Future of Fish Feed (F3) is a collaborative effort between NGOs, researchers, and private partnerships to accelerate the commercialization of innovative, substitute aquaculture feed ingredients to replace wild-caught fish. Reliance on wild-caught fish is unsustainable since their populations are declining.
In 2015 we launched the first F3 Challenge, the F3 Fish-Free Feed Challenge, to create Fish Free Feeds for aquaculture, also called F3. The winner of this challenge was announced in October 2017 at the Global Aquaculture Alliance in Dublin. The challenge was for an aquafeed company to either produce and sell the most seafood-free aquaculture feed using innovative formulations of proteins and lipids by the challenge end date, September 15, 2017, or be the first to reach 100,000 metric tons (mT) of seafood-free feed sales. Companies from Australia, Austria, China, Indonesia, Myanmar, South Africa, Thailand, and the U.S. competed. A list of companies that had sales of verified F3 feed products is here.
To facilitate networking between the contestants of the F3 Fish-Free Feed Challenge and large feed companies, we held the first F3 Meeting in the San Francisco Bay Area in January 2017. Discussions at this meeting prompted the development of our Feed Innovation Network, which encourages sustainable innovations in fish-free aquaculture feed ingredients by sharing experimental protocols, and directing ingredient companies to test facilities that can implement these protocols.
Guangdong Evergreen Feed Industry Co. was the winner of the F3 Fish-Free Feed Challenge, selling over 84,000 metric tons of feed to the industry in 16 months. Check out their acceptance speech here.
Our second F3 Challenge, the F3 Fish Oil Challenge, aimed to find fish oil replacements that contain essential fatty acids in ratios that mimic the average fatty acid profile found in forage fish. The prize was for the team that sold the greatest amount of DHA + EPA + ARA as calculated from sales of qualified F3 Oil by the end of the Challenge. The winner was announced in October 2019 at the Global Aquaculture Alliance’s GOAL Conference in Chennai, India.
In February 2019 we hosted the second F3 Meeting to bring together feed companies and contestants of the current F3 Challenge. We are eager to see how these connections accelerate the use of fish oil substitutes in aquaculture and hopeful that the positive impact our challenge has had is only just the beginning. Check out highlights from the 2019 F3 Meeting here.
Our third and current F3 Challenge is the F3 Challenge: Carnivore Edition. The goal of this challenge is to reduce aquaculture’s demand for forage fish by advancing substitute feeds for the industry’s biggest consumers of forage fish: salmon, shrimp, and other carnivorous species.
The Feed Innovation Network, supports the innovation and widespread adoption of substitute fish-free feed ingredients by providing information on experimental protocols, testing facilities, and promising new ingredients.
F3FIN.org hosts resources for ingredient suppliers, aquafeed companies, fish farmers, researchers, investors, and policymakers:
• F3 Suppliers – F3 ingredient and feed company profiles
• Open formulas for F3 feeds
• Evaluation protocols and testing facilities
• Forage Fish Savings Estimator
We have created a Forage Fish Savings Estimator to assist innovative ingredient companies, that can provide nutritionally equivalent replacements for fishmeal and fish oil, in calculating the number of forage fish saved. Based on our calculations, the first F3 contest saved approximately 350 million fish and the second contest saved over 2 billion fish.
“Fishmeal alternatives continue to be developed, like algae, bacteria from methane production or microbial proteins from carbon dioxide sequestration. We are trying to turn plant-based ingredients into animal-based ingredients… The trick is to make plant meal behave like fishmeal, not to turn carnivores into herbivores.
Fish do not require fishmeal. They require the nutrients that fishmeal happens to contain. That is why fishmeal has been used so much in aquaculture. If you take the fishmeal out, you must supplement with other ingredients to get the necessary nutrients, hence the need to develop other protein sources. If diets are formulated correctly and contain all essential nutrients, growth rate and feed efficiency will be good.”Dr. Rick Barrows, F3 Chief Scientific Officer