Monday, September 30, 2013

Andrew Jackson, technical director, IFFO, the Marine Ingredients Organisation, UK

Andrew Jackson, technical director, IFFO, UK started his career working in the world of research on fish nutrition in a number of different species including trout, salmon and tilapia.
He was recruited by Unilever to work in their fish feed company and he later transferred to Marine Harvest, which was their salmon farming company. Jackson then spent nearly twenty years working for Marine Harvest in a range of different roles in both Scotland and Chile before joining IFFO in 2006.
His current role as technical director at IFFO includes responsibility for the technical area including regulatory affairs and IFFO’s Global Standard for Responsible Supply (IFFO RS).

This interview appeared in the September October 2013 edition of International Aquafeed magazine


What are IFFO’s aims?

We are a membership organisation, with producer members in many countries. In addition we have associate members who are other stakeholders including, traders, feed producers, farmers, even retailers. Our task is to support our members and their products. This includes market information, regulatory support, arranging conferences and giving advice on best industry practice. The latter issue led to IFFO working with other stakeholders, including environmental NGOs, to come up with its IFFO RS standard in 2009.

What do you consider IFFO’s greatest achievements or successes?

Under different names the organisation has been around for over 50 years and has built its reputation in three key areas. Firstly, it has huge amounts of information about global fishmeal and fish oil markets, where it is produced, how it is sold and who are the end users. Secondly, it is recognised as the only organiser of twice yearly conferences which cover all aspects of the marine ingredient industry from raw materials through to finished products. Finally, over the years IFFO has built up a reputation for its technical knowledge in many different areas and this has been added to with the success of its Responsible Supply standard.

What role can marine ingredients play in sustainable aquaculture?

First and foremost it is important that any marine ingredients used are not considered to be coming from unsustainable sources as this undermines the reputation of the resulting farmed products. So it is becoming increasingly important to farmers and feed producers that any marine ingredients used come from demonstrably well-managed fisheries.

How can fishmeal be used strategically in aquafeeds?

With decreasing inclusion levels of fishmeal in many diets, as already mentioned, it is important to make sure that the quality of the remaining fishmeal is as high as possible. Also, while it is often possible to reduce the fishmeal inclusion level in many grower diets, without seriously compromising performance, so long as care is taken to balance the essential amino acids, it is important to maintain the fishmeal level in other diets. Young fish and crustaceans have higher protein requirements than growers and also faster potential growth rates. Additionally, any growth lost in the early stages is very difficult to make up later. It therefore often pays to maintain the fishmeal level in the early diets, whilst making savings in grower diets. The same is true of broodstock diets where health status and the quality of the resulting eggs is too important to risk by cutting corners in diet formulation. 

The prospect for increasing the production of fishmeal and fish oil is limited. Do you foresee demand exceeding supply?

Potential demand has exceeded supply for some considerable time but over the last decade world fed aquaculture has doubled its output to well over 30 million tonnes while only using around 3 million tonnes of fishmeal. I see no reason why this trend will not continue. The picture for fish oil is more complicated: I do not see the growth of aquaculture being limited by the availability of fish oil, but with reducing fish oil inclusion levels, the health giving properties of some finished products, such as salmon fillets, will decrease.

Will the reintroduction of PAPs in the EU affect fishmeal and fish oil use?

My understanding is that the non-use of PAPs in Europe has less to do with the regulations and more to do with the concerns of the major retailers about the reaction of consumers to feeding land animal proteins to fish. If that is the case, then at least in the short-term, I do not see any dramatic effect coming from the change in regulations.
Will the lifting of the discard ban in the EU have an impact on fishmeal and fish oil production?
It is too early to tell if the new Common Fisheries Policy’s ban on discards will produce significant volumes for our industry. Clearly the main aim of any policy change will be to reduce the catches of unwanted fish. The details of the new CFP in this area are still to be agreed and we are watching developments with interest, but early indications are that volumes of fish for our industry are unlikely to increase significantly with the proposed changes.

How does the IFFO RS Standard help ensure responsible sourcing and production of fishmeal?

Qware of concerns in these important areas, IFFO set up a Technical Advisory Committee with a range of stakeholder members including marine environmental NGOs. Over a two-year period this group wrote what is the IFFO Global Standard for the Responsible Supply of Fishmeal and Fish Oil (IFFO RS). The standard covers what a factory must be doing to be considered responsible. This includes both the raw material sourcing (whole fish and fishery by-products) and the manufacturing practices of the applicant. To prove that a factory meets the standard the applicant must undergo a rigorous audit by a third party auditor to demonstrate that the standard is met. Last year the management of the standard was itself fully accredited to the ISO 65 standard.

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