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2015 News Roundup: GM Salmon, Seafood Ethics, Shrimp Disease

ANALYSIS - Here is a round-up of some of the most important and interesting fisheries and aquaculture news from the past year.

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Shrimp Disease

Towards the start of the year one of the most popular news stories we featured was about a new shrimp disease that is expected to lower the country's shrimp production in 2016.

Indian newspaper, the Economic Times, reported that Running Mortality Syndrome (RMS) was found on farms in Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. The disease is apparently not as destructive as early mortality syndrome.

"Though we may be able to harvest the crop, the survival rate will be affected. We will be able to assess the damage only in the harvest for 2015-16," said Muthukaruppan, president of the Society of Aquaculture Professionals.

TheFishSite is hoping that more information on this apparent disease will come to light in 2016.

Biggest US Fish Farm

In the late summer, the Rose Canyon Fisheries aquaculture project announced its plans to build the US's largest fish farm in San Diego.

The environmentally sustainable aquaculture project will produce 5,000 metric tonnes of fish a year and is the first farm of this scale to be built in federal waters.

The aquaculture project will be built 4.5 miles off San Diego's coast and when fully operational will annually produce 5,000 metric tons (MT) of yellowtail jack, white seabass and striped bass.

Fishing Industry Talks Ethics

September saw people from all over the world meet in the UK's fishing town Grimsby for the World Seafood Congress (WSC). The event discussed some of the latest challenges and developments in the industry, this year including social ethics, which has been brought to light following various reports of labour abuse and illegal workers in the fishing industry.

The show saw the launch of a report from ethics consultant Roger Plant, which looked at the ethical issues impacting the UK seafood supply chain. Mr Plant explained that we are now seeing a shift from environment to social in terms of seafood sustainability.

It also saw Seafish explain its re-vamped Responsible Fishing Scheme (RFS), which is the only standard auditing compliance of fishing vessels to health, safety and welfare.

One of the hardest hit countries by many of the labour abuse claims from the past year has been Thailand, and in particular, its shrimp and tuna sectors. In response, the Thai government and Thai Union Group have worked proactively to address the problems.

Thai Union also announced it is ending the use of external shrimp pre-processors today (31 December) and is instead moving it to in-house to ensure the safety and legality of the staff in its supply chain.

Also at the WSC, guest speaker and renowned world explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes spoke to TheFishSite about some of his adventures.


There were many company takeovers throughout this year, with some of the biggest acquisitions including:

GM gets Approval

Towards the end of the year, the salmon farming industry was surprised to hear that the AquAdvantage GM salmon from AquaBounty had been approved for consumption by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

The FDA determined that AquAdvantage salmon meets all the statutory requirements for safety and effectiveness under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act and that food from the GM salmon is as safe to eat and as nutritious as food from other non-GM Atlantic salmon.

2016 will now be an exciting year for the company as it moves forward in bringing the product to market.

Happy New Year!