Conference looks for uses for fish processing waste

Posted: Monday, November 11, 2002

ANCHORAGE (AP) -- A three-day conference in Anchorage will explore the science, technology and marketing potential of fish waste.

The dream behind the conference is the notion that heads, skin, shells, bones and inedible flesh that are byproducts of fish processing should be treated so it can be sold for a profit.

Dozens of scientists and fisheries professionals will present papers at the Hotel Captain Cook, where the Second International Seafood Byproducts Conference runs Monday through noon Wednesday.

Much has happened since the first such conference 12 years ago, said Peter Bechtel, a U.S. Department of Agriculture scientist and an affiliate professor in the University of Alaska Fairbanks School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences.

''There's a lot of excitement in the area right now,'' Bechtel said. ''An example is we think that probably the market for gelatin made out of fish skins is growing.''

Another example of value-added byproduct, Bechtel said, is high protein fish meal made from grinding fish parts and fed to animals.

''What we're doing is to add more value to these parts that haven't had any value, or very little value, in the past,'' Bechtel said.

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