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Rapport, 2021

Feasibility and potential for farming and conditioning of wild fish fed with by-catches in Sweden

Östman, Örjan; Fjälling, Arne; Ovegård, Maria; Lunneryd, Sven-Gunnar; Röcklinsberg, Helena; Gräns, Albin; Vidakovic, Aleksandar; Kiessling, Anders


Small-scale fisheries face problems with declining fish stocks in poor condition, increasing interactions with seals and cormorants and partly non-efficient distribution systems, resulting in low profitability. One potential method to increase the value of their catch is rear the fish in farms until fish reach a size that render a higher price. This may not only provide a higher value of each animal but also a steadier supply of fish to consumers and retailers. In addition, by-catch of unwanted species may be used as feed ingredient to the farmed fish. This will not only cut the costs for the feed but is also a more sustainable alternative as it will both make use of by-catches that otherwise is discarded, and recirculate nutrients on a regional scale instead of importing new nutrients. Farming of wild caught fish and shellfish (grow-out or capture-based aquaculture) constitute a large part of aquaculture on a global scale. Except for eel is this type of aquaculture still limited in Sweden and Europe, with relatively little development. Here we make an overview of species that could be interesting for farming of wild caught fish, and identify benefits and challenges. The species we find most suitable for further development are cod, perch, whitefish, pike and pikeperch for which we can identify evident benefits of farming. In common for all these species is the need for an efficient feed system to ensure early and rapid weight gain and minimizing initial mortality. We speculate that a feed based on insect larvae could be one way to improve the feeding system for several species of wild caught fish. However, there are ethical and welfare issues related to farming wild born fish. As wild caught fish are not domesticated for life in captivity they can suffer from distress and increased susceptibility and transmissions of disease. Safeguarding the health and welfare of fish in capture-based aquaculture is a key to making it economically feasible, as an increased value for the end-consumers is necessary to compensate the fishermen for the additional costs associated with farming of wild caught fish. In addition, removal of wild fish may also impede natural stock size and recruitment of the natural stocks. Although our aim is to develop a farming system where local by-catches is used as a feed ingredient, local eutrophication effects and water pollutions (feed and fish residues) can cause degradation of local water quality. In conclusion, we find potential for farming of wild caught fish with local-by-catches as a feed ingredient. To be economically feasible there is a need for developing feeding systems, investigate stress responses and ethical and sustainability aspects important for marketing of such products.


Aquaculture; ethics; fish; fishers; law; sustainability

Publicerad i

Aqua reports
2021, nummer: 2021:9
ISBN: 978-91-576-9872-8
Utgivare: Department of Aquatic Resources, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences