IFFO 58th Annual Conference – Day 2 summary

17th October 2018

Day 2 started with the usual hustle and bustle of members using every moment to network in between the two sessions which focused more on the science and market intelligence for the industry. The morning featured the Market Forum 1 session, where IFFO’s Producers and Premium members share market insights on their specific countries. Market Forum Chairman, Hans de Wit, opened proceedings and welcomed members, he was then followed by IFFO’s Dr Enrico Bachis (Market Research Director) who presented the updated producer fishmeal and fish oil estimates for 2018 (based on aggregated actual production data/forecasts).  The rest of the morning session included updates on production across the IFFO members’ countries.



Neil Auchterlonie welcomed delegates to the technical session on the Tuesday afternoon. In a packed agenda Neil introduced Dr Alejandra Aguilar as a new member of staff in IFFO technical, then continued with an update on the regulatory environment.  Neil covered developments in Codex, the EU and China, notable points being the establishment of an NRV for EPA/DHA in Codex, antioxidants reauthorisation in the EU, and the changing situation in China with respect to a government restructure and the development of new and revised standards for fishmeal and fish oil. In addition, IFFO’s work with the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) was mentioned in relation to new antioxidant trials in Peru that are designed to provide data relevant to the code for bulk cargoes, and some activities from the most recent meeting of the Sub-Committee on Carriage of Cargoes and Containers which was attended by IFFO. IFFO acknowledged the kind support of Diamante Pesquera and TASA in supporting this trial work, without which this work could not be achieved.

An overview of IFFO’s investment in technical projects was then presented, with some important work emphasised in relation to identification of novel antioxidants for fishmeal stabilisation, and a co-funded project (with the GAA) on the fishmeal industry in SE Asia which has provided some useful information from Thailand and Vietnam that should help to inform future project work, and potentially improvements in raw material sourcing. Also noteworthy was mention of a new IFFO project that looks at the Fish In: Fish Out paradigm in a more sophisticated manner, one that shall take into account the true value of fishmeal and fish oil and their nutritional benefit in aquafeed.  IFFO will also be adding to its technical projects portfolio by starting new projects in complex areas such as plastics, fishmeal quality in farmed salmon nutrition, West African fishmeal industries and analysis of different environmental impacts (biodiversity) comparing the production of marine protein with plant protein. Neil rounded off his overview with a slide expressing the importance of the scientific evidence-base in informing IFFO and IFFO-members’ policy and business decisions.  The true value of this project work is going to be realised in the months and years to come, where it will enable IFFO to become much more proactive in sharing important information with policy-makers, regulators and other key stakeholders, solidifying IFFO’s position as a major force in the global feed and food industries.

Shifting focus to the IFFO/GAA project on fisheries in Vietnam and Thailand that supply whole fish for reduction, project lead Duncan Leadbitter presented an overview of the report and his key recommendations going forward.  Thailand and Vietnam are the largest producers of fishmeal/oil in South East Asia and were the focus of the project work.  Leadbitter noted that the main challenge was finding reliable and consistent information and data on the fisheries, with Thailand having the most reliable and up to date information.  Another challenge was determining the source of raw material and how it is used, sometime fed directly and there is also a growing amount of by-products used.  In conclusion, Leadbitter noted that in general most countries in the region realised that they have a problem in terms of fisheries management.  In exception, Thailand has a robust fisheries management plan and is taking action to reduce fishing effort both, legal and illegal.  The Thai plan aims to rebuild stocks and manage the overall catch based on a Multispecies MSY approach. Vietnam is preparing some management plans but coordination across provinces is an issue and there is a freeze on new licences inshore but efforts are increasing offshore. The full report will be published in November.

Prof Brett Glencross (Institute of Aquaculture, University of Stirling) then presented on what makes fishmeal such a special resource. Brett is currently contracted to deliver an IFFO project on fishmeal quality. He noted that it is a diverse resource with a niche high-value due to the abundance of beneficial and complementary nutritional factors. Glencross identified the high protein content of fishmeals as key, it is the most important nutrient in underpinning animal growth performance. He also noted that it is a renewable protein source which is available globally and with a range of options as raw material. Fishmeals are among the best ingredients available for absolute protein content and while there are ingredients with higher protein, they are rarely cost-competitive. His primary advice for the industry was to recognise that although in some cases fishmeals could be regarded as no longer essential, the industry needs to identify where it has value to distinguish from other feed ingredient products.  As part of his work with IFFO, Glencross is building a fishmeal database, publishing information that hasn’t previously been available.  With the help of members, he aims to build an information source that clearly maps the range of composition of fishmeals and it will act as a library for the future. Glencross concluded that opportunities lie in capitalising on the point-of-difference factors of fishmeals, suggesting that there is a lot of scope for the industry to work on this.

IFFO’s Dr Alejandra Aguilar (Regulatory Research Associate) then presented an overview of IFFO antioxidant trials.  Aguilar said that IFFO has worked laboriously to amend the IMDG code and successfully has provided IMO with data and a rationale that was accepted in amending that Code for the introduction of tocopherols and the reduction of the minimum limit stated for ethoxyquin from 100ppm to 50 ppm.  She noted that in June this year, IFFO started running experiments in Peru to find concentrations that can protect fishmeal from oxidation when transported in bulk, thereby working to amend the IMSBC code and harmonize it with IMDG code.  The treatments used to treat fishmeal include: different concentrations of ethoxyquin and tocopherols plus rosemary extract product.  Aguilar revealed that the preliminary results of the trial point out that when using lower concentrations of ethoxyquin, the fishmeal remains temperature stable; and the same trend is also appearing with the use of tocopherols.  However, further analysis and samples are still needed before the final findings can be published, and the trials last for a period of 12 months in total.  In depth laboratory analysis will be done in December 2018 to comply with the IMO new edition manual of the IMSBC code (edition 2018) and the UN Manual of Tests and Criteria, which contains test methods and procedures to be used for classification of dangerous goods.  The results will provide important information of the oxidative stability of the fishmeal and determine if there are combustion (self-heating) properties when transported in bulk.  Aguilar concluded by saying that these trials are the beginning of a long series of experiments that will last through until June 2019 and information will be provided in the Members’ Area of the IFFO website as the experiments progress.  Neil Auchterlonie rounded off the presentation by thanking the Peruvian producers for their assistance with this work.  He also mentioned that Peruvian anchovy is often the meal of choice for these trials because it is recognised as one of the more reactive fishmeals so the stabilisation data is very relevant.  Neil invited other producer members to become involved with IFFO antioxidant trials, expressing a need for more data to inform the work with the IMO.

The final presentation of the session was given by Kristine Hartmann (EVP Transformation, Aker BioMarine AS) on turning sustainability challenges into a commercial advantage. Kristine’s slides focused on Aker’s experience of taking on their biggest challenge, fishing in a controversial area with a complex ecosystem and multiple sustainability challenges. By working with scientists, regulators, certifiers, NGOs and other fishing companies, Hartmann said that they have ensured that they look after the ecosystem as a whole. Hartmann noted that they have embraced the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at the core of their strategy.  Aker has been working in a challenging environment in more ways than one.  The krill fishery in the Antarctic occurs in proximity to a proposed Marine Protected Area, and although the biomass of krill fish is very much lower than the quota set by CCAMLR, there is a  of criticism about the industry operating in this fishery by the eNGOs.  A multi-stakeholder approach from Aker has realised a favourable outcome.

The session was rounded off with a discussion on the importance of FIPs and the IFFO RS Improvers Programme in securing supply into the certified aquafeed and aquaculture supply chains.  The discussion was moderated by Libby Woodhatch, Chair of IFFO RS, with panellists Dan Lee (GAA), Michiel Fransen (ASC), Dave Robb (Cargill) and Francisco Aldon(General Manager IFFO RS).  The panellists were not short of questions from the floor and these kept flowing in regularly during the debate.  Discussions focused on the demand for new improver programme raw materials and how FIPs can contribute to this demand.  Panellists agreed that collaborative working is essential for these developments and the future of such programmes. SE Asia and Africa were indicated as particularly important regions for future developments. The audience were very engaged highlighting how important FIPs and the IFFO RS Improver Programme is at the current time.