Deakin researcher wins prestigious fellowship and announces world-first book

8 February 2010

A Deakin University Warrnambool Campus researcher has co-edited a new book – believed to be the first of its type – on the controversy between fisheries and the fish farming sector and has won a prestigious Australian Research Fellowship to continue his studies in the field.

Dr Giovanni Turchini hopes his research and the book, Fish Oil Replacement and Alternative Lipid Sources in Aquaculture Feeds, will lead to sustainable alternatives to fish oil exploitation that will help transform aquaculture into an environmentally friendly and economically viable way to increase the global supply of fish and seafood.

The Fellowship funded by the Australian Research Council (ARC) provides funding to Dr Turchini to continue his research project - Triggering the dormant capacity of fish to make omega-3 fatty acids - for five years. He is investigating innovative natural methods of producing farmed fish still rich in omega-3 fatty acids without using fish oil, which is in increasingly and dramatic short supply, globally.

Dr Turchini said that unsustainable fishing practices had led to increased pressure on aquaculture to meet the shortfalls in the supply of fish, which are the main edible source of many essential omega-3 fatty acids.

However, he said farmed fish had special nutritional requirements and needed to be fed fish oil so they still contain high levels of omega-3, which is a major health benefit for people. “Current fish oil is derived from the already over-exploited wild fish stock which is nonsense as we should be reducing the pressure on collapsing wild stocks, if we are serious in preserving the entire ocean ecosystems. But we also need to increase our omega-3 intake, if we are serious in preserving our health.”

Dr Turchini is investigating innovative natural alternative methods of producing fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids. “I am working on a natural process of modifying their feed to boost the ability of fish to convert short omega-3 precursors found in vegetable oils to the long variety which has the renowned health benefits. This has health benefits for both, the consumer and our oceans.”

Dr Turchini has edited the book in conjunction with Wing-Keong Ng from Malaysia and Douglas Tocher from Scotland and has brought together the works of 33 research leaders and industry experts.

It will be published in July 2010 by the prestigious US based academic publisher CRC Press (Taylor & Francis group) and will review issues about fish oil shortages and fish oil substitution with sustainable alternatives.

“It is a hot topic for the entire primary sector and food industries and the book will address crucial questions regarding the ability to meet increasing global demand for fisheries products as the means to provide omega-3 for a growing and ageing global population,” he said.

News facts
  • Research investigating natural methods of producing farmed fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids without using fish oil
  • ARC Fellowship will help research to continue
  • Hopes research and book will help lead to sustainable alternatives

Media contact

Vanessa Barber
Deakin Media Relations
03 5227 1301; 0488 292 644

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15th February 2010