Neil Auchterlonie: FIFO figures show a "significant contribution to global food security". Image: IFFO.

Fish in: fish out record for salmon farming

NEW fish in:fish out ratios for salmonids are below one for the first time, according to IFFO, the Marine Ingredients Organisation.

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Salmon farming has previously been criticised for its use of fishmeal and fish oil, but in 2015 the sector produced more fish protein than it consumed.

The figures, produced every five years, show a continuation in the reduction of dependency on marine ingredients in fish feed.

Overall, fed aquaculture FIFOs have declined from 0.63 to 0.33 to 0.22 over the period between 2000 and 2015.

Expected to get lower

This means that in 2015, for every 0.22kg of whole wild fish used in fishmeal production, a kilo of farmed fish was produced – or for every 1kg of wild fish consumed by the aquaculture industry as feed, a total of 4.55kg of farmed fish was produced.

As aquafeed volume has continued to increase and fishmeal and fish oil supply has remained the same, it is expected that the 2017 FIFO figure will be even lower.

For salmonids, the figure for 2015 is seen to be below 1.0 – meaning that the salmonid feed industry supports the production of more farmed fish than it uses as feed fish, the first time this has been recorded, said IFFO.

More than by direct consumption

IFFO’s technical director Neil Auchterlonie, who calculated the figures, said: ‘The fishmeal industry supports the production of a significantly greater volume of protein for humanity than would be supplied merely through the direct consumption of the fish used as raw material in the production process.

‘This represents a significant contribution to global food security.’

IFFO's key points on 2015 FIFO ratios are:

  1. FIFO (Fish in: Fish out) for the conversion of wild feed fish to farmed salmon is 1:1.22 (2015 ratio),  showing that farmed salmon now produce globally more consumable protein than is used in feed
  2. For all fed aquaculture, the FIFO is 0.22:1 (2015), or 1:4.55 (i.e. every kilogram of wild fish supports the production of 4.55kg of farmed fish)
  3. Declining FIFOs reflect the use of fishmeal and fish oil as strategic ingredients at key points in aquaculture production cycles with a trend towards optimising their nutritional contributions.

Read the full IFFO report here.