Fish meal, fishmeal, brown fish meal

Fish meal is obtained by cooking, pressing, drying and milling fresh raw fish or fish trimmings . There are several types of fish meal in the market depending on the source of fish or fishery by-products used and on the processing technology involved. Fish meal is a more or less coarse brown flour.

The three major sources of fish meal are:

  • fish stocks harvested specifically for this purpose: small, bony and oily fish such as anchovy, horse mackerel, menhaden, capelin, sandeel, blue whiting, herring, pollack…
  • by-catches from other fisheries;
  • trimmings and offal left over from fish processed for human consumption (unpalatable or fast spoiling)

Fish meal is an excellent source of highly digestible protein, long chain omega-3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA) and essential vitamins and minerals . Fish meal quality depends on the raw material used and on the processing method involved.


Fish meal has been used as a feedstuff since the 19th century in Northern Europe and is now used worldwide. Global production of fish meal has been stable for the past two decades at around 5 to 6 million tons, Peru and Chile being the main producers.

A major portion (more than 60%) of fish meal produced globally is used for aquaculture (farming of finfish and shrimp). The intensification of aquaculture in Asia, and particularly in China, is increasing the demand for fish meal even though the supply cannot grow accordingly. Natural phenomena such as the El Niño-Southern Oscillation affect the fisheries along Central American Pacific coasts, leading to seasonal scarcities and increased prices. Due to these factors, the fish meal market is volatile and prices often shoot up. The search for suitable and cost-effective alternative protein sources for use in industrial aquafeeds will be the most critical factor in the development of intensive aquaculture in Asia.

The best quality fish meal is obtained from raw fish. However, in order to prevent protein and oil breakdown, raw fish is often processed by draining, chilling (chilled water systems, mixing of ice with fish) or chemical preservation (with sodium nitrite or formaldehyde).

Raw material (raw fish or preserved fish) is composed of 3 major fractions: solids (fat-free dry matter), oil and water. Fish meal is manufactured by a series of actions involving cooking, pressing, drying and milling. After cooking, generally at around 85-90°C, the cooked fish is pressed through a screw press where liquids are removed and a “press-cake” is obtained. The liquids are decanted, the supernatants centrifuged to obtain “stick-water”, which is concentrated through mild evaporation. The press cake and stick water are mixed together before entering a dryer to obtain fish meals with a final moisture of about 10%. At each of these processing steps, there can be variations, leading to fish meals of variable qualities.

Good quality fish meals contain crude protein levels above 66%, fat content around 8 to 11%, and ash generally below 12%. In some of the tropical developing countries, “fish meal” is sometimes produced after sun-drying and grinding, and can have very high levels of ash and relatively low protein levels. Other fishery by-products include fish protein concentrates with high protein levels (more than 70%).

In the 1980s, acid-preserved “fish silage” was very much promoted as one of the means of conserving trash or raw fish and for making farm-made feeds for aquaculture by mixing such silages with other feedstuffs , although this practice is not widely applied.

Due to the ever increasing demand for fish meal and fish oil to be used in feeds for farmed fish and crustaceans, there has been concern that the over-reliance on capture fishery-derived fish products for aquaculture would contribute to the over-exploitation of certain types of fisheries, with concomitant effects on the stocks of other wild fish . However, time-series data show that there has been no upward trend in the catch of fish for feed since the 1980s . Based on current developments in fish feed formulations, it is now recognized that aquaculture contributes to global fisheries supply and does not deplete the marine fishery resources . Besides, the fish meal industry has committed itself and set forth several stringent measures to ensure that the feed-grade fisheries respect sustainability criteria. Another issue of concern is the poor management of rejects.

Main analysis Unit Avg SD Min Max Nb
Dry matter % as fed 92.1 1.0 90.0 94.4 477
Crude protein % DM 75.4 1.7 71.3 79.8 480
Ether extract, HCl hydrolysis % DM 11.0 1.6 7.7 13.7 72
Ash % DM 13.6 1.9 11.1 18.2 458
Gross energy MJ/kg DM 21.9 0.6 20.7 22.3 8
Minerals Unit Avg SD Min Max Nb
Calcium g/kg DM 26.5 7.6 15.4 42.6 307
Phosphorus g/kg DM 22.3 2.4 19.0 28.0 304
Potassium g/kg DM 11.9 1
Sodium g/kg DM 10.9 1.6 7.4 14.4 89
Magnesium g/kg DM 3.1 1
Manganese mg/kg DM 10 10 10 2
Zinc mg/kg DM 99 18 75 120 5
Amino acids Unit Avg SD Min Max Nb
Alanine % protein 6.1 0.2 5.7 6.4 18
Arginine % protein 5.8 0.6 4.2 6.6 19
Aspartic acid % protein 8.7 0.4 7.9 9.5 18
Cystine % protein 0.8 0.1 0.7 0.9 28
Glutamic acid % protein 12.6 0.8 11.8 15.0 18
Glycine % protein 5.9 0.8 4.3 7.7 19
Histidine % protein 2.2 0.5 1.6 3.5 19
Isoleucine % protein 4.3 0.4 3.2 5.0 19
Leucine % protein 7.0 0.6 5.5 8.1 19
Lysine % protein 7.5 0.3 7.0 8.1 39
Methionine % protein 2.8 0.3 2.3 3.5 32
Phenylalanine % protein 3.8 0.3 2.8 4.3 19
Proline % protein 3.8 0.4 3.2 4.3 7
Serine % protein 4.0 0.2 3.6 4.5 18
Threonine % protein 4.1 0.3 3.1 4.6 19
Tryptophan % protein 1.1 0.1 0.8 1.2 15
Tyrosine % protein 2.9 0.3 2.3 3.7 19
Valine % protein 4.9 0.4 3.9 5.7 19

Fish meal is the most important raw material for the production of combined feeds. 1 kg contains 42 – 60 g of lysine, 21 – 30 g methionine + cystine and 9.9 – 14.5 mJ of exchange energy on average. The nutritional value of fish meal depends on species composition of fish used for preparation, season and place of catch, processing technology etc. The fish meal produced in different countries varies in content of crude protein and amino acids.

Fish meal – one of the additives which contains all elements required for proper animal development:

  • Concentrated protein.
  • Fat acids omega – 3 DHA and ERA.
  • Main amino acids: methionine, cystine, lysine, threonine and thryptophan.
  • В group vitamins, including choline, biotin, vitamins В12, А and D.

Fish meal is made from fish production waste. It should make up between 2% to 10% of the ration depending on the application and need. Positive impact includes up to 15% improvement in feeding and 4% improvement in growth.

Fish meal is a source of high quality protein – one of the most valuable sources of protein, lysine, and the amino acid methionine. Therefore, it can be used to increase animal growth.

Inclusion of this additive ensures the provision of 100% digestible phosphorus and calcium, fats, vitamins A and D, and B group vitamins. In addition, fish meal reduces the dependence on synthetic amino acids. Fatty acids in fish meal also supplement the acids from vegetable proteins. The latter contain many polyunsaturated fatty acids such as omega-6, while fish meal is rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids such as omega-3. Along with vegetable proteins, fish meal provides the optimal content ratio between omega-6 and omega-3, which should be in the range from 10 : 1 to 5 : 1.

The use of fish meal in animal feeding has a positive effect on the well-being of animals and the quality of animal products (meat, eggs, milk).


Given that the indispensable amino acid profile of fish meal reflects that of the ideal protein pattern for fish or shrimp, fish meal is a major protein source in aquaculture. Protein digestibility of good quality fish meal is very high with equally high amino acid availability . Fish meal is also a source of essential fatty acids, minerals and trace elements.


In Sheep, the undegradable protein content of fish meal improves forage intake. Inclusion levels range from 2.5% in lambs to 7.5% in milking ewes . High protein content improves immune status: feeding ewes with fishmeal during late pregnancy decreased worm infestation and thus reduced the use of anthelmintics

Fish meal supplementation increases reproduction performance in ewes: conception rates, lamb litter weight, lamb weight and vigour at birth, including colostrum and heat production . Milking ewes supplemented with fish meal produced more milk. Fish meal also improved live-weight gains in early weaned lambs grazing tall fescue


Fish meal has a high biological value for pigs. Protein of fish meal is of good quality: it has a high methionine content and the protein is highly digestible. Its contents in vitamins, n-3 fatty acids and minerals are very valuable for pigs. Levels of incorporation vary from 5 to 10% in piglet feeds to about 3% in feeds for finishers or sows

Different studies proved that fish meal is beneficial in starters and weaned pigs at rates below 10%  Inclusion rates higher than 10% were not economically viable Fish meal is also reported to be hypoallergenic to piglets and was found to decrease diarrhoea during post-weaning . It could be useful in low health status piglets to improve daily gain


Fish meal is an interesting concentrated protein source for poultry, particularly in situations where land animal by-products have been banned in poultry feeds. Fish meal has a high biological value in poultry, not only as a protein source but also as source of minerals, such as P and Ca, and trace elements such as Se or I. However, the high prices of fish meal limit the inclusion levels and those remain around or below 5%

Including fish meal in broilers diets increases body weight, daily weight gain and feed intake. Fish meal has greater impact on growing broilers than on starters. It is highly valuable to young turkeys. In laying hens and broilers, inclusion of fish meal may cause a fishy taste in eggs and meat


Fish meal is a valuable feedstuff for rabbits. Due to its cost, there have been several attempts to replace it by less expensive products: it was possible to totally or partially replace fish meal with quinoa grain, blood meal, extruded hatchery wastes, meat meal and poultry viscera meal.


Like fish feed, feeds for marine or freshwater shrimp contain high levels of fish meal (up to 40%). However, plant ingredients are being increasingly incorporated as an alternative to fish meals, or other marine-derived protein sources such as shrimp meal or squid meal, in order to ensure the sustainable development of shrimp farming

  • Polypropylene bags with an insert/paper laminates, net weight of up to 50 kg
  • Soft polypropylene containers (big bags) net weight of up to 1,000 kg or as agreed with the customer
  • In Bulk

Packaging has the manufacturer’s logo and a label inserted into the seam with standard consumer information.

Shelf life: 12 months as of the manufacturing date.

Storage: in a ventilated room in the original packing at a temperature below 25°С and relative air humidity below 75%.

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