International Aquafeed - Neil Auchterlonie's monthly column - April 2019
The following was written by IFFO's Technical Director Neil Auchterlonie for International Aquafeed magazine, published in April 2019.
One of the great pleasures of working for IFFO The Marine Ingredients Organisation is the opportunity it presents to be able to communicate some of the realities of fishmeal and fish oil as feed ingredients and the reasons why these are not in reality replaceable as ingredients. There is so much confusion, or sometimes even deliberate misinformation, on the use of these materials in aquafeed that any opportunity to provide clarity or redress the balance in the public domain is one that we at IFFO always take up with enthusiasm.
Recently, I was honoured to speak at the AquaFarm 2019 Conference in Pordenone. The AquaFarm conference has an interesting audience that comprises of largely Mediterranean aquaculture industry, support industry and academics. It is a practical information exchange platform where topics of specific interest and importance to the industry are highlighted. The presentation was within a session on fish feed and fish quality, described as “new formulations, ingredients, additives and integrators, and the circular economy”. The session was very ably moderated by Rebecca Sherratt, the Production Editor from International Aquafeed, and contained a round table of: Robert Tillner (Production Manager, Aller Aqua), Fabio Brambilla, (Fish Nutritionist, Naturalleva), Umberto Luzzana (Marketing Director, Skretting), and Andrea di Biase (Product Manager Aqua, Veronesi). Following the presentation, the round table fielded a series of questions about future potential feed ingredients, and although it was at the end of the day there was a lot of interest and energy in the room that reflected well on the importance of the session topic.
The content of the presentation wasn’t markedly different from previous presentations I have given on the use of fishmeal and fish oil in aquafeed. Marine ingredients are equally as important for the farmed sea bass and sea bream that dominate Mediterranean aquaculture as they are in the salmon, shrimp, trout, catfish and other industries. The messages are largely the same that fishmeal and fish oil are effective means of supplying the required nutrition in aquafeeds, both from nutritional and economic perspectives. There was general appreciation in the session that they will continue to be included in aquafeeds, but more of the novel ingredients will become important in supporting the real volume of aquafeed growth that will be required in the future, in turn supporting aquaculture development. Of course a lot of the novel ingredients are capturing media headlines, but the fact is that many of them have a long way to go to reach commercial volumes although that is much needed at this time. A feed company representative I sat next to at a recent workshop put in succinctly: fishmeal inclusion has been reduced to close to threshold levels (in salmon feed) and the growth in the novel ingredients is required to replace some of the vegetable protein in the feed in order to facilitate growth in feed volume.
It was great to experience so much interest in feed formulations and optimizing the nutritional benefits, in relation to fish growth, quality and health at the conference. It seems that maybe the rise of some of the novel ingredients may actually be driving a general interest in aquafeed formulations, which is good to see.