IFFO position paper on Forage Fish Dependency Ration
EUfishmeal supports IFFO in their statemens about forage fish dependency ratio (FFDR). It is important to underline, 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 sustainable.
The position paper analyzes the FFDR to provide clear information on this complex debate. FFDR is an often quoted tern in the dialogue on feed aquaculture sustainability, but caution needs to be exercised in how the information is interpreted, and the figures produced for FFDR should not be examined in isolation nor should values for FFDR be used directly as a measures og environmental sustainability.
FFDR could be regarded as part of an overall package of information relating to fed aquaculture sustainability, but caution needs to be exercised in how the information is interpreted, and the figures produced for FFDR should not be examined in isolation.
Fishmeal and fish oil produced from forage fish populations provides a substantial contribution to global food production and is essential in meeting the nutritional requirements of billions of people around the world. 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.
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.
The Forage Fish Dependency Ratio (FFDR) is a conceptual mechanism for describing the quantity of wild fish used in feeds in relation to the quantity of farmed fish produced, in fed aquaculture systems. FFDR was derived originally as a way of quantifying the environmental impact of feed use in aquaculture systems and there has been a particular attention on FFDR in salmon aquaculture. FFDR is expressed as a ratio that takes into account the amount of fishmeal and fish oil in the feed that originates from wild stock, and is calculated on a site specific basis taking into account the (economic) Food Conversion Ratio (FCR). In essence it was proposed to provide an overview of the impact of fed aquaculture on the marine environment through an evaluation of the raw material that comes from the utilisation of forage fish stocks. Its true value in supporting a sustainability assessment of fed aquaculture is debatable and IFFO, through Dr Andy Jackson’s earlier work, has already objected to some of the FFDR approach limitations. It is notable for having been included in the Aquaculture Stewardship Council’s (ASC) farmed salmon standard, with a current proposal to reduce the FFDR ratio values even further out to consultation2 . FFDR is referred to in the scientific literature (e.g. Ytrestøyl, Aas, & Åsgård, 2015), and is a term commonly presented in the arguments of those whose position is critical of the farming of carnivorous fish species.