The equipment available to refrigerate and freeze seafood at harvest is constantly changing and improving. An expensive investment, It can be hard for fishermen and docks to know which technology is the most effective for their business . . . and which will bring the greatest return on money spent.
The Seafood Quality Training Lab, a mobile trailer developed by the Louisiana Fisheries Forward program, is designed to show commercial fishermen the latest in onboard seafood refrigeration and cold chain management. The Lab is equipped with a pre-chilling system, which rapidly takes the heat out of just-caught seafood; and a brine freezer and plate freezer, which drops seafood temperatures to below 32 degrees in a flash. A shrimp splitter and deveiner, as well as a vacuum packing machine, demonstrate new ways to process and package seafood easily.
“This trailer has everything on it to teach commercial fishermen and those in the seafood industry how to properly use this type of equipment and produce a quality frozen seafood product,” said Hymel. “The objective of the lab, as well as the entire LFF program, is to provide fishermen with the knowledge they need in order to produce the highest quality seafood product so they can capture the highest price possible.”
Summit attendees will be able to see the equipment ‘in action’ on the trailer, and receive information on upgrading equipment on fishing vessels and docks. The demonstration will include best handling practices for getting—and keeping—fresh seafood cold. Participants will also learn how to properly use a refractometer to test salt concentrations in brine freezers and other related topics.
A second demonstration will showcase extreme cutting-edge technology straight from the Pacific coast—a ‘nano-ice’ machine. Nano-ice produces microscopic ice particles that have rounded and soft edges for incredibly effective food preservation.
“Nano-ice is almost liquid, and it does an incredible job at surrounding every surface of the seafood to remove heat fast and keep bacteria at bay, while being so soft as to not crush shells and skin,” said Hymel. “It also melts much slower, so your seafood stays cold longer. The technology may seem far-fetched, but it’s out there and in use . . . and we want our industry to see the latest and greatest.”
Both demonstrations will be presented multiple times throughout the day, so fishermen have many opportunities to learn about this equipment. The Lab was engineered and built by LeBlanc & Associates, a specialty marine refrigeration company, who will be on hand to answer any questions.
The Summit is March 1, 2016 at the Pontchartrain Center. Lunch will be provided for all attendees who register in advance. Admission is free. For more information and to register click here.