As the world’s fastest-growing source of animal protein, aquaculture needs a cost-effective, sustainable alternative to traditional fishmeal-based feed.

Illinois-grown soybeans provide the solution this industry needs, with many advantages!


Fish and Seafood Species Raised Through Aquaculture

  • Cobia

  • Catfish

  • Tilapia

  • Shrimp

  • Sturgeon

  • Rainbow Trout

  • Yellow Perch

  • and many more...



According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA), aquaculture production rose by 4 percent from 2010-2011. That's good news for the U.S. soy industry as the decline in the wild-fish population has pushed the price of traditionally used fishmeal even higher. Soy is proving to not only be a more affordable option, but a more sustainable one as well.

Studies funded by the Illinois soybean checkoff have repeatedly confirmed that soybean meal, protein and oil are viable replacements for the customary fish-based options. In fact, according to, soybeans “can replace from one-third to one-half of the fishmeal in feeds for many species, thus reducing pressure on wild fish reserves.”


With the ever-increasing demand for fishmeal and oil, the prices for these vital ingredients are being driven higher. As stated in ISA’s 2010 Research Report, “their prices have grown by 400 percent over the last 20 years, with a two-fold increase since 2004.” These exorbitant costs make it difficult for aquaculture farms to make a profitable return on their investments. However, because soybean meal is more readily available, it costs less than fishmeal, offering a consistently more economical feeding option for these producers.


Rich in protein and oil, soybean meal also contains the best amino acid complex of all plants. These components help soy-based feeds efficiently meet the nutritional needs of most fish species, and provide many health advantages over other alternative proteins. Soy protein concentrate and isolates include a higher protein-to-carbohydrate ratio. The addition of soy-derived phospholipids can restore growth performance and resilience. Fish feeds that include soy oils benefit from high-saturated fatty acids that restore long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acid levels and associated fillet quality.

Success Stories

Are You a Soybean Farmer?

Learn more about the alliance between aquaculture and the soybean industry.


Have Questions About Aquaculture?

Contact ISA’s staff director for aquaculture, Mark Albertson, at:
P: (309) 808-3601

You also may contact Kelly Coleman, Coleman Communications, at:
P: (415) 939-4602

We also encourage you to refer to our press releases, documents, videos and audio files.