Farmed Kona Kampachi. Kona Blue will explore the viability of three novel protein sources as a substitute for fishmeal. (Photo: Kona Blue Water Farms)
Gov't funds research on alternative aquaculture feeds
Tuesday, May 11, 2010, 02:20 (GMT + 9)
Hawaiian fish farm company Kona Blue Water Farms Inc is being awarded a USD 242,889 Saltonstall-Kennedy grant from the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) to conduct research on alternative protein sources for aquaculture feeds.
The project will study three novel and sustainable protein sources as a substitute for fishmeal in the diets of the company’s brand of farmed Hawaiian yellowtail, Kona Kampachi, on the Big Island. This fish is a sashimi-grade, marine finfish raised in the waters off Hawaii.
Kona Blue’s three protein sources include microalgal by-products from biofuels production, a single-cell protein produced from food processing water and a fish protein filtered from the wastewater of fish processing facilities.
“This research addresses the fundamental challenge of developing marine fish diets that are both scalable, and sustainable,” company co-founder Neil Anthony Sims stated. "The study aligns closely with Kona Blue's commitment to continually strive to soften our footprint on the seas."
The firm will substitute protein sources at different ratios into the Hawaiian yellowtail diet, comparing growth rates, food conversion ratios and product quality to those of fish fed a standard commercial diet.
"By using by-products from other processes, we can re-use resources, rather than deplete them," said Jennica Lowell, Research Manager for Kona Blue and Principal Investigator for the project. "Not only do we lessen our reliance on Peruvian anchovies as a source of protein for our fish, but we also find value in by-products or effluents from other food processing or fuel systems."
The research should begin in July. Its results will be shared with academics, the industry and the environmental and conservation groups via conference presentations and peer-reviewed publications.
California-based Monterey Bay Aquarium's Seafood Watch Programme and other aquaculture standards utilise protein conversion efficiency of marine fish as a vital metric of sustainability.
"Kona Blue aspires to use sound science to develop innovative solutions to the problems facing the oceans," said Sims. "It is imperative that we find alternative means of supplying healthful seafood to meet growing global demand."
Founded in 2001 in Kailua-Kona, Kona Blue is the first integrated marine fish hatchery and open ocean mariculture operation in the US.
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