IFFO position on forage fish dependency ratio

IFFO has stated its position on the great FFDR debate IFFO has stated its position on the great FFDR debate

The International Fishmeal and Fish Oil Organisation (IFFO) has published a position paper analysing the forage fish dependency ratio (FFDR) to provide its position on the complex debate.

The paper says that FFDR is an often quoted term in the dialogue on fed aquaculture sustainability, but caution needs to be exercised in how the information is interpreted because they should not be directly as measures of environmental sustainability.

Dr Neil Auchterlonie, technical director, IFFO, said: “There is often a lot of focus on the term FFDR in analyses of fed aquaculture’s environmental impact, but in reality the concept has little bearing on the harvest levels of forage fish populations although it was constructed to do exactly that.”

He added that fishmeal and fish oil produced from forage fish populations provides a substantial contribution to global food production but the use of the term FFDR confuses the issue by incorrectly assuming that the species used in marine ingredient production would have higher value to society in other areas such as direct consumption markets, or by environmental benefits through conservation. 

The IFFO view is that as long as fishmeal and fish oil are produced from well managed fisheries, or from byproduct from fish from well managed fisheries, then their use in aquafeeds is valid.

Currently, the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) is seeking feedback on FFDR in its Salmon Standard, which reflects a proposal by the ASC to reduce the FFDR requirements even further for both fishmeal and fish oil. 

IFFO said this this new standard effectively denies an opportunity to those farmers who may wish to be both ASC certified and produce premium end, niche product.

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