Department of Biology, Western University, London, ON, Canada
Yellow Island Aquaculture, Heriot Bay, BC, Canada
There is considerable interest in developing diets that maintain growth performance and market appeal for salmon aquaculture while relying less on fishmeal as a major ingredient. Here, we compared growth rate, survival, fat content, tissue colouration and carotenoid levels (astaxanthin) in Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) fed two diets. The first diet was a typical commercial salmon diet with 59% fishmeal content, while the second diet reduced the fishmeal content to 15% (75% reduction) and substituted 28% corn gluten meal and 16% poultry meal. Over an approximately 14-month growth period, we found no significant difference between fish fed the high fishmeal or low fishmeal diet in either growth rate or survival. Individuals fed the low fishmeal diet did have 25% higher total body fat percentage than those fed the high fishmeal diet. Individuals fed the low fishmeal diet also had flesh that was significantly less red than fish fed the high fishmeal diet. Carotenoid analysis confirmed that the change in tissue colour was the result of reduced astaxanthin levels in salmon fed the low fishmeal diet. Due to the importance of red tissue colour for the market appeal of salmon, the corn gluten and poultry meal diet is not viable for salmon aquaculture in its present formulation, but our results suggest further modifications to the diet that could mitigate this effect.