Sustainable Fisheries Partnership (SFP) today released the annual sustainability overview of fisheries used for fishmeal and fish oil. The overview (previously known as the ‘Reduction Fisheries League Table’) covers the 28 principal reduction fisheries around the Atlantic and South America rated according to the sustainability assessment presented on FishSource ( The ratings are based on the most recent assessment period for which comparable data is available as of May 14, 2012.The briefing can be found here. In summary, the briefing concludes that for Atlantic and South American reduction fisheries: 

  • No fishery featured in the survey scores more than 8 across all FishSource criteria (category A – the top category).
  • 65.1% of the catch comes from fisheries that score above 6 in all criteria AND the score for biomass is 8 or above meaning biomass is above target levels (category B1). These stocks are in very good shape although may merit some improvements in management regime.
  • 8.3% of the catch comes from fisheries that score 6 or above across all criteria but do not score above 8 for biomass (category B2). These fisheries are in good shape but would benefit from improvements in management regime.
  • 26.7% of the catch comes from fisheries that score below 6 on at least one of the criteria. These fisheries have not been effectively managed and significant improvements are required.
  • Cumulatively, 73.3% of the catch from these fisheries score 6 or above on all five criteria – this is broadly in line with the requirements of existing and proposed aquaculture feed sustainability standards.
  • No reduction fishery is currently managed within an ecosystem-based fisheries management regime. This situation needs to improve significantly. Fisheries that have established a successful single species stock management regime should now be looking to evolve an ecosystem-based approach to ensure sustainability in the future.
  • Changes in fishery scores from 2009 to 2010 indicate a small decline in the overall scores. There were reductions in the volumes of catch in category A and an associated rise in volume of catch in category B2 and practically no change to categories B1 and C. It cannot be concluded from the data that the sustainability status of reduction fisheries is in decline, but it is unlikely to have improved.

Changes for specific fisheries from 2009 to 2010 can be summarized as:



Change in category

Gulf menhaden – Gulf of Mexico

B2 to B1

Atlantic herring – North Sea

A to B1

Blue whiting – northeast Atlantic

C to B1

Capelin – Icelandic

C to B2

Lesser sandeel – southeast North Sea

B1 to C

Atlantic horse mackerel – northeast Atlantic western stock

B1 to C

European pilchard – Iberian

B2 to C

 The results of the overview will prove invaluable to fishmeal and fish oil buyers seeking guidance on sustainable sourcing as well as manufacturers of aquaculture and farm animal feeds. Buyers of aquaculture products and organisations developing aquaculture standards will also find the data useful in helping to shape policies. Commenting on the launch of the Sustainability Overview, Jim Cannon, CEO of Sustainable Fisheries Partnership, said:“In releasing this information, we aim to encourage the world’s fishmeal and fish oil suppliers and forage fisheries to engage in improvement efforts, with a priority on improving those fisheries that currently fall short of current single-species best practices, and ensuring that all the fisheries move towards ecosystem-based management.”