Resources for fish feed in future mariculture
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionAquaculture Environment Interactions. 2011, 1 (3), 187-200. 10.3354/aei00019
ABSTRACT: There is a growing concern about the ability to produce enough nutritious food to feed the global human population in this century. Environmental conflicts and a limited freshwater supply constrain further developments in agriculture; global fisheries have levelled off, and aquaculture may have to play a more prominent role in supplying human food. Freshwater is important, but it is also a major challenge to cultivate the oceans in an environmentally, economically and energy-friendly way. To support this, a long-term vision must be to derive new sources of feed, primarily taken from outside the human food chain, and to move carnivore production to a lower trophic level. The main aim of this paper is to speculate on how feed supplies can be produced for an expanding aquaculture industry by and beyond 2050 and to establish a roadmap of the actions needed to achieve this. Resources from agriculture, fish meal and fish oil are the major components of pellet fish feeds. All cultured animals take advantage of a certain fraction of fish meal in the feed, and marine carnivores depend on a supply of marine lipids containing highly unsaturated fatty acids (HUFA, with ≥3 double bonds and ≥20 carbon chain length) in the feed. The availability of HUFA is likely the main constraint for developing carnivore aquaculture in the next decades. The availability of fish meal and oil will decrease, and the competition for plant products will increase. New harvested resources are herbivore zooplankton, such as Antarctic krill and red feed, and new produced resources are macroalgae, transgenic higher HUFA-producing plants and bacterial biomass. These products are to a limited extent components of the human food chain, and all these resources will help to move cultured carnivores to lower trophic levels and can thereby increase the production capacity and the sustainability of the production. Mariculture can only become as successful as agriculture in the coming century if carnivores can be produced at around Trophic Level 2, based mainly on plant resources. There is little potential for increasing the traditional fish meal food chain in aquaculture.