About fish meal, would try to make it as detailed as possible.
Fish meal is obtained by cooking, pressing, drying and milling fresh raw fish or fish trimmings. There are several types of fish meal in the market depending on the source of fish or fishery by-products used and on the processing technology involved. Fish meal is a more or less coarse brown flour.
The three major sources of fish meal are:
- fish stocks harvested specifically for this purpose: small, bony and oily fish such as anchovy, horse mackerel, menhaden, capelin, sandeel, blue whiting, herring, pollack…
- by-catches from other fisheries;
- trimmings and offal left over from fish processed for human consumption (unpalatable or fast spoiling)
Fish meal is an excellent source of highly digestible protein, long chain omega-3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA) and essential vitamins and minerals. Fish meal quality depends on the raw material used and on the processing method involved.
Fish meal has been used as a feedstuff since the 19th century in Northern Europe and is now used worldwide. Global production of fish meal has been stable for the past two decades at around 5 to 6 million tons, Peru and Chile being the main producers.
A major portion (more than 60%) of fish meal produced globally is used for aquaculture (farming of finfish and shrimp). The intensification of aquaculture in Asia, and particularly in China, is increasing the demand for fish meal even though the supply cannot grow accordingly.
Natural phenomena such as the El Niño-Southern Oscillation affect the fisheries along Central American Pacific coasts, leading to seasonal scarcities and increased prices. Due to these factors, the fish meal market is volatile and prices often shoot up.