Animal Nutrition

Sustainable Salmon Production

Recipes for More Sustainable Salmon Production

Imagine you had 500 different recipes for preparing your favorite dish – how would you decide which is best for you, the environment and still affordable? BASFs applied sustainability team helped BioMar, a major producer of fish feed, figure out how to make its products more environmentally friendly.

Grilled, raw or boiled, high-quality salmon filet is very popular around the globe. Fish is a staple food in some parts of the world. In others, health-conscious consumers value it for its high levels of protein and Omega-3 fatty acids. The demand for fish has been climbing steadily for years, and is being increasingly met by fish farms (aquaculture). According to the Food and Agricultural Organization, global output from fish aquaculture has grown by a factor of nearly 12 over the last three decades (1980 – 2010), reaching a volume of 59.9 million tons in 20101.

Cultivated fish, including salmon, are fed a diet of fishmeal, fish oil, vegetable components, and other valuable sources of protein. The compound feed used in aquaculture represent a major opportunity for achieving greater sustainability.

FAO, “The State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture 2012”, World Review of Fisheries and Aquaculture.

Committed to Sustainability

BioMar – one of the leading suppliers of high-performance fish feed to fish farms – is a leader in terms of sustainability. BioMar Norway is the first company in the aquaculture industry certified by Det Norske Veritas (DNV) under its new ProSustain™ sustainability standard.

Jan Sverre Røsstad, the vice president in charge of BioMar North Sea, says that BioMar has chosen to apply internationally re-cognized and certified methods for analyzing, measuring, and improving the sustainability of its business and products. “The ProSustain™ certificate recognizes BioMar’s efforts to improve sustainability in aquaculture, and symbolizes our commitment to this path.”

BioMar embarked on its journey toward continual sustainability improvement with the support of BASF’s pplied sustainability team. A detailed, step-by-step process for producing more sustainable salmon was defined. We helps feed producers and consumer goods manufacturers to improve the sustainability of their products through their lifecycle. In BioMar’s case, the process included a market perception analysis (“hotspot analysis”) to identify the relevant sustainability topics, which included environmental issues such as overfishing, feed conversion, and fish escapes. In the next step, the applied sustainability team and BioMar measured product sustainability throughout the value chain using BASF’s Eco-Efficiency Analysis method.

This strategic approach and the innovative tools from BASF are helpful for all players in the value chain: BioMar, fish farmers, processors, retailers, and other stakeholders as well. Making sustainability tangible and applying it at the product level with applied sustainability is very beneficial for us and our products.

Jan Sverre Røsstad

Vice President for BioMar North Sea


Optimizing Fish Diets

This analysis included production of fish feed, sourcing of raw materials, and farming methods. “It also covered processing methods and how fish are transported to market,” explains Dr. Christoph Günther, who heads applied sustainability in Europe. “The Eco-Efficiency Analysis reveals potentials for improving environmental impacts and costs.” Based on the results of BioMar’s Eco-Efficiency Analysis, the company modified its fish feed, replacing part of the fishmeal and fish oil with vegetable and land animal protein as well as other high-quality substitutes and increasing their proportion from about 39 % to 51 %.

BASF’s Eco-Efficiency Analysis has enabled BioMar to consistently optimize its fish feed recipes. Its product developers can now factor total environmental impact into the feed formulation programs to create products that are optimized not only in terms of feed performance and costs, but also where their environmental impact is concerned. The Eco-Efficiency Manager, an interactive online tool from BASF, simulates how changes to feed recipes or other processes improve sustainability and compares this with any tradeoffs in cost and product performance. The Eco-Efficiency Manager will also be implemented in other regions and extended to more types of fish. This holistic approach to sustainability also ensures transparency of the entire supply chain, from the raw materials to the feed mix and ultimately the final consumer product in stores.


For more details, please contact Dr. Christoph Günther, Phone: +49 621 60-28608, E-Mail: