Abernathy Fish Technology Center
Pacific Region

Applied Research Program in Nutrition

Capability/Technical Service - Rapid response proximate analysis (lipids, ash, moisture, and protein) of commercially produced fish feeds.

Commercial fish feeds do not always contain the specified concentrations of protein, fat, ash, moisture and vitamins. Such diets can result in poor growth and health when fed to NFH -reared fish. Additionally, this year the feed was checked for the presence of melamine on a case by case basis. Abernathy FTC's Applied Research Program in Nutrition operates a Fish Feed Quality Control (FFQC) Program to monitor the quality of commercial fish feeds used at Region 1 NFHs. The objective of the FFQC Program is to determine whether commercial feeds fall within approved specifications. An additional objective is to determine the chemical composition and quality (via proximate, rancidity, vitamin and mineral analyses) of commercial feeds. Staff provide feed-related technical assistance to NFHs as well as feed mills. The information provided by the Center is critical to both contracting negotiations and to the quality and survivability of fish produced by the Pacific Region's NFHs.

In Fiscal Year 2007, 90 commercially produced feed samples were analyzed for proximate composition (protein, lipid, moisture, and ash). Rancidity, vitamin, and mineral level as well as melamine analyses were also done. Industry partners use analysis results to improve the quality of subsequent batches and/or replace feed already delivered to NFHs.

Sample FFQC Issues

1) Poor Quality Soy Protein. In early Spring 2007, increased mortalities were observed in fish at Makah and Quilcene NFH’s. Additional testing was done (rancidity, aflatoxins, vitamin) to determine whether the mortalities resulted from a problem with the diets. It was later determined that the problem was related to poor quality soy protein used in the diets. The manufacturer has since indicated it will no longer use soy protein in its starter feeds.

2) Alternative Fish Feeds. BioOregon announced that its popular moist fish feed called BioDiet Starter would no longer be manufactured as the company was undergoing a merger with Skretting. No other companies are capable of producing a similar high moisture fish feed. BioDiet Starter was particularly popular at Chinook salmon hatcheries as many salmon culturists have observed that this species would accept only a moist feed when the fry begin to feed for the first time. Therefore, AFTC initiated a conference call with representatives of four feed companies to discuss alternative feeds for first-feeding Chinook. Personnel from numerous Pacific Region National Fish Hatcheries participated in the call and had a chance to talk to feed company representatives about alternative feeds.Bull Trout in the Clark Fork River, MT.

Damaged bags of fish feed at delivery.
The Program's Proximate Analysis Notebook documents analysis findings.
Last updated: September 24, 2014
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