Fish in pet food
The pet food industry represents a small but vibrant and growing market for the fishmeal and fish oil sector. Global annual production tonnages of fishmeal and fish oil are usually in the region of 5 million tonnes and a bit under 1 million tonnes respectively, with the majority used for feed production in both agriculture and aquaculture. Whilst for pet food both whole fish and byproduct (processing offcuts, etc.) are used, this article focuses on the use of material from reduction fisheries, based on stocks and species of whole fish in lower trophic levels of marine food chains.
The whole fish used in fishmeal and fish oil are mainly small, bony and oily such as anchovy, horse mackerel, menhaden, capelin and sandeel. To ensure a robust supply, fish stocks are closely managed and the industry compares well with other feed ingredient sectors in dealing with sustainability issues, when viewed on a per unit of production basis. Since 2009, IFFO, together with the support of the industry, retailers and NGOs, developed an independent third party certification scheme for marine ingredients, which was adopted by the industry in 2011. The IFFO Responsible Supply standard (IFFO RS) now certifies over 42% of the total global supply of fishmeal and fish oil, a higher figure than any other animal feed ingredient can claim. In regards to the role of these small fish in the ecosystem, scientific research continues to develop. IFFO and its members support responsible management of fisheries and are sponsoring continued scientific research in this area. They do not support the use of fish from unsustainable resources or that deprive local communities of direct fish consumption.