The most costly part of the farmed fish business is feed – it represents 60 to 70 percent of production costs. That includes feeds for all the fish grown in Alaska’s 28 hatcheries. The bulk of all that feed is made from ground up wild fish, such as anchovies, herring or menhaden.
Roughly 10 per cent of global fish catches go to fish meal, according to the U.N.’s Food and Agriculture Organization. It can take up to four pounds of wild fish meal to grow one pound of farmed salmon, and fish growers are facing increasing criticism to find other food sources. To the rescue — flies!
Tests show that all kinds of insects can be an attractive option in the global search for alternative proteins crucial for fish diets. The FAO’s Feedipedia Information System says that the high crude fat content in black soldier flies provide ‘high value feedstuff’ for both fish and livestock.
Now, SeafoodSource reports that a South African company called AgriProtein plans to build 20 fly farms in the U.S. and Canada to produce insect meal for the aquaculture and animal feed industries.
The company uses food waste to cultivate colonies of flies and converts the fly larvae into MagMeal. In announcing its plans earlier this year, AgriProtein called the U.S. the “world center” of protein consumers and producer of organic wastes – a natural fit for its fly building business. The company plans to build 200 fly farms around the world by 2027.