ANALYSIS - This year has been a mixed year for the aquaculture industry. Early Mortality Syndrome (EMS) has continued to affect shrimp production in Asia and Infectious Salmon Anaemia (ISA) showed up again in Chile. There has however, been progress on understanding EMS and the industry as a whole is moving towards a more sustainable future, writes Lucy Towers, TheFishSite Editor.
One of the biggest stories of 2013 was the discovery of the bacteria causing Early Mortality Syndrome (EMS) which has destroyed many shrimp farming operations across Asia.
Researchers found that EMS is caused by a unique strain of the Vibrio parahaemolyticus pathogen, which is transmitted orally, colonises in the shrimps gastrointestinal tract and produces a toxin that causes tissue destruction and dysfunction of the hepatopancreas.
Infectious Salmon Anaemia (ISA) showed up again in Chile during April and December of 2013. The outbreaks were reported in the Aysen area and were effectively controlled by authorities, demonstrating that the country now has better control of the virus and that lessons have been learnt from the devastating outbreaks of 2007-2010.
GM salmon company AquaBounty has made promising progress this year towards its AquAdvantage salmon approval after Environment Canada, cleared the company for commercial scale egg production at its Prince Edward Island facility.
Environment Canada found that the production is not harmful to the environment or human health when produced in contained facilities. AquaBounty is now awaiting approval from the US Food and Drug Administration.
Overall, 2013 saw the global aquaculture industry embrace sustainability as the way forward for the industry. The important part aquaculture has to play in feeding the world's growing population has been reiterated throughout the year.
Leading the way for the salmon industry, the Global Salmon Initiative was launched in August. The GSI is made up of companies representing 70 per cent of the salmon industry and is committed to sustainability through addressing the challenges around sealice and fish feed.
As well as playing a dominant role in the GSI, salmon farming giant Marine Harvest continued its own expansion over the past year. In January, the company announced its move into the fish feed market by building a feed factory in Bjugn, Norway.
Later in the year, Marine Harvest acquired the Polish salmon processing company Morpol. The acquisition marked an important step forward in Marine Harvest's aim of becoming a fully integrated protein company.