The world consumes more than 2 million metric tons of salmon annually — both farmed and wild. That’s a lot of lox. And to get that much fish to market in a timely manner, one can’t gut them by hand. That’s why there’s the Gutmaster8000.
To minimize spoilage and avoid the “fishy” smell that comes with it, salmon are typically delivered to the processing plant alive. They are initially transfered to a holding tank where they are then stunned and killed either with an electrical current or through the introduction of CO2 into the water. This dispatches the fish quickly and without a lot of stress, which causes lactic acid buildup in the meat, reducing its quality. Once they’re dead, it’s on to the Gutmaster8000.
The fish are fed into the machine from a conveyor. The Gutmaster’s feeding mechanism hooks each fish as it arrives, which ensures each one is seated properly for maximum efficiency. The fish then passes through a series of automated knives, which slit its belly before a suction gun slurps out its entrails. A set of brushes then sweep out any remaining bits. Once cleaned, the fish passes through the beheading unit and is decapitated. If it’s roe season, the machine can be adjusted to eliminate the guts without damaging the roe sack, which is then removed by hand.
The Gutmaster8000 can process up to 30 fish a minute ranging in size from 1.5-8 kg. The entire process is controlled by a single worker from a touch screen at the front of the machine. This reduces the needed labour force and protects workers from the dangerous — potentially asthma-inducing — fish protein aerosols released when cleaning fish. [FAO – Kroma (video of the GM8000 in action) – World Fishing]
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