The successful aquaculture businesses of the future will be the ones that embrace science, knowledge and control in every part of their value chain. A good place to begin is getting to know what your broodstock actually eats, writes OddGeir Oddsen, CEO of feed producer ProChaete.
Shrimp farming is, and has always been, risky. A shrimp farm is a sum of many different biological parts, some of which can be subject to various forms of diseases, predators, contaminants, water pollution or even poachers. Traditionally, the shrimp industry has been riddled with much more disease than, say, the salmon industry. One of the reasons is the lack of rules, regulations and restrictions in the transport end of the shrimp industry, allowing operators to transport infected shrimp – pathogen carriers – from one location to the next. And the tough restrictions in the salmon industry have proved effective.
That being said, the vast number of small operators in the shrimp farm industry makes it much more difficult to enforce any kind of regulatory system.
Then there’s the feed. Broodstock feed – as well as shrimp feed in general – caught in the wild, runs the risk of carrying disease. Using wild caught feed represents a risk for any shrimp farmer. In addition, water conditions play a big part in the health and welfare of farmed shrimp, and should be monitored and controlled as effectively as possible. Fortunately, it looks like the industry is improving along with the quality of the product.
We are getting better
These days, many extensive shrimp farms are gradually transforming. Farms that essentially used to be primitive mangrove dams covering enormous areas were (and still are) difficult to control. In addition to little or no control over water conditions, farmers run the risk of being plagued by pests, predators or poachers. A seemingly simple addition of a roof over each dam, for instance, could make it much easier for a farmer to gain control. Farmers are making their units easier to control is an ongoing trend, and it secures a steady output of healthy shrimp. Backyard farming is turning into professional farming. This switch bears witness to the fact that knowledge is the future.
And intensive, knowledge-based farming is the future of aquaculture for several reasons: Extensive farming is, in addition to the aforementioned lack of control, also too reliant on damming up large areas for production. And if shrimp farming takes too much of a toll on the surrounding environment, we will undoubtedly witness the rise of sustainable, intensive farming closer to the marketplace. Intensive, effective, indoor farms with lower transport costs will become the industry standard.
The future is feed
Knowledge-based shrimp farming relies on each farmer obtaining as much knowledge as possible about every aspect of his or her operation. And, believe it or not, the cycle starts with broodstock feed. Without proper knowledge about what the broodstock is fed, we will never have proper knowledge about the condition of its offspring. And broodstock will never deliver an offspring of a higher quality than the feed they have been given. This is why the quality of any broodstock feed should meet several requirements: First of all, it should not be wild-caught proteins, which may be disease carriers. Broodstock feed should be biosecure. In addition, broodstock feed should have an exceptionally high nutritional value, maximising the quality of the output. At ProChaete we take every step of the process very seriously. We only use protein from farmed polychaetes, and we measure the nutritional value of our proteins before adding the very best and necessary nutrients in our semi moist feed. Amino acids, fatty acids, vitamins, minerals and pigments are carefully measured out to optimise our broodstock feed. In addition, we irradiate all our feed to ensure it is sterilised. We feel that biosecure, nutritionally safe broodstock feed this is the only solution for a rapidly improving industry where the standards are getting higher every day.
By 2050, the world population will have surpassed nine billion people. A safe, effective and sustainable aquaculture industry holds the key to feeding them in a healthy, nutritious way. Some of the solution lies in the quality of the broodstock feed.
Hatcheryfeed Vol 5 Issue 2 2017