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Editor's Note: Feed issue runs deep

Property of SeaFood Business magazine
By Fiona Robinson, Editor in Chief
October 01, 2008

When it comes to higher commodity prices and the economy, no one has been left unscathed, including aquaculture companies. Feeding fish is not just a "drop-pellets-in-the-water-and-watch-it-boil" affair. Fish farmers, long the darling of the retail and restaurant industries that have been able to plan buying programs far in advance, are facing increased pressures to raise prices.

Assistant Editor James Wright peels back the complexity of the subject in this issue's Top Story, Feeding Frenzy, on p. 24. Any reader who deals with farmed seafood will be interested in learning about the many variables aquaculture producers are facing when it comes to feed, not the least of which is skyrocketing fishmeal prices.

This is the seafood industry, after all, so you can't escape watchful NGO eyes. Non-governmental organizations are pressuring fish farmers to reduce fishmeal concentrations in some feeds, which they claim reduce s pressure on subsistence fisheries like anchovies. The story also touches on the growing fish-oil supplement market, which is siphoning more and more fish oil once destined for the fish-feed market.

As this issue went to press, overseas headlines detailed that some fish feeds in South Korea were contaminated with melamine, a plastic byproduct that can be used to increase the protein content of food but can be lethal if consumed in large amounts. Chinese officials were quick to point out that the fish feed ingredients, contaminated squid powder, did not come from China - yet another reason fish farmers are on edge. The fish-feed dilemma is complex, and considering the aquaculture industry's rapid growth, one that will be in the spotlight for years to come.


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