krill meal

Scientists suggest krill meal is key to obtain cost-effective and nutrient-rich shrimp feed formulations

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•          Another research reveals this specie represents the cleanest fishery in the world

Scientists from Instituto de Ciências do Mar, Brazil (Labomar) and Aker BioMarine, has concluded that krill meal is an effective functional ingredient for shrimp feed that can mitigate some of the challenges related to the stagnating supply of fish meal, including nutrition and growth performance, while remaining cost effective for producers. The researchers evaluate the impact and cost-effectiveness of krill meal on Pacific white shrimp feed formulations in a new review article.

“Our theory is that the growth enhancement factors that we’ve seen in our previous studies of krill meal for shrimp is due to the balance between krill’s high feed attractiveness and stimulation with its contribution of key nutrients,” adds Alberto Nunes, Professor and Aquaculture Nutritionist in Labomar.

In that sense, Lena Burri, Director R&D for Animal Nutrition and Health at Aker BioMarine, said: “Across the aquaculture industry, we are seeing changing feed formulations due to supply challenges and cost pressure. For shrimp farmers, this means that they need to take a new approach to their feed formulations and find the right ingredients to maintain high nutrition, growth performance and overall cost-effectiveness, while keeping sustainability top of mind.”

According to the article, krill meal is an increasingly well-recognized ingredient in the aquaculture industry due to its feed attractant and palatability enhancer capabilities. In previous research, krill meal has been studied alongside other marine ingredients, from salmon meal to squid meal, and has consistently proven to be the most effective at increasing the feed intake and improving the overall growth performance in both shrimp and fish.

Risk for missing essential nutrients

The Labomar and Aker BioMarine review emphasizes the need to address the risk for missing essential nutrients in the dietary feed formulations for shrimp. Krill meal, as a functional feed ingredient, has shown through previous research that it can improve attractability, palatability and general health in shrimp.

“Besides its well-balanced amino acid profile, krill meal is rich in phospholipid-bound omega-3 fatty acids and adds further value to the feed due to its high levels of astaxanthin and choline, all of which are important for shrimp development at various life stages. In recent years, krill meal has become one of the most studied feeding effectors for shrimp,” assures Burri.

Cost optimization is possible

“The dietary feed represents one of the main cost elements in shrimp production, which makes optimization of the feed formulation critical for producers. We have seen through years of study that including just 3% krill meal in the shrimp diet can reduce feed cost and improve performance and feed intake in fish meal-challenged diets,” explains on his part Nunes.

The review article, titled “Developing sustainable, cost-effective and high-performance shrimp feed formulations containing low fish meal levels”, was authored by Alberto Nunes, Lise Lotte Dalen, Geronimo Leonardi and Lena Burri. The complete article is available in sciencedirect.com.

The cleanest fishery in the world

In the same days, the Antarctic krill fishery was declared the cleanest fishery in the world by other new research. The science paper concludes that the Antarctic krill fishery is the cleanest fishery in the world due to its low bycatch rate.

The krill fishery bycatch ranges from 0.1–0.3%, compared to other fishery bycatch levels ranging from 10% – 55%. According to the report, understanding and controlling bycatch levels is essential for sustainable fishing and maintaining a healthy species population.

Published in Fisheries Management and Ecology, the study concludes that the Antarctic krill fishery is the cleanest fishery in the world in terms of it’s extremely low bycatch rate. Observers collected registered bycatch data from the Antarctic krill fishery in the Southern Ocean during the 2010–2020 fishing seasons.

They found that the total catch of Antarctic krill increased from 200,000 tons to 450,000 tons, with the greatest increase over the last 3 years. Following an international method used to analyze such data, the observers found that the bycatch ratio (0.1–0.3%) was stable and well below other fishery bycatch levels. 

“Overfishing is a big problem across the world’s fisheries,” says Pål Einar Skogrand, VP Policy and Impact, Aker BioMarine. “However, this new data is very positive and demonstrates how krill fisheries can operate sustainably by ensuring a healthy population of target as well as non-target species in its fishing area. The krill fishery’s low exploitation rate of the biomass, in conjunction with these new findings on the low bycatch, proves that the krill fishery operates well within ecosystem boundaries and is becoming a real model fishery on a global level.”

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