FeedNavigator at EuroTier 2014

Aqua feed trends: Prospects good for fish meal replacers but lipid substitutes seem a long way off

By Jane Byrne

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Aquaculture

Feed is the single largest expense item in aquaculture so EuroTier 2014 saw active debate on the future of aqua feed formulation with experts discussing the benefits of both plant based and processed animal derived proteins as fish meal alternatives.

We caught up with Andreas Stein from specialty feed products producer, Euroduna, and Dr Hanno Slawski from fish feed supplier, Aller Aqua, at the Hannover show’s aquaculture forum to get their perspective on how the hunt for new aqua feed components is playing out. 

While fishmeal and fish oil's exceptional qualities including high levels of healthy omega-3s, vitamins and trace elements and lack of anti-nutritional factors are highly valued by producers of aqua feeds there has long been recognition such marine resources were finite. 

The result is that fishmeal and fish oil are being used more efficiently, more strategically at lower levels and, in part, substituted by alternative ingredients. 

And in the hunt for those new components, exciting R&D work has been taking place around protein substitutes.

But the development of lipid source alternatives to fish oil would seem to be somewhat more challenging. Stein remains highly skeptical that the industry can generate a viable lipid alternative that would provide 100% replacement of fish oil in the diets of farmed fish within a five year time frame. 

Meanwhile, Dr Slawski said EU approval for the supplementation of fish diets with processed animal protein (PAP) – the EU Commission lifted the ban on the use of non-ruminant PAP in aqua feed in June 2013 - ​has been pivotal in terms of making fish feed in Europe more sustainable. 

He also noted how temperature adapted feeds that can address the change in fish metabolism according to the season is becoming another strong formulation trend in the sector.

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