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than Omega-3s and plays a role in the global food system, well beyond the nutraceutical market! Fish oil is essential in global protein production (that is, production of farmed fish, with aquaculture using almost 70 percent of fish oil produced worldwide in 2019 according to IFFO figures)

Strategic usage of fish oil

Petter Johannessen Fish oil: critical qualities

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s winter is approaching and the Covid-19 pandemic still spreading, supplements containing Omega 3 fatty acids are experiencing a growing demand as a means for people to boost their immunity systems. Fish oil capsules are highly sought-after. It is not a mystery why that is. Fish oil is a critical source of Omega3s (EPA, DHA).

Reducing risks of cardiovascular disease events

GOED, the trade non-profit organisation at the heart of the global Omega-3 industry, has published a comprehensive metaanalysis that connects increases in EPA and DHA Omega-3 intake to positive cardiovascular outcomes. The study compiles data from the complete body of scientific evidence: 40 clinical trials representing more than 135,000 study participants. It found that EPA and DHA supplementation is associated with statistically significant risk reductions in several cardiovascular outcomes. The study also found that the protective effect increases with dosage. An additional 1g/day of EPA and DHA results in an additional 5.8 percent reduction in the risk of cardiovascular disease events and a 9.0 percent reduction in the risk of heart attacks.

Providing the right balance between Omega-3s and Omega-6s

Professor Doug Tocher, from the Institute of Aquaculture (University of Stirling, UK) explains very clearly that Omega-3 and Omega-6 are meant to work in balance to control and regulate physiology. “However,” he says, “in the last century or so, industrial agriculture and the rise of vegetable oils has seen a huge shift in this balance with dietary Omega-6 now exceeding Omega-3 by over 20-fold resulting in many metabolic conditions.” The Omega-3 gap needs to be filled in, and doing so in ways that respect both nutritional needs and biodiversity of all kinds of species, while being financially viable in the long term, should be a matter of public concern. That said, it is worth underlining that fish oil is far more

Just as fishmeal, fish oil has moved towards strategic use, rather than being used as a commodity. This consideration was at the heart of IFFO’s October 2020 Webinar, with feed producers reaffirming the key role played by fishmeal and fish oil, “excellent ingredients” (Skretting), “a great source of nutrients” (BioMar), which are not to be replaced but supplemented in order to meet the required volumes, especially those demanded by the aquaculture sector in the years to come. Mads Martinsen, Skrettings’ Director Product Development (Norway), underlined that Skretting Norway would continue to use the same amount of marine ingredients in the future, provided certified as responsibly sourced. As a matter of fact, the use of marine ingredients has been stable for years, but inclusion level has been reduced due to increase in total volume of feed produced. Reduced inclusion rates have been made possible through constant improvement in developing better ways to use the nutritional contribution of a finite fishmeal and fish oil annual supply (five million tonnes of fishmeal and one million tonne of fish oil annually) for best effect. Inclusion rates are subtle notions being applied differently depending on the development stage of the animal, the fish or depending on the species or the region where they are grown. In aquaculture for example, inclusion rates in juvenile feeds may be higher. Furthermore, IFFO figures show that higher than average inclusion rates of fish oil in the salmonids’ diets (along with the role played by the pharmaceutical sector) are to be found in Europe and Latin American, with these two continents consuming more than 60 percent of the total. The 2020 edition of the State of the World’s Fisheries published by the FAO argues that species such as shrimps, salmons, and other marine species, will continue to grow in the medium term. These species need higher inclusion rates of marine ingredients than the majority of the farmed species worldwide, which are freshwater species. Knowing that fish themselves are inefficient at producing EPA/ DHA and, instead, get them through their diets, it is critical that they are fed according to their needs. This way, they grow and enjoy a healthy diet, thus ensuring fish welfare, and they then pass on to humans the nutrients that they contain. All in all, fish oil is a strategic ingredient both for direct and indirect human consumption. The easiest way to ensure an optimal uptake of fish oil is through seafood consumption. The recent analyses are promising in that they unveil a positive and unexpected impact from the Covid-19 pandemic in terms of seafood consumption, especially the frozen fish category, even in the USA, known for its seafood consumption patterns lagging European’s.

Petter Martin Johannessen joined IFFO in 2018 as Director General. He was previously Global Business Director for Risk Management and Sourcing at Cargill Aqua Nutrition and before that Supply Chain Director and Global Sourcing and Purchasing lead at EWOS Group. Before joining the aquafeed and marine ingredients industry, he worked at PwC (Consulting and large international process industry businesses branch). He holds a Diploma in International Marketing and a degree in Business Administration from the Norwegian School of Management. 12 | December 2020 - International Aquafeed