Norway needs more locally sourced ingredients for fish feed, research says

"Mussels in particular can be a good solution both for us and the fish," researcher Sofie Remø confirmed.
Mussels contain a range of nutrients that salmon need in the fish feed they consume.

Mussels contain a range of nutrients that salmon need in the fish feed they consume.

Erling Svensen / Havforskningsinstituttet

The Institute of Marine Research in Norway has presented a five-year project that investigates which are the best locally sourced ingredients for fish feed.

During three feeding trials, researchers fed salmon with mussels and sugar kelp. According to researcher Sofie Remø, both can be good fish feed ingredients as they are low trophic and can be cultivated along the coast in Norway.

"We need more locally sourced ingredients for fish feed. To increase the proportion of Norwegian ingredients, we must also consider what we can cultivate," Remø assures.

Additionally, the Institute explains that fish feed requires a lot of fat and protein, absent in kelp. On the other hand, mussels have more nutrients.

Also, the researcher commented on the sustainable nature of the ingredients: "We wanted to look at different ways of processing the mussels so that we can get a good raw material that also has a low carbon footprint."

For this reason, during the trials they used ensiled mussels. This required less energy and consequently was more climate-friendly than making mussel meals.

"In our experiments, we found small differences between ensiled mussels and mussel meal in how well the salmon utilized the feed," Remø.

Next steps

For Norway to cultivate mussels as a local ingredient for fish feed, it is necessary to locate and allocate large areas. Regarding this subject, Ocean researcher Tore Strohmeier studies how Norwegian ecosystems will be affected by large-scale cultivation of low-trophic organisms.

An experiment has proved that 180,000 tons of mussels could be produced in the Hardangerfjord in two years. However, such a production size will affect the fjord's ecosystem, with a decline in plant and animal plankton," he alerted.

The Norwegian Government plans to arrange an annual, national feed conference and a senior management meeting that brings together politicians, researchers, and business leaders.

Today, the proportion of Norwegian-produced raw materials in feed for farmed fish is 8%. Norway wants to increase this to 25% by 2034.

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