Fish industry no longer relies on fish meal
The world's farmed fish industry no longer relies entirely on fish meal to
feed its most valuable products such as salmon and trout, a University of Idaho
aquaculture expert has told a scientific conference.
A big reason was a doubling of the price of fish meal
in 2006, the result of a number of factors including lower catches in Peru
associated with an El Nino event.
China's growing economy allowed it to buy
up a sixth of the 6-plus million metric tons of fish meal available on the world
market each year.
"That changed everything," said Ronald Hardy, who directs
the university's Aquaculture Research Institute at Hagerman, Idaho, the
epicentre of US farmed rainbow trout production.Fish meal
During the American Association for the Advancement of Science
annual meeting in San Francisco about advances in sustainable seafood
production, Hardy spoke about advances in reducing fish farming's reliance on
fish meal and fish oil. He said prices surged from the $700-a-ton high he'd seen
during his 30-year career to a crest of $1,400 a ton in 2006. "High prices for
fish meal are here to stay, making alternatives such as soy protein concentrate
and wheat gluten affordable alternatives," Hardy said. In addition, higher
prices for fish meal will stimulate innovative approaches to recovering protein
from seafood processing by-products, much of which is currently
Alternatives for fish meal
of the world's fish supply in 2006, aquaculture must find ways to grow beyond
fish meal and oil supplies to feed a growing population's appetite, he
Decades of research have shown that proteins derived from grains such
as corn, wheat and barley can provide the protein-rich ingredients needed in
feeds for farmed salmon and trout.
Growing ethanol production, particularly
the use of corn to make the alcohol-based fuel, could be a boon to some types of
fish farming.Related links:American Association for the Advancement of ScienceUniversity of Idaho To subscribe to
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here. Photo: Nutreco
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