Handling & Cleaning Fish

Proper handling begins when landing the fish.  Try to minimize bruising by avoiding contact with hard surfaces.  Provide a padded surface where the fish are landed.  

Do not leave the catch laying in the sun, as spoilage can begin in less than one hour. Chilling the seafood can prevent health risks which result from elevated temperatures. A brine slush can be made by adding equal portions of seawater and ice, making an effective chilling solution.  Do not use seawater contaminated with oil, fuel, dirt, or slime.  Check the slush periodically to ensure that it still contains ice.

Clean your catch as soon as possible.  The skin surface and viscera contain many types of bacteria.  Avoid wounds and gouges in the flesh which may allow the spread of bacteria.  Gut the fish with a smooth, belly cut and do not leave blood, or viscera in the body cavity.  Wash the fish thoroughly and ice immediately in fresh clean ice.  Do not return the cleaned seafood to the brine slush.  Also, do not leave cleaned fillets in a freshwater soak as it can dilute and reduce meat flavor and texture.