Summary of the IFFO Conference's closing session - day 3

7th November 2019

Wednesday, 6 November 2019


1/ Global salmon farming enjoys major efforts in developing new niches

Dag Sletmo, from DNB Bank, started his presentation highlighting the main mega trends in favour of the salmon farming industry: limited CO2 emissions and water consumption compared with other animal production; lower feed conversion rates. Productivity gains ended in the Norwegian industry in 2012, which led to increasing prices. The marine content in salmon feed has been decreasing over time, leading to declining levels of EPA + DHA in the consumer product. Dag noted that the sector is able to innovate, be it with new sources of supply, new types of facilities (land-based farming), new locations (Far North) and, last but not least, digitalisation.

2/ Fish farming is growing faster in Africa than on any other continent

Rodrigue Yossa, from WorldFish, underlined African’s significant contribution to global aquaculture production, the second biggest one after Asia’s. He noted that data are missing to account for aquafeed production in Africa in general, but also that Nigeria and Egypt account for the majority share of fed aquaculture within which two species dominate, tilapia and African catfish. With the hypothesis that 10% growth in African aquaculture equals 10% growth in feed market, the quantity of marine ingredients which will be needed was determined based on current fishmeal and fish oil inclusion rates.  Dr Yossa mentioned the importance of the industry being able to communicate on the sustainability issues that are being raised by some critics of both aquaculture and fishmeal.

3/ Consequences of African swine fever: large reduction in pigs, reduced pig feed 

Jiyuan Guo, from New Hope Liuhe Co, provided an in-depth review of the effect and quality requirements, evaluation and testing methods of high-quality fishmeal in pig and aquafeed. Fishmeal is a nutritionally important constituent that can contribute to the health and robustness of farmed pigs. He underlined the changes which have occurred in demand for fishmeal under African Swine Fever (ASF) conditions (while noting that pig feed will recover quickly): large reduction in pigs (40-60% or more), reduced pig feed, and a significant reduction in fishmeal consumption. He gave a comprehensive review of new requirements for pig feed under these circumstances (particularly biosecurity measures). “In the harsh reality of African Swine Fever, the selectivity of animal protein in pig feed is very low” he added, noting that “the amount of fishmeal added to the pig feed formula is 3% to 5%". It is expected that the amount of fishmeal used for pig feed will increase significantly in the next 2-3 years.

4/ EPA and DHA are important components of a healthy diet and can’t be replaced

Prof Douglas Tocher from the Institute of Aquaculture, University of Stirling, explained that EPA and DHA (marine-derived long chain omega-3 fatty acids) provide essential benefits both for animal / fish and human health: structural, energy, regulation of metabolism and physiology. They play a vital role in human health within which their consumption ratio with omega-6 has changed markedly over the history of the development of agriculture. Omega-6 fatty acids now dominate in diets, and in general the human population is far from achieving recommended levels of intake for omega-3 fatty acids. Fish and seafood are the main sources of EPA & DHA but there is a gap of 0.4 Mt between Supply and Demand, leading to a need for new sources of EPA & DHA to supplement fish oil and fishmeal. Aquaculture, as the biggest user and supplier of EPA & DHA, has driven the research into new sources (microalgal biomasses and oil, and genetically modified oilseed crops). Prof Tocher outlined the fatty acid profiles of the main options comparing them with fish oil, and noticing that there are some important differences between each product. All may play a role, but the key point is that these are supplements to the available fish oil in aquafeeds, and should be used accordingly.  Heterotrophic marine microalgae is potentially the most important marine ingredient for supplementing fish oil supply, but both technical and biological issues still have to be improved (production is based on high volumes of sugar-based substrate, so there are additional environmental costs to this technology that need to be accounted for).

5/ Employment: a huge contribution from the fishing sector

Marcio Castro de Souza from the FAO highlighted the fishing sector's contribution to employment: in the primary sector, fisheries account for 40.4 million jobs, aquaculture accounts for 19.3 million jobs worldwide. 200 million jobs are provided along the whole value chain. Women account for 13% of total employment in the primary sector and 50% overall. He added that "Fish is really an important international commodity" and delivered some definitions on the status of fish stock: "Maximally sustainably fished”is generally the target of fishery management while "Overfished”is a situation to be avoided or overcome through fishery regulations.

The sponsors for this event include Coland, Intertek, Haarslev, Dupps, SGS, Sifang, Blueline Foods, and Teampower.