Hunting, processing and exporting of live bait king




Jónas R. Viðarsson, Ásbjörn Jónsson

Supported by:

AVS Fisheries Research Fund (V 11005-11)


Jónas Rúnar Viðarsson

Director of Business and Development

Hunting, processing and exporting of live bait king

This report outlines the implementation and main results of a research project that took place in the years 2012-2013. The reason for delaying the publication of the final report of the project is that in 2013 the owner of the project, Sægarpur ehf. bankrupt. The project was therefore not completed and has been largely dormant since 2013. However, since most of the project had been completed before Sægarpur went bankrupt, the authors consider it right and obligatory to publicly report here what took place in the project and what the main results are. its were. The aim of the project was to develop fishing, processing, storage and transport of live bait kingfishers, as well as to explore the market for such products. Experiments were carried out with different catch treatments on board a fishing vessel and storage or transport, which gave indications that with the right handling and finishing it would be possible to keep the bait king alive for approx. week. the aim had been to ensure at least 10 days of survival in order for it to be considered realistic to intend to export a live bait king. However, the results of the experiments showed that when more than a week had passed since the hunt, survival decreased rapidly and the meat had become unfit for consumption on the tenth day. It is possible that these processes could be better developed to ensure better survival, but based on these results, the shelf life is not long enough to be considered a viable option at this time. Attempts were also made to keep the bait king alive in a cycle system in a fish tank. The aim of these experiments was to investigate whether it was possible to store live bait king in a "warehouse" for processing on land. A circuit system was equipped with filter equipment that was sufficient to keep the bait king alive for a week. The authors believe that it would be possible to extend the time with more powerful filtering equipment. These results must be considered positive and conducive to the fact that they could be taken up by companies that process bait king. Markets for live bait king were also examined, but it can be said that this survey has finally brought home the truth that the export of live bait king is not a viable option. It is simply a better option to win the bait king here at home. If market conditions change, however, it is not ruled out that processes can be improved to make such exports possible.

This report contains an overview of the progress and main results in a research project that ran in 2012-2013. The reason for the delay in publication of this final report is that the project owner was declared bankrupt in 2013 and the project has been dormant since then. The authors of the report did however feel obligated to make public the progress and main results that were achieved before the owner went out of business. The aim of the project was to develop best practice for catching, handling, packaging, storage and transport of live whelk; as well as studying the markets for live whelk. Experiments were made with different onboard handling, storage and transport of live whelk. These experiments indicated that it should be possible to keep the whelk alive for one week after capture, with correct handling. The goal had however been to ensure that the whelk could be kept alive for at least ten days. Experiments were also made where it was attempted to keep whelk alive in a regular plastic fish-tub equipped with a circulation system. The objective with this was to examine if whelk could be stored, in a relatively simple and inexpensive manner, in-stock for land-based processing. The results indicate that such a system could be used to keep a living inventory of whelk for the processing. The authors of this report are confident that the timeframe could be extended by fitting the system with more efficient filtration equipment. The markets for live whelk were briefly analyzed and the results of that analyzes indicate that export of live whelk from Iceland is not economically feasible or practical. There is simply too little premium paid for live whelk at the moment.

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