At Daybrook Fisheries, one of the two Menhaden fish meal and oil processors in the Gulf of Mexico, product safety is our primary concern. We understand the importance of the questions raised concerning Gulf of Mexico fish-based ingredients on Petfood-Connection.com and offer the following in response.
First and foremost the petfood industry can rest assured that Daybrook values the petfood business and will prioritize their safety concerns and tonnage requirements, you will receive fishmeal and it will be tested to comply with known contaminant limits.
1) PETFOOD VOLUME: The US petfood industry is a very large consumer of menhaden meal but still only makes up about 25-35% of the total annual menhaden fishmeal sales. All contracted sales to date have received timely shipments and nobody has had any shipment problems.
2) FISHING: Fishing is continuing and has thru-out the Deep-water Horizon oil spill; however it has been restricted to areas away from any oil impact zones. Daybrook only fishes in open areas that have been tested by the NOAA Fisheries Service found to be free of contamination. Additionally EPA is testing water quality and Louisiana departments of Health and Hospitals as well as Wildlife and Fisheries are routinely analyzing the seafood throughout our fishing areas and none have found any results of concerning levels.
3) SAFETY CONCERNS: No fish are being caught in closed areas. No fish kills have been reported; menhaden are filter feeders and are not being observed in areas of oil. We are testing our catch and have not found any concerning results. Weekly samples of fishmeal production are submitted to an outside certified laboratory for testing contamination elements related to the oil spill. Analysis for individual polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) and total aliphatic hydrocarbons with detection limits down to the ppm and ppb levels have shown very low levels or below detection levels. While regulatory authorities have not set maximum limits on most of the PAH’s, the EU has set a limit for both fresh and smoked fish for human consumption on one PAH, Benzo(a)pyrene, and all of our tests have shown that this chemical is below detection limits. The US has set some criteria for reopening closed fishing areas which covers 8 different PAH’s and all of our results are 1 to 4 orders of magnitude below those limits or below detection limits.
4) US FISHMEAL INDUSTRY: There are two companies operating four menhaden processing plants in the Gulf and one on the Atlantic. Two of the Gulf plants “traditional fishing grounds” have been closed by federal and state authorities. Until such time that they are re-opened those boats will travel much further west in order to fish. The increased travel time and greater competition in the reduced open areas has led to a decrease in the catch.
5) PRODUCTION VOLUME: The menhaden industry normally produces between 150,000 and 200,000 ST of meal and 70,000 to 100,000 ST of oil per year over the past decade. The global production is typically around 6 million MT of meal and 1 million MT of oil so the US only makes up about 3% of the world’s meal and 7+% of the world’s oil.
6) BOTTOM LINE: Neither the petfood manufacturers nor consumers should have any concern about the supply or safety of Menhaden fishmeal. There is no doubt that this catastrophe is having a significant impact on our industry but as it relates to the petfood segment we currently have and expect to continue to have ample supplies of safe, high quality, meal for our friends and loyal customers in the petfood segment.
VP - Market Development