Aker BioMarine has applied for six salmon farming research permits for a total of 4,680 tons of maximum biomass. The aim is to increase the combination of krill and other raw materials in fish feed. According to the company the project, which involves collaboration with LetSea and Nofima, will offer new opportunities for the farming industry at a time when Norway wants to triple salmon and trout production by 2050, while the government has set a target for all fish feed in the country to come from sustainable sources by 2030.
The company takes an active role
“If this application is granted, we will test seven new raw materials in seven years with the aim of increasing the combination of these new raw materials in fish feed from 0.4 per cent to 25 per cent by 2030”, said Matts Johansen. Aker BioMarine’s CEO added that the large-scale data will be made available. The project aims to provide solid documentation on novel and sustainable feed ingredients – e.g. krill, microalgae, and insects – that “will benefit the entire industry”. To carry it out, the company has partnered with the Norwegian food research institute, Nofima, and the experimental and research center for aquaculture, LetSea.
“Raw material suppliers have until now had a passive role in large-scale trials of their own raw materials in fish feed”, Johanssen continued. “This project differs from similar studies in that it will look at the importance of raw materials in the final feed recipe and the combination of new raw materials. This suggests that the company itself takes an active role in its own research into new raw materials”.
Stimulate sustainable growth in aquaculture
Matts Johansen said the aquaculture industry needs faster development. “Refining a new ingredient and introducing it to the market is both expensive and time-consuming”, he said, recalling that Aker BioMarine has spent 15 years researching and documenting the effects of krill.
“With research permits from the Directorate of Fisheries, it is possible to carry out necessary and important research quickly in real farming conditions with higher risks than normal food fish farming. The permits are therefore important to increase the level of knowledge and stimulate sustainable growth in the aquaculture industry”, pointed out the CEO of Aker BioMarine.
Large-scale research, a necessary tool for success
Nofima, which has been working for years to document new sustainable ingredients for salmon feed, will be professionally responsible for the project. Like Johansen, they also believe there is no time to lose. “The industry wants to use more new sustainable ingredients, and we are in a hurry”, said division director, Bente Torstensen. “Large-scale research is a necessary tool for success, we have the knowledge and infrastructure to contribute to the development of new feed ingredients”, he added.
The third participant in the project, LetSea, is Norway’s largest aquaculture experimentation and research center, and has, among other things, farmed salmon in trials. “That such an attempt will take place on Helgeland at LetSea is not accidental. We have worked with research at all levels here every day since 2001. If the industry is to succeed in the future, we are dependent on such initiatives”, said R&D manager, Henriette Hanssen.
About Aker BioMarine
Aker BioMarine is a biotech innovator company that, since 2006, has been fishing, processing, marketing, and selling krill products as a feed ingredient for fish and animals, and as nutritional products for humans. Today, the company has a turnover of around NOK 3 billion per year, an independent research and development department with 15 Ph.D. employees, and more than 200 published scientific papers. The company, the world’s leading supplier of krill, is listed on the Oslo Stock Exchange (AKBM).