Soy and aquaculture

The Fish Site
by The Fish Site
14 March 2007, at 12:00am

US - The American soybean industry has been quick to jump on the bandwagon of aquaculture, one of the fastest-growing food segments in the world. Administrators for the U.S. soybean checkoff saw the long-term potential in aquaculture and invested funds to develop methods to increase inclusion of soy in many fish diets.

As the demand for aquaculture soars with global population growth, the demand for seafood products won’t be met by the capture fisheries, which capture wild fish or shellfish.

Global aquaculture continues to grow at an annual rate of 9 percent to 11 percent. This presents a significant opportunity for soy as a feed ingredient. Overall, aquaculture will consume an estimated 8 million to 10 million metric tons of soybean meal in the next decade.

Those directing the soybean checkoff program “recognized the bright future of aquaculture and we have gotten in on the ground floor with our investment in new technologies to increase soy inclusion in fish diets ,” says Terry Ecker, United Soybean Board International Marketing chair and a soybean farmer from Elmo, Mo.

Soy-based diets for select marine fish have been developed and are being demonstrated in several projects located in the Philippines, Vietnam, and China.

Research efforts are focused on identifying barriers to soy inclusion in the diets of marine fish such as salmon, pompano, amberjack, Mediterranean sea bass, sea bream and cobia, as well as increasing the soy inclusion in marine shrimp diets.

Soy meal inclusion shows greater potential in fish than in other livestock rations. In fact, fish diets can contain twice as much soy as any other livestock ration, with over half the diets of many freshwater fish containing soy products in some cases.

Since each species of fish has different dietary requirements, part of the research effort includes building a database to house the inclusion rates of each species.

Source: Southwest Farm Press