Fish Radio

Tidal Vision turns out first batches of chitosan; Wins EPA, WA awards

December 16, 2015

Chitin from crab shells

Chitin from crab shells

This is Fish Radio. I’m Laine Welch – Alaska crab shells are cranking out chitosan. And Juneau’s Tidal Vision takes top honors. More after this –

The Alaska Marine Safety Education Association offers free ergonomics training to seafood processing workers and fishermen to reduce injuries and increase productivity. Visit  to schedule a training at your plant or vessel.

 The 23rd Alaska Symphony of Seafood includes two new categories: Beyond the Plate and Beyond the Egg. Deadline to enter is January 8. Sign up at

The Tidal Vision team from Juneau just won big for its first-in-the-world process that extracts chitosan from crab shells in an earth-friendly way.

 We just got an award from the EPA  and WA Dept of ecology for safer manufacturing and cleaner products for our technologies for extracting chitin and being able to use the crab shells completely and doing so without harsh chemicals used in the traditional process.

Craig Kasberg is Tidal Vision’s Captain Executive Officer. Chitin is a miracle substance derived from crab shells that can be spun into fabrics, filters, bio-plastics, bandages and stitches, even car coatings with self-healing scratches.  Since the 1950s until now, chitin has only been produced in China and India.

 Our method, we are able to recycle 89% of the chemicals we use, and we are able to not use any of those harsh chemicals and the other 11% reacts with everything else in the crab shell – the calcium, protein and lipids – and produces 8-0-0 fertilizer, 8% nitrogen fertilizer that we are really excited about and we have several agriculture companies that are doing trials with it coming up.

The extraction process is underway now at a pilot plant near Seattle.

  We’ve got 57,000 pounds of shells from St. Paul Island that are on their way to Seattle now so we can optimize our process for those species as well, with the goal of building larger scale versions of this pilot plant in Alaska in the next year. 

The crab shells so far come from Trident and Kasberg says   Ocean Gold and Pacific Seafoods also have offered shells. The Upcycling plant is mobile to operate where the crab shells are in season.

  Which is huge considering currently with some species 35% is in the guts and the shells that they are losing so we’re able to cut that in half by processing the shells.  

The end product is chitosan which is extruded into a fiber and added to Tidal Vision’s patented clothing line called Chitoskin. That’s caught the eye of Grundens.  K Kasberg is most excited, though, about providing crab based filters for a coal mining company in  Canada, beginning next month.

 What we’re doing with this coal mining company now is a pretty simple filtration system and where we hope to take it is make it cost effective or profitable even for the mines being built on the other side of the border in BC to instead of filling manmade lakes with this acidic, full of heavy metals effluent to just be pumping pure drinking water into them and so hopefully we are able to accomplish that. 

So what does the miracle-chitin fetch on the market. Kasberg says from $10 to $30,000 a pound, up to $150,000 a pound for pharmaceutical grades.

Fish Radio is also brought to you by Ocean Beauty Seafoods – who salutes and says thanks to the men and women fishing across Alaska for their hard work and dedication. ( In Kodiak, I’m Laine Welch.