Less is more: Cargill project looks to make salmon production more sustainable

By Jane Byrne

- Last updated on GMT

© GettyImages/VICHAILAO
© GettyImages/VICHAILAO

Related tags Cargill Salmon carbon emissions

Cargill is launching a new initiative aimed at helping aquaculture farmers raise products with less environmental impact.

Called SeaFurther Sustainability, the project has set a goal of reducing the footprint of farmed salmon by 30% by 2030. It aims to save two billion kgs of CO2 by that deadline, says Cargill.

Pilar Cruz, president and group leader, Cargill Aqua Nutrition, said: “Seafood consumption is rising globally. We want to meet that demand; increasing production while decreasing environmental impact.”

The company will work closely with farmers to source sustainable ingredients, improve farm productivity, and ensure fish welfare, she added.

Stian Amble, biology and quality advisor at Nova Sea, one of the largest salmon farming companies in Northern Norway, said that delivering more sustainable aquaculture will require the value chain to align on key goals and work together to deliver on them.

“By agreeing on the value of the changes that are required, we can deliver true transformation to become more sustainable more quickly and at greater scale.”

Today, feed represents up to 90% of a salmon’s environmental footprint.  

Cargill said that, through SeaFurther, it will work closely with its suppliers to grow responsibly-sourced ingredients and supply chains while finding ways to reuse by-products, like fish trimmings that would normally be discarded, whenever it can.

Identifying and sourcing novel ingredients that further boost the sustainability profile of the aqua feed is also a goal.

Supporting innovation 

Cargill has been active in the novel ingredient space. In August 2019, it secured an agreement with White Dog Labs back to gain access to ProTyton, a single-cell protein produced by fermentation with corn feedstock and flagged as a sustainable alternative to harvesting fishmeal. It is said to be high in protein and amino acids and suitable for use in salmon and shrimp feed.

In June that same year, Cargill established a strategic partnership with French company, InnovaFeed, on insect protein for use in salmon and shrimp diets. 

And the agribusiness giant has invested in a venture with Calysta to produce that innovator's FeedKind in North America. FeedKind is a single-cell protein made from natural gas as the carbon source, for use in aqua feed, and other segments.

The company will also use its extensive aquaculture feed experience to help farmers do more with less to increase efficiency and maximize production while decreasing their impact on the planet.

Traceability and animal welfare must be at the center of any sustainability program, said Cargill.

“SeaFurther intends to safeguard farmed fish through nutrition solutions that protect and promote animal health, reducing the use of resources and the impact on the ocean at large.”

While the project is initially focused on making salmon production more sustainable, SeaFurther will expand its species focus, tackling shrimp production in the near future.

“This initiative builds on Cargill’s extensive supply chain efforts that center around the belief that agriculture is how we’ll feed a growing population while protecting our earth’s resources.”

From more sustainable feed to environmentally friendly transportation

SeaFurther is a project being run by Cargill in addition to its other strategic partnerships, investments, research, and technologies aimed at protecting oceans.

The company flagged how it is involved in a project that focuses on reducing the environmental impact of global bulk shipping in line with the International Maritime Organization’s target to reduce decarbonize shipping by at least 50% by 2050.

Jan Dieleman, president of Cargill’s ocean transportation business, remarked: “Large-scale carbon reduction requires commitment across the global supply chain and we’re working with partners to develop solutions to reduce our impact on the environment. As one of the world’s largest vessel charterers, Cargill continues its push to reduce emissions and raise industry standards.”

Cargill said, over a year ago, it also installed around US$3m worth of energy saving equipment onboard some of its long-term time charter vessels. It is a strategic partner of ZeroNorth as well, which is a tech start-up that provides digital tools to improve vessel performance and reduce fuel consumption.

While last year saw Cargill partner with BAR Technologies to bring their WindWings - large, solid wing sails that measure up to 45 meters in height - to the deck of bulk cargo ships to harness the power of the wind and reduce CO2 emissions by up to 30%. 

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