Local competitive and sustainable fish feed ingredients
Entity (owner)Matorka ehf.
Nordic finfish aquaculture is currently firmly focused on piscivorous species such as Atlantic salmon, rainbow trout, Arctic char, Atlantic cod and Atlantic halibut, and feed for these species has been based on industrial fish meal and oil as major ingredients. There is a strong political/societal interest in the Nordic countries as in Europe in general, to expand aquaculture production, and the major drivers for this policy are to be able to provide consumers with high-quality, locally-produced fish products, to create rural jobs in times of declining fisheries, and to decrease dependency on imports from Asia, Africa and America. The major problem facing further aquaculture expansion is the continuously increasing demand on the fish meal and oil supply, and questions raised in regard to the sustainability of this feed source. This is a finite resource as wild fish stocks are already exploited maximally, and to some degree, Nordic consumers already view aquaculture products based on feed from industrial fisheries as unsustainable. As a consequence, there is a widespread societal skepticism towards aquaculture products. Thus, so far, increased fish feed production has only been possible through increased use of fish cuttings in fish meal and oil production, increased inclusion of plant ingredients in fish feed, and a shift of the use of fish meal from livestock feed to fish feed. While these actions have improved the sustainability of our food production, they don’t provide long-term solutions to continued aquaculture expansion. In search of alternative feed sources, it is of major importance to identify local feed sources in order to limit the carbon footprint of the feed production, to choose sources which are sustainable, improve ecosystem cycling, and are optimal for the fish welfare, growth and product quality. The cost of feed is the largest production cost in aquaculture. It is also the factor causing the largest carbon footprint in the production. The project output will help fish farmers and feed companies to take novel approaches to aquaculture production, utilizing local raw materials. The NICe supported network project carried out by the consortium in 2010-2011 has outlined the main opportunities in the Nordic countries. The project ideology is based on better utilization of raw materials, highlighting the Nordic high-quality and environmentally friendly image and local production of carbon neutral products.