Skretting has launched a new diet, MaGro, that aims at helping tuna farmers to avoid the biosecurity risks and sustainability issues associated with baitfish diets. The new diet, that is available in Japan, is a soft extruded feed for bluefin tuna that has been created using patented production technology.
Tuna farming continues to be almost entirely based on baitfish diets because bluefin tuna are particularly fussy eaters. Indeed, previous attempts by the industry to replace this feed component have failed – usually with the tuna rejecting the pellets for being too hard and unpalatable. The company has been working for 20 years to establish a viable alternative to baitfish feeding protocols. During that time, Skretting evaluated several feed types – everything from wet mashes to a wide variety sausage formats – and these appraisals led to the finding that a soft extruded diet was by far the best option for tuna farming moving forward.
The new diet’s texture is softer than the pellets for other farmed species and has lower water content than baitfish offering higher conversion rate. The formulation is also very consistent, comprising fully-traceable ingredients and user-friendly as it can be used in semi-automatic “canon” feeding systems. The company also states that with MaGro, the tuna continued to maintain their feeding regime during the colder months of the year, overcoming the so-called “winter dip” that has historically slowed the growth of farmed tuna.
“Japan is the world’s largest consumer for bluefin tuna and its per capita consumption of this species continues to steadily increase. There is also fast rising demand from emerging markets like China and Hong Kong. The prospect of supplying an expanding marketplace is a key driver for Japanese tuna farming. At the same time, most tuna producers are capital intensive companies and understand the importance of fish sustainability and traceability. As such, many of them have long-term plans to provide overseas markets with sustainably-certified products, if and when such a standard is created. This new diet will help them achieve that aim,” explains Yoshihito Ito, General Manager of Skretting Japan.