heFishSite News Desk reports on how the sustainable growth of aquaculture lies in utilizing new feed ingredients that match requirements for good and healthy growth of the fish; and how exploiting microalgae as a feed ingredient can match these requirements.
“We must ensure that growth is sustainable and that the final products provided by our industry – the fish and shrimp that we eat – stay sound and healthy,” says Vidar Gundersen, Global Sustainability Director of the feed company BioMar Group. “For instance, by providing a predictable amount of the marine fatty acids in fatty fish species like salmon. Omega-3 fatty acids are proven to have a positive health impact on humans, and this adds to the good reputation of fish as a sound source of proteins for people.”
According to Mr. Gundersen, it is high time for the aquaculture industry to focus on maintaining or even enhancing the omega-3 fatty acid content in farmed salmon and other farmed fish species. “We need to take care of both the nutritional requirements of the fish and the reputation of farmed fish,” he says.
The omega-3 fatty acids used to be provided to the salmon by the fish oil included in the feed. However, as the global demand for fish oil increases, fish oil suitable for use in aquafeeds is becoming a scarce raw material. “The fish oil that is utilized in the production of aquafeeds nowadays is sourced in a sustainable and responsible way, but the supply is limited,” he said.
Earlier this year, the BioMar Group launched a fish feed on the Norwegian market, containing marine fatty acids from microalgae. “I have no doubt, the future growth of aquaculture lies in exploiting algae as a feed ingredient,” Mr. Gundersen said. “At the time being, I consider this particular product to be the most sustainable raw material available for the production of salmon feed.”
BioMar does not intend to discontinue the use of fish oil in its feeds, though. “Utilizing marine fatty acids from microalgae simply gives us the possibility to increase or maintain the content of omega-3 in feeds in a sustainable way,” he said.