May 22, 2020


Novel feeds for fish crucial for sustainable aquaculture, says research


A new research that predicted future aquaculture production has found that it could grow between 37 and 98%, depending on consumer preferences, Science Daily reports.


Researchers at the University of California – Santa Barbara (UCSB), the University of Tasmania and the International Atomic Agency warned, however, that to meet the growing demand for fish in a sustainable manner, other types of fish feed must be used.


Fortunately, the researchers said, nutritional sources exist that could ease the growing demand for forage fish. Novel feeds based on microalgae, insect protein and oils could, in many cases, at least partially substitute fishmeal and oil in the feeds of many species without negative impacts on feed efficiency or omega-3 profiles, they said.


"Previous work has identified that species such as carps and tilapias respond well, although others such as salmon are still more dependent on fish-based feeds to maintain growth and support metabolism," said Richard Cottrell, a postdoctoral scholar at UCSB's National Centre for Ecological Analysis & Synthesis (NCEAS).


Cottrell, along with his colleagues, analysed results from 264 scientific studies of farmed-fish feeding experiments. He said that as the nutrition and the manufacturing technologies improve for these novel feeds, they could allow for substantial reductions in the demand for wild-caught fishmeal in the future.


"Even limited adoption of novel fish feeds could help to ensure that this growth (in aquaculture production) is achieved sustainably, which will be increasingly important for food security as the global population continues to rise", Cottrell said.


Around 16 million of the 29 million tonnes of forage fish-such as herrings, sardines and anchovies-caught globally each year are used for aquaculture feed. The researchers said that other types of fish feed must be used to meet the growing demand for fish in a sustainable manner.


There's no better time than now to design an aquaculture system that is sustainable and efficient, the researchers said.