To help lower the price of fish amidst volatile food prices across the country, the Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Center Aquaculture Department (SEAFDEC/AQD) is developing a new fish feed formulation that is cost-efficient and eco-friendly.
Using byproducts of ethanol production, rendered animal protein and processed copra meal, researchers formulated fish feed that performed better than commercially available feeds as proven in pond trials. The new diet is cheaper as it only costs about PHP28 ($0.59) per kilogram to produce, while the average cost of a commercial feed is about PHP34-36 ($0.71-0.75) per kilogram.
Roger Edward Mamauag, scientist at SEAFDEC/AQD and head of its Technology Verification and Extension Division, compared the new formulation with commercial feeds in high-density tilapia pond culture and found it will cost about PHP1.6 million ($33,509) in commercial feeds to provide for one hectare in a year of operation, while only PHP1.2 million ($25,130) using the new formula. Moreover, field trials showed that the new formulation was more efficient than the commercial diet with a lower feed conversion ratio.
Mamauag used cheaper and locally available protein ingredients such as distiller’s dried grain soluble, poultry byproduct meal and protein-enhanced copra meal as a substitute to fishmeal. “SEAFDEC/AQD’s goal is to lessen our dependence on fishmeal as a protein ingredient in feeds since it is expensive and unsustainable to harvest fish from the oceans to feed the fish in the farms,” said Dan Baliao, chief of SEAFDEC/AQD.
Baliao also said that the success of this project would also benefit consumers since fish would be available at a lower price if the aquaculture production cost is reduced. “We are happy with the outcome of this project, and we are looking forward to the mass production of these cost-effective feeds that would benefit our fish farmers and consumers.”
“The cost of the feeds that we developed will still go down if produced on a commercial scale. That is why we are doing field trials to check the effectiveness of the feeds before giving the formulation to private feed manufacturers for adoption,” added Mamauag.