IFFO's Monthly Update constitutes a key communications tool for the marine ingredients industry and its main players. This report is dedicated to the needs of IFFO's members, bringing together industry news and insights from our diverse network. 


April 2020

Fishmeal is so much more than protein!

Now more than ever, health and safety has come to the fore and ranks top of the world’s agenda. Food production is a broad and multifaceted sector with a complex value chain. It bears a huge responsibility: feeding the world in a healthy way but also in a responsible way. The seafood sector’s responsibility was highlighted in the recent EAT-Lancet report, in order to achieve two goals: a healthier population and a healthier planet: “Agriculture and fisheries must not only produce enough calories to feed a growing global population but must also produce a diversity of foods that nurture human health and support environmental sustainability.”

According to the FAO, the obvious source of fish protein for human consumption in the future will be aquaculture. Fishmeal and fish oil have a special place in the necessary development of aquaculture, bringing unique qualities to the required feed supplies. They are a secure, nutritious protein to feed the world. But they are much more than protein. With fishmeal used as a feed ingredient, farmers can rely on a balanced, highly digestible and palatable product, which is to be used at strategic stages of the production cycle of animal in support of growth and health. Fishmeal contains typically 60% to 72% protein and 5% to 12% fat, which is high in the health promoting omega-3 very long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids EPA and DHA, often referred to as 'omega-3s'. The proteins in fishmeal have excellent amino acid profiles that fit precisely the amino acid requirements for carnivorous fish species. The modern aquaculture industry would not exist in its current form without these ingredients as they meet fish nutritional requirements in a single package.

Although aquafeed is the major market, taking 65-70% of the material, fishmeal is also key ingredients for other species, including pigs (where they are used in weaning diets) poultry, and pet food.  For these other animals, fishmeal provides recognized superior nutrition. This way, they provide a direct connection between fisheries and terrestrial food production. Those nutrients provide nutritional benefits to a very wide range of consumers throughout the world and ensure that quality food is produced from quality feed.

Quality feed means quality food.

The industry’s pioneering approach back in the 2000s to create a certification platform known as IFFO RS, was instrumental in providing assurance on the quality of marine ingredients used as feeds, especially with regards to its traceability. Today, bringing more clarity to the way the industry interacts with certification schemes has become a requirement and I strongly support IFFO RS’ rebranding.

Petter Martin Johannessen


March 2020

The UK government has just announced that it would be bringing forward, by five years to 2035, the date by which combustion engines would be banned from cars. Like in many other countries, this announcement is meant to achieve net-zero carbon emissions.

We can only applaud such a proactive mindset. However, electric vehicles may be better for the air we breathe but, in terms of CO2 emissions, they can only reflect the way the electric power itself is generated and stored.

All environmental impacts associated with all the stages of the life-cycle of a commercial product, process, or service should be assessed before drawing any conclusions regarding the sustainability of a product or its continuity of supply.

What is true for cars is also valid in terms of diets. As meat-free and fish-free diets increasingly make the headlines, we should try to understand the complexity of land and water management.

A new study from the Norwegian independent research institute SINTEF feeds well into this discussion. Based on an in-depth analysis of greenhouse gas emissions of different types of seafood and land-based food in Norway, the study concludes that substituting plant-based feed ingredients in fish feed with marine ingredients, such as fishmeal and fish oil, could reduce the carbon footprint from farmed fish.

Fishmeal and fish oil, as the foundation of formulated feed, pass on their nutritional benefits to humans and carry with them several decades of data and information about raw material supply, production, nutrient profile and other detail. They are a known factor in the feed industry and should be used strategically to combine health and nutrition requirements with continuity of supply.

Not only are marine ingredients more sustainable in terms of carbon footprint, they have all the essential nutrients to ensure good animal welfare, growth rate and fillet quality.

Petter M. Johannessen
IFFO Director General

February 2020

The main finding of an international project led by the University of Washington marks a good start of the year regarding oceans’ health. It can be read as a clear indication that positive changes can be initiated in reduction fisheries. This can be done by applying fishery science to the fisheries which don’t have appropriate forms of fisheries assessment, management, and enforcement.

On average, fish populations have been found to be in a better state than they were two decades ago, although it can vary depending on each species. The lead author, Ray Hilborn, a professor in the UW School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences, has been compiling and analysing data from fisheries around the world for ten years and the results have just been published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Interestingly, the study also provides “a brief history of commercial fishing and fishery science”. The turning point came in the 1990s, when governments were put under pressure to start taking action to protect their fish stocks from collapsing. This resulted in regulations being revised and improved both in the U.S. (1996) and the EU (2002). Consequently, fishing pressure decreased and abundance recovered, proving that fishery science and management works: if a fishery is assessed, proper decisions can be made on how to sustainably manage it.

This report reinforces IFFO in believing that critical need for improvements in some regions like South East Asia and Western Africa, including the social dimensions of reduction fisheries, can be addressed and that there is room for positive changes. Outstanding problems in some fisheries are not an unavoidable law of nature. It is possible to address them provided there is a willingness to collaborate through Fishery improvement projects (FIPs) or any relevant kind of social initiatives based on fishery science.

Petter M. Johannessen

To read all articles related to the February issue, please click on the following links below:

IFFO Members' Meeting in Miami, USA
IFFO to trial novel anti-oxidants for fishmeal
Key facts and figures about the industry
Looking at the European Green Deal
New Certification Body to be added to certify against the IFFO RS programme
Managing stocks in fisheries: how does this work?
Strengthening relationships with the Thailand stakeholders


January 2020

Amid the outcomes of the 25th COP (Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) judged by many as disappointing, the European Union unveiled last month its ambitious “green deal”. This ambition now needs to be reflected in the common fisheries policy, at a time when quotas in the Atlantic and the North Sea are being defined.

I am convinced that the role of the IFFO Members is to lead by example, by pushing for effective and progressive fisheries regulations and promoting best practices, all which are already in place in most countries with fisheries resources but may still be missing in some regions.

As announced in Shanghai at the IFFO Annual conference last year, we want to enter into dialogue with a much wider range of stakeholders in a way that ensures the raising of awareness about outstanding issues while also promoting the sustainability of marine ingredients and their essential contribution to feeding the world, through the use of evidence.

Here's to 2020 being a decisive year for the industry, not only to prove the true value of marine ingredients but also to drive positive changes through improvement projects and collaboration!

I wish you all a very happy New Year 2020! 

Petter M. Johannessen
Director General

To read all articles related to the January issue, please click on the following links below:

IFFO Members' Meeting in Miami, USA
IFFO RS welcomes two new FIPs to the Improver Programme
Communicating the true value of marine ingredients to a wide audience
A brighter future for fishing
Event Calendar


December 2019

The FAO's international symposium on Fisheries sustainability was held a few days ago. "Fish is an essential element in the future of sustainable food production," FAO Director-General Dongyu Qu said in his opening remarks, while stating that land-based food systems alone wouldn't feed the world in the future. People should eat aquatic products, and more parts of the fish.

The Marine ingredients industry has been involved in circular economy for decades. A significant proportion (one third) of fishmeal and fish oil annually is manufactured from fisheries byproducts. The potential for increasing the proportion of marine ingredients from these sources is substantial. More than half of a fish often becomes byproduct, and much of this is often wasted. There is also an increased trend towards processed fish in regions, such as in Asia, that have generally preferred to buy whole fish. As demand for farmed fish grows alongside the pressure to limit wild catches, these byproducts will increasingly be required.

The rise of vessels becoming equipped with fishmeal plant on board shows that the sectors (Fishing and Fishmeal sectors) recognise the importance of the material and are taking steps to use it. Additionally, a piece of work commissioned by IFFO with the University of Stirling highlighted that the available unutilised byproduct is found mostly in Asia (in terms of volume), where the market for live fish and the consumption of the whole fish are strong. Growth in the middle class in China and elsewhere in Asia may drive change as consumers' expectations regarding their processed seafood product may change. That then would create opportunities for centralised processing (and subsequent collection of byproduct from both fisheries and aquaculture).

Petter M. Johannessen

IFFO Director General