(NEWS CENTER) -- A Portland entrepreneur is turning to Iceland for inspiration to improve Maine's marine economy. Patrick Arnold is planning to open the New England Ocean Cluster House on the Portland waterfront.
The model is based off of a similar operation in Reykjavik, Iceland. In the United States we use about 40% of a fish, and 60% gets tossed away. In Iceland, they have figured out how to use more than 80% of a fish, making their fishing industry more profitable. At the Iceland Ocean Cluster House, start-up companies with good ideas get office space and access to
130 people also working to improve Iceland's marine economy. Many of the businesses are creating value added products from cod, including beauty products from fish enzymes, and extra virgin cod liver oil.
There are companies using fish skin to make leather products and even bandages. These products can have ten times the value of the fish itself. Patrick Arnold believes this model will work well in Maine. "This will help bring those entrepreneurs the platform to pursue their visions, I think it will be a huge opportunity to develop commercial activity in the state of Maine," said Arnold.
Senator Angus King recently toured the Iceland Ocean Cluster House on a trip to Reykjavik. He says what Iceland has done with the cod could be done with the Maine lobster. "Ground lobster shells have great chemical value for uses. Why not? we produce 90% of the world's lobster let's get more value for our fishermen from this 'wonderful product out of the sea."
There are three locations being considered for the New England Ocean Cluster House, including the Maine State Pier. The plan is to have the New England Ocean Cluster House open in the next six to nine months.