Fish in – Fish out

The Fish in – Fish out ratios describe the quantity of live fish from small demersal and pelagic fisheries required to produce the amount of fishmeal or fish oil needed to produce a unit of farmed fish/seafood. Its output strongly depends of the method adopted. The two most used methods are: 

  1. Fish In Fish Out Ratio (FIFO);
  2. Forage Fish Dependence Ratio (FFDR);


There has been considerable discussion over recent decades regarding farmed fish and the efficiencies of converting dietary nutrients (i.e. especially fish) into edible food for humans. This discussion has particularly raged around the use of fish oil and fishmeal in salmon diets and a lot of different figures have been quoted for the number of tonnes of wild fish it takes to produce a tonne of farmed salmon (FIFO ratio).

Recently a focus group under the European Aquaculture Advisory Council (AAC) has had the discussion. The intention is to give a clearer picture of the dependency on wild fish per cultured species. For a review of the FIFO ratio and the background for the AAC discussions click here.

Findings from the AAC focus group study were:

  1. No data and figures available from the EU aquaculture sector
  2. Industry and NGO have different methods in the conversion of wild feed to farmed fish

The IFFO calculated ratios are explained in brief – click here

The AAC recommendations “Fish In Fish Out (FIFO) ratio” – click here


There is a decreasing proportion of FM and FO within overall aquaculture feed volume:



Source: Fry, J.P. et al., 2016. Environmental health impacts of feeding crops to farmed fish. Environment International, 91, pp.201–214. Available at: