The new plant-based nutrition could provide an alternative to using fish oil in aquaculture feed.
MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA, U.S. — Cargill and BASF developed an omega-3 canola that may give aquaculture farmers a more sustainable way to raise fish with EPA and DHA omega-3 fatty acids.

The plant-based source of the nutrients, developed in collaboration with BASF, may provide an alternative to using fish oil in aquaculture feed and may ease harvest pressure on wild fish populations that currently supply much of that oil. In feeding trials it conducted with salmon in Chile, Cargill was able to completely replace fish oil in feed rations with oil from EPA/DHA canola.

“As a fish feed producer, we need to reduce our dependency on marine resources,” said Einar Wathne, president of Cargill Aqua Nutrition. “This new canola can create tremendous opportunities across the global food and feed markets, and we believe it is critical for the growth of aquaculture.”

Right now, raising fish to have more omega-3s means supplementing their feed with fish oil, Cargill said. This new canola, which is genetically engineered to make long chain omega-3 fatty acids, will offer a more sustainable alternative as it eases pressure on finite marine resources. Testing and regulatory approval for the product is under way and is expected to reach the market sometime after 2020.

“Cargill’s EPA/DHA omega-3 plant based product is the only one we know of with a clear path to commercialization in the industry,” said Mark Christiansen, managing director for Global Edible Oil Solutions-Specialties at Cargill.

BASF Corp., headquartered in Florham Park, New Jersey, U.S., is the North American affiliate of BASF SE, Ludwigshafen, Germany. The company’s portfolio is organized into five segments: Chemicals, Performance Products, Functional Materials & Solutions, Agricultural Solutions and Oil & Gas. BASF generated sales of more than €70 billion in 2015.