Fish-free feed con­test ‘de­monises’ ma­rine in­gre­di­ents

Fish Farmer - - News -

IFFO director gen­eral An­drew Mal­li­son ac­cused those in­volved in a fish-free feed com­pe­ti­tion of ‘de­mon­is­ing’ the fish­meal and fish oil sec­tor.

Dur­ing the GOAL con­fer­ence in Dublin last month, he said the charge by the F3 Fish-Free Feed Chal­lenge that the ma­rine in­gre­di­ents in­dus­try was un­sus­tain­able was ‘throw­ing the baby out with the bath­wa­ter’.

And the al­le­ga­tion by Kevin Fitzsim­mons, an F3 judge, that the fish­meal sec­tor is re­spon­si­ble for slav­ery in Asia was ‘out­ra­geous’. By ac­tively seek­ing to dam­age IFFO, the F3 Fish-Free Feed Chal­lenge ‘dam­aged its cred­i­bil­ity’.

Mal­li­son said 45 per cent of the world’s fish­meal and oil pro­duc­tion is cer­ti­fied un­der IFFO’s RS (re­spon­si­ble sup­ply) scheme. And costs are go­ing down while avail­abil­ity is in­creas­ing.

‘But given the growth of aqua­cul­ture, we recog­nise the need for al­ter­na­tives and we wel­come them, we want to see the aqua­cul­ture in­dus­try go for­ward,’ he said. ‘There is no point de­mon­is­ing re­spon­si­bly sourced fish­meal and fish oil, we need all the ma­te­ri­als.’

The win­ner of the F3 com­pe­ti­tion was China’s Guang­dong Ev­er­green Feed In­dus­try Co, which se­cured the $200,000 prize for sell­ing the most fish­free feed to aqua­cul­ture over a 16-month pe­riod.

The ma­rine in­gre­di­ents or­gan­i­sa­tion crit­i­cised the com­pe­ti­tion or­gan­is­ers’ ‘use of neg­a­tive mes­sag­ing, ex­ag­ger­a­tion and mis­in­for­ma­tion in re­la­tion to ma­rine in­gre­di­ents’.

‘The re­duc­tion in in­clu­sion rates has al­lowed feed pro­duc­tion vol­umes to con­tinue to in­crease un­hin­dered, also re­sult­ing in only 0.22kg of in­go­ing fish be­ing needed to grow 1kg of farmed fish, for the most re­cent cal­cu­la­tion based on 2015 data,’ said IFFO.

‘The or­gan­is­ers claim many of the world’s wild fish stocks are in rapid de­cline – a claim not borne out by the UN Food and Agri­cul­ture Or­gan­i­sa­tion re­ports that show, since 1986, that global wild cap­ture fish­eries have been steady and are not de­clin­ing.’

Most farmed fish species are evolved to digest fish pro­tein, said IFFO, and re­place­ment of this with ter­res­trial or other sources of pro­tein can lead to fish gut in­flam­ma­tion and a risk of dis­ease or mor­tal­ity.

Guang­dong Ev­er­green sold 84,691 tonnes of its feed dur­ing the con­test, to tilapia and carp farm­ers in China, Viet­nam, Iran and Indonesia.

IFFO said fish-free feeds have been avail­able for many years for mainly veg­e­tar­ian species such as tilapia and carp.

‘It is also well known that pis­civ­o­rous species like sal­mon and trout can be raised on veg­etable based di­ets, although their growth and health may be com­pro­mised.’

Above: Aqua­cul­ture needs all the ma­te­ri­als

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