Fish Farmer

Oregon set for sea lion cull to save salmon


FEDERAL funding has been secured to support a targeted cull of sea lions in the US state of Oregon, with the aim of protecting wild salmon.The cull will make use of a provision in the US Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) that allows the killing of protected species in exceptiona­l circumstan­ces.

The MMPA normally forbids any culling of marine mammals such as sea lions and seals, even when they pose a nuisance to commercial fish farms and fisheries.As the Act imposes import sanctions on any regions outside US jurisdicti­on that permit culling, it has the effect of imposing a similar ban on culls in other locations such as Scotland and Norway.

A spokespers­on for the US National Oceanic and Atmospheri­c Administra­tion (NOAA) explained:“The Marine Mammal Protection Act prohibits the lethal ‘take’ (i.e. killing) of marine mammals, but provides a few limited exceptions including when local officials can lethally remove animals that are impacting Endangered Species Act-listed species or pose an immediate health and safety risk to people.

“MMPA Section 109(h) provides for the protection or welfare of the animals or public health and welfare by allowing federal, state, or local officials to humanely euthanise marine mammals that are suffering or causing immediate danger to people.This provision also allows for the non-lethal removal of an individual nuisance animal by local government officials, but not culling of an entire population.”

Permission for a take permit under the MMPA must be obtained from NOAA.

MANY of New Zealand’s mussel farms are cleaning up after huge storms wreaked havoc across the South Island.

The cost of the damage is reported to run into millions of dollars and the weather has left a trail of devastatio­n that could take weeks to clear.

Extreme bad weather poses one of the biggest threats to fish farming operations as salmon companies in Scotland, Iceland and the Faroe Islands can readily testify over the past two years.

This time the storms, which brought 25 feet high waves and were the worst in over 15 years, hit the Tasman Bay area at the top end of the South Island, leaving a trail of tangled mussel lines and building damage.

One Tasman bay company, MacLab which is located near the port of Nelson, said more than half of a 670 acre farm was torn out of the seabed.

The company said it was now in the repair phase of the operation but around half of its mussel lines had been seriously damaged. Most of the crop affected was half way through its growth cycle which has added to the cost.

The country’s Marine Farming Associatio­n president Jonathan Large said a number of farms in Golden Bay and the Marlboroug­h Sounds also suffered severe damage, but those in Tasman Bay bore the brunt of the weather.

“It was a one-off event really, I’ve never seen anything like it, just consistent­ly big seas that went through Tasman Bay,” he added.

US-based GMO salmon farmer AquaBounty has selected an appropriat­ely named venue for its first full scale site – Pioneer, Ohio.

AquaBounty’s AquAdvanta­ge fish are the first GMO (geneticall­y modified organism) salmon in commercial production.

The new farm represents an important milestone for the company. It will be AquaBounty’s first large-scale commercial facility, with a planned annual production capacity of 10,000 tonnes – approximat­ely eight times the size of its existing farm in Albany, Indiana, which has an annual production capacity of 1,200 tonnes.

The company is finalising the design for the estimated 479,000 square foot facility and expects to invest over $200m (£143m) in the project. Constructi­on is slated to begin in late 2021 and the company anticipate­s commercial stocking of salmon to commence in 2023. Once in operation, the farm will bring more than 100 new jobs to the region, the company says.

The AquAdvanta­ge fish are Atlantic salmon whose genetic makeup also includes elements of two other fish species, Chinook salmon and ocean pout, in order to achieve faster growth and more efficient feed conversion. The salmon are reared in land-based RAS (recirculat­ing aquacultur­e system) facilities.

This year saw the company’s first commercial harvest

AquaBounty’s Chief Executive Officer, Sylvia Wulf, said: “We are excited to announce Pioneer, Ohio as the location of our next farm. After an intensive analysis of the site data and the completion of substantia­l due diligence, Pioneer met our selection requiremen­ts. The Village of Pioneer, Williams County, the State of Ohio, JobsOhio and the Regional Growth Partnershi­p have all been a pleasure to work with and are highly supportive of the economic benefits we plan to bring to the community.”

The state of Ohio is now finalising a package of economic incentives to support AquaBounty’s location at the Pioneer site, Wulf added. The plan for the new farm is contingent upon the approval of state and local incentives. AquaBounty expects to begin constructi­on by the end of this year.

 ??  ?? Above Sea lion eating salmon
Above Sea lion eating salmon
 ??  ?? Left: Mussels
Left: Mussels
 ??  ?? Above: AquaBounty fish
Above: AquaBounty fish

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