Fish meal is a commercial product made from either fish waste or wild caught fish. While it isn’t suitable for human consumption, it is used to feed animals in agricultural settings. Uses of fish meal include feeding farmed fish. But it is also a good form of pig feed and poultry feed. Before 1910, fish meal was mainly used as a type of fertilizer. But the benefits of fish meal were then discovered, and it became more frequently used for animal feed. Fish meal is usually found in powder form. It is made by drying fish or fish trimmings, which are then ground.
The uses of fish meal are quite extensive. Which makes this a popular solution for farmers today, but it is not necessarily the most sustainable option for long-term use. If you are wondering what fish meal is and how you might benefit from using this product, keep reading to learn more.
Fish meal for animal feed
Fish meal for fish feed takes advantage of by-catch and leftover bones and offal from commercial fisheries. The fish species used by fish meal suppliers are mostly not needed for human consumption. Fish meal is partially produced from by-catch instead. Fish meal is a popular feed option for fish farms. However, when the fish meal is not made from leftovers of fish but made from wild caught fish, fish meal becomes highly unsustainable. A more sustainable alternative would be insect meal. This is produced all over the world and offers a variety of benefits for fish and farmers.
It’s been proven to be incredibly popular with many species of fish. As they would naturally eat insects on the water surface in the wild. Insect fish feed is a sustainable source of feed for the future. Which is why it’s increasingly being considered by fish farmers nowadays. The only reason why farmers can’t switch immediately to this sustainable fish meal alternative is the high price of the insect meal, but this is going to change in the future.
Fish meal price
When it comes to the price, the high-protein concentration makes it more pricey than other options on the market. High quality fish meal contains more than 65% of protein and typically costs around $1500 per ton. A typical diet for fish would contain between 32% to 45% protein. That’s why it’s such a popular option in fish feed today. It provides fish, shrimp and farm animals with the high protein content they need to grow and thrive, in combination with other fish feed ingredients such as plant-based proteins. About 70% of the fish meal produced worldwide is used in fish farming. And only about 25% for raising other livestock.
Sustainability is a huge topic of interest nowadays. Sustainable fish practices are something more consumers and farmers are looking for. Making simple switches to sustainable fish can make a huge difference. Sustainable fish farming is becoming a necessity as the Marine Conservation Society has stated that 90% of the world’s fish stocks are already over-exploited from fishing. Pollution and climate change have also wreaked havoc on the ocean ecosystem, with more of the wildlife and their habitats threatened every day.
When consumers buy a fish, they should look for one which was either caught and/or fed in an environmentally friendly way. Of course, this is very hard to do, as the supply chains are not very transparent. Our oceans are an important part of our world, which have a huge impact on our health and nutrition. With billions of people relying on this ecosystem for their livelihoods, it is critical that we adopt more sustainable practices in the future and look for solutions to overfishing.
What is overfishing?
The term overfishing is used to describe fishing practices that remove fish from the ocean. Or a body of water faster than the fish stocks can regrow. The effects of overfishing include the species becoming underpopulated in a specific area, as they can’t be replaced quickly enough. The overfishing facts out there today are shocking for individuals to read and learn about. Which is why overfishing solutions are continuously being researched and developed. According to the World Wildlife Fund, overfishing has tripled in the past half a century, and one-third of the world’s fisheries are being pushed to their limits by overfishing.
Overfishing is linked to by-catch, which is when an unwanted fish is captured when looking for another species. This is one of the top causes of overfishing and causes millions of fish and marine creatures to be killed each year unnecessarily. It impacts the entire ecosystem and can even change the size of the remaining fish in the ocean. The speed and rate of reproduction and maturity can decrease, and the food web is impacted by this imbalance. With the number of endangered species increasing, we are at risk of losing important species if overfishing problems aren’t overcome soon.
How to stop overfishing
Overfishing solutions include working to stop illegal fishing and educating individuals on this issue. Creating marine protected areas throughout the world can also help to protect endangered species if these laws are strictly enforced in these areas. This can as well work to serve the local community and protect those whose livelihood depends on the ocean. In countries such as the US, where 90% of their seafood comes from imports, organizations such as WWF work to offer the country more sustainable sources, which are known for offering improved fishing practices. This will also aid fishers who are committed to sustainability in the long term.
Many of the largest countries in the world that import huge quantities of seafood keep the fishing industry going with fishing subsidies. However, this poses a huge risk for overfishing and we need to work to eliminate these harmful subsidies. Community-managed areas are likely to be the future of sustainable fishing. Where they can base their work on traditional practices and the knowledge that’s been passed down for generations.
Sustainable fish meal replacement options
While fish meal is a good ingredient in fish feed and animal feed, many farmers are looking for sustainable fish meal replacement options, such as insect meal. With the concerns about overfishing and the way in which many of the fish that are used to create fish meal are caught, it’s no surprise that farmers are looking for other sustainable high-protein solutions. Overfishing is a serious environmental issue. Many of the world’s top environmental organizations are working on trying to minimize this issue moving forward. Consumers can help reduce the impact of overfishing on our ocean ecosystem by looking for sustainable fish sources which are found closer to home instead of importing fish from overseas.