According to The Global Aquaculture Alliance’ Advocate, at least three of the ten most-read articles they published this year were about novel feed products. A .300 batting average is very good in Major League Baseball, but this kind of hit rate truly impresses me as an indication of the aquaculture industry’s interest in new and sustainable feed options. No wonder. Fishmeal and fish oil production from wild forage fish are essentially at the limits of sustainability. Extensive use of fishmeal’s chief substitute, soybean meal, has significant implications as evidenced by a recent study in the journal Aquaculture, Enteritis induction by soybean meal in Totoaba macdonaldi diets: Effects on growth performance, digestive capacity, immune response and distal intestine integrity. If aquaculture is to thrive, we need new feed ingredients. Based on this attention, it would appear the aquaculture industry is paying attention!
The three GAA articles that are garnishing so much attention include a report on the Future of Fish Feed (F3) initiative to find innovative substitutes for fish oil, a story about how NovoNutrients is working to convert industrial wastes into a protein rich feed ingredient, and an article about my company’s development agreement with fermentation giant ICM to develop ultra low-cost and sustainable single cell proteins.
Stratistics MRC estimated that the need for feed proteins in aquaculture will grow by more than 150% in the next 8 years. Where is this protein going to come from? The fact that three different approaches to answer this question were so well read is an indication, I think, of how seriously the industry is taking the looming protein deficit. In addition to industrial wastes and SCPs, other novel proteins and oils made from algae, black soldier fly meal, and canola oil will also be part of the solution. At this point it’s hard to say who will be the winner. My personal bet is the need is so vast that there will be major contributions from all of these categories.