Monday, December 17, 2007

Brewer's Grain: The Next Fish Feed

Why is fish farming something to watch?

Ask any Climatologist (or militant vegetarian for that matter) and you will be told that beef as a protein source isn't going to cut it on a world wide scale. Combine the cost and waste associated with beef production with depleted international fisheries and you've got either a crisis or market opportunity. It all depends on which side of the equation you look.

New Belgian Ale is investing in developing their mash into a high protein fish feed. This being a concept in ethanol circles discussed repeatedly given the net return on calories put in for fish farming. Way more meat protein in higher value fish than you would see from the same inputs given over to beef.

For a protein poor world fish farming is a growing industry, and feeding the fish a meal rich in protein itself is a challenge. That's where beer/ethanol mash has a real market opportunity. According to New Belgian the chief protein source in their distiller's grain is the bacteria which drives the process of beer making. So essentially, with aquaculture, you turn lower value protein from dead bacteria into higher value protein wrapped up in tasty salmon.

Next thing to watch for. Large ethanol producers proposing fish farming as a vertically integrated acquisition. In particular, having a guaranteed highest market value place to put the corn mash after production might mean the difference between profitability and bleeding losses in the current ethanol market.

Read the full story about New Belgian's research efforts in the Rocky Mountain News.

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