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Fish Oils Reduce Cows GHG Emissions

GENERAL - The benefits to animals of omega 3 fatty acids in fish oils have been well documented helping the heart and circulatory system, improving meat quality and reducing methane emissions.

These last two benefits may only apply to cows but lowering emissions is important for the environment, as methane given off by farm animals is a major contribution to greenhouse gas levels. Researchers from University College Dublin reported that by including 2 per cent fish oil in the diet of cattle, they achieved a reduction in the amount of methane released by the animals.

Speaking at the Society for General Microbiology meeting in Harrogate March 30, Dr Lorraine Lillis, one of the researchers, said, "The fish oil affects the methane-producing bacteria in the rumen part of the cow's gut, leading to reduced emissions. Understanding which microbial species are particularly influenced by changes in diet and relating them to methane production could bring about a more targeted approach to reducing methane emissions in animals."

More than a third of all methane emissions, around 900 billion tonnes every year, are produced by methanogen bacteria that live in the digestive systems of ruminants such as cattle, sheep and goats. By volume, methane is 20 times more powerful at trapping solar energy than carbon dioxide making it a potent greenhouse gas.

Approximately 50 per cent of Irish agricultural methane emissions result from farm animals; there have been suggestions that, to help combat global warming, a cap be placed on the number of animals in animal production due to their methane production but with a reduction in methane levels through diet this may not be as necessary.

the Fish Site Editor

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The growth story 
of Nireus, Greece

Like all Mediterranean producers, Nireus has a strong need to market their product as fresh, affordable and high quality fish, with traceability as an important asset. Building a stable future for the company on both technical and business knowledge, Nireus realizes that a healthy economy in aquaculture can only be built on healthy fish.

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