Frequently asked questions

Skretting's purpose is 'Feeding the Future', but what does that mean? Globally, there is increasing competition for land, water and energy – all of which will increasingly affect food production. Safe, high quality protein is essential, and aquaculture has the potential to provide this for a world population that is growing at an unprecedented rate. 

We get a lot of questions about aquaculture - what it is and what it means - and here we are trying to answer some of these, largely from a feed producer standpoint, but sometimes on behalf of the industry, to provide a clear understanding of our industry and of the measures we are taking to fulfil our purpose. We’re committed to achieving this with a strong focus on reducing our environmental footprint and increasing our positive social impact.

Read what GAA says about aquaculture and why we need it

Topics

Please click on the different questions to read our answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about aquaculture and aquaculture feeds.  

Health and safety

Tuna farm

Why choose farmed over wild fish?

There are many positive reasons to choose farmed fish over wild. In many cases, wild populations of fish are under threat due to over-fishing, habitat loss or other changes. We know exactly what a farmed fish has eaten and the level of control over the ingredients, while we have no control over wild fish or possible pollutants they have consumed or been exposed to.

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Cod dish

Are farmed fish and shrimp healthy to eat?

Yes. Regardless of whether it has been caught or farmed, fish and shrimp are a fantastic source of high-quality protein, precious vitamins and minerals. This food group is also the best source of the long chain omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA, which are essential for human health.

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Shrimp in hands

Is it safe to eat farmed fish and shrimp?

The regulations that govern the harvest and processing of seafood for human consumption rank among the most stringent in the world. Aquaculture standards have been developing for many years and high-quality fish and shrimp feeds are a prerequisite for the industry. In order to minimise the industry’s exposure to risks, Skretting has implemented dynamic quality assurances and controls at every stage in all of our production cycles. Nutrace® is Skretting’s company-wide management programme that ensures feed-to-food safety and quality. It has been developed in such a way that all potential risks associated with aquaculture feed production are minimised and any irregularities are quickly found and acted upon.

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Sustainability

Shrimp farm

Why is aquaculture important?

According to WWF, 85% of the world’s marine stocks are either fully exploited or overfished. Our planet’s population is forecast to expand by over 2 billion people by 2050, and with this growth will come much greater demand for food, including seafood. Because there is negligible scope for capture fisheries to increase their harvests, aquaculture needs to bridge the gap between the long-term supply and demand, while doing all it can to also reduce the pressure on wild-capture fisheries.

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Sea farm

Is aquaculture sustainable?

Yes, when done properly. As a global society, we are around 7.5 billion people heading towards 9.5 billion by 2050. Not only does this present the problem of an additional 2 billion mouths to feed, human diets are also increasingly shifting in line with growing prosperity. Consequently, the forecast that current global agriculture production needs to almost double by the midway point of this century makes long-term food and nutrient security one of the most pressing challenges that we face today.

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Sea

Is aquaculture controlled?

In most regions, aquaculture is subject to strict controls throughout every stage of production right up to the point of human consumption. Skretting feeds undergo strict quality control processes. As we take food safety very seriously, Skretting has a global, comprehensive feed to food quality programme whereby we monitor for unwanted substances in both raw materials and feeds. 

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How is Skretting contributing to feeding a growing global population?

Skretting delivers safe and sustainable feeds and services worldwide to fish and shrimp farmers to ensure the responsible production of healthy and delicious food. We are focused on reducing our environmental footprint and increasing our positive social impact. 

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Skretting feeds

Are Skretting feeds sustainable?

Skretting is committed to make feeds that meet global sustainability requirements in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development goals (SDGs). Sustainable feeds are essential to support the growth of aquaculture as one of the world's most efficient protein production methods. 

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Circular woods

Are circular economy principles applied to aquaculture feeds?

Yes. In aquaculture, the circular economy utilises by-products and waste generated by supply chains in the production of food for human consumption. For example, trimmings from fish processing account for about 35% of the fish meal used in aquaculture. Similarly, the by-products from the slaughter of terrestrial animals destined for human consumption can be turned into meal with high nutritional values. Novel ingredients like insect and bacterial meals offer further potential in the utilisation of waste streams as inputs. 

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Feed ingredients

Salmon carpaccio

Do salmon and trout feeds contain colouring?

In the wild, the flesh of salmon and trout can be a red/pink colour, due to an antioxidant called astaxanthin.  Astaxanthin is produced in natural waterways by algae, yeast and bacteria, all of which are in the food chain of salmonids. Astaxanthin is an essential nutrient for salmon. It is required to remain healthy and disease free.

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Raw materials in bag

What ingredients are in Skretting feed?

Aquaculture feeds contain essential nutrients that should be delivered in the right quantities to keep fish and shrimp growing well and healthily.  These nutrients come from a variety of different sources. In addition to fish meal and fish oil, they often contain other vegetable-based meals and oils, fish trimmings and processed by-products from land animals.

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Soy farmer

Are the raw materials that Skretting uses in its feeds responsibly sourced?

Yes. At Skretting, we maintain that one of the most positive sustainability impacts that we can have is to ensure that we manufacture our feeds from responsibly sourced raw materials. Therefore, we set strict minimum criteria for the sourcing of marine products and for the management of the fisheries that fish meal and fish oil originate from. We also follow the principles of the FAO Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries.  

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Skretting feed

Are the animal by-products used in aquaculture feeds dangerous to human health?

No. The safety of animal by-products has been proven by numerous scientific studies. Utilising these raw materials that would otherwise go to waste also helps to dramatically reduce the amount of fish meal and fish oil used by the industry. This contributes to the sustainability of the food industry and the circular bioeconomy. 

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Feedbags and forklift

Do feeds contain growth hormones or antibiotics?

No. Skretting feeds do not contain any growth-promoting hormones. In some markets, antibiotics are added to Skretting feed upon customer request and per veterinary prescription, in accordance with specific rules established by law. The requirement of veterinary prescription ensures that the usage is well documented and justified, based on a proper diagnosis thus helping to reduce the unnecessary use of antibiotics.

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Feed in hand

Do feeds contain chemicals or preservatives dangerous to human health?

No. Aquaculture feeds are subject to strict checks to ensure that they do not pose any threat to human health. Any preservatives used must comply with laws and regulations governing their use.  

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Fish meal

Is low fish meal/fish oil content in feeds harmful to fish and shrimp?

No.  The latest feed formulations are specifically designed to give aquaculture species all of the nutrients that they need in order to optimise their health and growth performance, and to ensure end-product quality. These new feeds are also helping to ease the demands put on finite marine raw materials resources, particularly fish meal and fish oil. Fish and shrimp need nutrients, not ingredients. Our knowledge enables us to formulate based on nutritional composition. This is similar to humans meeting nutritional requirements as vegetarians or other specific dietary needs.

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Algae

Does Skretting use novel ingredients in its feeds?

Yes. Skretting is in full support of the development of novel ingredients and we have been using some of these in our diets with the support of those customers. We are proactively working towards fully understanding the complexities of all new ;alternatives from sustainability, nutritional, quality and safety, regulatory and financial perspectives. For us, flexibility is essential. 

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Pelagic fish

How much wild fish is needed to feed farmed fish?

Skretting now has the knowledge and R&D to produce Atlantic salmon feeds requiring zero fish meal, and zero fish oil. We invest in R&D that provides full flexibility. 

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Oil

What are fish meal and fish oil, and why are they used in aquaculture feeds?

Fish meal is a powder obtained after cooking, pressing, drying and milling fresh raw fish, while fish oil is a liquid pressed from the cooked fish. Both are produced from harvesting short-lived, fast-growing stocks of small, bony and oily fish for which there is little or no demand for human consumption. By-products or trimmings from seafood processing are an increasingly large contributor to fish meal and fish oil production.

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Fish meal plant

What is ethoxyquin and is it safe?

Ethoxyquin is an antioxidant that protects and maintains the quality of the omega-3 fatty acids in fish meal, particularly during transport and storage. According to the Norwegian National Institute of Nutrition and Seafood Research (NIFES), ethoxyquin exposure has not been found to have any effect on humans.  

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Feed management

Sea bream juvenile

Is one feed sufficient for all aquaculture species?

No. Fish and shrimp, like humans, depend on a balanced diet to stay healthy and have different nutritional needs throughout their life cycle. Skretting produce feeds that support fish and shrimp throughout all life cycle and production needs. 

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Feed bags

How much feed is needed to grow a farmed fish?

Fish and shrimp are extremely efficient in converting feed into high-quality protein. On average, farmed fish require 1.1kg of feed to gain 1 kg of body mass, compared with 1.7kg for poultry and 6.6kg for cattle. 

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AquaSim

Can efficient feed management help improve the sustainability of aquaculture?

Yes. Thanks to modern systems designed to support decision making relating to the diet of the fish or shrimp, farmers are able to optimise the amount of feed used, thereby improving efficiency while reducing waste and environmental impacts. 

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Animal health and welfare

Shrimp

Why do aquaculture species grow quickly?

In aquaculture, all of the production factors are optimised. This makes it possible for farmed species to reach market sizes faster than wild species. This focus ensures that aquaculture can increasingly meet the food demands of a growing global population.  At Skretting, our expert scientists at the Skretting Aquaculture Research Centre have detailed knowledge of the nutritional, health and feed needs of the species we provide feed for. Extensive R&D programs mean that we can optimise each feed to maximise fish and shrimp performance while ensuring they stay healthy.

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Nigerian fish farm

Are farms healthy environments for producing fish and shrimp?

Aquaculture farming systems must comply with extremely strict requirements designed to safeguard animal welfare, hygiene and safety. These also ensure a wide range of characteristics are optimised, including water and waste management.  

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