Once more, the whole industry gathered at the IFFO conference last week. Over 400 delegates travelled to Shanghai to share their market insights, listen to the latest trends and enjoy networking opportunities. The IFFO Conference 2019 has proved the importance of bringing the key stakeholders together to discuss solutions which can allow to tackle the challenges our world is facing. IFFO is committed to and plays a positive role in meeting SDGs and will to continue contributing to achieving them by 2030.
The fishmeal industry has a long history of working with others relating to issues of raw material sourcing and fishmeal and fish oil production. It is complex and requires both stakeholder management skills and long-term vision.
Ambition and consistency are key to keep everyone onboard, and I was pleased to announce in Shanghai a new communication strategy featuring 3 key messages:
- The industry is committed to transparent supply chains
- Quality feed is quality food
- The industry contributes to feeding a growing population, sustainably and responsibly.
We'll be happy that all IFFO members endorse and use them!
We look forward to meeting you in Lima for next year’s 60th Annual Conference, from 19 to 21 October!
Petter M. Johannessen
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