Harvest in Aquaculture

Appears in
On Food and Cooking

By Harold McGee

Published 2004

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By contrast to the logistical challenge posed by fishing, consider the care with which salmon are harvested in the best aquaculture operations. First, the fish are starved for seven to ten days to reduce the levels of bacteria and digestive enzymes in the gut that may otherwise accelerate spoilage. The fish are anesthetized in chilled water saturated with carbon dioxide, then killed either with a blow to the head or by bleeding with a cut through the blood vessels of the gill and tail. Because the blood contains both enzymes and reactive hemoglobin iron, bleeding improves the fish’s flavor, texture, color, and market life. Workers then clean the fish while it’s still cold, and may wrap it in plastic to protect it from direct contact with ice or air.