Fishmeal is usually made from ground-up, bony trash fish and forage fish — like anchovy, menhaden or herring. Researchers say these are the very types of fish that may be more valuable to humans who eat them directly, rather than being diverted toward aquaculture and other uses. Of the 20 million tons of fish destined for fishmeal production each year, Most of it, an estimated 70 percent, is directed towards aquaculture, followed by pig and chicken production that uses it to speed growth and provide important nutrients.
In the journal Fish and Fisheries, researchers say that the vast majority of fishmeal is actually made up of fish deemed suitable for "direct human consumption." Currently, a quarter of the world's commercially caught fish, 20 million tons of wild seafood, is directed away from our dinner plates every year, and instead, is used for fishmeal production.
Researchers say a 90 percent of that catch is considered "food grade" and could be eaten directly, potentially creating an important source of nutrition for those in developing countries at risk of food insecurity.