22 speakers in 4 sessions covering the current status and challenges of the aquaculture sector and how to realize its potential. Sustainable aquaculture practices and innovative solutions were also presented along with how to expand the farmed seafood market. Over 100 participants from 28 countries visited the event which featured a visit to fish farm Agroittica Lombarda, the 3rd largest caviar producer in the world. The programme and presentations are available at: www.eurofish.dk/att.
Norwegian cod exports have exceeded $1 billion for the second year in a row, even as volume declined. In 2018, Norway’s exports of cod grew by 6% over 2017, to $110 million. Volume, however, fell by 9% to 186.170 tonnes. A large increase in average unit value, up by 18% to $4,20 per kg in 2018, sustained the rise in export value.
The largest product components in Norway’s cod exports were H&G whole cod, in fresh or frozen forms, which accounted for 32% and 28%, respectively of total export volume. Also important were dried cod (21%), cod salted or in brine (12%), and frozen cod fillets (6%).
Almost a third of Norway’s cod exports went to Portugal, mainly dried, salted cod in brine, valued at $322 million. Denmark was Norway’s second largest market, purchasing$165 million, mostly whole fresh cod. China accounted for $103 million in Norwegian exports, such as whole frozen cod.
Denmark has been advised by the International Council for the Exploration (ICES) to reduce its total sandeel quotas for the 2019 season. ICES recommended reductions over the majority of fishing areas, however some quotas were increased. The biggest reductions occurred in the central and southern North Sea and Dogger Bank, which are key fishing areas. Quotas fell from 134,461 tonnes to 91,916 tonnes. Other areas affected are the northern and central North Sea (divisions 4.a-b) with cuts from 59,345 tonnes to the monitoring levels of 5,000 tonnes. Levels for divisions 4.b-c and subdivision 20, sandeel area 2r (central and southern North Sea) are to remain at monitoring levels of 5,000 tonnes. Areas where the advice recommended an increase in quotas are in the northern and central North Sea and Skagerrak and the advice increased quotas from 108,365 tonnes to 133,610 tonnes.
A new study claims that the EU will not reach its 2020 goal of sustainably caught fish, as EU ministers continue allowing catches higher than the recommended limits set by scientists. The New Economics Foundation (NEF), an NGO based in the UK, claims that the 2019 TACs for nearly half of EU commercial fish species were set higher than the scientific advice. They found that 55 TAC’s were set above recommended levels equating to approximately 312,000 tonnes in excess catch. The Northeast Atlantic TACs were on average set 16% above scientific advice, an increase of 9% from 2018. Early negotiations for the Baltic Sea and deep sea TACs are currently set higher than expert advice.
NEF found that Sweden was the leading country with a little over 50% of all their TACs set higher than that of scientific advice for the Northeast Atlantic fishing region, with the UK and Ireland following at 24% and 22%, respectively. In terms of excess volume, the UK, Denmark, and Ireland were the worst perpetrators with 106,925, 49,914, and 34,052 tonnes, respectively. The study further explains that this overfishing has resulted in Ireland’s mackerel MSC-certification being suspended, affecting not only Ireland, but Norway and the Faroe Islands. Finally, the study believes that if EU fishing waters were managed correctly and damaged fishing stocks were rebuilt, while other stocks were fished at maximum sustainable yield, the full potential of this industry could be reached within one generation.
European seas are a hub of human activities that can influence each other. Maritime transport, for one, is so widespread that it inevitably affects sectors working in, on, or with the ocean. Now, for the first time, those responsible for monitoring shipping emissions, identifying the best routes to lay pipelines and cables, assessing the impact of fishing on the seafloor, or planning offshore wind farms can have free and open access to maps and the underlying raster files of vessel activity. The EMODnet Human Activities team has developed a bespoke method for developing vessel density maps, in close consultation with the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC). The new EMODnet digital vessel density maps allow users to visualise vessel movement patterns and the distribution of maritime traffic in European waters. The service provides access to monthly composite maps by ship type. Information coming from the new EMODnet digital vessel density maps will supplement the thematic and sectoral assessments of the European Environment Agency.
Maps are available free of charge for viewing, downloading, processing, and using for commercial and non-commercial purposes alike from the EMODnet Human Activities portal. "Vessel density maps have been around for quite a while, but this EMODnet data product is different. In addition to being 100% free, it offers comprehensive and regularly updated digital maps that can be used without restriction. That’s great value for (no) money for users,” explained Alessandro Pititto from COGEA, Coordinator of EMODnet Human Activities. Density is expressed as the number of hours spent by ships in a square kilometre over a month. Data are collected from Automatic Identification System (AIS) receivers that track and transmit the location of the ships’ on-board transponders. On the EMODnet vessel density maps, a colour gradient makes it possible to quickly distinguish whether an area is characterised by high or low shipping traffic. Traffic is broken down by ship types: cargo, dredging or underwater operations, high-speed craft, fishing, military and law enforcement, passenger, pleasure craft, sailing, service, tanker, tug and towing, other, unknown.
Karavela, a Latvian producer of canned fish products has acquired Larsen Danish Seafood, a German company also specialised in canned seafood. The acquisition gives Karavela a brand that is highly visible on the German and Danish markets and is well represented in many of the big retail chains, reports Dienas Bizness, a Latvian website for business news. The manufacturing equipment has been transferred to Karavela’s plant in Riga to ensure the continued production of the entire Larsen Danish assortment, which includes products based on Atlantic mackerel, herring, salmon, smoked herring and trout. Karavela has been eyeing Larsen Danish since 2014, said Andris Bite, a member of the Karavela board, as like Karavela, it is a highly innovative company. We could also assure the former owners that we would continue the established Larsen Danish traditions and honour any previously concluded agreements, he added. Karavela will continue to buy raw materials from the former owners of Larsen Danish Seafood. Janis Endele, the marketing director at Karavela, plans to reach 5-7% of the German market for canned fish over the next two years and in 2019 alone expects the new acquisition to boost turnover by approximately EUR4m. The Larsen Danish name will join Karavela’s existing brands Kaija and Arnold Sørensen. Karavela also exports a large part of its production under private label to markets in Scandinavia, the UK and Germany.
The Federation of European Aquaculture Producers (FEAP) celebrated its 50th anniversary on 29 November 2018 with an event entitled “We are the Solution” in Brussels. FEAP represents a profession producing over 20 species of fish including salmon, trout, seabass, seabream etc. The conference traced the evolution of aquaculture and FEAP’s role over the past 50 years and, more importantly, focused on the future development of the sector. Technology has already enabled almost unthinkable advances in efficiency, particularly in countries like Norway. Where six people produced 180 tonnes of farmed fish in 1986, in 2015 four workers produced 12,000 tonnes. Technology also makes it possible to farm in more exposed areas and to higher standards of fish welfare, and with fewer environmental impacts. It will also help in combating the problems of escapes and sea lice (in case of salmon). Technology is, however, only one of the inputs into the sector. Fish feeds, another vital factor, will continue to evolve, containing less fishmeal and fish oil and depending more on novel raw materials that will positively impact feed efficiencies and the health and welfare of fish. It is these developments and other that will make it possible to produce the estimated 30m tonnes of fish needed to feed the global population in 2050 in the face of stable catches of wild fish. Competing visions for the industry were also aired at the event with one speaker emphasising the importance of low impact fish farming using an ecosystem-based model that captured and reused nutrients to prevent environmental degradation and to change the negative perception of aquaculture prevalent among parts of the public. Building a positive image of the industry as well as creating an awareness of the health benefits of fish are the goals of the Farmed in the EU campaign. At least two countries, Lithuania and Ireland, have started programmes with school children to inform them about the socioeconomic, nutritional, and environmental role of European aquaculture. Giving future generations the wherewithal to make informed decisions about the aquaculture sector will contribute to a competitive and dynamic industry in the future, as envisioned by FEAP.
To date no record of microplastics has been discovered in marine farmed fish. However, media attention on this issue grows exponentially and has a direct impact on consumers purchasing seafood products. The reality is, however, that similar problems affect terrestrial farming. APROMAR is leading a project, ACUIPLAS, that will analyse the possible problems caused by the contamination by plastic waste in three aquaculture species; seabream, sea bass, and turbot, to rule out the presence of microplastics in them. In addition, the project will perform water and feed analyses. The project started with a bibliographic study of contamination by plastic waste and associated toxic substances to identify possible direct and indirect incidences of plastics in marine aquaculture products and especially, in growing species in protected Natura 2000 areas. This work is in its development phase after which sampling and analytics will be carried out using infrared spectroscopy. The results obtained will lead to the identification of strategic measures and a set of good practices to minimize incidences of plastic waste which will be applied throughout the aquaculture sector in Spain. This project is developed in collaboration with CTAQUA, the Biodiversity Foundation, and the Ministry for Environment, and is co-financed by the EMFF. Preliminary results will be presented in October.