New skills in sensory analysis for fishing industry

Staff of SolTuna Limited and National Fisheries Developments (NFD) Limited can now use sensory techniques to assess the quality of fish products. This follows their completion of a Seafood Sensory Analysis training that has enabled them to make assessments using their sense of smell, sight, touch and taste.

Sensory analysis of seafood is a tool to protect consumers from products that have been compromised by decomposition or contamination. The newly-acquired skills are critical for ensuring the safety and quality of products and are a requirement for sale into high-value international markets such as the United States of America (USA) and Europe.

Participants at a session of the Seafood Sensory Analysis training held at the SolTuna cannery in Noro, Western Province. The training allows staff to assess the quality of fish products using sensory techniques. PC: Aljay Tuhaika

Held at the SolTuna cannery in Noro, Western Province, the training was conducted over two weeks and was attended by more than 100 people including representatives from the Competent Authority (Health) from the Ministry of Health and Medical Services. The training was funded by the Australian and New Zealand-funded Pacific Horticultural and Agricultural Market Access (PHAMA) Program in cooperation with SolTuna Ltd.

International expert on sensory analysis from the USA, James Barnett, delivered the training and commended the Solomon Islands for having the “best and freshest tuna”. Mr Barnett encouraged the industry to maintain this quality through processing.

Participants learned techniques to assess fresh, cooked and canned fish, which each present different food safety risks. The training was a first for most participants who will benefit in their roles of ensuring good quality product for local and international customers.

Production Manager for Soltuna, Hearty Matamaru, said, “The sensory training is a huge milestone for Soltuna and NFD. It upskills our workers and brings our production into another level for international markets. We have learned that quality control must start from the catching, offloading, and butchering of the fish. It is hard to control quality issues once fish is canned. We must make sure we process high quality and fresh tuna, before selling it to our consumers.”

SolTuna’s Quality Manager, Soni Maria, said the training would aid the efforts of the Solomon Islands’ fishing industry in maintaining access to the EU, US and other markets which are currently valued at around SBD350 million per year.

PHAMA has previously supported the SI fisheries industry with training and technical support to develop Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) systems and undertake training on food safety management, including significant capacity support for the Competent Authority (Health).

For further information, contact Andrew Piper at or on +677 22365

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