The U.S. soy industry was well represented at the recent Global Outlook on Aquaculture Leadership conference in Dublin, Ireland by members of the International Global Soy in Aquaculture Program of the U.S. Soybean Export Council (USSEC).
USSEC Chief Executive Officer Jim Sutter attended the conference and participated in a panel on protein ingredients for aquaculture feeds. The purpose of the panel was to look at the sustainability of these feed ingredients, which included fishmeal, soy, single cell protein made from methane, and high Omega 3 algae.
Sutter explained the U.S. Soy Sustainability Assurance Protocol (SSAP) and pointed out that it has been accepted as a sustainable soy standard by the Best Aquaculture Practices (BAP) sustainability certification program.
“We have worked hard over decades to ensure that our soy producers use sustainable practices, such as minimum till to reduce soil erosion, crop rotation, and to grow soy with enhanced amino acid profiles,” said Sutter.
He also spoke of the U.S. soy industry’s commitment to collaborate with all providers of aquaculture feed ingredients.
Alternative proteins that can supplement, or even replace, wild-caught sources of fishmeal and fish oil have become vitally important, as the wild forage fish stocks that supply fishmeal are limited and cannot be scaled up to meet increased demand.
These alternatives include those represented on the panel, as well as poultry by-products, insect meal, and experimental proteins such as lemna and bacteria-based protein. Soy is by far the most popular fishmeal replacement with the greatest market penetration due to its nutritious profile, consistent availability, good value and scalability. It is anticipated that soy will continue to play a major role in providing feed to the growing aquaculture industry because it will take time for most other alternative proteins to scale up enough to gain any significant market share.
More consumers are demanding sustainably-sourced food, and the U.S. soy industry is helping its end users to answer the call, by providing sustainable ingredients like soybean meal that can be used in lieu of fish meal. This is an opportunity for the U.S. soy industry, as SSAP certification assures the entire supply stream — from feed mills to aquaculture producers to retailers – of the sustainable production of U.S. soy.