There are a lot of activities that are undertaken over the course of the year, primarily by SCA’s main consultant, Lukas Manomaitis. Some clients prefer to maintain confidentiality, but for SCA’s primary client, USSEC, the program activities are essentially all open and public. Therefore most of the following are from USSEC-related events. Both upcoming events are listed at the top and prior events (oldest at bottom, starting from the updated website launch date).
*Next planned major activities:
- October 2017: Host a workshop “Introduction to Nutritional and Statistical Modeling for Commercial Aquaculture Nutritionists” in Thailand.
- November 2017: Start of FY18 for USSEC with planned visits to Indonesia, Philippines, Singapore and Vietnam to work with key staff and contractors.
- December 2017: Travel to the USA and possible visits to the offshore mariculture industry in Maine.
- January 2018: Planned strategy meeting in Myanmar on how to “supercharge” the tilapia industry in that nation
- January 2018: Visit to SEA by Mr.Mark Newman, USSEC’s Feed Specialist
- March 2018: Boston Seafood Show and visits to Auburn University
- April-May 2018: SEA Marine Fish Stakeholder Tour to Greece
- May 2018: Offshore Mariculture Conference in Singapore
- June 2018: IAFFD Workshops in SEA
October 2017: Attend the GAA GOAL Conference in Dublin, Ireland.
I attended the 2017 Global Aquaculture Alliance’s GOAL meeting in Dublin, Ireland. This allowed meetings with high level aquaculture and seafood stakeholders in both formal and informal settings. Meetings like this differ from other aquaculture events because they are targeted to top level issues and to bring together those that can have an impact on those issues.
September 2017: Travel to Nebraska and Illinois to bring a stakeholder group from Southeast Asian aquaculture to see the US soy complex.
We brought a group of 10 key SEA aquaculture feed stakeholders and six USSEC aquaculture contractors to visit the US soy complex. This included:
- Visits to soybean farms (in particular Mr.Gregg Fujan’s farm in Nebraska)
- Grain elevators (in Prague, NE, at the Delong facility in Joiliet and the Leland Coop in Illinois)
- Containerization facilities (Gavilon, Delong and Leland)
- Transport facilities (truck, rail, barge)
- Research centers (two locations in cooperation with the University of Nebraska)
- Soy exporter visits (Gavilon, AGP, Scoular, Leland Coop)
- Visits to the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) and education on ingredient risk management strategies (USA Trading)
This travel schedule in Nebraska, Iowa and Illinois allowed USSEC to highlight both the ingredient and nutrient values that make US soy products preferred soy internationally. The US soy industry strongly supported this visit, and the participants indicated that they were very impressed to see how the US researches, produces, transports and trades soy. Initial discussions occurred with some of the soy trading firms between the participants and sales teams on soy purchases – primarily container shipments which are the most flexible way for buyers from aquaculture feedmills to directly access US soy products.
September 2017: Visit to the offshore cage mariculture industry in Greece.
I traveled to Greece with Mr.Patrick White and Ms.Stella Adamidou to investigate the Greek offshore mariculture industry for a potential FY18 USSEC Stakeholder Trip. This was an intense travel schedule prepared by Ms.Adamidou (of Aquanetix), which had us travel through Kefalonia, Nafpaktos, Astakos, Athens and Salamina. This was a chance to see much of the marine fish aquaculture production chain from broodstock until final consumer, including feedmills and equipment and consulting firms. An FY18 Team Trip is planned for April or May of next year.
August 2017: Travel to Singapore and Myanmar for USSEC activities.
I traveled to Singapore to meet with regional staff and then traveled to Myanmar where we held a Farmers Field Day event. This FFD was to highlight the results of the recently completed tilapia demonstration, to have a discussion about the experience of the group of Myanmar tilapia hatchery stakeholders at the AIT Hatchery Tilapia Training in Bangkok, Thailand, and to have a presentation from Mr.Louis Win of High Liner Foods (HLF) on how the Myanmar tilapia industry should approach reconstituting the export tilapia industry in Myanmar. There were also presentations from the demonstration farmer and the local seafood processors.
July 2017: Travel in the United States to present at the Kentucky Soybean Board Meeting.
I traveled to Kentucky to present to the Kentucky Soybean Board’s annual meeting with Mr.William McNair from USSEC’s St.Louis office. This was an opportunity to update the KSB about the situation for soy and grains in Southeast Asia and how USSEC has leveraged the support from the KSB in SEA.
June 2017: Attend the World Aquaculture Conference in Cape Town, South Africa.
I traveled to South Africa with two key objectives. The first was to present at the World Aquaculture Conference on the IAFFD – this was particularly important as the aquaculture feed industry is just developing in sub-Saharan Africa. I also went as a representative of USSEC to determine if the sub-Saharan region might be ready for a limited USSEC aquaculture program. USSEC technologies have been discussed in the region, particularly by staff from Auburn University, but we felt it might be time for a closer look with a short term project/activity in the near future. It seems that this may be the case and we have a short list of the target nations and some possible key contractors already.
June 2017: USSEC Aquaculture Formulation Workshops “3rd Annual International Aquaculture Feed Formulation Database Workshop” in Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam.
With a variety of partners, including USSEC, SCA, USAID, MITACS, Adifo and others, the first standardized, commercially-oriented aquaculture feed formulation database, the International Aquaculture Feed Formulation Database (IAFFD) has continued to be developed and used with group training workshops. Now in Stage III, the IAFFD has matured into a powerful tool to work with aquaculture feed formulators. Comprising 28 different species groups and over 460 ingredients, the IAFFD allows the training of large groups of aquaculture formulators on a common feed formulation program using a common feed formulation database. This allows more advanced workshops to help aquaculture formulators find better ways to create formulations that will be profitable, efficient and sustainable. In particular it also helps to move aquaculture formulation from an ingredient-based approach to formulation to a nutrient-based approach. The IAFFD still is the only known comprehensive, publicly available aquaculture feed formulation database that exists.
May 2017: Present at the 2nd National Aquaculture Summit “Unity in Diversity: Developing Philippine Aquaculture Competitiveness” in Philippines.
Key players in the Philippine aquaculture industry asked me to participate in their annual Aquaculture Summit to discuss a very specific topic: “15 YEARS OF OBSERVING PHILIPPINE AQUACULTURE: WHY THE PHILIPPINES IS NOT YET A MAJOR AQUACULTURE EXPORTING NATION?”. It was felt with over 80 trips to the Philippines and travel to almost all of the major production areas that I might have some good insights on why the Philippine is still almost exclusively a domestic aquaculture producer.
May 2017: USSEC SEA Aqua Team meeting and industry support in Nha Trang, Vietnam.
We bring our USSEC Southeast Asian Aquaculture Team together on a biennial basis to allow us to ensure proper investment of the US Soybean Farmer funding and to have an opportunity to learn from a key industry. In this case the education event was a visit with Australis Aquaculture, an offshore cage barramudi farming operation (that is partially vertically integrated with hatchery, nursery and processing). This was a good example of one of the few currently successful offshore cage operations in SEA, and a great example of the future potentials of the region.
May 2017: Marine fish marketing seminars “Development of a Sustainable, High Volume, Export-Focused Marine Fish Aquaculture Sector in Southeast Asia”in Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines and Vietnam.
The marine fish aquaculture sector in Southeast Asia seems to behind the rest of the world in the adoption of higher volume, industrial scale marine fish production, particularly when it comes to offshore cage aquaculture. This could be a good thing, as when the industry does change, it will learn from the lessons of other areas. However, if no planning is in place how to sell the higher volume of fish produced from such operations, the likelihood is that the first thing that will happen is that the domestic and regional market prices will crash. This workshop series was to help work with the various stakeholders in the marine fish industries in Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam and the Philippines (including an international buyer) on what they need to do to prepare for marketing marine fish to export (extra-regional) markets. This type of planning needs to take place before production plans are in place so we don’t see a repeat of the mistake where the product can be produced but the market has not been identified or developed.
April 2017: Travel to northern Vietnam to discuss the “gold standard” In Pond Raceway System (IPRS) demonstration and meet with key stakeholders, including the VSA to discuss the upcoming marine fish workshop.
April proved to be a very busy month administratively, but there was still an opportunity to travel to northern Vietnam for some key work with two stakeholders. Cargill is working with USSEC on promotion of the IPRS technology and VSA (Vietnam Seaproducers Association) is a cosponsor of the USSEC marine fish workshop to be held in May in HCMC, Vietnam.
March 2017: Travel to Boston, USA to serve in the USSEC Aquaculture Advisory Council and attend the Seafood Expo North America in Boston, USA.
There were two major activities that took place in Boston. The first was an annual Aquaculture Advisory Council meeting for USSEC which brings together key people from industry to try to identify important trends to pay attention to. USSEC has always been good at identifying issues “ahead of the curve” and this is part of that effort.
The second major activity was to attend SENA 2017. Aside from giving good insight into the North American seafood market, it was also a chance to meet with potential speakers and stakeholders that will be a part of May’s marine fish marketing seminars “Development of a Sustainable, High Volume, Export-Focused Marine Fish Aquaculture Sector in Southeast Asia”in Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines and Vietnam.
February 2017: Feedmill technical servicing in Southeast Asia, meetings with industry groups and discussions about demonstration (and other) projects
This February our USSEC Feedmill Specialist, Mr.Mark Newman, was in Southeast Asia. I traveled with Mark in both Vietnam and Indonesia where we met with key feedmills, particularly those that are collaborating with us on demonstrations or are key targets for U.S. soy products.
I also met with three of our four Technical Managers (TMs) and our Asia Marine Specialist to discuss how the FY17 program is coming along, and particularly about demonstration projects, the Marine Fish Marketing Workshop, our marine fish hatchery program and the upcoming IAFFD workshop. This required additional travel to the Philippines, Thailand and Singapore.
January 2017: Travel to Panama City, Panama to participate in a Industry Educational Opportunity with US soy farmers and to visit key aquaculture industry sites
The primary purpose of this travel was to take part in an Aquaculture Education Opportunity event for U.S. soy farmer Grower Leaders. This was a chance to share information on a global basis for the lead USSEC aquaculture contractors.
Additionally, this was an opportunity to visit the OpenBlue offshore cage operations in Panama (with OpenBlue’s founder, Mr.Brian O’Hanlon). They are targeting about 2,500MT of cobia in 2017, and selling to target markets internationally.
January 2017: Travel to northern Vietnam to work with Dr.Jesse Chappell and Mr.Vo Hoang Nguyen to create training programs on In Pond Raceway Aquaculture (IPRS, high tech raceway systems) to commercial industry and government
Based on the trip in November, it was determined that we needed to do a better assessment of the IPRS rollout in northern Vietnam. In addition we also determined that we needed better training materials to inform and educate the industry. I was able to participate in the development of these materials as well as the first use of them in front of a feedmill sales and technical audience.
November-December 2016: Travel to northern Vietnam to work on planning for the In Pond Raceway Aquaculture (IPRS, high tech raceway systems) and to Philippines to meet with industry organizations
In preparation for the FY17 WorldWide program on the In Pond Raceway Aquaculture technology (IPRS, formerly known as IPA) in Vietnam I traveled to northern Vietnam to see the progress of the USSEC VM program. It was clear that the Vietnamese industry was very excited by this new approach, as we visited several units either functioning or under construction. Based on this we are going to quickly bring in our IPRS expert, Dr.Jesse Chappell, in January to conducted targeted training programs.
I also traveled to Philippines where I met with representatives of two industry associations, one for aquaculture products and production and the other for aquaculture feedmilling.
November 2016: USSEC SEA Aqua Team Staff meeting and industry technical servicing in Sihanoukville, Cambodia
To summarize the FY16 project year and to plan and prepare for the FY17 and FY18 project years the USSEC SEA Aqua Team met in Sihanoukville, Cambodia where USSEC has had an active program with the MARDeC marine fish hatchery. Aside from internal meetings we also toured various marine fish industry sites and gave a presentation to MARDeC staff and local farmers.
October 2016: Travel with a U.S. Soy Grower Leader group in Ecuador
As part of the USSEC Aquaculture Program Global Team, and the key technical contractor, I was asked to accompany a group of U.S. soybean farmers and aquaculture consultants to visit the Ecuadorian aquaculture industry, primarily the shrimp, tilapia and feedmill industries. This was also an opportunity to visit the annual AquaExpo event held during this time. We were able to see some of the cutting edge approaches the industry here is using with shrimp such as water recirculation and shrimp automated feeding (AQ1 systems) in particular.
October 2016: Lead a Southeast Asian Marine Fish Stakeholder group to Malta and Italy to tour the offshore cage industry
As part of the drive to guide the Southeast Asian aquaculture industry to move to more industrial approaches, I helped to lead a team of SEA marine fish farmers to visit the industrial offshore cage marine fish farming industry in Malta and Italy (specifically Sicily). The intent is to encourage the industry in SEA to move to an industrial, export model. We are starting to see this happening, but trips like this (and previous ones to Turkey and Norway) help to show SEA stakeholders that this is a reality, not just a concept.
September 2016: Present on the AAFFD (now IAFFD) at the Progressus Aquaculture Nutrition AgriSchool in Kamphaeng Saen, Thailand
USSEC provides technical servicing to the aquaculture industry in Southeast Asia, and as part of that servicing we do a lot of work with feedmills. However, aquaculture feed specialists are few and far between and we helped to collaborate to encourage commercial industry to develop shortcourses on the topic of aquaculture nutrition. At this event I also had a chance to speak on the International Aquaculture Feed Formulation Database (IAFFD, formerly the AAFFD) and work with some formulators to try out basic formulation exercises.
September 2016: Workshops on Aquaculture Nutrition using the Asian Aquaculture Feed Formulation Database (AAFFD)
USSEC is part of a consortium that has helped to develop the first standardized aquaculture feed formulation database, the Asian Aquaculture Feed Formulation Database (AAFFD) now in Stage II development. This database can be found at www.asianaquafeeddatabase.com and is a valuable resource to aquaculture feed formulators. Four, two-day workshops were held in Bangkok, Manila, Ho Chi Minh City and Jakarta with both seminars and hands-on formulation exercises.
August 2016: Seminar on Broodstock nutrition and Biosecurity in Thailand
An important issue in Southeast Asian marine fish hatcheries is the use of fresh seafood for feeding and maintaining broodstock. This is an important disease vector for parasites, bacteria and viruses. We brought Dr.Robert Vassallo Agius from Malta to discuss the advantages and approaches for using formulated feeds for broodstock for bioescurity and better conditioning.
July 2016: Regional USSEC Aquaculture Team meeting in Philippines and attend the United Soybean Board Annual Meeting in Minneapolis, USA
Our key personnel in Southeast Asia, along with researcher Dr.Igor Pirozzi (who is the Principal Investigator for a USSEC supported multi-year grouper project), met in Coron, Philippines for meetings and to visit the facilities of Palawan Aquaculture Corporation (PAC), who run a grouper hatchery and growout operation.
I also traveled to Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA to participate in the USB Annual Board Meeting. I represented the USSEC Southeast Asia office and had an opportunity to discuss the aquaculture program specifically.
May-June 2016: Traveled to Philippines to discuss offshore cage farming and visit key stakeholders
Demonstration projects are being conducted throughout SEA. During this trip we met with a key stakeholder to discuss marine fish offshore cage farming, and also visited Lake Taal to inspect the preparations for a very important demonstration that will look at tilapia fed fishmeal free diets, diets with 3% fishmeal and a commercial diet.
May 2016: Visited the USSEC Offshore Cage Demonstration in Singapore
The FY16 Offshore Cage Demonstration near St.John’s Island off of Singapore has been initiated and four finger threadfin have been stocked. Soybean Protein Concentrate from United States origin soybeans are being used in a sinking, extruded feed for this demonstration.
May 2016: Travel to Malta for an investigative tour of the offshore industry
We had originally planned to bring a team from Southeast Asia to Izmir, Turkey in May to see the advanced offshore industry there. However, due to the deteriorating security situation there we had to cancel that trip. Therefore, after some discussion, we decided to investigate the Malta offshore industry as a suitable replacement. Although smaller, it was determined that we could still showcase much of the same ideas and principles in Malta that we would have seen in Turkey. However, when we conduct this trip (not planned in October), we will also need to travel to Italy to see the industrial hatchery industry there.
April 2016: Met with FAO staff in Rome and presented at the Offshore Mariculture in Barcelona
The intent of my meeting with FAO was to investigate whether the USSEC and FAO could find areas of common ground to work together and to generally learn more about what FAO is doing in the field of aquaculture.
I presented at the World Mariculture Conference on the topic of “Southeast Asia – preparing for investment in offshore cage production”. This was a good forum to speak on this subject as Europe has arguably the most advanced cage culture industry in the world. This also included tours to the MERCABARNA and IRTA (wholesale seafood market and Spanish aquaculture research center).
March 2016: Technical servicing to the Southeast Asian feedmill industry and VIV Asia
March was a fairly busy month with travel with the USSEC Feedmill Specialist through Thailand, Myanmar, Indonesia and Vietnam. I also was present to give a recognition award on USSEC’s behalf to Dr.Warren Dominy at the VIV Asia show.
March 2016: Participated in the North American Seafood Show in Boston, USA
I traveled to the United States to participate in the North American Seafood Show in Boston, and also attended some of the associated conference. Part of my goal was to meet and discuss with seafood buyers to see if any might be interested and willing to come to Southeast Asia to talk to the marine fish industry and “educate” them on what will need to be done if the industry is to target export markets for marine fish.
February 2016: Technical visit to the Palawan Aquaculture Corporation’s grouper production facilities in Coron, Philippines
Palawan Aquaculture Corporation (PAC) is a leading grouper production facility located in the clean waters off of Palawan. They have an extensive operation that has hatchery, nursery, production and packing units. The production in particular is of interest as it is offshore and well-managed. The hatchery produces mouse/humpback/panther (Cromileptes altivelis) grouper and red coral trout (Plectropomus leopardus). We met with the technical staff to discuss improved hatchery operation approaches and other technical issues.
January 2016: Travel to Mexico to present and take part in an “Aquaculture Education Opportunity”
USSEC has a global program of technical servicing and research in the aquaculture field. This was a meeting that allowed us to meet with our key funding agencies, research associates and global technical staff to discuss the overall status of the aquaculture industry and learn what research has discovered to help that industry move to a feed-based one. We also had a chance to travel to the Regal Springs tilapia operations nearby.
December 2015: Conducted a “Farmers Field Day” in Thai Binh Province, northern Vietnam with marine fish farmers and visit to snakehead operations in An Giang Province, southern Vietnam
We regularly conduct demonstration projects to directly show the benefits of using better, feed-based technologies. In this case we were visiting an Asian sea bass (Lates calcarifer) production area in Thai Binh Province in northern Vietnam that uses ponds for production of marine fish. When we first came to this area, farmers were exclusively using so-called “trashfish” to feed their production fish. We were able to convert the industry to a formulated feed based approach, at least for the first half of production to 400g size.
We also visited snakehead (Channa striata) operations in An Giang, southern Vietnam in preparation to bring a group from India to show them how feeds can be used to produce this high value species.
November 2015: Travel to identify a potential offshore demonstration site in Singapore and meetings with key collaborators in Indonesia
As part of our FY16 activities we plan to conduct a demonstration using an offshore cage site and US soybean protein concentrate optimized, extruded sinking feed for Asian sea bass. The likely target of this will be the MarineLife Aquaculture offshore site in Singapore for several reasons, including a long collaboration to date, good quality fish fingerlings and attention to detail. It will also be convenient to visit as the USSEC SEA regional office is located in Singapore. The target species will be for finger threadfin (Eleutheronema tetradactylum) in offshore, circular HDPE cages using a USSEC formulated feed.
I also met with representatives of ABILINDO, the Indonesian marine aquaculture organization and GPMT, the Indonesian Feedmill Association, to discuss what USSEC has been doing in the past 13 years specific to Southeast Asian and Indonesian aquaculture. We hope to work much more closely with both organizations in future.
November 2015: USSEC Southeast Asia Aquaculture Team Staff Meeting in Kaohsiung, Taiwan
The primary client of SCA is the USSEC, and I lead the regional Southeast Asian team for USSEC. We brought together most of the USSEC SEA Aqua Team to Taiwan to conduct a four-day staff training and educational exercise. This included presentations from key USSEC SEA staff, meeting with local aquaculture industry people in Taiwan and in particular a personal update from Dr.Dominique Bureau, the lead of the Consortium working with USSEC on maintaining and updating the Asian Aquaculture Feed Formulation Database (AAFFD).
October 2015: Participation in the GAA GOAL Meeting in Vancouver, Canada
In October 2015 I traveled to Vancouver to participate in two events:
- USSEC Aquaculture Industry Advisory Council Meeting
- The Global Aquaculture Alliance’s Global Outlook Aquaculture Leaders (GAA GOAL) Conference
Both of these events brought together high level industry people to discuss key issues facing the global aquaculture industry.
September 2015: Launching of the Asian Aquaculture Feed Formulation Database:
In September 2015 SCA worked with USSEC to launch the Asian Aquaculture Feed Formulation Database (AAFFD) a first-of-its-kind formulation database for aquaculture. This database was a joint effort of several different organizations, including USSEC, USAID, the Canadian Government, SCA, Veridis Aquatic Technologies Inc. and several other cooperating organizations and individuals. This consortium of effort has been led by Dr.Dominique Bureau, a noted nutritionist and professor at the University of Guelph.
The intent of the AAFFD is to create a baseline formulation database for the aquaculture industry to use a benchmark and training tool. It currently has 22 different aquaculture species group nutritional profiles, 293 standard ingredients in the ingredient database and it has been imported to the Adifo Bestmix feed formulation software platform. It is expected in the near future that the database will undergo significant improvement and that the database will be importable to all major feed formulation software packages. This database is being made available free of charge to industry.
The rollout of the database took place in seven locations in five nations of Southeast Asia:
- Indonesia (Jakarta and Surabaya)
- Malaysia (Kuala Lumpur)
- Philippines (Manila)
- Thailand (Bangkok)
- Vietnam (Ho Chi Minh City and Hai Duong)