matCHing and indUStry Small grant COmPetitiOnS

Supporting aquaculture growth in Ohio by developing and using sustainable feed
Hanping Wang, OSU South Centers at Piketon Aquaculture is the fastest-growing animal food sector in the United States and the world, and currently demands 25 percent of global fish meal and 36 percent of global fish oil supplies. As fish meal availability declines, soybean meal represents great potential as a protein replacement in fish feed. Currently the Ohio aquaculture industry has an estimated annual economic impact of $50 million. Many Ohio aquaculture operations are looking to increase profitability and maintain family farms. Farming high-dollar fish species and bait fish represents potential opportunities. Yellow perch is the most popular high-value aquaculture species in Ohio, and Ohio ranks fourth in sales of bait fish in the nation. The overall goal of this project — the Ohio Soy-Aqua Research and Development Initiative — was to support the growth and sustainability of Ohio’s rapidly expanding aquaculture industry, and in turn, develop new and local markets for Ohio soybeans. This project aimed to determine whether genetically improved yellow perch produced by OSU South Centers breeding programs and reared with fish meal-based feeds performed well when their feed was substituted with soybean meal diets. Furthermore, the project assessed whether genetically improved fish have sufficient genetic variation for enhanced growth, feed intake, and feed efficiency to occur with both fish meal and soybean meal diets. The research team also evaluated the effects of soybean meal and fish meal diets on the growth performance and feed efficiency of spotfin shiners to determine their potential as bait fish. Finally, to improve outreach to Ohio’s aquaculture industry, a SoyAqua Initiative bus tour provided educational materials to aquaculture farmers and raised awareness of the Initiative. Based on the diet experiments, genetically improved yellow perch reared with fish meal diets performed well when their diets were changed to soybean meal. The researchers also concluded that sufficient genetic variation existed for growth and feed efficiency to improve under both fish meal and soybean meal diets. However, the soybean meal diet resulted in higher feed intake but slower growth, which indicates that it was processed less efficiently than the fish meal diet.
Hanping Wang

Based on these results, the team concluded that increased soybean meal use in feeds does not compromise genetic improvements in yellow perch. Fish selected for more robust growth under a fish meal diet are just as likely to see improved growth and feed efficiency under a soybean meal diet as those selected specifically for robust growth under a soybean meal diet.

Currently the Ohio aquaculture industry has an estimated annual economic impact of $50 million.
The two diets’ effects on growth performance and feed efficiency in spotfin shiners showed that fish fed with soybean meal diet had a higher growth rate than other groups, indicating spotfin shiners do not require fish meal for robust growth. Soybean meal thus has great potential for use as bait fish feed. The evidence that the soybean meal diet supported slower growth and higher feed intake suggests that simultaneous selection for fast growth and reduced feed intake is needed in genetically improved yellow perch and other aquaculture species. The team’s next step will be to test if feed intake and body weight variations are correlated in yellow perch that are genetically improved for soybean meal utilization efficiency, and to develop criteria to improve feed intake of soybean meal in fish.


SEEDS: The OARDC Research Enhancement Competitive Grants Program

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