AQUACULTUREINSECTS

Insects to serve as alternatives for fish feed

There are several carnivorous and omnivorous fish included in the human diet. These fish feed on other fishes and insects but due to increasing fishmeal prices, aquaculturists tend to feed them plant-based feeds as an alternative. But these substitutes lack the nutrients that the fish needs, which the EU hopes that insect-based feeds will be able to provide when it legislated that animals in aquaculture can be fed insect meal.

Processed animal protein (PAP) from insects contain more amino acids than those of soy-based. The fatty acids needed to produce fish oil that possess high amounts of omega-3 are important in fishes’ diet. Alpha-linolenic acids can be extracted from insects, not as of quality as those from fishes but surpasses those from vegetables. To add up to that, insects’ fatty acid composition can be modified to fit the needs of the fishes.

There are actual disadvantages of turning to insects as feed. First is it carries an antinutritional factor called chitin. It is said that this substance disrupts the nutrient absorption ability of fishes. Another one is that insects are low in calcium and phosphorus except for one insect, the black soldier fly larvae. These two are needed for the fishes’ faster growth and development.

Black soldier fly, housefly, mealworm or yellow mealworm, lesser mealworm or letter beetle, house cricket, tropical house cricket or banded cricket, and Jamaican field cricket are the species of insects allowed to be used as fish feeds.

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