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It has to be stockfish from Lofoten!

by the Fish Site Editor
30 August 2006, at 1:00am

NORWAY - Hung and dried under the open sky, the quality of the cod is at the mercy of the whim of the Clerk of the weathers. The goal of the Norwegian seafood industry is to market dried cod - "Stockfish from Lofoten" - as a unique product on a level with Cognac from France, Parma ham from Italy or Jarlsberg cheese from Norway.

It has to be stockfish from Lofoten! - NORWAY - Hung and dried under the open sky, the quality of the cod is at the mercy of the whim of the Clerk of the weathers. The goal of the Norwegian seafood industry is to market dried cod - "Stockfish from Lofoten" - as a unique product on a level with Cognac from France, Parma ham from Italy or Jarlsberg cheese from Norway.

Fiskeriforskning has been assigned the task of discovering the processes that take place during hanging and storage, and will thus contribute to that yet another branded food from Lofoten will be in demand on the shop shelves both at home and abroad, the way "Lofoten Lamb" has become, for example.

Determined by weather and storage

When the fish is removed from the drying rack, it has long been affected by weather and wind and at the mercy of nature's will to contribute with good drying weather. Time, temperature, humidity and wind help determine the quality.

Finally, the storage conditions are what give the stockfish its unique taste and appearance that will characterise a top quality product.

In this project, scientists at Fiskeriforskning have taken measurements of fish from three different facilities. At the same time, storage tests have been conducted under controlled conditions at the pilot plant in Troms. Different temperatures and degrees of humidity in the air, as well as air circulation, have been tested in all conceivable combinations.

Large fluctuations during storage can entail danger for growth of fungus, which reduces the quality. This is something we can eventually say something about, says Senior Scientist Even Tidemann, who is responsible for the project at Fiskeriforskning.

Professional handling

Our scientists have also been involved in the hanging process and have marked a number of fish. These fish have been examined at regular intervals. Some are assessed immediately and some have been left to continue drying under stable conditions, continues Tidemann.

Later this year, professional stockfish graders with long experience will assess the stockfish from these tests. We hope to find the perfect stockfish that will become the fishing industry's answer to yet another highly regarded Norwegian branded good, he says in closing.

In recent years, annual exports of dried round cod from Lofoten have totalled between 420-455 million NOK, and it's important for the industry to be able to guarantee the quality of the branded good "Stockfish from Lofoten". A higher average price and profitability are the goal. There's money in it, says Frank Jakobsen, leader of the Stockfish Forum.

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