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Vacuum un-packing

New pump speeds offloading, reduces handling of salmon

Posted: July 27, 2011 - 8:34am
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Workers from Copper River Seafoods use a portable wet pump to vacuum salmon from a fishing tender berthed at the Kenai city dock Tuesday afternoon.  M. Scott Moon
M. Scott Moon
Workers from Copper River Seafoods use a portable wet pump to vacuum salmon from a fishing tender berthed at the Kenai city dock Tuesday afternoon.

New technology hit the Kenai City Dock Tuesday as Copper River Seafoods used a mobile wet pump to off-load salmon. It was the first time a mobile pump has been used at the Kenai dock, Copper River Seafoods Construction and Maintenance Manager Larry Klosinski said.

The pump pushes fish and water through tubes from the boat up to the dock into the dewatering box. From there, the salmon are weighed and a readout is given to the pump operator and the fish are put into bins where they are put on ice.

“It’s a very gentle way to handle the fish and keep the quality up, which is what we’re all about, the quality,” Copper River Seafoods Kenai Peninsula Operations Manager Jeff Berger said.

The fish are not touched as much as they would be normally, and that allows the fish to be protected from being bruised, which would diminish their value.

“Any time you can reducde the number of times you touch fish, or eliminate any opportunity for bruising, it makes a better quality of fish to remain at the highest value,” Copper River Seafoods Vice President of Business Development Robin Richardson said. “This is just another method for preserving the quality of the salmon.”

The mobile pump took about four months and about $250,000 to construct, Klosinksi said.

Berger said the pump helps the company move the fish rapidly and efficiently. For example, the pump will allow workers to empty a boat in about one hour instead of four to five hours with the normal procedure.

“It’s like they’re swimming in water, it causes less damage to fish,” Berger said.

In addition to the quicker process, Klosinski said the pump will also help cut back on injuries that could be sustained while unloading a boat.

“It saves in labor,” he said. “It also helps prevent back injuries, we’re trying to protect workers with other ways to get the fish.”

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