What is FIN's mission?

“In a world dominated by communication and information, a world that jumps from crisis to crisis, there is a fundamental challenge to humanity that is lurking just beneath the waves. Within 25 years, if nothing changes, we will have fished the oceans into extinction. Today, we continue to need the ocean to feed the animals that we eat. And a growing global population that is moving out of poverty means that we will shortly need 50 million more tons of fish. Every year. Unless our human ingenuity can pioneer new ways of feeding the animals we need to eat, there will be no more fish in the sea, and there will be a protein-shortage world-wide.

At the Feed Innovation Network, we believe that this ingenuity exists. Indeed we believe that many of the solutions that we will need to feed the planet have already been invented. And as a result, our promise is simple and our mandate is real and unwavering:

We will work tirelessly to bring together those with ideas and solutions to create renewable and sustainable ways to feed our planet. We will engage those with vision and those with the means to transform that vision into reality so that together we create a tomorrow where we have the means to nourish both our planet and our children. Our determination will not wane to identify, curate, nurture, and inspire those who are pioneering and scaling the solutions for sustainably feeding our growing global population. For we know that only when we, the innovators, producers, investors, scientists and dreamers, all come together as equals can we hope to succeed.”

— Jon Duschinsky

What is FIN's strategy?
Our strategy is to facilitate a collaborative effort between NGOs, researchers, companies and private partnerships to accelerate the commercialization of innovative, alternative aquaculture feed ingredients to replace wild-caught fish. Central to this strategy is a global collaboration through shared protocols, an ingredient database, and through periodic meetings and newsletters.
What is FIN's database?

One of the major goals of FIN is to share experimental and testing protocols, and to make information available that are yielded from these shared protocols in a database on alternative ingredients used in fish feed.  The shared protocols makes it possible for ingredient efficacy to be compared, in a searchable format that displays relevant data for fish physiology and aquafeed performance (including but not limited to ingredient types, nutritional value, any available palatability and digestibility trial related data… etc.).  This database will be provided for public access.

What are some of the concerns with using bycatch and seafood processing byproducts for fish meal and fish oils?

There is a lot of good information on fishing bycatch and the processed waste of seafood being used as ingredients back into aquaculture diets, normally for unrelated species. While we agree that these are efficient uses of these resources, there are also many problems. Bycatch and seafood processing byproducts are often and increasingly used for direct human consumption. In addition, removing forage fish and bycatch from the ocean impacts animals higher in the marine food chain, such as seabirds, marine mammals, and larger fish. Many studies have documented the decline in large predatory species. It is also important to point out that processing waste produces low-quality fish meal and fish oil, as high-quality protein and oils have been removed. The high bone and scale content meal that is left is an inferior ingredient, but nevertheless does contribute 10-15% of the global fish meal supply and extends the supply of fish meal as overfishing continues in some parts of the world.

We have an ingredient company with an ingredient that is promising for aquaculture. What do I need to do to determine the market potential, and break into the aquafeed industry?

Aquafeed companies are keenly interested in alternative ingredients to replace fishmeal and fish oil, because of their high cost. But, ingredient replacement is risky. To prove to aquafeed companies that your ingredient has promise, we recommend you follow the recommended Ingredient Evaluation Process outlined here.

It is well documented that the inclusion of omega-3 fatty acids, including docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid or (EPA), in the human diet are beneficial by supporting normal growth, immunity, and improving cardiovascular and brain health. However, can the human body convert short chain omega-3s, including alpho-lenic acid (ALA) and stearidonic acid (SDA) found in plants and seeds, into longer chain omega-3s, including EPA and DHA? If so, does this negate the need for humans to consume foods that contain naturally occurring long-chain omega-3s, like fish?

While EPA and DHA can be synthesized from ALA and SDA in the human body, due to low conversion efficiency, it is highly recommended to obtain EPA and DHA from additional sources, including fish and other marine products1. Studies have shown a great deal of variability, but typically less than 10% of ALA is converted to EPA and DHA2, 3.

1 http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/other-nutrients/essential-fatty-acids#metabolism-bioavailability
2 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9637947
3 http://www.dhaomega3.org/Overview/Conversion-Efficiency-of-ALA-to-DHA-in-Humans

Are you against using seafood in aquaculture feeds?

No. In fact, we are considering another prize targeted towards recycling farmed fish waste. However, we want to increase the options available for alternative oil sources for aquafeeds since the supply of wild caught fish and in particular forage fish, which are the most common source of oil used in aquafeeds, is at risk. More innovation is needed to find additional ingredients and cost effective formulations if the industry is to continue to grow.