After a 30-day journey by sea freight, the first two-metric-ton shipment of live sturgeons reached their final destination safely - a caviar production facility in Abu Dhabi.
Novozymes supplied the key microorganisms  that allowed the fish to be transported safely over such a lengthy period of time, in what may be the largest-scale transport of live fish attempted so far.
“This is indeed an enabling technology that will open up new markets for live seafood. The solution developed by Aqualife and Novozymes enables large quantities of live fish to be transported over long distances via sea freight,” says Patrick Patterson, President, Novozymes Biologicals.
Improving the carbon footprint
Aqualife, a Danish company in cleantech logistics solutions for the global fishing industry and global transport giant Mærsk, has developed the special containers which enables the transportation of live fish and shellfish by sea freight instead of airfreight. The transport solution provides a 90% reduction in CO2 compared to airfreight.
Mimicking natures own processes
Transporting live fish is a difficult and challenging task, as fish are extremely susceptible to external stress factors such as handling, temperature changes and the build-up of toxic waste products in the water.
“In nature, animal waste products are broken down by a complex web of biological processes. In the containers, the conditions do not allow these natural processes to take place, and if left untreated, the fish would perish within a few days,” says Patrick Patterson.
With Novozymes’ innovative solution this problem is overcome by using live bacteria to control water quality. The bacteria control the build-up of toxic waste products in the water by converting them into nitrate, which is harmless to the fish.
Opening world markets in the future
This first successful transport of live fish from Germany to Abu Dhabi signals the opening of a global market for live seafood. Making it possible to connect the world's remote fishing grounds or aquaculture production clusters with the main consuming markets. Novozymes’ biotechnological solutions make this a possibility.