IFFO, the Marine Ingredients Organisation, has welcomed the Aquaculture Stewardship Council’s draft Responsible Feed Standard.
It offers an opportunity, said IFFO, ‘to comment on the proposals which form a wide ranging and demanding standard, encompassing environmental impacts, social and welfare requirements, energy usage and other criteria’.
However, the vast majority of the criteria in the draft standard refer to marine ingredients (fishmeal and fish oil) rather than land based ingredients, which are ‘very brief in comparison’.
‘This is perhaps surprising,’ said IFFO, ‘given that the marine sourced raw materials are the minority of the formulation, typically 10 to 15 per cent by weight.’
It suggests that the marine ingredients industry should see this as a compliment, ‘as the draft standard cannot ask for criteria that cannot be met or for standards that are not available’.
More than 40 per cent of the world’s fishmeal supply is now independently certified, compared to less than five per cent of the world soya production, IFFO points out.
‘The ASC standards for farmed fish are well respected and provide valuable assurance for retailers and other buyers,’ said IFFO in a statement. ‘However, until land based feed ingredients can offer similar levels of assurance to the marine sector, buyers need to recognise that the Feed Mill standard offers only a basic level of assurance for the land based ingredients which make up the majority of the feed.’
Andrew Mallison, director general of IFFO, said: ‘I welcome this initiative from the ASC and when completed this new standard should provide harmonisation to the feed requirements within the current ASC farming standards for individual species.
‘However, there is a clear difference in the expectations between land based feed ingredients, forming the majority of the feed, and the marine based ingredients where responsible and traceable production is now well established.
‘It will be interesting to see if the land based industries follow our lead.’