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Intends to increase the value of the catch

Fish is one of the most valuable export products in Iceland it is thus important to use the material carefully and ensure its quality. Sæmundur Elíasson is currently working on a project that is meant to increase the quality of the fish caught by small fishing vessels, and thereby increase its value. The project is to designing a new ice crushing machine that is convenient for small vessels, but Elíasson intends to use this project as part of his doctoral studies at the University of Iceland.

“By faster cooling after fishing  the time before rigor mortis in the fish begins is prolonged, which has a positive effect on the quality of the flesh. Furthermore, the preservation quality increases with lower temperatures,” says Elíasson.

Elíasson points out that the catch of small fishing vessels has varied considerably in quality, leading to lower prices. “One can assume that considerable value has been lost in recent years due to insufficient refrigeration on board the vessels.”

Elísson says that quantity has often had higher priority than quality and correct handling of the catch; but with changed attitudes, work methods and the implementation of new options in refrigerating, a variety of ways to increase the value of the fish are available. The quality of the fish caught by small fishing vessels could be in the highest category if treated correctly.

Work on an ice crushing machine prototype is now completed and it has been tested during fishing tours. We will now study the results of this experiment and use the results as basis to re-build the machine.

“I am always interested in seeking new technical solutions to increase quality and valorisation of fish from the sea. The methodology I use in my research is to define the best possible management of the material and then seek ways to find the most efficient work methods. This is a system analysis of the material of sorts, but to achieve success it is necessary acquire knowledge on the physical and chemical characteristics of the raw material.” 

This project is a collaborative effort which involves the efforts of both the private and public sector, and research institutions. It is, furthermore, supported by various funds and companies.

“Improved refrigeration on board small fishing vessels will undoubtedly increase the general quality of the fish from the sea which will profit both the fishermen and the manufacturers. This is, furthermore, important for Iceland as poor quality fish on the market affects the reputation of Icelandic products.”

Supervisors: Sigurjón Arason, Professor at the Faculty of Food Science and Nutrition, and Ólafur Pétur Pálsson, Professor at the Faculty of Industrial Engineering, Mechanical Engineering and Computer Science.

Sæmundur Elíasson, MS from the Faculty of Industrial Engineering, Mechanical Engineering and Computer Science