Fish Feed and Other Components Become Important Assets in Organic, Sustainable Aquaculture

Fish Feed and Other Components Become Important Assets in Organic, Sustainable Aquaculture

As industries assess quality and standards of fish feed in the production of fish, factors concerning health, the environment, and economics come together.

“Tell me what you eat, and I will tell you what you are.” This quote by Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin illustrates the point of how the chain of nutrition and food ultimately affects us. As fish becomes an increasingly vital source of protein in the world, the quality of fish will increasingly matter as well.

Organic food certification and labeling is a hot-button topic, and one with major monetary implications. Currently worth about $35 billion a year, many fish farmers and retailers want in. But health and other issues play an important role in the process and quality standards.

“The U.S. Department of Agriculture is considering a set of rules for organic farmed fish. Several consumer groups, though, say the recommended rules don’t go far enough to meet the strict standards of other organic foods. The feed that the fish eat is at the center of the debate.” The USDA organic standard proposal for farmed fish is currently scheduled to be published by summer.

With many fish feed sources being unsustainable—whether through overfishing or impurities like chemical additives, growth hormones or antibiotics—concern for the standards of organic labeling are justified. After all, if the fish we farm is being fed low-quality materials, and raised under poor water and other conditions, the quality of the output will also be low compared to healthier alternatives.

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Organic feed is therefore a key topic of interest, and many research institutions and individual fish farming operations are testing ways to combine organic ingredients for fish feed. Experiments have ranged from using soybeans and animal byproducts, to barley-protein mixes. Getting the fish to accept and eat organic fish feed is one of the critical elements to success. Further considerations include economics, as alternative fish feed can result in significantly lower cost of goods.

Along with its partners like OBIC and technology providers like AKVA group and A3-USA, Team Gemini continues exploring and implementing integrated and unique options for all facets of sustainable and profitable aquaculture. Whether it includes research and innovations in fish feed, or applying fish life support systems and resource maximization (through renewable energy and water conservation), a large range of details is taken into consideration to ultimately arrive at organic, sustainable fish farming.

To learn more about Team Gemini’s innovative agriculture solutions, visit http://teamgemini.us/sustainable-agricultural-technology/.

For the full article on organic food certification, visit http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2015/02/03/383360748/how-fish-could-change-what-it-means-for-food-to-be-organic.