Jacques Gagnon - NBIF - FINB

gagnon, phd



Jacques Gagnon
Jacques Gagnon


Turning Waste Into Wealth

Turning fish waste into wealth. That’s what makes Dr Jacques Gagnon, Science Director at the Coastal Zones Research Institute in Shippagan, a researcher entrepreneur.

Processing plants in New Brunswick throw away up to 25,000 tons of herring every year. Why? Because all they do is remove the roe and send it to Japan. The rest, including all of the males, are thrown away. Dr Gagnon is determined to find a valuable use for it, and that he has done with a compound for the treatment of diabetes. Currently in preparation for human trials, tests show it has the potential to prevent people that are borderline type II diabetic from developing the disease.

Dr. Gagnon was honoured in 2011 with the NBIF R3 Innovation Award for Excellence in Applied Research.



NBIF: What are you looking for in the fish processing waste you work with?

Dr Gagnon: We are looking or a number of things, including ingredients that have bio-activite compounds for fighting obesity, diabetes, and neurogenerative diseases. We are researching a number of marine animals that are fished here including herring fish and sea cucumbers.

NBIF: Why do you focus on herring specifically?

Dr Gagnon: It is possible that we can add value by creating byproducts out of what is normally thrown away. Instead of using just 10 to 15 percent of the herring, I want the industry to be able to use 85% of it, including the scales. Right now only the roe is removed to be sold to countries in Aisa. Except for a small amount sold fresh or packed, or for animal feed, almost all of the fish is thrown away once the eggs are removed. And that's just the females. The males are often discarded whole.

NBIF: What's your dream for the institute?

Dr Gagnon: The insitute is making its way and we are getting more identified for the place to be for making marine byproducts. We have an edge by having the materials right here, and a good laboratory. I want to make spinoff companies and get Masters and PhD graduates to stay here or come back to the Acadian Penisula. That's my dream.