There are vast opportunities in terms of increased aquaculture production. Some would even say that in order for us to survive on this planet, massive fish farming needs to be put in place.
The researchers at Matís are aware of this possibility. This is why we aim to promote and strengthen aquaculture with an emphasis on feed and nutrition. Current priorities include investigating a) the effects of substituting raw materials in feed on fish quality and yield and b) increasing the quality, growth and survival of marine fish larvae and juveniles.
Poor survival and quality of larvae and juveniles has been the main obstacle in the intensive production of marine fish. As a result, Matís has placed special emphasis on nutrition, environmental factors and the development of preventive measures to improve fish quality, growth and survival during early developmental stages.
Feed is a critical factor in aquaculture, representing the main cost, yet also with key importance for maximum quality and yield. Hence, it is important to reduce feed costs without affecting normal growth, development and health status of the fish. Protein is the most expensive ingredient and as a result, the focus of much of our work. Substitution of fish meal and oil for plant protein and lipids would improve efficiency and sustainability. Examples of further work by the group include combining aquaculture and horticulture in aquaponics systems, and employing insects and bacteria to transform unpalatable raw bio-resource materials into suitable ingredients for use in feed.
Previous studies include investigating the use of novel light technology to regulate growth and sexual maturation in cod, isolation and cultivation of marine zooplankton and marine microalgae from Icelandic waters as well as investigating the effects of the bacterial community and probiotic and prebiotic treatment of live prey items during initial feeding of cod and halibut larvae.