During the last decade, the international seafood market has experienced tremendous growth in quantity and value terms, while demanding that only the freshest and most hygienic of seafood reaches the customer’s table. Today, the Indian Fisherman faces competition from all over the world. Unfortunately, the Fisherman has to contend with only rudimentary means while standing up to eh challenge of worldwide competition. Fortunately, the ICEFLOW machine provides the fishermen with the foundation required to maintain the harvested seafood in the best quality in order for him to achieve the highest price and remain competitive in today’s highly selective markets. The system has been developed by M/s Chirag Ice Factory Pvt. Ltd, Mumbai enable the Indian Fishermen meet the changing and evolving needs of today’s seafood customer.
It is no secret that once seafood is harvested, the quality retained is in direct proportion to the speed by which the harvested product is preserved. Quality once lost cannot be reversed. It is therefore imperative that the “cold chain” be integrated and maintained throughout the entire product life cycle- from the time the fish is first caught up to the time the product reaches the consumer.
The Existing Preservation System
Presently, the fishermen stock up on approximately 5-10 tons of crushed block ice and set off for fishing. At the docks, in addition to the ever-increasing price of ice, the fisherman is subjected to losses during crushing and loading operations. Typically, the fishing boat will travel 1-3 days in order to reach the fishing ground. Considerable energy is consumed during the time required to transport the ice to the fishing grounds. Once the fishing commences, the likelihood that the ice will suffice is questionable. For example, in case of a good harvest, the ice will fall short thereby lowering the equality of the catch. On the other hand, should there be less fish; the ice will be wasted there by increasing the overall cost and reducing the profitability for the fishermen. The problem is further compounded since the quality of ice is below acceptable norms, which further deteriorates the quality of the catch.
The Slurry Ice Machine (ICEFLOW)
The main purpose of any refrigeration system is to remove the latent heat from the seafood products as fast as possible. The ICEFLOW System will become operational once the fishing boat reaches its approximate fishing site. At that time, sea water will be pumped into insulated fiberglass tanks and the refrigeration system is started. The system is designed to cool the seawater to approx. range of -2C to -5C. Customized Stainless Steel Shell& Tube Chillers will form the heart of the system comprising of Cupro Nickel Condenser and the Bock FK4 Compressor run directly off a self-contained diesel engine. The system weighs around 950 kgs.
The entire system is manufactured with indigenous components with ease of use and maintenance the key features of the ICEFLOW system. Special care is taken to make the system robust enough to handle the on-board roughness and lack of knowledgeable personnel.
The Operational and Economic advantages of the ICEFLOW systems are:
The fishermen do not have to depend on the availability and the supply of crushed ice before proceeding on a fishing trip thereby increasing the turnaround time and making 5 additional trips per year
- The fishing boat can travel much further and faster to better fishing ground and / or stay out longer as they are no longer dependent on ice storage capacity.
- Since the catch is stored in chilled seawater at about -5c you can market a higher quality product, as the seafood quality is directly related to eh speed with which the product is chilled after harvest.
- With the ICEFLOW the fishermen not only chills the catch quickly and uniformly but maintains the ideal temperature over the length of the voyage. This gives the trawler operator more freedom in landing the catch at the best port and gets more value form his catch.
- With the ICEFLOW Slurry Ice system, transporting the bulk and weight of ice is eliminated conserving fuel on the outward journey while increasing the corresponding speed.
- Based on the project economics and he un-quantifiable factors, the project is considered technically and commercially viable with appropriate infrastructure related subsidy schemes initiated by MPEDA. Presently MPEDA offers a 25% subsidy for existing fishing boat owners.
- The Slurry ice can be easily pumped in to the fish holds
Source: Aqua Aquaria