Issues with FFDR in assessing aquaculture

Monday, January 23, 2017

IFFO has published a position paper analysing the forage fish dependency ratio (FFDR) to provide clear information on this complex debate. FFDR is an often quoted term in the dialogue on fed aquaculture sustainability, but caution needs to be exercised in how the information is interpreted, and the figures produced for FFDR should not be examined in isolation nor should values for FFDR be used directly as measures of environmental sustainability. 

Fishmeal and fish oil produced from forage fish populations provides a substantial contribution to global food production and consequently is essential in meeting the nutritional requirements of billions of people around the world.  The use of the term FFDR confuses the issue by incorrectly assuming that the species used in marine ingredient production would have higher value to society in other areas such as direct consumption markets, or by environmental benefits through conservation.  As long as fishmeal and fish oil are produced from well managed fisheries, or from byproduct from fish from well managed fisheries, then their use in aquafeeds is valid. 

Currently, the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) is seeking feedback on FFDR in its Salmon Standard, which is open and reflects a proposal by the ASC to reduce the FFDR requirements even further for both fishmeal and fish oil.  At a time when salmon farmers may wish to differentiate their product through higher marine ingredient inclusions in their feeds, FFDR and the setting of values in ASC Salmon Standard effectively denies that opportunity to those farmers who may wish to be both ASC certified and produce premium end, niche product, even if this is a minor proportion of overall production and has little effect on global fishmeal and fish oil supply.

“There is often a lot of focus on the term FFDR in analyses of fed aquaculture’s environmental impact, but in reality the concept has little bearing on the harvest levels of forage fish populations although it was constructed to do exactly that”.

Dr Neil Auchterlonie, Technical Director, IFFO

The full paper is available here - http://www.iffo.net/system/files/Forage%20Fish%20Dependency%20Ratio%20%28FFDR%29%20-%20IFFO%20position%20statement%20-%20Jan%202017_0.pdf

-Ends –

Please contact:                 Georgie Harris, Communications 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 over 112 certified factories, spread across nine countries. Most of the largest fisheries such as Peruvian anchovy, Alaskan Pollock, Sprat in Denmark and Norway, Boarfish in the UK and Faroe Island, 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 marine ingredients. 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.