The Bahamian Spiny Lobster Fishery and Spiny Lobster Processing at: Tropic Seafood, Ltd. Nassau,...

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  • The Bahamian Spiny Lobster Fishery


    Spiny Lobster Processing at:

    Tropic Seafood, Ltd.Nassau, Bahamas

    By Jon ChaitonMarch 14, 2013

  • Commercial Spiny Lobster Fishing Vessels supply lobster tails to Tropic Seafood, Ltd.

  • Each mother-ship carries with it from 3-15 skiffs, each outfitted with a compressor. At least two divers work the skiff taking turns operating the compressor and diving for spiny lobster Skiffs

  • The large mother-ships have blast freezing and freezer storage capacity of around 50,000 lbs. of spiny lobster tails

  • In the Bahamas Spiny Lobster Fishery Condominiums or Casitas are placed by fishermen on the sea floor. Spiny lobster and other sea life seek shelter beneath this protective enclosure.

  • Concrete blocks are used to weigh down the roof of the condo and keep the unit in place

  • After some time at sea, the condos become encrusted with marine life and become almost a natural habitat for spiny lobster.

  • Many species of fish find shelter under the condo as well as spiny lobster

  • Notice the diversity of marine life that utilize the condo for habitat

  • This sea turtle is undoubtedly looking for a spiny lobster lunch

  • Bahamian hogfish also utilize the condo for protection

  • The great barracuda are predators of the spiny lobster and are often seen lurking around the condos

  • Once the condo is lifted up by the fisherman, spiny lobster of all sizes are found underneath

  • All these spiny lobster were using the condo for refuge. The diver will select only legal sized lobsters with a carapace length of at least 3.25 inches for harvesting.

  • Undersize lobsters are left alone to return to the condo to continue growing so that they have the chance to spawn at least one time before being harvested

  • Hooks are used to pull the lobster out from under the condo. This group of spiny lobster is now ready to be carried to the surfaceHook end

  • The diver surfaces with the lobster after harvesting each condo

  • Spiny Lobsters are placed on ice in the fish holds of each skiff. This helps maintain freshness.

  • Once aboard the skiff the tails are removed and delivered to the mother-ship

  • The end of the fishing trip means the beginning of processing.

  • 40 lb. bags of frozen lobster tails are received into the loading dock at Tropic Seafood, Ltd.

  • Each bag (or Kit as it is called in the Bahamas) is weighed and checked for temperature, quality and level of bi-sulfite

  • Frozen tails are placed in environmentally controlled thawing tanks overnight

  • After overnight thawing the tails are place on a conveyor for cleaning and inspection

  • Technicians extract the intestinal tract and check the tail for quality

  • Approximately 75 trained technicians are used each day to clean and inspect the lobster tails

  • Tails are sprayed with Ozonated water for continuous sanitization throughout the process line

  • After cleaning tails are soaked in an ice-slush bath for re-chilling prior to grading

  • Lobster tails are placed onto the grading conveyor where they are weighed and graded at 80 tails per minute

  • Each tail is weighed 9 times as it moves across the scale. Those weights are averaged and the information is sent to the grader selector which reaches out and collects each individual tail.

  • After Grading, tails are inspected and placed into individual poly bags then put into 10 lb. Net Wt. boxes

  • 10 lb. Net Wt. boxes are then re-weighed by Check-Weigher-Technicians to make sure that net weights are correct

  • Products are placed on Freezer racks and moved to the Blast Freezer overnight where the temperature is maintained at -20 deg. F.

    It is essential that all tails are Hard-Frozen completely through before they can be moved to the Metal Detection Area

  • After Blast Freezing each 10 lb. Net Wt. box is checked for pack quality, appearance, frozen state and uniformity prior to being put through the Safeline Metal Detection System

  • In the morning, the product is checked for its frozen state. Racks are removed from the Blast Freezer and brought to the Metal Detection area

  • Each 10 lb. box is passed through the Metal Detector before moving on to the Case-Out area

  • Four 10 lb. Net Wt. boxes are placed into each 40 lb. Master Case. The cases are sealed, strapped, labeled and staged on pallets.

  • Completed master cases are temporarily staged on the shipping dock, then immediately moved into Tropic Seafood, Ltds Cold Storage Freezer until they are shipped

  • 40% of Tropic Seafood, Ltds Spiny Lobster Tail Production goes to Europe50% of Tropic Seafood, Ltds Spiny Lobster Tail Production goes to the USAThe remaining 10% is sold to countries like China, Canada with some domestic sales to the Bahamas

  • No cleaning or sanitizing chemicals are used in the processing area at TSL.

    Only ozone is used as a sanitizing agent at TSL. It is generated in-house and it is extremely effective in pathogen reduction.

  • At Tropic Seafood, Ltd., Ozone is used to:

    *Sanitize the Product*Sanitize the Environment*Sanitize the Workers

  • Tropic Seafood, Ltd., has been the leader in Spiny Lobster Tail Production in the Bahamas and the Caribbean since 1973. The facility is in full compliance with USFDA and EU Codus Alimentarius and HACCP Standards.

  • On December 21, 2012 Tropic Seafood, Ltd., became the first company in the entire Caribbean and the only company in The Bahamas to receive the BRC Compliance Certificate, a Global Standard for Food Safety, for their production of Spiny Lobster Tails.

    Tropic Seafood, Ltd., is the First lobster company in the world to receive this honor. No other lobster company can make this claim.

    Tropic Seafood, Ltd., received a Grade of A during their BRC inspection