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The increasing importance of nutrition and fish feed technology
I have just returned from Norway to attend an important government meeting concerning aquaculture strategy over the next five years.
The Norwegian government is wisely investing its oil revenue in various assets and aquaculture is a major target with special emphasis on salmon, of course. This iconic species is of considerable value to the Norwegian economy; so much progress has been made in recent years to improve fish growth performance. As well as feed utilisation efficiency and salmon health through superior nutrition and feed technology - as well as advances in vaccination, disease prevention and novel treatments.
However there is still much to be done to further reduce the considerable losses of fish at critical stages of production, especially at smoltification and seawater transfer. Overall some nearly 20 percent mortality can arise in the sea phase grow-out due to many causes. It is therefore a priority to address smolt robustness and provide a more secure pathway for salmon to face their many challenges, from husbandry procedures to their ability to resist infection.
Nutrition will play an increasing role and therefore research directives concerning the use of functional feed ingredients; bioactive supplements and additives will be high on the agenda. Any expansion in RAS technology for smolt production will necessitate re-thinking diet formulations in such closed systems as well as the effects of such stressors as lighting and elevated temperature on smolt performance and health status.
Advances in our understanding of the very complex relationship of the immune system and the gut micro biome, in association with gut integrity, will attract more attention in the future when salmon are fed diets with much reduced or even no fish meal. Especially those based on a matrix of alternative ingredients ranging from vegetable, animal, microbial and other SCP derived protein concentrates and oil sources.
There can be no doubt regarding the dependency on industry for invaluable support, but industry alone will not suffice to undertake the initial steps and provide a stimulus for change. We clearly need a mixed support and this can be found in Norway but also in the UK with new networks being established such as the BBSRC ARCH- UK and similar approaches in many other countries. After a very mild few days in Norway it snowed heavily in Oslo on departure and my plane had to be de-iced adding an hour delay. I had much time to reflect on how aquaculture may play out in the Nordic countries.
It was with much delight that on my return to the UK, I was informed that I had been much honoured as having being elected to become a Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology. As far as I am aware only Michael New OBE and I are representing aquaculture in this prestigious London based society and I hope soon to have dinner with learned colleagues at the aptly named Darwin House. My Fellowship will enable me to inspire and influence government circles and leading university academics and teachers.
Indeed so many positive things have happened to me since May of 2015 and sometimes unexpected events may redirect you towards more positive environments and forging reliable and long term trusted friendships. My meetings in America last month in San Antonio and those to come in Europe give me much to appreciate about the rapid developments in this dynamic industry.
In keeping with my enthusiasm, this current edition includes a double mycotoxin special as well as an exclusive insight into the EU funded DIVERSIFY project’s annual meeting with two of its distinguished leaders. Turning our attention to aquaculture technology, Vónin, which is headquartered in the Faroe Islands, discusses its sturdy aquaculture cages whilst Austrian-based company AquaTech, showcases their unique automatic feeder for frozen zooplankton. Not to mention, our interview this month is with Tom Wedegaertner, Director of Cottonseed Research at Cotton Incorporated who presents the immense potential that cottonseed meal has for modern day aquaculture.
Finally, I wish you a very good spring and hope during these longer evenings you will find time to read our magazine and also consider your contributions of articles, feature and news that keep us in the forefront of knowledge and dissemination. Enjoy!
Professor Simon Davies
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International Aquafeed reflects a passion for aquafeed and excitement about new technology. Our objective is to be a respected provider of information about aquafeed in the widest sense.
Feed makes up around 70 percent of the cost of producing farmed fish. In each issue, we take an in-depth look at a wide range of technical issues associated with aquafeed production and use. We bring our readers global news about new technology and research, feed ingredients and micro-ingredients, market trends and all issues that impact on the aquafeed supply chain today and tomorrow.
We have a deep commitment to our readers and our advertisers. We believe in quality information and quality design, just as you believe in the quality of your products.
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