Raising the value added of fish - the case of Iceland
Demand for fish and fish products in on the increase due to the changes in eating habits, among other things. This change is also driven by growing consumer awareness of climate change and the need to include more fish and vegetables in the diet. This interest in health and wellbeing has in part increased consumers’ interest in fish.
Because of the limited availability of wild fish, fish farming has become more important. The volume of wild fish caught and produced has not grown since the beginning of the 1980s. Production growth has mainly been caused by aquaculture.
Iceland and raising the value added of fish
Fish as a source of food and a diverse raw material offers new opportunities for developing its value added. Its value added can be increased by developing new consumer products from fish and making its use easier for consumers. New value added has been created with innovations based on fish and fish sidestreams, including new raw materials also for the use of sectors beyond the food industry. The fertiliser, energy, cosmetics and pharmaceutical industries are examples of industries that are able to utilise fish as a raw material. It is possible to make full use of fish through determined investments in innovations and increases in value added. Careful handling of fish and fish raw material is an important part of increasing its value added.
The report by the Icelandic research institute Matis prepared for the Arctic Economic Dialogue highlights important subsectors that extend from catching and farming fish to products offered to customers. The development of this value chain offers new perspectives for Finland to develop the value added for fish and to launch cooperation between Finnish fish companies/ecosystem actors and Iceland.
In Finland large and varied group of companies and knowhow are linked to networks that support the fish industry and the development of fish value added. To enhance and deepen arctic cooperation, is important to describe this network, its capabilities and the offering it can provide to support industry development efforts. This report made by Gaia Consulting describes the Finnish ecosystem around fish. It underlines the strengths of the ecosystems and the varied industries which with their products and services contribute to the fish value added development work.
Mikko Martikainen - mikko.martikainen(at)gov.fi