F3 – Future of Fish Feed is a collaborative effort between NGOs, researchers, and private partnerships to accelerate and support the scaling of innovative, alternative aquaculture feed ingredients such as bacterial meals, plant-based proteins, algae, and yeast to replace wild-caught fish.

The F3: Fish Free Feed Challenge was launched in 2015 as a first step to create a community of stakeholders and address the need for innovative feeds. The challenge is for an aquafeed company to either produce and sell the most seafood-free aquaculture feed using innovative formulations of proteins and lipids by the challenge end date, September 15, 2017, or be the first to reach 100,000 metric tons (mT) of seafood-free feed sales. Companies from Australia, Austria, China, Indonesia, Myanmar, South Africa, Thailand, and the U.S. are currently participating. 



Forage fish, small pelagic fish like sardines and menhaden, account for about one third of all global fisheries (1). Ninety percent of these forage fish are processed to provide fish meal and fish oil, mostly for aquaculture (2). Forage fish consume plankton (e.g. algae, copepods) and in turn, become feed for cod, salmon, tuna, dolphins, sharks, seals, sea lions, penguins, seabirds, and some whales. 

Without forage fish, all of these vitally important species could disappear, and this is already occurring as experts estimate that newly born sea lion pup fatalities can rise to 70% due to inadequate supplies of forage fish (3). Consequently, maintaining the forage fish stocks is of critical and strategic importance for preserving life in the oceans. Many scientists say that the current rate of forage fish harvest is unsustainable (i.e. (4)).

Aquaculture, the practice of farming seafood, currently requires forage fish for the feed. Disappearance of forage fish means that aquaculture will also decline, and less protein will be available from both aquaculture and wild caught sources. The forage fish bottleneck can be overcome by innovation, and creating fish-free alternatives that will significantly reduce the pressure on forage fish populations. These alternatives can provide the same nutritional value as fish-based feeds to aquacultured species and also to human consumers.

United Nations Commitment

The F3 Team commits to:

  • Award the first F3 prize in 2017
  • Launch another challenge in 2017 to further innovation
  • Hold another stakeholder meeting in 2019
  • Encourage an International Feed Innovation Network that accelerates innovations to take pressures off wild-caught fisheries so that forage fish, and the higher trophic levels which represent the ocean as we know it, will remain for future generations.

The F3 Team welcomes collaboration with governments, NGOs and companies to attain the goal of F3 Future of Fish Feed for agriculture and aquaculture, so that our shared future becomes more sustainable.

See more at: https://oceanconference.un.org/commitments/?id=18933

Reference List:

(1) Alder J, Campbell B, Karpouzi V, Kaschner K, Pauly D (2008) Forage fish: From ecosystems to markets. Annu Rev Environ Resour 33(1):153–166.

(2) Tacon G, Metian M (2009) Fishing for feed or fishing for food: increasing global competition for small pelagic forage fish AMBIO 38: 294

(3) http://e360.yale.edu/features/a_little_fish_with_big_impact_in_trouble_on_us_west_coast

(4) Essington TE, Moriarty PE, Froehlich HE, Hodgson EE, Koehn LE, Oken KL, Siple MC, Stawitz CC (2015) Fishing amplifies forage fish population collapses. PNAS 112(21): 6648 DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1422020112