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Feed industry fears for the future of blue whiting: A call to action

In an open letter to the Norwegian Government, the North Atlantic Pelagic Advocacy Group calls upon Norway to meet with fish feed producers and reflect seriously upon its own sustainability commitments.

Open letter from the North Atlantic Pelagic Advocacy Group to the Norwegian Government

Dear Ministers and Officials of the Norwegian Government,

This week, as Coastal States negotiators meet in Oslo, the North Atlantic Pelagic Advocacy Group wishes to underline the severity of the situation facing the Northeast Atlantic blue whiting fishery, and the real threat this poses to the fish feed supply chain, and salmon production.

As a nation at the cutting-edge of fish aquaculture, you know the value and importance of blue whiting to the world’s fishmeal industries and, as a result, to the secure supply of seafood across Europe and the world. More than this, you are a nation with a track record of spear-heading ambitious action for the sustainable future of our oceans and ocean industries: to stay true to these ambitions, urgent measures to protect blue whiting stocks are needed.

As an alliance of more than 70 companies – supported by the catching sector and a majority of salmon production in Norway – we are stating clearly that the security of many of our businesses, and therefore the future of the industry at large, also relies on the sustainable management of this stock. This is a situation that cannot be ignored.

NAPA and blue whiting: the state of play

Feed producers need to source fish meal and oil from certified fisheries or fisheries that are undertaking a ‘Fishery Improvement Project’ (FIP) process. Such a requirement is now central to compliance in the two key certification schemes for the industry – the ASC Feed Standard and Global G.A.P. Compound Feed manufacturing standard. In 2021, NAPA launched a new class of FIP – designed to drive progress towards a political agreement for key pelagic stocks. As NAPA members, this means we can continue our sourcing of this vital stock at this time, as we continue to urge Coastal States to come to a sustainable, science-based sharing agreement for all pelagics.

The blue whiting FIP is due to end in October: just a few short months away. With no resolution to the political deadlock around blue whiting management in sight, the future of the fish feed industry hangs in the balance in the waters off Norway’s coast.

No FIP, no future

Three giants in the fish-feed industry and integral members of our board: Biomar, Cargill, and Skretting Norway, will all cease blue whiting purchases if the FIP fails and no agreement is reached.

What is the ask?

NAPA has one simple ask for you: meet with us. Meet with NAPA members, salmon producers, and the catching sector collectively, to work together towards a vision for a sustainable sharing agreement for this key pelagic stock.

We understand the complexities of the situation. We know the challenge presented by the political deadlock. We believe that a nation like Norway, world-leading in salmon production and at the forefront of ocean advocacy globally, should be an ally – not a target – in our own advocacy efforts.

At your disposal,

The North Atlantic Pelagic Advocacy Group

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