Disruptive and forward-looking opportunities for competitive and sustainable aquaculture

INvertebrateIT meets Dutch aquaculture and insects’ producers

Representatives from almost 40 leading European research, industry and policy organisations in the field of invertebrate production met with Dutch invertebrate and fish producers at their cutting-edge facilities in The Netherlands as part of an initiative for knowledge and expertise exchange in the sector.

The visits, which took place in March, were part of the EU-funded InvertebrateIT project, which aims to respond to challenges in food security and sustainability through the use of invertebrate-based alternatives for fish feed in aquaculture. Fish-based feeds typically used at aquaculture farms are costly and unsustainable, preventing the sector’s global growth.

The technical visits started with a tour of Delta Farms, a producer of polychaete worms for fishing baits, maturation feeds for aquaculture and for specialised pharmaceutical products. Mr Ide Meijering gave an overview of the production process, showing how the polychaetes are grown, harvested and processed, guaranteed specific pathogen-free and optimised nutritional potential for shrimp feed.

The group then visited Sea Farm, in Kamperland. The visit was facilitated by Mr Adri Bout, the founder of Sea Farm, who explained the innovative and efficient company’s methods regarding turbot production, stressing the sustainability and animal care concerns, among others by not using antibiotics. The visit also included Sea Farm’s shellfish processing facilities, and how unused razorfish biomass was collected for trials as fish feed ingredients.

The technical visits finished at Koppert Biological Systems, which are world leaders in producing a wide range of invertebrates for environmental services (e.g. pollination), biological pest control and bio stimulants that support and strengthen the crops. Mr Jonathan Koppert, Business Development Manager, led a tour on the company’s Experience Centre, stressing the know-how on insect production processes that can be of interest for the aquaculture sector.

From the perspective of New Generation Nutrition, who are focusing on the potential of insects for feed and food in the Netherlands and internationally, the visits were of great value to the event. “Our visits to these businesses further showed that insects and other invertebrates can be used to make sustainable and financially successful business models for the aquaculture sector. It also highlighted how we can integrate these innovations into our aquaculture system, in order to move towards an environmentally sustainable sector that has real potential for success.”