Marine economy propels Shandong development

(| Updated : 2018-05-24

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Shandong province is making efforts to develop mariculture. [Photo/]

As the country put forward a strategy of expanding marine economies, the coastal province of Shandong in East China made efforts to become an advanced province in marine and fishery industries.

Collagen extraction makes fish skin 40 times more valuable

The story of fish skin in Yantai-based Shandong Oriental Ocean Sci-Tech Co Ltd explains how technology helps improve the value of raw materials.

The cod that are transported from Alaska seas to the company are disassembled into three parts. The fish meat is sold as food after processing and the fish bones are ground into powder for agricultural and industrial use. “Don’t underestimate the fish skins. They are treasures to us,” said Che Shi, chairman of the company. 

Che explained that 80 to 85 percent of dried fish skin is collagen, which is a kind of efficient medicine and nourishment and can be made into food additives. “There is no doubt that the most widely-known effect of collagen is that it can make people’s skin smoother. It is the raw material of cosmetics and health food,” said Che. 

However, the valuable fish skin was treated as waste material ten years ago. At that time, the company mainly engaged in processing frozen fish fillets – a labor intensive and rough machining industry. Each ton of fish skin could only be sold for 400 to 500 yuan ($62.90 to 78.63).

As the prices of raw materials and labor costs kept increasing, the company turned to the wasted skins for more profits. It achieved cooperation with Ocean University of China to introduce their advanced fish skin collagen extraction technology and set up several production lines. From each ton of fish skin, 0.06 tons of collagen can be extracted. Each ton of collagen can be sold for as much as 260,000 yuan. Therefore, the value of fish skin, if fully utilized, increases by 40 times. 

“The raw material of facial masks applied by many people may come from Alaska deep sea’s cod,” said Che.  

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