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Turning a profit from surplus fish

16 November 2020, at 2:23pm

Adoption of a new stunning device is allowing hatchery operators to make a profit from juvenile fish that fail to make the grade for on-growing by the aquaculture industry.

Ace Aquatech's Humane Stunner Universal kills fish without the need for anaesthetics, which means that downgraded juveniles can be turned into high quality pet food
Ace Aquatech's Humane Stunner Universal kills fish without the need for anaesthetics, which means that downgraded juveniles can be turned into high quality pet food

So claims Ace Aquatec, which has seen demand soar for its electric stunners from hatcheries, as the devices allow farmers to sell these surplus fish to pet food manufacturers.

As Ace Aquatec sales director, Mike Forbes said in a press release: “There’s a growing trend in pet owners seeing high quality pet food as a health benefit instead of a luxury.

“The global pet food market is anticipated to benefit from this ever-increasing demand for natural and premium products. We’re seeing enquiries from fish farming companies around the globe on how to tap into this demand by selling parr and broodstock by-product as a natural, healthy, and safe ingredient for pet food products.

“Incinerators are often used to dispose of culled fish after anaesthetising at significant cost and waste. Our stunner has the ability to cull fish without using chemicals, which creates the opportunity to convert currently costly by-product into an ethical supply stream for producers of premium pet food, fish oils, and food for farm or zoo animals. Farmers want to see their fish go to use, rather than literally going to waste.”

One of Ace’s Aquatec’s customers, Jarl van den Berg from Hendrix Genetics, agrees: “One unexpected result of Covid-19 has been the rise of new pet owners and existing pet owners wanting to spoil their pets by feeding them the best quality food. Salmon is a great source of protein and we’re seeing increased requests for fresh fish that can be put into wet pet food. In order to do this, we looked at how our surplus fish were being culled and agreed that we would move away from using anaesthetics to create value from an otherwise waste product.”

“We adopted Ace Aquatec’s Humane Stunner Universal as it is the best solution in the market in terms of animal welfare standards and environmental impact. Their chemical free, in-water electric stunner has transformed our processing, reduced wastage, and improved our environmental footprint by stopping our fish going to incinerator.

“It has also allowed us to talk to large pet food suppliers about the efficacy of our supply chain and welfare standards. Consumer habits are changing at pace, and understanding those changes is critical as we prioritise how to recalibrate to meet the changed circumstances driven by Covid-19”.

Ace Aquatech and Hatch are both part of Aqua-Spark's investment portfolio, but The Fish Site retains editorial independence.