Foundation of formulated feed
Fishmeal and fish oil are the foundation of formulated feeds and, because of the superior nutrition that they provide, are regarded as the nutritional benchmark for other ingredients.
The production rates for both ingredients has remained steady for over the past 25 years indicating stability in supply (and consequently no additional pressure on fisheries despite continual aquaculture growth). There is growth in the utilisation of by-products as raw material, but the availability is not enough to match the growth of aquaculture. Aquaculture itself will also provide additional byproduct for fishmeal and fish oil production in the future.
Additional ingredients are being developed alongside fishmeal and fish oil to provide optimal fish nutrition and ensure the continued growth of the aquaculture industry.
Essential for fish nutrition
Fishmeal is a balanced, highly digestible and palatable feed ingredient which is used at strategic stages of the production cycle of fish in support of growth and health. It offers a range of important nutrients for farmed fish, including:
- Protein for growth – fishmeal is among the best available ingredients for protein, with an abundance of amino acids that fit precisely the requirements for all fish species
- Long chain omega-3’s (EPA & DHA) - Richer source than any other feed ingredient, barring fish oil itself (fishmeal usually contains 8-12% of fish oil), which is essential for overall good health and optimal growth
- Minerals - An excellent source of a number of nutritionally important minerals, including calcium and phosphorus (aids bone formation), magnesium, potassium, and selenium
- Vitamins – rich in vitamins, such as vitamin C and A (immune system), vitamin D (aids mineral absorption and bone health), vitamin E (nerve function), vitamin K (blood clotting), as well as vitamins such as B1, B2, B6 and B12
- Additional unique compounds which have been linked to superior performance, and palatability, include taurine, trimethylamine oxide, nucleotides and glycosaminoglycans
Fish oil is an essential component of a healthy and balanced diet for farmed fish. Just as they provide health benefits to humans, so do they provide health advantages for farmed fish. The benefits of using fish oil include:
- Dietary source of energy and essential for overall good health and optimal growth
- Long chain omega-3 fatty acids such as EPA and DHA support physiological processes including cellular signalling, membrane function and hormone precursors
- Greatly enhances palatability of the feed – which is vital at the early stages of growth