By Development Communication Section / B Acosta and JM de Pili
Marine resources such as fish meal and fish oil are major feed components of aquaculture feed and are under increasing exploitation due to the increased volume of feed production in the ASEAN region. The efficient use of aquaculture feeds and continued research for developing suitable alternative protein sources to reduce dependence on fish meal and other fish-based products were adopted by the ASEAN member states in June 2011 as part of their Plan of Action on Sustainable Fisheries for Food Security until 2020. To pursue this recommendation, the Aquaculture Department (AQD) and the Secretariat of SEAFDEC, and the Government of Myanmar, through funds provided by the Japanese Trust Fund (JTF) and ASEAN-Japan Solidarity Fund, convened the Regional Technical Consultation (RTC) on “Development and Use of Alternative Dietary Ingredients or Fish Meal Substitutes in Aquaculture Feed Formulation”. The meeting brought together over 50 participants from SEAFDEC Member Countries, technical experts on aquaculture feed, officers from the ASEAN Foundation, from SEAFDEC and the FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific (FAO/RAP), and representatives from feed companies to Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar on 9-11 December 2014.
The participants reviewed the status of developing alternative dietary ingredients for aquaculture feeds in the Member Countries. Country representatives gave updates on utilization of fish by-catch, fish meal and plant protein sources in commercial aquafeed production as well as feeding practices to improve feed efficiency. Constraints and recommendations on the use of fish meal and plant protein sources in aquaculture feed were later discussed. Invited speakers, including the feed and nutrition experts from SEAFDEC/AQD, presented the technological developments on the use of plants and other alternative feed ingredients as protein sources in aquaculture feeds and the existing regional policies and initiatives that limit the use of feed ingredients of marine origin.
The highlight of the meeting was a workshop session where participants, in working groups, identified the key issues in the thematic areas, the research gaps and the recommendations for the three trophic groupings, categorized according to their feeding habits – herbivores, carnivores and omnivores. The session culminated with a plenary presentation on the regional policy recommendations and immediate actions needed for the development and use of alternative dietary ingredients in aquaculture feed formulation. The meeting ended with a renewed commitment of the ASEAN member states, regional organizations and other partners in the region to enhance collaborative efforts and strengthen partnerships in reducing dependence of aquaculture on feed ingredients of animal origin.