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Successful fish oil feed replacement for farmed Hawaiian yellowtail. Researchers in Hawaii have successfully replaced fish oil in feed for farm-raised Kampachi, or Hawaiian yellowtail.

The team were able to develop a cost-effective fish-free alternative feed using Veramaris® natural marine algal oil to raise the carnivorous marine fish, which are prized for their rich buttery flavour. It was also shown in a blind taste test, that the fish fed on algal oil had a more desirable taste compared to fish fed on a standard diet.

“This is the first time – to our knowledge – that fishmeal and fish oil have been totally eliminated from the diet of a marine carnivorous fish, with no deleterious consequences” said Neil Anthony Sims, CEO of the Hawaii-based mariculture company, Ocean Era, where the trial was conducted. “Kampachi are a fast-growing, sashimi-grade fish, so this is a significant breakthrough for the sustainability and scalability of marine fish farming.”

During the three-month trial funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), 480 juvenile Kampachi were fed one of four diets. Two of the diets contained no fishmeal, and one of these also contained no fish oil. The fish oil replacement was achieved using Veramaris® natural marine algal oil. A fishmeal and fish oil diet was used as a control, together with an additional commercial control diet.

The fish that were fed the zero fishmeal and zero fish oil diet performed as well as the fish fed with the fishmeal and fish oil diet.  Performance was evaluated in terms of growth, feed conversion ratio (FCR), fillet yield and survival. FCR is the ratio of the amount of feed it takes, in kilograms, to grow one kilogram of fish.

Karim Kurmaly CEO, Veramaris said:

“This study is important for carnivorous fish reared in the aquaculture industry. Not only can fish oil be replaced by algal oil with the highest levels of EPA & DHA Omega-3, but algal oil may also contribute to a better tasting fish.”

Veramaris uses innovative technology to produce natural marine algal oil which offers a concentration of EPA & DHA Omega-3 exceeding 50%, which is twice as much as fish oil. Traditionally, Omega-3 has come from fish oil but Veramaris’ algal oil offers a sustainable alternative and will help reduce the world’s dependence on forage fish.

The results of the trial are published in the Global Aquaculture Advocate which supports the Global Aquaculture Alliance’s (GAA) mission of advocating, educating and demonstrating responsible aquaculture practices worldwide.