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Edited by Chis Noble, Kristine Gismervik, Martin H. Iveren, Jelena Kolarevic, Jonathan Nilsson, Lars H. Stien and James F. Turnbull (November 2018)

Fish welfare is a key issue in commercial aquaculture and is central to many decisions that farmers take during their daily husbandry practices and longer-term production planning. It is also a prominent topic for animal welfare NGO’s and charities, regulatory bodies, policymakers, and consumers. Fish farmers increasingly are required to implement fish welfare practices in their production systems and daily husbandry. This can present a serious challenge, as the current tools available for measurement may not be suitable for all species or all life stages.
A new publication from Norway, the FISHWELL welfare indicator handbook brings together a farm-friendly toolbox for this purpose. Operational Welfare Indicators (OWIs) and Laboratory-based Welfare Indicators (LABWIs) for use on fish farms in different production systems and husbandry routines. It also includes advice on their implementation and interpretation. This handbook is published by the Norwegian Seafood Research Fund (Fiskeri-og Havbruksnaerigens Forskningsfond, FHF). The project group included a diverse range of welfare scientists and veterinarians from NOFIMA, the Institute of Marine Research, Nord University, the Norwegian Institute and the University of Stirling (UK). The handbook can be downloaded at no cost through the following website:

The EU Reference Laboratory for Listeria monocytogenes has prepared an amendment to its Technical Guidance Document for conducting shelf-life studies on this hazard in ready-to-eat foods. The changes concern the storage temperature of the test units at the retail level to conduct a challenge test assessing the growth potential of Listeria monocytogenes. The draft amendment was endorsed by the European Commission and the Member States.

Source: Megapesca Lda FishfilesLite Services

EU: Meeting of EU Food Fraud Network

Published in European
Friday, 19 April 2019 01:44

The European Commission hosted the November 2018 meeting of the EU’s Food Fraud Network including the European Commission, Joint Research Council, OLAF (the EU’s Anti-fraud Office) and EUROPOL. The meeting was presented with updates on major food frauds in the EU in 2018, including two concerning fishery products. The first concerned the identification of intentional misuse of antibiotics (nitrofurans) by several Vietnamese shrimp producers, identified through the official controls at EU borders and on the market, and disseminated by the EU’s RASFF system. The issue led to several export establishments having their authorizations withdrawn by the Vietnamese Competent Authority. The second concerned the illegal treatment and use of brine frozen tuna intended for canning for supply to the fresh tuna market, covered in the previous edition of The Fish Inspector. The case, codenamed Operation Tarantello, concluded with a total of 79 arrests by the Spanish authorities in October and November 2018, coordinated by EUROPOL, with several prosecutions underway.

At the meeting, it was also noted that the Codex Committee on Food Import and Export Inspection and Certification Systems (CCFICS) is working on a new definition of food fraud. The Joint Research Council EC Knowledge Centre for Food Fraud and Quality also held a Technical workshop on food Fraud in December 2018. The next meeting of the Food Fraud network will be held in April/May 2019.

Source: Megapesca Lda FishfilesLite Services

India has raised concerns about the rejection of its shrimp shipments by the US Food and Drug Administration (US FDA) for alleged use of banned antibiotics such as chloramphenicol or nitrofurans, often used by producers to prevent disease outbreaks. According to the president of the All India Shrimp Hatcheries Association, the highly sensitive test protocols cannot differentiate if the residue detected is from the usage of antibiotics or background signal emanating from the extremely low level of antibiotics or compounds existing in the environment that mimic those antibiotics. The US FDA refused to allow 26 shrimp entry lines from India into the US in January for banned antibiotics. It had refused 27 shipments in 2017 and 2018. The US is the largest market for Indian shrimp exporters and accounts for about one-third of seafood exports from India.

On the other hand, the European Union is considering testing Indian seafood imports for a wider range of antibiotic residues, following the results of a report that found deficiencies in food
safety control in the South Asian country. Two European Commission committees discussed the report, which was based off a visit made by inspectors in November 2017 in response to mounting concerns in Europe over the number of shipments of Indian shrimp found to contain excessive amounts of antibiotics. The results of the audit were delivered in May 2018. According to the official summary of one of the meetings, European officials are considering testing for a wider range of antibiotic and antimicrobial residues in all aquaculture products imported into the EU from India, including shrimp.

In response to ongoing compliance problems, and in an effort to make the shrimp products free from residues of antibiotic, India’s Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA) has initiated a certification programme for the aquaculture farms and hatcheries. As an initial step, a draft guideline for Certification of hatcheries by a committee consisting of the representatives of hatchery operators, aquaculture farms owners, and MPEDA officers was prepared.

The draft scheme with standards, procedures, etc are available in the websites of MPEDA (, RGCA ( and NETFISH ( for a period of 60 days. Suggestions/comments from the stakeholders and the public are invited.

Surimi and fish meal industries seek to prevent illicit catch from entering supply chains. In the 4th quarter of 2018, Pew and other stakeholders held workshops in Bangkok, Thailand, Surabaya, Indonesia, and Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, aimed at finding ways to prevent illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) seafood from entering their supply chains. Nearly 100 industry representatives attended, ranging from fish meal and surimi feed producers to processors, buyers, and certification standard holders. As buyers and sellers of fish products, the fish meal and surimi industries play an important role in tackling IUU fishing. By working together and using the technology they can track and trace where their products come from.

Most companies are now aware of the risk that IUU-caught seafood might enter their supply chains and have policies in place to mitigate this threat. At the workshops, participants agreed that companies should track and trace their supply chains by identifying the people, product, and process interactions at each stage. At a minimum, the fish species, its origin, and the procurement method down to the originating fishing vessel should be clear and shared.

Workshop participants acknowledged the risk that both IUU fishing and safety and labor issues posed to their supply chains and expressed eagerness to take steps to mitigate such risks. They agreed that regulations are not always effective on their own, and many of the participating companies reported that they have opted to go above national requirements or have obtained seafood certification.


Australia: SIAA new Executive Officer

Published in Asian
Friday, 19 April 2019 01:30

The Seafood Importers Association of Australasia (SIAA) has announced a change to its management, with the appointment of Mark Boulter, who has been the Associations Technical Officer for the last 2 years, as the new Executive Officer. The SIAA, in operation since 1964, is a representative association with 15 members who import more than 50% of the seafood brought into Australia. It represents Members interests in consultative committees, workshops and conferences, and in relevant dealings with industry, government, media and public. It also provides advice to members on government legislation, regulations and policies; and on social responsibility issues. The Association maintains a Code of Conduct and assists members in meeting that code. The Code of Conduct includes many features that could be considered as representing best international practices for seafood trade, including, being qualified to import seafood, ensuring product traceability, handling customer complaints promptly, fairly and diligently, importing safe and sustainably sourced seafood, produced under appropriate labour conditions, and opposing malpractice.

Source: Seafood Importers Association of Australasia

NOAA Fisheries has formally rolled out a web-based screening tool that can flag potentially mislabelled finfish fillets before they hit the seafood aisle. Developed by the National Seafood Inspection Laboratory (NSIL), the Species Substitution & Protein Pattern Matching Tool could help the seafood industry address finfish substitution and fraud. To help maintain the nation’s safe, sustainable supply of seafood, researchers at NSIL developed a lab method and online screening tool that lab technicians can employ to compare finfish muscle proteins against NSIL’s Authenticated Finfish Species Library.

The tool quickly generates a list of species matches ranked from most to least likely-positioning it as a perfect precursor and complement to DNA testing programs. Wholesale and other buyers typically send their fillet samples to third-party labs for DNA analysis when they suspect species substitution. By first screening their samples for common substitutions with the Species Substitution & Protein Pattern Matching Tool, however, these buyers can save time and money, reserving DNA testing for instances when a probable mislabelling needs to be verified.

The US Food and Drug Administration and other regulatory labs currently using DNA testing could also fold NSIL’s tool into their procedures to screen a larger quantity of finfish fillets for common substitutions. The Species Substitution & Protein Pattern Matching Tool is one of many services and resources provided by NSIL. From their offices in Pascagoula, Mississippi, the NSIL team works cooperatively with federal and state agencies, international governments and organizations, and private industry to ensure the safety of seafood for US consumers.

To explore the tool, visit

On 31 December 2018, NOAA Fisheries along with Customs and Border Protection officials started an informed compliance period for shrimp importers participating in the Seafood Import Monitoring Program (SIMP). SIMP requires importers keep chain of custody data for products entering the United States. It also requires the shipments to come with harvest and landing data to ensure the products are properly labeled.

SIMP began on 1 January 2018, with such products as Atlantic cod, red snapper, swordfish, and tunas requiring the documentation. Despite being the top imported seafood product, shrimp, at that time, was excluded because similar recordkeeping requirements had not been put in place for US shrimpers and producers. A group of 11 US senators pushed to add shrimp into the program last year by including the provision in the Commerce appropriations bill, that President Trump signed into law as part of an omnibus spending package last March.

Source: INFOFISH Trade News, ITN 2/2019

The US government issued its long-awaited final rule on genetically engineered foods, which could pave the way for legal sales of genetically altered salmon. The United States Department of Agriculture’s final rule requires food manufacturers, importers, and other entities that label foods for retail sale to disclose information about bioengineered (BE) food and BE food ingredients. “This rule is intended to provide a mandatory uniform national standard for disclosure of information to consumers about the BE status of foods,” the agency said in the final rule.

The new USDA rule became effective on 21st February - 60 days after publication in the Federal Register. Food processors do not have to comply with the new rule immediately, however. The voluntary compliance date ends on 31 December 2021, and the rule becomes mandatory on 1 January 2022.

More information on this rule can be found here:

Source: INFOFISH Trade News, ITN 1/2019

Washington State University’s School of Food Science’s Center for Advanced Food Technology has announced the launch of an online Certificate of Proficiency in Seafood Science as from April 2019. The Certificate of Proficiency in Seafood Science provides six courses, each providing its own certificate of completion, that are designed to provide the basics related to seafood science, production, processing, safety, and marketing. This includes all marine, freshwater organisms, whether they are sourced from wild fisheries or aquaculture, and is not limited to finfish. It is designed for individuals that may not have a formal education in food science or seafood but work in the seafood/fisheries/aquaculture sectors.

More information is available from WSU Center for Advanced Food Technology, and email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

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