No matter how large the catch may be, if a fishing ship doesn’t have an effective cooling system that catch will spoil before making it back to the harbor. The most cooling methods involves using various forms of ice. There are many different types of ice that may be used, but in today’s article let’s take a look at block ice and its proper handling. Block ice is preferred by many fishermen because of it lasts longer than pre-crushed or flake ice and because it is easier to store in that larger quantities can be stowed in smaller spaces than other forms of ice.

Proper Storage and Handling of Block Ice

Before being used to preserve the freshness of the catch, block ice must be stored and handled in a safe and hygienic manner. The most important point to remember is that block ice must be made from either potable water or clean sea water. Harbor water should never be used to produce ice blocks because of the contaminants left behind by the fishing vessels that come and go from the port.

Once you’ve purchased or made the proper quality of ice, the blocks will need to be stored aboard ship in a refrigerated chamber until such time as they will be used. A variety of Semco cooling and storage systems offer the necessary insulation and seamless construction to ensure that a proper temperature is maintained. Only authorized personnel should be allowed to handle ice blocks in order to keep the ice as clean and pure as possible. Persons handling the ice should always wear rubber boots and rubber gloves to limit the spread of bacteria and other contaminants that could be transferred from the ice to the catch.

Proper Usage of Block Ice

Freshly caught fish should be frozen as quickly as possible to maintain freshness; however, to freeze it effectively, the fish must be completely surrounded by ice to prevent air from drying out the flesh. In order to accomplish this, ice blocks need to be crushed prior to use. The ice must be crushed as finely as possible because a smaller crush has a better likelihood of contacting the entire surface of the fish. Freshly crushed ice should be applied immediately to the fresh catch. If the ice is crushed in advance, it will melt more quickly causing unmanageable clumps to form. Crushed ice can become virtually unworkable after 24 hours, which is why most commercial fishing ships prefer to carry block ice that can be crushed on demand. Many fishing ships carry an on-board mechanical grinder, like the ice systems offered by Semco, in order to crush ice blocks more efficiently.

Successful fishing expeditions require three things in terms of ice handling and preparation:

  1. Clean ice
  2. Proper refrigeration
  3. Appropriate tools

From pristine block ice to top quality ice systems or industrial cooling and storage systems, Semco makes it easy to maintain a clean, fresh catch from sea to shore. Our systems are also fully customizable and designed to each customer’s particular specifications. Let us help you maintain optimal fish quality and freshness.