THE internationally renowned seafood expert Peter Howgate died on Christmas Eve, it has been announced.
Howgate joined the Torry Research Station in Aberdeen in 1955 after graduating from the University of Liverpool.
While at Torry he participated in, or led, various research and development projects in fish processing technology, ultimately specialising in the quality assurance of fish and fishery products.
He was instrumental in helping to establish Torry as one of, if not the, leading global institution in fish processing and quality.
Research activities in this field included the development of methods for measurement of quality by sensory, chemical and physical methods; the measurement of storage lives of chilled, frozen, and pre-packed products; the study of sensory properties of fish and fishery products and the effects of storage and processing on sensory properties; and the investigation of tainting of fish by pollutants in the aquatic environment.
He also advised national and international bodies on regulations concerning the quality of fishery products and on the official inspection of fish products; advised the industry on the quality assurance of fish products; and advised companies on meeting quality objectives.
He inspected and tested consignments of fish, inspected factories; and trained personnel in the assessment of the quality of fish.
Howgate was a member of the GESAMP Working Group on Evaluation of the Hazards of Substances Carried by Ships from 1986 until 1996, and was a member of the Working Group on the Review of the Impact of Oil in the Marine Environment.
His role was to advise on the effects of pollutants, including petroleum, on commercial fisheries, particularly on impacts on the eating quality of fish and shellfish.
He carried out commissions for companies in Britain, advising on aspects of quality and quality assurance of fishery products, and acted as a technical surveyor for insurance companies in connection with disputes involving the quality of cargoes of frozen fish carried in reefers.
In addition to project work, Howgate prepared reports on aspects of fish processing and on quality assurance and inspection of fishery projects for international agencies.
He received an OBE in the New Year’s Honours List of 1990. He was one of the deputy editors of the International Journal of Food Science and Technology from July 1998 to December 2002, and acted as a referee for papers for publication in several journals associated with food science.
After the Torry years Howgate carried out many consultancies, working for UN agencies in Africa, South America, and the Far East.
He saved a good part of the Torry library, and most recently he created FishTechDB, an online bibliographical database of topics related to fish technology.
The database is now available as a public service to the global seafood community via Seafood Network Information Centre.
Howgate’s name will continue to live on through the Peter Howgate Award, administered the International Association of Fish Inspectors.
The award funds the attendance (travel, accommodation and registration) of a young fish technologist (under 30 years of age) to the biennial IAFI World Seafood Congress.