IFFO, the trade association for the global marine ingredients industry, is delighted to see a research project launched by the University of Washington, led by Professor Ray Hilborn, to refine and expand its initial work on the management of forage fish stocks. IFFO has agreed to provide information to support the research, as well as financial assistance.
The industry has demonstrated its commitment to fishery management through the widespread uptake of third party certification and believes in investing in good science as the basis for the best management of forage fish stocks.
Although much of the raw material supply for the marine ingredients industry is now by-products from fish processing, it still relies for its long term future on responsibly managed capture fisheries.
These fisheries are typically small, bony fish that have little or no market for human consumption but are also recognised as being food sources for marine mammals, birds and other predators, and are known as forage fish.
Predator/prey relationships are complex and not well understood and, as fishery management moves away from single stock assessments to a more ecosystem based approach, it is important that decisions on harvest levels are decided based on good science and up to date economics.
Professor Hilborn has called together a group of the most eminent scientists in this field to undertake a two year study of the main commercial forage species, and will report in 2017.