Palm Oil Developments No.41 (Dec 2004) p14-18

Palm Oil as a Novel Dietary Lipid Source in Aquaculture Feeds

NG Wing Keong

One key ingredient used in the formulation of aquaculture feeds is fish oil, which is produced from small marine pelagic fish and represents finite fishery resources. Other than providing a source of energy and essential fatty acids, it is commonly used to coat extruded feed pellets to improve the palatability and appearance of the feed. Aquafeeds currently use about 70% of the global supply of fish oil and by 2010, fish oil use in aquaculture is estimated to reach about 97% of the world supply. At present, global fish oil production has reached a plateau and is not expected to increase beyond current levels. Recent estimates suggest that fish oils may be unable to meet demands from the rapidly growing aquaculture industry as early as 2005. The stagnation in global fish oil production, coupled with increased demand for its use in aquaculture feeds, has greatly inflated fish oil prices (Barlow, 2000). Fish oil production is also heavily localized in specific regions of the temperate world resulting in it becoming increasingly expensive and difficult to obtain in many tropical countries practicing aquaculture. Therefore, there is currently great urgency within the aquafeed industry in evaluating alternatives to fish oil.

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