Shipping frozen fish can be a great way to share your seasonal catch with friends or family or to start selling your seafood to reputable restaurants and distributors across the country. It is critical you ship the fish correctly though, or there is a possibility it can go bad and sicken those you are trying to impress. Always put in plenty of care to ensure your shipment arrives safely and quickly to its destination.
You Will Need:
Vacuum seal the fish in plastic packaging to prevent freezer burn, then deep-freeze the fish. Ideally, the fish should reach a temperature of -22 degrees Fahrenheit before shipment, but anything under -5 degrees is considered acceptable and safe.
Select an appropriate box. While there are many different box methods available for shipping frozen fish, the boxes must be sturdy, well insulated and must not leak. Styrofoam boxes are generally a good choice, as they are light, sturdy, well-insulated and can be taped together in a relatively leak-proof manner.
Choose your cooling materials. Never use regular ice to package fish, it melts too quickly, is likely to seep through your box and it is very heavy. Dry ice can be used and will keep the fish the ideal temperature, but it is expensive, bad for the environment and some carriers have limits on how much you can ship.
In most cases, the best choice is small gel ice packs. These can be deep frozen, are leak-free, and they are inexpensive. The best option tends to be the sheets with many small packets of gel ice, as this allows the most flexibility while packing. Use lots of gel ice to keep the fish cold, ideally at least five pounds.
Pack and label your box. Wrap the deep-frozen fish with deep-frozen ice packs. Secure the box completely using tape and straps, preferably metal straps. Be sure to label the box with the addressee’s name, address, etc. and the words “keep frozen.”
Select a shipping method. Depending on your location and the destination of the package, you can ship the fish using air service, a refrigerated truck, refrigerated ship or refrigerated railroad car. While air travel is the fastest, most planes do not offer refrigeration on-board and it is critical that you find out of they can refrigerate in between flights and before the item is picked up.
Truck travel is cheaper and is often more safe, as long as the refrigerator truck is well-maintained. Check the record of any companies in question before agreeing to work with them. In many cases, travel with trucks is only marginally slower than air travel. If you choose to ship via truck, inspect the truck before loading your fish, and be sure to load the cargo in a way that allows air circulation.
Both ships and railroad cars should be investigated and loaded in a similar manner to refrigerated trucks.
Ensure your recipient is ready to receive the fish as soon as it is delivered. In many cases the fish will be thawed to a minor extent, but as long as it is still vacuum sealed and under 40 degrees, it can be re-frozen with no loss in quality.
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