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The effect of all these headlines is to create not only misconceptions in the marketplace but also concerns among consumers about the availability of fishmeal and fish oil. Since the aquaculture market consumes a major portion of the world's production of fish oil and half of the world's production of fishmeal, their concerns are routinely addressed with industry publications and at conferences.
178 inform March 2009, Vol. 20 (3) Raw material sources for the long-chain omega-3 market: Trends and sustainability. Part 1. Anthony P. Bimbo ceptions in the marketplace but also concerns among consumers about the availability of fishmeal and fish oil. Since the aquaculture Editor’s note: This paper is an update of a presentation delivered market consumes a major portion of the world’s production of fish at the 99th AOCS Annual Meeting & Expo in Seattle, Washington, oil and half of the world’s production of fishmeal, their concerns USA, May 19, 2008. are routinely addressed with industry publications and at confer- ences. But what about the nutraceutical or omega-3 market? Will The scientific and popular press is awash in headlines and arti- there be enough fish oil to meet their current and future needs? The cles depicting the impending collapse of the global wild fisheries. purpose of this paper is to alleviate those fears or at least put the Headlines such as “Oceans in Peril,” “Ocean Life Fading, What situation into perspective. Can Be Done?” “The Fishing Catastrophe and What We Can Do About It,” “SOS for Fading Ocean Life,” “Tuvalu About to Disap- GlObal FISHERIES INFORMaTION pear into the Ocean,” “SOS for Fading Ocean Life,” and “Ocean Between 1950 and 1970 global landings of fish and crustaceans Time Bomb” are just a few examples. In more recent times, atten- grew at about 12% per year. Between 1970 and 1990 global land- tion is being paid to the pelagic fisheries with such headlines as ings increased about 2% per year. Between 1990 and 2006, the “Eating Smelly Fish Could Save Endangered Species,” “Most Fish most current available data, global landings increased about 0.78% Goes into Animal Feed,” “Our Oceans Overfished to Feed Pigs,” per year. Actually, since about 1990, the global landings of fish and and “Pets Eating into Fish Stocks.” One report has indicated that crustaceans have been flat. Aquaculture production was relatively the oceans will be empty by 2048. flat over the period 1950–1980, but between 1980 and 2006, it The common link in all these headlines is the notion that the increased about 13.5% per year. However, even the growth in aqua- ocean fish stocks are being depleted owing to overfishing. When the culture seems to have slowed to 7.1% between 1995 and 2005 and industry and responsible govern- GLOBAL FISHERIES CAPTURE VS. AQUACULTURE PRODUCTION ment entities responded, saying that the “industrial fish species” 160 are not being overfished and are M illio n M e tric T o n s, F ish a n d C ru sta ce a n s O n ly useful in feeding animals and 140 farmed fish that are consumed 120 in the human diet, the emphasis moved to the concept that these 100 fish are being wasted on animals when they could be used for 80 human consumption. The fact is that these industrial fish are classi- 60 fied as industrial because they are small, oily, and very bony. These 40 characteristics make it technologi- cally very difficult (but not impos- 20 sible) to convert them to food use. It becomes an issue of economics, 0 because once the oil and bones are 1950 1960 1970 1980 1990 2000 2010 2020 2030 2040 removed,
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