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EU Sounds the Starting Gun for Farmed Insects in Aquaculture Feed

From the 1st of July 2017 using insects in aquaculture feed will be authorised for the first time in nearly 20 years, after it was banned in 1998 due to the BSE crisis. Multibox a circular economy company is based at the Royal Agricultural University’s Farm491, an agricultural innovation centre, where they are developing an insect meal from Black Soldier Fly larvae fed on food waste.  Multibox is committed to becoming the world’s lowest cost producer of insects for the aquaculture industry.

17% of animal protein eaten by humans comes from fish, around 167 million tonnes in 2014 of which 93 million tonnes is from wild capture and 74 million tonnes from aquaculture. 15.8 million of tonnes of the wild capture fish are used to produce fish meal and fish oil much of which is used to feed fish in farms. This use of wild capture fish as aquaculture feed is not sustainable, particularly as wild fish captures have remained constant since 1990 but the demand for farmed fish has been growing at 3.5% per annum.

Around a quarter of UK food, 10 million tonnes in 2014, is wasted between the farm gate and the consumer at a cost of £38 billion per annum. Multibox’s insects are fed on this food waste, making our insect meal and insect oil completely sustainable. Multibox prides itself on pioneering the Circular Economy and enhancing prosperity in the United Kingdom.

Multibox plans to build commercial scale insect farms and bring three products to market in the next 18 months: an insect meal which is used as a substitute for fishmeal in aquafeed, an insect oil to be used in aquaculture, pig and poultry feeds and insect excrement that can be used as a fertiliser. The fertiliser will be used to improve yields in agriculture, horticulture and hydroponics. These three products will initially be produced in the UK.

Managing Director, Paul Wright says, “The EU’s decision to alter the processed animal products legislation has opened the door for companies like us to work with the waste producers and the animal feed manufacturers to deliver a sustainable high quality fish feed whilst ensuring we leave the planet in a better condition for future generations”.

Director of Value Creation, James Wright says “I’m excited about the potential for farming Black Soldier Flies. We know from research that it is a like-for-like replacement for fishmeal and can be produced on waste. The issue has always been- can we up scale the insect farming process to produce enough insects to meet industry demand and we are sure we can.”

Editors notes:

  1. The State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture 2016, Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations
  2. Estimates of Food Surplus and Waste Arisings in the UK, January 2017
  3. COMMISSION REGULATION (EU) No 56/2013, 16 January 2013 – amending Annexes I and IV to Regulation (EC) No 999/2001 of the European Parliament and of the Council laying down rules for the prevention, control and eradication of certain transmissible spongiform encephalopathies
  4. For further information see or contact:
  1. Multibox is based at the Farm 491. This is the Royal Agricultural University’s agritech innovation and incubation centre. Contact [email protected] for comment.