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GOAL 2018: Recap on three busy days

The GAA is hosting this year's GOAL conference in Guayaquil, Ecuador. IntraFish Reporters Lola Navarro and John Evans are on the ground, bringing you the latest news from the event.

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Thursday, Sept. 27, 1:28 pm ECT

New and old media important demand and interest drivers

E-Commerce can be a new channel for seafood suppliers and play a role of solution provider, said Frank Huang of JD.com.

His comments came moments before US Foods' Lisa Werhman urged the seafood industry to use innovative advertising

She highlighted a cranberry TV ad where a farmer is surrounded by products.

"Eduation is very important there is such a wide range of audience's we have to impact," she said.

--John Evans

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Thursday, Sept. 27, 12:02 pm ECT

Company targeting shrimp diseases with antibiotic-free additives

Chile's MNL Group is entering the shrimp farming sector and will target specific diseases in this field, Cristian Moreno, sub-director of animal health at MNL, said today.

The company’s star product Futerpenol, a non-pharmaceutical maqui berry-based feed additive that helps strengthen the immune system of aquatic species, is one of three finalists of the GAA Innovation Award.

The additive is an immunostimulant that works on an intracellular level, and has proven to be effective in reduction of mortality rates of salmonids on field trials.

“We have proven that we’re not just an option to reduce antibiotic use, but also that companies can get better production rates,” said Moreno.

-- Lola Navarro

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Thursday, Sept. 27, 11:05 am ECT

Video: GAA exec on aquaculture outlook

New GAA Executive Director Andrew Mallison gives his view on outlook for the aquaculture sector.

--John Evans

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Thursday, Sept. 27, 10:24 am ECT

Just tracing won't cut it

Matt Thompson Anderson Cabot Center for Ocean Life at New England Aquarium urged the seafood industry to keep goals aspirational.

"We need to realize tracing something back to the farm isn't sufficient. That's going to mean going beyond what's written in a standard."

-- John Evans

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Thursday, Sept. 27, 9:51 am ECT

Would fish farms ever allow public access to their sites?

It could be logistically difficult to have the public access fish farms out at sea all day long, but what about land-based farms?

This is just an idea taken from the 2.0 chicken farm model, Kipster, a fully transparent system with a zero-waste policy, where waste is as far as possible used as either feed or byproduct for other industries, and is carbon-neutral.

"To prove that this is not just marketing, the site is open to the public, in a biosecure way, 24 hours a day. They can stand right in the heart of the operation and see how the chicken is treated," said Neil Manchester, from Hendrix Genetics, which provides broodstock.

To reach this concept, Kipster got all stakeholders involved in the design of the project, allowing them to participate, give ideas, and ultimately approve the construction of the farm.

NGOs, animal welfare groups, Hendrix as the breeders, and even Lidl were on board right from the beginning to agree on every step of the project.

Nowadays, Kipster sells hen eggs for double the price of other brands.

“With the backing of all stakeholders, there’s no doubt in the consumers’ minds that there is extra in the price they should pay,” Manchester said.

Could this be done in aquaculture too?

-- Lola Navarro

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Thursday, Sept. 27, 9:43 am ECT

'Selling seafood starts with the consumer'

"So far the seafood industry has relied on others to talk about it," said Matt Brooker, director of retail sales at The Fishin' Company.

The industry hasn't begun to understand what the consumer wants in the executive's view.

"I feel we are still on our first date with the consumer... its a 30 year date," Brooker said.

-- John Evans

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Wednesday, Sept. 26, 5:36 pm ECT

Wild or farmed salmon should not be the question

The discussion about wild salmon versus farmed salmon is one that Bert Bachmann, US strategic development director of Chilean salmon farmer Camanchaca, doesn’t even engage in.

“Salmon is a phenomenal product, that should be our message, I’d rather grab a piece of the chicken eater or the beef eater,” Bachmann said.

He added that in the old days, farmed salmon sales would go significantly down when the wild salmon season started, but nowadays that is not the case.

“The discussion of wild versus farmed doesn’t add any value to the salmon industry.”

-- Lola Navarro

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Wednesday, Sept. 26, 5:21 pm ECT

Beware media reports on Omega 3 benefits

Again, misunderstandings are taking over consumers’ perceptions on the benefits of fish consumption. This time what is being questioned are the benefits of Omega 3, due to media reports that can be construed as misleading.

“Recent studies are coming out questioning the benefits of Omega3,” said Jill Kauffman, from Corbion Algae Ingredients.

“But these studies are very specific about supplements and their ability to substitute medicines for specific medicines, not about the benefits of omega 3 for overall health,” she said.

All these studies still recommend eating fish 2 times a week, Omega 3 is not about solving a disease, it’s about long-term benefits for our health.

“What we are talking about is consuming fish to get the necessary levels of Omega 3, this is what’s important,” Kauffman said.

In this sense, she raised the question of whether the industry is delivering in the claim about the nutritional contents of salmon.

“Fish oil, the main source of Omega 3 to feed salmon, is a limited resource, we need to fill the gap between the need for Omega 3 and its availability,” she said.

“We will need alternatives such as single-cell protein and algae to fill this gap.”

-- Lola Navarro

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Wednesday, Sept. 26, 4:19 pm ECT

The Sustainable Shrimp Partnership (SSP) and the Colombian Institute of Technical Standards and Certification (ICONTEC) have joined forces to develop the qualification metrics behind the SSP’s high quality and sustainably produced farmed shrimp.

Click here to read about their plans.

--Lola Navarro

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Wednesday, Sept. 26, 1:25 pm ECT

Looking for the balance between sustainability and market success

“The average retail customer doesn’t give a rip about fish,” said David Wier, seafood buyer at Meijer.

“We buyers love to try and do different things and to innovate, but a key part of sustainability is not buying fish just to throw it away.”

The industry needs to figure out how to get new species into consumers’ minds and get them to come to the stores looking for these new products.

--Lola Navarro

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Wednesday, Sept. 26, 1:18 pm ECT

Tariffs: 'Changing product quality would be disastrous'

“With what's happening with the tariffs, I am really concerned that people are going to try to manage higher costs with lower quality," said David Wier, seafood buyer for Meijer.

Meijer said changing quality of products would be 'disastrous' for the industry, which should be pushing the public to eat seafood twice a day not twice a week.

He said the industry is good at 'defense' but needs to go on the offense.

-- John Evans

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Wednesday, Sept. 26, 12:26 pm ECT

'Our Facebook pages stink they are dreadful'

Michael Sansolo, president of Sansolo Solutions urges the seafood industry to radically improve the quality of their social media channels.

"We need to talk to the shopper like we have never have before," he said.

Companies should be doing everything in their power to explain to consumers how fish and seafood is caught and produced, underlining why it is safe to consume.

"What shoppers say is help me live the life I want to live."

"Our Facebook pages stink, they are dreadful," he said. "We need to talk to the shopper like we have never have before."

Companies should be doing everything in their power to explain to consumers how fish and seafood is caught and produced, underlining why it is safe to consume.

"What shoppers say is help me live the life I want to live," he said.

-- John Evans

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Wednesday, Sept. 26, 12:06 pm ECT

Retailers don’t care about the fish

Inevitably, technology has changed the way people buy, and what the seafood industry needs is the success of its partners -- despite necessary conversations and discussions about fish welfare, sustainability, social responsibility and other subjects dominating today’s talks.

The seafood industry needs retailers selling fish to succeed for its own development, and it also needs funding.

“Retailers are not waking up at night because they are concerned about fish, they wake up because of the changes that are taking over the retail industry these days,” said Michael Sansolo, expert in food retailing, former president of the Food Marketing Institute, and president of consultancy firm Sansolo Solutions.

Technological evolution has thousands of examples of industries overcoming themselves, others that keep trying, and others that have lost the battle.

So which one do you want to be?

“You have to understand that your role has changed, you need to become progressive communicators, you need to be proactive,” Sansolo said.

“You need to take the shopping experience, and make it more exciting than it’s ever been.”

-- Lola Navarro

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Wednesday, Sept. 26, 11:30 am ECT

Social responsibility is crucial

Commitment to social responsibility is a prevention mechanism, said Constanza Alvial from The Pro Bono Network of the Americas.

“Community engagement is crucial for business development, it increases human capital, competitiveness, it attracts investors and reduces workforce turnover,” Alvial said.

According to several studies, between 70 and 80 percent of consumers in Latin America are willing to change brands if the brand is committed to social responsibility, while around 60 percent are willing to even pay more, she said.

The most important factor for effective social responsibility is the interaction between different stakeholders: the people, the affected communities, the governments and the private sector.

“Communication generates a much more free-flowing dialogue, for those of you wondering if this is an investment worth making, the answer is totally,” she said.

“Social responsibility helps prevent problems before you knew they could even be there.”

-- Lola Navarro

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Wednesday, Sept. 26, 10:50 am ECT

We need to be cautious about antibiotics

Fish do not metabolize antibiotics effectively, and it is estimated that 75 percent of antibiotics fed to fish will be excreted back in their active form into the aquatic environment through feces, said Elizabeth Wellington from the University of Warwick School of Life Sciences.

"We need to be cautious about what we are doing to the natural environment."

-- John Evans

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Wednesday, Sept. 26, 10:30 am ECT

US consumers prefer wild over farmed fish

Eating habits in the United States are broadly changing, with a significant part of the population trying to reduce its intake of meat products. However, US consumers continue to be reluctant to try aquaculture products.

According to a study presented today at GOAL, both consumers and operators prefer wild fish over farmed fish.

“They clearly tell us that they prefer wild stocks. In the case of consumers, 53 percent prefer wild fish, and in the case of operators this is 42 percent,” said Maria Molde from Datassential.

The main reasons for consumers' avoidance of farmed seafood is their perceptions of unhealthy antibiotic use, unnatural farming techniques and animal welfare issues at fish farms.

Looking at what’s being served at restaurants across the country, shrimp is the most popular product, served at 65 percent of restaurants, followed by salmon, served in 43 percent of restaurants, tuna, in 38 percent, and crab in 31 percent.

“Tilapia continues to experience a negative menu growth in the United States,” said Molde.

-- Lola Navarro

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-- John Evans

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Wednesday, Sept. 26, 9:15 am ECT

Shrimp needs joint promotion

Shrimp, just like salmon, needs generic commodity promotion.

Ninety-four percent of respondents during a live survey at the second day of the GOAL event said they think the shrimp industry needs unified data collection and marketing.

Ragnar Tveteras, from the University of Stavanger, said today the salmon industry would also need some shared generic promotion, though there are some challenges to do this.

“Ideally speaking we would like to join with the Chileans to discuss marketing for generic commodity promotion,” Tveteras said.

In order to do this with a fair share of investment from different parties, there needs to be continuous debate about marketing efforts.”

Speaking about the achievements of the Norwegian Seafood Council, Tveteras said the only way to make efforts work is by having a mandate of law by different governments to promote an industry.

“Business to consumer (B2C) marketing is necessary,” he said.

Through marketing campaigns, the NSC has increased consumers’ perception of Norway as a seafood nation and producer, as well as the public’s recognition of the logo, and its reputation.

“My message is that we need a program for generic promotion because of the commodity nature of the product,” Tveteras said.

-- Lola Navarro

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Wednesday, Sept. 26, 2:45 am ECT

Study: 'Humane farming' opening opportunities to increase US seafood consumption

A new study by Changing Tastes and Datassential found humane production practices can play a key role in expanding the market for farmed fish and seafood in the US, according to GAA.

The report found both half of consumers and half of menu and purchasing decision makers are more likely to purchase fish and seafood that is humanely harvested.

The study also found that US consumers and decision makers are most aware and concerned about live slaughter and antibiotic use for both wild capture and farmed fish.

--IntraFish Media

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Tuesday Sept. 25, 7:05 pm ECT

New survey puts shrimp production high above estimates

Global production of vannamei in 2020 is expected to be 18 percent above volumes of 2017, according to a study conducted by James Anderson, director of the Institute for Sustainable Food Systems, and co-authors Diego Valderrama, George Mason University, and Darryl Jory from the Global Aquaculture Alliance.

The data, which differs from FAO figures, was collected through GOAL surveys between 2010 and 2017.

“Expectations for two or three years are bullish through 2020; every region is expecting an upturn in production,” Anderson told delegates at the first day of the Global Aquaculture Alliance’s GOAL. “This is quite a big deal."

Read the full story here.

-- Lola Navarro

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Tuesday Sept. 25, 6:33 pm ECT

China is strong enough to create a solid industry

"I think a trade war is good for other countries other than the US," said Rodrigo Laniado, president of Ecuadorian shrimp producer Songa.

Click here to read what he had to say.

-- John Evans

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Tuesday Sept. 25, 6:04 pm ECT

Which country is the most competitive shrimp producer in the world?

The most competitive shrimp producing countries in the world are in Southeast Asia, said Rodrigo Laniado, president of Ecuadorian shrimp producer Songa.

Production costs in this region are lower and this “certainly” has an impact in final prices and how competitive the industry is.

Laniado mainly attributed the competitiveness of the Ecuadorian shrimp industry to inflation rates related to the dollarized economy in the country.

“We’ve had a US dollar economy in Ecuador for the past 10 years, our costs are high and we certainly are not a competitive shrimp producer in this sense,” Laniado said.

James Anderson, director of the Institute for Sustainable Food Systems, said the competitiveness of an industry goes hand in hand with biosecurity.

“Any country that can be the most competitive and suddenly be hit by a disease, which makes it not competitive at all, this trends sort of change from time to time, and it very much depends on biosecurity,” Anderson said.

-- Lola Navarro

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Tuesday Sept. 25, 5:30 pm ECT

White feces disease becoming a major problem in Asia

0f762aeccd8ae5364234acd2f546762f Loc Tran, founder of ShrimpVet Labatory, speaking at GOAL 2018. Photo: John Evans for IntraFish

SHIV disease may also start to hit China production said Loc Tran, founder of ShrimpVet Laboratory, who discovered the pathogen linked to early mortality disease.

The rock star of the shrimp industry made the address after 24 hour delays in both New York and Bogota flights from Vietnam.

--John Evans

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Tuesday, Sept. 25 4:35 pm ECT

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Tuesday, Sept. 25 4:30 pm ECT

China wants smaller shrimp, US supplying less of its own shrimp needs

There is a shift towards smaller shrimp sizes, according Jim Anderson, professor and director of the Institute for Sustainable Food Systems at the University of Florida. This may be because China wants smaller shrimp or because of disease, he said.

He said the United States will only supply 6-7 percent of its own shrimp needs in the near future.

Anderson said the three most challenging global production issues for shrimp are disease, international market prices and production costs.

China and India are neutral on the shrimp market improving in 2019, he added.

If this industry is going to expand, it needs to mitigate price shocks.

--John Evans

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Tuesday, Sep. 25, 3:15 pm ECT

Slumping sea bass

Sea bream and sea bass production in the Mediterranean -- Turkey, Greece, and Spain -- is expected to increase slightly in 2018, but experts expect a 2 percent fall in production in 2019.

“Prices have been on a decline since 2012, prices between $5 and $6 per kilo,” said Ragnar Tveteras, economist and professor at the University of Stavanger.

-- Lola Navarro

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Tuesday, Sep. 25, 3:02 pm ECT

Significant growth expected in global tilapia production

Global production of tilapia is expected to grow 4 percent in 2018, reaching 6.3 million metric tons, and a further 4 percent in 2019, reaching 6.5 million metric tons, said Ragnar Tveteras, economist and professor at the University of Stavanger.

Although there are several discrepancies in tilapia production documentation from different sources, China continues to be the main producer, followed by Egypt and Indonesia.

“Production in all major regions is expected to increase,” said Tveteras.

“According to our data, China will produce 1.7 million metric tons of tilapia this year.”

-- Lola Navarro

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Tuesday, Sep. 25, 3:02 pm ECT

Leadership and planning has never been more important

As the industry tries to change the perceptions of aquaculture, some progress is being made, said Wally Stevens at GAA and Lisa Vollbrecht, researcher at Kampachi Farms. But everyone needs to take an active role in shaping the aquaculture industry.

“Advanced technologies are being put to use to truly solve problems in a sustainable way, responsible leadership is taken very seriously by new generations,” Vollbrecht told delegates at the event today.

“With a positive example being set by responsible farmers, hopefully governments will come to recognize the potential of aquaculture,” said Vollbrecht.

-- Lola Navarro

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Tuesday, Sep. 25, 2:41 pm ECT

A must: getting better at pre-competitive collaboration

This year’s GOAL theme is The Power of Collaboration. Andrew Mallison, executive director at the Global Aquaculture Alliance (GAA), urged industry delegates to get better at pre-competitive collaboration.

“As an industry, we need to understand how we can work together, and get better at pre-competitive collaboration,” Mallison said.

There are many challenges ahead, he said, but there are also many opportunities. With aquaculture developing faster than any other industry, stakeholders need to adjust to new ways of feeding the world.

“There is lots of possible outlooks in aquaculture, recirculation and offshore will be part of the future, we need to think of that and of how the industry is perceived in the marketplace,” he said.

“Mistakes have been made, there is a lot of catching up to do, but a lot of advantages: to go forward we need to ensure that we generate trust.”

-- Lola Navarro

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Tuesday, Sep. 25, 2:00 pm ECT

Welcome to Guayaquil!

Global Aquaculture Alliance's GOAL is being held in Ecuador for the first time. Global aquaculture experts will gather in one of the world's largest shrimp producing countries.

GAA's Andrew Mallison will give the opening remarks addressing the conference theme, “The Power of Collaboration.”

Over the next three days, more than 60 speakers will provide insight on the trends shaping the future of aquaculture production and sourcing. Around 400 delegates will gather at the event from more than 30 countries.

-- IntraFish Media

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