TURNING NORDIC BIOMASS INTO FISH FEED FOR THE NORDIC AQUACULTURE INDUSTRY

Aquaculture is the most rapidly expanding food production industry in the world, and several Nordic industrial actors are leading producers. However, there is a shortage of sustainable feed resources that can sustain the industry. The main raw materials for fish feed production stem from fish by-products and plant-based raw materials, mainly soy, neither of which can meet the high demand alone or is a sustainable solution. The industry’s growing need for feed therefore provides an opportunity for Nordic sustainable alternatives. This was the main focus of the Nordic Innovation project ProffAqua, led by Matís, that was finished in the end of 2018.

The main raw materials for fish feed production stem from fish by-products and plant-based raw materials, mainly soy, neither of which can meet the high demand alone or is a sustainable solution. The industry’s growing need for feed therefore provides an opportunity for Nordic sustainable alternatives. The ProffAqua consortium have demonstrated how the production of new and more sustainable protein sources, insects and single cell protein, can be used as substitutes for soy protein and fishmeal in fish feed. The new protein sources were produced from residual streams or waste.

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    One of the residual streams the consortium utilised was from a pulp mill, which is highly innovative.  This raw material has very little value and is an underutilised biomass. This means Nordic protein created from a new source, not in competition with current protein production. Large scale production would mean less use of land as compared to the growing soy, less resource input i.e. water, and less GHG emissions.

    “ProffAqua is a good example of industry and research coming together to drive forward novel concepts, in order to increase sustainable food production in the Nordic countries and beyond” Birgir Örn Smárason – project leader.

    Probably the most important finding was that this source of protein could be used in feed for both salmon and trout, which is attractive in the context of turning Nordic biomass into fish feed for the Nordic aquaculture industry. The project illustrates how Nordic synergies lay the foundation for new markets, and this concept holds a great deal of promise for future Nordic innovations.