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Melbu Systems extracts fish by-products for food and fertiliser

Published 22 Nov 2022 (updated 7 Feb 2024) · 2 min read

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At a glance

  • Bulk feeders and gutting lines gently extract all useable fish parts
  • Fish parts can be marketed to alternative markets as speciality products
  • Fish sludge is converted to fertiliser

Fish processing equipment from Melbu Systems ensures that all parts of a fish are utilised to supply alternative markets and convert by-products to fertiliser.

The fish processing industry still has a way to go in terms of utilising all parts of a fish, such as heads, stomachs, spines and skin. These and other by-products have been treated as waste for generations.

Increasing volumes of fish excrement also present challenges to the fish farming industry, as marine sludge is difficult to transport and utilise.

Maximising value of fish by-products

Melbu Systems provides onshore fish processing lines that enable the fish processing industry to better utilise all fish parts. The company’s bulk feeders and gutting lines ensure that every usable part of a fish is extracted. By-products are handled as efficiently and gently as fish meat and are thus a high-quality product for alternative markets.

In collaboration with AquaGreen Norge, Melbu produces agricultural fertiliser from fish sludge at salmon hatcheries. The process involves drying the sludge and burning it into nutritious soil, or biochar, which is rich in phosphorous, carbon and other nutrients.

Concrete benefits

Melbu Systems’ equipment handles products such as fish livers, roe, stomachs and heads gently, keeping the quality of the product intact throughout the entire process. This results in a larger amount of attractive products that can be sold to alternative markets.

Production of fish sludge into agricultural fertiliser reduces the amount of fish sludge transported by road and sea, thereby cutting greenhouse gas emissions.

Market potential

Worldwide food demand is expected to increase by 59 to 98 per cent by 2050. Climate change and growing urbanisation will make it challenging to produce enough food.

Alternative food sources and products will help to meet food demand. Meanwhile, the seafood industry is seizing the opportunity to rebrand fish parts as speciality products.


Einar Roger Pettersen


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Sminesgata 3, 8445 MELBU, Norway

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