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Alltech Fisnhing Cup 2018

Global aquaculture has come a long way since people first began fish farming. Over the years, improvements in management systems and aquaculture feed mean that we can now produce more food than ever before. However, with the demand for food fish rising alongside a growing global population, the future will see further changes in this industry. Here are some of the current main developments that will define the next steps in aquaculture’s legacy.

Increased application of recirculating aquaculture systems (RAS)

Recirculating aquaculture systems (RAS) are not a new topic. This farming method has been around since the 1980s and used intensively in the Atlantic salmon industry for many years. However, it has taken the rest of the aquaculture industry almost 20 years to embrace it.

There are several reasons why RAS is the future, but the primary reasons are:

  • Sustainability
  • Efficiency

To operate a successful RAS, feed must be optimized to increase palatability, reduce water pollution and allow both the system and the fish perform at their best. As RAS facilities are land-based operations, there is reduced pressure on pond/sea stocks. Also, advancements have been made to recycle existing water in these facilities, preventing a further drain on resources.

Further developments in this area have seen the development of RAS systems for shrimp, revolutionizing shrimp farming by allowing more controlled environments and easing long-term environmental challenges. Furthermore, we are seeing a shift in governmental legislation and movement from cage farming for environmental reasons, such as maintaining freshwater quality and protecting wild fish populations, including aquatic plants and animals. This implies a very strong future for RAS.

Removing fishmeal and fish oil from aquaculture feed

Feed, essentially, provides energy and nutrients to support the development of each species, but the fish has no preference regarding how the energy and nutrients are sourced. The percentage of fishmeal in aquatic diets has significantly reduced since 2000, and the move from fishmeal and fish oil for many fish species is not very far away. Plant proteins and other ingredients can replace the fishmeal component in fish food. However, they are majorly constrained by issues of low digestibility. Formulations must be highly digestible, and each ingredient must add value and enrichment to the diet to impact performance. Utilizing enzymes in aquafeed can help fish and shrimp digest feed better to support a healthy digestive system and help increase cost-efficiency.

Choosing a feed that is right for your farm means you could potentially:

  • Use less feed
  • Improve production
  • Improve output
  • Reduce environmental impact

Unfortunately, there is a hidden risk when increasing the quantity of plant-based raw materials on aquaculture farms. Mycotoxin contamination