Below are the best announcements over the last quarter from across the international aquaculture industry and government bodies.
1. New website provides access to information on Scotland's aquaculture
Aquaculture is an industry of growing importance in Scotland providing valuable jobs and income for the economy. The Scottish aquaculture industry is regulated with a view to promoting food safety, compliance with legislation and sustainability. This website has been developed in partnership by The Crown Estate, Food Standards Agency, SEPA and Marine Scotland (Scottish Government) to provide access to a range of information about aquaculture in Scotland.
2. Scottish Ministerial Group for Sustainable Aquaculture streamlined
The Ministerial Group on Aquaculture has been streamlined and re-focused. The Ministerial Group for Sustainable Aquaculture (MGSA) has been established in its place to support Scotland’s aquaculture industry to achieve sustainable growth targets, with due regard to the marine environment, by 2020:
- to increase marine finfish production sustainably to 210,000 tonnes (164,380 tonnes in 2012) and;
- to increase shellfish production (especially mussels) to 13,000 tonnes (6,757 T in 2013)
- chaired by the Minister of Environment & Climate Change with representation from industry, wild fish interests, environment NGOs, COSLA, the enterprise network, Crown Estate and regulatory bodies; and progressed through seven time-limited project-based working groups
3. Scottish MGSA publishes Aquaculture Science & Research Strategy
MGSA S&RWG was tasked to produce a comprehensive research strategy prioritised on respective contribution to informing the sustainable growth of the Scottish aquaculture industry and potential impacts of the 2020 sustainable production targets as detailed in the draft Scottish Marine Plan. It also identifies key strategic research requirements, which may be applicable in a broader scientific context and over longer timescales.
The document was developed by The Ministerial Group for Sustainable Aquaculture’s Science and Research Working Group (S&RWG) and based on a combination of review and analysis of historic research, expert opinion and subject to a broad range of stakeholder scrutiny. It highlights some of the cogent research required to help underpin the Scottish aquaculture industry’s 2020 sustainable production targets, as well as identifying a range of science and research which could contribute to the future sustainability of the aquaculture in Scotland and internationally.
Small Task Groups of relevant experts identified potential research requirements on: Nutrition; Stock improvement; Health & welfare; Food safety & hygiene; Technology and engineering; Wild-farmed interactions; Markets, economics & social science; Capacity; and Blue biotechnology.
Key overarching Research Priorities are identified, assessed on the respective contribution to informing the sustainable economic growth of the Scottish aquaculture industry and the potential impacts of the 2020 production targets as detailed in the draft Scottish Marine Plan in 2013:
- Understanding and managing interactions with wild salmonids particularly with respect to sea lice including: Greater understanding of sea lice dynamics; The dispersal patterns of sea trout and salmon and subsequent distribution in relation to the Scottish Coast; The effects of sea lice at a population level on wild salmonids.
- The effective control of sea lice on salmon farms including: Between farm transmission mechanisms; Within Farm management practices; Health and welfare of cleaner fish; Non-chemical treatment of sea lice; Selective Breeding (focusing on resistance to sea lice).
- Replacing scarce, marine-sourced components of aquaculture feeds with sustainable, alternative ingredients that will not adversely affect stock health and welfare or product quality.
- Food safety and hygiene for the shellfish sector, specifically: Norovirus detection and management; Detection, quantification and management of algal biotoxins in shellfish production.
- Identifying additional areas to increase production capacity through: Integration of aquaculture into marine spatial plans which identify areas for increased capacity; Improved estimates of assimilative and biological carrying capacity for fish and shellfish farms in inshore and offshore marine ecosystems.
4. Aquaculture ‘pillar of rural industry in Scotland’
The Scottish aquaculture industry ‘provides considerable benefits for fragile economic areas’ according to an independent report.
5. Scottish Aquaculture Innovation Centre launched
Aquaculture currently contributes an aggregate economic impact of over £1,300 million per annum to the Scottish economy. There exists, nonetheless, considerable untapped potential in Scotland for increased production of high quality aquaculture products. The Scottish Aquaculture Innovation Centre (SAIC) will provide transformational change in the relationship between the aquaculture industry, the research community and Government to overcome these issues and release Scotland’s potential.
Investment in the Scottish Aquaculture Innovation Centre will help transform aquaculture’s already substantial contribution to the Scottish economy, with many of the benefits concentrated in fragile rural communities. The Scottish Government has adopted industry targets for increased production. In the salmon industry alone, meeting these targets would contribute an additional £500 million to the Scottish economy per year. If we consider the wider sector, including trout, shellfish, supply chain and all supporting businesses, then the overall financial contribution to the Scottish economy could exceed £1 billion. SAIC will bring together the key players in this strategically important industry, focusing on removing current and future obstacles, creating wealth and long term employment.
6. Welsh Marine and Fisheries Strategic Action Plan launched
In this Action Plan, the Welsh Government aims to double Wales’ annual finfish aquaculture output (from 1000 to 2000 tonnes) and shellfish production (from 8000 to 16000 tonnes) by 2020.
7. Aquaculture highlighted at London’s Oceanology exhibition
For the first time, the Oceanology International 2014 conference will include a conference on aquaculture, reflecting the growing importance of this industry in the marine environment. This conference seeks to promote collaboration between academia and industry in areas where there are opportunities for technology transfer.
8. Project combining aquaculture with renewable energy generation includes Scottish fish farming companies.
The H2OCEAN project aims to develop an offshore platform that harnesses as many potential uses from the surrounding marine environment as possible, including renewable energy generation and integrated multi-trophic aquaculture production (IMTA).
9. Breakthrough in tracing fish farm escapees
Norwegian scientists have developed a new and efficient DNA test to trace escaped salmon back to their farm of origin.
10. EU seeks to boost organic aquaculture
The EU has launched a project to identify obstacles in regulations and rules that must be changed to increase the production of organic aquaculture in Europe
11. Selective breeding project launched
An EU-funded project aimed at improving aquaculture through the selective breeding of six different fish species has been launched.
12. Free access to aquaculture research facilities
European scientists are being offered the chance to use a number of cutting-edge aquaculture research facilities for free.
13. Aquaculture Stewardship Council trout audit manual approved.
The manual provides clear guidance for both farmers and their certifiers on the implementation and assessment of the ASC Freshwater Trout Standard's requirements.
14. The use of salmon hatcheries to augment wild salmon populations is questioned
A review, published by the Rivers and Fisheries Trusts of Scotland (RAFTS), emphatically suggests that there should be "a general presumption against stocking of salmon".
15. RSPCA Freedom Food certifies first UK trout
Dawnfresh is the first company in the UK to receive RSPCA Freedom Food certification for farmed rainbow trout.
16. Sainsbury’s launch first ever Freedom Food-labelled rainbow trout
The Freedom Food label is assurance the fish have been reared to the RSPCA's strict welfare standards throughout the supply chain.
17. British-Latvian aquaculture partnership
British-Latvian cooperation in aquaculture has been strengthened with a new memorandum of understanding to collaborate on scientific, technological and commercial opportunities.
18. Keeping salmon in freshwater longer turns them into net producers of marine omega-3
Scientists from the Norwegian Institute of Food, Fisheries and Aquaculture Research (Nofima) have discovered a way of stimulating farmed salmon to become net producers of marine omega-3.
19. FAO highlight value and farming of ornamental fish
With the value of global trade in ornamental fish fast approaching a billion dollars annually, the species that are being successfully bred continue to diversify.
20. Wave energy generation installed on a Scottish salmon farm
An innovative collaboration between renewable energy and aquaculture has seen a WaveNET device sited at Marine Harvest's latest farm off Muck, which is due to be stocked with salmon in the summer.
21. EU Commission ruling a boost to UK trout industry
British Trout Farmers are celebrating a ruling by the EU commission, which prevents Turkish trout farmers’ export of their product to other EU countries at a subsidised price.
22. House of Lords EU Committee inquiry into EU marine co-operation.
Amongst the areas that the session will cover include: the impact of the crowded nature of the seas and in particular examples of conflict in the North Sea between fishing and aquaculture (fish farming) interests and the energy and transport sectors.
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