Eurofish Magazine issue 4 2019 features the fishing and aquaculture sectors in Lithuania and Georgia. The Technology section looks at big data and artificial intelligence in the fisheries and aquaculture sector.
July / August 2019 EM 4
Country profile: Lithuania, Georgia
Events: DanFish, Polfish, International Arctic Forum
Aquaculture: Shaping a vision for European aquaculture development
Technology: Big data and artificial intelligence in the fisheries and aquaculture sector
Guest pages: Brian Thomsen, Organisation of Danish Aquaculture - Forging common ground can be a challenge
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Aquaculture continues to grow faster than other major food production sectors reports the FAO’s State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture 2018 (SOFIA). In the last few years this statement has become a motto for the European aquaculture sector to persuade local, regional, national and European regulators to develop consistent strategies and programmes to replicate global growth in the sector at the European level.
In 1956 only 1.2 million tonnes of farmed fish and seafood products were produced globally, a figure that climbed to 3.73m tonnes in 1976 (about 300%), and to 26.54 million tonnes (about 700%) over the next 20 years. Between 1996 and 2016 global aquaculture reached a peak of 80 million tonnes (about 300%) and is still growing, while growth in the European Union lags far behind. In this context the International Organisation for the Development of Fisheries and Aquaculture in Europe (EUROFISH) in collaboration with the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (GFCM), the Italian Ministry for Agriculture, Food, Forestry Policies and Tourism, and the Italian Fish Farmers Association (API), organised an event to discuss the future of European aquaculture as seen by a wide range of stakeholders. The international conference “Aquaculture Today & Tomorrow. Unlock the Potential” was attended by more than 100 participants from 28 countries.
Twenty-nine Danish suppliers in the global fishing, aquaculture and seafood processing industries will travel to Trondheim Spektrum, Norway for this years Aqua Nor conference. The conglomerate of Danish suppliers represents Fish Tech, Danish Export Association, the largest group of Danish suppliers in the fishing equipment sector. Head of Fish Tech Martin Winkel expects this year’s Aqua Nor conference to be especially remarkable because of shifting market forces that are demanding more sustainable products. ”Accordingly, [this shift] offers great potential for Danish suppliers that hold a position as front-runners in developing new technology with a strong focus on high quality solutions, cost-efficiency and sustainability,” Martin said.
Turkeys aquaculture exports during this season reached $582.2 million, a 9 percent increase compared to the same period last year according to the Eastern Black Sea Exports Association. Some 118,954 tonnes of aquaculture products were exported between September 1 and April 15, 2019.The Netherlands, Japan and Italy were the leading export destinations for frozen fish fillets from Turkey
Hungary has revealed plans to build a new carbon-neutral greenhouse-filled farming city that will be powered by renewable energy sources. The farming city will include one of Europe’s largest indoor fish farming facilities. The €1 billion agricultural center will adjoin the border between Hungary, Austria and Slovakia. It will cover 330 hectares – equivalent to 500 football pitches.
Sursan Su Urunleri AS, a fish production company based in Turkey, became one of the first companies awarded Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ACS) certification for farmed seabass, seabream and meagre. The two farms operated by Sursan share this accomplishment with Nireus, a Greek farm which received ACS certification at the same time. The certification for all four farms were carried out by independent Conformity Assessment Body Acoura. The certification guarantees the products are produced in a socially and environmentally sustainable manner. Since receiving certification on June 5, 2019, producers of seabass and seabream have responded enthusiastically with a strong demand for ACS certified products. High demand for ACS certified products has driven more farms to schedule audits to the new standard. Farms in Turkey, Greece, Spain, Croatia and Albania have all undergone audits since Sursan received ACS certification.
The use of big data is becoming increasing accessible in aquaculture with systems like Manolin, XpertSea and Jala offering services that could revolutionize practices within the industry. These platforms aim to offer services that improve the management of farming activities. Within the production process for aquaculture, huge amounts of site and operation specific data is generated, and platforms like XpertSea offer services that streamline this data. Using Big data farmers can obtain health information on the animals they raise, monitor disease outbreaks and water quality and several other pertinent sources of information. Additionally, the use of artificial intelligence may also result in increased productivity with algorithms boosting feed conversion rates and methodologies that can detect when fish are experiencing increased biological stress.
Skretting, the world’s largest producer of feed for farmed fish, has committed to a deal with insect breeder Protix that could see up to 5.5 million servings of salmon containing insect meat brought to the market per year. Aquaculture production is expected to grow by 30 million tonnes in the near future. Sustaining this growth will require an additional 45 million tonnes of raw materials for feed, creating a potential ’protein’ gap between feed production capacity and demand for farm-raised fish. One potential way to bridge this gap is through insect protein. Not only could insects help bridge the protein gap, it will do so sustainably, contributing to a circular bio economy. A new Protix insect production facility in Bergen op Zoom, the Netherlands, breeds insects that convert vegetable residual flows into sustainable protein, contributing to a future-proof, circular bio economy.