FIJI FISH PROCESSORS LEARN HOW TO GAIN FIVE PERCENT IN YIELD BY CUTTING

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SECRETARIAT OF THE PACIFIC COMMUNITY (SPC) Noumea, New Caledonia

PRESS RELEASE August 3, 1999

FISH THE TAHITIAN WAY

SUVA, Fiji Islands (August 3, 1999)---Coco, a fish cutter from Tahiti, can quarter-loin fresh albacore tuna, in less than three minutes from start to finish.

Tahitian longline fishing companies send quarter-loined albacore tuna to markets in the USA and EU countries.

Now fish companies in Fiji and elsewhere are interested in entering this lucrative market.

To learn the necessary skills, fish processors from three different Fiji companies attended a workshop on fish handling, fish grading, and fish cutting.

The workshop was held by the Training and Capture Sections of the Coastal Fisheries Programme, Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) at Celtrock Holdings, Ltd.'s plant in Walu Bay just outside of Suva during July 1999.

SPC Fisheries Education and Training Advisor Michel Blanc showed participants how to grade tuna, while SPC's Master fisherman, Steve Beverly, demonstrated on-board tuna handling and how to cut sashimi from a whole tuna to the final slices.

The participants were most interested, however, in the fish cutting techniques used in Tahiti.

Coco (Frederic Chung Shing), who has developed his expertise for over ten years, does most of the cutting while the fish is hanging by its tail. First he removes the dorsal and anal fins using a large serrated knife. Next, with a butcher's knife, he cuts the loins away to the backbone. Then he uses the serrated knife to cut through the pin bones while he pulls the loin away from the frame of the fish with a meat hook. The rest of the job, including skinning, he does with a large, straight-edged skinning knife on a cutting table. The result is four perfect quarter loins, ready to be wrapped and frozen or sold on local markets as fresh albacore steaks.

One of the benefits of cutting fish this way is that there is a better yield. One of the Fiji companies that participated in the workshop reported a five- percent gain in yield from their previous methods after employing the newly learned techniques in their factory.

SPC's Video Producer Aren Baoa, who produces training videos for SPC's Regional Media Center in Suva, videotaped the entire process. The videotape on fish cutting should be ready for viewers sometime later this year.

For additional information, contact: Michel Blanc, Fisheries Education and Training Advisor, SPC

E-mail: MichelBl@spc.org.nc

Or

Steve Beverly, Masterfisherman, SPC E-mail: SteveB@spc.org.nc

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