Environment

Upgraded trawler uses fish parts that others trash

Upgraded trawler uses fish par...
The trawler Molnes has been outfitted with the new fish-processing technology
The trawler Molnes has been outfitted with the new fish-processing technology
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Lead scientist Ana Karina Carvajal, at work in the lab
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Lead scientist Ana Karina Carvajal, at work in the lab
The trawler Molnes has been outfitted with the new fish-processing technology
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The trawler Molnes has been outfitted with the new fish-processing technology

When fish are processed in trawlers at sea, the animals' heads, guts and skeletons all just go overboard. It's a lot of waste, and Norway's SINTEF research group is doing something about it. Working with commercial fishing company Nordic Wildfish, it's developed a system that puts everything but the bones to use.

The prototype system has been installed onboard an existing trawler, and starts by using a hydrolysis process to separate the bones from the rest of the fish waste – hydrolysis is the breakdown of a compound due to a reaction with water.

After the bones are discarded, what's left is described as a "soup" to which enzymes are added. The addition of those enzymes allows oils, proteins and amino acids to be extracted, which could subsequently find use in animal feed or even human food.

According to Nordic Wildfish, the entire process takes place aboard the trawler, which just entered service two months ago. The technology has so far mainly been used in the processing of whitefish such as cod, pollock and haddock. Down the road, their bones may also be processed to obtain calcium.

"Commonly it is only the fillets that are processed to become food," says Ana Karina Carvajal, Research Manager at SINTEF Fisheries and Aquaculture. "This is not sustainable food production. As we approach 2050, the demand for food on this planet will increase by as much as 70 percent due to high levels of population growth. The industry must make it its goal to utilize the entire fish."

Source: Gemini

3 comments
habakak
Yes, I've seen this being used on ships in Alaska fishing Alaskan Pollock. They even use the fat/oil from the fish to power the production line!!! And I believe they grind the bones up to make fish meal or something.
ljaques
We'll be into Soylent Green by the end of the decade if this keeps up. More bulk, less nutrient content... Not sure I like the direction Big Food Production is going.
Nelson Hyde Chick
By mid century as humanity has grown by billions more the only life on this planet will be us humans, the species we exploit and the pests we can't eradicate.