Lower the price of feed to be used for aquaculture

Aquaculture

Lower the price of feed to be used for aquaculture

The optimization of feed to be used for aquaculture is one of the basic pillars for the evolution of this activity, and that’s why so much is invested in researching it. Fishmeal and fish oil are the materials that are still considered the most nutritious ingredients for fish, although their inclusion in compound fish feed has declined in recent years due to the fluctuation of the price and the supply.

Fishmeal production peaked in 1994 and has since followed a downward trend. The adoption of good management practices and the application of certification systems ended up with a decrease in the capture of species to be used for meal production. In addition, the “El Niño” phenomenon affected the catches of anchovy in South America – one of the most-used fish for the production of meal – triggering a decline of 15 million tonnes of fish to be used for that purpose in 2016.

After the recovery of the climatic conditions, at the end of 2016 and the beginning of 2017, the prices of fishmeal and fish oil continued to fall; however, due to the constant increasing demand, they increased again in the following months. The aquaculture industry understood the need to look for new raw materials so as not to depend on an ingredient with such a fluctuating price and supply.

The introduction of vegetable raw materials, such as soya beans, corn, rice or wheat, has been relegating fishmeal and fish oil to more selective inclusion for years, for example, for specific production phases. In addition, the FAO supports this change, since reducing the use of meal and oil for vegetable ingredients is more sustainable and less polluting.

April 2018 ended with a rise in both the price of gilt-head bream fattening feed and that of trout, both white and salmon, accompanying the generalized increase in price of the raw materials of all feeds. In May 2018, corn had increased by 3.78% compared to the same month of the previous year, wheat by 5.67% and soya beans by 22.37% on average between its two modes.

However, throughout the month of May 2018, there was already a downward trend in soya bean meal prices, while cereals continued to grow; an exact decrease of 2.34% in 44% soya bean meal and 2.28% in 47% soya. This fact explains the selective decrease in the gilt-head bream fattening feed by 1.62%, that of white trout by 1.21% and that of salmon trout by 1.14% during that month of May.

This fall in the price of feed for aquaculture has continued as far as the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food has collected data, the first week of September, for which the estimate for the gilt-head bream feed was €941.08 per tonne and, for the trout, €1103.95/t.