30-fold increase in 30 years
Technological advances in commercial fisheries have brought considerable improvements in product yield. For instance, Icelandic producers of cod fillets have seen their filet product yield increase by as much as 20% over the past two decades. However, the fillet only makes up 35% to 45% of the cod’s weight. The remainder is head, bones, skin and intestines. Nonetheless, due to strict fisheries management regulations, Icelandic fisheries have been forced to innovate and invent profitable ways to exploit these by-products. Since the 1990’s, the utilization of fishery by-products has increased 30-fold, the export value per cod kilogram has risen by a factor of 4 and the array of different marine products has multiplied. Today, Icelandic cod producers typically make use of up to 80% of their raw material.
One of the greatest challenges of the 100% Fish project is to show seafood companies the value in cooperation. This is done by building trust and showing companies that cooperation can brighten the future for seafood companies and coastal regions all around. The 100% Fish project assists companies in making valuable connections with academia, start-ups, R&D etc. The Ocean Cluster Network, which is a network of global ocean clusters established by the Iceland Ocean Cluster, is a valuable tool to share information and knowledge in full utilization of seafood across oceans.
Half of the fish is wasted
According to our research the average raw material utilization rate of cod in Europe and North America is just over 50%, meaning that about half of each fish’s weight goes wasted in the production process. Clearly, the opportunity for sharing of knowledge and experience in fully utilizing seafood products is enormous. By doing so, the world’s protein supply will increase (and fisheries profits) substantially. In Iceland, the industry has reached 80% usage of white fish.
Innovative health-, pharmaceutical- and even fashion products from the wild fish stock (groundfish, lobster etc.) are being developed in the Icelandic economy. There lies our opportunity; Icelanders are putting their minds to create more value from each fish. The results are already in: We are getting at least 30% more value from each Cod than most developed countries. Fish is not only the fillet, it is also a rod becoming health products, the liver becoming omega and pharmaceuticals, the head and bones used – basically nothing is left for the trash bin.