How do we process the catch?
Processing methods for groundfish species and pelagic species are different. Groundfish species are processed on land and at sea; on land, the emphasis is on the production of fillets and fillet pieces and the products are both frozen and fresh, while fish processed at sea is frozen. Pelagic processing varies by species, but everything is processed on land, but depending on species and time of year, the products can be frozen or processed into fishmeal and fish oil.
Freezing at sea
Freezer trawlers for groundfish process their catch on board. The freezer trawlers always process freshly caught fish, and examples of fish species that are processed on board are cod, perch, saithe, Greenland halibut, haddock and greater silver smelt, as well as various other fish species. The same process takes place on board a freezer trawler as when the fish is processed on land, but the fish can also be sold whole frozen.
Both wetfish trawlers and pelagic vessels fish catch for land processing. The wetfish trawlers catch groundfish that is processed in the groundfish processing plant at Norðurgarður. The pelagic vessels catch pelagic species that can be processed for human consumption and then frozen, but fishmeal and fish oil are also processed.
Brim’s groundfish processing plant at Norðurgarður in Reykjavik focuses on the production of fillets and fillet pieces of cod, perch and saithe. The fish is categorised by size, decapitated, filleted, skinned and trimmed before being cut into pieces according to the buyer’s wishes. The products are both sold fresh and frozen all year round. Fresh products are shipped the same day by air or in refrigerated containers to foreign markets, and frozen products are exported in freezer containers or shipped on pallets.
Pelagic fish freezing
Brim operates a very productive freezing plant in Vopnafjörður, which specialises in processing pelagic fish: capelin, herring, blue whiting and mackerel. The capelin is whole frozen or processed into roe. Mackerel is either whole frozen or beheaded and gutted. The herring is either whole frozen or processed into butterflies or fillets.
Processing is seasonal. Processing of capelin and capelin roe is from January to March, mackerel and Atlantic herring from July to September and Icelandic herring from October to the end of the year.
Brim also operates a processing plant in Akranes where capelin roe is processed during the capelin season.
Fishmeal and fish liver oil processing
A fishmeal factory is operated in Vopnafjörður and is wholly run on electricity that is sourced from renewable energy resources. There is also a research laboratory, which performs measurements on freshness, fat content and more upon unloading, and the fishmeal and fish oil is also analysed and graded according to quality. The factory mainly processes rejected capelin, herring waste and mackerel cuttings from Brim’s freezing plant in Vopnafjörður, as well as blue whiting. The bulk of the product is used for animal feed, but the factory is also certified for the production of fish liver oil for human consumption.
The company operates a fishmeal factory in Akranes for the processing of capelin and groundfish waste.
Further processing and by-products
Vignir G. Jónsson
Vignir G. Jónsson is a subsidiary of Brim, located in Akranes. Vignir G. Jónsson’s main products are various types of products processed from roe. The roe used in production by the company are mainly roe from lumpfish, capelin, flying fish, cod, haddock, ling, saithe and salmon. Development work is a major factor in the company’s operations, and the company has good facilities for final processing. The primary markets are in Europe and the United States.
Brim owns a 25% share in Marine Collagen in Grindavík. The company produces gelatin which is used in food production, but the production is still in the experimental stage. When full production is achieved, collagen will also be produced. Both the gelatin and the collagen are processed from fish skin, which Marine Collagen buys from Brim, among others.
Groundfish processing in Norðurgarður
At Norðurgarður in Reykjavík is one of the most advanced groundfish processing plants in the world. Cod, perch and saithe are processed there, which Brim’s wetfish trawlers bring to the quay outside the processing plant. It takes less than 40 minutes from the time the fish enters the processing line until the fish is ready for export.