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F3 (Fish Free Feed) challenge promotes misinterpretation and has not been open to innovation, IFFO states. (Image: Stock File)

IFFO questions 'misinformation' promoted by Fish Free Feed challenge

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Thursday, October 05, 2017, 00:50 (GMT + 9)

IFFO has publicly expressed its disappointment at the fact that the credibility of an initiative to encourage alternative sources of feed ingredient has been harmed by negative messaging, exaggeration and misinformation in relation to marine ingredients.

Nevertheless, the organisation congratulates the finalists and winners of the HeroX F3 competition (Fish Free Feed), some of whom are IFFO members.

Through a statement, IFFO expressed its acknowledgment of the need for a wide range of responsibly sourced and high quality feed ingredients to support the continued growth of the aquaculture industry and it accepts that the supply of marine ingredients cannot meet the demand.

In IFFO’s view, the F3 organisers’ intention has been to encourage the exclusion of marine ingredients from use in farmed fish feed, reducing choices for feed companies.

“Although, confusingly, their website states that they are not against the use of fish based raw materials, this is statement is far less prominent than the title of the competition and their statements in the media,” IFFO states.

“Unfortunately, the F3 challenge organisers have refused our offers to enter into dialogue or meet and provide up-to-date facts, instead choosing to seek publicity through a number of misleading or false statements,” it adds.

IFFO points out that the organisers claim that many of the world’s wild fish stocks are in rapid decline, which it believes is 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.

The organisation stresses that while catches of some small pelagic species used to produce fishmeal and fish oil are volatile, this is due to environmental fluctuation with permitted catches being varied in line with biomass abundance to protect the stocks.

IFFO also highlights that F3 also claims that the most common method for setting harvest control rules (Maximum Sustainable Yield) is an economic measure and does not take into account environmental or ecological constraints, which it consider to be clearly untrue, as the definitions from ICES and the OECD show.

IFFO outlines that further evidence of sustainability in the production of marine ingredients is that over 45 per cent of the global production of fishmeal and fish oil is now independently certified as being safe and environmentally responsible, including in its sourcing of raw materials, a figure that far exceeds any other source of feed ingredient.

On the other hand, IFFO clarifies that it is not possible for the fishmeal industry to be “responsible” for the abuses on board fishing vessels. Despite this, the industry is engaged in several initiatives to prevent these abuses and is working with other stakeholders and partners. "Given this accusation, it is surprising that the F3 prize giving criteria make no reference to social standards in the production of alternative ingredients entering the competition," IFFO states.

Finally, IFFO saysFish  that the F3s have been available for many years for mainly vegetarian species like tilapia and carp, adding that 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.

“The F3 competition ignores fish health, mitigates against recycling of fish processing waste, promotes untruths and has not resulted in any true innovation. It is a great shame that those well-meaning contributors to the prize fund have been misled by this misguided campaign,” IFFO concludes.

 


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