Today 24% of all seafood consumed in the European Union comes from aquaculture. In order to reduce environmental pressures by aquaculture on marine ecosystems, aquaculture needs to become more sustainable. A cornerstone in achieving this goal is to introduce alternative feeds, which do not use fishmeal and fish oil. For this, protein-rich insect larvae have particularly great potential.

On the 1st July 2017 the European Parliament passed the Regulation 2017/893 which for the first time will allow seven insect species (Black Soldier Fly, Common Housefly, Yellow Mealworm, Lesser Mealworm, House cricket, Banded cricket and Field Cricket) to be used as feed ingredient in aquaculture fish feed. These species were approved as they are not defined as invasive species and are known to not transmit diseases. In a push to reduce the dependence on fish oil and meal from wild fisheries the regulation allows for the inclusion of insects that are fed with vegetable or animal substrates (e.g. egg products, milk based-products, honey, etc.).

Seas At Risk welcomes the regulation, as it fulfils one of its key asks from its 2015 published position paper on sustainable aquaculture feed ingredients and creates an opportunity to use more non-fish based feed ingredients in fish feed, thus supporting further research and innovative solutions being trialled. 

Picture aquaculture insects