Approximately 35 per cent or 5.7 million tonnes of the raw material supply for the marine ingredients industry is now from by-products from fish processing. The balance comes from whole fish that typically do not have a human consumption market. However, a significant volume of by-product raw material is still not utilised e.g. from fish processed at sea.
In a study by the University of Stirling in 2015, it was estimated that globally another 6 million tonnes of by-products are not utilised.
The study also predicted that, given the demand from the growing aquaculture feed industry and the trend for more whole fish to enter human consumption markets, the percentage of raw material from by-products would increase to over 50 per cent within ten years.
The main barriers to capturing more raw material are logistic, given the difficulties of collecting by-products, preservation during transport and the availability of local marine ingredient processing facilities.
Given the excellent performance of fish protein and oil in aquaculture feeds and the benefit of utilising by-products rather than allowing them to go to waste, IFFO hopes this initiative will encourage feed companies to work more closely with their suppliers to solve the logistic challenges and increase recovery levels.