Competition has three categories: salmon, shrimp and other carnivorous species
Competitors in the F3 Challenge–Carnivore Edition sold a combined total of more than 3,000 metric tons (3 million kilograms) of fish-free feed at the first reporting mark.
The F3 Challenge contests aim to spark innovation in the aquafeed industry to find viable, cost-competitive aquafeed ingredients and feeds free of fishmeal and fish oil. The overarching goal is to eliminate the need for wild-caught fish and other marine animals in aquaculture feeds.
“I believe we are seeing the rising tide of novel ingredients coming online disrupting the industry as the decreasing costs of the novel ingredients are matching the increasing costs of fishmeal and fish oil,” said Kevin Fitzsimmons, F3 Challenge chair and professor at the University of Arizona. “We are especially pleased that environmental groups who have criticized the use of forage fishes in aquaculture feeds have contributed to the solution by supporting this contest and other efforts to improve the sustainability of the aquaculture industry.”
An award of U.S. $100,000 will be presented to the winner of three categories – salmon, shrimp and other carnivorous species. The first benchmark is to submit feed samples that are verified to be free of fishmeal and fish oil, while the second is to submit sales quantities.
Companies can team up with other companies, as Star Milling Co./ The Scoular Company have done; the team is leading in the salmonid category. Meanwhile, the team of Empagran/Veramaris is leading in the shrimp category. Jiangsu Fuhai Biotech Co., Ltd leads the other carnivorous species category with its largemouth bass feed.
A combined total of 145 MT (145,255 kilograms) of F3 feed was sold by the three competitors in the salmonid category, 2,951 MT (2,950,950 kilograms) of F3 feed was sold by the three competitors in the shrimp category, and 7.72 MT (7,720 kilograms) was sold by the two competitors in the other carnivorous species category.
Eight qualifying fish-free feed entrants were submitted by six contestants competing toward $300,000 in prize money. Contestants began recording sales as of Oct. 1, 2020, or after submitting their feed. Qualifying feeds must be free of marine animals, including but not limited to fish, squid, shrimp and krill.
All sales reported by companies remain unverified. F3 Challenge judges will verify F3 feed sales prior to announcing the winners per the contest rules. Sponsors of the F3 Challenge include the University of Arizona, The Campbell Foundation, Synbiobeta, The Nature Conservancy, University of Massachusetts-Boston, Anthropocene Institute, Dawson Family Fund, Sustainable Ocean Alliance, Tides Foundation, Cuna Del Mar, the National Renderers Association and Shanghai Jiao Tong University.
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At the F3 (fish-free feed) Companies Got Talent event in Burlingame, Calif., last week, alternative (non-marine) aquafeed ingredient companies spoke of decoupling aquaculture from fishmeal and fish oil in their quest for greater sustainability.
The inaugural F3 Challenge sought to drive innovation in the aquafeed sector and reduce aquaculture's reliance on marine ingredients like fishmeal and fish oil.
Kevin Fitzsimmons, leader of the F3 (fish-free feed) Challenge, says aquaculture may currently depend on fishmeal and fish oil, but farmed fish do not.
IFFO Director General Petter M. Johannessen says fishmeal and fish oil offer unmatched nutrition and benefits to fuel aquaculture’s growth trajectory.