NIR technology for offshore routine fish analysis

New developments in the NIR technology are providing a wealth of opportunities in the seafood industry. We have been speaking with US Sales Manager, Brian Armstrong, about business opportunities and needs for analytical solutions in the offshore seafood industry.


For four decades, FOSS has been working with NIR in the food and agricultural industry and has become an integrated partner providing analytical solutions for sectors like Grain, Dairy, and Meat. The fish industry is in constant development and new technologies have made it possible to analyze fish and seafood on-the-spot at fish distribution centers, at the seafood production site, or directly on the boat, where the fish are caught. 


Speaking with Brian Armstrong, Sales Manager for Fish in the US, he sees a rise in customer interest using the NIR technology directly on offshore vessels. “The seafood industry has undergone rapid development over the last 30 years. At the same time, high market values combined with a complex structure of the fish value chain makes the sector vulnerable to fraud and adulteration practices. The nature of fish products and the lack of traceability provides an urgent need for fast, reliable quality analysis and on-the-spot testing,” he says and explains the current demand for analytical solutions: “We are currently experiencing a growing demand among at-sea processing vessels that sail remotely in the North Pacific Ocean, not seeing ports for months at a time. Typically, these vessels process what they catch at sea (this could be Alaska Pollock or another Pacific whitefish), producing surimi, fillets, and other minced blocs, as well as fish meal, oil, and fish row.”



Where do FOSS’ analytical solutions fit in and help in the offshore fish industry? 


“For the offshore vessels, the NIRS™ DA1650 has turned out to be an excellent solution out on the ships,” Brian says and explains: “The NIRS™ DA1650 is a particularly robust instrument that can analyze fish and fish meals, even in rough seas without the outside circumstances affecting the instrument performance,” Brian says.


“The diode array (DDA) based NIR reflectance and trans-reflectance analyzer with a versatile scanning range of 1100 - 1650nm has been designed for high performance in the hardest production environments and has an ambient temperature of 5-40 °C, storage temperature from -20 °C to 70 °C and ambient humidity <93% RH. The NIRS™ DA1650 uses state-of-the-art near-infrared technology to bring high accuracy NIR analysis into the rendering and meat by-product process, produce closer to specification and get a consistent final product quality,” Brian explains.


“Fish meal is a highly sought protein for the pet food and agricultural industry as well as a sustainable and lucrative way of rendering the by-product. Now, tight specifications need to be maintained, and not keeping as close to spec as possible, can be costly. Therefore, monitoring the process and following the parameters with rapid quality analysis of fat, protein, moisture, and ash help reach the target on time and give the operators the opportunity of making corrections on the go if necessary. This makes fishing vessels capable of producing a product that is stable and ready for the market as soon as they reach land.”


Read more about: NIRS™ DA1650

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