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TUNA 2018: 3rd Day (Session V: Recent Innovations And Trends In Technology For The Tuna Industry)

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Chaired by Dr Darian McBain, Global Director of Sustainable Development, Thai Union Group  PCL (Thailand), this Session was entitled “Sustainability, Enboironmeht and Eco-labelling in the Tuna Industry’.

At-sea monitoring, a rapidly expanding  field where the latest innovations are taking place, was covered  by Mr Faustino Velasco, CEO of Satlink (Spain),  Mr Thue Barfod, Global Head of the Fish & Seafood Cargo Segment (Maersk Hong Kong) , and Mr Les Shortall, Market Development Manager , Inmarsat Maritime (UK). 

Satlink’s Sea Tube system and Machine Learning feature is able to estimate catches on purse seine and longline vessels, geofencing, as well as electronic monitoring of FAD activities, structures and materials. Conditions on-board are also able to be monitored, which aids in preventing human rights abuses at sea. Mr Velasco ended by stating the importance of cross-sectoral collaboration: technology + science+ industry.

 

Mr Thue Barfod spoke about the challenges the company has gone through until 2017, when it launched its Remote Container Management system. Added to its unique trade financing feature and blockchain initiatives which help to reduce the cost and time in keeping track of documents, Maersk promises customers security and simplicity (a one stop shop for shipping and finance).   

Inmarsat’s satellite connectivity covering ship and shore enables users of the technology to maintain modern on-board communications,  including distress calls, texts, emails, and the like; blockchain traceability;  onboard electronic observer and security monitoring ability; and keeping electronic catch records.  On Inmarsat’s ability to enforce, Mr  Shortall listed a series of benefits: tracking and monitoring; more effective enforcement; more informed policy making; safety of fishermen; smarter fishing; and fishermen staying connected to family and friends.

Mr William Kowalski, President, Hawaii International Seafood Inc (USA) spoke about new innovations, technology trends and market acceptance in the high value tuna category. Tasteless smoke (TS) and carbon monoxide (CO) product groups continue to experience the  most significant financial growth in the high value category. The key factors here are stringent food safety and new processing technologies such as gas flow needles, high pressure oxygen treatment, and special tuna loin boxes, which result in these premium products. There is a trend towards tasteless smoke (Canada, Australia, and NZ do not allow CO but will accept TS items). In addition, thanks to GRAS approval and the royalty-free status for TS tuna  in the US,  the prices have doubled as compared to a few years ago. In the frozen category, products treated with antioxidants have entered the market but these so far have not received the same high market acceptance as TS and CO products.

The discussion on blockchains continued with Alfred “Bubba” Cook’s presentation entitled “WWF & Blockchain. Technology and innovation is a fairly recent but vital focus of WWF, which explains its participation in the (ethereum) blockchain revolution to achieve a range of objectives, including traceability.  Using its  tuna blockchain project in Fiji as a case study, WWF utilises  RFID and QR codes to capture information throughout the supply chain, with the  data being  registered  automatically, which the consumer  in the end markets will also be able to gain access to.  Blockchains, according to Mr Cook, will ensure a safer more informed future for all.

Tuna byproduct utilization was presented on by Ms Rose Mueda, Research Associate, University of the Philippines Visayas. Waste from processing still contains good quality protein (about 50-65%); thus utilization of this waste is important. Examples include tuna jerky, pharmaceuticals and neutraceuticals, and protein extracts. In a University project, tuna jerky was found to have good market potential but for other items such as tuna sauce, histamine assessment has to be done. She ended by calling on research institutions to work together with the industry to find better ways to utilize byproduct.

An interesting overview of Pacific bluefin ranching in Japan was givenby Mr Shukei Masuma , General Director, Aquaculture Research Institute, Kindai University (Japan). As at December 2017, there are some 177 farms, of which 60 use artificially acquired seedlings, the technology for which was developed at Kindai. He listed the benefits of these seedlings as contributing to sustainability; traceability from broodstock to end products; and food safety. Kindai will continue to focus on further development of rearing techniques to increase survival and stock improvement; and also to develop formulated feeds using less fishmeal, and reduced usage of antibiotics, etc.

Dr Arlene Nietes Satapornvanit , Gender Integration & Capacity Building Specialist,  USAID Oceans and Fisheries Partnership (Thailand) spoke about gender considerations in tuna fisheries. Starting with a mention of the relevant gender-specific global and regional instruments, she presented an overview of the Partnership’s research initiatives including the results of analyses conducted at Bitung (Indonesia) and General Santos (Philippines). As expected there are few women at the decision making level and indeed throughout the value chain in all sectors (except as workforce) will help in developing gender sensitive-policies aimed at expanding the space at all levels for women in the fisheries industry.

The last speaker of the conference was Dr Valerie Allain, Senior Fisheries Scientist, Pacific Community (New Caledonia), who spoke about the impact of climate change on tuna resources. Elaborating on climate change models, she explained that ocean temperatures have generally risen by a few degrees. These changes will affect the distribution of all tuna species, as was demonstrated in the models which contrasted the situation now and in the year 2050.

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