IFFO: ‘Danger’ of China aquaculture overstated

IFFO, the London-based Marine Ingredients Organization, on Tuesday issued a rebuttal to a paper published in the journal Science, which contended that China’s booming aquaculture industry is putting “dangerous pressure” on global fish supplies.

The paper, China’s Aquaculture and the World’s Wild Fisheries, is a “useful and timely contribution,” said IFFO, but listed a number inaccuracies. The authors overlooked the current use of byproducts and ignored the levels of fishmeal used in aquaculture compared with land-based animal production as well as the overall net fish production versus the use of fishmeal.

“IFFO supports the central message of this paper that the Chinese government and industry must ensure that both imported and domestically produced fishmeal is produced from responsibly managed fisheries,” said Andrew Jackson, IFFO technical director. “However, as with most modern aquaculture, in China the amount of fish used in feed is now less than the amount of farmed fish produced.”

IFFO and the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization estimate that around one-third of current global fishmeal comes from fish processing byproducts and a recent FAO OECD page predicted that this would increase to more than 40 percent by 2020. In China, the most recent data from FAO estimates that processing by-products make up around 40 percent of fishmeal production.

Moreover, IFFO stated, the production of formulated aquaculture feeds in China has tripled from around 5 to 15 million metric tons (MT) over the last 10 years, while the use of fishmeal has only doubled from 500,000 MT to 1 million MT.


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