Cover Image
close this bookSmall-Scale Processing of Fish (ILO - WEP, 1982, 140 p.)
close this folderI. FISH PREPARATION
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentI.1. Equipment for fish preparation
View the documentI.2. Gutting and splitting methods


It is important that fish for salting and drying be prepared in a way which allows rapid salt penetration and water removal. Very small fish, such as anchovies, sardines and other species less than 10 cm long, are sometimes cured without any preparatory cutting, with only the guts removed whenever necessary. Fish longer than 15 cm are split open so that the surface area is increased and the flesh thickness is reduced. With fish more than about 25 cm long, additional cuts (scores) should be made in the flesh.

Fish must always be prepared in a manner acceptable to the buyer and consumer. For example, some consumers prefer that the head be cut off, while others prefer that it is left on. In some fisheries, the front two-thirds of the backbone of big fish is taken out once the fish have been split open. Removal of the bone increases the surface available for salt penetration and water removal. Another example refers to fish scales: some consumers prefer scaled fish while others prefer fish with their scales on. It is, however, preferable to scale fish for easy salt penetration and drying.