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Aquaculture Moves Offshore

The white spires of the Algonquin Hotel towered above the coastal town of St. Andrews, New Brunswick, the center of aquaculture development in Canada’s maritime provinces. Government officials and aquaculture industry representatives from Canada, Norway, and the U.S. met at the Algonquin to discuss fish farming’s future. Offshore aquaculture pioneer Chris Duffy explained his company’s plan to grow cod in extensive submerged cage systems in the open ocean. Marine biologist Michael Chambers and a graduate student suited up on the University of New Hampshire’s ship, the Gulf Challenger. “There’s a huge world market for cod,” said Duffy, vice president of Great Bay Aquafarms in Newington, New Hampshire. According to Duffy, Great Bay will drive down cod production costs by farming offshore. “We can create far larger systems in the open ocean, and take advantage of economy of scale,” said Duffy. Along with his Norwegian, and Canadian counterparts, Duffy hopes to turn the already popular codfish into a commodity with a farm gate value of $1.10 – 1.30 per pound, roughly equivalent to salmon. “We believe

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Disease: Shrimp Aquaculture’s Biggest Problem

A mass of gulls hung like kites in the clear air above a shrimp farm in Sonora, Mexico. The birds indicated a situation familiar in every country where shrimp are grown. “Birds are the first sign of disease,” said Jose Reyna, a technical consultant for Camaron Dorado, a shrimp hatchery in Santa Barbara, Sonora, on the Gulf of California. From the gulls’ view, a grid work of earthen dykes bulldozed out of the alluvial plain, created a patchwork of shallow ponds ranging in size from four to ten hectares. Disease ridden shrimp languished near the surface of the water, and the gulls dove down to the feast while workers hurried to harvest the remaining shrimp and ship them to market. Similar scenes have been repeated on shrimp farms from India to Ecuador, Thailand to Texas. In Ecuador, the largest farmed shrimp producer in the western hemisphere, viral disease epizootics cut production by 58 percent in 1994. While the incidence of outbreaks has declined, losses from two major viruses, Taura and white spot, can still reach

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