To borrow a title from the eminent Dr. Seuss – “One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish.” Skretting North America feeds them all. For good reason. Feed fish and you feed the world, reports Dan Harvey. Skretting North America makes it happen.
Skretting North America assumes an important position in the global food chain. Based in Vancouver, Canada, the company serves the aquaculture industry. While it helps feed fish, the end goal is feeding people.
Aquaculture is similar to agriculture, but the difference is more substantial than three different letters. “Both industries are about food production. But agriculture is about farming on land; aquaculture, as the term suggests, is about farming aquatic species,” explains Marketing Manager Gavin Shaw.
Indeed, Skretting North America serves fish farmers on the west and east coasts and in areas in between. “But we don’t take part in any of the actual farming. We provide fish food,” Shaw adds.
The company produces aquaculture feeds – as well as feeding expertise – for North American fish farmers. That means it develops and produces diets for marine and freshwater species. This includes diets suitable for fish from hatch through to harvest and for a range of species from Atlantic and Pacific salmon, through to hybrid striped bass, trout and Tilapia.
“We provide feeds that meet the nutritional requirements for a broad range of fish,” says Shaw, pointing out that well-fed fish makes for a healthier food source.
The company serves the needs of commercial and enhancement growers with its saltwater grower feeds, broodstock diets, low-phosphorous diets, and transfer diets for salmonids. In addition, the company provides prawn and crab bait for the commercial and sports markets. The company also offers feed for yellowtail, red sea bream, sturgeon, black cod, and barramundi. In all, Skretting provides feed for more than 60 fish species around the world. Beyond the feed, it advances new feeding techniques while adhering to health and environmental demands.
WORKING FROM THREE FACILITIES
In Canada, the company has production facilities in Vancouver, British Columbia and in St. Andrews, New Brunswick. “We also have a facility in Tooele, which is right outside of Salt Lake City in Utah,” Shaw reports.
Further, with its sales and distribution centers located as far west as Longview, in Washington state, and eastward in Westbrook, Maine, Skretting North America’s operations serve customers in all regions of the continent.
The facilities in Canada provide feed primarily for salmon and trout, and the Utah facility is far more diverse. “It produces feed for a huge range of species that includes koi, catfish, barramundi, tilapia, bass and trout,” say Shaw.
Production plants are extrusion technology- based. This means control of heat, moisture and pressure; the production of a powerful pellet that contains nutritional properties such as protein, fat, vitamins and minerals that match the fish’s needs; and cold extrusion technology, which results in larval and juvenile diets . Extrusion allows control – over pellet durability, density and water stability.
The end result: great tasting – and healthy – fish.
Along with its sales and distribution centers, Skretting North America benefits from a well-muscled research and development arm, staffed by about 30 degreed (Ph.Ds and master’s) researchers, according to Shaw. “It’s located in Norway, where it all began for the company,” he says. “But we also have research facilities in China, Japan and Italy. In addition, we’re engaged in research with major universities in the United States and Canada.”
This way, Skretting leads the North American market with the most innovative aquaculture feeds. Those involved in R&D activities seek to continually improve the efficiency and effectiveness of all diets: improve the growth rate of fish, reduce feed conversion ratios and improve fish health – all in a sustainable manner.
SUSTAINING THE ENVIRONMENT
Sustainability is another major issue for this organization. “We lead the way in providing sustainable feed solutions for aquaculture, and that is worldwide,” observes Shaw. The company only sources fishmeal and fish oil from the best-managed, sustainable fisheries. In addition, it has found alternative raw materials to fishmeal and fish oil, such as vegetable proteins and oils.
The company’s innovative nature led it to the Microbalance ™ concept. “This enables us to reduce our dependence on fishmeal and oil as raw materials and at the same time produce healthy and delicious fish,” says Shaw.
The concept is applied to many of Skretting’s products, and it means that essential micro-nutrients found in fish meal can be sourced from the aforementioned alternative raw materials. As a consequence of the MicroBalance concept, Skretting was able to reduce the use of fishmeal in salmon grower feed to below 10 percent in 2011.
“We can have the same performance without any negative effects on the fish. And, of course, it enables us to produce much more efficiently,” Shaw points out. “That’s a recent product that has had a huge impact on both the company and the customer.
LOOKING BACK AND FORWARD
Skretting North America’s roots date back to 1899 and the original Skretting company, established in Norway.
Today Skretting is part of the Nutreco organization. Nutreco is a global leader in animal nutrition and fish feed, and it helps feed millions of people throughout the world. Skretting is Nutreco’s brand-name division for fish feed. Beyond North America, Skretting operates on other continents, with a reach into more than 40 countries.
Looking at the future, Shaw carefully considers Skretting’s targeted industry. “Aquaculture in Canada has been very stable in the last several years, particularly on the nation’s west coast,” he says.
Meanwhile, on Canada’s eastern shores, the industry is emerging. Emergence means new business opportunity, and Skretting will be there to support the industry.
“Meanwhile, in the United States, growth has been somewhat stagnant – as some regions are decreasing while others are increasing,” Shaw relates. “But all the while, we have one goal in mind: to enable our customers to achieve the most efficient growth and healthiest of fish, while permitting them to use less and less resources.”
Shaw states the company’s goals succinctly: “We want to be the most sustainable, economic fish feed producer in the world. In that way, we will help our customers create and maintain the most profitable and sustainable fish farms.”
You can talk about company and client all that you want, but the consumer is the ultimate beneficiary.