Putting one percent grasshopper meal in the feed doesn’t make it sustainable


In an interview with Intrafish, the CEO of the salmon farmer Cermaq, Geir Molvik, calls for nuances in the debate on alternatives to fishmeal and fish oil (FM & FO), a debate which Geir Molvik feels is based on misinformation and greenwashing.

“Putting one percent grasshopper meal in the feed does not automatically mean that it becomes more sustainable[…] We need new feed ingredients. Not because the ones we use today are not sustainable, but because we need to produce more seafood to reach the United Nation’s sustainable development goals.” Geir Molvik, the CEO of salmon farmer Cermaq, told Intrafish.

FM & FO are scarce resources, and when demand exceeds supply, alternatives might be fruitful. However, to reduce the levels of FM&FO can affect the farmed fish negatively, because FM&FO contains several essential nutrients.

A new study produced by Nofima, among others, has investigated how the change of feed composition in salmon diets have influenced the salmons’ wellbeing. In the year 2000, approximately 30 per cent of the fat in salmon feed came from the ocean, while in 2016, only 10 per cent was marine-based. This decrease of marine-based ingredients has resulted in a significant reduction in, among others, the levels of long-chained omega-3 fatty acids.

The study, published in the international journal of molecular science, indicated that the levels of specific omega-3 fatty acids affected the salmon’s ability to recover from moments where the fish stop eating, such as during spawning or an outbreak of certain diseases.

The full interview with Geir Molvik from Cermaq can be read in Intrafish (access required)

The full study referred to in this article can be read here.