ICES catch advice 2021 for “Widely Distributed Stocks in the North East Atlantic”


Today ICES officially released its catch advice 2021 for “Widely Distributed Stocks in the North East Atlantic” –  Blue whiting, Norwegian spring-spawning herring (NSSH), NEA Mackerel and others.

These fish stocks are of major importance as raw material for the fishmeal and fish oil producing members of European Fishmeal both as whole fish (Blue whiting) and as trimmings (NSSH and NEA Mackerel).

The stock status and ICES advice for fishing opportunities for 2021 released by ICES today were better than expected. The three stocks – Blue whiting, NSSH and NEA Mackerel – are all in a good and healthy (not overfished) state.

The official ICES advice for 2021 by stock – click the stock name below to read the ICES advice:

Blue whiting:

ICES advice for 2021: When the long-term management strategy agreed by the European Union, the Faroe Islands, Iceland, and Norway is applied, catches in 2021 should be no more than 929 292 tonnes.

The ICES catch advice for Blue whiting 2021 is a 20 % decrease compared to the ICES advice for 2020.

Herring (Norwegian spring-spawning herring – the Northeast Atlantic and the Arctic Ocean):

ICES advice for 2021: When the long-term management strategy agreed by the European Union, the Faroe Islands,  Iceland, Norway, and the Russian Federation is applied, catches in 2020 should be no more than 651 033 tonnes.

The ICES catch advice for NSSH 2021 is a 24 % increase compared to the ICES advice for 2020.

Mackerel (the Northeast Atlantic and adjacent waters):

ICES advice for 2021: When the MSY approach is applied, catches in 2020 should be no more than 852 284 tonnes.

The ICES catch advice for NEA Mackerel 2021 is a 8 % decrease compared to the ICES advice for 2020.

To see all the latest ICES advice click here

New report on sustainability claims – a great introduction


The Market Advisory Council, of which European Fishmeal is a member, recently published a workshop report on voluntary sustainability claims on seafood products. The workshop was very comprehensive and had a number of high-level panellists, and the report is a great introduction to voluntary sustainability claims, including ecolabels and certification schemes. 

The purpose of the workshop was to bring together members of the MAC, institutions and external experts in a constructive exchange about how voluntary sustainability claims and information on seafood products, including ecolabels and certification schemes, interact with the European seafood market. The importance of sustainability claims have increased steadily over the past decade, and for both fishmeal and feed producers, it has become a license to operate.

The workshop, and hence also the report, is divided into three sessions. Session I, which served as both an introduction to sustainability in the seafood sector and a run-through of the private and public initiatives to secure it. Where the first session was focused on the theoretical aspects of sustainability labels, the second session focused on the experiences of the actors in the field throughout the value chain: the fishing sector, the aquaculture sector, the processing sector, and the sales sector. The focus of the third session was on the ecological footprint as well as on consumer attitudes.

The full report, which can be read here, shall, besides serving as a great introduction for interested parties, serve as the basis for an advice to the European Commission with follow-ups and recommendations on the potential need to update the current legislative framework on voluntary sustainability claims on seafood products.

Voluntary Sustainability Claims on Seafood Products


Sustainability Review 2020: New Annual Report by European Fishmeal


OECD-FAO outlook: Key figures for fishmeal producers


OECD and FAO recently published their 21st joint market outlook for the global fishery and agriculture sector, assessing the coming ten years of economic development and its effect on fishery and agriculture. Some of the key takeaways for the marine ingredients sector are listed below.


Globally, the aquaculture industry accounted for approximately 70% of the fishmeal offtake, leaving 27% to the pig (22%) and poultry (5%) production, with “others” accounting for the last three per cent.

In the coming years, global livestock production is expected to expand by 14%, with poultry remaining the fastest-growing meat production accounting for about half of the projected increase in total meat output. The expansion of pig meat production will be concentrated mainly in the People’s Republic of China, that by 2025 is expected to recover from the ASF outbreak.


Aquaculture production is projected to continue its expansion and is projected to overtake capture fisheries as the most important source of fish worldwide by 2024. By 2029, the global aquaculture production will reach 105.205 thousand metric tonnes, an increase of circa 23%, thus accounting for well over 70% of the total fish supply for direct human consumption. This increase will have a direct influence on the demand for fishmeal and fish oil.

Marine ingredients

The share of total capture fisheries production transformed into fishmeal and fish oil will remain stable at about 18%. However, FAO and OECD are estimating that the total production of fishmeal and fish oil will increase by 10% and 17%, respectively, over the next decade, mainly reflecting a more significant use of by-products and trimmings in the production. By 2029, the proportion of total fish oil obtained from fish by-products and trimmings is expected to grow from 41% to 45%, while for fishmeal this proportion will increase from 24% to 28%.

The demand for fishmeal will exceed its supply due to the expansion of aquaculture, pig and poultry production, meaning that the price of fishmeal is expected to increase slightly relative to oilseed meals. In the FAO/OECD report, however, it is also written that:

“Fishmeal and fish oil represent a highly nutritious and digestible feed component and rich of Omega-3 fatty acids. Due to their relatively high price, they are increasingly used only for some species and at certain stages of animal rearing (for hatchery and finishing diets), which creates a premium for fishmeal over oilseed meals. For these reasons, the production of fishmeal and fish oil will remain profitable.”

The full report can be found here

IFFO President: “The industry has proved resilient in the face of the Covid-19 outbreak”


The following interview with our managing director was brought on IFFO’s website on the 1st of September 2020. 

Anne Mette Baek, IFFO’s President, shared her views with Peru’s National Fisheries Society (SNP) about the marine ingredients industry in the aftermath of the Covid-19 outbreak. You may access the interview that she took with SNP in July 2020 via SNP’s website (Revista Pesca Responsable – available in Spanish).

1) What is the current situation of the marine ingredients market worldwide in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, which has paralyzed much of the international economy?

The industry has proved resilient in the face of the Covid-19 outbreak. In June 2020 the overall fishing performance of the group of countries analysed in the IFFO reports, which represent around 60% of the annual global supply of marine ingredients, was in line with the 2011-2019 average for the same month.

IFFO’s estimates for the whole 2020 are, as always, based on landings in Peru, which play a major role in determining the global trend. The expectation for the global marine ingredient market is of something slightly above the 2019 output. Global marine ingredients supply should be just short of 5 million mt of fishmeal and around 1 million metric tonnes of fish oil.

2) What are the main changes that are already being seen or will be seen in the future regarding the relationships between producers and buyers of marine ingredients, as a result of the health emergency that the world is going through?

Traceability has been a key requirement for the industry for years since fishmeal and fish oil are internationally traded commodities which sit in a complex value chain involving a wide range of stakeholders. However, the requirement for tracking products – including by-products which now make one third of all marine ingredients – back to their origins is becoming stronger and is driven by consumers. We welcome the initiative taken by standards, such as MarinTrust, the leading standard for marine ingredients, to include a specific clause on traceability back to origins of the products, in the new version of its Chain of Custody standard (which will come into force in November 2020).

3) In the case of Peru, the industry carried out the first anchovy fishing season successfully despite the difficult situation, thanks to the application of strict sanitary protocols. How has IFFO evaluated this process in Peru in favour of the world’s supply of marine ingredients?

IFFO welcomes strict sanitary protocols as a means to not only provide reassurance to buyers and consumers but also ensure safe working conditions. Peru is a leading producer of fishmeal and fish oil and is showing the path towards sustainability and feed / food safety.

4) What lessons could the Covid-19 pandemic have for the global marine ingredients industry?

The industry is complex and suffers from a lack of understanding. We have witnessed the consequences of rumours that affected the salmon sector following a Covid-19 outbreak in Beijing in June. There is a need to provide evidence-based and easy-to-understand knowledge to a wide audience, so that consumers are better able to understand what is behind the products they buy. Throughout the value chain, fishmeal and fish oil producers provide full traceability, which is reflected in a high level of certification: over 50% of all marine ingredients produced worldwide are MarinTrust certified. We keep raising the bar higher and higher as traceability is now a key requirement.

5) What are the future challenges for the global marine ingredients industry facing a “new normal”?

The globalization of fish and fish products implies that the Covid-19 pandemic has brought major disruptions to well-established trade patterns and supply chains. Countries and regions throughout the world, such as the EU for instance, have taken the necessary steps to implement food corridors and enable flows of goods to circulate despite the barriers that were put in place to limit the spread of the virus. However, these measures mean additional paper work and alternative arrangements, that should be time bound. Globalisation has brought more choice to consumers and driven positive change throughout the supply chain, via standardisation and certification programmes, and shouldn’t be given up in the long term.

6) Recently, FAO published its SOFIA 2020 report, what conclusions could IFFO draw from this document regarding the future of the marine ingredients industry?

The SOFIA report heralds a bright future for our industry, with perspectives for further developments of the aquaculture sector in order to feed a growing population in need of protein. Marine ingredients provide proteins of unmatched profile and should be considered as the strategic ingredients that combine low environmental impacts and high nutritional profile to the benefit of animal growth and then human health: quality feed mean quality food. The FAO report highlights the 78.7 % share of current marine fish landings coming from biologically sustainable stocks and the positive contribution of fishery management science and measures towards stock biomass. According to this report, further growth might come from “improved utilization of the harvest, including reduced onboard discards, waste and losses as driven by legislation or higher market fish prices, both for food and non-food products”. It is expected that the global supply of fishmeal and fish oil might slightly improve over the next decade, although a smaller percentage will come from wild whole fish and more from fish waste and by-products from the processing industry. This message portends a sustainable and resilient supply of marine ingredients for the coming decade.

7) What are the main projects that your management at IFFO will promote, and if you have any in the case of Peru?

IFFO’s mission is to represent the industry and help the public understand what its contribution to global food safety is. IFFO developed last year a new set of educational infographics (available in English, Spanish and Chinese) that everyone is free to use. We will continue to develop these materials over 2020. On the technical side, IFFO has commissioned a study to an international team of scientists on biodiversity and impacts that the industry has compared to other industries. Once the results are published in a peer reviewed magazine, which we hope will happen this year, we’ll be able to expand on its findings. The project has demonstrated that to replace fish protein with the current mix of animal and plant proteins would require up to 5.7 million km2 of new land which is about one third of the remaining world’s tropical forests (already heavily depleted). This gives an idea of how efficient marine protein production is in comparison to terrestrial (vegetable) protein, in terms of biodiversity impacts.

8) How do you see the contribution that women have been giving you in this industry that, until a few years ago, was led by men in key positions?

Women definitely have a contribution to make to our sector which, historically, has been dominated by activities considered to be for men only as they involved long stays at sea and highly physical activities. I personally have never experienced any difficulties in being a woman in this sector and I can only praise the many companies which have appointed women at their head, as did Sociedad Nacional de Pesquería (Peru’s SNP), and work hard to achieve gender balance. At IFFO, where staff members are 50/50 men/women, we aim to reflect this in our upcoming events by doing everything we can to feature female and male speakers in balanced proportions. The role of our industry has been evolving over the years with increased interactions throughout the value chain, increased accountability and educational efforts, and we want to be a mirror of our sector.

9) Despite the pandemic, the Peruvian anchovy is moving towards its MSC certification. Is it important for IFFO that this process take place in this and other fisheries?

IFFO follows the Peruvian anchovy move towards MSC certification with attention and satisfaction. We believe in the driving force of certification programmes towards sustainability. Their main goal is to champion best practices. This new achievement will pull the industry up through high level standards in terms of management system, impacts on the ecosystem, and harvest control rules. Over 50% of all marine ingredients worldwide are MarinTrust certified. We welcome all additional certifications that will keep strengthening the achievements and profile of the Peruvian anchovy industry.