Personnel File - December 2008: Marine Industries
Director, N.C. State University
David Green moved to Durham from his native Pittsburgh when he was 12. He graduated from Davidson College in 1976 with a bachelor’s in biology and earned a master’s from East Carolina University in 1980 and a Ph.D. from N.C. State six years later. While working on his doctorate, he joined the staff of the laboratory, which employs eight, to improve the state’s seafood industry. It is a hard industry to quantify, Green, 54, says. There are hard numbers for fish harvesting — $82.2 million in 2007 — and aquaculture, which includes fish farming and processing and generated $54.9 million last year. But, he says, many other industry aspects, such as the value of seafood sold in restaurants, are not tracked.
“It used to be that wild harvesting was worth $1 billion annually. That’s dropped off significantly. Not only have we changed the species we harvest, but there are more restrictions. These days North Carolina imports a significant amount of seafood, both from other states and other countries.”
“What we are trying to do is help companies in the industry add value to the fish and shellfish they harvest. Recently we had a conference where five different businesses displayed their value-added seafood products, such as crab cakes, different types of seafood salad and smoked fish, all things which have increased their revenue, making them producers instead of suppliers of commodities. It’s in the area of adding value that you can expect to see a significant return to the North Carolina economy.”
“We believe biotechnology will play a huge part in helping producers better utilize 100% of the catch. The head, tail, fins and bones, traditionally thought of as the discards, can have practical applications. For example, fish skins can be used to recover gelatin used in various food and cosmetic products.”