6 takeaways from the IFFO Annual Conference 2019 in Shanghai, China - day 2


The Technical forum delved into the applications of digitalisation to aquaculture, Fish in Fish out ratios, environmental footprint of aquafeeds, characteristics and benefits of fishmeal, an update on IFFO RS and IFFO technical projects.

1. Digitalisation will improve the value of marine ingredients

Ian Lahiffe, from Antelliq, explained that technologies are becoming cheaper and faster. Their cost has dropped down dramatically, leading to an explosion of networks. 50 billion devices should be connected by 2020. The Internet of Things, while enabling to merge different technologies, will play a decisive role in compliance and transparency and improve the value of products by providing advanced analytics, precision feeding (reduced waste and increased efficiency), live feedback loops and traceability.

2. Seafood byproducts are a valuable resource

Richard Newton, from the Institute of Aquaculture, University of Stirling, focused on Fish In: Fish Out ratios, a tool which was first used in 2000 to highlight the amount of marine ingredients being used in aquafeeds. It has now become obvious that FIFO ratios do not take into account the sensitivity of the resource supply, the nutritional contribution of marine ingredients, and does not account for differences in quality of fish farmed. A project has been undertaken to provide a way of measuring the efficient use of marine resources by characterizing aquaculture byproduct raw materials as well as marine ingredients obtained from different byproduct fractions. While aquaculture is continuing to grow, processing and post-processing strategies have to be defined in order to direct quality marine ingredients where they are most needed.

3. Comparing the biodiversity impacts of different groups of ingredients is not obvious

Duncan Leadbitter delivered a preliminary overview of the ongoing project funded by IFFO to look at biodiversity impacts of fishmeal versus land-based ingredients. Aquafeeds are complex and each production system has its own environmental impact profile. Terrestrial livestock and pets are also competing for limited resources. So far, the project has demonstrated that the choices around protein sourcing are complex and all carrying different impacts, for a range of different outputs. Ultimately the aim of the project is to provide a peer-reviewed paper in the literature on the subject.

4. All proteins are not equal and fishmeal is indispensable for many species

Prof. Gen He from the Ocean University of China provided an in-depth analysis of fishmeal benefits, highlighting the special characteristics of fishmeal: higher amino-acid profile and digestibility, better metabolic responses than other protein sources. There are some key characteristics of fishmeal that make it indispensable as an ingredient for aquafeeds. Fishmeal is therefore much required for optimal growth and health maintenance in fish.




5. IFFO's technical projects contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals

Through IFFO's technical research projects, new swathes of the industry are being investigated to provide information where it is missing, help protect life below water (SDG14) and call for collaboration (SDG17). Neil Auchterlonie, IFFO's Technical director, noted that IFFO and the Global Aquaculture Alliance will publish a report in 2020 to make a number of recommendations in maintaining an understanding of the developments in fisheries management in the West African region. IFFO is also starting a project to provide information and data to help understanding of the issue of risk associated with plastics and fishmeal and fish oil production.

6. New ambitions for IFFO RS

The IFFO RS Standard consists of an independent desktop-based fishery assessment, that follows the UN’s Fish & Agricultural Organisation’s (FAO) Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries, on the sourcing fishery and an independent audit of the fishmeal and fish oil producing plant where robust sourcing, traceability and manufacturing systems must be in place. Francisco Aldon, IFFO RS General Manager, explained that the IFFO RS programme also consists of the Chain of Custody for Responsible Supply (with new version being launched mid-2020 and is currently under public consultation) and the Improver Programme. Over 52% of marine ingredients produced globally are IFFO RS certified which gives the programme strong relevancy in the market. Recognition by other standards such as Global GAP, BAP (Best Aquaculture Practices) and ASC (Aquaculture Stewardship Council) are key and new partnership opportunities are being explored.

The sponsors for this event include Coland, Intertek, Haarslev, Dupps, SGS, Sifang, Blueline Foods, and Teampower.