Lowering the use of marine raw materials coming from wild catch has been a long-term objective for the feed industry and the offer of alternatives is expanding, said Danish feed firm BioMar.
Lower availability of marine raw material and consumers preferences has pushed Biomar to look for resources that allow to reduce the pressure on the marine resources. Development of raw materials is important for the sustainability of the industry in the future.
Biomar has an exclusive agreement to distribute AlgaPrime DHA microalgae-based feed ingredient globally. AlgaPrime DHA, developed by Bunge and TerraVia, is a sustainable source of omega-3s, which is responsible for the product’s industry-low forage fish dependency ratio (FFDR) of 0.5 kilograms. FFDR is a metric used to evaluate how many kilograms of wild fish are needed to produce one kilo of farmed fish. Average FFDR per salmon in Chile is 1.3:1.
Development in feed composition
There are diets that include alternative raw materials, such as algae oils, which allow to replace fish oil, without salmon losing its content of omega-3.
The algae oil allows to replace fishoil, also if not to 100% yet, while it is possible to produce diets with 0% of fishmeal, which was not possible a decade ago.
At present the firm was producing product lines of lower diets for salmon that have no fishmeal at all, which give it great flexibility to always changing raw material market.
Discussing about other alternative ingredients, BioMar Group’s Chile managing director, Eduardo Hagedorn pointed to trimmings of different types and other raw materials in the pipeline as insect meal.
“Today the use of diets with higher energy levels that improve the productive cycle in the sea and the factor of converting feed into kilos of salmon meat is a challenge,” he said, noting that innovation in the use of raw material has been expanded and would also drive innovation in the future.
He stressed that the FFDR per salmon in Chile had dropped in some cases below 1:1; for Silverside down to the level of 0.5:1. This shows that salmon has become a net producer of marine protein and not a net consumer of protein, Hegedorn said.
Consumption of antibiotics in 2016 decreased 31% year-on-year and it is expected to further decrease in 2017, Hagedorn observed.
The industry has taken a holistic approach to reduce the antibiotic utilization, according to Hagedorn. Disease detection and fast reaction have proven to be key factors to successful treatments while farming practices, genetics and strengthening fish health status through functional nutrition are helping the industry to decrease the use of antibiotics through prevention.
Different actors of the industry are investing a lot in research on this, so we expect to see further improvements in the near future, Hagedorn said.