Andrew Mallison, IFFO director General. (Photo: Fisheries Norway/FIS)
IFFO believes discards ban will boost raw material supply
Wednesday, February 13, 2013, 03:30 (GMT + 9)
Andrew Mallison, director general of the International Fishmeal and Fish Oil Organisation (IFFO) The Marine Ingredients Organisation, believes that last week’s vote in the European Parliament to ban discards will help the fishmeal and fish oil industries meet demand.
“IFFO and IFFO members are actively working to increase the amount of by-products (including by-catch and discards) recovered for fishmeal and fish oil production and is scoping a project to inform this work,” he stated.
The organisation estimates that, although some 25-30 per cent of the world’s fishmeal is now made from by-products, this shift has only replaced the lower supply from whole fish capped at around 4.5 million tonnes.
Things may change now that, in December 2012, the European Union (EU) Fisheries Committee voted to recommend a ban on discards to be introduced between 2014 and 2017. Member States are expected to agree to these reforms.
The second biggest source of by-products is filleting or other processing of fish for human consumption: heads, tails, bones, skin and other offal can be used, and many industries now send these by-products to fishmeal manufacture rather than to waste disposal facilities to produce less waste. Although it has been expensive to do this due to the associated storage and transport systems that must be in place, as prices being paid for fishmeal and fish oil have been climbing, new possibilities may soon appear.
Mallison confirmed that IFFO is participating in the UK Seafish Industry Authorities Discard Action Group and IFFO and is involved in a project with the UK Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (CEFAS). The handling and economics of discards are being analysed to better grasp the implications of the potential EU discard ban.
IFFO is also endorsing the use of by-catch to produce fishmeal and fish oil, as long as rules are followed.
“We recognize utilization must be controlled to avoid any incentive towards deliberately fishing for discards” Mallison said.
Several IFFO members are already offering processing facilities for by-products from fish processing, but IFFO believes that further volumes could be available and is drafting up a project to include the following points:
- What is the estimate of fish by-products currently discarded or thrown away instead of entering fishmeal and fish oil production?
- Is there a cost-effective means of stabilizing by-products to prevent spoilage and reduce time pressure?
- What are the constraints and solutions for increasing the amount of by-product entering fishmeal and fish oil production?
- How should the fishmeal industry convey its need for raw materials?
IFFO expects the first phase of this project to be completed by April.
By Natalia Real