Challenge aims to award alternative aquaculture feeds
The University of Arizona, the Monterey Bay Aquarium and the New England Aquarium are coming together in the name of the F3 [Fish-Free Feed] Challenge as a means to promote the use of alternative ingredients in industry feeds and, therein, decrease the pressure on fisheries.
Currently in its pre-registration stage, the F3 Challenge will award one winner with a USD 100,000 prize, which has been provided by an anonymous industry donor. The first aquaculture feed company to produce and sell 100,000 metric tons of aquaculture diets formulated using other ingredients to substitute for marine-sourced fish meals and fish oils will take home the award money, which has already been transferred to the Monterey Bay Aquarium.
According to Kevin Fitzsimmons, professor for the University of Arizona, advancing alternative feed methods could dually serve to advance overall industry sustainability aims.
“Our industry has made tremendous strides to vastly increase yields of aquaculture products with the limited supplies of fish meals and fish oils that we have available,” said Fitzsimmons, addressing the attendees of this year’s GOAL Conference hosted by the Global Aquaculture Alliance (GAA). “While management of these forage fisheries continues to improve, we recognize that yet more innovation is needed to find additional ingredients that are cost-effective formulations. And if we want our industry to become even more sustainable and to be able to compete with beef, poultry and pork, we need to further encourage this innovation.”
Companies will be able to register all of their partners and subsidiaries under one banner, and include all formulations that qualify regardless of which aquatic species they’re being fed, said Fitzsimmons, meaning that shrimp, salmon, tilapia, etc. can all be listed in a given entrant’s total.
“The goal of this challenge is to reduce demand of wild-caught stocks, by accelerating the availability of cost-competitive, viable seafood-free options. The research community and forward-looking feedmills have already utilized a large number of seafood-free ingredients including grains, terrestrial animal by-products, distillery and brewery by-products, algae (seaweed) products, and other plant and animal processing by-products,” explained the Challenge orchestrators.
Interested parties can enter the challenge starting on 1 November. The last day to register will be 20 April 2016, with a winner selected and announced on 31 December 2017.