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Marine finfish aquaculture in Asia. (Photo: NACA)

Project evaluates use of trash fish versus pellet feeds

Click on the flag for more information about Thailand THAILAND
Wednesday, August 25, 2010, 15:20 (GMT + 9)

The project "Reducing dependence on the utilisation of trash fish as feed for aquaculture of marine finfish in the Asian region" has determined the effectiveness of employing trash fish instead of pellet feeds in marine finfish aquaculture. The testing was carried out in cage-based farms in China, Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam.

Each country’s data was evaluated in terms of growth, production and economic profit for both feed types.

Seven species were used in the trials:

  • In China, crimson snapper/red snapper (Lutjanus erythopterus) and green/orange-spotted grouper (Epinephelus coioides)
  • In Indonesia, tiger grouper (Epinephelus fuscoguttatus).
  • In Thailand, Asian seabass (Lates calcarifer) and tiger grouper.
  • In Vietnam, pompano (Trachinotus blochii) and red snapper.

Results indicate that the discrepancies in the efficiency of the two feed types were not considerable even after considering differences in location. The trials also determined that all species can be fed one type of food and changed to another without significant impacts on consumption or overall performance.

Trash fish instead of pellet feeds in marine finfish aquaculture. (Photo: NACA)

In all the countries tested, it was concluded that use of pellet feed is greatly advantageous and that farmers were eager to shift from trash fish/low value fish to pellet feed. One of the constraints here was the lack of grouper specific feeds, difficulty accessing pellet feeds and the price.

Most stakeholders said that small scale farmers should associate locally and make purchases together, thus increasing bargaining power and perhaps accessing credit from the suppliers. The consultation held in Krabi, Thailand, asked for the development of dissemination material describing the advantages of using pellet feed.

Trial results were presented at stakeholder meetings in all of the countries in June-July. Feedback will be employed to design appropriate strategies, including ways to disseminate the major conclusions.
The project seeks to restrain small-scale marine fish farmers’ perception that trash fish is a better food source than compounded feeds. It will ease the move away from trash fish dependence to more sustainable options to add to the sector’s sustainability and the livelihoods of the many thousands of farmers concerned.

The overall outcome of the project will be a lowered use of trash fish and marine resources for marine finfish farming in the aforementioned countries and throughout Asia through the Network of Aquaculture Centres in Asia-Pacific’s (NACA) networking mechanisms. The outcome will be reached by combining:

  • Superior feed practices and a change toward improved diets, particularly the use of formulated diets. This will enlarge the long term viability of marine fish farming and enhance the livelihood of practitioners, helping mitigate poverty.
  • Establishment of a scientifically meticulous database on the benefits of pellet feeds.
  • Development of better management practices (BMPs) for advancing efficiency of marine finfish feeding and creating capacity amongst practitioners on sharpened feed management.
  • Dissemination of BMPs through farmer organisations like "aquaclubs" and using them as mechanisms to cultivate credit programmes for securing feeds.

By Natalia Real


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