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The taste of cod

by Ellen Hardy
19 November 2007, at 12:00am

NORWAY - "An extremely good product." That is the chefs' verdict after testing fillet of cod processed a short time after the fish was taken from the net cage.

The test involved cod caught in the wild, which had been fed for three months.

"This is the type of fillet we want on our menu," says Magnus Heggman, chef at Store Norske Fiskekompani restaurant in Tromsø.

Video report in Norwegian language only
Scientist Silje Kristoffersen with loins ready for the restaurant test.
"The results are very positive. We now want to test this with a large quantity of fish and more restaurants", says Fiskeriforskning Scientist Silje Kristoffersen.

Preliminary test

This was a preliminary test of cod fillet produced before the onset of rigor mortis, which occurs a short time after the fish is slaughtered.

This type of cod fillet may be produced with on-site capture-based aquaculture. In this way, slaughter can be planned to enable sufficient time for filleting before the fish becomes stiff and hard to handle.

The cod was caught on the Finnmark coast and fed in net cages near Båtsfjord. The fish was divided into two groups: one was fed capelin, the other dry feed.

On production day, the fish was taken on board the vessel for slaughter and bleeding. Back on land, it was cleaned and processed as loins, the thick and most valuable part of the fillet.

Skin on and skin off

The fillets were produced with skin on and skin off. If the fillet is not attached to skin or bones, it shrinks with the onset of rigor mortis.

However, the chefs' main conclusion was all the fillets were of extremely high quality. There were slight differences between cod fed capelin and dry feed, and fillet with and without skin.

The chefs see several advantages with cod fed in capture-based aquaculture, including the fact that gentler handling before and after slaughter provides a faultless fillet. Avoiding cutting off poor quality fish prevents wastage of an expensive raw material.

"This is a raw material they want to access to," says Kristoffersen. "They prefer loins with skin on, as it can be prepared in several ways".

Industry collaboration

The test is part of a more comprehensive collaboration between the industry in Båtsfjord and Fiskeriforskning regarding capture-based aquaculture of cod.

The test is financed by Innovation and Technology Programme for Northern Norway and Båtsfjordbruket.

Ellen Hardy