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Twenty-two fisheries have been assessed by the SFP for its sustainability table for fishmeal and fish oil production. (Photo: SFP/FIS)

Fisheries sustainability table for fishmeal, fish oil released

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Thursday, March 25, 2010, 03:00 (GMT + 9)

The Sustainable Fisheries Partnership (SFP), an NGO committed to maintaining healthy ocean and aquatic ecosystems, has published a sustainability table of the principal fisheries used for the production of fishmeal and fish oil.

The 22 fisheries have been assessed using the FishSource methodology devised by SFP, which allows basic comparisons to be made against existing fishery sustainability indicators.

The table is contained in a new briefing from SFP – FishSource, Reduction Fisheries and Aquaculture – which can be obtained from the organisation’s website.

The briefing also gives a short description of how the FishSource methodology calculates scores, and a full explanation of the methodology is available on the FishSource website.

Some of the main findings are as follows:

  • none of the principal reduction fisheries uses ecosystem-based management (EBM) approaches explicitly in setting management targets for the biomass of target stocks;
  • 9 per cent of the fish from the world’s main reduction fisheries are from fisheries that meet single-species current good practices, meaning the target stocks are healthy and well-managed;
  • 14 per cent of the fish from the world’s main reduction fisheries are from fisheries that have biomass above single-species target levels, meaning the target stocks are healthy;
  • 67 per cent of fish from the world’s main reduction fisheries are from fisheries that score above minimum acceptable levels commonly used in single-species fisheries management.

The table will prove invaluable to fishmeal and oil buyers seeking guidance on sustainable sourcing as well as manufacturers of aquaculture and farm animal feeds. Buyers of aquaculture products and organisations developing aquaculture standards will also find the data useful in helping to shape policy.

Jim Cannon, chief executive of SFP, said: “In releasing this information, we aim to encourage the world’s fishmeal and fish oil suppliers and forage fisheries to engage in improvement efforts, with a priority on improving those fisheries that currently fall short of current single-species best practices, and ensuring that all the fisheries move towards ecosystem-based management.”

The analysis excludes fish taken from so-called ‘trash fish’ fisheries. These mixed species fisheries utilise fish not suitable for human consumption (whether because of size or palatability) and are frequently found in east and South-east Asia.

These fisheries can be deliberately targeting a mixed species catch for the purpose of creating feeds or they may be targeting other species (e.g. shrimp) with relatively indiscriminate gear types and generating a high ‘by-catch’ which has a marketable value.

These fisheries are generally poorly characterised with little data in the public domain, but the total catch may be as high as five million tonnes (similar to Peruvian anchovy).
 
By Denise Recalde
[email protected]
www.fis.com


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