For the next five years, the National Institute of Nutrition and Seafood Research (NIFES) will be collaborating with 21 partners from 12 European countries in ARRAINA, a European Union integrated project that aims to solve some of the greatest challenges that aquaculture will have to deal with in the future: how can to develop a fish feed with high nutritional value, based on raw materials derived from plants, that will guarantee farmed fish a good standard of health?
What is new about ARRAINA is that the scientists will study nutrition throughout the entire life cycle of the fish.
“It will be particularly important to map the nutritional requirements of farmed fish throughout their life cycle. We will also be looking at how feeding in any given generation influences the following generation. Until now, most research has concentrated on shorter phases,” says NIFES director of research Gro-Ingunn Hemre.
The European Union project will survey the nutritional requirements of a number of fish species that are farmed in different parts of Europe. NIFES is responsible for salmon together with University of Stirling. Other Norwegian partners are GIFAS and Biomar.
Until recently, farmed salmon has largely been fed marine raw materials in the form of fish meal and fish oil. However, marine resources will not be sufficient to keep up with the expected rate of growth of the aquaculture industry, so fish feed will need to be based much more on plant-based raw materials in the future, which will change the nutritional composition of the feed. An essential task just now is to determine how this will affect the fish and how we can design new feeds that will provide a nutritious and healthy diet.
ARRAINA, which is coordinated by France (INRA), has a total budget of 8 million euro.
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