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Media opportunity: Dalhousie University researcher finds that farmed fish do well on diet of natural marine oil, providing a more sustainable food source for aquaculture operations
A researcher at Dalhousie University has found that farmed salmon and trout do just as well, if not better, on a diet of feed containing a locally produced marine oil compared to one that uses oil from less sustainable wild-caught fish.
Stefanie Colombo, an assistant professor in Dal’s Department of Animal Science and Aquaculture and a Canada Research Chair, tested oil from a marine algae in the diets of farmed rainbow trout and Atlantic salmon.
The researchers did several feeding trials using varying amounts of the microalgae oil, including one that completely replaced the fish oil with the new marine microalgae oil. They found that both trout and salmon grew as well or better than fish that were fed oil from the wild fish. The salmon and trout also stored more DHA in their fillets, which is important for consumers.
The findings, outlined in two separate studies, are significant for the lucrative aquaculture industry, which now has a more sustainable option for supplying omega-3s in their fish feeds. One of the challenges for the business is finding feed that doesn’t rely too heavily on wild-caught fish for the oil, which is a critical part of the feed. The research also highlights the synergies in Atlantic Canada, regarding the production of local, sustainable materials for the growing aquaculture industry.
Dr. Colombo is available to discuss the research and how this locally produced oil has proven to be an effective source of DHA in the diets of rainbow trout and salmon.
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Senior Research Reporter
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