From sketchy supplements to salmon feed

Simpsons Thirty Minutes Over Tokyo plankton

Plankton’s come a long way since the budget-conscious Simpsons bought caseloads of it at the 33-cent store.

Today, far from being a sketchy low-budget protein, supplements made from phytoplankton are being flogged far and wide with big-budget advertising campaigns. They are being sold as having all sorts of amazing properties, including the usual claims health supplement manufacturers love to make.

According to the makers of “Cellton,” which is manufactured in Nanaimo, B.C., their supplements:

  • Help with skin disorders
  • Assist digestion
  • Encourage weight loss
  • Are a powerful antioxidant
  • Control blood pressure
  • Improve memory
  • Reduce joint pain
  • Boost the immune system
  • Have “anti-tumour properties”
  • Can mitigate and “even cure various diseases”
  • Are “one of nature’s best-kept secrets”

These sorts of claims are typical for the “superfood” and supplement promoters, who take the scattergun approach to marketing. If a product does a whole bunch of vague things, at least one of them’s gotta be legit, right?

In this case, it’s doubtful. Not even one of Oprah’s favourite doctors can see any reason for people to consume plankton supplements.

Until phytoplankton are subjected to the kind of rigorous study omega-3 supplements have undergone, I can say only that the hype is running well ahead of the science. — Dr. David Katz

We totally agree.

Canada Marine Biotech Research Corp facility in Nanaimo B.C.
Canada Marine Biotech Research Corp’s facility in Nanaimo grows phytoplankton to make into health food supplements. Why not grow it for salmon feed?

However, this post isn’t about bashing sketchy supplements. It’s about salmon feed. Phytoplankton might not be the magic bullet to cure what ails ya, but it could be a great way to make salmon feed more sustainable.

Phytoplankton is the foundation of the marine food web. Small fish and sea creatures eat them. Sockeye salmon eat the zooplankton that feed on phytoplankton.

So why not grow phytoplankton and zooplankton in tanks to make into salmon feed ingredients? Cellton’s manufacturer, Canada Marine Biotech Research Corp, is already doing it to supply the lucrative human health supplement market. It doesn’t appear to require that much space, judging by the looks of their facility.

Why not do it on an even larger scale?The giant aeration tanks left behind by shuttered pulp and paper mill operations in B.C. could be great places to grow this stuff, providing a nutrient-rich ingredient for salmon feed and reduce the need for feed ingredients sourced from fisheries in South America and the Gulf of Mexico.




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