Insects as a viable animal feed have been receiving increasing recognition due to their high energy and protein content. Since July 2017, EU legislation has been changed and now permits that animals in aquaculture can be fed with processed animal protein (PAP) from insects. This legislative amendment mainly affects insect meal (dried insects ground to meal) that primarily consists of protein, especially when it is defatted.
The advantage of insect meal compared to fresh or unprocessed dried insects is that it can easily be mixed with other feed components, such as ground grains and soy, to form a mixture of a desired composition that is then pressed into pellets for better and more convenient feeding to animals.
Animals in aquaculture in the EU
Within the EU, animals in aquaculture are mostly reared by Spain, the UK, France, Italy and Greece, who collectively produce around 75 % of the EU total. 294,000 tons of animals in aquaculture were reared by Spain (equals 23.0 % of the EU total, valued at approximately €513 million), 212,000 tons by the UK (16.6 %, €995 million), 180,000 tons by France (14.1 %, €627 million), 149,000 tons by Italy (11.6 %, €437 million) and 106,000 tons by Greece (8.3 %, €463 million) (1). Here, the most relevant and important animals are molluscs and fish. The following 10 species account for around 90 % of the total weight of reared animals in aquaculture in the EU in descending order:
1) Mediterranean mussel (Mytilus galloprovincialis), 2) Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar), 3) rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss), 4) blue mussel (Mytilus edulis), 5) gilt-head seabream (Sparus aurata), 6) Pacific oyster (Magallana gigas), 7) European bass (Dicentrarchus labrax), 8) common carp (Cyprinus carpio), 9) Japanese carpet shell (Venerupis philippinarum), and 10) Atlantic bluefin tuna (Thunnus thynnus).