More and more seafood has been showing up in the marketplace. Seafood is increasingly seen as a healthy source of animal protein and as an alternative to beef and fowl. Many view pescetarianism (eating seafood but not mammal or fowl) as an ethical food option. With an eye on a larger market- share, the seafood harvesting and processing industries are looking for any technological advancement to improve their products.
The marine animal harvesting industry is changing but it has always been a relatively low-tech, hands-on industry. The technological changes in seafood harvesting and handling have been in areas of inspection, certification, transportation, processing and packaging. The transformation of the seafood industry from capture to aquaculture is part of the change. Controlled aquaculture gives technology a proving ground for standardization and innovation in seafood production, harvesting and processing.
The evolution of aquaculture has brought a shift from net-based sea farming to tank-based hydroponic systems. New marine aquaculture technology uses filtration units that incorporate naturally occurring microorganisms to clean the tank water. This filtration imitates the recurring process that takes place in the ocean. Methane produced by the microbes is captured from the filters and used as an alternative energy source. Pen and tank-based aquaculture has improved the quality of high valued fish like sea bream, sea bass and trout.
Changes in the conventional fishing industries are also driven by consumer demand. For example, bycatch or netting the wrong or non-marketable species has always been a big source of inefficiency for commercial fishers. The BRD or bycatch reduction device is a system of gates introduced into shrimping nets to exclude unwanted species. A new kind of net called a Turtle Excluder Device or TED incorporates an ingenious system of metal bar separators which sorts the underwater catch by size and excludes the larger species. These devices improve the efficiency of the fishery and help to control the degradation of endangered fish stocks. On board equipment for grading, gutting, washing and preserving seafood have been developed for smaller vessels. This kind of equipment improves the freshness of wild caught seafood.
A lot of …