Fisheries Technologists Discuss Byproducts, Freeze-Dry Potential

A researcher with the University of Alaska’s Seafood Science and Technology facilities at Kodiak says great progress is being made in utilization of Alaska fish processing byproducts, and that there is profit to be made too.

Peter Bechtel, who is also affiliated with the US Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service at Kodiak, addressed the subject this week before the 63rd annual meeting of Pacific Fisheries Technologists at Anchorage. Bechtel said current fish byproduct uses include human supplements, ingredients for human food, ingredients for human food, industrial use, pet food, aquaculture, pig and chicken feed, and fertilizers and fuels.

Once the fillets are taken, the remaining fish skins, frames and heads all have specific uses, ranging from gelatin as a binding agent to omega-3 oil extraction. There are also markets for fish livers, fish stomachs, and milt (the male reproductive tissue), he said.

The value of fish processing byproducts has increased because of price increases for fishmeal and fish oil over the past decade, he said. There is currently a lot of interest in extracting more of the oil from byproducts including salmon heads and white fish livers, good sources of oils rich in long chain omega-3 fatty acids and other components, Bechtel said.

Bechtel was one of more than a dozen presenters at the meeting, several of them from the Kodiak campus.
Alexandra Oliveira discussed at length research on development of a shelf stable, flavored freeze-dried pink salmon for use in a variety of products ranging from military meals read to eat to nutritional snacks for athletes involved in extreme sports, as well as the general public.

Oliveira, an associate professor on the Kodiak campus, said researchers are still working on developing recipes and shelf life studies., and that there is work yet to do on cost assessment, to know how much it costs to produce a kilogram of the freeze dried salmon.

The meeting began Feb. 12 and concludes today. Next year’s annual meeting is scheduled for Mazatlan, Mexico.