Focus on live storage

The Fish Site
by The Fish Site
13 November 2006, at 12:00am

NORWAY - The company Gunnar Klo in Vesterlen is focusing on live storage of fish. This can be decisive for whether the company will continue with fillet production in the future.

A report recently published by Fiskeriforskning shows that live storage of cod can improve profitability in the fishing industry and raise the quality of the products.

Gunnar Klo AS in Vesterlen is one of several companies with activities within live storage, and there is close collaboration with Fiskeriforskning and other R&D institutions in this field.

Future with live storage

"If we're going to have fillet production here in the future, we probably have to focus on live storage in addition to the coastal fleet's traditional catches", says Arne E. Karlsen, who leads the projects within live storage and feeding of cod in cages at Gunnar Klo AS.

From May to December, there is little cod outside of Vesterlen. But live storage of the cod will make it possible to ensure fresh raw materials all year.

Long-term effort

Live stored cod is packed fresh in crates with ice and is sent to supermarkets and restaurants in the Benelux countries, France and Spain.

"We don't make a lot of money on this, but see it as an important long-term effort. We're gradually increasing the volume."

Today, they sell the wild-caught, live-stored cod as so-called "blanc cod", i.e. it is delivered cleaned and whole, but without the head. It is packed fresh in crates with ice and is sent to supermarkets and restaurants in the Benelux countries, France and Spain.

New challenges

Karlsen believes that cod that is stored live has competitive advantages because it maintains such a high quality. But he points to a number of problems that must be solved so that live storage of wild fish can be established in the Norwegian fishing industry.

"More vessels are needed that can catch fish live. Investments in on-board equipment and training of fishermen are necessary."

"Concerning feeding, getting cod to eat dry feed is a challenge. Today, they get herring and capelin, which give good quality, but are expensive and labour-intensive."

"More work is also necessary with problems related to fish health in order to prevent disease", says Karlsen, who points to marketing work as one of the challenges.

"It's important to incorporate wild-caught, live-stored cod in those parts of the market that can pay a high price. This is also necessary to cover the increased production costs involved in this concept."

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