Fish oil alternatives is the future of feed: expert
By Jean Ko Din
VICTORIA, B.C. – Fish oil alternatives are the next frontier of fish feed alternatives, said Jason Mann, director of nutrition at Riverence and Evaqua Farms.
Mann spoke at the 70th annual Northwest Fish Culture Concepts conference on Dec. 4 to talk about new ingredient innovations for fish feed. He told an audience of about 350 hatchery professionals at the Victoria Conference Centre that when talking about new ingredients and alternatives for fish feed, the industry tends to focus on fish meal and not fish oil.
“Fish oil is actually a bigger worry, historically, and now it has become a bottleneck in our industry,” he said. “It is critical in how feed is processed, how it’s ground, how oil is added, where it’s added.”
Both marine ingredients are finite. Only about 700,000 to 800,000 metric tons of fish oil are being produced worldwide every year. Around five million metric tons of fish meal are being produced annually and Mann said these numbers will remain flat because there is only so much available for the whole industry to share.
Mann presented a graph of estimated feed usage needed to keep up with fish production growth, in this case, trout.
“Ingredient demand is growing by the rate of aquaculture which is about three to six percent, depending on the year, so we really need this innovation in ingredients to continue these new sources of protein and oils,” said Mann.
Major aquaculture companies are investing a lot of money into developing other sources of Omega-3 fatty acids in fish feed, said Mann. He gave a few examples, like Veramaris, which was recently recognized for winning the F3 Fish Oil Challenge in October 2019 with its “fish-free” algal oil.
Mann also highlighted Cargill’s Omega-3 canola oil called Latitude, which is derived from plants being raised in Montana. Corbion has also developed a microalgae oil called AlgaPrime in its Brazil facilities.
“There’s research behind each one of these products,” said Mann. “The downside is that these new oil alternatives are about three to four times more expensive than fish oil because of the economy of scale.”
“New oil innovations are really needed because we’ve tended to focus a lot on proteins for 30 years,” he added. “The oils are just now happening but what we also need now is growth in the market for domestic production… The economy of scale is important to support these suppliers.”