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7 Jul 2014

4Deep Inwater Imaging needs your vote

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4Deep Inwater Imaging is one of the four semi-finalists in The Globe and Mail’s Small Business Challenge Contest. The 2014 contest drew more than 1,000 entries, and a panel of judges selected the semi-finalists. The winner of the $100,000 business grant – and a suite of secondary prizes – will be announced in September.

To register your vote, please click here and scroll until you see the button to vote for 4DEEP INWATER IMAGING.



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29 May 2014

New technology can prevent salmon lice

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The battle against salmon lice is being waged on many fronts, including the technological front. Simple and advanced solutions alike can be effective.

Breeding Director Petter Arnesen at Marine Harvest, the world’s leader in the production of farmed salmon, singled out the salmon louse as the greatest threat to the salmon industry when he spoke at the HAVBRUK Conference 2014. Together with salmon farmers and the supplier industry, researchers are hard at work trying to develop technology to prevent salmon lice infestation.

As salmon lice larvae primarily live at shallow depths, it may be possible to keep the parasite at bay by placing net cages below the “louse zone.” The problem with this solution is that salmon need access to air to fill their swim bladder.  Read more …

28 May 2014

Jenoptik laser technology to combat sea parasites

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A rather unusual application: Jenoptik’s Lasers & Material Processing division is supplying the Norwegian company Stingray Marine Solutions AS with lasers to combat parasites that attack farmed salmon.

To successfully rid farmed salmon in Norwegian waters from parasites, the company Stingray Marine Solutions AS is using the extremely precise Jenoptik laserJenLas® D2.8 with green laser beam. This is installed into a barrel-like casing that is submerged directly into the net pens. While the salmon swim past this device they are scanned by highly complex camera systems. Whenever the outer shape of the so-called sea lice is recognized on the fish’s skin, a short laser impulse is released that destroys the tissue of the parasite without damaging the fish. The reaction in real time is enabled by real time software that has been specifically adapted for this purpose. The system is controlled and monitored online which allows this technology to be used permanently.

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25 Feb 2014

Canadian Aquaculture Institute offers courses in aquatic animal health – May 2014

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cai_webThe Canadian Aquaculture Institute (CAI) is pleased to be partnering with the Centre for Life-Long Learning in the delivery of an introductory and advanced course in Aquatic Animal Health.

The following workshops will be offered at the Atlantic Veterinary College, University of Prince Edward Island, from May 26 – 29, 2014.

  • Health and Husbandry of Aquatic Laboratory Animals May 26 & 27, 2014
  • Advanced Aquatic Animal Care and Husbandry May 28 & 29, 2014

These modular workshops are designed to provide both introductory and advanced training in aquatic animal health. The first two-day workshop “Health and Husbandry of AquaticLaboratory Animals” can be taken separately or combined with “Advanced Aquatic Animal Care and Husbandry”. One may enroll in both workshops but “Advanced Aquatic Animal care and Husbandry” has a prerequisite of either the basic workshop or equivalent training and experience.

For more information, visit the Canadian Aquaculture Institute website.

12 Feb 2014

Geothermal energy applications workshop addresses aquaculture needs

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The Canadian Geothermal Energy Association (CanGEA) in collaboration with Natural Resources Canada (NRCAN) is hosting the Direct Use Applications and Opportunities Workshop on March 28th, 2014 during the annual CanGEA Geothermal Conference in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Click here for announcement.

Dr. John Lund, one of the pre-eminent world experts on direct heat-use, will be leading the one-day workshop.  Dr. Lund literally wrote the book about geothermal direct heat-use and this is an opportunity for people involved in the aquaculture industry to get first-hand information from someone with his expertise.

Topics to be covered include, but are not limited to:

  • Understanding direct use applications (greenhouses, aquaculture, district heating, industrial process heating, etc.)
  • The state of the global geothermal direct use industry
  • Barriers and opportunities to project development in Canada
  • Project financing
  • Tools & methodologies to develop a direct use project
  • Direct-Use Case Studies

Details about the conference and workshop may be found below:

29 Jan 2014

Aquafarmcontrol developing biomass management solutions

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A European consortium is developing a micro capsule that could be implanted in fry to monitor feeding and escapes as the fish grows. The Norwegian-based company Aquafarmcontrol has received 1.8 million Euros to develop the idea in collaboration with companies and research institutions from five EU-countries.

The biomass management solution is based on individual capsules that would be injected in each fish and allow for tracking, counting and immobilizing fish in case of escape. The capsules are tracked via pen-mounted sonars and integrated with GSM technology for immediate detection and activation.  Read more …

For more info on Aquafarmcontrol’s biomass management solutions, click here.

14 Jan 2014

Cod’s mysterious defence strategies

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There may be entirely new vaccines in the offing for the aquaculture industry, if Monica Hongrø Solbakken can figure out cod’s unconventional ways of resisting infection.

Low prices for wild-caught cod have kept cod farming profits minimal up to now. The additional challenges of expensive feeds, destructive diseases and high mortality have also proven difficult to solve. On the disease front, Norwegian researchers showed in 2011 that the cod immune system is very unlike that of other production fish such as salmon.

Cod have no subgroup of T-cells, for instance, the white blood cells which in other higher animals are essential for producing the specific antibodies needed by the immune system to remember invading pathogens. Cod, in other words, do not employ the same defence mechanisms that scientists have successfully exploited in vaccine programmes for salmon.

Despite the cod’s apparently incomplete immune system, however, it manages to ward off many diseases well. Ms Solbakken is focusing on the cod’s unique immune system in her doctoral work at the University of Oslo.

“I am looking to find out whether cod employ alternative strategies in fighting off disease,” summarises Ms Solbakken, who is employed by the Centre for Ecological and Evolutionary Synthesis (CEES) at the University of Oslo.  Read more …

14 Jan 2014

University of Toronto prize-winning technology reduces marine bio-fouling

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A University of Toronto (U of T) technology that provides a cost-effective and environmentally sound solution to the fishing industry’s multi-billion-dollar bio-fouling problem has been recognized with a Clean50 Award.

Bio-fouling is the accumulation of microorganisms, plants, algae and animals on wetted surfaces, and it is a big problem for the fast-growing aquaculture or fish-farming industry. Fouling of cages and netting is costly to remove, detrimental to fish health and yield and can cause equipment failure. Further, current heavy metal-based technologies used to control bio-fouling are toxic to the marine environment once they enter the food chain.

But Gilbert Walker and his co-investigator Nikhil Gunari, both of U of T’s Department of Chemistry, have developed a solution – a treatment known as Macroblock.

Macroblock combines both physical and biochemical approaches to controlling fouling, in a biodegradable format that protects the environment. The formulation was also designed to make it easily applied by aquaculturists.

Macroblock was tested in the Bay of Fundy on three 100-metre cage nets with 60,000 salmon in each. Fishing nets treated with Macroblock had significantly less accumulation. Not only did the treatment work as well as the toxic heavy-metal standard, the nets clean more easily, which should significantly reduce operational costs for fish farmers.  Read more …

14 Jan 2014

Simple test for resistance in lice

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The Norwegian Food Safety Authority adopted a field test developed by Kari Olli Helgesen for testing salmon louse resistance to the most common treatments. The method is now being used in Chile as well.

In spring 2012 the aquaculture industry was introduced to a new, simple resistance test that could determine within 24 hours which delousing agent would be most effective.

Kari Olli Helgesen invented the test based on a bioassay developed at the Norwegian School of Veterinary Science, where she is pursuing her doctoral degree.

“This kind of test already existed, but I wanted to improve and simplify the method,” Ms Helgesen explains.

“I felt it was important that the test could be carried out with fewer lice than before, using fewer concentrations of medicines, and that it should be possible to validate the test results against the actual effects of treatment.” Read more …

14 Jan 2014

Good vision for a good appetite

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The incidence of cataracts in farmed salmon is on the rise due to vegetable-based feeds, a strong focus on fish growth and warm waters. “This is a condition we can do something about,” asserts Sofie Charlotte Remø.

Ms Remø, a researcher at Norway’s National Institute of Nutrition and Seafood Research (NIFES), is studying this eye disease for her doctorate.

In salmon, the gradual clouding of the eye lens caused by cataracts makes it difficult for fish to find their feed. The condition results from insufficient amounts of the amino acid histidine, replacing fish oils with vegetable oils in feed, rapid growth and warm ocean temperatures.

“To prevent the development of cataracts after the salmon have been put to sea, they need more histidine than is needed for growth alone,” explains Ms Remø.

“Up to now, histidine levels have been based on their growth requirements. Cataracts as a fish welfare problem in aquaculture can be prevented by putting more histidine in the feed.”  Read more …

14 Jan 2014

Closed fish-farming “bags” must withstand nature’s forces

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New kinds of aquaculture net cages that physically separate the farmed salmon from the open waters are already in the testing phase. The idea is to prevent the dreaded salmon louse from ever reaching its intended victim by enclosing the fish inside a closed system and pumping in seawater from the depths where salmon lice do not live.

A closed system has the added benefit of enabling fish farmers to better control the salmon’s environment and any emissions from production. This is good for the fish and the environment alike.

The flexible, closed net cages currently undergoing testing are basically large bags of GORE-TEX-like material with conventional mooring systems. The researchers are gathering much-needed knowledge about how this new production system will stand up to the forces of the open sea. Graduate engineer Ida Marlen Strand has made this the topic of her doctoral degree at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU).

“Currents and waves will have a different impact on these closed-system bags since they are less permeable than conventional, open aquaculture net cages,” she says. Read more …

10 Jan 2014

Norwegians develop DNA test to trace escaped salmon

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Scientists at Nofima have developed a new and efficient DNA test to trace escaped farmed salmon, in which they can link the DNA profile of the escaped fish to the fish farm from which it escaped. Testing of the system on a pilot scale demonstrates virtually 100 % accuracy, and simulation of data that has so far been done on an industrial scale is promising.

This system means all the fish in the sea cage can relax; they do not need to be tested in order to be matched with escaped fish because their parents were tested before the production fish were hatched. Read more …

10 Jan 2014

Researchers aim to get upstream on antibiotic resistance

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The battle against antibiotic-resistant bacteria has taken to the high seas as a team of University of Alberta researchers received funding from the federal government to look at alternatives for fighting infection in salmon farms.

The project, led by chemistry researcher John Vederas, food-safety researcher Lynn McMullen and a colleague with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, was one of four U of A studies to receive a Strategic Project Grant from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada. The grants are designed to increase research and training in targeted areas that could strongly enhance Canada’s economy, society or environment within the next 10 years.

“This funding demonstrates the talent and strength of our researchers and the significant contributions they can make to Canada’s intellectual capital, economy, society and environment,” said Lorne Babiuk, U of A vice-president of research. “This investment will enable our researchers to generate the knowledge, ideas, technologies and solutions Canada needs to advance economically strategic areas including salmon aquaculture and forest productivity and biodiversity, and to address pressing environmental issues like the mountain pine beetle epidemic.”  Read more …

19 Dec 2013

Nova Scotian seafood promoter Art Drysdale passes

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Art Drysdale

Art Drysdale

Art Drysdale and his guitar would have been the focal point in the kitchen at Bill Short’s annual social Saturday night in Dartmouth.

Like so many who knew him, Short isn’t quite sure how he’ll get along now Drysdale is gone. But he believes his friend would have wanted the fun to go on because that’s how he lived his life — with gusto.

Drysdale, the unofficial mayor of the north shore community of Wallace, a welcome sight at the microphone at Stayner’s Wharf Pub and Grill in Halifax, senior international business officer for the province and perhaps Nova Scotia’s greatest ambassador, died suddenly Tuesday evening.

“No matter where he travelled, he always touched people,” Short said.  Read more …

Editor’s note – I first met Art Drysdale a number of years ago at some aquaculture event that I cannot recall right now; he was always a joy to talk to and catch up on the news. The last time I saw Art was at the International Boston Seafood Show in March 2013. He will definitely be missed!

18 Dec 2013

Fleming College’s post-graduate certificate in aquaculture program now underway

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I visited the Frost Campus of Fleming College in Lindsay, Ontario, Canada on Friday 15 Nov 2013 to give a presentation about aquaculture career opportunities to the first 10 students enrolled in this new post-graduate certificate program; for details click here.

Allan Chamberlain, who used to teach aquaculture at Fleming College back when it offered a 2-year technical diploma, was asked to develop the new program by the current Dean of the college. Gord Durant, with 30 years of practical hands-on experience, was hired to coordinate the program. Both teach courses in the new program and are actively engaged in improving things as they go, constantly seeking to make the content relevant to the needs of the students and to the businesses that want and need the graduates. It appears that all of the students will have no difficulty finding work when they finish their studies next July.

Gord talked about the interest coming from international students that have discovered the program’s webpage and that next year may bring double or triple the number of students as the current group. He was also enthusiastic about the possibility of offering a distance learning opportunity so that students could enroll from wherever they are in the world. This is a trend that has been growing, given the examples of the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, the University of Kentucky and Auburn University in the USA, and Deakin University in Australia.

For more info about the program go to the Fleming College website.