Plenty more fish in the sea?

Replacing fish with algae

Algae-based omega-3 oil changes the game

Did you know that 20% of all the fish caught in the world is used to feed…other fish?

Meanwhile, some three billion people in the world rely on fish from our oceans for protein and nutrition; and many millions more benefit from the rich omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil supplements – which are beneficial to human brain, eye and heart health.

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Fish are essential to our society. But we’re running out of them – not least because of the huge volumes of wild-caught fish used to feed farmed salmon in the global aquaculture business. In fact, 75% of the world’s fish oil has, until now, been used for this purpose. It’s why DSM has teamed up with Evonik to help solve both these problems with the help an ancient organism often referred to as the foundation of all plant life: algae…

Veramaris®: an algae-based answer

Nutritionists agree the omega-3 fatty acids are essential for both human and animal health…but neither humans nor salmon are able to synthesize omega-3 in sufficient quantities – hence the need for these essential nutrients to be supplemented in the diet to maintain healthy growth.

Veramaris is an algae-based oil launched in 2018 that provides the first viable alternative to fish oil for this valuable source of omega-3.

Farmed in giant lakes, Veramaris has a high (50%) concentration of the key fatty acids needed to feed farmed salmon and maintain their health – and its significance is best summarized by the fact that just one metric tonne of Veramaris algal oil is the equivalent of 60 tonnes of wild-caught fish. 

Keeping fish in the sea

At DSM we’ve aligned our entire commercial strategy specifically with five of the UN Sustainable Development Goals agreed in 2015. In the case of our Veramaris algal oil that means:

In the simplest terms Veramaris ensures that instead of wild fish being used to create oil that gets fed to other fish, they can now remain in the sea to be caught and eaten by those that really need this valuable protein source.

Science & Innovation

The bright science behind Veramaris is based on a unique fermentation process that requires just two raw materials – algae and sugar. During the fermentation process, the algae cells multiply and convert the dextrose in the sugar into omega-3 fatty acids, which accumulate in oil sacks. From there they are concentrated into oil, while the liquid removed is used as a protein source for cattle feed - or even converted into biogas for electricity production. Hence, zero waste.

The future

Supported by a $200 million investment from its parent companies DSM and Evonik, Veramaris now has the capacity to meet 15% of the world’s omega-3 fatty acid demand for salmon aquaculture. Today, some 20% of the entire global wild fish catch is processed into nutritional oil and fed to farmed fish. We believe that eventually, Veramaris - and specifically the unique North Atlantic algae species that it’s based upon - could completely replace fish oil for certain species and maybe, one day, perhaps all species.

The world’s oceans regulate our climate, supply half of the oxygen we breathe – and contain mankind’s greatest protein source. By looking outside DSM and teaming up with likeminded people and companies, we intend to use bright science to ensure it stays that way.

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