Aquaculture, or fish farming, is a rapidly growing sector worldwide. Fishermen depend on fishmeal for fish feed. Thus far, this flour is produced from wild-caught fish, but that is not quite a sustainable method, while it impedes further growth of the aquaculture sector. The fish food industry is looking for alternative protein sources. Seaweed can be such a sustainable alternative.
Within a consortium (the RAAK project) we investigate whether seaweed protein is a suitable alternative for the fishmeal component in fish feed. To this end, it is first investigated which requirements the seaweed-based raw materials must meet in order to be used as fish feed. Next, it is examined how these substances can be grown optimally in seaweed species of sea lettuce (Ulva lactuca) and sea belt (Saccharina latissima). After that, the refining process is being investigated. Finally, 5 experimental fish feeders are produced, tested and compared with fish feed based on traditional fish meal for farming rainbow trout.
The project provides insight into the optimal seaweed species and its processing for fish feed. These results are laid down in a protocol for seaweed cultivation, a guide to seaweed bioraffinage and fish feed production with different seaweed. The knowledge is shared in the sector and in articles in (scientific) journals and at conferences. Through the consortium partners, knowledge is disseminated in the sector and in educational institutions.
The project brings a sustainable aquaculture sector a step closer and can have global impact on food supply.