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MEPs say lift fishmeal ban in view of science and aquaculture

by the Fish Site Editor
11 July 2007, at 1:00am

EU - The European Parliament adopted a report by Struan Stevenson (EPP-ED, UK) calling on the Commission and the Council to lift the ban on feeding fishmeal and fish oil to ruminants. The report stresses that "there is no scientific evidence to support a total ban on fishmeal on the grounds that it may transmit BSE or other TSEs".

The report also highlights the problem of discards from marine fisheries, a problem which is estimated in Europe to account for up to 1 million tonnes annually. The EP suggests that use of discards by the fishmeal and fish oil industry should be examined, given the swiftly expanding EU aquaculture sector.

MEPs also ask the Commission to "increase scientific research into blue whiting" in order to obtain improved advice and management in the near future.

The EP welcomes the €25 million investment by the fishmeal and fish oil industry in Denmark and the UK, aimed at eliminating dioxins and dioxin-like PCBs and ensuring the creation of a safe and healthy product.

The UK is the largest consumer of fishmeal in the EU largely due to its extensive aquaculture sector. Germany, France, Spain, Denmark and the Netherlands use fishmeal for their agriculture and aquaculture sectors. Greece, Italy and the smaller Mediterranean islands rely on fishmeal for their sea bass and sea bream aquaculture.

About 33 per cent of the fishmeal consumed in the EU is fed to farmed fish; the balance is fed to pigs and poultry. Thus the effect of fishmeal on human health is as a result of the meat eaten from farmed fish, pigs, and poultry fed on the product as a feed ingredient.

Fishmeal is rich in both essential amino acids in the form of protein, and in the long chain polyunsaturated omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA (PUFAs) which provide health and welfare benefits to animals. Meat, milk and eggs from farm animals fed on fishmeal and oil are, in turn, foods that benefit human health, states the report.

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the Fish Site Editor