IFFO’s China Webinar Key takeaways – Day 2

The second day of IFFO’s China Webinar, held on the 30th November 2022, focused on fishmeal and fish oil production in Peru and Mexico, and then delved into China’s aquaculture industry and fishmeal quality standards. The video recordings and pdf presentations are available here.



Peruvian Fishmeal and Oil Production and Export

Starting with Peru, James Frank from MSICeres gave an overview of how the fishing industry is divided into five regions along the coast. The fishing sector is divided between direct human consumption (canned, frozen, cured, wild and aquaculture sources), and the indirect human consumption sector (fishmeal and fish oil). The latter is split between the industrial fishmeal/fish oil sector, and the residual fishmeal sector.

With 82 plants in total, 48 are industrial (run by 14 industrial companies/groups), and 34 are residual plants, processing trimmings. There has been a huge consolidation effort, with detach companies holding 36 plants. Industrial fishmeal can only be produced by catching whole anchovies from the industrial fleet and processed in the industrial fishmeal plants. The industrial fleet have individual vessel quotas, making up 70% of the total anchovy quota set. Currently only industrial fishmeal is exported to China.

Regarding industrial meal qualities, Frank detailed the difference between super prime, prime etc. Ports and logistics have become a key to the business, with most exports happens via containers, with construction of a new port to reduce congestion. Freight costs have greatly fluctuated recently and producers now offer different packing alternatives. Antioxidants continue to be a challenge, for the long voyage to China, the traditional antioxidants of Ethoxyquin and BHT provide stability. More and more destinations are not accepting Ethoxyquin. Outside China, the use of BHT/BHA is acceptable.

China is Peru’s most important market partner and vice versa, with a million tonnes exported in 2021, the industry has come a long way. Frank closed with insights on the quota with the latest landing figures.                                                                                                 

Aquaculture and Marine Fisheries Resources in China

Moving to China, Dr. Wenbo Zhang from Shanghai Ocean University opened by stating that China is the largest aquaculture producer in the world, with the production accounting for about 60% of the global aquaculture production. The rapid development of aquaculture has also brought many ecological impacts. For example, the input of a large number of marine fishery resources in aquaculture has become a research highlight in recent years. By field research and literature analysis, the status and trend of using marine fishery resources in aquaculture and the input quantity of marine fishery resources in aquaculture in China are researched. This research reveals that 35% of total catch and half of the trawler catch in China are low-value "feed fish". These feed fish are mainly used for direct feeding or producing as fishmeal material in aquaculture. The efficiency of utilizing marine fishery resources in aquaculture is relatively high in China. FIFO (Fish In: Fish Out) is only 0.25, slightly lower than the average 0.27 (Naylor et al 2021) in the world. Therefore, it is still one trend to reduce the input of marine fishery resources in aquaculture in China.

Mexican Fishmeal and Fish Oil Production

Next up, Armando Coppel from Maz Industrial gave an overview of the industry in Mexico. Enjoying a rich in marine biodiversity with more than 600 exploited species, the Mexican fishing industry contributes 1.35% to the world catch. The small pelagic fishery in Mexico began in the 20th century on the northwestern coast and later in the state of Sinaloa in 1972. Currently, the small pelagic fishery is carried out in the states of Sonora, Sinaloa, Baja California and Baja California Sur, with a total of 94 active vessels.

This fishery occupies the 1st place in fishing production in the country, due to its catch volumes (<750,000 tons/year). The main species caught are Pacific sardine, Pacific thread herring, Californian anchovy, Pacific anchovy, and Shortjaw leatherjack. The landings of these species are used in the production of high-quality fishmeal and fish oil, which are rich in protein and omega-3 oils.

MAZINSA has two processing plants located in the states of Sonora and Sinaloa; its production of fishmeal and fish oil exceeds 125,000 tons and 25,000 liters per year, respectively. Worldwide, MAZINSA ranks No. 12 in fishmeal production and No. 10 in fish oil production. Over 75% of its fishmeal and fish oil production is exported to other countries, the main destinations being China, USA, Canada, Norway, France, Chile, and Germany. MAZINSA's products come from sustainable fisheries, which have the international MSC certification.

Status of Fishmeal Detection

The last presentation was given by Dr. Xia Fan who is the Executive Deputy Director of China National Feed Quality Inspection and Testing Center (Beijing). Fan opened by introducing fishmeal as a high protein feed material that widely used in animal feed, due to its range of unique properties. China is a big fishmeal consumer, but domestic fishmeal production is low so the majority of high-quality feed fishmeal is imported, around 1.5 mt tonnes important annually.

At present, the main basis of fishmeal quality monitoring in China is GB/T 19164-2021 Feed Material-Fishmeal, GB 13078-2017 Hygienical Standard for Feeds and product standards for registration of imported products. Fishmeal is graded based on the contents and limit, focusing mostly on protein and amino acids. Challenges in monitoring fishmeal include excessive microorganism and adulteration, making it difficult to determine the freshness.

China’s fishmeal production has increased and environmental and quality measures are now being put in place. Tailored regulations have been developed with the industry, including testing and monitoring of compliance. Fan gave an overview of the new fishmeal standard in China, looking at quality and safety indicators. Enhancement of the new standards in the industry, along with further strengthening of supervision, will improve the fishmeal production environment and rational addition of fungicides/bacteriostatic agents. Fan noted that fishmeal is a very globally diverse product and therefore more diverse standards may be needed in the future. Further strengthening safety access and risk analysis of fishmeal, will promote the healthy development of feed production, animal husbandry and aquaculture in China.


In closing, IFFO’s China Director, Maggie Xu noted that key to all trends, be they market or technical, is the capacity for marine ingredients to contribute to food security moving forward. In 2020, based of FAO and IFFO data, marine ingredients contributed to the production of 7kg of fish per capita, and 30 to 40 million tons of additional feed ingredients are estimated to be needed in aqua feed globally by 2030. According to the latest research and analysis methods, marine ingredients clearly hold comparative advantages in terms of sustainability and environmental impacts, which makes it an important player of all responsibly sourced feed ingredients, to collectively support the aquaculture sector, whose growth is seen as a key to the Blue Transformation which is FAO is calling for.