Interview with Dr. Sadasivam Kaushik, aquaculture and fish nutrition expert at French National Institute for Agricultural Research (INRA)
What’s the aquaculture state-of-the-art in Europe?
Europe as a whole (including Norway) produces more than 2 million tons of fish. This figure does not include shellfish production which is also part of Aquaculture. Aquaculture science and sectorial innovation are really high in Europe.
What are the environmental problems this industry could eventually lead to?
Environmental impacts can be very diverse. As with any animal production sector, efficient utilization of nutrients is important for reducing nutrient losses into the environment. But, compared to terrestrial animal production sectors, maintenance of water quality is primordial for the existence and pursuit of aquaculture. So the sector is aware and takes all the necessary measures to deal with potential environmental impacts.
What’s the most common composition for fishfeed?
There is no “common composition” of fish feeds. The composition can vary. Feeds should supply the essential nutrients through feedstuffs. Compared to terrestrial animal feeds, fish feeds can be considered as more nutrient-dense being richer in digestible protein and digestible energy. Current day fish feeds are composed of feedstuffs from terrestrial agricultural products (such as oilseed meals, concentrates, cereals, pulses and oils) as well as those from dedicated fishery derived products such as fish meals and fish oils. Since at least a decade, the level of inclusion of fish meals and fish oils in fish feeds have been reduced drastically, in order to reduce the reliance on marine fishery derived feedstuffs addressing thus a major issue of sustainability.
What do you think about the use of insects-based fishfeed in industrial aquaculture?
If produced properly ensuring the nutritional value and in sufficient amounts in an economically interesting manner, there is much potential for the use of insect meals in fish feeds. While the amino acid profiles of insect meals are definitely of interest, other aspects such as the levels of micronutrients and more so of the levels of essential fatty acids have also to be taken into account.
Do you think that this new feed industry could rapidly take off or you see reasons why this couldn’t happen (including the Big players’ interests)?
I have difficulties in understanding what you mean by “this new feed industry”. Use of insects/insect products as part of feeds for fish has been attempted since more than thirty years! “Insect meal production” cannot be considered as a feed industry at this stage. It is in fact, an “animal production sector” with its constraints and benefits. There are already a number of initiatives to produce insects under controlled conditions, assuring the importance of nutritional value and food safety aspects, besides for developing value-added derivatives. If insect-derived products are made available in sufficient quantity in a sustainable manner, I am sure that the “Big Players” as you call them will definitely contribute and support.
Have you ever tried edible insects? If not, would you?
No, I have not and do not find any reason to.