Week 4 – Indian Brook Trout Farm

This week was very busy at the farm. We started the week processing more than a thousand fish that needed to be ready for delivery. The whole process was done in two days. We only sell fresh fish and don’t freeze the product, so deliveries and pickups are made within two days of harvest to maintain quality and for food safety. The first thing to do is clean the fish and remove its guts to prevent bacterial contamination. The cleaned fish are stored in almost freezing temperatures until we are done removing the guts from all fish. Once this is done, we further process fish into fillets with or without the head depending on the order. Depending on the size of the fish, they can be de-ribbed in a machine which make our work significantly easier. Others have to be done manually. The fillets are then ran through a machine that removes almost all of the lateral fish bones. The rest are removed by hand. Fish are also sold as field dress (whole fish with bones and head), but processing the fish into fillets adds value to the product. Final product is vacuum sealed, stored in a cold room and packaged with ice in insulated containers right before pickup.
We were able to have orders ready on time by preparing them in the order they would be picked up. The rest of the week was still busy though since we are starting to prepare to hold a higher number of fish, as the high density of young fish quickly grow up. Having enough space for this young fish is critical to maintain their health and quick growth. Having a larger volume of fish in a pond that what it can sustain would lead to low dissolved oxygen levels in the water and increased nitrogen levels. This would result in an increased mortality rate.
To prepare for this, we have started to move bigger fish into bigger ponds and make space for the growing smaller ones. We have also started designing and building new fish tanks. Next week will be interesting and I am looking forward to learning how to build fish tanks.

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