What is superchilling?

Temperature plays a critical role in the shelf life and quality of seafood. That’s why Blue Harvest Fisheries continues to invest in superchilling technology onboard its vessels. Superchilling is a process that reduces the temperature of the fish to just below the freezing point; low enough to substantially slow down the growth of bacteria, but not too low where it freezes and affects the quality of the fish.

How does superchilling work?

Most fresh fish is stored on ice inside the ship’s fish hold. The ice helps keep the fish at around 32° F. Superchilling is different because the fish are instead prechilled in stainless steel tanks. The chill tanks bring the temperature of the fish down to just below freezing. Once chilled, the fish are placed in large insulated tubs of ice and water for storage inside the ship’s refrigerated hold. Cold air is blown over the tubs inside the hold to keep the temperature of fish low for the trip back to port.

What are the benefits of superchilled seafood?

  • Seafood can be superchilled at sea, minutes after it was caught and right at its peak freshness.
  • Under the correct conditions, superchilled seafood can stay fresher up to several days longer than ice chilled seafood.
  • Superchilling can help keep fish firmer, more pliable and more resilient for processing.
  • Superchilled fish are better quality than ice cooled fish because they are fast cooled before they enter the fish hold. Ice cooled fish enter the fish hold at much higher deck temperatures.
  • According to research by the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future, 16% of edible seafood in the U.S. is lost each year due to spoilage. Superchilling seafood can help reduce spoiling and waste.

Blue Harvest is currently refitting its third groundfish vessel, the Schelvis, with superchilling technology. The Schelvis will join the Nobska and Teresa Marie IV, currently among only a handful of fishing vessels in New England with superchilling technology, later this fall.

Want to learn more about our sustainable fishing practices? Visit our Stewardship page for more information.