All QRILL Aqua products origin from the pristine waters of Antarctica. Krill is harvested with our ECO-Harvesting technology that protects the environment from by-catch, and is processed on-board our vessels to ensure that our customers benefit from fresh and high-quality ingredients. Get a glimpse into how we make our QRILL ingredients through the words and insight of Viggo Brevik, former Factory Manager and now Fleet Production Director in Aker BioMarine.
Did you know that our krill harvesting vessels have full facilities on-board to make QRILL products? Not only fishermen work on our vessel, but also a full crew that manages fishing and all aspects of production and delivery. Viggo Brevik explains: “There is a total of 57 crew members on our vessels. More than 30 people are working to operate and maintain our processing plant and handle the product. Our crew work in shifts to ensure 24 hours operation.”
Read more: The story of a true fisherman
Antarctic Krill is harvested through an ECO-Harvesting technology which makes sure we are supplied with alive and fresh krill, Viggo says. It also minimizes by-catch. The krill is then transported directly into a two-stage cooking process to ensure quick and efficient cooking. After cooking, the krill is transported into a two-stage separation using centrifugal force. This allows the krill to be separated from the cooking water. The water contains fat that we also separate and get an oil which is rich of Astaxanthin and triglycerides.
The krill is then dried using disk dryers with steam as the heating medium. This is where we remove water, and the finished product holds a moisture content of approximately 6%. After cooling, using fresh Antarctic air, the product is packed and labeled into 25 kg and 500 kg bags, depending on our customer needs.
Continuously analyzing the product
There is a continuous automatic sampling of QRILL Aqua to be used for analyzing. We test for microbiology in addition to levels of fat, composition of fatty acids, protein, moisture, Astaxanthin, TMAO, fluoride and so on.
Finished QRILL Aqua - ready for customers
The bags are stored in our cargo hold which can contain 2600 metric tons of product. At the end of the trip (full cargo) or when required by market, we offload while at sea to our own supply vessel, the La Manche. Our vessel will then transport the product to our main hub in Montevideo, Uruguay where it is distributed to warehouses in Europe or directly to the end customer.
Want to see a 1-minute film on how we make the QRILL ingredients onboard our vessels in Antarctica? Watch below:
QRILL Aqua varies in nutrition values
QRILL Aqua products are all made from fresh krill and the crew harvest as long as the Antarctic seasons and CCMLAR regulatory allows. The fresh krill have different fat and protein content throughout the year. This is a result of their diet. Early in the season – after feeding on algae, the krill are often low in fat but high in protein. Midseason, fat content is higher due feeding on plankton. Being that QRILL Aqua products are all natural they vary in nutrition values depending on the season of harvest.
To read about the fishery: click here or download our Vessel Operations Brochure below.