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When the news reporter Jonathan Pie gets a gig presenting a new documentary about climate change he thinks he's in for a jolly couple of days by the seaside. Reality bites
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Eating farm-grown mussels may be a greener option than becoming a vegan, according to a study by the Ecological Society of America.
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New trials to grow native oysters are seen as the first step in a considerable expansion of aquaculture in one of Europe’s largest natural harbours, Milford Haven- The FIsh Site reports
There used to be oyster farms in the Pembrokeshire port and now the plan is to bring them back, along with other shellfish, fish and seaweed businesses.
“It has some of the best water and best potential sites in the world and one of the things we have been looking for is how can we bring aquaculture back and also how do we balance the environment with the commercial needs of any company which wishes to start,” says Alaric Churchill, trading and business development manager for the Port of Milford Haven.
“We feel that over the next 20 years this will become one of the focal areas, not just for small businesses but also for some very large business we are hoping to attract to this area now.
“There are a few reasons why aquaculture hasn’t taken off in the haven previously. Yes, we do have oil and natural gas deliveries, but on that basis this is also an SAC [Special Area of Conservation], which means that you don’t get all the outflows from the boats, pollution elements at all.
“The potential is massive, we are working very heavily with Swansea University and universities in Ireland to look at mapping exercises which allow people to see the potential species plus the return on investment for companies in aquaculture in the haven, west Wales and the whole of Ireland.
“The greatest thing is that we have a blank canvas, which means we can take the best of everything from all over the world and bring it to Milford Haven so we’ve just started on tests with native oysters. We’re looking to bring in seaweed options here but the mapping element we are doing here at the moment will tell us what species can be farmed most effectively and where.”
Algal options Last year the port authority collaborated with marine biologists from Swansea University to build a new seaweed farm to investigate the potential of algae as a biofuel. The 100 metre double longline structure was seeded with juvenile seaweed and it is hoped there will be food and health benefits to the project as well.
“We are a trust port which means that when we make profit we actually invest it back in our business and the businesses in Milford Haven, which means we are in a unique position to help businesses thrive,” says Alaric.
“We can actually invest for a much longer term than most businesses. We are looking to devise aquaculture villages, there will be shared services on land that we can actually build and run which drives down the investment costs for any company coming in and allows the businesses to do what they want to do, which is grow the product,” he adds.
Following a recent aquaculture forum meeting, 16 companies are now interested in moving into the Haven.
Article first appeared on The Fish Site
Tidal power lagoons proposed along the British coast should have aquaculture development built into the planning process, in order to harness the massive benefits of co-location, according to a leading shellfish expert, writes Justyn Jones. Click here to read the article
Currently in production, the film follows a group of high school students working to restore the once-bountiful oysters and the environmental benefits they bring to New York Harbor.
According to The Hollywood reporter- Discovery Channel is in production with the two filmmakers on Billion Oyster Project, a documentary chronicling the work of a group of young environmentalists in New York City. Produced by Julie Goldman, the film will premiere on Discovery in 2018 under the Discovery Impact banner.
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By Nicki Holmyard, Contributing Editor
Scotland has just launched an ambitious Vision 2030 growth strategy for aquaculture, to double the size of the sector to GBP 3.6 billion (USD 4.5 billion, EUR 4.2 billion) by 2030.
The strategy seeks to unleash the sector’s full potential contribution to Scotland’s economy, environment and communities, and predicts the generation of more than 9,000 new jobs.
Mussels already play a key and growing part in the sector, but research has shown that if all current lease sites were farmed at capacity, then production could double within a few years. Further expansion into new sites could see it treble by 2030 to around 21,000 metric tons per year.
However, one major barrier to growth has been identified as an unpredictable supply of mussel juveniles, known as spat. To address this, a two-year research and innovation project, known as Stepping Stone, is underway to test the commercial viability of a Scottish mussel hatchery.
Taking place at the NAFC Marine Centre on Shetland, part of the University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI), the multi-partner project recently saw completion of its core infrastructure. With algal culture, water treatment facilities and tank room resources for spawning, incubation and grow-out in place, the first batch of hatchery-reared spat has finally been produced.
According to Gregg Arthur, Aquaculture Manager at NAFC UHI, discussions have been ongoing for more than a decade about the pros and cons of a mussel hatchery.
“We all agreed that the pros included the ability to undertake selective breeding, extend the growth calendar, improve efficiency and biosecurity on farms, and increase the certainty of having mussel spat. However, for a long time the cons outweighed the pros, including the uncertainty of how well the spat would be transferred and retained on ropes, and particularly the issue of investment and the need to made a hatchery commercially sustainable in the long term,” he said.
The growing interest in aquaculture as part of Vision 2030 provided the impetus to get the project off the ground, and industry is excited by its potential.
Michael Tait, chairman of the Scottish Shellfish Marketing Group (SSMG) and managing director of one of Scotland’s largest mussel companies, finds that it is both empowering and daunting to reach this stage of the journey.
“We will be working with methodologies that have proven successful in Tasmania and New Zealand as our starting point, and exploring how and where they can be adapted to the specific mussel species and marine conditions found here in Scotland. This should enable us to produce spat on a commercial scale,” he said.
If the pilot project is successful, it is anticipated that the results will provide the foundation for a business case to set up a national hatchery, or a series of regional hatcheries that would ensure target development can be met.
Stepping Stone has already benefitted from add-on scientific projects, including one that seeks to develop genetic tools for successful management of mussel hatchery broodstock. According to Tom Ashton of Xelect, his project will help to develop SNP-based stock management tools for the blue mussel, suitable for broodstock selection and the establishment of a family selection program. The aim is to preserve genetic diversity.
In addition, the SAICHatch project, coordinated by the Scottish Aquaculture Innovation Centre, has been set up to improve production techniques.
To this end, researchers at the Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS), Marine Scotland Science, University of Stirling Institute of Aquaculture and NAFC UHI, are working respectively on algae production, the effects of different bacteria on larvae production, metamorphosis and settlement, and the growth and survival rates of spat transferred to sea.
“These are exciting times for the shellfish industry. A commercial-scale hatchery or hatcheries would lead to higher and more reliable yields, a more balanced distribution of sites, and more jobs within the sector. There is also the potential for the same hatchery technologies and techniques to be applied to other shellfish species such as oysters, delivering further benefit to the sector,” said SAIC CEO Heather Jones.
I’m a fisherman who dropped out of high school in 1986 at the age of 14. Over my lifetime, I’ve spent many nights in jail. I’m an epileptic. I’m asthmatic. I don’t even know how to swim. This is my story. It’s a story of ecological redemption...read more
Hello my name is Justyn Jones and I am a journalist and documentary producer/director. I have been producing films and reports on environmental issues for more than 30 years and I am passionate about creating documentaries that make a difference.