A conference at the recent Seafood Expo Global 2023 in April, entitled “Get More Value From Your Seafood Side-Stream”, and organized by Food & Bio Cluster Denmark, attracted about 75 fishery and aquaculture industry representatives to discuss different solutions for a more sustainable and valuable utilization of “side-streams,” or secondary products, from processing fish and shellfish. In these troubled times for the seafood industry, it is important to cut waste when possible. Gone are the days when fish were cut only for their flesh, and maybe the remains went for meal and oil processing. Today, fish guts go into pharmaceuticals, fish skins make an array of edible or industrial products, and even the water left over from boiling shellfish is valuable as flavouring for other dishes.
The conference organizer and several other organizations participating in the conference are part of an EU-funded project called WaSeaBi, backed by 13 organizations from Denmark, Sweden, Spain, and Belgium, that focusses on seafood side-stream optimization from all sides, technological and economical. The project’s chair, Charlotte Jacobsen from the Technical University of Denmark, says that to feed 10 billion people by 2050 we must make better use of the sea’s resources, including efficient and sustainable supply systems for bycatch and side-streams from the fishing industry. The best way to do this within the industry is to make it profitable to do so, which requires among other things, imagination. (Using water from steaming lobsters, as a small example.) As much as 70% of a fish, Jacobsen says, ends up as low-value product, when more valuable products can be envisioned, such as bioactive peptides from hake bycatch, flavorings from salmon, aromatic substances from cod, flavorings from mussel boiling water, protein and phosphorus from cod brine, flavorings from salmon and cod that can be used as ingredients in the food industry, and minced fish meat for herring burgers made from the part of the herring that normally remains on the backbone after the rest of the fillet has been cut out.