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Game-, Reindeer- and AquaFood Research Program – GRAF :
» Consumer needs and expectations in the global markets
» Healthy, tasty, and high-quality food products
» Diverse and sustainable food production
» Changes in livelihoods and business sector competitiveness
» Projects 
  •Developing Reindeer husbandry and Reindeer meat market
  •Markets for products of captive fisheries
  •BENEFISH – the economic impact of the welfare of fish in European fish farming
  •Development of fish product quality research
  •Effects of live-chilling on product quality
  •Regulating the sexual maturity of rainbow trout in food fish production
  •Improving fish quality
  •The quality of European whitefish in the supply chain
  •Electric stunning of vendace
  •Action plan for sustainable aquaculture in Åland
  •Effects of location guidance on the fish farming economy
  •Environmental investment in fish farming
  •Diversifying aquaculture
  •Research on the selective breeding of whitefish
  •Research on production biology
  •New wave
  •Software for assessing the profitability of fish farming
  •Economic success factors of the reindeer husbandry  
  •Fish Consumption and the Catering Sector 
  •Utilization of less-valuable fish material in food, feed and bioenergy

Utilization of less-valuable fish material in food, feed and bioenergy

Finland has underutilized renewable fish biomass resource, which is globally quite exceptional. So-called reduction fishery has been stated as means to improve the environmental status of Baltic Sea (among others, official papers by the Council of State,1). Rough volume estimate of catchable cyprinids in Finland is 5-10 million kilos.

Similarly, approximately 20 million kilos of by-products are created in fish processing industry, a significant proportion of which being used for fur animal feed and some for food or biofuel production. However, utilization could be more efficient, and therefore, a more precise knowledge of locations and volumes of usable biomasses is crucial. By developing value added products from underutilized fish biomass one could create market value and profitability for the business and establish reduction fishing as continuing environmental action.



The project is targeting at the utilization of the less-valuable fish species and fish processing industry by-products for food, feed, fertilizers or energy use. Logistics and volumes of biomass are characterized. Value-added ingredients are separated for the later use in food and feed industry whereas remaining fractions will be directed to biogas production in this “zero-waste” value chain. Economic feasibility models to commercial applications are created and evaluated. Ultimate goal is to build ground for new business on underutilized fish biomass. Based on results, businesses of highest potential and the areas of insufficient scientific or technical knowledge will be revealed and outlined for further investigation.


Industrial collaborators of the project, as well as other companies in bioenergy business, feed and food industry, are potential utilizers of business innovations on the area. New raw materials and more efficient utilization of by-products will increase the turnover of the companies, lower the costs of by-product handling and enhance the productivity and profitability of the business. Additionally, fish farmers can benefit by getting locally produced fish protein for fish feed, since currently all fish based components derive from the oceans. If new utilization schemes are discovered they are likely to be incorporated into business relatively easily by modifying existing practices. At the same time environmental condition can be improved in a sustainable, profit making manner. A more profound R&D program to confirm the preliminary results of this study and to develop and test the potential business models will be planned in close collaboration with involved companies and created networks.

Scientists in charge of project

Susanna Airaksinen

Other persons

Jari Setälä, Jouni Vielma, Ville Tarkki, Markus Kankainen


1.9.2011 - 31.12.2012



Text version

Jaa Jaa

© Finnish Game and Fisheries Research Institute.Modified 2011-12-30