Since fish are the most important animal protein in the diet of
many people in the tropics, it is important to reduce wastage and losses to the
lowest possible level. Fish spoil very quickly and small-scale fish processing
enterprises can easily loose profits through wastage. In general, it has been
estimated that approximately 25% of a catch of fish may be lost through one
cause or another before consumption.
Immediately after a catch, a complicated series of chemical and
baterial changes begin to take place within the fish. If these changes are not
controlled the fish quickly become spoiled (e.g. within 12 hours at tropical
temperatures). Thus, the need to process fish according to some of the curing
methods described under section II soon after the catch.
Spoilage of fish may take place before, during or after
processing. The reasons for such spoilage and measures to prevent or minimise it
are briefly described