Industrial Zoo in a Can
New technology for production of copepods on a commercial scale is expected to revolutionize breeding of marine fish in aquaculture. On December 15th, 2015 AKVA group Denmark A/S invites for an information and press meeting in connection with the product launch of Acartia - a ground breaking new product that produces copepod egg on an industrial scale.
Acartia is developed through the Innovation Fund Denmark project COMA (COpepod egg Mass Production in Aquaculture) in a partnership between AKVA group Denmark A/S, Agrotech, Roskilde University and Aqua Circle. The project has developed an integrated system of algae production and copepods on a commercial scale, with a planned production capacity of over 100 million copepod eggs daily. Acartia is expected to revolutionize the production of marine fish in aquaculture.
World consumption of fish has doubled in the period 1973 - 2003 and the global demand for fish has exhausted available natural fish stock. Therefore, aquaculture occupies an important role in the global fish supply. The sector is the fastest growing animal protein producing food industry, with an annual growth rate of 8.8 % over the past 30 years. This means that half of all fish for human consumption today comes from aquaculture.
A large part of the future global aquaculture growth will be based on the farming of marine species. All marine fish species produce eggs and the newly hatched, almost microscopic larvae require live feed. Copepods are the larvae’s natural prey in the first stages of their lives. The types of live food, which up to now have been available for marine fish larvae, primarily rotifers and artemia, are not their natural prey. Therefore, many fish larvae ends up not getting the proper nutrition, resulting in poor survivability and malnourishment. By feeding marine fish larvae with copepods early in the larvae’s life, mortality is reduced by up to 80% and increase in growth can be improved by about 30%. Moreover, subsequent diseases can be avoided.
Until now, it has not been possible to mass-produce copepods at a level, which can meet the global demand.
Denmark is in the global forefront when it comes to knowledge and technologies within commercial fish farming. Denmark has a strong tradition for cooperation between research institutions and industry. It is therefore natural that Danish institutions and companies have developed this project - to produce copepods on an industrial scale. The Innovation Fund Denmark government institution has supported this four-year project with DKK 7.5 million out of a budget of DKK 15 million. AKVA group Denmark A/S has subsequently provided additional capital for the project. The project has now succeeded in the production of copepods, after running for about two years. Roskilde University has been researching copepods nutrition, reproduction and growth for 20 years. A Copepod production facility has been developed by AKVA Group Denmark A/S, which can supply the international aquaculture industry with high quality copepod eggs. The microalgae required for copepod production is produced in a plant developed by the private/public research institution AgroTech. The trade organization AquaCircle aims at disseminating knowledge about the production and use of live feed to the exporting Danish aquaculture sector.
Copepod eggs can be exported worldwide. Local fish producers can hatch the eggs and use the copepods for live feed for marine fish larvae. Both copepod eggs and know-how on the production of live fish, has considerable export potential. The global market for copepods is estimated to increase to about DKK 1.5 billion, within 10 years.