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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Converting Alaska Fish Byproducts into Compost

item Himmelbloom, Brian
item Zhang, Mingchu
item Bower, Cynthia

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/11/2009
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: N/A

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Alaska’s commercial fishing industry, sportfishing and subsistence fisheries generate over one million metric tons of processing waste each year. Composting is a practical alternative for salvaging some of these discarded materials. Rural and remote coastal communities can benefit from these sources of recycled seafood materials since they have access already to other ingredients necessary for developing compost such as kelp, seaweed, driftwood and sawdust. These byproducts are rich in plant-essential nutrients, especially nitrogen. Local use of fish-based compost would promote the development of sustainable commercial greenhouses, small family farms and home gardens. Direct land application of the byproducts for food production attracts wild and domestic animals and is difficult to implement. But composting the byproducts can produce a marketable product that is easy to store and use. However, arctic composting has unique challenges not found in warmer climates and requires modifications of traditional methods to be successful. This review addresses the practicality of composting fish processing waste for filling a niche in Alaska’s coastal communities willing to support local agricultural endeavors. Methodologies used for examining compost development, evaluation of demonstration projects and availability of commercial products are mentioned.

Last Modified: 10/17/2017
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