Freshwater Fish is always developing new markets for existing and new products.
One area we continue to focus on is roe – a very valuable commodity in the market.
Building on our previous successes with lake whitefish and northern pike, we are now looking at developing markets for mullet, lake trout and walleye caviar.
The first phase of the project is to determine the harvest window or the correct time to remove and process eggs from fish. We will be consulting with fishers for their perspective on how to extract the roe and maintain quality to get the eggs to production and will also look at different processing procedures.
So how does this affect the fisher?
Providing roe-in fish increases value and increases returns to fishers. For example, on a per-fish basis when dealing with northern pike, the value of the roe is equal to thevalue of some of the whole fish.
Utilizing the eggs from fish we have already caught is a great way to create more value. The world market for caviar has grown tremendously with sushi consumption and the shortages of sturgeon caviar. Lower-valued and sustainable caviar options represent an excellent opportunity for Freshwater. So we plan to continue pushing to responsibly develop more caviar products from all of the fish we harvest.
With the increased demand for lake whitefish, we have been hard-pressed to keep up with an adequate amount of minced whitefish production, which has meant finding new solutions to meet our customers’ needs. In response, another promising new product recently introduced by the marketing department is minced tullibee -- also known as cisco or lake herring. We have customers who can use this product as part of their value-added production. Our goal is to continue to expand the market for minced tullibee, which in turn will allow us to increase our purchases of this readily available species.
This year marks the entry of Freshwater Fish branded perch fillets into the Wisconsin market. In partnership with one of our Ontario customers, we have dedicated a portion of our production towards frozen fillets.