After 10 years of trying to boost a more "circular economy" in aquaculture, Netherlands-based insect farmer Protix is attracting the attention and investment it needs to move into the aquaculture mainstream.
“Several notable high officials want to contribute to the narrative, and one of our key objectives was to make it easy for them to work towards the holy grail of ultimate circularity,” Protix CEO Kees Aarts told IntraFish during the inauguration of the new production facility in Bergen Op Zoom.
Protix launched a new 14,000-square-meter insect production facility housing insects that convert up to 100,000 metric tons of vegetable residual flows into high-quality sustainable protein to serve the aquaculture markets.
Skretting supports initiative
The company worked hard on proving its position towards food safety in the past year and is now going into the market with a deal with feed producing giant Skretting to feed fish that will supply at least 5.5 million servings of salmon per year of 80-100 grams.
In the near future, Protix projects a five-fold surge in similar aquaculture deals, Aarts said.
“We are very supportive of novel ingredients such as insect meal from Protix because we need to provide them for the aquaculture food chain,” Skretting Project Procurement Manager Jenna Bowyer told IntraFish.
The feed producers already use very small amounts of insect meal in niche diets but anticipate the industry will welcome it more grandly soon.
Salmon is the first species to utilize diet, but once Skretting gains better knowledge it will introduce the insect feed to other species, including shrimp and tilapia, Bowyer said.
Skretting aims to build flexibility within its fish feed through testing the nutritional profile behind each ingredient used, including newer ingredients such as insect meal.
Aarts said the Skretting deal is an important milestone.
“The Skretting deal means a lot for the business and it means something for us personally because we truly want to contribute in providing high-quality nutritious protein without increasing pressure on marine and natural ecosystems,” Aarts said.