By Suzi Dominy*
In January the feed ingredient and additive company, Alltech, published the results of its second global feed survey, which provided yet another confirmation that aquaculture is expanding at an unprecedented rate. When analyzed by species, the survey showed aquaculture led the growth chart with a stunning 17 percent increase from 34.4 million metric tons (mmt) in 2012 to 40.36 mmt in 2013. (To keep things in perspective, however, overall global animal/aqua/pet feed tonnage was 963 mmt).
It is no surprise that by region, the survey estimated Asia as having the largest production output, at 31 mmt, of which China accounted for 23.36 mmt. Europe followed a long way behind in second place, at 3.8 mmt, followed by Latin America at 3 mmt, North America at 2 mmt, the Middle East at 0.23 mmt and Africa at 0.194 mmt.
Aquafeed production statistics are notoriously hard to nail down, not least because feed companies can be reluctant to release the information and government statistics in some countries are less than reliable. Alltech said they garnered theirs from information obtained from local feed associations and their sales team. This is probably as good an estimate as any we’ve seen but when looked at in a little more detail we have some difficulty reconciling some of the numbers. For example, Alltech told Aquafeed.com that Thailand produced 0.9 mmt aquafeed and Indonesia 1.2 mmt. From confidential conversations with some of the companies in those countries, we know this is vastly underestimated. Overall, however the survey does offer a useful overview of the size and growth of the industry.
That Europe is taking aquaculture seriously is evidenced by the start of the largest aquaculture research project ever funded by the European Union. The €11.8 million (USD$16.3 million) project, called DIVERSIFY, has 38 participating partners from Spain, France, Italy, Greece, Israel, Belgium, The Netherlands, Denmark, Norway, the United Kingdom, Germany and Hungary. The five year project will focus on the development of new and emerging finfish species, that have the potential to expand the European Union (EU) aquaculture industry. The species to be studied include meagre (Argyrosomus regius) and greater amberjack (Seriola dumerili), wreckfish (Polyprion americanus), Atlantic halibut (Hippoglossus hippoglossus), grey mullet (Mugil cephalus), and pikeperch (Sander lucioperca). DIVERSIFY will build on national initiatives for species diversification in aquaculture, in order to overcome known bottlenecks.
The hatchery stage is a notorious bottleneck, and here, as in all stages of production, feed is at the foundation. Many hatchery operators are unaware that there are now excellent manufactured feeds available for a number of species. To help find out about these feeds and who makes them, our specialist web resource, Hatcheryfeed.com, created The Hatchery Feed Guide & Year Book. In addition to manufactured feeds, the Guide also lists water conditioners, enrichment products and live feeds. The Guide is published in PDF-format, to allow users to link directly to datasheets, websites and email addresses. It is available for free download from Hatcheryfeed.com.
Protein is always a hot topic in aquafeed circles and it was a subject of great interest at our two conferences. Aquafeed Horizons Asia, taking place in Bangkok, April 8th, and the feed ingredients and additives conference, FIAAP Conference Asia, that took place the following day, April 9th.
Drawing particular interest at Aquafeed Horizons Asia is a novel bioactive feed ingredient which has been demonstrated not only to increase growth rate in shrimp from between 20 to 40% and provide protection to some known pathogens, and can also potentially reduce dependence on expensive and potentially unsustainable marine resources. This ingredient, called Novacq, was developed by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), Australia’s national science agency, and is soon to be commercialized for inclusion into shrimp diets. The feed company Ridley Aqua-Feed, which has commercialization rights in Australia and some SE Asian countries, is now embarking on the next stage of this project. Dr. Matthew Briggs summarized the results obtained when incorporating it into shrimp diets under both laboratory and commercial conditions, outline the challenging path to commercialization of the product into the global shrimp culture industry and the game changing implications this could have on the sustainability of the industry into the future.
Good news for protein strapped European aquafeed manufacturers in 2013 was the revision of the ban on processed animal proteins (PAPS) from non-ruminants, that now allows their use in aquafeed. The ban was adopted as a control measure to prevent transmissible spongiform encephalopathy (TSE) and was the result of poor control of meat and bone meal in the animal feed chain in the past. However, the European Parliament insisted that any revision of the feed ban be accompanied by specific methods to identify the origin of the species of PAPs in feed, so that intra-species recycling and the presence of ruminant PAPs could be excluded. These methods also needed to guarantee the minimization of the risk of cross-contamination during the production process performed under a regime of strict spatial segregation. The R&D organization known as TNO Triskelion BV in the Netherlands has developed a ruminant-DNA specific Real-Time PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) method which can detect 0.1 % of ruminant PAPs in feed. This is of crucial interest for fulfillment of the requirements of the EU regulations. Dr. Gert van Duijn, Project manager, TNO Triskelion, discussed the method in detail at the FIAAP Conference.
Details for the conferences, which take place alongside the region’s most important trade show for the feed, grain and biofuel industries, FIAAP/VICTAM/GRAPAS Asia, can be found at www.feedconferences.com
Suzi Dominy is the founding editor and publisher of aquafeed.com. She brings 25 years of experience in professional feed industry journalism and publishing. Before starting this company, she was co-publisher of the agri-food division of a major UK-based company, and editor of their major international feed magazine for 13 years.