Calanus develops device to harvest omega-3 source more efficiently

Norwegian biomarine company Calanus As is developing zooplankton trawls with on-board devices to provide more efficient harvesting of a new sustainable omega-3 source for humans.

The omega-3 source from the Arctic “is the natural lipid extract from the small copepod calanus finmarchicus which is the most abundant animal species on the planet, and the engine of the North Atlantic ecosystem,” said Calanus.

The new technology aerates the water column in front of the trawls, elevating biomass from 40 to 50 metres up to the surface, where it is scooped up by a shallow and wide trawl, Food Navigator wrote on 25 October.

The devices would also reduce bycatch in the ‘challenging’ area of oceanic harvesting.

Recent action by the Norwegian government to expand commercial harvesting of c. finmarchicus was primarily behind the company’s expansion plans, which predicted an increasing demand for its product.

The firm’s product, Calanus Oil, had proved suitable for use in dietary supplement products, functional food ingredients and marine flavours.

“Whereas classic omega-3s come as triglycerides, ethyl esters and phospholipids, Calanus Oil comes as wax esters. It is the only commercially available marine source of wax esters,” the company said.

“Calanus Oil is approved for sale in Canada, the EU and the USA,” said the company’s head of sales Jan Erik Olsen. “Applications are underway in other important markets. We expect two new approvals this year and at least one new in 2020.”

Olsen added that availability of the omega-3 source came at a time where obesity rates were skyrocketing worldwide.

“Special products addressing health concerns associated with obesity should be the main focus of the nutraceutical industry,” Food Navigator quoted him as saying.

“Development of this new harvesting technology means higher harvesting yields and even lower bycatch rates, as well as less CO2 emissions/kg of harvested zooplankton,” added Calanus’ head of technology and sustainability Ole Petter Pedersen.