Status of aquaculture feed and feed ingredient production and utilisation in Malaysia

Since 2012 Malaysia produced has produced around 65,000 metric tonnes of fish meal annually. With that amount of dry powdered form, an estimated 216,000 metric tonnes of fisheries by-catch were processed into fish meal annually, leaving 44,300 metric tonnes of by-catch that would be used directly as marine fish feed.

Due to the high market value of marine fish most marine cage culture operators alternately feed their fish with commercial pellets. They follow the trend in seabass culture which now relies totally on pelleted feed, whether farm- or factory-made since 2013. The fish meal inclusion level in aquaculture feed in Malaysia is estimated at 15% for marine species and 11% for freshwater species. However, technical feasibility of total replacement of fish meal and fish oil has been established for freshwater finfish since 2014 especially for the African catfish, Clarias sp.

Soybean meal is the major plant ingredient used to partly replace fish meal and to balance the required protein. It was recorded that 1.4 million metric tonnes of soybean was imported into Malaysia in 2014, of which 36,246 metric tonnes are estimated to have been used in feed for both marine and freshwater fish. Malaysia also imported 1.5 million tonnes of wheat meal and 3.2 million tonnes of corn meal. Utilisation of these energy-based ingredients in aquaculture feed were estimated at 120,000 tonnes in 2014.

Based on production statistics and prevailing food conversion ratios, it was estimated that more than 293,000 tonnes of aquaculture feed was produced either locally or imported from neighboring countries in 2015. By 2020, it is estimated that almost 1.1 million tonnes of aquaculture feed will need to be produced yearly based on targeted production while the local feed millers currently only produce around 170,000 tonnes per year. During a workshop with local feed millers in March 2016, they agreed to expand capacity to produce 500,000 tonnes of feed annually by 2020, while the balance of 600,000 tonnes will need to be farm-made.

With regards to the increasing price of fish meal, soybean meal and fish oil, local feed millers had started to replace fish meal, soybean meal and fish oil in their feed formulations since the increasing feed cost hindered the ability of farmers to buy their feed.

Common feeding practices in shrimp and fish hatcheries could be improved in order to sustain aquaculture production. Traditionally, both shrimp and fish broodstock were fed with unprocessed, raw, frozen feed for example squid, polychaetes, fresh fish and bivalves as maturation diets. However, in larval rearing it would not even be possible to eliminate the use of live feed such as Artemia, rotifers and copepods. Many studies have shown that these fresh feed and live feeds are potential disease carriers. In addition, uncontrolled activities of selling raw polychaetes as fishing bait further spread diseases. According to OIE, pathogens can be inactivated or destroyed when heated or cooked sufficiently.

In order to improve feed and feeding practices, DOF Malaysia organises training courses on good aquaculture practice on feed management feed formulation and fish nutrition for farmers and government officials. In addition, there are measures taken to monitor feed and feeding practices through auditing process on aquaculture farms and feed millers in Malaysia based on Good Aquaculture Practices (MyGAP), Feed Store and the Feed Mill Monitoring Program under several legislation and regulation such as the Fisheries Act 1985 and Animal Feed Act 2009. DOF Malaysia also organising programs on good aquaculture practice awareness for feed millers and farmers to implement relevant rules and act to reduce the use of fish meal and fish oil.

Several studies on fish meal and fish oil replacement in aquaculture feed using poultry by-product meal, fermented shrimp head waste, soybean meal, palm oil and soybean oil as well as the use of biofloc technology in white shrimp farming have been discussed. Thus, in order to sustain fish production, besides facilitating high-value marine fish species aquaculture production, DOF Malaysia also promoting farming of freshwater fish species such as tilapia and catfish with low or zero fish meal content in diets. Lastly, research and development on fish meal and fish oil substitution in aquaculture feed with locally available ingredients is still ongoing by DOF Malaysia, universities and the private sector.


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Regional Consultation on Responsible Production and Use of Feed and Feed Ingredients for Sustainable Growth of Aquaculture in Asia-Pacific

A regional consultation on aquaculture feed production and use in Asia-Pacific was held from 7-9 March 2017. The consultation reviewed the current situation of aquaculture feed production and use, sourcing of ingredients, policy and research needs. This collection contains audio recordings of the technical presentations made by experts, international organisations, the private sector and governments in the region. The report of the consultation is in press and will be made available for download in due course.