The campaign's goal is to demonstrate how 100% of a whitefish can be used for different purposes and beyond just food. The effort builds on success with the cod in Iceland and with other species elsewhere globally.  We believe that a 100% fish strategy holds tremendous promise for the Great Lakes St. Lawrence region to more completely utilize caught fish, drive greater economic returns, create jobs and help develop rural economies.

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Current uses for commercially caught whitefish 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 whitefish 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 whitefish catch.

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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