In 2018, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) reported that global seafood production from aquaculture is growing 6% annually. In addition, more than 90% of fisheries, where fish oil for the aquaculture industry is conventionally sourced from, are already fully utilised.

At the other end of the industry value chain, delegates to VIV Asia 2019 expressed the urgent need to have a sustainable source of omega-3s in aquaculture, in part driven by rising health demands from end consumers. Accordingly, their response to Veramaris' sustainable, microalgae-based alternative to fish oil omega-3s was 'tremendous', cites Lalen Dogan, Asia Pacific business development director, in an interview with eFeedLink.

"There is an urgent need to find a sustainable source of omega-3 EPA and DHA that is independent from the marine ecosystem, to ensure the longevity of the aquaculture industry value chain. One viable source, is microalgae, actually the principal source of omega-3 EPA and DHA in nature," highlights Dogan.

Contrary to popular belief, fish and shrimp do not produce omega-3s in their bodies, but instead accumulate them by, respectively, preying smaller fish down the food chain or consuming microalgae that have accumulated omega-3s EPA & DHA.

"Microalgae therefore provides an original source of omega-3 EPA and DHA that can be grown on land and supplied to aquaculture without any impact on the marine ecosystem," says Dogan.

Veramaris produces its natural algal oil at three sites on two continents, North America and Europe. The third and largest facility in Blair, Nebraska, US, is currently under construction and expected to come on stream in mid-2019 to supply commercial quantities of algal oil. Besides being 100% natural, Veramaris' algal oil comes from a microalgae marine organism and is 100% in triglyceride form as nature intended, adds Dogan.

Similar to the application of fish oil in aquaculture feed, Veramaris' algal oil can be vacuum-sprayed onto extruded pellets, and the company conducts research in Asia to account for differences in diets and climates.

According to the FAO, in Asia, China is the world's top fish producer and since 2002 has also been the largest exporter of fish and fish products. Behind China, Vietnam is the world's third largest exporter, with most of its revenue coming from exports of farmed pangasius and shrimp, in addition to a significant trade in processed and re-exported products.

Indeed, as Dogan describes, Asia "being the epicentre of aquaculture, would be the growth driver of Veramaris' business."

More information on Veramaris, a joint venture of DSM and Evonik, can be found on: