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.
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fishmeal and fish oil replacement in salmon feed by a Netherlands based company but quotes information that is both out-of-date and incorrect.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.
I travelled to Seattle for the 2018 GOED Exchange held over the 6th-8th February. The event was held in the Benaroya Hall, the home of the Seattle Symphony Orchestra. This proved to be an apt venue as the rather unique keynote on day 1 had the audience playing music via percussion as a means of emphasising the importance of rhythm and harmony in seafood industry leadership! As well as the usual focus on markets, there were some excellent scientific and technical presentations with key themes of bioavailability, regulation and emerging contaminants. A very interesting panel discussion on the anticipated emergence of long chain omega-3 fatty acids from GM sources was well attended and prompted numerous questions.
Following elections for the new IFFO Management Board (starting 1st January 2018), IFFO is pleased to announce that the incoming President is Eduardo Goycoolea and Vice President is Anne Mette Bæk Jespersen. IFFO’s Producer members elected representatives for their countries to the board in September and the President and Vice President were confirmed at the IFFO Board Meeting on 23rd October. Following his appointment, incoming President Eduardo Goycoolea stated “I look forward to leading such a well renowned and important organisation. I have worked closely with IFFO for decades and watched it become the networking heart of our industry, while also being a driver for change. Working with our Management Board and the IFFO Secretariat, I hope to continue its vital work to ensure that as an industry we remain ahead of the curve.”
Your article makes very sweeping generalisations based on scientific paper that reports on a very small sample size. The authors’ eagerness to attack the fish farming and fishmeal industry has unfortunately caused a lack of perspective and critical appraisal of the facts. While antibiotic resistance is a real concern, the findings in the paper by Wang et al need further investigation, not least of all due to the reported presence of several antibiotics in fishmeal made from whole wild fish that would not have come into contact with antibiotics at any stage. Fishmeal samples are named as being from various countries of origin but were purchased locally in China with no guarantee of their purity or integrity. Given reports of adulteration of imported fishmeal in China, this is clearly a concern.
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