Catching and handling
High quality seafood is about taking good care of the catch until it reaches the table. The right fishing gear, gentle handling and optimum storage are important for quality.
- Consulting in methodology and technology for slaughter and killing
- Knowledge on how raw material quality is maintained throughout industrial production lines
- Equipment and measurement methods to document the effect of processing
From the moment the fish comes into contact with the fishing gear, the quality of the raw material can be affected negatively. Nofima has expertise in what happens to the quality when using different catch methods.
Gear and capture
Nofimas researchers work on documenting the effect of different fishing gear, and works to develop new methods to ensure high quality in the catch.
How the fish is handled on the vessel when freed from the gear, cut and gutted, is significant for the quality of the fish. Our estimates show that significant value is lost when a large portion of the fish muscle has to be cut away or downgraded as a result of cut and crush damage.
Nofima has for a number of years researched and developed methods to store live wild fish, which provide top quality raw material regardless of season.
It is becoming more and more common to move fish by pumping it through pipes, either from nets to storage, from storage to land, from nets onto containers on land, or to and from fish corrals at sea.
Pumping exposes fish to strains that can cause damage that degrades quality such that it no longer is suitable for its intended production. A number of factors can affect quality, for example the fish’s size, design of pipes and route the the fish must traverse, and the transport distance and pump method. Nofima works to acquire knowledge and develop methods that safeguard the fish and quality in the best possible way when it is pumped.
Both wild caught and farmed fish have often been exposed to a lot of strain when arriving for slaughter. Both the capture situation, transport and repeated crowding and pumping can result in the fish being exhausted at the time of slaughter. A stressed or exhausted fish has a low pH level in its muscle tissue and quickly reaches rigor mortis. This leaves a short time for pre-rigor processing, and may result in the fish not being saleable as a first-class product.
In order to achieve the best possible quality, it is important to avoid injury, stress and exhaustion such that the time before rigor mortis is as long as possible. Nofima heads and participates in projects where new technology and methods are tested and evaluated. A central goal is to combine animal protection concerns and animal welfare with the industry’s and markets demands toward quality.
Regardless of what the fish is to be used for, good bleeding is decisive for quality. Our trials show that several factors are involved, both the time it takes from catching to bleeding, bleeding time and whether the bleeding takes place in water or air. Our trials show that the fish should be bled within the first 30 minutes after catching to provide a product quality with little blood.
Cooling and storage
Fast cooling of the catch once it is on board and a stable, low temperature during storage, are preconditions to ensure high quality and a long shelf life for the raw material.
Nofima provides research and development to find optimum cooling and storage conditions for raw material on board fishing vessels and in slaughterhouses for farmed fish. The choice of the most suitable methods depends on how the raw material is to be processed further.