Sparos' product range includes a feed for the larval stages of ballan wrasse (adult fish pictured). Wrasse are effective at cleaning lice off farmed salmon but can be difficult to wean.

Specialist feed maker Sparos expands reach with PTAqua

More fish hatcheries will have easy access to tailored feeds by Portuguese company Sparos due to a partnership wth Dublin-based distributor Pacific Trading Aquaculture Ltd (PTAqua).

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The companies said the bespoke feed products will be of great benefit to hatcheries focusing on larval fish stages of species such as seriolas, meagre, seabass, sea bream and especially ballan wrasse, used as a cleaner fish in salmon farming.

“With the recent growth of marine juvenile production in Norway and the European Union, we felt the need to further specialise our portfolio and offer tailored products for this emerging market,” said PTAqua’s global marketing director, Björn Ronge, in a press release.

Björn Ronge: "We have found the perfect partner to further improve PTAqua’s position".

Difficult to wean

“Species such as ballan wrasse require the best quality early-stage feeds and are notoriously difficult to wean from the live feed stage.

“After years of research by (Norwegian research institute) Nofima and Sparos they have developed a special series of early weaning micropellets which we are very proud to now offer commercially to hatcheries.

“With an R&D focused company like Sparos we have found the perfect partner to further improve PTAqua’s position as the leading supplier of hatchery feed innovation.”

Luis Conceição: "Significant improvements" from tailored feed.

Cold extrusion

Sparos feeds are produced using cold extrusion and microencapsulation technologies to ensure maximum protection of water-soluble nutrients, such as taurine, while fulfilling larvae nutritional requirements.

“At the larval stage, not all fish species thrive on the same microfeed,” said Luis Conceição, co-founder and R&D director from Sparos. “What works for gilthead seabream may not work for Senegalese sole or ballan wrasse. There are significant improvements in fish performance when you tailor the formulation or the pellet physical properties to each fish species.

“Through collaboration with research institutes and feedback from our customers, we have focused on diversifying and tailoring feeds for different fish larvae, which translates into significant performance benefits in the long run.

“We’re delighted to be partnering with PTAqua to provide Sparos nutritional solutions that will ultimately support the sustainable growth of aquaculture. These are exciting times for hatcheries - particularly in the Norwegian, Mediterranean and Middle East markets - that will now have easier access to our premium products and high-level technical support through PTAqua’s strong presence in these regions.”