The Processing Process
At TomKat Line Fish, our level of care begins in the sea. Sustainable and ethical harvest techniques, a "fish first philosophy" and dry processing in our climate controlled processing facility all add up to producing a superior, premium quality product which we market directly to you. Our fish is sustainably line caught in the pristine waters of the Outer Great Barrier Reef, ethically dispatched using the humane technique of Iki Jime and carefully chilled in a refrigerated brine solution.
Back on land, we prepare our fresh catch to suit the needs of our clients. We can organise air freight of fresh whole fish or fresh frozen portions direct to chefs and restaurants, or you can purchase our convenient portion packs from our shop in Kurrimine Beach for later cooking and consumption at home.
When we process our fish, we dry fillet to prevent any moisture being absorbed by the delicate flesh. We then portion the fillets, vacuum package them to seal in flavour and freshness and blast freeze to ensure that when you are ready to prepare your fish it is as fresh as the day it was caught.
When you purchase fish from TomKat Line Fish, whether it is whole fresh fish, or fresh frozen fillets, you can be confident that the fish you are eating has been properly cared for from the moment it was hooked until the moment it is cooked.
The Art of Iki Jime
Iki Jime is a method of paralysing and bleeding fish to maintain their quality. The technique originated in Japan, but is now in widespread use throughout better fisheries around the world. Using the technique of Iki Jime dramatically improves the eating and keeping qualities of fish.
Iki Jime, pronounced “Icky Jimmy” involves the insertion of a spike quickly and directly into the hindbrain of a fish, killing the fish instantly. It is very quick and effective and scientists agree that brain spiking is the fastest and most humane way to dispatch fish. By reducing the amount of stress placed on the fish, the amount of lactic acid produced by the fish is reduced. This results in fish which taste much sweeter, have a far superior quality flesh and have a longer fridge life.
Iki Jime is not just marketing hype – it is the real deal in delivering the best eating fish.
Traditionally, when someone fillets fish you will see them washing the fish, slicing the fillet off the backbone and then washing the fillet again. It appears an easy and efficient way of filleting, but it really destroys the integrity of the fish because it washes away lots of the oils which give fish its great flavour and extra moisture can make its way into pockets within the fish flesh where it remains and spoils the natural texture of the fish.
At TomKat Line Fish, we do not fillet our fish that way. Dry filleting is really simple: it's just a matter of not engaging water. Tom removes the fillet of fish off the backbone, then uses a very sharp knife to slice the skin off the fillet. A clean damp cloth is then used to clean up the rest of the fillet and a final check is made under a special light to check for any remaining bones or scales. This extra care and attention to detail is more than worth it; it's actually imperative if you love eating great fish.
Our fish is well-caught fish, well-dispatched, well-handled fish and well-chilled, so dry filleting makes sure that the best flavours end up in the pan and on the plate.
What is fresh fish? Often fish which is marketed as fresh fish is chilled or thawed and the fish itself may not be fresh at all. So the term "fresh fish" is actually a misnomer used by retailers to convince people that they are buying fresh fish. Such fish is not as fresh as fish which has been snap frozen at sea, or as we do at TomKat Linefish, vacuum packaged and blast frozen within 5 days of being caught.
When we process our fish, the processing room operates at 14° C. Portion packs of freshly filleted fish are vacuum packaged, then placed into a blast freezer which operates at -40° C.
These modern freezing techniques make our frozen fish superior to fish sold as "fresh fish".
Next time you are purchasing "fresh fish", ask your fishmonger if the fish is fresh- never frozen fish- or simply thawed or chilled fish. If the fish is thawed fish, you are probably better off purchasing fish which has been blast frozen.