Microbalance FLX: A step change in fish feed sustainability

Skretting Aquaculture Research Centre (ARC) has devoted significant resources over the past three decades to exploring the potential for alternative raw materials to replace traditional marine-based feed components, while ensuring the final fish and shrimp products retain the eating and nutritional qualities that consumers expect. Aligned with this ambition, one of our biggest sustainability objectives has been to develop the  capability to become independent of fishmeal. Launched in 2016, MicroBalance FLX is the biggest breakthrough in this work to date.

Skretting/Skretting

Because salmon require specific nutrients, not particular raw materials, it is just as straightforward for fish farmers to produce fish of identical growth, health and  quality with a low fishmeal diet as it is with a standard diet.

More salmon for less - sustainably

Through the unique technology in MicroBalance FLX, traditional feed ingredients are interchangeable, providing unprecedented formulation flexibility and enabling salmon farmers to produce more from less in a sustainable way.

“The arrival of MicroBalance FLX and becoming independent of fishmeal is a major breakthrough for the salmon sector and the aquaculture industry as a whole. Making a finite resource like fishmeal interchangeable – just like any other raw material – is crucial progress. However, FLX does not bring an end to Skretting ARC’s MicroBalance research. Quite the contrary, it is providing the platform to explore more alternative and novel raw materials for application with many more commercially farmed species with a view to progress the sustainable growth of the global aquaculture sector further,” says Ronald Barlow, Skretting Chile’s General Manager.

After its launch in Chile, several salmon producers decided to use Premium FLX as part of their productive strategy. As a result, in 2016 alone, we dispatched significant volumes of FLX-based feeds formulated without fishmeal, equating to the diet of more than 7 million salmonids.

Test results in salmon production

At the same time, Skretting Chile conducted a benchmarking study with Marine Harvest comparing our Premium diet (5% fishmeal) with Premium FLX (0% fishmeal) at a seawater farm site growing out Atlantic salmon. Results found no difference in salmon growth, size and feed conversion or in the final product quality, fat content and pigmentation.

“Having greater flexibility in the diets allows us to improve production efficiency in terms of the cost per kg salmon produced. This provides valuable support to sustainable growth of the aquaculture industry, as we no longer depend on specific raw materials such as fishmeal to produce a safe, healthy and tasty salmon product” 

Bente Torstensen, Marine Harvest’s Group Manager, Feed & Fish Performance.

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