This combination of purpose and tangible actions is a good illustration of how Sustainability and Responsibility complement each other. While Sustainability relates to long term ambitions – balancing resource usage and supplies over time (“Our Common Future”, 1987)- Responsibility defines the way to attain the long-term purpose by balancing all stakeholders’ interests.
With this in mind, I am convinced that it is IFFO’s role to raise awareness on the ever-present need for more collaboration not just with marine ingredients themselves but throughout the whole value chain.
Quite a few articles were published this summer about a school of thought which seems to have become once again fashionable among some intellectuals, scientists and politicians: degrowth. Degrowth doesn’t have a single definition but clearly aims at limiting economic activity in order to fight climate change.
This seems clearly at odds with the dual growth of both global population and productivity. Growth isn’t always more. It can also be better. It triggers innovation and contributes to increased competition and efficiency. Institutions such as the United Nations or the OECD refer to this as “Green growth”.
The Marine Ingredients Industry has been involved for years in a circular process which finds a usage for every part of a resource. Today, the use of trimmings and byproduct from seafood processing represents one third of total world fishmeal production. This figure is already quite impressive! Recycling products that otherwise would have been discarded has enabled the industry to develop and the farming sector to provide consumers all over the world with fish, poultry and pigs fed with nutritive natural marine ingredients. However, there is room for more trimmings and byproducts to be included in Marine Ingredients.
The market has the power to use the consumers’ willingness to champion products which are certified for their sustainability, as an incentive for businesses to grow sustainably. And the 54.5% share of global annual supply of marine ingredients being IFFO RS certified, a 5 point increase over the past year, is a reflection of the high level of adoption of environmental friendly practices and the capacity to make further progress.
Petter Martin Johannessen
Broadcaster and naturalist David Attenborough recently called for everyone to protect oceans from “the deadly threat of plastic”. This rally cry has caused discussion worldwide, with some people trying to interpret it and be more specific about single industries.
At IFFO, we firmly believe that change can happen by gathering -and sharing- more knowledge. “Very few scientific works have investigated the ecological effects of microplastics at population or species assemblage level in aquatic environments and hence there is limited knowledge on the capacity of microplastics to alter ecological processes, nor direct evidence of trophic transfer of microplastics in wild populations.” (FAO, 2019). IFFO is aiming to have all scientific projects supporting one or more of the UNSDG’s and is about to launch a research project to understand better the implications of plastics for fisheries and aquaculture resources.
Science holds the key to our future and will help us shape the Marine Ingredients Industry in the coming years. Much focus has been given to additional novel ingredients in the industry media lately and how these ingredients will challenge the market. Market will decide but fishmeal and fish oil are, and will be, the nutritional benchmark for all additional raw material for aquafeed. As an example, scientists recently highlighted that a high volume of proteins and micro nutrients contained in fish oil protects and improves animal (fish) health. More specifically, as Nofima put it, “the barrier tissue of salmon is affected by zinc and omega-3”. And I am convinced that the importance of natural highly nutritional marine ingredients will only be more visible as the aquaculture production will have to grow to meet the need for healthy proteins.
Obviously, the use of marine ingredients has been evolving over the years. As stated by the FAO, “fishmeal and fish oil will be more frequently used as strategic ingredients to enhance growth at specific stages of fish or livestock production, as they are considered the most nutritious and most digestible ingredients for fish and livestock breeding” (Agricultural Outlook, 2019).
Beyond funding research works and sharing the outcomes, we are working closely with all stakeholders, in particular with IFFO RS, to make sure that best practice in Marine Ingredients are constantly championed.
Over the years the Marine Ingredients industry has been dramatically improving its sourcing of responsible raw materials and the sustainable use of natural resources. It is always in need for more information on how to improve its practices. Consequently, IFFO’s focus covers all three sustainability factors. I encourage you to explore our annual report, where we’ve analysed each research project’s contribution to all 17 United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.
91% of the small pelagic fish species that are predominantly used for fishmeal and fish oil production are now “reasonably well managed or better” according to the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership (SFP) report on Reduction Fisheries published in 2018. This marks an 8% increase in performance compared to 2017. The 54.5% share of global annual supply being IFFO RS certified is a reflection of the high level of adoption of responsible sourcing and manufacturing practices. The success of Fishery Improvement Projects (FIPs), which are more and more recognized as having some marked influence on the performance of fisheries, depends on the continuous involvement of all the actors within the specific fishery, aligned and working together on the action plan for improvement.
As a key player, working with a wide range of stakeholders to coordinate relationships and knowledge sharing, IFFO is able to provide clear insights and inputs on international and national regulatory frameworks (see the cargo shipping of fishmeal recent changes for instance) as well as market and technical trends so that stakeholders can adjust their business plans and drive change.
Petter Martin Johannessen
Our Members’ Meeting in Madrid, followed by the IFFO workshop in Zhuhai (China), gave all our members and delegates a very detailed overview of the marine ingredients market and quality trends as well as deep insights on climate change impacts and the way to keep improving our contribution to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
As of now 54.5 percent of the world’s fishmeal production is IFFO RS certified and the industry is actively working to increase that number: fishery improvement projects (FIPs) will be an important tool in driving this number even further upwards and IFFO is working hand in hand with IFFO RS in looking at ways to facilitate the process for fisheries to engage in FIPs. No other major natural feed ingredient can claim such a high level of certification! IFFO RS is also currently working on enhancing the IFFO RS standard and Improver Programme to take into account the challenges in the management of multi-species fisheries in which sometimes hundreds of species are regularly caught. This pioneering approach aims at providing a robust framework and clear guidance on expectations, in line with the recommendations which were made in the IFFO / GAA study on South East Asian fisheries.
Success rests on collaboration with all stakeholders and a better understanding of their expectations and the constraints they face. The workshop that IFFO held in China in May, open to journalists, NGOs, academics and representatives of the industry, is a very good example of what can be achieved to gain a better knowledge on emerging trends in this instance covering the importance of fishmeal quality and supply chain integrity.
The same consideration led me to take part in a panel at the 2019 IntraFish Seafood Investor Forum in New York City where we discussed the roles of the feed ingredient and aquafeed sectors in supporting the growth of the aquaculture industry. I am convinced that a continued contribution to these discussions will allow our stakeholders to capture the importance of fishmeal’s and fish oil’s contribution to aquaculture, a vital and sustainable segment of the global seafood market as the world’s population is growing.
Petter Martin Johannessen