Farm-Raised California yellowtail at Hubbs-SeaWorld Research Institute Photo: Hubbs-SeaWorld Research InstituteFarm-Raised California yellowtail at Hubbs-SeaWorld Research Institute Photo: Hubbs-SeaWorld Research Institute

Algae oil rich in omega-3 can successfully replace fish oil in the diet of farm-raised juvenile California yellowtail, research shows.

The study, led by scientists at Hubbs-SeaWorld Research Institute (HSWRI) in California, also revealed that algae oil can produce fish with levels of two important omega-3 fatty acids, DHA and EPA, around three times higher than in fish fed fish oil.

“These results show the potential for this species to be reared on fishmeal and fish-oil free diets,” said Kevin Stuart, a research scientist at HSWRI and lead author of the study. “More research needs to be done to make these diets cost effective for growers, but the potential is there to advance sustainable aquaculture.”

In HSWRI’s 64-day feeding trial, the researchers tested three diets without wild fish ingredients against a control diet on juvenile California yellowtail. Researchers found significantly higher DHA-EPA fatty acid levels in fish fed the diet containing Veramaris marine algae oil, leading to the conclusion that the algae oil can fully replace fish oil in the diet of juvenile California yellowtail without affecting growth or survival.

Although the diets free of wild fish ingredients resulted in slower fish, the pattern of growth – 600% increase in weight during the study – was still excellent and suggests a strong potential for full fishmeal-fish oil replacement, said the authors.

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