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Most of a fish is discarded by the fisheries industry (2016-12-12)


D“As much as 92 per cent of marine whitefish by-product is not utilised”, says Anders Bjørnerem, R&D Director at Nordic Wildfish in Norway. “Commonly it is only the fillets that are processed to become food. This is not sustainable food production. As we approach 2050, the demand for food on this planet will increase by as much as 70 per cent due to high levels of population growth. The industry must make it its goal to utilise the entire fish”, says Ana Karina Carvajal, Research Manager at SINTEF Fisheries and Aquaculture.

World-wide, overfishing is one of the biggest threats to the health of seas and their inhabitants.
Overfishing also affects many people directly – above all in developing countries. Daily, tonnes of fish are hauled out of the sea.

Unfortunately this is much more than can be naturally replenished – a real plundering of the world’s oceans.

The fishing company Nordic Wildfish has been assisting in the development of a new technology that can make use of the entire by-product from whitefish such as cod, pollock and haddock.

Instead of discarding the heads, guts and the rest of the fish, they can all be incorporated into a hydrolysis process that separates the bones, leaving a kind of “soup” to which enzymes can be added and valuable oils and proteins extracted.

“The entire process takes place on board the trawler, which has only been at sea for two months”, says Anders Bjørnerem, R&D Director at Nordic Wildfish in Norway.

Tonnes of whitefish by-product are discarded annually. SINTEF believes that this material has major commercial potential if it can be processed to produce high quality end-products such as ingredients in animal feed and food for human consumption.

On board the trawler Molnes, whitefish by-product is processed using enzymatic hydrolysis to produce valuable proteins, amino acids and fish oils. Many technologies have been developed and adapted for installation on board the refurbished trawler.

“Excellent teamwork between researchers and the industry will enable many new systems for better exploitation of the fish to be implemented within the next two to four years”, says Carvajal. “We’re very pleased to see that some segments within the industry have already taken the first steps towards more sustainable food production”, Carvajal says.

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