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


Freezing preserves the storage life of foods by making them more inert and slowing down the detrimental reactions that promote food spoilage and limit quality shelf life. Freezing is one of the most important processing and preservation methods for fish. The main freezing methods used are blast freezing, plate freezing, immersion or spray freezing.

Advantages of freezing include:

  1. flesh is changed very little and there is minimal loss of quality
  2. fish can be stored for many months - for times when catches are scarce
  3. large quantities of fish can be stored (assuming the cold storage capacity is available)
  4. good quality fish can be transported under refrigerated conditions over long distances (e.g. export to areas where fresh fish are unavailable; fish caught in remote waters can be consumed at home)

Disadvantages of freezing include:

  1. quality changes can occur if fish is not stored properly
  2. can be expensive due to the power or fuel needed to operate the freezer
  3. customers often have less regard for frozen fish
  4. until it has thawed, it may be difficult to identify whether the fish has been abused

Various factors can lead to food loss and waste (FLW):

  • Processing of poor quality raw material
  • Slow freezing process
  • Wrong storage temperature
  • Temperature fluctuations
  • Unfrozen water
  • Freezing damage
  • Vapor migration
  • Exposure of frozen product to air

Key Publications

Freezing and refrigerated storage in fisheries

This FAO publication provides an introduction to the operations and equipment used in fish freezing and cold storage on shore and sea, and gives information on applying low temperatures to reduce deterioration of quality.

Managing The Cold Chain For Quality And Safety

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

Frozen Fish

Guide for vessel operators to assist minimize the risk of problems associated with the transport of frozen fish products.                                                                                                                    


More Resources

More Resources

Description of freezing options and methods. 
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.
Includes information on how to store frozen foods, how to keep your freezer regulated, the life-span of frozen foods, how to defrost your freezer, and the convenience and cost benefits of choosing frozen. ...