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March 29, 2015

United States

Louisiana—The Use of Fishmeal by Aquaculture


In the March 2015 edition of World Aquaculture, the quarterly magazine of the World Aquaculture Society,  Editor-in-Chief, John Hargreaves, writes about the future of fishmeal in aquaculture:


The price of high-quality Peruvian fishmeal is now around $2,400 a metric ton, compared to $600 a ton ten years ago.


The production of fishmeal has been fairly constant over the last ten years, between 4.5 and 6 million metric tons a year, although the supply has been restricted somewhat compared to previous decades because more is being diverted to direct human consumption and fishing quotas have been reduced as a precautionary resource protection measure.  The global supply of fishmeal from forage fisheries is around 3-4 million tons.  The balance, about 1/3 of the supply, is by-products from fish processing.  The International Fishmeal and Fish Oil Organization (IFFO) estimates that 40-50 percent of fishmeal supplies could be derived from processing by-products by 2020.  Of course, the expansion of aquaculture means that an increasing fraction of this material will be derived from the processing of farmed species.


In 1980, about half the fishmeal supply was used in poultry feeds and only 10 percent in aquafeeds.  In 2012, about 68 percent of the fishmeal supply was used in aquafeeds.  Of the fishmeal used in aquafeeds, about 14 percent is used in the production of shrimp feeds.  The inclusion level of fishmeal in aquafeeds varies.  Herbivorous or omnivorous fish diets contain 3 to 5 percent, shrimp diets 20-35 percent and marine and carnivorous fish diets 30 percent.


China is the world’s largest importer of fishmeal, importing one third of world supplies, accounting for 60 percent of Peru’s anchovy catch.  In 2012, the fishmeal supply in China was derived from imported (1.2 million tons) and domestic (0.5 million tons) sources.  The main consumers of fishmeal in China are aquaculture (1 million tons) and terrestrial animals (0.7 million tons), mostly pigs.  Shrimp aquafeeds account for half of the fishmeal used in aquaculture in China.  According to the IFFO, although the production of formulated aquafeeds in China has tripled over the last ten years, the use of fishmeal has only doubled.


A recent paper in Science suggests that by-products from seafood processing already account for 40 percent of the total fishmeal produced in China.


Fishmeal substitution is an ongoing and active area of nutrition research.  Alternative protein sources being evaluated include cultured microbial organisms (single-cell protein, yeast, heterotrophic algae), aquatic plants, proteins rendered from processing of terrestrial animals (including more than 2 million tons of meat and bone meal and 1 million tons of poultry by-product meal in the USA alone) and various plant protein concentrates.


Source: World Aquaculture (the quarterly magazine of the World Aquaculture Society).  Editor-in-Chief, John Hargreaves.  Fishmeal in Future Aquaculture. John Hargreaves.  Volume 46, Number 1, Page 9, March  2015.

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