Thursday, 10 January 2019

Fish Farm Feed Spin - Maggot Fish

Article title: "Don't make fishmeal the fall-guy for algae"

What this article is really about is, in public, figuring out how to respin fish farm feed information from the fish farm industry: they don't think algae or maggot feed should be seen as more sustainable than the forage fish they have trashed for decades: Think of farmed salmon as maggot fish.

Let me run you through this article and the spin they are respinning

(One thing first: the reference to maggot fish is that companies are now using black fly maggots, and other fly maggots, as feed for farmed fish. Yum).

Quote: "The global annual supply of fish oil, at c.1 million tonnes or a little under, is not enough to meet the demand of the growing aquaculture industry"

A: the reason the supply cannot meet demand is that the fish farm industry has been trashing ocean forage fish for fish feed so long they are collapsing. According to the Sea Around Us of the top 20 forage fish species in the ocean, 19 are either collapsing, badly managed or both.  These are reduction fisheries, meaning they are used to feed fish farm fish, hogs and so on, rather than human beings.

Norway is singled out for destroying jack mackerel off Chile. See:

Quote: "IFFO acknowledges the importance of alternative ingredients for both fishmeal and fish oil in support of aquaculture, but within its “As Well As, Not Instead Of” approach to the presence of those other ingredients in the marketplace. The important thing to recognise is the need for a basket of ingredients for fish and animal feed in the future, and the requirement for those industries to work together and be supportive in achieving the goal of improved protein supply."

A: Sigh. The international body for feed is setting the agenda here, for example, the words: 'as well as, not instead of', all capitalized, so that the spin should be used by all in the sector, rather than individual components trumpeting their good points. Then the next eyebrow raising text is 'a basket of ingredients', this supports what has already been said in a homey expression where all businesses and consumers get along like Father Knows Best, that ancient tv show.

This is followed by the longstanding 'goal of improved protein supply.' No, fish farms don't improve protein supply for humans. instead they kill billions of fish to feed carnivores for the mouths of first world consumers, who are the only people who can afford them. The poor of the world can't afford farmed fish, and they can't eat the billions of fish fed to farmed fish, because fish farms have already killed them and diverted them from human consumption.

There is also the issue that the world has a net protein loss because protein is killed to feed to protein.

Quote: "Progress will be hindered where one sector attempts to advance its own product at the expense of another – and particularly where the information provided on that sector is inaccurate."

A: Progress? This is about making money, not about progress, say, for mankind. In business, the issue is: figuring out how to make a sale, and thus making as much money as you can. The consequences to other businesses are not your concern.

Quote: "Although inclusion rates have declined over time, as a response to global supply and natural fluctuations in raw material availability, fishmeal and fish oil remain essential nutrients in aquafeeds to meet the requirements of many farmed aquatic species."

A: As above, the industry has trashed the ocean fish and has no choice but to move on to other ingredients. Now, Asian nations are fishing down what ocean stocks remain for their own aquaculture operations, mainly shrimp.

Quote. This one is just recapitulated mush: "Although inclusion rates have declined over time, as a response to global supply and natural fluctuations in raw material availability, fishmeal and fish oil remain essential nutrients in aquafeeds to meet the requirements of many farmed aquatic species. The other aquafeed ingredients currently incorporated or planned for incorporation in the future, should be complementary to the marine ingredients that are the foundation for modern fed aquaculture systems."

A: see the answers immediately above.

Quote: "Overall, such a complementary approach supports the need for additional protein supply for humanity, provided by aquatic systems with all the environmental benefits that come from fish production when compared with terrestrial farming systems, such as improved feed conversion ratios and protein utilisation efficiencies."

A: So, the fallacious claim of  feeding humanity is still on the plate 50 years after it was dreamed up. And a swipe at on land farming is made, including an apples and oranges comparison of, say, hay, for billions of dead fish. Not the same thing.

They are still claiming improved feed conversion ratios (amount of protein to make protein) even though the declining percentage of forage fish is because fish farms have fished them into drastic decline, not because they have seen the light. So, claiming efficiencies is simply false because they have destroyed ocean forage fish to the point they have no alternative, but to start using alternate sources for fish feed.

Quote: "Papers such as that produced by Sprague et al, 2016[1] highlight that fish oil, and the provision of omega-3 fatty acids in particular, may be the ingredient at the forefront of a restriction to the supply of aquafeed ingredient requirements. It is therefore no surprise that companies focus on alternatives to produce these much-needed compounds in an attempt to augment the annual supply that is already produced by the fishmeal industry."

A: Okay, we are getting to the meat, er, algae of the matter. Again the 'restriction to the supply' is polite words for saying fish farms have trashed the global forage fish stocks to the point where they need Omega-3s from other sources.

Go read the Sea Around Us document noted above to the research on who destroyed what. And the most recent research is pointing out that Omega 3s may not be as good as the fish farms industry toots them to be.

See item 45 in my current BAD NEWS BITES post: Omega-3s, No Effect? - Norway:

 Quote: "the world requires more protein, that in itself is not a bad thing (these are essential nutrients for salmonids, for example), but the messages that have been provided in the presentation at the Bergen Press Event in an attempt to position this alternative as a more sustainable option than fish oil are misplaced."

A: As in, this algae Omega 3s, that points out it is from a better source, that doesn't kill vast quantities of ocean fish, should not be saying this as it is not playing nice, for capitalists. Tsk. Tsk.

The reality is that there is no question that producing Omega 3s from algae is a far better source than killing trillions of fish, even though, golly, the IFFO doesn't like it.

This is very close to the all time spin of: if you are saying anything against fish farms you are spreading misinformation and you need to be educated. We will educate you. Am I the only one seeing the connection to Orwell's 1984?

Quote: "An example of the negative messaging is the statement that the algal oil will be produced “to keep up with the increasing demand for EPA and DHA omega-3 fatty acids without endangering fish stocks, while contributing to healthy animal nutrition as well as to the ecological balance and biodiversity of the oceans”."

A: I'd say that this is exactly what the new source of O3s is doing and it is a very good thing. If Big Brother IFFO doesn't like it being said, well, too bad. Go look at that Sea Around Us document. Tim Cashion et al, have produced a number of papers on this subject and are the world experts. Even Daniel Pauly, a reasonable guy, calls fish farms 'floating pig farms'.

Quote: "Further we come across reference to: “high purity, free from fish-based ingredients and genetic modification”, “by replacing fish oil by the algal oil, the fish-in fish-out ratio could substantially be reduced”, “1kg of …algal oil can replace 60kg wild catch fish”, “our joint venture contributes to five United Nations Sustainable Development Goals” (one of which is No.14, Life Below Water)."

A:  This is an extraordinarily high conversion rate: it takes 60kg of dead fish to make 1kg of algae O3. IFFO, I'd say you are not seeing things clearly. Note also that conversion rates of dead fish to salmon kg is usually given to be in the 2 to 2.5 kg range, that being fish meal to salmon protein. Industry claims less, but the scientists are saying the range I have given you.

Quote: "The implication from the Press Event presentation is that fish oil is in some way environmentally-damaging, impure as an ingredient, and its use in aquafeeds is thus questionable. At IFFO we find this approach and implication inaccurate, and, given the context and location of the event the wording may also be described as inappropriate."

A: This is the IFFO getting indignant and putting its hands on its hips, as a form of taking action. Do note that they can't actually make anyone do anything, but that does not stop them trying. And note that it is a Norwegian institution, so there is that national valour to defend.

Quote; "Bergen could be viewed as the capital of the salmon farming industry in Norway, an industry that was built on fishmeal and fish oil. Algal oil ...  should not seek support at the expense of an industry that has actually created a market for its own product, with misinformed and poorly researched statements."

A: Whew, what a slap on the wrist that is, from the nationalistic Norwegians. And, as noted above, they have got to the stage of saying that anything that does not agree with our position is 'misinformation'. This is standard spin, they use it all around the world. The problem is that the global fish farm/seafood industry is moving right on past them.

Quote:  "IFFO has been representing the fishmeal industry since 1959, so we have experience and knowledge about the sector developed over several decades, and have been countering any inaccurate information that has been circulating about the industry equally as long"

A: So there! Seriously, this is the: if you disagree with us you are spreading misinformation spin and we will educate you to speak the correct information.

Quote: "...the developing industry is actually enhancing the marine environment.

The developing algal industry is some way from achieving this kind of environmental performance, and will not be without its own environmental impacts (e.g. energy use) for which it could equally be criticised."
A: With sewage that can be as much as 45 feet deep under Norwegian farms and is greater than the sewage put out by all the people in Norway; with wild Atlantics being wiped out, and industry/government actually making the statement that they should let the wild fish go extinct because we need to support the mega-industry. You will find this in Being Salmon Being Human by Martin Lee Mueller; with lice, disease, antibiotics, antifoulants... the list goes on.

And if someone makes the claim that using electricity is so very, very bad, I suggest that after we finish laughing at them, that we suggest they stop flying fillets all over the world; that they stop using lights on their night time operations, stop using electric feeding equipment, diesel in their work boats; no lights in processing, where, now, the latest is a line without humans in it, as in those jobs they are always trumpeting about creating. You don't need lights if there is no one looking!

That last one is a real groaner. The IFFO should not have written this self serving piece.


Here are a few images of the other things in farmed fish, not very good for us, and not being discussed here:

You may have seen this list of heath damaging chemicals in farmed fish. From VG a Norwegian newspaper;

And all those cancer causing chemicals in farmed fish. They are almost 10 times as high as any other product.
These are Hites data from Scotland in 2004. The Jan 9, Science article that the fish farm industry 'collaborated' to destroy.

And another look at all those antibiotics in farmed salmon in BC in 2014.

The antibiotics used in Scotland. Note that we don't want them using tetracycline as we use it in humans, and don't need bacteria forming resistance.

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