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October 14, 2013

Thailand

Robins McIntosh Clarifies CPF’s Fishmeal Policy

 

In August 2013, just a few months after having joined IFFO (the International Fishmeal and Fish Oil Organization), Charoen Pokphand Foods (CPF) declared that it would drop fishmeal from its shrimp feed This caused some confusion that Robins McIntosh, a senior vice president at CPF, cleared up at the recent GOAL 2013 conference in Paris, France (October 7–10, 2013).

 

“I was invited to explain myself,” said McIntosh.  “A few years ago, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall came into my life.”  The United Kingdom chef, through his Fish Fight Campaign, has been loudly advocating for greater sustainability in seafood, including feed.  Fearnley-Whittingstall is a “great communicator”, said McIntosh, and caused CPF and me to think about making some changes in our fishmeal policies that were already in place.  We had already lowered the amount of fishmeal in our shrimp feeds from 30-35% in 2001 to around 10% today.

 

Before Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall entered the picture, however, CPF hadn’t really taken into account the sustainability of the fisheries that supplied the meal.  To better protect the fisheries, CPF now recommends that fishermen enlarge the mesh size of their nets to four centimeters, and it makes sure that they are paid for doing it by paying them an extra $0.10 a kilo—a 25% price premium—for their catch.  Trials with the larger mesh caused catches to drop by 30-60%.  This shows that the fishermen “need some sort of compensation” if they are to use this system, said McIntosh.

 

The efforts also showed that fishermen recognize the problems facing their fisheries.  One of the fishermen even asked that a moratorium to be placed on the Gulf of Thailand fishery.  McIntosh said this is when CPF announced it would target zero fishmeal in its feed by 2020.

 

He stressed, however, the goal is more about having the option of doing so, in the event that fisheries don’t improve by then.  If fisheries do become more sustainable, then the move makes sense.  “But if by then there are responsible fisheries in the Gulf of Thailand, and it’s reasonably priced, we will use fishmeal.”

 

Source: Undercurrent News [eight free news reads every month].  Editor, Tom Seaman (undercurrent@undercurrentnews.com).  CP Foods Explains Zero Fishmeal Target.  Eva Tallaksen (eva.tallaksen@undercurrentnews.com).  October 9, 2013.

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