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Salted fish under the magnifying glass

by the Fish Site Editor
23 January 2007, at 12:00am

NORWAY - Scientists will study how much of a weight yield there is in cod when it is industrially salted. This will make it easier to uncover illegal sales of fish while at the same time providing useful information to the salted fish industry.

Salted fish is one of the Norwegian fishing industry's most important products.

During the salting process, a lot of water is lost from the fish, and the weight of the finished product is therefore much lower than before salting.

Today, however, there is a lack of good documentation from industrial production that shows how much salted fish is obtained from the raw fish materials that are used.

This also makes it difficult for the authorities to control whether the amount of salted fish that the individual company produces agrees with the amount of raw materials that are bought.

In the project, a standardised method is being developed that can be used to measure the weight yield in industrial production of salted fish.

This means that there can be better control since the fish quotas are being observed.

Useful for the industry
"The results will also be very useful for the industry", says Scientist Sjurdur Joensen, who is leading the project.

"When you have thorough knowledge about production methods and other factors that influence the product, it is possible to adapt the production to get the most possible salted fish out of the raw materials that are used."

The documentation that is available today is largely built on results from small-scale tests. Fiskeriforskning and the Directorate of Fisheries will therefore run the tests in large scale in selected industrial companies.

Extensive tests
"In the study, we will test the industry's most common salting methods to see what differences these make for the salted fish's weight."

"We will also vary different factors that can affect the salted fish. One example is how the weight yield will be affected by the pressure the salted fish is exposed to during stacking. The higher it is stacked, the greater the weight, which again leads to increased water loss and lower weight", explains Joensen.

Other conditions that are going to be documented include the effect of using fresh compared to frozen raw materials, seasonal variations in the cod and storage time of the fish before salting.

"This is hard to document because several methods can be used in the industry, at the same time as many other conditions around the nature of the raw materials are taken into consideration", says Joensen.

The project will continue throughout 2008. It is being done on behalf of the Directorate of Fisheries, which is also financing it together with the Norwegian Fishing Commodities Association.

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