Future of Fish Feed (F3) is a collaborative effort between NGOs, researchers, and private partnerships to accelerate the commercialization of innovative, substitute aquaculture feed ingredients to replace wild-caught fish. Past feeds have relied on wild-caught fish, which is unsustainable since wild caught stocks are declining.


We have created a Forage Fish Savings Estimator to assist innovative ingredient companies, that can provide nutritionally equivalent replacements for fishmeal and fish oil, in calculating the number of forage fish saved. Based on our calculations, the first F3 contest saved approximately 350 million fish and the second contest saved over 2 billion fish.

“Fishmeal alternatives continue to be developed, like algae, bacteria from methane production or microbial proteins from carbon dioxide sequestration. We are trying to turn plant-based ingredients into animal-based ingredients… The trick is to make plant meal behave like fishmeal, not to turn carnivores into herbivores.

Fish do not require fishmeal. They require the nutrients that fishmeal happens to contain. That is why fishmeal has been used so much in aquaculture. If you take the fishmeal out, you must supplement with other ingredients to get the necessary nutrients, hence the need to develop other protein sources. If diets are formulated correctly and contain all essential nutrients, growth rate and feed efficiency will be good.”

Dr. Rick Barrows

F3 Chief Scientific Officer


The primary goal of our efforts is to speed up the development of innovative ingredients and adoption of fish-free feeds on aquaculture farms to reduce the use of wild forage fish and thereby aid in protecting the ocean ecosystems that rely on them.

To help quantify the impact that our Challenges have had towards meeting this goal, we used the methodology detailed here to estimate forage fish usage in feeds. By comparing the forage fish requirement of an improved (fishmeal- and/or fish oil- reduced) diet for a given species to the forage fish requirement of a typical diet for that species, we can estimate the number of forage fish saved by using the improved diet.

We have also developed an online forage fish savings estimator here that uses the methodology above for calculating the forage fish savings between an improved and typical diet for a given species and quantity of that species produced.

F3 Fish Oil Challenge, 2017-2019 (Current Challenge)

Our second F3 Challenge, the F3 Fish Oil Challenge, aims to find fish oil replacements that contain essential fatty acids in ratios that mimic the average fatty acid profile found in forage fish. The prize will be awarded to the team that has sold the greatest amount of DHA + EPA + ARA as calculated from sales of qualified F3 Oil by the end of the Challenge. The winner will be announced at the Global Aquaculture Alliance’s GOAL Conference in Chennai, India. Stay tuned for more details.

In February 2019 we hosted the second F3 Meeting to bring together feed companies and contestants of the current F3 Challenge. We are eager to see how these connections accelerate the use of fish oil substitutes in aquaculture and hopeful that the positive impact our challenge has had is only just the beginning. Check out highlights from the 2019 F3 Meeting here.

 Our assumptions for this estimate are here, with a breakdown of the calculations here.

F3 Fish-Free Feed Challenge, 2015-2017

In 2015 we launched the first F3 Challenge, the F3 Fish-Free Feed Challenge, to create Fish Free Feeds for aquaculture, also called F3. The winner of this challenge was announced in October 2017 at the Global Aquaculture Alliance in Dublin.  The challenge was for an aquafeed company to either produce and sell the most seafood-free aquaculture feed using innovative formulations of proteins and lipids by the challenge end date, September 15, 2017, or be the first to reach 100,000 metric tons (mT) of seafood-free feed sales. Companies from Australia, Austria, China, Indonesia, Myanmar, South Africa, Thailand, and the U.S. competed. A list of companies that had sales of verified F3 feed products is here.

To facilitate networking between the contestants of the F3 Fish-Free Feed Challenge and large feed companies, we held the first F3 Meeting in the San Francisco Bay Area in January 2017. Discussions at this meeting prompted the development of our Feed Innovation Network, which encourages sustainable innovations in fish-free aquaculture feed ingredients by sharing experimental protocols, and directing ingredient companies to test facilities that can implement these protocols.

Guangdong Evergreen Feed Industry Co. was the winner of the F3 Fish-Free Feed Challenge, selling over 84,000 metric tons of feed to the industry in 16 months. Check out their acceptance speech here

TOTAL FORAGE FISH SAVINGS FROM THE F3 FISH-FREE FEEDS CHALLENGE: 350 MILLION. Our assumptions for this calculation are here, with a breakdown of the calculations here


The Feed Innovation Network, supports the innovation and widespread adoption of alternative fish-free feed ingredients by providing information on experimental protocols, testing facilities, and promising new ingredients. 

F3FIN.org hosts resources for ingredient suppliers, aquafeed companies, fish farmers, researchers, investors, and policymakers:
•    F3 Suppliers – F3 ingredient and feed company profiles
•    Open formulas for F3 feeds
•    Evaluation protocols and testing facilities
•    Forage Fish Savings Estimator

Learn more about F3FIN.org and join the network here. 


Supporting Organizations

Thanks to Anonymous Donors as well!

Past Sponsors

Leadership and Judges


Dr. Kevin FitzsimmonsUniversity of ArizonaFormer President World Aquaculture Society, Aquaculture and Integrated Farming Systems, Aquaculture Extension Specialist, Tilapia Expert, Fullbright Fellow
Dr. Ling CaoShanghai Jiao Tong University, Stanford UniversitySustainable Aquaculture/Policy and Management, China
Dr. Michael TlustyUniversity of Massachusetts BostonSeafood Sustainability, Research Faculty in Aquaculture, Sustainable Seafood Policy and Management

Industry and Technical Advisory Panel


Dr. Rick BarrowsAquatic Feed Technologies, USDA/ARS ret.Nutritionist, Feed and Fish physiology, F3 Chief Scientific Adviser Background, Publications
Dr. Roz NaylorStanford UniversityFood Security and the Environment, Economist
Dr. Hillary EgnaOregon State UniversityAquaculture and International Development
Chris OakesNovoNutrients
Dr. Loc TranNong Lam University, Shrimp Vet LaboratoryDisease Expert, Vietnam

Coordination & Administration


Dr. Barbara PageAnthropocene Institute
Kelly AlfreyAnthropocene Institute
Alex DriedgerAnthropocene Institute
Annie ReisewitzStrategic Ocean SolutionsF3 Media Liaison