Commitment to Cleaner Seas

Interview: Jussi Peura, Research Director, Finnish Fur Breeders’ Association (ProFur)

This year, Saga Furs, through its Parent organization ProFur, has made a formal commitment with the Baltic Sea Action Group (BSAG) to focus joint efforts on reducing the impacts of fur farm manure on waterways. Working together with industry, the commitment will involve conducting research projects to deal with waste more efficiently as well as finding alternative commercial solutions, particularly related to reusing the phosphorus found in animal manure.

Phosphorus from waste

“Phosphorus is a finite resource,” says Jussi Peura, Research Director at ProFur. Phosphorus is currently mined and sold to industry with global supplies expected to be depleted in the next couple of decades. However, Peura explains that at current prices there is still no business value proposition for farmers to extract Phosphorus from waste for sale. Instead, the association in partnership with the Baltic Sea Action Group is looking at other short- and longer-term solutions.

In the short term, the plan is to:

  • Create a common protocol for composting companies to unify their processes.
  • Develop a farmer education system exploring more effective ways to work together as an industry to reduce the environmental impacts of Phosphorus in water runoff and as a contributor to greenhouse gas emissions.

Longer-term research includes:

  • Studying how Nitrogen evapourates into the air from animal excrement, adding to the greenhouse gas emissions problem, and experimenting with ways to add a Nitrogen-fixing agent to animal waste. This would make it a compelling fertiliser product for potential customers in agriculture
  • Experimenting with adding biocoal to animal manure or feed to bind the moisture content and prevent the evaporation of Nitrogen into the atmosphere.

Phosphorus and animal feed

Many people are not aware that, in practice, by sourcing nutritious high-Phosphorus raw fish feed, the fur industry contributes to a cleaner sea. “Fishing by-products that go into healthy feed for fur animals is rich in Phosphorus,” Peura explains.

ProFur is working in partnership with BSAG and the industry to maximise future opportunities that make good business and environmental sense.