The journey for our Fish4Dogs Salmon complete dog food starts in one of the many small fish farms dotted along the Norwegian coast. Why Norway? Clean clear waters and a well regulated & controlled fisheries industry allows high quality fish with excellent sustainability credentials.
It is undeniable that there is controversy over the merits of fish farming. While there are many instances of bad practice in Aquaculture, not all fish farming is the same and in Norway you find some of the best practices in the world. The reason for this is a high level of regulation and control. Norway is a small, wealthy country that takes protection of its natural environment seriously and is culturally happy with government control of its industry. Norway tightly controls its aquaculture resulting in small scale operations with a requirement to continually test, monitor and clean up after itself. The worst cases of bad practice in aquaculture tend to come from huge industrial scale fish farms with no controls seen in other parts of the world.
It is also worth noting that farming fish has a lower environmental impact than animal farming with fish requiring 6.4 lb of Co2 per lb of edible food compared to 13 lb for pork and 66 lb for beef. Because fish are cold blooded they use minimal energy keeping warm, also it takes less energy to support a body in water than it does on land making fish a highly efficient converter of feed when compared to farming of land animals.
Fish are reared in large pens with strict controls on the numbers of fish per pen. During their life the fish are continually monitored, including measuring the levels of EPA and DHA Omega 3 fatty acids. To avoid waste, feeding is monitored via underwater cameras. As soon as the fish stop eating then the flow of food is shut off, eliminating waste and reducing pollution from unconsumed feeds. Good animal husbandry and natural methods are the order of the day. For instance the sea lice are controlled by introducing Wrasse fish (LipFish), who cheerfully eat the sea lice.
Once ready for harvest the fish are transferred, still alive, by boats containing large seawater pools to the processing plant. As with the farms themselves this is a small-scale operation – 3 red painted wooden buildings nestling on the shores of the fjord.
The fish are then transferred to water at 30°F, causing them to fall into a coma providing a natural, pain and stress free method of dispatch – both ethically right and producing better quality meat. The fish are then killed, gutted and filleted – all done by machinery, meaning it can be done fast – from alive to fully processed takes 20 minutes. The Fillets are sent off for human consumption and we have the rest – nearly 50% of the fish.
The fish destined for Fish4Dogs Complete food are minced and liquidized to make a fish soup. This “soup” is then driven to our manufacturing plant in Stavanger on the shores of the Riska Fjord.
At the plant in Stavanger the fish, potatoes, vitamin and minerals are mixed together and cooked in a large pressure cooker known as an extruder.
The cooked food is then forced through stainless steel plates containing small holes, producing the kibble. What comes out here is still soft and smells very much like freshly baked bread.
The final stage is to coat the kibble in Salmon oil and allow to cool.
Several other producers store the finished kibble in silos as a cost saving measure. At Fish4Dogs we immediately pack into the sealed bags to ensure maximum freshness.
We say “feed fish and see the difference” but this goes further. Not just any fish but carefully selected and quality controlled fish ensuring that our four legged friends get only the best.