Fishmeal production was boosted by an improved availability of raw material in Q1.

Fishmeal production rose by 36% in IFFO-tracked areas in Q1


Total fishmeal production during the first three months of 2023 was up by more than 36% year on year in the regions for which marine ingredients organisation IFFO regularly tracks production, it said today.

The regions - Peru, Chile, Denmark / Norway, Iceland / North Atlantic, US, African countries, Spain – cover proximately 45% of global output.

“Most regions have started the year with an improved availability of raw material. The larger production of fishmeal in Peru due to the late start of the second fishing season in the North-centre area of the country is the main driver of the increase,” said IFFO.

Total cumulative output of fish oil in the same regions in the first quarter of 2023 was 9% lower than in the same period last year, mainly due to the drop in the fish oil production reported in the Icelandic and North Atlantic area.

Shortfall in China

Domestic fishmeal output in China, by far the biggest consumer of marine ingredients, remained lower in 2022 than in previous years, said IFFO. For 2023, China’s domestic fishmeal supply based on whole fish supply is not expected to see substantial growth due to policy steering. However, the role played by fishery by-products is expected to increase in the future.

China’s fast-growing ready-to-cook aquatic dish sector brings more aquaculture species from restaurants to processing plants, such as snakehead, golden pomfret and catfish. Although by-products generated from processing of these fish are still low scale for now, they are expected to become important raw materials for fishmeal and fish oil production later.

Pangasius farming is at initial stage in China now and might be another key source of by-products for fishmeal production in the future.

Peru, India and Vietnam

For now, though, weak global market demand and extensive losses suffered by tilapia farmers in south China in 2022 might result in considerable drop in tilapia farming volume in 2023, hence a shorter supply of by-products for fishmeal production, said IFFO.

Fishmeal imports are expected to continue to be important to fill the gap in China’s domestic supply. In Q1 2023, Peru continued to lead supplies to China, while India and Vietnam both made obvious year-on-year growth.

In 2022, China’s domestic fish oil output was lower than in previous years. Small size and low-fat content of whole fish resulted in inferior oil yield although the oil rate of fishery by-products remained stable. In terms of fish oil imports, decreased fish oil output in traditional suppliers Peru and Vietnam forced Chinese buyers to turn to other sources such as Chile, Morocco, and Malaysia.