Fish farm to table: healthy fish for a growing population
Low impact treatment concept for efficient, sustainable fish farming
Did you know that aquaculture – or fish farming – is one of the fastest-growing industries in food production? Yes, that’s because it is an efficient, sustainable way to produce animal protein to feed rising populations. Solvay’s partner - Aqua Pharma’s - parasite control system improves the viability and sustainability of this growing industry, thus contributing to the well-being of fish and the people who consume them. In September 2019, Solvay took another important step by partnering with joint venture partner Aqua Pharma Group, combining a great product with a great treatment method.
With the global population set to reach 10 billion (!) by 2050, one of the biggest challenges we face is to feed the increasing population with limited resources - and Solvay is proud to contribute to meeting that challenge through various products and solutions.
“For fish and protein, aquaculture is the only sustainable way to meet the growing demand,” explains Marc Indigne, Business Development Manager, Consultant.
Food for thought: the rise of aquaculture
Around half of the fish consumed in the human food chain today is grown on fish farms, and this figure is expected to reach 75% by 2025. One reason is because the feed conversion ratio for farmed fish is much lower than for meat, especially beef, meaning that it takes far less feed input per kilo of meat harvested. It also has a much lower CO2 footprint compared to meat production. Controlled fish farming is the way to ensure that fish populations remain viable, particularly when there are so many types of fish already under threat.
Still a relatively young business, aquaculture started with salmon and trout in the late 1980s. As the industry developed, investors sought to boost production by increasing the density of fish grown in cages. The more fish, however, the more rapid the spread of disease among the fish, which affects their health and growth if left untreated. Case in point, salmon production loses some $1 billion a year due to sea lice. So there is a pressing need to ensure the health and viability of the fish we eat.
In Aqua Pharma we have developed a unique treatment concept, ensuring no harm to the fish and minimal release into the environment. Clients really appreciate our holistic treatment methodology. Currently we are looking at how we can reduce impact even further.
A clean and safe hydrogen peroxide-based treatment
Understanding the need to develop a treatment that is humane toward the fish, safe for the environment and harmless for consumers, Solvay and Aqua Pharma co-developed a hydrogen peroxide-based solution (sometimes referred to as oxygenated water) for the control of key parasitic diseases in aquaculture. The main benefit of the concept is that it quickly removes the parasites, leaving no residue in the fish itself. In the environment, hydrogen peroxide decomposes finally into oxygen and water.
It’s this potent combination of benefits that led the Solar Impulse Foundation to award this concept with the World Alliance for Efficient Solutions label, at the start of 2020.
“This recognition confirms our philosophy to continuously strive for the most effective and environmentally friendly solutions for the aquaculture industry globally,” says Elvin Bugge, CEO of Aqua Pharma Group.
A holistic treatment for fish farming
"Solvay and Aqua Pharma have developed together a unique treatment concept, ensuring no harm to the fish, trying to minimize the impact on the environment. Clients really appreciate our holistic treatment methodology. Currently, we are looking at how we can reduce impact even further. We want to and need to be innovative to contribute in building a responsible aquaculture industry," explains Marc Indigne, Business Development Manager, Consultant.
This unique parasite treatment concept has received the Solar Impulse Efficient Solutions label because it is an efficient system that respects the environment and animal welfare. It is also recognized by the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC), a non-profit organization founded by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) that certifies farms that care for the environment.
The science behind H2O2
The world is made up of many simple and complex chemicals. The great feature of hydrogen peroxide is that it is a very simple molecule. It is essentially water (H2O) with an extra oxygen molecule (O), forming H2O2. Known as “oxygenated water” in many languages, it is environmentally friendly, breaking down into water and oxygen. It is naturally present in breast milk and colostrum, rainwater, fresh fruit and the human body. It can be used as a cleaning agent or a disinfectant, as well as to remove sea lice and amoeba parasites on salmon and other fish.