35-2 NOAA/USDA Alternative Feeds Initiative

Michael Rust , Aquaculture Program, NOAA Fisheries, Seattle, WA
The development and expansion of farming of carnivorous fish species will be constrained by a limited supply of fish meal and oil for feeds. Fortunately, there is no dietary requirement for specific amounts of fish meal or fish oil for fish, so feeds that lessen the reliance on these limited feedstuffs—such as alternative protein and oil resources—can, and must, be developed.  For this reason, the U.S. Department of Commerce (NOAA) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) are jointly sponsoring an aquaculture feeds initiative to address those issues.  The initiative used  expert and public consultations to identify and discuss the future of fish feeds and the benefits to the U.S. by the development of such alternative feeds.  The resulting report from these meetings was released in draft form for comment early in 2011 and is available at http://aquaculture.noaa.gov  The report calls for feeds to be evaluated not only for nutritional and economic performance as is done today, but also for environmental and human health performance by taking into account the environmental footprint of feed production and use, and the resulting quality of the product for human consumption.  This “triple bottom line approach” – economics, environment and human health – is supported by 20 specific recommendations and illustrated with seven case studies.