At the factory, the mackerels are processed in nobbing machines, which remove their heads, tails, fins and entrails. They are then frozen.
The Saeby Fish Canners Ltd. freezing process is unique. The company is the only one in the world to use an IQF freezing method, which involves freezing the fish quickly and individually. This process ensures optimal traceability for each individual fish, and helps ensure top quality taste and consistency.
The mackerels are frozen at a temperature of -30 °C and are removed from the freezing facility on an ongoing basis for production throughout the year. On account of the low freezing temperature, the mackerel can be stored for a full year without becoming rancid.
Saeby Fish Canners Ltd. is the only company to skin the fish without using caustic soda and hydrochloric acid – which are considered standard products for the process elsewhere. The combination of individually frozen fish and hot water loosens the skin, which means that there is no need to use chemicals to remove it.
After skinning, the mackerels are steamed in long steaming cabins. The fish are then cooled and any remaining skin is removed prior to filleting.
The mackerels are filleted manually. After filleting, the fish are placed directly in blank or lithographed cans of various sizes. Sauces and oils are specially developed for different customers and applied automatically to the fish fillets.
The cans are then sealed and washed in specially designed washing machines, before being retorted and placed in incubation stores for a week to ensure that the products have been correctly sterilised.
After this, the cans are ready for packaging and packing for distribution.
Organic fish waste is chopped, boiled and refined to make frozen animal feed and mackerel oil. The waste products from the fish generate around 2,800 tons of fish oil and around 8,000 tons of animal feed.