100% Fish

The Mission of the 100% Fish Project at the Iceland Ocean Cluster is to inspire the seafood industry and seafood communities to utilize more of each fish, increase the value of each fish landed, support new business opportunities, increase employment and decrease waste.

100% Fish presents the range of products made out of fish in Iceland. Seafood, supplements, medical and design products are made out of fish and fish parts. Included in these products is the traditional business of providing seafood but a lot of innovation is happening in Iceland with regards to how fish is utilized, and new products are being made from this development.

The Icelandic success with regards to 100% Fish has been made possible because of improved processing and handling and through research and development. Dried heads and bones of fish are a prime example of this. Tons of these products are now made and exported each year out of materials previously wasted. Icelandic companies within the Icelandic Ocean Cluster develop supplements, proteins, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals and other high-value products from different parts of the fish.

30-fold increase in 30 years

Technological advances in commercial fisheries have brought considerable improvements in product yield. For instance, Icelandic producers of cod fillets have seen their filet product yield increase by as much as 20% over the past two decades. However, the fillet only makes up 35% to 45% of the cod’s weight. The remainder is head, bones, skin and intestines. Nonetheless, due to strict fisheries management regulations, Icelandic fisheries have been forced to innovate and invent profitable ways to exploit these by-products. Since the 1990’s, the utilization of fishery by-products has increased 30-fold, the export value per cod kilogram has risen by a factor of 4 and the array of different marine products has multiplied. Today, Icelandic cod producers typically make use of up to 80% of their raw material.

One of the greatest challenges of the 100% Fish project is to show seafood companies the value in cooperation. This is done by building trust and showing companies that cooperation can brighten the future for seafood companies and coastal regions all around. The 100% Fish project assists companies in making valuable connections with academia, start-ups, R&D etc. The Ocean Cluster Network, which is a network of global ocean clusters established by the Iceland Ocean Cluster, is a valuable tool to share information and knowledge in full utilization of seafood across oceans.

Half of the fish is wasted

According to our research the average raw material utilization rate of cod in Europe and North America is just over 50%, meaning that about half of each fish’s weight goes wasted in the production process. Clearly, the opportunity for sharing of knowledge and experience in fully utilizing seafood products is enormous. By doing so, the world’s protein supply will increase (and fisheries profits) substantially. In Iceland, the industry has reached 80% usage of white fish.

Innovative health-, pharmaceutical- and even fashion products from the wild fish stock (groundfish, lobster etc.) are being developed in the Icelandic economy. There lies our opportunity; Icelanders are putting their minds to create more value from each fish. The results are already in: We are getting at least 30% more value from each Cod than most developed countries. Fish is not only the fillet, it is also a rod becoming health products, the liver becoming omega and pharmaceuticals, the head and bones used – basically nothing is left for the trash bin.

What’s being utilized and by which companies?

There are multiple companies in Iceland that specialize in utilization of fishery by-products.

Quality Seafood

Iceland is home to multiple seafood companies and alternative marine product companies. Major seafood companies in Iceland are close partners with the Iceland Ocean Cluster these companies include BrimUR Seafood and Skinney-Þinganes.

Alternative Marine Products:
LysiZymetech, Nordic Fish LeatherAnkra, DropiValfoss,Protis,


There are various producers in Iceland that produce and export canned cod liver and paté. They include Lýsi, Akraborg, Triton and iCan.

See more: www.lýsi.is , www.akraborg.is, www.triton.is, www.ican.is

A number of Icelandic companies have been developing creams and cosmetics from enzymes and omega-3 oil that comes from seafood.

Feel Iceland utilizes pure ingredients, both collagen and enzymes, originated from the pure ocean surrounding Iceland, not only for outer use but also for intake, for better results.

Primex has a wide variety of applications from chitosan which are used in the cosmetics industry.

Benecta has spent over 10 years researching and developing the use and benefits of crustacean derived short chain chitosan.

See more: www.benecta.is; www.feeliceland.is; www.primex.is

Smoked & Dried Fish
Nutritional heads, bones and whole fish can be both dried and smoked.

Dried fish (Harðfiskur) has been a staple in Icelandic diets for centuries. Its made by drying fish in the cold North Atlantic air until it becomes cured by bacteria, similar to the process of maturing cheese. Once it‘s dried, the fish turns hard and yellow, and isn‘t really edible until its pounded by a meat mallet, turning it into the softer harðfiskur. The idea behind smoked fish is to create a natural disinfectant that increases the shelf life of products and gives them a special taste and smell.

Feed the Viking produces what they call fish jerky, its basically dried fish snack.

Bifröst Foods have developed a snack called fish and chips. It‘s basically dried fish in very thin slices, very much in line with chips, then its blended in with potato chips and sold in bags as fish and chips.

Various other companies in Iceland are exporting dried fish snacks containing all the nutrition found in fresh fish. Companies included Tradex, Brim, Iceland Seafood and Vestfiska harðfisksalan.

Fisherman operates a smokehouse in Iceland. The company works with traditional craftsmanship passed down by three generations. The ingredients used are all natural and high quality. This attention to every detail during production guarantees a refined product that is easily recognized by its look and taste.

Reykhólar Smokehouse was established in 2009 by colleagues who have years of experience working with marine products. Their goal from the beginning has been to meet the highest standards in freshness and quality of taste. Their salmon is bought from selected marine fish farms which provide the most natural environment possible to ensure first grade quality.

See morewww.bifrostfoods.comwww.feedtheviking.iswww.brim.iswww.voniceland.is,

Medical Products
Researchers, including research institutes at the University of Iceland and Matis in Iceland, have identified a number of bioactive compounds in seafood including bioactive peptides, collagen, chitin and chitosan, enzymes and biopolymer. Many of these bioactive compounds are now being developed into medical products.

Kerecis has developed the unique, patent-pending MariGenTM Omega3 fish-skin acellular dermal matrix transplantation technology, where complete acellular fish skin is used for tissue regeneration by transplantation. The MariGen Omega3 transplantation technology is used to reconstruct the skin in chronic wounds, for hernia repair, breast reconstruction and for dura restoration. Other tissue-transplant products are based on tissues of human and porcine origin. The fish-skin-based MariGen Omega3 technology offers improved economics and clinical performance, as well as reduced disease transfer risk and no cultural constraints on usage.

Lipid Pharmaceuticals was founded in 2009 by a scientific research team, through the co-operation of The University of Iceland, The National University Hospital of Iceland and Lýsi hf., Iceland ́s leading producer of marine oils. Lipid Pharmaceuticals develops medical products from omega-3 fish oil. It ́s research on omega-3 fatty acids dates back to 1995 and has led to the development of it ́s lead product suppositories, as well as an ointment, containing free fatty acids derived from cod-liver oil.

3Z Pharmaceuticals was founded in 2008 and is a preclinical drug company focusing on the discovery of Central Nervous System (CNS) drugs. It provides pharmaceutical companies with expert services in high throughput screening of small molecule libraries for CNS effects. By automatically monitoring behavior in thousands of zebrafish larvae over 24 hours, using custom built data analysis routines, 3Z can quickly and cost effectively screen thousands of compounds in vivo, significantly reducing the cost and time of CNS drug discovery.

Zymetech is the world leading manufacturer of high-purity protein-cleaving enzymes from cod. Zymetech is also at the forefront of therapeutic formulations that maintain activity of the enzymes and provide effective treatment for various clinical conditions. Their technology of developing and manufacturing formulations containing marine derived enzymes is called Penzyme® technology. Their core and clinical research has demonstrated effectiveness of Penzyme® against a variety of skin conditions, wound healing and viral and bacterial infections. Zymetech has in its portfolio a number of medical devices and cosmetic products based on the Penzyme technology.

See morewww.kerecis.comwww.lipid.iswww.3z.iswww.enzymatica.se

Fish Leather
There is a long tradition of fish tanning in seafood communities. Icelanders have pioneered an industrial scale production of leather making from fish. Fish leather is thin, extremely strong for its size and its highly sought by garment designers for its unique textures and finishes.

Nordic Fish Leather is an Icelandic tannery which is a leading manufacturer of exotic leather from fish skins; salmon, perch, wolffish and cod each with its own unique character, in a diverse range of colors, texture and finishes. All fish leather produced at Nordic Fish Leather is eco friendly.

See morewww.nordicfishleather.com

Roe & Milt
The companies Royal Iceland, Triton, Vignir G. Jónsson (Brim) and ORA specialize in roe production. They produce a wide range of products from various types of roe; from capelin, lumpfish, herring, cod, saithe, salmon etc.

The amount of milt in cod is around 2% but negligible amounts of this material is brought ashore; which is partly caused by difficulties with collecting and storing the milt on-board the vessels. Fresh milt are washed and hand-trimmed before canning, but a lot of effort is put into the right texture and color. Akraborg is currently selling milt on European markets where they are consumed as a topping on bread, among other things.

See more: www.Triton.is, www.Brim.is

Supplements & Nutraceuticals

Byproducts from the fish become supplements and nutraceuticals.

Nutraceuticals are products derived from food sources with extra health benefit in addition to
basic food. Icelandic companies have developed nutraceuticals from seafood.

Benecta develops methods for using amino sugars in treatment of inflammatory and degenerative conditions in bone, cartilage and other tissue. The amino sugars are derived from shrimp shells. Their newest product is derived from short chain chitosan, anecdotal evidence suggest that taking 2 capsules a day can help alleviate many symptoms often associated with getting older such as stiffness, aches and lethargy.

Primex is a marine biotech company and is a global leader in the manufacture and supply of pure chitin and chitosan derivatives. Primex manufactures chitosan from shrimp shell. Primex is located in Iceland which markets scientifically sound and novel natural ingredients for use in numerous markets like, nutritional, cosmetic, food and biomedical.

Iceprotein ehf. is an Icelandic biotech company, that focuses on research and development of modern „green“ production technology to utilize valuable and highly biologically active aquatic proteins and protein derivatives from by- products of the Icelandic fishery and aquaculture industry. Iceproteins aim is to utilize the rest raw material from the Icelandic fish industry to ensure the optimal use of a natural resource. Products include Atlantic cod protein hydrolysates, Arctic char protein hydrolysates and Arctic shrimp shell protein hydrolysates.

Marine Collagen ehf is producing fish collagen protein from whitefish. They estimate to produce around 3-400 MT of collagen from 3-4000 MT of fish skin.

The companies Ölgerðin and Feel Iceland have collaborated on manufacturing the fish collagen drink Collab which has been very popular in Iceland. So popular actually that it is now the most popular energy drink in the country.

Codland and Steðji brewery started a collaboration in 2016 to manufacture a collagen health drink, called Alda Iceland. Its a 100% natural and sugar-free marine collagen lemonade with pure natural protein from sustainable seafood sources.

See more: www.benecta.is, www.primex.is, www.feeliceland.com, www.olgerdin.is, www.codland.is, www.stedji.com

Omega-3 Oil
Cod liver oil is the oil extracted from the livers of the Atlantic cod. It is commonly taken as dietary supplement and is packed full of nutrients. It is one of the best sources of omega 3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA), and it contains relatively high amounts of vitamin A and vitamin D.

Lýsi is an Icelandic company that has become a key player in Cod liver utilization in the world. Lýsi was established in 1938 and is one of the world’s largest producer of marine oils for human consumption and an original pioneer of fish oil (cod liver oil and other marine lipids) production. Lýsi has a leadership position in its field, fueled by expertise in manufacturing high demand fish oil products from both Icelandic fish stocks and imported crude fish oils from other parts of the world. Lýsi offers a broad range of natural health products.

Dropi is a pure natrual cod liver oil made by the company True Vestfjords. The fishermen bring in the fresh wild cod daily from the clean seas of the Northwest Iceland. The fresh liver is processed at the True Vestfjords facility by the harbor at Bolungarvík and few meters from the local fish market, that delivers the liver fresh on ice. Dropi is not made of other species of cod than Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua).

Margildi is a young company that specializes in refining fish oil from capelin, herring and mackerel. It’s core competency is a new and unique quick winterization process that enables refining of fish oils with high stearin content, which has currently not been feasible with conventional winterization techniques. To date, fish oils from capelin, herring and mackerel have been solely used for animal husbandry and are therefore new and fresh sources of omega-3 for human consumption.

Codland was founded in 2012. Codland manufactures cod liver oil and specializes in total utilization of other fish production.

See more: www.lysi.is, www.dropi.is, www.margildi.is, www.codland.is

Other Products
Fish blood may be a valuable product in the future. Technology for utilization of blood from warm-blooded animals as food and feed ingredients are being developed. Fish blood is separated in red hemoglobin and a colorless plasma and sold separately to various food application. Plasma of fish blood may be used in the food industry as water binders and as an gelatin ingredient in the food. Hemoglobin meal may be used as iron enrichment in flood like bread, blood sausages, black pudding etc.

There are high levels of vitamins and fatty compounds found in the eyes of cod. In Japan, fish oil is being produces out of the eyes of white fish. In New Zealand the University of Auckland is examining whether fish eyes protein can be used to repair the cornea of the human eye. If successful, their value will change from low-cost fish waste to a very valuable by-product.

Skinnfiskur is a company that specializes in minced fish, e.g. skins, frames, heads and viscera for the fur and pet food industry. The company also offers fish skin for gelatin production.

See more: www.skinnfiskur.is

What companies are offering technological solutions?

Automated fish drying solutions
Samey offers an extensive range of fish drying solutions with modules addressing each manufacturing state. Samey offers solutions with optimum drying at minimal energy cost, automated stacking as well as high capacity processing lines.

See morewww.samey.is

Solutions that cuts, cleans and splits heads
The tech company Curio, has been in the forefront of developing technology for head cutting and head processing.

Mesa has created a number of head cutting/splitting machines. For example the MESA 950 that splits fish head and tears the gills out and the MESA 955 that cuts the lower jaw out and cleans the head with brushers and hight water pressure.

See morewww.curio.iswww.mesa.is

Solutions that separates tongues and cheeks
Mesa has created the MESA 900 machine that cuts the tongue and cheek of the fish.
See morewww.mesa.is
Value added mince solution
Skaginn3X is one of the leading seafood processing tech companies in Iceland. The company has developed machinery to create value from fish mince.

See moreSkaginn3x.com

Solution that separates the roe from the fish
Beitir ehf has created an roe separator (hrognaskilja) that’s made out of stainless steel. The roe separator separates the roe and membrane in a simple and cost-effective way.

See morewww.beitir.is

Skinning technology solution
Curio has created the C-2031 skinning machine made specially for whitefish and salmon.

See morewww.curio.is

Fish meal and fish oil technology solution
Héðinn is one of the largest manufactures of fish meal/oil plants in the world. The company has developed smaller units for fish meal processing on board ships and is also developing technology for crustacean shell byproduct processing.

See morewww.hedinn.com

Solutions that separates the loin from the fish frame
Mesa is a technology company that has specialized in machinery which can create more yield form material, often material not used. Their major technology is backbone processing.

See morewww.mesa.is

Liver processing solutions
Martak is a manufacturer of various equipment for liver processing and canning.

See morewww.martak.is