Stakeholders and innovation key to survival

EU law featured in the IFFO conference agenda The IFFO conference included discussion on requirements under EU regulations for the importation of fish oil for human consumption into the EU. Credit: Quentin Bates

Asking the “tough questions” and engaging stakeholders are important to the survival of the marine ingredients industry, IFFO - The Marine Ingredients Organisation president Eduardo Goycoolea said at the organisation’s annual conference.

Leading a panel discussion on the future of marine ingredients and the key challenges facing the industry at the Rome-held conference on 15-17 October, Goycoolea was joined by industry bosses Árni M. Mathiesen, assistant director-general, FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Department; Ole Eirik Lerøy, chairman of the board, Marine Harvest ASA; Michiel Fransen, head of standards and science team, ASC; Dr George Chamberlain, president, Global Aquaculture Alliance; and Jim Cannon, CEO, Sustainable Fisheries Partnership.

On opening the panel at the Rome-held conference on 15-17 October, Goycoolea stated: “If we ask the tough questions and engage our stakeholders, we can ensure the future of this vital industry. Marine ingredients are a reliable, stable and vital food source with potential growth through by-products. Let us be proud of what we do and the industry that we have.”

Innovation important

The overall message from the discussions was that the industry plays a key role in global food security but to continue to prosper the industry needs to adapt and remain innovative, while continuing to increase responsible and sustainable practices.

Mathiesen stressed that “as resources continue to become scarcer, more innovation will be needed.”

Chamberlain added that “marine ingredients are the gold standard but supply needs to increase through byproducts and the development of new innovative sources.”

Paolo Caricato, the deputy head of unit, health & food safety directorate general for the European Commission, also gave further clarification on the requirements under EU regulations for the importation of fish oil for human consumption into the EU. This is a topic which has featured heavily in the public domain and created some confusion, stated IFFO.

On the last day of the conference IFFO’s new Director General Petter Martin Johannessen said that “going forward IFFO will focus on three core areas. First, engaging our stakeholders from across the value chain, positioning marine ingredients as having the true value they have. Second, proactively communicating that true value and their unique and important role in global food production, while analysing new areas that are ready for innovation. And third, an evidence based approach means that we will stick to the facts and be transparent in our activities.”

Prof Brett Glencross, from the Institute of Aquaculture at the University of Stirling, who is working on an IFFO-funded project to build a fishmeal database, also spoke about the benefits of fishmeal. The database will map out the range of composition of fishmeal from around the world into an accessible library that supports members’ businesses.

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