Sustainable Fisheries Partnership Gives Top Marks to Omega Protein Fisheries

HOUSTON — October 13, 2015 – The fisheries that supply Omega Protein’s marine ingredients products have been recognized for their sustainability by a recently released report from the non-profit Sustainable Fisheries Partnership (SFP). The report, which gives high ratings to the Atlantic and Gulf menhaden fisheries, and the highest possible rating to the Antarctic krill fishery, is the latest in a series of official and independent evaluations to find that the marine ingredients provided by Omega Protein, and its subsidiary Bioriginal Food & Science Corp. (Bioriginal), come from responsibly managed sources.

The SFP report, “Reduction Fisheries: SFP Fisheries Sustainability Overview 2015,” evaluates global fisheries targeting “low trophic level” species such as menhaden, herring, and anchoveta. It rates these commercial fisheries according to a range of categories, including, whether or not they have adopted precautionary management, whether they follow expert scientific advice, and by the health of their stocks.

On these metrics, Omega Protein’s primary marine ingredients – Antarctic krill, and Atlantic and Gulf menhaden – come from among the top-ranked sustainable fisheries in the world, even as recent news reports have indicated that one-third of the global catch for reduction fisheries comes from fisheries ranked as “poorly managed.”

Antarctic krill is the only fishery in the world to rank in the report’s highest category, for “very well managed fisheries.” It was especially praised for its low, precautionary catch levels, which means that the krill fishery is not likely to be damaging the overall krill population. Bioriginal provides RIMFROST Antarctic Krill oil that is certified as sustainable by the non-profit sustainability certification groups Marine Stewardship Council and Friend of the Sea.

Atlantic and Gulf menhaden are included among the highest ranked fish species, with both being rated as “reasonably managed fisheries with stocks in good condition.” Both received high marks for the current strong health of their menhaden populations, and the report considers both fisheries to be operated at sustainable levels. The Atlantic menhaden fishery improved its ranking significantly over last year’s SFP report, largely due to updated scientific information that clarified that the stock is healthy.

The report’s conclusions are echoed by other official and independent reports. In early 2015, the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC), the interstate agency that manages Atlantic menhaden, issued a new menhaden stock assessment. It found that menhaden are not overfished nor experiencing overfishing, and that the stock is being fished sustainably. The Gulf States Marine Fisheries Commission (GSMFC), which manages Gulf menhaden, reached the same conclusion in its 2013 assessment that the stock is not overfished and overfishing is not occurring. In addition, Friend of the Sea certifies both fisheries as sustainable.

Omega Protein has also been recognized for its sustainable practices as a leader in the marine ingredients industry, most recently by IFFO, an international organization that represents the marine ingredients industry worldwide and promotes the sustainable use of fish meal and fish oil. In September, IFFO honored Omega Protein by presenting it with the IFFO Leadership Award at the organization’s Annual Conference in Berlin.

About Omega Protein
Omega Protein Corporation (NYSE:OME) is a century-old nutritional company that develops, produces and delivers healthy products throughout the world to improve the nutritional integrity of functional foods, dietary supplements and animal feeds. Omega Protein’s mission is to help people lead healthier lives with better nutrition through sustainably sourced ingredients such as highly-refined omega-3 rich fish oil, specialty proteins and nutraceuticals.

Ben Landry
Director of Public Affairs, Omega Protein