Nigerian fish farmers are turning to production of smoked fish to prevent economic losses

Attending training in Michigan helps representatives develop plans for smoked fish processing to deal with food safety hazards unique to the product.

Representatives from Nigeria attended the Seafood HACCP course in Michigan to learn how to deal with food safety hazards in smoked fish production. Photo: Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development

Representatives from Nigeria attended the Seafood HACCP course in Michigan to learn how to deal with food safety hazards in smoked fish production. Photo: Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development

A Seafood Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) Training Course coordinated by Michigan Sea GrantMichigan State University Extension, and the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission was recently conducted at Keweenaw Bay Indian Community. Three of those attending traveled from Nigeria to learn how to develop HACCP plans for smoked fish processing to deal with food safety hazards unique to this product. Two of them represented the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) that regulates processed and semi-processed food. The need for value-added and preservation of fish in Nigeria is in dire need because many fish farmers are faced with losses due to poor infrastructure.

Fish farming potential

The fish production sector of Nigeria’s economy is in a developmental phase and it currently contributes about 6 percent to the nation’s economy. Nigeria depends on imported fish to meet domestic demand. Currently almost 2 billion pounds of fish is produced locally while the annual demand for fish is around 6 billion pounds. This leads to a shortfall of more than 4 billion pounds that must be imported. However, recent developments in the agricultural sector of the economy has brought to light the potential of domestic fish farming. This has led to the continued rise in the production of freshwater fish with a focus on catfish and tilapia.

With the increase in fish production in Nigeria because of fish farming the need for fish preservation, including both dried and wet smoked, is becoming an urgent alternative for fish farmers to prevent economic losses. Most of the smoked fish in the open markets are currently being processed using traditional methods which are not regulated in any form. The commercial production, labeling, and marketing of smoked fish continues to evolve there.

Planning for the future

In preparation for future challenges NAFDAC embarked on capacity building for effective regulation and planning for the need to export smoke fish. The directorate of Veterinary Medicine and Allied Products (VMAP) participated in the Seafood HACCP course two years ago to acquire information on recent developments in Seafood HACCP applications to fish smoking, to understand the global prerequisite in fish preservation especially related fish smoking, and to develop detailed training from the training materials and knowledge acquired at the course. As a result they are committed to sending more people from Nigeria to Michigan for Seafood HACCP training.

The Seafood HACCP training has added value to the regulatory documents being developed for fish smoking on a commercial level. The Nigerian national agency looks forward to future participation in such training as a regulatory body and recommending the same for major stakeholders in Nigeria.

Great Lakes net-pen aquaculture—real and perceived risks to the environment

Michigan Sea Grant addresses environmental issues surrounding net-pen aquaculture in the Great Lakes at recent Annual No-Spills Conference.

Great Lakes net-pen aquaculture—real and perceived risks to the environment

In the last several years there has been a great deal of discussion about net-pen aquaculture in the Michigan waters of the Great Lakes. Much of the attention about Great Lakes net-pen aquaculture is the generation of large quantities of fish waste from these fish production operations as well as the consequences if these fish escape into the environment. The main issue with fish waste is the release of phosphorus which is the growth limiting nutrient for primary production in freshwater ecosystems. Although some phosphorus is necessary to drive the freshwater food chain, concern arises when excess amounts of phosphorus are available which can result in significant algal blooms and other aquatic plant growth. In addition there is a concern about fish diseases and genetics, which may be the consequence of the interaction of fish raised in Great Lakes net pens and native fish in the surrounding environment.

Discussing environmental issues

To address these concerns Michigan Sea Grant was invited to speak at the 28th Annual No-Spills Conference in January 2018, to discuss environmental issues surrounding net-pen aquaculture in the Great Lakes. Currently there are seven net-pen aquaculture operations that exist in northern Lake Huron on the Canadian side of the lake. These operations are sustainably producing more than 5,000 tons of rainbow trout per year with some being sold in retail markets in Michigan. They provide 340 direct and indirect jobs with a $100 million contribution to the Canadian economy. These net-pen aquaculture operations take up a small footprint in the environment; one of these operations that produces 500,000 pounds of rainbow trout per year would fit into an average size Michigan marina.

Fish disease risks and genetic dilution can be minimized

For Great Lakes net-pen aquaculture to be environmentally sound it must have practices that prevent disease transmission and escapement of fish into the wild, as escapees could affect the genetic integrity of surrounding fish populations. These operations must also be non-polluting with minimal and recoverable impacts. With regards to fish diseases, the commercial aquaculture industry is highly regulated and is held to the same standards as state and federal hatchery programs. Fish disease risks are minimized and prevented through regulation, biosecurity, and best management practices.

In 2014 the state of Michigan stocked more than 20 million fish, produced from gametes collected from wild fish. This equated to 325 tons of fish stocked, 9 different species, 370 stocking trips, 732 stocking sites, with 100,000 miles of travel from several fish hatcheries. In comparison Canadian net-pen operations in Lake Huron typically stock one cohort, certified as specific pathogen free, then raise the fish to harvest and truck them one way to a fish processing facility. The net results are that Michigan hatcheries have a much higher risk of disease transmission than the current system for growing trout in Canadian net pens.

The Great Lakes already have rainbow trout which are non-native to the region. They were introduced by fishery management agencies years ago and many of these fish are now naturalized, spawning on their own in local rivers, with additional enhancement from government fish hatcheries. Rainbow trout produced in Great Lakes net-pen operations can be female triploids which are sterile and will not reproduce should they escape into the environment. So the risk of genetic dilution can be eliminated by use of these female triploid rainbow trout.

Low phosphorus, digestible fish diets help minimize phosphorus waste

During the height of the Great Lakes net-pen aquaculture discussion there were media reports that a typical net-pen operation with 200,000 fish would produce as much waste as a city of 65,000 people. In reality a city of 65,000 people would produce 21 times more fecal matter than a 200,000 fish net-pen operation. This same city would produce 5 times more phosphorus compared to the net-pen aquaculture operation. The city would also generate 24 kg/yr of E. coli with none coming from the net-pen operation.

Canadians have had net-pen aquaculture operations in their northern waters of Lake Huron since 1982. To help address the issue of excess phosphorus discharge from freshwater net pens, Fisheries and Oceans Canada completed a study on Freshwater Cage Aquaculture: Ecosystems Impacts from Dissolved and Particulate Waste Phosphorus. Fish receiving digestible phosphorus in specific amounts to meet their growth requirements excrete only small amounts of dissolved phosphorus. Dissolved phosphorus is most often the form of concern in impaired waters. The other form of phosphorus excreted from fish is particulate phosphorus which settles to the bottom sediments. The particulate phosphorus which accounts for the majority of the waste from net-pen operations is transported to the bottom sediments and is not immediately available for uptake into the ecosystem. In sediments it can be consumed by the benthic organisms and enter the aquatic food chain. Both dissolved and particulate phosphorus wastes produced by fish are the results of the diets they consume. The development of low phosphorus, highly digestible diets has been a tool to help minimize phosphorus waste by aquaculture operations.

The Fisheries and Oceans Canada study found that based on net-pen aquaculture production in northern Lake Huron in 2006 contributed about 5 percent of the annual total phosphorus loading to the North Channel. The study concluded that the likelihood of phosphorus additions to the environment from net-pen aquaculture operations resulting in eutrophication to Canadian freshwater environments under the current level of fish production can generally be characterized as “low.” The greatest concerns for phosphorus are in the nearshore areas where excess aquatic plant growth can foul the shorelines. In contrast, offshore phosphorus loading is of less concern and higher phosphorus concentrations may be considered a means to help mitigate declining populations of forage fish and the poor condition of sport and commercial fish species.

Michigan Fish Producers Association Annual Conference

Event Date: 1/27/2018

Michigan Sea Grant will be coordinating a daylong, educational program on current issues affecting the Great Lakes commercial fishing industry.

The program will run from 9:00 a.m. through 4:00 p.m. on Saturday, January 27, 2018 as part of the Michigan Fish Producers Association Annual Conference at the Park Place Hotel in Traverse City.

There is no charge for attending this event. For additional information please contact Ron Kinnunen at (906)-226-3687 or kinnune1@msu.edu.

See: MFPA Agenda

Seafood HACCP Training Course

Event Date: 12/5/2017
End Date: 12/7/2017

A Seafood Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) Training Course that is being coordinated by Michigan Sea Grant, Michigan State University Extension, and the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission will be held December 5-7, 2017 at Ojibwa Casino Resort in Baraga, Michigan. All fish processors are required to take this training if they are not currently certified.

Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) consists of identifying safety hazards, determining where they occur, monitoring these points and recording the results. HACCP involves day-to-day monitoring of critical control points by production employees. The Seafood HACCP regulation that is enforced by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is based on the belief that commercial fish processors can understand the food safety hazards of their products and take reasonable steps to control them. Commercial fish processors are required either to obtain formal training for one or more of their own employees or to hire trained independent contractors to perform the HACCP functions.

The HACCP regulation requires processors to keep extensive records of processing and sanitation at their facilities.

Those completing the course will receive a Seafood Alliance HACCP Certificate issued through the Association of Food and Drug Officials that is recognized by agencies regulating fish processors.

For registration information please contact Ron Kinnunen at kinnune1@msu.edu

Michigan Sea Grant’s HACCP safety programming efforts have helped hundreds of businesses

Programs include Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) for Seafood Safety, and Preventing the Movement of Aquatic Invasive Species.

The Magic Springs trout production facility helps contribute to the 40 million pounds of trout production per year in Idaho.

The Magic Springs trout production facility helps contribute to the 40 million pounds of trout production per year in Idaho. Photo: Ron Kinnunen | Michigan Sea Grant

Michigan Sea Grant Extension has served as the North Central Regional Aquaculture Center representative on the planning committee for the National Aquaculture Extension Conference for the last two years. At the recent conference in Boise, Idaho, Michigan Sea Grant coordinated a Great Lakes session and presented on its Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) programming efforts with the commercial fishing, aquaculture, and baitfish industries.

Seafood HACCP is a system for food safety control and is preventive, not reactive. It is a management tool used to protect the food supply against biological, chemical, and physical hazards. HACCPs emphasize process control and concentrate on the points in the process that are critical to the safety of the product. Every fish processor is required to have and implement a written HACCP plan whenever a hazard analysis reveals one or more food-safety hazards that are reasonably likely to occur. A HACCP plan is specific to each processing location and each species of fish and type of fishery product.

Some exceptions

The Seafood HACCP regulation does not apply to the harvest or transport of fish or fishery products, or the operation of retail establishments. Practices such as heading, eviscerating, or freezing intended solely to prepare fish for holding on a harvest vessel are also exempt from the regulation.

Aquaculture practices exempt from the HACCP regulation include harvesting and boxing unprocessed fish on ice for immediate transportation, live fish hauling to various markets, custom processing the fish directly for the consumer who does not resell it, and fee fish operations.

More than 650 benefit from training

Since the inception of the Seafood HACCP regulation, Michigan Sea Grant Extension has conducted 25 three-day Seafood HACCP courses in the Great Lakes region training 653 commercial fishers, processors, and aquaculturists. More than 200 follow-up visits to fish processing facilities have been conducted to assist with the implementation of HACCP plans. The benefits of Seafood HACCP has resulted in fish processors developing value-added fishery products which increases their revenues.

Aquatic invasive species HACCP training offered, too

Several years ago Michigan Sea Grant and Minnesota Sea Grant developed an Aquatic Invasive Species-HACCP (AIS-HACCP) program following the principles of the Seafood HACCP program. Aquatic invasive species can invade and disrupt baitfish and aquaculture operations as they have been identified as a pathway for the spread of AIS. The hazards that have been identified in the AIS-HACCP program include AIS fish and other vertebrates, AIS invertebrates, AIS plants, and fish diseases.

AIS-HACCP training materials were developed and Michigan Sea Grant Extension worked with the baitfish and aquaculture industry representatives on training programs and developing AIS-HACCP plans specific to their operations. Michigan Sea Grant Extension has conducted over 40 AIS-HACCP one-day training programs in the North Central Region of the United States.

2017 Fisheries Workshops Series

Event Date: 4/4/2017
End Date: 5/24/2017

Michigan Sea Grant, in partnership with fisheries agencies and stakeholder organizations, hosts public information workshops annually. The workshops focus on current research and information related to the regional status of Great Lakes fisheries. These workshops are open to the public and provide valuable information for anglers, charter captains, resource professionals and other interested stakeholders.

If you’re interested in attending a workshop, please register using the information below so the organizers can plan accordingly.

Workshop Schedule

Port Huron
Tuesday, April 4
6–9 p.m.
Charles A. Hammond American Legion Hall, 1026 6th Street, Port Huron, MI 48060
Register Online

Bay City
Wednesday, April 12
6–9 p.m.
Bangor Township Hall, 3921 Wheeler Rd, Bay City, MI 48706
Register Online

Harrison Township
Thursday, April 13
6–9 p.m.
Sportsman’s Direct, 38989 Jefferson Ave, Harrison Township, MI 48045

South Haven 
Thursday, April 20, 2017
7–9:30 p.m.
South Haven Moose Lodge, 1025 Wells St., South Haven, MI 49090

Oscoda 
Wednesday, April 26
6–9 p.m.
American Legion Oscoda, 349 S. State Street, Oscoda, MI 48750
Register Online

Cedarville 
Thursday, April 27
6–9 p.m.
Clark Township Community Center, 133 E. M-134, Cedarville, MI 49719
Register Online

Harvey
Wednesday, May 24
6–9 p.m.
Chocolay Township Hall, 5010 US-41, Harvey, MI 49855
Register Online

Michigan Aquaculture Internship Program

Event Date: 4/7/2017

Michigan Sea Grant is offering internship funding to undergraduate students interested in pursuing a career in aquaculture. Students who coordinate with a private, state, or federal hatchery to create a summer internship could receive $5,000 for an internship of at least half-time work. Interested students should submit application materials to a sponsoring faculty member at their home institution.

One student will be selected from each institution and forwarded to Michigan Sea Grant by Friday, March 31, 2017, at 12:00 pm (noon). Final funding decisions will be made at Michigan Sea Grant by April 7, 2017.

Competitive funding available from NOAA Sea Grant for aquaculture initiatives

NOAA Sea Grant welcomes proposals for two competitive opportunities to advance aquaculture research, address barriers to aquaculture, and expand aquaculture production. Up to $15 million is expected to be available over several years to support projects in two nationwide grant competitions. Learn more about the funding opportunities here or at seagrant.noaa.gov.

Individuals, public or private groups, and state or tribal agencies are welcome to apply through their local Sea Grant program. Interested parties in Michigan should contact Catherine Riseng, Michigan Sea Grant’s research program director, at criseng@umich.edu to discuss the application process.

Doing this one thing will improve the quality of sport-caught fish

Fish should be iced down immediately to help prevent bacterial growth, spoilage – even when the weather is cool.

A combination of proper icing, handling, and sanitation greatly delays spoilage of sport-caught fish. Icing fish immediately when caught makes conditions unfavorable for bacterial growth. It is important to eliminate unnecessary sources of contamination, such as unclean coolers, to decrease initial numbers of bacteria. For instance, before each fishing trip fish storage coolers should have been thoroughly cleaned with a detergent, rinsed, and then sanitized. A suitable sanitizer can be made by mixing 4 ounces of unscented household bleach into approximately 3 gallons of water.

Fish are easily damaged when improperly handled after landing them in the net. It is important to avoid bruising fish as they are lifted on deck and stowed in the cooler. Bumping and bruising the fish may release enzymes which softens the flesh and makes nutrients available for bacterial growth. Bruises and cuts on the fish are unsightly and provide bacteria access to an otherwise sterile tissue. Research has shown that even unbruised fish flesh taken from bruised fish contain ten times more bacteria than did flesh from unbruised fish resulting in reduced quality and shortened shelf life.

Temperature is the single most important factor affecting the quality of fish as the rate of bacterial growth and spoilage are dependent on it. These processes occur slower as the temperature is lowered. Although it is not possible to completely stop bacterial growth by chilling fish, the rate of bacterial growth and spoilage can be significantly reduced by keeping fish chilled as close to freezing as possible.

Rapid onboard icing is the most effective means of controlling bacteria as it quickly brings the temperature of the fish down to below 40oF. The benefits of icing include rapid cooling of the fish, slows bacterial and enzymatic activity, flushes away bacteria as it melts, prevents drying, delays rigor mortis for improved texture, and resists freezing in cold weather for improved texture. Ice is convenient and inexpensive and its use should not be postponed until arrival at dockside.

Michigan State University in a past study related to the Great Lakes commercial fishing industry demonstrated the importance on onboard icing of fish. Although air and water temperatures were lower in one trial with no ice on board, bacteria and hypozanthine (a product of degradation) increased more rapidly during storage than in another trial when fish were iced on board at higher temperatures. This study supports the recommendation that fish be iced regardless of weather conditions. The study also showed the need for the use of ice even when fish are held at 30o F as the flushing action of melting ice extended shelf life.

When ice is used for cooling and storage it should be placed with the fish to ensure the greatest contact with the fish surfaces. Enough ice should be used so that fish contact only ice as they should not be in contact with each other or the bottom or sides of the cooler. Fish contacting each other or the cooler may promote spoilage by anaerobic bacteria. Flake ice is the best to use as it will not cause bruising of the fish and it provides a better contact area with the surface of the fish.

AFDO/Seafood Alliance HACCP Training Course

Event Date: 12/13/2016
End Date: 12/15/2016

Join a Seafood Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) Training Course coordinated by Michigan Sea Grant, Michigan State University Extension, and the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission. The course will be held December 13-15, 2016, at Bay Mills Resort and Casino in Brimley, Michigan. All fish processors are required to take this training if they are not currently certified.

Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) programs involve day-to-day monitoring of potential safety hazards at critical control points by production employees. The Seafood HACCP regulation that is enforced by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is based on the belief that commercial fish processors can understand the food safety hazards of their products and take reasonable steps to control them. Commercial fish processors are required either to obtain formal training for one or more of their own employees or to hire trained independent contractors to perform the HACCP functions. The HACCP regulation requires processors to keep extensive records of processing and sanitation at their facilities.

Instructors

Ron Kinnunen
MSU Extension Sea Grant Educator, Michigan Sea Grant Program
710 Chippewa Square, Suite 202, Marquette, MI 49855
Phone/fax: (906) 226-3687
E-mail: kinnune1@anr.msu.edu

Jim Thannum
Planning & Development, Great Lakes Indian Fish & Wildlife Commission
Maple Lane (mailing P.O. Box 9), Odanah, WI  54861
Phone: (715) 682-6619
Fax: (715) 682-9294
E-mail: jthannum@glifwc.org

Beth Waitrovich
Health & Nutrition, Michigan State University Extension Educator
800 Crystal Lake Blvd, Suite 200, Iron Mountain, MI 49801
Phone: (906) 774-0363
Fax: (906) 774-4672
E-mail: waitrovi@anr.msu.edu