The large majority of marine omega-3s used in dietary supplements come from reduction or low-trophic fisheries with species such as krill, herring and anchovies. Proper management of these fisheries is crucial to ensure the stocks will continue to grow and flourish in years to come. This also means marine-based omega-3 businesses are most likely to thrive if these fisheries are sustainably managed and certified by a third party.
A report from the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership (SFP) showed just 2 percent of the total catch volume from the reduction fisheries in the analysis comes from stocks in “Very Good" condition, and this corresponds to a single fishery—the krill fishery.
The overall ratings from this report supported the idea that future improvements in the management of the world’s oceans are needed, especially in terms of higher standards and more research. Companies fishing for species low on the food web have a responsibility to monitor their impact on the wider ecosystem, but unfortunately, this is an aspect of sustainability that is often overlooked or ignored. In the case of the krill fishery, because it is such an important part of the food chain, the impact on the broader ecosystem has always been a huge priority in its sustainability management.
Learn more about sustainability in the omega-3 industry in the article, “The Future of the Marine Omega-3 Industry Hinges on Sustainability," in INSIDER’s Essential Fatty Acids Digital Issue.
Marte Haabeth Grindaker is the sustainability director at Aker BioMarine (akerbiomarine.com).