Day 1 - Summary of 57th IFFO Annual Conference

This year’s conference was attended by 400 delegates from 37 countries and included 47 presentations from leading industry scientists, case studies on countries and specific industries and analyses of latest market trends.

Opening Session

With a packed room of delegates from 37 countries, IFFO’s 57th Annual Conference kicked off with an opening address by IFFO’s President Michael Copeland. Following another year of growth for IFFO, with 24 new members, Copeland noted that IFFO continues to lead the industry from strength to strength. He closed by thanking the conference sponsors, namely gold sponsor Intertek, as well as other sponsors Haarslev, Dupps, SGS, Blueline Foods, Coland, Kemin and Teampower. 


IFFO’s Director General Andrew Mallison welcomed delegates and gave a snapshot of IFFO’s work over the past year. After gathering insights from both members and stakeholders, IFFO’s focus has been on defending the industry from the spread of misinformation, especially with the increased focus on alternatives. Our message is simple he said, fishmeal and fish oil are irreplaceable (at current levels of knowledge and technology in the ingredients sector). It is not just a simple choice of interchangeable protein or oil, but instead a careful balance to ensure healthy nutrition for all.

GAA’s President George Chamberlain presented an overview on trends in the aquaculture industry, plus new players and new technologies. As the only mechanism to increase the world’s supply of seafood, the industry has attracted strong market support which is driving new innovation, such as ocean fish farms and pens. Sustainability remains crucial with IFFO RS and fishery improvement project at the core. Innovation and specialization is happening across the industry, with focus on maximising the value of fishmeal and oil, while developing specialty marine ingredient products to balance with substitutes. GAA’s message is: Sustainable, nutritious, and essential for health.

John Connelly, President USA’s National Fisheries Institute was up next to discuss the country’s seafood market. In short, Connelly explained that the US remains among the largest seafood markets, even with low per capita consumption, but seafood is increasingly competing with other proteins. Farmed tilapia and pangasius face major headwinds, while farmed shrimp and salmon are on more solid footing. With farmed species continuing to be major import items, the US trade policies are of greatest concern in the current political climate.

Focus then moved to the other dominant market, that of China.  JCI’s President Hanver Liqiang explored the deepening reform in China’s economy and industry optimization, transforming from the extensive to intensive development mode coupled with supply-side structural reform. Liqiang then discussed recent scientific and technological breakthroughs in Chinese aquaculture, an example is succeeding in raising shrimps in saline-alkali regions. He closed by noting that China’s total production of aquatic products will reach 66 million MT by the end of 13th five-year-plan period. However, by 2016, China’s aquatic product output has already reached 69 million MT, which means that China’s aquatic product output has to decline from 69 million MT in 2016 to 66 million MT by 2020. China has to realize “negative growth” in the total fish catches during the 13th five-year plan period, with total marine catches to be restricted below 10 million MT.

The day came to a close with the prominent fishery scientist Ray Hilborn from the University of Washington, presenting on the developments in managing small pelagic fisheries. Hilborn’s current project seeks to advance the science by identifying what was missing from the previous analysis (such as LENFEST) on the impact of fishing forage fish on their predators and providing more reliable guidance for managers. The project also focuses on extending our understanding of natural fluctuations in forage fish and best management practices.  Key conclusions are when you include natural variability in forage fish, the impact of fishing on predators is generally much less than caused by natural variability. Fishing generally has little impact on the recruitment of forage fish and there is little size overlap between many predators diet and the fishery – thus less impact than if they overlapped. Finally, there appears to be little empirical relationship between forage fish abundance and predator rates of increase.

Delegates then enjoyed an evening at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, courtesy of our Gold sponsor Intertek.

Press coverage from day 1 is as follows: