Most of the small fish that is caught in the Northeast Atlantic area, like capelin, sprat, herring, or blue whiting, is turned into fish meal and fish oil. This applies to yearly catches of more than 4 million tons i.e. more than 30 % of the total Northeast Atlantic fish catches. In order to upgrade significant amounts of this high value and low cost protein source, the project is aimed at the development of a cost effective production process for low cost food items, in particular salted/dried whole fish, using the high quality part of industrial fish catches. Similar food products are common in many southern and far eastern countries and can be an important source of animal protein in areas where big parts of the population have no access to high value protein sources. A market volume in the order of 20 to 50 thousand tons per year is expected, if the products can be offered at similar price levels as sun dried fish or soya protein and if the products meet consumer expectations and the requirements of the distribution chain.
To fully benefit from the low price of industrial fish catches, the processing has to be extremely cost effective. A significant reduction of total processing cost is expected from the optimisation and innovation of current process steps, the extension to industrial size, the production on shore near the catching grounds, and from a high degree of mechanisation.
The objective of the proposed project is to provide innovative processing knowledge in the form of methods and parameters for the main steps of the production process, in particular: low cost and high volume storage of landed fish during several months to extend processing period beyond catching season optimised drying adapted packaging for stable transport and distribution in tropical countries.
Information on properties and performance of different attractive raw materials will be collected experimentally and product samples for the assessment of quality, storage stability and consumer acceptance will be produced. The project will also establish a sound basis of information for the evaluation of technical and economic feasibility of the intended production.