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2014 News Roundup: Russian Ban, Sustainable Fish Feed, Antibiotic Resistance


ANALYSIS - As we step into 2015, lets take a look at the big aquaculture and fishery stories from 2014, writes Lucy Towers, TheFishSite Editor.

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Towards the start of the year (February/March), the Norwegian Veterinary Institute announced that it had discovered a new disease in rainbow trout that had effected farms in the summer of 2013.

Symptoms of this new disease are circulatory failure, anaemia and heart inflammation. Although authorities do not yet know how the disease is transmitted, it is thought to be contagious and caused by a virus.

In March 2014, China's Sino Agro Foods revealed plans to construct the world's largest prawn/shrimp farm.

To be located in Guangdong Province, the farm is expected to produce around 300,000 metric tons which will be sold on the national and international market.

Production is expected to begin in the second quarter of 2015 and the complex will create over 100,000 jobs.

One of the biggest stories of 2014 was the announcement by Russia in August that it was banning exports of fish and agricultural products from the US, EU, Canada, Australia and Norway in reaction to sanctions imposed against over Ukraine.

At the same time, Russia began to increase its exports from many South American and Asian countries.

Norway's $800 million salmon trade with Russia and Scotland's mackerel sector were expected to suffer from the ban. New markets have had to be located and the European Commission assured fishermen that the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) would help provide financial assistance to cover the costs of storing fish.

In September/October, Japan's Mitsubishi Corporation moved into the aquaculture market as its $1.4 billion offer for the Norwegian salmon farming company Cermaq was excepted.

Two other big global news topics throughout 2014 have been concerns with antibiotic resistance and research to find more sustainable sources of fish feed.

A big array of research has been done over the past year into identifying ingreadiants that can help replace fish meal in fish feeds. Some of the new potential sources of fish feed include: invasive carp fish, soybeans, barley, sweet potato and genetically modified Camelina plants, among others.

Through out the year, governments and health organisations have been showing their support for a reduction in antibiotic use in farmed animals, including fish. The concern is that the overuse of antibiotics is leading to a build up of antibiotic resistant bacteria in both animals and humans.

In order to address the issue, health experts and policy makers are looking into the importance of use and how we can reduce use whilst still maintaining the health and welfare of the animal.

TheFishSite wishes all its readers a Happy New Year