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Protix raises $50 million to raise insects for fish feed

You probably have already eaten black soldier fly larvae, at least indirectly.

Farmed fish and other livestock are starting to feast on feed made from these fast-growing maggots, which themselves can be fattened on rotting food waste.

The growing demand for such high-quality feed attracted investors to Protix, a Netherlands-based insect-based feed producer that is expanding into the aquaculture market. Its latest funding round was backed by sustainable aquaculture fund Aqua-Spark, BOM Capital, and RaboBank, one of the company’s early investors.

The need for protein-based foods is expected to increase by almost 50% in the next 30 years (see “What to feed the fish”). Growing insects as a feed source can reduce the need for forage fish, and is even more sustainable because varieties like the black soldier fly — Protix’s flagship product — feed on food waste.

Aqua-Spark has also invested in Calysta, a California biotech company that uses microbes to produce a fishmeal substitute. Aqua-Spark’s Mike Velings told ImpactAlpha the fund will encourage the fish farms it invests in to try both types of feed.

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