The General Nutrition session of WAS2017 was the setting for my presentation supporting the use of marine ingredients. With around ten other presentations talking about studies on replacing fishmeal and fish oil in diets I was glad I had the chance to present the importance of marine ingredients. My twenty minute presentation covered the usual supply and demand side statistics but also some information from our Technical Director, Dr Neil Auchterlonie, on the nutritional and health benefits to the fish that are just not available from other non-marine ingredients.
A question from the floor hit on a very important point to many feed companies – why is fishmeal and fish oil “so expensive” (their words not mine). This to some extent is a just a function of supply not meeting demand, although prices this year are lower than last. However, there is also the less visible value from marine ingredients that means better growth in the later stages of the farmed fish or pig’s life or the theory that better gut health means stronger immune systems and less need for veterinary treatments.
We need to get better at demonstrating the true value of fishmeal and fish oil. An interesting presentation from Zeigler, a specialist shrimp feed company, showed the economic case for high marine ingredient inclusion rates – where a higher cost feed resulted in a lower cost per kg of shrimp harvest weight due to better growth rates.