Day 2 - Summary of 57th IFFO Annual Conference

Market Forum and Technical Session

Day 2 started with the usual hustle and bustle of members using every moment to network. The Market Forum I session took place across the morning, where IFFO’s Producers and Premium members share market insights on their specific countries.  After the Market Forum Chairman, Hans de Wit, opened proceedings, Thomas Mielke from GmbH OIL WORLD gave a short general panorama on agri-commodities, followed by IFFO’s Enrico Bachis presenting the updated producer fishmeal and fish oil estimates for 2017. 18 IFFO members then presented their country presentations, covering the situation of their fisheries and their key issues, emphasizing the major changes in 2017.  

Technical Session

The afternoon’s Technical Session had a general theme on how best to get policy-makers and regulators to use the results of scientific advances in making improvements to the way they regulate the marine ingredients sector, plus updates from IFFO and IFFO RS teams. IFFO’s Technical Director, Dr Neil Auchterlonie, was first up to bat with a work overview of IFFO’s technical team, split into three parts: regulation/legislation; an update on our current projects work; and a miscellaneous group of “other” activities. Starting with regulation, IFFO’s main areas of focus have been the EU’s approach to the reauthorisation of ethoxyquin (including review of IFFO-funded study at Nifes), the development of the Codex and China fish oil standards, and the work with the IMO on the amendment to the IMDG Code. The team’s also keeping a sharp eye on discussions on the regulation of p-Phenetidine, BHT and Formaldehyde. In China, IFFO is contributing to the fishmeal standard, which is under review. IFFO is also in discussions with MOA about supply chain integrity and the team has also recently being informed about the new China Feed Hygiene Regulation.

As part of IFFO’s new strategy under IFFO 2020, the group is increasing investment in technical projects, in part to support their regulation work. There are a total of 6 projects running, including a Hilborn led project on the management of forage fish stocks, a joint FEFAC project building a database of the main feed ingredients in Europe, and an extension of the fishmeal stability trials to support IMO negotiations. To ensure all this work isn’t missed, IFFO’s taken a proactive approach to engaging press and stakeholders, defending the industry and driving discussions on topics such as on the use of alternatives and the vital role played by marine ingredients. A series of position papers, industry articles, interviews and presentations at global events has greatly increased IFFO’s visibility.

Up next from the IFFO team was Gretel Bescoby, who gave an update on the fishmeal stability trials and progress on the amendments to the IMO codes. She gave a brief overview of the fishmeal stability trials that had been completed by IFFO, Naturex and Kemin and also touched on stability trials planned for the future by CVEP (Chemical Vitamin E Producers Group) who is part of CEFIC (European Chemical Industry Council) who are looking at a trial using Vitamin E to stabilise fishmeal. Vitamin E is chemically produced alpha-tocopherol. The Peruvian Industry in collaboration with SNP is planning extended trial on reduced ethoxyquin, BHT and tocopherols as well as blends of antioxidants.

Bescoby then moved onto the all-important amendments to the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) codes. The IMO held various meetings this year to harmonise the International Maritime Dangerous Goods (IMDG) code with the amended United Nations Model Regulations. The proposed amendments were accepted by the IMO into the IMDG code in September 2017 but can only be used on a voluntary basis from 1 January 2019. Additional data is necessary to amend the International Maritime Solid Bulk Cargo (IMSBC) code. Amendments to the IMO codes will be a continuous process as additional data becomes available. Bescoby noted that IFFO would like to thank the Peruvian authorities for allowing us to participate in the IMO meetings and table the paper on the proposed amendments to the IMDG code.

Moving focus back to the host country, Roger Mann presented on behalf of SCeMFiS, a US industry/University cooperative research centre, operated under the guidance of the U.S. National Science Foundation. With sustainability at its core, the group aims to improve knowledge to make informed decision on fisheries sustainability and they are now focusing on forage fish. Mann explored the complexities of supporting forage fish food chains and their quickly changing environments, reiterating the need for more research and collaboration. He mentioned the wide range of projects including a meta-analysis of the impact of forage fish abundance on predator productivity and a juvenile survey for surf clams and ocean quahogs. Finally, Mann stressed the importance of industry trade bodies (like IFFO) in engaging the policy-makers on scientific developments.

GOED’s Harry Rice was next up to present their 3 year meta-analyses on the cardiovascular benefits of the primary omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil, EPA and DHA, to support its global regulatory efforts. Rice revealed that GOED is now taking a more proactive rather than reactive approach to stakeholder engagement, increasing both research and outreach. He shared results from three meta-analyses. The first one supports a qualified health claim petition currently under review in the U.S. and demonstrates that provision of EPA+DHA reduces both systolic and diastolic blood pressure. The second one demonstrates a positive association between EPA+DHA and reduction in CHD, with a greater benefit observed among higher-risk populations. The third one shows a benefit of EPA+DHA in reducing the risk of cardiac death and will be used to support the Codex work to establish a nutrient reference value. Rice also mentioned Study to Assess STatin Residual Risk Reduction With EpaNova in HiGh CV Risk PatienTs With Hypertriglyceridemia (STRENGTH), plus their VITamin D and OmegA-3 Trial (VITAL).

Another fellow American, Greg Aldrich gave insights from the growing market of petfood. With a global market of $56 billion, Aldrich focused on the significant quantity of marine based proteins and fats, popular for both marketing and nutritional purposes.  He noted that the direct health benefits attract consumers but there is an increasing demand for natural, species specific, identity to origin and wild caught choices. However, Aldrich noted that stability and safety are essential for its continued use, noting the dangers of food oxidation.

Moving back to Europe and aquaculture, Loch Duart’s Andy Bing presented the Scottish company’s feed formulation and inclusion of marine ingredients, focusing on feeding salmon and the customer. With a minimum of 51% marine ingredients in their salmon’s diet, Loch Duart sell to a niche market, such as foodservice, looking for high quality and nutritious salmon. Their aim is to grow healthy salmon with strong immune system and metabolism, thereby resisting disease and avoiding muscle myopathy. Their feed is sustainably sourced and the outcome is a highly nutrious fish with an attractive taste which retains texture. Bing closed by reiterating that Loch Duart will not be reducing marine ingredients because they are the basis for their business model in producing a quality farmed salmon products. 

Back to the feed source, IFFO RS’s Francisco Aldon presented an update on the standard itself, followed by a summary of the distribution of compliant IFFO RS marine ingredients around the globe. With 132 certified sites in 17 countries, covering 18 fisheries and 129 by-products, the standard continues its rapid growth. By the end of 2017, it is estimated 49% of the world’s produced marine ingredients will be certified by IFFO RS. Aldon went through the further developments to the recently launched IFFO RS V2.0 standard, such as mixed trawl fishery criteria and social aspects at the fishery level, including a Human Rights Risk Tool for Seafood and MSC labour guidelines. Other developments touched on included the benchmark study between IFFO RS and MSC, investment in the IFFO RS Improvers Programme, the potential IFFO RS Fishery Certification and ISEAL membership application.

The session closed with a presentation by GSI’s Avrim Lazar on their recent study on by-product utilization and challenges whether the industry can do more and achieve zero waste. With the ever growing need of global food security, the seafood industry needs to accelerate its position as leader in sustainable protein, but to do this reducing its environmental footprint is essential and ensuring sufficient social licence to grow will be even more crucial. Waste is a key target for improving efficiency of food system and Utilization of by-product resources further will help this. With 33% of annual fishmeal production coming from trimmings in recent years, and a growing aquaculture sector, there will be even more by-product resources available. Finally, with the on-going industry innovations, the utilization of by-products will become easier and more cost-effective.

After another successful day, delegates were off for another evening of more networking in the bustling US capital.

Press coverage from day 2 is as follows: