By Suzi Dominy*
In Europe, salmon farming giant, Marine Harvest announced plans to build a second feed plant, this time in Scotland. Marine Harvest’s first feed mill in Bjugn, Norway, which opened during 2014, now supplies 80% of its Norwegian feed requirements. However, feed purchases remain a significant part of the cost of producing salmon in the company’s operations in Scotland, Ireland and the Faroe Islands, which are totally supplied by external feed manufacturers.
The factory is expected to have a total capacity of around 170,000 tons, with the potential for further expansion. The range of feed types will be broadened to include starter feed for freshwater and organic feed for the Irish operations. The specific location is yet to be decided.
Investment in the $121 million feedmill will be phased over the years 2016-2018, with approximately 95% of the capital expenditure falling within 2017-2018. The investment is subject to acquiring land and obtaining relevant permissions and consents. The construction phase is planned to commence in 2017 and completion of the feed plant is expected during the first half of 2018. All existing external feed supply contracts in Scotland, Ireland and the Faroe Island expire during the first half of 2018. Existing management within Marine Harvest Fish Feed will provide support to the build-up of the new operational management.
Skretting, the aquafeed arm of Nutreco, demonstrated its commitment to growth in Egypt by investing in additional tilapia fish feed capacity with an extra line in its existing Egyptian plant, in the eastern part of the Nile Delta. This will allow Skretting to triple its tilapia fish feed capacity in Egypt to 150,000 tons and extend its market leadership. Egypt is the world’s second largest producer of tilapia. The growth of its aquaculture sector has been significant in recent years and production is expected to grow further from 1.3 million tons in 2014 to 2 million tonnes by 2020.
Over 580,000 people are employed in aquaculture in Egypt, more than in the rest of Africa combined. Tilapia farmers are professionalizing at a rapid pace, which is increasing demand for extruded fish feed. Compared to pelleted feed, extruded fish feed has the benefit that more of the feed is actually digested by the fish. This results in more resource efficient tilapia production and less pollution.
Harm de Wildt, Managing Director for Nutreco´s operations in Europe and the Middle East said the investment underscores the company’s commitment to the African market. “Through the investment in extruded fish feed capacity and regional R&D, we can support more customers in increasing their efficiency and profitability. Equally important, it will accelerate the transfer of our knowledge acquired in other fish species to tilapia, thus contributing to the sustainable development of aquaculture in Egypt”, he said.
Skretting has also entered into a five year R&D partnership to support sustainable aquaculture in Egypt and Africa with WorldFish, a research institute that focuses on reducing poverty and hunger by improving fisheries and aquaculture. The partnership will focus on tilapia nutrition and testing of new, local ingredients for fish feed. The construction of an advanced trial unit with a recirculation system is part of the partnership.
More than half of the projected global population growth in the coming decades will take place in Africa. The continent will have added 1.3 billion people by 2050, roughly equivalent to the current population of China. The investment is a next step in Nutreco’s ambition to expand in Africa. Nutreco entered Africa in 2001 by acquiring a share of the Egyptian company Hendrix Misr, which came under full ownership in 2013 and was renamed Skretting Egypt. Nutreco increased its presence in 2014 through a fish feed joint venture in Nigeria. Further investments are currently being explored.
Meanwhile, another massive vertically integrated aquaculture group, Taiwan’s Grobest, has expanded into the Philippines with the commissioning of a $22-million plant in Gerona, Tarlac. The 150,000 tons per year feedmill will produce aquafeed for the local market.
Grobest Philippines chairman, An-Hung Chuang, said the Philippines’ high economic growth, government efficiency, reasonable financing rate and other favorable conditions will help the development of aquaculture. The availability of feed ingredients from Tarlac and neighboring provinces and huge market potential were major considerations in the selection of the site. The 14.2 hectare plant will operate under the name Grobest Feeds Philippines Inc.
We also had confirmation that U.K. Benchmark Holdings plc., had reached agreement to acquire INVE Aquaculture Holding B.V. (INVE), a leading specialist manufacturer of primary stage technically advanced nutrition and health products for aquaculture, for a total consideration of $342 million. In 2014, INVE generated $89m in revenues with earnings of $25.4m. As INVE is a larger company than Benchmark, the deal is considered to be a reverse takeover and is subject to shareholder approval.
Malcolm Pye, Chief Executive of Benchmark, noted the acquisition of INVE made Benchmark a global leader in the aquaculture technology market overnight.
Philippe Léger, Chief Executive Officer of INVE said: “Benchmark’s toolbox of health and genetics solutions will complete INVE’s current offering in advanced nutritional and health products. Together we will become a unique knowledge and solutions platform that supports our customers in taking better care throughout the culture lifecycle. As a result we can more effectively than ever contribute to our clients’ sustainable growth and long-term success”.
Developments in feed
In a recent trial carried out at BioMar’s test unit at Senja, phrases such as “unbelievable results” were used when the data were processed. It has become increasingly apparent that incorporating krill in salmon feed will enhance the quality of the fish at slaughter. In this trial, the test feed containing krill produced a 19 per cent reduction in dark melanin spots in fillets.
These findings are contained in a new Nofima report in which 200 fish were examined by Turid Mørkøre and her team at Nofima. The feeding trial was conducted at BioMar’s trial license off Senja using salmon that were transferred to seawater in the spring of 2014. The test feed used in the trial was Qardio, which contains krill (QRILL produced by Aker BioMarine). Other trials have also shown that Qardio can reduce dark spots as well as enhancing fillet quality, reducing inflammation and boosting HSMI resistance.
“Significant attention is currently being devoted to the occurrence of dark spots in salmon fillets, both by the industry and by specialist institutions,” said Gunnar Molland, BioMar’s product manager for fish health. “The melanin discolorations are assumed to be the product of a permanent inflammation process and we have also found repeated indications that feed components which modulate inflammation help to reduce the development of spots. In addition to the role played by specific vitamins and minerals we have also seen the effects of the fatty acid balance. As a consequence, it did not come as any great surprise to find that Qardio, which was already known to reduce the harmful effects of virus infections on the heart, has now also been shown to reduce the occurrence of dark spots in the fillet. The discovery that the same virus (PRV) that causes HSMI is found in dark spots in fish fillets suggests that the virus may also play a role in this context.”
BioMar will apply the new knowledge generated in this work in the development of tools for the industry, and aims to launch a product designed to promote cost-effective prevention of fillet spots early next year. Operational stress appears to be a significant factor in the development of dark spots.
Suzi Dominy is the founding editor and publisher of aquafeed.com. She brings 25 years of experience in professional feed industry journalism and publishing. Before starting this company, she was co-publisher of the agri-food division of a major UK-based company, and editor of their major international feed magazine for 13 years.