NanFangAo

Mackerel

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Interview

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Summary
Video Clips
Audio Clips
Visit Review

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Mackerel's Hometown Nan-Fang-Ao

 

 

 
Mackerel Interview
 

Acknowledgement

     We would like to extend our gratitude to many people interviewed and data that helped us enrich our webpage content. First of all, appreciations are extended to Tong Yeng Canning and Processing Co., Inc., for providing us with canning data, and for giving us the time to visit the place and conduct interview. On the day, the factory supervisor took us to the large office and showed us the entire canning procedure. It was a special and unforgettable experience inside the -25℃ freezer. We would also like tot thank the captain for taking us on board. It was probably the first time and the last to enter the cabin of a fishing vessel. The captain made special introduction on the radar detector, sonar, GPS, water depth detector, water temperature detector, fish Shoal detector, and compass etc. For a bunch of Taipei city dwellers like us, it was a sight to see. We saw many expensive types of equipment. We were stunned when the captain told us a net cost millions of dollars. We were obviously amateurs! The captain also shared his years of fishing experiences with us in order for us to know more about a fisherman's life. In addition, we would like to thank Fang, Yun-Ching's father. Without him, the visitation to Tong Yeng would not have been possible because the factory supervisor of the company was his classmate. The captain of the fishing vessel is a relative of one of our team members. For this reason, we had the opportunity to go on board. We were even treated a big Nan-Fan-Ao Meal in this rewarding journey, we not only gained knowledge, we also enjoyed a great meal. Thanks to Director Huang for driving us around. The interview was a success. It was because of him, we did not have to worry about transportations. Furthermore, we would also like to thank our school for providing us with many information materials and equipments for topic webpage production. We hope that our collaborated efforts will payback, and we will not fail all those who have kept us company through it all.

 

Interview  Summary

Interviewing the Fish Canning Factory

* Are Scomber (Mackerel) cans in Taiwan exported ? Where are they exported to? What problems are there ?

Ans. Yes, they are exported.
    After Mackerel cans are manufactured, 90% of which are sold locally, and 10% are sold overseas. They are exported to the U.S.A., Canada, Hong Kong, and Singapore etc. Chinese markets in America are the main sales sources. FDA sent people to Taiwan in 2000 and 2002 to conduct inspection. They passed inspection and are registered and certified.
     Trading agents are in charge export sales. After registration and certification overseas, there are usually no problems.

* What activities are planned on Mackerel  Festival ?

Ans. Mackerel Festival is held by the government aiming to provide the public more in-depth understanding of the Mackerel. Companies will display related products.

* How many types of Mackerel are there ? Which one tastes better ? Which ones are made into canned fish ?

Ans. There are two types of Scombroid ( Mackerel ) :  scomber australasicus and scomber japonicus. Generally speaking, Scomber japonicus tastes better as it has more fats. Scomber australasicus is not bad either. It is hard to say which one is better. Normally, after they are captured by fishermen, they are mixed and both processed into canned fish.

* How can fresher Mackerel be selected to be processed into canned fish ?

Ans. Fresh fish is chosen at auction, which usually takes place on board. The eyes are first checked. If they are bright, and the gill is bright red, then, it is fresh. Fresh ones are usually purchased. If the eyes are turbid, and the gill is purple, it is not as fresh.

* What is the temperature of the freezer ?

Ans. It is normally -18˚C. This temperature is generally believed to be the optimum temperature.

* How many canned fish can be manufactured by a factory in a day ?

Ans. Max. Production is 100,000 cans. During regular days, production is usually 70,000-80,000 cans a day.

* What is the temperature of sterilization (last part of process) ? How long does it take ?

Ans. The temperature is about 116˚C and it takes about 85 minutes to complete. This sterilization process conforms to regulations of National Safety standard.  

* Why should cans be immersed in water after can washing ?

Ans. The immersion is to reduce friction, avoid crashing or deformation. However, lighter cans cannot be completely immersed in water or it will drift in water due to buoyancy.


Interview the Captain

* Is Mackerel yield affected by season ?

Ans. The Mackerel is a seasonal fish. It normally swims back to the vicinity of Taiwan in the winter. Mackerel is fatter and greater in yield in winter. Mackerel is usually purchased in large quantity and stored in the winter, so it is available for use all year long.

* How long is each voyage at sea ? How often does fishing at sea take place ? How many times of fishing at sea are there in a year?

Ans. The number of days out at sea varies. There are usually 5 days off a month, normally from Lunar 13th-18th because of morning and evening tides on those days.

* How can Mackerels that differ in size be utilized?

Ans. Larger ones are usually pickled, medium ones are made into cans (3 Mackerels measure approx. 1/2 kilogram), and smaller ones are used as baits.

Interview the Captain

* Is Mackerel yield affected by season ?

Ans. The Mackerel is a seasonal fish. It normally swims back to the vicinity of Taiwan in the winter. Mackerel is fatter and greater in yield in winter. Mackerel is usually purchased in large quantity and stored in the winter, so it is available for use all year long.

* How long is each voyage at sea ? How often does fishing at sea take place ? How many times of fishing at sea are there in a year?

Ans. The number of days out at sea varies. There are usually 5 days off a month, normally from Lunar 13th-18th because of morning and evening tides on those days.

* How can Mackerels that differ in size be utilized?

Ans. Larger ones are usually pickled, medium ones are made into cans (3 Mackerels measure approx. 1/2 kilogram), and smaller ones are used as baits.

 

 Video Clips

 Video Play of Interview

Description

    We are at the can washing site at last. After Mackerel production, can-washing is performed. Sterilization is the final step.
 

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    We went on board. The captain introduced the equipments such as radar detector, sonar, GPS, water depth detector, water temperature detector, fish Shoal detector, and compass etc. in the pilot cabin.

<video play>

    The captain became a fisherman at the age of 18. He has had over 30 years of experiences at sea. We asked him many questions.

<video play>

 

Audio Clips

Audio Play of Interview

Description

    Questions were brought up by everyone before interviewing the factory supervisor. He patiently answered them one by one.

    The Mackerel is a seasonal fish. Every winter, Mackerels swim to waters of Taiwan from Japan and Korea. Fishermen capture the fish using large encircling nets (purse seines). After the fishing vessel docks, Mackerels are sold on board directly. The company sends staff to purchase them on the ship. Fish freshness is usually determined by checking whether the eyes are bright and the gill is bright red in color. If so, the entire load will be purchased and sent to the factory for immediate processing, and canning.

    The company now exports canned fish overseas but sales are still local-based. Foreign countries include Chinese markets in the U.S., Canada, Hong Kong, and Singapore etc. FDA in America sent people to conduct inspection in the factor It has passed inspection and are registered as certified products. Trading agents are in charge export sales. After registration and certification overseas, there are usually no problems.

    Mackerel Day is held by the government aiming to provide the public more in-depth understanding of the Mackerel. Companies will display related products.

     We arrived at the canning site and asked the factory superior to explain the production process: 

    After fresh Mackerels arrived at the factory, they are unloaded into a cleaning tank to begin operation process: Washing -> killing -> sectioning -> classification -> canning ->  condiment adding (tomato sauce) -> sealing -> washing -> sterilization -> packaging.

    One thing worth mentioning, after sectioning the Mackerels, they are placed into cans and steamed. The process takes about 20 minutes. Fish juice is then poured out, and sauce is added. Finally, it is sealed, and washed. The reason why it is not cooked first before packing is because cooked meat softens and deforms. The meat would look disintegrated.
 

   

    We went on board. The captain shared his fishing experiences with us. We also asked him some questions. The Mackerel mostly emerge nearby Peng Chia Yu (East and West), and Fishing Islands. It is a pelagic fish. When fish appear in shoals, light is shone on them to draw them to the ship bottom and capture them using an encircling net (purse seine) . Fishermen take 5-days off a month, usually from Lunar 13th to 18th due to morning and evening tides. They go out to sea on other days as long as the weather permits. Between Lunar 13th and 18th, nets are usually placed at deep sea level to avoid turbulent currents. Tangling may sometimes occur, so, those days are usually taken off. A net costs more than NT$10million; it has to be properly maintained. Also, catch with a net is not allowed if there are submerged reefs. Each catching with a net is about 2 hours ranging from 400-600 circumferential length. Each catching with a net normally capacitates 50-60tons of yield. The captain’s record is 308tons! It was impossible to load the catch in the ship and return to port! It is not hard to image the large quantity of it! The interval between nets is about 15cm. Small fishes are not captured. It will have less negative impacts on the ecological environment.

 

Visit Review

      On December 17th at 8:00am, we gathered at the school gate and dressed in our school uniforms. Feeling the cool winds of the autumn, while my eyes dimmed with sleep, our director and our classmate's father had already been waiting for us in a “black luxury car”. We were thankful in our hearts but we did not know how to express our gratitude, so, we were determined to work hard in the webpage production to repay their kindness. The scenery was great along the way; we had fun chatting and laughing with one another. Some of our classmates felt drowsy, but before they even had the time to throw up, we had already arrived in Yilan! Serene Rural landscapes came into view. It felt really different from the bustling Taipei City.  
   First stop: the factory, Tong Yeng Canning and Processing Co., Inc., is owned by one of our classmate's father. As we entered, we saw a familiar fishermen logo. I recalled buying Tong Yeng tuna cans at RT-Mart (there are still some in the fridge). They were affordable and delicious. I never dreamt of being able to visit the factory one day. There were such praise and admiration in my heart! I found it hard to believe those small fish cans were produced by such a well established factory! Then, the friendly factory supervisor welcomed us and led us inside. We first entered the office. There were many gold medals on the wall. I realized it was the best fish can manufacturer in Taiwan. Its products are sold nationwide and worldwide. It is definitely an international fish canning and processing factory! 
Then, we entered the audiovisual room to watch an introductory film on fish canning and processing (factory). I greatly admired the efficient, hygienic, environmentally friendly, healthful, and nutritious products made by the factory. It is definitely good news for all Mankind! After that, we visited the Mackerel freezing facility imported from Japan (-25℃). It was really chilly inside so we had to get out quickly. While we were inside, we took a few precious pictures with the fish.
  Afterwards, we witnessed the entire fish canning process. It all began from unloading of fresh yield to a clean tank: washing -> killing -> sectioning -> classification -> canning -> condiment adding (tomato sauce) -> sealing -> washing -> sterilization -> packaging. I may have missed some steps because this automated operation is rather complex. The equipments cost millions of dollars. The factory supervisor pointed at several machines that cost millions of dollars. It really widened my horizon! I will never look down on those little fish cans again. The fresh, hygienic and non-preservative containing cans changed my impression about them. The factory supervisor even taught us how to identify Mackerel types and freshness. He gave us each a fish can gift box containing different types of fish cans inside. Thanks a lot! We later took a picture with everyone at the factory entrance. 
  At noon, we proceeded to Nan-Fan-Ao to eat seafood. It was a large meal full of local seafood specialties. Special thanks to our classmate's father who offered to treat us. It was such a delicious meal! I really envy my classmate for having such a great dad.
     Second stop: by the afternoon, the fish canning and processing factory supervisor and captain joined us for lunch. Then, we took a walk to the fishing vessel. There were all sorts of fishing vessels at the sea. There are traces of erosion on the vessel surfaces. Led by the captain, we boarded a large purse seine fishing vessel to conduct the interview. It was an amazing experience.
      First, we saw space ship like panels including a radar detector, sonar, a GPS, a water depth detector, a water temperature detector. A fish shoal detector, and a compass etc. Obviously, out there on the deep-sea surrounded by nothing but water, other than the stars and the light bulbs on board, the rest is in complete darkness. It is like being in space, instruments and equipments are needed to position and trace environmental changes. Chasing fish shoals is also a professional area as the time and place they emerge vary. In the open sea, in addition to knowing fish shoal habits, one relies on instruments and his experiences. It also has something to do with luck. Each voyage was an exploration. The captain told us that those instruments and equipments cost millions of dollars.

    
The Japanese operated on them before. After they left, the captain took over operation. The large encircling net (purse seine or large fishing net) costs several tens of millions of dollars. Although it is expensive, it is also a tool to make money. Everyone takes good care of it. One should not be greedy during fishing or the gigantic fish shoals will just tear the net and one ends up with nothing. Large encircling nets (purse seines) have bigger holes; therefore, fish caught is usually larger in sizes. It is impossible to capture all fishes. Mackerel laid eggs (spawns) in one setting often group together and therefore are the same in age and similar in size. Unless chased by sharks or dolphins, catch often only contains Mackerels of similar size. If by-catches such as sharks or dolphins are caught by mistake, they are released. Mackerels usually emerge nearby Peng Chia Yu.
    
 Depending on luck, yield of fishery may be sold for millions of dollars. However, weather is s predominant factor to consider when going out fishing. During full moon, the moonlight reflected on sea waves is chased by fish shoals. Because they do not group together in circumstances like this, fishing at sea is not usually an option. Weather at sea is very important, so fishing yield really depends on the weather. Local Matzu (Goddess of Sea) Temples flourished as a result. After taking pictures with the captain, we fair-welled, and visited Golden matzo and Jade Matzu made of pure gold and jade. Following picture-taking, and praying, we returned to school after a day's visit.