Feed resources

Salmon is the farmed animal that utilises feed most effectively. Today, 1.15 kg feed is used to produce 1 kg of salmon. Though the content of marine omega-3 in farmed salmon has decreased due to the increased use of vegetable raw materials in the feed, salmon remains a very good source of these healthy fatty acids.

Salmon is the farmed animal that utilises feed most effectively. Today, 1.15 kg feed is used to produce 1 kg of salmon. Though the content of marine omega-3 in farmed salmon has decreased due to the increased use of vegetable raw materials in the feed, salmon remains a very good source of these healthy fatty acids. 

Norwegian farmed salmon are fed with dry feed containing protein, fat, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals and pigment. Traditionally, fish meal and fish oil have been the most important components of the feed, but recent years have seen an increase in the use of vegetable raw materials. About half of the ingredients in the feed are now vegetable, while the remainder come from marine raw materials. Fish meal and fish oil have traditionally been produced from so-called industrial grade fish, i.e. fish that are not normally used for human consumption. Global production of fish meal and fish oil has been more or less constant over the last 30 years. More recently, trimmings and by-products from fisheries and fish processing facilities have become an important source of marine materials in feed. 

It is an internationally accepted principle that there should be a ban on recycling of the same species, i.e. cannibalism. This is well taken care of in the production of fish feed; all fish meal and fish oil used in the production of feed for salmon and trout come from white fish.

After the outbreak of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE, or mad cow disease) in Europe, all use of meat and bone meal from ruminants and monogastric animals in animal feed was forbidden. There is now scientific evidence that the use of protein from monogastric animals such as pigs and poultry does not represent any risk of transmitting such diseases. Analytical methods have also been developed that can determine whether the protein in a feed mix comes from ruminants or not, and the EU has now allowed the protein from monogastric animals to be used in fish feed after prior treatment. 

The government sets requirements to ensure that the feed is of high quality, that the fish are not harmed by the feed and that people who eat the fish are not harmed in doing so. These are common requirements throughout the EU/EEA. The Norwegian Food Safety Authority verifies that companies producing fish feed comply with the legislation. In addition, Norway has a national monitoring programme for undesirable substances in fish feed. This has shown that the feed is safe for fish and provides safe and healthy food for the consumer. Both the Food Safety Authority and the Norwegian National Institute of Nutrition and Seafood Research can provide further information. 

It is important that the fish used in feed comes from well-managed stocks, and thus does not contribute to the depletion of marine resources. Norway works actively to combat IUU (illegal, unreported and unregulated) fishing internationally. The UN Food and Agriculture Organisation approved a Norwegian proposal for a global agreement on port state control (2009) and it was a Norwegian initiative that led the FAO to develop and adopt international guidelines to reduce discards and bycatch (2011). The FAO Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries is an established global standard for good governance that can be used to assess whether a fishery is sustainably managed.