A natural consequence of the demands of a growing aquaculture industry is the need for alternative sources for aquaculture feed once the traditional supply of feed hits its limits. Fish meal and fish oil are the main materials for aquaculture feed. Although there is an increase in the substitution of other ingredients like soy, poultry by-products, and fish processing waste in the feed there is a general increase in the prices of aquaculture feed. Volatility in their prices due to a shortage of wheat and other ingredients used in fishmeal production along with the socio-political climate of the nations that supply the ingredients for the production of fish feed has led to the investigation of alternative sources for aquaculture feed.
Insect feed has gained immense popularity as an alternative source of protein for aquaculture feed. The insect-based feed is highly sustainable. Bacterial protein meals are also a great alternative to fish meals. The bacterial protein feed is produced under highly sustainable methods of production involving minimal use of water and little to no use of agricultural land.
Algae oil is considered to be a strong and effective substitute for fish oil. It is believed that close to 30% of non-vegetable oils that are used in aquatic feeds will be from algae sources. Microalgae is yet another alternative option for fish oil. The microalgae used in fish feed contain essential fatty acids needed by marine fish for their nutrition.
Plant-based sources are a substitute for fish feed but they tend to lack essential amino acids and other necessary nutrients. Their nutrient profile is also highly variable and contains some anti-nutritional factors. Due to these factors, they are not readily available in commercial quantities. However, these plant proteins work best when combined with good animal protein sources. This combination improves their nutrient profile and enhances the quality and effectiveness of the feed.
Terrestrial animal sources consisting of meat meal, poultry meal, bone, feather and blood meal are excellent sources of good protein. These feeds also help in prolonging the shelf life of the fish. Additionally, one cannot forget the presence of non-conventional sources of proteins like snails, worms, frogs and maggots. Another unconventional source of proteins is the agricultural and wood residues that can be turned into proteins for fish feed.
These substitutes for fish feed can prove to be great sources of necessary proteins for fish purchased on the online marketplace, AQAI.in. This platform is designed to provide excellent quality fish, poultry and livestock to farmers looking to set up a farm on their own. AQAI.in strives to increase a farmer’s income as well as reduce dependence on middlemen.