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BC salmon farmer hopes algae can replace wild fish as feed ingredient

One of BC’s biggest salmon farmers wants to see if algae makes a good feed ingredient.

Cermaq Canada and its feed supplier Cargill are introducing oils from algae to feed at several BC farms, to see if it can be a replacement for fish oil from wild fisheries.

German Campos with the company says it’s a big step to reduce dependence on marine resources, while still meeting fish health and product quality goals.

Salmon farmers still rely on fish oil from wild fisheries to make sure farmed fish contain heart-healthy Omega-3s. The algae oil is produced in Nebraska, grown in tanks at a large scale. If successful, it could significantly reduce dependence on wild fisheries.

The oil is produced by Veramaris, which says one ton of its algae-derived oil is equivalent to 60 tons of wild-caught fish. The company recently completed a three-year review with Canadian regulators and was granted approval in March.

The company uses a North Pacific strain of algae naturally rich in Omega-3s. It’s an important part of the food chain in the wild — algae is eaten by zooplankton, which is in turn eaten by wild fish including sockeye salmon, giving their flesh its signature bright orange-pink colour.

“Implementing these innovative solutions demonstrates how quickly the aquaculture industry in Canada can move to adopt new techniques,” said David Kiemele, Cermaq Canada’s managing director, in a news release. “Our company is proud to be one of the first movers in this space in Canada.”

Feeding trials will start in May. Cermaq says they will be using the feed on farms where fish are close to harvest size.



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