100% Great Lakes Fish Initiative

The Great Lakes are home to a sizeable commercial fishery for Lake Whitefish, Yellow Perch, Walleye and Lake Trout. People eat the fillet of the fish, and the other 60% of the fish is used for low-value animal feed or discarded. GSGP’s goal is to identify new uses for all parts of the fish, such as protein and oil, collagen and leather to waste less of each commercially caught fish from the Great Lakes.  Overall, the Great Lakes commercial fishery is undervalued and underutilized.  Using the entire fish can create significant economic returns for the Great Lakes region, creating more jobs, and helping rural economies develop. 

Iceland pioneered the 100% fish idea with the Icelandic cod, when 60% of the fish was discarded, much like Great Lakes fish. Today, more than 90% of the cod is being consumed or processed – with the value of the products made from each fish increasing from $12 to $4,000. GSGP is now working with the Iceland Ocean Cluster and a diverse group of partners in the United States and Canada toward similar goals.

This project is supported through a grant by the Great Lakes Fishery Trust (GLFT). The GLFT is an innovative funding source created to compensate residents of Michigan for the lost use and enjoyment of fisheries resources of Lake Michigan resulting from the operation of the Ludington Pumped Storage Plant. Since 1996, the GLFT has granted more than $80 million to enhance, protect, and rehabilitate Great Lakes fishery resources.  Funding has also been provided by the Great Lakes Fishery Commission and the Ontario Commercial Fisheries’ Association.

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