Juneau firm aims to cash in on Alaska salmon waste

Posted: Monday, June 18, 2007

ANCHORAGE - A salmon protein recovery venture, rooted in a fish processor's passion for fully utilizing the resource, plans to have a pure salmon oil soft gel for human consumption on the market by autumn.

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The product, to be sold as Alaska Omega Pure, will be marketed over the Internet, through retail and wholesale outlets, said Sandro Lane, president of Alaska Protein Recovery LLC. It will be marketed as a less refined, more natural product, for those who care about such things.

"It will be competitively priced at retail, about the same as the other fish oils," said Lane, whose firm's corporate headquarters are in Juneau, with administrative offices in Seattle. "We're going to market it as a more natural, closer to the source product, a product which is less refined and more nutritious, more like nature intended you to get."

Many brands of fish oil, a popular omega-3 oil health food item, are actually composed not of salmon oil, but anchovy and sardine oils.

Lane plans to produce an unadulterated salmon oil, using a cold-press process similar to that used to cold-press olive oil, which avoids degrading the beneficial oils.

Lane, who studied at the University of California Berkeley and the University of Alaska Southeast, has a degree in fisheries science. From 1982, until he sold it in 2003, Lane owned Taku Fisheries in Juneau.

Lane estimates that Taku Fisheries processed about 10 million pounds of fish annually, and given about 35 percent waste, was grinding and dumping some 3 million pounds of fish wastes annually.

"That kind of bothered me," he said. "I saw a resource that was being wasted and not utilized."

By 2003, Lane had created Alaska Protein Recovery to manufacture hydrolyzed fish protein and fish oil from Alaska seafood industry by-products. Production for the firm occurs onboard a state-of-the-art 260-foot-by-60-foot processing barge, the Alaskan Venturer.

The Alaskan Venturer operates seasonally in a variety of Alaska ports, where large-scale salmon processing occurs. This summer, the barge will be located in Ketchikan at the Trident Seafoods dock, processing the waste stream into salmon protein concentrate and salmon oil.

While Alaska Protein Recovery's product competes with traditional fish meal produced throughout the world, this is a hydrolyzed protein produced at very low temperature, and will be sold mostly to feed makers in Asia to add flavor to straight fish meal. "What our product can do is be added to a non-marine grade protein to flavor it," Lane said.

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