Fishmeal and fish oil are produced mainly from small, short-lived fish with little or no value for direct human consumption as well as recycled trimmings from fish processing for human consumption.
The major species used for production of fishmeal and fish oil in Europe are capelin, sand eel, blue whiting, sprat, norway pout and boarfish. All fisheries are strictly regulated and catch limitations are always based on biological advice.
A growing amount of raw material comes from recycled trimmings. The fillet yield for most fish species varies between 30% and 65% of the mass of the fish, and the cutoffs constitute a valuable resource for the fishmeal and fish oil producers. Full use of the valuable marine resources is thus obtained.
Another source of supply is fish that do not meet the strict requirements for direct human consumption – for instance undersized fish.