B2E – Blue Bioeconomy CoLAB Leads Bilateral Cooperation Project for the Valorization of Marine Co-Products

Portugal hosted, on October 18th and 19th, representatives from the innovation clusters of Norway and Iceland for a pioneering event in Portugal aimed at promoting the marine co-products industry. The visit was part of the “Roadmap4MarineCoproducts – Towards the Future in Marine Resource Valorization” project, funded by the EEA Grants under the Bilateral Relations Fund and coordinated by B2E – Blue Bioeconomy CoLAB (B2E CoLAB).

Norway and Iceland are leaders in maximizing the value of each fish, transforming fishery waste into useful and value-added products. “This exchange has not only benefited the Portuguese industry but has also contributed to the promotion of the marine co-products sector in Portugal. The sharing of knowledge between different countries can lead to the identification of collaboration opportunities, investments, and business partnerships with investors from Norway and Iceland, who have significant experience in this sector,” explains Maria Coelho, Executive Coordinator of B2E CoLAB.

This is a project, she adds, “that is a testament to the commitment that B2E CoLAB has made to identify, value, and leverage the co-products generated by blue bioeconomy activities. Instead of viewing these resources as ‘byproducts’ or ‘waste,’ we prefer to see them as valuable assets that have much to offer to our economy and the environment.

The collaborative event served as a culminating moment, marking the closure of the ‘Roadmap4MarineCoproducts – Towards the Future in Marine Resource Valorization’ project. This momentous gathering aimed to exchange information and expertise, drawing on the best practices from Iceland and Norway. It symbolized the conclusion of a significant initiative, facilitated by the B2E CoLAB, which not only fostered knowledge sharing but also paved the way for the implementation of innovative practices in Portugal’s marine co-products industry. The project’s success stands as a testament to the commitment of all involved parties in transforming perceived waste into invaluable assets for our economy and the environment.”

The presence of representatives from the Norwegian Seafood Innovation Cluster (NCE Seafood Innovation) and the Iceland Ocean Cluster (IOC) included a visit to the companies Ramirez & Cª (Filhos), SA, and Portugal Norte. This allowed for the presentation of Portuguese companies’ operations and approaches regarding the valorization of marine co-products, as well as the sharing of best practices developed in Norway and Iceland.

At a time when data indicates that more than 10 million tons of fishery waste worldwide go to waste despite its quality, the utilization of fish heads, bones, or skins presents valuable opportunities to promote circularity and the emergence of new value chains. An interesting example of the potential in this sector comes from Iceland, where 100% of cod is utilized: fillets for food consumption, and everything else (bones, skin) has various uses in industries such as nutraceuticals or pharmaceuticals, the textile and footwear sector, in addition to traditional fishmeal.

On October 18th, in the afternoon, a networking conference on the Valorization of Marine Co-Products took place. The event featured representatives from the Norwegian clusters, Björgolfur Hávardsson and Cathrine Ulvatn, and the Icelandic cluster, Alexandra Leeper, as well as experts and leaders from national and international companies in the field of marine co-products: Maria João Mota (Innovation Manager at Soja de Portugal), André Almeida (R&D and Business Director at ETSA), Luísa Valente (ICBAS professor and CIIMAR researcher), Tiago Henrique Silva (Principal Researcher at the University of Minho/3B’s Research).

The opening session was chaired by the Councilor for Economic Activities of the Municipality of Matosinhos, Marta Pontes.

About B2E – CoLAB for the Blue Bioeconomy:

B2E – CoLAB for the Blue Bioeconomy is a Portuguese non-profit private entity with the aim of adding value to the economy and society. In the field of blue bioeconomy – aquaculture, marine biotechnology, and living marine resources – B2E CoLAB operates in various areas, such as cooperation and collaboration with associates (research centers, universities, companies, and technological interfaces) and national and international stakeholders, advising producers and entrepreneurs in seeking and obtaining financial support, customized HR training, development of strategies and market analysis, knowledge protection and valorization, promotion, and communication.

About Ramirez:

Ramirez & Cª (Filhos), SA, celebrating 170 years of activity, is the world’s oldest operating fish canning industry, and simultaneously, the most modern and ecological unit in the sector. Led by the fifth generation of the homonymous family, Ramirez produces more than 200 products and markets 17 proprietary brands, most of which are already over a century old, to 60 markets. Food safety, circular economy (with the valorization of co-products), and production sustainability (sustainable fishing, organic products, green energy, and rainwater use) are the pillars of its activity. The entire production is powered by green energy, with 40% of the electricity generated internally through photovoltaic panels. The remaining electricity comes from the grid, but with green certification. It also uses sustainable methods for heat production, opting for the use of forest biomass or natural gas. Rainwater is also collected and later used in the factory and can washing process. To strengthen its commitment to the environment and become energetically self-sufficient, it will invest in the installation of new photovoltaic panels in 2024, achieving a self-production capacity that will cover 60% of its electricity needs. With this investment, it will have a capacity of 900 megawatts. With 220 employees, it produces approximately 50 million cans annually.

About Conservas Portugal Norte:

Founded in 1912, CONSERVAS PORTUGAL NORTE, LDA. is a family-owned company with a long tradition in the production and marketing of canned fish, including Sardines, Tuna, and Mackerel, among others, in various sauces and presentations. Its production facility is located in Matosinhos, PORTUGAL, very close to the fishing port, ensuring daily supplies of fresh fish. Over the years, the company has combined the continuous development of innovative products with the maintenance of the quality of Portuguese Tradition in canned fish, always maximizing the excellent taste of its products. All stages of the production process, from the careful selection of raw materials to the effective control of production, are integral parts of a rigorous process of analysis and control of critical points (HACCP). Portugal Norte owns the brands “PORTHOS,” “INÊS,” and “CONSERVEIRA,” among others, and is recognized worldwide for the quality of its products. Always concerned with the needs of its customers, the primary goal of this company is to offer a healthy product (completely natural, without any preservatives, and rich in Omega-3), of excellent quality, and at competitive prices.

About the EEA Grants:

Through the Agreement on the European Economic Area (EEA), Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Norway are partners in the internal market with the European Union Member States. As a way to promote a continuous and balanced strengthening of economic and trade relations, the EEA Agreement parties established a multi-year financial mechanism known as EEA Grants. The EEA Grants aim to reduce social and economic disparities in Europe and strengthen bilateral relations between these three countries and beneficiary countries. For the period 2014-2021, a total contribution of 2.8 billion euros was agreed upon for 15 beneficiary countries. Portugal will receive an allocation of 102.7 million euros. Learn more at

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