Irish Marine Minister launches BIM Whitefish Quality Guides –

Irish Marine Minister launches BIM Whitefish Quality Guides Published:  04 September, 2007

John Browne

JOHN Browne, Irish Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food today launched a new series of seafood industry quality guides for whitefish from Bord Iascaigh Mhara at Howth Pier, Dublin.

The guides provide species-specific information on quality, handling and added value to whitefish landed and are aimed primarily for crew on fishing vessels, buyers and processors.

Speaking at the launch Minister Browne said: “Proper handling of the catch is vital for Irish fishermen if they want to achieve the best possible price for their work. These seven, easy to follow guides provide an important training and reference tool for the seafood industry and I commend BIM for delivering these excellent, user friendly guides.

“An important element in the Marine Strategy, Steering a New Course, launched earlier this year was the need to substantially enhance quality throughout the supply chain. These guides make an important contribution to that objective and I have no doubt that they will prove to be a valuable resource in assisting industry to maximise quality and in-turn financial return.”

A whitefish quality guide was originally launched by BIM in 1999 and detailed the freshness quality grades of the main commercial whitefish species and outlined their basic good handling requirements.

BIM Resource Development Technologist, Frances O’Dwyer said the popularity of the original guide and the changing face of fishing in Ireland led to the development of the new guides.

“Over the past decade, the face of fishing in Ireland has changed dramatically, with reduced quotas, major increases in vessel running costs, and increased legislation regarding food safety and traceability. BIM is committed to ensuring that it provides relevant and timely information that best supports all facets of the industry based on the changing fishing landscape. The guides are one such source of important information to help ensure the optimum quality of the catch,” said Ms O’Dwyer.

Species-specific guides have been produced for monk and hake, given their particular market handling requirements, while the remaining commercial species have been grouped based on similar freshness attributes and market requirements. Within each quality guide a combination of high resolution colour images of eyes, gills and skin and brief text descriptions provide the reader with a clear overview of the various quality grades from excellent through to poor. Specific information on correct gutting, washing and packing is also provided.

In addition, a Handling Guide has also been produced that provides more detail on ‘best practice’ onboard vessels with regard to handling and hygiene and promote delivery of premium quality fish. To further complement the series of guides, three more quality guides for crab, lobster and prawns and a pelagic handling guide are currently in production and will be available by the end of 2007.

Copies of the guides are available by contacting Frances O’Dwyer, Resource Development and Environment Section, BIM Offices, Killybegs, Co. Donegal, Ireland. is published by Special Publications. Special Publications also publish FISHupdate magazine, Fish Farmer, the Fish Industry Yearbook, the Scottish Seafood Processors Federation Diary, the Fish Farmer Handbook and a range of wallplanners.