The oceans are being “plundered” for fish to feed farmed salmon in Scotland and around the world, according to a new report.
'Millions of tonnes of sardines, anchovies, mackerel, herring, krill and other species are caught and ground into fishmeal and fish oil, known as FMFO. This is fed to salmon caged in hundreds of farms along the west coast.
Now an 80-page report by campaign groups, Changing Markets Foundation and Compassion in World Farming, warns that growing dependence on FMFO is threatening human food security, putting marine wildlife at risk and harming animal welfare.
The report, however, has been attacked by the international FMFO industry as “unbalanced”, “biased” and “inaccurate”. The industry insists that the majority of FMFO is “responsibly sourced”.
The new report says that almost a fifth of the world’s total catch of wild fish is currently processed into FMFO, most of which is used to feed farmed fish. The global fishmeal market was worth approximately £4.6 billion in 2017.
Pressures to catch more are likely to increase as the fish farm industry expands. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation has predicted that global production of farmed fish will reach 109 million tonnes by 2030, and provide 60 per cent of the world’s fish consumption.
The fish farming industry argues that it has the potential to deliver affordable, healthy protein. This can be done, it says, with little carbon pollution while reducing the overexploitation of wild fish for human consumption.'
Read more: Fishing to feed salmon farms is emptying the seas, claims report