Soybean meal can be used at 10-35 per cent inclusion rates in most marine diets.( Photo: Illinois Soybean Association)
Soybean farmers push for progress in aquaculture sector
Monday, June 20, 2011, 22:40 (GMT + 9)
Efforts by the Illinois Soybean Association (ISA) to generate US aquaculture production in federal waters may have inched closer to reality last week. The US Department of Commerce (DOC) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) released national sustainable marine aquaculture policies designed to meet growing seafood demand, create jobs in coastal communities and restore vital ecosystems.
"This is big news for Illinois soybean farmers. We have been participating in the dialogue on these policies since September 2009," said Doug Winter, soybean farmer from Mill Shoals, Illinois, and ISA director.
"ISA has been encouraging NOAA to keep the process moving every step of the way. And while we may not agree with everything in the final document, we consider this a milestone as we hopefully move toward full-scale aquaculture in US federal waters," he continued.
ISA sees the key takeaway of the policies as the plan to implement the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council Plan for Aquaculture, which includes the regulatory infrastructure needed for offshore aquaculture development in the Gulf. Ocean cage aquaculture technology has been extensively tested and shows promise for raising fish on a concentrated soy protein diet.
|Fish fed with soy protein diet. (Photo: ISA)
"We are optimistic that the science and research policies include alternative protein and lipid source evaluation. Soybean meal can be used at 10-35 per cent inclusion rates in most marine diets,” Winter said.
“When combined with soy protein concentrate, with a crude protein content on par with fishmeal, soy use could be as high as 50 per cent in many fish diets," he said. "Ocean cage technology allows access to better water quality and reduces competition for production space."
"The completion of this policy removes a self-imposed impediment that has blocked advancement of marine aquaculture in the US for the past two years," Winter reiterated.
"We want to see aquaculture grow and flourish. Economic activity within the industry would be the best driver for economic opportunity for soybean farmers, too, and we hope to see that," he added.
The Illinois Soybean Association (ISA) is the statewide organisation for Illinois soybean growers. The farmers on its board administer soybean checkoff funds to support research, promotions and educational programs designed to increase demand for Illinois soybeans and administer legislation and membership programmes.
- DOC, NOAA jointly release sustainable fish farming policies
- Projects in place to make aquaculture sustainable through soy feeds