CSIRO, (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation), Australia’s national science agency, have produced the perfect feed additive for prawns, which increases growth rate by about 30 percent, creates healthier prawns and is produced with no fish products in their diet, a world-first achievement in sustainability.
The Novacq prawn feed additive is a “game changer” according to CSIRO’s Dr Nigel Preston, who has been working with the A$75 million (€52.5 million) Australian prawn farming industry for over 25 years.
“This is a major achievement for the sustainability of Australia’s aquaculture industry as prawns fed this diet are not only a top quality product and reach market size faster, they also no longer need to be fed with any products from wild fishery resources.” Dr Preston said.
Until now, Australian prawn farmers have needed to feed their prawns with a pellet that includes some sustainably sourced fish meal or fish oil, in order to ensure that the prawns grew fast, and were a healthy and high quality product for consumers.
Novacq is an entirely natural food source based on the smallest organisms in the marine environment, the marine microbes which are the foundation of the marine food pyramid. It is based on over 10 years of CSIRO research to understand the natural marine microbial processes that occur in prawn farm ponds and natural marine estuaries, and the role of microbes in prawn nutrition.
Its production relies on the controlled production of these marine microbes. CSIRO researchers have discovered how to feed and harvest them, and convert them into a product that can then be added to feeds as a bioactive ingredient, like a dietary supplement for prawns.
Including Novacq in the diet of farmed prawns has shown for the first time that fish meal and fish oil can be completely replaced in the prawn diet, potentially freeing the prawn aquaculture industry from reliance on wild fishery resources.
Australian owned and based Ridley AgriProducts have taken a licence to produce and distribute Novacq in Australia and several South-East Asian countries.