A global industry
Feed and aquaculture
The global population is anticipated to reach 9.3 billion by 2050, necessitating substantial increases in food and feed production (FAO 2022). Aligned with the sustainable development goal of zero hunger, there’s a critical need to ensure universal access to nutritious food. Striking a balance between meeting this demand, preserving biodiversity, and fostering diversity in the food sector is imperative. According to FAO, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, this additional supply will have to come from aquaculture. Meeting the future demand for food from aquaculture will largely depend on the availability of quality feeds in the requisite quantities.
Fishmeal and fish oil have served as the foundational ingredients that have traditionally supported the rapid rise of aquaculture, owing to their exceptional nutritional value which are considered the gold standard against which other ingredients are measured. Over the past 25 years, the production rates for both ingredients have remained constant, indicating a stable supply.
Aquaculture is an efficient and optimal use of both plant and marine proteins
Strategic feed ingredients role in aquaculture
Fishmeal and fish oil stand unrivaled as the most invaluable components in the diets of both aquaculture and various terrestrial animals. Their composition of essential micronutrients, encompassing amino acids, vitamins, and minerals, plays a pivotal role in supporting optimal growth and physiological functions in animals and farmed fish, rendering fishmeal and fish oil irreplaceable in the realm of feed ingredients.
Key attributes of fishmeal and fish oil include:
- High protein content ranging from 62-75%. Protein is key to growth and fishmeal is among the best available ingredients for protein. The protein in fishmeal is also highly digestible exceeding the majority of other animal feed ingredients for this factor, with values consistently around 90%.
- Fish oil is a rich source of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids, specifically eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), which are crucial for promoting health and vitality. In addition, fishmeal usually contains 8-12% lipid and is therefore also a rich source of long chain omega-3s compared to other feed ingredients, barring fish oil itself.
- Amino acids: Fish and animals have requirements for specific amino acids and they build proteins with combinations of about 22 amino acids. However, animals cannot make all 22 of these amino acids in their body and these amino acids are classified as “essential”. There are ten essential amino acids that must be contained in the diet. Fishmeal is well known for its essential amino acids it can provide to animals though its high palatability and digestibility characteristics
- Marine phospholipids have drawn a great deal of interest recently as they are considered to have better resistance to oxidation, better bioavailability, and a higher content of ω-3 PUFAs than lipids from the same source. Therefore, supplementation of foods with ω-3 PUFAs rich PLs has recently emerged as a food supplement and pharmaceutical applications
- Micronutrients: Furthermore, these ingredients boast a diverse array of essential minerals such as calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, and selenium, ensuring a well-rounded nutritional profile. The inclusion of vital vitamins—B1, B2, B6, and B12—further contributes to the comprehensive micronutrient profile of fishmeal and fish oil, enhancing their role as catalysts for physiological well-being in animals. Notably, these ingredients exhibit a comparatively high digestibility, enhancing their efficacy in supporting nutrient absorption and utilization within the digestive systems of diverse species.