Eat like it matters – eat more fish

2020.11.27

A new Nature Economy Report from World Economic Forum outlines the challenges we are facing when it comes to securing food for the growing population – read the whole article click here:

  • To feed 10 billion people in a healthy and sustainable way, we must rethink how we produce and consume food.
  • Regenerative farming is key to healing the planet and feeding the world with healthy food.
  • Consumers have the power to be part of this transition, by eating plant-rich and diverse diets, and slashing and repurposing waste.

If we are to feed 10 billion people in a healthy way within planetary boundaries, the way in which we produce and consume food needs to change.

Marine proteins and seafood, seaweed, mussels and fish, are probably the best way to feed the world according to a recent book by marine biologist and fisheries scientist Professor Dr. Ray Hilborn and Ulrike Hilborn – click here. From the OUPblog by Ray Hilborn:

Ocean fisheries don’t cause soil erosion, don’t blow away the topsoil, don’t use any significant freshwater, don’t use antibiotics and don’t have anything to do with nutrient releases, that devastating form of pollution that causes algal blooms in freshwater and dead zones in the ocean. After extensive studies, it turns out that some fish have the lowest green house gas footprint per unit of protein. Better even than plants. Sardines, herring, mackerel, anchovies and farmed shellfish all have a lower GHG footprint than plants, and many other fisheries come close.

If you want to know more – watch Hilborn’s webinar about the environmental cost of dinner – click here.

The future of food from the sea

2020.10.6

“The future of food from the sea” is the title of an important article recently published in the scientific Journal Nature by Costello et al. 2020 (read the article click here). The article describes the need for improved fishery management and a mariculture reform as ways to produce as much animal protein from the sea as possible.

, Sustainable Fisheries UW, has written an explainer on the article that covers the science behind the article, the context of global food production, and what policy could look like by 2050. Read the explainer click here.

Because fishmeal and fish oil are limited resources, the development of technology to supplement fish meal and oil is a big variable in how much food can be produced from the ocean. Researchers ran scenarios reducing fishmeal and fish oil requirements by 50% or 95% from current levels—those technological breakthroughs would increase food supply by 17.2 billion kg and 174.5 billion kg respectively. Fed mariculture currently produces 6.8 billion kg of food per year.

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

2020.9.30

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

Ecologically and economically sustainable mesopelagic fisheries (MEESO)

2020.6.30

European Fishmeal is partner of the MEESO project funded by the EU Horizon 2020. In the MEESO project, researchers look—together with the industry—into whether organisms living deep in the oceans can be exploited in an ecologically and economically sustainable way.

European Fishmeal participates in Work package 3: “Development of sustainable catch and processing methods towards feasible products”. This work package will identify and implement the best solutions for total utilization of the mesopelagic catch. Efficient and sustainable catch technologies and post-harvesting processing will be paired with product development. The work will be performed by industry and academic experts in collaboration with all stakeholders.

Read about the MEESO project at the website: click here

Fish In:Fish Out ratios (2020)

2020.6.29

FIFOs (Fish In:Fish Out ratios) have been used over time as a way to look at the performance of aquaculture in relation to the wild fish utilized in feed. FIFO is regarded by some as a benchmark of progress by the sector in relation to its environmental performance click here. Recently a more sophisticated way of looking at FIFOs has been reported by IFFO (the international trade organisation representing the marine ingredients industry worldwide). IFFO commissioned a project with Dr Richard Newton looking at the FIFO concept in more detail. Key findings from this project included:

  • When marine ingredients are used efficiently, they can produce as much fish through aquaculture as could be achieved via direct consumption;
  • Fishmeal and fish oil (FMFO) contain many important nutrients for their use in aquafeed, of which contributions to palatability and digestibility are especially important;
  • Different farmed fish species show variable edible yield proportions, tis is why there are  different efficiencies in FMFO utilisation in aquafeed from a food production perspective;
  • Although considerable progress has been made, the use of byproducts as raw material in FMFO production can still be improved. Achieving this over time supports additional food production;
  • Usually most value can be added by directing by-product fractions to food (via feed) but some non-food applications are also valuable uses of by-products (e.g. chitosan and nutraceuticals);

For more information click here.

EU’s Biodiversity Strategy for 2030 – Will it be a big deal for our seas and our fish?

2020.5.28

Released on May 20, the EU’s 2030 Biodiversity Strategy is the “ambitious long-term plan for protecting nature and reversing the degradation of ecosystems”, promising that at least 30% of Europe’s sea area will be transformed into effectively managed protected areas, and limits placed on the use of bottom trawling fishing gear.

The Strategy and the question “Will it be a big deal for our seas and our fish?”  were recently debated by Bernhard Friess, Director-General at the European Commission DG Mare, Daniel Voces, Managing Director at Europeche, and Monica Verbeek, Executive Director at Seas at Risk.

European Fishmeal welcomes the strategy and followed the debate.

 See and listen to the debate in a YouTube video – click here.

To read the EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030 and an associated Action Plan – click here

Main fisheries related elements of the Strategy:

The Strategy contains specific commitments and actions to be delivered by 2030, including:

Establishing a larger EU-wide network of protected areas on land and at sea, building upon existing Natura 2000 areas, with strict protection for areas of very high biodiversity and climate value.

The Commission will also propose a new action plan to conserve fisheries resources and protect marine ecosystems by 2021. Where necessary, measures will be introduced to limit the use of fishing gear most harmful to biodiversity, including on the seabed. It will also look at how to reconcile the use of bottom-contacting fishing gear with biodiversity goals, given it is now the most damaging activity to the seabed. This must be done in a fair and just way for all. The European Maritime and Fisheries Fund should also support the transition to more selective and less damaging fishing techniques.

Healthy fish stocks are key to the long-term prosperity of fishermen and the health of our oceans and biodiversity. This makes it all the more important to maintain or reduce fishing mortality at or under Maximum Sustainable Yield levels. This will help achieve a healthy population age and size distribution for fish stocks.

The by-catch of species threatened with extinction must also be eliminated or reduced to a level that allows full recovery. This should also be the case for those in bad conservation status or not in good environmental status. Furthermore, the by-catch of other species45 must be eliminated or, where this is not possible, minimised so as not to threaten their conservation status. To support this, data collection on by-catch for all sensitive species needs to be stepped up.

In addition, fisheries-management measures must be established in all marine protected areas according to clearly defined conservation objectives and on the basis of the best available scientific advice.