Tuesday, February 20, 2018

21/02/2018: Ground-breaking fish stunning technology

by Ace Aquatec

Innovation award winners Ace Aquatec revealed their incredible new technology at this year’s Aqua Nor 2017 event in Norway.

The technology renders fish unconscious before they even leave the water, decreasing fish stress levels and therefore offering a more human alternative to traditional mechanical stunners. 

Image credit: Ace Aquatec
A fish out of water
In traditional stunning systems there is a literal fish out of water problem. After taking the fish out of the water that they live and thrive in, they get pumped out of the water and then stunned by pneumatic, percussive or electric devices, often mechanical ones.

This can present many drawbacks, including;

• There are problems with fish that differ in size – some are not properly stunned.
• The fish is stressed, triggering cortisol to release into their body – which is turn lowers the quality of the filet.
• There is a significant limit to how many fish it is possible to stun in a given time – often one at a time.
• The systems are often mechanical – requiring spare parts and repairs.
• Mechanical systems are also prone to downtime.

Ace Aquatec has claimed that with their innovation they have found the solution to all of these problems. The company’s focus is no being directed onto fish welfare and the humane stunning and killing of the fish with the presentation of this new technology.

An unwanted compromise

Nathan Pyne-Carter, Executive Managing Director of Aquatec, who accepted the Innovation Award at AquaNor explains, “We saw that fish farmers had to compromise between efficiency and humane stunning. Our system stuns 100 percent of the fish every time. It also stuns them in the seawater – so they are not stressed before they are rendered unconscious. Some methods of slaughter cause fish to die over long periods of time – we wanted to improve this process for aquaculture and wild fishing vessels, for all species including crustaceans.”

What “no one else can offer”
There are other ‘stunning’ technologies on the market. However, as of yet, no one else can offer stunning before the fish is transported through the pump towards the processing line.

Typically electric stunners are used after the fish is already on a dry conveyor belt – on their way to be bled. By this time they have both suffered and been stressed.

It has taken the engineers at Ace Aquatec close to 10 years to perfect the electric current. Too much, and you damage the flesh. If you stun side to side you can create a current that transfers from fish to fish. Too low and the fish is not properly stunned.

Ace Aquatec can now show independent research studies that document both that there is no damage to the fish flesh or skin, and that the fish is 100 percent unconscious before bleeding and slaughtering.

Mr Pyne-Carter remarked, “We’re not worried about being copied for quite some time. This is precision work and finding the right settings and equipment is extremely hard.”

Read the full article, HERE.

The Aquaculturists
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