Cutting Down Waste In Fishing

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Like many facets of the food industry, the fishing world creates tons of wasted foodstuffs, and ends up discarding thousands of pounds of salvageable fish protein.

Annually, approximately 340,000 tons (that’s 680,000,000 pounds) of usable white fish product is thrown away, back into the sea from whence it came. For all of you ethical “vegetarians who still eat fish” out there, this one’s a doozy. Plus, as climate change takes its toll, things like overfishing are having incredibly negative impacts on the natural ecology of ocean habitats.

However, members of the fishing industry are looking to curb this wastefulness. The company Nordic Wildfish has taken steps towards correcting this error, and has had a hand in developing a technology which allows for a more holistic use of the fish.

The development would mean that fishing folks could use the whole fish, including the by-product that’s usually discarded. (The heads, guts, and remaining parts of common white fish like cod, pollock, and haddock are usually thrown out).

The process that Nordic Wildfish, and their participating collaborators are developing is hydrolysis–that would separate out these usually discarded parts into some sort of soupy substance, from which things like nutritious fish oil and additional protein can be obtained.  

The technology has resulted in a nomination for the 2016 Innovation Prize, in Nordic Wildfish’s home country of Norway.

Of course, leave it to the Norwegians to figure out fish and efficiency: two of the staples of Nordic culture! Hopefully, this technology sets a precedent for other industries: like meat and agriculture. If we can find a way to use the products we farm more efficiently, we can begin to eliminate waste, and also find a way to feed more of the world’s hungry.

If there’s one thing we need to see more of in 2017, it’s initiative like this one! You can apply the same logic on a smaller scale in your own home: try to find creative ways to use food that would ordinarily become waste, and challenge yourself to reduce your negative impact on the earth!