Don’t be shy about say­ing you use fish­meal: IFFO

Fish Farmer - - British Trout Associatio­n – Annual Conference -

THE fish­meal and fish oil sec­tor uses fish for which there is no, or only lim­ited, mar­kets to pro­duce fish that peo­ple do ac­tu­ally want to eat, said Dr Neil Auc­ther­lonie, tech­ni­cal di­rec­tor of IFFO, the Ma­rine In­gre­di­ents Or­gan­i­sa­tion.

Fish­meal pro­duc­tion an­nu­ally is five mil­lion tonnes and fish oil is one mil­lion tonnes and that’s been pretty sta­ble for the last two decades.

‘That re­flects im­prove­ments in fish­ery man­age­ment prac­tices – so it might be a fi­nite sup­ply but it’s con­stant,’ said Auchter­lonie.

Two thirds comes from whole fish and one third is from wild by-prod­ucts and farmed by-prod­ucts.

‘The mar­ket de­cides where the fish go – if the mar­ket is will­ing to pay for raw ma­te­ri­als to eat then the fish will go into that mar­ket, but if it isn’t then the fish will go into mak­ing fish­meal and fish oil.’

He cited the ex­am­ple of blue whiting and the Nige­rian econ­omy. If the Nige­rian econ­omy is strong, Nige­ri­ans are in the mar­ket for blue whiting fil­lets.

But if the econ­omy is not do­ing well and de­mand drops, and the food mar­ket can’t pay for those fish, then the blue whiting will go into fish­meal.

There is a trend to­wards more fish go­ing into food mar­kets, so more by-prod­ucts are be­ing used in fish­meal, said Auchter­lonie.

Be­cause aquacultur­e by-prod­ucts are used in feed, as aquacultur­e grows there will be more raw ma­te­ri­als avail­able.

There are about 3.2 mil­lion tonnes of fish­meal and about .76 mil­lion tonnes of fish oil pro­duc­ing more than 44 mil­lion tonnes of fed farmed fish.

Farmed shrimp are the largest users of fish­meal and farmed salmonids the largest users of fish oil – be­cause EPA and DHA are fun­da­men­tally im­por­tant to salmonids.

As for trout in­clu­sion rates, trout glob­ally ac­counts for 3.9 per cent of fish­meal and 5.36 per cent of fish oil of to­tal vol­ume of ma­rine in­gre­di­ents pro­duced an­nu­ally.

The sub­sti­tu­tion of fish­meal and fish oil in trout di­ets com­menced be­fore sal­mon and the rea­son for that was cost.

There were high in­clu­sions his­tor­i­cally – (1981) hatch­ery di­ets of 45 to 50 per cent fish­meal, five to 15 per cent fish oil, and (grow-out) 25 to 30 per cent fish­meal and five to 15 per cent fish oil.

But con­tem­po­rary es­ti­mates are 10 to 30 per cent fish­meal and three to eight per cent fish oil (Auchter­lonie said he was scep­ti­cal about the fig­ures be­cause he thinks they are a bit high, and the low end of the range is more likely).

Trout have lower re­quire­ments for omega-3 and the re­quire­ment varies be­tween whether they are ma­rine or fresh­wa­ter.

As with sal­mon, the omega-3 lev­els have been de­clin­ing over time and have been re­placed by omega-6, and the con­se­quences of this, in terms of fish ro­bust­ness, were be­ing in­ves­ti­gated by re­searchers.

Auchter­lonie told the feed com­pa­nies: ‘Don’t be shy about say­ing you use fish­meal, it’s not a bad thing; in fact, it’s a good thing.’

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