Seafood consumption of Americans remained above average as they ate 0.9 pound more fish and shellfish last year, according to NOAA. US fishermen landed 9.7 billion pounds of fish and shellfish valued at $5.2 billion, a volume and value similar to recent years. The highest-value US commercial species, in order, were lobster, crab, shrimp, salmon and Alaska (walleye) pollock.
'ABOVE AVERAGE CONSUMPTION'
Americans ate 1 lb. more seafood in 2015
The average American added nearly 1 extra pound of seafood to their diet year in 2015, reflecting another above-average year for US fishing and seafood consumption, according to the annual "Fisheries of the United States" report released last week by the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
The report showed that the average American ate 15.5 pounds of fish and shellfish in 2015, a 0.9 pound increase from last year. US dietary guidelines recommend eating 8-12 ounces of seafood each week for a healthy diet.
NOAA also said that US fishermen landed 9.7 billion pounds of fish and shellfish valued at $5.2 billion, a volume and value similar to recent years. The highest-value US commercial species were lobster ($679.2 million), crab ($678.7 million), shrimp ($488.4 million), salmon ($460.2 million) and Alaska (walleye) pollock ($441.7 million).
By volume, the nation's largest commercial fishery remains Alaska (walleye) pollock, which had landings of 3.3 billion pounds (up 4% from last year), trailed by Atlantic and Gulf menhaden, which accounted for 1.6 billion pounds (up 29%).
The report showed that for the 19th consecutive year, the Alaska port of Dutch Harbor led the nation with the highest amount of seafood landed—787 million pounds, valued at $218 million. New Bedford, Massachusetts, had the highest valued catch from one port—$322 million for 124 million pounds, due mostly to the high price sea scallops fetch on the market, which accounted for more than 76% of this value.
As the aquaculture figures for 2015 were not yet available, NOAA cited those for 2014, when the industry's top-produced marine species including oysters, clams and Atlantic salmon generated 608 million pounds of seafood valued at $1.3 billion. This equated to 6% of the volume and 20% of the value of total US production of fishery products.
Read the report here.
Vietnamese feed maker banned by Thailand
Concerned Thai authorities have imposed stricter checks on animal feeds imported from Vietnam after shipments of squid viscera meal were found contaminated with melamine.
The animal feed, weighing a total of 60 tonnes, had been imported by two Thai companies, the Bangkok Post reported.
Apai Suttisunk, head of the Department of Livestock Development, was quoted as saying that the feed had traces of cyanuric acid, a component of melamine, which is a chemical banned for animal feeds.
"We have put the manufacturer on a blacklist," Apai said, adding that they had asked the Vietnamese government to ban the manufacturer from exporting products to Thailand. The manufacturing firm was not named in the news report.
5% YEAR-ON-YEAR HIKE
Vietnam seafood exports seen to hit US$7B in 2016
Vietnamese seafood exports are expected to reach US$7 billion this year, an increase of 5% year-on-year, according to the Vietnam Association of Seafood Producers and Exporters (Vasep).
"Seafood export revenues this year will surely reach $7 billion or may be a little more than that", said Truong Dinh Hoe, Vasep general secretary.
"In the early months of the year the seafood sector faced difficulties and challenges. Then a balance in supply and demand in the world market helped the prices of some seafood products recover", he explained.
The price recovery, he said, helped exports of certain seafood items like shrimp and tra fish to increase this year, although the growth was "not high".
Truong said Vietnam is set to earn an estimated $5.7 billion from exports in the first 10 months and that shipments are expected to increase significantly in the remaining months because demand in the main import markets usually goes up during the yearend festive season.
"We have high expectations for seafood exports in the two remaining months of the year. This will be an encouragement for seafood exporters amid market difficulties as well as a slow recovery in key export markets. This will be a foundation for us to prepare better for 2017", he added.
FIRST OF ITS KIND
Cargill introduces customised shrimp feed
Cargill has introduced what it says is a first-of-its-kind shrimp feed produced exclusively for automated feeders using acoustic technology.
The feed maker said iQuatic™ feed will be available in Central and South America over the next few months.
Through this acoustic technology, the automatic feed dispensers use microphones to detect when shrimps are eating, enabling the sytem to deliver more precise amounts of food when shrimps are hungry. iQuatic™ feed is designed and formulated with ingredients that help ensure that shrimps take in all the nutrients available in a pellet.
"Our iQuatic™ feed gives shrimp farmers a big competitive advantage because it maximises feeding times," said Adel El-Mowafi, Cargill's global technology director for aqua. "Giving shrimp food during their natural feeding patterns makes a huge impact on productivity, but the nutritional and functional design of the feed itself has to be right. Otherwise, key nutrients can dissolve".
Automated feeders use the acoustic technology to understand the natural eating patterns of shrimp, resulting in improved efficiency. Because the shrimps make better use of the nutrients delivered, they grow faster and produce less waste. This results in improved feed conversion ratio and better water quality allowing for a more environmentally sustainable operation with healthier, larger shrimps.
"Our iQuatic™ feed field trials have resulted in improved feed conversion ratios as much as 15 to 20 percent", said Martin Baertl, Cargill's strategic marketing lead for aqua. "Our customised iQuatic™ feed ingredients and nutrients are designed specifically for acoustic automated feed technology to meet distinct farming needs. This is a testament to listening to our customers and collaborating with our supply partners to deliver for them in new ways that help them grow better shrimp using precise amounts of feed."
US fishing industry legend passes away at 86
Rodney Thompson, a prominent figure in the US fishing industry, died peacefully at his home in Titusville, Florida, on October 21 following a long, courageously fought battle with normal pressure hydrocephalous, the Southern Shrimp Alliance reported. He was 86.
Thompson was actively involved in all aspects of the domestic commercial fishing industry from manufacturing commercial fishing boats to pioneering the rock shrimp industry and operating seafood restaurants and markets.
He started T-Craft Boats, Thompson Trawlers, Offshore 30, Thompson Industries, Ponce Seafood, Dixie Crossroads Seafood Restaurant, Cape Canaveral Shrimp Company and Wild Ocean Seafood Market, among others.
He was a longtime member of the board of directors of the Southeastern Fisheries Association. He also served on committees for the South Atlantic Fisheries Council, the Florida Seafood Advisory Board and the Florida Seafood Marketing Board. The Thompson family was the first non-agricultural recipient of the Brevard County Farm Family of the Year designation for their work in the Florida seafood industry.
A pioneer in the fiberglass boat-building industry, Rodney built the world's first fiberglass commercial shrimp boat. The boat was initially panned by the traditional shrimpers who said, "If God wanted boats to be made out of fiberglass, He would have made fiberglass trees."
Thomson is survived by his wife of 66 years, Mary Jean, son Thomas (Lisa), daughters Laurilee Thomson and Sherylanne Thompson McCoy, five grandchildren and eight great grandchildren (plus one on the way).
'TASTE THE ATLANTIC'
Irish oyster exhibition held in County Sligo
The Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM), or Irish Sea Fisheries Board, and Lissadell House recently mounted an oyster exhibition oyster exhibition in the stable rooms of the Lissadell House in County Sligo, Ireland.
The exhibition, dubbed "Taste the Atlantic–A Seafood Journey", was attended by over 45 oyster producers and followed the successful launch of the "Surf Coast" route of Taste the Atlantic in Lissadell House last June. This dedicated seafood trail, developed by BIM and Failte Ireland, aims to educate visitors and Irish consumers as to how Irish seafood is caught and farmed.
From Donegal town to Erris in County Mayo, the Surf coast trail includes five new seafood producers and 14 seafood restaurants and joins the already successful "Bay coast" route launched last year from Erris to Galway Bay with six producers and 28 restaurants.
Lissadell has a long tradition in oyster farming as far back as the 1850s. Attracting more than 50,000 visitors every year, the "Taste the Atlantic – a Seafood Journey" oyster exhibition will further profile the seafood trail and build an appreciation for the provenance and quality of Irish oysters as Richard Donnelly, BIM's Aquaculture Business Development Manager explains: 'We, in BIM, are delighted to partner with Constance Cassidy and Eddie Walsh of Lissadell House to develop an informative oyster exhibition that will educate both Irish and international visitors on the provenance and superior craftsmanship involved in farming quality Irish oysters".
Donnelly said that Irish oysters, worth over €38 million (US$42.17 million) at first point of sale, are sought after worldwide and "it's an industry we can be very proud of".
Meanwhile, over 80 oyster producers from around the Surf coast also gathered last October 26 for the annual BIM/IFA Aquaculture Oyster Workshop in the Clarion Hotel, Sligo, which focused on skills, competitiveness, sustainability and innovation.
HELPING CONSUMERS CHOOSE
New Zealand 'Best Fish Guide' website launched
Consumers may feel confident that they're choosing sustainable New Zealand seafood with Seafood New Zealand's launch of the updated Best Fish Guide website.
"The Best Fish Guide is a great way of helping consumers choose from a wide range of nutritious and tasty seafood. We hope this guide helps everyone choose and enjoy New Zealand seafood with confidence", said Tim Pankhurst, Seafood New Zealand chief executive.
The online guide also lets consumers check the sustainability credentials of all New Zealand commercial fish species, tips for buying fresh NZ seafood, and recipes.
Pankhurst said New Zealand "is internationally respected for its innovative and world-leading approach to sustainable science-based fisheries and aquaculture management".
"Consumers will be able to see just how healthy our fish stocks are, underpinned by sound, peer-reviewed science, and why our fisheries are internationally recognised as being among the best managed in the world", he added.
Pankhurst said that five popular New Zealand fish species—hoki, hake, ling, albacore tuna and southern blue whiting—have also gained Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certification, the global gold standard for sustainability, with more species being prepared for certification.
SQUID PRICES ON WAY UP
World cephalopod supplies increase
About 370 participants gathered in Vigo, Spain, for the one-day conference on cephalopods on October 3.
In the first part of the conference, the focus was on production and trade of cephalopods in the most important supplier countries including Argentina, Chile, Peru, Mauritania and China. While cephalopods constitute a small part of total global landings, its share of the total supplies has increased from about 2% in 1980 to over 5% today.
The general consensus was, however, that supplies of squid are low this year and will remain low for the rest of the year. Consequently, price increases are expected. For octopus and cuttlefish, the supply situation was considered better.
As a consequence of a much tighter supply situation, the volume of trade in squid and squid products has declined. However, for some countries, this trade has been in decline for some years, and the situation in 2016 will aggravate this. The conference said that because of low supplies, prices are on the way up. "In some markets, like China, the price of squid has already doubled, and is expected to climb even higher".
The world congress was organised by Conxema, in cooperation with FAO.
'NO PUBLIC HEARINGS'
Canada groups to challenge GM salmon approval
Environmental groups will challenge in the court the Canadian Federal Court ruling upholding the government's earlier approval of genetically modified salmon, the CBC News reported, according to Undercurrent News.
Karen Wristen of British Columbia's Living Oceans Society claimed that the approval process had taken place behind closed doors and that it did not take into account the Canadian public's views on whether animals should be genetically modified for food.
Environment Canada approved the production of GM salmon eggs by the biotechnology company AquaBounty in 2013.
AquAdvantage Salmon has also been approved for production and human consumption by the US Food and Drug Administration after a thorough scientific review over a period of 20 years. In its announcement last year, the FDA stated that AquAdvantage Salmon was as safe and nutritious to eat as any non-GE Atlantic salmon.
Other Canadian environmental groups had sued the government, alleging it did not follow its own rules and failed to obtain and assess the information required by the federal Environmental Protection Act.
A federal court judge rejected this initial challenge.