The Fish Central

by admin on 05/06/2009


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Fresh fish of high quality can be found in the fish hall on the Akershus quay. The Fish Central, one of the members of a cooperative society in the Fish Hall, start working at 4 in the morning and continues at a high pace till 9 in the morning before work is calming down. That is, the orders of fish shops and restaurants in and around Oslo have to be carried out before the guys at the Fish Central can take a well-deserved rest.

Day-to-day head Mr. Magne Paulsen greeted us quickly before resuming his work. In fact, it seemed like everyone was busy carrying fish from somewhere and putting it in an styrofoam box already partially filled with ice. An indoor temperature of about 10 degrees centigrade also contributed to that everyone had to work in order to keep warm. It was definitely not a place for tender and lethargic souls.

Most of the fish had been caught off the western coast of Norway, from the latitude of Bergen to as far north as the latitude of Trondheim, Magne said. He also said that lots of people are working in order to bring the fish to the Fish Hall. After the fishermen have caught the fish and brought it on shore where it is prepared and packaged with ice in styrofoam boxes by other workers. Then, the boxes are freighted with trailers to Oslo.

The Fish Central receive orders from fish shops and restaurants in and around Oslo. After having received an order, another styrofoam box is partially filled with ice before being filled with fresh sea food, packaged and sent to the customers more or less continuously.

What do you think of when I mention fresh fish, I ask Magne. Fish is like meat, it needs time to mature, he replies. Fish, which has justly been fished, has a loose meat and doesn’t taste really good. However, storing the fish for some time is good for the fish. The fish gets a firmer meat and develops a better taste. Seasonal variations are also important meaning that each type of fish is only suitable for eating parts of the year. Now is the time for fresh mackerel, but definitely not for cod, according to the fishmonger, before running away in order to take care of another order.

We find the boss again after some time chopping up a big mackerel shark. Magne, it’s dead, someone says, but with no noticeable effect on his work. The mackerel shark was a thumping, big one weighing 133 kg.

We thanked Magne Paulsen and his colleagues for allowing us to visit them, closed the door behind us and hurried out into the sunlight, which made the buildings along the Akershus quay look golden. One and a half hour in such a cool place made us really longing for a cup of coffee.

Next time you buy sea food in the fish shop, remember that lots of people in Norway have been working hard in order to bring a meal of seafood to your home. Remember too that this fish hasn’t been frozen and unfrozen several times, not been caught illegally and not been freighted around the world which is good to know in these busy times.

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