If you are in the industrial or commercial fishing industry, then you likely already know how important it is to keep your fish in the most favorable condition you can in order to attain the highest price and to ensure the distribution of safe product. It can feel like a losing battle, especially since fish begin to spoil as soon as they are deceased. It is important for you to take the necessary precautions to make certain that you’re looking after your best interests as a member of the industry, as someone who has a vested interest in your company, and as a person who is responsible for delivering healthy, quality fish to your consumers. Chilled seawater ice (also often referred to as CSW) can be an effective and beneficial tool for your boats to utilize in order to keep your fish in the best attainable condition.
How Chilled Seawater Can Help to Keep Fish Fresh
Chilled seawater can be a highly efficient, safe, and useful way to keep fish at their peak of freshness for as long as possible. Chilled seawater is a unique kind of ice water mixture since it is composed of sea water and cooled by the addition of ice. There are a number of different functions that ice naturally performs that can help you maintain freshness:
Reduction of Temperature
Chilled Seawater and ice are able to reduce the temperature of the fish to the optimal 0°C, which combats the growth of pathogenic microorganisms and reduces the rate of spoilage – which in turn can reduce or even eliminate many of the safety risks that comes with storing fish.
Chilled Seawater Maintains Moisture
Once a fish is out of the water and deceased, it immediately begins to dry out – which affects its appearance, quality, and weight. Melting water helps to prevent surface dehydration, and will help keep the quality and weight of the fish up to industry standards. CSW is essentially a slurry of seawater and ice, and this kind of mixture can be the quickest and most practical chilling method since it is able to reach more surface area uniformly and swiftly. Melting water increases the speed at which the fish is chilled, so it has less time to be affected by heat or exposure.
One noticeable drawback that water can have is to create a color leaching effect. It can also leach mass and nutrients if the fish is left in it for too long. This concern can be addressed by routinely draining the excess water from the CSW mixture – adding more as needed.
CSW Is Convenient
Chilled seawater is a portable cooling method – able to be transported quickly and easily from place to place since it to not particularly heavy or cumbersome. It is also composed of raw, natural materials that are widely available – making it easy to come by and fairly inexpensive to both produce and to purchase.
CSW Can Extend the Shelf Life of Your Fish
All of these attributes come together to help you with your primary purpose – to conserve your resources as much as possible while still ensuring that you’re delivering quality goods to your next port of call. Given these factors, CSW can be relatively cheap way to preserve fish and to make sure that their quality is retained for as long as is feasible.
Limitations of Chilled Seawater
While chilled seawater has many benefits in terms of application and usefulness, it does have a few drawbacks. In addition to the possibility of color, mass, and nutrient leaching that too much water exposure can enact, CSW that has too high of a salt content can affect the taste and quality of the fish by imbuing it with more salt than desired. The heat transferability of CSW is also affected by the salt content – causing the ice to separate from the salt after a while and to not convey its coolness as quickly.
However, many of these drawbacks can be addressed simply by prudent testing of the CSW’s salt content, as well as making sure that the fish aren’t left to soak to long in stagnant water. That concern can be assuaged by systematic draining, as well as water circulation technologies with which some containers can be outfitted.
While chilled seawater systems may not work for every company or every boat, the technologies that produce them and the natural attributes that they offer will likely make them a useful and practical addition to many within the commercial and industrial fishing industries. It is a universal truth that once a fish is caught it needs to be either eaten or quickly preserved for future consumption, and CSW can help many achieve the latter.