Keep That Fish from Spoiling

Fishing does't just end with capturing the fish. Once the fish is sorted and stored on the boat, it is then taken back to shore where it is either processed, or sold directly. This is a crucial step improper handling of seafood can result in their contamination or spoilage, not only reducing the value of the product, but also the quality and potentially making it harmful for consumption.

This is a widespread issue in small-scale fisheries across the globe, particularly those in developing nations. Each fishery will have different reasons for their losses – and indeed options for solutions, but there are some general guidelines that can be followed to keep the quality – and value – of seafood being sold.

Gutting fish in Isla Margarita. Credit The Photographer/Wikimedia (CC0 1.0)

Gutting fish in Isla Margarita. Credit The Photographer/Wikimedia (CC0 1.0)

Gut that fish!

Tools Needed: Clean knife, clean hands, and clean surfaces

When a fish dies, two things happen to the guts and organs. First, they degrade very quickly, which can taint the quality of the flesh. Second, worms that are in the gut can migrate to the flesh. Ideally gutting of a fish (and in the case of some white fish, bleeding) should take place as soon after capture as possible, but on small vessels used in many small-scale fisheries this may not be possible...

This article was written for (and can be read in full on) The Fish Site.