UK-based World Feeds Ltd., that developed and produced Vita Aqua Feeds (VAF), a range of unique feed products for cleaner fish, has now completed an extensive redevelopment of its feed manufacturing site in Yorkshire, UK. Designed to increase efficiency and productivity - enabling its production output capacity to increase tenfold, this marks a major investment in the future of cleaner fish management and care, with the company’s VAF Feed Blocks. “This investment is a major factor for the development and growth of VAF and World Feeds Ltd. as a whole and we are already looking ahead with great optimism towards the next stage of development,” the company said.
VAF launching in Norway
VAF’s impact on Norwegian aquaculture is poised for further expansion as Ireland-based company, PTAqua, will be the distributor in the region, focusing on wrasse feed as well as potential hatchery applications in the future.
“We are delighted to be working with the PTAqua team in Norway. We feel it’s a great alliance and a great meeting of minds in terms of our ethos and approach to nutrition and feeds. PTAqua has established a strong position as a bona fide supplier of specialist feeds and we are excited that in working together, we can bring new technical products to the market to help resolve an issue which the industry has been wrestling with for many years - the control of sea lice,” VAF said.
Benefits of VAF feed block diet
Designed specifically for lumpfish and wrasse, the company’s elongated feed blocks are produced using bespoke machinery, designed in-house. The company employs low-temperature extrusion processes, producing soft and malleable blocks that are highly digestible and attractive to cleaner fish, formulated using the highest quality, sustainably sourced marine ingredients.
Crucially, as the blocks maintain integrity in water for up to 48 hours, they encourage and facilitate natural grazing behavior, allowing the larger fish to satiate before the smaller fish take their turn. This subsequently leads to reduced aggression during feeding. VAF feed blocks are complete diets that require no refrigeration or mixing and have a two-year shelf life, massively reducing storage costs and preparation time.
Among the farms already committed to the product, Scottish salmon farm Loch Duart has now been contracted to use VAF to feed ballan wrasse across all their sites. Prior to commercial release, as part of extensive trials in Scotland (Loch Duart) and Norway (GIFAS), studies have demonstrated the high effectiveness and benefits of VAF feed blocks when compared to other commercially available feeds. It was found that fish fed with VAF feed blocks maintained stable and controlled growth rates, negating the symptoms of artificially high growth rates. Improved efficacy is also achieved by huge reductions in cataract development. At the end of the trial period, there was a 77% reduction in cataract prevalence in lumpfish when compared with those fed with a pelleted diet. Studies also recorded improvements to general health and welfare, indicative of the selection of high quality, sustainably sourced ingredients contained within our feeds.
Innovative feeding solutions
To complement its pioneering feed blocks, the company has developed unique and innovative feeding stations designed for practicality and to maximize efficiency. The VAF Manual Line Deployment (MLD) system, which is made from Marine grade stainless steel SS316 and includes 11 meters of black polysteel rope spliced with an SS316 carabiner, can be easily loaded directly from the pack in situ at the pen. Once loaded, the MLD can be deployed in the optimum position and lowered to the required depth for feeding. The unique yellow float indicator included with each MLD unit floats back to the surface once the block has been consumed, making it simple for users to know when a new feed block is required.
For more information, visit ptaqua.eu.