Sunday, June 14, 2020

Quality feed means quality food: new considerations can be drawn out from the SOFIA report

The SOFIA report that was published earlier this week by the FAO has yet again highlighted the importance of using the valuable resources from our oceans in the most strategic and efficient way.

These are needed to provide the recommended amount of protein to a growing population while keeping environmental impacts of food production systems as low as possible, 'Fish and fisheries products are actually recognised not only as some of the healthiest foods on the planet, but also as some of the less impactful on the natural environment.'

Image credit: Jennifer C on Flickr
(CC BY 2.0)
This balance is made possible through increasing fisheries management efforts resulting, as stated by the FAO, in 'decreasing in average fishing pressure and increasing in average stock biomass'.

This balance is also the enabled by an increasing use of by-products in fishmeal and fish oil used as aquafeeds (estimated at 25–35 percent, according to FAO figures) as well as targeted utilisation strategies in feeds.

A recent 'Fish as feed' research report, which the marine ingredients  organisation (IFFO) contributed to, presents a new method based on the principle of economic allocation (economic Fish In: Fish Out – eFIFO) as commonly used in Life Cycle Assessments.

Economic allocation acts as a proxy for the nutritional value of ingredients and places higher importance on the more limiting co-products generated and their relative demand. Results show that most aquaculture species groups assessed in this study are net producers of fish, while salmon and trout aquaculture are net neutral, producing as much fish biomass as is consumed.

The IFFO have supported this discussion through a research paper (commissioned to Dr Richard Newton from the Stirling University), which stresses that both the responsible sourcing and edible yield of the products should be considered.

As with all natural ingredients, there is variation between the species used in marine ingredients and a one size fits all approach of measuring does not work to assess what it takes to generate farmed fish. According to the IFFO, focus should instead be on how we identify these differences and strategically allocate their usage in the most efficient way so that the correct feed is used for specific species when they need it.

Visit the IFFO website, HERE.

Read the SOFIA report, HERE.

The Aquaculturists

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