Friday, August 25, 2017

25/08/2017: Visiting the Royal Agricultural University - A BBC look into insect meal

Image from 'Ask Nature'
as part of their article
"Body shape and position direct water current"
 A report from the BBC has been looking into Salmon production and the new regulations around insect meal this month. 

 The report begun, "Both in the wild and also in the farmed environment."

 "Salmon farming is big business. In 2015 the farm gate value of Scottish farmed salmon is £650 million. From July 1, this year a new EU law has permitted fish farmers to feed insect meal to their fish alongside their more usual diet of fishmeal. It's a more sustainable food stuff for fish and experts in the industry are excited about the possibilities it offers. 

 "Howard Shannon has been looking into it and starts his report at the Royal Agricultural University in Cirencester, with aquaculture lecturer Dr Shona O'Rourke," the report continued.

 "So Shona, tell me, what is aquaculture?" Mr Shannon begins. 

 "Well aquaculture is the captive rearing of aquatic species in production methods right the way from plant species through shellfish through to fish, so quite a wide variety of organisms can be grown through aquaculture." Shona explains. 

 "How is it currently being used as a farmed food?" BBC journalist Mr Shannon asks. 

 "Fishmeal is the food product that is being fed to the aquaculture species. There is substantial issues with the use of fishmeal, it's a very unsustainable practice," she points out. 

 "We get the fish for fishmeal from wild capture fisheries, unfortunately a lot of our wild capture fisheries are overfished. As a result it is unsustainable to continue to take fish from the ocean to create fishmeal, which is used then to feed aquacultured fish."

 Mr Shannon asks, "Tell me a little bit about insect meal then, how's that produced?"

 Dr O'Rourke continues, "Insect meal is what it says on the tin. It's using insects to produce a feedstuff for aquaculture species. So insects have been shown to be very high in protein, very high in fats, very high in micronutrients that are essential for the growth of fish. If we could use insect produced food rather than fishmeal - it's a far more sustainable production process to go down. 

This report was taken from a podcast on BBC Radio 4 Farming today. 

To listen to the full podcast click here. 

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