is sustainable fish oil legitimate?

Consumers are becoming more health conscious, many looking to include more fish in their diet, and pet parents are no different.  We’re more aware of the health benefits of omega 3 for dogs and the increase in demand continues to grow the consumption of fish by 3.2% every year, which is twice as fast as the world’s population

With the increase in demand for fish and omega 3 supplements comes overfishing, which places extreme pressure on wild fish stocks, contributing to a loss of biodiversity in our oceans.   In 2016, FAO noted that 30% of fish stocks assessed were being caught at unsustainable levels.  And although the aquaculture industry has expanded in response to the growing demand, these farmed fish still need almost 140,000 tonnes of omega 3 to thrive, and up until now, wild-caught fish had been the only source. 

the problem of fish oil

The global demand for omega-3 is surpassing the natural marine resources. There’s just not enough fish in the sea to support the future growth of aquaculture, human, and pet consumption.  So if you have been looking for sustainable fish oil, if you have been wondering if sustainably sourced fish oil is real, or what the is the best sustainable source of omega 3?  Then you’re in the right place. 

Nutritional science has deepen our understanding of the health benefits of omega 3 for dogs - from boosting their immune systems to improving heart, health, eyesight and even inflammation, hence why so many pet parents look for the health benefits of salmon oil for dogs, or cod oil. 

Based on current trends the total demand for seafood is projected to grow to 185 million tonnes by 2030 and the ecological collapse across the world’s oceans and waterways is inevitable. 90% of fish stocks are already fully exploited and illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing accounts for 26 million tonnes of fish per year.  In addition, industrial fishing results in bycatch, which is difficult to measure since it’s not reported and depends on the form of fishing. For instance, gill nets commonly kill dolphins, porpoises and whales, while longline fishing is a problem for birds. 

the truth of sustainable fish oil

With that in mind, many consumer brands are promoting their omega 3 supplements for dogs and humans as sustainable, but are they really?  14% of the global production is certified to be ‘sustainable seafood’ as NGOs have developed green certifications such as Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), or Friend of the Sea (FOS). 

Although it appears to have resulted in reduced bycatch in some fisheries and more sustainable practices among fisherman, these certifications don’t mean that their seafood is bycatch free, or that endangered, threatened or protected species have not been harmed. 

In fact, MSC allows certifiers to award generous scores to fisheries with high levels of bycatch, because the criteria focus only on ‘avoiding serious or irreversible hard’.  In contrast, FOS sets a limit of 8% of total catch in weight for discards and requires strong bycatch mitigation and monitoring regardless if the specie is endangered.  These certifications have plenty of loopholes, such as “shark finning not being accepted, but being tolerated in practice” (MSC). 

And truth be told, the situation is most likely worst because the fishing companies being audited are paying for these certifications that are keeping these NGOs afloat, in addition to the fact that in the middle of the ocean (where these vessels are fishing), there’s no organization or government official to enforce the law and verify each and every claim of the thousands of vessels out at sea.

a truly sustainable alternative

At Mokai, we choose to make the future of our planet as important as the health of our dogs, that’s why we’ve sourced our omega 3 for dogs from marine micro algae, which is the original source of omega 3, since fish are just the middleman.  

Through a fermentation process of an algae strain of Schizochytrium sp., we can extract high concentrations of DHA and EPA (omega 3 fatty acids), that are not contaminated by heavy metals (unlike fish) and are non-GMO.

Our omega 3 for dogs from algae is ideal as it’s a high quality alternative to dog fish oil or salmon oil for dogs, and it’s truly sustainable.  One tonne of Mokai algae oil provides the same amount of omega-3 fatty acids as 60 tonnes of wild-caught fish.  In addition, the production only uses two materials: sugar (from renewable beet, wheat, and corn) and marine algae. And the co-product is a protein source used in beef cattle feed, or converted into biogas for electricity production, making the process 100% waste-free. 

bad fishing practices

blast fishing

Fishing crews light sticks of dynamite and throw them into the water. The explosion stuns nearby fish and can make their swim bladders rupture, causing them to float to the surface for easy capture, but destroying coral reef and other coastal habitats in the process


Uses a large metal scoop that drags along the seafloor to pick up clams. This practice removes large parts of the seabed and dumps it elsewhere. This can have a major impact on the ecosystem, particularly on sensitive areas such as coral reefs and fish nurseries.

Botton Trawling

Pulling a fishing net along the sea bottom removes 6–40% of an area’s seabed life on a single run. It is like forest clear-cutting on land; it unearths everything in its path, destroying crucial habitat communities and marine animals.

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