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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