100% Great Lakes Fish Pledge

The Great Lakes are home to a sizeable commercial fishery for diverse species such as Lake Whitefish, Yellow Perch, Walleye and Lake Trout. In most cases, only the fillets of these fish are eaten by people, while the remaining 60% of the fish is relegated to inexpensive animal feed or discarded. Recognizing the need to prevent waste and promote the sustainable use of these fish, the Great Lakes St. Lawrence Governors and Premiers (GSGP) initiated the 100% Great Lakes Fish campaign.

Full Utilization

This campaign seeks to identify uses for all parts of the fish and to foster collaboration between processors, producers and other fishery-adjacent businesses to explore and implement innovative applications for fish byproducts. Such applications include protein, marine collagen, fertilizer, leather and other new, high-value products. Campaign partners include the Iceland Ocean Cluster which pioneered the 100% fish concept by developing such products made from the Icelandic cod. The goal of this pledge is to achieve 100% utilization of each fish caught in the region by 2025.


  1. Using all parts of commercially caught fish from the Great Lakes productively, eliminating waste.
  2. Implementing strategies to maximize the value derived from all parts of the fish where and when practical.

  3. Exploring investment in new technologies and processes that allow for the efficient extraction and production of protein, collagen, leather, and other valuable byproducts of the traditional production process.

  4. Sharing the 100% Great Lakes Fish Pledge and its message to partners throughout the value chain and encouraging them to make similar commitments toward fostering the sustainability of the Great Lakes commercial fishery.

  5. Remaining open to expanding the idea of 100% fish to other Great Lakes fish and exploring the sustainable commercial harvesting and utilization of new species that may present opportunities for complementary businesses within the supply chain.

The Great Lakes fishery is an important part of our region’s economy, history and culture. Yet, the Great Lakes commercial fishery remains undervalued and underutilized. Using the entire fish, from head-to-tail, presents a tremendous opportunity for the Great Lakes region, leading to significant economic returns, job creation, rural economic development and improved sustainability for the fishery and associated businesses.

Read the announcement regarding the pledge, which is re-posted here with permission, and those involved by clicking HERE!

AUTHOR: Great Lakes St. Lawrence Governors & Premiers

The Great Lakes St. Lawrence Governors & Premiers unites the chief executives from Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Ontario, Pennsylvania, Québec and Wisconsin. The Governors and Premiers work as equal partners to grow the region’s $6 trillion economy and protect the world’s largest system of surface fresh water. 

CGLR’s business and sustainability network programming is supported by the Fred A. and Barbara M. Erb Family Foundation.

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