What do U.S. soybean farmers and global aquaculture have in common? Quite a bit, actually, especially in helping to make fish farming more sustainable and scalable.
Working Toward Sustainability in Global Fish Farming
For nearly 30 years, the U.S. Soybean Export Council’s (USSEC) aquaculture program, funded by the soybean checkoff, has provided critical training and technical knowledge for global aquaculture — ranging from small family fish farms in Asia to large international operations that provide fish for your local supermarket and large global retailers like Costco and Walmart.
Beginning in the 1990s, the program worked to transition Chinese fish farms from manure-based feed to formulated pellet feed, and over the years has provided training to improve feed and farming methods that improve food safety and sustainability, while lessening environmental impact.
Four Areas of Focus Help to Shape Sustainable Aquaculture
In aquaculture, USSEC focuses on four areas: feed, technology advancements, aquaculture investment, and sustainability.
USSEC works to optimize and demonstrate the value of U.S. soy through all of these efforts. Let’s take a look at each.
Feed: USSEC’s technical experts work with feed mills and farmers to develop feed formulations, feed demonstrations, and best feed practices. USSEC’s partnership with business and academia on the International Aquaculture Feed Formulation Database provides valuable training for feed formulators. And aquafeed formulation research made possible by soy industry support is archived for public use.
Technology Advancements: Hatchery improvements, genetic/breeding advancements, and the In-pond Raceway System (IPRS) technology transfer ensure better fish health and safety, water conservation, less environmental impact and higher yields. USSEC holds educational field trips and seminars to share best practices of successful farms.
Aquaculture Investment: U.S. Soy’s renowned Aquaculture Investment Workshops promote investment in aquaculture infrastructure in Latin America so that industry can expand to meet global demand.
Sustainability: All of the U.S. Soy aquaculture program’s initiatives are based on making global aquaculture more sustainable. The U.S. Soy Sustainability Assurance Protocol (SSAP) allows for soy feed ingredients to be certified sustainable, and USSEC works closely with aquaculture sustainability certification programs such as BAP and ASC so that the SSAP is accepted as a standard for sustainable soy.
U.S. Soy: A Sustainable Alternative
High quality U.S. soybeans help to increase the affordability and sustainability of the world’s supply of healthy, farm-raised seafood and can replace much of the fishmeal in feeds for many farmed species, thus reducing the pressure on wild fish resources.