Aquaculture – An alternative to feeding the world

On a recent plane trip, I was seated next to a veterinary undergraduate student named John.

On the flight, John was consumed with specific reading about the feed to protein conversion ratio of fish, when compared to other sources of animal protein.

He explained to me the science behind how many kilograms of grain or feed an animal needs to consume in order to convert it into a kilogram of live weight or protein flesh.

The feed conversion ratio (FCR) is a measure of an animals efficiency in converting feed mass into increased body mass.

Sheep and cattle require 7kg-8kg of feed to put on 1kg of live weight. Pigs have an FCR of 3.5. Poultry has an average FCR of 3 while Atlantic Salmon is 1.2 and other mass farmed fish such as Tilapia is around 1.7.

Currently, there are a few listed fish farming businesses around the world with the Nordic countries leading the way.

The agriculture theme ranges far and wide but it seems that aquaculture fades into the background. We all can understand the food supply and demand story coupled with yearning for protein as developing countries become richer. I am interested in exploring a cost effective, low cost method of producing protein sources other than soy, not to mention the Omega-3 health benefits.



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