IFFO welcomes University of Washington research project on Forage Fish

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

IFFO, the trade association for the global marine ingredients industry, is delighted to see a research project launched by the University of Washington, led by Professor Ray Hilborn, to refine and expand some of the initial work already done on the management of Forage Fish stocks. In response to a call to support the project, IFFO has agreed to provide information to support the research and financial assistance towards the costs incurred.

The industry has demonstrated its commitment to fishery management through the widespread uptake of third party certification and believes in investing in good science as the basis for the best management of Forage Fish stocks.  Although much of the raw material supply for the marine ingredients industry is now from by-products from fish processing, it still relies for its long term future on responsibly managed capture fisheries.

These fisheries are typically small, bony fish that have little or no market for human consumption but are also recognised as being food sources for marine mammals, birds and other predators, becoming known as forage fish.  Predator/prey relationships are complex and not well understood and, as fishery management moves away from single stock assessments to a more ecosystem based approach, it is important that decisions on harvest levels are decided based on good science and up to date economics.

Professor Hilborn has called together a group of the most eminent scientists in this field to undertake a two year study of the main commercial forage species, reporting in 2017, and we look forward to the findings of this project.

– Ends –

Notes for Editors

1.            Further details of the project are available at https://foragefish.wordpress.com/ 

2.            The University of Washington also supports a fishery science website relating to sustainability issues in the seafood industry at http://cfooduw.org/ 

3.            IFFO represents the marine ingredients industry worldwide. IFFO’s members reside in more than 60 countries, account for over 50% of world production and 75% of the fishmeal and fish oil traded worldwide. Approximately 5 million tonnes of fishmeal are produced each year globally, together with 1 million tonnes of fish oil. IFFO’s headquarters are located in London in the United Kingdom and it also has offices in Lima, Peru, and in Beijing, China. IFFO is an accredited Observer to the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO). For more information, visit the IFFO website - http://www.iffo.net/

4.            The Global Standard for Responsible Supply (IFFO RS) is a business-to-business certification programme that enables a compliant factory to demonstrate that it responsibly sources its raw material from well-managed fisheries and responsibly converts that into pure and safe products.

To be certified fishmeal and fish oil factories must demonstrate sourcing from well managed fisheries and safe and traceable production. Assessments are conducted by an independent certification body and in just over two years, IFFO RS has successfully attracted over 110 certified factories, spread across nine countries. Most of the largest fisheries such as Peruvian anchovy, Alaskan Pollock, Blue Whiting in UK, Iceland and Norway, Gulf menhaden in USA and many more have been approved for supply into the manufacturing food chain including whole fish and by- product raw material to produce compliant fishmeal and fish oil. For more information visit the IFFO RS Website - http://www.iffo.net/iffo-rs

5.            Fishmeal is a natural, balanced, highly nutritious feed ingredient used in diets for farmed fish and crustaceans and as a high protein supplement in nutritionally demanding periods in the life cycle of pigs and poultry, as well as in pet food.

6.            Fish oil is the major natural source (97%) of the healthy long chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, EPA and DHA. Most fish oil is used in feeds for farmed fish and there is an expanding market for fish oil for human nutritional supplements and functional foods.