STIRLING’S Institute of Aquaculture is to investigate the use of avian protein in salmon feed in a project with BioMar, Morrisons supermarket and food company Saria.
Although the Chilean and Australian salmon farming sectors have been using avian proteins as an alternative to marine ingredients and plant proteins for more than a decade, there are still concerns about consumer acceptance in the UK.
Morrisons’ fisheries and aquaculture manager Huw Thomas (pictured) said: ‘As one of the UK’s largest supermarket retailers, we are committed to ensuring our seafood sourcing programme uses methods which are the least detrimental to the marine environment.
‘This project will explore decreasing our reliance on marine resources for fish feed. If this concept proves acceptable to our customers, we could change our feed ingredient policy.’
Dr Karolina Kwasek, product developer at BioMar, said: ‘With data and insights incorporated from a multi-disciplinary research team of social scientists, biochemists, nutritionists and pathologists, the consortium covers the full salmon value chain and the power to influence change will be greater than ever before in the UK.
‘Working with supply chain partners like SARIA we can ensure that the adoption of avian protein into the UK aquaculture feed industry also guarantees better use of food chain by-products, resulting in significant environmental savings through more efficient use of local resources and the reduction of imported ingredients.’
The initial six-month phase will focus on collecting data from retailers and consumers to identify the issues related to adopting avian proteins, and will cost £68,144.
If consumer perception around avian proteins is found to be positive, later phases of the project could comprise nutritional and fish quality analysis.
The Scottish Aquaculture Innovation Centre is contributing £40,907 to the project.