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Various fish And fish Products Being Produced In Fish Processing Industries And Their Value Addition

Sajid Maqsood*, Prabjeet Singh, Munir Hassan Samoon and Gohar Bilal Wani

Faculty of Fisheries, Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Science and Technology-Kashmir.

*Corresponding author E-mail :


Value addition is the most talked about word in the industry, particularly in fish processing industry, mainly because of the increased opportunities, the activity presents for earning foreign exchange. Besides, value addition is one of the possible approaches to raise the profitability of fish processing industry, which now lays greater emphasis on quality assurance. A large number of value added and diversified fish products both for export and internal market based on shrimp, lobster, squid, cuttle-fish, bivalves, farmed fish and minced meat from low priced fish have been identified and discussed in the review. A basic description of a few of the value added fish and fishery products has been discussed.


Recent developments in fish processing technology are oriented towards technology up-gradation, diversification and quality assurance. These have led, among others, to a great demand for seafood/seafood-based convenience products in ready-to-eat or ready-to-cook forms. There are several factors, which have influenced this demand. One is the increasing affluence and the consequential changes that have influenced the eating habits, particularly in the western countries, which have resulted in the demand for diversely processed value added convenience products based on fish. There is also an increasing trend of eating away from home and this has triggered the growth of fast food trade serving value added fish based products.

Value addition is the most talked about word in the industry, particularly in fish processing industry, mainly because of the increase opportunities the activity presents for earning foreign exchange. Besides, value addition is one of the possible approaches to raise the profitability of fish processing industry, which now lays greater emphasis on quality assurance.

There appears to be a good potential for India to increase its share in international fish trade by exporting value added fish products.

It is axiomatic that the development of export market should have the backing and support of a strong domestic market. The rapid industrialization and the consequent urbanization of rural India provides ample scope for the development of such markets. Increasing number of working women, shrinking family size, education and general consciousness about hygiene and health are the other favourable factors. A large number of value added and diversified fish products both for export and internal market based on shrimp, lobster, squid, cuttle-fish, bivalves, farmed fish and minced meat from low priced fish have been identified. The technology for their production is readily available. A brief description of a few such products and related process of producing them is given hereunder.

2. Individually quick frozen (IQF) products:

Radical changes have taken place in the freezing set up of fish and fishery products over the years. An important improvement in freezing shrimp/prawns is the shift from the conventional block frozen to the individually quick frozen products. With the advent and spread of aquaculture for shrimp/prawn, in particular, individual quick freezing has become very popular. Farmed shrimp/prawn has the advantage of facilitating harvesting during a predetermined period. This facility enables freezing them individually in the freshest possible condition. Because of this, most of the farmed shrimps/prawns are frozen whole in IQF form. Likewise, lobster, squid, cuttlefish, different varieties of finfish are also processed in the individually quick frozen style.

IQF products fetch higher prices compared to conventional block frozen products. However, for the production of IQF products raw materials of very high quality need to be used and the processing has to be carried out under strict hygienic conditions. The products have to be packed in attractive moisture-proof containers (thermoform moulded trays have come to be accepted as containers for IQF products in western countries) and stored at around -30°C without fluctuation in storage temperature. Utmost care is needed during the transportation of IQF products, as rise in temperature may cause surface melting of the individual pieces causing them to stick together forming lumps. Desiccation leading to weight loss and surface dehydration are other serious problems met with during storage of IQF products.

Some of the IQF products in demand are shrimp/prawn, whole cooked lobster, lobster tails, lobster meat, cuttlefish fillets, squid tubes, squid rings, boiled clam meat and skinless and boneless fillets of white lean fish etc. so far as shrimp is concerned, it is particularly in demand in different forms such as whole, peeled and de-veined, cooked, headless shell-on, butterfly, fan tail and round tail-on.

3. Accelerated freeze dried products:

Accelerated freeze-drying is now being increasingly used for the preservation of high value food products. In this process the product in frozen condition is subjected to very high vacuum causing the ice crystals to sublime. The product has the advantages like absence of shrinkage, quick re-hydration up to 95%, minimum heat induced damage etc. In India this technique is now applied for processing shrimp, squid rings etc. the possibilities for various ready-to-eat products based on fish and shellfish employing this technique are immense.

4. Heat processed products:

Far reaching developments have taken place in canning industry, especially in respect of the design and development of containers, canning equipment and nature and type of the products. Some of the containers of recent origin are retortable pouches, rigid plastic containers, aluminum cans, drawn and wall ironed (DWI) as well as drawn and redrawn (DRD) cans made of tinplate, easy-open cans with ring or pull tabs. Heat processing of retortable pouches, heat sealed plastic containers as well as easy-open cans with pull/ring tabs is carried out in over pressure autoclaves of which many models are now available. Employment of hydrostatic cooker-sterilizer for heat processing high temperature short time process etc., are other innovations in the field of equipment/machinery for heat processing seafood.

The product mix up in the heat-processed category of seafood includes several 'convenience' ready-to-serve products such as fish curry, fish-in-rice etc. these products can conveniently be processed in retort pouches using an over pressure autoclave. Because of the smaller cross sectional profile of retort pouches such products need to be maintained only for a shorter time in the retort and hence temperature induced changes on the quality parameters of the product will be minimum.

5. Coated products

The most prominent among the group of value added products is the battered and breaded products processed out of a variety of fish and shellfish. Battered and breaded products offer a 'convenience' food, valued widely by the consumer. These are products which receive a coat or two each of a batter followed by coating with bread crumbs, thus increasing the bulk and reducing the cost element. The pick-up of coating can be increased by adjusting the consistency of the batter or by repeating the coating process. By convention, such products should have a minimum fish component of 50%. The production of battered and breaded products involves several stages. The method varies with the type of product and pickup desired. In most cases the following steps are involved:

  1. portioning/forming

  2. pre-dusting

  3. battering

  4. breading

  5. pre-frying

  6. freezing, and

  7. packaging and cold storage.

A variety of battered and breaded products can be prepared from shrimp, squid, clams, fish fillets, minced meat from low cost fish etc. a brief profile of some important battered and breaded products is as under:-

5.1. Shrimp products

Breaded shrimp can be prepared both from wild as well as cultured shrimp in different styles. Shrimp in different forms such as peeled and deveined, butterfly, round tail-on and cooked and peeled are coated with batter and bread crumbs and flash fried for 20 seconds at 180°C in refined vegetable oil. They are then frozen and packed in IQF form, preferably in thermoformed containers.

One important class of value added products, finding increasing demand are battered and breaded products.

5.2 Squid products:

5.2.1 Squid Rings

Cleaned squid tubes are cut in the form of rings, followed by cooking in boiling brine (3%) for 1-2 minutes. They are then cooled, breaded and battered. The battered rings are flash fried at 175-180°C for 20 seconds, cooled, frozen and packed.

5.2.3 Stuffed Squid

Stuffed squid is prepared from small squid which are not generally processed for export. The cleaned tubes from such small squids are filled with a stuffing mixture prepared using cooked squid tentacles, potato, fried onion, spices etc. the stuffed squid are then battered, breaded and flash fried.

5.3 Clam and other related products

Live clams are depurated and the meat is shucked out after boiling. The meat is blanched in boiling brine, cooled and battered, breaded, flash fried for 20 seconds, frozen and packed. Other bivalves such as oyster, mussels etc., can also be converted into coated products by the same name.

5.4 Fish fillets

Skinless and boneless fillets of white lean fish are brined in dilute brine to improve the color and taste. The brined fillets are battered and breaded, flash fried for one minute, frozen and packed.

6. Fish mince and mince-based products

Minced meat is the meat separated from fish in comminuted form free of bones, skin etc. in principle, meat separation process can be applied to any species of fish, but when it is applied to low cost fishes significant value addition will accrue. Flesh can be separated from filleting waste also. Minced meat can be used as a base material for the preparation of a number of products of good demand. The properties of minced meat, to a large extent, are determined by the nature and quality of raw material. Meat-bone separators (meat picking machines) are generally used for the preparation of minced meat.

7. Minced based products

Minced fish can be used for the preparation of a number of products like fish sausage, cakes, cutlets, patties, balls, pastes, surimi, texturised products etc. the processes for the production of most of these products are available and some of them are very much suitable for starting small scale industries.

8. Surimi

Surimi is a Japanese term for mechanically deboned fish flesh that has been washed with water and mixed with cryoprotectants for imparting good frozen shelf life. Washing not only removes fat and undesirable matters such as blood, pigments and odoriferous substances but also increases the concentration of myofibrilar protein, the content of which improves the gel strength and elasticity of the product. This property can be made use of in developing a variety of fabricated products like shellfish analogues.

9. Kneaded products

Several kneaded products like kamaboko, chikuwa, hampen, fish ham and sausage are processed using surimi and incorporating other ingredients. The ingredients used in most of these preparations are identical; however, the classification is principally based on the manufacturing process involved. The ingredients employed other than surimi include salt, monosodium glutamate, sugar, starch, egg white, polyphosphate and water. The method of processing all these products involves grinding together of the various ingredients to a fine paste and some sort of heat treatment at some stage.

10. Fibreized products

Fibreized products are the greatest in demand among the surimi based imitation shellfish products. The ingredients used in the formulation of fibreized products include, besides surimi, salt, starch, egg white, shellfish flavor, flavor enhancers and water. All the ingredients are thoroughly mixed and are ground to a paste. The paste is extruded in sheet form on the conveyor belt and is heat treated using gas and steam for partial setting. A strip cutter subdivides the cooked sheet into strings and is passed through a rope corner. The final product is formed by steam cooking of the colored and shaped material.

11. Frozen fish fillets

Skinless and skin-on fillets from lean/medium fat white meat fish have enormous market potential. Many varieties of deep sea fishes such as grouper, red snapper, reef-cod, breams and jewfish are suitable for making fillets both for domestic market and for export to developed countries in block frozen and IQF forms. In the importing countries, these fillets are mainly used for conversion into coated products. Fish fillets can also be used for the production of ready-to-serve value added products such as fish in sauce and fish salads.

12. Chilled fish

Chilled fish is another important value added item of international trade. The most prominent among this group is sashimi grade tuna. Sashimi is a Japanese term for raw fish fillets mainly from tuna and it is a traditional delicacy in Japan. Three species, blue fin, big eye and yellow fin are mainly used for this purpose. The best quality sashimi tuna is that which is chilled at all stages from capture to final consumption. Other important products of this group are pomfret, shrimp, lobster and crabmeat.

13. Stretched shrimp (nobashi)

Increasing the length of peeled and deveined shrimp and minimizing its curling by making parallel cuttings at the bottom, and applying pressure using simple mechanical devises is a new technology adopted by the seafood processing industry in recent years. Increasing the length by about 1-2 cm depending on the size of the shrimp is possible by this method. The stretched shrimp will have better appearance compared to conventional PD shrimp and it also fetches higher unit price. The stretched shrimp, because of its increased surface area, will have more pick up of coating during battering and breading and also a good appearance.

Shrimp is washed is chilled water containing 5 ppm chlorine, beheaded, deveined, using bamboo stick and peeled keeping the last segment and tail intact. The tail is then trimmed and the shrimp is then stretched using a metallic stretcher after making 2-3 parallel cuttings on the bottom side. Stretched shrimps are then packed in thermoformed trays under vacuum and frozen at -40°C.

14. Barbecue

Shrimp is washed in chilled water containing 5 ppm chlorine, beheaded, deveined, peeled and again washed in chilled water. Bamboo stick is then pierced into the meat from head portion to tail. It is then packed in thermoformed trays under vacuum and frozen at -40°C.

15. Sushi (cooked butterfly shrimp)

Shrimp is washed in chilled water containing 5 ppm chlorine, beheaded, deveined and again washed in chilled water. Bamboo stick is then pierced between the shell and the meat from head portion to tail and then cooked in 1% brine for 2 minutes at 100°C. The cooked shrimp is then cooled in chilled water, bamboo stick removed and then peeled completely, including the tail fans. The ventral side is then gently cut down length wise completely using a sharp scalpel. The cut surface is then gently opened up to form the butterfly shape, packed in thermoformed trays under vacuum and frozen at -40°C.

16. Skewered shrimp

The process is similar to that of barbecue, but piercing of shrimp is carried out in such a way that 4-5 shrimps are arranged in a skewer in an inverted "U" shape. It is then packed in thermoformed trays under vacuum and frozen at -40°C.

17. Shrimp head-On (Central Peeled)

Shrimp is washed in chilled water containing 5 ppm chlorine, peeled at the center keeping the head and the last two segments intact, deveined, and the tail is trimmed. It is again washed in chilled water, packed in thermoformed trays under vacuum and frozen at -40°C.

18. Shrimp head-on cooked (Center Peeled)

Shrimp is washed in chilled water containing 5 ppm chlorine, deveined and then cooked in 1% brine for two minutes at 100°C. it is immediately cooled in chilled water and peeled keeping the head and the last two segments intact. The tail is trimmed and again washed in chilled water. It is then packed in thermoformed trays under vacuum and frozen at -40°C.

19. Squalene

Squalene is an unsaturated hydrocarbon found in the unsaponifiable fraction of fish oils, especially of certain species of sharks. Liver oil containing high proportion of Squalene is distilled in a stainless steel glass lined vessel under a vacuum of 2 mm bar. Fraction distilled between 240 and 245°C is collected. All operations are to be carried out preferably in an inert atmosphere, as Squalene is easily oxidisable. Squalene is widely used in pharmaceuticals and cosmetics.

20. Tuna eyes

Tuna eyes are an item of commerce. The high demand for them is attributed particularly to their content of polyunsaturated fatty acids like decosahexaenoic acid. This fatty acid is valued for its medicinal properties in combating atherosclerotic and thrombotic problems of chronic heart patients. Extraction and preservation of eyes of tuna and its marketing stand good prospects.

21. Fish calcium

Calcium powder processed from the backbone of tuna can be used to combat calcium deficiency in the diet of children. Calcium deficiency can lead to bone failure and spine curvature. The method of production of calcium mainly involves removing the gelatin from the crushed bones and pulverizing the remaining portion. A process recommended for processing calcium powder from the backbone of skipjack tuna involves the following steps. The bone frame is crushed and washed in clean water a number of times. A 10% solution of calcium carbonate is added to the residue and is left for an hour. After draining the solution, washing and treatment with calcium carbonate is repeated a number of times. Finally, washed bone residue is further washed and dried and pulverized to the required mesh size.

22. Shark cartilage

Shark cartilage assumes importance because of the presence of chondriotic sulphate, which is a mucopolysaccharide. Chondriotin sulphate has therapeutic uses and is effective in reducing cancer related tumours and inflammation, and pain associated with arthritis, psoriasis and enteritis. Oral intake of shark cartilage is reported to be effective in the above cases.

The bones separated from the shark are cleaned for removing the adhering meat, blood stain etc. after washing well; the bones are preserved by drying at a temperature not exceeding 70°C to a moisture level below 6%.

23. Chitin and Chitosan

The body peelings from shrimp processing plants are a major and economical source of chitin. Lobster and crab shell waste also contain sizeable quantities of chitin. The shells are deproteinised with alkali and demineralised with dilute hydrochloric acid. The fibrous portion obtained after washing is chitin. Chitin can be deacetylated with caustic soda to give chitosan. The deacetylation is achieved by treatment of chitin with (40% W/W) aqueous potassium or sodium hydroxide at about 100°C. The production obtained is dried in hot air dryer to a temperature not exceeding 60°C. Chitosan finds extensive applications in many industries such as pharmaceuticals, textile, paper, water purification etc.

24. Fish maws/Isinglass

Air bladders of hake, sturgeon and carp are the main sources of isinglass. In India it is obtained from air bladders of eel, catfish, carp etc. the dried bladders are softened by soaking in water for several hours. They are mechanically cut into small pieces and pressed between hollow iron rollers, converted into thin strips of 3-6 mm thickness and then dried. It is used mainly for clarifying beverages, as an adhesive base in confectionery products, glass pottery and leather and also as an edible luxury. Its exports are mainly confined, at present, to Hongkong, Singapore and Germany.

25. Shark fins/fin rays

Shark fin soup is considered as a great delicacy in Singapore and Hong Kong and hence our exports of shark fins are confined to these countries. The commercial value of the fins depends on their color, size, variety and quality. Depending on the quality and quantity of rays present in the fins they are broadly classified into two varieties, generally known as black and white. The white fins usually fetch a better price compared to black fins. Fins are generally marketed in dried form. The preparation of shark fin does not require any elaborate treatment, but care is needed in cutting, trimming and drying operations. the dried fins are further processed, for the 'rays'. Te price of fin rays depends mainly on color, length and thickness of the individual strands, quantity of connective tissue, cartilage present and physical appearance.

26. Fish Meal and Fish Oil

Fish oil is obtained as a by-product in the wet reduction process employed for fish meal production from oil sardine. Fish is boiled, oil that separates is skimmed off and the cooked fish is put in coir mat bag and pressed in country type vertical process. The mixture of oil and stick water is collected in large settling tank and allowed to settle for about 2 days when all the oil floats. The oil is then separated and heated to remove water from it.

Fish oil is of two types:-

  1. Fish Liver oil.

  2. Fish Body oil.

Fish liver oil is used for therapeutic purpose in the treatment of vitamin A and D deficiencies. Sources of liver oil are Cod, haddock and shark. Liver oils of halibut and tuna also are rich sources of Vit-A&D. Fish body oil is more important as an industrial product besides its limited use in human nutrition. Fish body oil has recently won much attention because of the content of polyunsaturated fatty acids, particularly n-3PUFA used in the control of heart ailments in humans.

Sources of fish body oil are oil sardine, pilchard, herring etc.

27. Fish meal

It is traditionally used as fish and livestock feed supplement. Fish meal has high quality protein containing high levels of lysine, methionine and cysteine, three of the essential amino acids. It is also a good source of B group of vitamins like cyanocobalamin (B12), choline, niacin, pantothenic acid and riboflavin.

Raw material: - High fat fishes like anchovies, sardines, herring, menhaden etc. Wastes from fish processing and filleting plants, cannery wastes, carcasses of fish like shark and other fishes wastes are also used as raw material for fish meal manufacturing.

There are two methods for processing of fish meals :-

Wet rendering & Dry reduction process.

Wet rendering is exclusively used for processing high fat fish and fish offal where simultaneously production of fish meal and fish oil is envisaged.

Dry reduction is employed to process fish meal from non-oily fish and fish offal.

Yield is higher in dry reduction process because water soluble materials are retained in the meal. Oil obtained in dry process is darker and of inferior quality.

28. Fish fingers

It is very popular product made out of fish mince. Mince is mixed with 1% salt, made into rectangular slabs and frozen. Frozen mince is cut into suitable sizes and coated with batter followed by breading. Battered and breaded fish fingers are flash fried in oil maintained at 180-200C for 20 seconds. After cooling the fingers are frozen and stored.

29. Fish sausage

Fish sausage is made from Surimi mixed with salt, sugar, sodium glutamate, and soy protein. The above mixture is stuffed into PVC casing using automatic screw stuffer.

The casing tube is closed using metal rings and heated in hot water at 85-90C for 40-6-minutes.After heating, it is slowly cooled to avoid shrinking of the tube and

then dried.

In Kashmir Valley, the processing and value adding to the fish in the form of dry and smoked fish is an age old practice. The fish species mostly dried are Carrassius carrassius, Crossochielus latius and fingerlings of common carp. The fisher folk in and around the Anchar Lake are involved in the drying process of fish. Due to high demand of dry fish particularly during the winter months when the fish catch is scarce, the dry fish is also brought from out side the state to met the increasing demand of dry fish. Smoking the fish with the saw dust is an age old practice among the fisher folk of the valley. The Schizothorax species is mostly utilized for smoking process in the valley of Kashmir. The smoked fish is locally known as "Fareh". Both dry and smoked fish are processed during the summer months when the fish catch is available in abundance and are made available during the winter months.


Marketing of value added products is completely different from the traditional seafood trade. It is dynamic, sensitive, complex and very expensive. Marketing surveys, packaging and advertising are a few of the very important areas, which ultimately determine the successful movement of the new product. Most of the market channels currently used is not suitable to trade value added production. A new and an appropriate channel would be the super market chain. Appearance, packaging and display are all important factors leading to successful marketing of any new value added product. The material and method of various value added fish products for both export and domestic market is discussed. The retail pack must be clean, crisp and clear and make the contents appear attractive to the consumer. The consumer must be given confidence to experiment with the new product launched in the market. Packaging requirements change with product form, target group, market area, species used and so on. The latest packaging must also keep abreast with the latest technology.


  • Realization of the importance of Fish processing and value addition in the mindset of fish producers and farmers from Inland sector Through Training and demonstration.

  • Establishment of pilot Fish processing plant with requisite infrastructural facilities at production centers of Fresh water fishes.

  • Introduction of efficient transportation like refrigerated and insulated Trucks and wagons for rapid disposal of harvest to distant destinations of demand places.

  • Strengthening of marketing infrastructure with development of new fish markets in the near and around areas of catchments.

  • Avenues of finding viable markets at metropolitan and urban township of national importance.

  • Framing of comprehensive policy for finding export opportunities of fresh water fishes internationally to generate foreign exchange earning.

Literature Cited.

Balachandran.K.K. 2001. Post harvest technology of fish and fish products. Daya Publishing House.

Devadasan.K. 2003. Value added fish and fishery products. Fishing Chimes. Vol.23(1), P-131-136.

Gopakumar.S. 2000. Fish Processing Technology. 2000. Daya publishing house.

Venugopal.V. 2003. Value addition to Aquacultured Fishery Products. Fishing Chimes. Vol.23 (1), P-82-84.

Venogopal . V. and Shahidi. F. 1995. Value added products from under-utilized fish species. Critical Review in Food Science and Nutrition. Vol. 35(5), P-431-453.

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