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IFFO, The Marine Ingredients Organisation, following day 1 of Members Webinar

IFFO Member Webinar, Day 1: Adaptation is Key to the Future of the Global Food Production System

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Thursday, October 22, 2020, 05:00 (GMT + 9)

On October 20, 2020, IFFO, the marine ingredients organization held Day 1 of its members' webinar, discussing how the marine ingredients industry is approaching sustainability. A central concept of the webinar was adaptation and how the industry will meet the upcoming challenges.


Anne Mette Bæk, President of IFFO, delivered her speech highlighting that the marine ingredients industry had quickly adapted to the pandemic using adapted protocols. Resilience comes from industry guarantees to the value chain through a third-party certification program that ensures responsible sourcing and production of marine ingredients for more than ten years. Furthermore, she explained that flexibility towards the circular economy highlights this development, and highlighted the already significant contribution (33%) of by-products to the production of marine ingredients worldwide.


Adaptation is needed to address the challenge of feeding a growing population. FAO estimates that the number of undernourished people could exceed 840 million by 2030, said Petter Johannessen, IFFO Director General. "This is not the time for controversy," he said. "It is time to reach a consensus on where the challenges lie and agree that all sustainable solutions are welcome." At a time when Covid-19 has caused a formidable reorganization of the state of the world, there is growing evidence that a value chain approach is needed, where marine ingredients are recognized as strategic in terms of nutritional value, volumes and predictability.

Collaboration with governments is also essential. The case of the Northeast Atlantic blue whiting fisheries was brought up during a panel discussion, moderated by Drew Cherry, Editor-in-Chief of IntraFish. Panellists argued that an industry-led coalition had come together to address the consequences resulting from disputes between European coastal states, but political commitment is critical to moving forward.

Climate change

The panellists also agreed that adaptation is necessary to address the challenges related to climate change. “We need institutions that can adapt to change; currently fish are adapting faster than existing management systems, ”said Manuel Barange, FAO Director of Fisheries and Aquaculture. Ray Hilborn, a professor at the University of Washington, and Dave Martin, SFP's divisional deputy director, shared this view, emphasizing that even if well managed, fisheries naturally fluctuate more than traditional fish schools. Conclusions should not be drawn too quickly in terms of schools of fish and possible shifts to non-marine materials: "Environmental offsets must be carefully considered," said Dave Martin.


With a wide range of species available to meet different needs, Global Aquaculture Alliance's Melanie Siggs, argued that there is a need to determine how to continue to harvest sustainably and where crops should go for a better footprint and nutrition. Mads Martinsen, Director of Product Development at Skrettings, Norway, shared this view, highlighting the need for flexibility and independence in terms of tailoring ingredient sourcing to resource availability. Mads Martinsen underlined that Skretting (Norway) will continue to use the same amount of marine ingredients in the future, provided it is certified responsibly sourced. In fact, the use of marine ingredients has been stable for years, but the level of inclusion has been reduced due to the increase in the total volume of feed produced.

As all continents except Africa are expected to experience a per capita increase in fish consumption by 2030, there is a clear need to ensure good management of schools, as well as equitable distribution and quality of seafood. Libby Woodhatch, CEO of MarinTrust, raised by-products as a promising growth area for the industry, calling for it to no longer be identified as a waste, but as an important resource. "Marine ingredients are a blind spot in the value chain because they are not consumer oriented, but it is our role at MarinTrust to provide the information on impacts and traceability," he said.

Read the webinar summaries here

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