Current uses for commercially caught fish from the Great Lakes only capture a small fraction of the full potential value of each fish. Overall, the Great Lakes commercial fishery is a tremendously undervalued and underutilized asset.  Iceland pioneered the “100% fish” strategy that has rejuvenated and expanded its fish-dependent economy. The Iceland Ocean Cluster works across business sectors to maximize the beneficial use of the entire Icelandic cod (hence “100% “). As a result of this effort, the utilization rate of the Icelandic cod has increased from 40% when utilization was almost exclusively filets for human consumption (similar to most Great Lakes fish today) to more than 90%, including high-value byproducts such as skin and collagen that are processed into a variety of food and non-food products, raising the value of each fish from about $12 to $3,500. Significant benefits could similarly flow from greater utilization and reduced waste of the Great Lakes commercial fish catch.  The initial focus for the 100% Great Lakes Fish project is whitefish. 

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Building on work with the whitefish, the 100% Great Lakes Fish project will focus on other Great Lakes fish such as yellow perch, walleye, lake trout and white sucker.  

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.

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