Skretting reminded farmers about the important role of nutrition to mitigate the impact of Winter Syndrome on Mediterranean species. The experts at the Nutreco company recommends the use of Protec before the temperature drops and to maintain feeding their product continuously until the temperature returns to the optimum for the species.
“Unlike any other animal production industry, aquaculture is strongly dependent on environmental conditions”, they said. “This can cause a risk to fish health due to temperature fluctuations, mainly in estuaries and sea cages. On top, marine species that are less cold-tolerant have to cope with climatic variations, low temperatures and salinity instability, forcing them to adapt to the new conditions.”
One of the most concerning Mediterranean species for producers is sea bream, which is particularly sensitive to low temperatures. During the winter months, growth rate and health status suffer disruptions consequently reflecting impairment performance.
‘Winter Syndrome’ or ‘Winter Disease’ is not caused by any specific pathogen, it is a multifactorial syndrome that involves metabolic collapse, organ dysfunction and immunosuppression, mainly due to low temperatures and reduced intake.
“Therefore, as the winter progresses, fish have to cope with various situations: thermal stress, osmoregulatory imbalance, immunosuppression and nutritional deficiencies.“
In recent years, the main economic impact on farms where conditions are favorable for suffering from winter syndrome is due to the loss of fish performance, which can reach 10-15% in weight loss, mainly in sea bream in their second winter, coinciding with sexual maturation.
In first winter gilthead seabream, external factors other than cold, such as stress associated with intensified production and secondary infections, have also been reported to play an important role.
On farms where temperatures remain below 15°C for long periods, this process can be particularly severe.
As there is no effective treatment for Winter Syndrome, it is crucial to be aware of the necessity to prevent the development of Winter Disease in marine fish species. In order to take action on it, the experts at Skretting recommend the use of Protec before the temperature drops and to maintain feeding Protec continuously until the temperature returns to the optimum for the species.
“As there is no effective treatment for Winter Syndrome, it is crucial to be aware of the necessity to prevent the development of Winter Disease in marine fish species.“
Protec, a functional diet developed by specialists at Skretting’s Aquaculture Research Centre (ARC), has established itself in the industry as a remarkable preventive solution to mitigate the impact of Winter Syndrome on marine species and to reduce the risk of post-winter diseases.
Protec as a preventive diet during winter period
Julio Docando, Health Diets Manager for Skretting Southern Europe, explains: “The use of Protec as a preventive diet during the winter season reduces the occurrence of post-winter diseases; a clear example is the low incidence of “skin rash” on farms that use Protec on a regular basis. It also enhances healing capacity after an injury and growth during this period”.
The use of this nutritional solution requires a well-defined and organized management by the farmer, which favors productive strategies and efficient feed use. The recommendation of the experts is to start using this functional diet when temperature reaches to 18-19ºC and to maintain this feeding continuously until the temperature recovers back to 18-19ºC after the winter. In this way, Protec offers the best cost-benefit ratio, ensuring profitability to fish farmers.
Specialized state-of-the-art feed plant for land-based salmon
In the other hand, Skretting and Atlantic Sapphire ASA have announced Skretting’s intention to construct a specialized state-of-the-art feed plant for land-based salmon in Florida to serve Atlantic Sapphire’s US operations with market-leading feeds specialized for Bluehouse salmon farming.
A local feed plant will minimize the carbon footprint of transporting the feed to the facility, and is expected to cut the Company’s logistics cost, and thereby its cost of production, by approximately USD 0.3/kg HOG.
Skretting intends to build and finance the feed plant, while Atlantic Sapphire will commit to source the majority of its salmon feed demand from Skretting over the contract period, which is expected to span ten years. The all-in feed price will be determined by the actual cost per specific diet and can only be influenced by factors outside the control of Skretting. The agreement contains contractual mechanisms to ensure that Atlantic Sapphire always has access to market leading salmon feeds in terms of both quality and value, while Skretting continues to exceed industry standards.
“Atlantic Sapphire has chosen its partner based on the unparalleled track record Skretting has demonstrated within research and development. “
The long-term feed agreement commits both parties to a close cooperation on R&D and development of Bluehouse feeds of the future, through both financial commitments and sharing of knowledge from and between the two organizations. Accessing the right feed quality and diet is critical for the biological performance of the fish and for the water quality within the RAS facility. Skretting and Atlantic Sapphire expect continuous improvements going forward that will result in better fish welfare, higher product quality, improved sustainability an.