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Albert G. J. Tacon and Marc Metian

Fishing for Feed or Fishing for Food: Increasing Global Competition for Small Pelagic Forage Fish
At present, small pelagic forage fish species (includes anchovies, herring, mackerel, sardines, etc.) represent the largest landed species group in capture fisheries (27.3 million t or 29.7% of total capture fisheries landings in 2006). They also currently constitute the major species group actively fished and targeted for nonfood uses, including reduction into fishmeal and fish oil for use within compound animal feeds, or for direct animal feeding; the aquaculture sector alone consumed the equivalent of about 23.8 million t of fish (live weight equivalent) or 87% in the form of feed inputs in 2006. This article attempts to make a global analysis of the competition for small pelagic forage fish for direct human consumption and nonfood uses, particularly concerning the important and growing role played by small pelagic forage fish in the diet and food security of the poor and needy, especially within the developing countries of Africa and the Sub-Saharan region.
reduction has been relatively static since the mid-1980s, the proportion of the catch destined for use in farm-made aquafeeds, canned petfoods, and/or as fishing bait has risen considerably, increasing from 0.9 million t in 1970 (3.7% total nonfood use landings) to 13.1 million t in 2006 or 39.5% total nonfood use landings (7). Moreover, of particular significance is the strong correlation between the estimated nonfood use trend line and the reported landings of small pelagic forage fish (Fig. 1); small pelagic forage fish usually constitute the bulk of the fish targeted for nonfood uses, including reduction and/or direct animal feeding (2, 8–9). In addition to small pelagic forage fish species, it is important to mention here that several demersal fish species are also targeted for reduction, and include blue whiting (2.0 million t landed in 2006; Table 1), hakes, and grenadier (1).

Notwithstanding the above significant nonfood use of the total fish catch, it is not surprising that the per capita supply of food fish for direct human consumption from capture fisheries has not been able to keep pace with population growth. Thus, while total captured food-fish landings have increased at an average annual rate of 1.2% from 37.9 million t in 1970 to 58.7 million t in 2006, per capita food fish supply from capture fisheries (includes captured fish and shellfish) is declining, decreasing by 20.5% from a high of 11.2 kg in 1987 to 8.9 kg in 2006 (1). In marked contrast, food fish supply from aquaculture (farming of aquatic animals and plants) has increased 271% during the same period, increasing from 2.1 kg in 1987 to 7.8 kg in 2006, with the aquaculture share of total food fish intake for human consumption increasing to 47% compared with 53% from capture fisheries in 2006 (S. Vannuccini pers. comm.). If aquaculture food fish supply continues its average annual growth of 8.6% per year, it is expected that fish supply from aquaculture will reach that of capture fisheries by 2010. Whereas total global per capita food fish supply continues to increase to a new high of 16.7 kg in 2006 (8.9 kg from capture þ 7.8 kg from aquaculture), the aquaculture sector is also a major consumer of nonfood fish in terms of feed inputs (10–13). For example, it has been estimated that in 2006 the aquaculture sector consumed the equivalent of 23.8 million t of small pelagic forage fish in the form of feed inputs, including 3.7 million t of fishmeal and 0.83 million t of fish oil within compound aquafeeds (equivalent to 16.6 million t of small pelagic forage fish) and 7.2 million t of low value/trash fish as a direct feed or within farm-made aquafeeds (7, 8). The above usage levels equate to 37.3% of total aquaculture food fish production (19.3 million t out of a total of 51.7 million t in 2006) currently being dependent upon capture fisheries for sourcing feed inputs (7), small pelagic forage fish and fish oil currently being the only commercially viable source of dietary essential omega-3 fatty acids (and in particular eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid) for carnivorous fish species and crustaceans (14).
Ambio Vol. 38, No. 6, September 2009

Globally, capture fisheries landings (excluding aquatic plants and mammals) have stabilized at around 92.8 6 2.1 million t (mean 6 SD) since 1994, fluctuating from a high of 95.7 million t in 2000 to a low of 90.5 million t in 2003 (Fig. 1). As in previous years, the Peruvian anchovy (Engraulis ringens) was the top landed species at 7.0 million t in 2006 (Table 1), with small pelagic forage fish species representing the largest landed species group at 27.3 million t or 29.7% of total landings in 2006 (1). For the purposes of this article, small pelagic forage fish include finfish species that serve as easy prey for other animals to forage on (including other larger fish, seabirds, marine mammals, and humans) because of their small size and schooling behavior (2). Within this species grouping are included anchovies, herring, mackerel, pilchards, sprat, capelin, sardines, saury, sandlance, and shads.

As in previous years, a major proportion of the total fish catch is destined for nonfood uses (Fig. 1), being either targeted for reduction into fishmeal and fish oil (for use within industrially compounded animal feeds) or fed whole or in wet-processed form (for use in farm-made aquafeeds, in canned pet foods, or as fishing bait) (3–8). Surprisingly, despite the rising population and increasing demand for food fish for direct human consumption, the proportion of the total fish catch destined for nonfood uses has remained relatively constant in overall percentage terms since disposition data were first collected, with nonfood capture fisheries landings averaging 26.7 million t since 1970, increasing from 24.5 million t or 39.0% of the total catch in 1970 to 33.3 million t or 36.2% of the total catch in 2006 (1). However, whereas the proportion of the catch targeted for


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10% Norway. 9%. 42%. Canada. 8% Chile 100% Venezuela. 9% China. Peru. 8% Japan.77 g capitaÀ1 dÀ1). aquaculture Table 1. 22%. 62%.38 g capitaÀ1 dÀ1). respectively (the highest of any continent or region) (Fig.3% of total animal protein consumption in Africa and the Sub-Saharan region (second only to the Asian region at 21.7 1.5% to 46. CONTRIBUTION OF FOOD FISH AND PELAGIC FISH TO HUMAN NUTRITION AND GLOBAL FOOD SUPPLY Food fish. Ghana.09 g capitaÀ1 dÀ1) and represented the second major source of animal protein consumed after milk (2.Within this region food fish constituted 20.73 0. 32%.15% of total animal protein supply (2. calculated from FAO [18]).5 g dÀ1). Cololabis saira Sardinella longiceps Trachurus japonicus Ambio Vol. 13%. 59%. Republic of Korea. 75%. 6% Common name Peruvian anchovy (¼Anchoveta) Atlantic herring Blue whiting (¼Poutassou) Chub mackerel Chilean jack mackerel Japanese anchovy Scads nei European pilchard (¼Sardine) Sardinellas nei California pilchard European sprat Atlantic mackerel European anchovy Araucanian herring Round sardinella Gulf menhaden Silver pomfrets nei Pacific saury Indian oil sardine Japanese jack mackerel Latin name Engraulis ringens Clupea harengus Micromesistius poutassou Scomber japonicus Trachurus murphyi Engraulis japonicus Decapterus spp. No. although Africa and the Sub-Saharan region had the lowest average per capita supply of total calories (2436 and 2266 calories dÀ1). whether captured or cultured. Thailand. and fish (7.6% to 18. 3). poultry meat (0.5% to 43. Italy. The other major sources of animal proteins are bovine meat (1.6% of the total population of SubSaharan Africa (Fig. 47%. Figure 2 shows the contribution of fish (includes both fish and shellfish) and pelagic fish to total daily per capita calorie and protein intake by major geographical region and country grouping in 2003 (according to the latest FAO Food Balance Sheets) (18).39 0.73 g capitaÀ1 dÀ1). 7% Norway. 3).9 kg yÀ1) compared with all other major regions of the world in 2003. Iceland.0 1. 23%. 38.0 2.56 0. in contrast to Asia where total aquaculture production (61.kva. Republic of Korea.Figure 1. eggs (0. 25%. 25%. 22% Morocco. Contribution of fish (includes both fish and shellfish) and pelagic fish to total daily per capita calorie and animal protein intake by major geographical region and country grouping in 2003 according to the latest FAO Food Balance Sheets) (18).4 million t) exceeded total capture fisheries landings (48. 15%. Chile. 16% China. 32%. Portugal. Sardina pilchardus Sardinella spp. Oman. Philippines. Russian Federation & Faroe Islands.4 million t) in 2006 and contributes to more than half of total food fish supply in this region. 85%. Quantity fished in 2006 (million t) 7. 6.53 0. China. China. 18%.78 g capitaÀ1 dÀ1). Indonesia. Japan. 100% China. 19%.63 0. Russian Federation. 100% Japan.31 g capitaÀ1 dÀ1.1 and 55. 75%.41 0.2 2. Pakistan.1% to 8. 1% Norway. Thus. Sardinops caeruleus Sprattus sprattus Scomber scombrus Engraulis encrasicolus Strangomera bentincki Sardinella aurita Brevoortia patronus Pampus spp.66 g capitaÀ1 dÀ1). 295 . Philippines. 4) (18). animal protein (12.59 0. other meats (0. Taiwan. Nigeria.0 2. Ecuador. 18% Chile. US.44 0. play an important role in human nutrition. and pig meat (0. China. Poland. For example. 86%. 14% Denmark.80 g capitaÀ1 dÀ1).3% of total food fish calorie and protein supply. 52%. 45%. Ghana. Sweden. India. Top 20 small pelagic forage fish species and demersal fish targeted for food and nonfood uses in 2006 (1). 17% US. 32%. edible offals (0. countries or about 51.42 0. Contribution of small pelagic forage fish to global capture fisheries production and disposition of the fisheries catch (values given in million t) (1). 15%. Moreover. 16% Japan. 24%. protein (61.39 0. Algeria.1% and 42. UK.ambio. 15%. 48%. Senegal.2 0.2%) (Fig. food fish contributed 8. mutton and goat meat (0. 8%. US. 51%. 14%. particularly within the diet and food security of the poor and needy as a source of much needed essential dietary nutrients and high quality animal protein (15– 17).35 Main contributing countries (% of the total) Peru. 31%. with marine pelagic fish contributing 45. 10% Mexico.94 0. 21%.6 and 6.8 and 11.6% of total animal calorie intake (the highest of any continent or region) and 17. 33%. 10% Turkey. 9%.40 0.1 g dÀ1).84 g capitaÀ1 dÀ1).8 1. Food fish currently represents a major source of animal protein (contributing more than 25% of the total animal protein supply) for about 339 million people within 19 Sub-Saharan Figure 2. 16%. September 2009 Ó Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences 2009 http://www.

kva.76 million t in 2006) represented only 10. Contribution of small pelagic forage fish to total food fish supply in 2003 (values expressed as % total food fish supply.9% of total capture fisheries landings (0. September 2009 . 6.Figure 3. 296 Ó Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences 2009 http://www. production in the African continent (0. Countries in Africa with gray color where food fish contributes more than 25% of the total animal protein supply in 2003 (calculated from the FAO Food Balance Sheets) (18).69 million t in 2006) (1). No. light gray 25–50%: calculated from FAO [18]).ambio. Figure 4 shows the percent contribution of pelagic food fish to total food fish supply according to the latest FAO Balance Figure 4. dark gray 50– Ambio Vol. Sub-Saharan Africa currently being home to 206 million undernourished people or 24.1% of the world total of 854 million persons (19). 38. The upshot of this is that food fish derived from both marine and freshwater capture fisheries still plays an essential role as a provider of much needed animal protein and other essential nutrients.

species. market price.9 thousand t of chub mackerel. Figure 5 shows the imports of processed small pelagic fish by region. herrings. At present.7% of total small pelagic forage fish landings were reported within the South American region (10 million t in 2006).7% total) and Asia (34. In general. and as such also play an important role in food fish supply within inland regions (18). dried. Nigeria. either fresh. Moreover. followed by Asia (23. because these lower-value fish species are usually consumed by the poorer and most vulnerable COMMERCIALLY TRADED PROCESSED SMALL PELAGIC FORAGE FISH FOR HUMAN CONSUMPTION Although total reported landings of small pelagic forage fish was 27. second after marine pelagic fish in 2003. with the remainder exported to South Africa. 4. sardines (included sardinellas and sprats). However.6 million t or 16. Ghana.31 t of Cape horse mackerel. jack mackerel are Nigeria. has had a very long tradition (4. pilchards/sardines.9% total imports in 2006). pelagic fish contribute more than 50% of total fish supply in more than 36 countries (Fig.3 4. frozen.43% of total exports (2 422 098 t). Of particular note is the important contribution of pelagic fish to total fish supply within the Sub-Saharan African region (Fig. 4).2 million t in 2006.1 5. although more than 36. Peru. exports from Chile have increased more than sixfold from 37 000 t in 1993 to more than 197 000 t in 2006. 90% of Namibia’s pilchard catch is usually canned and exported to South Africa. and/or dried form depending upon country.1 thousand t of Southern African anchovy (1). By contrast. In marked contrast. the largest single importer of processed food-grade forage fish products in 2006 was Nigeria (372 000 t). Zimbabwe.8%). particularly within most Sub-Saharan countries (1). Cote d’Ivoire (103 000 t). representing 17.5%). anchovies (20–22).25 0. Europe accounted for more than 59. 2.5 4. Moreover. the main export markets for frozen Chilean Ambio Vol. and Mozambique. In marked contrast. 2. Franz et al. with the remainder usually used to produce fishmeal and fish oil that are exported to South Africa and Japan. Although this figure does include tunas. the consumption of small pelagic forage fish in Asia and the Pacific. At the country level. Of particular significance is the marked decrease of total exports of processed food-grade small pelagic fish from Peru (the largest producer of small pelagic fish in the world at more than 5. and Sri Lanka for canned mackerel (25). mainly in frozen form (85%). frozen. total imports of processed small pelagic fish in Africa was 1. either as inputs for the preparation of traditional sauces/food preparations or for use as feed inputs for the production of high value aquaculture species. and billfishes (6. a variety of food-grade processed products are produced from these generally lower value (in marketing terms) fish species (see Table 2 for an example of the major processed traded products in 2006) (1).9 thousand t of whitehead round herring. Contrary to the notion often expressed that most small pelagic forage fish species targeted for reduction are not suitable for direct human consumption (23). it is also important to mention here that freshwater fish contributed 33. the fish usually are consumed in fresh. only 4. these species play a very minor role in the food supply of the major pelagic fish consumers. and financial resources of the consumer. the anchovy is generally regarded as being of lower value and as such is usually reduced to fishmeal and fish oil. and Cameroon (81 000 t) (1).9 million t in 2006) (24).kva.Table 2. 15. Moreover.21 0. and. September 2009 Ó Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences 2009 http://www. with exports decreasing after a reaching a high of more than 100 000 t in 1981 to a low of 22 000 t in 2006. Processed traded products Frozen Atlantic herring Frozen chub mackerel Frozen jack and horse mackerel Frozen mackerels nei Frozen anchovies Frozen clupeoids nei Frozen Atlantic mackerel Prepared/preserved pilchards Quantity (million t) 0. the pilchard is generally regarded as being the most valuable small pelagic species in Namibia. 26–28).ambio. horse mackerel are frozen whole at sea and then shipped for export.20 0. Major traded and processed small pelagic forage fish species in 2006 (1). this is usually the farmer producing the cash crop rather than the cash poor and most needy (4.0% of total food fish supply in Africa. cured. with landed fish usually canned and the processing waste reduced to fishmeal and fish oil.6 6. competition for the use of these resources. canned. with the main species being mackerels. availability. and Cuba. with Europe showing the fastest growth in imports (responsible for more than 45. Quantity (thousand t) A.32 million t. 4. 6.4 9. Consumption of marine small pelagic fish in most SubSaharan countries is primarily in the form of locally-caught or imported lower-cost species such as mackerels. including 0. and 1. However. 38.9%) and Africa (23.7 4.3 thousand t of Southern African pilchard.9% of processed food-grade small pelagic forage fish products were internationally traded in 2006 (1). canned.28 0. Top producing countries are presented in Table 3A (1). to a lesser extent. According to FAO. Top world producing (A) and European exporting (B) countries for internationally traded processed small pelagic forage fish species in 2006 (1). Sheets (18).8% of total reported marine pelagic species in 2006) (1).5 million t.48 0. (21) about 70% of Namibian horse mackerel landings were exported to the Democratic Republic of Congo. the major country producers of processed small pelagic forage fish products in 2006 were in Europe (45. SMALL PELAGIC FISH USED AS HUMAN FOOD According to Franz et al. Cameroon. and this does not need repeating again here. calculated from FAO [18]). Surprisingly. with other major importers within the Sub-Saharan region including Ghana (264 000 t). with the top European exporting countries shown in Table 3B (1).43 0.1 Table 3. cured or fermented. However. Angola. bonitos.01 million t in 2006. 27). Producing country Japan Norway The Russian Federation Morocco Exporting country Norway The Netherlands United Kingdom Spain The Russian Federation 1206 529 439 209 626 354 239 155 144 B.0 10. usually results in the product being sold to the person/ sector that can afford to pay more. Total Namibian landings of small pelagic species in 2006 were reported as 0.69 0. and 297 . (21) reported that Namibia’s fisheries benefited from duty free access to the European Union. No.19 Percentage of total 15.

In marked contrast to the Peruvian Anchovy (E. noodles and ravioli products produced from surimi/minced fish (29. that flourished for about 5 centuries starting about 2600 B. vi) dried anchovies (47). this is not the case. recent advances in fishing methods and fish processing technology (31) are now such that a variety of different food products have been successfully developed from anchovy (E. and with it. mechanically deboned fish flesh that has been washed with water and then stabilized (after dewatering) by blending with cryoprotectants (low molecular weight carbohydrates such as sucrose or sorbitol) to ensure a good shelf life and protein function (gelling. 32).Figure 5. 278 000 t) and chub mackerel (Scomber japonicus: 102 000 t) were processed for direct human consumption in 2006 (24).73% of the total anchovy (E. segments of society. and extruded fish balls (dried) made from foodgrade fishmeal and cereals (39). 49). Sadly. The same author also noted that imported frozen fish (mainly low-cost pelagic fish and cuttlefish) were increasingly being distributed to Metro Manila at relatively lower prices than locally caught species (51).). fluctuating from a low of 7. It may be that with improvements in fishing and on-board fish processing techniques the market will take care of itself. and x) dry salted products. it is often stated that there is no cultural tradition for consumption of Anchoveta in Peru (viz. iii) fermented and powdered anchovy seasoning products (44). In the case of Peru. Moreover. viii) and menhaden roe (50). fish nuggets.1 kg yÀ1 (3). 38. 48. in Chile a greater proportion of the Jack mackerel catch is being diverted from fishmeal manufacture to processing as frozen whole fish for export (Table 4). v) anchovy protein hydrolysates and oils (46). fish fillets. Other food products that have been successfully prepared from Peruvian anchovy (E. one of the most important advances in fish processing has been the development of stabilized surimi products (33–37). fish sausages. 38. with larger fish usually split open. salted. ringens) and other small oily pelagic fish species have been related to their rapid deterioration in quality on prolonged storage and the difficulties of processing large volumes of fish during a relatively short period of time (28–30). as their main source of protein (55). Apart from improvements in fish freezing and chilling methods (28. In the past. the ‘‘cultural tradition’’ of consuming fish and shellfish (56). namely the Chilean jack mackerel (Trachurus murphyi. Similarly. only 43 000 t or 0. E. ii) canned anchovy marinates (40–43). the proportion of the total fish catch in Peru destined for food use has been relatively small.7 kg caputÀ1 and above the global average of 16. all the reported landings of the other two pelagic species in Peru. fish balls. For example. as the production of frozen jack mackerel is much more profitable than producing fishmeal (53). However. ringens). vii) food-grade fish powders and fish protein concentrates (39. 17). ix) smoked/cured fish products (28). the problem usually associated with the direct utilization of Peruvian anchovy ( .1% in 2006. fish chips. and then sun dried. cleaned. iv) edible quality refined fish oils (45). 6. fish biscuits. and that it is for this reason that the bulk of the Anchoveta harvest is processed by the industrial fisheries sector for export and foreign cash earnings. the Caral civilization ended around 1600 B. In addition. ringens) and other small pelagic fish species. ringens) harvest of 5 935 302 t was destined for direct human consumption in 2006 (24). texture) on prolonged storage or freezing (30. INCREASING COMPETITION BETWEEN USERS FOR SMALL PELAGIC FORAGE FISH Market economics and free market access are currently the main drivers that select whether small pelagic forage fish are fished for feed or fished for food. The consumption of cured fish (including dried salted fish) is one of the highest in the Southeast Asian region (51). ringens) and other small oily pelagic fish species include: i) frankfurters. September 2009 298 Ó Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences 2009 http://www. However. this may not always be the case. ringens) (54). including Anchoveta and sardines. Peruvian Anchovy.C. No.ambio. Total imports of traded small pelagic fish and derived food products by region (values given in t) (1). more simply put. 39). relied largely on fish and shellfish. 35).3% of the total anchovy catch was reduced to fishmeal and fish oil almost exclusively for export. as the earliest known civilization in the Americas. Although the food fish supply in Peru in 2003 was 20. in a survey undertaken of local fish markets in Metro Manila (the Philippines).kva.0% in 2002 to a new high of 16. However. located in the Supe Valley near the coast of central Peru. surimi is stabilized myofibrillar from muscle or. the ‘‘Caral civilization’’ (a thriving metropolis as Egypt’s great pyramids were being built. greatest Ambio Vol. small sardines and anchovies are usually brine-salted and dried whole. 99. especially if the market price of fishmeal and/or fish oil price should rise in the future. they suffer most when the price of these life-saving commodities increase out of their economic grasp and food basket (16.

However.kva. It has been estimated that the tuna fattening operations in Mexico are currently consuming about 50 000 to 70 000 t of pilchards (this value differs from the 20 000 to 30 000 t estimated by ´ Zertuche-Gonzalez et al. and/or animal feeding. conservationists. living on less than USD 1 a day) and Indigenous people comprising an estimated 15% of the population and having a poverty rate of 70% (57). 12) and has generated increased attention on the sector from seafood awareness campaigns to promote a more sustainable seafood supply within developed country markets (66–69). With aquaculture now consuming more than 57% of total global fishmeal production. Similar domestic price increases in forage feed fish for tuna fattening operations have also been reported in Italy and Spain (59. 30 000 t of frozen 299 . Mexico reportedly produced 64 000 t of prepared/preserved pilchards. The Californian pilchard has also recently entered into another potential conflict of interests in Mexico. This includes reduction to fishmeal and fish oil. 19]) as a means of generating cash income and export revenues (49.2 million. 62). The long term sustainability and ethics of using these precious fishery resources as feed inputs by the aquaculture sector has been questioned (10. with usually smaller quantities processed for direct human consumption (mainly by canning).ambio. No. Moreover. Successful examples include the introduction in Peru of legislation establishing that Jack mackerel. this is not the case in rural inland areas. the major obstacles to the direct and increased use of small pelagic forage fish for direct human consumption are primarily economic and relate to the current free market access of fisherfolk and industrial fishing companies to exploit this resource for reduction into fishmeal and fish oil Ambio Vol. 6. and use of these precious commodities for animal feeding (63. emphasis by fisheries managers. 38. Moreover. Chub mackerel. Fishmeal production by major fish species in Chile from 1995 to 2005 (values are given in thousand t. 329 000 t or 92. supply. 80 000 t of fishmeal nei (will also contain product produced from local tuna processing plants. Peruvian anchovy 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 439 306 392 117 424 387 194 333 183 417 341 Chub mackerel 25 34 49 14 26 2 77 69 123 115 53 Jack mackerel 956 834 594 260 204 216 302 243 227 233 221 Sardines 50 103 99 73 214 153 72 71 60 74 58 Patagonian grenadier 36 70 12 69 58 16 28 15 2 0 2 Others 1 3 6 3 2 3 4 1 11 17 27 Fish waste 45 49 72 106 72 81 100 104 99 128 125 consumption occurs in areas and cities near the coast (72% of Peru’s 27 million inhabitants live in urban areas along the coast) (39). of the 357 000 t of processed fish products produced in Peru in 2006 for direct human consumption (from a total fish landing of 7 027 000 t). 87% of total global fish oil production. ‘‘nei’’ is a FAO terminology for species not specified). Similarly. this species was usually targeted by fishermen for reduction into fishmeal. it may be that the only way to safeguard and promote increased access and usage of this resource for direct human consumption is through the imposition of legislative controls by national/local governments by prohibiting the use of these potentially food-grade small pelagic forage fisheries for animal feeding.Table 4. Competition for the resource has been such that fishmeal factories along the coast are finding it hard to source product for reduction. and environmentalists has been placed on the sustainable management of specific fishery resources so as to prevent overexploitation rather than on postharvest management strategies and the end user of the resource. the culture of higher market value carnivorous fish and crustaceans (which are more dependent upon fishery resources as feed inputs) is actively promoted by major aquaculture producers (including China. Moreover. there is a strong market demand for continuing the market availability. On the basis of the above usage of fishmeal and fish oil. However. With reported landings of more than 545 000 t in 2006 (1). the recent development and demand by tuna aquaculture fattening operations (the growing of wild caught small-sized tuna to larger-size tuna within offshore cages for subsequent export) along the Pacific Mexican coast for the pilchard catch as feed have resulted in prices paid for product to increase from USD 70 tÀ1 for freshly caught fish to as high as USD 300 tÀ1 for frozen fish from Mazatlan (58– 61). [61]). 65). 13. the world’s largest aquaculture producer and user of fishmeal and low value/trash fish [7. and sardine should only be exploited for direct human consumption (69). Farmed tuna production was the second most valuable aquaculture crop in Mexico after farmed shrimp. legislature in California in the early 1920s introduced legislation prohibiting the processing of fish (in this case the California sardine [¼Californian pilchard Sardinops caeruleus) for reduction if it was fit for human consumption (70). in the case of many African coastal and Island states the small pelagic fish OBSTACLES TO DIRECT HUMAN USE OF SMALL PELAGIC FORAGE FISH As mentioned previously. it is perhaps not surprising that for many high value cultured species the consumption of fishery resources (in terms of small pelagic forage fish equivalents) is greater than the quantity of cultured fish produced (8). and 27 000 of fish body oils nei in 2006 (1). about half of the population in Peru still lives below the national poverty line. September 2009 Ó Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences 2009 http://www. and inserts for fishmeal production from Jack mackerel [52]). However.76 thousand million in 2006 (24). 64). with more than half of rural Peruvians considered as being extremely poor (that is. Apart from the willingness of the aquaculture sector to pay higher market prices for these valuable commodities (compared with terrestrial livestock and other potential users). RESPONSIBLE FISHERIES AND NEED FOR INCREASED LEGISLATIVE CONTROLS Notwithstanding the critical role played by lower-cost small pelagic forage fish species in total food fish supply and the subsequent nutritional wellbeing of cash-poor people within developing countries (Fig. with total tuna production in 2006 reported by FAO (1) as 4735 t and valued at USD 43. and 55% of total other nonfood small pelagic forage fish usage in 2006 (7). with both high value products being almost exclusively produced for export to developed country markets. fish oil. 2). and food fish exceeded USD 1. total Peruvian fisheries exports in the form of fishmeal.3% was exported.

the highest consumers of fish and seafood in 2003 were Developed Countries at 23. For .ambio. Probability of dying (per 1000) for children under 5 years of age (78). September 2009 300 Ó Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences 2009 http://www. North America (developed) 21. governments should be encouraged to adhere and adopt into their national legislations the recommendations and guidelines laid down in the FAO Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries (72.Figure 6. ii) government and civil society be made aware through seafood Ambio Vol. with the largest importers being the European Union.98 kg yÀ1. In fact. Europe 20. Article 11. giving priority to the nutritional needs of local communities.f of the FAO CCRF states one of the major objectives of the Code as being to promote the contribution of fisheries to food security and food quality. followed by Latin America and the Caribbean at 8. primarily for export (22. particularly within those countries/regions where small pelagic forage fish are consumed directly by the rural poor.’’ In line with the above declarations and agreements it is thus recommended that i) governments within major aquaculture producing countries prohibit and/or severely limit the manufacture of fishmeal/fish oil from potentially food-grade small pelagic forage fish species and the use of potentially food-grade small pelagic forage fish for use as feed inputs for aquaculture and animal feeding. 73).95 kg yÀ1.6 thousand million. followed by Oceania 22. 6. Article 2. Africa 7.54 kg yÀ1. the lowest consumers (on a per capita basis) were Developing Countries at 13.kva. and Sub-Saharan Africa at 6. 38.1. 71). and Asia 17. No.94 kg yÀ1 (global average: 16.53 kg yÀ1 (18). In marked contrast.9 states that ‘‘States should encourage the use of fish for human consumption and promote consumption of fish whenever appropriate. catch is often simply not available for human consumption as it is processed into fishmeal on board or piped or trucked directly to land-based fishmeal processing plants.94 kg yÀ1.93 kg yÀ1. followed by Japan and the United States (1).57 kg yÀ1. developed countries imported 80% of total traded fisheries products in 2006 valued at USD 72. on a per capita basis.06 kg yÀ1) (18).56 kg yÀ1. In fact. In particular.

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