Blue North is also the first vessel in the Bering Sea to use moon pool technology, harvesting the catch from inside the vessel rather than the weather deck, thus eliminating the crew’s exposure to dangerous sea condition
Once cod are caught individually through the moon pool using hook and line, a stunning table immobilizes the fish, putting its central nervous system to sleep prior to processing, so the fish feels no stress or pain. The fish is then filleted and frozen at sea for optimal freshness.
Michael Burns, cofounder and chairman of Blue North Fisheries, said the company’s philosophy is that “all sentient beings, including fish, deserve to be treated as humanely as possible.”
Blue North launched its humane harvest initiative in 2015, and its catch has been available on a limited basis to restaurant groups ever since.
The announcement with Town and Country in late October represented the first time the company was able to provide a fileted product to retailers for direct-to-consumer sale.
A blind study conducted at the School of Food Science at Washington State University found that humane harvest fish had higher levels of nutrients and proteins, were flakier and had improved muscle texture.
“Seafood is one of the most important natural vectors for high nutritional value protein and omega-3s for humans,” said Mahmoudreza Ovissipour, a research associate at the university, wrote in his WSU report in 2015. “Since fish can feel pain and stress, these factors can easily influence their quality, nutritional value, shelf life and consumption safety.”
Ovissipour’s report is online at http://bluenorth.com/home/resources/Review_Reza_Ovissipour.pdf