At Cargill Inc.’s research station in Elk River, rows of fish tanks teem with live shrimp and tilapia, scientists closely monitoring what they eat.
Shrimp and tilapia are at the core of the world’s booming aquaculture industry, which is the future of seafood.
“The oceans are tapped out and seafood consumption is increasing rapidly, so production will have to come from farmed fish and shrimp,” said Dave Cook, research director for Cargill’s animal feed business.
Of course, fish need to eat, and that’s an opportunity for Cargill — one of the world’s largest animal feed producers. The aquaculture business is still small compared with Cargill’s feed mainstay, the traditional livestock and poultry industries. But it’s growing about twice as fast.
Indeed, with the industry’s bright prospects, Cargill may move beyond fish feed directly into operating fish farms. There’s certainly a precedent. When it comes to poultry, beef and pork, Cargill starts with feed, but also does a huge business in slaughtering and processing animals. Why not the same model in aquaculture?
“At this point, we don’t rule anything out, ” said David Webster, president of Cargill’s pre-mix feed and nutrition business. “We are looking at the industry and where we can play, and that may include processing.”
[Source: Mike Hughlett, Star Tribune. Full article]