AAC Recommendation on the Product Environmental Footprint Category Rules (PEFCR)


European Fishmeal Producers Deliver Valuable Ingredients from Offcuts and Pelagic Fish


This article was ariginallt brought at the Danish Agriculture & Food Council’s website.

We are stronger when we stand together. This is the philosophy in the European non-governmental organization European Fishmeal and Fish Oil Producers (EFFOP), who represents the interests of the European fishmeal and fish oil producers. Fishmeal and fish oil constitute an important strategic feed ingredient for the aquaculture and agriculture. With their functional properties, high quality, and traceability these ingredients enhance the circular economy both on a Danish and a European level.

Fish as raw material to feed ingredients 
Fishmeal and oil are produced primarily from pelagic fish that live in the water column in large shoals and are not used for food production. In Europe, it is typically the fish species capelin, sandeel, blue whiting, sprat as well as offcuts and residues from the fishing industry that are involved in the processing of fishmeal and oil. Fisheries are regulated by quotas based on biological recommendations from ICES and subsequently adopted politically. This is essential for the conservation of marine biological ecosystems. The recommendations are based on the amount of fish that can be taken out of the fish stock to continue to ensure its sustainable reproduction, and new quotas are set for all stocks each year. Continuous quality control at the factories ensures fresh raw materials and traceable products that comply with quality requirements and safety standards throughout the distribution chain.

Fishmeal and oil are typically included as a strategic feed ingredient for farming of salmon, trout, etc., but are also used as feed in pig and chicken production as well as for pet feed. Fish oil is primarily used as a feed ingredient for fish farming and for human nutrition.


Fishmeal and fish oil contribute with unique properties
Fishmeal and oil are very valuable feed ingredients due to their high content of essential amino acids, minerals, phosphorus lipids and omega-3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA). The long-chain omega-3 fatty acids are key components of the cell membrane and play an important role in ensuring optimal growth, physical health and good reproductive ability in connection with animal nutrition. Omega-3 fatty acids are also recognized for their health-promoting properties for both animal and human nutrition.

Despite the many health effects, it is not always easy to be a fishmeal producer, explains Anne Mette Bæk, director of European Fishmeal and Fish Oil Producers, which is the European industry’s joint industry association.

“In addition to the current energy prices – which obviously affect us all – the industry is subject to a cobweb of traceability requirements, various sustainability certifications and a comprehensive regulatory framework from both the EU and individual countries that do not always harmonize. The challenges are many, but they are common, and that is why it is so important that we as an industry work together on the solutions. In fact, it has never been more important”

 Utilizing the whole fish 

The fishery for industrial fish – that is, the fish that consumers do not bother to eat – is close to being fully exploited in Europe, and this has given the industry an increased incentive to focus even more on the circular economy by utilizing the offcuts from the fish that consumers do bother to eat. For example, when you fillet a herring and cut it into pieces for the Christmas table, only about half of the fish is eaten. But instead of throwing heads and tails in the trash, fishmeal producers across Europe are collecting the offcuts and refining them into strategic feed ingredients in demand by feed manufacturers for salmon, pigs, or pets worldwide.

At the European level, there is an increasing focus on optimizing the utilization of these raw materials, which provides value for consumers by being included as a feed ingredient for e.g., salmon farming. There is no omega-3 fatty acid in the salmon if it does not get it through the feed. Not only is omega-3 fatty acid essential for salmon health, it also has a wide range of health effects for humans who, like salmon, can only get omega-3 through food. In that way, the fish offcuts and the hard-to-sell industrial fish ends up on the plate anyway and benefit the consumer.

A new marine ingredients responsible sourcing policy


EFFOP welcomes the new responsible sourcing policy from Nutreco and Skretting that aims to protect the ocean and ensure that fish stocks intended for direct or indirect human consumption are caught within clearly defined, sustainable limits. Read the new marine ingredient sourcing policy here

The marine ingredients sourcing policy document builds into the ambitions set in Nutreco’s Sustainability RoadMap 2025, which aims to ensure that by 2025, Skretting sources marine ingredients that are 100% certified or coming from a fishery improvement project for its global operations, as well as ensuring that all the fishmeal and fish oil used to produce feed originate from fisheries that are managed according to the FAO Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries.

The policy is built on a risk-based approach and was developed through internal collaboration within Nutreco and Skretting (sustainability, procurement and quality teams) at a global and local level to reflect the realities in the markets and included comments and revisions from external stakeholders. Important areas addressed in the policy include:

  • Specific criteria on what to buy according to five sustainability classes of marine ingredients coming from whole fish, by-products from wild fish catch and by-products from aquaculture, aligned with the most important fishery management certifications in the industry.
  • Clear purchasing targets for each sustainability class defined, both the relative share of purchases and a defined timeline to reach the ambitions set in Nutreco’s Sustainaiblity RoadMap 2025.
  • Mapping of countries identified with a high risk of IUU fishing activities. Marine ingredients from these countries cannot be sourced unless they come from the highest sustainability classes. The policy in this area supports Nutreco and Skretting’s commitment and work in SeaBOS.
  • Mapping of countries identified with a high risk of forced labour on board fishing vessels. For these countries there are additional requirements to marine ingredient manufacturers. Skretting is the first company in the world that communicates an open and transparent criteria towards marine ingredient suppliers in this area.

More information about the new responsible sourcing policy from Nutreco and Skretting here

The Responsible Sourcing Policy for Marine Ingredients developed by Nutreco and Skretting


EFFOP weighing standard and video recording of pelagic landings presented for EU Member States, EFCA and DG Mare


On 7 March, the EFFOP secretariat participated in a joint Workshop on monitoring, control and enforcement of the Landing Obligation. The 73 participants were from BALTFISH Member States, BSAC members, DG Mare, European Fisheries Control Agency (EFCA) and observers.

DG Mare informed of “The role of Member States to ensure control and enforcement of the landing obligation” and EFCA could inform that there was still a way to go for compliance with the Landing Obligation (LO) in the Baltic Sea. Although there were high compliance with the LO in most pelagic fisheries targeting herring and sprat, there were generally low compliance with the LO for most other species. 

The EFFOP secretariat and Peter Kongerslev (FF Skagen) gave a presentation entitled “The EFFOP code of conduct for weighing and video recording of pelagic landings”.

Read about the workshop and see the presentations given here


Invitation: Seminar on “Building our knowledge of the mesopelagic zone”


EFFOP is partner in the MEESO project: “Ecologically and economically sustainable mesopelagic fisheries (MEESO)“.

The MEESO project is organizing a seminar “Building our knowledge of the mesopelagic zone“, Friday 25 March 2022 at Castletroy Park Hotel, Co. Limerick, Ireland, 9:30 – 14:00 GMT

Frank Trearty, President of EFFOP, will give a presentation entitled ”The European Fishmeal and Fish Oil Produceres – mesopelagics a potential new raw material?” and participate in the Panel Discussion.

Interested EFFOP members should register to the seminar here
(participation in-person or online)

The preliminary seminar programme:

09.30-10.00 Refreshments
10.00-10.05 Welcome, introduction
10.05-10.15 “New developments of acoustic and trawl technologies for biomass estimation of mesopelagic organisms”: Dr Webjørn Melle (Institute of Marine Research, Norway)
10.20-10.30 “Modelling mesopelagic fish and their ecosystems” Dr Douglas C. Speirs (University of Strathclyde, Scotland)
10.35-10.45 “MI work on the acoustic survey estimation of mesopelagic fish abundance”. Prof. David Reid (Marine Institute, Ireland)
10.50-11.00 “Prediction of potential catch loss through mesh selection in mesopelagic trawls” Dr. Eduardo Grimaldo (SINTEF, Norway)
11.05-11.15 “Ecosystem-based management of mesopelagic fisheries; lessons from the Antarctic krill fishery” Richard Curtin (BIM, Ireland)
11.20-11.50 Health Break
11.55-12.05 ”The European Fishmeal and Fish Oil Produceres – mesopelagics a potential new raw material?” Frank Trearty (Pelagia, Ireland)
12.10-12.20 “Sensory developments of Mueller’s pearlside” Dr Runar G. Solstad (Nofima, Norway)
12.25-12.35 ”Methods for processing of mesopelagic fish”.  Dr. Lars Thoresen (Nofima, Norway)
12.40-12.50 “Progressing our knowledge of mesopelagic resources”, Dr Maria Hayes, (Teagasc, Ireland)
12.55-13.05 “Fishing the mesopelagic: Economic prospects “Dr Rolf A. Groeneveld  (Wageningen University, The Netherlands)
13.10-13.45 Panel Discussion
14.00- 14.55 Close
14.05-15.00 Lunch