A digestibility and a growth trial were conducted in this study respectively. Firstly, the apparent digestibility coefficients (ADC) of nutrients and energy in meat and bone meal, porcine meal (PM), hydrolysed feather meal, poultry by-products meal, fishmeal (FM), soybean meal and spray-dried blood meal were determined. In experiment 2, an 8-week growth trial was conducted to evaluate the effects of the substitution of FM by PM under the digestible ideal protein concept at two protein levels in the diets of Japanese seabass, Lateolabrax japonicus. A FM-based control diet (FM diet; FM: 320 g kg−1, crude protein: 434.9 g kg−1, crude lipid: 124.6 g kg−1) and three other diets were formulated to contain 115 g kg−1 PM and only 160 g kg−1 FM. Two diets were formulated on a crude protein basis without (PM diet) or with (PMA diet) essential amino acid (EAA) supplementation respectively. A low-protein diet was designed (LPMA diet, crude protein: 400.9 g kg−1, crude lipid: 96.3 g kg−1) with the same level of FM and PM but with the same digestible protein/ digestible energy and EAA profile as the FM diet. The results showed that nitrogen and total amino acid digestibility of the tested ingredients were ranged from 85.6% to 95.5% and from 87.6% to 95.5% respectively. Apparent digestibility coefficients of protein for FM and PM were 91.2% and 95.9% respectively. In the growth trial, the weight gain rate and feed conversion ratio of fish fed the PMA diet did not show a significant difference from those of the control group, but were significantly higher than those of the PM and LPMA groups (P<0.05). Growth was related linearly to lysine and methionine intakes. It was shown that PM could be utilized in the Japanese seabass diet up to 115 g kg−1 to replace about 160 g kg−1 of FM protein under an ideal protein profile. Essential amino acid deficiency (diet PM) or a lower protein level despite having an ideal amino acid profile (diet LPMA) could not support the optimal growth of Japanese seabass.