His answer: yes, for two main reasons. First, less fish meal and fish oil in diets, and second, the intensification of aquaculture have led to weakened immune systems. Part of the solution involves meeting the nutritional requirements of farmed species.
“Functional feeds can be good tools to increase the health and performance of your fish,” he explained. He also highlighted the benefits of nutritional solutions. “Used carefully and correctly, in the end it’s better to use functional feeds—even if the cost is higher,” he said.
“Shrimp feed formulation is moving from an ingredient- to a nutrient-based approach,” remarked Dr Alberto Nunes, Associate Professor at Labomar, the Institute of Marine Sciences of the Federal University of Ceará in Brazil. He went on to note the advances in supplementation, formulation and understanding of nutritional requirements made in recent years.
“It is possible to completely replace fish meal in shrimp feeds, provided that you have correct supplementation,” he stated. Producers have adapted to these developments.
“In many countries, farmers no longer care about the fish meal content of shrimp feeds,” he stated. “Rather, farmers want to see performance in the pond.”
“Supplementation with phytogenic feed additives has been shown time and again to offer consistent performance improvement in fish and shrimp,” highlighted Carina Schieder, Product Manager Phytogenics at BIOMIN.
Good quality feeds, though beneficial, are not without some drawbacks. “Only 30-35% of nutrients in feed are retained in animals. As a result, around 70% of those nutrients remain in the pond. In combination with excreta and organic matter, undesirable pond conditions can quickly develop,” stated Anwar Hasan, Technical Manager Aquaculture at BIOMIN. “Poor water quality increases stress and susceptibility of shrimp to pathogens,” he added.
“Bioremediation strategies can stabilize pond sediment and improve farm profitability,” observed Dr Jutta Kesselring, Development Scientist at BIOMIN.
The use of Biotronic® Top3, an organic acid-based feed additive, can support animal health. “When aquafeeds are treated with Biotronic® Top3, animals tend to be more resistant to pathogens—which means lower mortality and higher growth performance,” stated Dr Antonia Tacconi, Product Manager Acidifiers at BIOMIN. “These results stem from better feed hygiene and a direct antimicrobial effect that reduces the bacterial load in the gastrointestinal tract,” she explained.
The remarks were made within the context of 2016 Aqua Days hosted by BIOMIN. More than 60 aquaculture industry members from 16 countries attended the event from 23 to 25 August in Austria. The program consisted of conference sessions on important topics affecting the aquaculture industry, an overview of the R&D activities at BIOMIN along with on-site tours of the BIOMIN Research Center in Tulln, Austria.