Friday, January 4, 2019

Unravelling fishmeal

by Dr Neil Auchterlonie, Technical Director, IFFO

All roads led to Rome for IFFO members this October, as the IFFO Annual Conference was held in the eternal city. It was really a fascinating event this year, and the panel discussion in the opening session set the tone for an event that really explored the true value of fishmeal and fish oil as aquafeed ingredients.

It was pleasing to hear that the feed companies really respect the nutritional value of these materials and acknowledge that they will continue to be the foundation of fish nutrition for years to come.

Our technical session maintained this theme. One presentation, in particular, generated a real buzz which has lasted well beyond the conference. I have since seen it referred to in at least another two external events, including the presentation of a slide or two (fully acknowledged, of course) and heard many conversations about the slides.

Professor Brett Glencross of the Institute of Aquaculture, University of Stirling, provided a summary of some IFFO-funded project work that he is delivering on behalf of our members. Entitled “Unravelling Fishmeal: What makes this resource so special?”, Brett talked through the availability of feed ingredients for aquafeed, the evolution of feeds in the context of a changing raw material supply base. He has a great presenting style that links detailed technical information with practical application, reflecting his career roles in academia, government and industry.

Brett opened with the view that fishmeal free diets are a reality and it is possible to produce salmon without the use of fishmeal in the diet. Nothing startling there, of course, although perhaps a bit controversial for an audience of fishmeal producers, but the real question that flows out of that statement is how to create value from something that may no longer be essential.

Having said that, Brett proceeded to talk about essential amino acids and essential fatty acids, and although the descriptor here is a technical definition, and fishmeals are not the only sources of these important materials for fish nutrition, they are incredibly important blocks in the manufacture of suitable feeds with fishmeal known to be a comparatively rich source of both.

Read more HERE.

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