Grasshoppers as fish feed test better than fish-based meals
June 10, 2015
This is Fish Radio. I’m Laine Welch — Insects could be the new rage in fish feeds. More after this –
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The most costly part of the farmed fish business is feed – it represents 60 to 70 percent of production costs. And the bulk of the feed – which totaled 870 million tons valued at $350 billion in 2011 — is made from ground up wild fish, such as anchovies, herring or menhaden.
Roughly 10 per cent of global fish catches go to fishmeal, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization. It takes up to four pounds of wild fish meal to grow one pound of farmed salmon, and the farmed fish industry is facing increasing criticism to find other food sources. To the rescue — insects!
Tests are showing that all kinds of insects can be an attractive option in the global search for alternative and sustainable proteins.
The FAO’s Animal Feed Resources Information System, or Feedipedia, says that the high crude fat content in black soldier flies provide ‘high value feedstuff’ for both fish and livestock. Silkworms, maggots, mealworms, termites all provide meal nutrients of varying types and degrees.
Topping the list for best insect based fish feed is grasshoppers or locusts of any kind. In feeding trials, the fish fed up to 50 percent of the grasshopper feed showed better growth and development than those eating the traditional fish based meal.
The fish farming industry is continuously reducing its dependence on fish based feeds, says Josh Goldman of Australis Aquaculture, the world’s largest producer of barramundi, a sea bass. Growers need to support the abundance of wild fisheries in terms of their use as feed ingredients, he says, and for customer appeal.
“Anyone who is going to do well in business is going to listen to their consumers very carefully.”
Fish Radio is also brought to you by Ocean Beauty Seafoods. Ocean Beauty has contributed over 10 million meals to the U.S. Food Bank network, and is committed to ending hunger in America. www.oceanbeauty.com In Kodiak, I’m Laine Welch.