Aquaculture Europe 2023

September 18 - 21, 2023


Add To Calendar 21/09/2023 09:15:0021/09/2023 09:30:00Europe/ViennaAquaculture Europe 2023SUSTAINABILITY ASSESSMENT OF NOVEL FISH FEED INGREDIENTS: A FRAMEWORK PROPOSAL WITH AN APPLICATION TO Calanus finmarchicus AND NORWEGIAN SALMON AQUACULTUREStolz 2The European Aquaculture Societywebmaster@aquaeas.orgfalseDD/MM/YYYYaaVZHLXMfzTRLzDrHmAi181982


Javier Cantilloa,* ,  Paritosh Deshpandea ,  Sepideh Jafarzadehb

aNorwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway.

bSINTEF Ocean, Trondheim, Norway.




 The aquaculture industry faces a significant challenge in obtaining affordable and sustainable feed raw materials. As a result, new potential ingredients have been researched in recent decades as replacements for traditional aquafeeds, which are already overexploited. To ensure long-term environmental sustainability, any potential replacements for the feed ingredients must have their environmental performance assessed, which is why many studies in the literature have emerged assessing the environmental impacts of alternative feed ingredients for the aquaculture sector using tools such as a life cycle assessment. However, the environmental dimension is not the only criterion to consider when looking for sustainable feed ingredients . T he social and economic dimensions of sustainability are also relevant, as demonstrated by Elkington (1998) in the Triple-bottom-line approach, and are frequently overlooked in the case of fish feed ingredients. T he use of alternative feed ingredients may have an economic impact on producers and  other stakeholders of the industry because raw material prices vary, and any changes may affect the entire production supply chain. In addition, depending on the source of the raw material, the use of alternative ingredients may affect local employment positively or negatively, while consumers may change their purchasing decisions based on their willingness to pay for more sustainable fish feed ingredients.

Future challenges for alternative feed ingredients include developing oceans in a way that is economically and environmentally sustainable while reducing reliance on the human food chain for seafood production.  The dependence on edible fish (such as anchoveta) and land-based feed ingredients (such as soy) for aquaculture feed will be reduced by using species unused for human consumption.  There are many species in the ocean, especially in the lower trophic levels, which are either not harvested or are only  marginally utilised. One of these species is Calanus (Calanus finmarchicus ),  a lipid-rich zooplankton  that is present in large amounts in the North Atlantic Ocean. Calanus is mainly  used for high-value n-3 fatty acid products for human consumption in Norway , while the protein fractions are used as attractants in starter/shrimp feed and as taste enhancers in pet food. Although the production volume is currently quite small, it has the potential to provide new and substantial quantities of marine raw materials to support the sustainable expansion of Norwegian aquaculture. With an estimated biomass of 290 million tonnes, Calanus finmarchicus is a resource  with high opportunities for its harvest and use.

Following the previous , the objectives of this investigation are twofold: (1 )  Develop a framework  for the sustainability assessment of fish feed ingredients encompassing environmental, economic and social impacts, and (2) a pply the analysed framework in the sustainability assessment  of Calanus-based feed production for Norwegian salmon aquaculture.

Materials and methods

 The framework will consider methodolog ies such as life cycle assessment , c ost-benefit analysis ,  and semi-structured interviews and questionnaires, to  address the environmental,  economic and social impacts of  alternative feed ingredients . Life cycle assessment is a technique for assessing the environmental aspects associated with a product over its life cycle. Meanwhile, cost-benefit analysis and semi-structured interviews  serve as a base for developing economic and social indicators.

Furthermore, because a comprehensive approach with environmental, economic, and social aspects is difficult due to the many different single results obtained and the use of both qualitative and quantitative information, the Multi-Criteria Decision Analysis (MCDA) method is used to address this issue. MCDA is well-known for its ease of use, transparency, and robustness in eliciting stakeholder preferences, as well as for determining the relevance and importance of each criterion used in sustainability assessments (Deshpande et al., 2020).

Results and discussion

 The framework developed consists of the following summarized steps:

  1. Mapping the life cycle stages of the production of feed’s raw materials : to ensure a comprehensive assessment, the life cycle stages of the alternative raw material from harvest to the finished product are mapped. Additionally, the effect of incorporating the ingredient in to a commercial diet could be examined. The Cradle-to-Gate system boundary can be used in conjunction with systems engineering methods to evaluate the environmental, economic , and social effects of the production method.
  2.  Data gathering and stakeholder involvement: Based on the stages of the life cycle, material, energy, and monetary flows are mapped with the participation of pertinent industrial stakeholders. As research techniques, questionnaires and semi-structured interviews are used to gather both qualitative and quantitative data relevant to the assessment.
  3. Data processing and sustainability assessment :  Processed data is fed into the framework for evaluating sustainability. The most pertinent environmental, social, and economic evaluation criteria are determined. For the chosen feed alternative, the life cycle assessment, cost-benefit analysis, and multi-criteria decision analysis research methods are used to evaluate the environmental, economic, and social aspects of sustainability.
  4.  Uncertainty analysis:  Preliminary results are processed to estimate and reduce the uncertainty in the assessment to ensure a reliable analysis. In particular, t o better understand the effects of emphasising one dimension (social, economic, and environmental) over another, a sensitivity analysis of the weights assigned to each of them is carried out.

In terms of the application of the framework to Calanus finmarchicus production, preliminary results indicate tha t  harvesting and freezing on board presents the highest environmental impacts within the supply chain . Moreover,  economic impacts are highly influenced by the production method and price of the feed material. Furthermore, it is expected that consumers are willing to pay more for salmon products in which local-based sources of feed such as Calanus are used. Also, there is a positive effect on local employment driven by a future scenario in which outsourced feed ingredients are partially replaced with local feed ingredients such as Calanus. M ore concrete and updated results will be presented at the conference.


 This investigation is part of an industry-academic collaborative research project (CalaFeed - Enhancing the potential of Calanus as raw material for sustainable aquaculture feed ingredients) funded by the  Norwegian Research Council (NRC).  This investigation is part of WP4, which aims to perform a comparative sustainability assessment encompassing environmental footprints, economic feasibility and social impacts of Calanus-based feed production compared to traditional feed ingredients.


 Deshpande, P. C., et al. (2020). Multi-criteria decision analysis (MCDA) method for assessing the sustainability of end-of-life alternatives for waste plastics: A case study of Norway. Sci Total Environ: 137353.

Elkington, J. (1998). Partnerships from cannibals with forks: The triple bottom line of 21stcentury business. Environ Qual Manag 8(1): 37-51