Chitin is a naturally occurring substance found in various shellfish species such as crab and shrimp. With its binding and absorption qualities, it can be used in a range of industrial applications, including waste water treatment, cosmetic production, and medical applications such as wound dressings.
“The Fisheries Technology and New Opportunities Program continues to support projects that foster a culture of innovation within the fishing industry. The Provincial Government’s investment of C$100,000 will assist the Marine Institute and industry partner Barry Group International as they explore a new product opportunity involving shell waste that could create gains for everyone in the shellfish industry,” said Keith Hutchings, Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture.
These shells have generally been discarded using current production practices, but should this process prove viable, it could create greater economic benefits for the processing sector. Since the introduction of the Fisheries Technology and New Opportunities Programme in 2008, the Provincial Government has supported a number of research projects intended to achieve greater value from harvested seafood.
“To continue to promote a sustainable fishery, we need to look at reducing the amount of waste we produce. With the extraction of chitin, we put more of the shrimp to work for us and we are improving on our current methods of that process. We would like to thank the Provincial Government for its support in this project and its assistance with helping us improve the current processing method,” said Heather Manual, Director, Centre for Aquaculture and Seafood Development, Marine Institute.
The new process the Marine Institute is studying is expected to significantly reduce the use of chemicals used to extract chitin, which in turn will improve the cost effectiveness of the process. The current industry partner, Barry Group International, has been researching the chitin extraction process for a number of years.
“We are very happy to work with the Provincial Government and the Marine Institute and would like to thank both parties for their assistance in research in the production of this valuable product,” said Bill Barry, CEO, Barry Group Incorporated.
Through sound fiscal management and responsible decisions, the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador is strengthening the business environment, encouraging the development of innovative industries, and building a vibrant economy.