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Weekly Overview: Barley and Sweet Potato Prove Effective as Fish Feed Ingredients

Lucy Towers
15 July 2014, at 1:00am

ANALYSIS - The Philippines Tarlac College of Agriculture (TCA) is studying the sweet potato as a nutritious and low cost feed source for the aquaculture industry, specifically for bangus, tilapia, crabs and prawns, writes Lucy Towers, TheFishSite Editor.

“Initial studies conducted by TCA with the protein-enriched sweet potato (PESP) was done through fermentation which paved the way for the production of inexpensive, high valued aquafeeds,” the agency said. 

The PESP is now considered a breakthrough in the aquafeed industry, necessitating a protection by a trademark for a period of 50 years. 

The TCA will now work to establish a feedmill and engage into the mass production and marketing of the product to better serve fishpond operators in Pangasinan, Bataan, Zambales, and Bulacan.

Research around alternative fish feeds is also being conducted in the US. The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Montana Microbial Products LLC (MMP) of Missoula, Montana have developed a process that improves the nutritional value of barley for use in fish feed.

Barley typically contains around 10 to 12 per cent protein, but 40 to 60 per cent protein is needed in diets of carnivorous fish like rainbow trout and salmon. The new enzymatic process patented by the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) and MMP concentrates protein by removing the carbohydrates in barley and turning them into an ethanol coproduct, using all the nutrients in the grain.

Atlantic salmon fed a diet containing either 11 per cent or 22 per cent barley protein concentrate experienced a similar growth to salmon fed a standard fishmeal diet.

Fish on the barley diet also had significantly greater energy retention, demonstrating that they use the feed more efficiently. 

Norwegian salmon farming company Marine Harvest has reported its highest ever earnings and a total harvest volume of 114,000 tonnes in the second quarter of 2014. 

Operational EBIT was approximately NOK 1,200 million in Q2 2014 compared with NOK 901 million in the second quarter last year.

In fisheries news, EU fishing vessels will soon begin fishing in Morocco's waters again after a pause of two years now that Morocco has ratified the Fisheries Protocol.

EU Fisheries Commissioner, Maria Damanaki, commented: "I am glad that this protocol can finally enter into force: our fishermen have been waiting for this day for more than two years. Now we need to make sure that our fleet can resume its activities as soon as possible. This new protocol is an example for responsible international fisheries governance: we made sure that the EU’s fishing rights do not exceed the scientifically sound limit that ensures sustainable fisheries, and that European vessels do not compete with local fishermen.”