Peer-reviewed articles

Valorisation of Frozen Cod (Gadus morhua) Heads, Captured by Trawl and Longline by the Oceanic Fleet, by Enzymatic Hydrolysis


Aðalheiður Ólafsdóttir

Sensory evaluation manager

In the Norwegian oceanic fleet, whitefish onboard processing creates a great amount of rest raw materials. Cod heads are nutritious and a good source for the production of high-quality marine peptides. Frozen cod heads, captured by trawl or longline, were evaluated based on the lightness and redness in the neck cut to compare the quality in heads from the different fishing gears. The heads were subjected to enzymatic hydrolysis. The hydrolysates have been chemically and sensory characterized. There was no significant difference in quality or chemical and sensory characteristics based on type of fishing gear. The resulting hydrolysates were of high quality, although moderately bitter. The study demonstrates that frozen cod heads from the oceanic fleet can be an excellent source of high-quality proteins for human consumption.


Landing obligation on cod heads from factory vessels




Jónas R. Viðarsson, Gunnar Þórðarson

Supported by:

AVS Fisheries Research Fund (R 104-12)


Jónas Rúnar Viðarsson

Director of Business and Development

Landing obligation on cod heads from factory vessels

At the beginning of the 2012/13 fishing year, a regulation came into force that obliges processing vessels to bring ashore a certain proportion of cod heads that occur during fishing in Icelandic jurisdiction. The Regulation stipulates that the largest processing vessels bring ashore at least 40% heads and that medium-sized vessels land at least 30% heads, but the smallest trawlers are exempt from this Regulation. This report sets out the reasons for the enactment of the Regulation and the objectives it is intended to achieve. The effects of the regulation in the first two fishing years in which it has been in force are also examined in terms of the effect on the increased number of landed heads and what effect this has had on the fishing industry's results. It also outlines some possible ways for the companies to meet the requirements of the regulation. In short, the regulation has had a very limited effect on the number of landed heads. This is because most of the processing vessels it covers met the conditions before it came into force. There are mainly smaller freezer trawlers that do not see themselves able to bring their heads ashore, and they are in any case exempt from the regulation. There are several possibilities for increased value creation through better utilization of cod heads, but since the size, age, equipment and general operating environment of freezer trawlers are a limiting factor, there is a limited chance that the regulation will be significant for the fishing industry or society as a whole.

On September 1st 2012 a regulation came into force that obliges Icelandic fishing vessels with on-board processing to bring a shore a certain proportion of cod heads that derive from catches within Icelandic waters. It requires the largest factory vessels to bring ashore at least 40% of cod heads, medium size trawlers are to bring ashore at least 30% of cod heads, but the smallest trawlers are exempted from the regulation, but majority of Icelandic factory vessels fall with in that category. The reasons why the regulation was set and its success after two years of implementation are reviewed in this report. The effects on volume of landed cod heads, associated costs and revenues, as well as available alternatives for vessel owners to meet with the requirements of the regulation are studied and discussed. The regulation has had limited effects on the volume of landed cod heads, as most factory vessels subject to the regulation had already met with the requirements long before the regulation came into effect. It is primarily the smaller vessels that do not land significant volumes of cod heads, but they are excluded from the regulation anyhow. There are potentials for improved utilization of cod heads and cod head by-product on-board Icelandic factory vessels, but size, age, equipment and current operational environment for these vessels are limiting factors.

View report