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2018:  FEB

March 2017 Issue

Oyster Bagging Machine
Aids Reef Creation

A new and novel oyster bagging machine, developed by a group of Harris Corp. employee volunteers, will help boost efforts to restore and preserve the Indian River Lagoon (http://bit.ly/2lqMXrc). The Brevard Zoo in Florida demonstrated how the machine slashes the time it takes to fill individual bags with oyster shells. The bags serve as the foundation for new reefs placed in the lagoon through the zoo’s Restore Our Shores program.

The new machine combines a conveyer belt with chutes to automate a process traditionally done by hand. It reduces the bag-filling time from several minutes to under 10 seconds. Six volunteers can now do the job that used to take a team of 40. An individual oyster bag measures about 1 m and weighs about 40 lb. It takes about 2,400 bags to create a reef covering 1,000 linear feet.

Oysters, which used to be plentiful but now have small naturally occurring populations, are excellent for the lagoon because their filter feeding cleans the water, which has been plagued by algae blooms and fish kills in recent years due to pollutants such as lawn fertilizers and septic tanks, as well as excess freshwater entering the brackish lagoon.

The Brevard Zoo has been working on oyster restoration in the lagoon for nearly a decade. Harris was the first company to join the National Estuary Program’s Indian River Lagoon Innovators and Investors network to help improve the lagoon, which stretches for 156 mi. along Florida’s east coast.

China Manages Fisheries
By Reducing Predators

China, the world’s largest seafood producer, has, for the past 20 years, maintained large catches of key species in its most productive waters. That same kind of intense, lightly managed industrial fishing has collapsed other fisheries, such as Newfoundland’s cod fishery in the 1990s. China’s ability to sustain its catches has puzzled scientists, some of whom have questioned the accuracy of the country’s catch reports. But a new study from UC Santa Barbara suggests that by reducing the population of predatory fish, China has increased populations of preyed-upon species.

Predators typically need to eat 10 lb. of prey to add 1 lb. to their own weight, so fishing out predators tends to increase prey catches by much more than it reduces predator catches. This shortening of the food chain by removing predators to increase harvests is a key feature of modern farming.

The study was based on a model of the East China Sea ecosystem built to account for this size-based feeding and the history of intense trawl fishing in the region. The model was able to roughly recreate reported catches of all major species.

The research correctly predicted that under China’s current approach, even catches of such predator species as the largehead hairtail would remain high, although they would comprise mainly one-year-old fish.

Given the negative impacts on biodiversity and potentially reduced ecosystem resilience in the face of climate change, “engineering” ecosystems by removing predators to enable large harvests is not necessarily an advisable long-term fishery management strategy.

However, the model predicted that Western-style, single-species management would decrease catches by reversing changes to the food chain that have so far allowed catches to remain high. The model shows it’s possible for ecosystem-level management to increase catches, revenue and biomass.

Green Corridor JIP
To Examine LNG

New regulations on limiting sulphur and nitrogen oxides emissions and a burgeoning global infrastructure are adding to the growing momentum for the more widespread adoption of LNG as a marine fuel. A new joint industry project (JIP) signed in Singapore between BHP Billiton, Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, Rio Tinto, SDARI, Woodside, and DNV GL looks to capitalize on this opportunity to drive the development of the market. The “Green Corridor” JIP will assess the commercial potential of LNG-fueled vessels in a “green corridor” between Australia and China, culminating in the creation of a next-generation Capesize design to undergo approval in principle under the new DNV GL rules. The JIP has two main objectives: building and assessing the business case of LNG as fuel for Capesize bulkers operating in the trade between Australia-China, and developing an efficient LNG-fueled Capesize concept design. These activities will be run together, with the immediate results generated from one project fed into the other.

The financial and technical feasibility study examines an LNG-fueled Capesize bulker operating from Australia. It will look at a wide range of factors, including the capital costs, operational costs and price sensitivities in terms of LNG and low-sulphur marine fuel oils, in comparison to a conventionally fueled vessel and an LNG retrofit, as well as undertaking a high-level bunker supply chain assessment to identify the key issues affecting the vessel design and business case.

Canada Report on
Sustainable Aquaculture

The Canadian Aquaculture Industry Alliance welcomed a new report by Finance Minister Bill Morneau’s Advisory Council on Economic Growth and its recommendation for sustainable aquaculture growth in Canada and a new federal Canadian Aquaculture Act (http://bit.ly/2kJUF1K). The council recommends a new, robust Canadian agri-food strategy, including a “forward-looking Canadian Aquaculture Act combined with an economic-development strategy that reforms ill-adapted traditional fisheries regulations for this emerging subsector to create opportunities for provincial, regional and aboriginal stakeholders to pursue if they choose.”

The council, established to develop advice on concrete policy actions to help create strong and sustained long-term economic growth, recommends in its report that Canada increase its global aquaculture marketshare to 0.6 percent (from 0.2 percent) and exports by almost USD $2.6 billion.

Aquaculture is among the fastest growing food sectors in the world, accounting for nearly 50 percent of the world’s total fish production.

2018:  FEB

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