Whole fillets, precisely portioned loins, or guaranteed boneless tail pieces: the range of fish cuts at fresh fish counters and in MAP is getting wider all the time. It was not until intelligent portioning machines that measure each fillet separately were developed that such sophisticated products became possible. And because consumers want boneless fish products, pinbone removers are becoming increasingly efficient, too.

Fish and seafood are sensitive products that mostly require packaging for transport and presentation at the retailer’s. Whether simple plastic bags or intelligent case-ready concepts, the packaging should be easy to handle, it should ensure product quality, and it should provide customers with information. Choosing between the numerous packaging options is quite a challenge for manufacturers since today packaging also has to be recyclable and climate-friendly.

As the global consumption of fish increases resources that were previously used for the production of fishmeal and fish oil are increasingly being considered for use by humans. Many of these fish are small in size and processing them involves a lot of manual labour. Some companies have however sensed an opportunity and are producing machinery that can relieve workers of this drudgery. One such company, Seac AB from Sweden, specialises in machines to process small pelagic fish ranging from sardinella/mackerel in the range of 2-8 fish per kg to European anchovy or vendace which ranges from 60 to 110 fish per kg.

At all levels of production, from the origin of the raw materials in fishing and aquaculture, through processing and packaging, to the retailer’s, products are sorted and classified on the basis of defined characteristics. Standardised products are easier to process, homogeneous qualities and grades better to market and, on top of that, they get higher prices. The criteria for sorting and grading are extremely diverse.

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