This paper has been prepared by the Fish Utilization and Marketing Service, Fishery Industries Division of FAO, with the aim to facilitate the planning of the fish industry in general and industrial fish canning in particular. Mr Albert Myrseth, Fisheries Planner of NORPLAN A/S, Oslo, Norway, under an Author's Contract with FAO, has collected the data and prepared the manuscript for this document based on an outline suggested by the Fish Utilization and Marketing Service. The users of this document are encouraged to offer their possible comments on either layout or data concerning the subject matter, and to supply new data that will become available in the near future.

The comments would be highly appreciated if directed to the Fish Utilization and Marketing Service, Fishery Industries Division, FAO, Rome.

For bibliographic purposes this document should be cited as follows:

Myrseth, A., Planning and engineering data. 2. Fish canning. FAO Fish Circ., (784): 1985 77 p.

FAO Fisheries Circular (FAO Fish. Circ.)

A vehicle for distribution of short or ephemeral notes, lists, etc., including provisional versions of documents to be issued later in other series


This document presents selected planning and engineering data for the canning of fish " and other marine foods. The objective of the publications to provide information relating , to raw materials. containers. ingredients and canned products; in addition to this. For the major commercial products. information is provided on the technology of canning including unit operations. processing equipment. by-products. packaging and storage, labour, sites and buildings, and typical plant lay-outs. These sections have been complemented by costing of single items and sample calculations of production costs for selected items.

The document is intended to provide industry, especially in developing countries, with a practical, up-to-date set of reference data of a technical and economic nature. It is envisaged that the text will also be of value for those concerned with the planning and costing of fisheries industrial development programmes and also for those assessing the feasibility of relevant projects. In preparation of the manuscript, consideration was also given to its suitability for use in government offices dealing with aspects of commercial fisheries, specialised schools and training courses. .

The document does not pretend to be complete and it should not be read as a code of practice; it is expected that revision will become necessary as changes in costs and processing techniques occur, which in turn will have impact on technical solutions and their economic viability.

The information is partly collected from available literature, FAO and from equipment manufacturers.

The report has been prepared with the assistance of the following group of collaborators:

Max Kristiansen, Fish Processing Technologist.
Max Nilsen, Food Technologist.
Kjell Sundberg, Canning Technologist.

Related materials are:

Planning and engineering data. 1. Fresh fish handling. FAO Fish.Circ.. (735):64 p.(1981)
Planning and engineering data. 3. Freezing of fish. (in preparation) ;
Planning and engineering data. 4. Fish boxes and containers. FAO Fish.Circ. (773): 53 p. (1984)

It should be emphasised that costs given in the report reflect 1983 prices. For applications outside Norway it should be noted also that local costs of labour, land, services, delivery and erection may differ significantly. Nevertheless, given the necessary adjustments and conversion to local costs, the figures should. however, form a reasonable basis for budgetting and planning.



Fish canning is a method for industrial processing of raw fish and other edible aquatic products which, in a way, enables to keep the final product suitable for consumption at ambient temperatures over a longer period of time than any other commercial fish processing would do. This facilitates and consequently makes less expensive not only storage but also transport and other aspects of distribution of fishery products. On the other hand fish canning is a sophisticated and relatively expensive method of commercial fish processing. The cost of fish canning under given local conditions depends on many factors such as, e.g., regular supply of reasonably priced raw material throughout a substantial part of the year, availability and cost of relatively sophisticated packaging material, availability, skill and cost of labour, cost of rather complex facilities, equipment, energy, services, etc. About 9 percent of world-wide harvested fishery products end up into canned products.

This document will provide the industry, especially in developing countries, with practical up-to-date data of technical and economic nature. It is published to assist the government offices as well as others involved in planning, elaboration of feasibility studies, or considering investments into fish canning industry. It should be also suitable as a training aid for specialized schools and training courses.

The main subjects covered concern the food canning principles, raw materials suitable for canned fish products, the major products, canning techniques in general and specifically for tuna species, sardines and sardine-like fish, salmon, minced fish and shrimp. It also covers fish canning equipment, by-products, packaging and storage of canned products as well as services, labour and construction works required. Finally it gives cost information and indicates selected published material where more details can be found. It includes diagrams, layouts, flowsheets, figures and tables related to the subject.