Four Years After Fukushima, Japan Looks For Answers

Posted by Lee Drever on Mar 13, 2015 11:46:00 AM

It has been four years since Japan was hit with the most powerful earthquake in its recorded history.
Tsunami Devastation
 Octaform customers, Hayashi Trout shared this shot of the devastation in Ongawa, Japan

In March of 2011, just 45 miles east of the Oshika Peninsula of Tohoku, a 9.0 magnitude undersea megathrust earthquake triggered a wave of destruction unlike anything in Japan's recorded memory. The quake and subsequent tsunami washed over coastal ports and towns, claiming over 18,000 lives, destroying over one million buildings and triggering a nuclear meltdown.

Four years later, Japan continues to deal with the aftermath of the disaster. The almost 83,000 residents living closest to the Fukushima nuclear plant were evacuated and radiation levels have kept them from returning home. Cleanup continues and researchers and analysts have now ruled local dairy, produce and seafood to be safe. 

Trout Grow-Out Tanks Are Stocked
  Hayashi Trout stocks the Octaform tanks at their park near Fukushima.

However, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, fears persist. As Wired reports, locals are slow to return to locally grown food even in the face of positive data.

Understandably, these fears are also affecting Japan's energy infrastructure. The Fukushima plant and all 48 of the nation's nuclear facilities have remained closed since the events of 2011, leaving utilities scrambling for energy. Forced to rely heavily on fossil fuels, like coal and natural gas, leaders have worked to find cleaner sources like solar. 

Driven by political and popular will, solar use in Japan has grown dramatically in the last two years. Clean and renewable, it represents an about-face from atomic energy but as the New York Times reports, this may be too good to be true. Utilities are now rejecting solar, complaining that it can't reliably support the demands of the country.

Many argue that the solution, to reducing Japan's now high greenhouse gas emissions, is actually a return to atomic power. The long term effects of the world's worst nuclear meltdown since Chernobyl remain to be seen but the reality is that there have been no fatalities directly linked to the Fukushima accident.

Japan's struggle is a microcosm of our global struggle. 'Answers' are few and far between and, as they are learning, 'solutions' are often trade-offs. 

These issues around sustainability, unfortunately, are easily politicized. It seems tough, however, to take issue with the Portland Cement Association's basic sentiment on the topic:

"We believe the most sustainable building is the one still standing.” David Shepherd, PCA

Each year in the United States alone, more than $35 billion in direct property loss is caused by natural disasters.  States and municipalities are seeking to adopt ordinances that require “green” or “sustainable” construction, yet as the PCA points out, they are overlooking disaster-resistance construction. 

There is now a call for making enhanced resilience of a building’s structure to natural and man-made disasters the first consideration of a green building.  Increased longevity and durability, combined with improved disaster resistance, results in the need for less energy and resources. This is not only the case for repair, removal, disposal and replacement of building materials and contents due to disasters, but for routine maintenance and operations as well. 

Concrete Trout Tanks Under Construction
 Formed and protected with Octaform, Hayashi's aquaculture tanks survived the disaster unscathed.

“Integration of durability and functional resilience into sustainability codes, standards and programs is long overdue,” David Shepherd, director of sustainability for the Portland Cement Association (PCA) said. “Some say the most sustainable structure is the one that isn’t built. We believe the most sustainable building is the one still standing.”

Functionally resilient buildings place less demand on resources and allow communities to provide vital services, even after a natural disaster.  For example, resilient construction allows businesses to continue operations, providing municipalities with a consistent tax base. Emergency recovery, the PCA reminds us, costs money. These funds are often reallocated from other community economic, societal and environmental initiative. The ripples can last for generations.

The question of sustainability is complicated and rife with misinformation, trade-offs and unforseen consequences but building better, it seems, will always be the right choice.



Topics: Aquaculture, Agriculture, Sustainability, Concrete, Concrete Construction, seismic, disaster, energy, Agri-Food, Renewable Energy

Tanked! The Big Reveal... (Video)

Posted by Lee Drever on Oct 28, 2014 11:25:36 AM

Friday's episode of Tanked featured their largest aquarium build yet... a 250,000 gallon shark tank constructed with Octaform!

Check it out...

Learn more about this project...

Topics: Aquaculture, aquarium, Aquaculture Tanks, Concrete Construction, Tanked, Animal Planet, Dynasty Marine, Concrete Tanks

TV Tank Builders Go Big With Octaform

Posted by Lee Drever on Oct 22, 2014 2:44:00 PM

Tanked Builders

Largest Tank Yet For Animal Planet Show

On a weekly basis, the folks at Acrylic Tank Manufacturing build some of the strangest and most extravagant custom aquariums in the world. Their work can be seen in zoos, casinos, theme parks and for four seasons now, on their own television show, 'Tanked'. 

Tracy Morgan On Tanked
Comedian, Tracy Morgan reacts to his custom tank on a previous episode. 
Airing in the United States & Canada on Animal Planet, 'Tanked' follows brothers-in-law, Wayde King and Brett Raymer as they tackle some of the most unique and challenging tank projects in the world. 

When faced with the challenge of building a 250,000 gallon set of connecting shark tanks for a new Florida aquarium, they turned to Octaform to form and protect the concrete walls.

Featuring this week on the show (The episode, 'Pipe Dreams' airs Friday, October 24 on Animal Planet), this set of tanks is the centerpiece for the brand new Florida Keys Aquarium Encounters.

A truly immersive experience, these tanks let visitors get right in the water with with exotic marine creatures to 'experience the thriving ecosystem in the aquarium environment'. Oh, and one more thing... YOU CAN FEED THE SHARKS. 

Take a look...



Building this 'experience' called for two watertight concrete tanks separated by an acrylic divider. The tanks needed to be durable and but they also needed to accomodate the unique design and openings that were crucial to the experience of the visitors brave enough to enter the tanks and the ones that prefer to stay dry. For this they chose Octaform Finished Concrete Forms (FCF).

Read: Aquarium Creates An Immersive Experience With New Octaform Tanks

Octaform FCFs form and protect concrete in one step. The smooth, food-safe panels assemble on site and are filled with concrete. The forms then remain in place protecting the concrete with a built-in PVC membrane that is watertight and fish friendly. 

Watertight Concrete Tanks
The two Octaform tanks are assembled on site. Concrete is poured into the PVC forms that stay in place protecting the walls and the marine life. 


Octaform formwork is particularly suited for aquaculture tanks but it is also used to form and protect concrete in many of the most challenging environments in the world from applications in agriculture and biogas to food processing and car washes


'Tanked' featuring Florida Keys Aquarium Encounters 
airs Friday, October 24 on Animal Planet

Learn More About Octaform Aquaculture


Topics: Aquaculture, tanks, aquarium, finished concrete forms, Aquaculture Tanks, Concrete Construction, Tanked, Animal Planet

Aquarium Creates An Immersive Experience With New Octaform Tanks

Posted by Lee Drever on Oct 2, 2014 4:38:00 PM

Shark Tank Built With Octaform
Photos: floridakeysaquariumencounters.com

Swimming With Sharks In Florida

Florida-based aquarium suppliers, Dynasty Marine Associates have learned that building better doesn't always come with a higher price tag.

Aquaculture Tank Construction

When Dynasty Marine began planning an expansion of their tropical marine habitat, their director, Forrest Young knew that concrete was the way to go. With over 30 years of fish-collecting and aquarium keeping under his belt, the leader of Team Dynasty understood that concrete would be tough enough to withstand the daily rigours of marine husbandry but price, ultimately, had to be considered. 

Concrete tanks, while longer lasting than their fibreglass counterparts, often come with extra considerations and expenses such as liners, sealants and formwork. It was only after a conversation with Steve Ehrenpreis at Octaform, that Mr. Young saw that he could build better and still stay within his budget."We wanted concrete tanks but did not think the cost would fit into our budget," said Young.

"Steve helped us determine the costs for concrete tanks with the Octaform forming system and we found that they were very affordable,“  continued Young.

Tank Walls Of Aquarium Tank

With Octaform, Steve explained, they could eliminate many of the costs associated with conventional construction.

Octaform is a stay-in-place concrete forming system that assembles quickly without specialized labor or heavy equipment. Extruded from food-grade, potable water safe PVC, it forms and protects concrete in one step. 

This built-in, easy-to-clean, PVC membrane not only protects the fish; it protects the tank walls. Octaform snaps together to form a watertight barrier between the tank and the concrete protecting it from moisture and other corrosive elements. 

While Octaform had never been specified as a tropical habitat before, the team at Dynasty were able to look at recirculating aquaculture systems across the globe that used the system. From Saudi Arabia to Japan, Norway and the United States, Octaform tanks are used to grow everything from salmon to barramundi in some of the most simple and some of the most complex aquaculture systems in the world.

Concrete Aquarium Tanks

With Steve's help, Dynasty Marine saw that Octaform was not just better than the fibreglass alternative, it fit the budget.

Using Octaform Finished Concrete Forms, Team Dynasty formed and protected two round, 10 ft high, insulated tanks joined by one straight, shared wall. The tanks, painted aquamarine blue, are now the centerpiece of newly opened, Aquarium Encounters in the Florida Keys.


Aquarium Encounters
offers a truly immersive experience for its vistors who are invited to actually get in the tanks with the marine creatures and be a part of the action in the thriving ecosystem that exists in the aquarium environment. 

Visitors get up close with tropical fish, sting-rays and (as seen in the video below) they can even feed the sharks.

Dynasty Marine Associates, Inc. supply sustainably caught tropical fish to public aquariums, research institutions and pet stores worldwide. They are a USDA supervised facility and are active members in the Association of Zoos and Aquarium (AZA), the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA), the European Union of Aquarium Curators (EUAC), and the Animal Transportation Association (ATA). They dedicate 15% of their annual operating budget to the active conservation of marine resources.

Octaform is a PVC, stay-in-place concrete forming system that is ideal for the construction of high performance structures like vehicle washes, barns or commercial buildings. Because the built-in finish is watertight and food-safe, it is also ideal for tank construction. Whether it is for aquaculture, biogas or even manure containment, Octaform is a superior yet economical choice.  

See More Aquaculture Tanks...

Topics: Aquaculture, tanks, aquarium, finished concrete forms

New Water Treatment Tech Debuts At Aqua Nor

Posted by Lee Drever on Aug 22, 2013 12:44:00 PM

Recirculating Aquaculture System Recirculating aquaculture systems like this one constructed in the Saudi desert rely heavily on sophisticated water treatment systems to protect stocks from infection and disease. Xylem introduced new UV technology to Aqua Nor attendees this month.

- This month at Aqua Nor, the world of aquaculture previewed some technology that aims to help farmers keep their stock healthy while minimizing the need for vaccines and antibiotics.

Xylem's water treatment technologies are already in place in broad spectrum of industries from agriculture to water & wastewater. With the demands for efficient and sustainable aquaculture on the increase, companies like Xylem are wise to respond.

Recirculating Aquaculture Water TreatmentTheir response, in Norway, was to debut a new ultra-violet system designed to inactivate fish pathogens in both recirculating and flow through aquaculture systems. Xylem's new WEDECO BX and Quadron series UV systems are contained in duplex stainless steel reactors capable of resisting the corrosive effect of saltwater. These units will enable customers to efficiently handle pressurized flows ranging from 10 to more than 4,000 cubic meters per hour. 

“The recent extension of our line of WEDECO disinfection systems is the latest example of our commitment to solving our customers’ water problems,” said Gretchen McClain, president and chief executive officer of Xylem.  "We look forward to bringing all areas of Xylem’s aquaculture expertise to customers in pumping, treatment, instrumentation, heat exchange and control systems, for optimal biosecurity, energy efficiency, and value.”

Aquaculture is the most rapidly growing sector of food production worldwide. Higher fish density can lead to pathogen increase which is a significant threat to aquaculture operations. Disinfection by UV or ozone can reduce the risk of disease in aquaculture systems and results in less need for vaccination, as well as higher growth rates and decreased fish mortality.

Already a world leader in UV technology, the WEDECO brand is being used in large-scale fish farms in Norway, a country with some of the longest established and most advanced aquaculture industries. They rely on Xylem’s disinfection equipment to protect their aquatic livestock from the spread of diseases and to ensure clean, safe water for their aquaculture businesses. Xylem’s UV solutions are already approved by the Norwegian Veterinary Institute (NVI) and validated according to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) standards.

The World's Aquaculture Tank Technology Click Here to Learn More...


Topics: Aquaculture, Recirculating Aquaculture Systems, water treatment, Water and Wastewater

Aquaculture Researchers Attempt To Produce Tuna On Land

Posted by Thomas Belsheim on Jun 21, 2013 2:05:00 PM


School of Yellow-fin Tuna

Photocredit: USFWS

A joint collaboration between the University Of Rhode Island and Greenfins LLC. aims to develop land based aquaculture for Yellowfin Tuna. 

Swimming around and around in a 20,000 gallon tank at the University of Rhode Island’s Bay Campus are several large yellowfin tuna captured last fall about 100 miles off the Rhode Island coast. The fish are part of the first effort in the United States to breed tuna in a land-based aquaculture facility to meet the growing demand for one of the ocean’s top predators.

“Worldwide demand for tuna increases yearly, even as tuna stocks are dwindling precipitously,” said Terry Bradley, a URI professor of fisheries and aquaculture. “What we’re trying to do is produce fish in captivity and take the pressure off the wild stocks.”Aquaculture Brochure

Bradley and Peter Mottur, director of Rhode Island-based Greenfins, are taking the first steps in developing the techniques to raise tuna from egg to harvest size while creating a new sustainable industry in Rhode Island.

According to Bradley, some in Australia, Mexico and several Mediterranean countries are doing what he calls “tuna ranching” by capturing wild tuna, putting them in pens and raising them to harvest size. “All they’re doing is taking wild fish and fattening them up,” he said. “It’s still depleting the wild population and has had a long-term impact on tuna stocks.”

Bradley and Mottur are starting the process by trying to get a few wild-caught tuna to spawn in the URI tank, but it is a challenging undertaking. Tuna are long-distance migrants that swim at great speeds, so acclimating them to a 20-foot diameter tank has been difficult. Once the fish spawn and the eggs hatch, the microscopic larvae must be fed live food raised on site. Then they must be weaned from live food to a dry, formulated feed.


Millbrooke Ontario Hatchery

An Octaform Aquaculture Tank in Truro Nova Scotia.  

“The early stages of the project are all about research – learning about the early life cycle of these fish and developing the techniques to raise them,” Bradley said. “But we also think there is a lot of commercial potential.”

Bradley and Mottur envision local entrepreneurs using the techniques they develop to produce juvenile tuna that could then be sold to others who want to grow them further. In Japan, an eight-inch juvenile tuna raised in captivity can be sold for $100 to $125.

“It’s a sustainable project that we hope will create green technology jobs here in Rhode Island to leverage the great intellectual capital we have in the state,” said Mottur. “We’ve already developed a partnership between URI and my company, and we hope to take it from the research phase to the commercialization phase once we demonstrate tuna breeding and larval rearing success.”

Mottur has started several technology companies in Rhode Island, but his passion is the ocean and he enjoys offshore sport fishing and freediving, which led him to learn about the issues facing tuna.

“I got involved in the project when I learned that no other organization in the U.S. was keyed in to tuna aquaculture,” said Mottur, a graduate of URI’s fisheries and aquaculture program. “I see an enormous opportunity with yellowfin tuna and eventually with bluefin tuna, which has been under significant global fishing pressure over the past 20 years.”

Bradley and Mottur believe that construction of a larger tank, which will be built at the URI Bay Campus later this year, will markedly increase the project’s likelihood of success.

Interested in building Octaform Aquaculture tanks?
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“Tuna are open ocean fish that require a lot of space and need very good water quality,” Bradley said. “If you put too many fish in a tank, they get stressed and the water quality begins to degrade. The less you stress them, the more likely they are to spawn in a reasonable time frame.” According to Bradley and Mottur, it’s the ideal time for a tuna aquaculture venture.

“Japan can’t produce all the tuna it needs for the country’s own purposes, and the U.S. is a net importer of fish, including tuna,” Bradley said. “So there is tremendous potential for us to produce fish that could easily be sold in the U.S., especially if it’s a sustainable product in an environmentally responsible manner.”

While many doubt the economic feasibility of land based tuna production, according to the FAO FISHSTAT Plus, captures of commercial tuna species increased from 403,050 tonnes in 1950 to more than 4 million tones in 2002. While increased rates of fishing are causing supplies to dwindle, recent spikes in demand are resulting in ever rising prices. These trends are positive signs for this Rhode Island based venture. 

Increased demand and dwindling supply make on-land production an economic inevitability. The question is not if these systems can be profitable, but when. 

Topics: Aquaculture, Recirculating Aquaculture Systems, Aquaculture Tanks

National Prawn Grows with Sea Cucumber Aquaculture

Posted by Thomas Belsheim on Jun 7, 2013 4:40:00 PM

National Prawn Company (NPC) has recently made advancements in the growth and cultivation of sea cucmbers. After expansions in both amberjack and shrimp aquaculture, a move toward sea cucumber cultivation signifies NPC’s growing brand within the industry. 

National Prawn Company (NPC), a shrimp producer from Saudi Arabia, has expanded into sea cucumber aquaculture. The company has achieved a biological cycle for sea cucumbers in harvest conditions, creating production cycles for years to come. NPC expects 90 tons of sea cucumber to be harvested this year. 

Pointing out this achievement, Engineer Ahmad R. Al-Ballaa, Managing Director of NPC and board chairman of Saudi Aquaculture Society, said: “We own the pride of achieving such a big project which is one of its kind in the region. It has consumed more than 3 years of constant researching and experimenting carried by a team of professionals in the feild of aquaculture."

National Prawn continues to expand. Along with the sea cucumber, NPC has seen recent expansions in amberjack, barramundi, and seabream aquaculture,with production targets of 100,000 metric tones within 10 years.  

 NPC Aquaculture Tank

NPC finfish production is on the rise. The picture above shows a recent collaboration between Octaform Systems and the NPC in the construction of on-land amberjack tanks

Al-Ballaa elaborates on the companies growing brand, “Our first steps and achievements on this long path were the ones towards a successful shrimp project which are followed by the fish projects that are getting thumbs up worldwide. An additional milestone in this journey would be the sea cucumber brood stock’s ability to lay its eggs, producing 23 million larvae.”

 In the same context, manager of the sea cucumber project, Mr. Mario Umundab, said: “Breeding sea cucumber in such high saline water and a very hot environment was never an easy task. Attentive monitoring on a daily basis for three consecutive years was a mandatory task that played a major role in guaranteeing its survival. It was a major reward for quite a hardworking and sacrificing team that has set a sustainable marine life development as one of its main goals,”

Sea cucumber products are not well known in Saudi society, as a result, production has been export oriented. NPC is currently targeting growing demand in China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Singapore.

As for its environmental benefits, an adult sea cucumber is capable of cleaning and purifying four metric tons of sand each year as whirling the sand to find its daily supply of food is its natural way of hunting and survival, said the company. This in turn is the best way to purify the sand and facilitating its process of getting rid of organic residues. Its twirling and daily journey of food hunting maintains a balanced PH rate in seawater and plays a vital role in separating petroleum waste, according to the NPC. 

NPC's recent growth is part of a larger trend. As stated by the FAO, aquaculture continues to be the worlds fastest growing animal food-producing sector, with an average annual growth rate of 6.9% from 1970-2006. With a growing world population, aquaculture may be the only way to meet the global demand for animal-based protein.  

Interested in working with Octaform? Get a Sample pack: 

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Topics: Aquaculture, Recirculating Aquaculture Systems, National Prawn Company

Sustainable Seafood Commitment on Track for Loblaw

Posted by Lee Drever on Jun 19, 2012 3:54:00 PM

BRAMPTON, ON, - Canada's largest food retailer reported this week that they are on track to meeting their 2013 commitment to 100 per cent responsibly sourced seafood.

22074 284418674793 6025989 nLoblaw instore signage highlights the impact that sourcing 100% sustainable seafood has on retail.

A step forward in this progress for Loblaw involved a membership in the International Fishmeal and Fish Oil Organisation (IFFO). This move will require all supplying farms to use only IFFO Responsible Supply standard fish meal and fish oil in their feeds.

Formed in 1959, the IFFO is the international non-profit organization which represents fishmeal and fish oil producers and related trades throughout the world.  One of the key objectives of IFFO certification is a commitment to responsible fishery management, quality control and assurance, including the traceability of fishmeal and fish oil from the producer to the user. The commitment also includes transportation and storage to ensure safety and to avoid endangered and illegal unreported species.IFFO

"Responsible fish farming needs responsible feed," says Andrew Mallison, Director General, IFFO. "By supporting the IFFO Responsible Supply standard, Loblaw is giving their customers the assurance that the fishmeal and fish oil used as feed ingredients are from well managed fisheries and is produced in safe and well managed factories. We are also delighted to welcome them as our first retail member."

Members of the IFFO share a commitment to setting a standard for the aquaculture value chain through the promotion of high-quality, certified fish meal and fish oil into the diets of both aquatic and land animals. Loblaw joins producers and trade associations from around the world representing nearly two-thirds of the world's production of fish meal and fish oil.

"By becoming members of the IFFO, Loblaw has made strides in moving closer to our goal of sourcing 100 per cent of the seafood sold in our stores from sustainable sources by the end of 2013," says Paul Uys, vice-president, sustainable seafood, Loblaw Companies Limited. 

"As Canada's largest food retailer, Loblaw will play a key leadership role in bringing these responsibly farmed seafood practices to the wider marketplace."

"WWF recognizes the importance of engaging with multiple stakeholders to develop environmental and social standards and voluntary certification schemes for a range of commodities," says Dr. Robert Rangeley, vice-president, WWF-Canada, Atlantic Region. "We see Loblaw's membership in IFFO as an example of this and another important step in their commitment to responsible sourcing and traceability of seafood in Canada."

As one of its 2012 Sustainable Seafood Commitments, Loblaw has committed to begin the conversion to 100 per cent of fishmeal and fish oil used in feed to be certified against the IFFO Responsible Supply standard for all control brand responsibly farmed seafood programs. This commitment extends into Loblaw control brand products where there are feeding regimes, such as the PC® Free From products.

Topics: Aquaculture, Sustainability, Recirculating Aquaculture Systems, WWF, Loblaw, IFFO

Canadian Salmon Farm Under Quarantine Due To IHN

Posted by Lee Drever on May 18, 2012 8:19:00 AM

Farmed Atlantic SalmonPhoto courtesy of: Mainstream Canada

A British Columbia fish farm has been placed under quarantine and is now depopulating due to the detection of the IHN (Infectious Haematopoietic Necrosis) virus. IHN is not considered to be a threat to wild Pacific Salmon but it can be devastating to the Atlantic salmon farmed on the West Coast of Canada.

During routine fish health tests on Monday, May 14, Mainstream Canada's Dixon Bay farm tested positive for IHNv. Third-party lab PCR test results confirmed the presence of the virus and Mainstream Canada has begun depopulating the site under the watch of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.

"We are very concerned about this fish health event and are taking every step to make sure it is contained and any risks minimized," said Fernando Villarroel, Mainstream Canada's managing director. "This shows our disease monitoring programs work. We were able to quickly detect IHN while in its early stages and react decisively. Early detection is crucial to minimizing the risk in any fish health situation."

The IHN virus is naturally carried by Pacific salmon, trout and herring. Studies show wild Pacific salmon have a natural resistance to the virus and very rarely suffer ill effects from it.

However, the virus causes Infectious Haematopoietic Necrosis disease in farmed Atlantic salmon. Since Atlantic salmon are not native to the Pacific coast, they have not had hundreds of years to develop a natural immunity to the virus, like their Pacific cousins. The disease can cause high degrees of mortalities on Atlantic salmon farms if not quickly managed and contained.

"This is the first diagnosis of IHN among farmed Atlantic salmon in BC since 2003. Although IHN kills up to 100% of exposed Atlantic salmon, wild salmon in marine waters are very resistant to IHNV infection," said Gary Marty, fish pathologist for the BC Animal Health Centre.

Samples collected during routine fish health disease screening were submitted to the provincial government's Animal Health Centre lab in Abbotsford, B.C. The lab detected the virus with qPCR tests and confirmed it by genetic sequencing. Histopathological results also confirmed that the fish were affected with the disease caused by the IHN virus.

Fish removed from the site will be euthanized and transported to a composting facility for disposal. Strict biosecurity protocols will be followed during all stages of this process.

Topics: Aquaculture, Canada, Salmon, Mainstream Canada, Quarantine, Infectious Haematopoietic Necrosis

Organic Net-Pen Aquaculture? 'No Way' Say Conservationists

Posted by Lee Drever on May 11, 2012 1:15:00 PM

Canadian conservation organisations have expressed united concern over the undermining of the Canadian ‘organic’ label by a new organic standard that would allow net-pen aquaculture products to be certified.

By including open-net pen finfish in to the organic aquaculture standard, the standard fails miserably at one of its claimed principles, to ‘Protect the environment, minimize benthic degradation and erosion and water quality degradation, decrease pollution, optimize biological productivity and promote a sound state of health’.

“The finfish standards would allow conventional open net pen farmed salmon to be certified organic despite the large body of scientific evidence linking this farming practice to detrimental impacts on wild salmon and on the marine environment,” stated Matt Abbott from the Conservation Council of New Brunswick.  “Organic producers and customers should be concerned as this weak aquaculture standard threatens the integrity of all organic labels,” concluded Abbott.

The Conservation Council of New Brunswick, Living Oceans Society and three other voting members including organic associations,  formally voted ‘No’ to the new Canadian Organic Aquaculture Standard as members of the standard committee. However the standard still passed the Canadian General Standards Board (CGSB)’s requirement of 50% plus one vote.

Recirculating Aquaculture TankConservationist groups such as Save Our Salmon have proposed recirculating aquaculture systems as a better, more sustainable option than open-net fish farming. 

The voting membership of the committee was heavily government and industry based, including salmon aquaculture companies and their associations. “The bias of the membership base, definitely aided this standard being passed,” said Kelly Roebuck from Living Oceans Society.  “In fact the standard sponsor, Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) has been a major driver for obtaining an organic standard for open net pen farmed salmon” stated Roebuck.

“With growing consumer interest in sustainable, local and organic food – this organic labelling will undermine public confidence in all organic and sustainable labels,” stated Rob Johnson of the Ecology Action Centre.  

“With this standard for open net pen fish, we’re seeing greenwashing being taken to an entirely new level,” concluded Johnson.

Innovative technology such as closed containment systems can greatly reduce or eliminate environmental risks such as escapes, diseases and parasites, waste discharge and pesticide use, yet  these aquaculture production systems that are more compatible with organic principles have not been prioritized within the standard.

The Coastal Alliance for Aquaculture Reform (CAAR), Conservation Council of New Brunswick and Ecology Action Centre today launched the website organicsalmon.org to provide more information on the concerns associated with the Canadian Organic Aquaculture Standard and how shoppers can make a difference by supporting aquaculture producers who are farming more sustainably.

Topics: Fish Farming, Aquaculture, Canada, Recirculating Aquaculture Systems, Organic, Millbrook, Canadian Aquaculture Industry Alliance, Canada Organic Trade Association, Save Our Salmon, Coastal Alliance for Aquaculture Reform, Ecology Action Centre, Conservation Council of New Brunswick