US, Chinese and Ecuadorian feed companies win in ‘fish-free’ contest

By Jane Byrne

- Last updated on GMT

© GettyImages/imagedepotpro
© GettyImages/imagedepotpro

Related tags Fishmeal DHA trout Pacific white shrimp bass

Three feed manufacturers—Star Milling Co, Empagran and Jiangsu Fuhai Biotech Co, Ltd.—have each won the grand prize in the F3 Challenge - Carnivore Edition.

They each secured $100K in the contest organized by The Future of Fish Feed (F3), a collaborative effort between NGOs, academic institutions, and private partnerships to spark innovation in the development and commercialization of aquaculture feeds free of fishmeal and fish oil to eliminate wild-caught fish in aquaculture feeds.

“We congratulate all the contestants who rose to the challenge despite all the recent adversity and supply chain disruptions,”​ said Kevin Fitzsimmons, professor at the University of Arizona and chair of the F3 Challenge, during a special ceremony at the Global Seafood Alliance’s GOAL conference. “Their hard work and flexibility paid off.”

The initiative is aimed at boosting global food security, with the stakeholders looking to reduce the aquaculture industry’s reliance on fishmeal and fish oil derived from small forage fish such as menhaden and sardines, to future-proof it against shocks to the supply chain.

The prizes were awarded in each of three categories—salmonid, shrimp, and other carnivorous species—to the contestant that produced and sold the most 'fish-free' feed made without wild-caught fish or any marine-animal ingredient.

The winning teams

US-based Star Milling Co won for its non-GMO plant-based feed that contains omega-3 DHA derived from algae and flax oil for rainbow trout.

Ecuadorian company Empagran was recognized for its formulation using Veramaris’ algal oil containing EPA & DHA omegas for Pacific white shrimp.

China-based Fuhai Biotech took the top prize money as well as a result of its largemouth bass feed formulation, which includes its Fatide product, with dehulled full fat soybean fermented by microbes and enzymes.

In addition, Japan-based Dainichi Corporation received an honorable mention award, a US$25K prize for its breakthrough feed for red sea bream, said the team behind F3.

Volumes sold

Over three million kilograms of feed was sold in all seafood categories during the roughly 16-month contest.

Sponsors of the challenge include the University of Arizona, The Campbell Foundation, Synbiobeta, The Nature Conservancy, University of Massachusetts-Boston, Anthropocene Institute, Dawson Family Fund, Sustainable Ocean Alliance, Tides Foundation, Cuna Del Mar, the National Renderers Association and Shanghai Jiao Tong University.

The next F3 contest will be focused on palatants. Application dates will be announced in early 2023.

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