Knowledgebase > 'Fishmeal' and 'fish oil'

'Fishmeal' and 'fish oil'

Last updated 14 October 2017


  • Made from cooking, pressing, drying & milling raw fish and fish trimmings
  • Generally made from wild-caught small marine fish (referred to as industrial fish, feed grade fish, or 'trash fish') not deemed suitable for direct human consumption
  • 4 products sold as fishmeal (for larval rearing & growing of marine species, for salmon & piglet production, for aquaculture feeds, & for use in pig & poultry feeds)
  • Fishmeal industry began in 19th century, surplus catches process for oil in tanning, soap, & other industrial purposes, now oil considered & consumed as 'valuable nutrient' for livestock & humans
  • No unique nutrients in them, but considered convenient nutrient 'packagers' by the industry 
  • Majority of world's industrial fisheries located in Pacific Ocean off South America provide nearly 40% of world fishmeal/fish oil production
  • World annual production of fishmeal is approximately 6.5 million tonnes, 1 million tonnes for fish oil, from 33 million tonnes of whole fish trimmings 
  • Much larger amounts of wild fish used to produce fewer kg of farmed fish, estimated as a 10:1 ratio, some estimates 5:1 ratio, which in addition to vast amounts of lives lost, this is argued as being greatly wasteful


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Schipp, G, Darwin Aquaculture Centre, 2008

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