Jul 242014

Seafood Source logoIt might happen slowly, but over time the seafood industry has to come together through consolidation.

Michael Richards, VP of seafood industry banking at Santander, told SeafoodSource that this year has seen a little more in terms ofconsolidation activity than in the past, pointing to recent larger moves including U.S.-based shrimp importer Eastern Fish Co. being acquired by Japan-based Marubeni Corp., Canada’s Cooke Aquaculture’s expansion in Scotland and Massachusetts and U.S.-based Eastern Fisheries’ investment in a Japanese distributor.

“Consolidation in the seafood industry is driven by the desire to increase in scale and increase efficiency,” Richards told SeafoodSource. “Because [seafood companies] recognize how global the industry is and how important it is to solidify the network of customers.  Read more …

Jul 212014

July 21, 2014 – Since announcing its formation six months ago at the Aquaculture Americas Conference in Seattle, the Coalition of U.S. Seafood Production (CUSP) has found that there is certainly strength in numbers when advocating as a unified industry. Coalition members have met twice with federal agencies and legislators in Washington, D.C. this spring to support government action to grow domestic aquaculture, and they are optimistic about progress made to date.

“CUSP has already had an impact,” said Don Kent, President of Hubbs-SeaWorld Research Institute. “There has been a lack of cohesiveness in the aquaculture industry with the different players not talking to each other. CUSP was conceptualized as representing a horizontally and vertically integrated business community, spanning different aquaculture methods and seafood species, and the entire supply stream — feed and equipment companies, fish farmers, seafood distributors, retailers and restaurants. CUSP is the aquaculture industry in a nutshell – and your voice gets heard more effectively the larger the group represented.”

In March, a group of CUSP members, including representatives from the Soy Aquaculture Alliance (SAA), Icicle Seafoods, Bell Aquaculture, and the Maine Aquaculture Association (MAA), met in Washington, D.C. with newly appointed NOAA Administrator Dr. Kathryn Sullivan. The group urged for finalization of the Fishery Management Plan for Regulating Offshore Marine Aquaculture in the Gulf of Mexico, which was approved by the Gulf Regional Fisheries Council and sent to NOAA in 2009. Although the agency could not specify when the Plan would be finalized at the meeting, one week later the Plan was released to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review, a critical step in finalization.

The group also met with Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, who encouraged CUSP to work on public/private partnerships for aquaculture demonstration projects. This subject was further discussed with Dr. Jo Handesman, Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP).

At a follow-up meeting with the OSTP in May, CUSP members, including representatives from the SAA, MAA, Zeigler Feed and Pentair Aquatic Eco-Systems, had further discussions about a workshop with industry, federal agency and NGO stakeholders. The planned workshop will explore development of commercial scale, successful aquaculture projects to demonstrate the viability of domestic aquaculture, while providing important data for environmental and economic evaluation.

In May, the group also met with OMB to present comments to the Gulf Plan submitted by CUSP’s internal working group of ocean aquaculture specialists (Hubbs-SeaWorld Research Institute, Icicle Foods, MAA and the Ocean Stewards Institute). The comments addressed what needs to be changed in the current plan so that aquaculture projects in the Gulf can be commercially viable. Once the OMB reviews the plan, it will go back to NOAA for public comment.

“In May, our CUSP group also met with Gulf region legislators to ask for their support, and I really enjoyed the engagement and seeing how much progress has been made,” said Bob Miller, Vice President of Aquaculture, Pentair Aquatic Eco-Systems. “There’s an awareness of aquaculture that didn’t exist before, and I attribute that to CUSP’s efforts. We’re seeing some movement in areas that have been stalled in D.C.

“In the past, industry participants were working against each other, and now with CUSP, we’re all in it together,” Miller continued. “Pentair is one of the largest aquaculture equipment and design firms in the world and we offer support to all methods of aquaculture – from recirculating and aquaponics systems to pond systems – and it really helps being one of the key players at the table. If we all work together, it’s good for the industry and all stakeholders.”

Chris Stock, Sales Manager at Zeigler Feed, agreed that there has been progress. “The feeling on Capitol Hill was friendlier and more receptive to CUSP’s interests. We all felt that the staff members we met with are more positive and knowledgeable about issues and why aquaculture is important. It’s on the radar now.”’

Stock also points out that CUSP has brought together a broad swath of industry companies that are experienced with global aquaculture. “This is an important perspective. A lot of us in CUSP are U.S.-based, but we’re involved with aquaculture on a global scale and are savvy about how it works. Zeigler was recognized by the Department of Commerce as Small Business Exporter of the Year for 2013, and we target our business in Asia, Africa and Europe because that’s where the growth is. But we would love nothing more than a healthier domestic market for our products.”

The CUSP members involved in these D.C. meetings all expressed a great deal of respect for Steven Hart of the Soybean Aquaculture Alliance, who has been pivotal in the organization of the Coalition.

“Steve has done a great job, and I’m very impressed with the way he approached challenges to organize this industry,” said Stock. “CUSP has brought together some of the most important players in the industry, and I’m very optimistic about where we’re going.”

“I’m very, very supportive of this organization,” said Kent. “It’s a real asset for expanding aquaculture in this country, and the ability to have a more secure seafood supply.”

For more information on the Coalition for U.S. Seafood Production, contact Steven Hart at sdhart@soyaquaalliance.org.

Jul 142014

OECDThe recent fall in prices of major crops is expected to continue over the next two years before stabilising at levels above the pre-2008 period, but markedly below recent peaks, according to the latest Agricultural Outlook produced by the OECD and FAO.

Demand for agricultural products is expected to remain firm while expanding at lower rates than in the past decade. Cereals are still at the core of what people eat, but diets are becoming higher in protein, fats and sugar in many parts of the world, as incomes rise and urbanisation increases.

The OECD–FAO Agricultural Outlook 2014-2023  says such changes, combined with a growing global population, will require substantial expansion of production over the coming decade. Led by Asia and Latin America, developing regions will account for more than 75% of additional agricultural output over the next decade.

Presenting the report in Rome, OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría said: “Agriculture markets are returning to more settled conditions after a period of unusually high prices. This has been helped by governments showing restraint in the use of trade measures. But we cannot be complacent. We must do more – on trade, on productivity, and to tackle poverty. Governments should provide social protection for the most vulnerable, and develop tools to help farmers manage risks and invest in agricultural productivity. Achieving gains in ways that are both inclusive and sustainable remains a formidable challenge.”

FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva said: “This year’s Outlook is favourable, if we compare it with the turbulent past few years of high and volatile food prices. Farmers around the globe responded to high food prices with a strong supply, and as a result crop prices are expected to be comparatively flat this decade. Agriculture has to provide not just more food for human consumption, but also raw material for industrial purposes, such as biofuels and animal feed.”

In a special focus on India, the Outlook projects sustained food production and consumption growth, led by value-added sectors like dairy production and aquaculture. Investment in production technology and infrastructure together with  subsidies in a range of areas have contributed to strong output expansion over the past decade, the report says, and pressure on resources is expected to reduce production growth rates over the coming years. While remaining largely vegetarian, Indian diets will diversify. As consumption of cereals, milk and dairy products, pulses, fruit and vegetables grows, the intake of food nutrients will improve.  India is currently home to the largest number of food-insecure people in the world.

The Agricultural Outlook says global cereal production is projected to be 15 percent higher by 2023 than in the 2011-13 period. The fastest production growth is expected to be oilseeds, at 26 percent over the next 10 years.  The expansion of coarse grain and oilseed production will be driven by strong demand for biofuels, particularly in developed countries, and growing feed requirements in developing regions.

The expansion of food crop production will be more moderate over the coming decade, the report says, with wheat output growing by around 12 percent and rice by 14 percent, well below the growth rates of the previous decade. Sugar production is expected to increase by 20 percent over the coming decade, concentrated mainly in developing countries.

The Agricultural Outlook projects developments in a broad range of commodities over the coming decade:

  • Cereals: World prices of major grains will ease early in the outlook period, boosting world trade. Stocks are projected to rise with rice inventories in Asia reaching record high.
  • Oilseeds: The global share of cropland planted to oilseeds continues to increase albeit at a slower rate than in recent years as growing  demand for vegetable oils pushes prices up.
  • Sugar: After weakening in late 2013, prices will recover, driven by strong global demand. Exports from Brazil, the world’s dominant sugar exporter, will be influenced by the ethanol market.
  • Meat: Firm import demand from Asia, as well as herd rebuilding in North America support prices which are expected to remain above the average levels of the previous decade, when adjusted for inflation. Beef prices are seen rising to record levels. Poultry should overtake pork to become the most consumed meat product over the next 10 years.
  • Dairy: Prices fall slightly from their current high levels due to sustained productivity gains in the major producing countries and resumed growth in China. India overtakes the  European Union to become the largest milk producer in the world, building considerable skimmed milk powder exports.
  • Fisheries: Aquaculture production growth will be concentrated in Asia, and will remain one of the fastest-growing food sectors,  surpassing capture fisheries for human consumption in 2014.
  • Biofuels: The consumption and production levels of biofuels are expected to increase by more than 50 percent, led by sugar-based ethanol and biodiesel. The ethanol price increases in line with the crude oil price, while the biodiesel price  more closely follows the path of vegetable oil prices.
  • Cotton: The expected release of accumulated global stocks will boost consumption, helped by lower prices which should then recover by 2023.

Further details about the Outlook can be found at www.agri-outlook.org.

Click here to read the report online.



Jul 112014

2014-0710 Aquafeed front pageHere is your personal copy of  the Summer 2014 issue of  Aquafeed: Advances in Processing & Formulation;  we hope you find it interesting and informative.
In this issue:

  • New optimization techniques and their impact on resource management
  • Modulation in fish gut health transcriptome as a consequence of sodium butyrate supplementation
  • Understanding yeast
  • Fishmeal and fish oil shortage: consider algae
  • Density control system wins Aquafeed Innovation Award
  • Disease management in Integrated Multi Trophic Aquaculture systems
  • MrFeed: A fermentation product as a feed ingredient for aquaculture
  • Online formulating in the cloud
  • Product update
  • Calendar of Events

Click here to download your copy or visit  Aquafeed.com and download from here: http://www.aquafeed.com/nl-archive-feedlink.php

Jul 072014

Michigan took a big step forward in the business of fish farming this week. The state issued a permit allowing the Grayling Fish Hatchery to expand more than ten fold. It will be the largest fish hatchery in the state by far when it ramps up production. The hatchery raises trout for restaurants and grocery stores.

The expansion comes as interest in fish farming is growing nationwide. There is even talk of developing the aquaculture industry offshore in the open waters of the Great Lakes, something that has only been done in Canadian waters.  Read more …

Jun 252014

IN 1982 a Chinese aquaculture scientist named Fusui Zhang journeyed to Martha’s Vineyard in search of scallops. The New England bay scallop had recently been domesticated, and Dr. Zhang thought the Vineyard-grown shellfish might do well in China. After a visit to Lagoon Pond in Tisbury, he boxed up 120 scallops and spirited them away to his lab in Qingdao. During the journey 94 died. But 26 thrived. Thanks to them, today China now grows millions of dollars of New England bay scallops, a significant portion of which are exported back to the United States.

As go scallops, so goes the nation. According to the National Marine Fisheries Service, even though the United States controls more ocean than any other country, 86 percent of the seafood we consume is imported.  Read more …

Jun 182014

National Geographic feed conversionThe June 2014 issue of National Geographic includes a feature story on fish farming. The article is rich with information about the challenges of aquaculture, and is part of their “Future of Food” Series.

Pounds for Pound
Different sources of animal protein in our diet place different demands on natural resources. One measure of this is the “feed conversion ratio”: an estimate of the feed required to gain one pound of body mass. By this measure, farming salmon is about seven times more efficient than raising beef.

Read more …


Read the entire article here!

Jun 182014

AquaVision logo“Management of our natural resources should be on the agenda of every policy maker”. This was stated by Sir Bob Geldof, who was the keynote speaker at the first day of Aquavison, a world business conference on aquaculture.

The 10th edition of Aquavison takes place from June 16-18 in Stavanger, Norway and was officially opened on Tuesday. According to Geldof, known for his Live Aid project and musical career, spoke about his views on how aquaculture can contribute sustainably to feeding the planet’s growing population.  Read more …

More on Geldorf´s speech.

Jun 122014

Inside a long, red building just north of here, 27,000 young fish dart around in the turbid waters of a series of 10,000-gallon fiberglass tanks.

From the outside, the building looks like any other machine shed found on farms across northeast Nebraska. But even on a cool spring day, the atmosphere in this building is as muggy as the native climes of the creatures it holds.  Read more …


Jun 112014

Baitfish production is a major contributor to aquaculture in Arkansas, but many people may not know the world’s largest fish hatchery is located in the state.

Lonoke is 20 miles east of Little Rock and home to Anderson’s Minnow Farm.

“Outside of Lonoke County, Arkansas, I would say there are very, very, very few people that would even consider the largest fish hatchery of any kind in the world to be located in Lonoke, Arkansas,” said Jamie Anderson, vice president of I.V. Anderson Farms, Inc.

Established in 1949, the farm has produced more golden shiners than any other for decades.

But to remain viable, the Andersons needed to modernize their hatchery.  Read more …