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Effects of well-boat transportation on the muscle pH and onset of rigor mortis in Atlantic salmon
  1. M. C. Gatica, MV, MSc, PhD1,
  2. G. Monti, MV, MSc, PhD2,
  3. C. Gallo, MV, PhD3,
  4. T. G. Knowles, BSc, MSc, PhD, CStat, CBiol, MIBiol4 and
  5. P. D. Warriss, BSc, PhD, CBiol, FIFST4
  1. 1 Programa de Doctorado en Ciencias Veterinarias
  2. 2 Instituto de Medicina Preventiva Veterinarias
  3. 3 Instituto de Ciencia Animal y Tecnologia de Carnes, Facultad de Ciencias Veterinarias, Universidad Austral de Chile, Campus Isla Teja, Valdivia, Chile
  4. 4 School of Clinical Veterinary Science, University of Bristol, Langford, Bristol BS40 3DU


During the transport of salmon (Salmo salar), in a well-boat, 10 fish were sampled at each of six stages: in cages after crowding at the farm (stage 1), in the well-boat after loading (stage 2), in the well-boat after eight hours transport and before unloading (stage 3), in the resting cages immediately after finishing unloading (stage 4), after 24 hours resting in cages, (stage 5) and in the processing plant after pumping from the resting cages (stage 6). The water in the well-boat was at ambient temperature with recirculation to the sea. At each stage the fish were stunned percussively and bled by gill cutting. Immediately after death, and then every three hours for 18 hours, the muscle pH and rigor index of the fish were measured. At successive stages the initial muscle pH of the fish decreased, except for a slight gain in stage 5, after they had been rested for 24 hours. The lowest initial muscle pH was observed at stage 6. The fishes' rigor index showed that rigor developed more quickly at each successive stage, except for a slight decrease in rate at stage 5, attributable to the recovery of muscle reserves.

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