F3 Prize: Putting money where fish's mouths are

The F3 competition aims to entice aquafeed manufacturers to create and sell a product using zero marine meals or oils. Kevin Fitzsimmons provides an update.

December 17, 2015

Manufacturers of aquaculture diet products have progressed significantly in recent years to reduce the amount of fishmeal and fish oil in their feed formulations. Now, the F3 (fish-free-feed) competition aims to drive further innovation in the sector by dangling a major carrot in front of producers, with a six-figure dollar prize.

The competition is enticing aquafeed manufacturers to create and sell a product utilizing zero marine meals or oils.

“The industry has done a great job of stretching limited the fishmeal and fish oil supply and producing a whole lot more. But we need more product out there that’s utilizing a variety of alternative ingredients. This prize is to encourage that,” said Kevin Fitzsimmons, professor at the University of Arizona.

The winner of the F3 Prize — the first company to sell 100,000 metric tons (MT) of aquaculture feed with no marine-sourced meal or oil by October 5, 2017 — will take home a cash prize that, at the time of this article’s publishing, equalled $103,025. An anonymous donor put up the first $100,000 but Fitzsimmons said a crowdsourcing element was added and will remain open indefinitely.

The prize money has been transferred to the Monterey Bay Aquarium and must be awarded, by California law, to one of the registered contestants. If no company reaches the 100,000-MT threshold by September 15, 2017, the company with the highest verified sales wins.

At least four companies have already entered since the competition was announced at the Global Aquaculture Alliance’s GOAL conference in October and more are expected to take part. Registration is open until the end of April 2016 with samples due by the end of August.

Not all marine ingredients are excluded, however. “Seaweed is fine. In fact, that is one we’d be thrilled to see more of,” Fitzsimmons added. Animal byproducts and genetically modified organisms, however, are allowed.
For a full list of rules, regulations, deadlines and other information about the competition, including how to register, please visit the F3 website

Source: James Wright, Global Aquaculture Advocate. Read the full article here