The Sustainable Fisheries Partnership’s (SFP) has released its annual sustainability overview of reduction fisheries for 2017, and according to the report, the aquaculture feed industry has played an important role in promoting improvement through its support for fishery improvement projects. Furthermore, the fishmeal and fish oil sector has also played a strong role in promoting more responsible management of reduction fisheries.
The analysis covers 20 stocks from 13 species and two main groups (fish and crustaceans), rated according to the sustainability assessment presented on FishSource, the SFP public database of fisheries information. As with previous editions, this 2017 overview focuses solely on the stocks mostly used for fishmeal and fish oil from the main Pacific and Atlantic oceans—regardless of the taxonomical group. Fisheries that are used exclusively as fish trimmings are excluded from the analysis. Southeast Asian fisheries that are used mainly for reduction (mainly from “trash” fish fisheries, but also from fisheries targeting small pelagics) are also very relevant to the global catch supply for fishmeal and fish oil and agriculture fertilizers but are not covered in the report.
According to the report, anchoveta (Engraulis ringens) remains by far the most important species for reduction purposes, accounting for almost half (48%) of the total catch in this overview. The two other most captured species remain blue whiting (14%) from NE Atlantic and European pilchard (8%). Together, these three species account for more than 60% of the total reported catches of the fisheries analyzed in the report. More than three quarters (81 percent) of the total catch volume in this analysis comes from stocks that are reasonably well managed or better.
\"Praise is due the aquaculture feed manufacturing industry that has played a constructive role in supporting fishery improvement projects in key reduction fisheries,\" concluded the report. \"However, despite the good news from the eastern Pacific and Atlantic, it is still the case that almost half the world’s fishmeal comes from fisheries in Asia that are poorly documented and managed. The next challenge for the fishmeal and fish oil industry and the users of their products will be to catalyze improvements in Asian fisheries—whether “trash fish” or targeted small pelagics fisheries. Only through creating and supporting fishery improvement projects can we expect to see the kind of progress currently experienced in the Atlantic and eastern Pacific and eventually build a fishmeal and fish oil industry that is 100% sustainable.\"
“We can only develop sustainable nutritional solutions if we are a part of a responsible and continuously improving supply chain,\" stated Trygve Berg Lea, Sustainability Manager at Skretting Group. \"Though the aqua feed industry has put much effort into reducing the level of fishmeal and fish oil in the feed, these feed ingredients still are important and nutritionally valuable for a growing aquaculture production. For fishmeal and fish oils, Skretting works toward the goal that they must be sourced from fisheries meeting the requirements of the FAO Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries. The Sustainable Fisheries Partnership is a valuable partner in monitoring and documenting how we progress toward this goal.”