On Friday 16th February our class travelled to Dunmore East to visit a fish processing plant. We arrived at the harbour at 10:00am on a bright sunny day. It was the last day of the herring season. Most of the fishing boats were at sea.
We spoke with a fisherman on the quayside. He was mending a trawl. He told us the end of the trawl that the fish swim into is called the "cod end". We saw some plaice, black sole, ling and dogfish that were entangled in his net. They had gotten caught in the trawl but they were too small to be used.
Some of us held up these fish. The ling felt slithery when you rubbed it in one direction but it felt prickly when you rubbed it in the opposite direction. The fisherman told us we could take the fish back to school but our teachers wouldn't allow us .We gave each of the dead fish a pet name. There was Zack the ling, Jimmy the dogfish, Davy the plaice and Cornelius the black sole.
Mr. McSweeney was our guide for the tour of the fish processing plant. First the herring are loaded into a giant tub. A conveyor belt carries the herring along to a separating machine. Here the males and females are separated. The herring then travel along to the filleting machines where they are deboned, beheaded, have their innards removed and tails detached. Finally the herring are packed and frozen, and ready for shipping to Germany.
The fish waste is sent to Killybegs where it is made into fishmeal and used as a fertiliser. The best part of the tour was when Mr. McSweeney showed us the herring's heart, brain and gills. The herring's brain was really small. Both the male and female herring spawn. The male has milt and the female has roe. The Japanese eat roe but we'll pass on that.
The fish processing plant was very interesting and we learned a lot. Next to the processing plant was the ice plant. All the trawlers carry ice to keep the fish fresh and cold once their caught.
We really enjoyed are field trip. It was great fun.
Ms. Barrett's Fifth Class,
St. Mary's National School,