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Scientists engineer vegetarian diet for carnivorous fish

Cobia, a fish with flaky, white meat and a sweet, rich flavour, could soon be a staple at trendy dinner parties, after scientists found a sustainable way to raise cobia on fish farms. CBC science columnist Torah Kachur explains.

Discovery could make fish healthier, more sustainable for humans to eat

Researchers have specially formulated for cobia a new plant-based protein and oil diet that even includes supplementation with taurine, the active ingredient in Red Bull and a known essential nutrient for these fish. (NOAA)

Cobia, a fish with flaky,white meat and a sweet, rich flavour, could soon become all the rage at trendy dinner parties, following a discovery that could make it feasible to raise cobia on fish farms. 

Cobia are meat eaters, which has made them unsuitable for aquaculture up until now. That's because feeding them large amounts of meat in the form of fish meal, produced by grinding up huge numbers of smaller fish, is neither sustainable nor cost-effective.

CBC science columnist Torah Kachur describes what it takes to make a carnivorous fish vegetarian.

New research from the University of Maryland has developed a plant-based alternative to fish meal that makes the fish grow just as well, without the waste and the accumulation of toxic chemicals like mercury in fish meat that often happens when farmed fish are fed a diet based on fish meal.

This new plant-based protein and oil alternative has been specially formulated for cobia and even includes supplementation with taurine, the active ingredient in Red Bull and a known essential nutrient for these fish.

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