Sustainable Fisheries Partnership (SFP), a non-governmental organization committed to maintaining healthy ocean and aquatic ecosystems, today published a sustainability league table of the principal fisheries used for the production of fishmeal and fish oil.

The 22 fisheries have been assessed using the FishSource (www.fishsource.org) methodology devised by SFP which allows basic comparisons to be made against existing fishery sustainability indicators. The table is shown below (Table 1), and contained in a new briefing from SFP – ‘FishSource, Reduction Fisheries and Aquaculture’.
 
The briefing also gives a short description of how the FishSource methodology calculates scores, and a full explanation of the methodology is available on the Fishsource website.
 
Some of the main findings include:

  •  None of the principal reduction fisheries use ecosystem-based management (EBM) approaches explicitly in setting management targets for the biomass of target stocks.
     
  • 9% of the fish from the world’s main reduction fisheries are from fisheries that meet single-species current good practices, meaning the target stocks are healthy and well-managed.
     
  • 14% of the fish from the world’s main reduction fisheries are from fisheries that have biomass above single-species target levels, meaning the target stocks are healthy.
     
  • 67% of fish from the world’s main reduction fisheries are from fisheries that score above minimum acceptable levels commonly used in single-species fisheries management.
     

The results of the table will prove invaluable to fishmeal and oil buyers seeking guidance on sustainable sourcing as well as manufacturers of aquaculture and farm animal feeds. Buyers of aquaculture products and organisations developing aquaculture standards will also find the data useful in helping to shape policies.
 
Commenting on the launch of the tables, Jim Cannon, CEO of Sustainable Fisheries Partnership, said:
“In releasing this information, we aim to encourage the world's fishmeal and fish oil suppliers and forage fisheries to engage in improvement efforts, with a priority on improving those fisheries that currently fall short of current single-species best practices, and ensuring that all the fisheries move towards ecosystem-based management”
 
The analysis excludes fish taken from so-called ‘trash fish’ fisheries. These mixed species fisheries utilise fish not suitable for human consumption (whether because of size or palatability) and are frequently found in east and south-east Asia. These fisheries can be deliberately targeting a mixed species catch for the purpose of creating feeds or they may be targeting other species (eg: shrimp) with relatively indiscriminate gear types and generating a high ‘by-catch’ which has a marketable value. These fisheries are generally poorly characterised with little data in the public domain but the total catch may be as high as 5 million tonnes (similar to Peruvian anchovy)  [reference: Asian Fisheries Today: the production and use of low value/trash fish from marine fisheries in the Asia Pacific region, FAO, 2005] 

Table 1 – FishSource scores for reduction fisheries – best at the top, worst at the bottom

 

Fishery

Catch (‘000 tonnes)

Criteria 1

Criteria 2

Criteria 3

Criteria 4

Criteria 5

Herring (Norwegian Spring spawner)

1267

8.4

10

9.7

10

8

Herring (Canada, NAFO 4TVn – Autumn spawner)

48

≥6

≥6

10

10

9.3

Sprat (Baltic Sea)

388

≥6

6.1

10

10

6.8

Herring (Icelandic summer spawning)

159

6

10

9.8

8.6

6.9

Horse mackerel (w stock, NE Atlantic)

123

≥6

9.5

10

9.7

n/a

Norway pout

6

≥6

10

10

9

n/a

Herring (US, Atlantic)

86

≥6

≥6

10

7.9

9.9

Japanese anchovy*

1648

≥6

10

10

≥6

7.1

Capelin (Barents Sea)

0

≥8

10

10

≥6

n/a

Sprat (N Sea)

84

≥6

10

10

≥6

n/a

Peruvian anchovy

5800

6

10

9.1

≥6

n/a

Menhaden (US, Atlantic)

201

≥6

n/a

n/a

10

8.4

Menhaden (US, Gulf of Mexico)

457

≥6

n/a

n/a

7.7

7.4

Sandeels (N Sea)

206

≥6

n/a

10

7

n/a

Chilean sardine

270

n/a

9.1

10

≥6

n/a

Iberian sardine

96

≥6

n/a

≥6

≥6

n/a

Blue Whiting (NE Atlantic)

1612

8.9

10

10

10

5.6

Herring (N Sea)

388

7.2

10

5.5

7

5.7

Horse mackerel (S stock, NE Atlantic)

23

<6

6.1

10

≥6

 

n/a

Chilean jack mackerel

1292

n/a

n/a

10

<6

n/a

Capelin (Icelandic)

202

10

10

0

<6

n/a

Herring

(Canada NAFO 4TVn – Spring spawner

4

8.6

≥6

 

8.4

4.5

10

 

*Japanese anchovy catch figure and scores based on reported catches by Japanese fleet, catches on this stock by other fleets are not publicly reported. The scores above apply only to the Japanese fishery.

 

KEY – CRITERIA SCORING

 

Criteria 1 - Is management precautionary?

Criteria 2 - Do fishery managers follow scientific advice?

Criteria 3 - Do fishers comply?

Criteria 4 - Is the stock biomass healthy?

Criteria 5 - Will the stock biomass be healthy in the future?

Download PDF


GET IN TOUCH