Taking the backache out of gutting

Havfront Loppa Oddbjørn Gudmundsen (left) and Marius Strømmen of Havfront, which has developed a roundfish gutting machine suitable for fishing vessels of all sizes

Three years of development have taken Norwegian company Havfront to having the most compact gutting machine on the market, with four Loppa gutting machines so far supplied to customer vessels, from a 10m inshore boat to a 60m trawler.

According to Havfront’s Marius Strømmen, the Loppa can handle 20 fish per minute, with a range from 1 to 10kg.

He explained that the fish are bled first, and this provides a reference for the machine to position the fish for the head and guts to be removed.

“We can adjust the angle of the knife that removes the head, and this is for saltfish production as it’s important to be able to adjust this to keep the part of the head that the saltfish producers want,” he said.

He commented that cod and other roundfish headed and gutted in this way are a prominent part of the Norwegian industry, and this approach also features in Greenland and the Faroes where salted fish is a key product.

“The machine is made in stainless steel to keep maintenance to a minimum,” he said, adding that the Loppa is easily maintained and there’s nothing that needs greasing. Hydraulic motors power the blades, and there is a long interval between the blades needing to be replaced. A built-in safety feature is that two hands are needed to start the Loppa gutting machine.

The Loppa takes a great deal of the effort out of handling catch, and for skipper Odde Magne Kristiansen, reducing the workload of the crew was his primary reason for investing in a Loppa gutting machine for his fishing vessel Mats Erik – after coming across it on Facebook.

“It’s a machine that’s a joy to work with. This has changed our lives,” said Orjan Henriksen, one of the crew of Mats Erik.

“Gutting is just so much easier than it used to be,” agreed Geir Adolfsen, another of the crew. “It handles all the fish you can feed it,” he said, adding that neither the crew nor the owner are keen to return to the back-breaking days of manual gutting.

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