After groups of fish are properly prepared for shipment, they are carefully packaged and labeled for their next destination. The primary shipping days at Mt. Parnell are Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, but accommodations are sometimes adjusted for our customers' various needs. Fish are transported by air freight, FedEx or UPS to the Continental United States, Canada, Continental Europe and the United Kingdom. The majority of the fish are moved by air freight from Baltimore/Washington International (BWI) or Washington Dulles International (IAD).
Mt. Parnell fish are just beginning their journey when they are harvested and placed in holding pools. At least 24 hours after the fish have received prophylactic treatments in association with water temperature acclimation, they are ready for grading, sizing, sorting, and/or counting. All of our feeder goldfish are graded through wire racks in the holding pools to ensure a consistently sized group of fish for the customer. The rest of the fish are sized and sorted by hand to eliminate stress and to assure quality.
Following grading, sizing and sorting, the fish are ready for packaging. Fish are packed in boxes according to size; large koi may be packed one to a box, but feeder goldfish and rosy reds can be packed 1000 or more fish per box. The most efficient method of packing the feeder goldfish and rosy reds is to pack them according to weight. This is accomplished by counting a certain number of uniformly sized (graded) fish, weighing them, and recording the weight. The rest of the fish in that lot are then packed according to the recorded weight sample. Aside from the feeders and rosy reds, the other varieties of fish are hand counted. Whether the fish are packed by a weight sample or hand counted, each box contains approximately a 3% overcount to offset any potential transit losses, although unlikely.
The next step for the fish is placement in the specially designed shipping containers. The container consists of a heavy plastic bag inserted in a corrugated cardboard box that has been fitted with a wax-coated liner box in case of water leaks. A water tank dispenses a pre-measured amount of fresh water into each bag. The fish are placed in the water and a quality control inspection is performed to make sure the fish are in an acceptable condition and quality to be shipped. An ice pack is then placed under the bag to regulate and maintain the water temperature. Finally, the bags are purged of any air, filled with pure oxygen, twisted tightly closed and sealed with a rubber band. The boxes are then closed, taped shut and stacked where they await transport to the airport or pickup by FedEx, UPS or our customers.