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Open AccessArticle

The Sustainability Conundrum of Fishmeal Substitution by Plant Ingredients in Shrimp Feeds

MatureDevelopment B.V., World Trade Center, 2595 AM The Hague, The Netherlands
Institute of Aquaculture, University of Stirling, Stirling FK9 4LA, UK
Research Institute for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (ILVO), Fisheries and Aquatic Production, 8400 Ostend, Belgium
Mexico Aquaculture Research Inc., Guadalajara 45110, Mexico
Association of International Seafood Professionals, Southbank, VIC 3006, Australia
Aquaculture without Frontiers, Oakland, CA 94610, USA
Universidad Tecnológica del Mar de Tamaulipas, Soto La Marina - La Pesca, Km. 46+400, S/N, La Pesca 87678, Municipio de Soto la Marina, Tamaulipas, México
IFFO, The Marine Ingredients Organisation, London SE17 3BZ, UK
Department of Innovation, Environmental and Energy Sciences, Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development, Utrecht University, 3508 TC Utrecht, The Netherlands
University Research Priority Program in Global Change and Biodiversity and Department of Geography, University of Zürich, 8057 Zürich, Switzerland
Fish Nutrition and Aquaculture Group, Department of Animal Production, Welfare and Veterinary Sciences, Harper Adams University, Newport TF10 8NB, UK
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sustainability 2019, 11(4), 1212;
Received: 2 December 2018 / Revised: 13 February 2019 / Accepted: 15 February 2019 / Published: 25 February 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Seafood Sustainability - Series I)
Aquaculture is central in meeting expanding global demands for shrimp consumption. Consequently, increasing feed use is mainly responsible for the overall environmental impact of aquaculture production. Significant amounts of fishmeal are included in shrimp diets, causing dependency on finite marine resources. Driven by economic incentives, terrestrial plant ingredients are widely viewed as sustainable alternatives. Incremental fishmeal substitution by plant ingredients in shrimp feed was modeled and effects on marine and terrestrial resources such as fish, land, freshwater, nitrogen, and phosphorus were assessed. We find that complete substitution of 20–30% fishmeal totals could lead to increasing demand for freshwater (up to 63%), land (up to 81%), and phosphorus (up to 83%), while other substitution rates lead to proportionally lower impacts. These findings suggest additional pressures on essential agricultural resources with associated socio-economic and environmental effects as a trade-off to pressures on finite marine resources. Even though the production of shrimp feed (or aquafeed in general) utilizes only a small percentage of the global crop production, the findings indicate that the sustainability of substituting fishmeal by plant ingredients should not be taken for granted, especially since aquaculture has been one of the fastest growing food sectors. Therefore, the importance of utilizing by-products and novel ingredients such as microbial biomass, algae, and insect meals in mitigating the use of marine and terrestrial resources is discussed. View Full-Text
Keywords: aquaculture; shrimp feed; fishmeal; plant ingredients; marine resources; terrestrial resources aquaculture; shrimp feed; fishmeal; plant ingredients; marine resources; terrestrial resources
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MDPI and ACS Style

Malcorps, W.; Kok, B.; van‘t Land, M.; Fritz, M.; van Doren, D.; Servin, K.; van der Heijden, P.; Palmer, R.; Auchterlonie, N.A.; Rietkerk, M.; Santos, M.J.; Davies, S.J. The Sustainability Conundrum of Fishmeal Substitution by Plant Ingredients in Shrimp Feeds. Sustainability 2019, 11, 1212.

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