the Value-Added Potential of Atlantic Hagfish, Myxine
Hultin, Herb; Kelleher, Stephen; Kuenstner, Sue; and Nardi,
Marine Fisheries Service, Northeast Region, One Blackburn
Drive, Gloucester, MA 01930-2298. PHONE: (978) 281-9267
Stocks of traditionally
fished species off the New England coast have declined
over the past few years. As a result, many fishermen are
targeting alternate or underutilized species such as dogfish,
skate , sea urchins, and now, Atlantic hagfish.
In 1993, a small fishery for Atlantic hagfish, Myxine
glutinosa, was established on the East Coast.
However, the way the market is currently set up, much
of the profit from this fishery is being realized overseas,
rather than in the region where the fish are being trapped.
Atlantic hagfish are packed whole and sent to Korea where
the skins are tanned and stitched in the production of
"eelskin" leather, and the meat is sold for
human consumption. The primary goal of this project
was to capture a previously untapped corner of the market
for Atlantic hagfish, and to retain more of the financial
benefits of the fishery in the New England region. This
was accomplished by developing a positive identity for
New England hagfish leather, developing prototype food
products for hagfish meat, and by collecting data which
will be useful in future management of this fishery.