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.
At this year’s London Marathon, runners were given small edible seaweed pods filled with sports drink. The use of seaweed pouches helped reduce more than 20% of plastic bottles used at the event. London Marathon organizers replaced 200 000 plastic bottles with these innovative seaweed pouches. The seaweed bags, produced by Skipping Rocks Lab, can be chewed to release the contained liquid and consumed entirely, or if preferred, the seaweed film can be discarded where it will break down naturally in 4-6 weeks.
Organización de Productores Asociados de Grandes Atuneros Congeladores (OPAGAC) is an association of nine frozen tuna seiner fishing shipowners. Its fleet, consisting of 47 tuna seiner ships, catches 380,000 tonnes a year, 8% of the global catch, and fishes in the three main oceans in the world - Atlantic, Indian and Pacific. OPAGAC has begun the process of having its fisheries assessed to the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) standard to have them certified as sustainable. The assessment is the result of a Fishery Improvement Project (FIP) that OPAGAC developed in collaboration with the WWF since 2016, the objective of which is to achieve MSC certification for the 12 stocks targeted by OPAGAC vessels. And it is in line with a commitment made at the 2017 international Our Ocean conference to obtain MSC certificate for all its captures by 2021. A spokesperson from Lloyd’s Register, the independent certification body carrying out the assessment, said that it was the largest tuna fleet in the world to apply for MSC certification on this scale. Sustainability certificates are becoming increasingly important for access to important seafood markets around the world and OPAGAC’s decision to seek certification is likely to encourage other tuna fleets to consider it as well.
Technology is playing an ever greater role in the seafood industry both on land and at sea. Industry 4.0, IoT (internet of things), blockchain, cloud computing, robotics, and artificial intelligence, are among the terms being used today in connection with the seafood industry. Another technology, holography, used to produce holograms, devices widely used on credit cards to provide authenticity and prevent counterfeiting, is now being deployed to tackle illegal fishing in the Indian state of Kerala.
Scientists and industry representatives from 16 countries gathered in Tromsø, Norway in the middle of June to launch a new EU-funded project, AquaVitae. The 36 project partners are from European countries as well as Brazil, South Africa, Namibia, and North America.
China’s Agriculture and Rural Affairs Minister, Han Changfu confirmed that China has remained the world's largest exporter of aquatic products for 17 consecutive years with exports having exceeded 20 billion US dollars (18 billion EUR). More than 97 percent of products live up to standards according to a market monitoring report, the minister mentioned at a symposium according to ChinaDaily.
Modern technological advances continue apace in the seafood industry. Recently, an unmanned, remote-controlled vessel carried a shipment of British oysters from the UK, to Belgium, in an international trade first.
Carrying five kg of oysters, the 12-meter ship’s 22-hour trip across busy shipping lanes was directed from a control room in Maldon and was supported by the U.K. Maritime and Coastguard Agency, the Department for Transport, the Foreign Office, officials in Belgium and the European Space Agency.
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.