Technology

The fishing industry in Iceland has learned that adding ever more value to the resource is the only way to compensate for dwindling fish catches. This pursuit for greater value has led to the development of a vast and diverse ancillary industry on Iceland dedicated to developing and implementing methods that increase the returns from the raw material. Vessel design, catching gear, storage and transport, processing machinery, and biotechnology, are some of the areas that have developed in Iceland as a result of the fishing industry.

Fish quality is directly related to the temperature at which it is stored. Deterioration of the product starts immediately upon the death of the animal and from then on can not be reversed, but only arrested. Keeping product at the correct temperature is crucial to bringing the process of deterioration almost to a standstill, thereby maintaining quality. A substantial body of scientific literature has proven the direct link between the temperature at which the product is maintained and its shelf life. If the integrity of the cool chain is compromised even briefly, this will influence the shelf life of the product.

Liquid ice and slurry ice have certain advantages over flake ice. The liquid “binary” ice surrounds shrimps or fish within just seconds, and the ice doesn’t have to be broken up, so a pickaxe and shovel are superfluous. With “Easy Ice”, the refrigeration engineering company Cooltech now offers a new soft, snow-like ice which provides fast intensive cooling. On-board production of Easy Ice is inexpensive and the machine requires only little space.

Germany is well know for its Mittelstand, the small and medium-sized companies that specialise in niche products, often in engineering, that have made the Made in Germany label well known the world over. Less famous perhaps is the equivalent of the Mittelstand in Italy, where many small and typically family-owned firms have successfully carved niches for themselves in international markets.

Constant cooling or freezing is indispensable in the seafood sector for maintaining the freshness and quality of temperature sensitive products on their way from their source to their final preparation. In addition to ice, which is probably the most common refrigerant, there are a lot of other cooling techniques that together enable products to be kept under optimal temperature conditions throughout the cold chain.

X-rays can penetrate matter without harming it and at the same time reveal components of different density within it. This ability can be of use in the seafood sector, too, for example during material inspection and quality tests, or in intelligent processing machines. Apart from that, thanks to its germ-killing effect irradiation can be used to preserve products. Irradiated foods arouse fears among many consumers, however.

Founded in 2003 and based in Kopavogur Iceland, Valka specializes in the development and marketing of equipment and automation solutions for the fish processing industry. Although a relatively young company, Valka has already built a reputation for manufacturing high quality products. The company designs high technology hardware and software aimed at enhancing productivity and increasing profitability.

Every living creature, and thus every species of fish and aquatic animal, has a natural “signature” which is encoded in its genetic material. The sequence of molecular building blocks (nucleotides) in the genetic molecule, the DNA, is unique for every individual. Being able to read this nucleotide sequence enables conclusions to be drawn about the species in question – not only in the case of raw fishes but often also of cooked, smoked, marinated or sterilised products. 

The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) together with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and other bodies have recently launched a campaign to reduce the estimated 1.3bn tonnes of food that is lost or wasted each year around the globe. The campaign Think.Eat.Save. Reduce your Foodprint. seeks to reduce waste all along the food production and consumption chain.

The Polish fish processing industry is highly dynamic producing between 360 and 380 thousand tonnes of product annually valued at EUR1.5tr (in comparison Germany with twice the population produced just over 490 thousand tonnes of processed products). About 60% of the volume is exported to countries within and outside Europe, among them Germany, the UK, France, and Denmark.

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