We asked our Norwegian colleagues to share most typical queries (about QRILL Aqua and Aker BioMarine) they hear from salmon farmers and feed producers across Norway.
Here’s how we answer our top 5 most frequently asked questions.
1. During which life stages should QRILL Aqua be used, and what are the main benefits?
Aker BioMarine: QRILL Aqua is a complete ingredient that suits the nutritional needs of the fish throughout their lifecycle. Due to its unique composition with high omega-3 levels in phospholipid form, as well as its fitting amino acid profile and abundant supply of vitamins and minerals, QRILL Aqua can function both as part of everyday feed and in a functional feed when used in higher volumes, depending on the specific needs of the farmer. However, to get the most value from the product, we recommend giving QRILL Aqua to the fish during particularly challenging stages of development.
Transfer feed: There is significant value in giving the fish QRILL Aqua in the diet from release until the fish is about 1 kg. When salmon are transferred to the sea, their appetite may decline due to stress. In addition, the fish go through a critical production phase during the period right after transfer, which can present challenges for both growth and health. The taste of krill will entice the fish to consume the feed quickly and the nutrients inside the feed will contribute to faster growth and improved health, which is important for building resilience at this vulnerable life stage. A good start is very important for the overall production result. The use of QRILL in this phase is also considered cost-effective, as the fish at this time are especially in need of high-quality nutrients, such as marine protein and omega-3, and the total feed volume required for a good result is lower versus in later phases.
Health feed: In aquaculture today, there are many situations in which stress and diseases can present challenges for fish health. Good feed with abundant omega-3, phospholipids, marine protein, and vitamins has in many cases been shown to strengthen the fish and result in less developmental damage during stressful situations. QRILL Aqua, due to its key nutrients, can help strengthen the immune system as well as the heart muscles, reduce inflammatory reactions in the gills, skin, and organs, and can thus help increase resistance and support recovery after injury.
Slaughter diet: In the final stage before slaughter, it is important that the fish eat well and stay healthy. To achieve a high-quality consumer product, nutrition is the key to success. QRILL Aqua contains omega-3 in phospholipid form, as well as several minerals and vitamins, which have been shown to increase qualitative parameters. In the final phase before harvest, QRILL Aqua will also contribute to improved growth and more robust fish.
The hatchery phase: The high-quality proteins and amino acids in krill are important building blocks for optimizing fry growth. The need for phospholipids is high during this stage. In the freshwater phase, fish double their weight many times over and therefore have a significant need for good nutritional building blocks. In this phase, the nutritional profile of QRILL Aqua can contribute to both increased growth and improved health.
Contact us or ask you feed supplier for how you and your fish can benefit from QRILL Aqua in your feeds.
2. How will the use of krill affect the price of our feed?
Aker BioMarine: Realistically, the feed price per kilo will slightly increase, but the feed cost per kilo of fish produced will go down.
QRILL Aqua is slightly higher priced than soy products and fishmeal products. However, QRILL Aqua has a higher fat percentage than these products and is a cheaper source of omega-3 than fish oil. In addition, some components of QRILL Aqua have a lower cost than chemical or concentrated sources. By including a certain amount of QRILL Aqua in your feed, production will improve and will be worth the investment, when used correctly.
3. Why choose krill over other alternative ingredients?
Aker BioMarine: QRILL Aqua provides biological benefits and improves your production. It’s an ingredient that can compensate for weaknesses in other feed ingredients, for example by adding flavor and important nutrients. QRILL Aqua is well documented and widely used by leading breeders worldwide. During our 15 years as an ingredient supplier, Aker BioMarine has overcome many of the challenges that new raw material suppliers face today, including traceability, scalability and establishing a strong supply chain. Today, krill is known as a well-documented, natural, highly sustainable, and superior alternative ingredient to traditional marine ingredients.
4. Is krill available and sustainably harvested? And does the krill fishery take food from the whales, penguins, and other Antarctic animals?
Aker BioMarine: The krill fishery is rated as the most sustainable fishery in the world by independent organizations. The krill biomass was 60.3 million tons in 2000, and it was measured to be 62.6 million tons in 2019. This is a strong indicator of the health and stability of krill. The krill fishery catches less than the krill quota limit of 1% each year, which helps ensure healthy volumes of QRILL Aqua in the years to come. Since the krill biomass is closely monitored and has grown over the past two decades, there is more than enough supply for both whales and farmed fish. In addition, our fishing boats feature patented Eco-Harvesting technology onboard that reduces bycatch to a minimum.
5. Can QRILL Aqua contribute to a reduced CO2 footprint in feed formulation for salmon?
Aker BioMarine: Yes, it can, although it depends on which ingredient it replaces in the feed. QRILL Aqua has a lower CO2 footprint than several of the other, similar raw materials found in traditional fish feed, and it has less than half the carbon footprint of Brazilian soy.
In a "Shades of Green" report on Aker BioMarine, the following was stated: The company's products sold to the aquaculture sector have climate-reducing and environmental benefits because they can replace fishmeal, which is associated with overfishing, and soy, which is associated with deforestation. The krill fishery is also very well regulated and certified as one of the most sustainable fisheries in the world.
• Over the past ten years, Aker BioMarine has more than halved its CO2 emissions per ton of krill produced.
• The company aims to cut its CO2 footprint in half from 2020 to 2030 and is on track to achieving this target.
• Through smart use of data to drive innovation, Aker BioMarine aims for emission reductions on board vessels, in process plants, and in across its operations.
• Harvesting from low trophic levels in the sea also helps reduce pressure on wild fish stocks, while at the same time providing high-quality marine ingredients to the aquaculture industry.