Danish-owned BioMar is globally one of the most significant feed producers for the aquaculture industry with 14 feed plants and another two under construction. The factories are located across the globe in the major farmed fish producing nations in Asia, Europe, Latin America and soon also in Australia. The company estimates that roughly 20% of the fish farmed in Europe and South and Central America is raised on its feeds. BioMar recently completed the acquisition of the Chilean feed factory, Alitec Pargua, which had been a joint venture with the salmon producer, AquaChile, with each partner having a 50% interest. BIoMar and AquaChile entered into an acquisition agreement regarding the Alitec Pargua plant following the Chilean company’s acquisition by a local agro-processor last year. The plant represents 10 years of successful collaboration between the two companies, and after the transaction the commercial relationship between BioMar and AquaChile will continue. BioMar announced that the acquisition will increase its flexible production capacity and allow it to meet demand for its high-performance feeds, functional products and services, which it supplies to 80 countries around the world and for 45 species of fish.
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.
The Bangladesh Fisheries Ministry has banned fishing in coastal areas for 65 days in an attempt to protect its marine populations during breeding season. The ban has been enforced by authorities and is set to run until July 23. Affected fishermen are concerned about how this will affect their livelihoods and their income. Although similar bans have been issued in the Bay of Bengal in the past, this is the first time the ban extends to include small-scale and local fishing boats.
Cooperation on marine research and innovation in the Black Sea region is receiving a strong boost with the adoption of the Black Sea Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda (SRIA). The agenda, prepared by researchers and scientists from the region’s major marine research institutes and scientific bodies, aims to make the Black Sea more productive, healthy, resilient, sustainable and better-valued by 2030. It will be the research and innovation pillar of the Common Maritime Agenda for the Black Sea, to be agreed at the end of May.
Increasing concentrations of plastic in our environment are a growing threat to ecosystems and human health.
Plastic has been detected in nearly all marine life – from whales to molluscs. In order to fight this threat, there
have been calls in international fora such as G7, G20 and the United Nations to bring the many measurements and
observations together to create a complete picture. Europe is now leading the way. Authorities and the wider
society now have a new tool to help track, map and identify where litter ends up in our seas and oceans and check
how it is affecting ocean health. The data and integrated maps on marine litter will allow people to detect trends for litter on beaches and the seafloor. These maps will also enable society to evaluate the efficiency of reduction measures (bans, taxes, rules, etc.) launched by both the European Commission and Member States, which will address marine litter in general, with two specific types being single use plastics and fishing gear.
An American voyager, Victor Vescovo, has broken the record for the deepest dive ever by descending nearly 11km to the Pacific Ocean's Mariana Trench, the lowest place in the ocean. The 4-hour dive in the submarine “DSV Limiting Factor”, built specifically to endure the immense pressure of the deep ocean uncovered what looks like four new species of prawn-like crustaceans called amphipods. The dive also saw a spoon worm at about 7,000m depth and and a pink snailfish at 8,000 m. Unfortunately, the dive also uncovered plastic pollution in the form of what the team thinks is a plastic bag and some sweet wrappers on the ocean floor. Confirmation is still ongoing. The 10,927m dive is the third time humans have descended to the deepest point in the ocean preceded only by Canadian film-maker James Cameron in 2012 reaching a depth of 10,908 meters and before that by the US Navy in 1960, reaching a depth of 10,912 meters, beating the record with a mere 15 meters.
January marked the successful completion of the Common Oceans ABNJ Tuna Project’s electronic monitoring pilot program in Ghana. A celebration was organised by the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development of the Republic of Ghana with representatives from all stakeholders including the World wildlife Fund (WWF), international Seafood Sustainability Foundation (ISSF) and the Ghana Tuna Association (GTA) participating in the event. As part of the festivities, there was a formal transfer of the equipment from the project to the Ghanaian authorities.
Sales of seafood products carrying the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) sustainability logo amounted to approximately €6.8 billion for the financial year to March 2018, an increase of €2.3 billion from the previous financial year according to estimates from the MSC. According to the annual report, the increase in sales were a result of the 912,785 metric tonnes of MSC-labelled products sold and the calculated 40% global average retail mark-up from wholesale values for products containing the MSC eco-label. MSC continues to grow. An additional 3,795 companies adopted the MSC logo globally in 2017-18 resulting in 28,250 products with the sustainability label. In the period 2017-2018 10 million metric tonnes of certified global catch was exceeded, which represents 13% of the total global marine catch. In addition, MSC saw revenue increase 20% in the financial year to 31 March 2018. MSC aims to certify 30% of global catch by 2030, according to Rupert Howes, the chief executive.
MSC certificates for two European fisheries will be suspended from March 12, 2019. Independent certifier Bureau Veritas issued a notice of suspension for the South of Brittany purse seine sardine fishery in France and the Spanish Bay of Biscay purse seine sardine fishery based on updated advice from the International Council for the Exploration of the Seas (ICES). ICES revised the understanding of the sustainability of the sardine stock and accordingly advised a reduction in fishing effort. According to ICES the Bay of Biscay sardine stock remains healthy, but the fishing effort is significantly higher than what is consistent with achieving Maximum Sustainable Yield. These issues pose a threat to low trophic level and short-lived species like sardines as their populations experience large fluctuations over short time frames. Spokespersons for the two fisheries said they were disappointed with the notice of suspension, but they understood the need for a strong management plan for the sustainability of the stocks. They reiterated their commitment to work together with fisherman and the science community to ensure the viability of the fishery for future generations. All is not lost for the two fisheries, they have 90 days from the date of the Notice of Suspension to formulate a corrective action plan. If the fisheries can implement mechanisms which ensure catches are in line with the new advice the notice will be rescinded, and the certification will remain.
Petrozavodsk, capital of the Republic of Karelia, the leading region for rainbow trout aquaculture in the Russian Federation, hosted the International Trout Forum “Modern Technologies. Security and legal regulation” on 12-13 March 2019. The event was organised by the Government of the Republic of Karelia, the Federal Agency for Fisheries of Russia, and the National Agency for Social Communication, with support from the Ministry of Agriculture of the Russian Federation. More than 350 representatives of Russian and international companies and organisations, research and educational institutions, federal and regional administration, local governments, as well as students of Petrozavodsk State University participated in the forum. Vasiliy Sokolov, Deputy Head of the Federal Agency for Fisheries of Russia, reported that aquaculture production in the country surpassed 238 000 tonnes in 2018, a three-fold increase since 2005. The North-Western Federal district, where the Forum was held, was the second largest district of Russia after the Southern district with 59 500 tonnes of aquaculture production in 2018. Vladimir Labinov, Deputy Prime Minister of the government of the Republic of Karelia and the Minister of agriculture and fisheries of the Republic of Karelia noted the need to reduce administrative barriers if the sector was to develop. The event also discussed the creation of a platform for the exchange of experience and dialogue between government, the scientific establishment, civil society, and industry. Buoyed by the response to the meeting the organisers have decided to hold the forum annually.