Fishmeal-free salmon feed: a sustainability success?

Signal of change / Fishmeal-free salmon feed: a sustainability success?

By Helen Hughes / 07 Apr 2016

Skretting, part of Nutreco, has announced an addition to their salmon feed offering which does not contain fishmeal. The feed aims to offer a solution to the current viability issues associated with fishmeal-based feed whilst offering the same nutritional benefits. This is the first step in Skretting’s research programme that aims to provide fishmeal-free feed for a range of farmed species, including shrimp and sea bass.

So what?

Globally, aquaculture is increasing faster than any other type of farming. Relying on fishmeal as a source of nutrition for farmed fish is not sustainable, particularly as the global population increases and demand for fish grows. Economically, increasing demand is causing huge hikes in fishmeal cost, so alternative ingredients are also necessary from a financial perspective.

Research from a company with the scale and expertise of Skretting is an encouraging signal that significant change is on its way. The company aims to gain an understanding of a range of ingredient options suitable for the aquaculture market: such diversification is a strong approach to sustainable progress.

However, it is not clear what the new feed includes, which makes it difficult to judge the overall sustainability profile of this product. It would be unwise, for example, to lean towards plant ingredients that could be used as human food, such as soy.

How can we drive a holistic approach to research across the global aquaculture and agriculture feed markets to solve, rather than displace, sustainability issues? What do other elements of the supply chain need do to encourage the uptake of new, sustainable feed options?

Image credit: Norsk Havbrukssenter / Flickr

Sources

Undercurrent News (March 21, 2016) ‘Skretting touts fishmeal –free salmon feed

What might the implications of this be? What related signals of change have you seen?

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