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Study shows benefits of Krill meal on Nile tilapia

April 24, 2024  By Hatchery International staff

Antarctic krill in the water column of the Southern Ocean. (Photo: Aker BioMarine)

A recent study by LABOMAR (the Marine Sciences Institute in Brazil), Spring Genetics Tilapia in Miami, and Aker BioMarine Antarctic AS, has shown that the inclusion of krill meal in Nile tilapia diets resulted in positive effects on their reproductive performance and higher survival of larvae.

Krill meal has emerged as a nutrient-rich and sustainable marine ingredient for aquaculture feeds – a source of phospholipids, high quality marine protein, high levels of omega-3 fatty acids: EPA and DHA, and astaxanthin, all of which are known to be beneficial for the growth and health of fish.

“Through previous studies, we’ve learned that lipids and essential fatty acids can have a positive effect on reproductive performance of fish. Traditionally, farmers have included fishmeal and fish oil in the feed to meet these needs, but due to growing scarcity and fluctuating costs, more sustainable and effective ingredients are needed, and here krill meal could be a part of the solution to fill the gap,” said Kiranpreet Kaur, director R&D, fish health & nutrition, Aker BioMarine.

According to an Aker BioMarine press release, tilapia is the second most farmed fish and producers are seeking high-quality offspring to improve their overall production. In the study, scientists assessed how varying levels of krill meal in the Nile tilapia diet influenced factors such as spawning, egg quantity and quality, and survival of larvae.


The 12-week feeding trial was run at a tilapia breeding facility in Miami, Florida. The 792 tilapia broodstock were divided into 12 cages, each with a 3:1 female to male ratio. The fish were fed twice daily, receiving one of the three test feeds: krill meal inclusion of 2%, krill meal inclusion of 5%, or a control diet mimicking commercial Nile tilapia broodstock feed.

Results from the feeding trial

Nile tilapia fed 2% krill meal diet achieved 18% higher egg production and 14% more spawning females than the control group. Nile tilapia fed 5% krill meal diet achieved 30% higher egg production and 29% more spawning females than the control group. Most females spawned twice when receiving krill meal in the diet in comparison to control fish that mostly spawned once during the trial.

The 5% krill meal diet had a positive effect on total number of larvae on day 10 after hatching, 10% higher than the control group. The Nile tilapia eggs contained higher fat content when fish were fed krill meal. n-3 fatty acid levels, with EPA and DHA, were higher in the 5% krill meal group versus the control group.

“Overall, this study suggests the positive effects on reproductive performance and larval survival in Nile tilapia when krill meal is included in the diet,” said Kaur. “These results are a strong indication that krill meal is a viable and nutrient rich marine ingredient for the broodstock Nile tilapia diet. We look forward to further research to learn more.”

“As the local partner and facilitator for this study, specializing in Nile tilapia breeding, we continually seek innovative ways to improve growth, survival, and overall yield. It’s important for us to partner with other stakeholders, like Aker BioMarine , to run trials like this one and learn more about promising ingredients such as krill meal and how it can help us improve broodstock performance,” said Hideyoshi Segovia Uno, chief executive officer and co-owner, Spring Genetics.

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