Will revamped standard boost fishmeal, fish oil sourcing and byproduct use?

By Jane Byrne

- Last updated on GMT

© GettyImages/Thapana Onphalai
© GettyImages/Thapana Onphalai

Related tags Fishmeal Fish oil Aquaculture MarinTrust

Yes, says MarinTrust as the new version of its factory standard enters into force.

The revised norms aim to increase accessibility for responsibly sourced and produced marine ingredients.

“We want to create a bridge of communication between fish processors and fishmeal producers to help them coordinate and optimise their utilisation of resources,” Francisco Aldon, CEO of MarinTrust, tells FeedNavigator.

The approval of version 3 (V3) comes at the end of a rigorous development process, including pilot assessments across the world and feedback from auditors, certified companies, and other key marine ingredient stakeholders.

There are now 172 sites in 30 different countries that comply with the standard. From this month, any new applicants must apply for audits against the new version of the factory standard. A transition period of one year allows current certificate holders to prepare for those.

“This new version is a bold step forward for marine ingredients producers, ensuring that the standard remains credible and aligned with expectations from consumers and the wider value chain, which are constantly evolving. The headline changes consist of extended sourcing practices and criteria, enhanced good manufacturing practices together with social and environmental requirements and indicators, and new traceability indicators,” outlines Aldon.

V3 is expected to enable more byproducts-sourced marine ingredients to be audited and more fish to be third-party assessed. "This means more marine ingredients which can be used with confidence, thanks to improved interoperability of traceability systems. We aim for continuous improvement and development and will keep on clarifying the way the standard should be used. We couldn't have done it without the commitment of our current certificate holders, who have provided feedback throughout the whole journey.”

Around six million tons of marine ingredients, mostly fishmeal and fish oil, are produced globally each year. To date, 48% of these are certified against the MarinTrust standard. 


Photo credit: GettyImages/Alejandro Pacheco

Supporting guidance 

MarinTrust is hosting a series of webinars to help companies achieve compliance with the updated standard. It has also published supporting documents and guidance materials​ to assit in implementation. 

“Supporting documents range from definitions of key terms and conditions, whole fish and byproducts assessment guides, and traceability templates. The application form itself has also been improved, providing a streamlined process, including easy raw material selection that integrates information swiftly into our database. Existing certificate holders, and accepted sites under the Improver Program, will be able to log in to the portal to access their details, receive timely alerts about recertification or a new audit cycle under the IP, and apply for a scope extension.”


When asked how the changes will contribute to achieving fully traceable marine ingredients, Aldon emphasizes that data is the key to traceability. The Key Data Elements (KDEs) in V3 provide a clear list of data requirements for sourcing and production.

"MarinTrust has mapped the different Key Data Elements (KDEs) identified by the industry, utilizing information from our partner, the Global Dialogue on Seafood Traceability (GDST), as well as feed producers and studies by the Environmental Justice Foundation, Oceana, The Nature Conservancy, The Pew Charitable Trusts, and WWF's Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated (IUU) 2020 report​.​ We conducted traceability pilots in the UK and Peru, which helped inform our understanding of the current state of the industry.”

V3 will cover more than 80% of the KDEs identified, excluding those that cover transshipment, which is out of MarinTrust’s remit.

“Most notably this will ensure that raw materials which are sourced can be verified as to their origin, including fishery, supplier, and farm. It builds on the raw material requirements to specify traceability requirements for each batch and delivery of raw materials.”

As well as the factory norms, MarinTrust has a Chain of Custody Standard (CoC), designed to demonstrate full traceability of compliant products after the production stage. “If ownership of a CoC certified product is passed to a trader to sell onto an approved buyer, that trader must also gain CoC certification in order to maintain product integrity and an unbroken supply chain.”

Environmental management 

Regarding how V3 addresses environmental and social impacts both within the factory and on the vessels supplying whole fish, Aldon explains that this update introduces comprehensive data collection on environmental performance. This ensures effective environmental management and compliance with permits, covering areas such as emissions to air, discharges to water, the release of toxic or hazardous substances, and issues related to noise, odor, dust, and ground pollution.

"V3 will enhance staff safety, welfare, and working conditions by implementing the collection of performance data on social practices. These measures will ensure that both factory and vessel operations are properly managed. The new criteria for vessels apply specifically to company-owned vessels that supply whole fish."

The changes also extend to the launch of new byproduct and whole fish fishery assessment criteria to strengthen risk assessment criteria and management controls for both whole fish and byproducts.

“For whole fish, the enhanced criteria provide clarity of interpretation and focuses on strengthening management controls and mitigating risk to ecosystem. For by-products, the risk assessment framework focusses on country level IUU risks for byproduct species. It includes a more efficient/clearer step-by-step process that checks IUU risk indices, endangered species lists and fisheries management systems before approval.”

The development process for the revised factory standard began in 2020, overseen by MarinTrust’s governing body committee, which includes a diverse range of stakeholders. Extensive consultations were conducted initially, followed by preparations for pilots and self-assessments to trial the audits of V3, which were carried out in Peru, Denmark, Chile, Iceland, Thailand, and South Africa. Additionally, webinars and workshops were held to gather feedback throughout the process. A public consultation phase took place from May to July 2023.


While MarinTrust sets the standard, it does not grant certificates. This is the role of registered certification bodies.

“To make sure that they understand the new requirements of V3, and implement them in a consistent way, we provide them with training sessions both in English and Spanish. Auditors are required to complete and pass exams prior to conducting V3 audits.”

The currently recognized standards under MarinTrust Standard Version 2 are GMP+, FEMAS, Chilean Programa de Aseguramiento de la Calidad (PAC), and Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) Fisheries. “To maintain recognition status, these standards will be required to undergo an equivalency assessment against V3 criteria in line with our recognition procedure. Through this procedure, existing fishery certifications can be benchmarked against MarinTrust. If they are found to be in alignment, they will be recognized as carrying all certification credentials for fishery and marine ingredients.”

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