IFFO The Marine Ingredients Organisation has claimed its support for the European Parliament’s vote to ban discards of healthy fish, saying that the raw materials can instead be used to supply the needs of the fishmeal and fish oil industries.
“The supply of fishmeal and fish oil is not meeting current demand,” said Andrew Mallison, director general of IFFO. “There is also an environmental imperative to process by-products rather than dumping them. IFFO and IFFO members are actively working to increase the amount of by-products (including by-catch and discards) recovered for fishmeal and fish oil production and is scoping a project to inform this work.”
Good-quality feed ingredients are needed for fish and animal feed if there is to be sufficient protein for a growing population, according to IFFO. The growth in fish farming is generating an increased demand for responsibly sourced fishmeal and fish oil as feed ingredients. Additionally, the benefit of long chain omega-3 from fish oil to human health is increasingly understood and recommended by health experts, generating further need for supply of fish oil.
IFFO is participating in the UK Seafish Industry Authorities Discard Action Group and IFFO members are involved in a project with the UK Center for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science. The handling and economics of previously discarded fish are being studied to understand the implications of an EU discard ban when introduced. IFFO is also promoting the utilization of by-catch into fishmeal and fish oil where regulations permit. “We recognize utilization must be controlled to avoid any incentive towards deliberately fishing for discards,” said Mallison.
IFFO expects the first phase of the project to be completed by April 2013. “Improving the supply of raw material to the fishmeal and fish oil industries not only helps human nutrition but can also reduce environmental impact,” said Mallison.