ANALYSIS - As one of the largest single buyers of fish in the US, McDonald’s US has announced it will become the first national restaurant chain to adopt the Marine Stewardship Council’s blue ecolabel on its fish packaging in restaurants nationwide from February 2013.
“McDonald’s collaboration with the Marine Stewardship Council is a critical part of our company’s journey to advance positive environmental and economic practices in our supply chain,” said Dan Gorsky, senior vice president of US supply chain and sustainability.
Welcoming the McDonald’s announcement, Jim Cannon, chief executive officer for Sustainable Fisheries Partnership, said: “McDonald's commitment to source sustainably by improving sources, rather than just switching to "good" sources, has transformed the whitefish sector, reversing decades of overfishing, rebuilding fish stocks and quotas and paying handsome dividends to all whitefish buyers worldwide.”
Oyster farmers in New South Wales, Australia are suffering due to the recent outbreak of Pacific Oyster Mortality Syndrome in the Hawkesbury River.
Industry spokesperson, John Stubbs said growers promptly sent oysters for testing when they were first detected dying and immediately imposed restrictions on oyster movements within the river.
An assistance package for affected growers is now available from the Department of Primary Industries. “Affected oyster growers suffering financial hardship can apply to have their licence fees waived for a period of 12 months to help rebuild their businesses and finances,” NSW Minister Katrina Hodgkinson said. “Those growers who do not qualify for the fee waiver can apply for a payment plan to pay fees over a longer period of time."
The minister also stated that she is encouraging councils to provide assistance for tipping fees for growers disposing of oyster shells.
In other disease news, Sernapesca Chile has announced the development of a Piscirickettsiosis health monitoring programme, designed specifically for surveillance and control.
Portugal is aiming high in terms of aquaculture expansion. The government recently announced that the country can double its aquaculture production by 2015 in order to meet local fish consumption demand, which is three times the European average.
Challenges lay ahead for Vietnamese shrimp producers in 2013. Local newspaper ThanhnienOnline has stated that experts have forecast that there will be difficulties in the production, processing and export of shrimp due to the threat of disease and increasing competition in a shrinking market.