Since Loch Duart was founded in 1999, we have been searching for a way to secure the highest quality ingredients for the feed for our salmon. Whether it was unilaterally banning blue whiting or launching our fishmeal selection process based on internationally-recognised sustainability data, we have always recognised feed ingredients as being central to our sustainability and critical to producing delicious and healthy fish.
As the salmon farming industry has grown, so has the pressure on fishmeal fisheries. Questions of sustainability have surrounded the use of fishmeal but our view has remained constant. The natural diet of a salmon is fish and we believed and still believe that fish must be the major part of our salmon’s diet. The critical nature of this belief means that we have to ensure that our sources are, and remain, sustainable. The ideal fish for us, as it is high up the trophic scale (feeding on large plankton and small shrimps) and short-lived (2-3 years, dies after spawning), is Icelandic capelin.
One very great advantage of Icelandic capelin is that the fishery is for human consumption (of the roe primarily) but does not use all of the fish. Thus the meal available for Loch Duart would be waste from the roe fishery for human consumption. This resource is the perfect solution for a company that wants to feed fish to fish and produce a tasty, healthy salmon in the most sustainable way.
So imagine our delight when our feed company, EWOS (Scotland), contacted us to say that Isfelag, an Icelandic fishing company based in the Westman Islands, is able to produce a fishmeal for us that ‘ticks every box’ we could want. The meal, produced exclusively from capelin and exclusively for Loch Duart, will be called ‘Royal’.
Dawn Purchase, Aquaculture Programme Manager at the Marine Conservation Society (MCS), comments on this development as follows:
“MCS welcomes this partnership between Loch Duart and Isfelag. The utilisation of the carcases of Icelandic capelin, which are IFFO RS responsibly sourced, is an example of innovative thinking that will ensure fish can remain the diets of farmed salmon long into the future.”
Isfelag, the oldest company in Iceland, has ethical principles that fit beautifully with those of Loch Duart. Whether it be in the minutiae of repairing the 1.5 tonne tote bags with a sewing machine or, in macro-scale, the installation of a water treatment works (an investment of €1.6m), Isfelag’s commitment to a better way is clearly evident. This fishing company has a large proportion of the capelin quota, processes the roe for human consumption in Japan, Russia and some European countries and has been looking for a better use for the carcasses.
Our Managing Director, Alban Denton, is enthusiastic – “Loch Duart’s dream of finding sustainable North Atlantic fishmeal/oil sources is coming true! This is the realisation of a long term aspiration for Loch Duart. To find a company which so clearly reflects our own principles is a fantastic step forward. To rear salmon for the most discerning palate as we do, we need to secure sources of top grade, sustainable fishmeal. When Isfelag offered us ‘Royal’, it was a game-changing development in our long search for the right ingredients for our feed.”
Stefan Fridriksson, CEO of Isfelag, believes that this move will show how relationships between salmon farmers and fishmeal providers can strengthen the sustainability of both industries.
“The ‘Royal’ meal is the very best we can produce. Fished for only within quota, held in chilled boats for the shortest of time, it is extremely fresh when processed because a proportion goes for human consumption. We are proud to add to our reputation for delivering delicious food by producing the Royal meal – using every part of this wonderful fish and delighted to find a customer like Loch Duart.”
It is extraordinary that two businesses in two extremely remote areas of the world have managed to find a way to link together, providing greater security for employment in very fragile rural areas. Add to this that these businesses both believe in driving sustainability to the very core of their business makes it as rare as winning the lottery. With matching ethos, experience and strategy our two businesses have a long future working together.
Isfelag or Ísfélag Vestmannaeyja was established in 1901 making it Iceland’s oldest limited company. Today it is one of the largest seafood companies in Iceland, focusing on pelagic species.
The company´s headquarters are located on Heimay, the largest of the Westman Islands (Vestmannaeyjar) off the south coast of Iceland. The company operates two factories in the Westman Islands and two in Thorshöfn (Þórshöfn) on the northern coast of Iceland.
ÍV’s operations are divided into three main categories:
- Fishing. The fleet consists of 6 vessels mainly specialized in pelagic fishery.
- Processing plants. Processing of fresh and frozen products.
- Fish meal and fish oil factories
EWOS Ltd, Bathgate, Scotland is a leading and trusted supplier of feed and nutrition to the Scottish aquaculture industry. The EWOS group has produced fish feed since 1935 and operates in all four of the world’s major salmon farming regions. EWOS Scotland’s strong relationship with Loch Duart goes back over 10 years. The relationship is based on EWOS’s ability to innovate, research and develop allied to their efficient and consistent delivery of top quality feed to our sites.