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Research into Meat Quality in the Trawler Fleet

Husbandry Sustainability Technology & equipment +6 more

NORWAY - New methods and new technology in the trawler fleet will produce raw material that is of equal with the very best from the autoline fleet.

Lucy Towers thumbnail

Scientists at Nofima are now testing new catch handling methods that can increase the value of the raw material from the trawler fleet. One method is keeping the fish alive after being caught, which is known as capture-based aquaculture

Fish caught by trawling is normally subjected to rough handling when the trawl net is pulled from the sea up onto the fishing boat. This can lead to reduced quality, including the fillet getting a touch of pink. In the case of larger catches, the fish has often been dead for many hours before it is gutted, which leads to large amounts of blood remaining in the fillet. If the fish is pumped on board, the handling process will be gentler.

Provisional findings show that it is possible to keep fish caught by trawling alive and that the quality is improved significantly by using new and improved production lines, not unlike those we find at salmon processing plants, says Senior Scientist Kjell Midling.

We have observed that the blood disappears from the fillet if the fish is kept alive and slaughtered after five to six hours. The fillet that is produced goes from pink to white.

The scientists are participating in experiments on both research vessels and commercial trawlers.

Combined with controlled studies in a new experimental swim tunnel, this project will put us in a better position to understand what influences the quality of the raw material, concludes the project manager.

For the time being the focus has been on the physiological effect the capture process has on cod, haddock and saithe, but the scientists are now planning technology trials involving pumping and modern slaughtering on board the vessels.

This project forms part of the CRISP (Centre for Research-based Innovation in Sustainable fish capture and Pre-processing technology) project, the goals of which include increasing the value creation from wild fish stocks and reducing the strain on the environment during the capture and production processes.