An ever greater share of the food we eat is supplied by the world’s oceans. However, according to the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization, 90% of the world’s fish stocks are now fully fished or overfished, meaning that their potential to feed more people is rapidly reaching its limit.
Calanus AS has found a new way to harvest the bounty of the oceans by targeting creatures at the bottom of the marine food chain. “We harvest the small crustacean Calanus finmarchicus, which is the most numerous animal species on the planet and constitutes by far the largest harvestable biomass in the Norwegian Sea,” says company founder and CTO Kurt Tande.
Calanus finmarchicus is a herbivorous zooplankter with a one-year lifespan. It forms the base of the food chain pyramid and feeds all other fishable marine life. Instead of feeding farmed fish with fish caught in the wild, Calanus finmarchicus can be used to make a far more sustainable but equally nutritious fish feed.
Calanus® Hydrolysate is a protein product currently mainly used as an ingredient in specialty feed for aquatic animals and pets. However, the raw material also has huge potential in human nutrition.
“Calanus® Oil has a unique composition and health benefits that far exceed those found in ordinary omega-3 fish oils,” says Mr. Tande. “On the basis of results from several preclinical and clinical trials, we believe that Calanus® Oil could become part of the solution to the increased incidence of metabolic syndrome associated with unhealthy lifestyles and obesity. Positive effects such as increased glucose tolerance, reduced deposition of intra-abdominal fat and increased oxygen uptake have been documented and are the focus of several current human trials.”
While one half of the world’s population suffers from food insecurity, the other half suffers from the effects of obesity. Calanus AS hopes its unique Arctic Marine Bioactives can solve both problems.
Currently, the harvested crustaceans are processed into Calanus® Oil, Calanus® Hydrolysate and powder form for aquaculture, pet food, pharmaceutical and human nutrition applications at the company’s plant in Tromsø. The company is also developing completely new products in collaboration with academic and industrial partners.
“We are pioneers of an entirely new industrial value chain that still has much more to offer,” concludes Mr. Tande.