USDA-ARS and USFWS Aim to Make U.S. Aquaculture More Sustainable, Provide Resources to Others Pursuing the Same Goal
For decades, the aquaculture industry has understood the risks associated with overreliance on marine-derived feedstuffs. Higher feed prices and production costs, public concern regarding environmental impacts and food safety, issues with effluents and discharge permits—all are linked to the use of fish meals and oils in aquafeeds. While there may not be silver bullet to solve all of these feed-related problems—as I often say, there’s really only one ingredient that has the exact properties and price of fish meal, and it’s called fish meal—fish nutritionists are making step-wise progress towards using marine resources more judiciously and making aquaculture more environmentally and economically sustainable. Researchers with the USDA-ARS Trout-Grains Project have been working hard to develop economical, effective feeds for the rainbow trout industry using grains and grain derivatives. In the process, they have also produced some nifty resources for other nutritionists, such as access to fully characterized test ingredients, rubrics for ingredient evaluation, and now, in cooperation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the H.K. Dupree Stuttgart National Aquaculture Research Center, a Digestibility Database. Free to download as an Excel spreadsheet, the Digestibility Database describes the nutrient composition of more than 50 commonly used feedstuffs, as well as the macronutrient, amino acid, and mineral digestibilities for each of these feedstuffs for rainbow trout and hybrid striped bass. This is a great resource for those wishing to assess new ingredients or fine-tune their formulations on a nutrient digestibility basis. Thanks to Drs. Rick Barrows, Gibson Gaylord, Wendy Sealey, and Steve Rawles and their respective programs for making this resource available.
To learn more about the Trout-Grains Project, click here.
To download the Digestibility Database, click here.