New insect feed yields new salmon brand

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Dutch aquafeed company, Protix, and its Norwegian academic partners in a project called Aquafly have successfully raised “market-ready” salmon which the company is heralding as the first raised on protein derived from the black soldier fly.

The four-year long Aquafly project hosted by the University of Bergen has resulted in fish that have mostly known meals of Protix’s Black Soldier Fly larvae meal, or ProteinX. Fish fed on ProteinX might one day be marketed as “Friendly Salmon”, insect-grower Protix said, a reference to not having to source costly fish oil or fish meal from marine sources.

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Feed Navigator, which reported the breakthrough, wrote that “control diets (during project Aquafly) had 35 percent fishmeal for the freshwater state and 10 percent fishmeal for the seawater stage” of the salmon’s farmed life.

“The insect meal fed salmon grew at the equivalent rate of the control diets to market weight of 4 kilograms,” company founder, Tarique Arsiwalla, was quoted as saying, adding that a “blindfold” taste suggested salmon on insects or salmon on fish meal tasted “the same”.

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“We are in the process of scaling up,” Arsiwalla said, referring to a jacking up of production in The Netherlands.

The University of Bergen’s chroniclers said in 2016 that the protein in insect meal produced from the larvae of Black soldier flies had revealed itself to be “highly suitable for Atlantic salmon”. Officially, the project — which is understood to also have involved, among others, the University of Stirling, the National University of Ireland Galway and the sponsorship by EWOS and Protix of research at Gildeskaal Research Station —  was financed by the Norwegian Research Council.

This story, written on February 12th, was updated on Tuesday, Feb. 13st, 2018.