Handling of Seafood

Proper Handling and Processing = Quality

The value of exported fresh fish from Iceland has increased significantly with improved methods of handling and cooling of the catch. The annual export of fresh fish amounts to about ISK 40-45 billion (2016). If the same volume was to be exported frozen, the value would be only half this amount.

The great success achieved in handling and cooling sea products can largely be attributed to research carried out by experts from Matís and universities, in close co-operation with fishing companies, and to endless urge to improve the handling, cooling and utilization of the catch. The shelf-life of cod filets has almost doubled with proper handling and cooling, which results in higher value of fresh fish. Sigurjón Arason, professor and chief-engineer at Matís, says that much has been achieved during recent years, but the tasks ahead are also numerous.

Close co-operation with industry

The research and scientific work of Matís is usually done in close co-operation with Icelandic companies and also with companies in other countries. Sigurjón says that this aspect of Matís’ work, which has been the fundamental reason for the great progress made in handling and processing of sea products in Iceland, has been noticed abroad. Ms. Solveig Anspaker, Norwegian Minister of Fisheries, was impressed to learn about this close co-operation of the academia, institutions and companies in the seafood sector. The international corporation, Nestlé, had heard of Matís’ good results with handling and cooling of fish and approached Matís with a large research program concerning better process control for frozen fish. Sigurjón says the findings from such projects are partly in the public domain. This widens Matís’ knowledge-base and will eventually also be useful for Icelandic companies. The project resulted in key knowledge about different species outside of Icelandic areas and that the compositional differences can be highly variable in global waters.

This all affects the quality criterion and quality link of raw materials to products being retailed: handling on board, improved suppliers and quality of product.

Additonal information: CHILL-FISH