"What will fill the fishmeal gap?"

Petter Martin Johannessen was invited as a panelist at the IntraFish Investor Forum in New York to discuss "what will fill the fishmeal gap" and, more specifically, the role of the fish feed sector in supporting the growth of the aquaculture industry and how the Marine Ingredients industry can improve availability.

As a strong supporter of aquaculture, he made it clear that fishmeal and fish oil have been the core of aquafeed for many years and will continue to be the essential ingredients. Fishmeal and fish oil will also continue to be the benchmark for novel and additional raw materials that are being developed in various projects today. He also pointed out that a broader conversation of the importance of fishmeal and fish oil as feed ingredient is necessary and that we need to take this discussion to make sure the consumer value of natural, assured fish meal and fish oil and their transparent supply chains is communicated.

As a result of the drive for certification led by the marine ingredients industry, 54.5% of all marine ingredients are IFFO RS certified. No other major natural feed ingredient can claim such a high level of certification! Furthermore, according to the SFP’s 2018 Report on Reduction Fisheries, 91% of the total catch volume came from stocks that are reasonably well-managed (or better), an 8% increase compared with 2017.

The world’s population is growing with an increasing need for proteins. By 2030, global aquaculture production is expected to grow to 109 million tons (FAO, SOFIA 2018), which is up with 21 million tons from 2019. This means that the estimated need for additional raw material for aquafeed in the same period is close to 38 million tons. There will be a need for additional raw material to meet the demand for aquafeed in the future, but from a sustainability standpoint, new raw materials will have to be additions to fishmeal and fish oil and other sustainable major raw materials to secure a sustainable growth of the aquaculture sector.

The marine ingredients industry is working to bring new sustainable volumes to the market of feed ingredients and is a vital part of the circular economy with at least 33% of the fishmeal volume coming from byproducts. The fishing fleets, aquaculture industry and processors will play a major role to further develop this supply chain by increasing the share of byproducts that can be secured and used for reduction and processing. There are also unutilized mesopelagic biomasses that currently are being investigated as potential new resources marine ingredients.