IFFO is an international trade organisation that represents and promotes the marine ingredients industry, such as fishmeal, fish oil and other related industries.
Marine ingredients are nutritious products used mainly for aquafeed, land animal feed as well as for human consumption and are derived from marine organisms such as fish, krill, shellfish and algae. IFFO's members reside in more than 50 countries, account for over 50% of world production and 75% of the fishmeal and fish oil traded worldwide. IFFO is an accredited Observer to the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).
Last month I took the difficult decision to accept another job offer and resign as Director General of IFFO. Difficult as I have made many friends in an industry I knew only a little about when I joined IFFO in 2011 and the IFFO team are an outstanding group of people. One of my colleagues was surprised I was leaving “so quickly” and it does seem as though seven years have passed in the blink of an eye.
When I look back over this time, my feeling is one of catching a wave. When I joined, the industry was embracing sustainability, the recently launched IFFO RS scheme was attracting a lot of attention, and it seemed a good time to start talking about our products with some pride. It also seemed time to move on from the old fashioned fishmeal and fish oil trade with its associated image of bulk, commodity products, piled on quaysides in the open air like grit for roads. I remember an early brainstorming session in London coming up with the term “marine ingredients” as a more modern and accurate (considering it now included krill, squid and other meals) description.
Researchers have found that by-products in Scottish salmon farming are generally well utilised, but total by-product value output could be improved by 803% (£23.7 million), based on 2015 figures, adding 5.5% value to the salmon industry. Led by Julien Stevens, researchers from the University of Stirling’s Institute of Aquaculture and University of Massachusetts at Boston have recently published research funded by IFFO, The Marine Ingredients Organisation. The research investigated how value could be added to aquaculture through better utilisation of by-products, by maximising edible yields and better separation at the processing stage, looking at the Scottish salmon farming industry as a case study.
A project to improve the understanding of fisheries of South East Asia supplying raw material for fishmeal production has completed the first six months of data gathering and has made contact with government agencies and businesses. Jointly funded by the Global Aquaculture Alliance (GAA) and IFFO, the Marine Ingredients Organisation, the project lead Duncan Leadbitter (Fish Matter Pty) has produced a series of draft internal reports for the two funding bodies with the aim to have a public report ready by the end of the year. After six months of data gathering, using both publically available information and in-country sources, such as the Thai Fish Meal Association and a Vietnamese consulting company, Kim Delta.
Following an article published this week in National Geographic, I would like to address a few points on behalf of IFFO, The Marine Ingredients Organisation. The article titled ‘Why Salmon Eating Insects Instead of Fish Is Better for Environment’, published on 5th February 2018, discusses fishmeal and fish oil replacement in salmon feed by a Netherlands based company but quotes information that is both out-of-date and incorrect. Although we agree with the need for additional feed options in aquaculture to ensure the growth of this vital industry, the total replacement of fishmeal and fish oil, as called for in this article, is unjustified and damaging to the fish farming industry.