The 100% Great Lakes Fish Pledge is more than a commitment: it is a testament to the transformative power of innovation and collaboration that were pioneered by the Iceland Ocean Cluster years ago, and that are now shaping the Great Lakes fishery into a model of sustainability, economic prosperity, and environmental responsibility.

In a step towards sustainable value creation and waste reduction, 15 regional companies have pledged their commitment to the “100% Great Lakes Fish” initiative, drawing inspiration from the 100% Fish Program of the Iceland Ocean Cluster. Led by David Naftzger, from the Great Lakes St. Lawrence Governors and Premiers (GSGP), this commitment aims to ensure the productive utilisation of 100% of each commercially caught fish in the Great Lakes by 2025.

The Great Lakes is home to a diverse commercial fishery featuring species like Lake Whitefish, Yellow Perch, Walleye, and Lake Trout, which have historically been under-utilised, resulting in significant waste. But now, 15 companies have pledged to explore and implement applications for fish side-streams in the Great Lakes region. Their commitment extends beyond waste reduction, aiming to extract maximum value from every part of the fish through practical, efficient and innovative methods.

The origin of the “100% Great Lakes Fish” campaign can be traced back to the Iceland Ocean Cluster, where the 100% fish movement began more than 10 years ago: It is a legacy of Iceland’s rich tradition of responsible fishing practices and aims to maximise the utilisation of each fish by developing new applications for fish by-products thanks to collaboration and innovation.

These companies are not only pledging allegiance to the initiative: they are investing in new technologies and processes, mirroring the forward-thinking approach pioneered in Iceland. By sharing the 100% Great Lakes Fish Pledge and its message throughout the value chain, these companies actively encourage others to adopt similar commitments, fostering sustainability in the Great Lakes commercial fishery.

The 100% Great Lakes Fish campaign recognises the pivotal role that the Great Lakes fishery plays in the region’s economy, history, and culture. Despite its significance, the fishery has often been undervalued and underutilised. The pledge to utilise the entire fish, from head-to-tail, presents a remarkable opportunity for the Great Lakes region, echoing the environmental and economic benefits experienced in Iceland.

Companies interested in joining the pledge can contact GSGP maritime program manager John Schmidt at