You see, I have worked for nearly thirty years in North Carolina where fresh fish and shellfish are the primary market forms and the farm value of aquaculture species only recently exceeded the dockside value for wild harvested commercial fisheries. The need to educate potential consumers and raise the awareness of aquaculture producers, industry providers, research institutions, universities and government agencies could not be more important than today.
The main issues I hope to address in this column are quality and safety related concerns being driven by today’s marketplace. I hope to include both pre-harvest and post-harvest conditions that impact product quality and safety in aquaculture species. Addressing the needs of aquaculture producers and industry providers worldwide means bridging scientific inquiry with transfer of technology and knowledge to an industry that needs and will use it.
I gave an invited presentation a few years ago in Vigo, Spain where I talked about the “Moët of Mackerel, how a Japanese fishermen’s co-op turned its catch into a luxury brand.” I explained to the industry and academic audience that fish quality is actually a continuum of fresh to stale and that pre-harvest conditions and handling can significantly affect post-harvest quality and shelf life of aquaculture species. I would like to expand upon this concept of a continuum between aquaculture production and post-harvest preservation of fish and shellfish.
I will address seafood quality, seafood safety and health applications of seafood. There has been growing demand for seafood worldwide due to the perceived health benefits. Fish and shellfish are highly nutritious and provide a wide range of health-promoting compounds. Since seafood is highly perishable, safety and quality are two main issues that aquaculture producers must consider. I feel these topics are important today and will become even more important in the future as the market accepts a greater proportion of aquaculture species to fill the growing consumer demand for fresh fish and shellfish.
I look forward to working with the publishers of Aquaculture magazine and my fellow contributing authors to help make the post-harvest issues column as interesting and insightful as possible. The future in aquaculture is bright and the opportunities are only limited by our own imagination. Let’s begin and enjoy the process along the way.