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Traditional Fish Handling and Preservation in Nigeria

Author(s): C.C. Tawari | J.F.N. Abowei

Journal: Asian Journal of Agricultural Sciences
ISSN 2041-3882

Volume: 3;
Issue: 6;
Start page: 427;
Date: 2011;
Original page

Keywords: Fish | handling | Nigeria | preservation | spoilage | traditional

The time elapsing between lifting of the nets and delivery to the shore can vary with the distance that has to be covered. It can at times be a period of several hours. The fish, when brought aboard is usually more or less alive. It is stored simply on the bottom of the canoe, lying there in a pool of warm, dirty water. The fish is never gutted and freely exposed to the sun. Needless to say the product thus handled has an extremely short keeping period that could be improved by more hygienic handling and by keeping the fish in shade. The ultimate aim at least for the fish to be entered into the fresh fish trade should of course be to have the fish iced. The same applies to the handling after landing. No precautions are taken to prevent the fish from being covered with sand, leaves, sticks, etc. Better handling practices would be a prerequisite to the development of a fresh fish export trade towards the larger towns in the north and south. It is a well known fact that fishes' rigor mortis period lasts longest with fish kept at a low temperature and is also favourably influenced by killing the fish as soon as possible after catching; in other words by shortening its death struggle and avoiding chemical and enzymic deterioration after passing the rigor mortis period at the lowest possible level. It is recommended that future research tries to establish whether the relationship between killing the fish right after landing on board and a consequent extension of the rigor mortis period is of sufficient significance to be taken up in a programme of improvement of fish handling. Fish handling, filleting, fish preservation, chilling, super chilling, freezing, drying, smoking, salting and fermentation are reviewed in this article to provide information for improvement of culture fisheries management and practices in Nigeria.

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