California Sea Grant to Fund Fishmeal Reduction Research
California Sea Grant on Tuesday announced that it awarded $1.4 million to support six marine research projects to begin in February, one of which will study ways to reduce fishmeal in feed for yellowtail and white sea bass.
The goal of the aquaculture study is to reduce the amount of fishmeal and fish oil in yellowtail and white seabass feeds, without impeding fish growth rates or otherwise compromising fish health.
“Ecosystem-based management has become a central focus of the approach used by state and federal managers to protect our coastal ocean resources,” says California Sea Grant Director Russell Moll.
The scientists — Mark Drawbridge of Hubbs-SeaWorld Research Institute, Frederic Barrows of the Fish Technology Center at the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Ronald Hardy of the University of Idaho’s Aquaculture Research Institute — will develop a replacement protein based on a combination of fishmeal alternatives such as soy, canola, corn, barley, poultry-by-product meal and blood meal.
The experiment includes adding mineral supplements to compensate for fishmeal losses. These “protein shakes” will be added to feeds at graded levels to progressively reduce fishmeal content. It is hoped that the project will result in commercially viable fish feeds with 75 percent less fishmeal and 50 percent less fish oil.
California Sea Grant, headquartered at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California, San Diego, is a statewide, multi-university program of marine research, extension services and education activities. The National Sea Grant College Program is part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.