Safe and Nutritious Aquaculture Produce: Benefits and Risks of Alternative Sustainable Aquafeeds

  • J. Gordon Bell
  • Rune Waagbø

It is estimated that by 2010 >85% of globally available fish oil (FO) and ̃50% of fish meal (FM) will be consumed by aquaculture so, it is vital that reliance on marine raw materials is reduced and that sustainable aquafeeds are developed using more terrestrial plant products. In addition, levels of persistent organic pollutants (POPs), principally dioxins/furans and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), in some European FO may breach new EU limits and prevent their use in aquafeeds. Current evidence suggests that salmonids can be grown on diets where 100% of the FO is replaced by vegetable oils (VO), and that bass and bream fed up to 60% VO showed no detrimental effects on growth. However, use of VO can result in reductions of the n-3 highly unsaturated fatty acids, DHA and EPA, of between 50% and 65%, although these values can be restored to 70–100% of the values in fish fed FO by the use of FO-containing finishing diets. Such high levels of FO replacement can only be used if essential fatty acid levels are maintained by inclusion of adequate FM levels. Simultaneous reductions in FM and FO will require considerable care if fish health and welfare, as well as product quality, are to be maintained. The efficacy of n-3 highly unsaturated fatty acids (HUFA), principally EPA and DHA, in the prevention or modulation of many of the inflammatory conditions prevalent in the developed world is well established. However, there is concern that the levels of POPs (dioxins, PCBs and PBDEs), as well as the presence of toxic metals, (e.g., Pb, As, Cd and Hg), present a potential risk to human health. he nutrients, as well as contaminants, found in fish flesh are derived largely from the feed and, thus, farmed fish can be tailored to provide optimal levels of fatty acids, and selected vitamins and minerals for human consumption.


Sustainable aquafeeds vegetable oils plant proteins micronutrients n-3 fatty acids organic contaminants 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media B.V 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. Gordon Bell
    • 1
  • Rune Waagbø
    • 2
  1. 1.Institute of AquacultureUniversity of StirlingScotlandUK
  2. 2.National Institute of Nutrition and Seafood Research (NIFES)NordnesNorway

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