Food Loss and Waste in Fish Value Chains
  • Supportive Policy Environment
  • Application of Appropriate Technology
  • Skills and Knowledge
  • Services and Infrastructure
  • Regulatory Environment
  • Social and Gender Equity
  • Markets

Skills and Knowledge for Freezer Vessels

Key skills and knowledge required by those managing and working on a freezer vessel facility and which prevent and reduce food loss and waste (FLW) include:

  • principles of freezing and glazing
  • packaging materials for frozen fishery products
  • fish spoilage and raw material handling
  • equipment for fish freezing
  • cold chain principles
  • cold storage operations
  • Good Hygenic Practices
  • Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) prerequisites
  • Hazard analysis critical control point (HACCP)

An understanding of the following key issues is also important:

  • Why freeze at sea?
  • Type of freezer vessel
  • How good are sea-frozen fish?
  • Freezers for use at sea
  • Handling fish before freezing
  • Handling frozen fish
  • Cold stores on freezer vessels
  • Unloading freezer vessels

Important ‘Do’s and Don’ts’

Important ‘Do’s and Don’ts’

The list below contains some of the most important ‘do’s and don’ts’ for both the chilled and frozen food producer:

  • Maintain high levels of hygiene at all stages of the product’s life.
  • Chill or freeze products quickly and adequately after preparation and manufacture.
  • Rigidly maintain chill (<5°C) or frozen (<–18°C) temperatures, wherever possible, during storage and distribution.
  • Rigidly maintain chill (<5°C) and frozen (<–18°C) temperatures in holding stores and display cabinets.
  • Conduct frequent and systematic temperature checks on chilled and frozen food product temperatures, using appropriate and calibrated instrumentation.
  • Train and educate all personnel (including consumers) in the correct handling and storage of chilled and frozen foods.  Re-educate when new practices are adopted.



According to the Code of Practice for Fish and Fishery Products, glazing is the application of a protective layer of ice formed at the surface of a frozen product by spraying it with, or dipping it into, clean seawater, potable water, or potable water with approved additives, as appropriate.

Glazing is a process used to reduce undesirable drying or dehydration of fish during frozen or cold storage. Excessive drying during frozen storage results in freezer burn and a decrease in fish quality.

Key Publications

Freezing At Sea

This document is intended to serve as a background paper and an introduction to the operations and equipment used in the freezing and cold storage of fish both on shore and at sea.

Managing The Cold Chain For Quality And Safety

This manual summarises the key recommendations for processing, handling, distribution and storage of chilled and frozen foods.                                

Frozen Fish: Control of Glazing Operation

Research on the implications of time/temperature on the glazing of fish.                                                                                                                                 

More Resources

More Resources

Included is publicly available discard data in the last 20 years to establish a baseline of a time series of global marine fisheries discards, which is essential for monitoring the status of discard management.
This FAO training video explores the issues and solutions to better manage bycatch and reduce discards in tropical shrimp fisheries.
These guidelines are voluntary and constitute an instrument of reference to help States and RFMO/As in formulating and implementing appropriate measures to manage bycatch and reduce discards in all fisheries around the world.