Sustainability is decisive to the continuous long-term development of the aquaculture industry. It entails that the industry is run on a commercial basis which meets the needs of the present without compromising the needs of the future. BioMar focuses through the development program BioSustain on increasing sustainability in fish farming.
To produce a high quality diet for fish, BioMar uses several types of raw materials. Traditionally, the most important raw materials have been marine raw materials in the form of fish meal and fish oil. Marine raw materials are derived from the small-boned pelagic fish species, which are also in nature the feed source for fish like salmon, trout, cod and other carnivorous fish species. These small-boned fish species are rarely used for human consumption. Another source of marine raw materials is bi-products from the fish processing industry such as off-cuts.
The puffin is the symbol for BioMar's development programme for sustainable fish feed BioSustain.
Both fish meal and fish oil are renewable resources as long as they are produced within the natural limits for regeneration of the fish stocks in the oceans. Total world production of fish meal and fish oil is today relatively stable at approx. six million tons of fish meal and 1 million tonnes of fish oil per annum. The major share derives from fisheries, while by-products from the processing industry accounts for approx. 15-20 % of the world production of marine raw materials.
BioMar makes an active contribution to sustainability by using ingredients from sustainable resources. This entails that marine raw materials are manufactured from regulated fishery, done without depleting natural stocks. BioMar’s suppliers of marine raw materials are required to document the origin of the raw materials. Sustainable fishery is regulated by accredited national and international organizations such as the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).
As the world production of fish meal and fish oil cannot be increased significantly without risk of damaging natural fish stocks and the need for fish products for human consumption obtained through aquaculture is growing, one of BioMar’s long-term goals is to reduce our dependence on marine raw materials. This is achieved by including alternatives such as vegetable proteins and oils, thus reducing the need for marine raw materials. This change is a complex task with a number of issues to be addressed.
By systematically testing new alternative raw materials we have succeeded in reducing the content of marine raw materials in our fish feed without compromising fish growth and health. Several external studies have shown that even with a mix of fish oils and vegetable oils, salmon and trout retain their beneficial health effect for human consumption through their content of proteins, minerals, and healthy fatty acids.