Use of soybean meal and soy protein concentrate as alternatives to fish meal in practical feeds for milkfish

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Category: Aquaculture

Region: Southeast Asia


Milkfish, Chanos chanos, is an important food fish in Southeast Asia and its aquaculture potential is fast growing in the Philippines, Indonesia, Taiwan, and other Southeast Asian countries. The Philippines produced about 375,000 metric tons of milkfish in 2011 (BAS 2012) with 60% coming from brackish water ponds, 20% coming from freshwater cages and pens, and 20% coming from marine floating net cages. The intensification of milkfish aquaculture will require the use of a more cost-effective and low pollution formulated feed and a better production technology that would be sustainable for generations to come.

The primary goal of this project is to build demand for soy products in aquaculture markets in the Philippines and Southeast Asia by investigating the use of soy products, soybean meal (SBM) and soy protein concentrate (SPC), as alternatives to fish meal in practical feeds for milkfish. Before soy products can be applied as alternatives to fishmeal in milkfish feed, the protein to energy requirement of milkfish should be determined using practical diets. Once known, the maximum tolerance level of milkfish to soybean meal and soy protein concentrate using practical diets should be determined. Finally, a milkfish feed containing optimum levels of soybean meal and soy protein concentrate could be formulated and pilot-tested in marine floating net cages and shown to be shown to be both cost effective and environment-friendly. In addition, field-testing of this formulation could be done through the USB International Marketing Program.

The research was done in the facilities of the Aquaculture Department of the Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Center (SEAFDEC AQD) at Tigbauan, Iloilo which has a robust capability to conduct the research because of its decades-long involvement in milkfish nutrition and feed development as well as its active involvement in training and information dissemination on sustainable aquaculture in the Southeast Asian region.

A cost-effective and low pollution milkfish feed will benefit not only soybean producers and traders but also fish farmers, aquafeed manufacturers, fish nutritionists, academics, students, and other stakeholders of sustainable milkfish aquaculture.