Aquaculture for all

F3 offers $100,000 prize in latest fish-free aquafeed challenge

Krill Competitions Alternative proteins +3 more

F3 - Future of Fish Feed launched its newest aquaculture feed contest - the F3 Krill Replacement Challenge - today, in a bid to inspire companies to develop substitutes for krill in aquaculture feeds.

a large number of krill
Krill are one of the most abundant forms of marine animal life on the planet

However, there are concerns in some quarters that they are increasingly vulnerable to a range of issues linked to climate change

Up to 10 companies are invited to register for the contest ,that will award a USD $100,000 grand prize for the krill replacement product that results in the best growth, feed consumption and survival during a 12-week feeding trial on Atlantic salmon. Registration is open until August 31, 2023.

“We are upping the stakes in our fourth challenge to the aquaculture industry to replace another critical marine animal ingredient in fish feed,” said Kevin Fitzsimmons, professor at the University of Arizona and chair of the Future of Fish Feed. “We invite innovators from the feed supplement, feed ingredient, and synthetic biology sectors to join us in advancing more sustainable aquaculture practices that will improve food security globally.”

The F3 Krill Replacement Challenge – the fourth contest hosted by the Future of Fish Feed – was motivated by scientific research that has shown sharp declines in krill populations by as much as 80 percent, the result of climate-induced changes in ocean temperature, currents, acidification and regional overfishing.

Krill is a popular aquaculture feed ingredient for its nutritional benefits and is thought to increase feed palatability and fish growth. As a result, the commercial krill fishery located in the Arctic and Antarctic has steadily increased production over the last decade from 200,000 tonnes in 2010 to 450,000 tonnes in 2020. The rapidly expanding industrial fishery, coupled with climate-induced stressors, present considerable risks to the global krill supply.

A wide variety of marine life depends upon these tiny shrimp-like crustaceans at the base of the marine food chain – including whales, penguins and commercially important wild fisheries like salmon, rockfish, squid and sardines. Krill are also important for their role in removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

The contest’s rules

The contest will be run as a comparative feeding trial in which each competitor’s feed additive, attractant or other feed-enhancing product free of marine-animal ingredients will be incorporated into a F3-designed, plant-based feed for Atlantic salmon. To determine a winner, the F3 judges will compare salmon weight gain, feed-conversion ratio and survival observed for each krill replacement product. A diet containing krill meal is also included in the trial as a control.

The challenge focuses on a widely consumed fish species, Atlantic salmon, that are known to be fairly fussy eaters. The krill replacement products have the potential to benefit many other farmed seafood producers seeking to enhance performance of “fish-free” feeds, since krill is not only used to enhance nutrition, but also for its perceived attributes as an attractant and palatant.

To join the race to replace krill in aquafeeds, visit the F3 Krill Replacement Challenge website.

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