News 219 views last update:6 Aug 2012

Norway develops super feed for sea urchins

A new customised dry feed for sea urchins has generated international attention. Scientists at Nofima are now working on reducing production costs and adapting the recipe for large-scale production.

A total of 180 test sea urchins were individually studied. Here, they have received their own stall and an unlimited supply of feed. Correct feed is decisive for the farming of sea urchins.
Many of the world's wild sea urchin stocks are over fished and poorer access to sea urchin roe on the market has led to increased interest in farming.

"This feed is produced with a thought to nutrition and the sea urchin's biology," says Senior Scientist and feed developer Tor Andreas Samuelsen from Nofima (formerly Fiskeriforskning). "Sea urchins eat well with this feed and the growth of the row is also good." After consuming the new feed, the sea urchins were chock-full of roe with a healthy colour. However, the successful feed contains very expensive ingredients and has roperties that are difficult to produce on a large scale.

To be able to replace the most expensive ingredients, new technology is being utilised to improve both the process and the end result, without reducing the quality of the feed. "We have made changes to the recipe," says Samuelsen. "We commenced trials in Tromsø last December involving groups of 100 sea urchins receiving different types of feed, which are variants of the recipe."

Senior Scientist Sten Siikavuopio, who has closely followed the sea urchins during the trial, concludes that the trial exceeded all expectations. "The sea urchins had a good appetite for all of the feeds and the roe had a wonderful size and colour," says Siikavuopio, adding: "Sensory tests will determine which feed is best."

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