Latest F3 challenge offers USD 300,000 in prizes for aquaculture feed innovators

Published on
January 13, 2021

The F3 Challenge – Carnivore Edition, designed to accelerate the development of fishmeal and fish oil substitutes in aquaculture feed, has officially started, with a USD 100,000 (EUR 82,193) prize available to the winner of each of three categories.

The F3 Challenge, which stands for “fish-free feed,”  launched in November 2015 to encourage the innovation of alternative protein sources for aquaculture fish-feeds. The latest challenge targets three categories – salmonids, shrimp, and other carnivorous species – with the prize awarded to the team that uses the greatest portion of F3 feed in the category at the conclusion of the challenge’s sales period.

In order to qualify as an “F3 feed,” the aquaculture feed used must be used for one of the three species and be completely free of marine animal ingredients. The sales figures must be tracked by the customer and represent only the feed that was submitted to the challenge.

Six contestants are currently enrolled in the F3 Challenge – Carnivore Edition: BGreen Technologies, an Indian-based startup competing in the “other carnivorous species” category; Chapul Farms, which is formulating black soldier fly-based feed; Empagran, an aquaculture company raising shrimp in Ecuador using fish-free feed for white shrimp through a partnership with Vermaris – the 2019 winner of the F3 Challenge; Jiangsu Fuhai Biotech Co., a Haian, Jinagsu, China-based company using fermented dehulled full fat soybeans as a raw material for feed in all three contest categories; Remediate, a United Kingdom-based company growing microalgae at scale; and Star Milling Co., selling rainbow trout feed containing barley protein created by its partner, Scoular Company.

The latest challenge was disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, with the F3 Challenge organizers extending the initial registration period, with registration still being open. Sales can be recorded as of 1 October, 2020 toward the prize.

“Salmon farms use over 20 percent of the fishmeal and 60 percent of the fish oil consumed by the aquaculture sector. Today, over half of the global shrimp supply is farmed. Global shrimp farming production, which reached nearly four million metric tons in 2018 according to the UN Food and Agricultural Organization, is also one of the dominant consumers of the global fishmeal supply. A recent study found that if ‘business as usual’ continues, forage fisheries will reach ecological limits by 2037,” challenge organizers said. “The F3 Challenge aims to make it unnecessary to use wild fish in feeds, so that they can remain in the environment for other species, and aquaculture’s growth becomes unconstrained from wild resource availability, assuring greater food security in the future.”  

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