Sub chilling of fish




Gunnar Þórðarson, Sigurjón Arason, Magnea Karlsdóttir

Supported by:

Technology Development Fund


Gunnar Þórðarson

Regional Manager

Sub chilling of fish

The aim of the project was to utilize the knowledge of supercooling of fish that has been developed in laboratories in recent decades; industrialize the concept and develop methods and equipment to control the cooling. It is important to cool the raw material below the freezing point or just below the temperature at which the first ice crystals form in the fish species in question, fast enough so that large crystals do not form in the muscles and cause cell damage. It is important to control the cooling correctly as well as to maintain a supercooled condition during storage and transport, but fluctuations in temperature can cause quality deterioration. The results of research show that ice-free transport and storage of super-chilled fish is a realistic solution that reduces the cost of fishing and processing as well as reducing the cost of transport and significantly reducing the footprint of fresh fish production. Fresh salmon has been transported ice-free but super-chilled for shorter and longer distances and stored for a week before processing with excellent results. In connection with the project, supercooling has been used on a large scale in Sauðárkrókur, where the trawler Málmey SK 1 has landed over 15 thousand tonnes in the past two years of supercooled catch and thus not used ice on board or for storage for production in fish processing.

The project objective was to utilize knowledge of sub chilling of fish developed in laboratories for the past decades; and to industrialize the concept and to develop methods and means for centralizing the process. The control of the chilling process is important, to chill raw material sufficiently without freeze out more than 20% of its water and without developing large ice crystals in the muscles. It is also important to keep storage temperature under control and stable and for the same reason temperature fluctuation can cause growth of ice crystals in the muscle. Based on results obtained in present project it can be concluded that sub chilling provides opportunities to use ice-free value chain for fresh fish, lowering cost of production, logistic and considerably the carbon footprint for the final products. Fresh salmon without any external refrigerant (ice) has been transported for long distance, by trucks and airplanes, and stored for long time with acceptable results. The trawler used in this project has landed over 15 thousand tonnes of sub chilled fish for the last two years without using any ice for chilling and storage. The fish is stored in the fish plant and processed without using any ice preservation.

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