Aquaculture is the fastest-growing protein-producing industry. In just the last six years, aquaculture increased in value by $6 billion U.S. dollars, according to Rabobank. While soybean meal has become more popular in several types of fish feeding, new research is showing it can improve the farmed-tuna market as well. This provides a new market for U.S. soybean meal, as tuna are traditionally fed other fish instead of another type of meal. Feeding soybean meal is not only more economical for aquaculture, but also more sustainable.
According to a recent article from Brownfield Ag News, a U.S. agriculture media company, a new market for soybeans will soon be available through North America’s first tuna hatchery.
Mark Albertson is with the Illinois Soybean Association which helped fund research on feeding tuna a soybean-based diet instead of a diet of other fish.
“We started doing research with tuna about three years ago, and we are very pleased that we have made some big breakthroughs on formulating diets for tuna,” says Albertson.
He tells Brownfield some tuna populations are reaching the endangered species list, but the feed they have created will allow tuna to be grown in a hatchery setting like salmon and catfish.
He says it takes 4 pounds of feed for a tuna to gain 1 pound, and it takes about two years on the soybean feed diet for one tuna to reach market size, which is good news for farmers.
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