Action 6 : Quality of FAD fishing products

Organizer :

Françoise Regina ( 
Pôle Agroalimentaire Régional de Martinique

Camille Knockaert (
Ifremer STBM

Clément Dromer (
Impact Mer 

Motivation and objectives

Material and méthods



Work schedule

Work in progress





Picture Library : Dominica // Guadeloupe // Haïti // Martinique // St Kitts and Nevis // St Vincent and the Grenadines


Motivation and objectives

Taking into account the fact that fishing boats are not adapted for preserving large pelagic fish in good conditions (too small ice hold) and the still inadequate equipment at landing and commercialization points :

Review the quality of products by looking for the main causes of degradation in quality at the level of :

  • Fishing boats,
  • Landing and storing the products,
  • Commercialization.

Emphasize histamine which can cause relatively frequent allergic reactions with this type de fish.

Large pelagic fish are likely to have accumulated contaminants (heavy metals: lead, cadmium, mercury, "dioxin" and PCB type dioxin) :

Search for the possible presence of these contaminants.

There is a tendency to consume products fished under FADs raw or barely cooked :

  • Identify the parasites in the fish and check their potential effect on human health.

The chemical composition of the flesh of certain fish can vary significantly during the year with consequences on the quality and preservation :

  • Study the chemical composition of the fish flesh.

Following these analyses, make recommendations in order to guarantee the full protection of consumers and in order to best valorize the fishing products associated with FADs. The results of such work will also be valorized by editing general-public brochures that will be used in order to inform people involved in this industry.

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Material and methods

In order to reach these objectives, work is to be carried out as follows :

On each island interested in this action the temperatures of the fish flesh will be monitored from the time of fishing until sold to the consumers. In parallel, the evolution in the quality of the products will be monitored by a system of organoleptic value. During the sales period (on the exposed flesh) particular attention will be paid to the possible presence of bruising caused by handling the fish in the boat or on land.

On Martinique, chemical and bacteriological analyses will be carried out on samples taken at critical points, in order to characterize the quality of the products according to the evolutions observed per value and per monitoring of the temperatures of the fish flesh from the time of fishing until sold to the consumers.

Sensory analyses will enable modifications in texture, in taste, etc. to be assessed. The search for parasites and their identification will be completed by a bibliographical study on the parasites of the species exploited and their effects on human health.

Analyses of contaminants will also be undertaken after the bibliographical study, on the flesh of the fish and the liver so as to assess possible risks to consumers.

The evolution during the year of the chemical composition of the fish (water, lipids, proteins and ash) will also be studied on the samples of flesh taken on Martinique.

To do this, Ifremer will take samples for quality analyses at 3 different moments between the time of fishing and the consumer, and only on landing will analyse contaminants or the chemical composition of the flesh and search for parasites, on 3 different products (blue marlin, large yellowfin tuna weighing over 25 kg, and small tuna weighing 2 kg or less), during 3 different trips (only one for contaminant analyses). For each trip, three batches on different fish will be taken. For contaminant analyses, two samples will be taken on the same batch (one on the flesh and the other on the liver). This operation will be done once.

  • A visual examination of the parasites and foreign bodies will be done by Ifremer, on Martinique, using the method described in regulation (EC) N° 2074/2005.
  • On the other islands, "temperature monitoring" will be done once every 2 months by the same person who will travel with a professional fisherman and will accompany the fish from time of fishing to time of sale. This person will note all the events relating to the fish and its handling and will regularly throughout the day assess its organoleptic value.

The analyses, which will be carried out on Martinique by the PARM[1], are the following :

  • Histamine by HPLC.
  • Total flora and alteration.
  • TVBN analysis as an indicator of the nitrogen degradation to compare with total flora.
  • The thiobarbituric acid index (TBA), is an indicator of the oxidation of the fats. These results are to be correlated with an organoleptic analysis (rancid smell, yellowing of the fat). The protocol is to be fixed with the STBM[2]. 
  • Sensory analyses will aim to assess the impact of the freshness of the product on its taste. These will be undertaken on 3 products and on 3 different packaging filières. Presentation will be examined on the raw product and taste on the cooked product.
  • The chemical contaminants studied will be lead, cadmium, mercury, and dioxin (325 €) and dioxin-like PCB.
  • The chemical composition of the fish flesh: water, lipids, proteins and ash.

Monitoring both the temperature of the flesh from time of fishing to the consumer and the organoleptic values will be undertaken in all the islands, both during and after a minimum of one trip to sea every 2 months.

[1] Pole Agro-alimentaire Régional de Martinique (Martinique regional food processing centre)

[2] Sciences et Technologie de la Biomasse Marine (Ifremer's department for marine foodstuff science and techniques)

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In order to do this work we will rely on a VCAT[1] on Martinique who will also be in charge of the bio-economic studies. He will be responsible for taking the samples, and carrying out the monitoring of temperatures and organoleptic value. He will have to do 6 trips to sea for the samples, 3 in hot weather and 3 in cold weather. He will also do 12 trips to sea to undertake temperature and organoleptic value monitoring. After each trip to sea, he will monitor the fish products up to their commercialization time.

On Guadeloupe, a VCAT will do the same work, except for the samples for analysis, which will only be carried out on Martinique.

Adapting the organoleptic values in the case of pelagic fish in a tropical milieu will be done by a specialist from the DSV[2] (recommended by the STBM) and by the two VCATs. This operation will require one trip to Martinique during which photos will be taken in order to make an illustrated reference document of the criteria used for the organoleptic value throughout the programme and by all the islands working on this action.

Two trainees, of engineer level, will be taken on by the PARM in order to help do the analyses and to exploit the results.

During the meeting that will take place in July (month 7), the partners of the other Caribbean countries should be presented with the protocols to be implemented for monitoring temperatures and organoleptic value. On this occasion, it will be possible to present the first results of the analyses and in particular the correspondence between the organoleptic values and the microbiological and biochemical degradation of the products.

 The Lesser Antilles will endeavour to undertake quality monitoring by organoleptic value and by recording the fish flesh temperatures, of several fish commercialization filières and, if they exist, for several types of storage and preservation of fish caught around FADs.

[1] Volontariat Civil à l’Aide Technique (civil volunteer for technical aid)

[2] Direction des Services Vétérinaires (departmental Veterinary Services)

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  • Bacteriological and chemical analyses (quality, contaminants, composition of the flesh), sensory analyses and interpretation of the data.
  • Participation in the synthesis work.

Ifremer (Martinique)

  • Monitoring the temperatures, value quality,
  • Sample of the samples for analysis by the PARM,
  • Counting the parasites and taking samples for identification,
  • Participation in the synthesis work.

Ifremer STBM

  • Help in perfecting the project, defining the protocols and helping set them up.
  • Participation in the synthesis work.


  • Monitoring and coordinating the works in the Caribbean.
  • Monitoring the temperatures, value quality and participating in the samples for the bacteriological and histamine analyses.
  • Participation in the synthesis work.

Caribbean Countries

  • Monitoring the temperatures and value quality.
  • Participation in the synthesis work and popularizing and communicating the results to those involved in the industry.


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Work schedule

application/ Work schedule - Action 5application/ Global work schedule project

Months 1 and 2 will be spent buying material (camera, temperature recorder, material for sampling, storing and preserving the samples, etc.)

The reference system for the freshness value will be fixed during month 3 (if possible in hot weather).

The temperatures and the organoleptic value will be monitored every two months at minimum, from month 4 to month 21, on Martinique and on Guadeloupe and from month 8 to month 21 on the other islands.

The quality analyses (bacteriological and chemical), chemical composition of the flesh and of the contaminants, will be done on Martinique in the hot season (months 4 to 6) and in the cold season (months 12 to 14).

The sensory analyses will be done on Martinique between months 12 and 14.

The trainees will be taken on by the PARM :

  • In the first year, between April and September, in order to help undertake the analyses, process the data and write the report on the first series of analyses. This trainee should also participate in the first meeting between all the partners of the project.
  • In the second year, at the same dates, the trainee should process the data of the second series of analyses, participate in the second meeting between partners of the project and participate in the final synthesis of the work.

Meetings with the partners of the project will be held :

  • Month 7 or during the trip for FAD launching : presentation of the protocols to be implemented for the freshness value and monitoring the temperatures of the fish flesh, from time of fishing to the consumer.
  • Month 18 : presentation of the state of progress of the work and first proposals for recommendations.
  • Month 23 : synthesis of the work and recommendations to be made at the outcome of the project.

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Work in progress

application/ Work in progress - Quality of FAD fishing products

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application/octet-stream Conseils pour améliorer la qualité des produits de pêche

  • Working documents

application/pdf Protocole of Temperature follow-up in fish flesh

application/msword Protocole de collecte des ectoparasites et endoparasites macroscopiques

application/octet-stream Protocole de collecte des échantillons pour l'analyse de cryptosporidium


  • Bibliography

Seafood quality, Useful links

H.H. HUSS, FAO, Assurance of seafood quality

Parasitology : Useful links

EFSA (European Food Safety Authority) Scientific Opinion on risk assessment of parasites in fishery products

Ansès (French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health and Safety) : Anisakis

application/pdf CODEX ALIMENTARUS STAN 244-2004 Annexe 1 : Viability test for nematodes

European regulations :

- Regulation (EC) No 853/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 29 April 2004
- Regulation (EC) No 854/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 29 April 2004
- Règlement (CE) n o 2074/2005 de la Commission du 5 décembre 2005

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