In Europe, cooling freshly caught fish to extend their storage periods was first invented when fish was transported from Scotland to England by sea in the 18th century.
At the end of the 19th century, mechanically produced ice on the fishing boat changed radically the life of fishermen. Among the developed systems, no none was as useful as the ice used to cool fish.
Fish is a nutrient-rich, excellent food source for human diet. With its rich content of protein and polyunsaturated fatty acids, it is a very important food as it meets the body’s basic nutrient needs and makes good impact on human physiology and metabolic functions in terms of a healthy lifestyle and preventing from diseases.
Fish contains 18–20% of protein and a rich source of vitamins A, D and B. It is packed with phosphor, iron, selenium, iodine, calcium and a very significant source of omega 3.
Fishing and seafood industry is a very important source of income for hundreds of thousands of people around the world. Global fish consumption reached today 170 million of tons while 95 million of which are through fishing and 75 million are through breeding compared to 60 million of tons of global consumption in 1970s with 57 million tons through fishing and 3 million tons are through breeding. Consequently, the global per capita demand reached a record value of 20kg due to the dynamic growth of fish breeding.
Thanks to governmental subsidies, China is in a leading position with a production of 50 million tons. They mainly produce cyprinids. Other main producer countries are India, Vietnam, Bangladesh and United-States.
Four species of commercial value are tuna, lobster, prawn and cephalopod.
Total global fish production is 170 million tons which are offered on the basis of 70 million tons fresh, 45 million tons frozen, 20 million tons canned, and 17 million tons dried, salted and smoked).
The European Union by far was the largest import market in 2014 and 2015 followed by the United States and Japan.
Fishing industry is the primary industry for revenue generation, employment, food safety, food and foreign currency income for many developing countries. Fishing export of developing countries in 2014 was 80 billion U.S. dollars.
It is projected that the total global fish production will reach 196 million tons in 2025. The reason behind this increase is rise in income, urbanization, improvement in storage capacities and distribution facilities.
In 2025, Asian countries will represent 89% of the total global production, still maintaining it position among the largest producers. It is estimated that one other significant increase will be in Latin America, particularly Brazil along with China.
Offering fish from water to the final consumption, without deteriorating the quality, is only possible through rapid cooling. The most practical and traditional way of doing this is to cover fish with ice. The fish cannot be separated from the ice from fishing to treatment and from transportation to the final market delivery.
The thin ice pieces are the industry’s mobile coolers by providing the closest to the ideal protection by minimizing the water loss of the fish, which has a sensitive skin.
Freezing process of seafood, to extend the storage period, plays a crucial role in controlling foodborne pathogens. In fact, seafood is shocked in -35 °C rooms to be kept for a long time.
Frozen seafood is then packaged and labeled. Labeled products are stored in frozen storage rooms under a temperature of -18 °C.
Rapid population growth, extreme and unconscious fishing, environmental adverse factors have led to a rapid decline in the natural fish resources of the world and even the risk of extinction of some species.
At that level, it is clear that the gap in natural fish stocks can be covered by the increase in breeding.
Fish consumption produced from breeding was only 5% in 1970, but this rate reached now 40% and it will reach 60% in 2050.
It does not seem possible for us to eat fish without producing fish anymore. We hope that our fish production will reduce the pressure on the natural fish populations in the seas.
Let’s not forget that life started in the sea and we are all on the same ship.