Increasingly higher amounts of soybean meal is being directed to China and other countries. (Photo: Stock File/FIS)
Soy use rises in aquaculture
Friday, June 18, 2010, 16:50 (GMT + 9)
The rise of aquaculture is driving an increase in soy use for aquaculture fish feed.
Currently, the top demand for soy use in aquaculture is driven by China, which generates 63 per cent of global aquaculture. The Chinese aquaculture industry uses as much as 6.5 million tonnes of soybeans, according to estimates.
“The amount of soybean meal used for aquaculture in China exceeds the soybean production of Indiana,” said Joe Meyer, United Soybean Board (USB) director and a soybean farmer from Williamsburg, Indiana. “The soybean checkoff continues to work to expand the aquaculture industries in other areas, such as Southeast Asia, Central America and the Middle East.”
Currently, 18 countries are using soy-based feeds and production technologies created in China as well as via collaborative research with the soybean checkoff, reports Penton Media.
“The whole fish-feeding industry is in its infancy, and we’re still determining soy inclusion levels in diets and market opportunities for many species,” said Meyer. “Global demand for seafood continues to increase, with the US consuming about USD 15 billion worth of seafood annually.”
“At the same time, the wild catch of seafood is leveling off or decreasing, so there is a large opportunity for aquaculture,” he added.
Due to higher costs of fish meal and other plant ingredients, like canola meal and cotton meal, this year more soy products will be used in aquaculture.
The increased use of soy protein concentrate (SPC), which has higher protein levels than soybean meal, will enable more feeding of soy to fish and shrimp. Estimated SPC production for 2010 is about 30,000 tonnes, according to the US Soybean Export Council.
“Protein levels for fish nutrition are much higher than what we would expect for poultry and livestock, so SPC allows us to develop aquafeeds that meet the nutrient requirements of a number of species of fish and shrimp that have a limited tolerance for soybean meal,” Meyer commented.
State soybean checkoff boards from the states of Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Nebraska, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, South Dakota, Ohio and Minnesota have all joined USB to finance aquaculture-related research and international marketing initiatives.
“The work on soy in aquaculture has only begun,” Meyer noted. “We expect to see continued expansion of the aquaculture industry in Southeast Asia, Vietnam, Thailand, India and other markets.”
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By Natalia Real