Ducks and snails in the pond provide feed material for fish
A growing business
Although aquaculture dates from the earliest parts of human history in Asia, Europe and in the Pacific Islands, it is only in the last few decades that the sector has begun to catch up with the rest of animal agriculture in terms of the science of feed milling and nutrition. Despite this, aquaculture currently represents the fastest growing segment of agriculture and the animal feed milling industry, particularly in China and the Asian region where over 90% of global aquaculture production is currently realized.
A very wide range of ingredients are used to prepare aquafeeds. Feeds range from single component feeds available on-farm such as grass or rice bran to farm-made formulated feeds and commercial feeds. They include aquatic and terrestrial plants (duckweeds, azolla, water hyacinth etc.), aquatic animals (snails, clams etc.) and terrestrial-based live feeds (silkworm larvae, maggots etc.), plant processing products (de-oiled cakes and meals, beans, grains and brans) and animal-processing by-products (blood and feather meal, bone meal etc.). Formulated commercial feeds are composed of several ingredients, mixed in various proportions to complement each other and form a nutritionally complete diet.
Using a feeding tray helps the fisher assess how well the shrimp are feeding
The most common aquafeed processing operations can be summarized as raw material size reduction, raw material blending, feed forming, and feed drying. For these processes many and various options of processing equipment are available ranging from simple mortar and pestle to mincers, hammer mills, pelleters, and extruders.
There is a lack of an exact definition for farm-made aquafeeds. FAO have suggested that farm-made feeds be defined as feeds in pellet or other forms, consisting of one or more artificial and/or natural feedstuffs, produced for the exclusive use of a particular farming activity and not for commercial sale or profit.