Drink beer, feed fish
A Fishy Problem
Fish food production for fisheries around the world has been flat in recent years. Unfortunately aquaculture output (our demand for tasty fish sticks) has climbed at an annual rate of 5%. This means lots of fish are going to go hungry unless someone does something quick. Unfortunately feeding the starving fish of the world isn’t Sally Struther’s current focus. Flipper and Nemo will have to turn to a different savior.
This problem is compounded because most fisheries feed their fish a ground meal which is made of fish. These food fish are also over harvested, leading to a shortage of fish to feed to the fish.
Luckily Oberon FMR Inc. is looking out for the little guy (with flippers). The FMR stands for “fish meal replacement”. Oberon is working with New Belgium Brewery in Fort Collins, Colorado, to develop fish food using the waste water from the brewery. The company hopes their industrial waste turned fish food will be the answer to feeding the fish around the world.
Beer is the solution
The brewery waste is filled with bacteria and food particles from the brewing process. The Oberon plan converts this protein rich waste into fish food. A large brewery can create 20 to 25 tons of waste a day. Normally large breweries would pay $200 per ton to dispose of the waste. The Oberon solution solves two problems, because it creates a food for the fish, but it also helps the brewery find an environmentally friendly solution for the waste it produces.
How it works (kind of)
When I first read the article, I thought “oh they are feeding the fish vegemite”. They are not feeding the fish the yeast cake however. There might be yeast in the waste water, but the waste water has mostly bacteria. The proprietary process works by encouraging the bacteria to produce more bacteria. Since the process is protected, they are light on the details. Eventually their process creates a thick sludge of biomass. The biomass is the dried out and pressed into food.
Oberon has tested this food on various fish important to the industry, such as tilapia and other existing food fish. Their studies show the protein food compares equally or better in some cases to existing fish meal. They are scheduling more independent feeding tests on a wider range of fish and shrimp. The best part for Oberon is they are converting the waste they get for free, and selling it for $850 a ton. This food is cheaper than existing fish meal.
Oberon is testing their process using the waste water from New Belgium brewery, but the process can be applied to most food processing industries.
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I live in Denver, Colorado. This blog is everything about beer, wine, cider, mead and other spirits.
I am a avid homebrewer and winemaker. I’ve been making my own beer and wine for many years. I started making beer when I was in college (mostly because the drinking age in the United States is 21). My first few beers were horrible. The beers are much better now, and I often supply my neighborhood with free beer! It is a great hobby!