MEP completed a study looking at the improvement of Feed Conversions Ratio’s for a client farming Seabream in Turkey. Feed conversion ratio’s in European seabass and seabream cage farms in the Mediterranean, commonly vary from 1.7:1 on well managed fish batches to 2.2:1. The FCR values as high as 3.0:1 during winter and during spawning. These results are very poor when compared to what is routinely achieved in the salmonid industry, where FCR values can be around 1:1 and seabass and seabream may never achieve Salmonid levels of FCR. Feed costs for the client were seen to account for around 64% of production costs (2006, 2007).
Feed management strategies that control how farmers feed their fish and have a considerable influence upon the economic and environmental sustainability of their enterprises. Feed management regulates feed amount, the number and timing of feeding. New feeding tables were developed to reduce overfeeding and reduce FCRs.
The quality of feed ingredients and the feed formulation influences the FCR. Specific feeds were formulated for the winter period and individual summer feed formulated for seabass and seabream. Trials were undertaken to compare the growth and food conversion rate using these new diets.
FCRs are also greatly influenced by maturation and spawning of the fish during the second winter of growth. Trials were undertaken to reduce maturation and spawning using prolonged photoperiod.
From the report, MEP was able to identify significant cost savings for the client and provide a series of proposals that would allow better FCR’s to be reached in a manageable time scale. MEP is able to call on a wealth of knowledge and expertise in the aquaculture sector and is able to offer consultancy services which are tailor made to the requirements of the client.