More than 400 delegates representing 36 countries have gathered in Washington DC to discuss the global aquaculture industry and the future use of fishmeal and fish.
Michael Copeland, IFFO president, opened the event.
Initial speakers offered several thoughts on the role of fishmeal and oil in feed.
The organization’s role includes listening to members and stakeholders while seeking to understand where the industry is going, said Andrew Mallison, director general for IFFO.
“Alternative feed ingredients are very much closing in. We’ve known about them for some time, accepted that we need them [in order] to see the continued growth of the aquaculture industry our sector depends on.”
Some alternative ingredients like algae oil and bacterial proteins also have gained significant financial backing, he said. However, that does not mean they should take the importance away from fish meal and fish oil.
“The question back to us is how do we position ourselves for the future?” he said.
Fishmeal and fish oil are irreplaceable, said Mallison.
“We need to see the value and not just allow fish meal and fish oil to be treated as interchangeable protein and oil – they’re much better than that,” he said.
Additionally, it may be time for to reflect on which alternative ingredients might be of interest, he said.
“This conference is a time to think, a time to talk, and maybe it’s a time to choose your dance partners, because which companies and value changes are going to share that vision of a strategic high value ingredient?."
Here are a few more thoughts from speakers on the opening day…
“Fishing generally has little impact on recruitment on forage fish” - prof Ray Hilborn at IFFO annual conference, Washington pic.twitter.com/CDYtUiHSUL— EUfishmeal (@EUfishmeal) 23 October 2017