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Food Loss and Waste in Fish Value Chains
©FAO/Ansen Ward

On-board Handling in Small-Scale Fisheries

On-board handling refers to the conditions that fish are subjected to after harvest and through the point of landing, when the fish is transferred on-shore.  What happens to fish during this crucial period has implications for food loss and waste (FLW) at the subsequent stages of the value chain.

Unless fish are handled properly, chilled, and good hygiene conditions prevail, spoilage and quality deterioration will accelerate, particularly in tropical areas, where ambient temperatures are high and conducive to rapid bacterial growth. 

A key cause of FLW at this value chain stage is in quality and value. It must be pointed out that what happens to the fish before it is hauled into the vessel also can affect quality. For example, spoilage can start as soon as a fish dies for example in a gill net.

A key issue is that many small-scale fishing vessels are not designed or of the size that facilitates good on-board handling. Furthermore, as near shore fish resources have declined, these small vessels often venture further and hence fishing trips have in some cases, become longer.

Key Publications

Quality and Quality of Changes in Fresh Fish

The book describes fundamentals in fish biology, chemical composition of fish, and post mortem changes, with a view to explain the rationale for optimal catch handling procedures and obtaining maximum shelf life.

The Use of Ice on Small Fishing Vessels

This publication describes the requirements for the use of ice and chilled seawater on board fishing vessels, and gives an overview of the different types of ice plants and the ice produced in them.

Post-Harvest Losses in Small-Scale Fisheries: Case Studies in Five Sub-Saharan African Countries

This FAO publication discusses case studies that aimed to develop regional experts in fish loss assessment; generate fish loss data in fisheries of socio-economic importance; and produce practical fish loss assessment guides.

More Resources

More Resources

Globefish
01 January 2018
GLOBEFISH is a trusted source of international fish trade and market news, and provides price trend analyses, market outlooks, and networking opportunities. Its reports cover over fourteen of the most major traded seafood commodities.
Gender and development
01 January 2018
Overview of role of gender in the work place and an introduction to an integrated approach to gender equality and decent work with a link to further resources. 
Report that provides information on the role played by frozen fish and cold store facilities in Sierra Leone.