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Utilization of less-valuable fish material in food, feed and bioenergy

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Finland has underutilized renewable fish biomass resource, which is globally quite exceptional. So-called reduction fishery has been stated as means to improve the environmental status of Baltic Sea (among others, official papers by the Council of State,1). Rough volume estimate of catchable cyprinids in Finland is 5-10 million kilos. Similarly, approximately 20 million kilos of by-products are created in fish processing industry, a significant proportion of which being used for fur animal feed and some for food or biofuel production. However, utilization could be more efficient, and therefore, a more precise knowledge of locations and volumes of usable biomasses is crucial. By developing value added products from underutilized fish biomass one could create market value and profitability for the business and establish reduction fishing as continuing environmental action.


The project is targeting at the utilization of the less-valuable fish species and fish processing industry by-products for food, feed, fertilizers or energy use. Logistics and volumes of biomass are characterized. Value-added ingredients are separated for the later use in food and feed industry whereas remaining fractions will be directed to biogas production in this ?zero-waste? value chain. Economic feasibility models to commercial applications are created and evaluated. Ultimate goal is to build ground for new business on underutilized fish biomass. Based on results, businesses of highest potential and the areas of insufficient scientific or technical knowledge will be revealed and outlined for further investigation.

Impact of research

Industrial collaborators of the project, as well as other companies in bioenergy business, feed and food industry, are potential utilizers of business innovations on the area. New raw materials and more efficient utilization of by-products will increase the turnover of the companies, lower the costs of by-product handling and enhance the productivity and profitability of the business. Additionally, fish farmers can benefit by getting locally produced fish protein for fish feed, since currently all fish based components derive from the oceans. If new utilization schemes are discovered they are likely to be incorporated into business relatively easily by modifying existing practices. At the same time environmental condition can be improved in a sustainable, profit making manner. A more profound R&D program to confirm the preliminary results of this study and to develop and test the potential business models will be planned in close collaboration with involved companies and created networks.

Researcher in charge

Airaksinen Susanna, Finnish Game and Fisheries Research Institute

Other persons

Setälä Jari, Vielma Jouni, Tarkki Ville, Kankainen Markus

Project Partners

Turun Ammattikorkeakoulu (TuAMK), Bioalat- ja liiketalous -yksikkö, Canadian Institute of Fisheries Technology, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Norups Biorefinery Ab, Ruotsi, Sybimar Oy, Uusikaupunki, Biovakka Suomi Oy, Turku. , Rahoitus: Tekes 60%, tutkimuslaitokset 30 %, yritykset 10%.

Duration 2011 - 2012

Project phase: Completed


Source: FGFRI Projectnet


© 2010 Finnish Game and Fisheries Research Institute.