Thursday, April 7, 2022

IFFO demonstrates the critical role of marine ingredients within blue food

Blue food and the role of marine ingredients in being part of the solution to food security was the focal point of presentations at the IFFO Members' Meeting held in Miami from 4th to 6th April 2022.

IFFO's President Gonzalo de Romaña noted that IFFO is using its central position 'as the uniting platform coordinating the value chain with a role in the food production system through engagement with international organisations such as the United Nations' FAO and the World Economic Forum. We have a great story to tell about the industry's pivotal role in securing sustainable protein'.

'With a deficit in feed ingredients of 30-40 million tons to meet FAO's goal of fed aquaculture production in 2030, the focus needs to be on how the sustainable ingredients available can be utilised in the most efficient way to meet the need for healthy proteins in the future. Nutrition rather than calories should be the core focus', states IFFO's Director General Petter Martin Johannessen.

Circularity and carbon footprint
Speaker Melanie Siggs (Global Seafood Alliance) highlighted the recognition of blue food at an international level. 'There is huge potential in the whole fish paradigm: measurements are the first step to increasing by-product availability, capturing and repurposing nutrition with 100 percent usage. The momentum is there but accountability and collaboration are key'.

IFFO's key area of focus, the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA), aims to compare the full range of environmental effects assignable to products and services by quantifying all inputs and outputs of material flows and assessing how these material flows affect the environment. The benefits of this work include supporting producers in establishing the right processes. It also allows to benchmark and make meaningful comparisons.

Industry wide approach
There is range of ways to assess marine ingredients, from certification standards and fishery improvement projects. Assessment programmes keep developing to remain robust and credible. Listening to certificate holders and stakeholders globally, looking at recognition and synergies with other standards, and trialling all criteria are instrumental.

IFFO's partner Sustainable Fisheries Partnership NGO highlighted the need for an industry wide approach to address current and upcoming challenges, with the Global Roundtable on Marine Ingredients being an example of how pre-competitive platforms can drive dialogue and action.

Change is a constant
Geopolitics combined with environmental challenges requires resilience. Rabobank speaker Stephen Nicholson highlighted the long-term consequences of the Ukraine invasion on international trade and supply of terrestrial ingredients while Professor Ray Hilborn (University of Washington) explained that more variability is to be expected in fish populations as a result of climate change. 'The abundance of small pelagic species fluctuates more greatly from environmental conditions than from fishing pressure,' he explained.

This was IFFO's first Members Meeting since the start of the pandemic, with presentations from across the value chain, covering the latest market trends, technical developments and industry wide discussions. Summaries of discussion are now available on the IFFO website, HERE.

The Aquaculturists

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