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News and analysis on the global poultry
and animal feed industries.
on March 14, 2012

Soy-based fish feed helps promote sustainable marine fish aquaculture

Feed trials produce wild fish in/farmed fish out ratio of less than 1:1

Feed trial research results using soybeans in fish feed as an alternative to fishmeal and fish oil have attained a major goal for sustainable marine fish aquaculture — producing farmed marine fish with a wild fish in/farmed fish out ratio of less than 1:1 — according to the U.S. Soybean Export Council.

The amount of fishmeal and fish oil from wild-caught sources used in farmed fish feed has been a concern for the long-term sustainability and scalability of aquaculture. Marine species, such as salmon, tuna, and yellowtail are higher up the food chain, and require diets comprised mostly of proteins and oils. These are usually in the form of fishmeal and fish oil derived from smaller fish lower on the food chain, such as anchovies and menhaden. However, these wild fisheries cannot be scaled up to meet the feed demands of a growing global aquaculture industry.

"Attaining a [fish in/fish out ratio] of under 1:1 has been the holy grail of marine fish feed research for some time," said Neil Anthony Sims, president of Kampachi Farms. "We show here that we can produce premium, sashimi-grade fish with a net increase in marine proteins: that is, we produce more fish than our fish eat. This represents a significant step forward for the economics and the ecological efficiencies of marine fish culture."

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