Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Ocean Health Index receives mainstream press coverage

I've posted on the topic of the Ocean Health Index, which assesses the well-being of the world's seas,  before.  The collaborative project ranks oceans out of 100 depending in various factors including  As we know, the outlook is pretty dismal with our seas scoring an unsustainable average of just 65 out of 100.

Today this comment piece  published in the Guardian, UK caught my attention.  Greg Stone of Conservation International , which is involved in the Ocean Health Index project gives a clear overview of the aims and goals of the Ocean Heath Index.  

Although the content is nothing we haven't read before, I was really pleased to see that the project has gained some mainstream media coverage in the UK.

dirty sea
dirty sea (Photo credit: john thompson imagery)

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Monday, 24 September 2012

Wild caught fish still to play a critical role in feeding people in the run up to 2050

'Wild catch' has a wrong image, says Gorjan Nikolik, Associate a director Animal Protein with Rabo Bank International in Singapore.

It's being seen as if we are robbing nature and as a result is in decline, he told an international audience attending a one-day International China Summit on the day preceding the opening of VIV China, which is taking place in the New China Exhibition Centre in Beijing.

"The sector is changing and is dynamic and should be compared with forestry rather than an exploitative operation. "We can remove a certain amount."

He said that where pressure had been applied to a fishery and the fishing operations were substantial there was a vested interest in maintaining stocks, managing the resource and adopting regulations to control over fishing. He pointed to fisheries in North America, Australia, Japan and others where regulations controlling industry meant that industry could invest in larger vessels, operate securely with quotas and become profitable and sustainable businesses.

"Unfortunately, that is not the norm. Throughout Asia and Africa in particular there is still a need for regulation. Anywhere where you have small artisan fisheries you have damage to sustainability. We are doing a good job in several places but more needs to be achieved."

Without the development of aquaculture over the past 40-50 years, there would not have been any growth in fish consumption, he told the audience of 300 representatives from the intensive livestock industries. He said aquaculture now makes up about half of all fish processed for human consumption.
Mr Gorjan Nikolik of Rabo Bank International (right) with the editor of International Aquafeed, Professor Simon Davies at the International China Summit in Beijing this weekend

While wild capture fish would not increase in the years ahead, aquaculture would see the total fish producing industry increase by four to six percent growth for the next four to five years. However, after that growth would decline to about three percent per year.

He says the FAO forecasts the world needing between 20 million to 25 million tonnes of fish by 2020? That's a one-third increase in less than a decade; a target that is unlikely to be met, he suggested.

However, Mr Nikolik does see fish playing an increasing role in the human diet as the world addresses the food needs of nine billion people by 2050. He says the are some 300 species of fish worldwide that are currently included in the human diet of which some 50-60 species are of primary importance. While the west and Japan have a preference for marine species in their diets, China in particular enjoys fresh water species and carp in particular. Sixty percent of the world's aquaculture takes place in China and the majority of the fish produced is carp.

When compared with terrestrial animals, fish are particularly efficient in converting feed into flesh. While the feed conversion rate for pigs is now around 2.5:1 and poultry at 1.8:1 and leader in the animal world, tilipa records 1.6:1, shrimp at 1.5:1 and salmon at 1.1:1. The latter is the most advanced and may soon achieve a 1:1 conversion rate!

"Why is it possible for fish to achieve these extraordinary conversion rates?" he posed rhetorically.

Fish live in a world where there's little effect of gravity and as a result expend no energy to fight gravity. Therefore there is no need to build massive bone structures to support their weight. In addition, fish are endothermic - meaning they need to expend no energy to warm their bodies.

"Everything they eat goes into motion and growth. Also they have high fecundity, meaning they have lots of offspring." Pigs might be able to achieve an impressive 27 piglets per year, but fish can produce 50,000 eggs twice a year with mortality rates of between two and three percent," he adds.

Other factors that Mr Nikolik feels with swing the balance in favour of fish is the impossibility of diseases moving across the species barrier as can happen between testerial animals; "There is no disease that can move from fish species to a human." The structure of the resource also favours fish such as salt water, "which can't be used for anything else"; many land-based fish farming operations do not need fresh water supplies; a minimal CO2 and methane gas emission contribution is also an advantage over terrestrial species.

For aquaculture to achieve its potential, the industry needs huge investments. It's an industry that is fragmented, ranges from the developed to developing countries, has no global or regional marketing policy and is uncoordinated. There are currently too many species being farmed and resources into research and development is spread too thin, he adds. "We haven't even chosen the species to focus on," he told the audience.

Mr Nikolik says terrestrial animal production systems have been developed over 2000 years while aquaculture is less than 40 years old and for some species just 15 years old. While aquaculture does offer a valuable source of protein for the human diet in the decades ahead, it has many obstacles to overcome with the access to resources such as coast line allocation, being limiting factors.
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Friday, 21 September 2012

Oyster genome mapped

Scientists have mapped the exact make up of the Pacific oyster genome for the first time. The research shows how the molluscs have adapted to life in harsh estuary and sea shore environments.  The news may help identify ways to breed fast-growing oysters with a higher survival rate.  Read more...

on rock salt, with lime shucked and prepared b...
on rock salt, with lime shucked and prepared by mirdad of (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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Monday, 17 September 2012

Study: Krill oil lower lipids in mice

A study published in the European Journal of Nutrition has found that krill oil can lower lipids levels in mice.  Scientists at the University of Bergen fed mice either a high-fat diet or a diet supplemented with fish oil and krill oil.  They found that mice fed the krill oil diet had lower plasma lipid and cholesterol levels.  Read more...
Pet Mice
Pet Mice (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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The potential value of the Norwegian biomarine industry

Value creation from the Norwegian biomarine industry has the potential to increase by 600% by 2050 according to a new report.  The study, by found that the industry could rise from NOK 90 billion today to NOK 550 billion in just under 40 years.

A working group appointed by the Royal Norwegian Society of Sciences and Letters (DKNVS) and the Norwegian Academy of Technological Sciences (NTVA) and funded by SINTEF Fisheries and Aquaculture, the Ministry of Fisheries and Coastal Affairs and the Research Council’s research programme Aquaculture - An Industry in Growth (HAVBRUK) conducted the research.

The report considered current developments within core areas of the marine sector, including the feed industry and new industries.

The group put forward 10 recommendations covering research, education and technology development to help achieve the six-fold increase.

Norway (Photo credit: mishox)
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Thursday, 13 September 2012

Aker propose to merge with Aker BioMarine

On September 11, 2012 Aker BioMarine ASA board of directors received a proposal from Aker ASA for a merger between AKBM and a wholly owned subsidiary of Aker ASA.

The Aker BioMarine board plans to evaluate the proposal.  More information...
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Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Event: Olmix Symposium

Food product development from algae is being overlooked in France

"We want to work!" 

That was a comment from Mrs Christine le Tennier, who was a speaker at the 1st Olmix one-day international symposium on 'Algae - The Blue Revolution for a Sustainable Chemistry' in Pontivy, France, that received spontaneous applause from the 250-plus delegates.

"It's ridiculous not to have greater access to the shore line to produce more," she says.

While French coastal waters are some of the best in the world for cultivating algae and seaweeds, "we are having to import seaweed extracts at €20 per kg when we should be producing and exporting ourselves."

Mrs Christine le Tennier, general manager of PDG, which produces a variety of food products from algae at the reception promoting here's and other foods from algae at the Olmix Sympodium in Pontivy, France
She says that Asia is leading the way in the development and consumption of seaweed- and algae-based food products despite the French coast line having some of the best waters in the world for algae and seaweed production.

"We have already lost too much time to Asia - let us work together," was her message to the audience when told there were politicians and others of influence listening.

"We have been in business 26 years and we have not had little support for our product developments."

She told the audience that no one of influence has paid attention to the development of new and innovative food products, such as those being produced by her company from seaweeds which she refers to as seaveg. In fact she recalled that many smiled politely in the early years when she began developing foods from algae and seaweeds which today are widely produced and consumed in Asia.

Symposium chairman Pierre Erwes acknowledged that innovation was the way forward for the algae processing industry in France and asked Mrs le Tennier for her views.

Mrs le Tennier says that to prosper the region itself  had to link with successful and profitable companies and support the marketing of their products. In particular she saw an opportunity to bring together oyster and other shell fish farmers with horticultural farmers in order bring about the development of vegetable-like food products from the sea.

"Farmers on the land know how to grow plants in soil. Oyster farmers don't but they do know the seabed." The two working together could revolutionise the production of edible sea plants but to achieve that traditional barriers between the two sectors had to be abolished, she claims.

The symposium delegates were treated to a variety of 'seaveg' products at an evening reception to widespread approval.

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Monday, 10 September 2012

BioMarine Participants: Pierre Calleja, Fermentalg

Pierre Calleja Chairman, CEO and Founder of Fermentalg, France
A biologist by training, Pierre Calleja began his career at the Ifremer research institute where his work centered on the development of larval breeding techniques in marine farms.
He then went on to create Kurios (a subsidiary of Sanofi Aquaculture) in 1992 where he developed an innovative range of larval feed and fish feed nutritional supplements designed to optimize breeding techniques. By 1999, Kurios’s revenues has doubled year-on-year to stand at €4 million, with exports accounting for 80% of the company’s sales. In 2000, Pierre Calleja sold Kurios to the global leader in larval fish nutrition, INVE.
From 2000 to 2005, Pierre Calleja worked in collaboration with Ifremer research institute on an R&D project for the mass production of microalgae under heterotrophic conditions.
In 2005, he acquired Aquatyca (specialized in aquariology fish feed) which he went on to sell in 2008.
In 2007, Pierre Calleja filed two patents linked to the farming of microalgae which led to the creation of Fermentalg in 2009.  More information...

Pierre Calleja

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Thursday, 6 September 2012

World's first alage-to-energy facility operational

Sapphire Energy, Inc. has announced that the first phase of its Green Crude Farm, the world’s first commercial demonstration algae-to-energy facility, is now operational. When completed, the facility will produce 1.5 million gallons per year of crude oil and consist of approximately 300 acres of algae cultivation ponds and processing facilities.  Read more...
Algae Pond
Algae Pond (Photo credit: PNNL - Pacific Northwest National Laboratory)

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Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Europe's largest fish farm to open in Poland

The biggest fish farming facility in Europe is set to open its doors on September 12, 2012.  The 8,000 sq m plant in Poland, will produce 1,200 tons of tilapia per annum.  Designed and operated by AquaMaof Aquaculture Technologies, the facility cost12 million Euro which the developers expect to recoup within five years.  Read more...
Europe - Satellite image - PlanetObserver
Europe - Satellite image - PlanetObserver (Photo credit: PlanetObserver)

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Using marine products in animal feeds

Using land-based materials such as soybeans in marine feeds is fairly common practice but what about the other way round?  What benefits can marine products have in animal feed?

The University College Cork, Ireland has published research into using seaweed extracts in pork diets.  Scientists found that the addition of Laminaria digitata improved the quality and shelf-life of fresh pork.  Read more...
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An iteroparous organism is one that can underg...
An iteroparous organism is one that can undergo many reproductive events throughout its lifetime. The pig is an example of an iteroparous organism (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

OceanGate Inc. expands board of directors

Veteran entrepreneur and technology executives will bring expertise to the OceanGate Inc. board.
The company recently appointed Geoffrey Barker and Lee Thompson to serve on the Board of Directors.
“We are pleased to welcome Geof and Lee to our board,” said Stockton Rush, Chairman and CEO. “Each new director brings a wealth of experience and knowledge in their respective industries. Their combined business, technical and financial experience will prove valuable as we expand OceanGate’s business into the commercial and government sectors. In addition, both will be a tremendous asset as we grow and evaluate strategic opportunities.”
About OceanGate Inc.
OceanGate Inc. pioneers access to the world’s oceans for research, exploration and commercialisation through manned deep-sea submersible solutions. Drawing on its broad industry experience, that leverages partnerships and adaptive technologies; the team develops cost effective solutions to increase capacity, mobility and flexibility for its clients. Submersible solutions open the oceans for academic and research institutions, commercial enterprises, government agencies, non-profit institutions and media and content producers.

OceanGate Inc. will be participating in the BioMarine Business Convention, October 24-25, 2012, London.
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