Raising salmon with insects

Although it will take years to be bought, by 2020 farmed salmon fed on insects can be a reality in the refrigerator at home. These insects would be produced exclusively in chain to meet the nutrient requirements of this fish. The reason? Avoid predation seabed and small species that are now used as food and are vital to the balance of the ecosystem.

Of the 3.4 million metric tons of salmon consumed worldwide annually, 2.4 million have their origin in fish farms, according to the Global Salmon Initiative (GSI), the organization that brings together twelve of the eighteen specialized companies of the planet.

Ongoing projects

In countries such as Chile and Norway, the two main producers of salmon, this alternative is already being investigated. In fact, late last year in Chile salmon began to being feed with insects experimentally to study its consequences. Another place where it carries out such research, but focused on the production of insect species adapted to meet all kinds of requirements of the food industry, is at the Entomotech laboratory, in Almeria.

In the UK, in addition, is formalizing an investment program to promote research in this field. The idea is that four major brands of food distribution in the country: Tesco, Sainsbury's, Asda and Morrisons, defray the project. The promoter of the initiative, however, is the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), an organization dedicated to protecting the environment and animal life that for years denounced the imbalances generated by marine farms. WWF scientists believe that same principles can be applied to the breeding of tuna and trout, and hence the attempt to involve the large supermarket chains.

The production of salmon in captivity is now three times higher than in the eighties of the twentieth century and the increasing aging has caused a huge demand for natural food. It takes about 13 pounds of marine organic matter to grow a salmon from the initial stage to get the fish to be slaughtered, after about eighteen months, between 3 and 4.5 kilos. So, to generate a ton of salmon it takes three food.

The kind of feed used is composed of round sardinella, anchovy, herring, mackerel, blue whiting, arctic krill and zooplankton. That is, they are all species of life in the ocean food chain and therefore also in wild salmon. Paradoxically, then, to have farm salmon, with inferior quality, the food needed by free salmon is eliminated. And every time there is less because it has fewer resources available.

Marine feed

Salmon's Global Initiative and WWF are committed to trying to remedy through the development of substitutes for the existing marine feed. In Chile, before testing it with insects made with bird feathers. But research conducted by specialized agencies suggests that insects may be the best option. We investigated since July 2014, the National Institute for Research in Nutrition and Seafood Products in Norway, a project to be completed by the end of 2018. According to Bente Torstensen, director of research, "the insects are extremely powerful organizations with the ability to transform resources less favorable microbiological and turn them into food ingredients of high nutritional value. "

Once the health tests would been exceeded and proved that toxic natural elements carried by some insects -cadmium or arsènic- are not transmitted to the consumer, will be necessary to stand the test of the market and the possible reluctance that can cause buying a steak salmon fed with insects.

Source: ara.cat