Organic farmers urged to produce oilseeds for fish feed – Fishupdate.com

Organic farmers urged to produce oilseeds for fish feed Published:  20 September, 2006

Hugh Raven

ORGANIC farmers have been urged to start growing oilseeds to supply a potentially lucrative future market offered by organic fish farmers.

Speaking at the Colloquium of Organic Researchers (COR) in Edinburgh, Hugh Raven, Soil Association Scotland Director, said the search for vegetable oils to feed fish is a big opportunity for UK organic farmers.

“Some fish – particularly salmon, by far the largest sector of UK fish farming – require significant levels of oil in the diet,” he said. “We need to move away from relying on fish oil, as fish stocks are seriously over-exploited, and most Atlantic fish oil supplies are contaminated with industrial pollutants.

“The Soil Association is the foremost organic standards body globally. We are serious about changing our standards to require substitution of some of the fish oil in organic fish diets with organic vegetable oils. The problem is that very few people are producing them.

“There’s a big opportunity here for organic farmers. We need organic vegetable oil to feed to organic salmon. Organic vegetable oils command a very good price. This could be a major market, as the UN predicts that the consumption of farmed fish will overtake that of wild fish in the future.

“There is a growing and potentially highly lucrative market niche here, but a great deal more research needs to be done on the practicalities.”

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