Researchers from the University of Stirling have found that fish personality has a bearing on its capability to reproduce.  The Senegalese sole, which is a much-valued fish in Europe, is likely to reproduce in captivity if it is proactive and try to explore, in contrast to that which is reactive and fearful, research showed.
Research: Fish personality linked to reproductiveness
A group of university-based aquaculture experts have discovered how the fish Senegalese sole, which is much valued in Europe, can be produced more effectively and abundantly.
The aquaculturists, based in the University of Stirling in the UK, found that the way the Senegalese sole cope with stress has a bearing on how reproductive they are. Their personality remains consistent regardless of the situation they are in, they said.
The researchers hope that the first study to test stress copying styles in mature Senegalese sole will help farmers screen fish from a young age to help the species reproduce in captivity and improve aquaculture production.
When faced with confinement, restraint or a new environment, the younger fish—known as juveniles—and the older fish—known as breeders—were found to have similar behavioural patterns and levels of activity, showing consistent responses in animals of different ages.
There was a correlation between the personality of the fish and how they acted across the various tests, suggesting that those that are reactive and fearful, on the one hand, and those that are proactive and curious, on the other, consistently maintain their respective behaviour.    
"Senegalese sole is a very valuable fish farmed across Europe; however, first-generation males' failure to reproduce is still a problem affecting production of the species. Animals who are proactive and try to explore are likely to reproduce in captivity so it's important these fish can be identified at a young age", said Dr Sonia Rey Planellas, research fellow at the Institute of Aquaculture.
She added, "The three tests we used to simulate life in captivity was easy to apply and required no special equipment. We hope this can be replicated by fish farmers, large and small, to help establish selection-based breeding programmes and easily identify fish that deal best with stress and will be able to reproduce more successfully in a variety of environments".
Planellas said these operational behavioural screening tests (OBST) could also be used for other species of interest facing similar problems on domestication and production.
Around 120 Senegalese sole were used in the conduct of five individual behavioural tests and two grouping tests. Cortisol, glucose and lactate in the blood were measured at the end of the tests to measure the stress response.
The study was part of Zohar Ibarra-Zatarain's doctoral thesis who is now working in the Nayarit Centre of Technology Innovation and Transfer (CENIT2) in Tepic, México.
The research also involved experts from the Institute for Food and Agricultural Research and Technology (IRTA) in Catalonia and the Spanish Institute of Oceanography. It is published in Royal Society Open Science journal.

US refusals for antibiotic-laced shrimp in Oct. lowest in 3 years
The US refused entry to 142 seafood entry lines in October, of which only 1 (0.7%) was of shrimp rejected for reasons related to banned antibiotics.
This was the lowest number of antibiotic-related refusals of shrimp since October 2013.  For the year, there have been 113 total entry lines of shrimp for banned antibiotics, data from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) showed.
The Southern Shrimp Alliance reported that the shrimp entry line refused by the FDA for antibiotics in October was from a company in Vietnam named Frozen Seafoods Factory No. 32 (F.32), which is not currently listed on Import Alert 16-129 or Import Alert 16-124. It had one entry line refused for shrimp contaminated with veterinary drug residues in the Southwest District.
The small number of reported refusals for shrimp contaminated with banned antibiotics does not, however, appear to indicate that the use of antibiotics has been eliminated from shrimp farming.  Other major shrimp-importing countries reported significant action regarding shrimp imports in October.
For example, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) reported that last month:
-- A shipment was rejected by the agency from the Huy Nam Seafoods Co. Ltd. (Plant Reg. No. DL 344) of Vietnam for fluoroquinolones;
-- Shunde Bangmin Aquaculture Farms (4400/AC076) of China was added to the CFIA's Mandatory Inspection List for fluoroquinolones; and
-- The shrimp exporter Falcon Marine Exports Ltd. (Plant Reg. No. 430) of India was added to the CFIA's Mandatory Inspection List for nitrofurans.
Of the 61 total shipments refused entry into Japan in October because of violations of the Food Sanitation Law, seven (11.5%) were for shipments of shrimp products contaminated with banned antibiotics. Six of these shipments originated in Vietnam and one in India.


Vietnam pangasius group launches 2 websites
The Vietnam Pangasius Association recently launched a couple of websites to support trading of tra fish by producers and exporters, and trace locations of tra farms in the Mekong Delta region.
The website provides sellers with utilities to help promote their products, give price quotations and streamline the management of their sales staff.
A free membership registration provides seafood suppliers with quality certifications, as well as market information, and data about supply, demand and consumption trends in different regions.
The second site,, maintains a database and map of 200 tra fish breeding areas of businesses and households in Cần Thơ City and the provinces of Đồng Tháp, Vĩnh Long, An Giang and Bến Tre, besides Tiền Giang that have 1,104 breeding ponds covering 1,230 hectares.
Users can easily find information about breeding areas, the number of tra fish businesses and households, and harvest forecasts on this map.

Irish fishermen do their share for sustainable industry
The Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM), or Irish Sea Fisheries Board, recently launched the BIM Fishing for Litter programme, which enables fishermen to collect marine litter in heavy-duty Fishing for Litter bags that can be brought ashore for appropriate disposal and recycling.
This kind of initiative was originally developed by KIMO (Local Authorities International Environmental Organisation) and now has 75 member authorities.
'Sustainability is a key driver and priority for BIM and our fishing industry. Participation in this initiative can gain recognition for member vessels and their crews as Fishing for Litter contributes to BIM's Certification and Sustainability programmes and Bord Bia's Origin Green sustainability charter," said BIM CEO Tara McCarthy.
Ms McCarthy cited Ros a Mhíl fishing port as having "already set a very high standard in driving environmental responsibility".
"I would like to congratulate and recognise the members of Galway and Aran Fishermen's Co-op and Harbour Master Captain Connolly for their achievements to date", she added.
The BIM Fishing for Litter programme has 34 vessels participating in Union Hall, Castletownbere, Ros a Mhíl and Clogherhead fishing ports with Killybegs port also coming on board.
Ros a Mhíl is the key fishing port on the West Coast, landing 3,637 tonnes of seafood, predominantly shellfish, worth €12 million to the Irish economy.
Members of the Galway and Aran Fishermen's Co-operative are already active in embracing environmental initiatives including BIM's Fishing Net Recycling programme where nets are dismantled into a number of components, enabling the material to enter a number of recycling streams, thus diverting such material from landfill. To date, the port has recycled around 11 tonnes of fishing nets.
The BIM Fishing for Litter programme is funded under the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF).

Delst Asia


NZ seafood sector reduces its environmental impact 
The New Zealand seafood industry continues to take steps to reduce its impact on the marine environment, a government report released recently said.
Environment Secretary Vicky Robertson, said upon the release of the "Our Marine Environment 2016" report that changes in fishing practices in recent years have alleviated pressures on the marine environment.
"There have been some significant decreases in this area we expect are mostly due to the uptake of mitigation measures such as bird scaring and sea lion exclusion devices," Ms Robertson said.
"The number of seabirds caught by commercial fishing bycatch almost halved from around 9,000 in 2003 to 5,000 in 2013", she added.
Seafood New Zealand Chief Executive Tim Pankhurst says the industry's efforts to reduce its impact are paying off.
"All of the indicators show the seafood industry's comprehensive strategies to reduce its impact on the environment are working to ensure that the fish and other marine life are there for future generations of New Zealanders to enjoy", Pankhurst said.
"Industry has worked hard to reduce bycatch in recent years. The report notes that the drop is likely due in part to mitigation measures, such as bird scaring devices on fishing vessels.
"It's pleasing that the report notes that dolphins bycatch has decreased over the last decade as has fur seal bycatch. As with seabirds, the report notes that these decreases are thought to be partly due to increased use of mitigation measures."
The seafood industry also plays a significant role in the economy providing employment for over 47,000 people, a companion report released today by Statistics New Zealand said.
A separate report, New Zealand Marine Economy 2007-13, showed that fisheries and aquaculture contributed 22% of the marine economy, which accounts for 1.9% of the total gross domestic product (GDP).
"The seafood industry is one of the country's top export earners reaching $1.8 billion this year and what this report confirms is that it is a significant source of employment", Pankhurst said.

China biggest buyer of Vietnam black tiger shrimp
Vietnam's shrimp exports to China during the third quarter increased 11.7% to US$105.8 million compared with the same period last year, but down 12% compared with the previous quarter.
The decline from the second quarter was due to China's economic instability and the yuan devaluation, leading to temporary reduction in importing demand, according to the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (Vasep).
Shrimp exports to this huge Asian market in the first nine months grew 30.3% to US$323.3 million year-on-year.
China is the fourth-largest market of Vietnamese shrimp, accounting for 14.4% of Vietnam's total shrimp exports. However, it is the largest importer of Vietnam black tiger shrimp. China is considered an alternative market with many potentials in the context of declining exports to traditional markets, Vasep said.
It will be recalled that on Dec 15, 2015, the ban on importing live black tiger into China was lifted, enabling enterprises to increase exports of black tiger to the market. China was the largest importer of Vietnamese black tiger shrimp with 58% share. China also imports 38% Vietnamese whiteleg shrimp and 3% of marine shrimp.
China mainly imported live/fresh/frozen shrimp (HS 03) from Vietnam. 
According to the International Trade Centre, shrimp imports into China reached 102,843 metric tonnes in 2015, worth $754.5 million and up 31.7% in volume and 36% in value. Ecuador is the main supplier of shrimp to China, accounting for 25% of the total import value. Vietnam ranked 10th among the major shrimp supplier to China, accounting for 1.4%. China tend to increase shrimp imports to meet demand for processing and domestic consumption, especially in the context of decline of domestic shrimp production due to disease, according to Vasep.

Indian financial restrictions hit seafood exporters
Seafood exporters in India fear the cancellation of orders following the demonetisation of high-value currency notes.
The financial initiative, which forms part of the anti-corruption measures adopted by the government, hurdled exporters' activities as they are finding it extremely difficult to make the materials available in time at ports for shipments, The Business Standard reported, according to
"Exporters are unable to make the shipments on time as they are running out of cash to make on road expenses of trucks carrying the cargo to the ports," said Ramesh Mohapatra, chairman of Magnum Seafood Ltd and president of Utkal Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
These expenditures include personal expenses of the drivers, fuels, road taxes, and loading and unloading costs.
Those involved in the seafood sector also stated that the government's move to limit the withdrawal amount and cash transactions would also delay payments to workers.
"The problems will be there temporarily on payment of wages of labourers. We will make the payments to the contractors by cheques. The point is that the issue of cash crunch should be sorted at the earliest, else it will be problematic", said Tara Ranjan Patnaik, chairman of Falcon Marine Exports Ltd, a leading exporter in the country.
Seafood Exporters Association of India (SEAI)-Odisha Ajay Dash stressed that the Union government was taking measures as required and amending the restrictions.
According to SEAI statistics, Indian seafood exports are pegged at US4.7 billion, with the US and the Southeast Asia being the major importers. Frozen shrimp is the major export item, followed by frozen fish.

NZ King Salmon 3-star BAP-certified
New Zealand King Salmon is now eligible to offer three-star Best Aquaculture Practices (BAP) salmon following the certification of its three salmon hatcheries, the Global Aquaculture Alliance has announced.
Three stars denote that a product originates from a BAP-certified processing plant, farm and hatchery, and New Zealand King Salmon is Australasia's first salmon company to earn the distinction.
The certification of its three salmon hatcheries in October came soon after the company completed the new multi-site cluster program (BAP-C), resulting in all nine of its salmon farm sites in South Island's Marlborough Sound attaining BAP certification—six existing sites that were already BAP-certified and three new ones that just came into production.
The BAP-C program allows an applicant to combine multiple farm sites within a defined geographical area to apply for BAP certification for all sites during a single audit. Audit efficiency is achieved by a combination of reviewing documents and policies common to all member sites such as permits, operating licenses and diver safety, in addition to individual site visits to assess site-specific audit clauses, escapes, therapeutant use and wildlife interactions.
New Zealand King Salmon is the world's largest aquaculture producer of king salmon, with key export markets of North America, Japan and Australia. The company supplies salmon under three brands—Ōra King, Regal and Southern Ocean—and harvests and processes more than 6,000 tonnes of king salmon annually.

Thai Union Q3 sales rise 7.7% to record US$1B

Thai Union Group PCL reported a 7.7% year-on-year rise in the third-quarter consolidated sales to a record 35.128 billion Thai baht (US$1 billion).
It was the second consecutive quarter of record sales.
Gross profit declined by 12.4%, while the gross profit margin was 14.1%, compared with 17.3% as reported in the third quarter of 2015. Continued high salmon raw material prices and higher-than-expected tuna prices contributed to the weaker margin, while moderate foreign exchange losses of THB30 million (US$858,400) were recorded. This was partly offset by stringent cost controls with third-quarter selling, general and administration to sales ratio coming in at 8.7%, the lowest level in four years as well as some positive one-time effects. As a result, net income remained stable with only 1.9% year-on-year reduction to THB1.594 billion (US$46 million).
During the first nine months of 2016, sales in the US continued to play an important role in the company's revenue, accounting for 39% of total sales year-to-date. Thailand's domestic market accounted for 8% of total sales, while Europe contributed 33% of sales, widening from 29.4% in full-year 2015. Japan sales contributed 6% of total sales.
Thiraphong Chansiri, CEO of Thai Union Group noted: "This quarter clearly shows that demand for our products is strong despite a challenging market for raw materials and continued difficult economic conditions in various markets around the world. We were able to deliver a very solid bottom line despite tighter market conditions."
In October, Thai Union made a $575-million strategic investment in Red Lobster, the world's largest seafood restaurant chain, for a 25% equity stake and 10-year convertible preferred units of another 24%. Additionally, Thai Union acquired a minority interest of 18% from its subsidiary Chicken of the Sea Frozen Foods. Thai Union now holds 100% of the company.
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