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Utilisation of Feed Resources in Norwegian Atlantic Salmon Production

14 December 2015

This article shows the retention efficiency of nutrients from feed resources to final product in Norwegian salmon production, including limiting resources such as the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA and phosphorous. It is highly relevant to compare the efficiency in commercial scale with experimental data, and this is to our knowledge the first attempt to make such calculations for an entire commercial aquaculture production, write Trine Ytrestøyl, Turid Synnøve Aas and Torbjørn Åsgård, Nofima.

In 1990, 90% of the ingredients in Norwegian salmon feed were of marine origin, whereas in 2013 only around 30%. The contents of fish meal and fish oil in the salmon feed were 18% and 11%, respectively, in 2013.

Between 2010 and 2013, salmon production in Norway increased by 30%, but due to a lower inclusion of marine ingredients in the diet, the total amount of marine ingredients used for salmon feed production was reduced from 544,000 to 466,000 tonnes.

Norwegian salmon farming consumed 1.63 million tonnes of feed ingredients in 2012, containing close to 40 million GJ of energy, 580,000 tonnes of protein and 530,000 tonnes of lipid.

1.26 million tonnes of salmon was produced. Assuming an edible yield of 65%, 820,000 tonnes of salmon fillet, containing 9.44 million GJ, and 156,000 tonnes of protein were produced.

The retentions of protein and energy in the edible product in 2012 were 27% and 24%, respectively.

Of the 43,000 tonnes of EPA and DHA in the salmon feed in 2012, around 11,000 tonnes were retained in the edible part of salmon.

The retentions of EPA and DHA were 46% in whole salmon and 26% in fillets, respectively. The fish in/fish out ratio (FIFO) measures the amount of fish meal and fish oil that is used to produce one weight equivalent of farmed fish back to wild fish weight equivalents, and the forage fish dependency ratio (FFDR) is the amount of wild caught fish used to produce the amount of fish meal and fish oil required to produce 1 kg of salmon.

From 1990 to 2013, the forage fish dependency ratio for fish meal decreased from 4.4 to 0.7 in Norwegian salmon farming.

However, weight-to-weight ratios such as FIFO and FFDR do not account for the different nutrient contents in the salmon product and in the forage fish used for fish meal and fish oil production.

Marine nutrient dependency ratios express the amount of marine oil and protein required to produce 1 kg of salmon oil and protein. In 2013, 0.7 kg of marine protein was used to produce 1 kg of salmon protein, so the Norwegian farmed salmon is thus a net producer of marine protein.

Further Reading

You can view the full report (free of charge) by clicking here.

December 2015

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