Project Year 2015
Much to gain from better handling
If all cod catches were without major injuries, the fishing industry could increase its profits by hundreds of millions every year.
A reduction of catch injuries and better handling of the fish may enable the fishing industry to achieve better returns from cod.
On assignment from the Fishery and Aquaculture Industry Research Fund (FHF) researcher Marianne Svorken and her colleagues at Nofima have estimated the potential value of higher quality fish based on the export value of cod in 2013. The estimates have been made for the fillets, salted fish, salted and dried fish and fresh fish.
Despite the fact that the authorities, organizations and research have had a strong focus on quality in recent years, Nofima’s research shows that a relatively large share of cod catches in 2014 arrived at shore with reduced quality. A report in December established that the share of fish with poor quality is at the same level or worse, compared to catches in 2004.
Line and jig caught cod are best, and the share of fish in the categories “good”, “reduced” and “poor” has remained stable since 2004. Trawl and seine caught cod result in the highest share of poor fish, and the trend is negative for seine net.
“The main problem is that the catches are too large, not the type of gear used. We have seen that seine nets are best suited for storing live cod, which proves that we can achieve very high quality from seine nets,” says senior researcher Sjurdur Joensen.
“Keep the catches smaller and preserve quality,” is his advice.
The quality of cod can be degraded at several stages, both during catching, handling on board, slaughter and bleeding, during further processing on land, through storage and during transport. The researchers call for more comprehensive understanding and responsibility for quality throughout the value chain.
“Analyses show that it is possible to extract greater value from cod by ensuring that the raw material has a consistently high quality,” says Marianne Svorken.
The researchers believe it is reasonable to assume that if the quality was predictable and at a stable high level, it would also be possible to increase prices.
The Norwegian Seafood Research Fund (FHF)