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Chinese firm wins Fish-Free Feed (F3) Challenge

China's Guangdong Evergreen Feed Industry Co has been named the winner of a 16-month contest to develop and sell the most fish-free feed for aquaculture.

The $200,100 F3 (Fish-Free Feed) Challenge prize was presented at the Global Aquaculture Alliance’s GOAL 2017 conference in Dublin yesterday. Launched at GOAL 2015 in Vancouver, Canada, the contest challenged aquafeed producers to produce and sell 100,000 tonnes of feeds that do not contain marine animal meal or oil, or be the company closest to the target, by the contest end date.

Evergreen produces alternative feeds for tilapia and carp, distributed across China, Vietnam, Iran and Indonesia. During the contest it sold 84,691 tonnes of its fish-free feed, at up to 10 per cent cheaper than conventional fish-based feeds.

“The most important sustainability issue facing aquaculture is the feed issue,” Evergreen president Chen Dan said in a statement. “Global wild fisheries resources are currently being depleted to alarming levels and our oceans may be empty soon if we don’t do anything to stop overfishing and reduce the pressure on wild-fish stocks.”

“The global F3 contest is playing a critical role in promoting innovative and sustainable feed ingredients as substitutes to fishmeal and fish oil for the aquaculture industry and releasing the dependence of aquaculture on forage fisheries. With F3 feeds, farmers can produce fish regardless of the status of wild-caught stocks,” he added.

More than 120,000 tonnes of fish-free feed were sold by the various participants of the challenge, which is estimated to have saved more than 120 million forage fish from being used as fishfeed.

“We are pleased to award Evergreen Feed Industry the F3 prize to acknowledge its hard work and dedication to the widespread adoption of fish-free feed,” said University of Arizona Professor Kevin Fitzsimmons, a judge of the challenge and former president of the World Aquaculture Society, during the award ceremony. “Thanks to the great effort and commitment made by all the contestants, I’ve seen more progress made over the past 18 months to advance fishmeal alternatives than over the last five years.”

Commendable efforts

A team consisting of Myanmar-based Htoo Thit Co. and global animal nutrition company Biomin came placed second with 34,600 tonnes, and in third place was Oryza Organics with 1,661 tonnes sold.

Honourable mentions were given to the Agriprotein/Abagold and the TwoXSea/Star Milling Co./Alltech,/TerraVia teams who innovated at the frontier of technology by creating feeds for trout.

A fresh challenge

The F3 Team also officially launched a new contest yesterday that aims to inspire the creation of a fish oil alternative that doesn’t rely on wild-caught fish. The F3 Fish Oil Challenge will award a $100,000+ prize to the company or team that makes and sells the most fish-free “fish oil” to aquaculture operations or feed manufacturers. The initiative is being supported by the University of Arizona, University of Massachusetts Boston, Synbiobeta, Anthropocene Institute and the World Bank.