BioMar is again the Gold Sponsor of the Aquaculture Europe conference. The overall theme of the 2016-conference being “Food for Thought”, Vidar Gundersen, Global Sustainability Director of the BioMar Group, expresses his thoughts on how to proceed for developing sustainable aquaculture products.
Vidar Gundersen draws attention to the future development of global aquaculture: "Aquaculture is said to become an ever more important source of proteins for human consumption.
"We must ensure that its growth is sustainable and that the final products provided by our industry, the fish and shrimp that we eat, stay as sound and healthy as they are. For instance by providing a predictable amount of the marine fatty acids in fatty fish species like salmon.
"Omega-3 fatty acids are proven to have positive health impact on humans and this ads to the a good reputation of the fish as a sound source of proteins for humans.
According to Vidar Gundersen, it is high time for the aquaculture industry to focus on maintaining or even enhancing the omega-3 fatty acid content in farmed salmon and other farmed fish species: "We need to take care of both the nutritional requirements of the fish and the reputation of farmed fish."
The omega-3 fatty acids used to be provided to the salmon by the fish oil included in the feed. However, as the global demand for fish oil increases, fish oil suitable for the use in aquafeeds are becoming a scarce raw material. "The fish oil that is utilised in the production of aquafeeds nowadays is sourced in a sustainable and responsible way, but the supply is limited," Vidar Gundersen added.
Marine fatty acids from microalgae
Earlier this year, the BioMar Group launched a fish feed on the Norwegian market, containing marine fatty acids from microalgae. Working with global sustainability concerns on a daily basis, Vidar Gundersen is thrilled by the fact that today it is possible to utilise microalgae that produce omega-3: "I have no doubt, the future growth of aquaculture lies in exploiting algae as a feed ingredient.
"At the time being, I consider this particular product to be the most sustainable raw material available for the production of salmon feed," he said.
Vidar Gundersen explained that BioMar does not intend to discontinue the use of fish oil in its feeds. "Utilising marine fatty acids from microalgae simply gives us the possibility to increase or maintain the content of omega-3 in feeds, in a sustainable way," he said.
A crucial discussion
"There is an increasing public concern regarding marine omega-3 levels in farmed salmon. The question is if the content will decrease even more if fish oil availability is endangered," Vidar Gundersen said.
"I must say that taking up this discussion is crucial. We simply need to find new sources of the right omega-3 fatty acids, EPA and DHA. Farmed salmon is more than just proteins, and it is highly important to secure the fatty acid content of the fish," Vidar Gundersen concluded.