DEC 2021 | International Aquafeed magazine

Page 12

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Brett Glencross


Building a waste-free world The rise of by-products

was watching the BBC’s “The Earthshot Prize” program [] recently with my family and was impressed by the ingenuity of the world to rise to the many challenges we face with the growing list of climate and sustainability issues. In this fantastic television series, Britain’s Prince William and Sir David Attenborough explore a range of simple, yet ambitious ideas to help fix our planet. I really admired the clear objective of searching for practical solutions to some of the planet’s greatest challenges, offering hope for both humanity and nature. Not only is it a timely message, but one which fits well with the modern marine ingredients sector. A quick review of the IFFO 2020 marine ingredients statistics shows that the production of fishmeal and oil from trimmings and

by-products is on the rise. We now have almost half (48%) of all fish oils and 29 percent of all fish meals coming from various byproduct raw material streams (Figure 1A and 1B). Combined, that is close to one third of all marine ingredients currently produced. While the use of trimmings and by-products is not a new initiative in the marine ingredients sector, the momentum behind the use of these “circular” proteins and lipids is clearly growing. Further examination of where all this comes from shows aquaculture as now a major player in the provision of fish oils, with both salmon and pangasius sectors being significant contributors (Figure 1C). On the fishmeal front, while aquaculture is a comparative minor contributor, we note that by-products from human food fisheries contribute 20 percent of all production, with most of this coming from various pelagic and demersal fisheries (Figure 1D).

Low environmental footprint

The other brilliant part about using by-products is their low environmental footprint. As most lifecycle assessment (LCA) analysis in the feed sector is now based on economic allocation, the primary catch/production of fish for human consumption means that most of the economic allocation is taken by that portion, even though that fraction often represents less than 50 percent of the raw material. Therefore, the lower-value by-products get attributed an even lower allocation of the environmental footprint. So, materials that are already low CO2 discharge, low energy use, with little to no reliance land or freshwater, become even less so. It is like getting a bonus on top of your bonus.

Adding new things to the dinner table

But what about the future? We are already aware of constraints to expanding the availability of wild-capture marine ingredients. And we still need to “add new things to the dinner table to accommodate those increasing numbers of mouths to feed”, irrespective of whether they’re human or animal. But if aquaculture keeps growing, doesn’t that give us a growing resource base from which to make marine ingredients too? What if we could mobilise production of marine ingredients beyond the salmon, pangasius and tilapia sectors? Given we are already growing millions of tonnes of fish and shellfish, wouldn’t ensuring that we use of the non-edible parts of that produce for making marine ingredients be a better part of building a waste-free world? It is Figure 1A – 1D. Production in 2020 of fishoils (A) and fishmeals (B) from whole-fish and byproducts (BP). Shown in figure 1C is the breakdown of sectors contributing the by-product certainly food-for-thought. oils, and figure 1D the sectors contributing the by-product meals. Data from IFFO 2021.

Dr Brett Glencross is the Technical Director of IFFO - The Marine Ingredients Organisation. Over the past 25 years he has worked in various academic, institutional, and industrial roles across Australasia, the Middle East and Europe. 12 | December 2021 - International Aquafeed

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