We eat fish to obtain rich protein that facilitates several important processes in the human body. Fish protein is also important for other fish. Therefore, fish are fed whole fish and fish protein as part of their diet. But apart from predation, researchers now suggest that fish, especially salmon, could be made more environmentally friendly by feeding them other salmon.
Environmentally friendly fish farming
Researchers may have found a more environmentally friendly way to farm fish by feeding them other fish.
Salmon fed other salmon showed environmentally friendly traits, according to a study conducted by researchers at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.
These salmon had a lower carbon footprint and required less energy to reproduce compared to salmon fed other types of fish.
The researchers conducted a feeding trial using Atlantic salmon (Salmosala). They fed the fish diets containing varying amounts of dried salmon protein hydrolyzate (FPH) and fishmeal protein.
Salmon hydrolyzate is the product of enzymatic breakdown of raw materials left over from salmon processing. Hydrolyzate is an excellent fishmeal because it is easy to digest and tastes good. This will encourage the fish to eat more food.
Feeding salmon with salmon – is this cannibalism?
When fish of the same species eat each other, it is cannibalism. However, this is not the case for the salmon in this study. That’s because dead salmon is processed into protein hydrolysates before being fed to live fish.
“You might think this is cannibalism, but that’s not because the protein is so degraded that its origin cannot be recognized without DNA analysis,” said study lead author Ingrid Shafroth. Sandbakken explained.
The predatory nature of salmon means that they are comfortable eating that species. “They just differentiate between what’s palatable to them and what’s not,” she added.
Are there any risks?
Interestingly, farmers have expressed skepticism about the idea of feeding salmon to salmon. They argued there could be a risk of prion disease and similar concerns.
Prion diseases are rare but fatal diseases that have been established in mammals, including humans, but not in fish or birds.
However, the researchers used two different methods to test for prions in salmon hydrolysates and found none.
“No prions were detected in salmon hydrolysates. Even if prions were found, there is a species barrier to such diseases, so there is no suggestion that fish prions cause human disease. None,” the researchers said.
What does this mean for fish farming?
The majority of the climate impacts from the aquaculture industry are related to feed ingredients and production. Feeding salmon protein hydrolyzate instead of regular fish food can reduce this.
Switching to residual raw fish feed ingredients ensures local, sustainable production. It will also reduce pressure on plants, which are currently the main source of food for salmon.
Learn more about salmon
Salmon, the famous fish that is the focus of this article, is a shining star in both freshwater and marine habitats. It attracts many people with its beauty, strength, and taste. These fish, which belong to the salmonid family, play an important role not only in our diet but also in the ecosystem.
Lifecycle and migration
Salmon begin their life in fresh water. They hatch from eggs in rivers and streams and emerge as small fry. These fry grow into smolts and prepare for their journey to sea. This change, called smoltification, prepares young salmon for life in saltwater.
Once they reach maturity at sea, their deep-seated instincts lead them to embark on an emotional journey back to their birthplace to spawn. They use the Earth’s magnetic field and a keen sense of smell to navigate with precision. Once they reach their natal river, the female lays thousands of eggs in gravel nests called “reds,” which the male fertilizes. After spawning, many salmon species die, but their sacrifice ensures the survival of the next generation.
Salmon exhibit a wide range of colors, from silvery-blue hues when alive in the ocean to vibrant hues of red, orange, and purple during spawning season. They have streamlined bodies built for efficient swimming, and their powerful tails help them jump over obstacles and against currents.
value of the meal
Salmon ranks high among health enthusiasts. It’s rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which support heart health and brain function. In addition, salmon is rich in protein, B vitamins, and various minerals such as potassium and selenium.
Threats and protection
Overfishing and habitat destruction threaten salmon populations around the world. Dams impede their migration routes and pollution degrades their spawning grounds. Conservationists are working tirelessly to restore habitat, practice sustainable fishing practices, and install fish ladders in dams to aid salmon migration.
In summary, salmon is more than just a culinary delight. These are natural wonders with interesting life cycles and important roles in the ecosystem. As we enjoy their taste and benefit from their nutrients, we become aware of our responsibility to protect these wonderful fish and ensure their populations thrive for generations to come. It’s essential.
This research is published in the journal aquaculture.
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