Since the 1990s, the rising demand for fish products has been met by aquaculture rather than by capture fishery.
Fish meal is the main component of many fish diets due to its outstanding nutritional value. As this reliance on fish meal is under question for environmental, societal, and economic reasons, alternative feed sources are required.
Insects are rich in protein, energy, and lipids, and, unlike plant ingredients, are poor in fiber and anti-nutritional factors. Black soldier fly larvae, maggot meal, mealworm larvae, adult Orthoptera (locusts, grasshoppers, and crickets), and silkworm pupae have been investigated for their nutritional attributes, ease of rearing, and biomass production. While not as ideal as fish meal, they may be used to replace part of it in fish diets, usually less than 25 to 30% though greater rates are possible. Addition of synthetic amino acids could further enhance protein quality of insects.
Further research on the nutritional value of insects for fish is needed. Industrial-scale processes for the production of insect-based fish diets have to be developed, taking into account their impact on the environment, food safety, and society.