Fish as feed inputs for aquaculture

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In 2006, global aquaculture production (including aquatic plants) was estimated at 85.9 million tonnes and valued at US$85.9 billion (FAO, 2008a)2 . The average annual percentage growth rate (APR) of the aquaculture sector between 1990 and 2004 was 9.4 percent (FAO, 2008b)3.

In 2005, about 28.2 million tonnes or 44.8 percent of total global aquaculture production (excluding filter-feeding species such as silver carp and bighead carp) was dependent upon the direct use of feed, either a single dietary ingredient, farm-made aquafeed or industrially manufactured compound aquafeeds (FAO, 2007)4 . Fishmeal and fish oil are two major dietary ingredients used in compound aquafeeds. Total estimated compound aquafeed production in 2006 was about 25.4 million tonnes (Gill, 2007)5 and about 42 percent of this amount was consumed by non-filter feeding carps (Tacon and Hasan, 2007)6.

In 2006, the total global industrial feed output exceeded 635 million tonnes to which the aquafeed industry contributed only 4 percent (Gill, 2007). World reduction fisheries have remained at between 20 and 30 million tonnes for the last 30 years (FAO, 2008b).

Global fishmeal and fish oil production has remained relatively static over the last quarter century, fishmeal production fluctuating from a low of 4.57 million tonnes in 1977 to a high of 7.48 million tonnes in 1994 (mean of 6.07 million tonnes), and fish oil production fluctuating from a low of 0.85 million tonnes in 2002 to a high of 1.67 million tonnes in 1986 (mean of 1.25 million tonnes) (Tacon, Hasan and Subasinghe, 2006).

Aquaculture is the largest overall user of fishmeal. Pigs and poultry account for around a quarter of total usage, with other livestock types account for the remainder. Ruminants now account for only 1 percent and this is likely to drop. Total estimated amount of fishmeal and fish oil used in the production of aquafeeds has grown over three-fold from 0.96 million tonnes to 3.06 million tonnes and from 0.23 million tonnes to 0.78 million tones, respectively, from 1992 to 2006, (Tacon, Hasan and Subasinghe, 20067; Tacon, 2007).

This increase has come from the land-animal sector, particularly from the poultry sector, which is continuously reducing its use of fishmeal because the price has risen (FAO, 2008b). The aquafeed sector uses fishmeal, thus reducing availability to the poultry sector and fish oil, thus reducing availability to all other sectors.  

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