Fish Product Manufacturing

Circular economy cases and their business models in fish industry

Fisheries contribute immensely to global food and nutritional security. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) estimates that fisheries and aquaculture provide livelihoods to over 10-12% of global population. About 75% of fish resources are used for human consumption globally.

A substantial part of the fish produced is currently lost as fish waste discards and various
other uses (over 25% rough estimate) (Prasad and Murugadas, 2019)1. The definition of “fish wastes” is quite broad and includes caught fish species having no or low commercial value, undersized or damaged commer- cial species as well as species of commercial value but not caught in sufficient amounts to warrant sale.

Furthermore, under the umbrella of “fish wastes” there are more than 50% of fish tissues including fins, heads, skin, and viscera which are usually discarded. For example, the availability of fish skin and bones following the fish filleting process.
Below you see a schematic representation of the main processes and the main by‐products are generated in fishing industry with the current uses of the by-products pictured.


Case studies in NPA region, local affects and potential of by product valorisation

From the documents below you can learn more about the regional characteristics of the fishindustry in NPA regions of Finland, Sweden, Norway and Ireland. Regional differences, historical developments and existing collaborations affect the industries and the presented case studies give a representative illustration of the conditions.

Conclusions, challenges and possibilities

Several processes have been identified that could offer valorisation opportunities for fish industry waste and by-products

The waste and by-products are highlighted in grey, the undertaken process for valorisation are in blue and the potential product are highlighted in green. In line with the potential valorisation process certain challenges and opportunities have been identified by the fish companies in the NPA regions as well and aggregated in table below.

Issues regarding the logistics, shelf life and small volumes are concerns for the fish industry as well. In addition, fishing is heavily depending on seasons and therefore availability of waste streams is fluctuating. Fish industry by-products might be valuable source for human consumption, for example fish oil or proteins, however due to extensive food legislation not always is viable route. In spite of that there are numerous R&D activities ongoing to facilitate better utilisation of fish industry byproducts.



  • Current utilization can become unavailable
  • Logistics: waste streams are not continuous, short shelf life, small volumes
  • Economically unattractive solutions
  • Regulations


  • Utilization of fish oil and other extracts.
  • Use in higher waste hierarchy.
  • Intention for better utilization and integration in human food or animal feed products.


Map of main by-products from Fish