Please select your home edition
Edition
Helm Events 728x90

Aquaculture – salvation for food security

by Jeni Bone on 19 Jul 2011
Pioneer fisherman Hagen Stehr’s success at breeding southern bluefin tuna in captivity was declared Time magazine’s second best invention of 2009. MIAA
A recent Time Magazine article by Bryan Walsh entitled 'The End of The Line' shines a heavy duty floodlight on rapidly declining wild seafood stocks. It points out that although we have long grown our fruits and vegetables and raised animals for meat and dairy products, 'fish are the last wild food'. And while wild stocks cannot be counted on for to satisfy the world’s appetite for fish, barramundi farmed in the US, Asia and soon the rest of the world, may prove a species of seafood saviour.

According to the UN, 32 percent of the world’s fish stocks are overexploited or depleted.

Fish farming in some quarters has garnered a reputation for doing more harm than good, polluting coastal waters and endangering what natural fish populations are left. But under the right conditions, fish farming is proving it works, yielding fish that taste good and are good for the other species on earth as well.

The worldwide catch seems to have plateaued at about 90 million tons a year since the mid-1990s. That's a lot of fish, but even if those levels prove sustainable, it's not enough to keep up with global seafood consumption, which has risen from 22 lb. per person per year in the 1960s to nearly 38 lb. today. With hundreds of millions of people joining the middle class in the developing world and fish increasingly seen as a tasty and heart-healthy form of protein, that trend will continue.

The inescapable conclusion: there just isn't enough seafood in the seas. 'The wild stocks are not going to keep up,' says Stephen Hall, director general of the WorldFish Center. 'Something else has to fill that gap.'

And Aquaculture has been heralded as the ideal filler.

Even the WWF hails aquaculture as the path to food security. 'We have to address the environmental and social issues,' says Jose Villalon, director of the WWF's aquaculture program. 'But aquaculture is a good tool to deal with food security.'

In Australia, Aquaculture is the fastest growing primary industry sector and continues to be an important part of Australian fisheries production. Over the decade to 2007-08 aquaculture production has doubled from 29,300 tonnes to 62,500 tonnes.

The gross value of aquaculture production in 2007-08 was $868 million with the most valuable aquaculture species being farmed salmonids, (salmon and trout).Together they accounted for 34 per cent of total production volume
The second most valuable aquaculture species was farmed tuna with the value of farmed tuna production in South Australia rising by $49 million to $186.7 million.

In the next 20 years, it is estimated that we will need an extra 37 million tonnes of fish to meet global demand. With limited room for expansion in wild catch fisheries most of the additional supply will have to come from aquaculture. The goal for the near future is to aim for 100 000 tonnes of finfish by 2015.

More than 95 percent of Australian aquaculture production is from marine waters.

Domestic demand for seafood is increasing in Australia. In the late 1930s, Australian seafood consumption was 4.9 kilograms per person, by 1998-99, annual per capita consumption had more than doubled to 10.9 kilograms, or about 10 percent of the country’s total unprocessed meat intake (ABS, 2000). Unfortunately, Australian caught or farmed fish accounted for less than half of this seafood consumption (3.6 kilograms per capita).

In addition to a rise in the demand for seafood, increasing affluence in countries such as China will see stronger demand for non-edible fisheries and aquaculture products such as pearls, crocodiles and ornamental fish.
Chair of the National Aquaculture Council, Pheroze Jungalwalla, says he deemed the Time magazine article 'balanced and interesting'.

'It was extremely well written and thought-provoking. But I would not use the word ‘crisis’ to describe the seafood industry, particularly not in Australia. The problem with these features is that the whole world gets put in the blender. We are not all in the same boat, or waters.

'The facts are we have an exploitable crop – the sea and aquaculture. Our waters are extremely well managed by Fisheries. We have access to the latest technology to monitor even the slightest changes in populations. I understand though, that in many parts of the world, yes, commercial fishing is unregulated or not capable of being regulated, and there are problems.'

The issue at the heart of the exponential increase in our appetites for seafood is affluence. As countries like China and India grow their wealth, so their taste for high protein, healthy fish grows.

'We as a society have to make a choice,' explains Mr Jungalwalla. 'Unless you can convince the increasing number of people in the world whose affluence is increasing that they should not aspire to access high quality seafood, then we must accept the beneficial role of fishing and aquaculture.' 'It goes without saying,' he adds, 'that these activities must be carried out in a regulated manner that does not compromise the long term sustainability of the very environment they depend upon.'

As Mr Jungalwalla explains, many of the hurdles to aquaculture becoming a viable, sustainable industry are being addressed. 'There is a lot of research going on internationally in to fish meal replacement to reduce the reliance on fish meal and fish oil, which come from fisheries in South America, South Africa and the North Sea. We are seeing advances in the use of vegetable oils and proteins. In Australia for instance there is a lot of effort going in to the use of lupin meal and soya meal as partial replacement for fish meal.'

Described in the Time article as the 'dream fish' offering grand solutions for the world’s food security, barramundi is well known to aquaculture proponents in Australia. 'It is a good fish,' acknowledges Mr Jungalwalla. 'Barramundi is able to convert to fish flesh using less protein, and that’s just one factor of many. It is farmed mainly in sea cages in Australia, and we are making attempts at using onshore recirculation systems. But in the US, they are taking it to a different level using intensive recirculation techniques.'

Locally, cold water species like Atlantic salmon and Tuna are the major focus. Salmon is the most significant species farmed by Australian aquaculture, produced in the vicinity of 35,000 tonnes per annum, says Mr Jungalwalla.

'There are some challenges farming warm-water species like Barramundi in Australia, including competing with South Asia production. Our production costs are higher because our regulatory, compliance, and labour costs are higher.'

Tuna farming is also a significant aquaculture industry in Australia. 'Licensed operators catch juvenile fish in the oceans within a strictly controlled quota, rear them in sea pens, then sell them larger and in peak condition. Closing the life-cycle of Tuna is an exciting new development pioneered in Australia, which has been achieved through ground breaking research and is considered a ‘Holy Grail of Aquaculture’.'

More at http://www.time.com


Australasian Aquaculture Conference and Trade Show 2012

The National Aquaculture Council (NAC) is the peak body representing the aquaculture industry across Australia.
The Australasian Aquaculture Conference and Trade Show is the biennial event of the National Aquaculture Council of Australia and the World Aquaculture Society. In May 2012, the event will be hosted in Melbourne, featuring world renowned speakers, extensive programs of international and domestic presenters, exhibitors offering the latest in innovative technology and information, as well as the many unique networking opportunities and workshop ‘know-how’ made accessible to all attendees.

More at www.australian-aquacultureportal.com
Southern Spars - 100Ancasta Ker 33 660x82Wildwind 2016 660x82

Related Articles

America's Cup - Kiwi lodges Appeal against Jury in San Francisco Cup
Former Oracle Team USA crew member, Matthew Mitchell (NZL) has lodged an Appeal against a Decision to dismiss his case Former Oracle Team USA crew member, Matthew Mitchell (NZL) has lodged an Appeal against a Decision to dismiss his case taken against the International Jury for the 34th America's Cup in San Francisco. On October 28, 2016, US District Judge Vince Chhabria dismissed Mitchell's claim against the five-person International Jury on the basis that it was lodged too late.
Posted on 2 Dec
A Q&A with Nick Bice about the recent changes for the 2017/2018 VOR
I caught up with Nick Bice, the VOR’s director of boats and maintenance, to learn more about the VOR’s new directions. I recently had the pleasure of hearing Nick Bice, the Volvo Ocean Race’s director of boats and maintenance, deliver a keynote speech to an audience of marine-industry professionals and official Volvo Ocean Race suppliers at the 2016 METS trade show in Amsterdam. I caught up with Bice after his presentation to learn more about the new directions that the race is taking for its thirteenth edition.
Posted on 28 Nov
A Q&A with Sharon Green about the prep work that ensures great images
I talked with ace photographer Sharon Green to learn more about the prep work that goes into each image that she snaps. I caught up with ace photographer Sharon Green at the 2016 Alcatel J/70 Worlds to learn more about the behind-the-scenes preparation work that goes into each image that she snaps. While some of Green’s tips are specific to professional shooters (e.g., helicopter time or juggling multiple camera bodies), plenty of amateur lensmen will be well served to consider Green’s racecourse-proven tips.
Posted on 23 Nov
Dockside with CQS - radical, revamped supermaxi up close
The revamped supermaxi CQS is currently in Auckland's Silo Marina, ahead of her first race on Friday The revamped supermaxi CQS is currently in Auckland's Silo Marina, ahead of her first race on Friday - the White Island Race which will double as Rolex Sydney Hobart Qualifier. Originally the 90ft Nicorette designed by South African Alex Simonis, the new project to upgrade to a 100ft supermaxi has been led by Brett Bakewell-White (NZ) and Bakewell-White Yacht Design.
Posted on 22 Nov
Gladwell's Line - President Croce caught at helm in Perfect Storm
No real surprise that incumbent President Carlo Croce (ITA) was unseated mid-way an eight-year term After a year or more punctuated with issues that should not have happened, it is no real surprise that incumbent President Carlo Croce (ITA) was unseated mid-way through what should have been an eight-year term. Also gone is one of his lieutenants, Chris Atkins (GBR) as Vice President, who remarkably polled 13th out of the 15 candidates.
Posted on 15 Nov
Gladwell's Line -The America's Cup settlement deal
The 'News' today that Emirates Team New Zealand has won their case before the Arbitration Panel is not news The 'News' today that Emirates Team New Zealand has won their case before the America's Cup Arbitration Panel is not new - Sail-World reported the same story in the first and second weeks of September. The Hearing on the amount of compensation to be paid is yet to be held. So far we have been unable to discover a date if indeed one has been set. Maybe next year?
Posted on 11 Oct
Debriefing the 2016 J/70 Worlds with Winning Skipper Joel Ronning
I talked with Joel Ronning after the 2016 Alcatel J/70 Worlds to learn about his team’s win at this high-level regatta. Since its inception in 2012, the J/70 has become the most popular One Design boat in decades, with 1,100+ boats sailing in myriad countries. Some 68 boats from 15 countries arrived on San Francisco Bay last week to determine bragging rights at the 2016 Alcatel J/70 Worlds. I caught up with Joel Ronning to learn more about the Catapult team’s road to becoming the 2016 J/70 World Champions.
Posted on 5 Oct
Rio 2016 - America's Cup champ says Paralympic racing is closest ever
Twice America’s Cup champion, Rick Dodson is extremely impressed with the standard of racing in the three man Sonar Twice America’s Cup champion, Rick Dodson is extremely impressed with the standard of racing in the three man Sonar keelboat class at the 2016 Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro. The regatta is being held in Guanabara Bay on three of the courses used for the Olympic Sailing Regatta in August.
Posted on 13 Sep
Debriefing the Rio 2016 Olympics with Team USA’s Helena Scutt
I talked with Team USA’s Helena Scutt to hear about her Olympic experience, and to learn more about her post-Rio plans. The 49erFX was introduced to Olympic circles when it replaced the Women’s Match Racing event following the 2012 Games. Not surprisingly, it drew high-performance sailors for the Rio 2016 Olympics, including Team USA’s Paris Henken and Helena Scutt. While Henken and Scutt were Olympic first-timers, they put on a strong show. I caught up with Scutt to hear more about her Olympic experience.
Posted on 8 Sep
A Q&A with Peter Bresnan ONE Palma’s founder and director
Sail-World interviewed ONE Palma’s founder Peter Bresnan to learn about the company’s partnership with McConaghy Boats For the past eight years, ONE Palma (formerly OneSails Spain) has been building a strong name, first as a sailmaker and later with refit work. Recently, ONE Palma and McConaghy Boats-legendary boatbuilders who have crafted some of the planet’s fastest sailboats-entered a business partnership. I caught up with Peter Bresnan, ONE Palma’s founder and director, to learn more about this new direction.
Posted on 2 Sep