DOOR COUNTY, Wis. (WLUK) — Three fishing companies in Wisconsin are working to make sure no fish they catch goes to waste.
Henriksen Fisheries, Baileys Harbor Fish Company, and J & M Fisheries, which are all in Door County, have all signed the "100% Great Lakes Fish Pledge."
It aims to productively use 100% of each fish caught on the Great Lakes by 2025.
We're always encouraged about ways to be sustainable and diversify a bit," said Henriksen Fisheries co-owner Charlie Henriksen.
According to the initiative, in most cases, less than half of a fish is actually used. Henriksen said they already use their fish for more than just filets.
We do filets and fish boil chunks out of our whitefish," said Henriksen. "We sell boneless filets, so we have a pinbone scrap that we grind up and we make dog treats with. Or, we have a company we work with that makes fish sausage out of it."
But each fish can be used for much more. Other uses include fertilizer, cosmetics and supplements. Fish skin can even be used for a type of leather.
They're tanning the whitefish skins to make a leather product that we're experimenting with," said Henriksen.
Henriksen Fisheries recently received a shipment of items made with fish leather which include a bag, journal and even jewelry.
According to the project, the value of each fish could increase from $12 to $4,000.
While Henriksen's won't be seeing all of that money, they do hope to see an economic boost.
"Maybe we'll double the value of the fish, which would be impressive," added Henriksen.
For the fisheries, Henriksen said the project is about looking at the bigger picture.
"It's important for people to realize that us and the other companies that have signed on, and even those that haven't, we have the biggest interest in the long-term viability of this fishery."