MFA of omega-3 fatty acids EPA & DHA from a Norwegian resource perspective: Implications for future growth in fisheries and aquaculture toward 2050
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Much of the current research into the sustainability of the fisheries and aquaculture industry has focused on achieving continued growth. The report Value creation from productive oceans, makes annual growth predictions of 4% for aquaculture and 7% for the marine ingredients sector from 2010 to 2050. The Norwegian government incorporated these growth rates into a political vision presented to parliament as Meld.St.22 the world s foremost seafood nation. Among many ambitions presented in Meld.St.22, three were chosen as being particularly relevant to industry ecology: import reliance, utilization of by-products and sustainable growth. These ambitions were tested along with the 4 and 7% growth rates from the Value creation from productive oceans, report using the industrial ecology methodology of material / substance flow analysis. The MFA/SFA model of the fisheries and aquaculture system used a multi-layered approach with a product weight layer as the base and EPA + DHA as the substance layer. Results for import reliance suggest that Norway is 88% reliant on imports (product weight) for aquaculture and 55% for marine ingredients (EPA + DHA). The model estimated that imported Peruvian Anchoveta represented approximately 50% of the EPA + DHA in Norwegian aquaculture feed and 55% for marine ingredients in 2012. By-product utilization was found to be nearly 100% for the aquaculture and pelagic sectors, 34% for whitefish species and nearly zero for macroalgae and marine mammals. The overall by-product utilization rate for Norway, including all Norwegian landed marine fish, zooplankton, macroalgae and marine mammals was 62% for product weight. Sustainability was assessed from an industry, consumer and general environmental perspective. Sustainability from an industry perspective was evaluated using a demand and supply forecast for EPA + DHA. Growth rates of 4% for aquaculture and 7% for marine ingredients were used to model the future supply and demand relative to the system calculated values in the base year (2012). Results suggest a shortage of EPA + DHA within two years and a 45% deficit in demand by 2020. The future EPA + DHA shortage was independently confirmed by a study performed by EWOS using similar parameters and assumptions. The whole fish FIFO for fish oil was calculated to be 1,3 kg of whole forage fish required for 1 kg of whole salmon. The efficiency of seafood deliverables indicator (ESD) was created to add an element of efficiency to the sustainability of seafood from a consumer perspective. The aquaculture industry was found to require 3,22 kg of EPA + DHA per kg of EPA + DHA delivered to consumers as seafood, while the wild fishery sector required 1,76 / kg. The overall findings suggest that EPA & DHA are critical nutrients for: Fish health, human health, industry growth and consumer preferences. The challenge posed by the worsening shortage of EPA & DHA will affect the sustainability of the industry and dialogue concerning realistic growth prospects is suggested.