Prove your humanity

By Daniel Wanschura, Points North Podcast, Interlochen Public Radio

Dave Naftzger found out about the 100% Fish Project entirely by accident. He was headed to Europe on a business trip, but first had a long layover in Iceland. So, he did some research to see what he could do while he was there.

That’s when he came across a project where people had figured out how to use and sell almost 100% of every fish they caught, specifically Atlantic cod, Iceland’s most iconic fish. Dave is the executive director of the Conference of Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Governors and Premiers, an intergovernmental organization, and this caught his attention. He set up a meeting with the main guy, Thor Sigfusson.

“Walked into his office, he had a fish skin, fish leather lamp,” said Dave. “And he had a table with all these different products that would be made from parts of the Icelandic cod that used to be put in landfills. It really was inspirational.”

Thor started the Iceland Ocean Cluster in 2011. It’s an innovation hub that brings people together from different industries. Their goal: to figure out how to use 100% of every fish caught. Traditionally, the cod filets were sold and then the remaining 50% or so would either be thrown away or used for low-value products like animal feed. Thor saw an opportunity for the fishing industry to make more money from those parts of the fish. And it’s been a huge success. Now, his innovation hub helps create new and existing products – things like beauty products, skin graft bandages and durable leather. These markets increased the value of Atlantic cod from about $15 to over $5,000.

After hearing all about it, Dave started wondering if something like the 100% Fish Project could help the struggling Great Lakes fishery. He took the idea home to find out.

Host / Producer: Dan Wanschura
Editor: Morgan Springer
Additional Editing: Peter Payette, Ellie Katz, Michael Livingston
Music: Trod AlongLa Naranja BorrianaShelftop SpeechTall HarveyTemperanceThimble Rider Theme, by Blue Dot Sessions