Turn 1m tonnes of dumped fish into ‘super food’ – Fishupdate.com

Turn 1m tonnes of dumped fish into ‘super food’ Published:  08 March, 2010

A Euro MP has called for the £40million of dead fish Scots fishermen are forced to dump at sea to be turned into animal ‘super food’.

Current European rules mean fishermen are forced to throw back dead fish into the sea if they exceed stringent quotas. It means around one million tonnes of edible fish gets dumped by European fleets annually – worth £40m to Scots fishermen alone.

But Conservative MEP for Scotland, Struan Stevenson, has called instead for over-quota catches to be landed and turned into Omega-3 rich fish oil and fishmeal for use as animal feed, particularly in fish farming.

The brain-boosting fatty acids would then find their way into the food chain – benefiting human consumers too.

Mr Stevenson, who is senior vice president of the European Parliament’s fisheries committee, said:

“The problem of discards, which sees Europe’s fishermen dumping over one million tonnes of healthy fish each year, dead, back into the sea, is scandalous.

“I think we have an ideal opportunity here to use immature or out-of-quota fish for processing into fishmeal and fish oil, thus avoiding the horrendous waste and environmental pollution involved in their wanton dumping overboard.

“The advantages of feeding fishmeal and fish oil to farm animals have been known for around two thousand years. Even the ancient Romans knew that fishmeal contains highly digestible protein, essential fatty acids, as well as a number of important minerals.

“As well as providing the animals concerned with an excellent diet, the highly unsaturated fatty acids in the fishmeal, often referred to as Omega 3s, ensure that the finished food products have health benefits for consumers.”

Mr Stevenson added that the processing sector have already stated their willingness to compensate fishermen for over-quota fish at a rate that was not so attractive it would encourage targeting of particular species, but attractive enough to discourage dumping.

The fishmeal and fish oil industry directly employs 30,000 people throughout the EU, providing products widely used in fish farming and other sectors.