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Alternative Protein Research in diets for Atlantic salmon



In an attempt to identify alternative protein sources for Atlantic salmon feeds, staff at the St. Andrews Biological Station have been evaluating the potential partial replacement of fish meal with high protein crab meal. The study, designed to test the use of this protein source in feeds for Atlantic salmon included two feeding trials (1 small scale laboratory and 1 large scale commercial trial) examined the effects of supplementing crab meal in salmon feeds on intake, feed conversion, growth, and pigment deposition. Fish utilized (n=480) in the laboratory trial were grown from an initial weight of 75 grams for 84 days to a final weight of 450 grams while fish tested in the cage trial (n= 65,000) were grown from 75 grams to market weight (4-5 kg).

The crab meal used, obtained from the processing of snow crab, is not only less expensive than fish meal but is also higher in protein and lower in undesirable fibre than similar crustaceans meals. In addition, crab meal also contains some astaxanthin (the natural pigment found in wild salmonids) and hence may also reduce the requirement for supplemental pigments, a significant cost to commercial salmon production. The data from these studies is currently being analyzed to determine what level of crab meal can be used to replace fishmeal in commercial rations in order to develop a high value and more economical salmon feed.

Program Name

Aquaculture Collaborative Research and Development Program (ACRDP)


2002 - 2007


Atlantic: Gulf of Maine, Scotian Shelf

Principal Investigator(s)

Denise Méthé

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