Skretting Sustainability Report 2022

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Marine ingredients

It is our ambition that by 2025 all fish meal and fish oil we use originates from fisheries that are managed according to the FAO Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries. This means that our suppliers must be able to demonstrate that the fish meal and fish oil is certified according to the MarinTrust standard (which includes Marine Stewardship Council certification) or be participating in a fishery improvement project (FIP) with the aim of becoming MarinTrust certified.

Meeting our marine ingredient sourcing ambitions

In addition to the progress specified in our sustainability reports, and supporting our commitment to provide more transparency, we commit to publish the origin and environmental sustainability of wild-caught and farmed seafood sourced by our global operations through the Ocean Disclosure Project, a clear step forward from our previous disclosure which was only for our Norwegian operations.

In 2022, 84% of fish meal and fish oil originating from whole fish that was purchased by Skretting came from fisheries certified according to the MarinTrust or MSC programmes, or from fisheries that were part of a MarinTrust FIP. This is a slight increase compared to 2021 (82%). The increase comes from more fisheries entering fishery improvement projects.

The salmon producing countries in Skretting (Norway, Canada, Chile and Australia) use the highest share of certified marine ingredients. Both Asia and Africa have a significantly lower share of certified marine ingredients. In Asia and Africa there are fewer local fisheries certified, and less market pressure regarding certification status of marine ingredients. In Latin America and Asia the share of marine ingredients coming from fishery improvement projects are higher than in other areas in Skretting.


Certification status (%) of Skretting purchases of whole fish and trimmings in 2022

Progress on our marine sourcing policy

In 2022, Nutreco and Skretting published a responsible sourcing policy for marine ingredients. We did this to solidify our commitment to protect the ocean and ensure that fish stocks caught for direct or indirect human consumption are fished within clearly defined, sustainable limits.

To achieve our ambitions, we strive to ensure that our marine feed ingredients come from sustainable sources in the short- and long-term. In practical terms, we have defined different sustainability classes for the main groups of marine ingredients (whole fish, by-products from wild fish and by-products from aquaculture). For details on the different sustainability classes, please consult our sourcing policy.

Last year was the first in which we have been able to make a complete progress report on our marine sourcing ambitions. For whole fish, 68% originates from MarinTrust programme or Marine Stewardship certification. The share originating from fishery improvement projects is slightly above the maximum target (16% compared to maximum of 15%). There are challenges in reaching our targets. Several important f isheries have lost their MSC certification (blue whiting, Atlantic herring and Atlantic mackerel). In certain areas where we operate (in particular Asia and Africa) certification of local fisheries is often lacking. This can be due to that the certification programs are not so well known in these areas, combined with less pressure from markets to certify these fisheries.

When it comes to by-products from wild fish and by-products from aquaculture we are well on track to meet our targets. The main challenge here is that information related to the origin can be missing or of poor quality.

Read our marine ingredients sourcing policy

Marine sourcing table.png

Quantifying whole fish and by-products

The processing of fish for human consumption gives rise to a byproduct that is not used in the final seafood product. Offcuts generated after processing are valuable as a raw material from which fish meal and fish oil is often produced. It is estimated that roughly a third of fish meal produced is made from seafood by-products from fish for human consumption. The use of by-products, or trimmings, is increasing as more whole fish are used for direct human consumption, and society becomes more successful at collecting the material and fuelling the bioeconomy. 

We have mapped the origin of marine ingredients in Skretting coming from both whole fish and by-products. Over the last five years, the average use of by-products was 35%. In 2022, 39% of our ingredients came from by-products for human consumption.

Twenty-nine species make up 95% of our marine ingredients in 2022 originating from whole fish. The most important species are small pelagic fishes from fishing areas Pacific Southeast, Atlantic Northeast and Atlantic Eastern Central. Small pelagic fisheries are the most important source for both fishmeal and fish oil.

The remaining 5% originate from an additional 46 species. There are several reasons for the relatively large number of species registered. In all fisheries there will be a certain amount of by-catch. When the bycatch is at low levels it will be part of the legal fishery. 

In some areas the manufacturer of marine ingredients are instructed to register all by-catch by law. This means that when we receive a consignment of marine ingredients, easily more than 10 species will be declared that might only constitute a low percentage of the delivery.

Another factor is that many fisheries are multi-species fisheries, especially in more tropical areas. In this case, there can be a large species diversity and single species fisheries are not common.

It can also be a challenge to identify all fisheries in a detailed and correct way. Our suppliers can often declare that the origin is anchovy or sardine. However there are many different anchovy and sardine species. This can make it a challenge to identify the specific fishery.

Twenty-seven species make up 95% of Skretting purchases of marine ingredients in 2022 originating from trimmings. In addition, 46 more species of fish are registered as the origin of fish meal and fish oil from trimmings, but in low volumes (< 5%).

Marine ingredients from different tuna species are common. This is due to the tuna canning industry. The industrial processing of tuna makes it possible with efficient use of the trimmings. The species registered as origin of marine ingredients from trimmings reflect fisheries important in human consumption. Hake, cod, pollock and different mackerel species are all important.

We also see trimmings from small pelagic fishes like anchovy, sardines and sprat. Marine ingredients from farmed species like Atlantic salmon are also becoming important. In 2022 Atlantic salmon was the most important source of fish oil originating from trimmings.

We cannot establish with certainty the FAO fishing area for these species because the country of processing might be different from where the original catch was landed.

Trimmings table.png

Dependence on marine feed ingredients

Fish meal and fish oil from wild fish are both finite resources that are shared across a range of users with increasing demands, from direct human consumption to aquaculture to pig and poultry production. We promote the efficient use of these resources, producing increasing amounts of farmed fish and shrimp from a given input of fish meal and fish oil.

The use of wild fish in aquaculture is commonly expressed as the forage fish dependency ratio (FFDR). It is calculated based on the use of fish meal and fish oil originating from wild fish. Marine ingredients originating from trimmings are not considered. The FFDR is the amount of wild-caught fish used to produce the amounts of fish meal and fish oil required to produce one kilogram of farmed fish.

The exact FFDR will be dependent on the amount of marine ingredients in the feed, the amount of marine ingredients originating from trimmings and the economic feed conversion factor (FCRe).

Estimated averages for Forage Fish Dependency Ratio (FFDR) for Atlantic Salmon farmed in Norway and Chile


Opportunities in the marine ingredient sector

IFFO.pngMarine ingredients, mostly fishmeal and fish oil, have been key to animal feed for several decades, although their use has shifted from pig and poultry as the main users in the 1980s, to aquaculture now using over 70%. This is due to the vast growth in aquaculture over the last decades and aquaculture being able to utilise the nutritional properties of marine ingredients better than other farming sectors. The consumption of marine ingredients, and in particular fish oil in pharmaceutical and petfood manufacturing sectors, has also been growing. The use of marine ingredients by these sectors is due to marine ingredients’ nutritional properties and availability at scale: with 5 million metric tons of fishmeal and 1.1 million metric tons of fish oil produced every year, marine ingredients offer predictability in terms of volume and benchmark status in terms of nutrition.

There are several opportunities in the marine ingredients sector. One of those is circularity: although most of the fish caught from the wild and farmed is for human consumption, generally less than 50% of that biomass is eaten.

There is therefore a considerable amount of biomass available for repurposing. Already one third of fishmeal and fish oil comes from fish by-products. With projected industry growth in aquaculture, there is a clear opportunity for future growth in the raw material base for marine ingredients. Whole fish thinking is the way forward and marine ingredients is one of the sectors that can help make this ambition a reality.

Another opportunity is for the marine ingredients industry to demonstrate its positive impacts and contribution to global food security. This is an exciting challenge which IFFO has embraced by starting a life cycle assessment project based on a publicly available third-party comparable metrics system: the Global Feed Life cycle assessment Institute (GFLI) database.

Rather than being focused on a single metric, like carbon footprint, it considers 19 different impact categories. Addressing regional challenges is another priority: this cannot be done alone and requires a collective approach based on fisheries management and pre-competitive principles.

Mauritanian small pelagics FIP progress

Mauritania.pngMainly comprising sardines, as well as sardinella, pilchards, horse mackerel, chub mackerel and bonga shad, Mauritania’s small pelagic fishery improvement project (FIP) was initiated in 2017 through a partnership formed between the country’s fisheries authority, the Mauritanian oceanographic and fisheries research institute (IMROP), local businesses and international fishmeal and fish oil producers.

With the fishery consisting of artisanal and coastal purse-seine and pelagic trawl vessels that target the aforementioned species in Mauritanian waters, the FIP mainly aims to support the country’s government in working towards robust management and the long-term sustainability of the resource. It has been working with scientists to improve data collection on the fishery, landings and stocks, in order to improve the knowledge of stock status and hence enable management to make informed, sustainable decisions.

To enhance the information available, the FIP is supporting two key work areas:

  • Dockside and factory sampling, with the FIP providing support to IMROP enumerators to collect catch data and samples for species and size composition analysis
  • Data entry for previous paper logbooks, with the FIP continuing to provide support for the data entry of large quantities of paper logsheets from vessels, dating back several years. This is a valuable endeavour, as it provides time series data on catch and effort

Initial analysis of 2022’s sampling rate indicate Mauritania will have met or exceeded the minimum sampling rate set by CECAF (FAO) for the third consecutive year. Furthermore, in November 2022, it supported the Small Pelagic Management Plan (PAP-PP or Plan d'Aménagement de Pêcherie-Petits Pélagiques) and its validation by the Ministry of Fisheries, effectively making it the official planning and policy document for the fishery.

The PAP-PP covers a wide range of topics related to fishery management, including but not limited to, assessment and management of resources, ecosystem and bycatch, monitoring and research, control of landings and fishing/processing capacity, surveillance and enforcement system, different fleets and supply chains, socio-economic issues and employment, food security, contribution to trade and GDP, regional coordination and comanagement, as well as the necessary means, finance, capacity and timeframe for implementation.

Moving forward, key objectives for the fishery are:

  • Better align removals from the stocks with sustainable yield levels to facilitate the recovery of depleted stocks, with both a regional and a national focus
  • Reduce capacity in the system, specifically fishing effort, fleet size and type, as well as the number of fish meal factories, to match the more sustainable level of landings
  • Enhance management responsiveness to the stocks by increasing and improving research and monitoring
  • Gradually orient landings towards more Mauritanian and socioeconomically beneficial supply chains, with fish meal production gradually shifting towards using by-products
  • Improve regulation, monitoring, and surveillance to ensure compliance with quotas and other regulations, reduction or elimination of bycatch and ETP impacts, reduction of fishing pressure on juveniles and spawning areas, among others

The FIP received an external peer review of the project from MarinTrust in December, which recommended continuation of the FIP in the Improver Programme and provided suggestions for the workplan. It also continues to receive a grade A (advanced progress) from FisheryProgress, which evaluates and measures projects’ progress to understand the rate at which they are improving.

NAPA: Using market forces to press for sustainably-managed pelagic fisheries

NAPA.pngThe consistent inability of Northeast Atlantic coastal states to find an agreed solution that delivers long-term, sustainable management of their shared pelagic fish stocks is of increasing concern to seafood supply chains.

Established in 2020, in response to the continuing dispute over the region’s mackerel quota allocations, the North Atlantic Pelagic Advocacy Group (NAPA) now comprises more than 60 leading retailers and supply-chain businesses from across the world, including Skretting, all of which are publicly committed to the responsible sourcing of sustainable seafood. NAPA also has a number of affiliate member associations. This collective is using its voice to advocate for long-term, science-based management of Northeast Atlantic pelagic stocks.

Over time, the quota dispute has resulted in annual catches well above the advised level for the three commercially important species of mackerel, Atlanto-Scandian (Norwegian spring-spawning) herring and blue whiting. NAPA’s aim is to establish sustainability in these fisheries by securing an agreement on total allowable catches (TACs) in line with scientific advice, as well as long-term science-based fisheries management strategies.

The coalition is united in wanting to be able to source pelagics from this region providing that long-term, science-based management practices are in place that are supported by coastal states’ decision-makers. It intends to help deliver these aims through a fishery improvement project (FIP) for mackerel and herring (launched in April 2021), and also a MarinTrust Improver Programme (IP) for blue whiting (launched in October 2021). Both with three-year timelines, the FIP and IP serve to drive political will while holding key actors and decision-makers to account.

“Our FIP aims are very simple. They are to get the fisheries in a position where they can get Marine Stewardship Council certification if they wish, and to do that we need to agree an allocation mechanism, follow the scientific advice and commit to long-term management,” said NAPA Project Lead Dr Tom Pickerell.

According to Pickerell, the close involvement of commercial businesses and the broader industry has been recognised as a vital component in the delivery of FIPs since they were established, with the market pull incentivising better policy decisions.

This has been crucial because, as has been seen in the Northeast Atlantic, it’s often very difficult to establish consensus among the coastal states. Without agreement on sustainable allocations, each state has been allocating its own share of the total recommended catch. Unfortunately, the collective sum of these allocations has been much higher than the scientific advice – meaning fishing fleets are catching at unsustainable levels.

The Northeast Atlantic mackerel and herring FIP comprises three core action points: 

  • Sustainable harvest strategies
  • Effective means for dispute resolution between coastal states
  • Science-based decision-making by all management parties

To ensure full transparency of its work, the FIP is independently-audited and follows MSC certification criteria as benchmarks for sustainable practices. But Pickerell highlighted that what’s key – or the “teeth” – behind this FIP is the sourcing statements that NAPA members have issued, some of which include the warning that they will stop purchasing from these fisheries.

“These sourcing statements are quite novel as often these decisions are private to the businesses involved. But by having the individual companies' positions published, we are setting a very clear set of consequences,” Pickerell said.

Indeed, if the FIP were to fail in this regard, NAPA would expect these companies to honour their sourcing statements. Moreover, it fears the risk of these stocks actually becoming overfished would dramatically increase and require rebuilding on top of everything else.

Skretting’s position

Despite the setback in 2022, the level of commitment and attention that the project is gaining reaffirm the confidence that it is possible to set total fishing effort in line with scientific advice by 2024. It will be important that we continue adding market pressure to drive decisions based on scientific advice for sustainable f isheries. For now, we will continue purchasing blue whiting as long as the FIP is in place. We do this because by maintaining involvement we can drive change. But should progress falter, or the FIP fail, there is a risk that the blue whiting fishery will not qualify according to our marine ingredient sourcing policy.

Next: Novel ingredients

In tumultuous times in particular, the priority for our procurement team is availability - ensuring we have the right nutrients available at the right location to ensure uninterrupted supply to our customers

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In this section

Procurement milestones in 2022
Understanding sourcing in different markets
Soy ingredients
Marine ingredients
Novel ingredients