The European Union is funding a five-year programme that aims to stimulate inclusive growth, bolster food security and minimise impacts on the marine environment in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific. The €40-million (US$44.07-million) grant supports both aquaculture and fisheries value chains in those areas, whose fish exports mainly go to the EU market.




€40M grant from EU to boost aquaculture in Africa, Caribbean and Pacific


Fisheries and aquaculture in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific (ACP) will be given a boost with a €40-million (US$44.07-million) grant from the EU, which will fund a five-year programme to stimulate inclusive growth, bolster food security and minimise impacts on the marine environment.


The programme, called FISH4ACP, was signed in Oslo, Norway, at the Our Ocean 2019 conference and will be implemented by the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).


Welcoming the initiative, the European Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Karmenu Vella, said, "The focus on all three aspects of sustainability—the economic, the environmental and the social—sets this programme apart. It will enable us to strike a balance between production and protection, to contribute towards fair income distribution; to promote decent working conditions, sound fisheries management and social inclusiveness; and to champion sustainable aquaculture practices".


FAO Director-General Qu Dongyu said: "We welcome this new, comprehensive value chain approach to the development of fisheries and aquaculture that takes into account all players, at all stages—from net to plate. This is an innovative approach that will boost economic returns and social equity, and reduce negative impacts on the marine environment".


ACP Secretary General Patrick Gomes expressed the urgency to boost the fisheries and aquaculture sectors within the ACP countries. "We are happy to have our partners on board and launch this much-needed initiative, which will unlock the potential of fisheries and aquaculture in ACP regions", he said.


FISH4ACP will work with 10 value chains in 10 different ACP countries, aiming to maximise their economic returns and social benefits, while minimising the detrimental effects on natural habitats and marine wildlife. It will pay special attention to small-scale fisheries because of their potential to deliver economic and social benefits, particularly for women.


In Africa, the programme will support both aquaculture and fisheries value chains. They include inland and marine fisheries, involving catfish, small pelagics, oyster, shrimp and tilapia value chains from Nigeria to Zimbabwe, and from Lake Tanganyika to São Tomé and Príncipe and the continent's Atlantic shores.


In the Caribbean, FISH4ACP will concentrate on stocks of mahi-mahi and seabob shrimp in the Dominican Republic and Guyana respectively. In the Pacific, it will focus on tuna fisheries around the Marshall Islands, a sector with high potential on both European and American markets.


The EU is a key market for ACP fish products. In 2016, exports to the EU accounted for 50%, 15% and 50% of exports from Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific respectively.


FISH4ACP is set to kick off in early 2020.




Singapore looks to aquaculture


Singapore is looking to aquaculture to sustain its supply of protein food in the face of dwindling wild-caught fish due to global warming and overfishing.


The Singapore Food Agency (SFA) told the Straits Times that a decline in wild-caught fish has made aquaculture increasingly important.


"We envisage farming to become more like manufacturing where production takes place within a controlled environment with a defined input," an SFA spokesman said. "The result is an assured and consistent output, and a predictable way to address the effects of climate change and extreme weather."


Singapore currently has 123 fish farms that produced about 4,600 tonnes of fish in 2018, accounting for about 9% of local fish consumption.


The SFA said local production should help mitigate the nation's reliance on imports and serve as a buffer during supply disruptions.




September shrimp landings in Gulf of Mexico 30% below historical average


Shrimp landings in the Gulf of Mexico, an ocean basin that is largely surrounded by the North American continent, reached 9 million pounds in September, the third-lowest reported for any September since 2002, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reported, as per the Southern Shrimp Alliance.


The shrimp landings were 29.9% below the prior 17-year historical average of 12.9 million pounds for September.


During that month, landings of shrimp in Texas (4 million pounds) were substantially below the volume landed in September 2018 (5.4 million pounds) and were 29.5% below the prior 17-year historic average (5.7 million pounds).


Landings in Louisiana (3.1 million pounds) were also below those reported last year (3.3 million pounds), and were 40.3% below the prior 17-year historic average (5.2 million pounds).


In the first three quarters, 58 million pounds of shrimp were landed in the Gulf of Mexico, down from 72.3 million pounds in the first nine months last year. Shrimp landings in Louisiana during that period amounted to 20.1 million pounds, down from 27.6 million pounds last year, while landings in Texas stood at 22.8 million pounds compared with 26.7 million pounds last year.


This is the first time since the BP oil spill in 2010 that more shrimp has been landed in Texas than in Louisiana over the first nine months of the year.


In Alabama 9.5 million pounds of shrimp landed in January-September compared with last year's 11.8 million pounds.



DOWN 9.35%

Philippine aquaculture output lower in 2018, says gov't report


The Philippines' aquaculture production was recorded at 2.3 million tonnes in 2018,

down 9.35% compared with the base year 2012's record, according to the latest agricultural output and productivity report recently released by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).


The report said lower freshwater fish-cage/pen and seaweed production in 2018, which remained below the base year's record, contributed to the production decline.


Outputs were higher, though, from oyster production, up 39.03%. This was followed by freshwater fishpond production, which exceeded the 2012 record by 11.7%.


Aquaculture production has exhibited a fluctuating trend since 2014 and registered an average yearly decline of .29%. The cause of decline came from the decreases in outputs from marine fish cage/pen by 1.2% and seaweed by 1.01%.


On the other hand, production growths were higher in oyster and mussel averaging 7.41% and

10.49% per year, respectively. Average gains in production were also recorded for brackish-water fishpond (.60%), freshwater fishcage/pen (1.73%) and freshwater fishpond (2.13%). 


Milkfish is the Philippines' most-farmed fish followed by tilapia. An archipelago, the Philippines has one of the highest per-capita fish consumption in the world.




Iceland's biggest aquaculture facility opens


Iceland's largest aquaculture breeding and hatchery centre has opened on a remote fjord near the small fishing harbour of Tálknafjörður and more than 250 miles from the capital Reykjavik.


The £25-million (US$32.2-million) facility, which is owned by Arctic Fish, covers 10,000 square metres and may even become bigger as the company built it with further expansion in mind, Fish Farmer reported.


The facility is connected to one of the world's most advanced (RAS) water recycling systems. It also uses geothermal heat and is the only water recovery operation of its type in the world.


Arctic Fish, which is partly owned by Norway Royal Salmon, recently shipped its first consignment of tariff-free salmon to China.


The company also operates a farm at the nearby village of Patreksfjordur. The two facilities are expected to harvest up to 17,500 tonnes of salmon a year.


Arctic Fish's new aquaculture facility in Iceland  (Image: Arctic Fish)




Onshore fish farm using RAS technology to be built in Indonesia's Yogyakarta province


A consortium of Indonesian firms, led by PT El Rose Brothers, will build an onshore fish farm based on the recirculating aquaculture system, or RAS, technology in Yogyakarta Province. The project will use the Norwegian company Sterner AS's RAS technology, which will enable production based on quality assurance, traceability and managed growth to create a zero-waste and low-carbon environment.


In connection with the project, an integrated fish farming cooperation agreement was signed by the consortium and Sterner AS at the 2019 Trade Expo Indonesia last Oct. 16, Antara News reported.


As per Antara News, PT El Rose Brothers will start construction of the RAS facility in 2020, with a planned first-stage production capacity of 2,500 tonnes of white snapper products per year. The project is projected to usher in investments reaching US$50 million.


"We are very pleased to be working with El Rose Brothers to start a new chapter in the production of onshore fishery products in Indonesia. This partnership project can serve as the basis for integrating Sterner's foreign investment, RAS technology and clean water management in Indonesia," Sterner AS Director Gisle Larsen said.


Ferry Budiman, director of PT El Rose Brothers, was optimistic his company would become a leader in the production of high-quality and safe fishery products for consumers.


"We are indeed aiming to become a producer of fishery products with onshore facilities within the next five years that will provide products for the domestic and global markets," he said.