Carnivorous fish can be fed a diet containing no fish meal or fish oil Photo: Doug Perrine/SeaPics.comCarnivorous fish can be fed a diet containing no fish meal or fish oil Photo: Doug Perrine/

Researchers in Hawaii have made a breakthrough in the quest to develop a cost-effective, fish-free feed for farm-raised Kampachi, or almaco jack, a carnivorous marine fish.

The ability to replace fishmeal and fish oil currently used in carnivorous marine fish diets will have important implications for ocean sustainability.

“This is the first time, to our knowledge, that fishmeal and fish oil have been totally eliminated from the diet of a marine carnivorous fish with no deleterious consequences,” said Neil Anthony Sims, chief executive of mariculture company, Ocean Era, where the trial was conducted.

During the three-month trial funded by a Saltonstall-Kennedy grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), 480 juvenile Kampachi were fed one of four diets, two control diets and two where fishmeal and fish oil were replaced with poultry meal and, Veramaris, a marine algal oil respectively.

The fish fed the replacement diets performed as well as the control groups in terms of growth, feed conversion ratio, fillet yield and survival. Moreover the taste was rated as more desirable than one of the control groups.

The feed formulations used in the trial are available as open source formulae through the F3 Feed Innovation Network which encourages sustainability in fish-free aquaculture feed by sharing experimental protocols, testing facilities and ingredient providers.

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