IFFO

Background

Formerly known as the International Fishmeal and Fish Oil Organization, IFFO is a trade group that represents the interests of the marine ingredients industry.

Headquartered in London with offices in Beijing and Lima, IFFO’s origins date back to 1959. It represents fish farmers, producers, traders, feed companies, edible oil refiners and retailers.1Why join us,” IFFO. Archived June 1, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/Ier0r

Between them, IFFO’s 250+ members produce over 55 percent of global fishmeal and fish oil.2About IFFO,” IFFO. Archived July 28, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/xrmQL Made from organisms such as small fish, krill and algae, the majority of marine ingredients are used to make feed for farmed fish, with pig feed, pet food and nutraceuticals (supplements for humans) also important destinations.3What are marine ingredients,” MarinTrust. Archived January 15, 2024. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/Ip1de 

IFFO’s members include Mowi, Cermaq and Scottish Sea Farms. They are some of the world’s biggest farmers of salmon, which consumes 44 percent of the world’s fish oil, according to calculations made by DeSmog based on a 2022 report published by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization and a 2022 study.4Our members,” IFFO. Archived June 1, 2023. Archived .xls on file at DeSmog. 5The State of the World Fisheries and Aquaculture,” FAO, 2022. Archived January 30, 2024. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog. 6Willer, D. F., Robinson, J. P. W., Patterson, G. K. & Luyckx, K.  “Maximising sustainable nutrient production from coupled fisheries-aquaculture systems,” PLOS Sustainability and Transformation, March 2022. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pstr.0000005. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.

Members also include the three aquafeed companies that produce the majority of the world’s highly consolidated market for salmonid (salmon and trout) feed: BioMar, Cargill and Skretting, along with fish oil traders Olvea Fish Oils.7Our members,” IFFO. Archived June 1, 2023. Archived .xls on file at DeSmog. 8Salmon Farming Industry Handbook,” Mowi, 2022. Archived July 24, 2023. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.

The principal objective of IFFO is “reputation management”.9International Fishmeal and Fish Oil Organisation: 50th Anniversary,” IFFO. Archived January 18, 2024. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog. 10IFFO code of conduct,” IFFO. Archived January 25, 2024. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/1bS4H It claims that the fishmeal and fish oil industry faces “much negative and unfair criticism” and works to counter “negative messaging, exaggeration and misinformation”.11Responding to our critics,” IFFO. Archived August 11, 2023. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog. 12Jane Byrne. “IFFO technical director: ‘The fishmeal and fish oil industry is no longer the whipping boy of the feed ingredient world’,” FeedNavigator, June 2, 2023. Archived August 3, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/hB2Uv 13IFFO hits back over feed contest’s ‘misinformation’,” Fishfarming Expert, February 24, 2018. Archived August 3, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/lYl9f

IFFO also aims to demonstrate that the marine ingredients industry is necessary for “feeding a growing world population, sustainably and responsibly”.14About IFFO,” IFFO. Archived July 28, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/xrmQL 

To this end, it has engaged in lobbying, set up the Global Roundtable on Marine Ingredients, and established its own certification schemes, including the Global Standard for Responsible Supply (or IFFO RS, which was rebranded as MarinTrust in 2020).152021-2022 Annual report,” Global Roundtable on Marine Ingredients, 2022. Archived January 29, 2024. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/MzFcL 16Jason Holland. “New identity for marine ingredients certification program, agenda remains unchanged,” SeafoodSource, April 1, 2020. Archived February 4, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/Lxv0l 17IFFO RS has changed name to MarinTrust,” European Fishmeal and Fish Oil Producers, April 28, 2020. Archived February 6, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/iIFCI  

IFFO collects extensive fishmeal and fish oil production data from its members, but data is not shared publicly.18The Rights and Duties of IFFO Producer Members,” IFFO. Archived August 4, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/eiZSI


Read more: Industrial aquaculture key terms & definitions


Fishmeal and fish oil industry controversies

The fishmeal and fish oil industry’s use of wild-caught fish has led to criticism that it is an inefficient use of marine resources. It has also been accused of driving Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated fishing (IUU).19The Human Cost of Overfishing,” Amnesty International, 2023. Archived August 8, 2023. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.

Numerous reports have documented pollution and health problems around factory sites, as well as overfishing, primarily in countries in the Global South, such as in Peru, Vietnam and India.20Fishing for Catastrophe,” Changing Markets, October 2019. Archived January 9, 2024. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog. 

In sub-Saharan Africa, several NGOs have documented ecological harms and the increased price of small fish, along with high pressure on overexploited small fish stocks in the Eastern Central Atlantic off West Africa.21A Waste of Fish: Food security under threat from the fishmeal and fish oil industry in West Africa,” Greenpeace, June 2019. Archived August 8, 2023. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog. 22The Human Cost of Overfishing,” Amnesty International, 2023. Archived August 8, 2023. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.

The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) found in 2022 that “the industry constitutes a threat to the livelihoods and food and nutrition security of local communities”.23Thiao, D. & Bunting, S.W. “Socio-economic and biological impacts of the fish-based feed industry for Sub-Saharan Africa,” FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Circular No. 1236, 2022. DOI: https://doi.org/10.4060/cb7990en. Archived August 8, 2023. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.

Ecosystems, wildlife and marine food webs are also threatened by the marine ingredients industry, which uses the food source of wild carnivorous species, such as dolphins, sharks and tuna, as well as penguins and other marine birds, as studies have shown in South Africa and California.24Smith, A. D., Brown, C. J., Bulman, C. M. et al., “Impacts of Fishing Low–Trophic Level Species on Marine Ecosystems,” Science, 2011. DOI: 10.1126/science.1209395. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog. 25Jason Holland. “England institutes ban on sandeel fishing, with Scotland ready to follow,” SeafoodSource, February 8, 2024. Archived February 9, 2024. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/1QmxI 26Shannon, L. & Waller, L. “A Cursory Look at the Fishmeal/Oil Industry from an Ecosystem Perspective,” Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution, 2021. DOI: https://doi.org/10.3389/fevo.2021.645023. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog. 27Koehn, L. E. et al. “Trade-offs between forage fish fisheries and their predators in the California Current,” ICES Journal of Marine Science, 2017. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1093/icesjms/fsx072. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.

Key narratives

Across its website and publications, IFFO uses a number of narratives to justify the sector’s operation and continued growth.

“Fishmeal and fish oil uses fish that are not eaten by humans”

According to IFFO, around 60 percent of fishmeal flour and fish oil globally is made from whole, fresh small oily species of fish, often described as “forage” or “pelagic” fish. The remaining 40 percent is made from fish byproducts or trimmings.28By-Product,” IFFO. Archived October 4, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/q8Pme  

IFFO justifies the use of whole fish to make fishmeal on the grounds these fish would not otherwise be eaten directly by people. It maintains that the market for these fish is “weak, or in some cases non-existent”, and states that the claim fresh fish are being diverted from human diets to the FMFO industry is “completely incorrect” and a “misunderstanding”.29Forage fish and whole fish,” IFFO. Archived May 31, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/jZYKP

However, the industry uses a mix of seafood, which includes edible fish such as anchovies, sardines and mackerel.30Forage fish and whole fish,” IFFO. Archived May 31, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/jZYKP One report estimated that 90 percent of fish turned into fishmeal and fish oil is food-grade fish.31Cashion, T., et al. “Most fish destined for fishmeal are food-grade fish,” Fish and Fisheries, 2017. DOI: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/faf.12209. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.

In Iceland, 75 percent of its substantial mackerel quota was used “for fishmeal” in a two period in 2023, while the Norwegian fleet processed two thirds of their herring catch into fishmeal.32Niall Duffy. “Mackerel from Irish Waters Should Be For Human Consumption Not Animal Feed in Other Countries,” The Skipper, October 29, 2023. Archived January 25, 2024. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/9TOst 33Two thirds of Norwegian North Sea herring catches gone to fish meal processing,” TheFishingDaily, May 26, 2022. Archived January 25, 2024. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/4NdJx 

The small fish species of sardinella, a vital source of micronutrients that is eaten throughout West Africa, are also a target for the fishmeal and fish oil industry, which has seen exponential growth in this region in the past decade.34Robinson, J. P. W., Mills, D. J., Asiedu, G. A., et al. “Small pelagic fish supply abundant andaffordable micronutrients to low- and middle-income countries,” Nature Food, 2022. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1038/s43016-022-00643-3. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog. 35Sardinella fisheries: quickly disappearing vital source of food and nutrition security in Northwest Africa,” FAO, 2021. Archived January 25, 2024. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/GgqOV 36Thiao, D. & Bunting, S.W. “Socio-economic and biological impacts of the fish-based feed industry for Sub-Saharan Africa,” FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Circular No. 1236, 2022. DOI: https://doi.org/10.4060/cb7990en. Archived August 8, 2023. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.

“Fishmeal and fish oil is responsibly fished and sustainable”

IFFO’s technical director stated in 2022 that fisheries for small pelagic fish are “arguably among the most sustainable of all fisheries”.37Sustainability of Marine Ingredients and the Way Forward,”IFFO. Archived January 25, 2024. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/fCcRY On these grounds, IFFO argues that there is “no rationale for their removal from aquafeeds”.38Zero fishmeal feeds: IFFO’s position paper,”IFFO. Archived August 11, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/yV4ZQ 

IFFO aims to demonstrate the industry’s sustainability using certification. It set up the IFFO RS, now rebranded MarinTrust for “reduction (fishmeal and fish oil) fisheries’ in 2009. The certifier is a member of IFFO, whose technical director and vice president both sit on the MarinTrust Governing Body Committee.39Our members,” IFFO. Archived June 1, 2023. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog. 40Board Members,” MarinTrust. Archived January 25, 2024. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/9k7DH

While IFFO describes the fishmeal industry as the “most certified in the world”, its certification scheme has come under fire.41Jane Byrne. “IFFO technical director: ‘The fishmeal and fish oil industry is no longer the whipping boy of the feed ingredient world’,” FeedNavigator, June 2, 2023. Archived August 3, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/hB2Uv

Kevin Fitzsimmons, a Professor of Agricultural-Biosystems Engineering at the University of Arizona, referred to MarinTrust as a “quasi in-house certification body” of IFFO in an October 2020 op-ed. He added that the MarinTrust standard is akin to “having the fox guard the henhouse”.42Kevin Fitzsimmons. “Op-ed: IFFO is wrong on alternative feeds,” SeafoodSource, October 20, 2020. Archived January 25, 2024. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/w7FQQ

IFFO has maintained that the certifier is an independent entity.43IFFO Responds to the Changing Markets Report,” IFFO. Archived March 30, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/SNq2v Marin Trust states that it is a “business-to business independent third-party-audited certification programme” which is a “separate entity [to IFFO] with its own governance structure, articles, purpose and budget”.44IFFO RS,” MarinTrust. Archived October 25, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/JqPC5

NGOs have also criticised the MarinTrust standard for being too lenient and discretionary, citing widespread overfishing and failings in fisheries management.45Off the Hook,” Feedback, June 2020. Archived January 25, 2024. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog. 46Fishing for Catastrophe,” Changing Markets, October 2019. Archived January 9, 2024. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog. 

A 2023 review by the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership (SFP), an NGO which works closely with industry, found 18 percent of reduction fisheries analysed to be “poorly managed”.47Management and Stock Status Sustainability Overview,” SFP, 2023. Archived January 29, 2024. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog. A 2022 report of stock assessments and management shows that “overall sustainability performance in the reduction [fishmeal and fish oil] fisheries sector has continued to decrease since 2018”.48Management and Stock Status Sustainability Overview,” SFP, 2022. Archived January 26, 2024. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.

IFFO and the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership established the Global Roundtable for Marine Ingredients in 2021, with a focus on West Africa.49Sustainable Fisheries Partnership and IFFO launch new Global Roundtable to improve and increase the availability of sustainable marine ingredients,” IFFO, October 18, 2021. Archived August 4, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/TE1SY Whlie the Roundtable intends to “tackle a range of pressing environmental and social challenges”, it also aims to “increase availability of sustainable marine ingredients”.50Sustainable Fisheries Partnership and IFFO launch new Global Roundtable to improve and increase the availability of sustainable marine ingredients,” IFFO, October 18, 2021. Archived August 4, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/TE1SY 

“The fishmeal industry can help feed the world”

IFFO states that the marine ingredients industry can be part of the “blue food revolution” in which humans “move our reliance away from terrestrial ecosystems” and produce “more food from the sea”.51Climate change, marine ingredients and a blue food revolution,” IFFO. Archived January 25, 2024. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/8a9s8 

As part of this “revolution”, IFFO states that marine ingredients play “an essential role” in ensuring global food security, and that the marine ingredients industry plays a positive role in meeting [UN] sustainable development goals, according to a report from IFFO’s 2019 annual conference in Shanghai.52Key facts,” IFFO. Archived March 30, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/4KqBV 53Reduction fisheries play a “positive” role in reaching SDGs,” The Fish Site, November 8, 2019. Archived August 3, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/rRwgU

The claim that marine ingredients “feed the planet” is echoed by multinational salmon farmers including Lerøy, as well as IFFO members Skretting and Mowi.54Sustainability Report,” Skretting, 2022. Archived January 29, 2024. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog. 55Integrated Annual Report 2022,” Mowi. Archived January 9, 2024. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.

However, a November 2020 study found that marine seafood farming’s food and nutrition claims to be “empirically inaccurate”. It stated that high-market value, carnivorous fish species in particular will “remain inaccessible to low-income consumers and the food-insecure”.56Belton, et al. “Farming fish in the sea will not nourish the world,” Nature Communications, 2020. Archived January 15, 2024. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/wip/hUXyq

There is evidence that the marine ingredients industry is having the opposite effect, by contributing to food insecurity. 

In sub-Saharan Africa – the site of fishmeal and fish oil factories in Mauritania, Senegal, The Gambia and the Congo – the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) found in 2022 that “the industry constitutes a threat to the livelihoods and food and nutrition security of local communities”.57Thiao, D. & Bunting, S.W. “Socio-economic and biological impacts of the fish-based feed industry for Sub-Saharan Africa,” FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Circular No. 1236, 2022. DOI: https://doi.org/10.4060/cb7990en. Archived August 8, 2023. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.

A report from Partner Africa, commissioned by the industry-led Global Roundtable for Marine Ingredients found in 2023 that fishmeal factories in Mauritania and Senegal had caused food insecurity, undermining the availability, accessibility, acceptability and quality of food, especially for poorer people, and had lead to loss of work and income for women fish processors.58Track the Fish,” Partner Africa, October 2023. Archived January 9, 2024. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.

In the cases where seafood is farmed in the Global South, a 2022 paper points out that export of shrimps from Bangladesh is “notably at odds with the idea that aquaculture directly feeds the world’s poor”.59Sumaila, U. R., Pierruci, A., Oyinlola, M. A., et al. “Aquaculture Over-Optimism?,” Frontiers in Marine Science, 2022. DOI: https://doi.org/10.3389/fmars.2022.984354. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.

“Fishmeal and fish oil are climate-friendly”

IFFO upholds that marine ingredients have a lower carbon footprint than other (land-based) animal feed ingredients, such as soya. On these grounds, it advocates for fishmeal and fish oil’s inclusion in feed to help salmon farmers (for example) to reduce their contribution to global warming.60Opinion piece: Aquaculture is the most efficient way to use nutrients from small pelagic fish species,” IFFO, November 2022. Archived August 8, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/FgrwQ

However, there is evidence that farmed salmon will always be higher emitting than eating small pelagic fish directly, due to the high carbon footprint of ingredients in fish feed.61Gephart J.A. et al. “Environmental performance of blue foods,” Nature, September 2012. Archived January 23, 2024. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/EGUY6 A 2022 paper in academic journal Nature ranked farmed salmon and trout among the higher emitting categories of seafood.62Bianchi et al. “Assessing seafood nutritional diversity together with climate impacts informs more comprehensive dietary advice,” Nature Communications Earth and Environment, 2022. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1038/s43247-022-00516-4 Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.

IFFO, which is a member of the Global Feed LIfe Cycle Association, now favours a focus on environmental impacts of marine ingredients through a ‘life cycle assessment’ metric as a way to measure marine ingredients sustainability, over the contested Fish In Fish Out ratio (see narrative “Fishmeal and fish oil optimise human nutrition” below).63IFFO – The Marine Ingredients Organisation joins the Global Feed LCA Institute (GFLI) as member,” IFFO, March 2022. Archived January 29, 2024. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/lU5HX 64Environmental impacts of marine ingredients,” IFFO. Archived January 29, 2024. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/pVut0

“Fishmeal and fish oil is being used with ever greater efficiency” 

To support the idea that its industry is sustainable, IFFO often stresses that the proportional inclusion of fishmeal and fish oil in aquafeed has declined – from 23 percent to 8 percent in the last 20 years to 2020.65Where are we with the sustainability of fishmeal fisheries?,” IFFO, November 2022. Archived August 8, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/opB41

However for salmon, which relies on fish oil, the use of marine ingredients in feed remains high. In Norway, it sat at 22.4 percent in 2022.66Aas, T. S., Åsgård, T. & Ytrestøyl, T. “Utilization of feed resources in the production of Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) in Norway: An update for 2020,” Aquaculture Reports, 2022. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.aqrep.2022.101316 Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog. Aquaculture is also using an increasing share of fish oil compared to other industries, rising to 75 percent in 2016, with Atlantic salmon accounting for 60 percent.67Naylor, R. L., Hardy, R. W., Buschmann, A. H., et al. “A 20-year retrospective review of global aquaculture,” Nature, 2021. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41586-021-03308-6 Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog. 68Willer, D. F., Robinson, J. P. W., Patterson, G. K. & Luyckx, K.  “Maximising sustainable nutrient production from coupled fisheries-aquaculture systems,” PLOS Sustainability and Transformation, March 2022. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pstr.0000005. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.

Meanwhile, the volume of fishmeal and fish oil used in salmon feed is rising. In Norway, absolute weights included in salmon feed grew by nine percent between 2018 and 2020.69Aas, T. S., Åsgård, T. & Ytrestøyl, T. “Utilization of feed resources in the production of Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) in Norway: An update for 2020,” Aquaculture Reports, 2022. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.aqrep.2022.101316 Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.In January 2024, the NGO Feedback calculated that the Norwegian salmon industry drives the extraction of almost 2 million tonnes of whole wild fish every year.70Blue Empire: How the Norwegian salmon industry extracts nutrition and undermines livelihoods in West Africa,” Feedback, January 2024. Archived January 31, 2024. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog. 

UN Comtrade data visualized by Chatham House’s ResourceTrade.Earth database also shows that the absolute volume of marine ingredients traded grew in the five years to 2020.71Chatham House. “Resource Trade,” Resource Trade, 2020. Archived .xls on file at DeSmog. Sixteen million tonnes of seafood was turned into fishmeal and fish oil in 2020, according to the FAO.72The State of the World Fisheries and Aquaculture,” FAO, 2022. Archived January 30, 2024. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog. 

“Fishmeal and fish oil optimise human nutrition”

IFFO plays an active role in developing metrics that make the case for the efficiency of aquaculture in providing nutrients, protein and increased seafood production.

The organisation champions fishmeal and fish oil as “one of Nature’s best nutrient sources” and claims that aquaculture is the “most effective” use of  the nutrients that small pelagic species contain.73Nutrition – Optimizing human nutrition within global constraints,” IFFO. Archived January 26, 2024. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/FP8cs 74Aquaculture is the most efficient way to use nutrients from small pelagic fish species,” IFFO, November 2022. Archived August 8, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/FgrwQ

But numerous studies demonstrate that farmed salmon is an inefficient way to produce nutritious seafood compared to eating small fish directly.75Bianchi et al. “Assessing seafood nutritional diversity together with climate impacts informs more comprehensive dietary advice”, Nature Communications Earth and Environment, 2022. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1038/s43247-022-00516-4 Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.

For example, farmed salmon is heavily marketed as the best source of Omega 3 when in reality other feed fish species (mackerel, herring, anchovy, sardine) are as good or better sources; a study by researchers at Lancaster University measuring Scottish salmon nutrient retention found that over half of the essential dietary minerals and fatty Omega-3 acids are lost when wild fish are fed to farmed salmon.76Willer, D. F., Robinson, J. P. W., Patterson, G. K. & Luyckx, K.  “Maximising sustainable nutrient production from coupled fisheries-aquaculture systems,” PLOS Sustainability and Transformation, March 2022. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pstr.0000005. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.

IFFO stresses that aquaculture has a multiplier effect. It calculates that 1 kilogram of fish meal and fish oil goes on to produce 5 kilograms of farmed fish (known as the Fish In Fish Out or Forage Fish Dependency ratio).77Aquaculture is the most efficient way to use nutrients from small pelagic fish species,” IFFO, November 2022. Archived August 8, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/FgrwQ This is an average across all fed aquaculture species including species that are mostly herbivorous (e.g. tilapia).78Tilapia Foods and Feeding,” Aquatic Network. Archived January 29, 2024. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/bpbbJ 

Taken alone, salmon has one of the worst Fish In Fish Out ratios for fed-aquaculture species, at 1.87 according to a 20-year retrospective review of global aquaculture.79Naylor, R. L., Hardy, R. W., Buschmann, A. H., et al. “A 20-year retrospective review of global aquaculture,” Nature, 2021. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41586-021-03308-6 Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog. IFFO places it significantly lower at 0.93.80FIFO Data,” IFFO. Archived January 29, 2024. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/FEmvQ 

IFFO’s calculations were critiqued in a report from food and farming NGO Feedback, which says its FIFO calculations have the effect of underplaying the aquaculture industry’s reliance on fish oil, made from wild-caught fish.81Making Scottish farmed salmon sustainable,” Feedback, January 2021. Archived January 29, 2024. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.

Funding

IFFO’s membership fees range from $3,300 USD to more than $6,600 USD per year, depending on the type of membership and company size.82Non-Producer Membership,” IFFO. Archived January 26, 2024. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/depqD 83Producer Membership,” IFFO. Archived January 26, 2024. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/Cy0LD

Based on its current membership, IFFO’s revenue from fees was at least $1.4 million USD in 2022.84Our members,” IFFO. Archived June 1, 2023. Archived .xls on file at DeSmog.

According to IFFO’s 2021 annual report, it has a turnover of around $2 million USD.85Annual report – 2022,” IFFO. Archived January 26, 2024. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/1JmPU

Lobbying 

According to IFFO, the organisation has focused its lobbying activities on the European Union “initially because it was a very significant market” and later “because of the strong influence EU legislation has had over other countries when adopting similar legislation”.86International Fishmeal and Fish Oil Organisation 50th Anniversary,” IFFO. Archived January 26, 2024. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog. 

IFFO reports lobbying up to 2009 on issues including the traceability and the sustainability of feed fisheries outside Europe.87International Fishmeal and Fish Oil Organisation 50th Anniversary,” IFFO. Archived January 26, 2024. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.

Lobbying is also listed as a “duty” of IFFO board members.88IFFO Guidelines to Board Members,” IFFO. Archived January 16, 2024. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.

IFFO cooperates closely with the UN’s FAO, where it is an accredited observer with  “Specialized Consultative Status”.89International Fishmeal and Fish Oil Organisation 50th Anniversary,” IFFO. Archived January 26, 2024. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog. 90About Us,” IFFO. Archived January 29, 2024. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/xrmQL 

IFFO does not appear in lobbying databases including the EU Transparency Register. 

In 2022, IFFO’s annual report stated that its representatives contributed to discussions around nutrition, climate change, biodiversity, food security and fisheries management.91Annual report – 2022,” IFFO. Archived January 26, 2024. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/1JmPU 

Affiliations

IFFO has over 250 member organisations, which include companies that produce and trade fishmeal and fish oil, as well as retailers, feed producers, industry associations, financial institutions as well as government and scientific organisations.92Our members,” IFFO. Archived June 1, 2023. Archived .xls on file at DeSmog.

IFFO’s members include salmon companies Mowi, Cermaq and Scottish Sea Farms, as well as the companies that control the majority of the market for salmonid aquafeed: BioMar, U.S. food giant Cargill and Norwegian firms Mowi and Skretting (a subsidiary of Dutch firm Nutreco).93Salmon Farming Industry Handbook,” Mowi, 2022. Archived July 24, 2023. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog. 

Other IFFO members Blumar Seafoods and Companía Pesquera Camanchaca S.A. – whose subsidiaries Blumar Salmon and Salmones Camanchaca, respectively – are two of the largest salmon companies in the world.94Blumar Seafoods,” Blumar. Archived January 29, 2024. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/EbbIS 95Salmon,” Camanchaca. Archived January 29, 2024. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/1qs2u 96Bent-Are Jensen & John Evans. “New ranking of the world’s top salmon farming companies shows some big shifts,” Intrafish, May 29, 2023. Archived January 9, 2024. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog. IFFO member Austral group is part of the same parent company, Austevoll, that owns world-leading salmon producer Lerøy.97Lerøy Seafood Group ASA,” Austevoll Seafood ASA. Archived January 29, 2024. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/CuSk3

Traders and lobby groups are also members including the Federation of Oils, Seeds and Fats Associations (FOSFA) and the Global Organisation for EPA & DHA Omega-3s (GOED), which aims to “increase consumption of EPA and DHA omega-3s”, particularly from seafood.98Committees,” FOSFA. Archived August 4, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/sbENR 99GOED,” GOED. Archived August 4, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/tmNCb 100Omega 3 Sources,” GOED. Archived August 11, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/V0Efs

IFFO’s members also include pig feed manufacturers Hayashikane Sangyo, Guangdong Haid Group, MBP Solutions, Nutrifish, Woojin Feed, and Yi Show International Enterprise.

Current members of IFFO include:101Our members,” IFFO. Archived June 1, 2023. Archived .xls on file at DeSmog.

  • BASF SE
  • BioMar Group
  • Cargill Aqua Nutrition
  • Global Seafood Alliance
  • Mowi Markets Norway AS
  • NOAA – National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
  • Skretting
  • U.K. Association of Fish Meal Manufacturers
  • Olvea Fish Oils
  • GOED 
  • Cermaq Chile ASA
  • Scottish Sea Farms
  • Inproquisa 
  • Veiga International Trading INC 

IFFO’s board of directors includes directors from IFFO members that have been “nominated by either individual countries or regions”.102Board of Directors,” IFFO. Archived January 18, 2024. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/R0jZX 

As of 2024, IFFO’s current president is Egil Magne Haugstad, CEO of Pelagia, a Norwegian fishmeal and fish oil producer.103Board of Directors,” IFFO. Archived January 18, 2024. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/R0jZX

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