Harvest Quality Indicators
External damage including scale loss and bruising as well as muscle fillet damage such as gaping, blood spotting, reduced translucency, reduced yield and reduced shelf life all lead to product downgrades, poor market acceptability and a reduction in value. Rested harvesting with AQUI-S® dramatically reduces the severity of the damage and results in consistent product quality and premium prices.
Fish at the point of sale are predominantly presented in the form of fillets or steaks. The customer therefore can only rely on the appearance of the “fillet” as the key factor to be considered in making a buying decision. The following section outlines how stress at harvest impacts on product quality.
Blood spotting occurs in fish that have been highly active and stressed from the harvest procedure and results from blood vessels being weakened and rupturing during excessive activity, leading to pooling of the blood in the tissue. Stress increases blood viscosity, and this combined with poor bleed-out processes results in blood remaining in the muscles small vessels and capillaries. During processing this will leak into the white muscle appearing as distinct areas of discolouration, impacting on the fillets appearance and customer acceptance. This is of particular concern for value-added products and often results in a downgrading of the product.