Tuna revolution: A new market for soybeans

Tim Scates, an Illinois Soybean Association leader and soybean producer from Carmi, Illinois, feeds a soy-based formulation to ranched tuna near the Coronado Islands of Mexico during ISA trials.

A new market for soybeans will soon be available through North America’s first tuna hatchery.

Mark Albertson is with the Illinois Soybean Association which helped fund research on feeding tuna a soybean-based diet, instead of other fish. 

We started doing research with tuna about three years ago and we are very pleased that we have made some big breakthroughs on formulating diets for tuna.”

He tells Brownfield some tuna populations are reaching the endangered species list, but the feed they have created will allow tuna to be grown in a hatchery setting like salmon and catfish.

He says it takes four pounds of feed for a tuna to gain one pound and it takes about two years on the soybean feed diet for one tuna to reach market size, which is good news for farmers.

“This is a brand new competitive space where soybean farmers can stand to have a lot more demand.”

Albertson says they are partnering with researchers in Japan and Spain to put in a tuna hatchery in San Diego, which will only be the third one worldwide. They expect to hatch the first batch of tuna this summer.

The Foundation for Food and Agricultural Research has matched funds put into the research.

The Soy Aquaculture Alliance and Ohio Soybean Association are among other partners of the project.

Interview with Mark Albertson

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