US soybean producers and qualified state soybean board (QSSB) staff have been on a mission to Southeast Asia and China, to learn about their aquaculture industries.
China, the number one producer of seafood in the world (61 percent), and Southeast Asia, with five countries ranked in the top 10 in global aquaculture production, have been big contributors to the seven percent global annual growth in aquaculture production.
In China, the group visited two commercial freshwater farms, which have recently constructed an intensive in-pond raceway system in existing ponds. This technology was first brought to China via a USSEC feeding demonstration and there are now more than 100 in use or under construction by the industry. The system enables water to be reused, unlike in traditional pond culture, which requires new intake for each grow out. In addition to conserving water, it allows for a threefold increase in biomass.
In Southeast Asia, the group visited hatcheries and marine species grow out farms, including MarineLife Aquaculture, which grows Asian sea bass fingerlings. The company is working to reach the point where it can give a feedmill a desired formulation for feed, versus buying what the feedmill is selling, and is working with the USSEC aquaculture team on the best formulation for its fingerlings.
“With the projected increase in the world population and the need for more protein, aquaculture is rising to the challenge. The use of soybeans to produce extruded feeds will help the bottom line of American soybean farmers,” said Walter Godwin, United Soybean Board (USB) director.
In Malaysia, the final site visit for this mission was a tour of ocean cages off the coast of Langkawi. The group visited a pilot research farm that is in partnership with a private farmer and the Malaysian government. This is a new initiative to increase the production of seafood for consumption as well as improve the environmental footprint.
In addition to Mr Godwin, the delegation included American Soybean Association (ASA) vice president Joe Steinkamp; Indiana Soybean Alliance (ISA) director Matt Chapman; Michigan Soybean Promotion Committee member Laurie Isley; Nebraska Soybean Board director Ed Lammers; and Nebraska Soybean Board director and USB director Greg Greving. QSSB staff included Tony Stafford of the Missouri Soybean Board; Andy Tauer of ISA; and Karen Claghorn of the Iowa Soybean Association.
The trip provided the delegation with an opportunity to see the tremendous potential in the region’s aquaculture industries.