Tasmania's Atlantic salmon companies are saving on the cost of fish food and increasing their profits from a breakthrough in fish nutrition.
Fish feed manufacturer, Skretting Australia, has introduced 'metabolic activators' to the 70,000 tonnes of feed it produces in Tasmania each year.
Skretting says the change is allowing Atlantic salmon farmed in Tasmania and New Zealand to utilise more of the energy in their rations and grow much faster.
"It's combining the right balance of micronutrients and increasing the energy density of those," Skretting nutritionist, Dr Rhys Hauler says. He also says they have seen increases of growth performance, but most importantly a reduction in food conversion ratios, reductions in the order of 10-15%.
Skretting Australia is a subsidiary of the global fish feed group Nutreco, that produces 1.7 million tonnes of fish feed world-wide.
The change to its Tasmanian manufacturing process was introduced in August 2013, after Skretting commissioned a new plant at Cambridge near Hobart. Since then, in the six months to the end of December, Tasmania's biggest salmon company, Tassal, increased its operating profits more than 25 per cent, despite a slight drop in revenue.
"Typically the industry here would be running around 1.3 to 1.4 tonnes of feed per tonne of fish produced," says Hauler.
In November Skretting had its feed certified by the Aquaculture Stewardship Council, and Dr Hauler says that is assisting its key customer Tassal to fulfil its ambition of becoming one of the world's first salmon companies to achieve full ASC-certification for all its operations.
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