This report from UK food waste NGO Feedback argues that sustainability certification of wild-caught forage fish as feed for Scottish salmon aquaculture companies could in fact be driving overfishing.
According to the report, fish oil from wild-caught forage fish is an important feed ingredient for farmed Scottish salmon because it supplies omega 3 fatty acids - a key marketing feature - to the salmon. Based on communication with the six largest salmon companies in Scotland, Feedback concludes that certification of feed ingredients is sometimes used as a “blanket justification of sustainability” in the absence of detailed information on the ingredients’ origins. Feedback also notes that companies will use a portion of non-certified feed ingredients if there is a shortage of certified feed ingredients.
Feedback calls for certification bodies such as the Marine Stewardship Council to stop certifying fish that are caught specifically to make fish meal and fish oil for aquaculture.
Read the full report, On the hook: Certification’s failure to protect wild fish from the Scottish salmon industry, here (PDF link). See also the Foodsource resource How do food systems affect fish stocks and marine habitats?