Fishmeal and fish oil are increasingly important products derived from the processing of small pelagic or other low trophic level species. The rising demand for fishmeal and fish oil is due to its high nutritional value, providing an easily digestible and protein-rich resource to the aquaculture and livestock sectors. The rising dependence on fish oil and fishmeal has led to sustainability challenges in the main fisheries supplying raw material. Despite improvements in sustainability made by the fish oil and fishmeal sector during the last 10 years, several fisheries around the globe still face serious challenges.

The South America sub-region concentrates some of the most important fish stocks used for the production of fish oil and fishmeal. Species used for marine ingredients in Central and South America include anchoveta, Pacific anchoveta, Araucanian herring, and jack mackerel. Stocks are mainly concentrated in the East Pacific Ocean, along the coasts of Peru and Chile, where anchoveta stocks alone represent approximately 30 percent of the world’s fishmeal and fish oil production. Initially aimed at covering the South America sub-region, the scope of the roundtable was broadened to all Latin America in April 2017, with the aim of including all raw material sources used by the roundtable participants.

The Latin American Reduction Fisheries Supply Chain Roundtable (SR) focuses on monitoring sustainability status and performance of fisheries used for fishmeal and fish oil production. SFP’s approach with this project is to convene suppliers and buyers to support and encourage improvement activities and help meet market requirements.

The SR provides a platform (both physical and virtual) to discuss matters of common interest, identify fisheries where improvements are required, catalyze FIPs, explore models for financing FIPs, and develop procurement specifications promoting sustainability.

The T75 sector report for reduction fisheries details the state of the sector. Currently, 7.4 million tonnes, or 41 percent of the global production in reduction fisheries is considered sustainable or improving. The vast majority of this volume is under the Atlantic/Pacific reduction fishery sub-sector, which, if considered by itself, would have met the T75 goal already.

The Latin American Reduction Fisheries SR focuses on monitoring sustainability status and performance of fisheries used for fishmeal and fish oil production in Latin America. Much of this production is already sustainable or improving; their role is to shift volume from the improving to the sustainable category, and to ensure no production is removed from these categories.

FIPs and/or Fisheries Covered:

The Latin American Reduction Fisheries Supply Chain Roundtable focuses on South and Central American reduction fisheries. SFP’s FishSource databases contain sustainability information on the main fish stocks supplying raw material to the marine ingredients industry.

The following FIPs are supported and monitored: 

Peruvian Anchovy Industrial Purse Seine FIP

Panama Small Pelagics FIP  

The SR is working to develop FIPs in the following fisheries:

Ecuador small pelagics

For more details on the sustainability status of the fisheries, progress of the FIPs, and improvement recommendations, please click here

Current Supply Chain Roundtable Participants include:

Cargill Aqua Nutrition Chile (EWOS)
Los Fiordos
Skretting Chile

Improvement needs: 

  • Improved, peer reviewed and adequately tested stock assessment models that consider environmental variables, forming the base of the management strategies.
  • Management plans for the relevant fisheries with specific management measures and harvest control rules that take into account the role of key target species in the ecosystem.
  • Specific management objectives and harvest strategies for the different stocks.
  • Improved intergovernmental coordination in science and management, which is key for transboundary stocks.
  • Improved knowledge of the ecosystem needs and the interactions of the key fisheries with the ecosystem.
  • Improved data gathering systems. Data needs include improved reporting of catches and discards and interactions with habitats and non-target species. 

Current Objectives:

  • Review status of relevant reduction fishery stocks in South and Central American waters and identify improvement needs.
  • Identify improvement work underway and in need of additional support.
  • Discuss future partnership and cooperation opportunities to improve key fisheries.
  • Encourage industry to initiate fishery improvement projects (FIPs), where improvements are still needed.
  • Monitor and support good progress of FIPs underway.
  • Provide briefings on emerging sustainability issues in the region that may impact supply, certification, corporate reputation, and other areas important to the seafood industry. 

Action recommendations for the supply chain:

  • Advocate for the development of annual stock assessments that incorporate improved catch data and consider the effects of environmental variability on the population. Stock assessment results should be peer reviewed and publicly reported.
  • Request relevant government authorities to develop/support current ongoing efforts to develop long-term management plans for the different stocks with explicit harvest strategies and reference points that take into account the role of the key target species in the ecosystem.
  • Work with scientists and managers to enhance current available knowledge of the ecosystem needs, along with ecosystem interactions including, among others, improving reporting of catches and discards, interactions with habitats and all types of non-target species.
  • In those cases where management plans have already been developed, encourage and support prompt implementation.
  • Encourage government authorities to establish coordinated fishery research and management plans for transboundary stocks.
  • Engage in specific FIPs if you or any of your suppliers source fishmeal from these fisheries. 

An overview of past progress can be found here.