Will PAPs be the new aquafeed?


Research highlights how processed animal proteins (PAPs) are safe, sustainable and circular ingredients for global aquafeed

To meet the global population’s appetite for affordable seafood, aquaculture around the world has expanded widely, reaching a record 122.6 million tonnes in 2020. But to support the sector’s growth and safeguard fish stocks in the wild, there is a need for resilient, sustainable aquafeed ingredients as alternatives to wild-sourced fishmeal and fish oil. Although the nutritional profile of fishmeal and fish oil is perfectly suitable for aquaculture species, the sector’s increasing growth and development will outstrip the number of forage fish that can be sustainably harvested.

Thanks to their relatively low market price and being readily available, plant ingredients have been used extensively as fishmeal and fish oil alternatives. Some possess a valuable nutrient profile that matches marine-derived ingredients. However, others do not, while the use of plant ingredients also poses problems. These include the presence of anti-nutritional factors and potential amino acid imbalances that may impair fish growth, nutrient intake and palatability. With this, the international aquaculture community has been developing an array of options to find other affordable alternatives.

“Despite the concerns, modern aquafeeds have reduced substantially in fishmeal and fish oil usage. This is to a point where feeds fed to some farmed fish species don’t use these marine by-products, and for carnivorous species such as Atlantic salmon, the inclusion levels are extremely low,” Dr Alex Wan, Research Fellow at the Aquaculture and Nutrition Research Unit (ANRU) at the University of Galway in Ireland told WF.

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