A sustainable industry
Denmark has had an important industrial fishery since the beginning of the 1950’s and the fishmeal and fish oil industry is today highly developed and a major global player.
Originally based on herring, the industrial fishery is today targeting sand eel, sprat, norway pout and boarfish. Catches are mainly from the North Sea and Baltic Sea and fishing vessels from several countries land their catches in Denmark.
Trimmings from the filleting industries is another major resource for fishmeal and fish oil production, forming an increasing percentage of the total tonnage produced and an effective recycling of material that might otherwise go to landfill.
Industrial species have no or little commercial value as human consumption. They are short-lived species with a high natural mortality. Fishing mortality is generally much lower than natural mortality and stocks can vary considerably in size from one year to another. This is due to variations in natural processes such as recruitment.
The most important species:
- Fishmeal and fish oil are produced mainly from small, short-lived fish with little or no potential for direct human consumption as well as from recycled trimmings from fish processing.
- The major species used for production of fishmeal and fish oil in Europe are capelin, sandeel, blue whiting, sprat, norway pout and boarfish.
- The production is based on certified sustainable exploitation of natural resources. All fish stocks used to produce fishmeal and fish oil in European countries are subject to catch limitations. The total allowable catches (TACs) are based on biological advice and under governmental regulation and control.
- A growing amount of raw material comes from trimmings. The fillet yield formost fish species varies between 30% and 65% of the mass of the fish and therest raw material is a valuable resource for the fishmeal and fish oil producers. The European fishmeal industry is thus an important contributor to a circular blue bioeconomy.
The raw materials for the fishmeal industry are fresh marine fish and recycled trimmings from fish processing for human consumption.
The major species used for production of fishmeal and fish oil in Denmark are sandeel, sprat, norway pout and boarfish. These species are short-lived species with no or little commercial value as human consumption.