This Industry Profile is one of a series briefly describing small or medium-sized industries. The
Profiles provide basic information for starting manufacturing plants in developing nations.
Specifically, they provide general plant descriptions, financial, and technical factors for their
operation, and sources of information and expertise. The series is intended to be useful in
determining whether the industries described warrant further inquiry either to rule out or to
decide upon investment. The underlying assumption of these Profiles is that the individual
making use of them already has some knowledge and experience in industrial development.
Dollar values are listed only for machinery and equipment costs, and are primarily based on
equipment in the United States. The price does not include shipping costs or import-export taxes,
which must be considered and will vary greatly from country to country. No other investment
costs are included (such as land value, building rental, labor, etc.) as those prices also vary.
These items are mentioned to provide the investor with a general checklist of considerations for
setting up a business.
These profiles should not be substituted for feasibility studies. Before an investment is made in
a plant, a feasibility study should be conducted. This may require skilled economic and
engineering expertise. The following illustrates the range of questions to which answers must
* What is the extent of the present demand for the product, and how is it now being
* Will the estimated price and quality of the product make it competitive?
* What is the marketing and distribution plan and to whom will the product be
* How will the plant be financed?
* Has a realistic time schedule for construction, equipment, delivery, obtaining
materials and supplies, training of personnel, and the start-up time for the plant
* How are needed materials and supplies to be procured and machinery and
equipment to be maintained and repaired?
* Are trained personnel available?
* Do adequate transportation, storage, power, communication, fuel, water, and
other facilities exist?
* What management controls for design, production, quality control, and other
factors have been included?
* Will the industry complement or interfere with development plans for the area?
* What social, cultural, environmental, and technological considerations must be
addressed regarding manufacture and use of this product?
Fully documented information responding to these and many other questions should be
determined before proceeding with implementation of an industrial project.
Equipment Suppliers, Engineering Companies
The services of professional engineers are desirable in the design of industrial plants even though
the proposed plant may be small. A correct design is one that provides the greatest economy in
the investment of funds and establishes the basis of operation that will be most profitable in the
beginning and will also be capable of expansion without expensive alteration.
Professional engineers who specialize in industrial design can be found be referring to the
published cards in various engineering magazines. They may also be reached through their
Manufacturers of industrial equipment employ engineers familiar with the design and installation
of their specialized products. These manufacturers are usually willing to give prospective
customers the benefit of technical advice by those engineers in determining the suitability of their
equipment in any proposed project.
Volunteers in Technical Assistance (VITA) is a private, non-profit, volunteer organization
engaged in international development. Through its varied activities and services, VITA fosters
self-sufficiency by promoting increased economic productivity. Supported by a volunteer roster
of over 5,000 experts in a wide variety of fields, VITA is able to provide high quality technical
information to requesters. This information is increasingly conveyed through low-cost advanced
communication technologies, including terrestrial packet radio and low-earth-orbiting satellite.
VITA also implements both long- and short-term projects to promote enterprise development and
FISH OIL AND FISH MEAL
PREPARED BY: S. Divakaran
REVIEWED BY: Thomas L. Meade
Robert M. Ingle
1. The Product
Fish oil is the oil from rendering whole fish or from fish
Fish meal is the clean, dried, ground tissue of undercooked whole
fish or fish cuttings.
2. The Facility
This profile describes two plants. The first is a 20-ton per day
plant operating with an eight-hour shift and producing 8,000 tons
of fish meal and 4,000 tons of fish oil a year. The second is a
40-ton plant operating with an eight-hour shift and producing
8,000 tons of fish oil and 16,000 tons of meal per year.
Fishery by-products have a big future in both developed and
developing countries because of their multiple uses. For example,
stickwater, the liquid residue after the fish is rendered, can be
used by some feed manufactueres, especially those who produce
pelleted and extruded feed, as water, protein, and binder
components. However, they must compete with oils, animal feeds,
and fertilizers from a variety of sources. For example, the glut
in palm oil production and its worldwide supply as well as the
use of soy protein as a cheaper source of protein for animal feed
have affected demand for fish oil and meal. This should be
considered before locating a plant.
Prospects for these products depend upon sufficient market
outlets. Since they are jointly produced, it should be ascertained
that there is a sufficient market for both of them before
venturing into the production. The possibility of selling
concentrated fish solubles should also be considered, as this
would reduce drying costs and some equipment expenses.
Fishery products in general have a rising market in the future
because of their nutritional superiority and greater availability
than land-based animal products. However, the operation requires
a moderately large capital investment.
Competition from microbial processing methods can be expected
(biotechnology). Fish silage production is already receiving
2. Manufacturing Equipment Flexibility
With some addition and modifications, the machinery can easily
handle poultry meat processing wastes and slaughterhouse by-products.
3. Knowledge Base
Before implementation of such a plant, it is very important to
conduct a detailed biological study of species abundance. Also, a
record-keeping system needs to be set up to evaluate the effect
of the activity on basic fish supply. Records should include
production/unit of effort, size and weight of fish, and length of
the season. Knowledge of marine life is also important to
eliminate unwanted species such as copepods and mollusks. Other
–Knowledge of high oil and low oil fish to predict meat to oil
–Knowledge good cleaning and manufacturing practices
for putrescible products.
–Knowledge of sewage treatment, chemical oxygen demand (COD),
and biological oxygen demand (BOD) regulations.
–Knowledge of odor control and stack emissions, if plant is
located near population centers.
4. Quality Control
Raw materials need to be checked for foreign objects such as
metal, grit, and sand. In the laboratory, fish meal should be
tested for crude protein and fat, and fish oil should be tested
for free fatty acids and unpleasant smells. Standard methods of
analysis such as the Association of Official Analytical Chemists
or country standards should be followed.
5. Constraints and Limitations
The plant should be designed to handle one-third its capacity for
lean supply periods. Restrictions on discharge of high BOD
effluent should be checked. Sewage treatment could be expensive,
especially for a 20-ton plant. Fish meal plants emit a strong
odor and should be situated leeward of dwellings. Water treatment
can be expensive if soft water is unavailable for boiler.
Mostly domestic consumers and manufacturers of margarine, animal
feeds, aquatic feeds (e.g., catfish feed), fungicide sprays,
soap, fertilizer, paints, lubricating oil, fat liquor for leather
industry, oil tanning, manufacturers of fatty acids, and crude
glycerol for explosives.
Fish must be available locally. Access to fish processing plants
3. Sales Channels and Methods
Sales are generally made to large dealers of fish meal and fish
oil with representatives in many countries. Local sales are
usually made directly to local industries and wholesalers of
animal feeds. Fish oil and fish meal are easily transported.
4. Geographic Extent of Market
Domestic – While the product is fairly easy to transport, freight
cost may be an important factor in limiting the market area.
Export – Market can be international, but quality specifications
may restrict export.
Quality control can provide an edge over competition.
Domestic – There is usually competition from similar products
derived from other sources. Delivery price is the determining
Export – Competition from other oils and protein sources may
affect demand. As in the domestic market, delivery price is also
the decisive factor.
6. Market Capacity
It is not feasible to estimate the size of the market needed in
terms of population or other quantitative measure. The essential
requirement is accessibility to areas where user industries are
PRODUCTION AND PLANT REQUIREMENTS
Requirements Annual Output:
1. Infrastructure, Utilities Small Plant Medium Plant
Land 5 acres 7 acres
Building 100’x200′ 150’x200′
Power Requirement 30 hp 70 hp
(*) Power Requirement, Boiler 700 hp 1,050 hp
Fuel Bunker C oil 560 Tons 1,120 Tons
Water production, sanitation, fire
Other ____________ ___________
(*) Power requirement means that the factory is hooked up to a power
source capable of handling the HP mentioned.
2. Major Equipment & Machinery Small Plant Medium Plant
Tools & Machinery
fish receiving and storage system
(bins, dumper, tipper, etc.) 1 2
screw conveyor 1 2
cooker 1 2
presser 1 2
decanter centrifuge 1 2
multiple effect evaporator 1 1
drier (tubular, direct or
indirect) 1 1
grinder (excludes motor cost) 1 1
boiler (steam or thermic fluid; water treatment costs should
be considered if steam boiler is used.)
(**) TOTAL ESTIMATED COST
of equipment & machinery only $1,116,000 $2,100,000
3. Materials & Supplies Small Plant Medium Plant
raw fish 40,000 tons 80,000 tons
lubricants & hand tools 2,000 3,000
gas, oil & maintenance of
truck 15,000 30,000
office supplies 2,000 3,000
bagging & weighing equipment 15,000 30,000
oil drums & filling equipment
(Packing and oil drum costs arise for retail outlets. Wholesale
outlets need containers and oil trucks).
4. Labor Small Plant Medium Plant
Skilled 2 5
Semiskilled 2 4
Unskilled 4 8
Manager 1 1
Supervisor 1 1
Quality Control Assistant 1 2
Office 2 3
Maintenance 1 1
Truck driver 1 1
5. Distribution/Supply flow Small Plant Medium Plant
Amount in/out per day fish meal 25-27 tons 50-55 tons
Amount in/out per day fish oil 8-13 tons 16-26 tons
6. Market Requirements Small Plant Medium Plant
(To be assessed by the manufacturer)
7. Other Requirements Small Plant Medium Plant
Sewage treatment and red tape management
Export quarantine health certificates
(**) Based on $US 1987 prices. The costs provided are estimates and
are given only to provide a general idea for machinery costs.
They are not intended to be used as absolute prices. Costs should
be determined on a case by case basis. Installation costs are not
included, and they are usually 10 percent of total equipment
cost. Other costs such as licensing fees, additional pollution
and odor control fees, quality control costs, transport, auditing,
and legal fees must be considered. Buying used machinery may
possibly reduce costs.
Figure II Composition of fish material during the process.
Material Water % Solids % Fat %
raw fish 70 18 12
press cake 53 44 3
press liquor 78 6 16
dilute stickwater 95 5 <1
concentrated stickwater 65 33 2
fish meal 9 85 6
There are many methods for processing fish meal. The method used
to produce most of the world supplies is described below. The
process is shown by the diagram in Figure 1. The composition of
materials at each stage is shown in Figure 2. The diagrams and
description are extracted from “Introduction to Fishery By-Products,”
by M. Windsor & S. Barlow, Fishing News Books Ltd.,
Farnham, Surrey, England, 1981.
COOKING: This ruptures the cells and releases the oil. Cooking
time should be for 20 minutes at 95-100 degrees Centigrade.
COOKER: This is a long steam-jacketed cylinder through which
fish are moved by a screw conveyor that can itself be heated.
Direct injection of steam is not beneficial.
PRESSING: A single or double screw press is used. The press cake
has 55 percent moisture and 3-4 percent oil. Note that very fresh
fish cause problems in pressing due to high content of slime.
TREATMENT OF PRESS LIQUOR: Press liquor contains:
Stage 1. Decanter: desludge to remove fine suspended solids. A
decanter centrifuge separates oil from water fraction.
Stage 2. Evaporation of stick water: Multiple effect evaporator
using either double, triple or quadruple effect using 0.6, 0.4,
and 0.3 kg steam per kg of water evaporated respectively. Stick
water evaporation is complex and expert guidance is required.
DRYING: Cake with 50 percent moisture is dried to 10 percent
moisture. Drying is done in direct dryers where heat is supplied
by heated air or steam, usually at 170 [degrees]C.
GRINDING: The dried material should be ground and sieved to a
uniform mesh size.
SACKING: Sacking in bags when planning retail outlets in small
plant. The product may be shipped to user in containers and no
sacking may be needed.
ENERGY CONSUMPTION: 60-70 kg fuel per ton of raw fish.
Percent distribution of energy per process: cooking – 21%
pressing – 8%
Stick water drying to 30% solids 33%. drying – 38%
TOTAL – 100%