Sea Food Processing

A wide variety of seafood products are available in the U.S. marketplace from many different sources. In the U.S., wild fish and shellfish are harvested by commercial fishermen in both near shore and open ocean waters, and in fresh water lakes or rivers. Farm raised (aquacultured) seafood products are raised both on land in ponds (catfish), or re-circulating tanks (tilapia and hybrid bass), and in near shore coastal waters (salmon and shellfish). These same methods are used to farm a wide variety of fish and shellfish in other countries around the world which are then imported into the U.S.

Once seafood products are harvested, they are generally processed or packaged for distribution to retail stores and restaurants. Wild fish and shellfish are unloaded from harvest vessels and farmed products are harvested from facilities then transported and packed for distribution to processing plants or wholesalers. Processors convert the whole fish or shellfish to various other product forms such as fresh fish fillets or steaks or other items such as frozen products, breaded fish portions, and canned or smoked products. Some of these products may be further converted by secondary processors to heat and serve or ready-to-eat products like seafood salads, entrees or other items. Wholesalers and foodservice distributors receive both raw and processed products from many different domestic and foreign sources and distribute them to retail stores and restaurants. Consumers purchase these products from retail stores for home consumption or at restaurants and other foodservice establishments.