How to feed the fish that feed us? With innovation, of course!

One of the biggest challenges in the aquaculture industry is meeting growing demand for fish. With the increase in consumption, also increases the cost of fish meal, the basis of the feed that feeds them. Higher cost of production means higher price for the final consumer.

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Researchers from the universities of Coimbra (Portugal) and Barcelona (Spain) have come together to solve the problem. They developed a vegetarian diet. By replacing part of the animal protein with vegetable carbohydrates from a pea flour meal, they achieved favorable results in the diet of sea bass. This new feed is also more environmentally sustainable.

© Cultura Mix

The downside of providing vegetable diets to fish is that their metabolism changes, they retain more fat and thus become less tasteful than wild fish. The research concluded however, that although sea bass are carnivorous, they tolerate up to 30% of their vegetarian diet without detriment to their growth.

Further studies are needed to identify the fat retention mechanisms in fish fed with this diet. Genetic selection is one of the alternatives to be studied. Even so, the discovery is quite promising, as it signals a future with quality fish with lower cost. Good for the producer, good for the consumer.

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