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WA Help Feed World's Farmed Fish

by Ellen Hardy
22 September 2008, at 1:00am

AUSTRALIA - Western Australian research is now helping to feed fish in aquaculture projects across the world and is providing another valuable market for the States grain farmers.

The Aquaculture Feed Grains Program has brought together private and public sector partners, who saw the potential of developing a sustainable, nutritionally-sound product to feed farmed fish and create a new and growing export market.

Department of Fisheries research scientist Dr Brett Glencross said, with aquaculture developing as the fastest growing primary industry in the world, the traditional sources of fish feed would have meant a major constraint to growth and put further pressure on wild stocks. Traditional feed relied on fish oils and fishmeal, sourced from wild caught stocks.

“We have been able to develop a lupin-based fish feed from a renewable resource that is not only sustainable, but also provides great benefits for WA grain growers from additional sales of value-added lupin products,” Dr Glencross said.

Dr Glencross said delegates from the 12th International Lupin Conference visited the Department of Fisheries at Hillarys this week to see and hear about his research and, yesterday at the Conference in Fremantle, he presented a review of the nine year development path that has led to many scientific discoveries and technical improvements, as well as spawning a new, locally based, value-adding industry.

“WA now has the largest lupin processing plant of its kind in the world and we are now seeing lupins being used in fish feeds supporting aquaculture industries nationally and in many countries, including Norway, Chile, Japan, Thailand and New Zealand.

“This is really a story of success for two industries – using lupins to provide a high protein feed for fish increases their value as a crop to the grain farmer and it also provides a way for aquaculture to continue to grow to meet the world demand for fish and help take the pressure off wild stocks, when many fisheries are declining.”

Dr Glencross said in recent years WA growers had supplied up to 80 per cent of Australia’s lupin production, from an important rotational crop that helped to replenish soil nitrogen after wheat growing.

Ellen Hardy