Converting Alaska fish byproducts into compost: A review

Converting Alaska fish byproducts into compost: A review

B. Himelbloom, M. Zhang, and C. Bower

Converting Alaska fish byproducts into compost: A reviewThis is part of A Sustainable Future: Fish Processing Byproducts
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Alaska's commercial fishing industry, and sportfishing and subsistence fisheries, generate over one million metric tons of processing waste each year. Composting is a practical alternative for putting some of these discarded materials to practical use. Rural and remote coastal communities can benefit from these sources of recycled seafood materials since they already have access to other ingredients necessary for developing compost. These byproducts are rich in plant-essential nutrients, especially nitrogen. Local use of fish-based compost could promote the development of sustainable commercial greenhouses, small family farms, and home gardens. Direct application of the byproducts to the land 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. Methodologies used for examining compost development, evaluation of demonstration projects, and availability of commercial products are discussed.

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