Canadian asset-management firm acquires World Seafood Center; Ace Aquatec partners with Shrimp Welfare Project to enhance slaughter methods

The World Seafood Center in Oslo, Norway
The World Seafood Center in Oslo, Norway | Photo courtesy of Oslo Airport City
6 Min

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- Toronto, Ontario, Canada-based financial services firm Slate Asset Management has acquired the World Seafood Center in Oslo, Norway, for nearly USD 125 million (EUR 116 million.

The seafood refrigeration and distribution facility becomes the latest addition to Slate’s portfolio of real estate assets in Europe.

“We are pleased to be increasing our exposure to European essential real estate with the acquisition of this premier cold storage and distribution facility,” Slate Managing Director Sven Vollenbruch said. “The World Seafood Center has established itself as a critical part of the food supply chain globally, providing consumers across Europe, America, and Asia with access to high-quality Norwegian seafood. As global demand for sustainable seafood continues to grow, we look forward to working together with the leading tenants at the World Seafood Center to further enhance the quality, efficiency, and resiliency of this facility, ensuring it remains a major seafood export hub for years to come.”

Companies that currently use the center’s services include Mowi, but Slate said several other seafood firms are locked into long-term leases with the center that are “expected to provide stable and resilient cash flows.”

The transaction between Slate and Oslo Airport City, which previously owned the center, is expected to close by the end of June.

- Dundee, Scotland-based aquaculture technology company Ace Aquatec has partnered with U.K. charity Shrimp Welfare Project to improve shrimp slaughter standards across the industry.

Specifically, the partnership aims to replace the common method of immersing shrimp in ice-water slurry before slaughter, which some experts believe does not properly stun decapods.

“Humane slaughter of animals is crucial for maintaining good welfare throughout the entire process. We are keen to actively collaborate with the shrimp farming industry and support them in making the transition towards humane slaughter,” Shrimp Welfare Project Head of Programs Krzysztof Wojtas said in a release. “This partnership is a significant step in advancing our mission, and we look forward to seeing the positive impact it will have on shrimp welfare globally.” 

The Shrimp Welfare Project’s network of global producers use Ace Aquatec’s Prawn Humane Stunner Universal product free of charge on a limited basis until the end of 2025. Ace claims its product stuns shrimp unconscious in less than a second and reduces the need to handle shrimp and, therefore, also reduces the animal’s stress levels before slaughter.

“We’re proud to be collaborating with Shrimp Welfare Project to further our mutual goal of making humane stunning solutions accessible to shrimp farmers everywhere,” Ace Aquatec Chief Strategy and Marketing Officer Tara McGregor-Woodhams said. “With evidence pointing to shrimps’ sentience and their sensitivity to inadequate slaughter methods, there’s an acute need to revolutionize shrimp slaughter processes globally. This partnership is taking steps to address the issue on an industry-wide scale, and we hope to expand it further in the coming months and years.”

- Bellevue, Washington, U.S.A.-based fishing company Tri Marine has added a new purse-seine vessel to its fleet.

The Solomon Diamond is the sixth vessel in the company’s Solomon Islands-flagged fleet and comes outfitted with an automated fish-loading system that reduces loading and unloading times, an innovative propeller that enhances efficiency through fuel cost savings, and a compact refrigeration system that keeps tuna at temperatures that ensure maximum food safety, according to the company.

“The Solomon Diamond is a beacon of innovation and sustainability, charting a new course for the future of tuna fishing in the Solomons and marking a significant milestone for Bolton Food and Tri Marine,” Tri Marine Board Member Guy Noordink said in a release.

Planning for the vessel began in 2020, construction began in 2022, and a symbolic launch ceremony for the purse seiner was held in Taiwan on 25 May of this year.

- Munich, Germany-based packaging and container manufacturing firm IFCO Systems has released a smart technology-compatible, reusable fish crate dubbed Marina.

Marina provides producers, wholesalers, and retailers with a fish crate that serves as a replacement for single-use expanded polystyrene (EPS) packaging that often causes microplastic pollution. It also features Bluetooth tags and QR codes that allow for real-time data collection and traceability through fish products’ entire supply chain.

“I’m excited that we’ve succeeded in developing a smarter, more protective, and sustainable fish crate for the Mediterranean cross-border market,” IFCO Southern Europe Division Vice President Francesca Amadei said in a release.

Marina also features a stackable, nestable design for efficient storage and isothermal construction that ensures products stay fresher for longer than EPS packaging.

IFCO said the crate can be reused around 120 times, and it can be sustainably recycled. After each use, IFCO receives the crate back and washes it in accordance with international standards of food safety and hygiene.

- Samut Sakhon, Thailand-based Thai Union has introduced a packaging solution it has labeled ECOTWIST, releasing it through its subsidiary John West Foods.

The innovative packaging, released debuting in the U.K., aims to eliminate as much excess waste as possible by slimming down John West packaging by around 65 tons of plastic shrink wrap and 300 tons of cardboard each year.

"John West UK has spent three years developing a unique packaging solution that sets them apart in the market. They've successfully created meaningful differentiation through their sustainability leadership and by making consumers' lives easier,” Thai Union Europe President Paul Reenan said. “They've put their best-quality tuna into an industry-leading multipack packaging format that is easy for consumers to use, store, and recycle. By establishing their own packaging line in the U.K., they can now deliver products faster and more tailored to their retailers, differentiating themselves from competitors and private-label brands."

John West no-drain ECOTWIST products are already Marine Stewardship Council-certified, the company plans to have the entire line of ECOTWIST packaging certified by the end of 2025, which ensures the subsidiary’s packaging aligns with Thai Union’s ambitious SeaChange 2030 sustainability plan, it said.

“John West has moved large volumes into 100 percent sustainable packaging, bringing Thai Union closer to having all our branded products packaged sustainably by the end of next year,” Thai Union Chief Sustainability Officer Adam Brennan said. “The weight savings deliver directly to our target of slashing our greenhouse gas emissions by 42 percent across the entire supply chain by 2030.”

- Prince Edward Island, Canada-based contract research organization Center for Aquaculture Technologies Canada has changed its name to Onda as part of a rebranding effort.

Onda, which means “wave” in Latin, is meant to signify the organization’s commitment to “sustainable research that creates positive ripple effects across the sector.”

“As we look for ways to feed a growing population, aquaculture has the power to provide a sustainable solution. But it must be managed with great responsibility and care. At Onda, we’re on a mission to nurture a healthier and more sustainable world, starting with sustainable aquaculture,” Onda CEO Myrna Gillis, who assumed her role in March 2024, said in a release. “Utilizing strategic and collaborative research and cutting-edge technologies, we are committed to answering pressing questions to better understand our ocean environments and how we can improve the quality, resilience, and health of aquatic food sources.”

The rebranding initiative comes soon after Onda separated its governance and management structures from its U.S. parent company: the Center for Aquaculture Technologies (CAT), based in San Diego, California, U.S.A.

The rebranded company said it will maintain its alignment with CAT and “continue to be an integral part of the Cuna del Mar portfolio” while also resuming its goal of bringing perspective and precise consultancy to aquaculture projects.

- A shellfish waste-drying plant in New Brunswick, Canada, has closed after nearby residents complained for years that the stench emanating from the plant was unbearable.

Coastal Shell Products ceased operations on 15 June, citing operational limitations imposed upon the company by the New Brunswick government, such as reduced operating hours, stemming from the resident complaints about the plant’s smell.

We’ve invested hundreds of thousands, have operated at a loss of over CAD 1.2 million [USD 879,000, EUR 818,000], and continued to employ over 25 staff to show our commitment to resolving public concerns and our commitment to New Brunswick’s shellfish industry that relies on Coastal Shell for waste disposal,” Coastal Shell Manager Jamie Goguen said, per CTV News Atlantic, after announcing the plant’s closure. “Ongoing and aggressive testing by the province never found Coastal Shell to be in violation of air quality limits. We have continued to work with the Department of Environment toward every request and complied with every restriction.”

It is unclear where the processing facilities in the province will turn to for disposal services now that the plant has shuttered.

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