With the increased demand for healthful seafood in our diet, soy-fed farmed fish represent a way that the land can sustain the sea. The current demand for fish and seafood consumption has reached the level where the world’s oceans can supply only 50 percent of the global need. Seafood consumption seems likely to continue to grow, since seafood is a popular protein and an integral part of many global cuisines.
With seafood consumption on the rise and seafood supplies decreasing, farmed fish is helping to close the gap between supply and demand. Based on current seafood consumption levels, by the year 2030 we will require an additional 41 million tons of fish per year just to maintain today’s seafood consumption levels.
Sustainability is all about feeding the world while being good stewards of the environment. Soybeans have long been recognized for their environmental benefits, including their ability to fix nitrates in the soil when planted in rotation with corn and other crops. In addition, soybean-based fish feed for aquaculture is an efficient use of animal feed.
U.S. soybeans have played a part in increasing the sustainability and affordability of the global supply of farm-raised seafood. Soybean meal is rich in nutrients that result in growing healthy farmed fish. It is a renewable plant protein offering an amino acid complex that meets nutritional needs of a majority of freshwater fish species.
Consumers may derive health benefits from eating sustainably raised fish that have a controlled diet from hatch to harvest. Soy-fed farmed fish are free of mercury content, as well as environmental contaminants such as PCB.
With farmed fish now accounting for half the fish consumed worldwide, soy-based fish feeds can play an increasingly important role in the future. Soy-fed farmed fish make it possible for us incorporate more seafood into our diets and enjoy the numerous nutrient benefits—including Omega-3s. Soy-based feeds are rich in protein and nutrients, including Omega-3 fatty acids to help grow healthy fish. U.S. soybeans in aquaculture feed also can replace up to half the wild-caught fishmeal/ fish oil, and unlike wild resources, soy feed can be scaled up to meet growing needs.