Modern extruded pellets allow for a wide variety of ingredients. Sablefish in the background wait to pounce on the pellets when they hit the water. Photo/NOAA.

Modern extruded pellets allow for a wide variety of ingredients. Sablefish in the background wait to pounce on the pellets when they hit the water. Photo/NOAA.

According to a recent NOAA blog, scientists are trying to come up with new ways to provide Omega-3 fatty acids in fish-feed pellets in the aquaculture industry.

One important source for both fishmeal and oils is fish trimmings—the head, skin, guts, and whatever else is left over once you cut out the fillets. Large fish-processing plants already render their trimmings into fishmeal and oils. But at small and medium-sized operations there’s currently no economical way to do that, and the trimmings get landfilled or dumped back into the ocean. The amount of waste is tremendous. If all the fish trimmings that are currently discarded in Alaska were captured instead, it would be the second largest fishery in the state.

Scientists with the Alternative Feeds Initiative are working on new techniques and machines that will make processing fish waste into valuable, marketable products economically feasible at all scales.

“It’s got to make business sense,” said Mike Rust, a fish nutritionist with NOAA Fisheries. Once it does, market forces will do the rest.

Read more about the efforts to extract fish oil from processing plant trimmings.

 

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