Report on EU Aquaculture Advisory Council Working Group 1 Meeting, including FIFO
As many of the members will know from previous communications, IFFO holds a place on the EU’s Aquaculture Advisory Council (AAC). Those who want to know more about the work of the AAC can access information on their website, located here. In order to understand the work of the AAC it is important to understand that it essentially provides advice into the European Commission, European Parliament and other European bodies, and is comprised of 60% industry and 40% other stakeholders. The other stakeholders tend to be largely drawn from the NGO community and the Council was envisaged as a way for the EC to achieve balanced views on aquaculture.
There are three Working Groups, and IFFO has been involved with the work of Working Group 1 (Finfish) in the main. Within the work of WG1 there are two items of interest that are directly relevant to IFFO and its members, being delivered by two focus groups. The first of these, and one which we have previously reported from time to time, is an attempt to view the methods for analysing the amount of fishmeal and fish oil used in aquafeed. The focus group has been looking at the concepts of Fish In: Fish Out ratios, and related concepts such as FFDR and FFER. The most recent meeting of WG1 occurred in Paris on the 30th January 2019, and an update on the review of the terms was provided by Dr Niels Alsted who presented in details the findings of the focus group. Happily, IFFO has had input into the paper and presentations provided, but irrespective of that, “Mr Aquaculture” did an excellent job of providing compelling reasons why the irrational focus on these concepts has nothing to do with the sourcing of the raw material for FMFO, which as we know is largely well managed, be it via fishery or trimmings. Drawing from material that included some data and graphs supplied by IFFO, Niels covered many aspects of raw material supply in a comprehensive summary.
The questions following the presentation covered the possibility of looking at Europe as a separate entity within a FIFO approach, a view being expressed that this is of interest to the European consumer. This may be possible, but there are likely to be some caveats about how the data should be interpreted, but we will be working on this in the near future. We look forward to working on this subject for the forthcoming meetings, and adding more to the debate. Some of the other questions provided an insight into the positions of some of the NGOs on the use of whole fish in fishmeal and fish oil production, and it is quite clear that this is going to be a lively debate as there are strong differences of opinion. In essence the AAC WGs are supposed to find agreement on specific topics, and with this item there seems to be something of a challenge.
The second item covered in the meeting, and another topic rolled over from previous work, was an overview of responsible sourcing of feed ingredients, again provided by Niels Alsted. In fact the main topic of this item was terrestrial plant ingredients and the rise of interest in certification standards, along with the development of the ASC Feed Standard.
IFFO is pleased to be engaged with the work of the AAC, and together with Niels, EU Fishmeal (who are also members) and other AAC members with similar interests we are able to provide some balance to the discussions on complex subjects such as this.