The backbone of the industry’s success is a tradition of constant improvement by fishing gear companies, boatbuilding firms and researchers. Companies like Simrad, Aas Mek. Verksted, Rolls-Royce Marine, and Fish Supply are working alongside major research institutions such as SINTEF, Fiskeriforskning (the Norwegian Institute of Fisheries and Aquaculture Research) and the Geographic Survey of Norway to meet high standards for sustainable fishing, top-quality seafood deliveries and protection of the environment.
MAREANO – Mapping on a Grand Scale
One of the most ambitious initiatives undertaken by Norway to better understand and protect the ocean environment is the MAREANO programme. This major research effort by the Geological Survey of Norway and partner researchers is applying the latest technology to scan and map the seabed of Norwegian coastal and oceanic waters. For the first time, research will be compiled into an integrated database that will create an environmental baseline for the Norwegian Sea. The resulting expanded knowledge of the seas will be of great value for the fisheries industry, providing up-to-date, quality-controlled data for better management and utilization of resources.
The estimated NOK 250 million project shows the nation’s serious commitment to the sustainable development of clean and healthy seafood. The commercial benefits of this programme will be numerous: better topographic maps (resulting in reduced costs for fisheries and the oil industry), an improved understanding of biodiversity and habitats, more precise reef location knowledge and a deeper insight of undersea geological processes.
Building a Better Well Boat
Relying on generations of experience, Norwegian boatbuilders and refurbishers like Aas Mek. Verkstad are delivering innovative products to the market. For example, Aas Mek. has just launched a new type of well boat for Marine Harvest to employ in Scotland.
According to Halvard Aas of Aas Mek., the 57-metre-long Ronja Pioneer is breaking new ground in several important ways. “It is the first well boat with a ‘shelter deck’ – a sheltered area on the main deck for equipment – and it also provides a protected way of passage for the crew, which is important for safety when sailing in rough weather.”
Secondly, Aas pointed out that the craft features a new, sophisticated type of water treatment system for CO2 degasification and the removal of foam from this process. The vessel also includes a new design for mixing oxygen into the water in the tanks, a large RSW cooling system, and a well-equipped laboratory to perform the analysis needed for open, closed and cooled conditions.
New Detection Technology Reaping Rewards
Advanced fish detection technology from Norwegian firm Simrad is enabling record-breaking catch levels. Recently, an Icelandic pelagic trawler equipped with Simrad’s new SP90 sonar set a record with its tremendous catch of blue whiting. The captain cited the SP90’s multi frequency and third-generation beam stabilization as key features that gave the information needed to achieve the new standard-setting results.
Simrad also is developing cutting-edge projects for trawl instrumentation to provide information about species composition and size distribution in catch, and the company has a new development called GPS fish tag which enables users to reconstruct the migratory route of fish through an entire year’s cycle.
Fresher to Market with New Towing Bag
One of the most promising fishing gear products on the horizon is the “Bargo” towing bag being developed by Fish Supply in Tromsø, in close cooperation with Fiskeriforskning.
The company created the product in response to an industry need to find simpler long-distance handling and transport with a great reduction in stress on the fish. The towing bag solution can achieve live transport over long distances faster, easier and less expensively than traditional methods.
In a recent interview, Fiskeriforskning Principal Scientist Kjell Midling pointed out how much faster the Bargo can transport fish. “For example, a tow that takes 30 hours with a regular seine bag takes only six hours with the new towing bag.”
Best described as a kind of “aquatic windsock”, the Bargo is constructed such that the water speed flowing through the bag is regulated by adjusting the size of the opening at the back of the bag, making the current adaptable to different species’ ideal swimming speeds.
The result is that fish can swim slowly and calmly while being transported. Not only is time saved, but research has shown that lowering stress in the transport process impacts quality and price aspects as well.
Turning to a New Cod-End Solution
SINTEF Fisheries and Aquaculture manages a major fishing gear testing centre at the Flume Tank, located in Hirtshals, Denmark. At this facility, the institute helps clients find solutions throughout the marine value chain – from the biological basis of marine production, through aquaculture and fish capture techniques, to processing and distribution.
Reducing damage to the catch in cod-ends was the goal of a recent SINTEF research project, which led to the development of the T90, a new cod-end that shows better abilities to preserve the catch. Fish caught in trawls are frequently damaged by the cod-end, leading to blood marks in the filet. The cause was found to be turbulence around the catch, causing fish to be washed around and rubbed against the netting.
The answer turned out to be a remarkably simple manoeuvre: turn the netting 90 degrees in the cod-end. By rotating it this way, a larger cross-section was achieved and swinging fell dramatically compared to standard cod-ends, resulting in less bruising to the catch. In addition, the T90 has also shown greater strength than traditional industry equipment.
New Handling Tubs for Live Catch
Sæplast, with 20 years of experience in designing tubs for the international fisheries industry, has come up with several new products to enhance storage for live capture fishing techniques. At a recent exposition, the company premiered a 1,015 litre tub designed with an oxygenation inlet and a 20-cm discharge spout, ideal for species such as cod.
Another new introduction was a tub created with the live transport of Atlantic coast lobster in mind. The 1,250-liter insulated tub is designed to hold up to six FlapNest crates, making it ideal for the live transport of any type of finfish as well. The company cites use of these containers as a proven way of raising efficiency, achieving higher catch value and improving profit.
Double & Triple Winches
Rolls-Royce is well known as a designer and builder of fully integrated ship systems, and this includes its role as a leading supplier of winches for fishing vessels – offering systems for trawlers, purse seiners, long liners, Scottish seiners, multi-purpose and fishing research vessels. Designers for Rolls-Royce are currently working on the cutting edge, featuring double and triple winches which give larger catches with less trawling time and lower maintenance costs.
Rolls-Royce offers a wide variety of winches, such as trawl and purse seiner winches, direct driven winches with a single motor unit, sweep line and Gilson winches with one motor, and the Synchro Autotrawl system.
Updating a Long Tradition
The Mustad Autoline System is a mechanized operation of longlining, one of the oldest methods of fishing known to man. Mustad’s system relies on a rope or monofilament mainline, with length variable from a few hundred metres up to 50-60 kilometres and complete versatility in terms of hook setting and bait.
The company points to many advantages in using an autolining system, including better working conditions for crew (over manual longlining), large fish in the catch with excellent quality, little waste, and a very good profitability profile.
Industry Research Fund
Supporting the ongoing movement towards innovation and sustainable fishing, the Norwegian government has initiated a funding scheme for industrial research and development. These funds are drawn from a levy of 0.3 percent of all exported fish and fish products. The monies are distributed in the form of grants for research programmes and major projects, with oversight by a board appointed by the Norwegian Ministry of Fisheries and Coastal Affairs. Recent projects supported by the fund include RSW systems with CO2 as refrigerant, new trawling concepts, automated control and repair of hooks on autolines, and the commercializing of new fisheries technologies.