IAFI represents the world fish inspection community helping them to provide fish, seafood and associated products that are safe, of acceptable quality and readily available for sale in the global marketplace. 

Obituary - Peter Howgate

It with great regret that IAFI announces the passing of Peter Howgate, who died at his home on Christmas Eve 206.. Peter was a seminal figure in fish quality assessment and was a strong supporter of good science in the field of fish technology. For 35 years, Peter Howgate worked at the Torry Research Station, Aberdeen, UK a government institute specialising in research and development in fish processing and handling. Whilst at Torry Research Station (and also in retirement) he authored or co-authored numerous papers in refereed scientific journals and he has contributed chapters to numerous books. Many of Peter’s major contributions were made when he became Head of the Quality Assessment Unit at Torry, and developed the pioneering work on sensory assessment of fish instigated earlier at Torry by Shewan and Erhnberg. The work embraced chemical and sensory methods of quality assessment and had major implications in both the scientific and commercial fields. Without a doubt, Peter became our leading expert in the sensory assessment of fish quality, and over the years he has made massive contribution to our understanding of fish spoilage. During his time at Torry he was an active participant in WEFTA meetings and also, in 1978/79 spent 18 months attached to the fishery products laboratory in Malaysia.

Peter retired at the end of 1989 and was recognised with the “Most Excellent Order of the British Empire” awarded by Queen Elizabeth II. Torry was closed in 1996 and the residue of its functions dispersed to other government departments. But Peter has continued to work hard to preserve its legacy. Peter carried out many consultancies, working for UN agencies in Africa, South America, and the Far East. He managed to salvage a good part of the Torry library, subsequently donated to the Humberside Seafood Institute, and most recently he created FishTechDB an online bibliographical database of topics related to fish technology. The database is now available as a public service to the global seafood community via Seafood Network Information Centre.

Between 1996 and 2002, Peter was also deputy editor of the International Journal of Food Science and Technology. Peter continued to generously give his time to replying to enquiries on aspects of the science of fish as food. He remained an active and regular contributor to the Seafood email discussion list.

Apart from his long interest in fish technology, Peter also held a deep interest in outdoor activities, particularly mountaineering, and for many years was the Hut custodian and latterly President of the Cairngorm Club, a renowned Scottish mountaineering club. In his latter years he was a keen supporter of his local nature conservation society near his home in southern England.


Peter’s legacy is the IAFI Peter Howgate Award which supports a young fish technologist to attend the biennial World Seafood Congress.

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