The feed used in aquaculture is currently composed partly of products derived from industrial fishing (fish oil and fishmeal). Demand for these raw materials has increased in recent years while supply has reduced due to fishing quotas, causing prices to soar.
Using alternative raw materials as a substitute for fishmeal and fish oil has become not only an economic priority but also a requirement for sustainable aquaculture development.
Although progress has been made, full replacement with plant substitutes has not been possible because of impaired fish growth and changes in end-product properties.
With this in mind, the NINAqua study is aimed at developing new-generation aquaculture feed containing natural raw materials that are both environmentally friendly and cost-effective, making use of plant biodiversity, new processed animal proteins (PAPs), microalgae, yeast and insects for example. The NINAqua study’s main challenge lies in creating new aquaculture feed enabling companies operating in the French fish-farming industry (initially trout and bass farmers) to prepare for full substitution of fishmeal and fish oil in aquaculture feed. In practice, this will involve: selecting and producing new ingredients for use in new aquaculture formulations; defining and optimising the production processes for these new formulations; determining the effectiveness of this new aquaculture feed in terms of fish growth, health and quality; and establishing whether this new feed is capable of ensuring the technical, economic and environmental sustainability of French aquaculture systems.
The NINAqua study is quality labelled by the Aquimer, Mer Méditarranée, Agri Sud-Ouest Innovation and Hydréos competitive clusters.
It is funded by the French Single Interministerial Fund, the Côtes d’Armor General Council and the Brittany, Alsace, Nord-Pas-de-Calais and Aquitaine Regional Councils.
It gathers four laboratories, a technical institute, a syndicate and four companies including Lesaffre-Phileo.