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Socio-economic and biological impacts of the fish-based feed industry for sub-Saharan Africa












Thiao, D. and Bunting, S.W. 2021. Socio-economic and biological impacts of the fish-based feed industry for sub-Saharan Africa. FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Circular No. 1236. Rome, FAO, WorldFish and University of Greenwich, Natural Resources Institute. 




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    Spirulina are multicellular and filamentous blue-green microalgae belonging to two separate genera Spirulina and Arthrospira and consists of about 15 species. Of these, Arthrospira platensis is the most common and widely available spirulina and most of the published research and public health decision refers to this specific species. It grows in water, can be harvested and processed easily and has significantly high macro- and micronutrient contents. In many countries of Africa, it is us ed as human food as an important source of protein and is collected from natural water, dried and eaten. It has gained considerable popularity in the human health food industry and in many countries of Asia it is used as protein supplement and as human health food. Spirulina has been used as a complementary dietary ingredient of feed for poultry and increasingly as a protein and vitamin supplement to aquafeeds. Spirulina appears to have considerable potential for development, especiall y as a small-scale crop for nutritional enhancement, livelihood development and environmental mitigation. FAO fisheries statistics (FishStat) hint at the growing importance of this product. Production in China was first recorded at 19 080 tonnes in 2003 and rose sharply to 41 570 tonnes in 2004, worth around US$7.6 millions and US$16.6 millions, respectively. However, there are no apparent figures for production in the rest of the world. This suggests that despite the widespread public ity about spirulina and its benefits, it has not yet received the serious consideration it deserves as a potentially key crop in coastal and alkaline areas where traditional agriculture struggles, especially under the increasing influence of salination and water shortages. There is therefore a role for both national governments – as well as intergovernmental organizations – to re-evaluate the potential of spirulina to fulfill both their own food security needs as well as a tool for their overseas development and emergency response efforts. International organization(s) working with spirulina should consider preparing a practical guide to small-scale spirulina production that could be used as a basis for extension and development methodologies. This small-scale production should be orientated towards: (i) providing nutritional supplements for widespread use in rural and urban communities where the staple diet is poor or inadequate; (ii) allowing diversification from tr aditional crops in cases where land or water resources are limited; (iii) an integrated solution for waste water treatment, small-scale aquaculture production and other livestock feed supplement; and (iv) as a shortand medium-term solution to emergency situations where a sustainable supply of high protein/high vitamin foodstuffs is required. A second need is a better monitoring of global spirulina production and product flows. The current FishStat entry which only includes China is o bviously inadequate and the reason why other countries are not included investigated. Furthermore, it would be beneficial if production was disaggregated into different scales of development, e.g. intensive, semi-intensive and extensive. This would allow a better understanding of the different participants involved and assist efforts to combine experience and knowledge for both the further development of spirulina production technologies and their replication in the field. A third need is to develop clear guidelines on food safety aspects of spirulina so that human health risks can be managed during production and processing. Finally, it would be useful to have some form of web-based resource that allows the compilation of scientifically robust information and statistics for public access. There are already a number of spirulina-related websites (e.g. www.spirulina.com, www.spirulinasource.com) – whilst useful resources, they lack the independent scientific credibilit y that is required.
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    The present technical paper presents an up-to-date overview of the major feed ingredient sources and feed additives commonly used within industrially compounded aquafeeds, including feed ingredient sources commonly used within farm-made aquafeeds, and major fertilizers and manures used in aquaculture for live food production. Information is provided concerning the proximate and essential amino acid composition of common feed ingredient sources, as well as recommended quality criteria and relativ e nutritional merits and limitations, together with a bibliography of published feeding studies for major feed ingredient sources by cultured species. The main body of the document deals with the nutritional composition and usage of major feed ingredient sources in compound aquafeeds, as well as the use of fertilizers and manures in aquaculture operations. Major feed ingredient and fertilizer groupings discussed include: animal protein sources, plant protein sources, single cell protein sources, lipid sources, other plant ingredients, feed additives, and fertilizers and manures. The concluding section of the document undertakes a comparative analysis of the essential amino acid profiles of the major reported feed ingredient sources for cultured finfish and crustaceans, and presents average reported dietary inclusion levels of major feed ingredient sources used within practical feeds, including their major attributes and limitations. Finally, the importance of feed safety, traceability, and use of good feed manufacturing practices is stressed, together with the importance of considering the long term sustainability of feed ingredient supplies.
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    The growth of single-cell protein in aquafeed 2022
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    This review describes the use of feedstock yeasts and bacteria for acquaculture feed, with an emphasis on those sourced from carbon dioxide, ethanol and brewery by-products for their comparatively low costs and sustainability credentials. The scope of application of single-cell protein based feeds and their outcome, are benefits are presented. Aquaculture competes with fish meal use in the diets of swine, poultry and pets, and fish meal production cannot match the growth of all of these industries without jeopardizing forage fish stocks. While fish meal has been partially replaced with ingredients from as soy, this has raised environmental sustainability and fish welfare questions. A number of companies have emerged in the alternative protein sector including producers of proteins from single-cell organisms such as bacteria, yeast and microalgae. Proteins made from single-cell organisms are being produced in growing quantities for aquafeeds. Currently, there are aquafeed producers in Asia, Europe and North America lead this field. A considerable reduction in price and increase in volume will be required before single-cell proteins are widely used by aquafeed producers and aquatic farmers.

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