Oct 162013

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AAHM logoAs we approach World Food Day (16 October) Aquaculture without Frontiers (AwF) is excited to announce that they have joined the Alliance Against Hunger & Malnutrition (AAHM).

AAHM Coordinator, Ms. Marie-Christine Laporte, said “The Alliance Against Hunger and Malnutrition is a forward-thinking global initiative that links like-minded organizations and institutions that are involved in the fight against hunger and malnutrition. The Alliance Against Hunger and Malnutrition provides a unique middle ground – a multi-stakeholder platform and forum where those who run top-down and bottom-up development initiatives can meet in a neutral and open environment, share ideas, learn from each other’s successes and lessons, and establish networks for supportive communication within countries, across national borders or with countries in distant parts of the world. We are very pleased to have a dedicated non-governmental aquaculture organization (NGO) to assist our partners and through them a devoted and effective aquaculture ‘hub’.”

The collaboration with AAHM was discussed during AwF’s Executive Director, Roy Palmer, visit to Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) offices in Rome, Italy.

Palmer said “The Alliance Against Hunger and Malnutrition currently supports National Alliances in 60 countries on four continents with combined populations of more than a billion people and we believe that the skills, knowledge and experience of our aquaculture specialists and volunteers can have a great impact in adding another dimension to the food equation for the various partners. We are keen to build working relationships and, through that unity, increase the chances of success in the aim to eliminate hunger and malnutrition. We are believers that aquaculture can make a difference.”

He added “842 million people in 2011–13, or around one in eight people in the world, were estimated to be suffering from chronic hunger, regularly not getting enough food to conduct an active life. Almost all the hungry people, 852 million, live in developing countries, representing 15 percent of the population of developing counties. There are 16 million people undernourished in developed countries (FAO 2012).  In Africa the number of hungry grew to 239 million, with nearly 20 million added in the last few years meaning that nearly one in four are hungry. In sub-Saharan Africa, the modest progress achieved in recent years up to 2007 was reversed, with hunger rising 2 percent per year since then.”

Reference – http://www.fao.org/publications/sofi/en/

Distributed by: The Aquaculture Communications Group, LLC, Novi, Michigan, USA

May 032013

Each spring brings the start of a new hatchery season in US aquaculture. The spring also brings the release of trade data by the US Census Bureau, so once again we take a look at the seafood trade deficit (where imports exceed the exports) and how these figures compare to other trade categories. This year, not only do we take a look at the seafood trade deficit, but also describe an example of how the global food market has greatly changed another U.S.-grown product, which could indicate a potential impact on domestic aquaculture production.

The 12 years of trade data we have has enabled us to employ a basic regression analysis. When we completed the analysis in 2011, we found a strong negative correlation between time period and seafood trade deficit value in US$. That equation predicted a deficit value of $10.82 billion projected value for 2012. The actual value in 2012 is a deficit of $10.96 billion, which grew slightly less than 1% to from the previous year. The regression including the actual 2012 value remains significant (P = 0.000) and the R2 is 0.934. The seafood category also maintained its rank at #17 among all deficit-contributing categories in the U.S. Census Bureau data set.

To give some perspective, the overall trade deficit of $728.9 billion, grew only 0.21% over previous year. (00190) Wine and Related Products ($7.029 billion) captured its former spot as the second largest trade deficit contributor after being displaced by (00000) Green Coffee in 2011. Surpluses in (22090) Civilian aircraft, engines, equipment, and parts exceeded the (00200) Feedstuff and Food-grains category. The (10000) crude (crude oil) deficit declined 5.81% as the deficit in (10110) Gas-natural declined 40.7% in 2012, after a 75.1% decline in 2010-2011. The numbers in parentheses are the five digit NAICS codes of these respective trade categories.

Seafood Trade Deficit Graph 2000-2012However, one large jump in a surplus caught our attention. In no food category do we see a larger increase in the trade surplus than in (00140) Nuts and preparations. The trade surplus of this category grew 27.89% since last year. This statistic brought to mind an article read earlier this year on the interest in US-grown pecans by Chinese buyers. In one example, an entire U.S. farm’s annual production of pecans was purchased by Chinese buyers in advance with 25% cash down-payments. This cash availability lured some pecan growers away from U.S. processors who began selling their pecans to Chinese buyers who either process it abroad or sell the nut whole. 20% of U.S. pecan production is now processed in China.

The pecan case shows that foreign middle-class customers with growing affluence demand health benefits (both real and perceived) from premium products. Within the small amount of promotion and marketing that U.S. aquaculture products receive, health benefits of seafood consumption are common marketing messages. In addition to the nutritional health benefits, the United States’ environmental regulatory standards for feed ingredients, aquatic animal health, water quality monitoring and transport and sanitation regulations governing the production and handling of U.S. aquaculture products exceed those of foreign countries with a rapidly growing middle class who demands these health and safety attributes. The concerns for food safety and health add another dimension to potential interest in U.S. aquaculture products that are not an aspect seen in the pecan case.

Given that pecans which topped $470 million in 2012 are a larger sector than any particular aquaculture sector, industry value would not be a barrier to foreign buyers looking to the U.S. for seafood products that meet the criteria as healthy and safe products that deliver on value. Catfish growers for example produced $341 million of product in 2012 down from a record high of about $650 million in the mid-2000s. And production of bivalve molluscan shellfish has grown from $243 million figure reported in the 2007 Census of Agriculture, and could exceed $300 million when the 2012 Census of Agriculture figures are reported in early 2014.

Seafood Trade Deficit Table 2012

As noted before, there is a stark contrast between growing trade surpluses in terrestrial agricultural products, while products of aquatic origin show a perennially growing deficit. There was a wealth of research presented at the Aquaculture America conference, held this past February in Nashville. The growing surplus on the terrestrial side illustrates the tremendous capacity the United States has to grow its position as a global food provider. The limitations for the U.S to become a major aquatic agriculture producer are not rooted in the scientific or technical challenges to fish and shellfish production. The wealth of research presented at the Aquaculture America conference, which was held this past February in Nashville is a perennial exhibition of the know-how of hundreds of aquaculture scientists in US government and academic institutions. The inability of U.S. aquaculture to grow to the point where we see a change in the seafood trade deficit are instead rooted in other areas such as financial, economic and policy barriers.

Considering robust foreign cash reserves, a relatively weak dollar, declining U.S. seafood consumption, products are a result of high quality and safety infrastructure and similar cases of foreign cash flow into in U.S. agriculture sectors, it is plausible that interest by foreign buyers may be the catalyst to growth of the U.S. aquaculture industry and we may see a reversal of the current trend in the U.S. seafood trade deficit. Growth in U.S. aquaculture has long been predicted but actual production has at best remained flat. It will be interesting to see whether any foreign interest in U.S. produced seafood push the U.S. aquaculture industry beyond those non-technical barriers.

Joseph J. Myers, MS, MBA, PMP®
Aquaculture Development Specialist
Office of Aquaculture Coordination
Division of Agricultural & Natural Resources
New Jersey Department of Agriculture
PO Box 330
Trenton NJ 08625-0330
Phone: (609) 984-2502
E-mail: joseph.myers@ag.state.nj.us
Web: www.jerseyseafood.nj.gov


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May 032013 topgame casino

USDA_logoThe United States imports nearly 90% of the seafood we consume, over half of which is produced through aquaculture (farm raised seafood products). While the unparalleled success of our terrestrial growers, ranchers and producers facilitated U.S. exports which resulted in an estimated U.S. agricultural trade surplus of over $32 billion for FY 2012, there was a trade deficit approaching $11 billion for seafood products in 2011.  Why is this important? We know empirically that every $1 billion in agricultural exports supports approximately 7,800 jobs here at home.  President Obama directed this Administration to double its exports by 2015 and we are well on our way to doing that.  Aquaculture has the potential to effectively contribute to increasing U.S. exports over the next decade, providing new jobs and economic opportunities for those in rural America.

The opportunities for growth and domestic demand generators in aquaculture are real.  There is an evolving shift in dynamics affecting exports from the Asian region to the United States.  First, as populations and incomes in Asian countries rise and improve, there is a corresponding increase in demand for proteins.  This translates to more aquaculture products staying in the Asian region to meet domestic demand.  Second, dynamics of the “value of the dollar” deem it less attractive to export to the United States.  Finally, there is an almost insatiable demand for U.S. agricultural products for several reasons: We produce the safest, highest quality products in the world and the reliability of our supply is second to none.  The soybean industry is seeing rapid growth and opportunity in more plant-based aqua-feeds, and is making important domestic investments in this space.  The combination of these dynamics presents an incredible opportunity for growth in the domestic aquaculture industry and new economic opportunities for those in rural America.

Aquaculture also plays a critical role in nourishing a rapidly growing world population.  As the world population just tipped the 7 billion mark with estimates of reaching 9 billion in the next few decades, we must find economically and environmentally sustainable ways to produce more food.   Current estimates show we must produce a shocking 60-70% more food than we produce on earth today just to feed this expansion in population, while we currently fight to properly nourish the 870 million children, women and men that go to sleep hungry every night. The conversion efficiency and long-term sustainability of protein production through modern aquaculture are important factors in this effort to combat what is perhaps one of the greatest challenges facing the global community today.

So what is inhibiting this growth domestically and what can we do about it?  First, there must be an understanding and acceptance that start-up of an aquaculture operation is treated no differently than any other beginning agriculture enterprise.  Second, multi-disciplinary research in aquaculture should be expanded to improve production efficiency, economic viability and long-term sustainability through new transformational advances in genetics, nutrition, health and technology.  Third, when a natural disaster occurs that affects aquaculture growers, these growers should have access to disaster assistance programs as others in agriculture.  Finally, and perhaps most importantly, there must be a streamlining of regulations and permitting by government agencies that are science-based and recognize the unique aspects of successfully integrating aquaculture operations into our diverse aquatic environments.  The USDA, Department of Commerce, Department of Interior, Army Corps of Engineers, and Environmental Protection Agency have taken the first important steps in this area working closely with the aquaculture industry, but much work remains to be done.

Although I’m not one to wager, I know this:  Never bet against the American farmer.  The genius, ingenuity, passion and just plain hard work of the American farmer are responsible for making the United States the most productive agriculture economy in the world.  There is no reason it should be any different for the aquaculture industry.

Max Holtzman is the Senior Advisor to the United States Secretary of Agriculture

May 022013

The baitfish and aquaculture industries have been proactive in preventing the spread of AIS through training programs and implementing HACCP plans that are specific to their industries.

At the International Conference on Aquatic Invasive Species in Niagara Falls, Ontario, Michigan State University Extension / Michigan Sea Grant Extension educator, Ron Kinnunen presented a paper in a session on Live Bait Pathway. Kinnunen and his coauthor of the paper, Jeff Gunderson (Minnesota Sea Grant), are both Seafood HACCP certified instructors, and used this program to develop training materials to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species (AIS) through baitfish and aquaculture operations.  Read more …

Apr 292013

GAA_logoThe Global Aquaculture Alliance has announced that Pacific Seafood Group’s steelhead trout farm on the Columbia River is the United States’ first steelhead trout or salmon farm to achieve Best Aquaculture Practices (BAP) certification.

Operated by Pacific Seafood’s Pacific Aquaculture division, the farm is located in Nespelem, Wash., on the Colville Nation, in northeastern Washington state. Pacific Seafood purchased the farm in 2008 but partners with the Colville Nation to operate it; most farm employees are members of the Colville Nation.

The farm produces more than 8 million pounds (3.63 million kilograms) of steelhead (Oncorhynchus mykiss) annually; the fish are raised in pens. The fish are marketed throughout North America, mostly fresh, to both retail and foodservice customers. rtg casino codes

“Our team is extremely proud to receive BAP certification,” said John Bielka, general manager of Pacific Aquaculture. “It demonstrates that we are living out our company vision of providing the healthiest protein on the planet while promoting sustainable practices.”

“This is an exciting development for us in this species and a great step forward,” added Peter Redmond, BAP’s vice president of development. “The GAA is excited to further develop our relationship with Pacific Seafood and welcomes the Colville Nation in to the growing fold of those who strive to grow fantastic quality fish in a responsible manner.”

Based in Clackamas, Ore., family-owned Pacific Seafood is one of the United States’ largest seafood suppliers and distributors. The company processes seafood from Alaska to Mexico and has facilities in seven U.S. Western states.

About BAP
Best Aquaculture Practices is an international certification program based on achievable, science-based and continuously improved performance standards for the entire aquaculture supply chain — farms, hatcheries, processing plants and feed mills — that assure healthful foods produced through environmentally and socially responsible means. BAP certification is based on independent audits that evaluate compliance with the BAP standards developed by the Global Aquaculture Alliance. For more information on BAP, visit www.gaalliance.org/bap.

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Mar 122013

NOAA Fisheries released the report Fisheries Economics of the United States 2011 last Friday.  The report provides economic statistics on U.S. commercial and recreational fisheries and marine-related businesses for each coastal state and the nation. The report is the sixth volume in an annual series designed to give the public accessible economic information on fishing activities in the U.S., and is a companion to Fisheries of the United States.

This report highlights that U.S. commercial and recreational saltwater fishing combined, generated more than $199 billion in sales and supported 1.7 million jobs in the nation’s economy in 2011. Both the  landings and value climbed in 2011, demonstrating U.S. fisheries are moving in the right direction – even during this challenging time of transition in some of our fishing communities.

The seafood industry-harvesters, seafood processors and dealers, seafood wholesalers and retailers-generated $129 billion in sales impacts, $37 billion in income impacts and supported 1.2 million jobs in 2011, the most recent year included in the report.

Recreational fishing generated $70 billion in sales impacts, $20 billion in income impacts, and supported 455,000 jobs in 2011. Compared to 2010, the numbers are up for all of these impacts except commercial seafood sales.

The report is posted on the NOAA Fisheries, Office of Science and Technology homepage at http://www.st.nmfs.noaa.gov/.

Stay up-to-date with the latest fisheries topics and join FishNews now.

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Oct 182012

A major international initiative has been launched to better understand the role of aquaculture in food security in poor countries. Bringing together a global alliance of development agencies, governments and universities, the initiative will help low-income food-deficit countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America to develop sustainable policies for improving the livelihoods of millions of poor people.

The European Union is funding the three-year project with one million Euros, which is managed by FAO in partnership with a global alliance of 20 development agencies, governments and universities.  Read more …

Jun 212012

Kofi Annan left a deep impression on world aquaculture leaders when spoke this morning, June 12 2012, on how aquaculture can contribute to feeding nine billion people by 2050.

He was addressing the fully-subscribed global aquaculture business conference AquaVision 2012 in Stavanger, Norway. Read more …

Anyone interested in attending Aqua Vision 2014, please contact The Aquaculture Communications Group, LLC, in Novi, Michigan, USA.

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