2018 reduction fisheries report shows overall improvement in the sustainability of fisheries used for fishmeal and fish oil

More than 90 percent of the fish used for fishmeal and fish oil from the Atlantic and Eastern Pacific now come from fisheries that can be classified as “reasonably well-managed (or better),” according to the latest annual report on reduction fisheries from Sustainable Fisheries Partnership (SFP).

The report, which analyzes 26 reduction fishery stocks worldwide, found that 91 percent of the total catch volume came from stocks that scored 6 or better on all five criteria outlined by SFP’s FishSource database. This marks an eight-percent increase in performance compared to last year.

Nine percent (0.8 million tonnes) of the total catch for reduction purposes comes from poorly managed fisheries (Category C), a drop from 16 percent last year. The volume coming from poorly managed fisheries has been decreasing since 2016, and is currently the lowest percentage since the annual overview began publication in 2011.

Of the stocks listed in “very good condition,” or Category A status, the report once again singled out the Antarctic krill fishery in the Atlantic Southern Ocean as being particularly well-managed by the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR). The collective fishery is made up of fishing fleets that have had MSC certification since 2010, and a new fleet has joined the MSC program and is currently under assessment.

“It is important to note, however, that this does not mean that ecosystem monitoring should be ignored,” the report’s authors wrote. “Future ecosystem effects (such as warming of the Antarctic by anthropogenic climate change) and the relationship to fishery management are not taken into account in this overview.”

Of the fisheries analyzed, changes in sustainability categories from last year were observed in five fisheries.

  • Four fisheries improved their status: 
    • Chilean jack mackerel—Southeast Pacific (B2 to B1)
    • Araucanian herring—Central-South Chile (B2 to B1)
    • Anchoveta—Southern Peru/Northern Chile (regions XV-I-II) (C to B2)
    • Capelin—Barents Sea (C to B2)
  • One fishery decreased in its sustainability category: 
    • European pilchard—Northwest Africa southern stock (Mauritanian management unit) (B1 to C).

Progress toward improvements and certification continues, in particular for the Atlantic and Eastern Pacific reduction fisheries. Out of the Atlantic and Pacific stocks covered in this overview, 11 have fisheries that are already covered by the MSC program, 18 have fisheries that are covered by the IFFO Responsible Sourcing program (either as approved whole raw material or by-product), and two are covered by fishery improvement projects (FIPs) that are making good progress.

Commenting on the results, Blake Lee-Harwood, Strategy Director at SFP, said: 
“There has been an overall improvement in the sustainability status of the fisheries covered in the report compared to previous years. The fishmeal and fish oil industry in Europe and Latin America is building an impressive track record of responsible sourcing, although there is inevitably still room for improvement.”

Erik Olav Gracey, Sustainability Specialist at Biomar, said:
“BioMar is proud to support SFP in its efforts to improve the environmental stewardship of global marine resources. The positive trend in this year’s report demonstrates the power of the multi-stakeholder approach to “greening” value chains through responsible sourcing. We will continue to actively support SFP through collaboration and support of fisheries improvement projects worldwide.” 

Dr. Dave Robb, CQN Sustainability Manager with Cargill Aqua Nutrition, said:
“Cargill has worked with Sustainable Fisheries Partnership since 2007 to understand and improve the sustainability of the fisheries from which we source fishmeal and oil. Together, we have engaged with our suppliers to demonstrate, transparently, the management procedures that are in place in these fisheries and have been grateful for the support from the supply chain in showing how well forage fisheries can be managed. This SFP report shows that there has been a further general improvement of key forage fisheries, which supports our efforts to source our feed raw materials for aquaculture from sustainable supply chains and demonstrate this transparently to our customers and the end consumer of the sustainable seafood we nourish.”

Trygve Berg Lea, Sustainability Manager for the Skretting Group, said: 
“Great strides have been made by the aquaculture industry to improve its responsible practices in recent years, with substantial efforts particularly focused on encouraging marine ingredient suppliers to ensure that they source raw materials from well-managed, sustainable fisheries. We are pleased to see that one is able to document that there has been an overall improvement in the sustainability status of the most important fisheries used for the production of marine ingredients. We also acknowledge the great effort the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership has made by providing transparent factual information in their annual report covering the most important reduction fisheries in the world.”

Contact: Sean Murphy, Communications Director