Peru cites the growing importance of aquaculture as a fisheries official says the industry can become one of the country's economic growth drivers in the immediate future.

Peru aims for higher aquaculture development


A fisheries official of Peru cited the growing importance of aquaculture as he said recently that the industry can become one of the economic growth drivers in the immediate future.

Juan Carlos Requejo, Vice Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture, told a recent regional meeting that under the National Productive Diversification Plan (PNDP), Peru's aquaculture industry could account for at least 15% of the country's fisheries gross domestic product.

"In 2015 we have approved aquaculture investments of over 92 million Peruvian nuevo sol (US$25.8 million) and have expanded aquaculture border to new investments in nearly 25,000 hectares," he said.

He said Peru was aiming at this goal and to increase the current production levels of aquaculture.

Chile's Blumar earns BAP certification for salmon operations

Chilean fishing and aquaculture firm Blumar Seafoods has earned the highest four-star Best Aquaculture Practices (BAP) certification for all its salmon operations from the Global Aquaculture Alliance, an international, non-profit organization whose advocacy is feeding the world through responsible, sustainable aquaculture.

The certification covers Blumar's salmon production across processing plants, farms, hatcheries and feed mills.

Blumar said that with the distinction Blumar was more determined to push its "strong commitment to sustainable farming practices, high-quality product and proper management of Chile's natural resources".

Its aquaculture operations has placed Blumar as one of the main producers of salmon and trout in Chile.


Dr. Eckel GmbH developing immune defence-building feed additive

The research and development (R&D) department of Dr. Eckel GmbH, a feed additives firm, has collaborated with the esteemed Kasetsart University in Thailand in the area of aquaculture, and said the first trial results were very encouraging.

Dr. Eckel said a series of trials with the Anta®Phyt and Anta®Ox concepts on pacific white shrimp showed significant effects on the immune system and performance of the shrimp. "In so-called challenge trials, the shrimp were exposed to Vibrio parahaemolytius pathogens. Those animals fed with Anta®Phyt showed a significantly higher survival rate than the control groups and had better immune defences, as shown by an increased phagocytosis activity", it said.
Further tests showed improved performance with Anta®Ox, a specific blend of grape meal and pomace with anti-oxidative effects were undertaken. "During the 60-day trials the animals grew faster and gained more weight than those of the control group".

To develop sustainable concepts for the fast-growing aquaculture market, Dr. Eckel GmbH is supported by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy. This support enabled Dr. Eckel to install a highly specialised aquarium trial unit for controlled feeding experiments at the company's headquarters in Niederzissen. "With this aquarium facility and our experience from international animal nutrition, we can contribute to the sustainable and healthy nutrition of fish and shrimp. At the same time this production will boost consumer confidence in aquaculture", Dr. Bernhard Eckel, head of product development at Dr. Eckel said.


Ecuador shrimp exports at all-time high in 2015

Ecuador's farmed shrimp exports last year reached 720 million pounds, an all-time record and a 17.8% increase from 2014.

This year the same volume is seen to be maintained or to increase. "I wouldn't say this year we'll see a double-digit growth, but I think Ecuador won't decrease its production, providing that we don't see a drastic fall in prices" or a major change in international markets, said Jose A. Camposano, executive chairman of the Ecuadorian National Chamber of Aquaculture.

Despite the higher export volume, exports value was down 8% from 2014. Camposano said the price trend has been stable for the past months and that this would motivate producers to maintain current production levels. "Obviously if there is a sudden sharp drop in prices, producers will keep an eye on costs," Camposano added.

Ecuador's farmed shrimp production this year is seen at around the same as 2015—320,000 metric tonnes.

Chile salmon firms incur losses

Hit by low international prices and high production cost, Chile's salmon companies suffered revenue losses in 2015, the US Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Foreign Agricultural Service reported.

Citing Stock Market Financial information from Bolsa de Comercio de Santiago (Santiago Stock Exchange), the USDA said major salmon companies including Aquachile, the largest producer, showed losses amounting to US$135.9 million last year.

Records showed that Aquachile lost US$66.7 million, Australis $43.7 million, Blumar $1.8 million and Multifoods $ 23.7 million in 2015.


Alf-Helge Aarskog, CEO of Marine Harvest said that to reduce costs, companies resorted to employee reduction, among others, but that the cost-reduction strategies were not enough to realise profits. Chile's salmon industry suggested that regulations were needed to ensure economic, social and environmental sustainability.

Víctor Hugo Puchi, president of AquaChile, suggested that Chilean production be limited to 600,000 metric tonnes yearly to induce higher prices and market stability.

Chile exported a total of 442,998 metric tonnes of salmon and trout last year, a slight increase of 2.1% from the previous year. Their total value showed a 21.3% decline, however, from $3.372 billion in 2014 to $2.655 billion.

The unit value of Chile's main salmon export—fresh salmon fillet—dropped 20.2% in 2015 compared with that of 2014. That of frozen Atlantic salmon dropped 25.1%, data from Chile Customs showed.

US seafood trader Ocean Garden has new president

US seafood trader Ocean Garden Products has a new president and CEO since January, Lance Leonard.

Leonard previously held management and sales positions in Nestle Waters, helping develop the company's Pure Life, Perrier and San Pellegrino brands.

"I am excited to join Ocean Garden Products during a time of renaissance and growth. The leadership team is committed to providing the highest quality seafood product with best-in-class customer service to our industry partners and we look forward to expanding our business into new channels and markets," Leonard said.

Ocean Garden, whose corporate office is located at San Diego, California, specialises in wild and farm-raised Mexican shrimp and sells under the Ocean Garden, Mark, Compass and Ocean Shell brands.

It also sells Norwegian salmon under its Storm brand, and Mexican and Australian abalone, calamari and shrimp under its Calmex brand.

Brazil's GenesSeas Aquacultura joins iBAP programme

GeneSeas Aquacultura is Brazil's first aquaculture operator to enroll in the Global Aquaculture Alliance's iBAP programme, which is designed for aquaculture facilities that are not quite ready to apply for Best Aquaculture Practices (BAP) certification.

The company was sponsored by US-based Tropical Aquaculture Products Inc. to participate in the program and eventually apply for BAP certification.

Tropical Aquaculture has sponsored 11 tilapia processing plants and farms in four Latin American countries—Brazil, Ecuador, Mexico and Colombia.

A long-time supporter of the BAP programme, the company actively encourages tilapia processing plants and farms that it contracts exclusively, to obtain the certification. As a result, there is reportedly an increase in the volume of two-star BAP tilapia that Tropical Aquaculture sells in the North American market.

In addition to fresh and frozen tilapia, Tropical Aquaculture also markets shrimp, steelhead trout, salmon, cod and cobia.

GeneSeas Aquacultura's tilapia processing plant and farms registered for iBAP in November and have until August to complete the programme.

Record net profit for Thai Union

Seafood processor and exporter Thai Union Group reported a record net profit of 6.1 billion Thai baht, or US$171.050 million (before one-time expenses) in 2015, up 19.1% from THB5.1 billion ($143 million) in 2014. After the non-operational one-time expenses, however, net profit was down to THB5.3 billion ($148.6 million), still a new record.

Cash flow based on earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) also hit a record high at THB11.5 billion ($322.4 million, up 4.8% from a year ago.

The one-time non-operational expenses included those incurred from previously planned capital- and debt-raising activities (after the cancellation of the Bumble Bee transaction in early December 2015), an internal non-cash restructuring charge on the firm's fishing business and other petty one-time charges, which all lessened the annual net profit by THB1 billion ($28.046 million).

Thai Union attributed the record results to strong performance of its leading seafood brands in Europe; successful integration of recent acquisitions MerAlliance (leading chilled smoked salmon producer in Europe), King Oscar (world premium sardine brand) and Orion (the largest lobster supplier in North America); and strong recovery of its Thailand-based shrimp processing operations, among others.

The US dollar appreciation against the Thai baht in the latter part of the year also created positive impact, it added.

However, Thai Union said, it had to hurdle challenges including the highly volatile euro, sharply lower tuna and shrimp raw material prices, major importing countries' concern on Thailand's sustainability issues and eventual cancellation of the Bumble Bee transaction.

Tuna had the largest share of business, accounting for 37% of total sales, followed by shrimp and related business at 29%, salmon business 9%, pet food business 7%, sardine and mackerel business 6% and value-added and other products 12%.

The US remained Thai Union's largest market in 2015 at 42%, followed by Europe, 29%; Thai domestic market. 8%; Japan, 6%; and other markets, 14%.

McDonald's launches salmon sandwich

McDonald's Singapore has introduced salmon on its menu. The Breaded Salmon with Paella Spice Mix sandwich features a breaded salmon patty flanked by a crisp salad mix that's topped with McChicken sauce.

Each salmon patty is made with a paella spice mix that includes salmon chunks, diced cheddar cheese and red and yellow bell peppers.

McDonald's Singapore said the new sandwich was inspired by Singaporeans and would be available while stocks last.

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