Wednesday, October 18, 2017

19/10/2017: Fishmeal, fish oil and “The Need for Feed”

by Neil Auchterlonie, IFFO

It is stating the obvious to say that the use of fishmeal and fish oil in aquafeeds has changed over time

With high inclusion rates of fishmeal and fish oil common in early modern aquafeeds, and especially those for salmonids, these materials could be regarded as the foundation of fed aquaculture as we know it (Auchterlonie, 2016).

The provision of diets that met the farmed fish nutritional needs essentially freed up the industry to develop systems technology and health controls. Therefore making the advances in the volume of production that was required to achieve viability.

Inclusion rates seen with those early diets were 90 percent or more for total marine-sourced materials (Ytrestøyl, Aas, & Åsgård, 2015), and this was only feasible when the aquaculture industry was of relatively small volume.

Over time the partial substitution of marine ingredients with those of other (terrestrial, mainly vegetable but some animal proteins) origin occurred to allow a continuing supply of feed to aquaculture within a global market.

The challenge was in meeting the volume of supply required for the developing aquaculture industry. There is an economic consideration too, that emanates from the volume of supply point.

Although marine ingredients may appear as higher cost compared to the alternatives in the market, it is simplistic to look at feed ingredients from solely that perspective as bioeconomic models have a great deal more complexity, and feed formulations are not all about price – the performance of the material needs to be taken into account.

This has already been shown with fishmeal in respect of feeds for weaning piglets (Ma et al., 2013) where the growth and health advantages of high quality fishmeal in those feeds provide benefits that extend across the whole production cycle.

The same may well be true for fish species. (Interestingly, it is the comparative cost of marine ingredients that provides the financial attraction from the investment sector that supports the development of alternatives, as discussed in Naylor et al. (2009) who describe the situation thus: “price signals will provide the best inducement for technological and management change”, even if – nutritionally - those alternatives are generally quite different to fishmeal and fish oil.)

For references and to read the full article, click HERE.

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