Wildly Sus­tain­able

Con­cerned with con­ser­va­tion, a biotech­nol­o­gist cre­ates sus­tain­ably sourced Omega-3 pow­er­house sup­ple­ments you can feel great about giv­ing your dog.

Modern Dog - - NEWS - BY J. LES­LIE JOHN­SON

Con­cerned with con­ser­va­tion, a biotech­nol­o­gist cre­ates sus­tain­ably sourced Omega-3 pow­er­house sup­ple­ments you can feel great about giv­ing your dog.

When Har­ald Fisker, a Dan­ish-born biotech­nol­o­gist, was trav­el­ling in Alaska in the late nineties for his ca­reer in fish pro­cess­ing, he kept hear­ing sto­ries that dis­turbed him. Large boats mov­ing through north­ern wa­ters were not able to get out of har­bour be­cause of the large piles of fish waste. Har­ald had en­coun­tered a sim­i­lar prob­lem when he worked in Nor­way: the body of the fish was pro­cessed but the rest of it—the head, tail, and frame— was dis­charged into the sea.

“It’s big pol­lu­tion and an enor­mous waste, and it’s not re­ally nec­es­sary,” ob­serves Har­ald. “You can’t use all of the fish but you can use most of it.”

See­ing an op­por­tu­nity to make the fish pro­cess­ing in­dus­try more sus­tain­able and help the en­vi­ron­ment at the same time, Har­ald left the cor­po­rate world where he had worked for sev­eral decades and started his own busi­ness, Griz­zly Pet Prod­ucts, a com­pany that takes sur­plus, hu­man-grade fish parts and trans­forms them into high qual­ity sup­ple­ments for dogs and cats. “Dogs, es­pe­cially large dogs, have al­ways been close to my heart,” says Har­ald, adding, “I love shep­herds; I grew up with them.”

Want­ing to make the high­est qual­ity prod­ucts pos­si­ble, Har­ald even de­signed and built his own plants in Alaska. There, he ex­tracts oil and meal from hu­man qual­ity fish prod­ucts. The oil and meal is then pack­aged in his own fa­cil­i­ties in Wash­ing­ton state. “It is im­por­tant to me that I know from source to cus­tomer what we are do­ing,” he ex­plains.

One of the cor­ner­stone prod­ucts for Griz­zly Pet Prod­ucts— named for the mas­sive bear that thrives on wild salmon—is their Wild Alaskan Salmon Oil. It is rich in omega-3 fatty acids such as EPA and DHA, which play a vi­tal role in pet health. Aside from pro­duc­ing a healthy skin and coat, fatty acids sup­port car­dio­vas­cu­lar, im­mune, and cog­ni­tive func­tions. Fish oils are an ex­cel­lent source of omega-3 fatty acids for pets be­cause they are read­ily ab­sorbed. Fatty acids found in plant sources such as flax seed must be con­verted by the pet’s me­tab­o­lism be­fore they can be taken up, and a sig­nif­i­cant amount of nu­tri­ents are lost in the process.

Har­ald, who has a Masters de­gree in biotech­nol­ogy, is

It’s big pol­lu­tion and an enor­mous waste, and it’s not re­ally nec­es­sary,” ob­serves Har­ald. “You can’t use all of the fish but you can use most of it.

adamant about us­ing only wild Alaskan salmon that for­age on a di­verse ar­ray of nu­tri­ent-rich or­gan­isms. “Farmed salmon these days have a to­tally dif­fer­ent com­po­si­tion than the wild salmon that still feed in the ocean,” notes Har­ald. He says farmed salmon are fed veg­etable oils, which are higher in omega-6 fatty acids than in omega-3s. The sci­en­tist es­ti­mates it takes up to 40 per­cent more farmed salmon oil to yield the amount of omega-3s found in the wild-sourced prod­uct.

In ad­di­tion to Wild Salmon Oil, Har­ald produces the more eco­nom­i­cal Wild Pol­lock Oil. “It’s a very good al­ter­na­tive if you want to sup­ple­ment your pet’s food with some­thing that will keep the coat nice, and away from dry­ness and itch­i­ness,” he com­ments, “but it is not quite as high in the omega-3 pro­file as the salmon oil.” Har­ald says it is also ben­e­fi­cial to al­ter­nate the two prod­ucts.

While the biotech­nol­o­gist sources his wild salmon and pol­lock from Alaska, he gets another of his key in­gre­di­ents— krill—from Antarc­tica. For sev­eral years, Har­ald had heard about the pow­er­ful an­tiox­i­dant prop­er­ties of Antarc­tic krill but was re­luc­tant to use it be­cause he knew the tiny crus­tacean was a pri­mary food source for many large Antarc­tic an­i­mals such as whales, seals, birds, and fish.

He con­sulted the ma­jor com­pa­nies that har­vest krill in

Antarc­tica and dis­cov­ered that they ad­hered to stan­dards set forth by in­ter­na­tion­ally rec­og­nized groups such as the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and the Commission for the Con­ser­va­tion of Antarc­tic Ma­rine Liv­ing Re­sources (CCAMLR). The lat­ter lim­its the amount of krill be­ing caught to pro­tect all as­pects of the Antarc­tic ecosys­tem.

“The biomass in the Antarc­tic is enor­mous, and it is just a tiny frac­tion that is be­ing caught,” ex­plains Har­ald, adding, “They are tak­ing less than one per­cent of the re-growth of krill per year.”

When he was cer­tain the har­vest­ing of Antarc­tic krill was sus­tain­able, the biotech­nol­o­gist in­cor­po­rated it into two of his prod­ucts, Griz­zly Krill Oil and Griz­zly Joint Aid. Wild krill con­tains a sub­stance called As­tax­an­thin, which produces the arthro­pod’s deep red colour. As­tax­an­thin is a pow­er­ful an­tiox­i­dant that fights free rad­i­cals detri­men­tal to pet health. Har­ald notes his krill oil for pets con­tains a high amount of this po­tent an­tiox­i­dant, up to eight times more than that found in krill oil sup­ple­ments for peo­ple.

Wild Antarc­tic krill oil is also an im­por­tant part of the biotech­nol­o­gist’s joint sup­ple­ment, Griz­zly Joint Aid. While this prod­uct con­tains stan­dard in­gre­di­ents such as glu­cosamine and chon­droitin, sub­stances that have been shown to sup­port tis­sues and car­ti­lage, the wild Antarc­tic krill oil fa­cil­i­tates ab­sorp­tion of all nu­tri­ents. This is es­pe­cially im­por­tant for se­nior pets, whose di­ges­tion slows as they age.

Re­cently, Har­ald has di­ver­si­fied and added a “su­per food” to his line of high-qual­ity sup­ple­ments. The first and pri­mary in­gre­di­ent of the pet food is, not sur­pris­ingly, wild Alaskan salmon. Har­ald feels proud to be putting this pre­cious re­source, pre­vi­ously be­ing wasted, to good use. Look­ing back on his early days in the fish pro­cess­ing in­dus­try, the biotech­nol­o­gist says that per­haps 60 per­cent of the fish was used.

“Maybe we are go­ing closer to us­ing 89 per­cent all the time,” Har­ald re­flects, adding, “That feels good.”

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