Norges Forskningsrådet, Bioteknologi og verdiskaping, Prosjektnr 226138
As the global aquaculture industry is growing, there is an increasing demand for high quality protein feed recourses. A significant dilemma is the reduction in fish meal production due to the stagnant catch from traditional fisheries and an increasing demand for seafood. The annual global fish meal production is reduced from 6,2 mill tons in 2004 to 5,2 mill tons in 2011, where 60-70 % is used as aquaculture feed. These factors are leading to an all time high market prices for fish meal and oil. To meet these challenges we propose to use Tunicate ascidians as a new biomass for proteins and lipids.
In the FORNY projects “Efficient 2nd generation feedstock for biofuel” and “Tunicate ascidians a new marine biomass” we have demonstrated that this biomass has an enormous growth potential that far exceeds most terrestrial crops. We have also demonstrated that tunicates can be successfully farmed in coastal ocean areas with a significant 3-dimensional advantage over other protein, lipid and sugar sources. As of today tunicate biomass remains unexplored. Tunicate ascidians are not a major food web component and do not compete with food production, they can be considered an environmentally friendly biomass for animal feed production.
This application for proof of principle funding is intending to support the commercialisation of tunicates as a new biomass for feed by documenting added value to the high quality marine protein source. A successful project will result in documentation of bioactive components leading to added value for the customers and higher prices for the biomass.