However, the rise in production is also increasing the pressure on environmental and fisheries resources within some of the producer countries.
Farmed prawns and shrimp, like other farmed fish species, are raised on feedmeal containing a variety of fish, animal and vegetable ingredients.
Fishmeal content is a key component of the feed and may contain ingredients derived from the by-products of fish processing or from wild fish sources. Concerns about sourcing arise where wild fish are sourced from regions where local fisheries may be poorly managed or data deficient.
The BRC supports the significant role played by our members in addressing the challenges of sourcing fish feed derived from responsibly managed sources. The BRC also recognise the contributions made by others working on feedmeal and fisheries, which include some of the leading seafood brands in the UK, certification schemes and non-governmental organisations (NGOs).
To facilitate collaboration across these groups, the BRC set up the Fishmeal Working Group as a platform for these stakeholders to share information and to identify opportunities for partnership.
Many retailers and suppliers are helping to improve the management of these fisheries by engaging with a number of international projects and initiatives such as:
- The REBYCII programme which provides measures for reducing by-catch in trawl fisheries producing fishmeal (United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation);
- Fishery improvement projects (run by The Sustainable Fisheries Partnership) in South East Asia looking at practical steps that can be taken to improve fishery management ;
- Certified feed and improver schemes addressing feed supply (International Fishmeal and Fish Oil Organisation); and
- Marine programme and sustainable fishmeal project (The Prince's Charities' International Sustainability Unit).
Although these are important steps towards better fisheries management, more comprehensive action is needed worldwide to effectively drive change. The BRC therefore encourage key players in the prawn and fishmeal supply chain—such as fishermen (including those catching fish sold into the fishmeal market), producers of farmed prawns/shrimp and fishmeal, processors, importers, and exporters—to communicate the need for responsibly sourced fishmeal in aquaculture feed and help drive change towards a more sustainable aquaculture industry.