IKI JIME is a traditional Japanese technique used to kill fish by brain ablation. Through the use of the Iki tool and brain ablation there are significant improvements in flesh quality.
Although the brain is not removed when killing fish by Iki Jime, the brain tissue is destroyed. It is important to destroy the hind-brain of the fish with the Iki Jime technique, because this is where movement control is centred.
Killing the fish quickly and immediately after capture delays the rigor mortis process when compared to fish that are left to die by slower methods such as bleeding-out or chilling. With the complete destruction of the brain and, in particular, the hind brain, there is no movement from the fish and therefore any energy remaining in the muscle tissue is used to maintain cellular metabolism post mortem. This delays the rigor mortis process and also the degradation of the tissue. It results in a far superior quality flesh to conventional methods, where the energy reserves are depleted very shortly after capture.
A major benefit of the Iki Jime technique is the humane slaughter aspect. Chill killing or bleeding out can often take several minutes for the fish to be killed, during which time the animal exhibits normal escape response behaviour and consequently depletes the energy reserves in the muscle tissue.
The Iki Jime tool is made of durable materials and has been specifically designed so that the curve of the metal spike follows the natural line of the brain canal. This ensures that the Iki Jime procedure can be completed with one swift easy movement. For immediate death it is important to ensure that the brain has been ablated and not just severely injured.
There are several ways of carrying out the Iki Jime technique. The figure below shows the spike inserted through the top of the head of a salmon, approximately 2 cm behind the eyes. Salmon have a small dip in the skull at this point. By penetrating the skull at this point the Iki Jime tool will curve around and along the channel housing the brain, destroying the brain completely.
For other species of fish that have a very bony skull the Iki Jime tool should be inserted through the gill arch to come in underneath the brain (this method can also be used on small fish) or at the back end of the eye socket.
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