IFFO launches new video on the importance of omega-3s in salmon feed

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

As farmed salmon becomes a regular feature in our diets, it is important to understand its nutritional benefits. Salmon is still an excellent source of omega-3s, containing more than most other fish, but do consumers understand enough about the amounts of EPA and DHA found in salmon and the recommended levels in our diets? IFFO’s latest video helps answer this, focusing on the crucial role of omega-3s in salmon feed, especially EPA and DHA, and the changes in levels used.

Salmon have a very limited ability to make EPA and DHA. The concentration of EPA and DHA in their flesh is directly linked to their diet, which in the wild is rich in fish oil. Farmed salmon feed used to contain 100% fish oil, rich in EPA and DHA, but supplies of sustainable fish oil are limited. As salmon farming grows, more and more feed is required but the levels of available fish oil remain unchanged. The amount of fish oil used in feed is therefore decreasing and is now supplemented with an increasing percentage of vegetable oil, resulting in lower levels of EPA and DHA in salmon. Farmed Salmon still contains more EPA and DHA than most other fish but consumers need to be aware of the varying levels of EPA and DHA in salmon and ensure that they continue to eat enough to reach the recommended intake levels of 250 mg per day, as recommended by the WHO.





Questions & Answers: IFFO omega-3s in salmon feed

Why has IFFO made this video?

In recent years the amount of fish oil added to each tonne of farmed salmon feed has been reducing due to an increased demand for salmon feed and a limited supply of fish oil. This has resulted in some farmed salmon products containing less of the important omega-3 fatty acids, EPA and DHA, than before and consumers may need to eat more farmed salmon to maintain their recommended intake levels.


IFFO is encouraging consumers to make informed choices about the level of EPA and DHA that they consume. IFFO is the organisation which represents the fish oil production industry and promotes the benefits and use of fish oil.


What are salmon farmers saying?

Many welcome this transparency as they have been paying a premium to maintain levels of EPA and DHA in their fish. Due to a lack of information on labels, it is sometimes difficult for consumers to tell which farmed salmon products contain higher levels of EPA and DHA.


Is farmed salmon still a healthy food?

Yes. Even though EPA and DHA levels are lower than previously, most farmed salmon still contain more of these essential long-chain omega-3s than other seafood and much more than land-based meats. Salmon also represents a rich source of other important nutrients such as proteins, vitamins and minerals.


Are the small fish used to make fish oil endangered?

No. Over 40% of the fish oil produced comes ‎from sources that have been independently assessed as well managed. Increasing amounts also come from trimmings and offcuts from fish processing. The largest fishery in the world, Peruvian anchoveta, is carefully managed and is currently closed to allow high numbers of juveniles in the stock to grow and mature before fishing resumes.


Why announce this now?

The video has been in production for over a year and was launched at the IFFO Annual Conference in Vancouver last October. There was no correlation between the timing of the video and the current shortage of fish oil caused by the closure of the December/January anchoveta fishing season in Peru. 

-Ends -

Please contact: Georgie Harris, Communications and Membership Manager

T: +44 (0) 2030 539 195

E: gharris@iffo.net


Notes for Editors

  1. IFFO represents the marine ingredients industry worldwide. IFFO’s members reside in more than 60 countries, account for over 50% of world production and 75% of the fishmeal and fish oil traded worldwide. Approximately 5 million tonnes of fishmeal are produced each year globally, together with 1 million tonnes of fish oil. IFFO’s headquarters are located in London in the United Kingdom and it also has offices in Lima, Peru, and in Beijing, China. IFFO is an accredited Observer to the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).
  2. The Global Standard for Responsible Supply (IFFO RS) is a business-to-business certification programme that enables a compliant factory to demonstrate that it responsibly sources its raw material from well-managed fisheries and responsibly converts that into pure and safe products. To be certified fishmeal and fish oil factories must demonstrate sourcing from well managed fisheries and safe and traceable production. Assessments are conducted by an independent certification body and in just over two years, IFFO RS has successfully attracted 90 certified factories, spread across nine countries. Most of the largest fisheries such as Peruvian anchovy, Alaskan Pollock, Blue Whiting in UK, Iceland and Norway, Gulf menhaden in USA and many more have been approved for supply into the manufacturing food chain including whole fish and by- product raw material to produce compliant fishmeal and fish oil. For more information visit the IFFO RS Website 
  3. Fishmeal is a natural, balanced, highly nutritious feed ingredient used in diets for farmed fish and crustaceans and as a high protein supplement in nutritionally demanding periods in the life cycle of pigs and poultry, as well as in pet food.
  4. Fish oil is the major natural source (97%) of the healthy long chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, EPA and DHA. Most fish oil is used in feeds for farmed fish and there is an expanding market for fish oil for human nutritional supplements and functional foods.