The Sustainability Conundrum of Fishmeal Substitution by Plant Ingredients in Shrimp Feeds



Malcorps W, Kok B, van‘t Land M, Fritz M, van Doren D, Servin K, van der Heijden P, Palmer R, Auchterlonie NA, Rietkerk M, Santos MJ & Davies SJ (2019) The Sustainability Conundrum of Fishmeal Substitution by Plant Ingredients in Shrimp Feeds. Sustainability, 11 (4), p. 1212.

Aquaculture is central in meeting expanding global demands for shrimp consumption. Consequently, increasing feed use is mainly responsible for the overall environmental impact of aquaculture production. Significant amounts of fishmeal are included in shrimp diets, causing dependency on finite marine resources. Driven by economic incentives, terrestrial plant ingredients are widely viewed as sustainable alternatives. Incremental fishmeal substitution by plant ingredients in shrimp feed was modeled and effects on marine and terrestrial resources such as fish, land, freshwater, nitrogen, and phosphorus were assessed. We find that complete substitution of 20–30% fishmeal totals could lead to increasing demand for freshwater (up to 63%), land (up to 81%), and phosphorus (up to 83%), while other substitution rates lead to proportionally lower impacts. These findings suggest additional pressures on essential agricultural resources with associated socio-economic and environmental effects as a trade-off to pressures on finite marine resources. Even though the production of shrimp feed (or aquafeed in general) utilizes only a small percentage of the global crop production, the findings indicate that the sustainability of substituting fishmeal by plant ingredients should not be taken for granted, especially since aquaculture has been one of the fastest growing food sectors. Therefore, the importance of utilizing by-products and novel ingredients such as microbial biomass, algae, and insect meals in mitigating the use of marine and terrestrial resources is discussed.

aquaculture; shrimp feed; fishmeal; plant ingredients; marine resources; terrestrial resources

Sustainability: Volume 11, Issue 4

Publication date25/02/2019
Publication date online25/02/2019
Date accepted by journal15/02/2019
Related URLs
PublisherMDPI AG

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Mr Wesley Malcorps
Mr Wesley Malcorps

PhD Researcher, Institute of Aquaculture

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