Vermaris, which is leading the F3 Challenge, recently started shipping its product from a new plant in Blair, Nebraska. Photo: Veramaris.

Mowi to test F3-winning fish oil alternative in feed

Mowi has committed to test the winning formula from the F3 Fish Oil Challenge, along with Chinese companies Yuehai Feed Group and AlphaFeed.

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The free trial for the F3 Challenge winner will be conducted in one of Mowi’s open-environment research facilities either in Norway or Scotland and will include the salmon farmer’s low and zero fish-oil formulations with the winning fish-oil replacement, the Challenge organisers said in a press release.

Currently, the inclusion of marine ingredients in Mowi’s conventional diets is less than 10% of fishmeal and around the same low inclusion of fish oil.

Laura Martinez Rubio: "We are committed to sustainability." Photo: Private / Research Gate.

Excited about test

“At Mowi we are committed to sustainability and are always looking for more efficient and environmentally friendly ways of producing feed for our salmon,” said Laura Martinez Rubio, research, development & technical manager at Mowi Feed.

“It is also important that our salmon gets the healthiest diet possible. At Mowi we want to be at the forefront, and we are therefore excited about testing the winning non-fish oil.”

“We are delighted that these big companies have committed to testing the winning fish-free oil,” said Kevin Fitzsimmons, F3 Challenge judge and professor at the University of Arizona.

“This is an important step forward toward the large-scale adoption and use of alternatives to wild-caught fish in aquaculture feed.”

Veramaris in the lead

The companies will provide the results of their trials through the F3 Feed Innovation Network (FIN).

As of the third sales reporting period, the four competitors have collectively sold just over 472 tonnes of F3 oil during the contest. Algal oil producer Veramaris remains in the lead with the most F3 oil sold. The contest ends on September 15.

The four global competitors include China-based Guangdong Evergreen Feed Industry Co. Ltd., China-based Shen Zhen Alpha Feed Co. Ltd., Netherlands-based Veramaris and the UK/US-based team Aquaculture Innovation/Qualitas Health.

Karim Kurmaly: Product has more than twice the omega-3 of fish oil. Photo: Veramaris.

15% of industry’s omega-3 needs

Last month Veramaris, a joint venture between Netherlands-based DSM and German speciality chemical manufacturer Evonik, began commercial production of its algal oil at a new facility in Blair, Nebraska in the US.

The fermentation plant will be able to supply 15% of the salmon industry’s omega-3 needs when it reaches full capacity over the next 12 months. 

Veramaris chief executive Karim Kurmaly said at the time that the company had begun talking to UK retailers and some Scottish fish farmers about including the product in salmon feed, although they were at a “very preliminary stage”. He said product has 2 to 2½ times more omega-3 EPA and DHA than fish oil.

The goal of the F3 Fish Oil Challenge is to accelerate the availability of cost-competitive, viable alternatives to fish oil that provide the essential nutritional components for fish that at the same time help reduce demand for wild-caught fish feed and enhance food security.

The contest is sponsored by Future of Fish Feed (F3), a collaborative effort between NGOs, researchers, and private partnerships to accelerate and support the scaling of innovative, alternative aquaculture feed ingredients.