Fish oil attack is unfounded, stresses IFFO

fish oil capsules Dr Neil Auchterlonie: “The fishmeal and fish oil industry is very far from the pariah that it is made out to be." Credit: IFFO

The fishmeal and fish oil industry doesn’t hinder sourcing for human consumption, the technical director of IFFO - The Marine Ingredients Organisation has insisted.

Hitting back at an article by Paul Greenburg in the Guardian which claims that the fish oil extraction process “consumes millions of tonnes of marine wildlife every year,” Dr Neil Auchterlonie, discussing the Peruvian anchovy fishery mentioned in the article said Greenberg’s claim that Peruvian law dictates that more than 95% of the catch must go to the reduction industry is untrue and that the Peruvian Government “restricts the fishing of anchovy for fishmeal and fish oil with the setting and enforcement of quotas and closed fishing seasons.”

No bias

In ‘Fool’s gold: what fish oil is doing to our health and the planet’, Greenburg stated that fish for human consumption is limited. “Today, one in every four kilograms of fish caught is reduced into oil and meal and used for agriculture, land animal husbandry and, most recently, fish farming, AKA aquaculture,” he said. However, Dr Auchterlonie pointed out that “fishing of anchovy for direct human consumption in the inshore artisanal fishery is in a restricted open-access model, regulated by permits and a tax for accessing a natural resource.

“There is no bias towards the fishing of anchoveta for fishmeal and fish oil production, quite the contrary. The Peruvian government has invested many millions of dollars to promote direct consumption but with little success so far. People just don’t eat enough!”

He added that the “same is true” of other species used for fishmeal and fish oil production.

Food staple

“The fishmeal and fish oil industry is very far from the pariah that it is made out to be by those who do not have a technical understanding of the way it operates. It has for many years been the foundation of global food supply, and it shall remain so for many years to come,” Dr Auchterlonie concluded.

Responding to Greenburg’s comments on krill, Dr Auchterlonie said krill has only been utilised very recently and the tonnages harvested are well within the limits advised by science and expert opinion.

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