June 2020 editorial
As most countries of the Northern hemisphere are enjoying a sunny weather, it is an opportunity for people to increase their intakes of vitamin D. Few foods provide this precious vitamin and oily fish are one among the few, along with egg yolk and liver. It is well known that vitamin D plays a vital role in the immune system and in protecting against respiratory infection, as reminded by the McCarrison Society, a nutrition think tank.
3.1 billion people in the world derive 20% of their daily intake of animal protein from aquatic systems and seafood is part of a balanced and recommended diet. Vitamin D is not seafood’s only nutritional benefit. Fish also contains vitamins A and B as well as calcium and phosphorus, a great source of minerals and long chain fatty acids (omega-3s EPA and DHA). The EAT-Lancet report published in January 2019 states that aquaculture could “help steer production of animal source proteins towards reduced environmental effects and enhanced health benefits”.
Salmon is a highly nutritious product. It contains more omega-3s than most other fish. However, salmon have a very limited ability to make EPA and DHA. The concentration of EPA and DHA in their flesh is directly linked to their diet, which in the wild is rich in fish oil.
As the Global Salmon Initiative (GSI) released a new sustainability report mid-May, it is of high interest to see how the levels of fish oil in farmed salmon feed have been evolving. The GSI report is very well documented and provides seven years of data on 15 key indicators (ten environmental and five social), for more than 50% of the world salmon farming industry. An increasing trend can be noted in 2019 compared with 2018 regarding the amount of fish oil used in farmed salmon feed. This is good news for consumers.
IFFO welcomes this report which acknowledges that fish oil and fishmeal remain important and strategic ingredients in salmon farming. Business strategies have led to evolving rates of inclusion of fishmeal and fish oil, but the bottom line is that fishmeal and fish oil provide an unmatched nutritional package to farmed salmon, which are then passed on to humans.
Quality feed means quality food.
IFFO Director General