Quality in all stages from live fish to your dinner table - which challenges do the mackerel and salmon industries face? Photo: Lars Åke Andersen / Nofima

Seafood quality

Consumer and sensory sciences   Industrial Economics   Marine biotechnology   Processing Technology   Seafood industry  

This project aims to acquire new knowledge on quality challenges in the mackerel and salmon value chains.

Time:1. March 2015 – 28. February 2019
Contact person
Portrettbilde av Kine Mari Karlsen
Kine Mari Karlsen

Senior Scientist
Phone: +47 472 60 878

Quality is important in the entire process from live fish to dinner table, both in catching, slaughter, processing, product development and marketing work. The project focuses particularly on the importance of quality between the different links, and the profitability of seafood of different qualities.

Our researchers will develop methods, equipment and expertise to understand the conditions in which quality arises, deteriorates, is quantified, used and communicated by industry players and throughout the value chain from fish to consumer.


What is quality? There is no universal definition. Quality is often understood in context. In the project we will take a closer look at these perspectives:

1)      Product-based quality: Quality is defined from precise and quantifiable variables in the individual product, such as fat content and germination number.

2)      Production-based quality: Quality is linked to products being produced in accordance with requirements or specifications.

3)      Customer-based quality: Quality is defined according to the customers’ preferences. Individual customers are assumed to have different desires or needs, and those products that best satisfy their preferences are those they assume to have the highest quality.

4)      Value-based quality: Quality is defined according to cost and price. A quality product must have an acceptable price and/or cost. The goal is to attain sufficient quality to achieve the highest possible earnings in all links of the value chain.

The project particularly examines quality challenges in the value chains for mackerel and salmon.


Mackerel is an oily fish with significant seasonal variations in fat content, composition and structure. In connection with mechanical processing one can encounter challenges related to splitting (fillet gaping) and rancidity (shelf life of chilled and frozen mackerel), which may also be related to raw material treatment.

It seems necessary to adjust current filleting facilities, which are primarily used for herring, in order for the Norwegian pelagic industry to be capable of processing more mackerel to develop more profitable and varied products.

Both quality products of fillet and residual raw materials have opportunities for profitable solutions. However, more knowledge is required in the entire value chain – catching, processing, use of residual raw materials and market knowledge, in addition to increased knowledge on economy and profitability in connection with various production concepts. Nofima will contribute knowledge on these subjects.


It is a political desire to increase local added value by processing more salmon in Norway, for example through filleting and removal of bones immediately after slaughter (pre-rigor).

Quality issues for salmon are the same either sold whole or as fillet: It’s about achieving good and regular quality, and having good handling and sorting of salmon with various quality defects.

There are opportunities for improvements on issues such as residual blood in the fillets, sorting systems for visible quality defects in skin and belly, and automated classification of quality defects in the fillet, such as blood spots, melanin spots, splitting (fillet gaping) and soft muscle. Exploiting residual raw material is also an important opportunity for greater profitability in salmon production.

We will also focus on the economic aspects of increased salmon production in Norway.

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