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A Japanese researcher is working to produce fish that feeds on low- or non-fishmeal feed—in other words, a vegetarian fish, in face of dwindling anchovy supplies.
'Vegetarian' fish being developed in Japan
A "vegetarian" fish? This is what a Japanese researcher is working to produce—a fish that feeds on low- or non-fishmeal feed, The Fish Site reported.
This research project gains importance in the light of the dwindling supplies of anchovy, a major ingredient in the manufacture of fishmeal and fish oil.
Prof. Shuichi Satoh, of Tokyo University of Marine Science and Technology is trying produce vegetarian fish by changing the amount of taurine in their feed, according to the report. An amino acid, taurine is a derivative of sulfur-containing compounds such as methionine that plays important roles in digestion and neurotransmission. It is present in fishmeal but not in plant-based alternatives, such as corn and soy.
"Taurine is indispensable. For one thing, it makes the fish able to eat more, and improves weight gain and feed efficiency. Without it, fish tend to exhibit poor growth and green liver syndrome", Satoh said, according to the report. 
Satoh, in collaboration with Nagasaki Fisheries Research Station, is starting with yellowtail and red sea bream. He said the latter ate anything and grew bigger and faster than expected on a diet with little to no fishmeal.
On the other hand, the yellowtail grew normally with 30% fishmeal in their feed, but a taurine supplement was necessary. Satoh said that if the feed has 20% fishmeal, a taurine supplement is required. However, there were times when the yellowtail didn't eat the soybean or plant-based feed. They were, therefore, tricked with the use of bonito peptides, which make the feed taste like fish. Digestive enzymes were added as this feed is difficult to digest unlike plant-based feed.
"We're currently experimenting with all kinds of mixtures such as poultry meal, pork, chicken meal and feather meal", Satoh told The Fish Site.
Still, he believes that soybean- and other plant-based feeds are the most environment-friendly. "A lot of feed manufacturers still believe fishmeal is the best but because prices are rising they have no choice but to look into other alternatives. Japan's aquaculture still uses a lot of fishmeal but I believe that will change."

Need for new lice vaccines stressed at salmon symposium
The development of sea lice and AGD vaccines, unlocking the potential of triploids, and discovering alternative feed ingredients were among the highlights of the Stirling Salmon Science Symposium, organised by the UK's University of Stirling Institute of Aquaculture (IoA) on August 12.
Fourteen scientists from the institute delivered talks on subjects related to salmon farming, with the overall aim of facilitating the interaction between the university and the industry, said Bret Glencross, IoA director of research and professor of nutrition.
Almost 100 people were in attendance, including members of the institute's teaching staff, students, and representatives of leading salmon companies, feed firms, the Scottish Salmon Producers' Organisation and the Scottish Aquaculture Innovation Centre.
"We have mixed up the subjects so everyone listens to everything to get a broad overview of the whole industry", said Glencross, an Australian who has both an academic and commercial background, having worked for the feed company Ridley and for the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation.
Such is the range of current research into farmed salmon that the symposium could have been twice as long, said Glencross, who said a similar session will be held again next year. Several of the scientists will also be present at Aquaculture Europe 2016, the European Aquaculture Society's conference in Edinburgh on September 20-23.
Among the August 12 presentations, Sandra Adams gave an overview of fish vaccine progress, while Sophie Fridman discussed more specifically the development of vaccines for amoebic gill disease.
John Taylor presented his findings into triploid salmon potential, and Ben Clokie spoke about his work with light and how it influences growth and smoltification.
Douglas Tocher and Monica Betancor both discussed the prospects of genetically modified omega 3 supplies as the industry looks to further reduce its use of fishmeal and fish oil in aqua feeds.
Armin Sturm addressed the subject of drug resistance in sea lice and reminded the audience that it had been 15 years since the last new anti-sea lice product was introduced. "We really should try to get some new drugs", he said.

Chinese tilapia production dropped 40% in 2015
Chinese tilapia production dropped by an estimated 40% last year due to unfavourable weather conditions coupled with continued lower demand in the US and the EU, both major markets, a FAO Globefish report said.
In 2015, the Chinese tilapia industry was also affected by antibiotic-related issues. Processing plants controlled production as result of the general slowdown in demand.
Total Chinese exports of tilapia in 2015, meanwhile, declined by roughly 24,000 tonnes to 391,200 tonnes. Frozen fillet exports, which make up 39% of Chinese tilapia exports, declined, primarily to the US. However, exports of frozen breaded tilapia to the main markets of the US, Mexico, Côte d'Ivoire and Zambia posted positive growths.
Average export prices of Chinese frozen tilapia fillets in 2015 weakened by 15.3% to as low as US$3.86 per kilogramme compared with 2014.
China is the leading supplier of tilapia to the US market. It was also the leading supplier to the EU in all product categories (such as frozen fillets and whole frozen tilapia) in 2015. EU's total imports of tilapia from China reached 21,177 tonnes in 2015, a slight increase of 0.9% from 2014.
Tilapia production this year is forecast to further decline due to the extreme cold weather in China in early 2016, which affected many tilapia farms, according to the UN agency's report. 

Vietnam firms warned on noncompliance with safety standards
Vietnamese authorities have become stricter in enforcing safety standards for aquaculture product exports, warning local companies that they won't get their export licenses renewed if they failed to comply.
The warning came after shipments to the EU were rejected for containing excess levels of antibiotics, local newspaper VN Express International reported.
Effective last August 15, the licenses of companies whose shipments were found with excessive antibiotics would only be renewed after full investigations into the allegations and corrective measures have been taken. In addition, they should pass strict inspections conducted by Vietnam's national agro-forestry-fisheries quality assurance department.
Earlier this month, a Vietnamese agriculture firm shipment of aquaculture products were stopped by the European Commission's Health and Food Safety Department after they were found to contain traces of a banned antibiotic.
These included catfish shipments from the Can Tho Export-Import Seafood JSC, which Germany blocked due to traces of sodium carbonate. Fish shipments from the Southern Fishery Industries Co. Ltd. were also turned away by Spain after sodium erythorbate was detected.

Vietnamese tilapia exports on a roll
Vietnamese tilapia exports in the first half hit nearly US$14 million, eight-fold higher than the same period in 2015, the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Processors (Vasep) reported.
During this six-month period, exports to the US (Vietnam's biggest buyer) reached more than $2 million, three times higher than last year. Vietnam had to compete strongly with Chinese tilapia due to higher average export price, Vasep said.
Following the US among the top 10 importers, in that order, were Colombia, the Netherlands, Turkey, Italy, Belgium, Spain, Germany, South Korea and Saudi Arabia, which all accounted for 70% of total export value.
While the US was the No. 1 buyer of Vietnamese tilapia, Vietnam was only its third-largest source, accounting for a mere 10% of the market share, after China (65%) and Taiwan (21%). 
Vasep said Vietnam tilapia exports this year may hit $45 million, up 32% from 2015's $34 million due to the rise in demand, higher import prices, diversification strategies of farmed species and exported products and development policies of the tilapia sector into large manufacturing sector.
The forecast should receive a boost from a FAO prediction that Chinese tilapia production is expected to further decline this year due to the extreme cold weather in China early in the year, which affected many tilapia farms. Last year production dropped by an estimated 40% due to unfavourable weather conditions coupled with continued lower demand in the US and the EU.

Bangladesh sees fish self-sufficiency in 2 years
Bangladesh targets to become self-sufficient in fish in the next two years as it embarks on 20 fisheries projects in fiscal year 2016-17 toward this end.
Fisheries Minister Sayedul Haq told the opening of a two-day workshop on fisheries research planning on Thursday, August 18, that if the current pace of production is sustained, "we will be self-sufficient in fish by 2018-2019".
He said Bangladesh produced an estimated 3.855 million tonnes of fish in FY 2015-2016. The annual demand is estimated at 4.2 million tonnes, he added, according to a report from the local The Financial Express.
Haq also said that if the current pace of fish production is maintained, Bangladesh would overpass India, if not China, in output. China, India and Thailand are the leaders, in that order, in aquatic production, while Bangladesh is No. 4, according to a FAO (Food and Agriculture Organisation) report released this year.
The United News of Bangladesh reported that BDT 324.45 crore (US$41.31 million) has been allocated for implementation of the 20 new fisheries projects.
Officials have also attributed Bangladesh's enhanced production to innovation and application of 57 technologies on fish breeding, culture and management.

BIOMIN: Mycotoxins represent real risk to aquaculture
"Mycotoxins represent a real risk to aquaculture" said Rui Gonçalves, scientist for aquaculture at BIOMIN.
He cited recent data from a recent peer-reviewed scientific study showing that deoxynivalenol and fumonisins were the most common mycotoxins found in finished aquafeeds (Gonçalves et al. 2016). A full 76% of samples tested contained two or more mycotoxins. A total of 41 finished aquafeed samples from Europe and Asia were analysed.
"Though it may be a relatively new topic for the industry, mycotoxins are important to aquaculture in terms of the negative effects in animals," said Gonçalo Santos, R&D manager for aquaculture at BIOMIN.
Michele Muccio, the company's mycotoxin risk management product manager, said, "While each mycotoxin has its own structure and particular effects, we know that generally mycotoxins reduce growth, increase mortality and decrease weight gain."   
Anwar Hasan, technical manager for aquaculture, noted that "aquaculture producers in Asia-Pacific countries face challenges such as EMS or white feces syndrome." Each year, the shrimp industry suffers losses of more than US$1 billion due to early mortality syndrome, or acute hepatopancreatic necrosis (EMS/AHPND), an emerging disease caused by the bacterium Vibrio parahaemolyticus.
"Mycotoxins have an immunosuppressive effect, making fish and shrimp more vulnerable to opportunistic pathogens," Gonçalves said. The remarks were made within the context of 2016 Aqua Days hosted by BIOMIN. More than 60 aquaculture industry members from 16 countries attended the event on August 23-25 in Austria.
The programme consisted of conference sessions on important topics affecting the aquaculture industry, an overview of the R&D activities at BIOMIN along with on-site tours of the BIOMIN Research Center in Tulln, Austria.

New Peru law seeks to raise aquaculture exports
Peru is seeking to maintain sustainable aquaculture with a new "general law on aquaculture", which is part of a National Diversification Plan to boost aquaculture exports by 20% over the next five years.
The law, which has just been published, provides the aquaculture sector with a set of rules for future development, according to a report from The Fish Site.
It will also provide information on efficient handling of aquaculture development and promotion.
The aquaculture regulation—which is the result of inputs from government officials, industry, exporters, academe and 14 regional governments—comprises 58 articles and 14 transitory additional provisions including annexes.
The regulation is expected to spur a strong demand for US soybeans and meals for the feed sector.

BIM Awards 2016 launched to celebrate best in Irish seafood
The Irish Sea Fisheries Board (Bord Iascaigh Mhara, or BIM) has launched its inaugural BIM
Awards to celebrate the best in the Irish seafood sector.
The aim of the Awards is to celebrate and highlight excellence in Ireland's seafood industry.
BIM is seeking entries to identify the businesses and individuals who excel in the areas of skills, sustainability, innovation and competitiveness across the fishing, aquaculture and seafood processing sectors.
The Skills Awards will celebrate those who have excelled in their areas of training and those who have gone the extra mile in order to achieve their goal. Under the skills category, winners for Young Fishmonger of the Year Award (applications are closed as the initiative was launched earlier in the year and the judging process has already begun) and Student of the Year Award (this is not awarded by application) will be chosen.
The Sustainability Awards will celebrate businesses and individuals who have gone beyond the legislative requirements and demonstrated their commitment to the future of the Irish seafood sector. Winners are companies that have placed environmental and social concerns at the heart of their business, working out ways to make a sustainable establishment work for them, their employees and their customers. Responsible Fisherman of the Year and winners of Aquaculture Environmental and Social Responsibility Award and Green Processor Award will be chosen under this category.
The Innovation Awards will go to individuals or companies that have taken and applied innovative ideas, technologies or processes to drive their seafood business. Applicants will need to demonstrate clear, positive outcomes for their enterprise as a result of their innovation process. Winners will be selected for the following awards under this category: Best New Fishing Practice Award, Innovation in Aquaculture Award and Innovation in Seafood Processing Award.
The Competitiveness Awards will be given to Irish seafood enterprises that have found ways to control costs, keep a competitive edge and maximise value and returns in a keenly competitive environment. The awards (Fishing Enterprise of the Year, Aquaculture Enterprise of the Year and Seafood Enterprise/ Entrepreneur Award) in this section are designed to celebrate the entrepreneurial spirit in the seafood sector.
More details on the Awards can be had at http://bit.ly/1U8MfxN.
Closing date for entries is September 16.
The winners will be announced at a gala evening on November 17 in Clayton Hotel, Ballsbridge, Dublin 4.
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