Skretting claims fishmeal free breakthrough

THE fish feed company Skretting says it has developed a salmon feed that can be formulated completely free of fishmeal while delivering equal performance in terms of fish growth and health.
Called MicroBalance FLX, the feed is the result of extensive research from the Skretting Aquaculture Research Centre (ARC).
Based in Stavanger, Norway, Skretting has devoted significant resources over the past 25 years to exploring the potential for alternative raw materials to replace traditional feed components while ensuring optimum fish growth and health.
Progressive research in the early 2000s led to the identification of key micronutrients in the fishmeal profile that are essential to fish.
The resultant MicroBalance concept has allowed Skretting to be increasingly flexible with feed formulations.
The latest research is the culmination of decades of investigation and sees the final piece of the fishmeal puzzle fall into place, says the company – with MicroBalance FLX, Skretting now has full flexibility over fishmeal inclusion in salmonid grower feeds.
‘Through our research, we have detailed evidence proving salmonids can be fed with feeds that are devoid of fishmeal,’ said Dr Leo Nankervis, team leader in salmonid nutrition at Skretting.
‘This is very important knowledge that we will utilise to give us even more flexibility with regards to the composition of our commercial feeds…fishmeal availability will not limit the further expansion of the salmon farming industry.’
José Villalon (pictured), corporate sustainability director for Nutreco, Skretting’s parent company, and a member of the Supervisory Board of the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC), said: ‘Feeding the future is Nutreco’s mission, and this breakthrough in raw material flexibility gives us the ability to provide a significant contribution to feeding the global population that is expected to reach nine billion by 2050.’
But Skretting’s global product manager of grower feeds, Sissel Susort, pointed out that although Skretting now has the knowledge and capability to produce fishmeal free feeds, it does not mean that fishmeal will be eliminated from the products.
‘The fact that we can do it is the key point. We will work with our customers when and if they decide to use MicroBalance FLX feeds. The value of this knowledge will increase if fishmeal availability decreases in the future.
‘To be fully flexible in our formulations, raw material knowledge and availability is vital. In Europe, market acceptance to use animal protein is low, so we need to have good vegetable alternatives available.’
The arrival of MicroBalance FLX does not bring an end to Skretting’s MicroBalance research.
Alex Obach, managing director at Skretting ARC, said: ‘MicroBalance FLX is a major breakthrough in terms of salmon nutrition that will definitely help us to accelerate the development of MicroBalance for other species that are currently more dependent on fishmeal, for example shrimp, sea bass, turbot and other marine fish.
‘But this is not the end of the road. We are on a mission. Becoming independent of fishmeal gives us the opportunity to explore alternative and novel raw materials that perhaps are not even considered in the spectrum of possibilities today.
‘Can we produce fish in the future using resources without being in competition with foods for human consumption? We are curious, and we will keep searching.’