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Patrick Waty, CEO of INVE Aquaculture, spoke with Aquaculture Magazine about his vision for the future of global aquaculture in the coming years and INVE’s undeniable contribution to the development and growth of the industry.

Population growth and the resulting increase in food demand have drawn attention to aquaculture and its tremendous potential to make an important contribution as a sustainable source of protein, requiring coordination of efforts among the various stakeholders to respond to the challenges of the present and future.

With this in mind, Aquaculture Magazine conducted an exclusive interview with Patrick Waty, CEO of INVE Aquaculture, who shared with us and our readers his vision about the industry and the role of innovation in the sustainability of aquaculture production.

Patrick Waty with Salvador Meza (Director at Design Publications International)

 

What do you think will be the growth of aquaculture in the next 5 – 10 years, in terms of species and regions?

In this context, Patrick offers us his perspective: “Over the next 5 years we expect Shrimp production across the Americas to grow at a CAGR of 7% from 1,590 m MT in 2022 to 2,200 m MT in 2027. Within South America we expect Ecuador to lead growth, increasing from 1.2 m MT in 2022 to 1.6 m MT in 2027. We’re expecting strong growth in the Central Americas region with production doubling over the next 5 years, in particular, Venezuela performs strongly driven by exports to the EU and good access to land in the Maracaibo basin, at the moment the industry is growing at 30% a year! Mexico will grow slower at around 2.5% and, although showing good growth Brazil will remain a small contributor at around 0.09 m MT in 2022 and 0.105 m MT in 2027”.

He is optimistic when he points out that “Ecuador is the best setup for growth with a committed government and several strong producers with good access to capital. Farmers have fewer challenges or constraints on land than some other countries and are (most importantly) profitable and making money! We’d like to see exports to the US or EU increase proportionally to reduce reliance on China”. Referring to other latitudes outside the Americas, INVE Aquaculture’s CEO explained his projections “we expect slow growth of the shrimp industry of 2-3% per year in India with the production of P. Monodon growing faster than L. vannamei, although L. vannamei will continue to account for the vast majority of production (94% in 2027). We expect Vietnam to show good growth in Asia with Thailand continuing to struggle to be competitive. Indonesia showed good resilience over the COVID pandemic increasing sales to the US but domestic consumption was low and disease/ biological challenges remain high”.

Regarding Europe and the Middle East, he stated “we expect the most significant growth to be in Turkey and expect around 19% growth in production over the next 5 years. We are excited about emerging markets in Oman and the Middle East although these are slow to materialize and will make a small proportion of total production”

 

How does INVE Aquaculture position itself to help aquaculture development and growth?

Patrick Waty begins to answer this question by highlighting the tremendous growth opportunities of aquaculture. “Water covers 60% of the world’s surface but aquaculture provide just 2% of the world’s food. I don’t need to tell you, or the readers of Aquaculture Magazine, that our industry has a crucial role to play in feeding the world’s growing population now and in the future. For us, the only way to shape this future is to do it in close collaboration and partnership with the market. Creating awareness of feed conversion, end-product quality, and system management, we aim to set higher and higher standards for success in rearing aquaculture species. We’ve been doing this for 35 years and remain as ambitious and our appetite for innovation, cooperation and professionalism is just as strong now as it was when INVE was formed”.

He explained that INVE has positioned itself to be on the ground in key aquaculture hotspots “we have people present in 27 countries with R&D centers and Technical Support teams across Europe, Asia, the Americas, the Middle East and Africa. INVE belongs in the market, next to the customer with our hands in the water. Our mission is to support the production of aquaculture systems and the business growth of our customers. We provide sustainable & innovative solutions, adding value at key points in culture lifecycles. We believe that feed quality in the broodstock and larval stages has long-lasting benefits, microbial management is a must from hatchery to harvest and living conditions of cultured animals need to be carefully controlled”. As an example of important developments in the sector, he emphasizes the contribution that the use of Artemia has made and is still relevant “Today, Artemia remains an important and critical component in protocols. For aquaculture to keep growing using the limited natural supply of Artemia, the industry will have to take on the challenge of using Artemia as efficiently as possible.

This requires adequate knowledge and application strategies. Developing new products and technologies related to Artemia and sharing the innovations & related knowledge with customers will help the industry to grow”. Looking to the future, he expresses the importance of “Maintaining specific know-how related to the use of live feeds on the hatchery floor itself, is important for the future. The ability to rely on technical experts from INVE Aquaculture, able to transfer this knowledge to the new generation in the hatchery, will help to secure the future of the sector as well”.

Visiting our Test Center, IARC (INVE Aquaculture Research Centre) in Italy

 

How does INVE Aquaculture distinguish itself from other companies participating in the same aquaculture markets?

  • In this context, Patrick Waty mentioned the key factors that make up the company’s competitive advantages in the market, namely: “One of our greatest differentiators is our connection to the two other divisions of the Benchmark Group. We are at the beginning of a new stage of cooperation between INVE and our colleagues from Benchmark Genetics – looking to combine our two technologies into tailored Genetics-Nutrition packages and protocols for customers. There is huge potential to impact producers’ predictability, consistency and ultimately profitability in the combination of the portfolios and new data systems we are working on will help us document and evidence this”.
  • “Focusing just on INVE – our approach to our portfolio sets us aside from our competitors. We have in-house expertise in the three main disciplines essential for aquaculture production – optimization of animal nutrition, management of animal health and rigorous control of the culture environment. Combined with more than 35 years of operations and hands-on technical experience, we’re one of few companies that can offer holistic culture practices covering these three essential aspects”.
  • “Once a product is through our innovations department, we have full control of our products through the intake of high-quality raw materials, through manufacturing at our facilities in Asia and the US, through distribution, and ultimately on-site follow up with our Technical Services team”.
  • “Our commitment to our customers sets us apart from our competitors. From our Innovations and teams, through Commercial and Operations, through to Technical Support, everything we do is designed to solve customer challenges and fulfill customer needs. We have a large in-house R&D department with testing and research centers on the ground in the major aquaculture markets”.
  • “Our customers have access to experts and technical support (team of skilled technical advisors), who understands the need of the customer and can help and solve the problems”.
  • “INVE Aquaculture has long been the reference point for marine fish hatchery products. Our approach is focused on providing high-quality products that have a positive long-term effect on fish robustness and performance. All our current and future products are studied and challenged in our marine fish hatchery in Italy. Furthermore, we have a team of experienced experts that strive to fine-tune protocols to local conditions to achieve efficient and quality fry production”.

What do you look forward to in 2022 and what excites you about the future of INVE Aquaculture?

Trying to sum up everything he plans to do this year, Patrick tells us about his goals in three main aspects: “Personally, for the rest of 2022, I look forward to traveling more and meeting more of my colleagues, our customers and partners. I said it earlier, but INVE really does belong in the market and over the last two years we have missed our face-to face contact and I’m excited as this returns. Just these last two weeks I have been visiting our team and customers in Thailand and it’s fantastic to be back on the ground, not always on a call!”.

“For the company, I am excited about extending our cooperation with our Breeding and Genetics colleagues in Benchmark and combing our two technologies into tailored Genetics-Nutrition packages and protocols for customers. There is huge potential to impact consistency, performance, disease resistance and robustness, and ultimately profitability in the combination of the portfolios and new data systems we are working on will help us document and evidence this”.

“At a product level, within Marine Fish we have just introduced a major innovation line ‘Natura pRo’ and ‘ExL’. A feedline that reduces rotifer requirement from 50% without impacting fry quality and survival, while improving them. I’m excited to see the performance of this product in the market over the next 6 months”.

Customer event in Thailand, showing the full INVE PortfolioMeeting our Thai team

 

In terms of sustainability, how is INVE aquaculture contributing to making aquaculture production more sustainable?

INVE Aquaculture understands that sustainability is not just about using “green ingredients” and recyclable packaging “but also getting the absolute most, we can from animals within our systems, with the minimum number of inputs. Our greatest potential to contribute to the sustainability of aquaculture is the right application of the right products and protocols at the right time – to ensure every animal achieves its maximum potential”. They also only work with partners who meet the same standards of quality control, regulatory compliance, work ethic, and environmental responsibility.

Patrick concludes the interview by discussing the measures INVE Aquaculture is implementing as a sign of its commitment to aquaculture sustainability based on its holistic approach to disease prevention and environmental management:

  • “Our Procurement Department is increasing our sourcing of sustainably produced products with Marine Trust, ProTerra, Friends of the Sea, etc. certification. Transport and supply optimization is an ongoing project”.
  • “We’re in the process of applying for and pursuing GLOBAL GAP Compound Feed Manufacturing certification at all our production facilities. Even though INVE’s aquaculture portfolio is produced to the highest standards available on the market, we want to have it officially certified. Not only because of the certificate itself but also because it meant that our processes had been reviewed by an independent source”.
  • “One of our largest and most important products (Artemia) is a natural resource and must be managed sustainably as such. Our technologies and innovations have optimized Artemia use and harvesting, whilst making the process safer and with less impact on natural stocks. These optimized and cost-effective innovations (Artemia SEP-Art technology and D-FENSE) have simplified Artemia production, making Artemia a convenient and sustainable live food for larval fish and shrimp. At the world’s most important Artemia harvest site – the Great Salt Lake in Utah, USA – we’re involved in the ‘Management of Artemia resources of the Great Salt Lake (Utah, USA)’ initiative together with the other members of the COOP, the International Artemia Aquaculture Consortium, and members of state and national government”.
  • “We are continuously investing in our production facilities in order to produce more efficiently and reduce waste and environmental impact. This year solar panels will be installed at our factory in Thailand meaning 30% of the total electricity used by the plant will come from renewable sources”.
  • “Our farm portfolio gathers preventive solutions, eco-friendly biocide & natural antimicrobials, water & soil bioremediation solutions, immunostimulant & robustness enhancer to support animal health and rearing conditioners. Our holistic approach to disease prevention and environmental management is the key to sustainable aquaculture production – we believe that prevention prevails and is much more cost-efficient than any emergency treatment or blind mitigation”.
Patrick with the INVE team, José Antonio Camposano (Director – CNA), Pamela Nath (Director – SSP) and Patrick Sorgeloos during a visit in Ecuador.Signing the installation of a solar rooftop that will generate 30% of the total electricity consumption at our production and facility center in Phichit, Thailand.

 

Finally, he reported that INVE joined the Sustainable Shrimp Partnership as an Associate Partner in Ecuador in June 2022. The goal is to “change perceptions and treatment of shrimp from commodity to high-quality product. The group is concerned with improving shrimp farming practices along the entire production chain to improve quality and environmental & societal impact”. By producing shrimp according to the criteria that SSP has set for itself to achieve the highest environmental and social standards, the absence of antibiotics and water neutrality, “we can ensure a sustainable future for the shrimp sector,” Patrick concludes this interesting interview with our director Salvador Meza.

This article was published in Aquaculture Magazine.