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Algae Could Reduce Pressures on the Ocean’s Fisheries

Overfishing, pollution and climate change are the leading factors associated with the world’s depleting fish population.

As natural fish populations dwindle, we are turning to other practices, such as aquaculture, to meet increasing human demand.

In fact, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, foresees that “per-capita fish consumption of farmed fish will increase by 4.4 percent in 2014 from a year ago to an annual 10.3kg”, while wild fish is “predicted to fall 1.5 percent to 9.7 kg.”

This marks the first time in history that farmed fish consumption will exceed consumption of wild fish!

According to the recent Financial Times story by Emiko Terazono, fishmeal “has surged to a record $2,400 a tonne, as rising sea temperatures have led to a sharp drop in anchovy caught in Peru, the world’s largest exporter.”

With the price of fishmeal – the crucial feed for shrimp, prawns and salmon – at an all-time high, the pressure to find substitutes is increasing substantially.

We believe that algae could be the best fishmeal alternative. Algae come with a number of advantages:

  • high concentrations of proteins and amino acids,
  • extremely predictable yields,
  • customized product formulations,
  • reduced toxins in raw DHA and EPA feedstocks,
  • year round cultivation,
  • short time period needed to harvest after a pond of algae or bioreactor has been inoculated.

In addition to the benefits above, perhaps algae’s greatest advantage is the fact that it grows in salt or wastewater, consumes CO2 as it grows and does not compete for land with traditional agricultural or aquatic sources. .

“The sustainability profile of algae is off the charts when compared to fish-based sources,” said Martin Sabarsky, CEO of Cellana, a developer of algae-based products such as Omega-3 EPA and DHA oils, animal feed and biofuels.

Similar to aquaculture feeds, Omega-3 supplements for humans are traditionally harvested from the sea. As Omega-3 demand grows worldwide it is expected that wild fish stocks won’t be able to keep up. The development of a robust algae-based Omega-3 industry would relieve some of the pressure on aquatic sources, enabling those species to rebound while also lowering prices, creating a real win-win for marine life, industry and consumers.

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