Seafood project – repurposing loss and waste

Promoting ‘whole fish’ thinking and solutions which ensure greater nutrition for thriving communities, strong economies and healthy environments

Despite the topic of reducing food loss and waste being addressed by numerous initiatives at policy and private sector levels, with a view to achieving SDG 12.3, seafood is left out of nearly all conversations. Yet between 30% and 35% of fish caught is either lost or wasted post harvest, according to the FAO.

This project addresses the ethical imperative to use all of the fish. It explores how to ensure all nutrition is efficiently and effectively captured and repurposed in economically viable and market appropriate ways, be it wild caught or farmed. Capturing and repurposing seafood by products can support a number of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), not least Zero Hunger (SDG 2), and Life Under Water (SDG 14).

Friends of Ocean Action is currently working with Namibian stakeholders in an initial case study that brings together policy-makers, business leaders and civil society organizations. The project aims to learn from those stakeholders and encourage continued efforts to create an aligned approach to maximising by-product utilisation and thereby both capturing more nutrition and reducing seafood waste.

The current work focuses on reframing the narrative from one of ‘loss and waste’ to one of ‘by- or co-products’ reframing these by products as opportunities. The project seeks to create replicable model(s) that can be used by seafood business to enable maximum utilisation of by-products by adopting whole fish thinking. The models will propose how to prioritise end markets for those by-products go such that they can meet nutritional needs, in economically viable processes, It also explore alternative uses beyond nutrition, where appropriate.​ ​

In the coming months the project will continue to learn from the Namibian experience. At the same time the work will support them to explore the viability of new by-products opportunities and potential end markets for those by-products, as it builds globally applicable models.

We are grateful to our Namibian project participants for their considerable time, thoughtfulness and commitment to this project, and we look forward to sharing the outcomes.