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Fish Farming & Aquaculture


peeriebryan
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I don't think the mistakes of the past should influence per se the policy of the Council or Shetland Enterprise continuing to support fish farming (or any other businesses for that matter) bearing in mind its importance in providing jobs particularly in more rural areas. It does seem to me though that up until now money has been dished out willy nilly and often as a last resort to bankruptcy without any checks being done as to the long term financial health of the businesses in question and clearly that needs to change.

 

Perhaps what's needed too is for businesses receiving public money to have to satisfy something along the lines of 'ten commitments' to demonstrate the wider benefits them receiving money will bring to Shetland. What Johnson Seafarms are doing now is a good example - more ecologically friendly working practices, a guarantee that they will undertake more secondary processing of their product in Shetland, that they will market their product under the Shetland name etc.

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  • 11 months later...

Anyone watch the C4 expose on Johnson Seafarms organic cod?

 

There is a new debate opening up in the food industry as to whether the new farmed code product pioneered in Shetland by Johnsons can in fact be called organic?

 

http://www.channel4.com/news/s.....sp?id=4617

 

The C4 and Soil Associations debate hinged around whether the cod could be called organic if they are reared under light 24hrs per day. The economics of scale mean that they have to be.

 

If this is the only thing that hinges on whether it can be organic or not then they never really thought that the northern cod fisheries are fished in areas that in summer see 24hours daylight anyhow! So by this rule are these fish caught in the "wild" also not organic?

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There is a new debate opening up in the food industry as to whether the new farmed cod product pioneered in Shetland by Johnsons can in fact be called organic?

 

The C4 and Soil Associations debate hinged around whether the cod could be called organic if they are reared under light 24hrs per day. The economics of scale mean that they have to be.

 

If this is the only thing that hinges on whether it can be organic or not then they never really thought that the northern cod fisheries are fished in areas that in summer see 24hours daylight anyhow! So by this rule are these fish caught in the "wild" also not organic?

 

I never saw the C4 programme, but I am fairly sure that the Soil Association don't allow light manipulation. "Wild" fish (and also deer, etc) cannot be organic, because there is no control over what they eat (possibility of contamination by mercury, dioxins etc) whereas in a farming situation there is some control over what is fed to the animals (a certified "Organic" diet)

 

24 hour daylight in summer / very little daylight at the bottom of the sea at this time of year is a natural environment for a North Sea cod, where it has evolved for a long time. Continuous artificial light is not a natural environment for a fish, although whether it causes the fish any distress is simply not known. I heard on radio Shetland tonight that the reason for the lights is to prevent the fish reaching sexual maturity, because this could result in development of a hierarchy, however I reckon that there is already a hierarchy in every single cage, based on size.

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Yes, they need to be harvested before spawning. "Harvested", lovely way to say "killed".

 

I certainly know that you must give certain types of fish kept in the home time to rest. They have a sleep cycle that if missed leaves them quite distressed. Could this be applied to sea fish such as those in the Gadidae genus, dunno?

 

Yes, I considered the lack of sunlight at the bottom of the sea only after I posted that.

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The other thread was not to discuss the rights or wrongs of public money being used to fund fish farming.

 

There is a new debate opening up in the food industry as to whether the new farmed code product pioneered in Shetland by Johnsons can in fact be called organic?

 

Note also that I don't think, if I'm right, that Johnsons would take too kindly to being stuck in a thread about fish farming and hand outs from the public purse when they've never had one?! Someone correct me if I'm wrong.

 

(ME MODDING MYSELF - * thread reopened * ;))

13 September 2006

 

SHETLAND DEVELOPMENT TRUST PROVIDES LOAN ASSISTANCE TO NUFISH

 

 

Shetland Islands Council has today (Wednesday 13 August) approved a Shetland Development Trust decision to provide a loan of £750,000 to Nufish Ltd, a subsidiary of Shetland Organic Seafoods Ltd, towards the cost of extending the hatchery facility at Broonies Taing, Sandwick.

 

 

The investment will allow the company to expand production at the hatchery and create a viable business that can control the supply of all juvenile cod for on-growing at Nufish Ltd’s sister company Johnson Seafarms. The project will create up to four new jobs in addition to the 18 that already exist at the hatchery.

 

 

Chairman of Shetland Development Trust, Josie Simpson, said: “I am very pleased that Shetland Islands Council has supported the Trust’s decision to fund this project. The Shetland Organic Seafoods’ group of companies has been successful in attracting significant investment from outwith Shetland which has allowed the business to flourish.

 

 

“We believe that the Shetland economy, as a whole, will benefit from the diverse nature of this project. We also fully appreciate the value to the islands from the on-grown product eventually reaching the marketplace as a quality, Shetland branded product.â€

 

 

Shetland Development Trust project manager, Wendy Goudie, said: “Our policy is to support diversification in the aquaculture industry. This business is in the fortunate position of being in complete control of its market with a ready and continual requirement for juvenile cod from its sister company, Johnson Seafarms. Any future excess of fish may be made available to other businesses in Shetland that wish to diversify into cod farming in the future.

 

 

“The business also benefits from a highly skilled and experienced workforce with a strong track record in the required fields of biology, engineering, live feed production and algae production, which are essential in minimising the associated risks attached to the delicate business of hatching fish.â€

 

 

Welcoming the investment, Karol Rzepkowski, Managing Director of Johnson Sustainable Seafoods said: “I’m extremely grateful for all the support provided by the Council and the Shetland Development Trust. This is very new and exciting project for us and will enable us to develop the hatchery, which is vital for all aspects of the business. The money will also have a fundamental impact on the local community, not only in terms of employment, but also enabling the ex-oil terminal being converted into a state-of –the-art cod hatchery.â€

 

 

Notes to Editor

 

 

Shetland Development Trust has already invested £1,815,000 in Johnson Seafarms and the wider Shetland Organic Seafoods’ group, of which £646,000 of capital has already been repaid.

 

 

A further investment of £300,000 to assist in equipping the group’s processing factory in Scalloway is currently being processed. (Waiting for pre-conditions to be met)

 

 

The role of the Shetland Development Trust is to give direction to the development of the Shetland economy. This is achieved through the provision of financial assistance to new and existing businesses. SDT support is aimed at projects which demonstrate commercial viability and lead to the maintenance and development of Shetland’s industries on a long term sustainable basis.

 

 

All new applications for funding are reviewed at ‘screening meetings’ that are attended by staff from the SIC Economic Development Unit, Shetland Enterprise and SDT.

 

Think that should answer your query

 

 

Any one smell a rat, or is that a fish...............?

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Yes, they need to be harvested before spawning. "Harvested", lovely way to say "killed".

 

 

Vegetables get harvested, animals get slaughtered. Why do they have to be killed before maturity anyway? There could be a good market for "Organic raans" no? But whatever reason, that suggests the story about using the lights to prevent mature fish bullying the others is just spin.

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Shetland Marine article written by Hans Marter can be found at

http://www.shetlandmarine.com/2007/04%20Aquaculture/farmers_deny_cod_isn't_organic.htm

 

ACCUSATIONS in the national press that organically farmed cod are being held in "horrifying conditions" were yesterday dismissed as "ill informed" by the company behind the venture.

 

The Evening Standard and Channel 4 News reported that a government adviser on organic food, as well as the Soil Association, were concerned about the amount of lighting being used in cod farming.

 

The farmed cod is branded as No CatchJohnson Seafarms refuted the allegations yesterday (Thursday) saying the Evening Standard had not done its homework and had even failed to contact the company.

 

And the Soil Association's aquaculture development officer Peter Bridson said the comments made by the organisation's former chairman Lawrence Woodward did not represent the organisation's position.

 

Managing director Karol Rzepkowski said had the Evening Standard contacted him he would have been able to tell them that the use of light was an approved method by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA).

 

In the story, Catherine Fookes, a member of the government's advisory board on organic food, is quoted as saying that she had three "grave concerns".

 

"The first is the continuous use of light and what effect this has on animal welfare. The second is the effect this has on the flora and fauna around in the sea, and the third is the effect on carbon emissions from powering the lights," she said.

 

Light on the cages is being used to create the impression of a never-ending summer, which prevents the fish from maturing and spawning.

 

Mr Rzepkowski said: "The Evening Standard story is sensationalised. It is a pity that no one from the paper has ever contacted us. They got a story second hand and then changed it in the way they wished. It is a pity.

 

"We are using light for one reason only, and that is because it is recommended by the RSPCA for welfare reasons. The RSPCA has carried out a three year study with us looking into cod maturation and spawning, and the impact on farmed cod welfare."

 

The organic cod farm in Shetland is the largest in the UK.Yesterday, the RSPCA's senior scientific officer, John Avizienius confirmed Mr Rzepkowski's claim.

 

He said: "Currently there appears to be relatively little knowledge about the effect of these extended lighting patterns on the welfare of the fish, but in some cases there appears to be potential welfare advantages.

 

"For example, providing artificial lighting in sea enclosures can reduce early maturation and the concomitant physiological stresses associated with such a process."

 

He added: "The RSPCA will be conducting more detailed investigations into this issue, but in the interim, we are satisfied that having viewed cod at sea sites using cold cathode ray lights, we could not see any evidence of the lighting compromising the welfare of the fish, whereas when we viewed fish who had not been subjected to a lighting regime, the evidence suggested that the welfare of these fish had been compromised due to the maturation process."

 

He said that should new evidence come to light indicating that the welfare of the fish is being compromised by the use of prolonged lighting patterns, then the RSPCA would not allow them to be used within their own standards when they are developed.

 

Mr Rzepkowski said: "If we would have done something wrong I would have been the first person to raise my hand and admit it. But we have not!

 

"Being criticised on fish welfare reasons for doing this in an ill informed argument is confusing consumers with scare stories.

 

"You are ending up misinforming consumers, and they get fed up not knowing what is the right thing to do because they don't know who is telling the truth."

 

He said their operation in numerous cod farms around the Shetland coast were accredited by the Organic Food Federation (OFF) under the UK Defra organic standards for cod.

 

"The problem with the Soil Association is that they are now also confusing the consumer. They seem to want to create some sort of gold organic standard. If the Soil Association has an issue with something they feel is not organic, they should go back to Defra and speak to all the other 14 organic accreditation bodies, "Mr Rzepkowski added.

 

But Mr Bridson, of the Soil Association's Scotland office, said the comments printed in the Evening Standard were the private opinion of Mr Woodward who is an organic farm researcher who has "no real experience and knowledge" with aquaculture.

 

He said it was correct that the Soil Association had not accredited cod farming because "we could not accept the lighting as organic".

 

"We looked into cod in detail and worked with Johnson Seafarms to study what they were doing. We knew exactly what was going on on the farm. We went through the process of developing a standard for cod but came to the issue of the usage of lighting to control maturation, and that is something we don't allow for farmed salmon and therefore we could accept it for cod either," he said.

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