Making packaging for food and cosmetics from fisheries industry by-products

It's currently expected that global fisheries production will reach 194 million tonnes by 2026. Worldwide, almost 20 million tonnes of raw materials are used to manufacture fishmeal and fish oil. A cost-effective method for extracting bioactive compounds from bio-based fisheries side-streams for high-value applications is pivotal for making the fisheries industry more circular.

EcoeFISHent is a cluster involving several actors belonging to different sectors and organization types, working on implementing applicable solutions from fisheries side-streams.

Aimplas, the Plastics Technology Centre, is leading a project to develop both a fish gelatine-based coating for food packaging and cosmetics packaging from fishing nets.

In line with the European Strategy for Bioplastics in a Circular Economy, EcoeFISHent is working on developing a gas barrier biopolymer coating for packaging food sensitive to oxidation (such as meat, fish and cheese). This coating uses gelatine extracted from fish processing side-streams and so will replace conventional fossil barrier polymers, while retaining the desired functionality, sustainability and safety.

EcoeFISHent also aims to provide a circular solution to recycling fishing nets. Extrusion and further injection moulding and lamination processing will be used to make packaging for cosmetics from the polyethylene recovered from fishing nets.

It will also set up a programme to protect the marine environment, involving the collection, recovery and recycling of abandoned fishing nets and the implementation of a sustainable fishing programme.

34 partners from seven countries are participating in this initiative, coordinated by FILSE spa, the Financial body for Economic Development of the Ligurian regional administration. The project is funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement ID 101036428.