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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

I.1. Equipment for fish preparation

Fish should never be prepared on the ground as it will pick up dirt even if it were prepared on a board or mat. A table or bench at comfortable working height should be used. The table may be made of wood, metal or concrete. A good design of such a table is shown in Figure II.1 & plate II.2. The surface of the table should be smooth so that it is easily cleaned. Drainage should also be provided to allow scrubbing of the surface with a brush. Whatever the material used for the surface of the table, it is preferable to use a separate wooden cutting board in order to avoid damaging a wooden surface or blunting knives on a metal or concrete one.

Knives are the most important tools for fish preparation. A selection of these is shown in Plate II.1. Short knives should be used for small fish, long flexible knives for filleting and stout knives for splitting big fish. Knives must be kept sharp. Blunt knives tear the fish and slow down the work. If a grind-stone is available, it should be used to shape or profile the cutting edge and to remove nicks. An oilstone or water lubricated stone may then be used to sharpen the cutting edge. A steel should be used to remove burrs on the edge. Proper grindstones are expensive and steels are not easily obtained in some countries. In any case, a fish curer should always have a good sharpening stone available.