In recent years, farming of those two species has increased significantly on that continent.
As farming there become more intensive, BioMar said it sees a need to offer a full range of feeds for tilapia and African catfish, beyond what is required for the starter and grower stages for those two species.
African fish farmers “need more nutrient rich and high performing feeds,” said Michel Autin, technical director. BioMar EMEA.
The goal of its new broodstock feed, EFICO Genio 838F, is to increase reproduction capacity, he said.
Nutrient levels are critical when designing such a feed, he explained.
“Broodstock feed for tilapia and African catfish need to include high quality raw materials to ensure the correct delivery of nutrients in the parent broodstock is passed into the ovules and semen. The high digestible protein/digestible energy ratio is of special importance to those two species [and we need to ensure there is an] adequate level of micro ingredients.
“Among other health boosting ingredients, we have also included some special amino acids and the probiotic, Bactocell. Bactocell is recognized for helping to reduce vertebral deformities in many species and for boosting the immune system, [but it also] facilitates the uptake of some micronutrients at the gut level, and this is especially relevant in broodstock feeds,” he told FeedNavigator.
The global R&D division at BioMar, in collaboration with its unit in Costa Rica, carried out the development work on the broodstock feed.
“BioMar scientists and experts are very good at cross-utilizing knowledge and expertise across borders and species. For this particular feed development, the work done by our colleagues in Costa Rica and Chile has been central.”
Company research, he said, shows that optimizing the vitamin levels of the broodstock feed increases the percentages of the eggs in the mouth of tilapia females.
“Protein and vitamin levels affect spawning frequency, hatchability, and condition of fry. In fact, low levels of protein may result in failure to fertilize eggs. Boosting broodstock with the necessary vitamins also results in optimal reproductive capacity with increased hatching success and increased survival of fry.
“We revised the protein/lipid level and the vitamin mix after trials performed in Costa Rica showed increases in the number of females actively spawning. These revisions were also applied to the broodstock feed being produced by the BioMar factory in France, which supplies feed to African fish farmers.”
In terms of feeding and farming practices, he said BioMar specialist in Costa Rica, Dennis Fuentes, recommends that, instead of collecting the fry from the ponds, the farm should operate a hatchery and collect the eggs from tilapia mouths, prior to the hatch of the larvae.
“The increase in fry and fry survival quickly pays back the initial investment in the hatchery. Collecting the eggs eliminates loss from escaped fry or decreased survival due to stress and damage from collecting fry by nets.”
Africa is a key market for BioMar..
The African market, he added, plays a key role in BioMar’s short-term growth strategy. “Africa has a big demand for locally produced food, and the aquaculture industry can contribute to meeting that by providing healthy seafood. At BioMar, we aim to do our part by supplying nutritious and sustainable feed with high food safety standards.
“[Tilapia] farmers [in Africa] have also struggled with the amount of dust in locally produced feeds, which has an effect on water quality and feeding activity. BioMar has strict quality standards that eliminate this issue.”