Future Use of Plant Proteins in Fish Diets
The justification for the increased interest in using soybean meal in aquaculture feeding was recently discussed in a paper by Dr.Hardy (University of Idaho, Hagerman, ID). He reported that aquafeed ingredients are global commodities used in livestock, poultry and companion animal feeds. Cost and availability are dictated less by demand from the aquafeed sector than by demand from other animal feed sectors and global production of grains and oilseeds. The exceptions are fishmeal and fish oil; use patterns have shifted over the past two decades resulting in nearly exclusive use of these products in aquafeeds. Supplies of fishmeal and oil are finite, making it necessary for the aquafeed sector to seek alternative ingredients from plant sources whose global production is sufficient to supply the needs of aquafeeds for the foreseeable future. Significant progress has been made over the past decade in reducing levels of fishmeal in commercial feeds for farmed fish. Despite these advances, the quantity of fishmeal used by the aquafeed sector has increased as aquaculture production has expanded. Thus, further reduction in percentages of fishmeal in aquafeeds will be necessary. For some species of farmed fish, continued reduction in fishmeal and fish oil levels is likely; complete replacement of fishmeal has been achieved in research studies. However, complete replacement of fishmeal in feeds for marine species is more difficult and will require further research efforts to attain.