Aquaculture for all

Typology Of Compounded Aquafeed In Western Europe And Asia, Part 1


The next section of an FAO report looking at the impact of rising feed ingredient prices on aquafeeds and aquaculture production, looks at typology of compounded aquaculture feed in Western Europe and Asia. Written by Krishen Rana, University of Stirling, UK and Mohammad Hasan, Fisheries and Aquaculture Management Division, FAO.

Major players of compounded aquafeed production

Profile of the aquafeed industry in Europe

Unlike in Asia, the farming of finfish in western Europe is exclusively intensive and dependent upon and driven by the use of compounded industrial feeds. Atlantic salmon, rainbow trout, seabass and seabream are the four species that dominate in European aquaculture.

In 2006, production of these species totalled over a million tonnes and accounted for 81 per cent of total finfish production in Europe. Moreover, salmon accounted for 54 per cent (783 000 tonnes) of European finfish production. Feed manufactures, therefore, strategically monitor such developments to position themselves in geographic hotspots of production and historically around centres where key raw ingredients are produced, e.g. fishmeal and oil.

The feed industry in Europe has closely followed the market development of Atlantic salmon (and to a lesser extent rainbow trout), which is predominantly concentrated in Norway, Scotland, and to a lesser extent in the Faroe Islands and Ireland. These four northern European countries collectively accounted for 890 000 tonnes of salmonids in 2006 and over a million tonnes in 2007 (FAO, 2008b).

The aquafeed industry in Europe serving these markets is highly consolidated with three companies, Skretting, Ewos and BioMar, dominating the salmonid feed market (Table 18). In 2007, these companies manufactured over 96 per cent or 1.3 million tonnes of the industrial feed used for salmon and trout production in northern Europe. In 2007, over 2.1 million tonnes of feed was used in Europe (Table 18). Details on the impact that rising prices of ingredient has had on the industry is difficult to determine because of company confidentiality. A seven and 13 per cent increase in revenue for 2004 and 2006, respectively, were attributed to higher feed prices, was largely attributed to higher ingredient costs as raw materials account for 75 per cent of feed production costs (Nutreco Annual Reports, 2004, 2006 and 2007; BioMar Annual Report, 2007).

Table 18

Key feed manufacturers and estimated industrial aquafeed production and market share
Market share in 2007 (%) Feed tonnage in 2006 Feed tonnage in 2007
North Europe (NE)1
BioMar 23 300000 316250
Ewos 30 412500 412500
Skretting 43 500000 591250
Others 4 37500 55000
Total (tonnes) 1250000 1375000
NE (% of total) 65 65
Rest of Europe (RE)2
BioMar 18 128250 137000
Skretting 18 128250 130500
Provmi 9 60750 65250
Persus 7 47250 50750
Didaq 6 40500 43500
Aller Aqua 5 33750 36250
Feedus 4 27000 29000
Others 33 209250 239250
Total (tonnes) 675000 725000
RE (% of total) 35 35
Total aquafeeds in NE + RE (tonnes) 1925000 2100000
1 NE = Norway, Scotland, Ireland and Faroe Islands
2 RE = >1000 tonnes: denmark, Finland, France, Greece, Italy, Poland, Spain, Sweden, Germany, the Russian Federation, turkey, czech Republic, croatia, Switzerland, the Netherlands
Source: Estimates extrapolated from BioMar Annual Report (2008).

Profile of the aquafeed industry in Asia

Unlike aquaculture in Europe, the species that dominate aquaculture in Asia are very diverse, with over 200 species being reportedly farmed in a range of culture systems using extensive to intensive practices. The trend in the mainstay of national aquaculture output from Asia, however, is similar to Europe and only a few species comprise reported aquaculture output at the national level (Table 19). In most major producing countries, over 70 per cent of production is of just two or three species or species groups (Table 3). In 2006, around 97 per cent (31 million tonnes) of production was of only a dozen species/species groups.

Table 19

Main species that contribute at least 80% of national total aquaculture production in leading Asian countries in 2006
Country Species/species groups1,2 No. species/species groups Contribution (%) Main species tonnage
(thousand tonnes)
National total
aquaculture production
(thousand tonnes)
Japan Japanese amberjack (51)
Silver sea bream (24)
Japanese eel (7)
3 82 292.5 301.5
Myanmar Freshwater fishes (40)
Indian carps (35)
Penaeus shrimps (10)
3 85 558 575
Bangladesh Indian carps (49)
Silver carp (19)
Freshwater fishes (18)
Penaeus shrimps (7)
3 93 866 893
Viet Nam Freshwater fishes (47)
Pangas catfishes (30)
Penaeus shrimps (20)
3 97 1466 1512
India Indian carps (75)
chinese carps (12)
Penaeus shrimps (5)
3 92 3029 3123
Philippines Milkfish (54)
Nile tilapia (27)
Other tilapias (7)
Penaeus shrimps (7)
4 95 569 587
Thailand Penaeus shrimps (48)
Nile tilapia (15)
catfish, hybrid (14)
Silver barb (7)
4 84 991 1021
Taiwan Province of china tilapias (34))
Milkfish (26)
Japanese eel (11)
Penaeus shrimps (5)
Giant river prawn (5)
Groupers (4)
6 85 210 217
Indonesia common carp (19)
Milkfish (17)
Nile tilapia (14)
Penaeus shrimps (22)
torpedo-shaped catfishes (6)
Freshwater fish (3)
6 81 1254 1293
China chinese carps (44)
common carp (11)
crucian carp (9)
Nile tilapia (5)
Penaeus shrimps (5)
Freshwater fish (3)
White amur bream (3)
7 80 21970 22650
Total Production 31 205.5 (97) 32172.5
1 Values given in parenthesis are percentages of total national reported production.
2 Species/groups in italics above are known to be farmed predominantly with commercial feeds.
Source: Adapted from FAO (2008b).

Mass production of these species in Asia is dependent on aquafeeds and some species are dependent almost exclusively on commercial aquafeeds and are under semi-intensive to intensive conditions. These species are highlighted in italics in Table19. Although the current discussion about the use of animal proteins as aquafeed ingredients still largely focuses on the finite fishmeal and fish oil resources, the sustainability of aquaculture is more likely to be linked with the use of vegetable proteins and oils, and carbohydrate raw materials for aquafeeds, particularly because a significantly large proportion of production is of non-carnivorous aquatic species. In the coming years, developing countries are more likely than developed countries to be adversely impacted, if vegetable ingredients for aquaculture are not produced and sourced locally. The rising prices of key vegetable ingredients used in the aquafeeds on the international market are illustrated in Figure 9. In view of current trends, the local competition for these vegetable-based aquafeeds/ingredients will also increase as populations and disposable income in developing countries increase, as is evident in China (Figure 13) where the demand for meat and milk products, which require substantial volumes of grains to produce, continues to rise.

Production and distribution channels of aquafeed

Distribution of aquafeed in Europe

The major feed manufacturers are concentrated in main fish farming areas and historically near the suppliers (Norway and Denmark) of fishmeal. In Europe aquafeed needs are serviced by five main feed manufacturing companies with plants in Norway, Denmark, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Spain, France, Germany, Poland, the Czech Republic, Greece and Turkey (Figure 15). Of the three largest feed manufacturing companies, Skretting and Ewos focus on providing salmon aquafeeds for the much consolidated salmon and trout industries, while BioMar has a portfolio of aquafeeds for a more diverse number of species. These three companies account for around 90 per cent of feed production in Europe.

Source: Derived from National Farm Survey and Authors' Estimates

Skretting is the largest aquafeed manufacturer, with Europe accounting for 64 per cent of its global fish-feed revenue in 2008. Factories in Norway, Scotland and Ireland deliver to their respective markets. Skretting’s three production plants in Norway, with a production capacity of 500 000 tonnes in 2008, mainly deliver to the Norwegian market.

Ewos, with aquafeed production plants in Norway (three plants producing 415 000 tonnes in 2008) and one plant in Scotland, is the second largest feed producer in Europe and has a European market share of around 25 per cent. The markets of the four plants are highly concentrated in Scotland and Norway with feed plants delivering nationally.

BioMar group is the third largest supplier of fish feed to the European aquaculture industry, with 18 per cent of the European market share, supplying 410 000 tonnes of feed in 2007 in Europe for salmon and trout in Norway and the United Kingdom and for freshwater trout (308 000 tonnes), seabass and seabream in continental Europe (102 000 tonnes). Feed factories in Norway and Scotland supply the 200 farming companies and 15 consolidated companies in Scotland, as well as Ireland and the Faroe Islands. The industry in Scotland and Norway is also highly consolidated, increasing the buying and bargaining power of these companies. Approximately 61 per cent of the combined volume of the two BioMar factories in Norway and 95 per cent of the volume of the one BioMar factory in the United Kingdom supply the five largest customers of BioMar (BioMar Annual Report, 2008).

BioMar has three feed production factories in continental Europe: Denmark, France and Greece. The five largest customers supplied by these three factories account for about 25 per cent, 42 per cent and 81 per cent of volume of these factories, respectively. BioMar’s most important markets in the region are Denmark, Finland, France, Greece, Italy, Poland, Spain, Sweden and Germany. Its plants also deliver feeds to other European countries such as Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Estonia, Croatia, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Morocco, Romania, the Russian Federation, Switzerland, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, the Czech Republic, Turkey and Austria. Aller Aqua, which specializes in quality trout and freshwater fish feeds, has three centres of production located in Denmark, Germany and Poland, each serving specific regions in Europe. From Denmark, Aller Aqua delivers to the Russian Federation, Italy, Ireland, Sweden and Norway, while its centre in Germany supplies Germany, Turkey, Spain and Portugal. Operations in Poland focus on Poland and Eastern Europe. Dibaq, a Spanish company, has four main production centres in Spain, Italy, the Czech Republic and Greece, each focusing on distributing to specific subregions.

The centre in Spain supplies feeds to Spain, France, Portugal,Bulgaria, Romania and Morocco. The centre in Italy supplies Italy, Croatia, Serbia and Malta; the Czech Republic supplies the Czech Republic, Germany, Poland and Slovakia; the centre in Greece focuses on the home market.

Further Reading

- You can view the full report by clicking here.
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