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SSPO defends Scots farmers over fish diet claim. The Scottish Salmon Producers Organisation says a new report by the Dutch-based Changing Markets Foundation on fish diets and their impact on wild fish stocks does not reflect upon the situation in Scotland.

Changing Markets Foundation says its report has found links between some of the world’s top supermarkets and illegal, unsustainable fishing operations in India, Vietnam and The Gambia which supply feed ingredients for farmed seafood products in high-income markets.
The report, Fishing for Catastrophe, is the first to comprehensively map fishmeal and fish oil (FMFO) supply chains from fishery to fork. It finds that the surge in popularity of fish (such as salmon and prawns) in the Western diet is causing fish stocks to collapse and taking a key source of protein away from some of the world’s poorest communities, due to the aquaculture industry’s reliance on FMFO for fish feed. Many farmed-fish products are labelled as certified sustainable despite the damaging impact of the FMFO industry on marine ecosystems.

The investigation also finds that while retailers take assurances from FMFO trade body IFFO about supply chain sustainability at face value, dozens of IFFO members and certified companies are linked to unsustainable and illegal fishing practices.

Natasha Hurley from Changing Markets, said:

“Shoppers across the globe are totally unaware that the seafood they are buying has a dark secret. The boom in aquaculture, to match the global demand for premium seafood products such as salmon, is fuelling illegal and unsustainable fishing practices which are stripping the oceans bare.

“Climate change is already destabilising our food system and that’s being exacerbated by the FMFO industry, which will take anything and everything out of the ocean to meet demand from the growing aquaculture industry.

“These practices are not only destroying vulnerable marine ecosystems, but are also causing huge social issues, as communities that have been reliant on the ocean for food for generations are having their livelihoods destroyed and their access to a vital source of protein undermined.”

However, the Scottish Salmon Producers Organisation was quick to point out the sustainability credentials of the feed their members use.

A statement said: “Companies providing feed for Scottish farm-raised salmon have confirmed that none of them uses ingredients from the Gambia, Vietnam or India or from reef fishing – the main thrust of the criticism highlighted in the report. Any claim or suggestion that Scottish feed suppliers are sourcing from these fisheries would be wrong, misleading and inaccurate.

“Scotland’s feed suppliers will continue to ensure their ingredients are sourced from responsible and sustainable fisheries, allowing Scotland’s salmon farmers to achieve the best feed conversion ratios of any livestock, thus ensuring best use of marine resources.”