Salmon are carnivorous and their formulated feed contains fish meal as a source of protein and fish oil as a main source of lipids and essential fatty acids. Fish meal and fish oil is obtained from wild-caught species of small ocean fish (e.g. anchovies, sardines) and from processing waste (trimmings) from fish caught for human consumption.
Efforts to reduce reliance on wild-caught species have seen a significant reduction in fish oil/meal as a feed ingredient. In 2016, the equivalent of 1.69kg of wild-caught fish was used for every 1kg of Atlantic salmon produced and the future aim is to produce more kg of salmon than kg of other fish used in its production. In comparison, it is estimated that salmon in the wild will eat around 10kg of forage fish for every 1kg of bodyweight.
Responsible aquaculture companies source their feed from suppliers who source marine ingredients from responsible fisheries, i.e. not from Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fisheries or from species listed as Critically Endangered or Endangered on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List. Feed for production fish does not contain added hormones.