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Feed for Atlantic cod

  • Published 23/02/2006
  • Last updated 20/05/2011
Today the cost of feed is 50-60% of the total production of farmed cod. A 10% reduction in feed cost will therefore give a minimum of 5% reduction in production cost. The biggest single variable cost in cod farming, the high cost of feed, is the main obstacle in making cod farming economically feasible.

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The cost of feed can be reduced by minimizing protein in feed for cod and/or substituting cheaper plant ingredients for expensive marine fish meal and fish oil. To ensure access to available knowledge in the field of feed for cod a cooperation between the Nordic countries was considered very important. This cooperation was made possible by a grant from the Nordisk Innovation Centre. Overall, the R&D and the university partners carried out the feeding experiments and analysis of the feed, fillets and liver, and the partners from the industries provided experimental feed, processing of the farmed cod and expertise in marketing issues. 

The result of the project showed that it is possible to reduce the cost of feed for cod by 5-10%. The minimal protein requirements of small cod was found to be between 48-52%, which is lower than in traditional cod feed. Partial substitution of soy-meal and soy-bean oil was successful. The fish grew well and no health problems were observed in cod fed plant protein and plant oil. 

Analysis of fatty acids in the muscle and liver of cod fed a mixture of plant and fish oils showed that the fatty acids profile simulates the fatty acid profile in the feed. Sensory analysis revealed no difference in taste or texture between cod fed marine ingredients compared to partial substitution of plant sources. 

When provided with samples, Spanish buyers did not consider salted farmed cod to be a high quality product. The fillets of farmed cod are usually thicker and the texture is different, indicating that processing of farmed cod needs to be adapted to meet the demands of consumers.

Project duration: October 2003 - March 2006

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