Krill meal may support salmon health during winter

By Michelle Perrett

- Last updated on GMT

© GettyImages/Linn Røkenes
© GettyImages/Linn Røkenes

Related tags Krill meal Aker BioMarine Salmon

Krill meal is said to be a valuable ally in fortifying the well-being of farmed fish, particularly salmon, during the demanding winter season.

The ingredient may support the robustness of farmed fish during the challenging winter season by increasing their appetite and levels of nutrition. 

In many salmon producing countries, winter is a time of cold-water temperatures and stormy weather. These conditions may cause stress and challenge fish welfare, as salmon becomes more vulnerable due to the reduced state of thier immune system under cold temperatures, according to Aker BioMarine.

The Antarctic krill-harvesting company revealed that many aquaculture farmers see that there is a lack of appetite among fish during the cold winter season. The fish can also face serious threats of ulcers caused by active bacteria such as Moritella together with Tenacibaculum. 

Ensuring that the feed is attractive and that important nutrients are easily accessible to the fish may support the salmon in withstanding these challenging conditions. A robust fish is better equipped to avoid disease and will more quickly recover following any sickness or stressful events, continued the supplier. 

Antarctic Krill are small crustaceans like prawns or shrimps that are found in the Southern Ocean and harvesting is strictly regulated. Photo credit: Aker BioMarine

Marianne Nergård, product director of animal health nutrition at the Norwegian-based Aker BioMarine, explained that as fish adapt to the temperature around them during the cold weather their systems slow down meaning they can stop eating and their immunity lowers.

“Cold waters are a natural part of a salmon’s life in the wild. And adapting to the cold by eating less and gearing down all biological processes is a natural part of the life cycle. But life at the farm is a bit different than in the oceans. In farms the infection pressure is higher, and the fish must often withstand challenges like sea lice treatments and other stressful events that leave them vulnerable to the infections. In these conditions the fish needs access to nutrients that support their immune system before and during these events, as well as growth and tissue regeneration after,” continued Nergård.

Nutritional profile 

Krill contains a wide range of nutrients such marine omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), which are important for the health of the fish, as well those that help with cell and tissue renewal, including minerals, vitamins, proteins, nucleotides, and antioxidants, said the Aker BioMarine representative. 

“The benefit of krill meal is that it is a complete nutritional package. It has everything that a fish could need to grow and thrive, and it is a very sustainable source of marine nutrients.”

In addition, krill meal has a lot of components that are tasty. “We have a lot of data from a lot of species showing we can improve fish health by feeding with krill.”

A study carried out in India​ by Aker BioMarine indicated that krill meal inclusion in shrimp diets could have a positive effect on survival, body weight and fatty acid concentration in the body.

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