July 19, 2023


Uganda introduces spirulina fish feed for aquaculture sector



Uganda's National Fisheries Resources Research Institute (NaFIRRI) has introduced Spirulina, a fish feed with high-quality content, aimed at enhancing the local aquaculture sector, Monitor reported.


Dr Fred Wanda, a senior research scientist at the institute, lauds Spirulina as a more nutritious and easily digestible feed compared to certain commercial options.


Describing Spirulina as a filamentous microalga found in Uganda's water system, Dr Wanda said that its remarkably high-quality protein content, ranging from 55% to 70% of its dry weight. He emphasised Spirulina's potential as a superior solution for producing high-quality fish feed, asserting that the current reliance on fish meal (Silverfish) has implications for food security.


He said Spirulina can generate biomass suitable for use as an ingredient in fish feed.


Joyce Akumu, another research scientist at NaFIRRI, elaborated on the research's objective to increase the percentage of people consuming silver fish.


She said human consumption of silver fish stands at 30%, while 70% is allocated to fish feed, adding that they aim to reduce this proportion through the alternative use of Spirulina.


Akumu said that feeding constitutes a significant cost in fish farming, primarily due to the reliance on expensive protein sources such as silver fish. Developing feeds that are easy to process and more cost-effective than those primarily composed of silver fish is important.


Notably, the researchers are also exploring Spirulina's potential for human benefits. When highly processed and purified, Spirulina serves as a beneficial human supplement, especially in treating cardiovascular diseases, promoting proper liver and kidney function, and boosting the immune system.


The utilisation of Spirulina in biodiesel production is under consideration due to its cost-effectiveness and renewability. By tapping into the large-scale potential of Spirulina, biofuels can offer a cost-effective means of wastewater treatment.


Dr Mark Olokotum, another research scientist at NaFIRRI, said that there are environmental advantages of using Spirulina as fish feed. When Spirulina self-shades and decomposes, it sinks to the bottom of the lake, leading to decreased oxygen levels. This process results in lower fish abundance in areas where Spirulina exists.


-      Monitor

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