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Profitable Colour Gauging with Photofish

Salmonids Technology & equipment Food safety & handling +3 more

NORWAY - Norwegian salmon farmers are now using Photofish to measure the colour of salmon fillets.

Lucy Towers thumbnail

“When we started developing this tool, we saw the need to quickly and impartially measure the colour, pigment and fat content of each individual salmon,” says Kjell-Arne Rørvik of Nofima, one of the three founders.

The backdrop was that there are requirements toward the visual colour of fillets in the Norwegian industry standard, but no available analysis that directly measures the colour while remaining impartial. The alternative is chemical analysis of pigment from the fillet, and this takes time.

There was thus a need for the tool Rørvik had developed. Using it, colour could be continuously measured throughout production, and quality could be managed up to slaughter. However, the technology had to become easier to use.

Technology vendor AKVA group had great interest in the innovation, and created a new, portable device that could perform measurements on location.

Now the company is producing and selling Photofish devices. Method, statistics and calculations have been verified by Nofima. Nofima also quality-assures each individual device before it is deployed to the fish farmer.

Nofima has used Photofish continuously in its research since the prototype was launched in 2003.

“We are pleased to see that AKVA group has been able to develop our research and implement this quick analysis tool in the industry,” Rørvik says.

Einar Helsø is Product Manager of AKVA group, and he believes that they as a technology vendor are dependent on good collaboration with expert communities:

“It was decisive to have Nofima on board when commercializing Photofish,” Helsø says.

Nofima also assists farmers who need advice on quality management:

“Through years of research and experience in the field we know a lot about methods for optimum colouring. For example, we have data that shows that when the fish are stressed, pigment (which is an antioxidant) is consumed, and the colour turns less red. By imparting such knowledge to the farmers, they will enjoy the full effect of the photo device. We are only happy to share this knowledge!” Rørvik concludes.