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New trawl design leads to improved fish quality

Published in General
Friday, 19 April 2019 01:19

Fish caught in trawls is recognised as being of a significantly poorer quality than fish caught by other methods, such a hook and line, because fish caught in trawl nets are inevitably damaged by abrasion, suffer loss of mucous and scales, and are killed in a highly stressed way (with higher terminal pH in the muscle and a resulting shorter shelf life). Icelandic net manufacturer Hampiðjan has designed a new trawl net which reduces fish density in the cod-end and, with proper monitoring with net sensors, allows for all fish to be brought on deck still alive, whilst smaller fish are allowed to escape. The design of the net uses a cod-end split into four separate sections, with the netting turned through 90° (T90), resulting in larger cross section of the net. The split cod-end reduces movement of fish thus reducing mechanical damage. The net is more selective for larger fish and therefore brings advantages of improved sustainability as well as potential improvements in fish welfare. Sea trials by Icelandic fishing company HB  Grandi showed that quality was significantly improved, even compared to the twin panel cod-ends already widely used in the Icelandic trawl sector.

For more information see

In March 2019 the US Food and Drugs Authority (US FDA) released additional chapters of the draft guidance “Mitigation Strategies to Protect Food Against Intentional Adulteration.” The updated guidance expands on methods for conducting the Vulnerability Assessment and explains the training requirements for the regulation. The guidance is designed to help operators to comply with the Food Safety Modernisation Act requirement for food defence measures against intentional adulteration. It should be noted that the requirement is a mandatory condition for any “owner, operator, or agent in charge of a domestic or foreign food facility that manufactures/processes, packs, or holds food for consumption in the United States”. “Very small” and “small” business operators are exempted from the requirement until July 2021 and July 2020 respectively. Others should comply by 26 July 2019. The draft guidance is available at:

Close monitoring of the radiation levels in fish and seafood in the area of Fukushima Japan has been continuing since the destruction of the nuclear power plant following the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami. By mid-January 2019, it was more than three years since any product harvested in the area around the plant had exceeded the Japanese government’s limit of 100 Becquerels per kilogram of cesium. In 2018, over 6,000 samples representing about 200 species were tested, and the highest value detected was 51 Becquerels per kilogram. During this time, the last non-compliant sample was last detected in a stone flounder in March 2015, at 140 Becquerels per kilogram.

However, at the end of January 2019, one fish (a skate caught at a depth of 62 meters during test fishing) was analyzed with a level of 161 Becquerels per kilogram.

In October 2017, the WTO ruled in favour of Japan, following Korea’s refusal since 2013 to admit fishery products from
eight prefectures near Fukushima, even though there was no evidence of unsafe levels of radiation contamination. However, some export markets, such as Taiwan and Hong Kong, have maintained a ban on imports of fish from the Fukushima prefecture, citing the risks of nuclear contamination. The Japanese authorities were hoping to have these bans lifted based on the clean sampling and testing record, but this new result casts doubt over the process. The Government had even launched TV commercials advertising farming, fishery, and forestry investments in the Fukushima Prefecture, to dispel lingering consumer suspicions about the safety of the products. Instead they have been compelled to ban the sale of skates from the region and order a new more intense round of sampling and testing. The finding seems to suggest that sporadic release of contaminated cooling water from the site is continuing and that radioisotopes are still entering the food chain, possibly though hotpots where contaminated particles accumulate on the ocean bed. So, eight years after the incident, the risk of radiation is still preventing the recovery of the fishery to its full economic potential.


WSC 2019

Published in General
Friday, 19 April 2019 01:02

The World Seafood Congress (WSC) 2019 cordially invites participants from all over the world to attend the biannual global event which is scheduled to be held on 9-11 September 2019 in Penang, Malaysia. The event is co-organized by Penang Institute and International Association of Fish Inspectors (IAFI).
The conference will be featuring a keynote, oral and poster presentations as well as exhibitions. With the theme “Seafood Supply Chains of the Future”, the conference unites a distinctive and world-class blend of scientists, researchers and leaders both from the scholarly community and industry to trade their information, experiences and research advancements on fish inspection, quality management and technological developments in the seafood sector. It will also address existing and evolving conditions that are critical for the sustainability of fisheries, aquaculture and ocean ecosystems, and demonstrate new innovations and solutions to these challenges.

In addition, there will be travel awards and competitions during the event, which include the following:

Peter Howgate Award will fund the attendance of a
young fish technologist (under 30 years old) to the WSC 2019. The Award will cover travel, accommodation and the congress fee, and this will afford the winning applicant a career-changing opportunity to gain insights and build networks in the global fishery sector. You can visit the website for updates and more information (

IAFI will give a prize for the best WSC posters. The posters will be judged by IAFI board members in the early stage of the conference and the winners will be announced at the start of a plenary session later in the event. Prizes will be given out as First Prize: $500; Second Prize: $300; and Third Prize: $200. For further information about the poster guidelines please visit

The International Association for Women in Seafood Industry (WSI) launches the second edition of the "Women in Seafood" video competition, with the technical support of MATIS, Iceland and the sponsoring of the French Development Agency (AFD) and the International Association of Fish Inspectors (IAFI). The video can be shared in a short film (less than 4 minutes) featuring woman involved in the seafood industry. For more information, kindly visit this link https:// The prize is a ticket to attend WSC 2019, the shortlisted finalists’ videos are to be shown in one of the WSC sessions and the winner will be announced. For more information about the event, visit

FFIAF/C942 Revision 3 (En) Authored by Simon Funge Smith and published by FAO (2018),

The FAO Fishery and Aquaculture Circular C942 Revision 3 (C942 Rev. 3) updates and expands the scope of previous revisions of the circular and is an important baseline document, intended to assist in the global understanding of inland fisheries and inform dialogue on their current and future role.

The third revision reviews the status and trends of inland fisheries catch at global, continental and subcontinental levels. It places inland capture fisheries in the context of overall global fish production, and calls attention to the importance of inland capture fisheries with respect to food security and nutrition and the Sustainable Development Goals. It quantifies global inland fisheries resources in terms of food production, nutrition, employment, economic contribution with respect to those countries/regions or subnational areas where they are important.

A characterization approach to distinguish large-scale and small-scale fishing operations and their relative contributions is provided. The review provides estimated economic values of inland fisheries, as well as a valuation of potential replacement cost of these (in terms of dollars, other resources such as land and water, feeds). There is also an analysis of the extent and economic value of recreational inland fisheries. The contribution to employment and the gender differences related to this are quantified. The linkages between inland fisheries and biodiversity are also explored.

C942 Rev. 3 discusses ways to measure and assess inland fisheries, in particular, how to establish more accurately inland fishery catches in the many situations where there are challenges to collection of catch statistics.

Common oceans are marine Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction (ABNJ) that are not governed by any single nation. Instead, all nations are jointly responsible for sustainably managing those areas. ABNJ, also known as common oceans, include the high seas and the seabed’s beyond the extended continental shelf of coastal states - areas which are difficult to monitor, challenging to manage and easy to over-exploit.

Unfortunately, common oceans face a variety of threats including illegal fishing, pollution and unsustainable fishing and shipping practices. These activities are damaging diverse and valuable ecosystems that provide important ecosystem services, essential food and vital livelihoods for people around the world. Millions of families in both developed and developing countries depend on income generated from fishing and its associated activities. 150 000 MT of deep-sea species of fish are caught every year, and up to 50 different deep-sea species are caught in common oceans alone.

Building on the need to achieve sustainable management of fisheries and biodiversity conservation in common oceans, FAO developed the Common Oceans ABNJ Programme with support from the Global Environment Facility (GEF). The Programme, comprised of four individual projects, is an innovative, unique and comprehensive initiative working in close collaboration with two other GEF agencies, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Bank. Focusing on tuna and deep-sea fisheries, the four projects bring together some 65 partners including governments, regional management bodies, civil society, the private sector, academia and industry to work towards ensuring the sustainable use and conservation of ABNJ biodiversity and ecosystem services.

Source: FAO, 2 July 2018

APEC economies committed to the ocean- IUU Fishing

Published in Feature News
Tuesday, 13 November 2018 03:46

In June, experts and decision makers from around the world gathered at the United Nations Headquarters in New York to focus on the commitment made by nations in 2015 to protect the health of the ocean.

Voluntary agreements have been pledged across the spectrum, from industries to NGOs, in support of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 14 “Life Below Water”.
The Global Oceans Program (GOP) of The Nature Conservancy (TNC) representative, said Illegal 

Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing is diverting the commitment to reach the SDG 14 by 2020. In her presentation on IUU to the APEC Oceans and Fisheries Working Group (OFWG) said to reach the SDG 14, a combined effort is required by all groups and agencies involved in the monitoring, control and surveillance (MCS) of its oceans.

She further said that TNC is working in unison with respective authorities and international bodies at the national, regional and global to help combat IUU fishing.

In the Pacific Islands, IUU fishing has cost US$660 million annually in loss of revenue from ocean resources.

Source: APEC, 7 August, 2018

Argentina and Spain have signed a fisheries and aquaculture bilateral cooperation Memorandum of Understanding. The MoU was stamped in Buenos Aires during the recent G20 Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries ministerial meeting by Argentina's Luis Miguel Etchevehere and Spain's Luis Planas.

The MoU establishes a framework of cooperation to reinforce the bases for an improved maritime sector potential exploitation and ensure conservation and a sustainable management of straddling species.

It will also coordinate efforts to combat illegal, undeclared, unreported fishing and collaboration in scientific research in the area adjacent to Argentina's Exclusive Economic Zone. Cooperation will also be extensive to technological exchange on production and marketing, with training and formation programs.

The two countries will exchange information on fisheries, scientific knowledge in fisheries research and related activities. Argentina and Spain will share information and technology in the fields of catches, aquaculture breeding, transformation, distribution and related activities, are some of the outstanding points of the MoU.

Source: MercoPress, 1 August 2018

Untouched ocean habitats shrinking rapidly, study says

Published in Feature News
Tuesday, 13 November 2018 03:44

Shipping, pollution and overfishing have reduced areas of “wilderness” to just 13 % of the world’s oceans, a study, warning that untouched marine habitats could completely vanish within half a century. International researchers analyzing the impact of human activity on underwater ecosystems — from fertilizer runoff to increased sea transport — have mapped the dwindling zones considered pristine.

The bulk of remaining ocean wilderness, classed as “mostly free of human disturbance,” was found in the Arctic and Antarctic, and around remote Pacific islands.

Just 5 % of the wilderness areas are in protected zones, leaving the rest vulnerable, according to the study published in the journal Current Biology. It called for greater international coordination to regulate the world’s oceans, clamp down on overfishing, limit destructive ocean-mining and reduce sediment runoff.

Last year, the United Nations began negotiating its first conservation treaty for the high seas, which would be a legally binding act governing the sustainable use of oceans outside national maritime boundaries.

Source: AFP, 27 July 2018

CGGI Ghost Gear Reporter App

Published in Responsible Fisheries
Tuesday, 13 November 2018 03:40

The Global Ghost Gear Initiative (CGGI) has developed a Ghost Gear Reporter app on the Google Play and Apple and Apple App stores worldwide. CGGI encourages the use of the app in any ghost gear related work, beach clean ups, etc. It’s simple, intuitive and easy to use and all data gets fed into the CGGI global data portal, helping to establish a global baseline of data on ghost gear around the world. The app allows for as much or as little data as you have to be uploaded, as well as photographs and geo-locations of the gear via mobile devices.

Fishers are also encouraged to use the app and report when they either lose gear themselves or find previously lost gear while out fishing. Data collected from the app will be used to build evidence of ghost gear around the world and will help to inform ongoing solutions work in the future.

INFOFISH International 5/2018

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INFOFISH is the leading source of marketing support for fish producers and exporters in the Asia-Pacific - a region which includes some of the largest fishing nations in the world.

Its activities include bringing buyers and sellers together, publication of current and long-term marketing information and operation of technical advisory and specialized services.

In addition to organizing exhibitions, conferences, workshops, seminars and training programs, INFOFISH undertakes consultancies on all aspects of fisheries - pre-harvest, harvest and post-harvest.