Fish feed costs can reach up to 85 per cent in intensive systems. (Photo: UFSC/FIS)
Database developed on nutritional needs of farmed fish
Wednesday, September 08, 2010, 01:40 (GMT + 9)
Numerous universities and research institutions in Brazil are participating in an innovative project to disseminate the information generated by researchers to producers, technicians and other segments of the production chain linked to fish farming.
The project, known as NutriAqua, has recieved financial support from the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture.
The idea is to develop a database on nutritional requirements and food composition, as well as a specific tool for the formulation of fish feed. Aquaculture feed costs vary between 30 per cent and 60 per cent of the total production cost, and can reach up to 85 per cent in intensive systems.
The initiative involves researchers from eight universities and two research institutes, along with representatives from the fish feed industry and the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture.
The work is directed by Professor Deborah M. Fracalossi, who works at the Aquaculture Department of the Agricultural Science Centre at the Federal University of Santa Catarina (UFSC), and Professor José Eurico P. Cyruno of the Luiz de Queiroz College of Agriculture at the University of Sao Paulo.
The project includes the publication of a book that will provide information on nutritional requirements and tables of composition of the ingredients commonly used to produce fish feed, and other information on nutrition and food, according to the UFSC.
According to the FAO, production of fish feed for aquaculture is the fastest growing agricultural industry in the world, with annual growth rates above 30 per cent.
In both, the optimisation and formulation of feed depends on the accurate determination of nutritional requirements for different stages of development, and knowledge about nutrients.
This information is generated by research and is usually reported in scientific articles that are not easily accessible and understood by producers in general.
Moreover, according to Dr. Fracalossi, there are not enough publications that compile nutritional requirements.
"The development of NutriAqua will provide a platform for ordering information generated by research on the nutritional requirements for species of interest to aquaculture in Brazil. In addition, this information will be available for all the different members of the production chain through a publication," she said.