Lunch and Learn 2024: Navigating the future of aquaculture sustainability
Alltech Norway recently held its sixth annual Lunch and Learn event, a feed seminar for fish farmers, to address the specific issues affecting the Norwegian salmon industry.
Lunch and Learn 2024 brought together industry experts to discuss crucial aspects of aquaculture production, with a focus on sustainability, market trends, feed optimization and health considerations for key species, such as shrimp and salmon. The insightful presentations delivered during the event shed light on various challenges and opportunities for aqua farmers, providing a comprehensive overview of the current state and future prospects of the aquafeed industry.
Here are some key takeaways from the presentations shared at the event.
Novel Sharma's aquaculture outlook: A shifting tide
Novel Sharma, a seafood analyst with Rabobank, kicked off the event by highlighting the significant impact of aquaculture production on key species like shrimp and salmon. The industry is expected to experience growth in 2024, with the forecast predicting that salmon will surpass pork and poultry in trade volume. Challenges do still loom, however — especially in the shrimp market, with an imbalance in Ecuador’s demand and supply leading to a slowdown in pricing. The emphasis on sustainability metrics — particularly on reducing emissions — has emerged as a collaborative opportunity for companies to enhance their environmental consciousness.
Guido Crolla's deep dive into sustainability: Balancing costs and conservation
Guido Crolla, manager of procurement at Alltech Coppens, spoke about the evolving landscape of aquafeed and stressed the need to redefine sustainability in ways that consider factors like digestibility, net energy, the gut microbiome and local sourcing of feed materials. Crolla went on to identify circular practices, marine independency and lifecycle assessments (LCA) as key components of sustainable fish feed. He also highlighted the potential for achieving cost savings through sustainable practices, making a compelling case for businesses to prioritize sustainability.
Dr. Vivi Koletsi's mycotoxin warning: Safeguarding salmon growth
Dr. Vivi Koletsi, global aqua technical sales support at Alltech Coppens, explored the risks posed by emerging mycotoxins — specifically enniatin B and beauvericin — in Norway’s salmon feeds. Salmon farmers are being urged to pay attention to these mycotoxins, which have been found in feeds at levels as high as 250 parts per billion (ppb), even though the generally recommended safe limits are between 20 to 50 ppb. Dr. Koletsi stressed the importance of producers making informed management decisions to protect both their salmon growth and their operational profits from the detrimental effects of mycotoxins.
Elin Kvamme's mineral nutrition insights: Embracing insects and their environmental impact
Elin Kvamme, aqua director at Innovafeed, shared details about insects as a promising alternative for mineral nutrition in aqua production. The low CO2 footprint of insects, coupled with their ability to convert low-value agricultural waste into raw materials, makes them an environmentally friendly choice. The production of black soldier flies, whose short lifecycle lasts only 45 days, was highlighted as an efficient and suitable option for vertical farming. Kvamme added that the nutritional profiles of insect-based feeds are comparable to fishmeal, leading to improvements in feed conversion ratios (FCR) in freshwater operations.
Alltech’s and Nofima’s mineral research collaboration: A four-year journey
Maren Skare Rullestad, project coordinator at Alltech, and Marialena Kokkali, researcher at Nofima, discussed the two institutes’ four-year strategic research alliance, with a focus on their mineral projects. This collaborative effort included studies of supplementation with micro-ingredients, with a particular emphasis on how zinc levels can impact salmon health. The research has shown that organic selenium could potentially help improve salmon health and reduce emissions.
Mona Gjessing’s overview of gill challenges in farmed salmon and trout
Mona Gjessing, researcher at the Norwegian Veterinary Institute, discussed some of the health challenges that are most commonly seen in farmed salmon and trout. In order to find a widespread solution that will help resolve these challenges, the whole aquaculture community — including specialists in the fields of genetics, water quality, clinical signs and pathology — must work together more closely. Looking at these problems from as many different angles as possible will allow us to solve unanswered questions about gill diseases and other challenges in aquaculture production.
Henrik Hareide’s overview of R&D licenses in Norway
Henrik Hareide, consultant and partner at BøeHareide, has many years of experience in the aquaculture industry, including nine years with the Directorate of Fisheries. This wealth of knowledge has given him insights into R&D licenses — a topic that interests many in the aquaculture industry. Licenses must be relevant to the industry, Henrik explained, and must have a targeted purpose while remaining transparent and being undertaken at the right scale. Henrik then discussed some of the factors that should be considered when applying for an R&D license in Norway, including the length of the license period, the goals of the license, and a clear plan for publishing the results in order to remain transparent.
The 2024 Lunch and Learn event offered attendees a comprehensive look into the challenges and opportunities facing the aquaculture industry. The day’s focus on sustainability, feed optimization and health considerations illustrated a collective commitment to navigating the future of aquaculture in ways that are both practical and environmentally responsible. Altogether, the presentations delivered by the expert speakers highlighted the need for collaboration, innovation and taking a holistic approach to ensure a thriving and sustainable aquafeed industry in the years to come.
About the author:
Niamh McNally is the partnership manager for Alltech. In her work, Niamh plays a pivotal role in uniting internal and external teams and fostering impactful communications and collaborations around cattle and the climate.
Niamh has a varied background in marketing, with notable experience in both the genealogy and construction industries. Since joining Alltech in 2018, she has also been involved in driving the company’s aquaculture marketing and communication initiatives.