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Fish oil supply crisis forces omega-3 price hike at DSM

By Shane Starling , 22-Feb-2013

DSM’s bulging lipid business has bumped fish-sourced omega-3 oil prices 15% as crude fish oil stock prices skyrocket in the face of increasing demands on global fisheries.

“The pricing adjustment is needed to recover from cost increases for sourcing crude fish oils rich in omega-3. The trading price for crude fish oil has reached an all-time high,” DSM said.

A building crisis in fish-sourced omega-3 is not new.

Last year, former chairman of the Global Organisation for EPA and DHA Omega-3s (GOED) and strategic business development executive at Norwegian omega-3 supplier EPAX, Baldur Hjaltason, observed: “The main fisheries in Morocco and Peru are near capacity, so you have to ask the question: Where is the omega-3 going to come from if it keeps growing as it forecast to?”  

He added: “…the industry has a problem it needs to tackle now.”

Limited stock

The Peruvian anchovy fishery supplies about 70% of the world’s omega-3 market that is being sourced for an increasing array of reasons, something DSM acknowledged.

“There is very limited stock globally while the demand continues to increase from all market sectors such as Aquaculture, Animal Feed, Pharmaceuticals and Human Nutrition,” it said. 

DSM became the world’s biggest fish oil supplier after acquiring Ocean Nutrition Canada for €430m in the middle of last year. In 2010 it paid about €830m for the world’s leading algae-sourced omega-3 supplier, Martek Biosciences.

Andrew Mallison, director general of the International Fishmeal and Fish Oil Organisation (IFFO) says a recently agreed ban on discarded fish from European Union fisheries could be a source of omega-3.

“The high level of thrown away fish is an unintended consequence of the EU quota system where by law you couldn’t land other fish. But that system is being reformed and offers a lot of potential if managed correctly,” Mallison said.

The European Commission has said something like 23% of total catches are thrown away in some European fisheries.

GOED executive director Adam Ismail told us recently almost no omega-3s are sourced from European fisheries.

Packaged Facts estimates the global market for human use omega-3 products at €25.88bn in 2016, up from €18.95bn in 2011.

Typically an omega-3 fish oil supplier will sell 1mg of EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) + DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) at about €0.40.

Omega-3 fisheries were explored in depth by our US correspondent Hank Schultz yesterday in a NutraIngredients omega-3 special .

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