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Resilience, science-based approach and voluntary certification discussed at IFFO’s webinar

Thursday, October 22, 2020

IFFO held a webinar on marine ingredients sustainability from October 20 – 21, 2020 with an audience of more than 300 IFFO members and almost 20 speakers.

Petter Martin Johannessen, IFFO’s director general, found this webinar as “a wonderful opportunity for the marine ingredients industry to show its enthusiasm in contributing to the future of food. The sector bears a huge responsibility and large opportunities lie ahead for growth in sustainable mariculture”.

The webinar consisted of different sessions, from a panel discussion to a market and a technical forum. Across all these sessions, it was underlined that the industry is constantly adapting to new circumstances, which explains its resilience.

IFFO’s webinar featured many presentations focusing on science, with Professor Ray Hilborn from the University of Washington explaining fishery management and the pelagic stock status during the panel discussion, and Christopher Free from the University of California-Santa Barbara presenting a recent paper published in Nature, The Future of Food from the Sea.

The need for more EPA and DHA was a much-discussed topic during the presentations of Mads Martinsen from Skretting Norway and Morten Holdorff Møjbæk from BioMar Group, referring to research findings underlining that fish that struggle with diseases need more EPA and DHA. Harvesting sustainably on lower trophic levels was suggested as one solution to access more marine raw material, but this needs to be developed and explored.

With a wide range of species available to meet different needs, Global Aquaculture Alliance's Melanie Siggs argued that there is a need to determine how to continue harvesting sustainably and where crops should go for a better footprint and nutrition. Mads Martinsen shared this view, highlighting the need for flexibility and independence in terms of tailoring ingredient sourcing to resource availability. Martinsen underlined that Skretting will continue to use the same amount of marine ingredients in the future, provided it is certified as responsibly sourced. In fact, the use of marine ingredients has been stable for years, but the level of inclusion has been reduced due to the increase in the total volume of feed produced.

The webinar also touched on voluntary certification standards and the assurance that they provide to consumers and retailers. “The industry is very proud to have developed a voluntary certification standard for marine ingredients, which is run within an independent third-party program. This is clearly a market-driven approach that wouldn’t exist without the industry’s inputs and commitment,” said Johannessen. During the webinar, Francisco Aldón, CEO of MarinTrust, explained that certification programs are now delving into blockchain technologies in order to track products back to their origin, especially byproducts, which represent a key area of growth for the years to come.

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