Disputing a critical documentary on the Norwegian aquaculture industry and seafood research, Norway's National Institute of Nutrition and Seafood Research (NIFES) has insisted that Norwegian farmed salmon sold in supermarkets was safe to eat. "…[O]ur analyses show that it is safe… Norwegian farmed salmon is safe to eat", NIFES said.
'Norwegian farmed salmon safe to eat'
Norway's National Institute of Nutrition and Seafood Research (NIFES) has maintained that Norwegian farmed salmon sold in supermarkets is safe to eat.
NIFES made the assurance after an episode of the national channel NRK's documentary programme "Brennpunkt" was broadcast on Nov. 10, taking a critical look at the Norwegian aquaculture industry and seafood research. Using Brennpunkt as its source, the Norwegian newspaper Dagbladet also accused "independent researchers" of cheating.
"One of NIFES' main tasks is to check Norwegian farmed salmon for undesirable substances, in order to ensure that the fish people eat is safe. And our analyses show that it is safe, as they have done for many years. Norwegian farmed salmon is safe to eat", NIFES said in a statement posted on its website.
NIFES said it analyses more than 12,000 farmed salmon annually for relevant undesirable substances such as medical residues and persistent organic pollutants. "The salmon that is analysed is ordinary farmed salmon, the same type sold in the supermarkets. That is important to underline".
NIFES also admitted that it used the so-called designer salmon only for research purposes and not when checking that Norwegian farmed salmon is safe to eat. "[T]his designer salmon has nothing to do with our monitoring of the farmed salmon that is available in supermarkets and on people's dinner tables", it emphasised.
It said the designer salmon that Brennpunkt subjected to critical scrutiny was used in its project called Fish Intervention Studies (FINS), and was given to school pupils. "It is a type of salmon that has been given less dietary fish oil, and that therefore contains less marine omega-3 fatty acids and lower levels of dioxins and dioxin-like PCBs," it said.
It said Brennpunkt claimed that this fish contained lower levels of dioxins and dioxin-like PCBs because the ordinary farmed salmon found in the supermarkets was not safe enough. "That is not the case. Supermarket salmon is safe to eat. We 'designed' the salmon so that it would not contain unnaturally high levels of marine omega-3 in order to ensure that the research would be relevant when the results of the FINS study were published. The project started in 2013, and was intended to last for four years", NIFES explained.
NIFES said the project has so far proved to be successful, claiming the FINS salmon contains 9 mg/g of marine omega-3, whereas the salmon found in the supermarket contains 11.4 mg/g, although consumers may find levels that are both higher and lower than this. "In terms of both marine omega-3, dioxins and dioxin-like PCB, the so-called designer salmon from FINS is already readily available in supermarkets," it said.

Fisheries ban imposed in NZ's quake-devastated coast
New Zealand's Ministry for Primary Industries has ordered a fishing ban in the earthquake-devastated Kaikoura area on the east coast of South Island for one to three months.
"There will be an initial one month closure of the crayfish fishery and three months for all remaining shellfish and seaweed species," Minister for Primary Industries Nathan Guy announced on Monday, Nov. 21, eight days after a 7.8-magnitude earthquake hit South Island.
The ban, coupled with a $2-million science package, should provide a pathway for business to return to normal.  
The Paua and NZ Rock Lobster Industry Councils have both welcomed the emergency closure.
Rock lobsters are likely to have escaped the brunt of the quake, being mobile enough to find their way back below the low tide mark, according to a news post on Seafood New Zealand's website.
The Canterbury Marlborough Rock Lobster Industry Association, meanwhile, expressed confidence that after completing a potting survey, there would be enough information to reopen to fishery.
November through to January is a peak fishing period in Canterbury 5, and if the emergency closure is lifted before Christmas, there should be sufficient time during the remainder of the season to catch the 70 tonnes of ACE they have been holding back for the lucrative Chinese New Year market.
In the case of paua (large abalone) the initial estimates on their death along the 100-kilometre stretch of coastline from the Kaikoura Marine Reserve to Cape Campbell are in the "hundreds of thousands", according Paua Industry chairman Storm Stanley.
"It is still unknown the amount of harm caused to the special habitat where paua larvae and juveniles live", he said.
Remedial work to launching sites along the coastline was reportedly already underway.
Fishing is a major contributor to the Marlborough and Kaikoura economies.

Winners of 1st Irish National Seafood Awards bared
Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM), or Irish Sea Fisheries Board, which is Ireland's seafood development agency, has announced the winners of the first ever BIM National Seafood Awards.
Out of 38 finalists shortlisted across the areas of skills, sustainability, innovation and competitiveness, 12 winners received awards for their outstanding contributions to the fishing, fish farming, seafood processing and retail sectors at the Gala Awards ceremony held in Clayton Hotel in Ballsbridge, Dublin, last Nov. 17.
The ceremony was officially opened by Agriculture, Food and the Marine Minister Michael Creed.
The winners represent a wide geographical spread including three from Donegal; two each from Cork and Dublin, and one winner each from Kerry, Kilkenny, Louth, Mayo, Waterford and Wexford.
Included in the list of winners are two talented young fishmongers: Stephen Hurley from The Fish Shop, Union Hall, County Cork, and Eimantas Zvirblis from Donnybrook Fair, Malahide, County Dublin, who both won the coveted title of BIM Young Fishmonger of the Year (Independent Seafood Specialist) and (Supermarket Seafood Counter), respectively.
BIM's CEO Tara McCarthy outlined the rationale behind the awards: "The Irish seafood sector contributes €1 billion (US$1.07 billion) in GDP to our economy and employs over 11,000 people predominantly in our coastal regions. The BIM National Seafood Awards provide us with the opportunity to celebrate the positive contribution of this valuable indigenous industry and recognise excellence and leadership across this diverse sector. It is an exciting time to work in seafood and the high standard demonstrated by our winners and all of our finalists bodes well for the future as we collectively aim to achieve growth as set out in the Government's Food Wise 2025 plan".
The winners are as follows:
Category: Skills
Student of the Year: Barry Shaw (Killybegs, County Donegal);
Young Fishmonger of the Year (Independent Seafood Specialist): Stephen Hurley, The Fish Shop, Glenmar Shellfish, Union Hall, West Cork;
Young Fishmonger of the Year (Supermarket Seafood Counter): Eimantas Zvirblis, Donnybrook Fair, Malahide, County Dublin
Category: Sustainability
Responsible Fisherman of the Year: Jim Connolly, Supreme II, Clogherhead. County Louth;
Aquaculture Environmental & Social Responsibility Award: Blackshell Farm, Newport, County; Mayo
Green Processor of the Year: Island Seafoods Ltd, Killybegs, County Donegal
Category: Innovation
Best New Fishing Practice: Foyle Warrior Ltd, Greencastle, County Donegal
Innovation in Aquaculture: Dungarvan Shellfish Ltd, Dungarvan, County Waterford
Innovation in Seafood Processing: Oceanpath/Dunn's of Dublin (Howth, County Dublin) and Goatsbridge Trout Farm (Thomastown, County Kilkenny)
Category: Competitiveness
Fishing Enterprise of the Year: DC Fish Ltd (Union Hall, Cork)
Aquaculture Enterprise of the Year: Kush Seafarms Ltd, Kenmare, County Kerry
Seafood Enterprise of the Year: Sofrimar, Kilmore Quay, County Wexford
The BIM Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to the family of a recognised leader in his field, the late Martin Howley. As BIM Chairman Kieran Calnan explained, "Martin exemplified everything you need to be a great leader. He led by example starting as a fisherman in Killybegs in the 1970s rising to become a pioneering mackerel skipper then a successful businessman and a great leader in the fishing industry. His passion, energy and innovative spirit were a unifying and driving force. Martin is a most worthy recipient of the BIM Lifetime Achievement Award".

Seafood giant supports Thai sustainable fishing activity
Seafood giant Thai Union Group Public Co. Ltd recently sponsored the Bangson Fishing Games, an annual event that creates awareness in the community about sustainable marine resources management.
The Games, held in the Bangson sub-district of Chumphon province, also promotes sustainable fishing methods as well as eco-tourism, which helps generate income for the local community.
Thai Union Chief Financial Officer Joerg Ayrle was among the participants in the Bangson Fishing Games, which he said "is part of Thai Union's commitment to promoting good jobs, economic growth and life below water in support of the UN Sustainable Development Goals".
Somchoke Punrat, president of the Bangson tourism enterprise network, said that the private sector, including Thai Union, has helped enhance the natural resource management of Bangson.
"We have worked closely with Thai Union for four years. We have worked together in seafood and marine animal data management and natural resources. It is really good that Thai Union recognizes the importance of natural resources and sustainable sources of food in Chumphon" Somchoke said.

BioMar joint venture in China acquires fish feed firm Haiwei

BioMar Group's joint venture in China, BioMar-Tongwei Biotech (Wuxi) Ltd, has acquired 100% of the shares in the fish feed company Haiwei.
Carlos Diaz, CEO of the BioMar Group, said the acquisition fitted perfectly with BioMar's strategic focus on the top end of the Chinese aquaculture market.
"We are very pleased to have concluded this agreement on behalf of BioMar-Tongwei. Haiwei has a very good reputation among fish farmers and we will continue to build on the Haiwei brand and carry on with the company setup. We are confident that BioMar can contribute to the further development of Haiwei and continue their success through process knowledge, R&D methodology and continuous improvement of feed recipes", Diaz said.
For three years prior to the sale, Haiwei had been owned by Tongwei Co. Ltd, BioMar's joint-venture partner in China. Tongwei Co. Ltd managed to do a successful turnaround of Haiwei, and today the company is a leading supplier of feed to high-value fish species like Japanese sea bass in southern China.
Carlos Diaz underlined that the acquisition was in line with BioMar's global strategy "Shaping the Future": "The acquisition is an important initiative, consistent with our growth strategy in core markets as well as within new species and geographies. In this regard, this is also an important step for our Emerging Markets Division, which plays a significant role supporting the strategy, securing growth for BioMar and building up new markets, integrating acquisitions and servicing new species".
BioMar Group said Haiwei was a good geographical acquisition as its location near Macau was an important aquaculture region. "The acquisition will add more than 60,000 tonnes of volume to BioMar's Chinese joint venture company", it added.
Diaz said BioMar fish feed is already being produced in Chengdu in south-central China and that a new factory is being built in Wuxi area, nearby Shanghai, with an initial capacity of 50,000 tonnes and with the possibility for expansion to 100,000 tonnes.
The BioMar-Tongwei plant being constructed in Wuxi is expected to start operations in the second half of 2017.

Standing from the left: Ricle Chen, business development, Tongwei; Yuan Shihua, chairman of the board, BioMar-Tongwei; Henrik Aarestrup, vice president, Emerging Markets, BioMar Group; Niels Alsted, vice president Asia, BioMar Group. Seated: Guo Yizhong, CEO, Tongwei (left) and Carlos Diaz, CEO, BioMar Group.


Cargill developing omega-3-rich canola
A new groundbreaking type of canola being developed by Cargill could give aquaculture farmers a more sustainable way to raise fish rich in EPA/DHA omega-3 fatty acids.
The plant-based source of the nutrients, developed in collaboration with BASF, could provide an alternative to using fish oil in aquaculture feed and could ease harvest pressure on wild fish populations that currently supply much of that oil.
In feeding trials it conducted on salmon in Chile, Cargill was able to completely replace fish oil in feed rations with oil from EPA/DHA canola.
"As a fish feed producer, we need to reduce our dependency on marine resources," said Einar Wathne, president of Cargill Aqua Nutrition. "This new canola can create tremendous opportunities across the global food and feed markets, and we believe it is critical for the growth of aquaculture."
At present, raising fish rich in omega-3s means supplementing their feed with fish oil. This new canola, which is genetically engineered to make long chain omega-3 fatty acids, will offer a more sustainable alternative as it eases pressure on finite marine resources. Testing and regulatory approval for both the canola and the EPA/DHA-enhanced canola oil are underway. The EPA/DHA-enhanced canola oil is expected to reach the market sometime after 2020.
"Cargill's EPA/DHA omega-3 plant-based product is the only one we know of with a clear path to commercialisation in the industry," said Mark Christiansen, Cargill managing director for Global Edible Oil Solutions-Specialties.
This innovation may also broaden access to EPA and DHA omega-3s in consumer diets and make important nutrients more available and affordable to people around the world.
Groups such as the American Heart Association, Mayo Clinic and Harvard School of Public Health cite the heart health benefits and role in brain formation of EPA and DHA, but studies show most people are not consuming recommended levels of these omega-3s.

Canada's largest herring fishery now MSC-certified
Canada's 4VWX purse seine herring fishery in the Bay of Fundy area is the latest Canadian herring fishery to earn the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certification, which should assure buyers that herring fishery in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick meets a global standard for sustainability. Herring products from the purse seine vessels and processing companies in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick can now carry the blue MSC label as a result of the certification.
"We are proud of the work our fishery has undertaken together with Fisheries and Oceans Canada to maintain the health of this important Canadian resource", said Roger Stirling, president of the Seafood Producers Association of Nova Scotia, the client representative for the 4VWX herring fishery.
"As one of the longest-running commercial fisheries in Canada, the herring fishery and associated processing companies have demonstrated the ability to sustain the resource. The MSC certification now allows us to clearly signal the fishery's sustainability to global markets", he added.
The 4VWX purse seine herring fishery in the Bay of Fundy area is the largest Canadian herring fishery and the third to get the MSC certification. 
4VWX herring is a versatile fish sold in various forms like frozen fillets (Europe and North America), marinated and sauced canned products (Europe), smoked (kippers, in North America), canned (global), roe (Japan) and bait (Canada, for MSC-certified lobster fisheries).
Purse seining produces low bycatch levels when harvesting the dense schools of herring during specific seasons. Annual catch for the fishery is 50,000 metric tonnes.

US soybean group hosts Philippine milkfish growers
The US Soybean Export Council (USSEC) recently hosted Filipino companies Finfish Hatcheries Inc. and Alsons Aquaculture Corp. on the Milkfish Hatcheries and High Value Marine Fish Hatcheries study tour in Gondol, Bali, Indonesia.
The USSEC study tour featured a presentation of Indonesia's milkfish and high-value marine fish industry and hatchery updates by the Institute for Mariculture Research and Development (IMRAD), and visits to different milkfish hatcheries and high-value marine fish hatcheries in Indonesia.
Staffs from the two Philippine companies were able to increase their knowledge and understanding of the Indonesian milkfish and high-value marine fish hatcheries, including broodstock management; breeding techniques; larval rearing and production; natural food production, usage and application; and fry/fingerling production and management.
They were also able to increase knowledge on the proper construction of hatchery structures.
The Philippines produced 384,425 metric tonnes (MT) of milkfish last year, with an estimated 900 million milkfish fry used. Finfish Hatcheries hopes to increase its milkfish fry production after this trip. The estimated milkfish feed requirement is about 840,000 to 920,000 MT.
USSEC technical consultants - aquaculture Mr. Levy Manalac and Mr. Pamudi, with the staffs of Finfish Hatcheries Inc. and Alsons Aquaculture Corp. from the Philippines with a technician of C.V. Dewata Laut hatchery in Bali, Indonesia, on October 26.

FAO, Holy See tackle human rights in fisheries sector
The UN's FAO and the Holy See held a joint event to discuss labour conditions within the fisheries sector on the occasion of World Fisheries Day last Nov. 21.
The event had for its theme "Human trafficking and forced labour within the fishing sector and Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing (IUU). The violations of human rights of fishermen". It aimed to raise awareness on the linkages between labour exploitation, IUU fishing and human rights of fish workers.
It is widely known that the fisheries sector is a direct source of food and nutrition security. Fish and fishery products provide 20% of protein intake to more than 3 billion people. The sector is also a vital source of livelihood, with FAO estimating that for 2014, about 200 million people were employed along the fishery value chain, from harvesting to distribution. Of this total, some 56 million people were engaged directly in the primary sector of capture fisheries and aquaculture.
Indirectly, it is estimated that roughly 880 million people are employed in fisheries- and aquaculture-related industries. This economic sector has long been thought of as working in one of the most dangerous environments as long days of grueling work in at times unsafe conditions can lead to a range of human rights violations. With global fish consumption increasingly on the rise, the protection of the human rights of individuals as well as the economic welfare of communities is seen as vital.
Event participants were welcomed by FAO Director General José Graziano Da Silva, who delivered the opening remarks, along with H.E. Cardinal Pietro Parolin, secretary of state of His Holiness Pope Francis in Vatican City. The discussion was moderated by Mr. Árni M. Mathiesen, assistant director general, FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Department, who opened the discussion to representatives from the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People of the Vatican City, Seafarers Rights International, and the International Labour Organization.
The participants learned from a variety of perspectives on how to tackle human rights abuses and labour exploitation in the seafood sector.
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