Deadline extended in fish-free salmon and shrimp feed sales competition

By Jane Byrne

- Last updated on GMT

© GettyImages/asbe
© GettyImages/asbe

Related tags Fishmeal Fish oil

The F3 - Future of Fish Feed has extended its registration deadline for The F3 Challenge – Carnivore Edition.

The new date is September 15, 2021. 

Seven competitors are currently registered for the contest, and many are seeking partners. Japan’s Dainichi Corporation is a recent entrant.

The feed submission and partnership deadline is November 30, 2021, said the organizers.

“We appreciate the patience of our current contestants who signed up early to ensure those who needed extra time to announce their participation due to the global pandemic could do so,”​ commented Kevin Fitzsimmons, a professor at the University of Arizona and F3 chair.

The F3 Challenge – Carnivore Edition - is aiming to accelerate the development and adoption of fishmeal and fish oil replacements in aquaculture feed, decoupling aquaculture production from wild fish sources, and thus assuring greater food security in the future.

This edition of the F3 challenge​ will award US$100,000 in each of three categories—salmonid, shrimp, and other carnivorous species—to the contestants that produce and sell the most 'fish-free' feed.

These sales can be directly to end customers in aquaculture or indirectly through distribution channels during the contest period.

The qualifying feeds for all prize categories must not contain any ingredients consisting of or derived from marine animals, including, but not limited to, fish, squid, shrimp, or krill.

The contestants, to date, include:

  • BGreen Technologies, a young startup based in India, is competing in the 'other carnivorous species' category with its Asian seabass feed.
  • US-based Chapul Farms, farms and formulates functional proteins from black soldier flies for food and feed ingredients by raising its soldier fly larvae on agricultural by-products, primarily for salmonid feed. It is seeking sales partners for the challenge.
  • Japan-based Dainichi Corporation is a vertically integrated aquaculture manufacturer producing feed primarily for yellowtail (Hamachi) and sea bream (Madai) and farming Bluefin Tuna (Kuro maguro) and Masu Salmon (Satsuki Masu).
  • Empagran, an aquaculture company with 3,000 hectares (7,413 acres) of shrimp ponds in Ecuador, a packing plant, hatchery, and feed mill, is selling a fish-free feed for white shrimp (Litopenaues vannamei) in partnership with Veramaris. Empagran’s feed contains soybean meal and Veramaris’ algal oil, which contains both EPA and DHA.
  • Jiangsu Fuhai Biotech Co., Ltd. founded in Haian, Jiangsu, China in 2015, uses fermented dehulled full fat soybean as a raw material for use in feed for salmonid, shrimp and other carnivorous species. It is seeking product development and sales partners for all three award categories.
  • UK-based Remediiate grows microalgae at scale and is seeking product development partners to formulate a finished feed to compete for the shrimp category.
  • California, US located, Star Milling Co, is selling rainbow trout feed containing a barley protein concentrate produced by its contest partner Scoular Company.

Growing share of fishmeal and fish oil is being produced from fish by-products

While the hunt is on for alternatives to fishmeal and fish oil for use in fish feed, an FAO report sees increasing use of fishmeal production from fish by-products.

Fishmeal and fish oil can be produced from whole fish, fish trimmings or other fish processing by-products. A number of different species are used for fishmeal and fish oil production, including small pelagic species such as Peruvian anchoveta.

The amount of wild fish utilized for reduction to fishmeal and fish oil peaked in 1994 at over 30 million tons and then declined to less than 14m tons in 2014. In 2018, it rose to about 18m tons due to increased catches of Peruvian anchoveta, according to the recent publication from the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), The Sate of World Fisheries and Aquaculture 2020​.

Fishmeal and fish-oil production fluctuate according to changes in species catches, in particular anchoveta, dominated by the El Niño–Southern Oscillation, which affects stock abundance. Over time, the adoption of good management practices and certification schemes has decreased the volumes of unsustainable catches of species targeted for reduction to fishmeal, found the report. 

The progressive reduction in supply of marine ingredients has been coupled with a surging demand driven by a fast-growing aquaculture industry, which increased the prices of fishmeal and fish oil. As a result, a growing share of fishmeal and fish oil is being produced from fish by-products, reads the report. 

It is now estimated that these by-products are used to produce up to 25–35% of the total volume of fishmeal and fish oil, but regional differences exist, and timely collection and treatment of these by-products is crucial for their further processing, said the FAO. The by-products are usually composed of heads (which represent 9–12% of total fish weight), viscera (12–18%), skin (1–3%), bones (9–15%) and scales (about 5%), it reported. 

Lower fishmeal and fish oil feed inclusion rates 

Fishmeal and fish oil are still considered the most nutritious and most digestible ingredients for farmed fish, as well as the major source of omega-3 fatty acids, EPA and DHA, said the FAO.

“However, their inclusion rates in compound feeds for aquaculture have shown a clear downward trend, largely as a result of supply and price variation coupled with continuously increasing demand from the aquafeed industry. They are increasingly used selectively at specific stages of production, such as for hatchery, broodstock, and finishing diets, and the incorporation of fishmeal and fish oil in grower diets is decreasing. For example, their share in grower diets for farmed Atlantic salmon is now often less than 10%.”

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