Black fly farm gets CFIA OK as farmed fish food

A company that raises flies for use as fish and poultry feed now has Canadian Food Inspection Agency approval to expand.

Enterra Feed Corp., based in Langley, B.C., can now sell whole dried black soldier fly larvae as feed for farmed salmon, trout and Arctic char.

It is the first Canadian approval of aquaculture feed made from insects. Enterra already had CFIA approval to market the larvae in broiler chicken feed.

Andrew Vickerson, chief technology officer for Enterra, said many poultry and fish farmers are looking for alternatives to fish meal, soybean meal or other protein sources.

“The fact that they’re natural to what those animals would be eating in the wild really appeals to (farmers),” Vickerson said.

The company sells meal, oil and dried larvae that comes from black soldier flies, which are native to North America’s more temperate climate zones.

“They are found mostly in southern Ontario and southern B.C. in the summertime,” said Vickerson.

“We’ve had the same fly population since 2009 so we don’t take any flies from the wild or release flies into the wild. Its all domesticated in house.”

The flies are raised using “pre-consumer waste food,” that being food from farms and grocery stores rather than restaurant or consumer waste.

The price is right for the fly feedstock.

“In most cases we get paid to receive most of it,” said Vickerson.

At worst the input material is cost neutral, he added, although there is a cost to Enterra if the packaging has to be removed.

Vickerson said the product is sold by the tonne, but declined to provide details on current sales volumes or price.

He said it is comparable in price to other protein feeds for fish and broilers.

Enterra distributes product throughout Canada and the United States.

Founded in 2009, the company employs 35 to 40 people, Vickerson said.

It has a 2 1/2 acre site in Langley, which opened in 2014, and is finalizing plans for a new facility in metro Vancouver. It also intends to build four more fly farms in North America in coming years.

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