Bridging the raw material gap
As the global population continues to grow, there is increasing focus on aquaculture to provide the protein
to feed the world. At Skretting, as one of the largest aquaculture feed suppliers in the world, we see that we
have an essential role to play. A 30 million tonne projected increase in aquaculture production means there
will be a need for an additional 45 million tonnes of raw materials. So where will they come from? In this
series, we deepen on some of our ongoing activities in this arena, exploring novel ingredients and some of
our most important partnerships.
Part VII: Flexibility is key
Skretting has been evaluating alternative novel ingredients, the ways that they work together and the benefits that they can provide aquaculture species for many years. The constant ambition throughout all of this R&D is to extend the flexibility of the aquaculture value chain, and this determination has been turning many innovations into commercial realities.
In 2016, we delivered MicroBalance FLX, the world’s first commercial salmon feeds capable of being completely free of fishmeal and other marine proteins. Crucially, they provide equal performance in terms of fish growth and health. Through this technology, traditional feed ingredients have become much more interchangeable and this has allowed salmon farmers to produce more from less in a sustainable way. MicroBalance FLX was followed by N3, a salmonid diet that utilises marine algae oil containing high levels of EPA and DHA. This has brought the same level flexibility to fish oil.
Together, MicroBalance FLX and N3 have moved the aquaculture industry even closer to total independence from fish-based raw materials. Indeed, salmon have already been raised on a diet with zero fishmeal and fish oil inclusion. More innovations are in the pipeline, but while we’re working to reduce the reliance on marine ingredients, we shouldn’t completely stop using these sustainably sourced raw materials that are available to us. We have to recognise that to do so could have detrimental effects on responsibly managed reduction fisheries. Because both fishmeal and fish oil still remain relatively abundant and provide natural, well-balanced sources of high-quality protein and energy for aquaculture feed formulation, we will continue to utilise them in our diets. However, we will be striving to do that much more selectively, while also giving new technologies the platform to make tangible contributions to future food production.
Thank you for reading Part VII in our series about the ways in which we will bridge the impending raw material gap for aquaculture feed production.