RS Standards assesses opportunities for full catch utilisation during at-sea processing

In 2022, RS Standards was awarded a contract from Friends of Ocean Action, a coalition of over 70 ocean leaders who are fast-tracking solutions to the most pressing challenges facing the ocean. The coalition is convened by the World Economic Forum, in collaboration with the World Resources Institute. 

The global catch of fish and shellfish is 108 million tonnes (live weight). Numerous species of fish and shellfish will undergo some form of processing (product transformation) at sea, but little was known about the current situation across the world. 

The project brief was to build understanding of the type and extent of global at sea processing and opportunities that may be available for improving catch utilisation. Using primary and secondary data sources and our extensive industry knowledge and global contacts, it was possible to make sense of numerous but disparate datasets. 

The Key findings

  • Publicly available data is limited in order to quantify the extent of at-sea by-products. However, by using different datasets covering global fish catch, types of by-products and processing yields, catch areas (regions/flag states), and types of fishing vessels, it has been possible to make broad statements and estimates. 

  • There are successful examples for maximizing catch usage. These are a result of long-term investment and collaboration between different parts of the seafood industry, technology providers, business innovators, science and research, and investors. They are largely aspirational options for many other regions, but sharing that knowledge and understanding is instrumental to ensuring the success of future initiatives.

  • Filling knowledge gaps on current practices is key, while collaboration and learning from countries who are leading in this field is important. As with on-land processing opportunities, understanding the by-product qualities and availability, identifying markets and addressing research that may be needed will be important to increasing by-product capture and repurposing from post-harvest processing at-sea.

The output of the project is a report that:

  • Provides an overview of processing of seafood at sea to understanding current levels of loss (volume and nutrition).

  • Explains by-products that are retained and utilized by some vessels.

  • Summarizes the challenges for greater by-product retention, including identifying current knowledge gaps

The report can be found on the World Economic Forum website using this link:

For further information, contact Michaela Archer


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