Fish processing

The immense variety of fish in the world presents quite a challenge to using machinery or tools that process these fish. To illustrate, here are just some examples of the different shapes and bone structures of fish:

  • Narrow and short e.g. flat fish, Tilapia
  • Long and medium-round e.g. Hake, Alaska Pollock
  • Have numerous small internal bones e.g. baracuda, Snoek
  • Very large fish e.g. Tuna

It is therefore not possible to use a single machine for all the different types of fish and all of the different sizes that are processed. Instead, machinery has mainly been developed for those specie of fish that are available in large quantities that justify the cost of development and support mechanised processing.
In the case of some species e.g. Hake & Alaska Pollock, the difference in bone structure between the smaller and largest fish, is so big that two different models of machine have been developed e.g. the B588 for the small to medium sizes, and the B581 for the large fish.
Please see the product comparison in order to see which models of machine are available for which specie and size.

Also consider which process is required: depending on the specie of fish and the market into which it is sold, some fish are sold whole, in a fresh frozen or dried state - in which case the only processing required may be sorting, gutting, cleaning and packing.
Other markets prefer prime quality (PQ) - which requires the addition process of heading.
The most demanding markets require skinned fish fillets: this requires filleting, skinning and carton packing.
Certain models of machines only perform one process e.g. the B188 only performs filleting. Other machines perform more than one process: the B182 performs heading and filleting. See these various processes in the above menu under Products > By processess.

Critical to all fish processing is the hygiene maintained during processing as well as the speed at which the fish is processed. The moment a fish dies, it starts decaying - an important element of the decay is the multiplication of bacteria, which especially poses a threat to human health. We impede this decay and bacteria build-up by using refrigeration, hygiene, and high speed in the processing stages. In terms of speed, machines have a huge advantage over human manual processing. Humans cannot produce the same (a) consistent (b) yield at the (c) high speed machines can.
The faster a fish is processed, packed and frozen, the higher it's quality and longer it's shelf life.

The methods used may also differ amongst models of machines. For example the B052 pulls the skin off the fish meat, whereas a FDS35 uses a band knife in order to slice the skin off the meat. See fish skinning.

Above are some of the considerations when choosing a machine, for others please see 'how to choose a machine'.

The first company to develop a proper fish filleting machine was Baader . To this day Baader remains the world leader in primary fish processing. Over the decades Baader has increased it's portfolio by acquiring other specialists in their field like Trio (freeze drum skinning and pin bone removal), Skaginn 3X (freezing) and AB Seac for high volume small pilchard processing.

Goldmann Engineering specilises in bringing all of the above skills to the fish processing industries of South Africa and other countries of Africa.

Hake headed & gutted (H&G) on ice
H&G fish on ice
Fillets from a B588
B588 fillets
Illustrating the skinning of a fillet
Illustrating skinning of a fillet