IFFO's comment on the report "Fishing for Catastrophe"
As IFFO, The Marine Ingredients Organisation, is referred to specifically in the report, we as an evidence-based body thought it important to set out some of the facts.
“The majority of wild-caught fish is responsibly sourced. In addition, raw material for fishmeal and fish oil comes increasingly from byproducts (one third currently) that are left over after fish for food have been processed. Fishmeal and fish oil produced from these resources are used to provide many times more volume of edible fish through aquaculture than are consumed as raw material. The small pelagic fish species that form the bulk of the fisheries dedicated to fishmeal and fish oil production are a highly productive, natural resource with no, or very limited, food markets. It is a good way to use material that would otherwise not be consumed. Their transformation into fishmeal and fish oil supports global protein production: quality feed means quality food”, says Petter Martin Johannessen, IFFO Director General.
1. IFFO RS Ltd., is a separate entity to IFFO
IFFO RS was originally founded by IFFO, The Marine Ingredients Organisation, over 10 years ago. IFFO RS became a separate entity in 2014 with its own governance structure, articles, purposes and budget. It ensures independent certification of the scheme via third party inspection and accreditation to internationally recognized standards such as ISO 17065. This is further endorsed through IFFO RS’s Membership of ISEAL, the global membership association for credible sustainability standards. The IFFO RS standard was developed, and continues to be maintained, through a multi-stakeholder approach that includes members of the environmental NGO community, as well as aquaculture and fishmeal industry, retailers and other international certification bodies.
2. The Marine Ingredients Industry contributes to feeding a growing population, responsibly
5 million tonnes of fishmeal every year contributes to at least 44 million tonnes of aquaculture, as well as several million tonnes of pork and poultry. Over 50% of the worlds' combined production of marine ingredients is certified, to the IFFO RS standard, which draws from the FAO’s Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries in an approach to fisheries management and raw material sourcing. Where fish don't have a strong food market, and provided the material is responsibly sourced, the industry uses this to make valuable fishmeal and fish oil contributing to global protein production, food security and farmed animal and human health. Generally, the industry does not use fish destined for the food market, because that market pays more for the fish as raw material and therefore has a draw on fish species that people do want to eat directly. It is largely the unwanted fish (for food) that enter fishmeal production.
3. The industry supports positive changes in some regions of the world where there may still be challenges in the responsible sourcing of material for fishmeal and fish oil production
Via IFFO, which as an evidence-based organisation, the industry:
- regularly commissions studies to address information gaps, improve the knowledge base and provide recommendations,
- encourages national and local governments and producers to improve effective management of fish stocks through new regulations, enforcement of existing regulations, certification programmes and adoption of approaches such as Fishery Improvement Projects (FIPs).
An example of an IFFO-funded study's main findings and recommendations can be found here.