Fishful Future envisions a zero-waste supply chain for San Diego

A new collaborative project, Fishful Future, seeks to movethe fishing, seafood processing, and culinary industries in San Diego, California, U.S.A. toward a zero-waste supply chain.

Backed by seafood processors, fishery scientists, local fishermen, and renowned chefs, Fishful Future primarily promotes fully utilizing each fish that enters the supply chain.

According to project leaders, around “50 percent of each fish by weight generally remains after processing for the fillet market,” with the other half discarded or sold at siginficant discounts. This happens despite the fact that “valuable proteins and nutrients” remain with a fish’s other half, which can be used for a wide range of applications including bait, fertilizer, pet foods, bio-pharmaceutical, bio-medical, and in artistic fields, Fishful Future said.

The Fishful Future team completes a detailed evaulation of the value in each part of a given fish, and then works to empower “home chefs to prepare less-familiar secondary cuts with culturally diverse recipes.” The project also addresses local food security, “partnering with community groups in food insecure areas, and working with project chefs to develop new restaurant presentations,” it said.

Four San Diego chefs – Davin Waite, Karen Barnett, Christina Ng, and Rob Ruiz – steer the project’s culinary approaches, while its multidisciplinary team is led by Catalina Offshore Products and scientists at the NOAA Southwest Fisheries Science Center. Additional Fishful Future partners include Tuna Harbor Dockside Market, the Port of San Diego, the Iceland Ocean Cluster, and Oregon State University’s Seafood Research and Education Center.

“More complete use of the fish means greater economic value and opportunity for fishermen, processors, and everyone who enjoys seafood,” Catalina Offshore Products Founder and President Dave Rudie said. “We owe it to the fish and to our customers to make the most complete use of each fish that is taken out of the ocean.”

NOAA Fisheries Southwest Fisheries Science Center Ecologist Sarah Mesnick, who is a scientific advisor for Fishful Future, said the project thrives on its collective approach.

“The only way we can succeed is by doing this together,” Mesnick said. “All partners in the seafood and product supply chain bring their own expertise and experience to the project, so that together we look at these valuable species in a new, holistic, and more sustainable way.”

Photo courtesy of Fishful Future


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