One of the biggest challenges in aquaculture today remains what to feed the fish. Catching wild fish to feed farmed fish is inefficient and can cause all sorts of ecological problems when there are not enough small prey fish to feed larger fish, marine mammals, and birds. Additionally, small fish are often a critical source of protein for food insecure, poorer coastal communities around the world. We do not want to deplete this resources.
For fish farming to be truly sustainable, we need to have a sustainable source of feed as well. Many recirculating farms are raising insects, worms, and even herbivorous fish to feed carnivorous fish, and the University of Rhode Island is exploring a promising new idea that supports fishermen too– using waste from fisheries to feed farmed fish.
The university is experimenting with the use of the scraps generated when scallops and squid are prepared for market as a potential replacement for wild fish in fish feed. In addition to providing a sustainable source of protein for carnivorous farmed fish, it also creates a supplemental income for fishermen.
We here at the Recirculating Farms Coalition have been working with farmers and scientists on sustainable feed for farmed fish, and we very much look forward to hearing about URI’s progress!