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Fish Fed Poultry Oil as Fish Meal Replacement

21 September 2012

NEW ZEALAND - The company that makes the feed pellets used at New Zealand King Salmon farms is replacing fish oil and meal with poultry and freezing industry waste.

Skretting Australia New Zealand account manager Ben Wybourne told an Environmental Protection Authority hearing in Blenheim last week that more than 80 per cent of the diet of New Zealand salmon was land-based, Stuff.nz.

An authority board of inquiry will decide whether King Salmon can build nine new fish farms in the Marlborough Sounds.

The blood, meat and feather meal used in its feeds were by-products of the Australian poultry, cattle, sheep and pig slaughter industries, Mr Wybourne said. Oil from poultry was increasingly taking the place of fish oil.

Skretting relied on the Peruvian anchovy industry as the source of its marine protein and oil. If this collapsed, as it had in the past, Skretting and other companies would be in trouble, Mr Wybourne said when questioned by Sustain Our Sounds lawyer Warwick Heal.

Sustain Our Sounds is opposing King Salmon's application to expand.

The absence of salmon diseases in New Zealand farmed salmon meant antibiotics were not used in feeds for this market, Mr Wybourne said. There was no need for lice treatments or drenches to treat internal parasites. The company did add antibiotics and vaccines to feed used in other countries.

The dried, cooked feeds made by Skretting were as unlikely to carry disease as cooked dry biscuits, Mr Wybourne said. The company met New Zealand import standards which guarded against disease.

Mr Wybourne told the hearing: "The chinook salmon farmed in New Zealand by King Salmon need 1.9kg of feed to produce a kilogram of fish.

"King Salmon diets are 10 per cent fishmeal compared with 70 per cent in 1990.

"3.5 tonnes of anchovy produce enough oil and meal to grow one tonne of king salmon.

"The salmon produce more fish protein and oil than they consume.

"Fish are fed astaxanthin, a pigment, to give their flesh its pink colour.

"Processed salmon fillets retain about 42 per cent of the essential fatty acids fed to the fish."

Mr Wybourne said that Skretting would benefit by increased sales if the King Salmon expansion went ahead. However, other competitors could tender to supply.

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