Using the whole fish

by Jeff Helsdon | March 18, 2024
a walleye on ice

A wallet made from walleye leather is one of the diverse uses that has evolved from a commitment by commercial fisheries to use 100% of fish.

A growing number of Ontario companies have taken the Great Lakes St. Lawrence Governors and Premiers (GSGP) pledge to commit to utilizing all harvested fish, instead of just the fillet. Some uses include protein, marine collagen, fertilizer, and leather. The Ontario MNRF and Ontario Commercial Fisheries’ Association are part of the project.

GSGP Executive Director David Naftzger first saw the concept of 100% fish utilization during a trip to Iceland. A cod that used to generate $12 for the fillet there can now generate as much as $5,000.

With the decline of whitefish in parts of the Great Lakes, Naftzger saw the potential for the strategy.

“As research and action is ongoing to address this decline, we see the development of a 100% fish strategy as a parallel action that can help create more value for the commercial fish industry,” he said.

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