FAO Report: Fishmeal and Fish Oil are Essential to Aquaculture


A recent FAO report delves into the potential of small fish in bolstering food security and nutritional needs. One key finding underscores the significance of fishmeal and fish oil as highly nutritious and easily digestible components in farmed fish feed. As a global producer of these marine ingredients, EFFOP takes pride in its role in meeting the rising demand for sustainable food production. This commitment not only supports food security but also ensures the availability of healthy food choices for the global population.

The latest report from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) explores the potential utilization of small fish species in addressing global food security and nutritional needs. Despite prior developments toward ending food insecurity, hunger, and malnutrition worldwide, disruptions stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic and escalating climate-related challenges have hindered progress.

Recognizing the crucial nutritional benefits of fish, it can enhance both food security and nutrition. With an increasing global demand for aquaculture production, the significance of fish meal and fish oil as essential components cannot be overstated. These elements play a central role in maintaining sustainable food production practices, concurrently bolstering food security and facilitating the availability of nutritious options for the public.

Aquaculture stands out as one of the least environmentally polluting food production systems, holding immense importance in securing food supplies for an expanding global population. Its capacity to provide vital proteins and omega-3 compounds further underscores its role in ensuring comprehensive nutrition amidst a changing world landscape.

Fishmeal and fish oil are pivotal components

The FAO’s report reveals a significant shift in the usage of fishmeal and fish oil. Historically, these ingredients were primarily directed towards pig and poultry feed until the 1980s. Presently, a staggering 75 percent of the global production of fishmeal and fish oil is channeled into aquaculture. Recognized for over a century for their high protein content and essential omega-3 fatty acids, these fish-based ingredients remain pivotal in aquacultural feeds.

The escalating scale of aquaculture in recent years has propelled the demand for these fundamental components. Despite experimentation with alternative feed formulations, fishmeal and fish oil persist as the most nutritious and easily digestible elements for farmed fish. Although alternatives have been explored, their availability on a comparable scale remains limited, indicating a projected increase in demand for fishmeal and fish oil in the coming decade.

Filling this future demand hinges on continued reliance on whole fish and an increased utilization of fish by-products to produce fishmeal and fish oil. EFFOP, leading global producers in this domain, sources 40 percent of its raw materials from leftovers obtained during the processing of fish intended for human consumption. Notably, during the filleting process, up to 60 percent of fresh fish can be discarded as waste, comprising valuable fish protein and oils. Their integration into fishmeal and fish oil production optimizes the utilization of natural resources.

This approach not only adds value to otherwise unused raw materials but also functions as an instrument for channeling nutrients from the ocean into the human food chain. Beyond resource efficiency, it is imperative to highlight the associated health benefits, sustainability, and energy efficiency in this practice.

EFFOP takes pride in its role as global producers, contributing to the increasing demand for sustainable food production while ensuring food security and promoting healthy dietary choices for the public. As per the FAO’s policy recommendations, focusing on infrastructure enhancements within domestic and regional markets could serve as a fruitful avenue to sustain the critical role of small fish in fortifying food security and nutrition.

Read the full report here or download here: FAO Report