Monday, July 27, 2015

27/07/2015: Aquaculture’s explosive growth means farmers are about to run out of fish food

The booming US$170 billion aquaculture industry could face a shortfall of fishmeal and fish oil for feed as early as 2016, and demand could outpace fishmeal supply by up to 16MMT (Million Metric Tons) in 2025. The mismatch will hasten the opportunities for alternative sources of feed such as plant proteins, algae and even insects, according to Lux Research.

Fishmeal and fish oil are the lifeblood of the aquaculture feed industry, and demand is growing at 8 percent annually. The demand for fishmeal will nearly double by 2025, creating a need for over one million tons of alternative high-protein meal.

“The future of fish feed is a blend of alternatives – no single source will dominate as fish meal has,” said Sara Olson, Lux Research Analyst and lead author of the report titled 'Tightening fishmeal supply creates opportunities for aquaculture feed alternatives.'

“However, most alternatives to fishmeal have unmet needs of cost, nutrition and scale. To take advantage of the coming shifts, companies should find opportunities to address these challenges for these alternative sources,” she added.

Lux Research analysts evaluated the aquaculture industry’s search for feed, and the decline of fishmeal and fish oil production. Among their findings:

  • Fishmeal prices have quadrupled since 2000. Fishmeal and the alternative soy meal are both becoming more expensive sources of protein. Fishmeal prices have quadrupled since 2000 and still rise at a 10 percent annual rate, while soy meal prices have doubled since 2007.
  • Three species dominate aquaculture feed demand. Shrimp, tilapia and salmon account for 40 percent of the global fish feed consumption, with the remainder coming from trout, catfish, carp, and other fish and crustaceans.
  • The majority of fishmeal alternatives are in their infancies today. Alternatives like insect protein, recycled waste, and algae face challenges like low production capacity, high cost, and consumer aversion that make them unrealistic protein sources for aquaculture feed today.
The report, titled 'Tightening fish meal supply creates opportunities for aquaculture feed alternatives,' is part of the Lux Research Agro Innovation Intelligence service.

Visit the Lux Research site HERE.

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